Monday, December 28, 2015

Omelet Rollups

This is a great alternative to individual omelets when you have a group or family to feed.  Just throw it all into a casserole dish and bake it in the oven.  This makes a limited number of eggs go a long way when it comes to feeding multiple people, and is a fun mix up from the regular breakfast.  Toppings can be swapped out for whatever you like or have on hand, so feel free to go crazy here.  If you're like us, this works great for dinner just as much as breakfast.  It goes perfectly served with a side of fresh fruit and muffins.
Most often I just leave this as an omelet casserole, but by all means, if your going for impressions, roll it up!

Omelet Rollups

1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. flour
6 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. shredded cheese of choice
Toppings of choice:
bacon, ham, sausage
green onions
bell peppers
sour cream, salsa

Whisk together milk and flour.
Add eggs, salt and pepper and beat until well combined.
Pour into greased 9x13" casserole dish.
Bake at 450 degrees for 6-7 minutes, or until there are no more runny spots.

Top with cheese and toppings.
Return to oven for 1 minute to allow cheese to melt.
Serve if using as a casserole omelet.

For Rollups:
Use a rubber spatula to loosen up the sides.
Roll from the long end for short rolls, or the short end for long rolls.
Once rolled slice into individual servings.
Top with salsa and sour cream if desired.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sausage and Egg Stuffing Breakfast Cups

Use those extra stuffing boxes from Thanksgiving to make these quick and tasty hot breakfast cups!  If you're looking for meatless, go ahead and omit the sausage (or carnivores can easily switch it out for bacon or ham).
These work great baked in muffin cups and are perfect to grab and go, but if you'd like a little bigger portion size try a large ramekin, as pictured.  You may need to increase the cooking time based on the depth of your ramekins, so keep that in mind.

Sausage and Egg Stuffing Breakfast Cups
Recipe from The Baker Upstairs

6 eggs
2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. grated cheese of choice
8 oz. sausage, cooked and crumbled (or meat of choice, or omit completely)
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 6oz. box dry stuffing mix (Stove Top)

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and salt until well blended.
Stir in the cheese, sausage, pepper and stuffing mix until incorporated.
Scoop into greased muffin tins (18) or ramekins, filling nearly full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the middle is set and doesn't jiggle when you shake it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

There is nothing worse than a hard cookie.  Soft is a must at our house, and these ones fit the bill.
Just remember the other key element; do not over bake!
Also, these can be made by hand, without a mixer or beaters, another added bonus.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 c. brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk (or 1 1/2 powdered eggs)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. chocolate chips or chunks

Combine flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugars, until no lumps remain.
Whisk the egg and egg yolk into butter mixture, and then add the vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula.
The dough should be very soft, but thick.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Cover dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days (this is mandatory).

Once chilled, remove from fridge and allow to soften for 10 minutes.
Using 3 Tbsp. of dough per cookie, roll into balls, making them as tall as possible, rather than wide or round.
Place on greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 325 degrees for 11-12 minutes.
They should look soft and under-baked, but will continue to cook while on the sheet.
Leave cookies on sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Glace Icing

This glace icing is a fun alternative to your everyday sugar cookie topping, or if you're just looking for something different.  A little more work in my opinion, but I love the smooth finish it gives, and it is the best way to stack and store these for taking them to a party or gift giving.

Glace Icing
Recipe from Our Best Bites

1 lb. powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 c.)
1/3 c. milk
1/3 c. honey
1 tsp. almond extract (or flavor of choice)

Whisk sugar and milk until completely smooth and lump free.
Stir in honey and extract.
Separate into bowls to add coloring, optional.

Cookies can be "flooded" by dumping icing in the middle and spreading it around to the edges.
Thicken the icing by adding additional powdered sugar, and pipe with a frosting bag.
Let icing harden completely (preferably overnight), before stacking.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pickled Beets

Pickled beets are a great way to preserve the garden all year long!  They make a great addition to relish trays and salads, or as a side dish to sandwiches.  I prefer making this with honey rather than sugar, but I will include measurements for both so you have options.  The amount of sweetener is based upon taste, I prefer using less, but feel free to up the amount to your liking.
These particular beets were chioggia and albino, which gave them a pretty pink color, but this recipe will work for any type of beet.
Pickled Beets
Recipes modified from Sandy Bishop and The Prairie Homestead

10 lbs. beets
1 large cinnamon stick
12 whole cloves
6 c. apple cider vinegar
3 c. water or beet juice
1 c. honey (or swap for 1 - 4 1/2 c. sugar, depending on taste)

Cut tops off of the beats, leaving about 1" of stem attached.
Wash thoroughly and place beets in a large pot.
Cover beets with water and boil until tender, but not soft, about 30 - 1 hour depending on size.

