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Chinese Takeout Burger with Asian Slaw #BurgerMonth

It’s my turn to show off an epic burger for #BurgerMonth at #GirlCarnivore. May has been filled with burgers of all kinds. Made from all kinds of proteins, vegetables, fruits and cheeses. Some healthy, some not too much.

Chinese Takeout Burger with Asian Slaw

This burger was put together by my clever husband. We made our own crab rangoons, just because we had nothing better to do. But really this burger is for those leftover “crabbies” hanging around after overindulging in Friday night takeout.
leftover chinese takeout burger with fresh asian slaw

Asian Slaw

The Asian slaw is my favorite part of this burger. A tangy, flavorful, peanut dressing coats this crunchy, fresh slaw made with cabbage, carrots, red and yellow peppers. I couldn’t stop eating this stuff! You can serve it as a side but it’s even better sitting atop those delicious fried, cream cheese filled wontons.

asian salw

Sweet Chili Sauce

Then there’s the sauce (insert Homer Simpson drool noise here). This sweet, spicy chili sauce has a kick, but not so much of a kick that you want to stick your tongue in a glass of milk or dab it with a piece of bread (am I the only one who does that?). It’s sweet and zingy. Soooooooo gooooood! This sauce is incredible on wings too, by the way.

Crab Rangoons

These homemade crab rangoons are so good. Of course, feel free to use the leftovers. We always order more crabbies than we should when we get Chinese takeout. So, this is a different way to enjoy them a day later. It’s quicker and less messy too. Just sayin.
rangooncrab rangoon

Honestly, the burger is just a vessel for all the other good stuff on top. I added some subtle Asian flavors into the patties, but the slaw, rangoons and sweet chili sauce are the heroes here. You could totally get away with a plain burger patty and not feel like you’re missing something. But the ketchup and brown sugar give the patty a beautiful caramelization, see?

asian burger

When you bite into this burger, you get the creaminess of the insides of the rangoons, the fresh taste of the slaw and the amazing sweet, hot kick of the sauce all at once, and it is A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

Chinese takeout burger with asian slaw and sweet chili sauce

The Giveaway!

This burger was created especially for #BURGERMONTH 2017. A celebration happening all month long here and at Girl Carnivore and all across the interwebs with over 100 talented foodies.

I’d like to throw out a special thanks to these awesome brands for supporting our burger habits American Lamb Board, Anolon.  Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner, Char-Broil, Curly’s BBQ, Cuttingboard.com, Melissa’s Produce, Primal Stone, Spiceologist , Thermoworks , & Veal Made Easy and for the KICK BUTT Grill Prizes!!

Be sure to follow #BURGERMONTH to check them all out! And most importantly head on over to BurgerMonth.com to enter for these awesome prizes!!

burgerbanner

PRIZES:

●      American Lamb Board – (ALB prize boxes 5 lbs of ground lamb, an apron and a meat thermometer
●      Anolon – 10″x 18″ Double Burner Griddle and Grill Pan
●      Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner – prize packs of beefy grilling-themed goodies
●      Char-Broil – Char-Broil Kettleman Grill
●      Curly’s BBQ – Curly’s BBQ Pork Pack
●      Cuttingboard.com – Olive Wood Carver Bo
●      Melissa’s Produce – Baby vegetable box
●      Primal Stone – XL Primal Stone
●      Spiceologist –  4 Rub Grilling Spice Set
●      Thermoworks –  Thermapen Mk4
●      Veal Made Easy – 5 lbs Veal and grilling gear

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chinese Takeout Burger with Asian Slaw and Sweet Chili Sauce
 
