Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

This bread is moist, easy to slice, and made with whole wheat flour! I love most kinds of bread. I love making my own bread. I do find it hard to make a bread that slices nice and thin for sandwiches, especially whole wheat bread. I have made some pretty massive sandwiches with thick slices of bread for this reason. This bread is light and soft. It really is perfect for sandwiches.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Hands-on time: 20 mins.
Baking time: 40 - 45 mins.
Total time: 4 hrs
Yield: one 9" x 5" loaf

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water*
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup orange juice
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3 3/4 cups White Whole Wheat Flour ( I grind my own, but I'm sure any type would work)
*Use 2 tablespoons less water in summer (or in a humid environment), 2 tablespoons more in winter (or in a dry climate).


1) Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes, till it becomes puffy. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.

2) Combine the yeast/water with the remaining ingredients, and mix and knead—by hand, mixer, or bread machine—until you've made a cohesive dough. If you're using a stand mixer, knead at low speed for about 7 minutes. Note that 100% whole wheat dough will never become smooth and supple like dough made with all-purpose flour; it'll feel more like clay under your hands, and may appear a bit rough.

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow it to rise till it's expanded and looks somewhat puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes. Note that dough kneaded in a bread machine will rise faster and higher than bread kneaded in a mixer, which in turn will rise faster and higher than one kneaded by hand. So if you're kneading by hand, you may want to let the dough rise longer than 90 minutes.

4) Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan. Gently shape the dough into a smooth log, and settle it into the pan, smooth side up.

5) Tent the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to rise till it's crowned over the rim of the pan by about 3/4", about 75 minutes. Don't let it rise too high; it'll continue to rise as it bakes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

6) Bake the bread for 10 minutes. Lightly tent it with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, or until the center registers 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove it from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack.

7) Run a stick of butter over the top of the hot loaf, if desired, for a softer crust. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.

Recipe Source: Adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour

Monday, February 27, 2012

Meyer Lemon Loaf

Have I mentioned that I love lemon? Well its true. Luckily this month's Daring Bakers' Challenge incorporated my love for bread, sugar, and lemon all into one recipe! The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Meyer Lemon Loaf

Makes two 8” x 5” (20 x 13 cm) loaves
Adapted from Recipe Girl’s Meyer Lemon Loaf


2 2/3 cups (640 ml) (375 gm/13¼ oz) all-purpose (plain)unbleached flour
¾ teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3¾ gm) baking powder
zest of 3 Meyer lemons (regular old lemons will work just fine)
2 cups (480 ml) (450 gm/16 oz) white granulated sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup (180 ml) sour cream or creme fraiche, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rum (can omit – I did!)
1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) fresh Meyer lemon juice (again, regular lemons can be used)
pinch of salt
9 tablespoons (135 ml) (125 gm/4½ oz/1 stick + 1 tablespoon) butter, melted and cooled

½ cup (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 ml) water
Juice from 1 medium Meyer Lemon (or regular lemon)

Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Butter and flour two 8” x 5” (20 x 13 cm) loaf pans.

Sift together flour and baking powder; set aside.

Place sugar, lemon zest, and eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until the mixture is a light lemon color and thickened a bit. This can also be done with a mixer. Whisk in sour cream, then salt, then rum (if using) and lemon juice.

Gently whisk in the flour in four parts, then whisk in the butter in three parts. You’ll have a thick, pourable batter flecked with lemon zest.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

While the loaves are baking, prepare simple syrup. Boil together sugar and water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice.

Turn the loaves out of their pans onto a cooling rack and brush liberally with the lemon syrup, repeat brushing as you feel necessary. Let cool.

