Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spent Grain Dog Biscuits

We've started brewing beer here at our house.  Along with our neighbors, we attended a beer brewing class and decided to take the plunge.  Our first brew, a Summer Ale .

One of our favorite breweries here in town serves pizza and the dough is made with the spent grain.  Spent grain is the leftover grains used in brewing their beer.  We had four cups from our first batch.  Curious if I could freeze the grains?  A google search showed, yes freezing is an option. That's a good thing,  because after brewing, trust me, you're too tired to bake.  I divided it into four one cup packages and put it in the freezer.

There's lots of recipes out there to use the spent grain.  I do want to make a loaf of bread but on this particular day, I was making a loaf of bread already.  (Which by the way, was somewhat of a fail, so no post about the bread).  I decided to give Spent Grain Dog Biscuits a try.

These were quick and easy to make.  Baking them takes the longest.  If you don't mind a softer dog biscuit, you don't have to bake them quite as long.  The original poster said, she wasn't responsible for the dogs who go crazy about the biscuits!!  I did a half recipe and it still made a lot of biscuits.  We shared them with some friends and Tim shared them with his coworkers.  Our dog Copper loves them and is thrilled about the new hobby of his owners.

 Spent Grain Dog Biscuits
Recipe courtesy of 17 Apart

  • 4 cups spent grain
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour ( I used white flour)
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, combine and mix each of the ingredients thoroughly until a thick dough forms:

The mixture is very sticky at this stage, but added flour as needed to help roll into a ball. It will stick to your fingers but will harden up and become easier to work with the more you work with it

 Roll out the dough on a generously floured surface and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, lining them up on baking sheets. No greasing was necessary for the baking sheets.

If you don't have cookie cutters or want a more natural shape you can cut the dough with a knife, or use spoons to create drop cookies.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 225 degrees and continue baking for 2 hours. Cooking them the additional time at the lower temperature will help ensure they dry completely, extending their shelf life.  The treats will keep about two weeks at room temperature, longer if frozen. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies - SRC

Why is it summer always seems to fly by?  I always have a list of things I want to do during the beautiful summer time and seems I never have enough time to do them!!  Hard to believe it's mid July already and Secret Recipe Club time again!!  This month, I was assigned Suzanne of Thru the Bugs on My Windshield.  Don't you just love her blog title?  Suzanne posts a lot of recipes she makes while traveling with their 5th wheel, through the bugs on her windshield!  :)

Thumprint Cookies are a favorite at our house but normally the peanut butter and Hershey's kiss variety.  The idea of a jam print thumbprint cookie just seems healthier than Hershey's kisses, doesn't it?  The addition of coconut to these cookies caught my eye and sealed the deal that this recipe was my choice for this month.  These are a delicious thumbprint cookie, perfect with a cup of afternoon tea.  As with most sweets I make, I sent all but a couple to work with Tim.

Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 6-7 dozen cookies
2 sticks softened unsalted Butter
1 1/4 cups Sugar
1 large Egg Yolk
1 tsp Vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
3/4 cup shredded Coconut
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan or Sea Salt

Your favorite Jam (I used a good blueberry)

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy – about 3-4 minutes.  Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Mix flour, coconut, soda and salt together in a medium bowl then, with mixer on, add slowly to the creamed butter mixture until well incorporated.  Removed the dough from the mixer and shape into a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.  This dough can be refrigerated longer, but you’ll need to let it sit out for a while to soften just enough to form into balls.
Form dough into about 1″ balls.  Optionally, you may roll in chopped nuts, additional coconut or lime zest at this point.

Place dough balls on an ungreased baking sheet and put into a 350 degree oven for 13-14 minutes.  Remove from oven and press your “thumbprint” into the middle of each ball.  Spoon jam into the thumbprint.  Place back into the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Antipasto Platter

Last Fall we began a neighborhood dinner group.  We gather every 6 weeks or so and enjoy an evening of wonderful food and friendship at one of the members home.  The hostess is responsible for the theme and choosing the menu.

For our most recent dinner,  one of our members who is full blooded Italian chose what else but Italian for the theme.  I was assigned an Antipasto Platter.

A smaller antipasto platter with only 4–8 ingredients is a great starting point to a full meal. It's also the perfect size for a nice relaxing lunch on the patio or to take along to your next picnic. Include some of these tasty foods:
  • Meats. Mortadella, prosciutto, capicollo, Genoa salami and sopressata are all perfect choices.
  • Cheeses. Always include chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano, but others to try are aged provolone, smoked Gouda, ripe brie, bocconcini, spiced havarti, marinated mozzarella, Asiago and fontina.
  • Jarred or marinated veggies, such as sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, pepperoncini, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and eggplant.
  • Assorted olives. Kalamata, garlic-stuffed green olives or a marinated mix are all a nice addition to your plate. Consider adding capers as well.
  • Fresh whole basil.
  • Breads. Sliced baguettes, crusty Italian bread or rosemary crackers are favourite breads to include.
A larger platter will include not only more of every ingredient, but also more ingredients altogether. Plan on at least 8–12 different foods. This will make a wonderful platter to serve at a large party or as a relaxing summer meal to enjoy on the patio.

Include a wide assortment from the simple plate section, but consider adding some of these extras to pump it up a bit:
  • Grilled vegetables, such as asparagus, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes or spring onions.
  • Seafood, including sardines, anchovies or grilled shrimp.
  • Fruits, like fresh melon pieces, figs, grapes and raspberries, or dried fruits such as apricots, dates or cranberries.

