Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread (Guest Post)

MY FIRST GUEST POST!!  I'm so excited!

My friend, Jenn, just started a food blog in preparation for our baking group.  A few weeks ago I saw a whole wheat bread tutorial and recipe on her blog.  I was also a little jealous when, in one her blog posts, she mentioned she hadn't bought bread from the store in THREE AND A HALF YEARS!!! I had never made my own whole wheat sandwich bread before or any sandwich bread for that matter.  In fact, I kind of had a bit of a bias toward homemade wheat bread.  One of our neighbors growing up (Tonita Crookston) used to bring my parents wheat bread that was delicious and later spurred my dad's bread making obsession.  The obsession didn't last very long and if I remember correctly he never thought his bread was as good as what she would deliver.  So I just figured you had to be one of those people that the heavens shined upon, bestowing the gift of wheat bread making.  I didn't think it was possible for me to be a wheat-bread-maker.  
I had also heard of people having great results with grinding their own wheat and making bread, but I don't have a wheat grinder and it sounded like a ton of work.  After reading Jenn's post, she said I could use wheat flour and she made it look way easier than I was picturing.  I have made the bread twice now.  Once without the flax (I didn't have any) and once with it.  I am officially converted.  I wanted to share this recipe with everyone in case there are others like me that Jenn can reform. ;)  
I did change a couple things according to what I had on hand and the bread was still wonderful!  I halved the recipe both times; I only have 2 loaf pans.  Isn't that just plain ridiculous???  I also don't keep powdered milk around so I substituted regular milk.  (If the recipe calls for 1 cup powdered milk, reduce the water content by 2 cups and add 2 cups of milk.)    Oh and here are my pictures as proof I can actually make whole wheat sandwich bread!!!  (I don't think you realize how excited I was about that.)  Proof that sometimes we don't even know ourselves. :)
100 times better than what we buy at the store and WAY better for us!  
I will now shut-up so you guys can read what you came here for. 
Here's Jenn:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Udon Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms in Ginger Broth

 I have been trying to keep up with my goal of 2 vegetarian meals a week.  I just haven't posted them either because they haven't fit into my blogging schedule or because we haven't liked them enough to share.  If you remember, a couple weeks ago, I was cooking out of a Martha Stewart (Martha Stewart Living Annual Recipes 2004) cookbook.  Of the recipes I tried, there was only one that I was 100 percent sure it belonged on the blog.  This dish was one of the others we tried and after dinner that night, my family wasn't all that impressed.  I thought they would love it.  I really liked it though and the more I have thought about it, the more I think it deserves a post.  I want to eat it again.  I wonder if I scaled back the ginger a bit next time if they would all be happier with the dish.  Either way, I am making it again and they are going to eat it.  Right?  Right!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Raspberry Pie

 My friend, Jenni, invited us to Arizona for Thanksgiving this year.  We were so excited to get to see our friends again we jumped at the chance.  She emailed me a couple weeks ago asking if we could make some desserts for Thanksgiving.  My response was, "Uh, YEAH!"  Isn't it always great to have an excuse to make desserts?  I think so.  I left the decisions up to her about which ones we would make because I figured she knew her family better and what they would like.  And because I will eat just about any kind of dessert so it didn't matter to me.  She did ask what Tyler's favorite pie was and I told her it was raspberry so she added it to her list.  She is so nice to Tyler.  I would have just let him make due with the other 50 dessert choices we had. 


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Comment #14
Jenn said...
Shared the caramel buttermilk syrup....and can't wait to try it myself!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!! My First GIVEAWAY!! (CLOSED)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope all enjoyed good food and good company today.  It has been just over 2 months since I started food blogging and I am loving it.   It seems like the perfect time to have my first giveaway, doesn't it?  Our baking group is starting up, just around the corner, so in honor of that I thought the giveaway should be something baking-like.  I couldn't decide between the book for our baking group and mixing bowls.  You can never have too many mixing bowls!  So the winner will get to choose between the two.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

If you have been reading, you have probably guessed that I will eat just about anything with pumpkin or cream cheese.  Would you believe I also love the combination of the two?  Weird, right?  I saw these muffins a couple months ago on Tracey's blog and I have been wanting to make them ever since. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

I really love cheesecake.  I know, it seems like I really love everything.  (Hence, the name of the blog) But it's really serious.  I mean, really.  I forget many details about my past, but a lot of times food memories stick with me.  I remember when I was working, probably 9 or so years ago, eating a caramel apple cheesecake at a restaurant once for lunch.  My co-worker and I embarrassed ourselves with pleasure noises while eating dessert that day.  We tried to go back, just for the cheesecake, many times and they NEVER had it again.  It's been in the back of my mind ever since.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mashed Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