This epic burger is a delicious fusion burger topped with creamy crab rangoons, crunchy peanut Asian slaw and a zingy sweet chili garlic sauce. Definitely not your average burger!
Ingredients
  • Burger
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ¼ c ketchup
  • 1 Tbls brown sugar
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 egg
  • Crab Rangoons
  • 6 oz imitation crabmeat, chopped or canned crabmeat
  • 1 8 oz. package softened cream cheese
  • 1 Tbls granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • Oil for frying
  • Asian Slaw
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, finely grated
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbls soy sauce
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 2 Tbls sesame oil
  • ½ c creamy peanut butter
  • 1 head Napa cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 serrano chiles, finely minced
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 3 green onions, all of white part and half of the green, cut on the bias (or not, it really doesn't matter)
  • 2 Tbls cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • ½ c corn syrup
  • ⅓ c granulated sugar
  • ¼ c Sri Racha or Thai Chili Garlic Sauce
  • 1 Tbls soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Slaw
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, oil, and peanut butter and process until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl add all remaining ingredients and toss with dressing. You may not use all the dressing. It's great on rice noodles!
  4. Sweet Chili Sauce
  5. Dissolve cornstarch in rice wine vinegar in a small bowl
  6. Combine vinegar mix in a small saucepan with all remaining ingredients and cook over medium/low heat stirring frequently until the sauce reaches a boil. Remove from heat, cool cover and chill. If sauce thickens too much and you are unable to pour, just heat it up a tad until pourable.
  7. Crab Rangoons
  8. Mix all ingredients and place 1 tablespoon mixture in wonton wrapper. Brush with water (I use my finger) and press to seal completely.
  9. Heat oil to 325F and place a few wontons in oil at a time and fry until edges are browned and crispy and flip over and fry until nicely browned. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate with paper towels.
  10. Burger
  11. Mix all ingredients together and form into patties. Place on a hot griddle or cast iron pan and cook until edges are "gray" and "lacy" then flip and cook until desired doneness.
  12. To Prepare burger, place on a bun, top with crab rangoons, slaw and sweet chili sauce and enjoy!

Slaw recipe came from here

Asian Sweet Chili Sauce slightly adapted from here

 

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Crockpot Vegetable Soup

I love vegetables. And I buy a lot of them. I get a little overzealous when things look super fresh. Honestly, a lot of them don’t get eaten. For whatever reason, the crisper ends up with leftover veggies that are, shall I say, no longer at their best.

crockpot vegetable soup

Stop feeding the trash can!

If this happens to you, I have a suggestion. Make this soup. Don’t waste all that food! Make a healthy, delicious, flavorful soup to enjoy for lunches, a light dinner or even a snack to stave off the hungry horrors.

For me this is a win-win. I started Weight Watchers last week (down 4 pounds, thank you very much) and this soup is pretty much free points (depending on what you throw in there, some veggies have points).

This is also one of my favorite soups because really, there are no rules. You just use whatever veggies you have left over at the end of the week. No green beans this week? No problem! There is no wrong way to make this. All you do is chop up your veggies and toss them in the crockpot with some broth. Cook four hours on high and you’re done.

Ok, I lied. There are a couple of rules. I know, I know. But there are a couple of veggies I find you really need for a good flavorful stock. The French call it Mirepoix (meer-pwah). Which is usually 2 parts onion to one part each carrots and celery.  I use this in pretty much all my soups.

crockpot vegetable soupI had some extra fresh basil, so I whipped it up with a bit of olive oil and a clove of garlic and added a little dollop to each bowl. The pesto added a little more depth of flavor and the fresh garlic added just a touch of heat. Feel free to leave that out if you don’t have any or just don’t like basil. The soup was delish without it. But my window basil plant needed a little trimming and I didn’t want to waste it.

This is great for the warmer weather that is (hopefully) coming our way. The crockpot won’t heat up the house. You’ll use up all the veggies you overbought at the farmers’ market and you won’t add any extra jiggle to you backside.

Does it get any better than that? I think not.

Crockpot Vegetable Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
 
A delicious, healthy, barely any prep crockpot soup that uses up any unused veggies you have on hand so they don't go to waste. Delicious for a satisfying lunch, snack or light dinner
Ingredients
  • 1 32 oz. box Chicken Broth (or veggie or beef)
  • 1 large onion, chopped into small pieces (but not minced)
  • 1½ c mushrooms
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 c celery, chopped
  • 2 c green beans, 1" slices
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 c frozen corn
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Pesto
  • 1 c fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
Instructions
  1. Put all soup ingredients in the crockpot and heat on high for 4 hours
  2. Pesto
  3. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree
  4. Add desired amount of pesto to soup and enjoy!
Notes
This is what I used. If you have different veggies on-hand or like different veggies, change it up!
Use the mirepoix and whatever else you have on hand (i.e. zucchini, summer squash, kale, escarole, baby spinach, etc)
If you want you can also add some pasta (mini raviolis, orzo, alphabets) or even some leftover chopped chicken

crockpot vegetable soup

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year!

Yes, that’s right. Happy New Year! If you’re thinking I’ve hit my head or hit the bottle, neither is correct. Well, maybe one is correct. So why, you ask am I saying “Happy New Year”? Well, I’ll tell you.

My birthday is in May. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I hate my birthday. Always have. Put your psychology pants away folks, it’s simple. I hate the thought of getting older. I don’t even like songs that make me think of getting older. “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac sends me into a fit and even though I love Luke Bryan and his butt, the song “Fast” makes me want to sit in a corner, look at the kids’ baby pictures and cry.

