Category Archives: Baked Goods

Our New Favorite Cracker

I think I’ve mentioned that I LOVE Trader Joe’s and all of their snack-y stuff, right?

Well, I found a new Cracker, at least for us it is, who knows how long its been around and I plain missed it …

Trader Joe’s Bite Size Everything Cracker, MMM!

Think of it like an Everything Bagel.  Nowadays you can even buy a jar of Everything Topping to use at home on whatever.

I added a little Cheese on the side of my share yesterday and you’ve got yourself a very nice late afternoon snack to hold the wolves at bay until suppertime.

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Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #15 ~ Last Stop

I’m going to leave out Cheyenne Wyoming, mainly because it was simply a stop to sleep as we made our way to our final town, Durango Colorado.

DH and I have been here a few times before for visits with a friend of mine, but honestly, we really like it there.

The drive from Cheyenne though was a little harrowing to say the least. As we approached a mountain pass, we could see that a pretty bad looking storm was coming. Unfortunately it hit us full force as we got to the top of Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado.

I have never, in my life, been so scared.

Hail, snow, sleet, ice, all coming down in buckets, the first winter storm of the season, great! My husband pulled off of the road twice, mostly because we just couldn’t see and we don’t have four wheel drive. Somehow, we made it down the other side of that mountain and were only 3 hours beyond our estimated time of arrival at our hotel.

Well, the next morning the sun was out and there was oodles of snow up on the mountains, so we took a drive from Durango to Silverton. A little cold for a gal from Hawaii, but just gorgeous!

Sautéed Sesame Beef rice bowl @ Rice Monkeys in Durango Colorado

My friend is a chef in Durango, so who better to ask where to eat, right? We had lunch at Rice Monkeys. We ordered Edamame to start and then Teri-Chicken rice bowl for DH (didn’t get a photo `cuz hubby wolfed it down) and Sautéed Sesame Beef rice bowl for myself. That hit the spot!

The following day we were having dinner at our friend’s home, so we figured a big breakfast or brunch as it was, would be best. On my DF’s suggestion, we went to Durango Doughworks. The best  bagel that we’ve had in a very long time, good call Joey! In fact, we wound up eating breakfast here twice on this visit and I’m sure that we’ll be back again the next time that we are in town.

Dinner at my chefy-friend-Joey’s was the bomb-diggity! She pulled no punches, she put out a spread of so many different dishes, I wasn’t sure where to start. The best plan of attack was to try a little of everything!

Our last night in Durango, we went to dinner at Mutu’s Italian Kitchen, once again on my girl friend’s recommendation. She knew that my husband would enjoy his meal, and he sure did.

Our Great Western Adventure

Now it’s time to head towards home, we’ve been on the road for a month, though neither of us really felt like we wanted this to end.

 

What Do You Put In Your Easter Baskets?

At lunch the other day, my mother reminded us that Easter is coming early this year. WHAT? Sure enough, I pulled out the calendar and Easter Sunday falls on March 31st. Last year, rather than make up baskets of candy for my DH and mom, I made Iced Sugar cookies.

Easter Cookies instead of Candy

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

This was the absolute first (and probably last) time that I will undertake such a long, drawn out project. I should say though, it was fun and I was quite pleased with the outcome. These are just the cutest cookies I’ve ever made. I adapted a recipe from Martha Stewart and the FoodNetwork Magazine, morphing the two together. I probably should have rolled out the dough a touch thicker, it was a fragile final product. The royal icing was a challenge, as I’d never done this before. It took driving all around town to several places to find the meringue powder. I used just plain ‘ole liquid food coloring from the supermarket to tint the icing. I piped it using simple sandwich baggies with the corners snipped.

I was on my feet for most of the day and my back was aching! Normally, if I know I’m going to be in the kitchen standing for periods of time, I put on my walking sneaks. I was so excited to get this ball rolling that I was in my bare feet and didn’t think about it until it was too late. But it was a blast and both DH and mom were impressed, they thought I bought them at a fancy bakery.

 

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #14 ~ Onward!

It’s eight o’clock in the morning and we’re already headed down the the road before us. We wanted to get a good head start to the day as we made our way towards the Badlands National Park.

A~MAZ~ING!

I found it fascinating all the different colors of the rock formations. We stopped at one of the overlooks, walked up to the rail and here’s these two Big Horn Sheep, MAN! And the Prairie Dogs here, I’ve never seen so many in one place, and fat !   We had a picnic lunch at the Visitor’s Center and then motored on to…

Wall South Dakota

What, you’ve never heard of Wall Drug and the free ice water? It was a blast, I didn’t know that it was so big. We decided on a snack after walking and shopping.

Their doughnuts were outstanding, so were the pies, we tried our slice ala mode along with some free ice water, that’s what they’re known for.

our hotel in Wall South Dakota

We found our hotel, not that difficult, Wall South Dakota is not very big. We only stayed one night, so we made supper just a simple salad in our room and it was to bed early, so that we would be fresh for our next stop.

