Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dark Chocolate S'more Ice Cream

After taking a long walk on the beach yesterday (this is not a personal ad), I started feeling pretty awful and was on the couch with a ridiculous fever and body aches for the rest of the afternoon. This was definitely not how I wanted to spend this weekend, but Luke was a good sport and went to buy medicine and a new thermometer. Nonetheless, I had a big Easter dinner planned, and I wanted to still do it since Luke will be gone soon. On Sunday morning, we went to a beautiful Easter sunrise service at Kailua Beach Park and got to see 30 people baptized after accepting the Lord as their Savior. It was seriously beautiful.

This ice cream needed to be refrigerated overnight, so I started it on Saturday evening, and it was perfect in time for Sunday dessert. It's rich. It's creamy. It's thick (still not a personal ad). It's amazing.

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups skim milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 egg yolks (hello, egg whites omelets!)
1 cup sugar
6 graham crackers, crushed
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups small marshmallows, melted

Put the cocoa in the a saucepan and gradually add the cream and milk stirring with a wooden spoon until a thick paste forms. Add the vanilla extract, and heat the saucepan over medium heat until the mixture is steaming but not simmering. Remove this from heat and add the 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, stirring until completely melted. In a small bowl, whip the egg yolks and sugar until it is fluffy. Using a hand mixer or a whisk, gradually add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture, mixing/whisking rapidly. Return the mixture to medium heat, stirring it constantly for 5-6 minutes. Don't leave it on the heat for too long because the eggs could scramble and that would be disgusting. Remove this from heat and let it cool. Once it is cool, pour it into a container, cover it, and refrigerate it over night.

The next day, it should be thick like custard or soft serve. Process it in an ice cream maker (if you don't have one, just fold in the mix-ins and freeze it over night). Pour half of the batter into a glass container, and add the graham crackers, 4 ounces of chocolate, and melted marshmallows. Fold it in and then add the rest of the batter, folding the mix-ins through all of the ice cream. Freeze this for at least 3 hours before eating.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes

I started my new job 2 weeks ago, and this past week was my first week with students. I got to ease into the job, as the students were on spring break during my first week and only came to school for 2 days last week. I was really thankful for this because as soon as the students came back, I was going full speed ahead. My position has been unfilled for about 2 months, so I feel like I am really behind, but I am trying to remind myself that I don't have to catch up overnight. Luke has had a very busy couple of weeks as well, so we were both exhausted by the time the weekend rolled around. We still have plenty to do, but this morning, all we wanted to do was have breakfast and take a walk on the beach, so that's exactly what we did.

These pancakes were really fluffy and filling, and I am always up for pumpkin.

1 cup flour
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp vinegar

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until they're incorporated. Cook them in a greased skillet on low. It made about 10 small pancakes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Zucchini Yellow Squash Gratin

Last Friday, we went to a "barbecue." Let be clear about something. It is NOT a "barbecue" if there is no actual barbecue served. Barbecue includes: pulled pork, smoked pork, barbecued ribs (of pork or beef variety), and barbecued chicken. If hotdogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, or grilled chicken are served, this is a cookout. So as you see, there is a fundamental difference between a barbecue and a cookout. I digress. This particular cookout included bratwurst and hamburgers. I struggled to think of a side to make that could feed a lot of people and wasn't macaroni and cheese - someone already claimed this, and I'm glad she did because it was awesome. Nonetheless, my go-to cookout side was claimed. I stumbled upon a list of Martha Stewart's favorite side dishes, so I figured there had to be one winner on the list. And I found exactly one thing on the list that sounded appetizing to me. Here is the recipe: Zucchini Squash Gratin I followed it exactly, and it was really delicious, which can probably be attributed to the cream.

I forgot to take another picture, but here's a great shot of of the vegetables before the cream canceled all of their nutritional value!

BBQ Chicken Pineapple Pizza

I sent Luke to the store to buy the things I needed to make the zucchini and squash gratin. He did pretty well, except he brought home mozzarella cheese instead of parmesan. No big deal, I told him. We still had a day, and he drives by the commissary on his way home. So the day of the cookout, I asked him to stop by again and pick up parmesan. He came home with mozzarella again. I just looked at him and he said, "Why do I think they're the same thing?" Bless him. He went back, and as the adage goes, third time's the charm.

So I had everything for the zucchini squash gratin and 4 pounds of mozzarella cheese. On Saturday when we were elbow deep in unpacking the office and guest bathroom, we started craving pizza. I considered ordering until I remembered the mozzarella stock in our refrigerator. Luke loves barbecue chicken pizza, so in an act of love I made him something I hate. We had some tiny pieces of pineapple leftover from a delicious Dole pineapple that worked perfectly for pizza, and since the dough makes enough for 2 pizzas, I stuck with a normal mushroom pizza for myself.

