Wow!!!    It has been awhile since I blogged and so much has changed!!  I’m excited that the dust has begun to settle and I can get back to photography- with my newest model- trying new home cooked meals and exploring Alaska with my family ūüôā  YAY!!!  Stay tuned, life is pretty damn good ūüôā

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Today is the first day of my 365 Photo Challenge.  I found this challenge through a friend.  I plan to take a photograph every day, incorporating the theme of the week.

52week

Seeing as last night was New Year’s Eve I decided to start my challenges off on a fun note. ¬†Here are some of my better fireworks shots. ¬†I set my camera up on a very slow shutter speed and used the smallest fstop that I could. ¬†There was quite a good amout of wind, which gave me these beautiful shots!IMG_1452 IMG_1477 IMG_1479 IMG_1483 IMG_1491 IMG_1494

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1 box cake mix of choice
1 egg
1/2 cup oil

Mix altogether
Roll into balls and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F


BBQ Chicken, sauted onions and sweet peppers make this a delicious and very filling pizza

BBQ Chicken, sauted onions and sweet peppers make this a delicious and very filling pizza

Dough

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2 1/4 tsp active yeast
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Mix yeast with hot water and sugar.  Let sit for 1o minutes- yeast will get foamy and thick.
  2. In a large bowl slowly add yeast mixture to flour, 2 cups of flour at a time.
  3. Add oil
  4. Cover and let rise for an hour.
  5. Knock down, cover and let rise
  6. Repeat until ready to use- the more it rises the better.

Topping- Shredded BBQ Chicken

  • 2 frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 onion
  • 5 small peppers
  • oil for cooking

Directions:

  1. Boil chicken until a fork goes all the through it but chicken is not completely cooked.
  2. Use two forks to shred chicken
  3. Saute Chicken in hot oil
  4. Add thinly sliced onions
  5. Add finely chopped peppers
  6. When chicken starts to brown and onions are clear with a little carmelization remove from heat.
  7. In a large bowl mix shredded chicken with Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce.

Build Pizza

  1. Roll out dough until its thin
  2. Roll edges up of pizza to make crust
  3. thin layer of pizza sauce
  4. thin layer of mozzarella cheese
  5. pineapples or mushrooms
  6. shredded chicken
  7. thin layer of cheese
  8. spray crust with PAM cooking spray
  9. bake at 350F on stoneware for 30 minutes.
  10. serve warm with ranch dressing

Ok, this is delicious by itself, or on a sandwich with a bit of pepperjack cheese. ¬†It is best on pizza though, and surprisingly easy! ¬†I’m sorry that there are no pictures, this recipe was not expected to turn out very well. ¬†Surprise, Surprise!! ¬†It was delicious and I didn’t think to take any photos until it was devoured.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts frozen
  • 1 medium onion sliced into thin strips
  • 4 small peppers or 1 large pepper- sliced and diced
  • oil for cooking
  • BBQ sauce to taste (aka LOTS!)

Directions

  1. Put frozen chicken breasts into a large pot of water and bring to a roiling boil.  Cook until chicken is tender but not thoroughly cooked.
  2. Drain chicken.  With two forks begin to shred chicken apart
  3. MEANWHILE  in a large pan have oil heating up.  Add shredded chicken to pan.
  4. Add finely chopped onion to pan, make sure that there is plenty of oil.  Stir well
  5. Add peppers
  6. saute on medium high heat until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the onions have carmalized.
  7. Pour into a large bowl and add BBQ sauce.
  8. Top a pizza with it or turn it into a sandwich with some pepperjack cheese and whole wheat bread.  DELICIOUS!

 


Nothing says Saturday morning like a big home-made breakfast and cartoons.  I have indulged in these super easy hash browns the past two mornings.  The secret is to rinse all the start out of the potatoes and then to dry the potatoes as best you can.  The original recipe called for the hash browns to be fried, but I opted for baking them on my stone ware.  It freed up my hands for other chores, and playing with my daughter, while they cooked.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 fresh potatoes
  • 1 tbsp onion flakes
  • dash of cayenne
  • dash of paprika
  • Pam

Directions:

  1. Use a cheese grader to shred the potatoes into a large bowl.
  2. Fill bowl with cold water, stir up the potato shreds.
  3. drain, rinse, and repeat.
  4. drain rinse and repeat…again.
  5. Use a strainer to get as much water out of the potatoes, then pat dry with a cloth.
  6. In a dry bowl add onions and seasonings to potatoes.  Get creative and have fun with additional seasonings.  I added bacon bits and they were delicious!
  7. Spray the bottom of your pan with Pam, make sure it is a good coating.  Then spread potatoes out so they cover the entire pan thinly.  Coat top of potatoes with Pam.
  8. Set oven to broil, or 500F, and cook for about 7 minutes.  When they tops begin to brown pull them out and flip.  Make sure that you spray Pam over them again.  Bake for another 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with ketchup and enjoy!


Halloween Carrot Cake

This year I have been trying to make healthier choices, so for this Halloween I decided to incorporate carrots. ¬†The vegetable is a beautiful bright orange, and I had a huge bag of fresh carrots from my grandma’s garden. ¬† Fresh grown carrots are better than candy any day of the week. ¬†I found a fun carrot cake recipe and whipped this up in the kitchen this evening.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrot

 

Directions

  1. In a large mixer beat the eggs.
  2. Add the vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla extract
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the grated carrots.
  5. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes
  6. Let cake cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.  Garnish with peeled carrots.