I don’t even really like to celebrate anyone’s birthday. It isn’t uncommon for me to even forget my family. I may have had to wrap up a pair of my husband’s jeans for his birthday just so the kids could give him something. I lost a few votes in the “Best Wife” category that year. I did go out and get a nice Carvel cake though. No one can resist those crunchy cookie thingies. Ok, that didn’t really earn me back any more wifey points. But it was something.

new year resolutionsSince I have always looked at my birthday as such a negative thing, I try very hard to use that month as a time to make positive changes. My New Year. I always have my annual physical and mammogram in May. See how fun and positive? I started this blog in May. Keep an eye out for some rocking blogiversary giveaways, by the way. YAY! More positivity!

The past year has been kind of a crappy health year for me. Lyme disease, a hysterectomy, anxiety, weight gain. All of it. Honestly, I’ve been in complete denial about the weight gain.

“Damn yoga pants shrunk in the dryer!”

“Cheap zippers!”

Have you been there? It sucks when you finally see it. It’s definitely a “WTF?” moment.

I woke up the other morning and when I looked in the mirror, I saw my grandmother. It was horrifying. I loved my Grammy to pieces and all, but truth be told, she looked like Ursula, the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid.  For realz. If you knew her, you’re laughing right now. Now that you have that picture in your head, you can imagine it was a wake up call for me. I couldn’t hit the “Register Now” button on the Weight Watcher site fast enough I tell ya.

It seems like everything hit me all of a sudden. I was putting on my makeup and I said words to myself that no woman, or person for that matter, should ever say. Mean things. Things that would break my heart in teeny tiny pieces if I ever heard them come from my daughter’s mouth.

You can’t make a horse out of horse shit

Then I cried, had a little panic attack at the thought of the loss of control my youth, blew my nose, pulled on my big girl pants (literally and metaphorically) and decided getting a plan of action would be more beneficial than say, taking down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Negative thinking can be very powerful if you choose to use it in a positive way. Those nasty words didn’t force me to throw on a pair of old sweatpants, take an Atavan and cry until my eyes swelled shut. No siree bub! They pushed me to make some changes and do something about the things that are annoying me and adding to those previously mentioned panic attacks.

Time time is now for positive changes!

Don’t want to be fat?

Stop eating crap and move your ass.

Don’t like missing appointments and being late all the time?

Get your shit together!* stay tuned for more on that topic (wink, wink, hint, hint)

Want changes in your life?

Make them happen! No one else is gonna do it for you. 

Want to feel pretty?

Spend some time on yourself. Color your hair, buy a new pair of shoes, get your nails done, get a facial, wax something. It does take time, especially as you age (sympathetic pat on your back).

Whatever it takes! You deserve it! We all do.

I am going to be 46 people! FORTY-EFFING-SIX! Closer to 50 than 40. I can hear AARP calling my name in the distance. It’s time to get shit done.

This is my time! I’ve said it many times before, as I’m sure many of you have also. But,

I can’t do anything about yesterday. I can only change right now.

Today I’m stepping out of my comfort zones, stopping the excuses for what is holding me back, and taking steps to make those positive things happen. I have 2 major issues that need to be tackled and have the crap beat out of them right now. Health and Organization. Who’s with me? You forty something women out there with busy lives and busy kids? I know you’re with me! Oh and hey, if you aren’t with me, can you send me some helpful tips, because I’m a big ol’ mess right now.

What is is that you want to change? I would absolutely love to hear from you. I’m dying to know what kind of crap is holding you back and making you’re life a little less happy. We’re all in this together.

 

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Cherry Cheesecake Jars and How to Pack A Picnic

It’s that time of year. The need to be outside has completely kicked in. Especially after an 85 degree Easter Sunday. The windows have been open, letting out all the indoor winter air. The trees are in bloom and the grass is greening up. Of course, allergies are also in full bloom.

You can’t let that stop you from getting outside though. Just pop some Claritin, stuff some tissues in your pocket and get outside. Take a hike, do some fishing, play on a swing set, have a picnic.

no bake cherry cheesecake jar

I am not a big outdoors-y type person, I admit. Last spring Nina and I took a hike and the next morning I woke up unable to move my leg due to a deer tick embedded in my butt. After a diagnosis of Lyme disease and three antibiotic treatments later, I finally felt better and vowed never to go outside again.

But life’s too short for that and I’m sick of being stuck in the house. I have been wanting to do more inexpensive, quality type activities with the kids and having a picnic is at the top of my list. I used to love packing up some sandwiches and snacks and heading out on my bike with my friends. We’d find a spot near a stream or the lake and break out the food. Even if we were just hanging out in the backyard, it always seemed more special with a picnic lunch.