When cooked, rinse beets in cold water; skins should slip off easily.
Remove root and top of beet stem.
Chop beets into bite size chucks (or diced!)

Combine apple cider vinegar and water into a pot.
Place the cinnamon stick and cloves in a cheesecloth bag and add to the pot.
Boil mixure for 3-5 minutes.
Stir in honey or sugar, and stir to dissolve.  
Taste and adjust sweetener to your liking.
Remove cheesecloth bag.

Pack beets into hot sterilized pint or quart jars, accounting for 1/2" headspace.
Pour hot vinegar mixture over beets until just covered.
Remove air bubbles by running a knife along 4 sides of the bottle.
Wipe rims clean, and top with lids and bands.

Process in a hot water bath canner for 30 minutes, be sure to adjust for altitude, (40 minutes Utah time).

Monday, October 12, 2015

{Zupa's} Chicken Enchilada Chili

Zupas Chicken Enchilada Chili.  You need this recipe in your life.  This was definitely not my first (or second, or third...) attempt at recreating this, so I can tell you right now, the secret is all in the sauce.  Save yourself the heartache of 'not as good as Zupas' soup and make the enchilada sauce from scratch.  It makes all the difference.  It makes the soup.
I use this enchilada sauce recipe from Our Best Bites, only subbing red bell peppers instead of green ones.  I also like to make a big batch of it ahead of time because it freezes beautifully, which means I can have this soup ready and on the table in a matter of minutes.

Zupas Chicken Enchilada Chili
Recipe modified from Burnt Apple

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 c. small diced cooked chicken
2 1/2 c. enchilada sauce
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
1 4oz. can diced green chiles
1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1 15oz. can evaporated milk
2 c. chicken broth

In a large pan, heat olive oil and add onions, cooking until translucent.
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the chicken, enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, green chiles, beans, chili powder, and cumin.
Allow mixture to warm, stirring occasionally, while you make the sauce.
In a separate pan, melt the butter.
Add in flour, and whisk to make a roux.
Gradually add evaporated milk, whisking and cooking until sauce is thickened.
Slowly add milk mixture and grated cheddar cheese into the soup, stirring until melted.
Add up to 2 c. chicken broth to thin soup to desired consistency.
Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Apple Butter

We like ours best swirled into oatmeal, but you could spread this over toast, slather it on a pork chop, eat it straight from the jar, etc.
This recipe is basically making applesauce, and then taking it a step further; thickening it and adding some spices.  I make both simultaneously.  I like to make the apple butter in my 7 quart crock pot; it makes my house smell like fall and doesn't require a lot of work from me.  You can do the same thing over the stove top in a shorter amount of time if you are in a rush.  You basically just need to simmer it down to your desired consistency.
This recipe includes instructions for canning, but by all means skip this step if this frightens you.  You can store this in the fridge for a couple of weeks, and freeze the extras.

Apple Butter
Recipe from Everyday Food Storage

28 c. sweetened applesauce (enough to fill a 7 quart crock pot)
Pour applesauce into slow cooker.
Use a cooling rack in-between the crockpot and the lid, to make evaporation of liquid possible.
Cook on low, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency is reached (8-24 hours).
**I like mine to reduce by half, which takes me the full 24 hours.  You can cook it on high for a shorter period of time, but if you are leaving this out overnight, use the low setting.

When desired consistency is reached, add the following ingredients
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice

At this point the apple butter is done.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and/or freeze.  If canning:
Spoon apple butter into sterilized pint jars.
Wipe rims and add lids and bands.
Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, be sure to adjust for altitude, (20 minutes Utah time).

