Thursday, September 9, 2010

Here, There, and Everywhere!

I apologize for my absence the past few weeks! Life has been nuts-o! It started with my good friend Jessica and I spending 5 glorious days at my favorite place on earth, Walt Disney World!

For those of you that know me, you know I could visit Disney every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it. I am that crazy person who takes multiple trips to Florida each year, and no, I don't have any children. My husband and I just love it! Since both of our husbands are in the midst of crazy Army schools, we thought we'd take a girls trip for a few days. It was a much needed break for both of us. Also, thanks to my fairy godmother as I call her, Jessica and I were able to try out the Segway tour. It was pretty amazing!

Upon returning from Florida, my parents were already here with Andrew waiting when I got home. They spent the holiday weekend and then headed home on Monday. Andrew was off Monday and Tuesday for the holiday so we spent those days just enjoying each other's company and running some errands. For the past two days now, I have been attempting to play catch up with my Master's class, cooking, cleaning, laundry and just about everything else!

I do have a few recipes to share with you though! I didn't try anything too elaborate, but I did try some new recipes.

I am always on a quest for the best pancake recipe I can find. I don't know that I have ever used the same recipe twice when it comes to pancakes. Some people love cookies, I love pancakes! I picked up some blueberries at the store so I figured I'd give the new blueberry cornmeal pancake recipe I found a try. Very good! I thought it was odd to put cornmeal in pancakes, but they were actually good in a different sort of way.

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Prep: 20 minutes Total: 40 minutes

Ingredients for 4-6 servings
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk (Since I didn't have buttermilk I mixed 2T white vinegar into 2 cups of milk)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
melted butter
1 cup fresh blueberries
maple syrup to serve
Whisk first six ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, and oil in medium bowl; add to dry ingredients and whisk to blend. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200F. Place baking sheet in oven. Preheat griddle or heavy large skillet over medium heat, brush with melted butter. Working in batches, spoon 1/2 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake. Sprinkle each with two tablespoons of blueberries. Cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to sheet in oven to keep warm. Serve with maple syrup.

The second recipe I'm sharing is one I made to bring to the USO this weekend. Because it was a holiday, the USO was pretty busy, and the soldiers always really appreciate homemade treats. I also like bringing goodies in there because they don't care how it tastes, they're just happy to have something homemade! ;)
Chocolate Chip and Pretzel Cookies
Adapted from Sugar Cooking
•1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
•1/2 tsp. of salt
•1/4 tsp. of baking soda
•1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
•1/2 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar
•1/3 cup of granulated sugar
•1 egg (beaten)
•1 tsp vanilla extract
•2 cup milk chocolate and white chocolate chips
•1/2 cup broken up pretzel pieces (I used closer to 3/4 cup.)

1.In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2.In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3.Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour. Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and preztels. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

4.Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. (I used my Silpat.) Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Leave about 2 inches between each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. If you prefer crispier cookies increase the baking time by 1-2 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.