Showing posts with label cranberry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cranberry. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

BBAC - Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread

I love a challenge. When I’m presented with a task, I’m going to complete it. Maybe I’m stubborn like that. Actually, yes, I’m very stubborn. I’ve been told this several times in the past. When I first got to grad school, I was nervous. It was the first time in my life that I was living away from home. I lived at home the entire time I was in college, it was free and only five miles away from school. Moving fourteen hours away from my parents, brother and boyfriend was hard. Every few days I sat thinking “Why am I here? Was this a good idea?”

Luckily I made friends and came to discover that every other first year grad student was thinking the same thing.  Even those who had gone to undergraduate far from home were questioning their decision to come to grad school. The first year of grad school was tough. Challenging classes, the stress of finding the right group to join and teaching teenagers freshman chemistry, it just all piled on. Some people cracked, it’s a lot of pressure. Most people succeeded and we were stronger for it.

Making it to the fifth qualifier, our official anniversary, was so uplifting. Completing our first year in grad school was just the first of many hurdles we would have to overcome, that first year hardened us. From there on out we would present seminars, defend original research proposals, write papers and get scooped. Getting scooped is always the worst.

In the back of my mind I always knew that I could finish what I started. It might start off a little shaky, uneasy of the strange new ground I was walking, but every challenge makes me stronger. Each step becoming more steady, until that goal is accomplished. Triumph!

So what is the challenge that I’m talking about today? The Bread Bakers Apprentice challenge! I started a few months ago with the Anadama bread. It turned out well, but being new to yeast, it wasn’t perfect. Later, I celebrated my gram with Cinnamon bread. A fitting tribute to many days spent in her home as a child. This year I plan to finish this challenge. Forty recipes in fifty-two weeks, here is the first one of the year. And it is going to be a hard one to surpass, absolutely delicious.

The cranberry-walnut celebration bread can be found on page 154 of Peter Reinhart’s Bread Bakers Apprentice (also on several other bloggers webpage). I made no changes to the recipe and it was absolutely delicious. I wound up eating the whole loaf in a matter of days. Yep, just me, one person, ate the whole loaf. It was amazing as French toast and great slathered in butter as an evening snack. The double braid was a kick to make and made the bread look gorgeous. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pork, Cranberry and Pear Salad

Oh boy! I just had the best dinner! In order to properly feed myself, and make my mom happy, I decided to make a real dinner. My mom is slightly concerned with my wacky eating habits of late. Let’s just say yesterday for breakfast I had a slice of chocolate tart. For breakfast this morning I had some cookies. Several nights last week dinner consisted of lettuce.

Now it’s not that I’m a bad eater, it’s just that there was no food in my house! I returned from my thanksgiving vacation Monday afternoon to a slice of bread and some far-past expiration milk. There were a few onions and maybe some mustard. It was a sad state of affairs. This is how things usually are when I return from a trip, except this time I came back with a cold. It slowly took over and made me lazier and lazier. I managed to buy some milk and cereal from the Dollar General across the street, but beyond that, I had eggs.

After some concern from my mom (talking about protein and nutrients) I decided I should probably go to the grocery store. Armed with this recipe, I bought my ingredients, substituting here and there for what was one sale (I’m cheap too!). I was not disappointed; this was the best meal I had in a while. Please enjoy, and eat your vegetables!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 - Cranberry Bars

Okay everyone, it’s time to get ready for Thanksgiving! Even if you don’t enjoy our tradition of football and food, I think you will enjoy my week of dishes. In honor of my other job, being a fitness instructor, I have decided to offer some healthier options. Monday thru Friday, enjoy a twist on the usual tradition. I’m not really a tradition kinda girl anyways. Last year I celebrated Christmas with two dogs and three cats after spending dinner with friends. The past two thanksgivings I have enjoyed a casino buffet and take-out pizza. I think the only holiday that deserves major pomp and circumstance is my birthday! No, really, Halloween. And maybe the 4th of July. I do like fireworks!

Let’s get started with the end. Dessert is the easiest to prep ahead of time. Enjoy the bounty of the fall season by incorporating cranberries into dessert. Add some pop with white chocolate and you’ve got one sweet finale to dinner. If you have the time, why not whip up some homemade ice cream to go with these treats?

But don’t be fooled by the decadent look of these cranberry bars. They are made with a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. The fresh cranberries (or frozen if you need!) are packed with vitamins. The walnuts add some healthy fats and these bars come in at around 150 calories a piece. Enjoy without guilt, just have someone there to hold you back from eating the whole pan-full!

Monday, November 8, 2010

New England Cranberry Chutney

I’m heading to Boston this week for work and I’m reminded of the first time I went there. It was a few years ago and I was headed to a conference. Rather than just fly in for the conference and fly out once it was over, boyfriend and I decided to make a vacation out of it. Since this was during grad school we were living apart, miles apart. Boyfriend was living in Miami, Florida and I was in Madison, Wisconsin. Worlds apart!

I remember flying in, seeing all the seaside houses. “How New Englandy!” I thought. After landing, and finding boyfriend, we were ready to hit the city. I find Boston to be one of the easiest cities to get around. From the airport, you can get to the city via bus, taxi or subway. Once you get to the city it is surprisingly small. I once described Boston as a “small city” to someone from Montana. They laughed at me. But Boston really is a small city, totally walkable. This is a good thing, because boyfriend loves to walk.

Our trip to Boston was no different than any of our other vacations. We walk eighteen miles a day, eat maybe one and a half meals, and come home having lost weight. We would walk from our hotel on the southern waterfront to the North End (for cupcakes) then all of the way to Fenway. We walked from Cambridge down the length of the Charles River. I love the walking, but sometimes it gets a little out of hand (stay tuned for the Death March in St Kitts).

I remember all of the walking in Boston (have you walked the entire freedom trail? I have), I remember going to Johnny Cupcakes and being terribly disappointed, but most of all, I remember the food. In honor of the food, I brought home a cookbook from New England. This is something that I like to do, whenever I go on vacation. I have cookbooks from all over the world, in several different languages. The recipes remind me of the great times that I had in each place. Since it is fall and we are nearing thanksgiving, we’re cooking some New England Cranberry Chutney. And since it’s my birthday week, I’m pouring it on some vanilla ice cream.

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