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tomato Basil Sauce with Roasted Garlic {Bottled}

Tomatoes are abundant here right now, and there is no better way to preserve the garden goodness all through the winter months than by making this sauce.
Toss it over noodles.
Spread it over pizza crust.
Add it to some tomato soup (or any recipe calling for tomato) for a touch of homemade flair.
It is thick and hearty and garlicy and delicious.
I often make this in a HUGE batch (I'll at least double the recipe if I have the tomatoes); I feel it makes my time more worth while.  You can easily half (or more) the recipe, but stick to measurements pretty closely here, as straying can alter the acid levels which is no bueno for canning.
If you aren't into the whole canning scene, this sauce also freezes beautifully.

Tomato Basil Sauce with Roasted Garlic
Recipe modified from Our Best Bites

24 lbs. ripe tomatoes
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 c. lightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tsbp. thyme
1 Tsbp. parsley
1/3 c. pureed roasted garlic (about 4 heads)
2/3 c. lemon juice (for canning only)

Blanch tomatoes and remove all skins and stems.
Rough chop tomatoes and add to large stainless steel pot.
Add brown sugar, salt, vinegar and pepper and stir to incorporate.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a steady simmer, but still bubbling all over.
Continue simmering, uncovered, until mixture is reduced to desired consistency (at least 2 hours).
Stir occasionally while sauce is simmering.
If you like your sauce with some chunks, leave as is.  If you like it smooth, you can pulse with an immersion blender.
Once desired consistency is met, stir in basil, oregano, thyme, parsley and garlic.
Adjust seasoning to taste.

If canning:
Add 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice into each hot, sterilized pint jar (12), or 2 Tbsp. for quart jars (6).
Ladle sauce into jars, accounting for headspace.
Remove air bubbles by running a knife along the outside of the jar, 4-5 times around.
Wipe rims and top with hot lids.
Screw on bands.
Process in a hot water bath canner for 35 minutes, adjusting for altitude if necessary (45 minutes Utah time).
Makes 12 pints or 6 quarts.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Oven Baked Corn on the Cob

Another go to recipe for wonderfully easy corn on the cob.  Very similar to using the microwave, this corn comes out perfectly cooked, juicy and, if handled properly, completely silk free.  Just throw the entire thing in the oven, husk and all!  Be sure to check out the link above to view how to remove the husk once cooked.

Oven Baked Corn on the Cob
Bake unhusked corn in oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
When done, cut through the corn completely at the base end (be sure to cut through corn, not just the stem).
Once cut, grab the husk and silk at the top, and gently pull up to remove it.
All of the silk will come off with the husk, and you will be left with perfectly cooked and ready to eat corn!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Caramel Corn

Some of my most beloved popcorn recipes start with a base of caramel corn.  But then it is baked to a crunchy perfection.  This recipe is that irresistibly sticky, chewy treat best eaten right after it is made.  Preferably still warm.

Caramel Corn
12 c. popped popcorn (about 1/2 c. kernels)
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Pop corn and sift through to remove unpinned kernels.
Chop butter into pieces and add to brown sugar in a microwave safe bowl.
Pour honey over butter and brown sugar.
Microwave for 30 seconds and stir.
Microwave for an additional 2 minutes, and stir.
Microwave 2 minutes more - mixture should be bubbling.
Add vanilla and baking soda and stir to combine (mixture will foam and rise).
Pour over popcorn and stir immediately to coat evenly.
Store in an airtight container.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Jalapeno Jelly

I love canning.  Something about taking fresh produce and storing it away for another day with the twist of a lid is all over satisfying for me.
As I've advanced in the kitchen, I've started trying out new canning recipes.
Enter Jalapeno Jelly.
You could easily spread this on savory sandwiches or over freshly grilled chicken.
My personal favorite: start with a brick of cream cheese and top with half a pint of this stuff for the best cracker dipping appetizer of all time.