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #3 ~ Did I Forget Something?

Oops, I think I did. Here we took off on our trip, I showed pictures of ALL of the stuff that I packed, but didn’t tell you what was in those sacks. Pshaw!

My DH (darling, dear, dazzling, debonair, dashing – husband) just LOVES chocolate chip cookies. The past few times that I’ve made them though they were just, meh. So I did several searches over a number of days on many, many sites and found a Land O Lakes recipe and gave it a shot.

They came out better than I could have imagined. Crisp on the exterior and nice and chew on the inside, I even liked them. Here’s the best part, I stored them in a zip top freezer bag for transport and they STAYED that way.

Speaking of the journey… I didn’t want our goodies to get smushed in the hub-bub-bub, ya’ know? So I made up two cookie tins (I just can’t leave well enough alone). The computer and printer came in handy making custom labels for the cans, cute huh?

YUMMY!

YUMMY! Oatmeal Cherry Cookie Bars, thick and chewy

My personal favorite of ALL times is an old fashion Oatmeal cookie.

It’s just me I guess, but I always want to play around with a recipe. I have used the Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe that I had printed out YEARS ago. But wait, there’s something different about this new one on line… the butter as well as sugars are in different proportions.

Chopped dried tart cherries

I used a cup of cherries

Rather than raisins, I prefer tart dried cherries; I spray my knife with cooking oil and chop them roughly first.

mix the cherries with the oatmeal

Then I mix them into the oats, so that they don’t clump up in one huge chunk.

parchment paper held in place with clips

parchment paper held in place with clips

My new Chocolate Chip cookie recipe recommends resting the dough overnight, so I figured that would work just as well for the Oatmeal ones.

I would rather have bars than drop cookies, mainly because their so nice and chewy, why not make a good thing better.  I press the dough into a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment, held down with alligator clips, smart.  These Oatmeal Cherry Cookie Bars are the best!

ALOHA!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

What did you make for your valentine?

 

I made Macadamia Nut Dark Chocolate Brownies with a Fudge Drizzle for my honey 🐻

Bake Sale!

As I catch you up on what’s been going on here in the middle of the desert, let me tell you about the Fall Bake Sale that we had in our new community.

DH saw a flyer for the sale and encouraged me to participate.  So I got crackin’.

I started out by making 1 full sized Bundt® and 4 half-sized Rum Cakes and stashed those in the deep freeze.  I did some research online about what sells at a Bake Sale and I was surprised to find Jumbo Muffins on that list.  I found a recipe for Healthful Morning Glory Muffins; those are the two next to the cakes there.  Another surprise was jarred stuff, such as cookie mixes ready for an egg and milk (see below the cakes, cute huh?).  I also jarred up some Chai Tea Mix, just add water.  Those red sandwich baskets are filled some of my homemade Flavored Salts and Seasonings, they didn’t sell well though.

I found that adorable red Cupcake Caddy at the Dollar Store and thought maybe someone might need a hostess gift (it was the weekend after all), but sadly that went un-purchased as well.

Next up on my bake-ahead agenda was a double batch of my Great Grandmother’s recipe for Old Fashion Gingerbread,  into the freezer that went.  I had about 10 extra cupcakes that I wrapped individually, packaged up neatly with its own spoon for immediate consumption and those flew off  that table, fast!

The last item that I baked ahead of time was different Brownies.  I read that you should make twice as many as you think, those sell the best.  Basically anything CHOCOLATE!!   So pictured above you’ll see (from left to right) Magic Bars, my Tricked Out Brownies and my Haole Brownies or Caramel Cuts.  I guess not enough people knew what a Magic Bar was, because they sat there all day, so lonely, that I wound up giving them away… I wasn’t taking anything home with me, well not much anyways.

The best fun of this entire experience was dreaming up a cute table display and packaging for all of my wares.  For this I also researched, what draws folks over to your table.  I labeled each item with all of the ingredients, so that if someone was allergic to or didn’t care for this or that, I was covered.  I was poking around in the Scrape-booking aisles at the local hobby store and found this collection of assorted printed paper that spoke to me, “buy me, I’ll look fantastic on your Bake Sale table”.  I used boxes covered in the paper to give different heights for eye appeal. I also cut out my own pennant from the various sheets to put a name to my table as well.

While I was baking, I had my new apron on and it dawned on me “Doni’s Kitchen” was the perfect name for my table.

So many of our neighbors that came over commented on how professional everything looked.  “Where is your bake shop?  Do you take orders?  This is delicious!”  I was just flabbergasted.  I did this all for fun and only charged folks what I spent to make each item, not a lot.  I introduced myself to a ton of new neighbors and am hoping that there’ll be a Spring Bake Sale too!

But for now I have my `fridge and freezer back, for the time being anyways.  😉