What We Miss When We Move

For four years I lived in Anchorage Alaska. Yes, I was a short timer. When I first moved there I thought I would live there forever! Then winter happened! In October! And I found that cold weather makes me angry. If it is below zero, I hate you. I’m sorry, I don’t know you, but I hate everything and everyone when I am cold. It was horrible. I don’t like being angry. I like to be a nice person. Then I met a gorgeous fighter pilot and I didn’t have to worry about moving again. The Air Force decided when and where I was going to move. Easy! No more decisions.

There were times when Alaska was magical. And maybe it’s just that I’m nice and warm in my house in Idaho, but sometimes I miss Alaska. I would like to go ice-fishing again, ice skating on a pond, see the Northern Lights, go to Charlie’s Bakery. Ah, Charlie’s Bakery. Crazy craziness, only in Alaska. They have the most beautiful cakes and pastries, French baguettes, opera bars – glorious, yummy sandwiches and the best dim sum in town. One side of the menu is soups and sandwiches and the other side is traditional Chinese food. Sometimes it was so hard to decide if I wanted a sandwich or dumplings. I’m getting so hungry! One thing I always had was a coconut bun. So good. Probably full of dairy. Now I’m sad. Even if I go back to Anchorage I won’t be able to have a bun.

Coconut buns are a traditional item found in Chinese bakeries and not so traditional Alaskan bakeries. They take some time to make, with all the kneading and rising. I think they are worth the trouble, at least every other year.

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Dairy-Free Coconut Buns

1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage (not canned)
1/4 cup dairy free margarine
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour, or more if needed

Filling:
1/4 cup dairy free margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup soy milk powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely grated coconut

Directions

  1. Place 1/3 cup sugar and milk in a small saucepan, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add 1/4 cup margarine, and gently warm the mixture until the margarine melts and the mixture is warm but not hot (no warmer than about 100 degrees F (40 degrees C). In a large bowl, stir together the yeast with 2 1/2 cups flour until well blended, and pour the milk mixture into the flour-yeast mixture. Stir in 1 beaten egg, and mix until the mixture forms a sticky, wet dough.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes, gradually kneading in 1 cup of additional flour or as needed to make a smooth, elastic dough. Form the dough into a round ball, place into an oiled bowl, and turn the dough around in the bowl a few times to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with a cloth, and allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. I turned my oven to warm, turned it off and put the dough in to rise.
  3. Cream 1/4 cup margarine with 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy, and stir in dry milk powder, 1/2 cup flour, beaten egg and the coconut until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Set the filling aside.
  4. Working on a floured surface, punch down the dough, and cut into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece into 8 equal-sized pieces (16 pieces total). Form each piece into an oblong bun, and flatten the bun with a floured rolling-pin or your fingers. Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of filling with a spoon, and place in the center of a bun. Pull and pinch the edges of the dough together to enclose the filling in the bun*. Repeat with all dough pieces, and place the filled buns, seam sides down, onto the prepared baking sheets. Cover the buns with a cloth, and allow to rise in a warm place 1 hour.
  5. Pre-heat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the buns are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

*I flattened out the filling and then rolled the dough back over the filling so that there was coconut throughout the roll. (I should have taken a picture of that)

Also, the filling was sticky,really sticky.

The only thing I want to work on is the filling. I think the soy milk powder is too rich. I don’t care enough to make a yeast dough again right away though. And my kids weren’t impressed with these so I’ll be eating them all by myself. Maybe they freeze…who am I kidding? I’m sure I’ll eat them without much of a problem.

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My Favorite Granola

I started with the Almond Joy Granola from Minimalist Baker, but I rarely follow recipes. I keep going to the Minimalist Baker recipe and then I try to remember the changes I have made. It can be a bit confusing and not terribly efficient. So, I will try to write my recipe here in the hopes that next time I make granola I will be able to find the recipe I actually use.


My Favorite Granola

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup 9 grain flakes (Azure Standard)
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup coconut chips (large flakes, Azure Standard)
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 340°.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together in large bowl.
  3. Heat coconut oil, peanut butter and honey in microwave safe bowl (1 min high) or heat on stove, until melted. Stir to combine. Caution! the honey will be HOT! Once the honey is melted it will be hot enough to melt the other ingredients.
  4. Pour melted mixture over dry oat mixture and stir until all dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Spread on cookie sheet in thin layer.
  6. Bake for 11 minutes. Stir and bake for another 11 minutes (20-25 minutes in total)
  7. When the granola is browned remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet.
  8. Once cooled, break apart large pieces and use parchment like a funnel to pour granola into airtight container.20190109_082836.jpg

I usually top each bowl with a small handful of chocolate chips. I don’t add them to the container because 1. they all fall to the bottom 2. I don’t want my kids asking for granola so they can pick out all the chocolate chips 3. this way I can use the granola in a fruit parfait and not pick out chocolate chips 4. more chocolate when you want it and none when you don’t. (I think AA Milne would be proud of that sentence.)

*Note to self: Make when Josh is out of town or he may eat all of it straight from the container.

Are We Done Here?

Does anyone even read blogs anymore? I haven’t followed anyone for years. This blog is rather like my MySpace account. Does MySpace even exist anymore? I tried to stop using FB because it’s for old people, but I really didn’t get into twitter or instagram. I’m pretty sure I’m old. Anyway I read a fluffy little novel about a girl fighting for an IT job with a blog: whoever had the most followers won the job. Crazy how fast our world changes. Eh, well, now my blog can be my personal diary. Not that I ever had over 30 followers anyway.

I have been having a bit of a hard time remembering where I have certain recipes. It seems like I get into ruts in my cooking. I’ll cook one recipe several times in a matter of months and then I never make it again. Or I want to make it again the next year and have no idea where the recipe can be found. How do I tackle this problem? My mother had a recipe card with a list of where to find her favorite recipes. I started this blog so I could gather all my recipes in one place. I’ve gotten a bit lost and the last few years have barely written anything. Back to it then!

Easy Cream Cheese Danish 

2 cans refrigerated crescent dough sheets
1 (8oz) tub of Tofutti cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Tofutti sour cream

1 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon almond milk
1 tablespoon dairy free butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
  2. Roll out  one dough sheet and lightly press into pan.
  3. Mix together cream cheese, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and sour cream. Spread filling evenly over dough.
  4. Roll out second dough sheet and lay on top of filling.
  5. Bake for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Stir milk into powdered sugar and margarine to make a glaze. Drizzle over slightly cooled pastry.

*optional: top with strawberry jam

 

Did you know that Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are dairy free? Chock-full of chemicals I can’t even pronounce, but dairy free! YES!