If you can't tell, this is a picture of mashed potatoes in my slow cooker. :)

This is genius.  I feel like the last 20 minutes before Thanksgiving dinner is always a mad dash.  There seems to be 30 different things to do in just those last few minutes.  The rolls need to be baked, the turkey needs to be carved, the gravy made, the potatoes mashed, things taken to the table...
  Maybe it's just me, but I always feel like I have dinner under control until those few moments and I start to feel like a lunatic.  When I saw this recipe a few days ago I couldn't help but share.  It says you can do all the prep the day before and then just put it in your slow cooker the next morning.  I am not sure I would do that since fridge space seems to be hard to come by, but I would definitely love to not worry about the mashed potatoes in those last few crucial moments.  I love that these are ready whenever you need them.  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Candied Yams with Apples and Cranberries (Slow Cooker)

I know I usually lead with a photo of the dish all ready to eat.  However, we had company for dinner tonight and I didn't want them to think I was a weirdo for taking pictures of our food before we ate it.  I am sure Tyler thinks it's weird enough and we are trying to make friends here, not send people running for the hills.  Maybe I should just get a sign for my door that says, 'WE ARE NOT WEIRDOS.'  A little too defensive? Do you think?  Anyway, so I opted to try not to be a weirdo; at least while we had company.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Turkey or Chicken Pot Pie

{photo updated 3/4/2013}
Every year after Thanksgiving, my mom would make turkey pie with the leftovers.  I never understood the brilliance of it until I was trying to shove a bunch of leftover turkey down the throats of my family.  Everyone loves it on Thanksgiving, but when it gets to be a couple days later, we are all kind of sick of turkey.  It's such a great idea to transform the leftovers into something that makes them forget they are eating leftovers.  I love this pie so much that I often turn it into chicken pot pie when we don't have leftover turkey on hand.  If you have leftover gravy, it's great to use that instead of the chicken broth in the recipe, just add broth to equal the cup and a half.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pie Crust

I debated whether to even post this or not.  It seems like everyone might already have a "favorite" pie crust recipe that they use.  I also count grabbing a frozen one or can of dough at the grocery store.  Whatever your method, you probably think it's the best for you and your situation.   I am not going to say you are wrong.  It just occurred to me that maybe there is someone on the fence out there than I can try to add to my team.  You know, in case it ever comes to the point that we all get together and fight over which pie crust is best (with pastry cutters), there will be more on my team.   When that day comes, I really feel like there would be strength in numbers; so I will take a chance at trying to sway one or two people with this pastry post.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Pie

 If you are only going to listen to one thing I ever have to say, it should be this.  MAKE THIS PIE.  I really don't know how else to say it.  This is one of my favorite desserts in the world and that's saying a lot considering it's chocolate-free.  I have given this to people who supposedly don't like pumpkin and they like this.  People who supposedly don't like pecans, like this.  People who don't really like me, like me more when I give them this pie.  I like myself more when I make it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shrimp Scampi

 My relationship with Martha is a little love and a little hate.  I want to love everything about her, I really do.  I just get the feeling she doesn't think I am good enough for her.  I just get the feeling that if she were to have a conversation with me, she would just look at me like I was a speck of dirt on her couch or something.  I can't figure out how someone who has been to prison can make me feel like that.  She has bounced right back though, don't you think?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vanilla Ice Cream (no cooking required)

I know I am not the only one who eats ice cream all year round.  Stop judging!  ;)

I haven't made a lot of ice cream in the past couple years.  It wasn't really conducive with Calvin's gluten/dairy free diet and my ice cream maker is one of the appliances that I have been separated from for a while.  After this ice cream though, I want to do nothing but make ice cream from now on.  It was super easy to make, only a few ingredients that I happen to already have in my house today and I just couldn't pass it up.  The kids had theirs with brownies and Tyler and I put frozen raspberries on top of ours and oh. my. goodness.  I will be making this again.  That's after I eat this whole batch by myself, anyway.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Online Baking Group: Bake 52

 We have a few friends together to start an online baking group.  I am really excited about it.  I think it's going to be fun to learn new things with friends.  Anyone can join.  Check out the Bake 52 page for more info.  We are going to be using this book.