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Loaves can be kept wrapped tightly on the counter or in the fridge for approximately 5 to 7 days. Loaves last 6 months if wrapped tightly and kept air tight in the freezer.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Microwave Lemon Curd

So apparently I really enjoy lemon curd. I have realized lately that I' love citrus! I think I realize this every time I make something orangy or lemony. I really do love it. I know I have a couple recipes on here for lemon curd. I have my traditional lemon curd (which is fantastic), my healthier version (which is also quite good) and now I'm posting this quick and easy version. All are great. This one is probably the most tangy and sour of the 3 recipes, but I love it when I'm in a hurry. Who knew you could make lemon curd in the microwave? Well now I know and if you are reading this you now know as too! Now you might be asking yourself what would I use this lemon curd for. Let me answer that for you. I like to use it for the filling of cakes, on graham crackers, for lemon bars, you could make up little individual pie crusts and pour this on top to have little tarts, you could pour it over ice cream. Really you could do whatever your heart so desires and I'm sure it would be amazing.

Microwave Lemon Curd

1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice
3 lemons, zested
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the microwave, and pour into small sterile jars. Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Grandma's Dutch Oven Chicken (Crock Pot Style)

This is a recipe for my grandma's Dutch Oven Chicken. I will be honest, it is not one of the photogenic foods out there, but oh it sure does taste great! My grandma would always make this in a crock pot, and I always loved it. A few years ago I decided to see if it would work in a crock pot. I love crock pots because I don't really have to think about it. I through everything in it, leave for several hours, and come home to a house that smells amazing! Well lucky for me the crock pot version of this meal works great!

Grandma's Dutch Oven Chicken (Crock Pot Style)
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 4-6 hrs
Servings: 6-8

6-8 chicken breasts
6-8 slices of bacon
3 cans cream of chicken soup
16 oz sour cream
8 oz monterey jack cheese - shredded
1 small round container chicken flavored stove top stuffing
1 cube (1/2 cup) butter

Cut bacon into smaller pieces. Lay bacon on the bottom of the crock pot. Place chicken on top of bacon. In a medium bowl combine sour cream and cream of chicken soup. Pour soup mixture over top of chicken. Sprinkle shredded cheese over top of soup mixture. Sprinkle dry stove top stuffing mix over top of cheese. Place small chunks of butter evenly over top of stuffing mix. Cover with lid of crock pot and let cook on low for approximately 6 hrs.  My crock pot cooks a little hot and it was done in about 5. Test a piece of chicken for done-ness prior to serving.

Monday, February 20, 2012

2-Minute French Toast In A Cup

I am all about quick and easy meals. Sometimes I have a lot of time to make an elegant meal. Sometimes I don't want to spend more than 30 seconds making a meal. It is all very relative to how I'm feeling that day. This recipe isn't just quick and easy, but it also tastes delicious! I have always loved french toast, so making simpler is even better!

2-Minute French Toast In A Cup
Prep time: 2-5 minutes
Servings: 1-2

2 slices bread (I have even used left over rolls)
1 egg
2 drops vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs milk
1 pinch salt (optional)
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbs butter

Prepare 1 large mug, or 2 smaller mugs by greasing them with butter. You can do this with the butter cold and rubbing it on the sides, or melt the butter and slosh it around in the cut to get the sides.

Cube the bread. They don't have to be perfect. Place bread in prepared cups. Press down slightly on  bread to squish it into the cups.

In a separate cup or ramekin combine egg, vanilla, cinnamon, milk, salt, and syrup. Mix with a fork. Pour egg mixture over bread pressing down slightly as you go to make sure all the peices are getting a little of the egg mixture. Let bread rest for a minute to absorb the extra fluid. Place in a microwave for 1 minute. If liquid still remains in cup after the 1 minute return to microwave and cook at 10 second intervals until it is all cooked and there is no runny egg left.

Let cool briefly and then top with more maple syrup and enjoy!

Recipe Source: Prudent Baby

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cheese Blintzes

I hope all of you had a wonderful Valentines Day! The last few years my husband and I have taken the train to Denver for Valentines Day. This year we stayed in a cute little bed and breakfast in down town Denver. We had a great time! We also love taking the train places. On this trip one of the things they were serving in the dining car of the train for breakfast were cheese blintzes. My husband had never heard of these before. Now train food is ok, but when they said they cooked the cheese blintzes in the microwave I just couldn't bare to try them. I told my husband I would make him some when we got home. I absolutely love a good cheese blintze! Most of you know that anything that you can call breakfast, but really could be eaten as a dessert is ok in my book. I think these are such a yummy variation to a traditional crepe. This recipe is very easy and so worth any work you put into it! If you have never tried cheese blintzes this recipe is a very basic recipe and can be dolled up any way you want.

