Walk it

Sweet Potato Biscuits

I’ve posted before about how much I love the Farmer’s Market at my office, the market which will be ending for the season in two weeks – eek!  I’ve tried out so many different varieties of tomatoes, apples, and random greens that withdrawal is rather likely at this point.   A few weeks ago, Mark at Chocolates and Tomatoes (yep, still obsessed with the awesomeness of the name) tossed me the LARGEST sweet potato ever.  Not even joking, this beast was the size of my arm from wrist to elbow – total insanity.  He also challenged me to do something different with it, which really got me thinking.  It also had me asking around the office for ideas as I’ve already done a lot with sweet potatoes.  In the end, it was a suggestion from a coworker to do a sweet potato bread that had me thinking about drop biscuits.  Some quick googling gave me great information about all the different types of biscuits and with I decided to go with a quick rise drop biscuit – mostly because rolling dough is just never a good idea for me.

Walk it

Serves: Yields around 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb sweet potato, quartered and peeled
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil along with the quartered sweet potato. Cook until potato is soft, then drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Preheat oven to 425
  3. In a medium bowl sift together the flour and baking powder, cut in the sweet potato using two knives. The dough should form pea sized balls.
  4. Form a well in the middle, and pour the milk in to the well quickly mixing in the dry ingredients until just wet.
  5. Drop a walnut sized amount of dough on to cookie sheet and repeat to form 12 biscuits. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool on pan for a few minutes before removing to a rack. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/10/walk-it.html

The sweet potato I was gifted actually produced three times what I needed for this recipe, so the rest of the puree was frozen and used to make sweet potato gnocci.   As for the milk in the recipe, if using dairy based be sure to use whole or 2% – while for non-dairy a full fat coconut or almond milk marked “plain” will work the best.  I hesitate to suggest soy milk due the lack of fat, which is the same reason I would avoid a 1% or skim milk.

Life is a

Potato Corn Chowder

potato_corn_chowder

I first started to “really” cook when I was in college, thanks to the lack of a meal plan and a dorm room that included a full kitchen.  Most of my dishes were the results of experiments, tossing various ingredients in to a pot to see if the results were edible.  Then I started getting serious, picking up recipe books in the clearance department of Barnes and Noble and using those as the basis for continued experiments.  One such clearance book was all about using canned vegetables – and for a fair amount of time I was convinced that the potato chowder in that book was the be all, end all potato corn chowder recipe.  Then I left college, went up north, and realized what potato chowder really was.  Which is why this is the perfect recipe for /r/52weeksofcooking “screw ups revisited” challenge.  Once I had real chowder, I cut the cord on the recipe which required, no joke, 7 different cans.  It wasn’t horrible by any stretch, but it wasn’t good and the sodium level was insane.  My first attempts to improve this dish involved me switching out some of the cans for fresh ingredients, replacing more and more as my skill level increased.  As a bonus, the recipe wound up being dairy free as well as gluten free.

Potato Corn Chowder

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 butter potatoes, partially skinned and quartered (about 2.5 lbs)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (plus extra just in case)
  • 1 cup corn off the cob
  • 2 tbsp plain Greek Yogurt (I used So Delicious Coconut milk plain)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 10 minutes before adding the spices. Cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, allowing the potatoes to slight brown. Then pour in the stock and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, then turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, adding more stock as needed.
  4. Add in the corn, then stir in the yogurt. Cook for a final 5 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/10/life-is-a.html

I’m sure this recipe will continue to evolve, but thrilled to say that my potato corn chowder is no longer a canned screw up.   This recipe can also be easily adapted for the slow cooker, just cook the onion and garlic in advance then toss everything in on low for 7 hours.  This chowder can also easily transition to a sweet potato corn chowder by swapping out the potatoes – for a real treat add some curry powder for a samosa like taste!

ABC

Apple Basil Cake

Apple Basil Cake

Welcome to my Secret Recipe Club post for October!  This month I was sent over to LeAndra’s Love and Flour  – a blogger with a taste for the sweeter things in life.  For a hot moment I debated trying one of her many savory treats, but then realized that would be cheating and so I happily went off to explore all the potential treats.  I was immediately drawn to her Apple Basil Cake, featuring seasonal apples and fresh basil it was an easy pick.  Though her cheescake muffins with homemade vanilla wafers deserves an honorable mention as they look insanely delicious and easy – after all she calls them a “cheatcake” which is one of the best nicknames ever.   The only change I made to the recipe was switching the Granny Smiths for Crispins as that’s what my farmer’s market had, which is a taste preference as either apple (or my usual favorite Pink Lady) would be perfect for this cake.

ABC

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp packed basil (used a mix of sweet and Italian)
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups Pink Lady apples, diced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and basil in a medium-size bowl and set aside. Beat the oil and sugar together on low speed until mixed.
  3. Increase to medium speed and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 7 minutes.
  4. Return to low speed and slowly add the flour mixture until blended, then fold in the apples.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased 10-inch bundt pan and bake for 65-75 minutes, testing with a toothpick in the middle of the ring.

Notes

I've been switching to longer beating times following a recipe of "Mind of the Chef" and so far it seems to result in a lighter batter!

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/10/abc.html

I brought this cake over to a family lunch gathering where it was a MASSIVE hit with only one slice making it back to our house.  I skipped the glaze for fear of it not traveling well and simply topped it with some powdered sugar as an easy cheat.  The apples were crisp and the basil provided the perfect contrast to the sweetness resulting in perfection.   We served the cake as dessert, but would also make a great treat for a brunch or tea as the sweetness is  (thankfully) not the dominant feature of the cake.  All of the apples came from Pong’s Orchard which is owned and operated by one of the sweetest families ever – I’m going to be beyond sad when our market ends in a few weeks.

