The only thing I take seriously is my Freedom. And Bacon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Get on the Buggy - Amish Friendship Bread - a book and recipe.

Out on April 5 - Friendship Bread by Darien Gee.

Lately, I've been hearing so much about Amish Friendship bread. It started a few weeks ago when Joyce from the Amazon Kindle Boards wrote that she had made an Amish Friendship Bread starter and that peaked my curiosity! Then, I stumbled upon a foodie fiction book: Friendship Bread - so, it seems it's quite popular these days! Here's a bit of legend about the bread, and an Amish Recipe Bread follows!

From WikiPedia:
Amish Friendship Bread is a type of bread or cake made from a sourdough starter that is often shared in a manner similar to a chain letter.The starter is a substitute for baking yeast and can be used to make many kinds of yeast-based breads, shared with friends, or frozen for future use. The sweet, cake-like Amish Cinnamon Bread is a common bread that is made from this starter; it is a simple, stirred quickbread that includes a substantial amount of sugar and vegetable oil, with a mild cinnamon flavor. It has characteristics of both pound cake and coffee cake. The flavor of the finished product can be altered by omitting cinnamon and replacing the required instant pudding mix with virtually any flavor.

This is from V Stickler from the Kindle Kitchen:

 Tip: Do not use metal bowls or metal utensils when working with recipe Amish friendship bread. Use ceramic or plastic bowls and wooden or plastic utensils.
Recipe Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 pk yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup warm milk
Recipe Amish Friendship Bread Starter Food
This takes ten days before it is ready to use.
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
Day One: In a small bowl, soften yeast in water for 10 minutes. Stir well. In a 2- quart bowl, combine flour and sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will lump when the milk is added. Slowly stir in warm milk and softened yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until bubbly. Refrigerate.
Days 2,3, and 4: Stir.
Day 5: Prepare starter food. Blend flour and sugar in a small bowl; slowly mix in milk. Stir starter food into starter mixture. Refrigerate.
Day 6, 7, 8, and 9: Stir.
Day 10: Feed again.
Now you have four choices: You can: 1. Return the starter to the refrigerator, or
2. Remove some for baking, and return the rest to the refrigerator. (Continue the ten-day cycle, feeding as above). Or,
3. Measure out amounts of one cup to give to friends (along with directions for feeding), or
4. Freeze your starter. Allow three hours to thaw out before using.
Tip: Do not allow your recipe Amish friendship bread starter to drop below one cup. For more starter, feed it more often. For less starter, cut the food in half for one feeding.

Recipe Amish Friendship Bread
1 cup recipe Amish friendship bread starter, room temperature and bubbly
2/3 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Optional: Add raisins, grated carrots, nuts and dried fruit as desired.
Combine ingredients. Pour recipe Amish friendship bread batter into 2 greased loaf pans, 8 x 3 x 2 inches each. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until dry.
Enjoy your recipe Amish friendship bread.

These variations come from Trisha from The Kindle Kitchen:
The recipe I have for the starter is this:
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup sugar
2 cups warm water (110degrees)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk

After doing all the days of it I have tried different flavors. For the variations I have done different kinds of pudding, especially chocolate if you want a chocolate bread.

lemon poppyseed friendship bread
2 cups flour 2 (3oz) packages lemon instant pudding mix
1 cup sugar 1 cup starter
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 cup poppy seeds 1/2 cup vegetable oil

In large mixing bowl blend flour, sugar, powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, poppy seeds and dry pudding mix together, make a well in center of bowl. In separate bowl mix together the starter, eggs, milk, applesauce, vanilla and oil, add to dry ingredients and blend until just combined. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for one hour, cool ten minutes and remove from pan.

Best Banana Friendship Bread
2 cups flour 1 cup starter
1 teaspoon salt 2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda 2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 cup butter 4 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9x5 inch loaf pans
Sift flour, salt and soda into large bowl.
In separate bowl, mix butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in starter, bananas, eggs and nuts until well blended.Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture and stir until blended, divide batter between two pans. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until knife comes out clean when inserted into center.

Apple Friendship Bread
2 cups flour 1 cup starter
1 cup sugar 3 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder 2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 tablespoon vanilla
1-1/2teaspoons cinnamon 1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon salt 2 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

Sift together flour, sugar, powder, cinnamon, soda and salt, set aside. In large mixing bowl, stir together starter, eggs, oil and vanilla, gradually stir in the sifted ingredients, mixing just until blended. Stir in nuts and apples. Pour batter into two lightly greased 9x5 loaf pans. Bake at 350degrees for about 50 minutes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls - HELL YEAH! The Metropolitan American Diner - Review

The Metropolitan American Diner - North Wales Pa - 700 Upper State Road, North Wales 215-361-1603

