Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mini Chocolate Cakewiches

I found this recipe in Self the other and decided to try it out.  I seldom follow a recipe to exact specifications.  This one is no exception.  I will put the changes I made in bold, then you can decide for yourself.  They turned out really yummy! (According to the article, they fight fat as well.  It's the yogurt, but who cares!!)

Mini Chocolate Cakewiches
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 (3) tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (1/4 teaspoon each vanilla and coconut extract)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (3/4 cup coconut flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 (1/4) cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg white (3 large eggs)
1/2 cup skim milk, divided (3/4 cup coconut milk, divided)

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.  Add yogurt and flavorings and beat until well combined.  Spoon into pastry bag fitted with a number 12 tip, or a zippered baggie that you have cut one of the corners off.  Place in the refrigerator. 

Heat oven to 400 F.  Whisk flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. In another mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter until well combined: add egg white (or eggs) and beat until thick and pale yellow.  Add half of the flour mixture to butter mixture; beat until just combined.  Add 1/4 cup milk and beat on low until combined.  Repeat with remaining flour and 1/4 cup milk.  (At this point you will add from the last 1/4 cup of the coconut milk if it is needed.  Coconut flour soaks up a lot of liquid and you may need even a little more, the batter will be thick but smooth)  Spoon this batter into another pastry bag or zippered baggie.  Use a large tip or cut a larger hole.  You will squeeze out between 48 and 30 lines of batter, 4-inches and 11-inch apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 5-8 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.  One half of the cakes, squeeze the filling and top with the other half of the cakes. Will store in the refrigerator for 3 days, or freeze to keep longer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Return to Chaos-Sorta

Last week we were enjoying some wonderfully cooler weather in Colorado and New Mexico. Highs in the mid 80's and lows cool enough for frost to form. We were backpacking in the mountains and had no idea that Oklahoma was also experiencing some cooler weather as well. It's just that in Oklahoma the cooler weather was brought on by some very dramatic wind storms. While we lost a tree and a few large limbs, we lost relatively little when compared what some of our friends ended up losing. One nearly losing a home in a wildfire (whole nother topic, but at the same time). We were blessed to have only a cover to an attic vent come off the house. There was no other damage to our house, shop, or tree house!

The sunflowers caught a little wind, as did the peppers. The strawberries were narrowly missed by several branches that fell into a neat pile. We had a friend who was going to water for us and I thought she had piled them there. That's how she found them. And she had to do very little watering, along with wind, we got rain!

Our trees, for the most part will be fine. Elijah's very favorite tree to climb was untouched, but another came down. It grew at an angle and was very easy to climb. It was in my iris bed, so I guess they'll be getting a little more sun this next year.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In the Kitchen

There's not been a lot to bring into the kitchen from the garden, but my Swiss chard is managing to stay alive.  i found a great recipe for a Swiss chard Crostata and thought i would share it with you.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup mascarpone

Pinch kosher salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 stick cold butter, cut into pea-sized pieces

2 eggs


Extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, smashed

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 bunch white Swiss Chard, stems removed cut into 1/4-inch lengths, leaves cut into 1-inch lengths

2 leeks, tough green tops removed, cut in 1/2 lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch lengths

2 to 3 tablespoons water

Kosher salt

2 cups fresh ricotta

1 cup grated Parmesan

2 eggs

Pinch cayenne pepper

Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water



Combine the flour, Parmesan, mascarpone, salt, cayenne and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse, pulse, pulse, until it looks very dry and crumbly--what I like to call the Parmesan stage. Add the eggs and pulse until the mixture forms a ball. Remove the dough from the food processor, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and bring the pan to a medium heat. When the garlic has become golden brown and is very aromatic remove it and discard, it has fulfilled its garlic destiny. Add the Swiss chard stems, leeks and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and season with salt. When the water has evaporated and the stems and leeks are soft, add the leaves. Season the leaves with salt and saute until they are very soft and wilted. Remove from the heat and allow the Swiss chard to cool.

