2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 2: WE ARE WHAT WE EAT

As a 2.5 year old bone marrow transplant recipient, there is something cathartic about making my own bone broth for use as a base in homemade Pho soup. I roasted this before crock potting it into a tasty bone broth. You are what you eat. 🙂

Simple Syrup…but better!

It looks dark because of the brown sugar...but it smells oh so good!

Need or want some simple syrup, but you’re out of white sugar? No worries, I just made some with brown sugar. In fact, you may want to make it this way because it’s better than white sugar simple syrup.

Many people like having simple syrup on hand instead of other sweetener, like granulated sugar. In cool or cold beverages mixing in all the little crystals can be a pain in the butt. So, liquid sugar comes to the rescue.

This morning we each only had one cup of coffee. We normally have a couple each. So there’s extra coffee, just sitting in the coffee pot, mostly room temperature. With the yucky heat we’re having here on the Central Coast, a nice glass of iced coffee sounds tasty.

Remembering that we’re now out of sugar, and considering that simple syrup mixes better, my wife recommended I try making some simple syrup with brown sugar.

A trip to the internet Yoda, Google, and I’m fast on my way to alternate simple syrup. The common thread was equal parts brown sugar to water.

My recipe:

  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (perfect addition for tasty coffee flavor)

Mix the ingredients in a larger saucepan. Bring to hard boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally. Make sure all of the granules are dissolved.

I transferred it to a medium sized measuring cup, then to an unused glass container. You probably should use one with a lid. Then into the refrigerator it went. I want it chilled a bit, before I make my iced coffee.

Enjoy!

Homemade Strawberry Syrup

Ok, seriously, this is super easy!

I’m sitting there wanting something tasty for lunch and I see some frozen waffles. Well, those are all carbs, and won’t fill me up, but I still wanted them. I figure I can put some peanut butter on them, to make them a bit more filling. But then it hits me! We have some extra strawberries we brought home from our Gospel Community Group’s awesome homemade hot wings night, last night.

“How can I make strawberry syrup, from those strawberries?” This comes to me, and I quickly hit the googles. The very first recipe is super simple, and so I’m off!

Strawberry syrup 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups mashed strawberries

Strawberry syrup 3

Directions:

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly add the strawberries and bring to a boil again. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir occaisionally. You’re done when it tastes the way you want it.

Strawberry syrup 4

It’s actually read in about 10 minutes of simmering. But I felt like that was just strawberry flavored simple syrup. So I simmered on!

Strawberry syrup 5

At about the 30 minute mark it really became strawberry syrup.

Strawberry syrup 6

Yum, Yum Berry Cobbler…

I just got back from a sweet camping trip, with some ol’ buddies from college. We head out on the road every year. This was our third year.

While we were out, I cooked several of my top camping items. Generally, I use a dutch oven, or at lease some cast iron. One of my own favorites is a simple fruit cobbler. No it’s not actually homemade, but I’ve never tried to pretend that it is. I have no idea where this recipe came from, but I do remember that I learned it in the Boy Scouts.

Basically, all you need is:

  • Dutch Oven (10″ or 12″)
  • Coals (It’s quite easy with compressed charcoal briquettes, but can be done with simple burned down coals.)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Fruit
    • Canned pie filling (apple, cherry, or some kind of berry work fine)
    • Frozen fruit, w/ sugar added.
  • Butter (not margarine, it’s yucky)
  • Bisquick

Why no measurements? I’ve never measured. I always just make it to sight. I’ll give you the step by step below, along with a photo of each step. Keep in mind that I’m using a 12″ Lodge-brand dutch oven. Love it!

Step One: Line it with foil

First, line your dutch oven with the foil. Since mine is a 12″ model, I have to make two passes with the foil. This will really cut down on the clean up. When you’re camping, this REALLY pays off!

Step Two: Put in the fruit

I used two bags of these frozen berries for this one; raspberries and blackberries. I make sure to get it with sugar added. Being frozen, there’s important amounts of water too. On this one, I put the blackberries on one side and the raspberries on the other. You know, like a pizza.

Step Three: Spread the Bisquick

Now for the precision. Spread the Bisquick, covering the berries entirely, then add some more. Generally, you’re looking at about a half inch of Bisquick.

Step Four: Put butter on it

Now for the butter. Cut it into precise pats, as shown. (no real precision was used) The butter is the source of all the wonderful goodness, when blended with the Bisquick, so don’t go lightly.

Be honest, if you’re starting to worry about this being too fattening, you wouldn’t have gotten excited about reading this post to begin with. Let it go. There’s no pretense on this blog!

Step Four: continued

A better shot of the butter spread around. Yum!

Step Five: Prep the coals

So, of course you followed my instructions to get the charcoal started up earlier, right? Oh, wait, I forgot that part. OK, go back and get the charcoal started first! Do it!

When you get back to this part in the instructions, spread the coals out to the edge of the BBQ base. Oh yeah, I forgot that too. At home, I’m using our charcoal BBQ grill, to keep it all contained.

Step Five: continued

Now, lid that thang! Place it right down in the middle. Don’t worry about getting too many coals underneath. There’s enough residual heat in the ash, and radiating up all around, to provide some warmth below. The real work comes from the coals on top. (That’s next)

Step Six: Put coals on top

Get them hot coals on top of the lid. That’s why you want a genuine dutch oven for this project. The lids have a ridge all the way around, to help keep the coals in place. Oh, and the feet on the bottom help it to remain steady on top of those coals, when you have some underneath, which we don’t, this time.

Step Seven: Enjoy!

Now, more precision. It’s done when it looks like this! Keep watch, and when the butter has melted into the Bisquick, and turned into a nice golden brown crust, it’s done. Don’t forget that it’ll keep cooking, from the heat already captured by the dutch oven’s base. Even now, on the counter, it’s still cooking a bit.

Now, when you’re camping, you might not catch it when it’s done. Or, you’ll not follow my advice, and leave too many coals below. This could cause it to get burned around the edges. Not to worry, just scoop out everything else. It will still be wonderful and tasty! Trust me!

I just want some biscuits!

This afternoon, I’m chillin’ with the fam and we’re watching Kung Fu Panda. Sitting there, I realize that I really want some yummy biscuits. Don’t ask me why, I just do, OK?!

So, I hit the web and found a traditional recipe. I love cooking, but I don’t do it very much. I prefer to bake, as it’s a bit more scientific and precise. That works for me. What’s fun is that sometimes I need to learn a new skill or term. The recipe called for me to “cut in” the shortening into the dry mixture. New idea for me, so I googled it. I found a great explanation here.