• Cooking

    Blueberry Cheesecake Bites with Frozen Blueberries

    Things I wish I had less of in my life: – bad hair days. – automatic flush toilets. – commercials on Pandora for engagement rings. Things I wish I had more of: – double-down snow days. – episodes of Smash – reasons to make cheesecake. I mean, can you really ever have too many reasons for cheesecake? New jobs, baby showers, first dates, bad hair days. All good reasons for cheesecake. Being stuck in the house for 2 days because of a “polar vortex.” Also a good reason for cheesecake. Yesterday I decided to have a serious “screw winter weather” moment and made a pan of blueberry cheesecake bars with…

  • Cooking

    Fall Harvest Bread

    I’ve told everyone for months that September 2013 was going to be the most stressful month on record at the Sippl household. More than our wedding. More than buying our house. More than waiting for the last Harry Potter movie on DVD. Today is the last day of September and all I can say is…we survived! Yesterday I finally started to feel the refrigerator-sized pressure lift. What a relief it is to know from here on out things are slowing down for us. We’re heading into October with this behind us: Greg’s hardest class in his MBA program completed Guests 3 out of the 5 weekends in the month Trips…

  • Cooking

    Cranberry Walnut Muffins

    I don’t care what you believe, snow days are a gift of divine intervention. It’s been 2 years since the cosmic weather + traffic + school calendar stars aligned to give me a day off of work for weather. This morning the alarm went off to “the heaviest snow bands are moving over downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul right now.” I sat straight up and fumbled around in the dark to find my phone. Could it be? Could today be the day? I dialed up WCCO and started scrolling down the list. Anoka Hennepin cancelled. Eden Prairie cancelled. Both are big metro districts. That’s a good sign. Slowly, slowly paging down…

  • Cooking,  Local Products

    Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

    Sometimes you come across a recipe and it completely changes your outlook for the week. Maybe even the year. I know we’re only a week in, but cranberry cheesecake has been the highlight of my 2012 in the kitchen. Last week there were exactly 4 quart-sized freezer bags of cranberries left in our freezer and exactly 4 months left until spring fruits begin to ripen. Then I met cranberry cheesecake. I’m in BIG trouble. The cream cheese comes from a dairy in Iowa via Mississippi Market. The original recipe from the Taste of Home cookbook called for sweetened condensed milk–which let’s face it–is in no way local. Instead, I substituted…

  • Cooking

    Rhubarb Cobbler

    Had an unexpected day off today and I took full advantage. Sometimes cancellations and schedule changes can really bend me out of shape, but sometimes they are a welcomed surprise and a chance for extra time in my apron. I sent the kitchen partner off to work, turned the John Denver channel on Pandora and made a Rhubarb Cobbler recipe from a recent post on The Pioneer Woman. All by 8:00. I wont bother to re-write the recipe since my only substitution was 1 C. of whole wheat bread flour for 1 C. of the all-purpose. Here’s the link: Rhubarb Cobbler The tangy pink rhubarb with crunchy top served warm…

  • Cooking

    Classic Rhubarb Cake

    In my kitchen rhubarb and asparagus epitomize springtime. They are the first rewards for waiting patiently all winter for fresh vegetables. Rhubarb is what I consider a produce outcast–it doesn’t fit in anywhere. Despite it’s ruby-red color and enticing crunch when you cut it, eating it raw is well-beyond most of our taste buds. Heavy doses of sugar are needed to cut the mouth-puckering sourness of raw rhubarb. And although it is baked into muffins, pies, and cakes like fruit, rhubarb belongs somewhere in the vegetable family. Tack on that the leaves of rhubarb are poisonous and you have one sorry case of the misfits. With all of this up…

  • Homemade Cream Puffs
    Cooking

    …And then there were cream puffs

    Today was a miserable day. One where I came home grumpy, overwhelmed and wishing for a re-do. Angry at a disorder I can’t cure, disappointed and frustrated in myself, and feeling generally defeated. For these days, I’m not a runner and I’m not into retail therapy. My kitchen fixes everything. I donned my pajama pants, an old t-shirt and my apron. Grabbed a slice of cheese and flipped through a cookbook looking for the most complicated recipe I could find. One that I’ve never made before but didn’t need to face the world again for ingredients.  Words like boil, beat, and stir vigorously don’t hurt either. It may have been…

  • Cooking,  Local Products

    Find It Local Friday: Flour

    Beginning this Friday, I’m going to add a weekly spot on a product that I commonly get asked about sourcing locally. Although most of what we eat comes from the farmers market, I have found some locally grown pantry items that are worth substituting in your cart. Find that your grocery store or co-op doesn’t carry them? My number one suggestion: ask. I’ve had great responses to carry products from store managers who understand that putting local products on the shelves can be very profitable. More often than not they are simply unaware a local option exists. This week’s Find it Local handles a question I’ve been asked about a…

  • Strawberry Jam Mini-Tarts
    Cooking,  Eating

    Strawberry Jam Mini-Tarts

    Still eating down the freezer supply.  Today’s frozen treasure of choice: Strawberry Freezer Jam.  Each June we make between 50 and 60 pint jars of freezer jam and somehow manage to eat it in something everyday for the rest of the year. Mixed in yogurt, spread on a fresh dinner roll, or in this case, the occasional cookie. Thanks to Evil Shenanigans where this recipe is adapted from. Truthfully, you could use any preserves in these flawless little tarts.  I added a bit of whole wheat flour to the crust and substituted local maple syrup for the vanilla.  If there’s whole wheat flour it makes them slightly better for you, right?…