Tuesday, March 15, 2011

College Tour

Trevor, my 17 year old Junior at MacArthur High School, isn't sure where he wants to go to college next year. So, later on today we are leaving to visit 8 schools in four days. We are going to Harding University, John Brown University, Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University, Baylor University, and Texas Christian University. Did I miss any? What college would you recommend? We are looking for a smaller college of Christian persausion. He needs a good strong church nearby that he can be on the worship team (he plays cello) and a place that is academically strong. Know of one?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brrrrrrrrr!!!!!!! Big dose of global warming.

Friday it was 78 degrees. Saturday it was 74 degrees. Today the high was 20 degrees. It has rained, sleeted and snowed today so no school and no work. So we have had a family day... inside, warm and cozy. It is supposed to be 7 degrees tonight. 7. North Texas is not supposed to be this cold. It's supposed to be above freezing on Friday...can't wait.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Potager Cafe

I started my first internship for culinary school by working at Potager Cafe in Arlington. What a cool place. They genuinely care about the people they serve and the food they make. They buy food directly from local farmers and ranchers. They take that food and prepare it such a way that it brings out the flavor without killing the nutrition.

Come by and eat. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Saw An Angel

First of all, let me tell you I am a sane person. I do not have nor have I ever had a mental disorder that would cause me to make up stuff or see stuff that isn't really there. Just thought you would want to know. Now here is my story:

When I was 16 years old, my family went to Tennessee to visit extended family during the Christmas Break. On one occasion we went and picked up pecans but many had not yet fallen. So being the adventurous sort, I climbed up into the tree and was shaking limbs by stomping them, causing the pecans to fall. I was about 40 feet up when one limb I stomped on broke...now here is where it gets interesting.

I started falling and saw white feathers. I landed straddling a branch about 20 feet below and a 1/4 turn around the tree without a scratch and not singing soprano the rest of my life. I remember looking up and seeing the limb I was standing on dangling and wondering what just happened. I climbed down out of the tree and knew something significant happened but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I never really talked about the experience until about 15 years ago because I thought people would think I was "kookoo for cocoa puffs" if I talked about it. But it was the first time I knew God loved me and cared about me in a tangible way. It made me feel special, that God cared about me enough to not let me die or be horribly injured. I can't explain why I was spared while others were allowed to have gravity take over and splat on the ground. I just know that God saved me that day and I am grateful.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What Every Kitchen Should Have

After cooking at a professional kitchen at school and my own (very well equipped) kitchen at home, I decided to write a list of what gadgets, utensils and equipment kitchens should have in order to cook meals regularly. I cooked in several ill equipped kitchens last year of relatives and if they would just get the basics, cooking would be so much easier and enjoyable. Compare your list to mine and see how you come out.

The MUST HAVES (the minimum):

Four burner cook top (gas preferred) All four should work properly.
Single oven (electric preferred) Double Oven preferred
Stand Mixer (Kitchen Aid is awfully nice)
Microwave oven
Canisters to hold flour and sugar (at least 1/2 gallon)
Automatic dishwasher
Can Opener
2 compartment sink
Two 12 inch saute' pan (Non Stick)
Two Stainless Steel Skillets ( 9" and 12")
2 quart saucepan
1 1/2 quart saucepan
1 quart saucepan
Dutch Oven (1 gallon)
Stock Pot (2 gallon)
2 cookie sheets
2 muffin pans
2 Pyrex glass 2-quart Baking dishes
2 9" X 13" Pyrex glass baking dish
1 9" X 13" Baking pan
2 pie plates (12")
2 12" cooking racks
1 set of measuring cups
1 set of measuring spoons
1 Pyrex measuring cup (1 cup)
1 Pyrex measuring bowl (4 cup)
1 Pyrex measuring bowl (2 quart)
2 mixing bowls
3 2-quart Serving bowls
Roasting pan
Vegetable Peeler
Chef's knife (French knife)
Paring knife
Bread knife
Utility knife (8")
Santoku knife (7")
Butcher knife
Melon Baller
Cook's Fork
4 Spatulas (Use plastic Spatula on nonstick cookware)
2 Rubber Spatulas
2 slotted spoons
2 solid spoons
2 Wire Whips
Cheese Grater
Wire Mesh Skimmer
Bench Scrapper
Pie Server
2 Ladles
Meat Thermometer
Digital scale
Electric Mixer
12 piece table setting (plates, bowls, drinking glasses, forks, knives, steak knives, spoons, saucers)

Food to always have on hand:

All Purpose Flour
White Sugar
Brown Sugar
Bread Crumbs
All the spices (get small containers of less used spices)
Cocoa Powder
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Cooking Spray
Olive Oil
Vegetable Oil
Fresh Vegetables
Fresh Fruits
Cream Cheese
Red and White Wine (for Cooking)
Canned Tomatoes
Chicken Broth
Beef Broth
Dijon Mustard
Worcestershire Sauce
Hot sauce (Franks or Tabasco)
Parmesan Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Monterrey Jack Cheese
Cream of Chicken soup
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Spaghetti Sauce
Dried Pasta (Spaghetti, Penne, Farfalle)

Can you think of anything I left out? Anything you can't live without in the kitchen that I left out? Compare what you have in your kitchen to this basic list. How did you come out?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cream Cheese Pie with Sour Cream Topping

Yesterday, the bake shop gave the basic cooking class two pies in exchange for our Cream of Broccoli Soup and Cream of Mushroom Soup. We got the better end of the trade, by far. The pie is awesome, easy and, if you use low fat cream cheese and low fat sour cream, only 75 calories per slice. WHAT!!???!! Yes, I said 75 calories per slice. That's like eating broccoli its so healthy. WHAT UP!

It was so good, I asked the teacher for the recipe and it is so easy even a trained monkey could make it. You probably have the ingredients in the fridge right now. Take this pie to a pot luck (keep the other for yourself) and it will disappear faster than your kids disappear when it is chore time.

Cream Cheese Pie with Sour Cream Topping (makes two pies)

Pre-made Graham Cracker Crust
24 oz Cream Cheese
8 oz Sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Mix the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth.
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Pour into the graham cracker crust.
Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes.
Top pie with Sour Cream topping and bake an additional 5-10 minutes to set the topping.
Show some self discipline and let it cool or refrigerate until cold before digging in. If your monkey made this pie, give him a piece of pie to reward him for his hard work.


Crumb Pie Recipe

The bake shop at ElCentro College has a bake sale every Friday. I bought a crumb pie for two dollars because nothing else really appealed to me. I brought it home and my family devoured it. It was one of the best tasting "pies" I have eaten. So I asked the baking teacher if I could get the recipe from her and she happily made a copy for me. So here it is:


Crumb Topping:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbl (3/4 of a stick) unsalted butter at room temperature

2/3 boiling water
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs

1 frozen pie shell, thawed at least 20 minutes

Preheat the oven to 450 F.
To make the topping, in a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, using a whisk or fork. Cut the butter into several pieces and drop them into the bowl. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, blend the butter into the flour until their are no visible pieces of butter and the mixture resembles coarse, dry crumbs. Set aside.

To make the filling, in a medium bowl, whisk together the boiling water and brown sugar. Add the baking soda and whisk until well incorporated. Add the eggs and whisk well. The mixture will be quite thin. Pour into the pie shell and sprinkle evenly with the topping.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer. As the pie bakes, it will puff dramatically and the crumb surface will crack. It is done when you insert a knife into one of the cracks and it comes out clean. Cool for one hour before serving. There won't be much left after people taste this pie so get a big piece first.