Saturday, July 31, 2010

Crazy Bake, Beautiful Morning

Last night, once at work, we checked out the order book for Saturday. Craziness!! People had taped/stapled extra pages into the order book just to fit everything in! That is how busy it has been! Summer weekends on the islands are insane!
Dorian (our friend and fellow bread baker) made massive amounts of bread, B made more muffins and pastries than I've ever seen in one shift, and I rushed around like a chicken with my head cut off baking cookies, filling the case, and making tarts. I also made 15 pies, plus 3 more types of filling! Yikes!
Turns out we had so much to do that we were working for 9 hours straight! No breaks! Plus, I was literally sprinting between my work table, the ovens, and the walk-in fridge for the last couple of hours. I was downing the caffinated tea like nobodies business!

Once we were done (read "dead on our feet") we stopped and looked around at the sea of bread, pastries and cookies.

Damn, we're good! I can't believe how much stuff we baked!!!

That was definitely the longest shift I've worked at this bakery, and hopefully our longest shift of the year.

Did I mention that it was CRAZY?!

We were totally proud of ourselves, even through our delirium.

We finally got out of there, and hit up Medicine beach at about 6:30 am. It was pretty light out, as we hoped it would be. We came prepared with B's nice Nikon D5000.

Here are more beautiful shots than you probably want to look at. I just can't help myself!

The mist was stretching out little fingers everywhere today!

Then, we found this awesome log that had totally been underwater for a really long time.

There were all these hard shells from tube worm creatures.
No, that's not a cigarette butt!

The texture of the log was so cool! It just looked so oceany to us. We obviously were overly interested in it.
The light was changing so fast! It just kept getting prettier! I know it's a goofy thing to say, but sometimes these calm, still, beachy mornings feel kind of magical with the mist floating around all the little islets.
I am happy to report that I live in a beautiful place!

Just a heads up, I am going to try changing the name of my blog. Not sure if the site will let me, but just in case it works I wanted you to be warned! Now that I'm getting a feel for blogging, and what I want in my posts, I've realized that although I like Rowie on Pender Time it just doesn't give that foodie impression. We'll see how it all pans out.

Here is another thing I want to add to my blog. I read so many other blogs, and find so much that I want to try, that I have a hard time keeping up with it all. I'll be randomly posting links to other blogs cataloging recipes I want to (and hopefully actually will ) try. So here goes!

Fellow Foodie Bites
-Here is Glo Bakery, where I ordered my Glo bars. I need to keep this on hand for future ordering!
-I've been wanting to try wheat berries, and I found this great sounding salad!
-Homemade pickles anyone? It sounds so fun and easy!
-Enchiladas and lasagna in one?! Yes please!
-My dad used to make homemade crackers. This recipe looks fantastic!
-These super charge me cookies look like a great no-guilt snack!
-And finally, a no-bake lemony cheesecake. Sounds like a quick and easy, plate-licking recipe!

That's quite a list, I know! My stomach is telling me it's time for a snack, and I've got the last bit of casaba melon waiting for me in the fridge! It's calling to meee!

Do you end up with a long list of recipes you want to try? How do you keep track of all of them?

Pizza, Two Ways

Good afternoon, blog readers!

As you would expect I have a few days worth of food and pictures backed up again. Story of my life!

So back on Thursday my Mother-in-law made this flavorful dish for us called Keema. It is an Indian style recipe using ground lamb. She found it here.
With roasted sweet potatoes, rice and a salad it was a filling and mouthwatering meal!

This ended up being a late dinner, so B and I had to bolt it and run. We only got to watch half an episode of a show we just started watching called Chuck. We are starting from the beginning of the series, and it is so amazingly hilarious! It's about this guy Chuck who works at a Best Buy style store, and ends up with all of the governments craziest secrets downloaded into his brain. Funny, with some light action thrown in. Perfect to watch just before work.

Fresh fruit had arrived at the bakery for me again, so I went into tart mode. Here are some of the little beauties!

If you are wanting to make these, I posted the recipes a while ago, here.
I restrained myself from devouring all of these on the spot. My boss probably wouldn't have been very appreciative. I love making food look pretty, it's just so satisfying!

