Monday, November 24, 2014

Jane Dough/ French Apple Oatmeal Bars go Naughty

Apples, Raisin and Oats get 'naughty'ied up with big thick ribbons of Rum ( I'm talking Captain Morgan :P )  glaze... Spice in the bars... spice in the glaze too ;) My French Apple Oatmeal bars are reminiscent of those little pies we loved as children with spicy apples, raisins topped with glaze.... and my bars have a lovely, silky fluffiness to them...

2 Apples, cored, peeled, finely diced ( I use Fuji Apples in my baking)
1/4 Tsp. ground Allspice  
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Water

Place the above items in a small saucepan... cover & cook them at low to medium heat at stovetop, until the apples become tender and translucent. Let slightly cool.

Preheat your oven to 350'. In a Large mixing bowl mix: Mix:

1 Cup Old-Fashioned Oats
1 Tsp. ground Cinnamon
3/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, melted, slightly cooled
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour

Fold in the cooked and cooled Apples.
Spread in a  greased and floured 13x9 baking pan   

Bake in pre-heated oven until golden brown and and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let the bars completely cool. Make a simple glaze with Confectioner's Sugar and real Rum ( for Grown-up kids) or use Rum extract ( If real kids plan to eat the bars ) Run big ribbons of glaze over the bars and enjoy... :)

Autumn with a GardenVibe

The color of Autumn is a flash of joy for my eyes ... but memory of days past, color my heart in a way that endures... 
Happy here & now, to you, from my Garden. And I wish you memories that color your life in a beautiful way....
                ....Autumn is a favorite time of year for me. I take full advantage of moderating weather and opportunity to plant Fall color in the beds around my home. I have started adding lovely color to our yard by planting an old fashioned favorite of mine, Chrysanthemums. Aside from their varied color and texture that they lend to the garden, they are wonderfully amenable to extending their flowering season. This is accomplished thru 'Deadheading' them... Jerry Garcia not required.. but you could play his tunes while you take care of your posies :)
Wonderful memories come back to me whenever I work outside in my Garden. Of days spent out in the forest near my childhood home. I would say that the memories of my time spent in the forest greatly influence how I approach Gardening. I would call my style of growing flowers, shrubbery and trees rather 'Woodland' in nature. I tend to allow my plants to follow their own nature....

Beauty is free..In the warmth of spicy breeze..
                               Speaking hopefully in the rustle of leaves..
                                                             Before they...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

GV's Thai Coconut-Curry Stew

Life is too short to eat the same things over...and over... again.. I love to play with spice, herbs, and foreign influenced dishes to keep meals interesting... Busy days, Rainy days, any day is a good day to get out your Crockpot or Slow-cooker, switch things out and make my aromatic, pleasantly spicy Thai Stew.  Plug it in... and go about your day.....

                                                            GV's Thai Coconut-Curry Stew

1.5 to 2 lbs. Sirloin Steak, fat trimmed, cubed
2 tblsp. Olive Oil
1 small Onion, finely diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground Ginger
1 tsp. dried Cilantro
1-  13.5 ounce can lite Coconut Milk ( I used the 60% less fat & calories version ;) 
1 tblsp. Coconut Vinegar (can substitute with White Vinegar)
1-  6 ounce can Tomato Paste
2 tblsp. dried Curry Seasoning
1 tblsp. Fish Sauce
2 tsp. fresh Lime Juice
2 cups julienned Carrots
2 cups Broccoli Florets
1 cup Bamboo Shoots
Alfalfa Sprouts

Pour 2 tblsp. Olive Oil into the Crockpot. Place the cubed Sirloin Steak into the Crockpot, toss to coat the meat with the Olive Oil. Set the Crockpot on high heat and begin by browning the meat.     

Once the Sirloin Steak is browned, add in the finely diced Onion and minced Garlic.  Add
1 tsp. ground Ginger, 1 tsp. dried Cilantro, 1-  13.5 ounce can Coconut Milk, 1 tblsp. Coconut Vinegar, 1- 6 ounce can Tomato Paste, 2 tblsp. dried Curry Seasoning, 1 tblsp. Fish Sauce, 2 tsp. fresh Lime Juice, 2 cups julienned Carrots.

Cover. Let slow cook on high setting for about 4 hours.

Cover and refrigerate the Broccoli florets and Bamboo shoots. ( They will be added during the last 30 minutes of Slow cooking. I do this to allow for the wonderful crunchy texture of 'al dente' cooked Broccoli and Bamboo Shoots. )

 During this final half hour, Steam rice. ( I used Basmati Rice ). Serve the Stew over the rice. Top with Fresh Alfalfa Sprouts. and enjoy.... :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jane Dough's Coconut French Toast / Making an Ordinary Morning, a Little Less Ordinary

When a free Morning presents itself...I take full advantage of stepping away from the 'usual'. I  look for things to enjoy that make the day just a little bit more special. This Morning for Breakfast I reached for a Coconut that I had sitting in my fruit bowl...... and made really lovely Coconut French Toast... for a Breakfast in bed treat....  Here is what I did... ( Super easy btw.... I was out the door to my day in no time)

What you will need:

A Coconut ( Yes, one of those hairy, crazy looking things... haaa..haa.. . )
2 Eggs ( or 4 Eggs if you are cooking for more than two people)
1 teaspoon Stevia (to enhance the sweetness of the Coconut) ( 2 tsp. if you are cooking for more than two people)
4 Slices of Bread ( I used Bakery Sourdough Bread) ( Use more Bread if you are cooking for more than two people) 

Find the "bowling ball'  markings on your fresh Coconut ... one of the markings should feel 'softer' than the other two markings. I 'drilled' a hole in the softer marking with my Wine corkscrew. Then, I made the hole more pronounced with a skewer. Drain the Coconut juice thru this hole into a medium sized Pyrex cup. Once drained, Strain the juice into a shallow bowl by pouring the Coconut juice thru a cloth. Discard any sediment you may have strained away.

 To split my Coconut in half ( and don't laugh- it worked like a charm  :P ) I took the Coconut outside and slammed it right off the sidewalk, as if bouncing a ball.  ( I kid you not)
With a small knife, I  removed the white Coconut pulp and placed some of it in my little food processor , processing to a fine texture.
I then added the processed pulp to the Coconut Juice in my shallow bowl.  ( I was able to remove  some of the juice and pulp to freeze for another Morning, since I am cooking for two.  When I removed the excess juice and pulp, I had approximately 1 cup of juice and pulp left in the shallow bowl) ( If you are cooking for more than two people, then go ahead and use all of the juice and pulp.
I then added the Stevia, and beat the Eggs, into the Coconut 
Juice / Pulp Mixture.

 Lightly grease your skillet and fry at moderate heat, as you normally would fry French Toast.
I warmed up Orange Marmalade and drizzled it on the French Toast in lieu of syrup... So good!!
 I hope you will give it a try ...for a bit of a different spin on French Toast... making an ordinary Morning a little less ordinary.. :)


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