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We had an excellent breakfast this morning. Apple Oven Pancakes from the Williams-Sonoma Essential Baking cookbook. My Mom gave me this book a few years back it has great basic recipes and I have officially put this one and the Ginger Scones on my top 10 favorite baked goodies list. I think I was actually the most animated over breakfast this morning. I got so excited seeing those puffy golden cakes. Gary isn’t much of a breakfast kind of guy, but me, ohh I love breakfast. It’s the little things that bring me pleasure like some good coffee in a beat up old red mug that I’ve had for years. I don’t know what it is about that mug but if it isn’t available to me in the morning the whole rest of the day can be thrown off. One time I caught a friend using it for her tea when I wanted it for my coffee oh the dilemma.  I couldn’t believe how it threw off my whole morning. What’s up with that? Do I have tale tale signs of OCD? Anyway, this was about those Apple Oven Pancakes…

Here is the recipe

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

4 cups diced peeled apples

2 Tbsp brown sugar

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tsp grd cinnamon

4 eggs lightly beaten

1 cup whole milk

1 cup flour

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

Heat oven to 425. Saute apples in frying pan with 2tbsp butter just until tender

remove apples from heat sprinkle with brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon

Place baking dish in oven heat for 5 min

Remove from oven and add remaining 2 tbsp butter to it coat with melted butter

Spoon apples over bottom of the dish

Whisk together eggs, milk, flour, vanilla, and salt

Pour over the apples

Bake until puffed and golden brown 20-25 minutes

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Castles and Vines along the Rhine

One of our favorite things we did while in Germany was take a little cruise on the Rhine River. Leslie and McKenna joined us for a little float from Rüdesheim to St. Goar. We stopped in St. Goar to tour the Rheinfel’s Castle ruins. The Rheinfels Castle was amazing it was surreal when we stopped to think about the history in the walls and tunnels. As we explored we kept thinking about knights running around in their armor defending the castle walls. There were some deep dark tunnels that were intriguing and intimidating all the same. After our little romp in the castle we headed back to town for a bite to eat at great little bakery where we enjoyed some delicious Black Forest cake. Then we hopped back on the boat for a nice casual ride back up the River and home. We were totally captivated by the views. There seemed to be a castle around every bend in the river. The villages along the way were so charming and looked so inviting. There were vineyards on every hillside offering up gorgeous and romantic views. It was nice to sit back and relax and take in what the Rhine River had to offer with out fighting tour bus crowds for space or walking our tails off. I think Ellie enjoyed some time out of the backpack as well. She seemed to have a good time that day, although both her and McKenna took some long naps on the boat ride back. We have finally figured out how to embed a slide show. So, here are a bunch of pictures of our Day on the Rhine River… Enjoy. We wont get offended if you can’t sit through it all. We were a little photo crazy that day knowing it was our last day in Germany.

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Be Bop a Re Bop Rhubarb Pie

I have that little jig stuck in my head from Prairie Home Companion not even sure how it goes? Anybody know what I’m talkin’ about? So as I was putting in the linky link I found out they are having a Rhubarb Tour this summer. Rhubarb funny… Anyway, they are coming to Utah! At Red Butte Gardens on August 19. Not sure if we will be able to make it might overlap with our German vacation this summer. I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to PHC for so long. Sigh. It got inside my head this morning when I decided to go ahead and make myself a little treat for Mother’s Day.

I spied some good looking Rhubarb at the grocery the other day and Strawberries were relatively cheap so why not. Then I did a recipe search on Epicurious the first recipe sounded awesome. Rhubarb Strawberry Pudding Cake! Perfect! I put my own spin on it by adding some ground Cardamom for some flavor flav er spicy spice and because well I just really like Cardamom. I also divided the flour into 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup all purpose white flour. It’s a fairly simple recipe which is another bonus and motivator for me to post about it. So here it is enjoy…

1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb stalks (10 ounces)
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (5 ounces)

1/2 tsp ground Cardamom(optional)

1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/4 cup ww flour and 3/4 cup white flour)
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan or small casserole dish. Preheat oven at 400 degrees

In a sauce pan combine the water, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup of sugar. Add the Rhubarb and heat let simmer 3-5 minutes. Take off the heat and add the strawberries.