If you are wondering if you should give this place a try - Hell Yeah!
The thing that jumped off the menu at me was the creativity and the quirky food. I love places that take chances (which in the Burbs, it's hard to find anything other than a forking cheesesteak or ham hoagie). Off the top of my head (since the website isn't working AGAIN) - I remember: Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls, Create Your Own Mac N Cheese, and a souped up French Onion Soup. On the daily special menu - Snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches and chocolate chip cookie dough eggrolls.
OH. I wish I had room left after my lunch  to try those desserts!
The interior is bright and clean. We did not sit at the bar, but I can't wait to go again and eat at the bar. The bar area looked warm, bright, though it seemed big, it had a cozy feel to it.
One thing I noticed upon arrival was that the Metropolitan proudly mentioned on a card at the table that they work with local food vendors as much as possible (wouldn't that be GREAT to have on their website too??? If it WORKED!). The get their bread from the Hearth Bakery in Lansdale (love that place) and I know they offer beer from Prism Brewery (a new local brewery that has bacon chocolate beer, yo!). Anyway.
The menu is chock full of items (which, Gordon Ramsey states is a NO NO - and usually I agree but it was nice to have such a large selection and hey, it works for the Cheesecake Factory!).
Mr. Stiffy and I shared the buffalo chicken egg rolls. Oh.My.God. Loved them! A tad bit dry, but I would order them again and again and again.
For lunch, I had the pierogies which came with an onion marmalade. They. Were. Fabulous!
Mr. Stiffy had the rotisserie chicken. Presented well, but was quite dry, unfortunately. Not a dish either of us would probably order again.
It came with mac n cheese.
Now, the mac n cheese is not the usual comfort food mac n cheese. It's a bit more greasy and has more tang - but in a good way. I'd definitely like to try it again, and create my own.
There were many awesome creative items, unfortunately, I just can't remember them all, but I do remember that when I opened the menu and scanned it quickly, I got those little tingly feelings along my nerves that said "YES!!! I LOVE CREATIVE CHEFS!!"
Oh, and our waitress, Justine, was very attentive, and sweet, and of course, she had no idea that I was a reviewing star (in my own mind, that is).
And I noticed the bus boy was always roaming and checking to see if he could clear plates. A really great sign that the owners are very conscious of customer service.
 I'm extremely excited about this place.
I love the creativity. I LOVE that they work so closely with local food sources and proudly promote them.
I love the atmosphere and the service.
I'm hoping to up this to 5 Stars after a few more visits (hopefully the food won't be as dry) and if they get their website fixed (having trouble in Firefox browser but works in Explorer browser). 
If I was giving this a rating simply based on suburb restaurants, I'd probably give it a 5. But I'm comparing it to fabulous joints down in the city, too, and it's not quite there YET, but close.
OH, one last thing, I know those who know me won't even believe this, but, I didn't drink any alcohol! They had a cool drink list, so I'm also very excited to try that next time I go!
I can't wait to go back again and try EVERYTHING.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Red Velvet Cake Batter, Wine, and The Dukan Diet

The Dukan Diet by Kate O'Brien - 3.99 in eBook form . 

Red Velvet Cake Batter - the recipe comes from A Tender Crumb (seriously, go take a look. The pictures of the red velvet cake ice cream cookies are fking works of ART!!! and will make you want to lick your computer screen). Sadly, I found this is the best tasting cake batter EVER (if you like to eat cake batter...nothing, nothing will EVER top this!), but when it came to the cookies, they just didn't work out for me. Instead, I bake what I don't eat in a mini bundt pan and either frost them with cream cheese icing or top with ice cream. But who knows, maybe you'll have better luck than I did...either way, the batter is freaking fabulous to eat on its own.

Red Velvet Cookies
adapted from Every Day w. Rachel Ray
makes approx 20 cookies for 10 ice cream sandwiches
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tbsn unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsn salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsn red food coloring
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
2. Using a mixer, beat butter with the granulated sugar until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, food coloring and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk until smooth.
3. Place 1/4-cup scoops of batter 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet; spread out. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies sit for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bacon & Cheddar Pierogies - Dough Filled Pockets of Heaven

Picture from the Metropolitan Diner:Review 2 follow.
Bacon & Cheddar Filled Pierogies
 48 pierogies

This takes a lot of patience. So, if you’re doing this in the summer,  I suggest a nice tall glass of vodka lemonade and some Neon Trees/Derby/Jack Johnson/Newton Faulkner on the iPod.

If it’s cool out, open a bottle of wine and sip slowly – you can easy go through the whole bottle while making these, but it does make the time go faster!

