Vive le Chocolat

Chocolate is my favorite food group. I would agree that I am a true chocoholic. Chocolate is a fruit but in my opinion it deserves to be its own group. There is only one reason to get out of bed.  Someone once told me they have to reward them selves for getting out of bed so they had a piece of chocolate. This is my kind of morning reward. My favorite forms of chocolate are, hot chocolate, chocolate muffin, chocolate pancakes, chocolate bagels, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate cake, brownies, chocolate cookies, fruit dipped in chocolate, Rocky Road  ice cream, chocolate cookies and “Symphony bars”. My favorite movie is of course “Chocolat” Basically anything chocolate.


 In memory of my brother who died in 2012. He loved chocolate. dennsis raceThis is a picture of him at the end of a 200 mile bike race from Logan UT to Jackson Hole WY.

Chocolate milk was his favorite snack with chocolate chip cookies of course.

This was served at his memorial.

My brother died after a long fight with depression. He is missed.

Chocolate Milk a la Dennis

Chocolate ‘R’ US  This is written in his words

1 really big glass
Ice cold milk
Hershey’s cocoa mix (no substitutes)
Semi sweet chocolate chips

Pour milk in glass, add a handful of chocolate chips. Add a couple or 3 big spoonfuls of Hershey’s mix. Stir. Pick chocolate chips out with a spoon and chew. Wash ’em down with chocolate milk. (Note: for the supreme effect swish the chocolate milk around in your mouth and let it rest on your tongue for an instant before swallowing).

A NOTE ON DEPRESSION

A side note on depression. Living with depression can at times seem like a hopeless task. I have suffered with it for 24 years. Every day I have to fight my depression. It is not easy. I have spent years locked in my house because my depression would not let me leave. I live with severe paranoia and thoughts of suicide daily. It is only by the grace of God and the faith and prayers of my family and friends that I have survived. My dear brother did not survive. He is my inspiration to find a reason to live.

My tools for surviving are: A supportive medical doctor who believes my symptoms are real. Seeing a psychiatrist who has more knowledge on medicines available. A tireless psychologist with a doctorate who does not give up on me when I give up on myself. I have to take my medicine everyday without fail. I don’t enjoy it, without it I will die. Utilizing other homeopathic remedies.Essential oils, herbal supplements, acupuncture. My children who have been raised by a depressed mother who love me and call me, when I bury myself in my misery, they pull me out. My dear sweet 76 year old mother, who has lived with a depressed husband, a son, a daughter and grandchildren. She has never given up on any of us. My siblings who tirelessly pray for me, and call me when I don’t call them. My loving heavenly father and the atonement of my Savior, for giving me the strength to live and saving me from myself, when I wanted only to return to them. This blog is a coping method to release some of my pain, by offering my talents to the world.

If you or someone you love is suffering. Please get help today. I have lost years to this disease. We lost my brother to this disease. I pray you get help today and get your life back. If you are a danger to yourself, call someone! If you need to go to the hospital GO! It will change your life!

                                     There is a way out
Here is a helpful website
5 ways to fight depression
5 Ways to Fight Depression

Contact your local NAMI they can put you in touch with local support groups.
http://www.nami.org/
Call your local county or state mental health department. They offer counseling and Dr. services at low costs.

There is help, there is hope. There is a way out to a happier life.

CALL THE NAMI HELPLINE

800-950-NAMI

info@nami.org

Festival of Green

In honor of my dear friends Cindy, Lexi, Kenzi and Ryli. one day I invited these friends over for a festival of the green party to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day We were eating our delicious dinner with our green hats and green party favors. When cute little Kenzi Jo says. “Its’ my moms’ birthday”. We then sang happy birthday Cindy dear, while eating our green cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream. For many years we shared the festival of the green with this wonderful family.

My family of course loves it. My kids all beg for it. We don’t know why but we only eat it once a year. The best part of this meal is the Reuben we get to eat the next day. I usually cook two roasts because one just isn’t enough.

MENU

Corn Beef
Cabbage
End of the rainbow fluff
Green shamrock Jigglers
Irish red roasted potatoes
Green Luck of the Irish bread
Shamrock juice

Corn Beef
Place a corned beef in a crock pot, add seasoning packet cover with 2-3 cups water simmer on low all day

Cabbage
1 head cabbage
½ hour before serving corn beef drain the juice and boil the cabbage in the juice for 15 min.

