Friday, April 24, 2015

Welcome Back To Blogging With Chocolate Chip Cookies

          Now that the spring semester is almost over and I have taken my anatomy lab life can get back to my favorite hobbies. Some of my favorite hobbies are knitting, cooking, gardening, and baking. Let me tell you this, anatomy is a class that was sucking all the life out of me and was a super hard to remember all of the bones, muscles, and nerves. Sometimes to get through the memorization of them items, I needed to come up with some R-rated mnemonic to remember things.

         Last night while the husband was on an overnight snow machining trip far up North in the Paxson and Valdez area for one last trip of the season. The 2014-2015 season is  the first year that we have had to travel 3 to 4 hours one direction to find some snow to ride on. The Anchorage area has only had 20 inches of snow.  But, back to the original story, while he went snow machining I decided to try a new recipe that I had thought up.
Sorry about the picture, it is from my iPhone. 

Dark Chocolate Coconut Chip Cookies
1 stick of butter (softened)
1 8oz. package of cream cheese (room temperature)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1 bag of dark chocolate chips (can use any chip or chunk)
1/2 cup coconut (I didn't measure, just dumped until I liked the look)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

         Cream together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl. Once combined, put the eggs and vanilla in the bowl next, mixing them with the butter mixture.  Add the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt in the mixture and combine until well mixed. Finally add the coconut and chocolate stirring them until mixed in the dough.  Bake at 350 for 12 - 15 minutes until light golden brown.  I used a cookie scoop and flattened them down because they do not spread like regular cookies.  Makes about 30 cookings using a cookie scoop. They turned out moist and tender cookies that go great with a big glass of milk.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Wonderful Beans and Big Plans

Big news!! I haven't been promoting this blog due to feeling a little self-conscious about my writing. A couple nights ago I shared the link to the pot roast blog on a Facebook group asking for honest opinions. The feedback was good, and I got some great suggestions. I am going to start working on a Facebook page Peggy's Adventures in Cooking to promote things and sending it out to close personal friends.

This recipe comes from a wonderful friend of mine, Melissa. I had these beans over at her house on a night of a get-together of a group of her friends. I came home and immediately text her for the recipe because they were some of the best beans that I had ever had. These do not compare to the ones in the can. Frankly, these beans are super low maintenance, inexpensive, and can be used in a bunch of dishes. They would also freeze well.  Looking back on the week, I realized that I hadn't cooked anything worthwhile all week. Between school and homework, quick and easy was the best option, is always scrambled eggs.

These beans will be used in a lot of different ways. I plan on adding them to eggs for more protein and fiber, making burritos, and eating them with salads.  I also did a little evaluation of the budget, realizing that I have been eating out a lot, which is costing more money than I would like. One way to curb this is by making a bunch of things that can be eaten on the go or quickly. This recipe is very straightforward and very easy.

You will need a heavy duty Dutch oven pan. My favorite one is a Red Lodge cast iron pan, that I purchased at the local superstore.  The beans will cook about two hours at 400 degrees until done. This recipe could be easily adapted to a crock pot allowing you to leave the house and go about your errands. But, because it is a lazy day  that I do not plan on leaving until later on in the day to go to a movie.

1 bag of beans (White, navy, pinto, or black) about 2 cups
Enough water to fill above beans (About 1 inch)
3 bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp of chicken broth concentrate (I bought my at Costco)

1) Pour your beans in the pot
2)Add your bay leaves and garlic
3) Add water to about 1 inch above the beans
4) Add the chicken broth concentrate, stir
5)Place in oven on 400 for about two hours checking halfway to make sure there is enough liquid.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Caramel Rolls

Caramel roll on my Grandma's china dish

A lot my recipes are designed out of cravings for things that I can not find anywhere, or they are not as good as the original. Been craving my grandma's caramel rolls. Now, these are huge in North Dakota and haven't seen them anywhere but the midwest. Can venture to say that any family run cafe, truck stop, or diner you walk into there will be a gooey selection of perfectly baked caramel rolls sitting there just calling your name.

