Saturday, July 29, 2017

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

It's my favorite season here in Michigan, and no, I don't mean summer. (It's too hot!) I'm talking about blueberry season. While I can and do freeze large quantities of locally picked blueberries for
smoothies and baking during the rest of the year, it is only during these few weeks of summer that I get to enjoy the delicious and nutritious treat of fresh blueberries in cereal, on yogurt, and by the handful. Blueberries are one of my favorite foods not only for their flavor, but because of the
nostalgia factor due to all the wonderful memories of my grandpa's blueberry farm.

 In honor of blueberry season I thought I'd share this amazing blueberry muffin recipe. I have shared a blueberry muffin recipe on the blog before, and it is very good, but this one goes the extra mile by including a crumb topping - yum! Both this recipe and the one I have previously shared are in the family cookbook, so I figure they can both be on the blog too. Those who taste these muffins always say they have been named very appropriately.  Of course fresh blueberries you've picked yourself are the ideal mix in to this muffin batter, but feel free to mix it up. I've been known to substitute cranberries or chocolate chips for the blueberries at times, and have even added shredded zucchini to recipe.


To Die For Blueberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Grease and flour a muffin tin or use muffin liners

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder

Mix the oil, milk, and egg together and add to the flour mixture. Fold in the blueberries.

Fill the muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full, (I like to use an ice cream scoop to get just the right amount), and sprinkle with the crumb topping mixture (see below).

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.





Crumb Topping

1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter. Sprinkle over each muffin before baking.




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sarah Roses's Dad's Made Up Kind of a Salad Sort of a Thing (plus another side dish)

What a summer it has been! Relaxing and crazy all at the same time thanks to the newest addition to our family, baby Clara. Her older siblings have adjusted incredibly well, showering their little sister with love and being great helpers. We love you Clara!



Last week we celebrated Clara's baptism. It was a wonderful day that brought a lot of our family together. With a one month old baby, it's was important to keep the gathering after the baptism simple with minimal prep. Since it's summer a hot dog cookout was just right! Since it was a special occasion I did opt to get the best hot dogs out there, Koegel viennas, (fellow Michiganders, you know what I'm talking about!). Some family members helped out by bringing fruit and chips and a cake, but I did manage to throw together a couple of my favorite cold summer salads from my handy dandy family cookbook.  Since they are both cold dishes I could make them ahead of time and just pull them out for the party.


The first salad is lovingly named "Sarah Rose's Dad's Made Up Kind of a Salad Sort of Thing." Yes, it's a mouthful, but it's hard to forget! You can always tell which recipes in the family cookbook come from our branch because they always seem to have names like "That Fettuccine with the Stuff," "Stuff in a Pot," and well, "Made Up Kind of a Salad Sort of a Thing." Some may say we need to work on our dish naming skills, but I love it! Sarah Rose's Dad's Made Up Kind of a Salad Sort of a Thing is a spaghetti pasta salad mixed with tomatoes, mushrooms, and olives, among other flavorful add ins. My dad also added some humorous commentary to the recipe concerning different ways you can prepare it, which I will include below.







The second dish doesn't have a humorous story to go with it, but I do remember my dad making it
frequently when I was a kid - Cucumbers in Sour Cream. Cucumbers are one of my favorite vegetables. I'll often eat a whole one just sliced up and sprinkled with salt for a snack. This simple salad preparation mixes things up a little bit and is nice and refreshing on a hot summer day. The cucumbers are marinated in vinegar, salt, and sugar mixture, almost making  kind of a sweet pickle, before being tossed into sour cream.







Sarah Rose's Dad's Made Up Kind of a Salad Sort of Thing

Ingredients:
1/2 pound thin spaghetti -broken into fourths or fifths
2 pints grape tomatoes - cut lengthwise into halves
1/2 to 1/3 diced red onion
1 can (6 oz) small black olives - cut lengthwise in halves
1 package (12 oz) fresh mushrooms - sliced
2 -3 cloves garlic - minced
2 -3 Tablespoons dried sweet basil
salt
pepper
olive oil
some kinda greens (Romaine, kale, chard, etc - Do not use iceberg, it turns soggy too fast)

Directions:
1. Boil spaghetti and drain. While still hot add some salt, pepper, garlic, basil, and olive oil. Mix it up and set it aside in the fridge to cool.
2. In a bowl combine the tomatoes, onion, olives, and mushrooms and season with salt, pepper, garlic, basil, and olive oil.
3. When the spaghetti is cool, combine the spaghetti with the vegetables. Just before you serve it  tear the greens into small pieces and mix them in. Not too much! It's not a lettuce salad - the lettuce pieces are just part of the mix.