 


It is almost time for October’s cake. ¬†I do not have a solid idea of what I want to do yet. ¬†I know that this cake should be a carrot cake, mainly because I have a bunch of fresh carrots that need to be eaten ASAP. ¬†I can use a cream cheese frosting and some food coloring to make it orange. ¬†I am thinking that the decorations should be either witches, cats, or pumpkins. ¬†Here are some ideas….

 

I think these carrot broom sticks would be very cute on a cake, and easy to do!

¬† I love this idea for a witch’s hat!

If only i could make this chocolate cat!!

 

  This cookie cutter would help a lot.

So…..I am decided!! ¬†This Sunday I will make a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. ¬†I will tint the cream cheese frosting to a nice orange color with food coloring. ¬†I will make a witch’s hat from a Hershey kiss and cookie. ¬†I will also have a pretzel and carrot broomstick on the cake. ¬†I will have to go to the local bakery shop and try to find a cat cookie cutter as well. ¬†I can fill the cutter with melted chocolate and then freeze it. ¬† Then all I have to do is place everything very neatly on the cake. ¬†I am getting excited!!


We love Mexican food. ¬†We eat Mexican 3 to 4 times a week. ¬† I was getting a little bored with our usual taco salads, burritos, and enchiladas so my husband made me a taco bowl. ¬†I had tried making these myself in the past with no luck. ¬†They usually were too oily and didn’t hold their shape. ¬†My husband came up with a delicious, simple way to create these taco bowls.

Ingredients:

  • Spray Cooking Oil
  • 1 flour tortilla

Directions:

  1. Spray the pan with the cooking oil and turn the heat on.
  2. Spray both sides of the tortilla shell and then fry it in the pan
  3. Once both sides are fried up place the hot tortilla shell in a small bowl.
  4. Fill with your taco meat and toppings and enjoy!

A while back I stumbled onto this excellent blog, Joe Pastry,  and I HAD to give this recipe a try.  I had never imagined that Danish Pastries could be made in the home.  These were positively the most delicious pastries that I have ever had in my life.  In fact, this has become my new Easter tradition, home-made Danishes for breakfast with the family.  Now, prepare yourself, this is an intense recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 oz milk
  • 1 oz sugar
  • 10 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg

Butter Slab ingredients

  • 8 oz butter
  • 2 tbsp flour

Ingredients for Day 3:

  • 1/2 cup of butter cream frosting
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 of powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 jar of home-made jam, or your favorite jelly

Directions (Day 1) :

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixer with the dough hook.  Your dough will be sticky when it is completely mixed.
  2. Let sit at room temperature for about half an hour.  Then move to the refrigerator for at least two house, I let mine sit overnight.

Directions (Day 2):

It’s butter slab day! ¬†Today you get to laminate that awesome dough.

  1. Place the butter, that is at room temperature, on a double layer of plastic wrap.  Sprinkle it with some flour.
  2. Fold over the plastic wrap so that the butter is encased.  Now you need to beat and roll that butter out into a square slap, as thin as you can make it.
  3. Once you are satisfied with your butter slab you can put it in your dough.  The dough will be the envelope for the butter slab.  Make sure that you close all the corners and the butter is fully encased.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for about 20 minutes. ¬†The trick is that you want it be able to work the dough but you don’t want the butter to melt. ¬†Melted butter means that your dough will not end up very flakey.
  5. When it is ready take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out as thin as you can. Fold the dough in half and roll it out again as thin as you can.  I put my dough back in the fridge after two folds to help keep it chilled.
  6. Repeat
  7. Repeat
  8. Repeat
  9. Repeat
  10. Bored yet??
  11. Let laminated dough chill in the refrigerator over night.

Directions (Day 3):

Today is the day that all your hard work will pay off. ¬†Your house will smell like heaven and your eyes will feast on these delicacies. ¬†They were so beautiful that I didn’t even want to eat them, however I couldn’t resist for long and they were worth it!

  1. Roll the dough out into a long rectangle.
  2. Spread a thin layer of butter cream frosting over half of the dough, then fold the dough in half.
  3. Use a pizza knife to cut strips in the dough, about an 1″ thick.
  4. Hold onto one end of the dough and twist the other end.  You want to create a nice spiral look to each piece.
  5. Take your twisted dough and make yourself a little “knot” by wrapping it up in a circle and tucking the end of the dough under itself.
  6. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. ¬†Cover the tray with plastic wrap and let sit for about two hours. ¬†You don’t want the dough to dry out so spritz it with water every so often. ¬†You could put them in the refrigerator at this point if you wanted and bake the following day.
  7. Spoon a little but of home-made jam or jelly into each Danish.  You can use any jam or jelly, but home-made jams and jellies give your danishes that extra little touch of awesome.
  8. Brush the danishes with egg wash.
  9. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown
  10. Drizzle with frosting, mix powdered sugar and water together, and serve!

My first Danish Pastry from scratch.

 

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