Sunday, June 29, 2014

Camping: An Excuse to Eat Marshmallows at Every Meal

This weekend I simply had to get out of town for at least one night - I got 24 blissful hours. I drove out to the John Flannagan Dam and went to a campground I had looked up online. I'm so glad I went. I had an amazing time, sleeping rather comfortably in my car, swimming in the reservoir, and eating the non-perishable foods I had carefully thought out: lots of fruit, peanut butter and crackers, cereal and tuna fish. 

Because I knew I wouldn't have refrigeration, I brought instant nonfat dry milk. I've made it before but always chilled it; without refrigeration, I figured that it would still be okay. It tasted like something-that-resembled-milk and it wasn't water in my cereal, so it was good enough for me. 

The triumph of my trip, however, was the Peanut Butter Filled Toasted Marshmallow. I made sure to buy a bag of marshmallows on the way so that I'd be able to roast them. (I roasted marshmallows at dinner, breakfast, and lunch, hence the title of this blog.) I also had peanut butter with me and for some reason I imagined putting peanut butter inside a marshmallow and then roasting it. Perhaps I thought about how marshmallow sauce and peanut butter sauce on sundaes can be so yummy together.

So I tried it out.

I twisted a hole in the marshmallow with a knife, then squished peanut butter inside.

I like setting my marshmallows on fire and then blowing them out. The peanut butter gets all melty and delicious inside of the marshmallow. 

It really is an amazing thing - fluffy, sugary, air with peanut butter inside.

The low point of my camp culinary exploits was the can of tuna that I brought. I took with me a combination wine opener and what looked like a can opener. After all of this

I realized it is not a can opener. I also tried to open the can using the method that these guys say will be useful in a zombie apocalypse but it didn't work. So I kept trying with the wannabee can opener until I was able to spoon out the tuna and eat it on crackers. This is what the can looked like when I was done:

But to end things on a good note:

Just look at that! 

What do you like to eat while camping? 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Brilliance of Knowing What You've Got

Today was one of those days where you just don't want to get out of bed. I woke up around 10:30 but instead of getting up and doing things, I read a magazine in my nightgown under the covers. My body ached from I don't know what and I just wanted to veg. Sometimes I don't need to eat right after waking up and am able to just chill out. 

Lots of the women in the magazine I was reading were talking about eating pancakes so I thought about making them. But I'd made them last week so I couldn't again. (I made carob pancakes with walnuts - so delicious!) Then I remembered the sourdough bread slices in my freezer and got reallllly excited. 

Last week one of the quilters had a birthday so we had a potluck luncheon. She brought two loaves of homemade sourdough bread and let Ryan and I have the leftovers. So I asked him if he'd be interested in french toast for his lunch and of course he said yes - breakfast is his favorite meal of the day. I used a classic recipe, though I pretty much knew how to make french toast. My mom's mom, my Grandma Bee, used to make french toast for me when I lived in her house on Main Street: scramble eggs with a little milk, dip the bread slices in the mixture, and fry. Sometimes you fry them in butter but today I didn't, hence the blackened toast. I added cinnamon to the egg mixture and served the french toast with cantaloupe (for me) and blueberries (for Ryan.) 

It was hog heaven. 

Thanks must go to Martine for giving me some of her cantaloupe. We had dinner at her apartment last night and she insisted on sending me home with a quarter of a cantaloupe, a bottle of juice, and three slices of the chocolate cake she made. 

Doesn't that just look like a painting? It's so luscious. 

What's in your frying pan? 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

These Beans and Barley Oh... or Something...

Does anyone else remember a song that goes "something beans and barley oh?" Or am I the only one? Even Google has no idea what I'm talking about.

Anyways, I tried cooking pearled barley for the first time this week. An AllRecipes magazine I got from a friend had an article about those crazy new grains (like amaranth and a bunch of others) and how to cook them. I hadn't heard about eating straight barley before; I thought that was something that people ate a long, long time ago that had since fallen out of favor. 

But not all the new grains are popular everywhere you go. Last weekend when we went to the grocery store here in the mountains I wanted to get quinoa or something like it. I said "Do you have matzos and quinoa?" to one of the managers and he said, "Uh... the what?" I asked again but added, "It's like a grain, like rice." So he showed me the rice aisle where I found pre-cooked quinoa in single-serve bowls. Nearby I saw bags of organic barley and thought, "Hm..."

My housemate, Ryan, suggested that we make barley with vegetable soup for dinner one night this week. He'd bought a couple cans of Campbell's and is really good at keeping a mental list of what we've got in the pantry. Last night I started cooking the barley and realized that it would take almost an hour including the time it took to boil the water. So while it was cooking I made spaghetti and we ate that instead.

Today we added the cooked barley to the soup with a couple slices of sharp cheddar cheese. We served the soup with salty crackers, toast, and the rest of the cucumber and tomato salad I made two days ago.

The soup wasn't great. I'm not really a big fan of Campbell's, or of canned soup for that matter. It's so loaded with sodium even when it tastes pretty bland.  The barley was great though; very chewy and with a nice snap. It had a subtle nutty flavor. All in all it was a filling meal and I'm happy with it.

My dessert was the best part though. I'm not sure when I started doing it, but I once decided to have a peanut butter sandwich without the bread. I put peanut butter, whatever jelly I had in the fridge, and Nutella in a bowl and mixed it together. It's basically a combination of different types of sugar - how could it not be delicious? Sometimes I add banana slices or pieces of fruit; whatever I have in the fridge. It's like an ice cream sundae without the ice cream. Soooo good.

PB & J in a Bowl

Pretty self-explanatory, hm?

Happy munching!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Those Elusive Cherries

I actually had an opportunity to use my apron! Woo!

Here in Clintwood there is a pear tree, several apple trees (which already have baby apples on them!), a cherry tree, a baby fig tree, and blueberry bushes. Quite the orchard! In the fall, they make apple butter and apple cider which they sell at fairs. Their cherry tree no longer has its low branches because somebody decided to cut them off to harvest the cherries one year... resulting in a tree full of cherries that taunt me from above. They look so red and juicy and delicious and no matter what I do, I cannot reach them. Fortunately some of them fall to the ground and don't get bruised so I was able to pick almost two cups over the weekend. I cut them into quarters after pitting them. Then I had to decide what to do with them.

They were rather tart but very juicy. I thought they'd go nicely in a bread of some kind so I found a great recipe off Thank goodness I stocked my pantry with butter, flour, baking powder, sugar and a little salt.

There wasn't a whole lot in there, so I don't know if I did something wrong with the batter? The pictured bread has slices at least 4 inches high... I don't know what they did. 

The edges burned just a tad. The oven I was working with cooked the bread in about 35 minutes instead of 45. Although the edges were singed, the bread was moist and very tasty. It also made the house smell DELICIOUS.

I only used about 5 tablespoons of the cherries, so I made a sauce out of the rest. I added 3 or 4 spoonfuls of sugar to the cherries and let them sit for awhile before serving the bread.

So yummy! 

Even though I've eaten like a queen today, this still makes my mouth water... mmm... 

Happy munching!