Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Peanut Butter and Bacon...YUM

I decided to make some big peanut butter cookies as a gift. I found this recipe which seemed similar to what I've made in the past and I decided to try it out based on the word "giant" in the title.

Their suggested 1/4 cup dough made a really big cookie. It baked up very well but it was a little larger than I wanted. My regular cookie dough scooper was too small so I used my ice cream scoop to help shape the cookies. This made for the perfect size! Because I made them smaller I ended up with a lot more dough then the recipe estimate. I had baked up what I needed for the gift and still had enough left-over dough to add to some left-over bacon crumbles. The bacon and peanut butter and sweetness from the brown suger....yum, yum, yum!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas Recipe - December

Tim was lucky enough to get a great Christmas present from Melody this year - a monthly recipe that contains an interesting ingredient or combination of ingredients.

For December he received a recipe for Spicy Beetroot and Coconut Soup with herby yoghurt from the BBC Food channel and some fresh lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves.

We just happened to be getting Full Circle Farm back last week and make sure to order some nice organic beets, shallots, and a cucumber. We had most of the other ingredients in the pantry.

For the spice paste
  • lemongrass stalks
  • garlic cloves
  • 3 red chillies, deseeded if you don't want too much heat
  • 5cm/2in fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • lime, juice only

    So this paste was really super awesome smelling and made up into a thick paste that had a lot of flavor.
For the soup
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 banana shallots(or 4 round shallots), finely chopped
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 500g/1lb 2oz ready cooked beetroot (not the kind prepared with vinegar), chopped
  • 600ml/1 pint vegetable stock
  • 400ml/14fl oz can coconut milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

    So we used fresh beets - we weren't quite sure how many beets are in a can and I'm afraid we might have over estimated the amount.
For the herby yoghurt
As you can see our soup was not pink but bright red! It was earthy (as beets are) and the lemon grass-lime-chili paste flavors along with the coconut milk were muted. If we were to make this exact soup again we wouldn't use as many beets. After a few tastes of the thick redness we were struck that the same lemon-grass spice paste would taste really good with squash so if we make this again we would probably try that out instead of with beets.

The yogurt-cucumber mixture didn't do anything to enhance the taste – in fact it might have detracted from it. We didn't have any fresh mint so that might have made the difference. I think just the plain yogurt or maybe some sour cream would taste better.

So for January, Melody gave Tim some Heirloom Bhutan Red Rice and a recipe for stuffed we'll have to coordinate ingredients in the next food box!

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year's Day Walk - Douglas Zipline

We often walk the treadwell trail back to where the has their zipline. At the end of the trail they have buit a road that looks like it goes straight up the mountain side - alot more steep then this picture shows! So on New Year's Day of this year we decided to brave the hike. It has been in the 40s with some rain on top of about 3 feet of snow. Most of the main road are clear but some of the trails and side streets are ice covered with rain water on top. 

So on New Year's Day of this year we decided to brave the hike. It has been in the 40s with some rain on top of about 3 feet of snow. Most of the main road are clear but some of the trails and side streets are ice covered with rain water on top. 

Boy am I glad for rubber boots and Microcleats!


After a short rise we came to the first of many old remnants from the Treadwell Mine area. According to their website this is the ruions of the original mine refinery, where millions of dollars of molten gold was poured into ingot molds. thus the bars of the windows!

…and now only the home to Sitka spruce and Hemlocks!

We traveled up higher on the trail and came across a couple of small bridges as well as the main area for the zipline platforms. It was pretty icy so were glad of the handrails on this elevated walkway.

You can see where the treadwell ditch comes in and flows into Bullion Creek.

One thing that we noticed immediately is that there aren't any railings on the zipping platforms! In this case, everyone is a tree hugger!

Interesting trail - we'll come back when the walking conditions are a little better and we can explore more!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

December in Anchorage

It has become an annual affair to get together with my two sisters and some of the nieces for a December weekend. It began as a cookie baking weekend until last year when it got a little out of hand and we ended up with about 20 varieties of cookies - some double batched. So this year we but an embargo on butter and sugar and turned from bakers to makers. We did make a few batches of cookies, what kind of Ohlsen-girls would we be without some goodies for the cookie jar, but the batches were limited to just a few varieties.

The Valentine girls have a lot of art supplies and a couple of trips to Joann's increased the inventory with specific items we lacked. 

Button Stash Trees
Beginning with a large button gradually decrease the button size to create a tree complete with a little star at the top. We started out with green buttons and then quickly begin using other color pallets. We also thought these would make cute zipper pulls using small buttons.

Punched paper ornaments
We eventually got an assembly line going with a paper puncher, a awl hole maker, an assembler of bead on pin and pushed through the paper, one who actually planned and placed the pins on the styrofoam ball, and ending with the bow/hanger installer complete with glue gun. We experimented with different colored beads and with ribbon. 

Other paper activities included making gift tags and some other paper ornaments. Over the weekend some knitting and crocheting projects were accomplished. 

Great weekend hanging out together, limiting our dishwashing of cookie sheets to just a few times, and just being together!