(Dad's Commentary): This is very flexible and simple. If you want you can replace half the olive oil with a quarter cup or so of Italian dressing. Or add a couple glugs of balsamic vinegar to the thing, along with the olive oil. If you don't have all the ingredients, that's ok. It's been made with just the spaghetti, tomatoes, plain white onion, garlic, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil and still got rave reviews. If you want to put something else in, go ahead, ain't no big deal. As long as no one starts poking it with a fork and mumbling "had a science experiment look like this once, only it smelled better," you're doin' just fine.  

Cucumbers in Sour Cream

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1 cup vinegar
4 Tablespoons sugar
dash of pepper
1 teaspoon salt
4 large cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 pint sour cream

Directions:
1.Combine water, vinegar, sugar salt and pepper. Stir cucumber slices and marinade in the vinegar mixture for 2 -3 hours, and drain.

2. Mix cucumbers with the sour cream. Serve chilled.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Teacher Gift That's For the Birds

Happy Last Week of School! My last day with students is Tuesday, and my son has his last 1/2 day on Thursday.  I can't believe he's going to be in 2nd grade! We are ready for a summer of lots of family fun and a new baby!

Of course as we end another school year we have to say thanks to the amazing teachers that worked so hard to help us learn. Sam picked out a little bird feeder for his teacher. Not only does she like birds, but it goes perfectly with the fact that his school does a special nature based program. Strangely enough, with all the cute teacher gift ideas out there on the internet with all their adorable packaging and witty sayings on the gift tags, I couldn't find anything bird themed. So we had to get creative and come up with something ourselves.

Sam said if it was birthday present he would say "Happy Bird-day!" I'm happy to see he's developing an appreciations for corny jokes! However, it was not a birthday present so we had to come up with something else. We eventually decided to use a common bird that shows up at feeders in our area, the black-capped chickadee, and tell his teacher that her class was "Chickadee-lightful!" I just grabbed a free clip art picture of a chickadee from the internet, added the message, and printed it out on card stock. Sam wrote his own personal message on the back. A hole punch and piece of yellow yarn attached the card to the bird feeder. Bonus -  the chickadee matched his school colors!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Easter Feasting

Happy 6th Week of Easter! In true Rose's Supposes fashion, I am just now getting around to posting about the food we enjoyed back on Easter Sunday. Isn't it great how the Easter season lasts for 50 days? That means that even six weeks later, I can still claim that my post is timely!

Previously I have shared some Easter desserts with you, like blueberry lemonies, and the dirt pudding trifle that has become Easter tradition thanks to the requests of my son. This year we move on to the main course with a stunning loaf of bread, some scrumptious veggies, and an impressive lamb roast centerpiece.

Egg Braid 

At heart, I'm really more of a baker than a cook, and this loaf is my pride and joy. It may be simple white bread, but there is something about the braid, the golden shine from the egg wash, and the sprinkle of poppy seeds on top that makes me feel very accomplished when I pull it out of the oven. Even though the lamb is the main course, this is the dish I insist on waiting to cut until all the guests have arrived!


Ingredients
4 to 4/2 cups all purpose flour
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
1 egg for egg wash
poppy seeds

Directions
In a mixing bowl combine 2 cups of flower with the yeast. Add the milk, water, shortening, sugar, and salt, and mix together.  Add the eggs and mix until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes. Punch down and knead for an additional 30 seconds.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts, and let rest for 3 minutes. Roll each piece into a log approximately 15 inches long.  Place the logs side by side and braid from top to bottom, pinching the ends together.

Place on a prepared baking sheet and let rise until doubled in size.