 

End of the rainbow fluff
1 small pkg instant pistachio pudding
2 cups milk
1 small bowl cool whip
2 cups rainbow miniature marshmallows
1 small can pineapple tidbits

Combine pudding, and milk. Let set, stir in remaining ingredients chill until dinner.

 

Green shamrock Jigglers
2-1/2 cups boiling water (Do not add cold water.)
2 pkg. (8-serving size each) JELL-O Gelatin, any flavor

STIR: boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl at least 3 min. until completely dissolved. Pour into 13×9-inch pan.
REFRIGERATE: at least 3 hours or until firm.
DIP: bottom of pan in warm water 15 sec. Cut into 24 decorative shapes using 2-inch cookie cutters, being careful to cut all the way through gelatin to bottom of pan. Lift JIGGLERS® from pan. Reserve scraps for snacking. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

 

Irish red roasted potatoes
1 pound baby red potatoes
½ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons of Mrs Dash garlic and herb seasoning

Cut potatoes in half, toss with melted butter and seasoning. Put in heavy baking dish. Bake uncovered for 30 min. Stir and cook 20 min more or until potatoes are soft.

 

Luck of the Irish bread

2 cups warm water
1 packets of rapid rise yeast
½ teaspoon green die
2 tablespoon yeast enhancer(gluten)
1 tsp salt
4 tablespoons sugar
½ cup melted butter
1 cup scalded milk cooled to 114 degrees° or warm to touch not hot

5-6 cups bread flour (white or wheat)

Dissolve yeast in water, add green die. When dissolved add gluten, salt, sugar. Mix well, add 1 cup bread flour, add milk and butter. Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until a soft dough form. Let rise covered in a warm place for 1 hour until double in size.
Shape into 2 rolls place in greased 1 /12 pound loaf pans rise 30-40 min Bake in 350° oven for 45 – 60 min. Cover top with foil half of baking to time to prevent over browning.  Looks weird but tastes great.

 

Shamrock punch
Lime punch mix
2 cups sugar
2 quarts water
2 liters of sprite
Combine and serve

 

Reuben Sandwiches

1 loaf of marbled rye, siced (we love the Seinfeld episode about marbled rye, gotta love George)
1 pound corned beef
1 bottle of sauerkraut (I like the bottled it has a better flavor than canned)
4 slices baby Swiss cheese
Butter

 

Dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons dill pickle relish
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon grated onion
Mix together

Heat electric griddle to 350-375º depending on your grills heat level.
Butter one side of two pieces of bread, on the opposite side liberally spread with the dressing. Place them on a hot griddle, butter side down. On one side put ¼ pound meat and a slice of cheese, on the other side put a couple tablespoons of sauerkraut. Put the two sides together when the bread is nicely toasted. Serve with some extra sauce for dipping.

It is almost impossible to eat one whole sandwich. I slice them in half, this will serve 8 people. Or one very skinny hungry boy 😉
You can add the sauerkraut later if desired so it is cold rather than warm.

There are many different ideas of what the dressing should be. Choose your favorite or try mine.
You could make your own sauerkraut but I want to eat now not in three months

Cinnamon Rolls (4 ways)

The very best cinnamon rolls

I have had this recipe for so long. I do however remember the sweet lady who taught me how to make them. It was during a relief society homemaking night 20 years ago. We made the dough, then went to a class, then came back and finished the dough. We then took them home to bake. They were incredible. They still are incredible.

I make these on the Saturday morning of conference. If people want one of my rolls they have to watch conference. Served with hot chocolate, it creates a lot of warm memories. My kids are all grown now but they still ask for these even though they don’t watch conference. I do make them other times as well.

