Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jelly Breakfast Tarts

After eating one of these golden flaky treats you will never again allow a store-bought, cardboard flavored, sugar-coated pop tart, pass your lips again.

It’s like eating pie for breakfast, but better.


  • 3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 Tablespoons cold shortening cut into small pieces
  • 2 sticks cold butter cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup ice water
  • ½ cup of jelly….whatever kind you like. (I also used Nutella for the chocolate lover in my house.)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Powdered sugar, milk, and drop of vanilla (for simple icing)
  • Sprinkles (opt.)
Step one: In a bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. (I used my mixer, but you can also use a food processor or just do it by hand.) Add shortening and about one-quarter of the butter, mixing until it is blended with the flour. Add the remaining butter and mix until you have a course meal with pea sized bits of butter. (This is what makes your pastry flaky.)

Add 1/2 cup ice water and mix until dough just comes together. Turn the dough onto plastic wrap, form into a disc, and wrap tightly. Chill for at least one hour. If you really want to be sneaky, use refrigerated pie crust and skip making your own crust altogether. (This is good crust though….trust me.)

Step two: On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to 1/8 of an inch thick. (thin) Cut out circles or rectangles using a pastry press or pairing knife.

I used a Pampered Chef Cut-N-Seal but these Toaster Pastry Presses from Williams Sonoma are soooo going on my Christmas list. You can also use a paring knife. Set your cut-outs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.

Step Three: Spread half of the dough shapes with a heaping tablespoon jelly or jam leaving a ½ inch around for the border. (My strawberry jelly was sort of runny....and yes, that is the Nutella.)

Brush the egg onto the edges and cover with the remaining dough cutouts. Crimp the edges with your pastry press or use a fork.

Step four: Bake the tarts until flaky and golden, 20 to 25 minutes, brushing with the milk after 10 minutes. Cool for 1O minutes.

Step five: Mix up a quick batch of simple icing by mixing some 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 or 3 tablespoons milk, and a drop of pure vanilla. Mix to desired consistency and drizzle tart with icing. Decorate with sprinkles or colored sugars to dress them up a bit.

Serve with a big glass of milk.

Recipe adapted from the Food Network Magazine, September 2011

Keeping It Simple
Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Spicy Honey Grilled Chicken

What can I say?  It’s summer and my wonderful husband has made a zen oasis out of our backyard.   Daily, I am being called out to our back porch to relax, have a beer, and grill.
Okay, that’s not really our backyard.  It’s a picture I took in Kyoto, Japan of the Shogun's backyard.  But our backyard is practically as nice…..after a beer or two….and I love it. 
I have also fallen in love with boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (the ones in the giant plastic bag in the freezer section).  I’ve always been a little snobby about my chicken.  I usually only buy breasts, and only use the fresh ones.  But, when our grocery stopped getting shipments of fresh chicken for awhile, I was forced to buy the bulk frozen chicken. 
The recipe mentions that you can use breasts but PROMISES that it will be better with the thighs.  I caved and bought some dumb thighs. To my surprise, the thighs were much juicier and tender than the breasts.   
Yay for thighs!  You beat out breasts any day!
Spicy Honey Grilled Chicken
(Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites….those girls rock!!!)

·        2 tsp garlic powder
·        2 tsp chili powder
·        ½ tsp onion powder
·        ½ tsp coriander
·        1 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
·        1 tsp cumin*
·        8 boneless/skinless chicken thighs
·        2 tsps oil (I used olive)
·        ½ cup honey
·        1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
Put all the spices in small bowl and mix together.  Next, pat the thighs dry and plop them into a big bowl.  Slather them with the oil.  Yes, I said, “oil your thighs”.  (Imagine if I would have told you to oil your breasts!)  Now toss the spices into the chicken thighs until they are coated well.  It helps if you use your hand for this.
Put the thighs on the grill for about 3-5 minutes on each side.  Warm the honey a little bit in the microwave and add the vinegar.  
Before taking the thighs off the grill, marinate each side and grill for about 1 minute longer.  Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the marinade and drizzle it over the chicken after you have taken it off the grill.
Mmmmmmmmmm.   It is some good grilling.  Guaranteed to change even a breast man into a thigh man..wink wink.
*Note:  This recipe is spicy, but not too spicy, but maybe too spicy for the kiddos. (Mine thought so.)  If you need to take away some spice but keep most of the flavor, simply eliminate the cumin.