Beat one egg and brush over the loaf. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
 
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.

Zesty Brussels Sprouts

I know that brussels sprouts are not everyone's favorite vegetable, but I just love 'em. While bacon is a traditional brussels sprouts pairing that almost  everyone loves, my husband happens to be in that weird minority of people who doesn't like bacon. I can't remember where I saw it, but one day I saw a suggestion of cooking brussels sprouts with orange zest. I gave it a try and we loved it! The orange zest really brightens up the bitter brussels, and gives the vegetable a fresh feeling that goes great with a spring meal. This Easter I threw in some bell peppers for an added splash of color and sweetness.



Ingredients: 
Brussels sprouts
Olive oil
Zest of 1 - 2 large oranges
salt and pepper

Directions:
Saute brussels sprouts in olive oil. While cooking, add salt, pepper, and orange zest. Cook until tender and caramelized.

Roast Leg of Lamb

The impressive centerpiece of the Easter table! I only cook one big holiday meal on my own during the year, so I don't mind splurging a little on some lamb. Not only is lamb a significant Easter symbol, but my husband doesn't like turkey, and neither of us are big ham people, so lamb is perfect! As impressive as it looks when it comes out of the oven, it is actually quite simple to make. Amaze everyone without having to slave away at the oven all day!


 Ingredients:
1 boneless or semi-boneless leg of lamb
olive oil
salt
pepper
rosemary
thyme
minced garlic

Directions:
Take lamb out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Place in roasting pan with rack

Rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Broil on each side for 5 minutes (or brown each side in a pan)

Rub with fresh rosemary, thyme, and garlic

Roast at 325 degrees, at 25 minutes per pound. Cover loosely with tinfoil for 1 hour, and then remove for the rest of the cooking time.

Let rest 15 minutes before carving.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's a Birthday Party Charlie Brown!


This year my son is obsessed with the Peanuts comics by Charles Schulz. Back in middle school when I played the role of Schroeder in a production of "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," I got really into it too. And yes, Schroeder is a boy, but the director wanted Schroeder to really play the piano on stage and I happened to posses that skill. Of course Schroeder is my favorite character from the comic too! Anyway, my son found one of my old Peanuts books and hasn't been able to put it down since. He spends a lot of time pretending to be the World War I Flying Ace and Joe Cool. He has even suggested that if the new baby on the way is another little sister we should name her Rerunette, the way Lucy called her second little brother Rerun. Inevitably this all led to request for a Peanuts themed birthday party. The other kids at the party may not have been as familiar with Peanuts as Sam, but given my own affinity for the classic comic, it was a lot of fun to put together.

Happy Birthday Sam! You are growing into one amazing young man! 

Decorations

We went back to the dance studio for this year's party, and I think the owner repainted just for Sam's party! The new yellow walls, (actually "mango tango" I believe), made it easy to add a simple decoration that had a lot of impact. Yellow wall + strips of black construction paper + double stick tape = Charlie Brown zigzag shirt wall!  Add some Peanuts stuffed animals and black and yellow table settings and that's all you need!

That may be all you need, but we did have a little more. The aforementioned director of my middle school play was my mom, who has been involved in other productions of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown since then as well. She was able to bring in some cool props from the shows, including Schroeder's piano!


Food 

The food was very simple and kid friendly with the birthday boy's request for his favorite food - pizza. Some clever labeling makes things a little more fun and on theme!

For example, Sam read one strip where Snoopy says something like, "Joe Cool never eats at the dorm cafeteria, he always orders pizza." We knew then that it wouldn't just be any pizza, but Joe Cool's Pizza.




Of course we all know that the World War I Flying Ace's drink of choice is root beer! I found the perfect picture to go on our pop labels. To add a little variety to the beverages we also included Linus and Lucy Lemon Lime.



Instead of a traditional birthday cake, the birthday boy opted to have "Charlie Brownies." Of course you can make any brownie recipe you want, and then just top them with yellow frosting and a chocolate frosting zigzag. I used a recipe from the family cookbook titled "Julie's Awesome Brownies," (the recipe can be found at the end of the post!). They truly are awesome, some of the richest, gooiest brownies I've ever had. Thanks Julie!

