Author Archives: WyomingStoryGirl

Baked Donuts – A Healthier Alternative to Deep Fried

I love donuts..I have eaten a dozen Krispy Kreme‘s from the drive-thru when the “Hot” light flashed on.

I’ve made donuts at home, but I’m pretty terrible at frying vs. burning in general. I decided to take the plunge into baking them. There are some pretty good reasons to bake rather than fry. The oil to deep fry them in is basically where all the “fat” comes from so eliminate it so you can put on those sprinkles!

I terrorized trolled the internet for different recipes…I wanted a fast donut recipe for those mornings I want a donut bad – “flour”, the days where I want an old fashioned type – “cake flour” and the actual donut using “yeast”.

Today I made the “immediate” recipe because every few minutes Big Boy is asking for donuts! I found Bakerita‘s recipe to whip up. Don’t mistake the baking part with real yeast tasting donut. This is like a regular cake taste. I’m going to try to figure out a ratio to make it a yeast donut by adding like 5 Tablespoons of yeast. I know that adding a ton of yeast will yield almost instantaneous “rise” in other recipes I’ve tried where time wasn’t a friend. Although you can get a donut pan, you can flip your muffin pan (I know you have one) and use that for the donut the same way if you aren’t ready to put out money for a donut pan. I did buy one yesterday (shh, don’t tell Husband – he loves donuts but thinks these things are ridiculous but what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him)

Baby even liked them so much when she went back for seconds she yelled DONUTS in protest to me being in her way of the plate of donuts. Ha-ha.

I really like the idea of the rainbow donuts, I’ll try them.

Sweet & Bittersweet: Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! In honor of it, I made my children this sweet crepe from Alton Brown (with a few tweaks added, like Watkins Danish pastry flavor instead)  filled with fresh sliced strawberries, a dabbling of chopped peanuts, and drizzled Hersey chocolate syrup. Of course Mommy gets the scrambled eggs with Tabasco!

As I get older I find more and more of my friends are experiencing as have I, the loss of a parent, or serious illness of a parent. In my case I am lucky to still have my Mother living, but she is afflicted with a dementia affecting the frontal lobe called Pick’s Disease. It mimics Parkinson’s with muscle debilitation, Alzheimer’s for the memory loss, and Schizophrenia from mood changes. Mom has hospitalized October 8, 2010, I had to jump through hoops to get her onto Medicaid so that she would be medically covered by what Medicare didn’t cover, and the ongoing 24/7 care she would require in the future. It took 2 weeks to get things in line and I put her in a nursing home then went to the hospital with early onset labor. One shot later, 2 days later, another shot, and by that Friday – a baby over one month early.

My daughter had incomplete lungs and heart. Emergency surgery was performed 24 hours after birth due to a collapsed lung. She was LifeFlighted by Learjet to a St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Denver, CO, and spent another 2 weeks there. Baby is healthy now, but it was really scary.

My Mom thought I’d abandoned her in a nursing to get rid of her. She didn’t know where she was, who the people around her were, and having constant hallucinations about people hurting her and the others – murdering, locking them in closets, etc. Not true. But still horrific for her to live. She retreated within her mind in a few months because the reality was too great for her to live knowing that one of her greatest fears at the end of her life was going to happen.

For the rest of her life I’ll count her days in the nursing home in the same that I count the days of my daughter’s precious life…bittersweet to be sure.

I’ll be going to the nursing home today, bring her flowers, kiss her, hug her, have the children see her, and not only will she not know us, not remember she has a daughter, but completely forget we were there in just a few seconds after we leave her sight. It’s not right, but it’s the way it is, and we’ll have the memories.

Where’s my Pinterest button? DELETED

After waiting and waiting on the Pinterest Waiting List, I’ve decided that I will no longer offer the Pin It button. I’ve looked on Pinterest and have decided that I don’t have an interest in it for myself. I originally wanted to be a member in order to thank those who pinned something I’ve said or done, and appreciated that someone liked something enough to share it on another social media site. No more. Heck, even Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen in Mirror, Mirror has her own pin page!