Cheese Blintzes

12 6-8 inch crepes
2 8 oz packages cream cheese (sorry, low-fat will not work here)
1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 T melted butter

Sour cream

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and brush a 9x13 pan with melted butter. Stir cream cheese, cottage cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla extra in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until blended. 

2. To fill each crepe, spoon 3 T of filling cream cheese mixture in the center of once crepe, then fold the bottom part of the crepe up over the filling, followed by folding both sides in, and finally folding the top down. Place seam side down in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

3. Brush the tops of each blintz with melted butter and place in oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they are puffed and turning golden in color. Remove from oven. I have also done this step in a frying pan with some butter, flipping once browned. If choosing this option you have to be very careful not to tear the delicate crepe when flipping.

4. To serve, top blintzes with your choice of applesauce, fruit, jam, sour cream or syrup. If you are feeling spunky you can also put the fruit on the inside!

Recipe Source: Heat Oven To 350

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Are you still trying to figure out what to make for Valentines Day? Well look no further my friends. This cake is so moist and delicious. It tastes just like a cinnamon roll but in cake form!

Cinnamon Roll Cake
3 c. flour
1/4 tsp.salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

2 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Recipe Courtesy of: Cookin' Up North

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

I love easy dinner meals. I do not enjoy spending hours on a meal unless I have the time and really want to (trust me these days are very few and far between). That means most nights I am wanting to make something quick and easy. If you want to know my deep dark little secret (really its no secret to those that know me) we eat Mac and Cheese at least on a weekly basis (I have a deep love in my heart for mac and cheese). For me there are many nights each week at approximately seven o'clock where I am left asking myself what we should eat for dinner. Since I ran into this recipe it has made a few of my nights much easier. I absolutely love these tasty bite sized little dinner snacks, and they take hardly any time at all to make! I knew after the first time that I made them that the recipe was a keeper for sure. I have made them with regular pepperoni and turkey pepperoni. Both taste great, the regular pepperoni is just more greasy and leaves the puffs being a little bit more greasy as well. I don't have kids yet but I know these things would be very kid friendly.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 oz turkey pepperoni, (about 1/2 cup) cut into  smaller pieces
4 oz low-fat sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup pizza sauce

Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping. My husband is all about the pizza sauce but personally I prefer to dip them in ranch.


Recipe Source: Adapted slightly from: Make Ahead Meals

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lemon Curd Bars

I found this recipe last month when I was searching for desserts that didn't use sugar. This recipe intrigued me. I have always loved lemon bars, but these didn't look like your typical lemon bars. These bars are completely gluten and grain free. Now if you have ever looked at my blog you know that I am addicted to breads and most my recipes use some sort of grain in it. I considered changing the crust portion and make them with flour, but I decided to try them first just the way the recipe was given. I was a little nervous to try them. Of course the first time I make them I make them to serve to people. I always have this nervous moment right before we all try them. I just hope and pray for those few moments before I bite in that they actually taste good. Well much to my surprise they were great! They are very lightly sweetened, not heavy or greasy. They are a perfect little snack. Since that first night that I tried these I have found myself craving them! Desserts like this made not eating sugar a cinch!

Tangy Lemon Curd

This is a more frugal version of curd, because, like the Joy of Cooking’s version, I use whole eggs instead of just the egg yolks. However, you could substitute 6 egg yolks for the whole eggs for a super rich curd. 

3 large eggs
1/4 -1/3 cup of honey
Grated zest of one lemon (I used about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup of lemon juice
6 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (or you could use ghee or butter).

1-In a medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan, whisk together the first three ingredients until light colored.

2-Add the the coconut oil, breaking it into small clumps as you drop it into the pot for even melting. Then add the lemon juice.

3-Cook, whisking over medium heat until the coconut oil is melted. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens and you start to see a few bubbles popping at the surface.