Basic cinnamon roll dough (recipe is at bottom of page)

In the hugest bowl you own. Hopefully the Tupperware biggest mixing bowl, because it has a lid. Mix by hand with a sturdy spoon.Combine water and oil. Stir in yeast and let dissolve. Add eggs, sugar and salt, stir to dissolve. Stir in gluten mix well. Add flour 1 cup at a time until dough is sticky. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead in additional flour. Press with the heel of your hand, turn a quarter turn repeat process until a nice soft ball is forms.Grease the bowl with Crisco or butter. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a lid. Let rise until double about (an hour). Turn out onto well floured counter top. I like to spray the counter with nonstick cooking spray then dust it with flour. This helps the flour to stay and keeps the counter coated.Knead dough a few times to incorporate any needed flour and to remove bubbles. Avoid over flouring as this will result in a stiff/tough end product. Cut the dough in half. With hands knead a few times then press in to a rectangle. This helps the assure you end up with a rectangle instead of some funky shape. Roll out on floured surface. Start in center and roll out to edges forming a rectangular shape, about 1/2 inch thick. Repeat with second half of dough. This is great fun for kids. Give them a small amount of dough to roll and squish to make a lovely cinnamon blob.Spread with 1/4 cup melted butter. Mix 1 cup cinnamon with 2 tablespoon cinnamon stir to combine. Sprinkle liberally over buttered dough. Add any other desired ingredients.Starting at one end, roll dough into a spiral tube (roll from short end for bigger rolls with more layers or long end for small rolls with less layers).Starting at one end, roll dough into a spiral tube (roll from short end for bigger rolls with more layers or long end for small rolls with less layers).Cut  1 1/2 inches thick. Place about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Some people prefer to smash the roll before rising this makes a more rounded final product but they are less tall. I like to leave mine tall and thick. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Let rise until double, place pan in middle of oven to assure even baking.

Bake at 350 for 18 minutes until golden brown. For a glaze frost while still warm this allows the frosting to melt into all the yummy layers. For a nice thick frosted product wait until rolls are cool. Either are equally delicious, if your family is like mine I have to do both.

Any thing can be added into the middle, nuts, raisins, brown sugar, my mom did chocolate chips. Other variety options are listed below.

Note*There are a few details that need to be attended to when making a yeast dough.

Number one do not stretch the dough cut it. Stretching breaks the gluten bonds and we want the in tact that is what makes bread so yummy.

Number two, let the dough rise for at least 1 hour and double in size, for the initial rising, knead to remove air bubbles.

Number three avoid the desire add too much flour in the initial dough. If it is a bit sticky that is ok. Wait until the final kneading to add any extra flour. Too much flour results in a tough final product.

Number four and probably the most crucial do not use over hot water. 114 degrees is perfect. The temp on your wrist should be warm but not sting.

Taste the dough, it should have a sweet taste not to salty and should feel velvety on your tongue.

Patience Patience Patience is the ingredient to awesome bread

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 tablespoon milk
Combine all ingredients, add milk one table spoon at time until it is a thin consistency. Not too thin. Spread on rolls 5 min after taking them out of the oven. Putting this on while still warm allows the glaze to seep into the crevices.

Orange Rolls
Combine 1 cup sugar with the zest of one orange, sprinkle generously on dough. roll and bake as directed above.

Top with Orange cream frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, butter, and vanilla add orange juice one tablespoon at time to reach desired consistence. Can be prepared thin for a glaze put on warm rolls. Or can be prepared thick and  put on cooled rolls. These are yummy when put in cupcake tins as shown. These are a top seller at Swiss days in Midway UT $1 each

Pull-apart rolls. Cut dough into small 2 inch pieces. Roll in orange zest  and cinnamon mixture. Put in any type pan with high side. Let raise until double. Bake in center of oven at 350 degrees until tops are brown. Invert onto plate.

 

Praline rolls
After rolling out, top with 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and ½ pecans
Sprinkle some brown sugar on top of each roll for extra flavor

 

Option:

Ham and cheese rolls
After rolling out, line dough with ham sliced extra thin and sprinkle with cheddar cheese
These have to be cut with a knife. These make awesome lunches and after school snacks.

Mustard sauce for Ham and Cheese rolls
1 cup mayonnaise
3-4 tablespoon mustard
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Combine, mix and serve

Pizza rolls   (omit butter)

Spread ½ cup pizza sauce on dough. Cover dough with thin sliced pepperoni. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Roll up dough as directed above. These need to be cut with a knife. Raise until double bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes.