In a large bowl combine the ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, cayenne and the Swiss chard mixture. Mix to thoroughly combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed (it will). Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To assemble:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let warm up for about 10 to 15 minutes, this will make it really much easier to roll out.

Dust a large clean work surface with flour and roll the dough into a large circle about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a large sheet try lined with parchment paper. Lay the dough out flat, don't worry about the overhang on the sides. Put the filling in a large circle in the center of the rolled out dough leaving a 3 to 4-inch border of dough along the outside edge. Fold the dough up around the filling to make a "free-form pie". Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and bake in the preheated oven until the crust is firm, golden brown and shiny, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing, this will allow it to up for easier slicing.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

We had it with baked chicken and then again the next morning with fresh fruit and cheese,

This was better than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be really good.

I also wanted to make some chewy granola bars but had trouble finding a recipe that you didn't have to bake.  I am trying not to cook as much as possible.  Here is what I came up with.

Chococonut Granola Bars

1/2 cup cashew butter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup each shredded coconut and semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat in a heavy saucepan the cashew butter, honey, and oil together just until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Line an 8x8 cake pan with plastic wrap and pour mixture in, leveling it out.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Then chill until firm and cut into desired size.  Wrap and store in refrigerator.

Ingredients-I make my own cashew butter

heating, still pretty lumpy

add vanilla

Oats-I had quick oats but I think old fashioned would be better

chocolate chips and coconut

Line your pan

That's a wrap

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Last Straw

Here it is...

Okay, there is actually one more bale, but I don't imagine that there will be much to buy this next spring, so I will be stingy with it.  I went ahead and added this bale of hay to the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and strawberries.  It won't help with the heat but maybe it will help keep the soil from drying out.

It is 10:45 a.m. and already 100 degrees. YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!!!!  I've been back in the house for 15 minutes and can still feel the sweat going down my back.  For all those that complained about May/June 2010 being too wet and this winter being too cold,  I sure hope your are happy now!

Flower Beds

Along with everything else, the flower beds are just not what they should be.  They aren't dying, but they aren't thriving either.  I considered fertilizing them more, but then that would mean more watering.  The one in the front looks the best.  Most of my potted plants have died.  Just seems I couldn't water them enough.  I lost my last lime tree too.  I guess if I want to grow citrus I will need to move to Florida or some tropical isle.  Right now, that doesn't sound half bad.  It would be cooler at least.

Dried and dead

trying to stay alive

The rosemary looks good and what little basil the grasshoppers haven't eaten

Front flower bed

One of my many, dead potted plants

Monday, August 1, 2011


When it rains it pours.  Unfortunately that is not a literal statement.  As I type this, it is 10:45 a.m. and it is already 100 degrees.  It isn't even noon and I've already brought Elijah in the house for the day.  Also I had hackers in my gmail account so starting Aug 12, this blog will go private :-{  If you are interested, just leave your email in comments.  They don't go on the blog until moderated, so I will just email you and delete the comment.

Our well seems to be holding just fine, but we have cut way back on our watering.  The grass seed we put out earlier in June is now just brown and dead grass.  We may try again this fall, but if we don't get some decent rain, that will not be done.  we put soaker hoses on everything we want to try to save for the fall, but even that won't keep the blister bugs from decimating what is left.  I lost one tomato plant to a horn worm,  This worm is as long as my ring finger and almost as big around.  YUCK!!!  They will be having a date with Sevin this evening!  I don't like to use it, but I will not lose my garden to these creepy little bugs.  FYI, a blister bug won't bite or sting you but if you crush it and get the fluids on you it will cause blisters and if these break, they will spread.  Death to blister bugs!

One of the biggest I've seen

Cicada in my dead grass

black blister bugs and all their mess

So, right now the garden is looking okay.  Here are some pics.  I have lots of yellow squash and acorn squash if any one would like some.

Well, we have squash.

Sweet potatoes

Morning glory

still looks fine

Sun flower

they aren't a big as they should be

dead yard

They're hanging on