Good morning! Here I am starting a new blogging adventure! I used to blog frequently when my children were small but as they have grown we have gotten busier and I have spent quite a bit of time driving places and not writing.
I am Karen. Mid forties, mom to two, wife to one, 3 pets, a Diet Coke habit, and a messy house. Most of the time I don’t ask to talk to the manager unless it is really necessary. And c’mon, if you are not asking for the manager are you really living?
Over the years I have thought a lot about what I would like to do with my life. I have taught college classes for 10 years but the college I was teaching at closed in Tennessee. I have been subbing for 5 years…always an adventure and I have just started my third year as an instructional coordinator for a non profit. I love to travel and to share my finds with my friends, friends who have said I should either be a tour guide or open a bakery. Well, my daughter thinks I should open a bakery. So here I am sharing our adventuring with you!
I am hoping to just basically share life with you. My family is in the Nashville area so many of the things I post will be about the general area. It is the “It City” at the moment. However, we do love to travel so I will share the weird and fun things we find along the way.
I hope you will enjoy adventuring along with me!
This week’s adventure in baking is a tart! But not just an ordinary tart, Stephanie’s Bakewell Tart. It has a tart shell crust (I cheated and used a store bought crust), a rounded cup of raspberry jam, and a almond flour cake top. The sliced almonds are optional and so is the glaze.
A few months ago Koegel came to my area. My mom asked me to go get her some hot dogs from there because they are her favorite. While I was in line I saw they had Amish made jam from Michigan. It happened to be the town my grandparents were from so when I saw that I almost burst into tears right there in the hot dog line. Was it from the Amish farm across the road from my grandparents? I don’t know, but I did know I wanted to use it for something special. Along came this tart and wa-lah.
We’ve already established that my hubs doesn’t like cooked fruit. I didn’t tell him anything about this tart except that it was from Baking with Dorie. I pulled it out of the oven and he said “that smells like cooked fruit”. Stinker.
I liked this tart, my son liked it. I took it to share with friends at dinner last night. If you would like to see how other bakers liked this tart check out Tuesdays with Dorie!
Here we are at the beginning of a new year. The Christmas tree is down, everything is put away…wait, are those lights I see? Well, everything isn’t put away yet partially because we have all been sick for the last week. But, yesterday I was feeling better and feeling very motivated to get back in the kitchen.
I was able to knock these Grain and Seed Muffins out quickly yesterday morning. I was very proud of myself and then realized I forgot the brown sugar. In my defense there are several ingredients I don’t normally have…and apparently I was still not thinking totally clearly. 😉 When my hub, drawn my the delicious aroma, came to the kitchen and asked me what kind they were I said “seed muffins” and waited to tell him they had cranberries until he was about to eat one. He commented that they were good but not very sweet which is when I admitted to the accidentally omitted brown sugar. They did also include maple syrup though so there was not a complete lack of sweetness.
I also made dough for two different kinds of cookies, roasted veggies for Butternut Squash Soup, and made Cheese Puffers to go with the soup but those are for another post.
In the meantime, check out the muffins baked by the other TWD bakers! If you’d like to bake along pick up Dorie’s “Baking with Dorie” cookbook!
It has been a week of baking! I made this Apple Pandowdy a couple of nights ago for dessert. I loved it, but I love apple desserts. My son loved it. My hubs made a face. *Sigh* cooked fruit…. However, he liked the design on top a lot.
I know, not a pretty picture. Apple Pandowdy is a bottom crustless apple dessert with scraps of dough for the top. One person did beautiful fall leaves, others cut triangles. Clearly, I needed something to make my hubs take a second look. This did not cook down much and the apples stayed kind of firm which was lovely.
Last night I tuned in for the release of “Tell the Bees I’m Gone”, Diana Gabaldon’s newest book in the Outlander series. If you are a fan you know how very exciting this was! It was so fun to see the interview, hear an excerpt from the ebook, and see a cooking demo with Teresa Carle-Sanders, the author of Outlander Kitchen. Her demo was of Apple Pandowdy but it was spelled differently. She mentioned that it was rumored that Apple Pandowdy was a favorite of Abigail Adams. Teresa said Abigail would probably have used Newtown Pippin Apples to make her version. It was fun to see a different variation on the dessert I happened to be making for this week.
We bake the two Tuesdays a month from Everyday Dorie. Check out Tuesdays with Dorie for other baker’s take on this recipe!
Ok, I really don’t run like the wind at all but I did do the Nashville Rock and Roll 5K on a whim on Saturday.