Here are a couple of ideas for packing the perfect picnic lunch.

  • Food safety first! Make sure foods that need to stay cold, do! Freeze half-filled water bottles then fill em up and use them as ice packs. They’ll keep your food chilled and be ready to drink when you get where you’re going.
  • Mason jars are great for building layered salads. Place wetter ingredients on the bottom (i.e. salad dressing) and more delicate ingredients on the top (i.e. salad greens). Shake em up and dig in!
  • Pack heavier items on the bottom and more fragile items on top.
  • Wrap up your individual silverware settings in a cloth napkin and they’re ready to go.
  • Don’t forget the extras! Salad dressing, salt and pepper and condiments will make your meal perfect!
  • Don’t forget a bag for trash!

no bake cherry cheesecake jar

Cherry Cheesecake Jars
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
 
A simple, no-bake, creamy, cheesecake packed in portion perfect mason jars. A delicious ending to a picnic!
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 2 c. crushed graham crackers (about 12)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbls. granulated sugar
  • Filling
  • 1 c. heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ c. sugar
  • Topping
  • 2 (8oz) cans Cherry Pie Filling *Use whatever flavors you want. Mix em up!
Instructions
  1. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter together until it looks like wet sand and put about 2½ Tablespoons of the mixture in each jar and press down gently, either with the back of a spoon or your fingers wrapped in plastic wrap so the crumbs don't stick, then set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cold heavy cream until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to another bowl and set aside
  3. In the bowl of the stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar together until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add half the whipped cream and mix until blended. Then fold the other half in gently to keep it light and airy, not heavy and dense.
  5. Spoon about ⅓ cup cheesecake mixture into each jar and press down gently with a spoon to remove air bubbles. You can even tap them gently on the counter (on a towel so the jar doesn't break). Continue with all the jars until the filling is evenly divided into each jar
  6. If it looks messy, just wipe the inside of the top of the jar with a damp paper towel.
  7. Top with about 2 Tablespoons fruit pie filling and cover each jar and place in the fridge for about an hour to chill and firm up. Jars can keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Notes
You'll need 6 (8oz) half-pint wide mouth mason jars

You can easily double this recipe

 

 

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Chocolate Babka

It’s Easter week! That means Babka around here. If you have never tried Babka, I suggest you do. I like to say Babka, it’s a fun little word. And it’s a delicious little bread. A dessert bread actually.

polish chocolate babka

“Dessert bread?” you say.

Yep. It’s a thing. For those of you who may like something not too sweet to enjoy with a steaming cup of coffee after your big Easter meal. This is perfect.

The dough has a hint of cinnamon and swirled with a rich, chocolate filling and studded with toasted walnuts. It’s twisted and topped with a light, sweet streusel.

Polish Chocolate Babka

It’s perfect alone, but even better slathered with a bit of creamy, butter.

I had never made this particular babka before, but decided to follow along with the monthly King Arthur Flour Bakealong. If you haven’t tried one of their challenges, they are really great. They have step by step photo instructions and if you have any questions, there is a hotline number to call. These challenges are great if you are looking to become a better baker or just want to try out a new recipe. And of course you can always show off your delicious masterpiece on Instagram at #Bakealong.

I always hesitate to make breads because of the time they take with all the rising and resting. I’m not usually home for long periods at a time, and I’m not really familiar with breads enough to know what will happen if I say let it rise for an extra couple of hours, I guess I should call the hotline myself. But I was planning on not getting out of my pajamas the other day, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I found this recipe to be really simple, it really looks harder than it is. It is impressive! You’ll get lots of ooohs and aaaahs if you bring this on Easter Sunday or any day, for that matter.

Let me know if you give it a shot and make sure you come join me for the May Bakealong!

Happy Easter!

Here is the recipe straight from King Arthur Flour!

