Addicted to Bacon

I know that I was addicted to baking for a while, but recently I became addicted to bacon. You see, we received a cast iron skillet as a wedding present. Of course once one receives a new toy, it must be used. What better to cook on an iron skillet than bacon?

And now a monster has been created.

For dinner last night we had BLT and avocado sandwiches on homemade Amish bread. The bread was lathered with my own sour cream and spice creation (a dash of garlic powder, chili powder and salt).

To balance out all the fattiness of bacon, roasted veggies were served on the side.

Another BLT was consumed for lunch today. I’m thinking it will make a good dinner on the go tonight as well.

I tried making the sandwich look beautiful, but then I realized that I have no talent in making dishes look pretty. Good thing I’m not going to try out for Master Chef anytime soon.

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S’more Brownie Bliss

Baking has not been on my agenda lately. The apartment has been a cool 85* degrees most days. And my bathing suit would like to fit on my body without pudge pouring out the sides. So cookies and cakes have been on the backburner.

But sometimes a girl just needs a brownie.

In my search for a tasty treat I found these brownies on BrownEyedBaker.com‘s blog.

Her brownies have marshmallow and a crisp rice chocolate coating.

Inspiration struck. And I made s’mores brownies.

I did use a shortcut and baked the brownies from a mix (hey, I was at my mom’s house and those suckers need to be used!).

Using the same principle as BEB, I cooked the brownies and immediately added the toppings.

Now, the amount of marshmallows you use depends on the size of your pan. I learned that the hard way when I had a goopy mess of mallow oozing over the sides of my 8×8 inch pan. So, just create a layer (not a giant mound) of mini-mallows.

The next difference is that I used crushed up graham crackers and added one sleeve of those to a bowl of melted chocolate.

I would highly recommend baking brownies from scratch because it is so easy. Really, it’s just flour, sugar, eggs, chocolate and vanilla. Pretty much everything people already have in their pantry.

So next time you make brownies, go wild and add some fun toppings. Mix in M&Ms, Oreos or Reese’s Pieces to your chocolate layer.

Oh yeah, and forget about your bathing suit.

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A Sour Return

Let’s ignore the fact that I haven’t posted in a month.

I did have a honeymoon to enjoy, and a wedding to attend, and lots of lounging around to do.

Let’s also ignore that I have spent nearly $20 a week on iced coffee, that the gym has been a foreign word, and ice cream has become a permanent resident.

It’s time to get back down to business. Doug has been working on a sourdough starter for a week now.

It went from this super stinky starter:

To this delicious masterpiece:

He had to “feed” the sourdough starter twice a day to help grow yeast. Sourdough is created by a natural combination of bacteria and yeast that are present in the combination of flour and water. Having baked bread for nearly two years in this apartment, the natural yeast that is present helps create the starter.

This sourdough is by far the best bread Doug has baked. It is chewy on the outside and buttery, tangy on the inside.

I’m also looking forward to sourdough pancakes that will be in the near future.

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Basic Pizza Dough

Every time I type pizza dough I find myself forgetting the “h” and writing “pizza doug”. It’s funny how fitting that is because Doug is the pizza dough guy.

Anytime I feel like a pizza or if people come over, Doug whips up a batch of dough, no questions asked.

So it’s fitting that he would make a flat bread using pizza dough.

So if you’re jonesing for some dough, this is where it’s at.

Add rosemary, red pepper flakes, grated parmesan cheese, or whatever interests you most that day. Heck, I bet honey and sesame seeds would be a perfect topping.

Maybe even ice cream.

Okay, maybe I won’t go that far.

This dough is from:
Everyday Food

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Sweet Cherry Cake

Cherry has never been my favorite flavor.

Slush. Ice cream. Starburst.

Cherry just seemed too tart. Compared with strawberry it was always a flavor that I overlooked. Watermelon, lemon and sweet strawberry were more my style.

So when there were free samples of cherries at Whole Foods, I was pleased to find that they weren’t bad. In fact, I may even like the red little globes.

In the basket they went. Two pounds of them. And what does one do with two whopping pounds of cherries when only one person is eating them?

Make cake of course.

This is from joyofbaking.com, which really hasn’t let me down yet.

I’m a little sad that my cake didn’t look exactly like the picture they had, but it’s pretty darn close.

I omitted the lemon simply because I didn’t have it.

Served up with a nice dallop, oh who am I kidding, a scoop of ice cream, and you have yourself a delicious summer treat.

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14 bags of chocolate chips and one lame joke

Cookie jars seem like a great wedding favor right? Yeah, they are.

So why didn’t anybody take them?

A jar of cookie mix is sitting in front of you and you leave it? Who does that?

Making these jars took a ton of hard work.

It took:

36 canning jars
14 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips
16 bags of Easter M&Ms (thank goodness they went on sale at CVS)
2 bags of granulated sugar
7 bags of brown sugar
3 canisters of oats
oh, a little more than half a 15 lb. bag of flour

It also took:
One lame joke at the supermarket when buying 14 bags of chocolate chips and 9 bags of sugar, “I have a major sweet tooth”. Followed by an unresponsive clerk. I think she may have been a zombie. I’ve heard they don’t like jokes.

And:
About 4 hours worth of assembly.

Only to make these delicious cookies.

These delicious treats were inspired by Bakerella.

Hers look better than mine. I heard she’s a professional baker or something. She may even have an awesome book that I have.

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Not So Lean Green Machine

You may be wondering why so many healthy items are finding their way here lately. Well, let’s be frank– no Sports Illustrated swimsuit photographers will be calling me up. Victoria’s Secret can bite my dust (is that a phrase?). So to say that beach and bathing suit season is my arch nemesis would be an understatement. I think I can get away with not wearing a t-shirt in the pool, but a bikini is an absolute no-no.

So tofu and greens will be finding their way on my plate from now on. The ice cream has been put away, cookies and quick breads are on hold. It’s time to get serious.

Greens are an acquired taste for me. Kale has been growing on me, dandelion greens never made the cut, and spinach just barely squeezes itself as a delectable.

So why in the world would I ever choose to buy collard greens and cook them up for potluck? Well, they were the cheapest greenery at Whole Foods. My frugality inspired a break from an escarole and bean dish to a collards and green dish.

The result?

Delish. The addition of veggie broth and two vidalia onions eliminated any sense of bitter greenery. The collards were tender, slightly earthy, and salty from the broth.

Collards and Beans
Serves 6

1 lb. collard greens, cut into 1 inch pieces and thoroughly washed
2 cups veggie or chicken broth
1 15-oz can cannelini beans, drained
2 vidalia onions, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tblsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in stockpot over medium high heat until shimmering. Add onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft and slightly browned. Add garlic, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and garlic; cook for 30 seconds, until just fragrant. Add greens, broth, and beans and cook until greens wilt, about 5-7 minutes. Crank up to high heat and cook off broth for about 15 minutes or until a thin layer of broth covers bottom of pot. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

This would be excellent with spicy sausage. Yum!

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