The other day after looking through the cookbook, my mom created after I got my very first place when I was 18 and not finding the recipe I wanted for the rolls. Mom to the rescue, she was able to give me the recipe for the caramel. When I was a kid, it always seemed much more complicated when I helped Grandma. Now, I was told that my grandma always used frozen bread dough. But, because I forgot it at the store last night, homemade white bread dough was substituted.

Gooey caramel sauce

Caramel Sauce
3 cups of brown sugar
1 stick butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Put all the ingredients for the caramel sauce in a sauce pot. Turn your burner on to medium heat, cooking until it is combined. Place the sauce into two cake pans, diving evenly.

Before (l) After (r) rise

White Bread Dough
6 cups unbleached white flour
4 1/2 tsp Yeast
4 Tbsp sugar
2 cups water (around 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 stick of melted butter

Place the water, yeast, and sugar in a dish allowing the yeast and sugar to dissolve. Allow it to foam and sit on the counter for about 10 minutes.  In the mixer with your dough hook, place the flour, salt, and vegetable oil. Once your yeast mixture has sat for the specified time, add that to your mixer. Once the dough is combined into a ball, place in a greased bowl covered with a towel until it has doubled in size. Punch the dough down and pull out of the bowl onto a floured counter top.

Once the dough is on the counter, drag out the rolling pin. Roll it out until it is one large sheet of dough. Spread on the melted butter evenly on the dough. Then cover the sheet of dough with brown sugar and cinnamon to you liking.  Once, all of the dough is coated, roll into a log. Divide the roll into 16 evenly cut pieces.  Place the rolls into the two cake pans evenly space. Cover the rolls with a towel allowing them to rise and double in size. Stick in the oven at 350 until golden brown and not doughy anymore.

Before the rise, after the rise, after the oven

After the oven take a cookie sheet larger than the pan, you baked your caramel rolls in. Place the cookie sheet on top of the pan and carefully flip it over. I do mean carefully because there is a chance you could get scalding caramel onto the skin causing a painful burn. After they release, scrape the pan to get out all the sauce.  Enjoy them with butter and a big glass of milk.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A New Pot, New Camera, and Pot Roast For Supper

After taking a hiatus from blogging, I am back! Life has been extremely busy lately. School started again; I am up to my eyeballs in anatomy to study and papers to write. Some days I question why did I go back?! In the end, it will all be worth it for a career that I am excited to do.   Today was the day that was my day to cook.

The husband told me the other night that he wanted pot roast; it is rare that I get a specific request from him for food. Told him that this weekend would be the time for it, well we are having date night Saturday and going to Alaska Aces hockey game on Sunday. Tonight was the night, and we are having the perfect weather for pot roast. It has been extremely windy and cold here today, time for comfort food. My lack of planning in, not bringing my crock pot home from work is the reason for a new Dutch oven pan. I didn't have one that was meant specifically for the stove and long cooking times.

I also got a new camera. Graduated from the iPhone or point and shoot with a Nikon D3200 DSLR camera. Safe to say that it has more gadgets, buttons, and options that I am excited to play with.   First project to try was a new blog post.   This is a long-winded way to say that I am going to give the recipe for my pot roast.

Pot Roast
3 to 4 lb Chuck Roast
5 carrots
2 onions
Two cloves garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 cups beef stock

1) Pull your roast out of the fridge 30 min before planning on cooking. Turn your oven on to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Peel and chop your carrots, setting aside.
3) Salt and pepper your roast on both sides liberally with salt and pepper.

4)Pour some olive oil into the pan, turning it on high. Once the oil is heated put the chuck into the pot. Searing it on all sides.
5) Once it is browned on all sides, pull it out letting it rest on a plate.
6) Place the onions, carrots, and garlic in the pot allowing the veggies to get a little brown color on it.
7) Setting the veggies in a bowl, pour your beef stock into the pan getting all the brown bits up off the bottom of the pan.
8) Place the roast and veggies into the liquid with some rosemary and basil.

9) Put the lid on, sticking it in the oven, and let it cook on the temp for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

This was the best pot roast that we have had. We devoured it, and I forgot to take a picture of the final product.

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