Archive for May 2012


Adventures in Sourdough

Sourdough Bread

Once every couple of years I decide I’m going to give sourdough bread a shot. I’ll find a recipe and method online that’s worked for somebody that lives somewhere other than the desert, and give it a try. And it always fails.

Sourdough Bread

So with that in mind, last month I got the sourdough itch. I found this series of blog posts and really liked the idea of using pineapple juice to get the starter kicked off. Las Vegas is not known for its wild yeasty air, so I figured the little bit of help from the fruit could only help, right?

Sourdough Bread

Cats and can openers. It never gets old.

Sourdough Bread

The starter went off without a hitch. I used a rubberband to mark the height of the starter to see if it was growing at all.

Sourdough Bread

It grew beautifully. I kept it fed and warm for days.

Sourdough Bread

It finally came time to make the actual bread. I measured out what I needed and made sure to replace it with more flour and water. I used this bread recipe from the King Arthur Flour site.

Sourdough Bread

The dough looked great.

Sourdough Bread

And the crust looked great after baking but I could already tell the rest of it didn’t look right.

Sourdough Bread

Dense as can be. It actually tasted okay – not as sour as I like my sourdough to be, but you could tell it was there.

I’ve still got the jar of starter in the fridge, and I need to find another bread recipe to try. I’m tempted to add yeast to the next batch. Is that cheating?


May Days

Geez, I can’t believe I’ve only got four posts for all of May! I probably mentioned in one of those posts that May is always crazy busy at my house. This year we decided to add to the madness and scheduled a trip to my home state of Utah for Memorial Day weekend.

The entire weekend ended up being cloudy and rainy (which I love and miss), but we managed to get a lot of outdoor activities in, including an amazing hike with the beautiful views you can see in the picture above.

We also got to hit IKEA (can you believe Las Vegas doesn’t have an IKEA?) and we ate at the cafe there. The food was good and I got to try lingonberries for the first time (they were good — I thought they tasted like cranberries!). I also loaded up on some Swedish chocolate because why not?

The next day we also stopped in at Hatch Family Chocolates in Salt Lake. The shop was the setting for a (sadly) short-lived reality show on TLC starring the owners of the shop (whom we got to meet when we last visited two years ago), and while the chocolate is a bit on the pricey side, it’s definitely worth it. In fact, it’s even better than See’s. Yes, I said it.

We worried about the tomatoes while we were gone. Thankfully, the weather took pity on us and stayed pretty mild, so there weren’t any water issues. The tomatoes in the bowl are a few of what we picked before we left, and the tomatoes on the plate were waiting for us when we got back.

As you can see, the sweet 100s are doing well, but the beefsteaks are having issues. We had two that we had to pick prematurely because they had developed blossom end rot. That link says that one of the causes is a calcium deficiency, but we’ve got calcium added to the soil, so we’re keeping a closer eye on maintaining the water supply.

And yesterday, the girls got to shuck their first ears of corn. Corn shucking is something I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember, but my city girls haven’t had many opportunities. Naturally, they got a kick out of it.


Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

I came across these Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars on Pinterest when my friend Candi pinned them. I clicked over to the recipe and was happy to discover that I had all the ingredients that I needed, and hey! it was dessert night (which I admittedly hadn’t thought about ahead of time).

I used to like the Quaker granola bars you can buy at the grocery store, but I don’t buy them often because there’s a lot of junk packed into such a small bar, and I usually write it off to just not being worth it.

And though these aren’t health food either, I like them because they’re sweet but there’s not a lot of sugar, and they were nice and easy to make (even though they have to sit for a while, it’s worth it). Older kids could easily make these with minimal help.

Mike and the girls (and me) loved these!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
from Farmgirl Gourmet

2 cups crispy rice cereal
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl add the crispy rice and oats and mix to combine. Set aside.

In a small saucepan add the honey, brown sugar and butter and bring to a simmer. Heat for 3 minutes until it becomes syrupy and remove from heat. Add the vanilla and pour over the rice and oat mixture. Stir well to coat and pour into the prepared baking pan. Lay a piece of parchment over the pan and press the oat mixture down. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and press down again.

Bake at 200 for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to remain in the oven for 2 hours. Invert onto a cutting board and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.