3 cups flour
1 pack instant yeast
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/3 cup warm water

BBQ sauce
shredded chicken, cooked
crushed pineapple
3-4 cups mozzarella cheese, depending on how much you like

I love making dough in the stand mixer because I get really tired of mixing it by hand. I mix all of the ingredients with the dough hook until the dough is loose, for about 8 minutes, sometimes less. Divide the dough in half and form it into two balls. Brush it with a little more olive oil and cover it with a damp kitchen towel for about 45 minutes to an hour. About 15 minutes into the rising time, I starting preheating the oven to 500 so it would be nice and hot when I was ready. With floured hands, form the dough into a flat circle on your pizza pan or stone. I used a little bit of nonstick spray. Top it, and cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Being as I would never eat this, I can't attest to how it was, but Luke really loved it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pumpkin Scones

Today is my last day of unemployment, and I am thrilled to start my job tomorrow! The school district is on spring break right now, so I will have a couple of days to do trainings and get my office set up before the students come back. I have already started putting together all of my office supplies, and I can't wait to meet my students! So today I am doing some things around the house, like the unending laundry (we've already done 18 loads, and I'm not done yet), organizing our home office, etc. But I figured starting by day with some pumpkin scones would be ideal. This recipe made 8 scones, and they were so good! The recipe claims to be a Starbucks copycat - I've only had one of their scones, and it was a while ago, so I can't attest to their similarity, but I can attest to their awesomeness.

2 cups flour
7 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp half & half
1 egg

1 cup + 1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp half & half

The original recipe (link) says to mix the dry ingredients on low in a food processor, but I used my stand mixer. After the dry ingredients are mixed, gradually add the 6 tbsp of cold butter. Let this mix until it looks like a cornmeal texture. I just let my mixer run while I blended the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. When the wet ingredients are blended, gradually add them to the dry ingredients, and let this mix just until it is incorporated and forms a large dough ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface a couple of times, and flatten the dough into a circle. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into triangles. I cut mine into 8 scones (the original recipe said 6 scones, but I think this would be too big after I saw the size of the 8 I made). Bake these on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 425 for 13-15 minutes. After they have cooled, top with glaze. It's going to be hard to wait until tomorrow to eat another one!

Shepherds Pie

This is what I made for Saint Patrick's Day. I had never made it before, but it was really easy, and I think it turned out great. And no, we did not have green beer with it, because that is ridiculous.

4 large carrots, finely diced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
10 oz frozen peas
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
1 glass red wine
8 oz tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef stock
10-12 red potatoes
sour cream
skim milk salt
1 egg, beaten

Scrub and boil the potatoes.

While potatoes are boiling, sauté the carrots and onions in olive oil on low-medium heat until they are tender. Add the beef and thyme, mixing with the vegetables and cook until the meat is browned. Drain the fat and add butter and peas. Sprinkle the flour and mix. Add the tomato paste, wine, and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce this to low heat and let it simmer before adding the stock. Add this to a greased baking dish.

Drain the potatoes and mash them. Blend in sour cream to taste, and desired amount of skim milk and salt. Top the meat mixture with mashed potatoes. Brush the beaten egg on top of the mashed potatoes, and bake it at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes look golden on top.

BBQ Pulled Pork

Yet another weekend was spent shopping for furniture to no avail. Luke and I went to the exchange and found a bedroom set we loved, but it wasn't in stock and we were going to be charged an additional $1/pound to special order it. Not happening. We're almost to the point of resigning that anyone who visits us will be accommodated on our lovely pilow-top air mattress or college futon. Well, we're not that desperate, but we're really hoping to find something soon. So after a frustrating day, it was nice to come home and smell this in the slow cooker. Since we've been here, we've been eating at home a lot more than we used to, which is great  because it's much cheaper, but it's mostly because neither of us likes the local cuisine. Maybe it'll grow on us eventually, but white rice, macaroni salad, and garlicky meat aren't doing it for me. So this was really easy, and the recipe was given to me by a very sweet and wonderful Navy wife!

2 lb pork shoulder
any meat seasoning you like - I used garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and some salt and pepper
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce - we love Corky's apple BBQ sauce
1 20-oz bottle Dr. Pepper

Season the pork and place it in the slow cooker. Pour the Dr. Pepper over it, and cook it on low for 8 hours. Drain all of the liquid, and shred the pork. Mix in the bottle of BBQ sauce. Easy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is my last week of my internship at intermediate school, and yesterday my supervisor and I led our last session of a group we've been doing for 7 weeks. The group focuses on culture and the treasures that girls take from their culture, and I've really enjoyed doing it! I knew the school was diverse, but it amazed me just how diverse all of the girls' backgrounds are. It has been amazing to get to know the girls and see how they support each other, and I am really going to miss it. For our last group, we had a little brunch party, and I made these muffins to sweetly compliment the other healthy things we brought. This made about 3 dozen, and being in the kitchen on Monday afternoon helped me avoid social media spoilers of The Bachelor. Win all around.

