Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pizza with caramelized onion, ricotta and bacon

Um, yum.

I was home alone this weekend while Hans took the YM on a campout. I decided to try out a new recipe I knew he wouldn't eat :)

And I love it. So yummy I ate it for three straight meals. It makes four small servings - one was plenty for me, but I know wouldn't be for Hans. Maybe serve with a salad or some bread sticks, or just make a larger pizza!

Recipe adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

1 package pre-made pizza dough
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 package thick-cut bacon
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub oil onto pizza stone (or baking sheets) and/or dust with corn meal.

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add onion to skillet and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize.

Whisk together ricotta and sour cream, then season with salt and pepper.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece out about 1/8 inch thick. Move dough to prepared stone/baking sheet. Spread ricotta mixture across the dough, then sprinkle with the bacon and onion. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snickers cupcakes

Last week the Beehives and I made a deal - read your scriptures and say your prayers every day, and I'll bring cupcakes. They did (good job, girls!), so here's what they got!

Some notes - you can use whatever candy you want, but make sure it's frozen!! I didn't see that part until it was too late. They were fine, but a little too melty. Definitely would have been better frozen. I wasn't a fan of the frosting, but maybe that's because I skipped the caramel part (I couldn't find it at our grocery store). The cake part was pretty darn good though - I think the pudding and the sour cream helped keep it a very moist cake. The recipe says it makes 24, but it could make more easily. Many of mine overfilled the liners and I could have done more, smaller ones.

Recipe from My Baking Addiction.
1 package devil’s food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs; lightly beaten
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
24-30 frozen Mini Snickers

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with liners.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, vanilla and water.

Evenly divide the batter amongst the prepared pans. Gently push a frozen Snickers Miniature bar into the center of the batter and smooth the surface to cover the candy bar completely. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cake springs back when you lightly touch it. Cool cupcakes on wire racks.

For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter; room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup caramel topping; plus more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and shortening. Add vanilla, salt and caramel syrup and combine well. Add the powdered sugar slowly, beating thoroughly between each addition.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If you dare

Here's something to try for breakfast, if you're looking for something new. I was aiming for something healthy and stumbled across this - such a pretty color! The banana does a pretty good job of masking the spinach/kale's earthy taste. But it's extremely overpowering and if I haven't mentioned before... I don't like bananas. No, I HATE them. With a violent passion. But I was willing to give it a try. I *almost* liked this. I could taste the almond, honey and pear and that combo was pretty yummy. Maybe I can sub the banana out for peaches or something else and that would make this pretty great. Gimme a try and let me know what you think!

1 heaping cup spinach leaves
1 heaping cup chopped kale leaves
1/2 pear
1 frozen banana
1 1/2 cups cold almond milk
1 tablespoon honey

Rip kale and spinach leaves off center stalk and tear into small pieces. Combine in a blender until no large bits remain. Add banana, honey and pear and blend until smooth. Either enjoy immediately or refrigerate to keep cold. Warning: Don't drink warm - yuck!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Baby, It's cold outside

Warm yourselves up tonight with this delicious stew. It may take a while to prepare, but it's well worth the wait. And it makes several servings, so there are plenty of leftovers that are great for weekday lunches.

Adapted from the original recipe here, at My Baking Addiction.

1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup red wine (or red wine vineagar)
4 cubes beef bouillon, crumbled
4 cups water
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon A1 sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water
1/4 cup water, as needed

Stir together flour, garlic powder and onion powder in a bowl. Toss beef in the flour mixture to coat.

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add floured beef and cook until browned. Remove and set aside.

Deglaze pot with red wine, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Dissolve bouillon in water and pour into pot. Add in beef, rosemary, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.

Stir potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, Worcestershire, ketchup and A1 Sauce into the pot. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 teaspoons cold water and stir into stew. If your stew is looking a bit thick, add some additional water (I did about a 1/4 cup). Cover and simmer 1 hour more. Add salt to taste.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Bomb" cake

The other day I'm at work at I get this text:

"That chocolate pumpkin cake?... was bomb!!! Thanks!!"
Well, he's a boy, so we'll pretend he knew it was actually chocolate gingerbread. I got home from work and had another slice - I think it actually tastes better the second or third day. Go figure.

This recipe is adapted slightly from one featured on the Amateur Gourmet. Easy to make and makes a lovely bundt. The outside is a tad crunchy - I actually thought it was a little overdone when I pulled it out of the oven, but it had *just* stopped jiggling in the middle. The inside was much softer and moister (and denser) than I expected, though a little crumblier than I'd have liked. The initial recipe called for a cup of espresso or coffee instead of water. I'm not sure if making that substitution changed the consistency? Maybe next time I'll try hot cocoa...

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teapoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
8 ounces chocolate chips, melted
1 cup water

For the chocolate icing:
8 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

 Preheat the oven to 375. Grease and flour your bundt pan.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, mustard, and pepper together in a large bowl then set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips at 30 second intervals, stirring inbetween, until smooth. While the chocolate's melting, put the butter into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add in the molasses and melted chocolate and beat to incorporate.