  • Chopped crispy bacon (1 ¼ cups)
 Potato Filling:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups cold cheddar mashed potatoes (mix hot potatoes with 1 cup of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (or more if you like really cheesy potatoes).  
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • Dough:
  • 3 egg
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  1. For the mashed potato filling, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir into the mashed potatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the bacon.
  2. To make the dough, beat together the eggs and sour cream until smooth. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder; stir into the sour cream mixture until dough comes together. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until firm and smooth. Divide the dough in half, then roll out one half to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 3 inch rounds using a biscuit cutter or water glass. 
  3. Place a small spoonful of the bacon potato filling into the center of each round. Moisten the edges with water, fold over, and press together with a fork to seal. Repeat procedure with the remaining dough and filling.
  4. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pierogies and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until pierogies float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  5. I like to fry a batch up in a butter/bacon fat mixture. I serve with sour cream. DELISH!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's No Crock: CrockPot Lasagna!

From the Kindle Forum on Amazon:  Happy Reader Joyce's Crock Pot Lasagna


1 lb ground beef (I use 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground Italian Sausage)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 - 26 oz. jar PLUS 1 - 16 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu Old World Style Traditional)
1 package (8 ounces) no-boil lasagna noodles (I use Barilla)
1 - 16 oz. package shredded mozzarella cheese
1 - 16 ounce tub ricotta cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in a little oil in a frying pan. Drain off any grease.
Add the spaghetti sauce to the browned meat mixture and mix well. I sprinkle some oregano, basil, salt and pepper to this mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, milk, and egg. Beat until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Then stir in the mozzarella cheese and the grated Parmesan cheese, so that all the cheeses are combined.

Grease 5-6 quart crock pot with some vegetable shortening on bottom and sides.

Put about 1/4 of the meat and sauce mixture in the bottom of the crock pot. Put a layer of noodles on top of sauce (break or cut noodles if needed to fit your crock pot). Spread about 1/3 of the cheese mixture on top of noodles. Then repeat with sauce, noodles, cheese for another 2 layers. Top with meat sauce for the last layer.

Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until noodles are tender. Turn off crock-pot and let rest for about 15 minutes to let lasagna set-up. (It usually takes my crock pot 4 hours.)

Next you get to eat and enjoy ... 8-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Loyal Dog Protects Dying Friend in Japan

After the earthquake/Tsunami in Japan, a camera/rescue crew stumbled on this dog.  You really need no translation. However, it seems the healthy dog was trying to get the attention of the camera crew to help the injured dog. The good news is both dogs were taken to a vet and the injured dog is still alive. Here's a link to the story with the English translation.

This just made my heart sing:>)

I'm filing this under Wonderstruck.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Who Says Teenagers Aren't Fabulous!

So, I went to the Dollar Tree in New Britain, hoping to buy a boatload of the Happy Dancing Flowers, but, ah, it was not to be.
Seems those little suckers were gone in a matter of hours. They went through 2 shipments. All over Bucks County, Happy Dancing Flowers are, well, dancing on windowsills.
While I was browsing around (it really is a FABULOUSLY clean, bright, store filled with awesomeness) - I kept hearing the cashier talk with customers, making them laugh, and it seemed like she was having fun.
When it came time to check out, I realized she was a teenager.
Most teenagers that work in retail barely make eye contact, let alone engage in conversation. Not Carissa though - she was a sweetheart who was making the most of her days in the check out line at the Dollar Tree.
Few people exist like Carissa (or, perhaps I just don't shop in the places where they do exist) - but I know that people like her - bubbly, upbeat, outgoing - those types of people always seem to do well, no matter what they do in life.
Maybe it's because people can't help but smiling back at them.
Carissa is like the living breathing version of the dancing happy flower - and if she ever reads this, I know she'll probably be mortified (as teenagers often are when any adult acknowledges them, but then again, we all know I'm not REALLY an adult). But I want her, and other upbeat teenagers to know that, though we may not say it, your positive attitude is infectious, and we really appreciate it!
And the fabulous Dollar Tree is located at:
426 Town Ctr
New Britain, PA 18901-6001
(215) 348-4235

**There's also a fabulous thrift center called "Full Circle" - on Thursdays - all womens clothing is 1/2 off. You can find a few really great pieces. I often get compliments on my outfits and people are shocked when I tell them I bought them at the thrift store! And ALL proceeds go towards victims of domestic abuse! To learn more, here's my Yelp review:

