Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sunday Grilling

Sunday’s are a perfect grilling days during the summer. You can sleep in, take time with getting supplies, and grill a late lunch for everyone on a sunny day! For my family, we grilled out in the afternoon so we could be outside and enjoy some fresh summer food.

On the grill we had: corn, brats, and chicken.

Corn is my personal favorite grilling food because of the crisp fresh taste along with the smoky grill flavor. To grill the corn, I removed the hair fibers on top and any loose husk pieces without shucking it. I then soaked the corn in water for about 30 minutes before placing them on the grill still in the water soaked husk. This keeps in the moisture and adds the grilled taste.

We boiled the deli-fresh brats in water and beer then placed them on the grill.

The chicken marinated in an easy Ms. Dash mesquite grilling marinade for about an hour then we placed the chicken breasts on the grill as well.

In the house, my mom and I worked on preparing the baked beans, slicing up brat buns from the bakery, potato wedges and cutting up a fruit salad. We prepared potatoes by slicing red potatoes into fourths and drenching them in olive oil. The potatoes baked in the oven on a stone. These potatoes are great for parties and grilling because it is not an entire baked potato, they’re more like French fries being easier to eat outside at a cookout.

There is nothing better than a summer day cookout! I love trying new things on the grill, here is an article I read about corn on the cob options, check it out!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Door County

On Saturday the weather was perfect for a road trip to Door County. We went as a family with everyone in two cars to go explore the cities in famous Door County, WI. When it comes to planning a trip, activities typically revolve around food even if that was not the intent. Finding ice cream shops, candy stores, and great places to eat are always fun. Other than getting food, there are beaches, shopping, festivals, and wineries through the Door County area. 

The beaches in Ephrium, Fish Creek, and at Peninsula State Park are the best in my opinion. We bought a day pass at Peninsula State Park to relax and hit the beach.

We went to Fish Creek, Ephraim, Bailey's Harbor, Egg Harbor, and Sister Bay. There are great shops in Fish Creek and Sister Bay. While shopping in Fish Creek, we came across a fish boil. The fish boil was for that night's dinner at a local restaurant. We decided to make reservations at another place for dinner long before shopping, but the fish boil was great to watch!

The man explained that they boiled water and salt and then added the fish in a basket to the pot. The gray film layer on the top of the water was from the oils of the fish, which needed to be removed. To do so, they boil over the pot by pouring kerosene on the fire which removed that top layer of the water along with the oils. 

For dinner we decided to eat at Gibraltar Grill, a restaurant in Fish Creek. Open for lunch and dinner, this place has incredible food. We all got something different and enjoyed each dish! Despite not taking reservations on the patio, they were able to seat 9 of us outside on the patio where they have seating, a covered bar, and fireplace. The atmosphere was great with outdoor lighting and impressive flowers surrounding the restaurant. Some of the dishes we ordered were...

Crab Cakes

 Bread and pita with various dips 

 Scallops over spinach and red pepper risotto 

I would recommend this place to anyone! The service was incredible as they kept refilling drinks without being disruptive. The scallops and other seafood were cooked perfectly. The food was simply delicious. On my personal tasty scale of 1-5 peaches, I would give this place 3 peaches... it was amazingly peachy! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The chocolate chip cookie is a classic treat. Since we had guests tonight, I decided to bake some cookies as a simple gesture. The smell was incredible, I mean who doesn't love cookies. This is one of my mom's favorite old recipes, but we are not quite sure where it came from.

1 cup Crisco baking stick, butter flavored
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 bag  "milk chocolate" chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Blend the Crisco, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Then in a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture into the large bowl and mix together. Once mixed, add in the bag of chocolate chips. Spoon tablespoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet leaving two inches between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cook and enjoy your tasty cookies!

As a twist on the classic cookie, add some ice cream to make an ice cream cookie sandwich or put them in a bowl for a chocolate fudge cookie sundae! However you eat them, these cookies are delicious.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Food for Kids

As my summer job, I am a nanny. Now the toughest part, other than finding things to do is making kid-friendly food with minimal prep while trying to be healthy. Luckily for me, carrots, grapes, bananas, and peaches are always around for us to snack on (healthy and easy!). Here’s some great tasty food ideas for when working with kids!

Breakfast: fruits, yogurt, waffles or bagels. Our personal favorite at the moment are smoothies. Making smoothies also adds an activity for us.

Lunch: Mac and cheese has been a big hit (almost 3 times a week). To keep the sodium and preservatives at a minimum, we eat Simply Organic Mac and cheese. Not as cheesy as some of the rest but not too bad for a much healthier option. Burritos or nachos have also been a delicious easy option. When using minimal ingredients (picky kids) along with organic beans and cheese, it’s pretty healthy! Another popular item I consistently make is cheesy bread dunked in marinara. For this cheesy bread below that we made last week, all I used was half a loaf of French bread, butter, mozzarella cheese, and marinara sauce. In the oven at 350 for a couple minutes to melt the cheese and we had a quick lunch. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chocolate Birthday Cake

My favorite thing about cooking is cooking for others. There is nothing better than surprising someone with cookies or making breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. This past week was my brother’s birthday, so of course I made him a birthday cake.

A little back-story: last summer my mom and I took cake-decorating classes through Wilton. We learned how to make flowers out of frosting, how to use fondant, and how to boarder cakes with frosting design. The class was once a week for a little over a month. It was so worth the money and I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

For my brother’s birthday I brought out the bottomless bin of our cake decorating supplies. I used a recipe found on for Chocolate Oreo Cream Cake. It looked too great to pass up! 

The recipe called for using a chocolate cake mix for the two layers of cake and an Oreo cream filling consisting of cream cheese, sugar, whip cream, and Oreo cookies. Making the cake and filling was quick and easy, giving me more time to put my own spin on it with the decorations. 

  • I night before, I rolled out a 50/50 gum paste and fondant mixture to make loops of a bow. The loops had to dry and harden in time to put on the cake. The next day I assembled the bow by using a gum paste and water mixture that acted as glue. With three layers of loops (about 13 loops), I was able to make a cake topper!

  • After the bow was constructed I rolled out plain white fondant to cover the entire cake. Being my first time covering a whole cake in fondant, I was anxious to see how this one turned out. After the white fondant was on the cake, I rolled out green and orange fondant to make stars for all over the cake. For this I simply used a star-shaped cookie cutter. I then used a small circle cookie cutter to measure out equal circles that I used to roll into balls for around the base of the cake. I found this was a great way to cover up any imperfections along the edge of the fondant on the bottom. Here's the finished cake!