A few notes:
1: I leave the seeds in half of my jalapenos.  If you like more heat, leave more seeds in.  I am generally not a huge fan of ultra spicy, so I would recommend starting with half seeds in, and go from there.  You can always taste and add more as you go.
2: The original recipe called for 6 cups of sugar.  I'm happy with 4 1/2.  Start with that and increase until you reach desired sweetness.
Jalapeno Jelly
Recipe from Mels Kitchen Cafe

1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
10 jalapenos
1 1/2 c. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 - 6 c. granulated sugar, to taste
1 3oz. pouch liquid fruit pectin (certo)

Add bell peppers and jalapenos to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Add peppers to a large pot (account for rising foam).
Stir in the vinegar, salt and sugar, and bring to a boil.
Boil for 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add liquid pectin and boil for 1 minute.
Ladle jelly into warm, sterilized jars, pint or half pint jars, leaving headspace.
Wipe rims with a rag and screw on lids with bands.
Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (20 minutes in Utah, accounting for elevation).
Jelly needs at least 2 days to fully set up.
Makes about 9 cups.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

We used to have this thing for iced oatmeal cookies.
And by that I mean, the hubs and I would devour a package or so every week.
The perfect combination of sweet and crunchy, this homemade version does not disappoint.
We like things a little more mellow at our house, so I cut down the sugar as well as the amount of icing.  Feel free to check out the original recipe if you have a larger sweet tooth.
Iced Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe modified from Bake-a-Holic

1 c. shortening
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 c. regular rolled oats

Combine shortening, sugars and eggs, mixing until fluffy.
Add vanilla.
Combine flour, soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl, and gradually add to creamed mixture.
Mix in oatmeal.
Let mixture stand for 5 minutes, and then mix again.

Accounting for the cookies spread, arrange 6 at a time on lined baking sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes - edges will be golden, but the middle will look undercooked.
Cool on sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks.
Makes 2-3 dozen.

1 egg white
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 c. powdered sugar

Beat well.
Hold cookies by outside edges and dip upside down in icing.
Let harden on wire racks.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bottled Jalapeno Rings

The first time I bottled jalapenos I made the mistake of assuming they had to be canned in a pressure canner.  They came out of the canner looking beautiful and ready to add to fresh salsa and mexican dishes all winter long.  But they ended up being horribly mushy and I ended up throwing the entire batch down the drain.
After a little more research, I discovered that the jalapeno rings you get in the grocery store are in fact, pickled.  And so I was back in the kitchen to test this new recipe for pickled bottled jalapeno rings.
They are the perfect replacement for store bought jarred rings, and a wonderful way of extending the garden harvest if you grow your own jalapenos.  I was at first worried that the taste would be too 'vinegar', but the heat of the jalapenos overpowers all else and these are a welcome addition to my winter storage.
You can shake out the excess seeds if you prefer, but I find it much easier to just throw them all in.
Bottled Jalapeno Rings
Recipe from The Organic Prepper

5 lb jalapeno peppers
4 Tbsp. canning salt
4 c. white vinegar
1 c. water

Bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil.
Slice washed jalapenos into rings, discarding stems.
Tightly pack jalapeno rings into warm, sterilized pint jars.
Pour boiling vinegar liquid over the jalapenos, allowing 1 inch for headspace.
Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (be sure to adjust for altitude).
(20 minutes for Utah).

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bagged Boiled Omelets (Backpackers Breakfast)

The idea of boiled omelets in a bag has been around for a while.  This recipe takes it a step further and uses powdered eggs and freeze dried meats and vegetables to make the entire meal shelf stable (no refrigeration required) - making it the perfect go to for backpacking.  Everything is contained inside of the bag as well, making clean up basically non-existent.  No pans, plates, or even utensils are necessary for this dish, making it the perfect go to for backpackers everywhere!

And if you don't want to go the dry food route, or you're just hitting the hills for a quick over nighter, this same idea can certainly be made using fresh eggs and vegetables.  Just toss it all together in a bag and keep it refrigerated or in a cooler until ready to cook.

The finished product can be eaten directly from the bag, or you can dress it up like I did with a tortilla, some cheese, and salsa (try ketchup packets if you're backpacking).  Regardless, this is a fun and easy way to enjoy breakfast in the great outdoors.

There are several brands of powdered eggs available on the market.  Follow the instructions on the label for how many eggs you want, and to determine how much water is needed to reconstitute.  The remaining ingredients can be switched around as well, but this may alter the amount of additional water you add.  When in doubt, add more water than not enough.  After boiling, the extra water will easily drain from the bag once the omelet has cooked.

Bagged Omelets
(Backpackers Breakfast)
Menu Managed Original

whole egg powder (enough for 2-3 eggs, per package directions)
1 Tbsp. freeze dried green onions
1 Tbsp. freeze dried green chilies
2 Tbsp. freeze dried bell peppers
1/4 c. freeze dried sausage crumbles
salt and pepper to taste
water to reconstitute eggs (per package directions), plus 2.5 Tbsp.