4-Remove from heat, and scrape into a fine sieve set over a bowl. Strain the curd, gently stirring if needed.

5-Refrigerate for several hours to thicken. Will keep about one week in the refrigerator.

Lemon Curd Bars
Makes 16

1 recipe of tangy lemon curd (Recipe above. Save extra zest for the the cookie base).
1 cup of raw almonds
1 cup of raw cashews
1/4 cup honey (These are very lightly sweetened. If you want the bars sweeter, you could up this amount)
1/2 cup of melted virgin coconut oil
2-4 teaspoons lemon zest
2 eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt

1-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and make the lemon curd (recipe above) Place the curd in the refrigerator to cool.

2- Place the almonds and the cashews in a food processor. Grind them into a medium fine “flour”. You don’t want to turn it into a nut paste, so don’t over do it. There will still be little chunks here and there.

3-Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until combined.

4-Evenly spread the nut batter into a greased 8 by 8 pan. Place in the middle of the hot oven. It will take between 15 to 18 minutes to cook. It may puff up as it cooks, but don’t worry, it won’t stay that way once you take it out of the oven. When the top is lightly brown, and a toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the middle, it’s done.

4-Cool completely, then spread one recipes of lemon curd on top. Let set in the refrigerator for at least several hours. The curd will continue to set, and we liked it even better the next day. When ready to serve, take them out and cut into squares (16 bars worked well for us), and serve.


Recipe Source: The Nourishing Gourmet

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cookies N Cream Oreo Fudge Brownies

I have officially not eaten sugar for one month and it has been great. I met my goal! Yeah for goals! What better sugar filled recipe to make to celebrate my eating sugar again than this one? Ok so maybe this isn't the only thing to celebrate my eating sugar again, I plan on celebrating (much to my waistline's disapproval) all week! A friend of mine told me about these delicious brownies someone brought her that used cookies and cream ice cream, and it had Oreos in the middle. I figured that recipe was a no brainer...of course it is going to be phenomenal! Honestly the only 2 desserts/sugary treat that I have really been thinking about and craving were some yummy browned butter chocolate chip cookies, and these brownies. I have been just dying to make them! So finally, to celebrate eating sugar again I decided to make these. Well let me tell you they are just as amazing as I had hoped! They are rich, chocolatey, ooey, gooey, and most importantly delicious!

Cookies ‘N Cream Oreo Fudge Brownies

1 box Brownie Mix
eggs & oil (as called for by the brownie mix)
1 heaping half cup (6 oz) Cookies & Cream ice cream
1/4 Cup hot fudge topping (chilled or room temp)
about 16 oreos

Preheat oven & spray an 8×8 baking dish generously with cooking spray. Combine brownie mix, eggs, and oil as directed on the back of the box, but do not add the water. Add ice cream and hot fudge to the brownie batter and stir to combine. Pour half of the brownie batter into the baking dish, layer with Oreos, then top with remaining batter. Bake for 40-50 minutes or as directed on the back of the box.

Recipe Source: Kevin & Amanda

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Croutons

I love finding little recipes that use things (like bread) that I might end up throwing away. I also love when those little recipes taste amazing! I don't know if you all know this but croutons are far from healthy (this recipe included). Yes there might be little things you could do to make it more healthy like use olive oil istead of butter, but if you want really yummy croutons butter is the way to go!

Homemade Croutons
1 loaf french bread cubed (about 8 cups cubed bread chunks
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic minced*

In a microwave safe bowl combine butter, italian seasoning, salt, and garlic. Heat in microwave for 30-60 seconds until butter is melted and bubbling slightly. Set aside. In a large bowl place cubed bread chunks. French bread works great, but really any type of bread will work just fine. Slowly drizzle butter mixture over bread stirring while you pour. Try and evenly coat each piece of bread with the butter mixture. Pour bread onto a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake at 300 for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Croutons can be eaten immediately or stored in an air tight container or zip lock bag for a few weeks.

*You can use 1 tsp garlic powder instead of the cloves of garlic if you prefer.