Sweet potato biscuits

Brian and I celebrated our one year anniversary yesterday. Instead of going out to some over-priced and cheesy restaurant, I used the opportunity to cook.

The menu included bleu cheese crusted filets, roasted Brussels sprouts, sweet potato biscuits and cannoli cheesecake. You’ll be getting the recipes in 4 installments and I’m starting with the biscuits today(a recipe adapted from Paula Deen). They were probably my favorite part of the meal.

Since the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of sweet mashed potatoes and I didn’t have any on hand, I started by boiling one large sweet potato. And preheating the oven to 425F.

While the potatoes were busy boiling, I sifted together 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 heaping tablespoons sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

 

After the potatoes boiled until tender, I drained and mashed them:

I could tell that this big spud made more than my needed 3/4 cup, so I measured them out.

I ate the remainder of the mashed sweet’s as a side to my lunch and put the 3/4 cup back in the pan and combined it with 1/4 cup softened butter. Yep, the butter is what makes it a Paula Deen recipe.

Add the buttery potato mixture to your ingredients and mix to make a soft dough.

After the dough has started to form, you can add one tablespoon of milk at a time until dough is moist enough. I used 2% milk. I’m sure Paula really wanted me to use whole milk or heavy cream, but I just couldn’t do it. I only needed to add one tablespoon and my dough was plenty moist. The recipe says you can add up to 4 tablespoons, if necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and toss lightly until the outside of the dough looks smooth.

Roll the dough out into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter.

Place the biscuits on a greased pan.

Coat tops with melted butter. Can you tell which one has been brushed with melted butter and which one hasn’t?

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Watch your oven: If the biscuits are browning too fast, lower the temperature. Yields 15-20 biscuits.

I ate them plain as they were so moist and delicious, but I’m sure they would be amazing drizzled with honey or maple syrup. I will definitely be making these again.

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Toasted sesame roasted vegetables and S’mores cracked wheat

A few weekends ago, I was fortunate enough to go away for a girls’ weekend to Door County, Wisconsin. I enjoyed going for long runs on their confusing and winding roads that made my runs even longer. And headed to Cave Point to check out the caves, do some trail walking and enjoyed taking in the cool fall weather. We did our share of eating, too!

My personal rule is that I can drink all the fountain pop on road trips that I want. First stop, fountain pop:

Our next stop was at the local Piggly Wiggly to pick up produce and other fixin’s to make dinner. Long, slow, vacation mornings also call for hot breakfasts. I’m a huge fan of steel cut oatmeal, but when I saw cracked wheat on the shelf, I decided to give it a chance. It’ really not that far off from oatmeal, but after a night of roasting marshmallows over the fire, I was inspired to make s’mores cracked wheat.

For my s’mores cracked wheat, I cooked 1/2 cup of the cracked wheat according to the stove top directions on the box. Then I added in a tablespoon of hot cocoa mix and broke up 2 large marshmallows into 4 pieces each. Stir it all in to the cooked crack wheat. A highly tasty and hot breakfast!

After breakfast, we headed to Cave Point to check out a lot of rocks, caves and go on a nice trail walk.

For dinner the first night we had amazing bone-in pork chops, salad and roasted vegetables tossed with toasted sesame olive oil. This olive oil tasted amazing on the veggies and is a local specialty. We went to the Oilerie and were able to sample several of their one of a kind oils. My favorite were the truffle, hazelnut, toasted sesame and the sun-dried tomato.

Getting the coals ready:

Pork chops before the grill(sorry, there are no “after” pictures. They were too good and we gobbled them up!):

Roasting the veggies:

Wow, were they amazing with the toasted sesame oil!

And it wouldn’t have been a proper lake house dinner without wine in a coffee mug(a light house coffee mug to keep in theme with the weekend)!

Incase you aren’t completely bored with this post, I’ll add a few more pictures of the lake and the light house.

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork

Brian and I are both huge fans of BBQ pulled pork. Our current favorite pulled pork is at Crossroads Bar and Grill on Madison St in Chicago. They smoke their pork to perfection and put on the just the right amount of amazing sauce. One of us will order the pulled pork at nearly any restaurant if it’s on the menu just to give it a try. Crossroads always comes back the winner. It even beat out the famous Smoque BBQ in Chicago.