So after work I slept a very full 8 hours (which translates to about 9 hours, fyi) and woke up craving strawberries, probably because I was staring at strawberries for hours the night before! I decided to have my same oatmeal, chia seeds and cocao nibs, but this time I mixed in some Nutella and sliced strawberries for the top.
Probably not the most appetizing picture, in fact B described it as barf with strawberries on top, but you get the idea. Isn't he just the sweetest?! (that was sarcasm, in case it didn't come across on the screen ;p )

Yesterday was one of the laziest days B and I have had in a while. The in-law's were both in town, so the house was quiet and still. After sleeping in we both just hung out in our PJ's sipping our coffee/tea and read, or messed about with computer-y things. Not bad! We try to save ourselves for Friday nights at work because it's always such a long shift getting ready for the weekend.

Dinner was a simple one. B made two types of pizza from scratch, and I made a salad to go with it. The dough recipe is here, plus he added some chopped sage. Then he used bbq sauce on one, and tomato sauce on the other. The bbq pizza had sauted chicken, roasted garlic, and cheese. The tomato sauce pizza had sauted italian turkey sausage, tomato, asparagus, red onion, roasted garlic, and lots of cheese. They were so good! I took one slice of each, but B had to finish off 2/3 of my last piece.

The salad was just romaine with tomato, avocado, carrot, and mushroom. I used some of my sweet balsamic dressing on it. Just the right compliment to the pizza. We got in the other half-episode of Chuck while wolfing down pizza. Some day we'll get a relaxed meal to appreciate all this good food!

Then, it was off to work again!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lemon Poppyseed Sandwich Cookies

Remember the lemon poppyseed cookies I made at the bakery? Well, someone requested the recipe so here it is.

The actual dough is from the book Cookie Swap. I love this book! It has so many cute (and delicious) cookie ideas!
For my sandwich cookies I started with the dough from the book, and went from there.
Lemon Poppyseed Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients for the cookies:
2 1/4 C + 1 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 Tbsp poppyseeds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C unsalted butter, cold
3/4 C + 2 Tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixer. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix until fluffy.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, poppyseeds, baking powder, and salt.

Add egg to the butter/sugar and mix well. Add in the juice, zest and extracts, mix again.

Put the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet and combine, scraping down sides until incorporated.

Use a small scoop, about the size of a melon baller, and place the scoops onto a lined baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart. Give each scoop of dough a little pat to flatten slightly.

Put into a 350* oven for 14 minutes, until cookies are puffed and just turning slightly golden around the bottom edge. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, make the filling:

1/4 lb soft unsalted butter
2 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
lemon juice to moisten
1-2 drops yellow food coloring if desired

Place butter and sugar into mixer bowl with paddle attachment and beat until starting to incorporate.

Add vanilla and mix again. While mixer is going start adding lemon juice 1 tsp at a time until filling looks spreadable. Scrap down bowl well, and then turn mixer to high speed to create a smooth and fluffy icing.

When cookies are completely cool, use a spreading knife to put a dollop of filling onto the bottom of a cookie. Place another cookie on top and press together until you can see icing all the way around.

Now, eat lots of cookies!!!

I have to make these a couple times a week at the bakery, and I double this batch each time! Filled cookies are so much fun! Plus, these guys are super cute.

I did manage a workout this afternoon. I decided to put on my Bellyfit dvd, which I haven't done in a while. I absolutely LOVE the music, and all the fun dance moves. She also incorporates yoga and pilates, stretching and things like squats. So much fun, and a whole hour of sweat inducing cardio and stretching! Good stuff!

After my workout I was really hot and sweaty, so I decided to finally try the banana soft serve I've been seeing on everyones blogs. I had planned ahead for this last time we had overripe bananas by slicing them into a freezer bag and and freezing them.

I poured a bunch into my food processor, maybe 4 bananas worth, and started it up. I slowly drizzled rice milk in as it blended, stopping often to scrape down the sides, until it started to smooth out. I was careful not to add too much liquid so it'd stay as firm as possible. I also added in a heaping spoonful of Nutella, which, I have to say, was a pretty good choice on my part!
Next time I would either use vanilla rice milk, or add some vanilla extract. I'd also put about twice as much Nutella in.

I gained fans as I made this, so by the time it was done I was scooping 3 bowls full instead of one. I sprinkled some cocao nibs on top, and we all loved the crunch they added.

I really want to try this again, but add some blueberries instead of Nutella, or make it just banana vanilla and slice some strawberries for the top! Oh! I want to eat it ALL right now!

After our cool treat I wandered down to the lower part of our property with B and his mom to see the, WORK that he had done with his tractor. He's really getting so much earth moving done!

When we got back to the house B's dad was home, and had brought the mail. Yay! A new Vegetarian Times! I don't have time to read it tonight, but I promised myself some time for it tomorrow.
Now, it's time for dinner (not sure what that is yet), and then off to work, as usual. I wonder what I'll put sprinkles on tonight?