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp dark cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 skim milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup vanilla yogurt
2 eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients (except for the chips) in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients while mixing. Fold in the chocolate chips. Bake them at 400 for 15 minutes, or until they're done. I think our oven is really strong, so it may take longer in other ovens.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chicken Ricotta Spinach Roll Ups

I made this last week, and it was awesome! The recipe is from here (link), and I followed it exactly. We had this with some asparagus and some leftover birthday ice cream cake for dessert! I'm glad we have leftovers.

Blueberry Pancakes

In exchange for the weeks/months away of training that Luke is doing, he has been getting Friday off when he is home, which is pretty fantastic! Sadly, I do not have Fridays off, but at least the schools here get out at 2:15! Over this longer weekend, we went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation, did some shopping for the house, and in general got to spend some quality time together, even if that time was spent reducing the amount of cardboard in our house. On Saturday, we slept in (to 8 am...) and had some pancakes before heading out to shop for furniture. These pancakes were pretty light but also really filling.

2 eggs
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
8 tbsp flour
7 tbsp vanilla yogurt
1 cup blueberries

Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is creamy. Sift the flour with a bit of salt and baking powder and mix this into the egg/sugar. Add the yogurt until it is incorporated, and then combine the blueberries with a spoon or spatula. Cook them in a pan with nonstick spray and top with blueberries. Delicious!

And here are some photos from the Dole Pineapple Plantation. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stuffed Peppers for a Stuffed House

The movers came today and delivered our crates upon crates of stuff. I went to work and left Luke to deal with it, which clearly makes me a front runner for Wife of the Year, and it's only March. When I came home, I took care of first things first and set up the wireless and hooked the TV up to the cable since Women Tell All was on tonight. I figured if I was going to tackle the anxiety of having a house full of boxes, I would need to unwind by watching some girls go after each other and Chris B. Harrison use superb counseling skills to guide the whole process.

Being as our kitchen stacked to the ceiling within boxes, I thought this would be a relatively easy dinner. I had never made stuffed peppers before, but we really liked them! Luke was skeptical at first, but there was nothing left on his plate after dinner.

4-5 bell peppers, cut in half and seeded
1 lb ground turkey, browned (I seasoned it with chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, and sea salt. You could also use a pack of taco seasoning)
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can whole kernel sweet corn
Monterrey jack cheese for topping

Put the peppers in a baking dish and sprinkle olive oil on them. Bake them at 375 for about 20 minutes. While their baking, combine the browned turkey, black beans, and corn in a bowl. Spoon this mixture into the peppers - I could have probably stuffed them more than I did because I had a ton of leftover filling, which will likely turn into tacos later. Top them with cheese and bake them for about 7 more minutes. Yum!

Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce

On Friday morning, Luke and I got the keys to our new house on base. We were so incredibly thrilled to finally be in a place where we could unpack our clothes and put the suitcases away for a long while! We've been living in hotels since Luke graduated from TBS in July, so this has  been a long time coming. Living in hotels hasn't been all bad, despite some really, really loud and enthusiastic neighbors during our last week. We learned that we really can get by with very little "stuff" and that we don't need much to be happy, which is sometime easy to forget. So for our first dinner in the new (very empty!) house, I made pork chops with a mushroom sauce. We ate it on the floor because we have no chairs, and we were perfectly happy to do so.

2 lean cut pork chops
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 lb mushrooms, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp flour

Marinate the pork chops with the salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Brown the pork chops slightly on both sides in a skillet over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and sauté. Combine all of the ingredients and top the pork chops with some of the mixture. Turn the temperature to low and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the pork chops are done. We ate them over brown rice with some snap peas.

"Mexican" Chicken Chili

I had a lot of leftover shredded chicken from chicken tacos and decided some "Mexican" chicken chili would take care of it. I love this because it has lots of fiber and protein and it meant not cooking for a few days in the hotel. This was a super easy slow cooker dinner that made lots of leftovers and was a big hit.

1 can Rotel tomatoes with chiles
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can sweet corn, whole kernel
1 pack of taco seasoning (or homemade!)
3 chicken breasts, shredded (I used leftover chicken from chicken tacos earlier in the week. I cooked the chicken in the slow cooker with a jar of salsa verde on high for 3 hours)

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker except for the chicken and cook on low for 8 hours. Stir in the shredded chicken and let it cook for about 15 more minutes. Easy as that!