Being that I don’t have a smoker or even a grill for that matter, I knew that any bbq I made would not measure up to Crossroads. I still thought I’d give it a shot and looked over many a slow cooker recipes. Some looked too simple and sweet and others just weird.

Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup(s) ketchup
  • 1/3 cup(s) cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup(s) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon(s) paprika
  • 2 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoon(s) yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
  • 4 pound(s) pork loin cut into 4 pieces
  • Directions:

    1. In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow-cooker pot, stir onion, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined.
    2. In a skillet on your stove top, brown pork loin on both sides. Once browned to one’s liking(I wish I would have browned mine longer), cut into 4 equal-sized pieces.  Add pork to sauce mixture and turn to coat well with sauce.
    3. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook pork mixture on low setting as manufacturer directs, 8 to 10 hours or until pork is very tender.
    4. With tongs, transfer pork to large bowl or cutting board. Turn setting on slow cooker to high; cover and heat sauce to boiling to thicken and reduce slightly.
    5. While sauce boils, with 2 forks, pull pork into shreds. Return shredded pork to slow cooker and toss with sauce to combine. Cover slow cooker and heat through on high setting if necessary.
    6. Upon returning the pork to the slow cooker and combining it with the sauce, Brian and I decided that it didn’t taste enough like BBQ. So we stirred in about a half of bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s to the crock pot and recovered the crock pot for another 20 minutes.
    7. After the 20 minutes we did another taste test to see if the sauce did the trick. It did! The BBQ pork was delicious and the left overs didn’t last long in the fridge. Go ahead and scoop some of that meat onto a bun and enjoy. Definitely will be making this again soon.

    Move over Nutella

    There’s a new kid in town and his name is Cocoa Almond Butter, he goes by CAB for short. How do you get to know him? And trust me, you want to…you  make him!

    I always enjoy food processing up a new spread of sorts. Usually because they are fairly fast and easy and if I screw it up I’m not out a whole lot. I tried cocoa roasted almonds sometime back and greatly enjoyed them as a nut.

    I had wanted to try to make them into an almond butter much like delicious Nutella but had been hesitant because I was afraid it wouldn’t turn out well as the nuts had been previously roasted. Roasting the nuts takes away some of the oils key for making that nice smooth and creamy texture. Since I have always been on Team Chunky for peanut butters, chunky chocolate almond butter didn’t sound like too much of a disaster!

    I started out by dumping about 1/2 of the container of cocoa roasted almonds into my mini food processor.

    Then, I started grinding away. Or really, just holding down the button. They quickly became tiny pieces of almonds. It was clear that they weren’t going to turn into much of a spread without my help. So, in an effort to keep it on the healthier side, I skipped the oil and just added water. I added one tablespoon of water at a time.

    In total I added 8 tablespoons of water to get this consistency. Every time I added more water, I also had to taste test. I didn’t want it getting too watered down tasting and would add oil if I needed to. Fortunately I didn’t have to. The chocolate almond combination naturally reminded me of an Almond Joy. Which almost caused me to add coconut into the mix during a brief moment of weakness. Then it hit me. I knew exactly what this tasted like. My favorite ice cream concoction as a child. An Almond Joy “blizzard” from Scottie’s Dairy Bar. In elementary school we would get our mom’s to write us lunch passes and we would walk to Scottie’s and get hot dogs with schredded cheese on top of them and ice cream. It was my favorite ice cream treat. Chocolate ice cream with almonds and coconut in it. And that says a lot, because I am a vanilla ice cream girl and don’t really even like ice cream. Sorry, back to the CAB!

    Keep in mind that I like mine on the chunkier side. After the water was added and almonds ground down I ended up with 6-7 ounces of amazing CAB. I almost blurted out expletives when I tasted it. It’s amazing on a banana and I can’t wait to mix a little in with my oatmeal. I have a feeling that this will be a constant in my fridge!

    And smartly disguised in a hummus container so others don’t find it too quickly!