Note that Pinterest marketing plan is now more geared toward creating as much frenzy as possible with a waiting list by having you go on to any website and to your friends to BEG for an invite. Why? Look at the websites when you search “pinterest waiting list”, the article tells you it’s worth it to wait, then a sob story that it is an explosion for that sites server, etc., um sure, and then advices you to have your friends invite you instead. I’d have believed that within the first couple of months…it’s been 2 years since it launched, but 6+ months excusing itself “we can’t let you in because you’ll overload our serve” all of them say the same thing in comments…”I want to pin! Please invite me at XXXX@blahblah.com”

It is currently #3 in social networking place (Facebook is #1,Twitter #2). Get real. It’s a ploy to say we don’t have things set up to handle the load. I’m not a bandwagon person so unfortunately Pinterest no longer has a seat. It is my belief that you won’t be allowed to be a member UNLESS you are invited by another Pinterest user.

What to do with Leftover Peeps

An evil ending to a sweet Easter. Got them off the clearance carts at the grocery store. My #1 use for Peeps after Easter is s’mores (not an original idea, obviously). My children are in awe of me while older children are either terrified or think I’m the coolest adult present.

So, first I broke the head off of a $0.25 chocolate bunny…

I broke the package open of the purple bunny peeps and stuck the two onto a fork over open flame…

Once I’d melted their faces and set them on fire a bit, I blew them off and ended it by putting them into the iron maiden (graham crackers and my teeth).

As Baby says, “Ta Da!”

Cable Car Chocolate Brownies

Photo1298 (2)The picture you see contains this recipe as originally printed on the sides of the metal canister. The final product I made is adapted using the recipe from 25 years ago by San Francisco based Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, aptly titled “Cable Car Chocolate Brownies”. Although they post the equally delicious Empress Chocolate Cake, I couldn’t locate this brownie version among the others.

These turned out very different than what I remember and I attribute that directly to having made some adaptions that I hope replicate for you! I normally use Ghirardelli cocoa powder for brownies even buying their 4 pk. Triple Chocolate brownie mix from Sam’s Club. Unfortunately, Big Boy made a mess and I needed a cheap replacement at the time and what was on sale was Hersey’s. Tonight I dug out this recipe for brownies because it’s simple for me and quick. This recipe at times seems to be hard to find, but you can also find it slightly different here.

Ghirardelli’s Cable Car Chocolate Brownies

2 eggs

¾ C sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

½ C melted butter or margarine

¾ C Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate* (SHOULD BE NOTED AS “SWEET”!)

2/3 C unsifted flour

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

½ C chopped walnuts*

Using a spoon, stir eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter. Sift Ground Chocolate with flour, baking powder, salt. Stir into egg mixture; add nuts. Spread into greased 8 or 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes. For extra chewy brownies, use 8-inch pan and less baking time. For cake-like brownies, use 0-inch pan and longer baking. Cut into squares.

 Now the original recipe is great, but this is what I did:

  • I had no idea when I used Hersey’s UNSWEETENED Cocoa that it would give the brownies such a deep, sultry coffee like taste. Next time I’ll try it with both types of cocoa to try for a better balance of chocolate and coffee richness.
  • I also omitted the walnuts (I know, shocking since I have several pounds) but used the last of my chocolate chips that probably amounted to less than 1/4 cup.
  • Add in what you like – both the original version of the recipe and my adaptions result in a very thick mix, you could add up to 3 tablespoons of milk or equivalent “rich” substitute to thin it out slightly.
  • I have a convection setting on my Frigidaire oven (considered a commercial setting for residential use) so I used it. When I’m not paying attention using convection at the typical temperature called for in a recipe is a burnt disaster. Remember when using the convection setting, use the temperature at 325 degrees F. I let the brownies bake for 25 minutes, letting them cook themselves at rest outside the oven.

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Who Knew? Blogger oops

Apparently in 2008 I was a busy girl. After having my first child I tried to set up my own blog but without any success, not even a first post, I forgot about it. Such a dork! So I posted there to let people know I’m on WordPress. But if you do see someone who looks vaguely familiar it probably is me logged in on Blogger.

http://wyomingstorygirl.blogspot.com/

Just in case you didn’t know, I’ve been Wyomingstorygirl since about 2001. Years before I even moved to Wyoming. About 20 years ago Story, Wyoming, was a beautiful area to live and buy cheap at like 15,000.00. 2005 to present you can add a couple more zeros as in 1,500,000.00 for a piece of property. Boy, I missed my real estate calling at 15 years of age.

