Thursday, March 29, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread

I must be on a bread making kick lately. I absolutely adore this bread. I have loved it since the first time my mom made it for us. If you have never heard of this bread will give you the brief story straight from Wikipedia:  

Amish Friendship Bread is a type of bread or cake made from a sourdough starter that is often shared in a manner similar to a chain letter. The starter is a substitute for baking yeast and can be used to make many kinds of yeast-based breads, shared with friends, or frozen for future use. The sweet, cake-like Amish Cinnamon Bread is a common bread that is made from this starter; it is a simple, stirred quick bread that includes a substantial amount of sugar and vegetable oil, with a mild cinnamon flavor. The recipe for Amish Cinnamon Bread may have first been posted to the internet in 1990, but the recipe itself is several decades old.

I'll be honest I'm not a fan of chain letters or any such thing. I'm sure some people love them, but I'm not one of those people. For this reason I found a way to get around this. Instead of making 4 batches of bread (8 loaves) every time I want this bread I realized that the starter is the same on the day that you get it or on day 10. So every once and a while I will go through the 10 day process of multiplying the starter. On day 10 instead of giving them away with a chain letter I stick them in the freezer. Then whenever I want some fresh cinnamon bread I pull out a bag and make the bread.

If you have never tried this bread I do feel that it is worth the time and effort it takes to make a start and make this bread. I love the sweet cinnamony flavor and the unique flavor that the start brings. If you are someone that likes the challenge of finding someone new to give this bread and starter to then feel free to be a good person and share this bread with friends and family, they will be glad you did!

Amish Friendship Bread Starter


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 cups white sugar, divided
3 cups milk

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.

On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon.

Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 thru 9; stir only.

Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).

**Note: Once you have made the starter, you will consider it Day One, and thus ignore step 1 in this recipe and proceed with step 2. You can also freeze this starter in 1 cup measures for later use. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.

Amish Friendship Bread

1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 - (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup nuts (optional)

Grease 2 bread pans well. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar into each bread pan and tip side to side to coat the bottom and edges (kind of like you are flouring your pans but using cinnamon sugar). In a small bowl combine oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. In a separate large bowl combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix and pour into two well greased and cinnamon sugared bread pans. If you want even more cinnamon sugary goodness you can sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top of the loaf prior to baking. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe Source: Allrecipes

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Homemade "Magic Shell" Ice Cream Topping

This lovely recipe is another great find on Pinterest. I am always looking for some great quick and easy ice cream toppers and this is definitely that. I have always loved magic shell topping. There is just something fun about it. When I saw how easy this was to make I just had to try it. We used unrefined virgin coconut oil which has a slightly stronger coconut flavor, but if you aren't a fan of coconut flavor you could try a refined coconut oil or butter. My husband said with the unrefined coconut oil it kinda reminded him of a Mounds or an Almond Joy.
Homemade "Magic Shell" Ice Cream Topping

All you need is:
1 1/4 Cups Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (measured when solid)

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave about 1 minute (depending on your microwave). Allow to sit a few minutes to allow the heat of the oil to melt the chocolate chips and then stir until smooth. It will be runny.

Pour into a bottle. You could use a recycled pickle relish bottle. (We recommend a glass bottle if you’re gonna refrigerate and then heat.) 

Store in the refrigerator (though in the summer it’s likely to stay liquidy unrefrigerated). To serve, heat the glass bottle (open cap) in the microwave for 30 seconds until liquid. Stir and continue heating at 30 second intervals if not liquid after the first 30 seconds. Pour over your favorite ice cream and in a few seconds you will see magic!

  • You can substitute butter for the coconut oil, however the coconut oil gives the more ‘real’ Magic Shell flavor.
  • You can use milk chocolate chips, but everyone we served preferred the semi-sweet chocolate chips
  Recipe Source: Alphamom

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Browned Butter Ice Cream

It is no secret that I love ice cream. I just think it is one of the most wonderful things ever! I mean really you can't go wrong with something cool and refreshing, but somehow makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Ok maybe the warm and fuzzy inside is an exaggeration, but I really do love it that much! I am a huge fan of custards! Homemade ice creams can sometimes get icy or really hard once they have been in the freezer for a while. I have found that custards stay creamy and smooth even in the freezer. Yes they do harden more in the freezer but the texture is amazing. It is also no secret that I love browned butter. I found this recipe a while back and knew I had to try it. I actually did make it during my no sugar month. I made it with honey. It tasted pretty good, but I knew I had to try it as written. With honey it didn't quite have the carmely flavor that I was hoping for. This recipe as written is creamy and carmely and oh so delicious!

Brown Butter Ice Cream
8 Tbs butter
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
6 yolks
1 cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

In a pan, melt the butter and continue cooking it over low heat until the butter browns. Meanwhile, bring the cream and milk and vanilla to a simmer.

In a mixer whisk together the eggs, brown sugar and salt until fluffy. Add the brown butter, a little bit at a time to the running mixer.  When they are combined, add the milk a little at a time until the whole mixture is frothy and smooth and well combined. Return it to a pan and put back on the stove over medium-low heat.  Cook on low until it thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until completely cool or up to overnight.

