strawberry scones

I can’t remember the last time we baked. Since there is not a lot of self control in our home when it comes to sweets, we try to avoid bringing them in the house in general. So sad, right? But of course, it is important to constantly remind myself that I need to watch the intake, keep sugars to a minimum, and eat meaningful calories. Nevertheless, looking through our pantry,  it became apparent that we had just the right ingredients to bake scones. Even though energy is a major commodity these days for me, I decided to expend a little in order to later enjoy a delicious scone while sitting with my feet propped up. The recipe from Eat, Live, Run was simple to follow and my first batch of strawberry scones were quite successful!  Every morning since, I have been very thankful to my former self for making these delicious treats that my current self can enjoy. Besides, it is made with whole grain and strawberries so it can’t be too “bad” for me, right?

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weeknight baking

I don’t’ have to go to “work” tomorrow. My sub plans are submitted and I am handing over my students for the day.  It is never something I enjoy.  I much rather prefer being in the classroom with my students, but tomorrow is our History Department retreat. Twice a year, the department gathers together in someone from the department’s home for a long day of brainstorming.  Last retreat we focused on implementing design thinking into our curriculum. This time, the focus is on designing one term elective courses for all four grade levels. This is quite the endeavor. Instead of full year courses catering to each grade level, we are throwing this traditional model aside and trying to create something more reminiscent of college course selections. The classes will not be grade specific and will use a thematic approach to Global History. Wish us luck!!  Any suggestions for course themes or structure?

To nourish our minds and stem the tide of hunger that will inevitably come crashing down on us during such a retreat, I made my semi-homemade berry tart to bring in the morning.

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tiramisu

Heading out tonight to a dinner party with some co-workers, we have been asked to bring dessert.  We have not seen Rodney and Jocelyn for a number of weeks so I wanted to make something special.  I am so excited to bring over a super simple, easy, but truly delicious tiramisu!

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 14 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • lady fingers
  • espresso
  • cocoa powder

Prepare the espresso on the stove top.  When ready, pour espresso into a medium size bowl and set aside. In a mixer, combine 1/4 cup of sugar, three yolks, two teaspoons of vanilla, 8 oz of mascarpone cheese and blend on high until smooth and a little whipped looking (takes approx. 4-5minute). This mixture makes the first layer of the cream. In an 8×8 dish (or really any shallow dish you like) dip the lady fingers in espresso and place along the bottom of the dish. Pour mixture over the ladyfingers and smooth evenly across. Repeat this for a second time.  When you have two layers of ladyfingers and cream, sprinkle with cocoa powder. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

thanksgiving eats

Thanksgiving this year at the new house has been primarily stress free. Yes, there have been a few times when the holiday has gotten the best of me: a broken glass, mud on the wood floors, getting lost on our way to Walden Pond.  But overall I declare this Thanksgiving holiday at our house to be a success.  Especially when we end the day with a hilarious game of Apples to Apples!

semi-homemade berry tart

Whole Foods sells a tart mix that is out of this world.  The maker of this mix is: Amour Creations. Just add butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and a bag of frozen berries to the mixture and bake at 350 for 55 minutes. It is a truly scrumptious treat. The smell of baked goods is so irresistible yet this tart does not have my name on it.  Rather, it is going to a co-worker who covered my chaperoning shift this past Saturday. I know he totally deserves this after chaperoning a high school dance on a Saturday night!! Hopefully this will be enough of a pay back for such a heroic deed.

 

Boston Creme Pie

I have never been a great baker. Cookies, cakes, breads, and muffins are some of my guiltiest pleasures.  Yet, when it comes to making them at home, I am always nervous that something is going to go wrong.  Today, I decided to try to tackle the Boston Creme Pie. A cake named for my adopted hometown seems like just the thing I should master for guests and visitors. When it came to the recipe Martha Stewart seemed like the most obvious choice.  Here is the link to the delicious cake that I spent most of the day trying to make. The step for the pudding filling was a tricky spot.  Everything else seems to have come out perfectly.  Unfortunately, when I shimmered the milk, I turned away for a few moments and turned back to find that the milk was boiling over the saucepan.  This yielded a pudding that was the consistency of a stiff board.  Undeterred by this mini kitchen disaster, I made a second attempt which was much more successful.  I am quite proud of this pie that now sits comfortably in the refrigerator awaiting tonight’s little dinner party.

  

 

Vegan Banana Bread

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What does one do with three over-ripened bananas? That was my dilemma the other evening. As I pulled the speckled peel down, I contemplated eating the three of them for dinner.  But, bananas for dinner didn’t seem to quite hit the spot.  I searched my refrigerator for an assortment of ingredients and chose to bake vegan banana bread (as I was short on eggs). Even though the Olympics were on and I felt like being a bit of a couch potato, I decided that my evening would be better served by being slightly active in the kitchen. I set to my task.

2 cups flour

3/4 cups white sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup of soy milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3 mashed bananas

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

From the moment I mashed the bananas in a small bowl, I knew from the delicious aroma that this was the right choice. In this mixing bowl of bananas, I added the wet ingredients of olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.  I whisked these together adding the cinnamon and set aside for a moment.  In larger bowl, I mixed the milk, apple cider vinegar, flour, baking soda, salt, and sugars with a hand mixer until smooth. I then added my small banana mixture into the larger bowl and again used the hand mixer to blend all of the ingredients in well. When it was all smooth and fragrant, I poured the banana bread into a loaf pan that was slightly oiled and popped it into the oven at 350 for about an hour.  My banana bread needed a little more time after checking it at the hour mark and an extra ten minutes finished it off perfectly. While I should have let it to sit for more than 5 minutes to cool, I cut right into my loaf and fished out the first slice for dessert.  Another slice accompanied by morning breakfast latte today. It was so good to have a yummy treat that has me gearing up for Fall.