Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Classic Gucamole

Those of you who have been following Young Adventures for awhile are familiar with a series of posts
called "He Cooks" by Mr. Young.  This is our go to guacamole recipe that  gets made in our home.  I thought I would bring it out of the archives in honor of Cinco De Mayo.  Feel free to browse other recipes by the Mr. here.

I was just watching one of my favorite ‘cooking shows’ on PBS the other day (i.e Rick Bayless ) and it was completely devoted to guacamole. Growing up I didn’t know that avocados even existed. Now a Mexican date night at the Young household is not complete without a nice big bowl of guacamole.

I have tweaked this recipe to my tastes and you can do the same. Avocados have a tendency to diminish the heat of the peppers so I would recommend adding more peppers (preferably Serrano) if you want to kick up the heat. Also, I am a lime fiend and tend to double the amount of lime in anything I make that requires a lime, margaritas included. -Brian

Classic Guacamole ala Rick Bayless
If you have the time and are not starving, I would recommend letting the guacamole sit in the refrigerator for about an hour to the let the flavors come together a bit. If you do this, be sure to cover with plastic wrap and in this case you want the wrap to touch the top of the guacamole. Otherwise the avocados will begin to turn brown. If you jack up the lime quantity like I do, this is less of a concern since the lime juice will prevent the guacamole from turning brown.

· 2 Serrano peppers (with seeds removed) finely chopped
· ½ cup of white onion finely chopped
· 2 ripe plum tomatoes finely chopped (you can use any ripe tomato if you can’t find plum)
· ¼ cup cilantro finely sliced.
· 3 medium to large sized avocados
· Juice of one lime (this is about 2 Tbls)
· Salt

Mash the avocados with a potato masher until you get the consistency you want. Add the peppers, onion, tomato, cilantro and lime juice. Stir to combine. Taste. Add salt to taste. Stir and taste again. Repeat if necessary.

That is it. Enjoy with white corn tortilla chips.

Source: Rick Bayless
This recipe shared with Walking on Sunshine Recipes
Back for seconds

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Easy Vegetarian Spilt Pea Soup for the crock pot

Okay, so I know this probably doesn't look like the most appealing soup, but trust me it is full of flavor!
My very good friend Colleen passed this recipe on to me some time ago, and I have made it a number of times.  I even served it to dear friends and they loved it!  I will make this often on a Sunday afternoon, and then Katie and I will take it to lunch during the week.
It is so easy to throw all the ingredients into the crock pot and then let it do it's thing.
If you like spilt pea soup you will definitely like this recipe.

Easy Vegetarian Spilt Pea Soup for the Crock Pot

1 (16 oz.) pkg. dried green split peas, rinsed
2 cups baby carrots
1 medium chopped onion
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. seasoned salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
6 cups of hot water

Layer ingredients in the crock pot in the order given; pour in water. Do not stir ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours until peas are very soft. Remove bay leaf. Mash peas with a potato masher to desired consistency or cool and process in the blender.  Serve garnished with croutons if desired. 

Source: Adapted from Colleen S. via Southern food
This recipe has been shared with Walking on Sunshine

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

I've been on the hunt for a really good cinnamon roll recipe for quite awhile.
I found it over at ChefTalk

Ooey, goey, and delicious

With frosting or...


Double thumbs up from Ian.

Cinnamon Rolls
I like to start the rolls the day before and bake them in the morning.  Go through step 9 and cover the rolls with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.  In the morning pull your rolls out and let sit for 1 hour.  I like to heat my oven to 300 degrees and then shut it off.  Then I place my rolls in the warm oven for 1 hour.  Then proceed with the rest of the steps.
¾ cup unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon yeast 
½ cup, water, 100 degrees
1 teaspoon granulated sugar 
large eggs
9 cups bread  flour
½ tablespoon cinnamon

5 cups light brown sugar 
1 ¼ cup unsalted butter 
3 Tablespoons cinnamon

1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Heat butter, milk, ¾ Cup sugar and salt over low heat until butter melts.
2. Set the butter mixture aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, warm water, 1 teaspoon of sugar and set aside for about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter mixture into the yeast mixture.
3. Lightly beat the eggs and stir into the mixture.  Then add the flour and cinnamon.  Mix this until you have a stiff dough.
4.  Knead for 5 minutes with a dough hook on your mixer or 10 minutes on a floured surface.
5.  Place dough in a greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm spot for 1 hour.
6.  While the dough is resting make the filling.  Beat together the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon.
7.  After the dough has rested for 1 hour punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface.  Roll it out into a 24" by 36" rectangle and spread the filling over the dough evenly with a rubber spatula.  Leave about a 2 inch border around the dough. Reserve 1/2 cup of the filling to spread around the bottom of your baking dish.
8.  Roll the dough tightly around the filling.  It should be about 40 inches.  Cut the dough into 2 inch pieces.  
9.   Spread the remaining butter mixture into the bottom of your baking dish and place the rolls inside.
10.  Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.  Remove the plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees for  25 - 30 minutes.
11.   Have a large sheet pan sitting out on your counter.  When the rolls are done baking, invert them onto the sheet pan.  Cool for about 10 minutes and then frost if desired.

This frosting is one that I adapted from my Mom.  She makes a delicious red velvet cake with a whipped frosting.
1.  In a saucepan pour in the milk and add the flour.  Whisk the mixture until combined.
2. Place the saucepan over medium to low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat and cool.
3. Add the vanilla to the cooled mixture, and stir until combined.
4. Place the brown sugar and butter into a bowl and whip until they are well combined.  Scrap the bowl a couple of  times to make sure everything is mixed together well.
5.   Add the cooled flour mixture (Make sure that it is cool or it will melt the butter sugar mixture) 1 tablespoon at a       time, beating after each addition.  
6.   Whip the mixture on medium to high speed after all the flour mixture has been added for about 2 minutes or until like whipped cream.

