Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Busy in the kitchen...

Funny how things go slow and then all of a sudden a person gets busy.  This week I had a lot to do.  We decorated the cabin, went Christmas shopping, and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen.  

I finally took the plunge and participated in the Bountiful Baskets program.  Wow.  It provides a lot of food for $20.
Everything has been delicious.  I got carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, bananas, mangoes, green peppers, Anaheim peppers, and some grapefruit type things.  What I really like about it is I don't have a choice over what is in the basket.  When it comes I can assess what I got and then plan two weeks worth of meals around the contents.  It makes deciding what to have for supper so much easier.  The purple carrots were very tasty. 

I also did a lot of baking this week.  I have been dying to make salted caramel shortbread bars and finally tried.  My photo isn't half as nice as the one on the blog I got the recipe from.

 They turned out great.  A bit rich for two people to work their way through.  I recommend them for potlucks.  You are going to have to go to this post to get the recipe.

I also had bananas to use up, so I made my purple ribbon winning banana bread muffins.  I got whites in about everything I baked or sewed in 4-H.  This banana bread recipe was the only thing I made that earned a purple ribbon.  My husband likes them plain and I add chocolate chips to mine.

 I had two bananas left, so I tried this chocolate chip banana biscotti recipe.  It turned out ok, but needs a chocolate glaze.  I also used whole wheat not white whole wheat.  I think that made it a tad grainy.  Still, they turned were good.  It is very hard to find biscotti around here.   If I want some I usually have to make it.  You would think I would be halfway decent at making biscotti, but honestly it doesn't turn out the best.  Probably because I lack patience.  Especially, when you have to take them out, let them cool, cut them up, and return them to the oven.   Somehow that cooling before cutting part gets left out.

Chocolate Chip Banana Biscotti
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium overripe banana, peeled and mashed well
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup small chocolate chunks or mini chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the banana, egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and mix until the mixture starts to form a ball. Add the chocolate and mix to incorporate.
Divide the dough in two and form into logs about 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. Wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking, if necessary. Place the logs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten them with the palm of your hand so they are about 1/2 inch thick.
Bake for 25 minutes. When they come out of the oven, turn the heat down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Allow the logs to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. If they hang out longer they will be more likely to crumble when they are sliced. Carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to make 1/2 inch thick slices, preferably at an angle.
Arrange the slices on the same parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. They will still feel soft, but will harden as they cool. Serve or store in an airtight container. They will keep for several days or can be frozen.  I got the recipe from the following website:
My last big project for the weekend was butchering the deer my husband got.  I really need to take a class on processing game.  I'm not very fast or efficient.  I canned 9 jars of stew meat, kept a few steaks, and jerked out the rest.  I love deer jerky and the stew meat is wonderful to use in stews and stroganoff.   I wanted to grind some for breakfast sausage, but the store didn't have any ground pork.

I am now exhausted.   I could have used one more day to get things done, but you get what get.   I hope everyone else had a productive weekend. 


  1. Bonnie, You go girl!

    I would love to participate in Bountiful Baskets. The nearest one in our area is over 50 miles from me. Our small town tried to get the program, but the grocery store owner put a stop to it.

    Banana bread crossed my mind this week. The Hubby and I like chocolate chips in ours too. He was not a fan of peanut butter cups instead of chocolate chips. I took the PB Cup Banana Bread to share with friends and got rave reviews.

    My 4-H sewing, cooking and photography never got very many purple ribbons. My Dad was on the Fair Board for many years. One year he came home from the after county fair meeting and told us that there were 7 white ribbons (the lowest color you can get) in the gardening competition. Sister and I brought home 5 of them!

    Merry Christmas, my South Dakota Blogging Friend. I hope you find the right sleeping temperature soon.

  2. I am not sure I could do that much kitchen work in a few days! Whew, I feel tired for you. I think a hard cider is calling my name ;) I think you are marvelously productive!

  3. What a lot of baking and cooking and canning you've done. No wonder you're exhausted! It all looks yummy, but Wow! That salted caramel shortbread is making my mouth water.

  4. Wow...I'm exhausted just reading what all you've been doing! After all that, I think you could eat several pieces of the salted caramel chocolate shortbread with no problem! :) I'm definitely going to have to try that recipe.

  5. MMM the caramel bars look very good.I need to stop making things, I eat way too much.

  6. WOW, you've been a busy lady. I love canned meat. I consider it "fast food". The bars and biscotti look wonderful to me. I love to do a batch of biscotti around Christmastime. I need to get some baking, I think. It's cold and starting to snow today so it's a good day for staying indoors and baking.

  7. Christmas is the time for baking! I saw a recipe for caramel shortbread bars and was intrigued. They look amazing. As do those purple carrots!

  8. It's funny how we remember which things got a purple ribbon. I still remember my surprise (and happiness) the year my 4-H heifer got a purple ribbon at the fair. :)

  9. Sounds like my house this week. I did 12 different cookies to pack up and send to family and friends. Now, I'm just waiting for the grands to appear, XOXO


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