Put these in lunch boxes and you will be the queen of all moms

Pizza sauce (use half for dough the other half for dipping)
1 small can tomato sauce (not paste)
½ teaspoon oregano and basil
1 tablespoon dried onions

Bring to simmer over med high heat. Let simmer for 1 minute. Spread on dough in a thin layer. Top with desired toppings.

Quick and easy Vanilla almond pull-aparts

This is my younger sisters secret recipe, it is so easy and quick to prepare. A yummy snack for breakfast, after school or just for dessert.

24 frozen roll dinner dough (thawed)

1 cup sugar

1 box cook and serve dry vanilla pudding mix

1 stick real butter

½ teaspoon almond extract

½ cup almonds slivered or chopped optional

Microwave dough on plate for 30 seconds, turn over and repeat. Cut rolls in half put in 9 x 13 or bundt pan. Mix  sugar and dry pudding mix together and sprinkle over frozen rolls.  Melt butter, add almond flavoring and slowly pour over rolls in pan, trying to cover all of the sugar. Let rise until double. Preheat oven to 350°F bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and dump rolls upside down onto a large plate. Serve warm. Try to resist eating with your fingers. It is impossible.

Butterscotch pudding and brown sugar, with pecans and vanilla extract make a great praline pull-apart

Ingredients
  • 2 cups warm water about what a baby bottle would be
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 envelopes of RAPID RISE yeast
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 tablespoon gluten or yeast enhancer
  • 5+ cups bread flour
Instructions
  1. Combine water and oil.
  2. Stir in yeast and let dissolve.
  3. Add eggs, sugar and salt, stir to dissolve.
  4. Add Gluten mix in well.
  5. Add flour 1 cup at a time until dough is sticky.
  6. Turn dough out onto floured surface.
  7. Knead in enough dough until it is a nice and soft ball.
  8. Grease the bowl with Crisco or butter.
  9. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a lid.
  10. Let rise until double about an hour.
  11. Roll out on floured surface in a rectangular shape, about ½ inch thick.
  12. Spread with ½ cup melted butter.
  13. Add desired ingredients, roll from short end for big rolls or shorter end for small rolls.
  14. Cut 1½ inches thick.
  15. Place about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray.
  16. Let rise until double, place pan in middle of oven to assure even baking.
  17. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes until golden brown.

Fudge Rubble Bars

Warm gooey fudge surrounded by chewy oatmeal cookie. I can not find enough words to describe how delicious these are. Warm gooey fudge surrounded by chewy oatmeal pretty much says it all. A neighbor gave these to me many many years ago. I had never tasted any bar cookie that was as yummy as these. So of course I had to have the recipe, you will find version all over the internet, I like this simple version. Chocolate and oatmeal are plenty of love for one cookie. My friend called them “Fudge Rubble Bars” and I have kept that name. The chewy oatmeal on top of the smooth fudge looks like a pile of rubble. This one is a must bake and share. It makes a 9×13 pan and if you cut it in 20-24 squares that is plenty. One cookie is more than enough to eat in one sitting. Pack them up quick and send them out the door or you will find that you have eaten more than a few cookies at the end of the day.

CRUST

Place all ingredients in a mixer bowl, stir just until it looks crumbly. Reserve 1/3 of mixture for topping. Once the crust is mixed press 2/3 of mixture in a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

TIP:Using cold butter helps to achieve this. Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon pieces then mix in mixer.

FILLING

Combine the ingredients for the filling. Melt in microwave for 1 minute then stir well, repeat until chocolate is melted, smooth and creamy.

TOPPING

Pour the melted fudge mixture over the oatmeal layer. Next take the reserved crust and crumble it over the fudge in small to medium clusters. Leave them as they fall, do not try to smooth them out. Bake at 350 ° for30-40 minutes until tops of clusters are golden brown. As these bake the fudge rises up and around the clusters of oatmeal surrounding them with warm gooey fudge. Let them cool for 20 minutes before cutting otherwise you will end up with a gooey oatmeal globs.

Pour the melted fudge mixture over the oatmeal layer. Next take the reserved crust and crumble it over the fudge in small to medium clusters. Leave them as they fall, do not try to smooth them out. Bake at 350 ° for30-40 minutes until tops of clusters are golden brown. As these bake the fudge rises up and around the clusters of oatmeal surrounding them with warm gooey fudge. Let them cool for 20 minutes before cutting otherwise you will end up with a gooey oatmeal globs.

