Monday, November 29, 2010

Coco Nana Bread

I am baking my way thru Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours Cookbook.  Made her Coco Nana Bread.  It's very good, but easy to overbake, so time it and check it carefully.  Mine was a few minutes overbaked, but it's still good, especially with a big ol' glass of milk.

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp (8 tablespoons)
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 c. buttermilk (plain yogurt also does well, or make your own buttermilk with milk and vinegar)
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from over baking.)

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute, until softened. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. At this point, the batter may look a little curdled - it's okay.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Still on low speed, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with a foil tent to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40 to 45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 to 75 minutes) or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temp right side up.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Redmond Christmas Parade

We watched the Redmond Christmas Parade tonight, and it was fun!  Over 60 floats/vehicles drove by with passengers tossing out candy (Dum Dums and Tootsie Rolls), beads (a little late for Mardi Gras), restaurant coupons, doggie treats, candy canes, and gas coupons.  It was pretty darn exciting!  I am glad Emil packed hats and gloves for us since I left the house with just a long sleeve shirt and a vest on.  It warmed up quite a bit today.  Sorry, no pics of the floats since it was dark...our camera flash just didn't feel up to it.  I did like watching the parade in the dark though... people decorated with Christmas lights and more.  My favorite thing were the horses, all dolled up and decked out with glitter on their tails.  Note to Mother:  you would have REALLY liked all the horses!

Really enjoying Redmond and Bend.  Starting to think about next Spring.  We would love to live in this area permanently, but a lot hedges on jobs.  I've set a March deadline to have a rough draft of my novel, so that's a big step forward!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a lovely day so far!  We just finished our meal, and it was delish!  Brining the turkey made it super moist.  See pics and recipes below:

Goat cheese rolled in pistachios and dried cranberrries

Five pound turkey breast

Sausage, Dried Cranberry and Apple Stuffing

Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette

Rhodes Dinner Rolls

Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Mashed Potatoes (Mom's recipe)

My plate...nothing touching, of course!
Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel

Here are a list of the recipes.  As usual, I substituted or left out ingredients, so punt as you want!

Sausage, Dried Cranberry and Apple Stuffing
Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette
Honey Brine
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

 Happy Thanksgiving Eve to everyone!  I hope you are doing well, staying warm and healthy.

Katie and Erik surprised us with a lovely bouquet of flowers to celebrate our first Thanksgiving in Oregon, and I look forward to cooking the entire feast tomorrow.  Am trying many new recipes!  Here is a picture of the flowers:

I'll share the recipes and pics tomorrow.  Off to bake dessert! 
Happy Cooking to all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mule Deer Everywhere

As I sit and type this post, there is a four point buck and three does in our yard.  The buck wandered to the back porch and is nibbling on the green plant leaves by the door.  This is the second time they have visited today!  Please see pics below.  Also a couple of pics of the snow (four inches) and the moon.  Pic credit goes to Emil who got up early  this morning and took them.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

First Dusting of Snow

Woke up this morning to the first dusting of snow.  See pics below.  It melted two hours later, and it's sunny and 45 degrees now.  I love Oregon weather!

We also had two bucks and three does in the front yard this morning.  As my good friend LoMo said, "it's like a safari at your house."

Eight point buck
Speaking of has been a wild week since I returned from Anchorage last Saturday.

1.  Emil escorted a two inch frog out of our entryway.  The frog was just hanging out on the shoes, taking in the sights.  Not quite sure how he snuck in the house.
2.  Three chickens started roosting on the porch near the grill.  So, I decided to break this little habit.  Emil's new fishing rod case was perfect to swing around as I chased them into the coop, one by one.  They are quite smart and split up when I start chasing them off the porch.  The trick is keeping the coop door open as I persuade them to enter and not letting them sneak out again while I am off chasing another chicken. 

Definitely two Weight Watcher Activity Point for this exercise!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Sara and Tom Tookalook

LoMo and Cardboard Cut Out Sara

Chef Sara Spudowski

Katie and Erik

New pals:  Eric and Karen, making fruit pizza.  Delish!

Ending the evening at Sugarspoon as usual.

Sara and a very happy Tom Tookalook

LoMo and Sara

Nico, Gabby and Kelly Laipenieks

Gabby digging into sweet potato ice cream!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Celebrity Sightings

Lucky enough to catch DJ Encyclopedia Brown spin some tunes at the Avenue Bar last weekend.  He rocked the crowd with superfans, Josh Niva and Marc Lester dancing to every song.  To see him at a venue near you, check out his website: DJ Encyclopedia Brown.

Dave Price, weatherman from CBS The Early Show was dropped off in downtown Anchorage at 2 a.m. Friday morning and has to make his way back to NYC with $50 and help from the kindness of strangers.  Sugarspoon co-owner Sara Spudowski, superstar employee, Erin and I went down to hand out free cupcakes to the crowd.  It was a chilly night, but a fun crowd of folks were there with colorful signs and more.  Check out this gallery of pictures, and look for us on photo 3:  Dave Price in downtown Anchorage.

Here are a few more photos from the early morning fun:

Get ready to film one of four live broadcasts!

May I interest you in a cupcake, officer?

Pumpkin or Red Velvet?

He is such a cutie!

Awake and smiling at 2 a.m.

Dave Price and Chef Sara Spudowski

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thank you to all my friends in Anchorage for a great trip!  I went to hang with LoMo, and my friends came over for dinner, met for coffee and ran me around town for some good eats!  Thanks for being flexible and willing to hang at random times, spur of the moment.

I'll do separate posts in different categories.... food (you know I love food), friends and celebrity sightings (Spencer, you definitely qualify as a celebrity).


Giant Pig in a Blanket (Boo-yah, Josh!)

Homemade Fat Witch Brownies

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies a la Chef Anna Olson

Three salads, two hungry peeps

Beet Salad

Homemade Turkey Meatballs and AMAZING Pea Salad from Sara Spud.

Hot Chocolate and Coconut Almond Cookie from Sugarspoon
Sugarspoon Cupcakes

Here are some links for the homemade goodies.  Visit Sugarspoon for the delish Coconut Almond Cookie.  They have the best cookies in Anchorage.

Anna Olson Chocolate Chip Cookies
Fat Witch Brownies from Chelsea Market, NYC
Turkey Meatballs (ask Sara for her version of this recipe)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Hi Everyone!

Just a heads up that the blog is going dark for a few days. Please check back next week for a super awesome post!

Thanks for being a loyal reader!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Old Roomie comes to town

Brian, my old roomie came to visit yesterday afternoon.  We hit up The Summit Saloon and Stage bar for Monday Night Football and cheap eats.  We were the only ones watching the game, as everyone else was cheering for the Giants.  Way to go!  Thanks to Scott Johnson for the great suggestions to catch the game!

Today, we had lunch at our usual spot, Deschutes Brewery & Public House.  I had the Half Business, which featured sliced roast beef, balsamic onions, olive tapenade (I picked this part off), and provolone cheese.  Delish as always.

Sara and Brian

Half Professional Special of the Day
Emil headed back to Redmond for work, and we moved on to Deschutes Brewery for a tour.  After sampling the beer, we sat in the sun at Backporch Roasters, one of my favorite places for coffee.