It is currently 3am in the morning, with boot camp starting at 5:45. The big question:

To Sleep or Not To Sleep?  

My cat Bear Grylls has the right idea...
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Its amazing how much I can get done by postponing studying for chemistry. In the past 8 hours I have baked, folded, decorated, and cleaned in preparation for a little guerrilla marketing for my site. I mentioned here that I have been doing Operation Boot Camp the last few weeks, and I wanted to scratch my baking itch while staying within the eating plans of OBC. The following three posts are adapted recipes for Raspberry Muffins, Blueberry Scones, and Homemade Granola bars. I packaged up mini versions of the three for boot campers in....ohhh T-minus 5 hours. 
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I am now on the lookout for any healthy baking recipes, especially for snacks. I had a hard time coming up with baked goods that weren't overloaded with sugar and butter and that could easily be transported. Any ideas?
 
 
These are a little moist to be called a real scone, but they are blueberry to the max and have a nice chewy texture. They aren't overwhelmingly sweet, just a nice wheaty boat for some good in-season blueberries. 
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I rushed home today to catch the natural light that makes food photographs really stand out. The weather had other ideas. I was baking in the rain. What is with these rainy Wednesday nights Atlanta's been having? Nevertheless, the storm storm passed and I ran around the house preparing for the 15 minutes of sun that had begun peaking out behind the clouds. 

Photography > Chemistry 
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Blueberry Scones
(Serves 8)
Adapted from Cookie and Kate

Ingredients:
1.5 cup whole wheat pastry flour
0.5 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp raw sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter
zest of 1 lemon
0.5 cup low fat greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
0.5 cup low fat milk (I used soy milk)
Oven: 425 F          Prep Time: 30 minutes          Bake Time: 15 minutes
 
Combine flours and other dry ingredients. Cut butter into 1 inch slices and cut into batter with a pastry cutter or by hand. Add remaining ingredients and mix until uniform. Form a ball about 1 inch thick and cut into 8 slices. Add slices to buttered baking sheet and bake!

NOTES
I used fresh blueberries, but the original recipe notes that frozen blueberries may be used (no thawing necessary). \

Nutrition
Calories: 200 Total Fat: 7.2g Carbohydrates: 32g Fiber: 5g Protein 6.0g
 
 
Would I make mini muffins for a nice apartment? Most definitely.

I guess the better question would be - Would I bring mini muffins AND get naked? Just how nice is this apartment?

And we're back to the good stuff: 
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Orange-Raspberry Whole Wheat Muffins
(Serves 12)
Adapted from About.com 

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 orange's worth of zest
8 oz fat-free greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
6 oz fresh raspberries

Oven: 400 F          Prep Time: 20 minutes          Bake Time: 20 minutes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk. In a separate bowl, combine oil, orange juice and zest, vanilla, yogurt and egg. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add liquid ingredients. Stir until just moist. Add raspberries and fold in gently.Spoon batter into a 12-cup muffin pan lined with paper cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins, or 36 mini muffins

Per Serving: Calories 155, Calories from Fat 28, Total Fat 3.1g (sat 0.3g), Cholesterol 18mg, Sodium 217mg, Carbohydrate 27.4g, Fiber 2.4g, Protein 4.3g


(Divide by 3 for mini muffin nutritionals)

 
 
These delicious, gooey, mess of granola are easily worth the sticky layer of honey that cover most of the counters in my kitchen. I have never been a big Ina Garten fan, and I really can't watch more than 5 minutes of Barefoot Contessa, but these might just give her another chance.
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They are a little calorie dense for boot campers, but I love knowing exactly what goes into the food I'm eating. I would choose these bars over something with 20+ ingredients, and you can easily jazz them up with you're favorite ingredients. 
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Homemade Granola Bars
(Makes 16)
Adapted from Ina Garten











Ingredients
2 cups Old-Fashioned oatmeal
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey 
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1.5 cup chopped pitted dates
1.5 cup chopped dried apricots1.5 dried cranberries

Oven: 350 F          Prep Time: 45 minutes          Bake Time: 25-30 minutes       Cool Time: 2-3 hours

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.