Have you ever tried banana soft serve? What are your favorite add-ins?

Glo Bar's Galore!

Hello, all!

Yesterday was my super long double shift day, so no post. I did my usual 6.5 mile bike ride to work in the morning, and it was early enough that the heat hadn't set in yet, so it was very pleasant. I think I'm even improving a bit! Hurray!

I grabbed a Glo bar for breakfast. So chewy and good!

At work with Nora we spent the day getting ready for our wholesale orders. I made cheesecake, both for orders and for the shop. I wanted to eat it ALL! I adapted my usual cheesecake recipe, and ended up with chocolate swirl cherry cheesecake! Almost like black forest cheesecake, but not.
Lunch break at work consisted of a green salad with cucumber, carrot and grape tomatoes and some raspberry vinaigrette. I also had a whole wheat wrap with feta hummus shmeared all over! Pretty darn tasty!

When I got home from that shift I totally PASSED OUT! Oh, 4 hour naps, you are my favorite!

Dinner was leftover curry from the other night but with peas and shrimp added in, still beyond amazing! We also had a big bowl of cantaloupe on the side. Melon is a delightfully refreshing way to end a meal!
Off to work again, night shift with the guys this time. I love our night shifts, they are so laid back, even though we get mad amounts of product made. Last night I confiscated control of the ipod, so it turned into a David Bowie rock out! Ooooh wa wa wa wa wa wa wa Gooolden Years!
Among all kinds of other guilt inducing items, I made more cupcakes, which means more SPRINKLES! All kinds of fun! The pics didn't turn out so hot, but here's a few anyway.

Cupcakes as far as the eye can see!
I'm feeling kinda dumb, because B just informed me that there is a macro setting on my little camera. DUH! Awesome. How did I not know about this?! Guess I won't be complaining about blurry close-ups any more!

We made a quick stop at Medicine Beach on the way home at 4 am. Very calm and cool out, the perfect after-work chill out. Ahhh. Then we went home. And I passed out again. I heart you, sleep!

Woke up this morning and tore into my stash from the health food store in Sidney. I grabbed the Hemp instant oatmeal, chia seeds, and cocao nibs.

This was probably the best bowl of oatmeal I've ever had! I might mix in a spoonful of nut butter next time, too.

I got caught up on my blog reading, as I didn't have time for that yesterday either, and now I'm just polishing off another Glo bar. These babies are good! I just had Heaven: coconut carob brownie bomb. A bit sweeter than the last one, but such a treat of a snack!

Amazing how you can read the label when I use the MACRO mode. (*eye roll*)

Now that my energy is back I'm off to do my workout. B is down the hill doing manly things with his tractor, so I'll have to go check out his progress there at some point too. Have a happy day all!

What is your go-to quick snack to regain some energy?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FRESH Halibut Goodness!

Hello again friends! It's like I was just here! Oh, wait I was just here! I am not really a fan of super long posts, so I have been splitting up all of the stuff I had saved. I think this post should actually get me back on schedule.

Why even try, when it'll just happen all over again? I guess I just love the punishment.

Speaking of loving punishment, I tried to take some pictures of myself today. Yeah, not my best idea ever. I have tried this before, and it never really works out. I always look kinda cross eyed. This one was my best effort, and I say best effort because it's not exactly a winner. Ah well.
Anyway, back to the food! That's the important stuff!

As you know, earlier today on my town outing I bought some very fresh halibut filets at the fish market. I wanted to make them tonight, obviously, to get the most delectable flavor out of them possible. I did my usual fridge rummaging and found two massive artichokes, fresh spinach, strawberries and feta. Sounds like dinner!

I started by making the salad. I have always wanted to do the whole strawberries with cheese and spinach kind of salad, but the family always shoots it down. Today i just didn't ask! (heh, now I'm getting sneaky! Bwahaha) I filled four individual salad bowls with spinach, and sliced a couple of strawberries over each one. Then I crumbled a small amount of feta, and sprinkled on some sunflower seeds for crunch. I just love the way the red and green look together!

To set off the flavors of this salad I adapted a recipe I had found for brown sugar balsamic dressing. We didn't have any brown sugar, so I used 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp white sugar, and 2 tsp honey. It was just right! Not too overpowering, but it added great flavor contrast!