Oatmeal Cookies (with Chocolate Chips)

Other people think oatmeal cookie means cinnamon and raisins.  I do not like raisins, I feel the same way about them as I do oatmeal. If you desire a raisin oatmeal cookie add 1 cup of raisins instead of chocolate chips and 1 tsp cinnamon.

But seriously, you prefer raisins to chocolate? Really?…Well, to each his own.

Ingredients
  • ¾ c. butter softened
  • 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1½ c. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • 3 c. oats, uncooked
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Beat butter, sugars, together, add eggs and vanilla mix in mixer until creamy. Add flour, salt and soda blend well. Stir in oats.
  2. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake (350 degrees) for 12 to 15 minutes.

Granola

Granola goes awesome on yogurt. One time, I baked it too long.  This made it extra crispy and it had an extra nutty flavor. It was good on yogurt but too crunchy for eating.  This is a rather ingredient heavy recipe, but so worth it.  And naturally if your family doesn’t like something substitute or remove it all together.  Except the oats, cause that sort of makes it not granola, but gooey-toasted trail mix (actually that sounds pretty tasty).  Like I said one time I baked it too long, so don’t be surprised if the recipe doesn’t come out perfect for you the first time.  granola has a little bit of feel to it.  And it really is so worth it.  You get all the wholesome goodness by making your own granola.  So give it a try.

Ingredients
  • 8 cups rolled oats
  • 1½ cups quinoa
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • ¾ c coconut shredded
  • 2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried pineapple, papaya, cherries, berries, apricots, coconut
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ c canola oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil.
  3. Combine the oats, quinoa, sunflower seeds, coconut, almonds, and pecans in a large bowl.
  4. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir once halfway through. Cool, then stir in the cranberries and fruit. before storing in an airtight container.
Notes
*Oil is what gives this it’s crispiness

Oatmeal

If someone asked me, “Do you like oatmeal”? My instant respond would be to curl up my nose and gag, with and emphatic “NO”! I was fed oatmeal every morning of my child hood, (well almost). I gagged on it then and I gag on it now. I had a childhood friend whose parents were German, they ate muesli for breakfast. At that time I thought how weird to eat oatmeal uncooked. I did however like it.
Oatmeal cooked for breakfast has different names in different regions of the world, such as gruel (sounds appetizing), porridge and mush. There are several versions in which you can buy oatmeal; rolled, quick, instant and steel cut. Oatmeal comes from the grain groats, which is steamed to remove the hull. Quick oats are cut into small pieces before being steamed and rolled. Instant oats have been cooked then dehydrated. Steel cut oats may be small and broken groats, left over from processing, which are steamed and rolled.
Rolled oats (my favorite) are steamed and flattened. I like these for baking because they have more body and are chewier. You can use any form of oats you desire for baking. Kids often like the quick oats because they require less chewing.
I do love baking with oatmeal. Nothing makes me happier on a rainy day than making something warm and gooey.  Rainy days are for baking.

Nurse Stacy Says

Oatmeal is a whole grain and is very healthy for you. Many studies have been done on the benefits of oatmeal for your heart health by lowering blood pressure and lowering cholesterol. Oats contain more dietary fiber than any other whole grain, reducing the risks of colon cancer. This makes your intestines happy. Oats contain manganese, selenium, phosphorus, fiber, magnesium, and zinc. Oats are also rich in carotenoids, and Vitamin E. Plus they are gluten free.

Medical News Today Info on Oatmeal

Calories per (3.5 ounce 1/2 cup of oatmeal) 390 cal

Carbohydrate 66 g

Protein 17 g

Dietary fiber total 11 g
– Soluble 5 g
– Insoluble 6 g

Total fat 6 g
– Saturated 1.217 g
– Monounsaturated 2.178 g
– Polyunsaturated 2.535 g
– Cholesterol 0 g

Minerals
Calcium 54 mg
Iron 4.72 mg
Magnesium 177 mg
Phosphorous 523 mg
Potassium 429 mg
Sodium 2 mg
Zinc 3.97 mg
Copper 0.626 mg
Manganese 4.916 mg

17 essential Amino Acids