Run the custard through an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers directions.
Put the ice cream in a container and let it freeze at least 4 hours until firm.

Recipe Source: Heather Christo Cooks 

And here is my Photoshop fun picture for the day!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Miracle Bread (1 hour bread)

I love bread! I openly admit this. I may be a carboholic but without any desire to quit. This bread is another great find from my friend Pinterest. I'll be honest this bread isn't my absolute favorite (honestly I don't know which recipe would be). I love trying new recipes. I try new ones most of the time I make bread. This bread is good. I enjoyed eating it. I will definitely make it again. The reason that it is miracle bread is because start to finish it is done in an hour! There are many times that I want homemade bread, but don't have 2-3 hours to make it and let it rise. An hour though? I usually have an hour. This bread is very simple to make. So for all of you/us that don't have time (or patience) to make our most favorite type of bread I think this recipe comes in quite nicely as a backup. Like I said I will make this bread again and I'm really excited about it!

**Note: if you are making this in a KitchenAid, halve the recipe and make 2 loaves of bread.**

Miracle Bread

10 1/2 c. white bread flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. salt
3 rounded tablespoons saf-instant yeast
3 T. liquid lecithin (I didn't have lecithin, so I used 1/3 c. oil)
4 c. hot tap water

Mix dry ingredients. Add lecithin (or oil) and water. Mix for 1 minute and check consistency. If dough is too dry, add a little more water. Dough should be very sticky. Mix for 5 minutes. (Do not add flour to the dough after it has finished mixing.) Spray counter and pans with Pam. Shape loaves, place in pans and cover with a dish towel. Let rise 25 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Makes 4 loaves.

For whole wheat bread, use the same recipe only with whole wheat flour; replace one cup of the hot water with applesauce, and add 1 additional tablespoon lecithin(again I used oil). Mix for ten minutes.

Recipe Source: Chez Moi 

I'm kinda dumb when it comes to photoshop. I'm really good at cropping images but not too much more than that. I was playing around with some filters on photoshop and I thought I would share this version of the photo with you. It is just awesome that it can take a photo and turn it into something that looks so different.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Crock Pot Freezer Meals

I will be honest, I have been horrible at making meals recently. I am always game to make a yummy treat, but a meal? I am just lazy sometimes and always want something fast and easy. I have decided that instead of trying to fix my laziness with meal time I should try and compensate for it. That is when I decided that I needed to make these freezer crock pot meals. I have made freezer meals in the past (which I love) but I still need to take them out, put them in the oven, and wait for them to cook. Sometimes I don't have time for that. These freezer crock pot meals I can pull out of the freezer, put them directly into the crock pot, and take off for my crazy day. When I come home the food is ready for me to eat! This is my kind of meal! I'll be honest I haven't tried all of these, but these are some that I found and that looked good so I thought I would share them with all of you.

Brown Sugar Chicken

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, I did 4
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Sprite (I will add this once I add everything to the crockpot)
2/3 cup Vinegar
3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic
2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Add all ingredients to Gallon Size Freezer Bag, except for the Sprite. When you are ready to cook this, put all ingredients into a crockpot, add the sprite and let cook for 3-4 hours on high.

Honey Garlic Chicken

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, I used 4
3 Garlic Cloves, smashed and chopped
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil (I used Fresh)
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/3 cup Honey
Add all ingredients to Gallon Size Freezer Bag. When you are ready to cook this, put all ingredients into a crockpot and let cook for 3-4 hours on high.

BBQ Chicken

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, I used 4
Chopped Green Pepper
Chopped White Onion
BBQ Sauce, I used Sweet Baby Rays (but use whatever you have in your stockpile)
Combine all ingredients in a Gallon Size Freezer Bag. When you are ready to cook this, put all ingredients into a crockpot and cook for 3-4 hours on high.

Beef Bourguignon

3 pounds beef roast, or beef stew meat (I used a chuck roast I had in the freezer)
6 slices bacon--no need to cook (I used turkey)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced in rings
1 cup carrots (chopped or baby, your choice)
4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 tablespoon herbs de provence (here's a recipe to make your own)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste (not pictured, oops!)
2 cups red wine (you can use non-alcoholic if you wish)

The Directions.
Use a 6 quart slow cooker. In the bottom of your stoneware, smear around the olive oil. Then lay down 3 slices of bacon. Add sliced onion and garlic. Put the meat into the pot on top of the onion and garlic, and sprinkle on dried spices and herbs. Toss the meat to distribute the spices to all sides. Add tomato paste. Lay the other 3 slices of bacon on top of the meat, and throw in the carrots. Pour wine over the whole thing.
Cover and let cook on low for 8-9 hours, high for 4-5, or until meat has reached desired tenderness. If you are using a roast, you may want to flip the meat about an hour before serving so more liquid is absorbed into the meat. You can also cut the meat into chunks and return to the pot, if you would like more moisture to absorb.
Serve with whipped mashed potatoes, and a ladle full of crock juices.