Next I got some cous cous ready to go. I just measured out one cup into a bowl, added some sea vegetable and sesame sprinkle seasoning, some dried dill, lemon pepper and 1 Tbsp olive oil, and set aside for later.

I stuck the ginormous artichokes, halved, into the pressure cooker. Thank gawd for pressure cookers! 10 minutes to cook a choke?! Oh yeah! Before I sealed down the lid on these babies I added a couple cloves chopped garlic to the water, it adds a great subtle flavor!

Once I had started the chokes I took the filets out to the grill. I hadn't realized how massive they were! I asked for enough for 4 adults, this is enough for 6 or 7!

Oh well, I think I'll live!

I heated up the grill, oiled up my hunks (of fish, that is), and seasoned them with herbamare ocean.
I turned the grill down to medium, made sure it was oiled, and slapped the fish on. Ooh, what a nice sizzle!

I even had grill marks going on! I AM THE GRILL MASTER! (master...master...can you hear it echoing like I'm the Master of the Universe?)

I ran inside while the fish was cooking and boiled some water. I dumped 2 cups of boiling water over the cous cous in it's bowl, covered it and went back to check the grill.

I got the fish off the grill with only a little sticking, but it was perfectly done! Yay me! I took the lid off the cous cous, fluffed it with a fork, and mixed in some parmesan cheese to make it all gooey-good.

The chokes were done too, so I pulled the salads out of the fridge and called everyone to dinner. My FIL cracked open a bottle of his wine, and we all loaded up our plates.

Everything was sooo good! I have to say, this was my most successful fish-cooking experience, and I'm pretty darn happy about it! (not to mention being happy that I didn't completely jack up $30 worth of fresh fish!). The salad was even a hit with the family! Wonder of wonders! (it must have been because of the wine!)
All in all it was a pretty successful meal! Speaking of success...
Just a note here, I wanted to say how much fun I'm having with this food blogging business! I feel more inspired to make better food, and to make it look better. I want to cook and bake more and more often! I find myself reading other peoples blogs more often too, and there are some great people with wonderful ideas out there! So thanks to readers and fellow bloggers alike! I think I like the changes that are happening in my life! (happy dance!)

What is your favorite way to prepare just-caught fresh fish?

Christmas in July

Today I went on an outing to Sidney, a cute little ocean side town a short bus ride from the ferry. The weather was gorgeous, so I had to take some island shots. I just love all the little islands scattered around between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

I mostly ran errands in town, went to a hair appointment, spent money I shouldn't have. You know, the usual.

I had a great time browsing and finding new things at the little natural foods store. I brought home quite the bag of loot! I'll show you soon!

Isn't that mist beautiful?!

Sidney has a main street that runs out into the ocean. There are attractive walking paths along the ocean, and a pier. At the end of the pier is a fish market...guess where I went?!

I am beyond excited about my fish! I walked in to the market, and the man behind the counter was in the middle of cutting up some halibut filets. That was EXACTLY what I wanted. It was so incredibly fresh, and a good price to boot!

The fish market was my last stop in town. I made it a short day, and took the 2:20 ferry home. That fish needed to get home fast!

Riding the ferry is such a comfortable and relaxing way to travel! I had a quick snack and read my book.

cinnamon apple chips, and some dried mango. (some of my stash from the market!)

If possible, it was even prettier on the ferry ride home. Sometimes I am still astonished that I actually live here! It's like that Talking Heads song...I look at my [handsome husband], and my beautiful house, and I ask myself; how did I get here?

O.K., so here is the contents of my goody bag from the health store.

I am so stoked about this stuff! Here's the rundown. I got hemp instant oatmeal, liquid Stevia, a few different packets of nutritional supplements for my smoothies, some dried mango, apple chips, two types of Herbamare seasoning salt, granola, cocao nibs, and chia seeds (the latter two of which i cannot wait to try on some oatmeal!). I also got my first copy of Vegnews magazine, which I haven't finished looking at yet, but may be something I get a subscription for sometime soon. Good stuff!

You'd think that all of this exciting stuff would be enough to satisfy me, but NO! I want more! Well, good thing I had ordered a box of Glo Bars a while back! They got here today! I SO cannot wait to try them! Angela, a fellow blogger, has this amazing bakery business where she makes to- die- for healthy treats! Her blog is as wonderful as her food! You should really check it out! I'll let you know which bar is my favorite once I have gone at them Cookie Monster-style. Shouldn't take long ;)
So now I have all kinds of special treats, I got to go shopping, I spent more than I should have, and I received a package in the mail with presents in it! It's Christmas in July!