Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yummy In My Tummy Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Scones

Dearest Jess,

The 30 Day Hot Yoga Challenge is complete. I put on my bathing suit the day after I completed this crazy challenge and... it was too big! What an awesome feeling. So needless to say, things are going great.

We had a party to celebrate this achievement (the 30 Day Challenge... not the bathing suit being too big) and I was supposed to make and bring a Greek Salad. When I went to make it, I decided it was a little boring for what I wanted. Please don't make the mistake of thinking that I do not enjoy Greek Salad. You know it's one of my favorite things (especially with chicken!) I just was not feeling it for this particular day/event. Instead: Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Scones happened.

I am so excited to share this one with everyone. What a treat! When it is pared with a cup of piping hot tea (even iced tea would be sublime) it is magical.

The only suggestion I would make is to do a tiny bit less chocolate and a tiny bit more frozen raspberries! Mmmmm. Enjoy...

Raspberry Chocolate Tea Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and chopped into small pieces
1 cup miniature chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
1 cup frozen raspberries, chopped (keep frozen until you’re ready to add them to the dough)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Add the chopped cold butter and rub with your fingers into the flour until the bits of butter are roughly the size of peas. Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks.

3. Separate the egg; reserve the white for later use (you’ll use it to brush on the tops of the scones before baking.) In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the cream, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.

4. Add the chopped frozen raspberries to the flour mixture. Pour in the cream, and using light, quick strokes, stir with a fork until just moistened (there may still be some flour on the bottom of the bowl.) Use your hands to gather the dough into a ball and knead it lightly a few times, just to gather it together. Don’t worry if there’s still a little flour remaining on the bottom of the bowl.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into two balls. Gently flatten each ball into a 1-inch high disk, and cut each disk into 6 wedges (for 12 scones total.) Place on baking sheet and brush the tops with the reserved egg white; sprinkle with sugar.

6. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and scones are cooked through.

I hope all is going well with your applications. As you already know you are in my prayers.

I am learning so much. I never realized (until the last 2 years or so) how much I truly enjoy purposefully learning. In a lot of ways school distracted me from it. Don't get me wrong, I hold great value in education, and know how privileged I am to have had the opportunity to go to university. I just have been enjoying the extra 'brain room' and time to do so. Discussions are more interesting and even going into certain topics, I am beginning to feel more confident in my reasons for believing things the way that I do.

I am thankful to have you as my friend. So thankful. I'm not sure you fully realize how thankful.

So much Love,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cookie Ice Cream Pie

Dear Sally,

Your last blog looked AMAZING! I can't wait till BBQ season when I can cook up some delicious salmon. Unfortunately I know it will not be as good as your dad's famous salmon.

As usual this post is delicious but REALLY bad for you. I feel like I corrupting our followers with these enticing recipes. It is ironic really that I keep making things I can't eat nor would eat if I had the chance. Oh well :)

I'm excited for the party on Friday. I had to change my costume because I haven't had time to shop for anything but I think it will still work out :)

How is your yoga challenge coming? I wish I could be there with you! I'm glad that Rachel is doing it too, not that you would need the extra motivation or anything.

 Lots of love,

This recipe is a creation of my own and is a mish mash of things I had in the house and ideas that came to me. Don't worry, it has been tested on two very healthy men and they both enjoyed the dessert and survived its consumption. Enjoy!

Cookies Ice Cream Pie
Double chocolate ice cream (approx 2 cups)
Peanut butter (1/2 cup)
Cool whip (2 cups)
White chocolate (shavings)
1 cup (approx) white chocolate macadamia nut cookie dough (or any kind you like)

1. Cover the bottom of a round cake pan with the cookie dough. Cook in a 350 oven for about 8 minutes or until golden. Cool.

2. While the cookie is baking whip the ice cream, peanut butter and 1 cup cool whip. Spoon this mixture over the cooled cookie base. Top with remaining cool whip and white chocolate shavings. Return to the freezer for min 4 hours.

3. Bring out of the freezer just before serving to warm up. Cut and serve!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rachel's Lessons: Pepper-crusted Salmon with Garlic Chickpeas

Dear Jess,

I successfully finished the first week section of our study! Get ready for the second video to come your way soon!

This weekend I finally got to rest. Saturday (other than my one yoga class) I slept, read and slept some more. Rachel (Jason's sister) is doing the 30 Day Yoga Challenge with me. She also took this opportunity to do a 'cleanse' with food as well. She decided to stop eating red meat and dairy. What she is realizing now, is how much she actually depended on those two food types, and how little she thinks she has to eat these days. Thus, I have started to make food with her so she can see how easy it can be if you know what you're looking for.

Lesson One: Pepper-Crusted Salmon with Garlic Chickpeas

We picked this one because she loves salmon and really wants to build her salmon recipe list. Lucky for me, salmon is one of the easiest things to make, plus it takes next to no time! This recipe was pulled off BBC Good Food website (included on our 'Book Shelf'). We accidentally put lime juice with the topping of the fish. It wasn't horrible, but I think without it we would have gotten more of the peppery kick. It was still delicious, and I would make the Salmon and the Garlic Chickpeas again in a second!

Pepper-crusted Salmon with Garlic Chickpeas
4 skinless salmon fillets, about 5oz each
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp paprika
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp olive oil

For the Chickpeas
2 x 14oz cans chickpeas
3 tbsps olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150ml vegetable stock
130g bag baby spinach

1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas. Put the salmon fillets in a shallow ovenproof dish in a single layer. Roughly crush the peppercorns with a pestle and mortar, or tip into a cup and crush with the end of a rolling pin. Mix with paprika, lime zest adn a little sea salt. Brush the salmon lightly with oil, then sprinkle over the pepper mix. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the salmon is just cooked.
2. Meanwhile, tip the chickpeas into a colander, rinse well under cold running water, then drain. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic, then gently cook for 5 minutes without browning. Add the chickpeas and stock, then warm through. Crush the chickpeas lightly with a potato masher, then add the spinach and stir well until the leaves are wilted. Add the lime juice and same salt and pepper, then heat through. Serve with the salmon.

I love you, and of course miss you. I can't wait to see you on the 13th! I hope you're surviving this miserable weather, and are keeping happy thoughts of sunshine and warm, late-night summer breezes close to your heart.