Applesauce Chicken

4 frozen chicken breast halves or thighs (I used 2 of each)
1 1/2 cups of applesauce
1 T dried onion flakes, or 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, I used them, and added more to the adult servings)

The Directions.
Mix all ingredients together in a gallon size freezer bag. Label and place in freezer until ready to use.

 On cooking day take out of freezer and place contents of bag in a 3 or 4 quart crockpot (this is the best size for this, but I did use a 6 quart). If your pot cooks fast, err on the lower end of cooking time.

Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or on high for 3-4.
Serve with rice or quinoa.

Recipe Source: Crazy Coupon Lady, CrockPot365

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since St Patty's Day is tomorrow I thought it very appropriate to make something green. Since we have been moving this week, my baking has been very limited (and my camera is still at the other house), but no matter how limited my baking might be I can always find the time to make some delicious cookies! I also must put a little plug in for gel food colorings. I recently purchased some and I absolutely love them! You need so little of it and it gives things such a vibrant color. I just adore them. So if you have never tried gel food coloring I highly recommend it!

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4cups high quality chocolate chips or chunks (in this recipe I prefer dark chocolate chips)
Green food coloring gel (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Melt butter. Pour melted butter into the bowl of stand mixer fitted with blade attachment. Add food coloring and mix until food coloring is evenly distributed.

3. Add both sugars, salt, and mint extract to bowl with butter and mix until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and mix until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining.  Stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Shape dough into 1 inch round balls. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, about 8 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. My oven cooks pretty evenly so I didn't rotate the baking sheet halfway through. My cookies only took about 8 minutes to cook so watch them carefully. I took them out just when the edges started looking golden brown. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Easy Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

We have been moving this week (hence the lack of posts recently). It has been a busy and great week, but with moving that means lack of cooking supplies, pans, ovens, and Internet. This all means eating out for an entire week. We are finally in our new (actually its old) house and I know where almost all of my kitchen stuff is! To celebrate being in our house we to make some treats. Since I only know where most of my stuff is I decided to go easy. I decided to make peanut butter swirl brownies. They are easy, I had all of the supplies, and I adore chocolate and peanut butter anything! I thoroughly enjoyed them and I hope you will too!

(Our Camera is also in between houses so this one was taken with my phone. Thank heaven for camera phones)

Easy Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies


1 box(es) (19.8-ounce) brownie mix
1/2 cup(s) peanut butter
1/4 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon(s) melted butter
1 large egg

Prepare brownie mix as label directs for 9" by 9" pan. In bowl, stir peanut butter, sugar, melted butter, and egg until smooth. Dollop peanut butter mixture onto brownie batter in pan; swirl with knife. Bake according to directions.

Recipe Source: Good Housekeeping 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cookie Dough Bites

I feel like this post doesn't require much of an introduction. There is a good chance that if you have been to this blog before you know that I love cookies, cookie dough, and pretty much anything that contains sugar. So obviously when I found this recipe I had to try it. I think these are absolutely delicious. I even had a friend tell me that she really liked them and she doesn't like cookie dough. They don't taste exactly like cookie dough but all in all it is pretty close. Happy Eating!

Cookie Dough Bites
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour
Yield: 2 dozen cookies

    1 cup salted butter, softened
    1½ cups packed light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups flour
    6 ounces miniature chocolate chips

  1. Cream butter and sugar together.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well -- use your hands to get it together the best.
  3. Roll into 1-inch balls.
  4. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Dip in chocolate, drizzle with chocolate or eat as is -- equally delicious no matter what!
  5. Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Store in the refrigerator. 
Recipe Source:Disney Family

Friday, March 2, 2012

Peanut Butter Eclair Cake

I absolutely love eclair cake. I don't exactly know why this cake is called eclair cake. I don't really like eclairs (gasp!) I know! I know! Who doesn't like eclairs? Well its not that I don't like them. I can eat them. They are ok, but if I'm going to eat something that is going to add inches to my waistline then I dang well better thoroughly enjoy it. I think this is a really good way to eat. I only eat desserts that I really really enjoy. Luckily for me someone invented eclair cake, and even better is the addition of peanut butter in this eclair cake. Warning - this cake is very rich. A good glass of milk or something to wash it down with is a good idea. Really though it is very delicious! I will definitely be making this recipe over and over again.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Éclair Cake

1 box chocolate graham crackers (I have also tried it with cinnamon which added a fun twist)
2 (3 1/4-ounce) boxes vanilla instant pudding (or use this homemade vanilla pudding recipe) *
1 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups milk (omit if using homemade vanilla pudding)
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
1 can chocolate frosting

Spray the bottom of a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with whole graham crackers. In bowl of an electric mixer, mix pudding with milk and peanut butter; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer. Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.

Heat the container of prepared frosting, uncovered in the microwave for 1 minute. Pour over the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.

*Note: I made this with homemade pudding and loved it! I love the taste of a good homemade pudding. For the ease of this recipe I kept the original instructions with the boxed vanilla. I have had many eclair cakes with the boxed vanilla pudding and it is great too. But if you are a little crazy (like myself) you can make your own vanilla pudding, and while you are at it you might as well whip up some homemade whipping cream to replace the cool whip. I promise if you do it will be well worth the work!

Recipe Source: Plain Chicken