Wednesday, June 26, 2013

MIB: Homemade Jolly Rancher Lollipops

Finished Product: Homemade Jolly Rancher Lollipops
What do you do when your kid says “Mom, I’m bored”?  Feed them sugar.  That will get them going for certain.   Or… head to the kitchen and cook together.  Try making these Jolly Rancher lollipops.  Yes, there are Jolly Rancher lollipops but with this version, you can taste up to three different flavors at once!

Travis’ third grade class did a SYB (strain your brain) project this year.  His classmate, Chloe, chose this project (in case you were wondering, Travis compared facts about the states that he has visited).  

Happy Birthday Camilla and Happy Anniversary Jen and Michael!

Place the candies on the parchment paper
1.      Jolly Rancher candies
2.      Lollipop sticks
3.      Aluminum foil
4.      Parchment paper
5.      Non-stick cooking spray, like Pam

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with foil and add parchment paper on top, spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.  Unwrap Jolly Ranchers and lay the candy on the parchment.  The candies should touch.
The candies are melted after 7-8 minutes. 
Insert the sticks into the candy before it hardens.
Bake for about 7-8 minutes, keeping a close eye on them, remove from oven when they are melting together but be careful not to leave them too long.  If you cook them too long, the candies melt into a very flat lollipop and it will break easily when licking it. 

Place the lollipop stick on top so that it is three quarters of the way through the candies.  Twist the stick gently so that the candy surrounds the stick and the stick sinks into the middle of the melted candies.  Let them set at room temperature about 10 minutes to harden.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Edamame Salad

The other night, Krista made breakfast for dinner which included sunny side up eggs (note: a dish which I don’t make because I have not acquired a taste for warm eggs that are still runny coupled with my fear of undercooking food.)  Her son, Daniel, tasted the eggs and said “Mom, these are SO good!  Did you get the recipe from Mrs. Mann?”  To that I say “Daniel, when you get exiled from your home for thinking that your mom needs a recipe for sunny side up eggs, you are always welcome to come and live here.” 

Krista served this salad one night for a dinner party.  I have been asking for the recipe for weeks and I think she finally got tired of my nagging.  You will be glad that I am good at that (nagging).  It’s a unique mix of lettuces and vegetables with the crunch from the soy nuts and the kick of the cayenne in the salad dressing.

Edamame Salad
1.      5 leaves romaine lettuce
2.      4 oz mesclun or spring mix
3.      1 ½ cups (8 oz) shelled edamame 
4.      1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
5.      1/4 t coarse sea salt
6.      1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
7.      2 T balsamic vinegar
8.      3/4 t fresh thyme leaves
9.      1/4 t cayenne pepper
10.  1/4 t fresh ground pepper
11.  Handful of soy nuts

Stack romaine leaves on work surface and with sharp knife shred them and place in salad bowl. Add the mesclun/spring mix, edamame, tomato halves. Sprinkle with salt.

In jar, whisk/shake olive oil, vinegar, thyme, cayenne, black pepper.

Pour dressing over salad and toss. Sprinkle in the soy nuts.
Be careful on the dressing if serving to kids/sensitive palettes.  The cayenne can be strong (but delicious!)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Peach Dumplings

For all the times that you don't do (fill in the blank here), today is the day to celebrate all the things that you do so well.   Who else achieves rock star status every night when you walk through the door and the crowd of 3 roars: "Daddy!"?  Who else can get a kid who "doesn't want to talk about it" to open up just before he falls asleep?  Who else can make the car erupt in laughter with your rendition of fake throwing up? Who else has the patience to take 3 little kids up a ski lift by himself? Who else gives up many of his Sunday afternoons for a few holes of golf with the kids in between driving the golf cart, getting drinks and Goldfish at the snack shop, and fishing?  Who else makes a last minute run to the grocery store before a round of golf to buy eggs in order to “de-crabby” his wife who has the ability to lose perspective at times? 

For all the things that you don't do or that you do that can drive me crazy, I am thankful for ALL that you do for our kids and for me. Happy Father's Day, David!!

And a Happy Father's Day to all the dads, granddads, uncles and men who are role models and who give love to the little people in your lives.

On your day, let’s eat dessert (your favorite part of the meal – ha!).  These peach dumplings (recipe from Dori Sanders and featured in Southern Living) are a fun alternative to peach pie and perfect during summer months with delicious, juicy fresh peaches.

Peach Dumplings
1.      1 package (14.1 oz) refrigerated pie crusts
2.      4 peaches, peeled and sliced (or 20 oz frozen, slice peaches), approximately 2 cups
3.      ½ c sugar
4.      ¼ butter, melted
5.      1/8 t ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.

Unroll piecrusts on a lightly floured surface and rolle into a 10-inch circle.  Cut 5-6 (4 inch) circles from each crust.  Roll each circle into an approximately 5 ½ inch circle. 