Way back in 2013 I ran/walked the Half Marathon. For that one I trained with my neighborhood running group and completed it in three hours and twenty minutes. I was going for three hours but it rained the entire time, was 40 degrees, and about mile ten my calves cramped like they never had before. By the end of it I had an injury to my foot and decided I was never running again. Well, time went by, the injury healed, and I started walking again. I am really consistent for awhile and then drop off. For two summers, including the year which must not be named(2020), I did water aerobics with the best neighborhood ladies around. We all talked about getting together to walk and do indoor exercise but that has, unfortunately, not been able to happen.
In August of 2020 virtual runs/walks started popping up in my social media feed and the one that caught my attention was the Music City Rock and Roll 32 mile virtual run. I needed to complete 32 miles in the month of August. I would get a medal, a t-shirt, a hat, and a lovely mask, so I signed up. Then I signed up for the Nashville Sounds virtual race, Gordy’s Pumpkin Run, the Ostomy 5k Awareness run, and the 2020 Dumpster Fire 20 miles in 20 days race. My sister also convinced me and several friends to sign up for the Oregon Trail Challenge where we shared the miles to complete the challenge.
At some point during this time I injured my shoulder. I remember feeling a distinctive pop while cleaning my shower and could barely lift my arm. I suffered with it for awhile and finally went to an orthopedic doctor to get it checked out. Now, I am not a small woman…I am a short woman but not small. The first thing out of that doctors mouth was “Are you diabetic? You probably have frozen shoulder because that happens to diabetics a lot.” I was stunned that he didn’t ask about anything else like exercise, activities I may have done to injure my shoulder, nothing. I informed him that I had just had bloodwork done at my regular doctor and that I wasn’t diabetic, not even prediabetic. He offered a shot in my shoulder or if I wanted I could go get an MRI but he didn’t seem to think I needed to go that route. He didn’t even listen when I told him where it hurt and injected my shoulder on the opposite side. Insert *huge* eyeroll here as it is extremely frustrating when doctors refuse to treat you, or hear you when you are not the ideal body shape. All that to say I was still exercising during this time.
Then November 2020 hit…dun, dun, dun…… and I got covid. My husband got it first, my son and I started showing symptoms two days after hubs. It lasted about a week for us, we all quarantined the fourteen days. My daughter stayed with my parents and we ate Thanksgiving dinner together via zoom. All three of us lost taste and smell. Hubs despises vinegar so when he was able to stick his nose right next to the bottle he knew he had lost smell. I was eating nachos and I thought I just got an extremely salty bag of tortilla chips but alas that was me losing my senses. Both of the boys got over it and were completely fine. I regained my sense of smell quickly however, for months, I could smell smoke. I thought I was going crazy! I finally found a group on social media dedicated to phantosomia and realized I wasn’t alone. Of all the smells smoke is the worst to me! Thankfully over the last few months that has petered out.
After all of that I once again fell of the consistent exercise bandwagon. While not consistent when I do go walk, I walk at least a mile – three miles. I have done more virtual 5k’s with my family. The last month I have been trying to get out more and have added in some YouTube videos as well.
This all leads to this weekend. A sweet college kiddo that is here from California texted and asked if I could give him a ride to the race on Saturday. I was downtown with my parents Friday and thought since I was going to be there Saturday anyway I should sign up and do the race as well. So, I did. The kiddo that I took to the race completed the 5k in about twenty minutes. I was so thankful he walked a little way back to cheer me on. My mile lately has been about 18 minutes so I was pleased to finish in 53:15. 16:53 a minutes. Being in an actual race with the excitement, the bands, the people cheering us on was so fun! So, all that to say I don’t really run but I do walk kind of fast. Also, I am still paying for running a part of it today. Alas, I am not out there to win but to finish. If you get a chance get out and sign up for a race. Perhaps I’ll see you out there next time!
I realize, often, as I am writing these posts that I should cook earlier than the night before. That said, last night I made this recipe and took photos in the dark.
I used chicken thighs, didn’t brown them enough because I got impatient, and then didn’t think they would fit in the pan. A tagine is actually an earthenware type of pot that you cook the food in. I just looked them up and realized I could have purchased one at World Market the other day. Dorie suggests a Dutch oven if you don’t have a Tangine. I actually used my huge skillet and it was still a tight fit. But, it was shallower than a Dutch oven and I think that worked in my favor.