Source: ChefTalk for the rolls and Kay V. for the frosting
This recipe has been shared with: 
Buns in my oven
 Back for seconds
 Sugar and dots
DJ's Sugar Shack
Gooseberry patch

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sweet Almond Whipped Cream

About a month ago, Mr. Young and I went on a little get a way to Pine Grove Park Bed and Breakfast Guest House.
Everyone morning we would get a quiet knock on our front door.  Out on the front porch would be a beautiful, wooden picnic basket.  Inside was a delicious breakfast.  These breakfasts were incredible and always included desserts.  Both desserts had real whipped cream that was flavored with almond.
I love almond!  I'm not sure why I never thought about flavoring my whip cream with almond?  I mean I have flavored it with vanilla, chocolate, and even liquors.  It never crossed my mind to flavor it with almond.  Well last week Mr. Young had a birthday and we had angel food cake with strawberries, and when we have angel food cake we have whipped cream.  I decided that this time I would flavor it with  almond extract.  Everyone loved it, and I think it will become the new regular around here.  If you love almond flavor, please give this a try.

Sweet Almond Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar 
1/2 -1 teaspoon almond extract (this depends on how strong you want the almond flavor to be)

Place all of the ingredients in a large, chilled mixing bowl.  Start out on low speed and gradually increase to high and whip until stiff peaks form.  Use immediately.

This recipe shared with Adventurez in Child'Rearing

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing

In the last year or so I have been making our salad dressings instead of purchasing them from the grocery store.  Why you might ask?  Well here are a few reasons.
1.  They are super easy to make and taste way better.
2.There are all sorts of varieties you can come up with.  I have a few pinned to my salad board.  Take a look, you might get some good ideas.
3.  I can control what goes into my dressing, so that means no artificial ingredients.

I make this dressing pretty frequently, because everyone likes it.
Try making your own salad dressings, I think you might never go back.

Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing
This is more of guideline, than an exact recipe.  Adjust the seasonings to your tastes.

1-3 garlic cloves peeled (I always go for 3, because we really like garlic)
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2-3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
2-3 shakes of lemon pepper
2-3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 -1/2 cup water

1.  Place the garlic cloves in your chopper and chop until finely minced.
2.  Add the mayonnaise and blend well.
3.  Add Worcestershire sauce, lemon pepper, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil blend well.
4.  Add 1/4 cup of water and blend.  Continuing adding water until you reach the consistency that you like.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

These are hands down the best chocolate chip cookies ever!  Well at least I think so and most everyone who has tried them tells me they are so good.

This is a crispy on the edges cookie with a chewy center, my favorite type of cookie.

I got this recipe from a professor during Brian and my seminary days.  That was about 20 years ago and it is still the most requested cookie recipe from my family.  I hope they become a family favorite for you too.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the butter, sugars and egg until well combined.  Add the flour, soda, and salt mix until barely combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Spoon teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets for 12 -15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

This recipe has been shared with Walking on Sunshine
The Country Cook
Home to 4 kiddos
Back to the Basics

Monday, April 8, 2013

Easy baked potatoes

Baked potatoes are one of my go to weeknight meals for my family.  It is so easy to make a quick and easy dinner out of them.  Add a salad and some fruit and dinner is done in no time. I love how you can vary the toppings each time and it is like a different meal.  I'm sharing my favorite method for baking potatoes.  If you are looking for a quick and easy dinner idea, I hope you give this a try.

Easy Baked Potatoes

4 large baking potatoes
Toppings of your choice (This time I used sautéed mushrooms, steamed broccoli, cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt mixed with a little homemade ranch).

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Scrub the potatoes under running water removing all of the dirt.  Place the potatoes in the microwave and cook them for four minutes.  Then turn them over and cook an additional four minutes.

Place the potatoes in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until they are soft inside and have a crisp skin.

Carefully cut the potatoes in half, but not all the way through.  Serve with your favorite toppings.

Source: Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had a sleepover with the Buckman's over spring break.  Susie and I wanted to make a treat but neither of us wanted to go to the store.  We decided to use what we had and tweak my chocolate chip cookie recipe.

We were not sure how these cookies were going to turn out because we had a few issues.  The dough was a little crumbly and I am not  exactly sure why.  I used Susie's hand mixer, so I might have over mixed or maybe it was the flour.  Susie also has dark cookie sheets and a few of the cookies stuck to the pan (see my tips below).  Despite our issues, the cookies tasted really good (they were gone in a day). They didn't taste like wheat and the children didn't complain. Ian came up to me and said "Mom, you make the best cookies."

My original recipe is still my favorite, but if I want to make something a little bit healthier this will be my go to recipe. I might even add a little bit of milled flax seed or wheat germ next time. I hope you try them and love them.  Happy cookie eating!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
It  is really important that your butter is at room temperature or the dough will not mix properly.  If you use dark baking sheets reduced the temperature to 325.  I typically use baking stones but if you are using a metal baking sheet you might want to grease it to prevent the cookies from sticking. Do not over bake the cookies or they will dry out.  It's better to pull them out if they are a little under baked and let them finish baking on the cookie sheet.

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cup white/wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 (see notes).

Mix butter, sugars, and egg until well mixed. Add the flour, soda, and salt mix until you see just a few streaks of the flour mixture. Spoon teaspoonfuls onto ungreased (see notes) baking sheets and bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until light golden brown, do not over bake (see notes).  Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the cookies rest for a minute or until you can remove them easily to cooling rack.

Source: Young Adventures