 I divided the recipe in half to make both plain brownies and ones with peppermint patties mixed in, (get it?). I put the peppermint patties in the bottom of the pan and poured the batter over them. This method made the brownies stick to the pan. I had to wrestle them out of the pan a little, but they were delicious! I would recommend pouring some batter in first, then adding the peppermint patties, and then topping off with the rest of the batter to try to prevent sticking.

Games

I don't have any pictures of the games but we did have fun with them!

Peanuts Musical Chairs
We played a modified version of musical chairs that we had played at church for All Saints Day. I put pictures of different Peanuts characters on chairs and played music while the kids walked around the circle. For the music I played the soundtrack from "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" as well as the classic "Linus and Lucy."

When the music stops everyone sits on a chair and the name of a character gets pulled out of a hat. Whoever is sitting on the chair with that character gets a prize! In this case the prize was a bag of peanuts. We kept going until everyone  got a prize.

Pull the Football Away from Charlie Brown (Pinata)
This was just your classic birthday pinata, but we got one that was in the shape of a football.  My husband played the role of Lucy and pulled the football away from all our Charlie Browns trying to hit the pinata. Of course we had to fill the pinata with peppermint patties and peanut butter cups! A black Sharpie turned some plain red and blue bags into Linus and Lucy treat bags.  On the back I wrote, "Happiness is Celebrating with Friends!"


Julie's Awesome Brownies

This is a huge recipe! It makes two 9 x 13 pans of gooey, chocolatey goodness.
This is the original recipe - I used cocoa powder instead of baker's chocolate and omitted the  extra chocolate chips, coffee, and walnuts when I made them for the party, (and of course added some peppermint patties in!)

Ingredients:
1 pound unsalted butter (you heard right! That's 4 sticks.)
1 pound plus 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips - divided
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 eggs
2 Tablespoons instant coffee
2 Tablespoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour - divided
1 Tablespoon baking power
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups walnut pieces

Directions:
Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate and cool slightly.

Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla, and sugar.  Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and remaining chocolate chips in 1/4 cup of flour, then stir into the chocolate batter.

Pour the batter into a greased 13 x 18 pan, or two 13 x 9 pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a skewer come out clean. About halfway through the baking process rap the pans against the oven shelf.

Cool thoroughly and refrigerate before cutting into squares. They are so gooey and rich if you try to cut them while they are warm they will crumble! 


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

All Saints Day Costumes 2016

Way back at the start of this month we celebrated All Saints Day! Our local parish hosted a fun All Saints Day party for the kids, giving us the opportunity to put together some fun saint costumes. I'd been thinking about doing this for several years and was so excited for the opportunity!



Sam dressed as his all time favorite saint, St. Juan Diego. We simply got a large shirt at the thrift store and cut off the sleeves. Then we hot glued a picture of Our Lady Of Guadalupe, (he colored it himself!), and some artificial roses to the front. Drawing on a little mustache and goatee was the perfect finishing touch.What a dashing young man!




















We dressed Rosemary in the traditional Swedish St. Lucia costume, also known as St. Lucy . In Sweden and other Scandinavian countries girls dress in this outfit on St. Lucia Day, (often with real candles!), and bring coffee and sweet breads to their family early in the morning. If you loved American Girl books back in the 90s you'll know what I'm talking about! My best friend had the Kirsten doll; I had Addy myself.  The candles on her crown reference the legend that St. Lucia would wear candles on her head so she could carry more when taking food to Christians hiding in the catacombs. The evergreen wreath represents eternal life, the white dress represents her purity, and the red sash represents her martyrdom. We found the perfect little white dress at the thrift store. It even already had loops for a sash. We just replaced the pink one it came with with a red ribbon. The holly headband has been in the family for a long time. Thanks Dad for letting us raid your Christmas boxes early! My husband fashioned some candles from card stock and taped them on. We layered with a long sleeved white t-shirt to accommodate the weather. While she's barefoot here, when we went to the party she wore white tights black dress shoes. I just couldn't get over how beautiful she looked!


Remember, God call each and every one of us to be saints!