The chicken and acorn squash simmered for about 45 minutes and turned out, fall off the bone, tender. My hubs said it tasted fancy, in a good way. There were bright notes from the lemon, along with the deep flavor from the Garam Marsala. Since there are only three of us at home at the moment, and I made twelve thighs, the plan is to shred the rest of the chicken and mix it with some penne and lemon.
This was pretty easy, but did take a couple of hours to make. I think I would definitely make it again though!
Make sure to check out Cook the Books Fridays to see how other chefs liked this!
Just a small rant today. Yesterday, my mom and I made a 20 mile drive to go to World Market. You see they have the Bonne Maman Preserves Advent Calendar. Do I need this advent calendar? No, I do not. Do I want it so I can have little samples of jam and honey up to Christmas? Yes, I do. I checked online yesterday to make sure it was in stock before I drove down and they had lots of advent calendars but not the Bonne Maman. Is this the fault of the store? Nope. The lady I asked said she had put out a bunch and a man followed her as she was putting them out and bought them all. Last year these advent calendars were being resold for over $100. I don’t want to resell, I just want one for me so I can sample these to see if I want a full size for baking later in the year.
This makes me think of the Rae Dunn people that go to TJMaxx and buy all of the pottery as soon as it is placed to resell online. It also makes me think of the legal scalpers…I mean resellers on Ticketmaster that buy tickets and then jack the prices up. You people are terrible people.
I realize these are very much first world problems and nobody really cares but with the way prices are going anyway no one needs resellers making things even more difficult. What will be resold next? Eggs? Water?
On a happier note, I did order online so I will get my advent calendar in six to ten business days. I just really wanted to buy something in an actual store. Mom and I did have a delicious lunch at Champy’s Chicken and we, of course, bought a few other Christmas goodies from World Market we couldn’t leave without. So, it was not a fruitless shopping trip at all.
I’m feeling inspired. Maybe because the the weather is starting to cool off again, or maybe it is because Dorie’s new cookbook is out and I am excited to make all the things! Yesterday I dug out my dough hooks for my mixer… which I don’t think I have ever actually used, gave them a good wash and went to town on the dough. Well, I whipped up the dough after the power came back on in my neighborhood. For some reason, we have been losing power fairly frequently all of a sudden. When we moved to our neighborhood years ago the power would go out all of the time. We finally got a transformer upgrade (that must have been after the one behind our house blew up and took out power to just the middle of our house) and it hasn’t been nearly as bad until recently. Who knows, more traffic, more people taking out power poles due to staring at their phones instead of the road, etc…
ANYWAY, the dough for these was really easy to whip up and I was thrilled to see my dough hooks worked so well! Dorie cautions not to walk away while mixing as your mixer might decide to jump off the counter. While that didn’t happen it did seem like my mixer was possessed as it kept unlocking and relocking itself to mix the dough. I had never seem it do that before but I guess that is what happens when you use the dough hooks. I know, I know… look it up in the manual. Um, I have no idea where the manual might be for my mixer. It didn’t overheat and it didn’t release the magic blue smoke that so many of my small appliances seem to be prone to so I am taking a possessed mixer over broken any day.
Oh yes, English Muffins. These needed an hour rise time in a warm place covered with a clean kitchen towel. So I found one of my tea towels and set let the dough rise on top of my stove. They then needed to rest in the fridge for at least three hours. I discovered I didn’t have any eggs (not needed for this recipe) so while the dough was resting I went to the store.
Four Hours Later: I took the dough out deflated it and cut it up into twelve extremely uneven pieces, rolled them into balls, and let them rest for another hour on my toasty stove top. The boys had a fishing meeting so while they were gone I griddled the muffins, poked them with a fork, baked some bacon, and enjoyed a bacon, egg, and cheese English Muffin for dinner. When they got home all they had to do was make their eggs. My mom mentioned that she and dad would like to try them but I won’t see them until tomorrow and I have a feeling my hubs and son may finish them off before then. Sorry mom! I did just eat one with butter and orange marmalade as I have been writing.
These were not difficult to make but it was a long process. Next time I would make the dough and let them rest over night so I wouldn’t have as long to make them in the morning. We all enjoyed them and they were perfect for dinner and breakfast!
I’d love it if you baked along so go buy Dorie’s book Baking with Dorie. We bake from this book the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. You can check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers here. Also, you can check out a video of Dorie making her English Muffins here.
This weekend the family and I took a quick road trip to Atlanta for the Twenty One Pilots Takeover Tour. They have been playing several sized venues in the different cities that they visit and we were able to get tickets at the State Farm Arena on the last night of their Atlanta gigs. Our fam has been fans since the Blurry Face album and this concert did not disappoint.
