Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lembas (Elvish) Bread

Stew may be a meal fit for a hobbit but when you're headed on a long journey, you can't exactly eat lavish every night. Lembas Bread or elvish bread as we usually refer to it, one small cake will fill you for "a full days march" Perfect for settling in for an adventure on screen! Top this with a little butter or honey and this makes for a delicious, filling treat! There are a few different recipes for this and this is the first one I've tried. I would eventually like to check them all out! Maybe for our next Lord of The Rings marathon or for the next Hobbit movie! But I would definitely make these again as well. I found this recipe Here after some quick searching. This one sounded easy and yummy and they were even better than I thought they would be.

Lembas (Elvish) Bread

2 1/2 cups Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
8 tablespoons Cold Butter (1 Stick)
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Honey or Maple Syrup
2/3 cup Heavy Cream or Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt
Add the butter

It's not mandatory to cut it up but I think it makes it easier.  Use a pastry cutter and mix it until it resembles fine granules.

I did it with a fork, but I will be purchasing a pastry cutter before I make this again, it would have been much easier.

Add the brown sugar and cinnamon

 Give it a good stir before adding the cream or milk, honey and vanilla.  Combine it all until a thick dough forms.

Roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness. I made mine a little thicker, but traditionally they are thin cakes.  Cut into about 3 inch squares and transfer to baking sheet.

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until it is lightly golden.
Elvish Bread will for many many days as long as it is kept in the leaf wrappings.
This bread will be best kept in an airtight container though.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Geeky gadgets

I first saw this type of blog entry from an awesome blog, Success Along the Weigh!  Not only does she do the awesome window shopping, she will have you smiling, laughing, siteseeing around the U.S. (recently she visited my home state and did a whole blog entry about it! gorgeous pictures included) and recipes that are to die for and healthy to boot!
 Even your favorite dishes that you don't think could be lower cal and not taste like card board, she miraculously spins into better for you recipes so you can have your cake and eat it too!  Seriously!  Right now she is doing 12 days of holiday treats that have me wanting to bake every night of the week! Be sure to stop on by and say Hello! Success Along the Weigh!
She finds the most adorable stuff and I always enjoy those entries, so I thought I would share with you, the things that I have stumbled upon in my perusing. 

This is just too funny.  Who doesn't love to give someone a mustache? Some people like to use marker on a poster, doodling on paper, now you can too, with food upon your dinner plate!  Too fun for your kids or your goofy self.  And the Mr. would be lonely with out his Mrs.

Mmm..that fruit looks delicious and reminds me of I Love Lucy.
These are very Alice in Wonderland, they would be awesome for an Alice or Mad Hatter party, you could easily make some drink tags to say "Drink Me" along with lots of odd clocks, decks of cards, mismatched tea sets.  That would be a party I would love to attend.
*Funny side note, as I was typing this part up, my husband is play Assassins Creed, they just quoted Alice in Wonderland.*
I love Chinese food!  It is one food, I don't think I can ever get sick of, but you won't find too many recipes on here.  I have tried a few recipes and they just don't compare to the little places around here, so I figure I'll leave it to the pros.  My favorite, they pile your containers so high it's hard to close.  And two lunch meals will feed Heith and I for at least 2 full meals and snacking in between, for under the price of a lunch at your local chain restaurant.  These are awesome, I love the shape and it's got it's own little handle to carry along, no need for a lunch pale!  

   Oooh zombies, nothing like a good zombie movie, from Resident Evil to Shaun of the Dead, or even Zombieland.  This would be perfect for your Zombie Apocalypse Party or your next Halloween party.  With or with out the worms, this is sweet.  

This is too amazing for words!  I want a bunch of them! Everywhere!  You can't not look at him and smile!
Ridiculously marvelous.

Food always tastes better when you cook happy!  I enjoy listening to music while I cook, I forget a lot of the time, but when I do, I can't help but sing, dance and laugh all around the kitchen.  The food turns our spectacular!  Even though tears are streaming down your face from dicing all of those onions, you dump them into a colorful cheery face and just smile!