Combine all the flour, baking powder, salt, 1/2 c sugar, and cardamom if you opt for it. Stir in the melted butter, add the egg, then add the milk and vanilla.

Put 3/4 of the strawberry/rhubarb mix in the bottom of the pan. Pour cake batter over top and sprinkle remaining strawberry/rhubarb mix over the top of that. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

I’m imagining this would also make an excellent dutch oven dessert for those who love to cook with dutch ovens and coals while enjoying the great out of doors. 🙂

I’m also imagining some Vanilla Bean Ice Cream served along side. OOh Yummy!

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Saturday Morning

An array of Saturday morning entertainment…

After a long week of dealing with a nasty cold that has victimized all three of us I decided we could use a treat. I didn’t have the time or energy to make Grandma McKenney’s cinnamon rolls so I improvised and made cinnamon biscuits instead. They turned out quite good actually, but you really can’t go wrong with anything that contains butter and sugar, right? They brought up a flood of memories for me. Whenever I had the opportunity to stay with my aunt Laurel as a youngster she would make a stop almost every morning at the Hardee’s down the road for their yummy cinnamon biscuits and coffee before we headed up the canyon to Alta. I’m so excited because I nailed it. They taste exactly like what I remember.

Cinnamon Biscuits

2 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

6 tbsp unsalted butter (cut into pieces)

3/4 cup milk

Set your oven temp at 425. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut butter into dry ingredients. Stir in milk. Don’t over mix or you will end up with a tough dough instead of a nice flaky dough. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Also, you can get ahead of the game by mixing everything but the milk the night before and just add the milk the next morning. If your like me this helps prevent mistakes due to the pre-coffee “morning fog”. Finally mix up a bit of powdered sugar with some milk for a tasty frosting. Wala!

On another topic but relevant to our Saturday morning: Gary informed me that he added the Neil Young “Living With War Today” link to the site. I was going to try to avoid political commentary on this blog but Gary is so passionate about wanting a change I guess we should share what we are doing and talking about. Besides I am a big Neil Young fan, and Harvest Moon is my all time favorite song.


We just got done watching all the video of his recording sessions. In case you haven’t heard about Living With War (LWW), this is Neil Young’s documentary recording series focused on the part of the war you WILL NOT see on the main stream news, and protesting the war in Iraq. Neil is still at it. Bless this man! If you’re interested, here are some links:

  • Living With War Today Videos (All videos are included in the “Living With War: In The Beginning” CD/DVD set.)
  • This video is particularly touching. Neil talks about how when he finished and was reciting the lyrics to his wife, he broke down crying: Flags of Freedom

Finally something so wonderful to post about. Ellen is starting to sit up on her own! She is also starting to say mama in her babble mostly when she is complaining or on the verge of crying (not sure how I should feel about this). She doesn’t associate mama with me yet but its exciting none the less. Needless to say our hearts are soaring.

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Yet another snow storm

Yesterday we woke up to more snow and our internet and TV was down. Yikes! We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. So I took up a baking project and Gary went out for a ride on the sled. I made an Espresso Angel Food Cake with Cinnamon Cream Anglaise. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it weren’t for this miserable cold that has been beating me down all week. Can’t really taste things. Gary seemed to like it though he had two servings. Our TV came back just in time to watch the Superbowl. I’m one of those people who enjoy the commercials and half time more than the game. I thought the Shaq commercial where he was a jockey was hilarious.

Anyhow here is the recipe for the dessert from the February issue of Sunset Magazine. It’s pretty easy the hardest part is having enough eggs. Creme Anglaise is the perfect solution for what to do with all those remaining egg yolks. I used the basic recipe out of the Joy of Cooking and added some cinnamon.

