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As a new parent, patience has become a virtue that commands my full attention. Gone are the days of worrying only about myself, sleeping in, or making an outing without sippy cups and toys. Learning to be patient with my toddler and myself has been a new undertaking.

Parents today often feel it’s their responsibility to live up to a certain standard or set of rules. Your child should sleep at this time, wean off the bottle now, learn new things at certain times. When in the end, each child learns at their own speed. I struggled with learning to be patient with this mentality. I saw other’s children meeting milestones, while we were still climbing an up and down battle with certain things. Learning to be patient in these instances offered a great peace of mind for me. 

So how do I find patience? Look for the bigger picture. Being a parent is hard, but it’s a journey that you have to discover for yourself and it is not a straight path. That’s what makes parenting so interesting, each day is a new adventure. Sometimes it’s an adventure that makes you want to scream at the top of your lungs, but hence still an adventure.

Incorporating self care into my regime helped to strengthen my patience. For me, cooking has been a nice escape that helps ground me. Baking these bagels also incorporated new techniques in patience building. These bagels are the perfect combination of comfort and autumn all baked into one. Baking any type of bread has always been a struggle for me, because I am often too impatient to wait for my bread to rise! But with these bagels it was worth the wait. 

At the end of the day, being a parent is an epic journey that I wouldn’t trade for anything. If anything it has made me stronger and evoked a new mindset on how I see the world. My patience level has definitely gone up. So the next time you need to wait in that long line at the grocery store with your screaming child, just think about how much patience you are gaining in the long run. 

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Pumpkin Spice Bagels

INGREDIENTS
2 t. active dry yeast
2 T. sugar
1 1/4 c. water {you may need 1/4 c. more}
3 1/2 c. bread flour {extra flour for kneading}
1 1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. cloves
cinnamon-sugar {optional}

GUIDANCE
In 1/2 c. warm water (70-80 degrees) pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Then stir the mixture until all sugar and yeast is dissolved into water. Mix the flour, salt, and spices. Make a well in the middle and pour in the sugar/yeast mixture. Pour in 1/3 c. water and pumpkin puree. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. You are looking for a moist, firm dough. On a floured surface, knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Place dough into a bowl that has been brushed with oil. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour. Punch down dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. 

Dive the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and roll on your countertop to smooth the edges. Coat a finger in flour and press your finger into the center to make the bagel hole. Use a circular motion to create a larger hole. Place on an oiled baking sheet and let rest for 10 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. 

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place bagel dough into the boiling water for 2 minutes on each side. After done boiling, sprinkle each bagel with cinnamon and sugar. Bake bagels for 20 minutes, until golden brown. 

Makes 8 bagels

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Beauty is all around us. Sometimes I think that I often see more beauty in the fall because it is my favorite season. The temperatures are epic, the leaves are gorgeous, and I can wear boots and sweaters all day, every day. Unfortunately, fall in North Dakota gets cut short sometimes. I could literally live in the autumnal season year round, is there a place like that that exists?

I think this concept is fitting to focus on today because it is COLD here in North Dakota today. Winter has definitely arrived on our doorstep (unannounced as usual) as I saw snowflakes fall to the ground this morning.

Beauty came to mind with this recipe because I pondered for many days about what to make with these beautiful Japanese eggplants that my mother in-law grew in her garden and gifted to me. The punch of purple was so vibrant, especially paired with my favorite Jadeite dishes. I wanted to make something that was equally as beautiful on the plate.

The only thing that I have ever heard of involving eggplant was eggplant parmesan. This eggplant recipe incorporates some elements of Italian cuisine, but harnesses the simple beauty of the eggplant. The recipe reminds me of fried green tomatoes, which is ironic because Japanese eggplant resides in the same family of the tomato because it is in that group of produce that is prepared as a vegetable, but actually is a fruit.

In the end, these crispy slices of eggplant turned out really beautiful. The grape seed oil added a unique flavor and the panko added just the right amount of crunch. Marinara and basil finish off the dish to conceptualize the true picture of beauty.

It is said that food is the only beautiful thing that truly nourishes. I would have to disagree with this quote because I see so much more beauty in the world that can truly satisfy the soul in different ways. Learning to be more mindful in your every day endeavors can help uncover beauty in places you would never expect. What beauty did you see today?

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Fried Japanese Eggplant 

INGREDIENTS
4 Japanese Eggplant
½ c. grape seed oil
2 eggs
1/4 c. flour
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
Salt & Pepper to taste
Marinara
Parmesan cheese 
Basil to garnish

GUIDANCE
Slice the eggplant into 1/8 inch slices. Prepare plates for batter by beating eggs on one plate, flour on one plate, and panko on the last plate. Heat grape seed oil over medium heat. Test heat by dropping batter into oil, when it bubbles to the top, oil is ready. Fry eggplant medallions for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Transfer eggplant medallions to a plate with paper towels to drain excess oil. Top each eggplant slice with marinara and garnish with basil.

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