Chocolate Babka
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Polish
 
An impressive sweet bread, loaded and swirled with chocolate, nuts and cinnamon. Beautifully braided and topped with streusel
Ingredients
  • DOUGH
  • 1 to 1¼ cups lukewarm water (110F)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ⅓ cup Nonfat dry milk
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • *Reduce the salt to 2¼ teaspoons if you use salted butter.
  • FILLING
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup Cocoa powder, Dutch-process or natural
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips, mini chips preferred
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted if desired
  • GLAZE
  • 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt until well-combined
  • TOPPING
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup confectioners' sugar
  • ½ cup All-Purpose Flour
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients (starting with the lesser amount of water), mixing until everything is moistened. Add additional water if needed to allow the dough to come together.
  2. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Then mix/knead until it's soft and smooth.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and cover. Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 1½ to 2 hours, until nice and puffy. *see Notes
  4. Gently deflate the dough by giving it a gentle squeeze and divide it in half. Set the pieces aside, covered, while you make the filling.
  5. To make the filling: Combine the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and espresso. Stir in the melted butter. The mixture will look grainy and shiny; perfect.
  6. Shape each half of the dough into a 9" x 18", ¼"-thick rectangle. If the dough "fights back," let it rest for 10 minutes, then stretch it some more. Don't be fussy about size; 19" or 20" is as good as 18".
  7. Smear each piece of the dough with half the filling, coming to within an inch of the edges.
  8. Scatter half the chocolate (make a thin layer), half the nuts, and half the chopped chocolate/chips over each piece.
  9. Starting with a short end, roll each piece gently into a log, pinching to seal the seam and ends. Working with one log at a time, use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut the log in half lengthwise (not crosswise) to make two pieces of dough about 10" long each; cut carefully, to prevent too much filling from spilling out. With the exposed filling side up, twist the two pieces into a braid (not really a braid, but more of a twist), tucking the ends underneath. Repeat with the other log. Place each log into a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan.
  10. Brush each loaf with the egg glaze. Mix together the topping ingredients until crumbly, and sprinkle half the topping over each loaf.
  11. Tent each pan with plastic wrap, and let the loaves rise until they're very puffy and have crowned a good inch over the rim of the pan, 1½ to 2½ hours.
  12. Preheat your oven to 300°F toward the end of the rise time. (if using oven to proof, take breads out before you preheat!)
  13. Bake the bread for 35 minutes. Tent lightly with foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes (for a total of 50 to 60 minutes); the loaves should be a rich-golden brown.
  14. The bread is perfectly baked when it registers at least 190°F on an instant read thermometer.
  15. Remove the loaves from the oven, and immediately loosen the edges with a spatula or table knife. Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes, then turn them out of the pans onto a rack to cool completely.
  16. Slice the babka and serve it at room temperature; or rewarm individual slices briefly in a toaster oven with a little bit of butter, if desired. There won't be any leftovers, but if there are just store, well wrapped, at room temperature. Freeze for longer storage.

 

 

 

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The End of an Era

Hockey

My little boy turned fifteen at the end of March. He isn’t so little anymore. A fact that he reminds me of several times a day, as he is now much taller that I am.

When we were younger, I say we because I know every parent uttered the same words to their children, “Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. It goes by in the blink of an eye”. Naturally, we didn’t listen. It isn’t something you have a sense of when you’re young. You live in the moment, just as you should as a kid.

In the blink of an eye

Then at some point, you realize they were right and you wonder how it went by so fast. I don’t think the reality of it hit me until my kids were born. Just yesterday they were babies. I still remember how sweet their little heads smelled and how soft their skin was. How innocent and gentle and silly and impressionable they were “just yesterday”.

I remember when Andrew was four. I put him on ice skates for the first time. Honestly thinking he’d hate being so constricted in all the gear, but feeling it was my duty as a New Englander to make sure he knew how to skate. He got out there padded from head to toe, grabbed his little milk crate to help him stay upright and off he went. Right on his butt. He was so awkward. He spent more time sitting on the ice than skating on it, even with the help of the crate. I knew when he came off that would probably be the last time he would want to go the rink. But he got off the ice and let us know how much fun he had and couldn’t wait until the next lesson.

That was the end of any free time we had. From then on it was lessons, practices, tryouts, games. It didn’t matter if he had to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to get out on the ice. He’d sleep in his skates, if we’d have let him. He never complained. He loved the sport.

When he was ten, he developed arthritis. I know, right? Arthritis? It affected several joints, but his ankle was the most painful. It was so swollen that he couldn’t bend it at all. Putting pressure on it was agonizing. But he would wake up even earlier than normal so I could massage his foot enough to get it into the skate boot. Sometimes the pain of just getting on his skates would bring him to tears, but that never stopped him. Sometimes he’d get sick from the pain, but he’d keep going. Clean it up and get back out there. The heart of a hockey player if I ever saw one.

Throughout his illness, he was fortunate to have had amazing coaches. They always encouraged him. They pushed him when they could and knew when to pull back when he’d had enough. His teammates were always there to help him out, make him laugh or give him a hard time like boys will do. They were tight.