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins for Breakfast

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins for Breakfast

Click for the recipe

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins – adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook (1950 edition)

This is from the “Sweeter Popular Muffins” recipe – the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of milk but I found that the muffins are too dense for my taste so I always double the milk.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup soft shortening

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup blueberries (frozen, canned or fresh) – put an extra 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour aside.

Nut-Crunch Topping

Mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup broken nuts (walnuts or pecans are excellent!), and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Make sure to break up any lumps.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together with blending fork or pastry blender. Then stir JUST UNTIL ingredients are blended. Roll your blueberries into the sugar and flour you set aside. Carefully fold your blueberries into the rest of your mixture. Then should help keep your blueberries from bleeding purple juice into your muffins. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle the Nut-Crunch Topping over the muffins.

Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Makes about 12 muffins.

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I use frozen blueberries I get at one of the club stores and have a lot of broken blueberries, and I never know when I’m going to get a tart one I like to add some sugar onto them.

Fisherman Trap

I’m getting a first hand look at the fisherman’s obsession. This week I’ve had the pleasure of going to Trapper’s Route, Black Beach, and Alcova Lake, in the Casper, Wyoming, region. I found this website for Casper angling. I’ve also been reading a book by Chad Hanson called Swimming with Trout which has helped my husband share fishing with me.

Friday night I asked my husband if he wanted to go fishing on Trapper’s Route Saturday. His eyes widened, “sure. Yes.” I told him I wanted to get some pictures and things because people might not know about this area and would want to try it out with their families too.

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Figures that enough people are coming out to the area to warrant fences. It was the first sign new developments were afoot. In early Spring the Game and Fish Department renovated Trapper’s Route with signage, restroom facilities, tables and fire rings. This is great for the fisherman with families!

I’m not sure if they held a contest for names or what, but they came up with Whitetail, Golden Currant, Chalk Bluffs, and Buffaloberry for the fishing/camping areas.

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Although Husband has fished in several of these spots as a fly fisherman we went beyond Buffaloberry and took a path made by tire tracks. From where we were on the road you can’t see the North Platte River for at least another 10 minutes.

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From the limited shoreline we set up chairs and wormed up. Is that the right phrase?

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Husband went into the river in waders for some fly fishing. Most of the time the kids and I were catching seaweed but we munch some lunch.

Catch one.

15 minutes later, catch two.

Another 10 or so minutes, catch three. Husband said it was the best fishing trip he’s ever had – fastest he’s ever caught in such a short time. Of course, I reminded him that Baby & I were his good luck charms.

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At one point I wanted to fish further down in this spot but it wasn’t safe to have both kids there as it drops into a deep hole. Lots of fish.

So many fish I saw 2 dance right out of the water, laughing at me….

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Husband laughed at me, “yep. They do that.” But he’d already confirmed to himself that there was a drop off hole full of fish. He watched the kids while I tried my hand unsuccessfully. Husband took pity and helped us cast and wait for our fish to come on line. Big Boy reeled in his first trout and I got to reel in and release a itty bitty one.

Husband says his legacy is to catch and release

so that he doesn’t catch all of the fish leaving none for others.

Knock Off Almost Waldorf Salad

I wanted to make it but ran out of time! As long as you have the ingredients the “amount” you put in is up to you. It’s a great item to take on a picnic or BBQ. For the small amount that fed my two kids and us I used 1/4 cup mayo and probably what amounted to 1/4 cup of yogurt.

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Mayonnaise

Flavored Yogurt (I used what was left in an open container of strawberry yogurt)

Grapes

whole Walnuts (or Pecans, even)

Apples, sliced & cut into bite sized pieces

Mandarin oranges

Celery, sliced

Cranberries

I didn’t think of it too late but I would have added some of my frozen blueberries.

What would you like to add?

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