****I just realized I really overused the word Fabulous. But, suck it, because I am a fan of fabulous!

Monday, March 7, 2011

"There Is No Magic Hand" - Amanda Hocking's First Blog Post

Hmmmm, is Amanda Hocking a Creative Badass?
I, along with other curious Indie authors/agents/publishers visited her website recently and I scrolled all the way back to the first post she wrote on April 29, 2009, titled "There Is No Magic Hand." 
Basically, what Amanda is saying is that there's no magic formula - it's all about hard work.
And she wrote it 2 years ago. So, between then and now, she has been working her ass off.
But I read something underneath all her words, I found there was some magic that perhaps she didn't see: self confidence.
Amanda didn't come off as an egomaniac (something I worry about constantly because - I sort of am) - she came across as someone passionate about her work, her dreams, and would plow forward no matter if anyone was listening to her or not.
And for a long time, they weren't listening to her.
So, is Amanda Hocking a Creative Badass - hells yeah! Someone who recognizes that dreams don't just materialize,  it's a long hard lonely road, but it's worth it.
I know she's doing the  right thing by being open and friendly with agents who once rejected her - but hot damn, there is a huge part of me that would love to see her tell them to go suck it like a lollipop.
The last line in her blog is wonderously prophetic:
"This WILL happen. It's only a matter of time, and I've got time. So here we go. I am my own magic hand."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

An Australian Trifle that's Aces!

I've had the most wonderful luck in snagging Australia's own Carla Anderson's recipe for trifle. Now, those Aussies make their trifles a bit different than we do. They use jello - while in the states, we usually use pudding. Also, you'll have to convert the measurements; I'm a bludger. If you're too lazy to attempt the recipe, simply enjoy the beautiful picture (and notice how lovely Carla's kitchen it). If you do make this recipe, you'll be grinning like a shot fox for days!


1 plain cake
2 x 85grams pkts of jelly mix
Grog of choice - I went with sweet sherry
600mls of custard
600mls of cream for whipping
300grams of mixed berries
Vanilla ice cream to serve

1. A couple of days prior to making the dessert, bake a plain butter or vanilla cake, to form the base of your trifle. It seems to work better when it has a couple of days staleness to make it nice and firm.
2. The day before, make up 2x85g pkts of jelly. Choose two different colours, cos this makes your trifle extra pretty! Allow the jelly to wobble-up - that is, set. I think it's either 'jello' or gelatin for you guys
3. To assemble:

*Take your prettiest large round glass bowl (you want to see the pretty contents).

*Line the bottom of the bowl with 1/2inch thick slices of cake, curving up the sides of the bowl a little. You can run it as far as half-way; depends on how much cake you have and whether you've sneaked any pieces on the day it was baked ;-) Reserve approx half dozen slices to layer in later.

*Grab your alcohol of choice (mother always used sweet sherry, so daughter did too)... it was in the fridge, and I wasn't going to worry about spending $30 on something else we wouldn't drink. If you check out the other recipes, you'll see you can use all manner of alcoholic beverages - whatever lights your fire. Go glug, glug, glug over the cake, then glug, glug a bit more. It depends on your taste for the alcohol - whether you are looking for a booze hit (no cooking involved in this dessert) or just a snifter, as they say. The idea is to add flavour and to moisten the cake.

* Next layer, add the first coloured jelly, all broken up into spoon-sized pieces. Continue to layer dollops of vanilla custard (probably 600mls would be enough) and other coloured jelly and some more cake until your bowl is nearly full.

*Finally, whip 600mls of cream. Spread or dollop on top as your final layer. For extra prettiness, add 300grams of mixed berries - I used a frozen mix and defrosted them: blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.

*Devour generous servings with your favourite vanilla ice-cream.

I used full-fat, full-sugar everything, but you **could** reduce your calories by using low-fat custard and ice-cream, and fake sugar jelly. I didn't, though. Instead, I convinced myself that this was actually a high calcium dessert, packed with anti-oxidents. HeeHee. Works for me...;-))

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Best Charlie Sheen Mash Up!

Forgive me, but w/ all the crappy news going on in the world, I can't help but be entertained by Charlie Sheen. And this my friends, is the best mash up I've seen so far. If you think you found a better one, let me know.

Mark Bittman - Oatmeal Fritters

Just caught the end of the Today Show - and what serendipity! Mark Bittman (I have 2 of his books) was on, making oatmeal fritters. Hello!
I'm so pissed I didn't think of this. That I haven't heard of this.
I love anything fried. And oatmeal? Yeah baby. His recipe is very basic, I would definitely spice it up by adding some 5 Spice perhaps or some chopped cinnamon apples (oohhh bourbon and bacon??)  The ideas are endless, but the simplicity of the oatmeal fritter is fking brilliant.

Mark Bittman's Oatmeal Fritter Recipe

  • Olive or vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 cups cooked oatmeal, preferably chilled
  • All-purpose flour if needed
Put a thin film of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Form the oatmeal into 1-inch balls and flatten the balls into patties. (If the patties don't hold their shape, stir flour into the oatmeal, 1 tablespoon at a time, and try again.) When the oil is hot, add the patties to the pan in a single layer (you may have to work in batches). Fry the patties until crisp and golden, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain the fritters on paper towels and serve warm or at room temperature.
Time: 20 minutes with cooked oatmeal
Serving Size 4