This cup is pretty fricking epic.  It would be cool one image or the other, but combining them into heat sensitive images is just...epic!  Perfect for your archaeologist friend, reptile fan, history buff, or 7 year old nephew, or in my case, the crazy girl who just likes things with dinosaurs on them. Curiously, my love of dinosaurs only increased when I saw the Allosaurus and the stegosaurus discover a fertile land, they called "this land" and the poor stego meets his untimely doom. "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"

And on that firefly note, I'm going to call it quits for now!  Please let me know what you think in the comments.  Do you have any fun favorites on your wishlist? I'd love to see them!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hobbit Stew (unofficial)

We are so impatiently awaiting the release of The Hobbit! We already have our tickets and I have the whole day off just for the occasion! My husband, Heith is a big Lord of The Rings fan, and he sucked me in! Especially after reading The Hobbit, I am planning on starting Fellowship of the Ring after the movie comes out. I couldn't think of a more fun way to get excited for the movie, than eating a meal fit for a hobbit! Well actually, if I could afford it we would fly to New Zealand to visit Hobbiton, the set where they filmed! Or I would build my own hobbit hole in my back yard and never leave! Since neither of those are an option, we settled for what we could afford, a movie marathon with food fit for a hobbit! Simple creatures with a passion for food (who else do you know that eats seven meals a day!) and celebration, what better than a nice hearty stew full of delicious beef, tasty veggies and of course a hobbit favorite, mushrooms! You can eat this from elevensies through supper and still want more! Serve this with a side of crusty bread and soon you'll have a nice full belly and ready to settle in for a nice evening of pipe -weed and blowing smoke rings.

Hobbit Stew

2 lbs Stew Meat, cut into bite sized chunks
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 medium to large red skinned potatoes, washed and diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 lb mushrooms, halved or quartered
2 teaspoons beef flavor boost (two packets)
2 cups water
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
2 Bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper

(Not pictured: Mushrooms & Worcestershire Sauce, oops!)

There are two ways you can make this. Well really there are many different ways, but I am including two different options for cooking, one if you wake up early enough to leave it sit for 8 hours; the other is if you slept in, like I did, and started later than you originally intended! If you have time to be in the kitchen for a bit longer, but not the full 8 hours to let it cook. Versatility, FTW! 

In a resealable plastic bag, add flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, basil & oregano, shake to combine. Add beef and shake until coated. Heat 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in skillet; add floured meat and brown on all sides.

(I left my pieces kind of big, it's easier if you chop them smaller, they cook faster and they are easier to eat)

While that's going, chop your potatoes, onions, carrots, celery. I like to leave my veggies in big chunks, but dice them to your preference. 

Put your potatoes, carrots and celery into a pan with about a tablespoon of butter to soften on medium heat, stirring often.  You can put a lid on, that should help.

While those are softening, chop your mushrooms into halves or quarters.  Or leave them whole if you please.  I quartered them, but I think i'll leave them whole next time.

The beef should be about done now, all nice and browned. Transfer it over to your slow cooker.

Add onions and mushrooms to your still hot beef skillet with a little butter and cook for two minutes, no need to clean it out before adding the onions, that just adds more delicious flavor!

 After the two minutes, toss them in the slow cooker as well. 

I think I could eat just this...yum!  But it's worth the wait!
About this time, the veggies should be good and softened. Not all the way cooked but soft enough to cut the cooking time down.  Add them to the party in the slow cooker
To the beef pan add worcestershire, water and beef flavor boost, whisk until mixed.  Don't forget those brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  When it's all combined add to the slow cooker and remind yourself to not eat it all now.  Add garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper and feel free to add additional onion powder, basil, oregano (about 1/2 teaspoon of each)

Cook on High for 4 to 5 hours or until the meat is tender and everything is nice and combined.

Alternative: Do not soften veggies, just cook meat, soften mushrooms and onions, add everything to slow cooker top with worcestershire beef flavor mix  and cook on low for 8 hours. 

My brothers girlfriend came over the night I made this, she said "I don't like beef stew very much but I've decided to let you change my mind" 
Good girl, Love that attitude!

That's all I ask, even if you haven't liked it before, try a spoon and see!  If you don't  like it, I won't be offended, just try it!!
Verdict was: "It's good!"

Her and I were chatting later and we decided, she may not be a beef stew convert, but she's a hobbit stew convert!
No higher compliment.  I hope this will convert your picky eaters and non-beef stew likers as well.