I am sharing this recipe with:
This Chick Cooks

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Skewers

There are very few meals in my family that I can make that ALL FIVE people will eat.
Maybe we are weird.

I think we get it from my mom’s side of the family.

Anyway, last night I made a meal that EVERYONE loved.  Amber, who says she is a vegetarian, ate it up.  Abbey gave up her teriyaki sauce boycott for it.  Allie, decided to forgo Chip Chick for her birthday dinner, and have this instead.  Brian, was so satiated by it, he took an hour long nap after we had dinner.

Oh wait, he always does that. But still........these are AMAZING!!!! (Like most things  that are wrapped in bacon.)

Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
(Recipe adapted from


·        1 lb boneless/skinless chicken (I used breasts)
·        1 package bacon (not the thick kind)
·        1 large can pineapple chunks
·        Teriyaki sauce/glaze
·        Kebab skewers or toothpicks
1 - The easiest way to put these together is to set up a little Kebab making station.  On one plate cut the bacon into thirds.  On another plate, put the chicken cubed up into bit-sized pieces. Finally, drain the pineapple and put it into a bowl.
2 – Wrap one third slice of bacon around a chunk of chicken and secure the bacon with a skewer.  Next, add a slice of pineapple.  If you are using toothpicks, you are done.  If you have kebab skewers, repeat until the skewer is full of bacon wrapped chicken and pineapple goodness.  Lay each skewer on a rimmed cookie sheet or baking dish.
3 – After all the chicken chunks have been wrapped like little babies in bacon and skewered, brush with teriyaki sauce.  Turn over, and repeat.  Go ahead and get them extra goopy with sauce.
4 – Place the pan in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.  (I only did two hours because I was too excited to get them on the grill.  Longer, can only make them better I’m sure!)
5 – Grill each skewer on low heat for about 10 minutes on each side.  (Check them after 7 minutes, just to make sure they aren’t burning.)
Baste with extra teriyaki sauce each time you turn them, plus one final baste right before you take them off the grill.  (I actually turned them over for about 2 minutes just to cook on that final baste.)
At about this time your neighbors will be peeking over the fence and smelling the deliciousness of your grilling/basting magic. 
You better double the recipe, because they are going to want some.
I promise…..there won’t be any leftovers.

Friday, August 5, 2011

1000 Ummmm Er....500 Miles In 2011

I finally have started running again.   I stopped for awhile. I stopped for four months.
Now I will officially be on the wrong side of the depressing statistic, “that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions will be completed.”  Boo.
I am not really surprised at myself.  I go through various phases of being in shape ….and not so in shape.  It’s no secret that I am hopelessly addicted to unfinished projects.  I even blogged about it once.
Back in June, I decided enough was enough, and I went out for a short 2 miles.  My fat cells screamed the whole time, but I did it…….and that “runner’s high” gave me the tiniest pat on the back when I was finished.
Gradually, I worked up to three miles, then four, until last week I finally did a 6 miler.  It really doesn’t sound like much, but considering the I-never-want-to-run-again-for-the-rest-of-my-life mindset I had adopted in February, it is pretty good progress.
In an attempt not to burnout again, I am setting some new goals for myself.  First off, I am slowing it down a bit. 
Instead of getting mad at myself when I don’t go faster and longer, I am simply putting one foot in front of the other until I get to the finish.
Secondly, I am resting more.
(This says, “Stop for traffic.”, in Japanese)
At the beginning of the year I took on too much too fast.  My knees hurt, my shins hurt, and my hip was begging me to stop.  I have finally figured out that listening to my body isn’t following the voice in my head that says, “Ummmm, it’s sort of hot outside this morning, do you really want to go on a run?”  (That’s laziness talking.)  It is more like being able to FEEL your body telling you it has to heal and letting it take the time to do the healing.
Finally, my third goal is to set new goals…..and I am aiming high.
My new goal is 500 miles in 2011.  I love this quote….. “Who aims at excellence will be above mediocrity; who aims at mediocrity will be far short of it.”  In other words, I would rather make a goal and not quite reach it than, never make a goal and not accomplish anything.
What goal are you going to set today?

*The pictures in this post were taken on my usual running route on our Air Force base in Japan.  Can you tell I love my new smart phone and photo editing apps?