Friday, October 28, 2016

The Birthday Takes the Cake - A Farm Birthday Party

Happy Birthday Rosemary! You are now a curious two year old who loves to talk, sing, and dance!

Two of my daughters favorite songs to sing are "Old McDonald" and  "The Farmer in the Dell." In fact sometimes she'll get upset with me if I play anything on the piano besides plunking out "The Farmer in the Dell." I guess she's not a fan of Beethoven or Grieg!

Due to her affinity for all things farm, I went with a farm theme for birthday celebration. I stole some cute ideas from the internet, but I came up with a few of my own too. It was fun to see Rosemary realize that the party was all for her!

All food was pretty easy to put together, and with some clever labeling and a little decoration we had a great time down on the farm!

 
 A simple red table cloth and some bandanas make for a great table scape! Throw in some paisley napkins and tractor plates and you are good to go! A drink dispenser that looks like a mason jar adds a nice touch. I got mine at Aldi for $20! 


The cake turned out so cute, and it was so easy to make! Anyone can do it. I made a 9x13 chocolate zucchini cake and cut off two corners. I frosted the cake in white and drew some lines down the cake with a toothpick. Then, to get the bright red color, I used a food coloring spray I found in the cake decorating section of the craft store. Add some pretzels, graham crackers, and yellow coconut for doors, a roof and hay along with a little green frosting grass at the bottom, and voila! My husband and the kids decorated the farm animal cupcakes which were a zucchini spice cake. I had a lot of zucchini from my garden this year. 
 


 For some easy decorations we bought plain balloons from Dollar Tree and used Sharpies to decorate them like farm animals! 


 We did snacks instead of a full lunch or dinner. With some clever labeling, simple snacks become farm themed! For example, this Chex mix became "Chicken Feed!" I got the chalk boards at Michael's for 99 cents each.

 Cucumber sandwiches cut with a duck shaped cookie cutter became Ducks in a Row! I layered thinly sliced cucumbers and whipped cream cheese mixed with fresh dill onto white bread. 


 A simple fruit tray become the fruit orchard. 

 And of course a veggie tray becomes the vegetable garden!


 We made our own "Pigs in a Blanket" with crescent roll dough and cocktail franks. You could save time by buying frozen too. 

I'm pretty proud of this one because I came up with it all by myself. We all know that last verse of "The Farmer in the Dell" is "the cheese stands alone." So I put together a cheese and cracker tray and put it on a separate table from everything else!


Happy Birthday Rosemary! Here's to the Terrific Twos!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Dance, Martha Graham, and the Theology of the Body

Happy World Ballet Day!  Enjoy this (very old) dance picture!

I've been dancing most of my life, and still take and teach classes.  While my favorite style to dance myself is tap, when I learned it was World Ballet Day today I remembered something I wrote before my blogging days connecting dance with theology, and thought I would revisit these thoughts and share them with you.

Our bodies are beautiful. They are an integral part of us and a gift from God. The way our bodies are made and how we use them show truths about God's nature and His plan for human beings. This is the core teaching of St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Though most often used to teach about the meaning of marriage, (very beautifully I might add. When I first heard about these teachings in relation to marriage I was blown away!), the teachings of the Theology of Body apply to everyone, regardless of age or marital status, after all, we all have bodies. Due to the fact that people often abuse the gift of the body, there is a school of thought that demonizes the body; treats it as something inherently bad that we will be freed from when we go to heaven.  This couldn't be farther from the truth. We are not souls trapped in bodies, we are embodied souls, and the Catholic Church teaches that after the final judgment our bodies will rise and be joined with us in heaven.

How could a Catholic dancer not  be excited about these beautiful teachings about our bodies! Dance is one of the  ultimate expressions of the incredible miracle of our bodies and the truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. There are many benefits to dancing; including physical fitness and improved memory and cognition, but in the end there is no real purpose to dancing like there is to things like math and reading. No real purpose except a pure celebration of who we uniquely are as humans. The beauty of great works of art and music are often used as proofs of God's existence, and I believe the beauty of dance falls into that category.