Both of my kiddos love music but my daughter especially will go look up previous music and learn about the bands so we were able to listen to several albums on our drive. Both kids knew that Jay Joseph, who opened at the arena, is Tyler’s little brother. Bobby made the comment that Jay sounded a lot like Twenty One Pilots earlier music. We enjoyed seeing him open!
Our seats were up in the nosebleeds of the arena but we were facing the stage which was great. Hubs and I both looked at the mass of people in the pit, standing only area, and thought “no thanks”. Standing in a crowd like that seems like torture at this point in our lives! I mean, we are not 19 anymore moshing in the Warehouse at APU’s LollapAzusa (our Christian college answer to Lollapalooza) or shoegazing to Smashing Pumpkins at the Anaheim Pond. However, the superfan in the row in front of us probably wished she was down there. We were excited to be there, my kids were excited to be there, that girl’s enthusiasm was unmatched and it was a joy to behold.
Twenty One Pilots used to have four members but since 2011 has been Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn. For some of the songs they included a band that included violin, trumpet, accordion, bass, and guitar. Josh plays drums and occasional trumpet. Tyler plays piano and sings. Both perform various antics and costume changes throughout the show. I was so impressed by this concert! the lighting, the theatrics, but most of all the music and how they chose to perform their songs. There were several seamless medleys of songs, few songs that Tyler didn’t even sing because the crown sang them for him, and my favorite, a campfire on stage! The energy of being in a live arena venue was incredible. I did attempt to see Garth Brooks in Nashville with my son but our show got cancelled due to lightning and didn’t get rescheduled. People were excited there too but the energy of being smushed together in the breezeway to avoid being struck by lightning is far different than singing along with an arena crowd.
Once the concert was over we joined the massive hoard in our exit from the arena and I couldn’t help but think “this is how the zombie apocalypse starts, fitting that we are in Atlanta”. We were able to walk through Olympic Park to get back to our car that was parked about a quarter of a mile from the venue. While the parking situation in our big truck was a very tight fit we were pleasantly surprised to find we only had to pay $7! Parking next to the CNN area was $30-$40!
If you get a chance to see Twenty One Pilots I highly recommend seeing them. They put on an excellent show and you won’t be sorry!
I got my Baking with Dorie cookbook last week and got excited to jump back on the baking bandwagon!
Today is a recipe from Dorie’s Cookies. It was really easy to mix up and there were only a few ingredients. The most difficult part was chopping the almonds as the blade for my food processor is missing. Not to worry though I pulled out my handy dandy chopper from the Pampered Chef selling days and used some good ol’ muscle power. Full disclosure I made my hubs and son also take a turn chopping because our counter is a tiny bit tall for me.
Now you might be thinking ” what else could Karen mess up while making this easy recipe?” Well, I’ll tell you that putting 3 ozs of chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream in the microwave for an entire minute equals clumpy chocolate ganache. Round two using a double boiler method was much more effective. 🙂
Hubs first reaction after eating half a cookie was that the chocolate was bitter but sweeter as he got to the almonds and coconut. I used dark chocolate and should have gone for semisweet I think. My son said they were good. Hopefully they will eat them up because I can’t send them to youth group due to nut allergies. I ate the second half of hubs cookie and I really liked it. I really like macaroons though.
If you would like to join in the baking fun check out Tuesdays with Dorie and if you would like to see how other bakers cookies turned out go to this Tuesdays with Dorie link.
Dorie is back with her 14th beautiful, incredible cookbook. The Tuesdays with Dorie gang is baking through “Baking with Dorie” and have almost completed”Dorie’s Cookies”!
I was traveling last week but when I got home at one in the morning “Baking with Dorie” was waiting at my door on book release day! The first recipe Tuesdays with Dorie chose was Miso Maple Loaf Cake. As you can probably guess it has miso and maple in it.
The hardest part of this recipe was getting to the store to find white miso and an orange. I had all of the other ingredients on hand including maple syrup. The bake time was 55 minutes and by the time it was done my house smelled like fall. My family loved this cake so much half of it was gone before bed. My son was so proud because he wrapped the rest in plastic wrap and put it in a Ziploc so it wouldn’t get stale overnight. The rest was perfect for breakfast the next morning.
You should definitely buy Dorie’s cookbook and join in baking twice a month! Check out Tuesdays with Dorie so you can see how other bakers liked this recipe! It will be a grand baking adventure!
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