Saturday, September 25, 2010

Farmer's Market

Today Brent and I ventured to the Mount Pleasant Farmer's Market.

Actually, Mount Pleasant has two Farmer's Markets... a big one on Thursday mornings and a smaller one on Saturday mornings, but since he works almost every Thursday morning we never get a chance to go to that one. Well, we woke up today and decided to go to the Saturday one.

I'm really glad we did! :)

Our goodies included:
-fresh honey crisp apples
-4 ears of corn
-3 sweet potatoes
-a zucchini
-a cucumber
-lots of green beans
-an oatmeal cherry cookie :)

As soon as we got home, Brent got ready for work and left. I started thinking of fun ways to use our produce.

First idea: homemade peach tea.
I cut up three of the peaches while brewing regular black tea. Put the peach slices in the jug and filled it with the tea. Extremely simple. Extremely delicious! The peaches gave the tea the perfect sweetness and flavor. Even Brent, who hates sweet tea, loved it! :)

Second idea: green bean mac&cheese.
I have been craving some Velveeta shells and cheese all day, and we just happened to have a box in the pantry. So, I put the noodles in bowling water and chopped up several of our fresh green beans (my attempt at making it healthy) and added them in. The end result was WAY better than I actually expected. The beans stayed crunchy and added the perfect touch to the rich cheese and soft shells. I will definitely be trying this again. :)

Business Venture
I was quite inspired a few weeks ago when it was suggested to me that I try and sell my baked goods at the farmers market. Everytime I go there are at least two or three booths set up with people selling their bread, cookies, cupcakes, etc. AND since I have been so obsessed with baking lately I thought it would be a great idea. Unfortunately, my pessimistic side got the better of me and I decided I would probably never be able to do it. It would probably be super expensive to reserve a spot, I would probably need some sort of business license, or something that would be unattainable for me.

Well, when I saw the baked goods stand today I wondered over and checked out their goods and asked about what they had to do to set up there. She said I just had to go speak with the Parks & Rec department, and that for a Thursday spot it was $20 and a Saturday spot was only $10, obviously this is per week that I set up there. OR I could pay for the whole season in advance and get a discounted price. WHAT? That is seriously ALL I have to do? I am definitely considering doing this next summer... what a great way to make money!

Bake at home. Take Beannette to the park twice a week to sell my baked goods. Make money.

Yes, please.

Brent is all about me getting on this band wagon, and it is definitely under consideration at the moment. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Second try at making homemade bread.

Second success! :)

I follow a TON of food/healthy living blogs and recently they have all been posting about PUMPKIN. And it is obviously very fitting with the fall weather we have been experiencing and even the leaves are beginning to change. This inspired me to try some new recipes... involving pumpkin!

I'm not familiar with pumpkin, I have never baked with it before and to be completely honest I didn't used to be a giant fan of pumpkin pie, I think that might be changing this year... so I was a bit skeptical.

I went out and bought some canned pumpkin - finally! There was apparently a huge shortage which caused a bit of delay and found a fun magazine with lots of fall themed recipes.

I picked this recipe because I thought it was an interesting way to integrate pumpkin and chocolate! It was instantly a success. Extremely moist (I hate that word...), with the perfect sweetness. Brent seriously LOVES it, and so do all of his co-workers. :)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

1/2 C butter, softened
1 C granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 C canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 C miniature chocolate chips
1/4 C chopped walnuts (optional - I did not use these)

1/2 C powdered sugar
3 tsp milk

1. Heat oven to 350*. Grease bottom only of 9x5 inch loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, mix: butter, granulated sugar, eggs, and pumpkin with wire whisk. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Spread in pan.
3. Bake 55-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
4. In small bowl, stir powdered sugar and milk until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over loaf. Let glaze set up before slicing, about 30 minutes.

Baking notes: My loaf pan was only 8.5x4.75, so it was a bit thicker and took around 80 minutes to fully cook.