Fortunately he healed and, knock on wood, it has not returned. But I will never forget how special our hockey family was. We ate together, laughed together, cried together. We were together early in the morning and late at night. These coaches and teammates and their families became our family.

I can’t imagine our time with them is done. But after a devastating 3-1 loss in the second round of the playoffs, it is. I walked out of the rink without saying goodbye to anyone, it was too hard. I know I’ll see them again soon.

Andrew won’t be playing in that league next year, he’ll play only high school hockey. His coach will not be coaching again and the other boys will be playing elsewhere as well. Everyone is moving on. We say we’ll keep in touch. I hope that’s true, but isn’t that what everyone says? You’ve got to make the effort, like anything. It’s hard to think that it was just a blip in time. That we could just blink and it would be gone and these people would not play any more part in our lives.

Every hockey family knows this feeling. Actually any team that spends this much time together knows it. Most would say they wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m going to agree. Every awful smelling car ride, injury, win and loss was worth the precious time that was spent with these special people in the early morning hours and the super late nights, the Turkey Tournaments and team dinners.

Although we won’t miss the actual chore of carting these kids around, the time spent in the car with the kids will certainly be missed. When you have a captive audience, there are many opportunities for serious conversations and you never know what you might learn. There were some pretty great moments that took place en route to all those practices and games that may never have if we hadn’t been forced into the car with each other so often.

We may not have hockey anymore, but we have those memories and friendships that we were fortunate to have built during many frozen hours.

Enjoy every moment.

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Karpatka-Polish Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake

Happy Spring! I keep saying that in hopes that it will get above 30 degrees here in New Hampshire. Someday. Then I’ll be complaining it’s too hot. Don’t judge me.

First, thanks for joining me and some of my blogging besties for the second week of our “Spring Thyme Blog Hop“. If you are stopping by from Linda G Loving Home, welcome! I love that girl’s style. Those Southern gals really class it up I tell ya! I don’t even have pictures on my walls.

Or curtains.

I just think of it as a few less things I have to pack if I ever move. I’m always thinking y’all. Alway thinking!

Karpatka Polish Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake

Ok sorry, back to business. This week I’m sharing another favorite Polish recipe that’s is great for Easter called Karpatka or Polish Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake.  It is a peasant version of a cake called kremówka papieska (kreh-MOOF-kah pah-PYESS-kah) or Polish Papal Cream Cake because Pope John Paul II loved it.

Polish Cream Puff Cake, perfect for Easter

This cake is named because it looks like cragged mountains covered in snow. This cake is really just a giant, delicious, light and airy, cream puff. It is made with a pâte à choux pastry, which is the dough used in cream puffs and eclairs. Cream puffs are one of my favorite desserts. My grandmother would send my grandfather to the bakery for a box of cream puffs at Easter and he always came home with a face covered in powdered sugar claiming he had no idea what happened to them. It always cost him a good yelling and sometimes another trip to the bakery depending on how many treats he swiped on the ride home. I don’t think he minded too much. It just meant more sweets. It drove my grandmother NUTS! I’m pretty sure that was half the fun for him. I know it made all us grandkids chuckle.

If you love cream puffs like my family does, you really should give this recipe a try. It will not disappoint.

Happy Spring and Happy Easter from my family to yours!

Next, hop on over to VivaLaVintage-For Your Home and check out what awesomeness she is sharing today. Don’t forget to tell her I say “Hey! Then bunny hop your way over to the rest of the herd (that’s what they call a bunch of bunnies ya know). Have fun!

Spring Thyme blog hopSwirls of Flavor

Confetti Style

M Jones Style

Positively Southern

Plum Doodles

Life At Lydias House

Linda G Loving Home

5.0 from 1 reviews
Karpatka-Polish Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Polish
 
A Polish light and airy cream puff cake filled with a vanilla pastry cream topped with powdered sugar resembling ragged mountain tops
Ingredients
  • Dough:
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • Pastry Cream:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted softened butter
  • Confectioners' sugar to garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper (overhanging sides to be ale to lift out of pan later)
  2. Dough: In a medium saucepan, bring water, butter and salt to a boil. When butter is completely melted, remove from heat and, using a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once. Return to stove and stir over low heat for approximately 3 minutes or until dough comes off sides of the pan cleanly and forms a ball.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, either by hand or with an electric mixer. The batter will be smooth and shiny and stick to the spoon.
  4. Pour dough into prepared pan. Spread it into the pan but Do NOT smooth it out. You want it to look all craggy.Bake 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and poke with a skewer all over the top and bake another 10 minutes or until top is golden brown and looks dry.
  6. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
  7. To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, bring milk, sugar, cornstarch and flour to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and continue to stir and cook until thick like pudding, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
  8. Pour filling mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl, pressing gently with a rubber spatula to remove any chunks for a silky filling. Place bowl in an ice water bath to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Make sure the filling is completely cooled before beating in the softened butter.
  9. To assemble: Split the cooled dough in half horizontally with a sharp, serrated knife. I found this part a bit tricky because of the uneven top. Be patient. Place the bottom half back in the clean baking pan and the filling evenly. Top with the other half of dough and refrigerate until cold.
  10. Cut into desired size pieces and dust heavily with powdered sugar.