 We have gone to Disneyland quite a bit in the last couple months.  Thanks to our annual passes, it's hard to come up with reasons not to go when we have the spare time.  I am usually so ready to get out of the apartment that I will go just about anywhere, including Disneyland.  It's not that I hate Disney, I don't.  It's just that there always seems to be 8 zillion people there and it makes me feel a bit claustrophobic and always frantic about where my kids are.  They always have such a great time and I guess that makes it worth wading through the hoards of people.  We always walk by 8 thousand churro stands and smell the cinnamon.  Sometimes we buy one, but they are 3 dollars each and I don't know if it's just me or if they aren't as good as they used to be.  Luckily, who needs the churro carts, we can do it ourselves, right? 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cream of Asparagus Soup

 I had planned on making a different kind of soup yesterday but when I went to the grocery store they had asparagus on sale.  That is something I can never pass up.  I started thinking about making cream of asparagus soup for dinner and wondered if it would be a shame to use such a lovely vegetable in that way; but I went for it anyway because it's something I've wanted to make at home.  I looked up a few recipes but none of them seemed like what I was after so I just decided to wing it.  That might not have been the best idea because I have had a string of kitchen disasters lately.  (I will post more about that when it's not so painful to talk about.)  When things don't go well in the kitchen, it really affects my mood.  Luckily for everyone around here, the soup was a hit.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Herb and Cheese Bubble Loaf

Over 10 years ago, my husband had recently joined the air force and we were in San Antonio for a month.  He couldn't live with me for that month, but he could come visit for a few hours everyday.  After loading up our Pontiac Sunbird with whatever I could shove into it and driving for 2 days straight, I found myself in a city that I didn't know, without any friends and no possibility of a job because of the short duration of our stay.  What is a girl to do?  I really don't know what I did honestly, I really can't remember much of it.  What I do remember?  This bread. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Caramel Apples

It has been too long since we have made caramel apples.  I don't think we will wait that long again!  We all love them.  Of course, we all love different versions of them.  I would prefer a Pink Lady apple for mine; some tartness but not as much as a Granny Smith.  Tyler and Hadlee would prefer the Granny Smiths and Calvin would probably eat any of them as long as there was caramel involved.  I love this caramel because it's not too tacky.  It's still soft and a bit gooey even after being in the fridge, but still stays on the apple.

Friday, November 4, 2011

4 Cheese and Spinach Ravioli

This is my second vegetarian meal for the week (unless you count the second night of pizza then it was 3 vegetarian meals for the me).  I am not surprised that I fell back on Italian food to help me in my time of need.  When I was trying to think of another vegetarian dish, of course, I came up with some kind of pasta.  I have mentioned previously that I have been seperated from a lot of my kitchen tools and recently reunited with them.  Since being reunited, I have been planning to use my ravioli maker.  Once I started thinking about pasta tonight, it didn't take long for my mind to wander right on over to ravioli.  My grandfather was Italian and when I was young we used to have homemade ravioli every Thanksgiving.  This is my take on what homemade ravioli should be (if we are talking about meatless, anyway).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pizza X 3 (thin crust)

We don't usually eat a lot of homemade pizza.  I have never really found a recipe that I loved and Tyler is more partial to the Papa Johns type of pizza.  We had dinner with some friends this week and I left feeling a little inspired.  She does most of her cooking without meat!  Not that they are vegetarian, but she said she doesn't really know what to do with it.  I was a bit baffled, because I feel like I, more often than not, plan my meal around the protein.  One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was to have a reason to challenge myself and try new things.  Before I left her house, I told her I was going to try at least 2 meat-free meals this week.  I also recently bought a new cookbook that included a pizza section and it called to me.  I decided that my first meat-free meal was going to be a pizza. 
I am now in love. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Navajo (Indian) Tacos

Where I grew up, we always called them Navajo Tacos, but when we lived in South Dakota, they were Indian Tacos.  It doesn't matter what you call them, they are good.  This is my version of it.  I am not going to claim it's an authentic Navajo or Sioux Taco but it's delicious.  This last time I made them I decided to top them with Pico de Gallo and Guacamole, but I really didn't like the way it all came together.  I think the lime in the two sides really didn't go well with the chili.  In the end, I ended up eating mine with just diced tomatoes and avocados (and, of course, the sour cream, cheese and lettuce).  Sometimes the simpler it is, the better it tastes, I just have to be reminded of that every now and then.  Remember in the chili post when I talked about doubling the batch of chili and freezing half?  I think this would be a great use for the chili in the freezer.  If you don't want to make the scones, I have used frozen, thawed bread dough (Mrs Rhodes) before and they were almost as good. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Caramel Buttermilk Syrup

If you remember from the pumpkin pancake post, I mentioned making the buttermilk syrup with brown sugar instead of white to give it a caramel quality.  I finally tried it today.  We had pumpkin french toast, which wasn't nearly as good as the pancakes, but we made caramel buttermilk syrup with it.  Although I don't think the french toast was blog-worthy, the syrup definitely was.  I used sour milk instead of buttermilk, but I am sure buttermilk would make it even better.  Even though, it's probably not necessary, I am including the recipe.
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