I’m also sending this over to /52weeksofcooking for their apple challenge as a replacement for the mulligatawny soup that I made and never photographed.  This is a cake that deserves to be shared and loved by as many people as possible – but what do you expect when it comes from a blog named LOVE and Flour!

I’ll be Gone

Life as it currently is – not really the easiest thing to sum up.  I mentioned about a month ago that things had been a bit rough, and have been trying to figure out the best way to word it.  I try to keep things separate on the blog knowing that most people come here to read about tasty treats and not infertility.  So for those of you looking for veggie dishes – check back on Thursday.  For those of you that want to be caught up on Operation Impregnation – please stick around!

Part 1 Part 2 of the journey

Our second mini-IVF was a disaster, plain and simple, as we were left with no transferable embryos.  This left us with the one frozen blast from the first mini-IVF (aka IVF #2) – which was nicknamed Frostie.  In early July I began the medication needed to prep my body for Frostie, maxing out our pharmacy coverage for all future IVF treatments.  Frostie was transferred and within days I was getting positive pregnancy tests.  After the previous disappointments I decided to keep this one to myself, counting down the days until what I knew would be a positive BETA.  Then disaster struck, on the Thursday evening before my BETA I felt a sheering sensation on my left side and knew that it was over, that Frostie was gone.  The test on Monday confirmed my fears, my blood results were so low as for the cycle to be considered a fail – but the multiple positive HPTs were enough to convince my nurse to record it as a CP.  The loss of our last embryo was devastating, the only thing keeping me from the deep end (outside of husband and family) was an upcoming vacation to my favorite gaming convention.  Most of the people there were familiar with our situation and so I was welcome with open arms – outside of those filled with alcohol (Caramel Appletini) and caffeinated beverages.  This trip gave me time to recover while a weekend away with my better half helped us both to heal, and to begin talking about next steps.  The next cycle was a break cycle, no appointments and just a refocusing on the important things in life. We began researching adoptions and further investigated donor eggs.

When we first began this journey I was more than a little opposed to donor eggs – it made so much more sense to me to adopt.  Then I realized how difficult adoptions are, especially non-foster based domestic adoption.  After being turned down by three adoption agencies due to religion, and accepting that our under-30 status took international adopts off the table, we went back to talking about donor eggs.  Joe had always been open to the idea, assuming I was willing to take the risk.  With donor eggs, I take the same medication as with the FET cycle and then have a transfer on either day 3 or 5 (as with a standard IVF).  However since we’ve had at least 4CPs there is no way to guarantee that a donor egg will create a sticky embryo.  While all tests have come back negative for any likely disorder causing miscarriages, there is still the small chance that something is wrong and my body is unable to carry.   Thankfully we live near Shady Grove Fertility which offers a Shared Risk/Shared Donor program – which is what we have decided to go with.  Under this program we will pay a set amount of money and will then have up to 6 transfers.  If during that time we go home with a baby, Mazel Tov!  The journey is over.  However if after 6 transfers we are still babyless we get all the money back – and we’ll be at least 6 months closer to hitting 30 and thus eligible for international adoption.

So where are we at this moment?  Currently we are waiting to check off our final box on the egg donation form.  Then, depending on timing, I’ll either start the medication or take the cycle off and start the medication in November.  Once I’ve started medication, transfer will be scheduled for 4 – 6 weeks out depending on where the donor and other recipients are in their cycles.   The average rate of cycles is 3.2 so while we can hope and pray that the first one is the winner, we realize that we are just at the starting point for this journey and it could be another year (or more) before we reach the end.

That’s it – or at least that’s it for now.  For those of you that made it to the end – Thank You.  I first started posting about our IF journey a little over a year ago, when we had our first BETA confirmed miscarriage.  It’s been a rough year, with two more miscarriages added to the tally  - along with lots of medication and tears.  I’m still hopeful that at some point we will be parents, be it thru donor eggs or adoption, it’s just taking much longer than I ever thought.

Hold at Night

Black Beans and Rice

Black Beans and Rice

I though fall had arrived – last week the air had that familiar crispness to it and the humidity was starting to drop to a more tolerable level.  However it appears that Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to say good-bye to the warmer temperatures making me glad I was lazy in leaving my tomato plants outside “just in case”.   This resulted in a few more cherry tomatoes, and another jalapeno – all of which joined together to make today’s delicious dinner.   The other ingredients are all pantry staples, which means the dish came together in record time which was another bonus since things were a bit insane towards the end of last week (eek Holiday cleaning!!!!).   I was able to toss everything together and let it cook while I attempted to knock a few more rooms off my seemingly never ending cleaning list.

Hold at Night

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups black beans, presoaked and well rinsed
  • 1 cup brown rice (presoaked and well rinsed if needed)
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely torn
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, then add the spices. Toss well and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the black beans, rice, and vegetable stock - bring to a quick boil then cover and turn heat to low. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  3. Stir in the basil leaves along with the tomatoes then season to taste with salt, pepper, or more chili powder!
  4. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/hold-at-night.html

Just another meal justifying my love for beans and rice – such basic ingredients that can be tweaked in so many different way to create the perfect meal.  We both topped ours with some “pico de guac”, recipe for which will be up later this week!  Joe also grabbed some chips to go with his while I decided to go with some extra tomatoes, either option being perfectly acceptable!