 

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Spring Thyme Blog Hop

cheese babka

It’s finally Spring! It doesn’t really feel like spring here in New Hampshire, but it is. Even though it is still pretty chilly out, I know the nicer weather is right around the corner. We’ve turned the clocks ahead screwed up my sleep habits for weeks and the days are longer. So, it’s only a matter of time before the weather follows suit.

With Easter on its way, I start thinking about what I’m going to be baking. Polish Easter is always a big deal. Święconka is the blessing of the Easter baskets on Holy Saturday.  It is when you bring a sampling of your easter meal to the church to be blessed. Food is placed in a beautifully prepared basket and tradition says it is not to be touched until Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning until either Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. We always did this when I was young. It’s hard to find a church that continues this tradition these days.

In Poland, bread is symbolic of Jesus. And there is always lots of breads at the Polish Easter table. This Cheese Babka is one my favorites. It is a fairly dense bread swirled with a sweetened cheese filling and topped with streusel. I love that it isn’t overly sweet. There are always enough super sweet desserts to be found.

This is always at our Easter table. Even if you aren’t Polish, it is a deliciously different springtime recipe I know you’ll love.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spring Thyme Blog Hop
 
Ingredients
  • Bread
  • •1/2 teaspoon + ½ cup sugar
  • •1/4 cup 110-degree water
  • •1 cup milk
  • •4 ounces (1 stick) softened butter
  • •1 teaspoon salt
  • •3 large beaten egg yolks + 1 large beaten egg white (for coating breads later)
  • •5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Filling:
  • •36 ounces softened cream cheese
  • •3 large egg yolks
  • •1½ cups sugar
  • Crumb Topping:
  • •6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • •8 tablespoons sugar
  • •4 tablespoons cold butter
Instructions
  1. Stir yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar into warm water. Set aside until frothy. Grease three (9-by-5-inch) loaf pans. (I only had 2 9×5 pans, so I used those plus 2 mini loaf pans and it worked out great, plus I get a tester. Win.Win)
  2. Scald the milk and place in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add butter and stir to melt. Add ½ cup sugar, salt, yeast mixture, and 3 beaten egg yolks.
  3. Add flour and knead until shiny and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat both sides, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. This may take as long as 2 hours.
  4. Prepare the crumb topping by mixing the flour and sugar and cutting in the butter as for pie dough.
  5. Prepare cheese filling by combining all filling ingredients until smooth, either in a mixer or by hand.
  6. Punch down dough and divide into three parts. Working with one part at a time and covering the rest, roll into a large rectangle ⅛-inch thick.
  7. Spread dough with ⅓ of the cheese filling. Fold in the sides of dough and roll up tightly as for a jellyroll. Place in prepared pan. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with ⅓ the crumb topping. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until above the rim of the pan.
  8. Place rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Bake babkas for 40-50 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees. Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Using a knife, loosen babka from sides of pan. Cool completely in the loaf pan. Then turn out onto a rack.

Looking for some springtime decorating or recipe ideas? Today, a bunch of my favorite ladies are also sharing recipes and springtime home decorating ideas. I hope you have some time to “hop” on over to each of their sites and see what they’ve got “springing” up. See what I did there?

Next on the hop is my good friend Heather at Totally Tailgates. Her site is always filled with great recipes and good advice for your college bound kiddos, who I assume will be heading home for the holiday.

We’ll be hopping around next week too and sharing some more great ideas for spring. I can’t wait to share some more of my Polish Easter traditions with you.

Wesołego Alleluja! Happy Easter!

Spring Thyme blog hop

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Beauty and the Beast and the Grey Stuff

gray stuffIt’s finally here! I am beyond excited. I think I am more excited than Nina, and she’s reeeaaalllyyy excited. But yeah, I’m more excited. It’s like Christmas! But better!

Every time a Beauty and the Beast trailer comes on, we stop to watch. I grab her arm excitedly and squeal like a giddy toddler. “Ooooooooooo! TWO MORE DAYS! ONE MORE DAY!  NO MORE DAYS!!!!”