Take a look at this video of ballerina Polina Semionova dancing to Herbert Groenemeyer's  "Demo (Letzter Tag)." This piece in particular always points my thoughts to God. Not only does Polina dance exquisitely to a beautiful song, but she dances in an empty auditorium with no audience, no sets or spotlights, no fancy costume. It is all about the simple joy of dance. You can see the beauty of even a simple step or reach of the hand. Often, when I need a reminder of God's existence in our world, I pull up this video.



I first started  making these connections between dance and God when I was looking up dance quotes to share with my students. When looking at what Martha Graham, a very influential American dancer/choreographer often referred to as "the Picasso of dance," had to say I found that many of the quotes resonated with the Church's teachings. Not only about the body, but about bearing crosses, and the meaning of true freedom. I do not know what  Graham's commitment to her faith was, so I don't know how much she connected her thoughts on dance and the human body to God, but even if the connection was not consciously there, it shows how the natural order of our world points to the Truth. Here are some of my favorite Martha Graham quotes.

"Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But the path to paradise of the achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration, there are daily small deaths." 

"The next time you look in the mirror, just look at the way the ears rest next to the head; look at the way  the hairline grows; think of all the little bones in your wrist. Think of the magic of that foot upon which your whole weight rests. It is a miracle. And the dance is a celebration of that miracle." 

"I did not want to be a tree, a flower, or a wave. In a dancer's body, we as audience must see ourselves, not the imitated behavior of everyday actions, not the phenomenon of nature, not exotic creatures from anther planet, but something of the miracle that is a human being."

"Freedom to a dancer means discipline. That is what technique is for - liberation." 

"You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost."

"The body is a sacred garment."  - St. John Paul II would agree!

St. Vitus, patron saint of dancers, pray for us!

Friday, September 30, 2016

St. Andrew Kim - Crockpot Bulgogi

I'm cutting it close, but I've made my goal of getting this post in before the end of September! I think I always forget a little bit how crazy the beginning of the school year is, especially in a virtual school!

Thankfully when we celebrated the feast of St. Andrew Kim back on September 20th, our Korean recipe was great for a quick and easy weeknight meal. The sauce is so delicious it even gets my kids to eat their broccoli! For one of them it is a much bigger deal than the other, but a dinner victory nonetheless.

St. Andrew Kim was the first Korean to be ordained a priest and helped lead Korean Christians through a time of terrible persecution. My son noted that today where we live we don't have to worry about things like this. I told him that in Korea it is better now too - when my dad was in Korea several years ago he could go visit Catholic pilgrimage sites without fear. There are many challenges we face as Catholics in today's modern world, but it is good to remember to be thankful for the fact that we can practice our faith without fear of death, and to thank the martyrs who have sacrificed before us. Without St. Andrew Kim and his companions and the sacrifices they made, I'm sure those beautiful places my dad got to visit wouldn't exist. We must also remember that in other places in the world today there are Christians who still face persecution and risk death simply for practicing their faith - it's current events, not ancient history. Keep them in your prayers to help grant them strength and safety.


Using the Korean inspiration of St. Andrew Kim, we made one of husband's favorite things to eat and one my favorite words to say - bulgogi. Basically a Korean barbecued beef. I think that if you are a fan of teriyaki, you will likely also be a fan of bulgogi. It's a little more savory and spicy than teriyaki, but still similar with the meat being cooked in a sweet sauce with Asian flavors. Though not traditional for bulgogi, we made ours in the crockpot which is great for a weeknight. Throw it together in the morning and all you have to do to get dinner ready after work is make a pot of rice.

Crockpot Bulgogi

1 1/2 lbs thinly sliced beef (I found some already "thinly sliced for carne picata" as it stated on the package)
carrots and onions cut into small chunks
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp soy sauce
8 tsp minced garlic
4 tsp sesame oil
 pepper
sesame seeds for garnish

Combine the meat, vegetables and marinade ingredients in a crockpot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours and serve with rice. The extra sauce in the crockpot is great to saute vegetables in, like broccoli!

St. Andrew Kim, pray for us. 