Cinnamon Creme Anglaise

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups whole milk

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Combine the yolks, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a bowl. Warm the milk in a sauce pan over med heat just until bubbles form on the edges. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg yolks and sugar. I stress slowly because you don’t want to cook your egg yolks. Return this mixture to the saucepan. Rinse out and dry the mixing bowl and set a fine mesh sieve over the top. Place the saucepan over low heat. Using wooden spoon stir the sauce gently but constantly sweeping the entire pan bottom and reaching into the corners. Again, you don’t want to over cook (scramble) your egg yolks so as soon as the sauce is slightly thickened, remove the pan from heat and stir gently to complete the cooking. You could try the “custard spoon test” to know if your sauce is done. The sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream. Pour the sauce through the sieve let cool and then cover and chill.

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Gobble Gobble goo and Gobble Gobble giggle

As I sit here and type this Gary and Ellie are watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Ronald McDonald just floated by and Gary made sure to introduce him to Ellie as “Dirty Ron”, Gary’s favorite reference to McDonalds. Yesterday Ellen watched patiently as I baked some pies. I guess I’m not that skilled at multitasking because it was a trick to watch over the babe and get the pies done, by the end of the day I was a bit frazzled. Picture the classic women in the kitchen with flour everywhere her hair a mess and the baby crying. We persevered and the pies are turning out well so far. I have to bake them today so they are fresh for the taking. I went with the traditional flavors Pumpkin and Apple. I like to put a little twist on the pumpkin pie and make it with a gingersnap crust. I also like to use fresh ginger in the filling. I must admit I borrowed the gingersnap crust recipe from Letty, Debbie, and Steve at the Deer Valley Bakery. I do love to bake, and I spent three years in the bakery at Deer Valley. I don’t know maybe Steve can correct me, but I was feeling pretty confident in my baking skills by the end of my three year term. Yesterday humbled me a bit, though. I just can’t pull it off as well in my home as I did in the awesome professional DV Bakery. I think it’s a psychological thing and I am my worst critic. I did do some things right, stuff my brain absorbed at work and stuff I like to do at home, I’ll share them with you…

  • Mise en place It’s French meaning “everything in its place”. This is key for pulling off any project. It’s all about prep in the bakery we would gather the ingredients we needed and prep things first like zest lemons, peel apples, cut butter, and so on. I also learned to mix all the dry ingredients together first.
  • “Clean as you go is the sign of a pro” Letty always used this catch phrase and it’s true. Nobody likes to work with a messy baker. At home I try to always have the sink ready to wash so I can clean off my utensils and use them again instead of pulling out another bowl and another spoon and having a huge pile of dishes to deal with at the end of the day. Take a break and clean between each phase of the recipe make the dough then clean, make the filling then clean, put them together then clean. You can never clean too much. Oh how I long for a dish washer. Actually, it’s a little therapeutic to slow down and wash the dishes in the sink.
  • I like to add a bit of whole wheat flour where I can. For instance the crust for the apple pie uses 2 1/2 cups of flour so I use 2 cups white and 1/2 cup of whole wheat. I think this adds some nutrition to the pie. Be careful when altering recipes though too much whole wheat flour can make the dough tough. I also like to use flax seed when appropriate that stuff has good omegas, and we can all use some omega in our diet.
  • Go to the source. Use a real pumpkin, fresh ginger, fresh fruits etc. This sounds like more work but it doesn’t always have to be if you Mise en place and plan ahead. I roasted a pie pumpkin on Tuesday peeled it that night and whalla I have fresh pumpkin instead of pumpkin from the can.
  • Finally, don’t forget to eat lunch. I made the mistake of working right through lunch yesterday hence the frazzle. It pays to sit down and make a well rounded lunch instead of snacking on the sugary treats you’re making. That way you keep your wits about you and you wont be spent by the end of the baking glory.

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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We had an excellent breakfast this morning. Apple Oven Pancakes from the...
article post

Castles and Vines along the Rhine

One of our favorite things we did while in Germany was take a little cruise on the Rhine...
article post

Be Bop a Re Bop Rhubarb Pie

I have that little jig stuck in my head from Prairie Home Companion not even sure how it...
article post

Saturday Morning

An array of Saturday morning entertainment… After a long week of dealing with a...
article post

Yet another snow storm

Yesterday we woke up to more snow and our internet and TV was down. Yikes! We...
article post

Gobble Gobble goo and Gobble Gobble giggle

As I sit here and type this Gary and Ellie are watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade....
article post