Monday, January 31, 2011

Andale, something.

Since it's so chilly out tonight, and we opted for creative leftovers and anything else in our fridge for dinner, I found myself reminiscing back to the tamales I made a few weeks ago.  I don't really know what prompted me to do it.  New cooking challenge, perhaps.  They were pretty tasty, but for me, it's definitely a weekend (or a when you have more time to cook) meal. 
 Want to give em a try yourself?  I'm going to do my best to remember my altered recipe.  See, I like to look at about 4 different recipes before I make something new and then combine the aspects I think sound good.  So, here's how to do it...(I think)
To begin:
Put 1 lb pork shoulder in the crock pot with 1 cup beef stock, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 cup diced tomatoes, 1 white onion (chopped), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic.  Then, add water to almost cover the meat.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Once the meat is done...
Shred the meat using two forks.  Save the broth.  In a large saucepan, mix shredded pork with 'taco sauce' using enough to coat (maybe 1/2 cup).  Simmer, covered for 10 minutes.

Now for the tamales...
First, soak corn husks in warm water for at least 20 minutes.  Beat 1/4 cup shortening on medium speed for 1 minute.  In a separate bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups masa harina, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 2 teaspoons salt.  Alternately add masa harina mixture and broth (reserved from before) to shortening mixture, beating well after every addition.  Add just enough broth to make a thicky, creamy paste.

To assemble...
Spread 2 tablespoons of the masa mixture on the center of the corn husk (can be doubled if corn husks are small).  Place about 1 tablespoon of the meat and sauce mixture in the middle of the masa.  Fold in sides of the husk and fold up the bottom.  I used a toothpick to keep mine together. 

To cook...
Place a mound of extra husks in the center of a steamer basket in a large pot.  Lean the tamales in the basket.  Add water to the pot, just below the basket.  Bring water to a boil and reduce heat.  Cover and steam for 40 minutes, adding more water if necessary. 

Serve with hot sauce!  I have to admit, they were pretty tasty...which was good, because if they weren't I wasn't going through all the trouble of making them again :)  But, it's definitely something we'll try again!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Oh, hello again :)

Holy cow life has been busy. I've been capturing photos and making remarks like, 'we should put this on the blog', but it just hasn't seems to be happening lately.  Between 3 masters classes, cold weather, and trying to accomplish projects around the house, things have been a wee bit crazy. 

I did find time last weekend to make some of my favorite muffins, though.  I think my favorite part is the fact that you can keep the batter in the fridge for about 3 weeks.  That way, we get fresh muffins and we can make only as much as we need throughout the week.  Maybe you can do this with all muffin batters, but this is the only one I know of for sure :)

So, here's what you have to do:

Healthy, Bran Muffins~
Wet Ingredients:                                     Dry Ingredients:
1 cup skim milk                                        2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt                     2 1/2 cups All Bran cereal
1/4 cup vegetable oil                              1 cup raisins/dried cherries
1/4 cup dark molasses                          1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking soda

Mix wet ingredients together first.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Combine the two and let the batter sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Bake at 350 - 22 minutes for mini-muffins and 30 for regular sized muffins.
 This week we opted for mini muffins -- they're so filling and delicious.  Plus, we usually have almost all these ingredients on hand.  We're always tossing a lil too bruised bananas in the freezer for muffins or banana bread.  We also take applesauce cups in our lunch on occasion so you just toss one of those in too.
Overall, they're super yummy and you can bake them up the same day you want to take them for breakfast -- there's nothing like a hot muffin on your way out the door to work.  So, what are your favorite healthy muffin recipes?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nice lil Sunday

We have been itching to snow shoe (and no it's not just dry skin in the winter).  But Christmas break simply didn't bring a ton of fact all of our snow actually melted, which meant no snowshoeing over our week off together.  We were bummed.  As was Whit.  So, last night when our friend Courtney mentioned a Sunday afternoon snow shoe, we jumped at the chance.  
We packed 3 dogs and 3 people in Courtney's trailblazer and headed to my dad's property in Boyne Falls.  It was a packed car and a funny ride, but when we got on the trail, we knew our travel was well worth it. 
JW, Courtney, Whit, Wallace, Brady and myself all loved it.  We had the perfect weather,  a perfect light snow falling, and great company.  The only rough part was that Brady's belly looked more like a Christmas decoration about halfway down the trail.  He was literally a furry snowball!  Good thing Courtney was rocking overalls -- or the Baby B'Carhart as I like to call it :)
It was literally the perfect afternoon snow shoe and a great way to start off the season.  In fact, it was so great that Whit fell asleep around 6 tonight and only got up to eat and go outside.  She'll be a tired bug for a few days, but she LOVES being outside just as much as we do!  And it was a great way to end the first full week of January :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sugared Cranberries

At a Christmas party a few weeks back, my sister-in-law pointed out some sugar coated cranberries and said, "have you tried those yet?"  Now I'm usually game for cranberries, but by themselves...and not dried?  I wasn't sure how thrilled I would be.  But let me tell you, they were DELICIOUS!  Think of a grown-up Sour Patch kid.  You start with the sweet sugary coating and then get the tang of the cranberry.  Plus, if you're like me, you have some cranberries laying around after Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What better way to use them than this!??
 Now, on to the recipe...I followed the recipe from Group Recipes, which you can find here.  Essentially you create a simple syrup with a hint of cinnamon flavor.  Then, pop the cranberries in and let them chill in the fridge.  But, as an added bonus, you get a cranberry simple syrup that I just happen to know tastes pretty delicious with champagne, orange juice, and sprite :) 
 I simply bottled our cranberry simple syrup up in our Izze bottles that I have been saving for quite awhile now.  I knew they'd come in handy for something.  Then, I poppped in a few 'Rabbit' wine stoppers and we're set for storage in the fridge.  Aren't the cranberries pretty, though?  They literally popped on our dark granite countertops...and in our mouthes!