Peel peaches and coarsely chop peach slices (about 2 cups).  Divide chopped peaches among dough, placing in center of each circle (about ¼ c per circle).  Pull dough over peaches and gather in center, pinching to seal and form a bundle.  Place in a lightly greased 11x7 inch baking dish.  Arrange remaining peaches around dumplings.

Stir together sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon and add ½ c water until blended.  Pour over dumplings and peaches.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes.  Serve with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.
This will make for a happy Daddy!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

MIB: Bowling

“Mom, I’m bored.”  Have you heard this one yet this summer?  I have so out comes my best Camp Mommy.  One of my favorite summer deals is the Summer Kids Club at 300 Dallas and the best part is that they have locations in other cities and states (Anaheim, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Long Island, New York, Pasadena, San Jose and Shady Grove).  Sign up online and kids 12 and under can bowl 2 games every day Sunday-Friday from open to 7pm with a shoe rental (@ $4.25).  Adults can buy into a similar program for $60 (covers you and 3 other adults). 

Love me a good deal – hope you enjoy it too!  Welcome to the MIB (Mom, I'm Bored) Summer Series by The Baker's Mann (some of which have nothing to do with cooking).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

When you exercise, do you find that your body craves “bad” foods less?  Even if it is all mental, I will take any help to encourage better eating.  But I am easily swayed.  David wanted to try Maple & Motor yesterday and I had been on the treadmill in the morning so it really didn’t sound all that appealing, however when I saw the burgers and cheese fries, all noble thoughts and intentions went out the window. 

For dinner, we returned to the noble eating.  This salad was torn from the pages of Better Homes and Gardens.  David and I had some of the best grilled corn one summer in Vermont, some guy with a giant grill on the side of the road.  He pulled an ear off the grill, tore off the husks, dipped the now exposed corn in a cast iron pot of melted butter and then sprinkled garlic salt on it.  Just thinking about it makes me need to hit a treadmill.    

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad
with Mustard Vinaigrette
1.      2-3 ears of fresh corn
2.      4 T extra-virgin olive oil
3.      2 T red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
4.      1 T Dijon mustard
5.      1 T garlic chives (or regular chives + 1 clove minced garlic)
6.      2 hearts of romaine lettuce
7.      1 C grape and/or pear tomatoes, quartered
8.      ¼ C (1 oz) feta cheese or crumbled ricotta salata

Soak the corn (husks and silks and all) in a large bowl of water for 1 hour.

To make the dressing, combine 3 T olive oil, 2 T red wine or sherry vinegar, 1 T Dijon mustard and 1 T garlic chives in a container with a lid – shake and mix well.

Fire up the grill on medium heat.  Place the corn directly on the heat for 25-30 minutes, turning and rearranging occasionally.  Once cooked and cooled, remove the husks and silks, then cut off the kernels.  Try using a Kuhn Rikon corn zipper.  Best gift ever – thanks Uncle Willy!!
The magazine grilled the romaine, I didn't.  If you choose to, grill a whole romaine heart for 2-3 minutes.  I simply cut my romaine into bite size pieces.  Combine the romaine, corn and tomatoes in a bowl.  Drizzle the vinaigrette and toss to coat.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer salad to a plate and top with cheese. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bruschetta with Peach, Prosciutto and Ricotta

Now that it’s summer, the kids are in the pool and I want/need to be nearby with an eye on the action.  It is a rarity to sit still for longer periods of time which gives me more time to flip through the stacks of magazines and catalogs that have piled up.  Williams-Sonoma has become quite clever with their catalogs and is publishing recipes to be made using their gear.  This recipe actually called for using a panini press.  I don’t have one so improvised with the grill but you could also broil in the oven.  The recipe sounded too good to keep me from making it!

Invite some friends over and serve this tasty dish as an appetizer (W-S actually made it as a sandwich).  No matter the size, its combination of sweet and salty and creamy = delicious. 

Happy Birthday Todd and a belated HB Carol!

Bruschetta with Peach, Prosciutto and Ricotta
1.      1/3 c balsamic vinegar
2.      Country style bread, sliced about ½” thick
3.      2 large peaches, pitted and sliced into 12 slices each
4.      6 T ricotta cheese
5.      3 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced
6.      1 ½ oz arugula
7.      Kosher salt

In a small saucepan, simmer the balsamic vinegar on medium until it is reduced in half, about 3-4 minutes.

Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil.  Grill or broil to lightly toast the bread. Grill or roast the peaches until both sides are marked. 

Spread ricotta cheese on the bread.  Divide prosciutto evenly and fold on top of the cheese.  Place a piece or 2 of arugula on top and then a peach slice.  Drizzle with the reduced vinegar (it is thick and sweet and tangy - yum!).  Sprinkle with a little salt and serve immediately.