Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DK Bike Race

Pre 25 mile bike race. Pure excitement!

Post 25 miles. Only a little less spunky. Not so bad.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Breakfast Cookies

Earlier in the summer I was able to judge a 4-H foods & nutrition contest in Riley County, Kansas. This was a fun experience to do conference judging with young 4-Her's. I honestly had some of the best baked goods around. There were only a few that I wouldn't want to eat again. I was amazed that several of the recipes were a healthier alternative baked product maybe made with yogurt or applesauce instead of fat and less sugar than typical recipes. I was impressed and then learned that these 4-Her's had dietitian mothers. Surprise, surprise. 

There was one recipe that as a nutrition educator myself, I felt good about coming home with and making myself. The recipe was courtesy of the Better Homes Special Interest - Our Best Diabetic Recipes.

  • 1 large mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, (I use either fresh-ground nut butter or best choice brand contents: peanuts, salt) You do not need any added sugar or fat in the peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
This will look like a delightful soup. I've consider using this as my next favorite fruit dip, graham cracker dip, or simply eating it with a spoon. Avoid this urge in order to complete the cookies though! Yum.

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
Stir this dry mixture into the wet mixture and add 1 cup of dried cranberries, berries, or raisins. Another good idea when using dried fruit in cookies is to let them soak in room temp. water for about 5 minutes. Drain the water and use the slightly re-hydrated fruit in your cookies. If you don't they will tend to absorb the moisture in your product and can leave them a bit dry. Just a hint, you certainly don't have to do this. 

I used raisins this time and my dough looked like this:

Out of the oven. I must admit that my oven bakes horribly for this perfectionist baker called me. The heating element on the top does not work when doing regular baking, so everything bakes from the bottom. I honestly had these on the top rack of the oven and they still don't have a ton of color on the top. They will get burnt on the bottom before the top looks golden brown. Frustrating, but what can I do? I alerted my landlord that the top heating element didn't work and his response was, turn it to broil. It does work on broil function but seriously?

I cannot give these cookies enough credit. I made them a month ago before I went on a week vacation. I left them at home and came back. Two weeks after the fact, they still tasted good. I continued to eat them into week three of their life. This is just an amazing example of the natural preservative value of honey. Love it!
This past week I've enjoyed one before my morning runs as a great energy boost and I have to control myself to limit two a day. Although they are diabetic friendly, I don't need to be eating too many in one day!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crafty bag

Approximately one year ago I attended a bread and craft fair in Maine. There was one vendor that created amazing bags out of used feed, flour, dog food, etc. sacks. My first thought was that I wanted one. My second thought included amazement at the $20-$30 price tag for a bag created from waste. My third thought was that surely I can make my own! So I did, finally, a year later. 

I would like to create more and try my luck at $20 income from waste but my sewing machine does not really like sewing such things. The heavy duty thread that I used did not like to flow in my machine, so sewing proved to be a bit difficult. I'll also add that hand stitching on those handles was a little sore on the fingers, but definitely possible. I like it though I'm not sure how many more I want to make. 

Hearty Breakfast

I've always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and often preach that to others as well. This week I've been practicing what I preach by eating my largest meal of the day at breakfast. It comes at a pivotal time of the day immediately following my running and biking routines that have come daily this week. I've quite thankful for the free potatoes and eggs I've gotten from the farm to enjoy for my hearty breakfasts.

This particular feast includes: 
two farm fresh eggs scrambled with fresh basil, 
potatoes sauteed in a smidgen of olive oil with red onions, garlic, random spices
french bread slice with avocado

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Freezer Corn

Due to the depressing state of my garden this summer and the lack of a large corn harvest, I stocked up on fresh sweet corn from my local farmers' market this past Saturday. It would be a shame if I didn't stock up on the good stuff before the winter. Freezing corn is so very easy to accomplish and works great in winter soups.

Step One: Shuck the corn and rinse.

Step Two: Blanch in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Remove from boiling water to cold water.
Step Three: Cut corn off the cob.

Step Four: Package in freezer bags, label, and freeze!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Killdeer Farm Stand

Another highlight of my recent trip to Vermont included visiting an amazing farm stand. I am so very jealous of the lack of such things as fresh produce for sale on the side of a road in Kansas. I mean there might be small stands a local family puts up with random produce available, but certainly nothing with any quality or quantity that are readily available in New England. We visited Killdeer Farm Stand in Norwich, VT conveniently located beside King Arthur Flour. We even visited the stand on a short field trip during our class at KAF. It was simply beautiful....

Check out those onion bulbs!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Serious Flatbread Class

"Eating locally from the wood-fired oven" was the name of the class that Wendi & I took while visiting King Arthur Flour. It was a two day class dedicated much to flatbreads and fabulous roasted food in the oven. To start the class off we created super simple flatbread dough that turned into amazing simple flatbreads. The key to amazing and simple is quality ingredients! Quality is what we had, fresh from a farm that our instructor brought. We combined quality ingredients in a number of ways to enjoy the most amazing meal!

Our instructor was the head chef at American Flatbread, the original flatbread restaurant at the Lareau Farm. We dined there one evening and got to take in the ambiance of dining on an original farm with campfire outdoor waiting. It was quite the unique experience. 

Back to flatbread at KAF....

Wood fired oven
Happy bakers!

Dough goes down

Local, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, aged cheese, salt on top

Into the 650ish degree oven

within minutes out comes greatness
Beets in cast iron skillet go in...

along with local organic chicken, skin stuffed with creme fresh and herbs

Roasting away like magic

Loads of gorgeous veggies

Mixture of eggplant, onion, red peppers

Lightly roasted summer squash

before mentioned eggplant mixture stuffed into squash

Amazing flatbread with thinly sliced potatoes, ricotta, mozzarella,  seasoned and baked.
Then topped with fresh arugula. 

The Meal

The class was simply amazing! I would say the highlight was being introduced to such amazing ingredients. Although the dishes look intense and difficult, the greatness really comes from quality ingredients prepared simply. Now if only I could find my very own supply of such great cheeses local to me right here in Kansas. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Grapes of Goodness!

I attended the Dickinson County Gardeners' Guild gathering this past week. It was a very fun field trip to a local vineyard, Kanza Cattle & Vineyards. This super fabulous presentation included a gorgeous sunset on the Kansas prairie along with several different Kansas wine tastings and snacks to go along. The scenery was perfect!

The delicious spread

Kansas Grape Growers, love them!
5 acres of grapes

Kansas sunsets are magical!