Add dry ingredients to FREEZER quart ziplock bag.
When ready to cook, bring a pot of water to a boil.
Add 2.5 Tbsp., plus water for egg reconstitution to the bag and seal.
Squish around in your fingers to reconstitute the ingredients.

Once water is boiling, drop bag into boiling water and let cook for 4 minutes.
Eat directly out of thh bag, or put in a wrap and serve with salsa, cheese, etc.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Quinoa Patties

These patties....
Photo courtesy of Eating Well Living Thin
They are amazing.  The recipe source calls them a quinoa burger.  (Please).  A hamburger is a burger.   If you are a vegetarian go ahead and call it that.  For all you meat eaters, lets just call it a patty.
A delicious patty filled with unusual ingredients that produces almost a tater tot result.
You can serve yours with a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream as the picture shows.
You can eat them plain, as my 3 year old prefers.
Or make a meal out of it and try my personal favorite; with a slab of bacon and a fried egg on top.
Either way, these don't disappoint!

Quinoa Patties

1 c. uncooked quinoa, prepared per package directions (or 2 rounded cups cooked quinoa)
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1 medium carrot, grated
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
oil for frying (olive, canola, vegetable, coconut)

In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa and all other ingredients except for the oil.
Heat a large skillet over medium low and coat the bottom liberally with oil.
(If you are taking my advice and cooking bacon, go ahead and use the bacon grease to fry these in).
Drop 1/4 - 1/3 of the mixture into the oil and flatten out into a patty. 
Use a spatula to smooth out the edges and make into a circle, squishing the mixture together to hold.
Fry until golden brown, at least 4 minutes per side.
Flip carefully, and fry remaining side.
Makes approximately 10 patties.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Fresh Lemon and Lime Replacements

I rarely have real lemons in my kitchen.  The idea of buying a lemon just to spritz some juice or zest into a dish has always been annoying to me.  I feel like I'm wasting either the zest or the juice...

I'll occasionally buy them to make my moms lemon meringue pie, or my lemon kitchen cleaner.  I'll freeze the juice in ice cube trays and add it to my honey whole wheat bread, but more often than not, I am lemon-less.  And I'm even worse with limes.

And just so we are clear, refrigerated lemon juice has a permanent home in my kitchen.  But it doesn't do justice when you need the boost you get from the tangy zest.  (And if you've never looked into purchasing dry zest, don't.  It is way too expensive.)

So today I'm sharing my two favorite ways for adding intense citrus flavor, without using real citrus.
(and these really are MY favorites - I'm not being compensated to write this post).

I was just telling my hairdresser about using essential oils in the kitchen and her reaction shocked me.  "Gross!  Doesn't it make everything oily?"
It's not oily.
It's freaking amazing.
Lemon essential oil packs an insane amount of lemony goodness in each tiny drop.
Put two in a mug of warm water with a Tbsp. of honey for a wonderful lemon tea, perfect for soothing a sore throat.
Or use it as a substitute for lemon extract to perk up frostings and icings.
I'll add it to muffins and quick breads to intensify the flavor.
You can't go wrong here.

And, trust me on this one, lime essential oil does wonders with meat.  One of my all time favorite chicken marinades will never be made without 3-5 drops of lime essential oil again.
And you better believe I'm dropping in some lovely lime goodness every time I make this quinoa dish.
In fact, I don't even buy refrigerated lime juice anymore.  If a recipe calls for it, I replace the same amount with lemon juice, and add in 3-5 drops of lime essential oil.  A-mazing flavor. 

The process is really simple.  I don't have an exact "recipe", but basically, if the recipe calls for zest, I throw in 3-5 drops, give it a taste, and add one more from there if it needs a little extra.
Remember, this stuff is potent!  A little goes a long way.

My other favorite flavor booster: Classic Lemonade mix from Thrive Life

This lemon love affair happened completely by accident.  I had won a can of this stuff in a drawing, and, being purely water drinkers in our home, we'd had it sitting in the basement for months before breaking it open.  My 9 year olds' desire to have a lemonade stand one hot afternoon brought this out of the storage room and it has stayed in the pantry ever since.
It is a dry powder mix, designed to add water and sweetener to make lemonade.