I love everything about the original movie and from what I have seen from the ads, the live action film is not going to disappoint.

We watched the original animated film the other day (several times actually) and I had almost forgotten how much I love the music. Especially Be Our Guest. What a great song!

Try the grey stuff,it’s delicious!
Don’t believe us? Ask the dishes
!”

Did you know there was such thing as “the grey stuff”? It’s real, and it’s good. It’s. Real.Good.

The first time we had the grey stuff, it was sunny and 85 degrees, but the snow fell quietly outside the ballroom’s immense windows. It’s always twilight at the castle and the snow gently blows with small changing gusts of wind.

It isn’t just frosting!

It was brought to our table by none other than the Beast himself to honor the special “It’s my Birthday!” button Nina had pinned to her shirt. I think she was a bit intimidated by his size initially, but when she saw the mound of “grey stuff” piled onto her special plate, she relaxed a bit and shook his hand. Paw? Hoof? Whatever.

I thought the grey stuff was just frosting, but it isn’t. It is pretty much Oreo cookie mousse. And it is sooooooooo good. SO. GOOD.

If you have a chance to eat at the Beast’s Castle in Disney World, make sure you try some. If you can’t get there, or can’t get a reservation (again, watch for my WDW tips coming soon) here is the recipe.

Bon Apetit!

 

 

Grey Stuff
Recipe type: Dessert
 
Bring the magic home from the Beast's Castle with this simple, homemade grey stuff recipe from Beauty and the Beast
Ingredients
  • 1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1½ c milk
  • 15 oreos
  • 1 small tub Cool Whip (8 oz)
  • 2 Tbls instant chocolate pudding mix
  • Edible pearls and/or sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Whisk the instant vanilla pudding mix and milk and chill for 10 minutes or so
  2. Pulse Oreos in the food processor until they turn to crumbs
  3. Mix the Oreo crumbs with the pudding and fold in Cool Whip and chocolate pudding and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving
  4. Place in a piping bag and swirl onto a plate and top with pearls and sprinkles

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Pi Day Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

chocolate chip cookie pie3.14

Happy Pi Day! One of my favorite foodie holidays. Just like it’s never-ending number namesake, pie varieties are limitless! And I’m not going to limit myself to one piece of this giant chocolate chip cookie in a crust, I’ll tell you that!

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie for Pi Day!

I am teaching Nina to bake, so this year I let her choose what type of pie she wanted to make. She spent quite a while flipping through all my cookbooks until she came across one that caught her eye. And what other type of pie would a 10 year old choose, but a chocolate chip cookie pie, of course!

She found this simple, delicious pie in one of my favorite cookbooks Quick-Shop-&-Prep 5 Ingredient Baking by my good friend Jennifer at Bake or Break. I love this book. Everything in it is so easy. Even the title says so. It has quickly become Nina’s favorite too. Check out another delish dish from Jen here.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Serve this yummy, chocolate chip cookie pie topped with vanilla ice cream and maybe even a little hot fudge or caramel and whipped cream and of course, a lovely little cherry on top. You gotta have a cherry on top of this beauty.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
 
Enjoy an easy, delicious, chocolate chip cookie pie with a rich, nutty flavor of browned butter. Delish!
Ingredients
  • CRUST
  • 1¼ (150g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (4 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ c (113 g) cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 3-4 Tbls (45-60 ml) cold water
  • FILLING
  • 10 Tbls (141 g) unsalted butter, sliced
  • ½ c (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ c (100 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • ½ c (60 g) all-purpose flout
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c (170 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c (120 g) walnuts or pecans, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl and add the butter cubes. Mix with a pastry blender or fork until the butter pieces are about the size of large peas. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time and mi until a dough forms.
  2. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a ball and flatten into a disk approximately an inch thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  3. Place chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a circle about ⅛ inch thick. Transfer to a 9 inch pie plate and crimp the edges and place in the refrigerator to chill while preparing the filling
  4. Preheat oven to 350F
  5. Place butter in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until butter melts and gets foamy. Continue cooking and whisking occasionally just until brown specs form on the bottom of the pan and the butter has a nutty aroma. This only takes 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and whisk for 30 seconds. Transfer the butter to a large mixing bowl and let cool slightly.
  6. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla to the butter and stir well. Add the flour and salt and stir just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
  7. Pour filling into chilled crust and spread evenly. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is golden and the center is set. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Check out Jennifer at Bake or Break for more awesome recipes

*This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a small payment if you make a purchase through this link. Thank you for supporting my coffee habit.

 

 

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