NOTES
These bars are very gooey, this may have something to do with the reduced amount of honey and butter I used, but I'm not sure. I'll experiment with crispier granola bars soon. 

Wheat germ is not found in all grocery stores, but a small trek of 100 extra yards brought me to Fresh Market and easily found it. 


Nutritional Facts
Calories: 250 Total Fat: 13.6g Carbohydrates: 35.8g Fiber 4g Protein 4.6

 
Trip Details 101 06/20/2011
 
All information heretofore is subject to change at the writers whim or fancy.

Ok so details might be a strong word. The title for this post should probably be more along the lines of "Trip Wonderings" or "Trip Ideas". But here are of few of the outlines:
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My Dad and I with our dirt bikes at Durhamtown. Might run into some new terrain in South America. Maybe something like this?
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(Source) And yes we do plan on taking our bikes along the Bolivian North Yungas Road
Start Date: Somewhere between December 26 and January 5. 
End Date: Mid-Late February
Transportation: Most likely an old school Toyota Land Cruiser and two dirt bikes.
Route: Shipping the truck to Columbia and then a slow meandering drive to Peru, Bolivia, and then to Argentina. 
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Anyone have any recommendations on places to go or people to see?
 
 
My dad was out of town for the weekend which automatically meant girls night for mom and me. I came home from the zoo sweaty and tired, but ready to drink some caffeine for a night of dancing with the mama unit. It was the first 100+ day in Atlanta and I was happily relieved when my mom, slouched in the sunroom with a fan in front of her face, welcomed me with: 

"Do you mind if we just make margaritas and stay in tonight?"

Ab. So. Lutely. 
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Margarita's
(Serves 2-3)

6 oz key lime juice
2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 c sugar (dissolved in lime juices)
1/4 c water
6 oz cointreau
10-12 oz tequila
Mint
Ice

Line rim with lime juice and twist in crushed rock salt
Mix ingredients, pour, and enjoy!
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We drank these babies while planning my cousin Leslie's bridal shower. It was a perfectly relaxing Saturday night. Note: When we say "Serves 2-3" we actually mean "Serves 4-6 cups. Because really, who just drinks 1 cup?


It should also be noted that Leslie is neither a mother, pregnant, or engaged to her cousin. Success!
 
Summer Lovin' 06/09/2011
 
I was one of those kids who really looked forward to school. I had great friends, interesting teachers, and sports or clubs to look forward to afterwards. I also tend to work better when I am constantly busy. A few of the poor semesters I had in college I chalk up to having too much free time. Free time = lazy time. And so comes the summer:
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Here are a few of the things you will be hearing about in the next few weeks:

Operation Boot Camp: Strength and Conditioning workout bright and early on the weekdays
Chemistry Class: General Chemistry II 3 hours a week at a local community college
DigitalStakeout: The software company my dad works for. I'll make a few sales calls and ship letters a few times a day,                          but I don't get paid so its really just the place I go to concentrate on Chemistry homework.
Hotlanta Lacrosse: A club lacrosse team in Atlanta for middle school and high school players. I coach at my alma mater and absolutely love it. 
Zoo Atlanta: I am on my third year as a summer intern. My bosses are great, the work is interesting, and the animals are fantastic.
Animal Emergency Clinic: My second summer working for this clinic. I learn a new thing probably every 15 minutes I'm there. 
 
 
Even with my endless battles against dough the sweat and tears always seem to disappear the second a pie or pastry comes out of the oven. There is nothing more beautiful than a brown, flaky crust with seeping juice bubbling from the seams. Which is why I absolutely love this recipe and why I plan on making it over and over again this summer - the dough is just too simple. 

So simple in fact that I warned my mom before we sat down.