Plating your platter

  • Assemble your ingredients. With any antipasto platter, the quantity of each food to be added is a personal choice and is dependent on the number of people that are to be served. Use your best judgment to create a balanced and interesting platter.
  • One large tray makes a nice visual impact, but one or more smaller plates will also work.
  • Consider using small bowls placed on the tray for marinated condiments or vegetables.
  • Roll or fold sliced meats for a nice presentation.
  • Cut, shave or chunk pieces of cheese.
  • Place bread away from moist veggies and pickles.
  • Refrigerate your platter, but then bring it back to room temperature for serving.
  • Keep sea salt and a pepper grinder handy for seasoning.
  • Have extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar ready for drizzling.
Antipasto Platters make a beautiful appetizer and there's so many choices for the ingredients.  I served mine with olives and hard breadsticks. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

DIY Wedding Ornament

Are you attending a wedding this summer and looking for a unique and fun gift?  When I pinned this idea last year, it was one I wish I'd thought of!!  There's lots of  ideas out there, where I say Why didn't I think of that??!!!

I wish I had taken better pictures while assembling this but I didn't.  Here's my finished ornament and a link to the original post.

Such a unique idea, you could also do this with graduation announcements, baby shower invitations or announcements!!  Cute and it's easy to do!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Bars

I am not a fan of Rice Krispie Bars, at least not the original, they're just too sweet for my taste.  There's no shortage of Rice Krispie bar recipes that are variation of the original.  I've tried several, these using everyone's favorite biscoff, these using red hots or these from cake batter. 

When I'm in the mood to bake, I check the pantry for that ingredient I bought and didn't use.  This time, it was a bag of caramels.  Not sure why I bought them but unwrapping each one sure is a pain!  How about Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Bars?  Just so happens there was a partial box of rice krispies in the pantry.  I found a recipe I liked and decided to step it up a notch and brown the butter.  Caramel, brown butter and sea salt make an amazing combination of flavors.  The nuttiness of the brown butter, sweetness of the caramel combined with the salt make for an oh so good treat!  Fortunately, I was taking these to a party or I could have eaten the whole pan. 

 Brown Butter Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Bars
Recipe Adapted from Redbook
  • 1 bag(s) (14-ounce) caramels (about 50), unwrapped
  • 1 can(s) (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup(s) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup(s) unsalted butter, browned
  • 1 bag(s) (10 1/2-ounce) miniature marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoon(s) sea salt flakes (such as Maldon)
  • 8 cup(s) toasted rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)

  1. Prepare caramel: Stir ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
  2. Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with nonstick foil, extending foil 2 inches beyond the edges.
  3. In a 6-quart pot, brown the butter.  (You could easily skip this and just melt the butter.)
  4.  Add marshmallows and stir with a rubber spatula until almost melted.
  5. Stir in vanilla, 1 tsp of the sea salt, and 1 cup of the caramel mixture. Continue to stir until mixture is blended and smooth.
  6. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal until it’s evenly coated with the marshmallow mixture.
  7. Press mixture into pan in an even layer and cool completely.
  8. Spread the remaining 1 cup of the caramel mixture over cooled cereal. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tsp of the sea salt.
  9. Remove from pan and peel off foil. Cut into 24 squares. Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Roasted Onions and Radishes

Have you ever roasted radishes?  As with most vegetables, roasting brings out their sweetness.   It's CSA time and we had radishes from our own garden.  I wanted to do something else besides just serve them on salads.  These were sweet with just a little bit of crunch and a nice tang from the balsamic.

 Roasted Radishes and Onions
  • 3-4 bunches of radishes- trimmed, topped and tailed (about 20 radishes depending on the size, allow 2-3 per person)
  • 4-6 onions (I used large green onions) peeled, cut onion into 4 or 6 wedges (like a wedge of lemon)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (approx.) to sprinkle over
  • salt to sprinkle (Kosher, Madon)
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze


Toss the radishes and onion wedges in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in a hot oven (400) for approximately 35-40 minutes, stirring a couple of times until the onions are crispy and the radishes fairly tender when tested with a sharp knife tip.
Sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar.   Serve as a side dish or as a vegetable dish along side roast meat.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes - SRC

In search of something to make for a co workers birthday, I began browsing, Hun What's for Dinner,   my assigned SRC blog for the month of June.  What's SRC you ask?  Secret Recipe Club is a fun monthly cooking group.  You can learn more about it here.

Cindy of Hun What's for Dinner says she married a chef dreaming of 5 star dinners.  Only to become an accomplish cook and baker herself.  She's won several awards and cooking competitions. Her blog had so many great recipes to choose from.  I've bookmarked several, including this yummy recipe for Bananas Foster French Toast.    I was intrigued by the recipe for Pink Lemonade Cupcakes.  Who doesn't love pink lemonade?  Seems likely it would help make a delicious, moist cupcake.   The frosting was my favorite part of this recipe, it's tart and delicious. These would be fun cupcakes for a little girl's birthday party. 

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

1 box Funfetti Cake mix
3 eggs
1/4 C oil
1 C pink lemonade concentrate
1/3 C butter
5-6 C powdered sugar
3 Tbs pink lemonade concentrate
rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside. In a bowl mix together the cake mix, eggs, oil, and 1 C of pink lemonade concentrate. Mix until well combined; then beat for 2 minutes. Fill each paper cup 2/3 full and bake for 12-15 minutes; until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, before removing to a wire rack. Cool to room temperature. In your mixers bowl, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. On the lowest setting, slowly add the powdered sugar, 1 C at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all powdered sugar has been added, increase to highest speed and slowly add in 3 Tbs of pink lemonade concentrate. Beat until very fluffy; about 5 minutes. Place a pipping bag, or large zip top bag, into a deep glass; folding over the top edge. Fill the bag with the frosting. Snip a fairly large hole in the tip of the bag. Using a circular motion, pipe the frosting on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles immediately.