It is TART.
It is POWERFULLY lemon.
It is the perfect zest replacement.

One teaspoon of this stuff will surpass any 'zest from one lemon' in any and all of your recipes.  Seriously, start with a tsp.  Its crazy strong.
I made two fantastic desserts with this (coming soon), and the flavor was incredible.
But don't stop there.  Some cracked pepper and a tiny dusting of this powder over fish... heavenly.

And of course, if your into that sort of thing, go ahead and make some lemonade.  It's decent.

The same company also carries limeade (seasonally - they'll stop offering it when summer is over).
These cans hold about 4 cups of powder and run for about $21.  That's a lot of lemon powdered goodness for the price.
You can order them online through the links above (and you can pick them up for free at their American Fork location if you are local), or they'll ship it to you. 

I hope this helps bring some citrus happiness into your kitchen!

Monday, July 20, 2015

9 Grain Whole Wheat Bread {with Natural Yeast}

We are not gluten free in this house (obviously), but I've been experimenting with natural yeast because of the health benefits.  I do have a gluten free friend who uses natural yeast to make her own wheat bread and she has zero side effects.  You can learn more about natural yeast here.

As for this recipe, it is almost identical to Honey Whole Wheat Bread (my favorite sandwich bread), just with the addition of 9 grain cracked cereal.  I like the texture it gives.  You can use any cracked cereal you have on hand, or make your own.  I use this one from Thrive Life, because it is easily accessible to me.

There are a two things to remember when baking with natural yeast:
1) Rise time is significantly longer.  The initial rise time is anywhere from 4-12 hours, with the final rise time being 1-4 hours, depending on the room temperature.
2) Cooking time is generally longer and hotter than with traditional yeast.
Other than that, its the same as regular yeast.

9 Grain Whole Wheat Natural Yeast Bread
Makes 2 loaves

3 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. vital wheat gluten
2/3 c. natural yeast
2/3 c. 9 grain cracked cereal
2 1/2 c. + 2/3 c. water

Combine all ingredients in mixer and mix until incorporated.
Let rest (sponge) for 10 minutes.

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. salt
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. honey

Mix while adding:
2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour (or white flour if using half and half)

Dough should come away from the sides of the bowl and be wet to the touch, but not sticking to your fingers.  You may need to add up to 1 c. of additional flour until correct consistency is reached.
Mix dough for 10 minutes.

Move dough to large bowl and cover.
Let rise until double (4-12 hours).

Once doubled, roll dough out onto greased cutting board.
Knead thoroughly and cut in half.
Shape each loaf and place in greased bread pans.
Cover with kitchen towel and let rise until doubled (1-4 hours), or until dough is 1" above top edge of loaf pan.

Bake at 385 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 25-35 minutes, until well browned.
(Internal temperature of bread should reach 180 degrees when fully cooked).

Monday, July 13, 2015

Best Biscuits

I love biscuits.  I love these biscuits.  They are the go to recipe at our house since we started venturing away from shortening.
These work great with olive oil.
These work great with butter.
I'm sure they work great with shortening.
I'm sure they'd work with coconut oil or shortening or whatever other oil suits your fancy.
They are terrific, you wont be disappointed.
We personally like the outcome best when using all-purpose flour, but they work well with whole wheat or a mix of half and half.

Best Biscuits
4 c. flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
2/3 c. olive oil OR butter
up to 2 c. milk

Combine dry ingredients.
Cut in softened butter (or pour in oil) and mix until crumbly.
Add milk until desired consistency is reached.

Roll out and cut into large rounds.
Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Peachy Keen Bars

This wonderful summertime dessert has all of the deliciousness of peach cobbler, all squared away into a perfect bar.  If you like peaches, you'll love this recipe.
Peachy Keen Bars
1 pkg dry cake mix (white, yellow, vanilla)
1/3 c. butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, divided
1 quart peaches, cubed
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl combine cake mix, butter and 1 egg; mix with fork until crumbly.
Set aside 1 1/2 c. for the topping.
Press remaining crumbs on the bottom of a sprayed 9x13" baking dish.
Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, 1 egg and vanilla extract; beat with a mixer until creamy.
Drain peaches and spoon onto crust.
Spread cream mixture over peaches.
Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
Bake an additional 30 minutes.
Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.