"Ok, so this dough was really easy. I'm a little worried that its going to bland and chewy. We're probably going to need to modify this."
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Well this is why you trust the experts, in this case Laurie Colwin and James Beard. The crust is a modified biscuit dough, which adds a great crispy texture to the vegetables and it is AWESOME. No modifications needed.  
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Corn, Tomato, and Zucchini Pie
Adapted From The Smitten Kitchen 












2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons or 3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 teaspoons melted
3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup greek yogurt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 pounds beefsteak tomatoes
1 1/2 cups corn (from about 3 ears), coarsely chopped by hand
1 Zucchini sliced thin

2 tablespoons finely chopped basil, divided 
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
7 ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 3/4 cups), divided

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out one piece on a well-floured counter (my choice) or between two sheets of plastic wrap (the recipe’s suggestion, but I imagined it would annoyingly stick to the plastic) into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Either fold the round gently in quarters, lift it into a 9-inch pie plate and gently unfold and center it or, if you’re using the plastic warp method, remove top sheet of plastic wrap, then lift dough using bottom sheet of plastic wrap and invert into pie plate. Pat the dough in with your fingers trim any overhang.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. If your kitchen is excessively warm, as ours is, go ahead and put the second half of the dough in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Whisk together greek yogurt, mayo, and lemon juice.

Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes, then slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick and gently remove seeds and extra juices. Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, one tablespoon basil, 1/2 tablespoon chives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and one cup of grated cheese. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper. Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round in same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with melted butter (2 teaspoons). Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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Since I had rhubarb on the mind and a few pounds of it in my refrigerator I took memorial day to covet my blissful desire for all things sweet and tart. It also goes along with my competitive streak in the never-ending Marin vs. Pie Dough battle. 

The Contenders
Marin
Pros: Enjoys a challenge, Likes pihhhhh (insert Paula Deen accent here)
Cons: Equipped with a 90 degree sauna she likes to call a kitchen, and an extreme lack of patience

Pie Dough
Pros: Delicate physique, Cold-tempered
Cons: Delicious, Delicious, Delicious

This battle has raged since Fall of 2010 when I managed to bake 12 apple pies in 2 months using the exact same recipe and never came out with 2 pies that looked at all similar. Luckily for you this is not one of those posts. This instead is the story of blooming love. Of a sweet, crunchy, chewy, empanada filled with a dripping hot strawberry and rhubarb and his ever serving girlfriend. Me. Add a little whipped cream and we have a menage-a-trois that could rival a teenage-boys fantasy. Hmmm did I just go there? Ok, lets move on... 
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Strawberry- Rhubarb Empanadas
Recipe from laylita.com 









Sweet Pastry Dough
3 cups all purpose flour
¼- ½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 sticks butter or 16 tbs, cut into 16 pieces
2 eggs
2-4 tbs cold water

Preparation:

  1. Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.
  2. Add the butter, eggs and water until a clumpy dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough for a few minutes.
  4. Form dough into 2 balls, flatten into thick discs, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas, use round molds or a small plate or cup as a mold, you can choose how large based on whether you want small or medium sized empanadas .
  6. Use the empanada discs immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer to use later.

Filling
3 cups chopped rhubarb
3 cups chopped strawberries
1 cup sugar
2 tbs orange juice
1 tbs cornstarch
1 egg, yolk and white separated and lightly whisked
½ cup Sugar in the Raw

Preparation:

  1. Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, orange juice and cornstarch in a large bowl, mix well and let rest for an hour.
  2. Drain the liquid from the strawberries and rhubarb.
  3. To assemble the empanadas spoon the rhubarb and strawberry mixture on the center of the empanada disc.
  4. Brush the edges of the empanada disc with the egg whites.
  5. Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges, use a fork to help seal the empanadas.
  6. Lightly brush the top of the empanadas with the egg yolk; this will give them a nice golden glow when baked.
  7. Sprinkle the demerara sugar on the top of the empanadas.
  8. Chill the empanadas for at least 30 minutes, this will help them seal better and prevent leaks.
  9. Bake the empanadas in a pre-heated oven at 375 F for 30 minutes or until golden.
  10. Serve either warm or cold with whipped cream.