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Olympic Bites: Rio 2016

I. Love. The. Olympics.

Most of time I really don't care about sports very much. I've been known to turn off the Super Bowl in the first half because football is just so boring to me. But when the Olympics come around I am obsessed and I have to catch every moment that I can. Of course I love to watch the primetime sports like gymnastics and swimming, especially since I used to be a swimmer myself, but I also love watching the more obscure sports that don't always get much broadcast time otherwise. My son and I were just watching archery and fencing the other day and loving it. I remember a time when my sister and I couldn't take our eyes off a badminton game. My dad and I like to see who is winning in the shooting events. (Congratulations to U.S.A's Ginny Thrasher for coming out of nowhere to win the first gold of this year's games in 10m air rifle!) Maybe that's why I love it so much. In addition to the Olympics being filled with incredible feats from the world's best athletes, I get to see sports that I personally find more interesting than what is typically on t.v. otherwise.

Another thing that is fun about the Olympics is getting to learn about and explore other cultures. I enjoy seeing the unique, culturally significant uniforms of certain countries in the parade of nations,  or seeing an interesting flag or unknown abbreviation and figuring our where in the world that athlete comes from. Of course there is also learning about the country that is hosting the Olympics, in this case Brazil. And what is one of the best ways to explore a culture? Through it's food of course!



To kick off the Olympics I did a little research and made some delicious Brazilian treats to eat while we watched the opening ceremonies. Two of them were savory - Pao de Queijo, gluten free cheese bread bites that I think may start bringing to potlucks because they are delicious, easy to make, and really cute! It does use somewhat of a specialty ingredient, tapioca flour, but it is actually pretty easy to find in most grocery stores these days, and compared to other specialty flours, is not too expensive. The other savory bite was Coxinhas, a chicken and cheese dumpling with a crispy fried exterior. I also made a sweet treat - Brigadeiros. Though often described as a fudge ball, it's really more of a chocolate caramel covered in sprinkles, and nothing about that sounds bad, am I right?! Those of you familiar with the Mexican treat dulce de leche will recognize the process of  turning sweetened condensed milk into a caramel.  Let's start our culinary tour of Brazil with dessert first!


Olympic Medal Brigadeiros

One 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp butter
Sprinkles or other coating of choice - chocolate sprinkles are traditional, I used gold and silver to represent Olympic medals, you could also use something like nuts or coconut.

Combine sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, and butter to a saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for about a half hour. The mixture should be smooth and thick. When you make a line down your pan with your spatula, it should take a couple seconds before the mixture floods the empty space. When it cools you should be able to shape it like playdough.

Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool. Butter the palms of your hands to prevent sticking, and taking about a teaspoon at a time, roll the mixture into a ball and then roll in the sprinkles and set aside. I was able to make about 20 brigadeiros with this recipe.


Pao de Queijo

1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
1/2 cup of grated cheese (whatever  you like best will work. I used sharp cheddar and parmesan, though you may want to reduce the salt when using parmesan)
1 teaspoon of salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a mini muffin tin.

Put all ingredients in the blender and pulse until smooth.

Pour batter into greased mini muffin tins, about 3/4 of the way full and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before eating. They taste good cold too!

Makes about 2 dozen



Coxinha

for the filling:
4 oz of cream cheese
4 oz canned chicken (or cooked shredded chicken. Would be good with leftover rotisserie!)
2 green onions
salt and pepper

for the dough:
2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour

for the coating:
2 eggwhites
plain breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs

oil for frying

Mix all filling ingredients together and set aside.

For those of you have ever made homemade playdough, the process for the dough will look and even smell a little familiar! Don't worry though, this dough tastes much better than play dough! 

Put stock, oil and salt in a pot and simmer. Once the liquid comes to a simmer, add the flour and mix together with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until the dough is barely sticky and no dry spots of flour remain. It will pull away from the sides of the pot to form a ball.

Remove dough from the pot and let cool. Once cool enough to handle take about 2 tablespoons at a time and form a disc. Place about one heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle and bring up the edges of the dough and pinch to close.

Once all the coxinha have been formed, roll them in the egg whites, and then in the bread crumbs. Pan fry in hot oil until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper while hot.

It is recommended to serve them hot, but I enjoyed them while they were cold too! Makes about 12.
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