Add the dry ingredients and the water alternately while you continue to beat the mixture. I did three additions of dry with two additions of water. Scrape down the sides and bottom frequently to make sure it all blends fully.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until it feels light and springy. 30-40 minutes. Watch it because it goes from "not done" to "past done" very fast.

For the icing: Mix the chocolate chips and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat at 30 second intervals, stirring throughly between intervals, until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chocolate chubbies (tee hee)

The name makes me giggle. I'm five years old. Get over it.
They're good, but definitely not a fav. Somewhere between a cookie and a brownie, they have a crunchy outside and a soft inside - if you don't overbake them. Which seems impossible not to do! The recipe said 18-22 minutes and I did mine for 15 and they were too crunchy. Booooo. They're still pretty tasty - I love the crunch that comes from the pecans and walnuts. Yum.

Recipe from Serious Eats.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (no more than 62 percent cacao), finely chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups (5 1/2 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups (4 1/2 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a slow boil. Put a large, heat-proof bowl on top of the hot water and put the butter in the bowl to melt.

Add the chocolate chips and chopped chocolate to melt, stirring often. Remove from the heat and let cool, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
Whip the eggs until they are foamy and lightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar, then the vanilla. Whip until the eggs are very thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the tepid chocolate, making sure it is completely incorporated.
Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips, pecans, and walnuts, making sure the chunky ingredients are evenly distributed at the bottom of the bowl. The dough will be somewhat soft.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven!)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why we need power tools

So Hans can build things! He borrowed tools from Adam to make this (I'm just really, really late in posting pics of it).
The design comes from Ana White at Knock-Off Wood. I mentioned her a while ago when we used her plans to make a console table for our bedroom. We've seen this entryway bench and coat hanger at Pottery Barn, but no way we could afford it.

It didn't take that long to build - Hans did it without me, I probably would have slowed things down. It fits pretty well in the entryway and gives us a place to put all our shoes. We were definitely over piling them by the door. Now it just needs some baskets - just look at that mess of shoes (oh no, please don't, actually....)!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pretty, pretty piano

Hans knew I'd been wanting a piano for a while now and he's been looking at Craigslist for one. He mentioned it at work and Amber, Adam K.'s older sister, mentioned that she'd had one for a while but it'd been in the Krutsinger's garage forever. Sister K. was eager to get rid of it, so Hans was happy to take it off her hands. It's almost 100 years old and needs a lot of work, but it's coming together nicely! I tried playing a little last week and I'm horribly rusty, but hopefully with some practice I'll at least be able to play all the hymns.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New goals (not resolutions!)

Are New Year's Resolutions cliche? I feel like the second you call them Resolutions, they're bound to get broken. However, at this time of year, I feel compelled to evaluate myself and my goals and focus on areas I'd like to work on. Mandy K. gave a great lesson in relief society a few weeks ago about setting goals, how it's important to have things to work toward, and how they should be things that are realistic and you can break down into manageable, track-able bits.

That being said, here are some goals I'd like to work on for 2011:

1. Continue to visit the temple once a month. We haven't missed since we started going in Aug. 2008, so we definitely want to continue this, and increase to more as scheduling permits. I'd also like to visit at least one temple other than San Antonio this year.

2. Improve at tithing payment. Last year, we paid when we could, as we attempted to juggle funds. This year, Hans set it up so that our tithing is being skimmed off our paychecks before they ever even hit our bank account. Hopefully, this well help us pay FIRST THING. Which leads me to goal #3...

3. Improve finances. Pay off any outstanding credit cards (I'm looking at you, Best Buy card with the fridge on it) and start a savings account.

4. Home Improvements. Our list is long: Living room rug, living room seating, office desks, paint, countertops, new appliances, kitchen backsplash, etc, etc. I hope we can accomplish many of these things this year, but I'm going to start with paint. This year, I would like to finish ALL painting, including all trim and door paint. That's manageable, right?

5. Develop more hobbies. In 2010, I discovered that I have a real passion for baking. I like all cooking, but I've learned that in my spare time, I just want to bake. It's relaxing and fun. I want to learn how to make not only tasty things, but pretty things, too! In 2010 also, Hans got in touch with his "manly" side and discovered he likes to build things! (Which I appreciate.) With the new power tools he got for Christmas, he hopes to build many more things for our house and yard this year.

6. This year, we will read the Book of Mormon together as a family. We're pretty good at our personal scripture study, but need to improve our family study. So Jan. 1, we're starting at 1st Nephi and going on through.

7. While we ran a lot and worked out a lot in 2010, it feels like we've hit a bit of a plateau with our fitness. So... we must need a goal. I'd like to participate in at least one organized run this year. Race for the Cure, Cap10k, Turkey Trot, I dunno. Something. Anything.

8. Food storage. Work on it. Period.

That's where we're at, though I'm sure there's many more that we're missing. What's on your list?