Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cream Cheese

I like cream cheese. Do you?
I don't like you??

In my quest to home make all things store bought, my next task was cream cheese. I knew I had Pumpkin Cheesecake on the menu, so how cool to make the cream cheese I'd be using?? It has a bit more tang then commercial cream cheese but that's because I used beautiful, raw, organic milk. It makes a difference!

Cream Cheese

Start by making my fresh, crock pot yogurt.
The morning you wake up to fresh yogurt is the morning you begin.
Get a clean cloth. You can use a pillowcase, cheesecloth, floursack towel, or my personal favorite, a Gerber Birdseye Flat cloth diaper. Those things..I tell you what...waste of money if you're cloth diapering! They hold zero liquid..making them perfect for cream cheese making!! 
Anyways, dump all the yogurt into the center of your cloth. Bring all the ends up together and secure. (I used rubber bands.) Hang with a bowl underneath to catch the whey. ( I hung mine on my cupboard handle) Let hang until dripping ceases completely. I started mine one morning, and by the next morning, the cream cheese was beautifully thick! That's it, folks! Cream cheese. The easy way. =)
Look how cool I rigged my "hanging" part...haha. =D It worked!!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Chocolate Drizzle

I think mini things are just way cooler then full size. Really, tiny mice are so much cuter then huge ones. And small traffic tickets are much more appealing then large ones. Well, the same goes for cheesecakes. They're way too adorable when they're tiny! See?

So anyways, in making tiny things, here are some mini pumpkin cheesecakes. =) I started with my pie crust. Roll it out and use a biscuit cutter to make little circles. Press into greased mini muffin tins and make pumpkin cheesecake as follows

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

4 oz cream cheese (home-made recipe to follow!)
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Fill each mini tin with 1 tablespoon mixture. Bake on 350 for about 12-15 minutes or until center comes out clean. Cool completely. Proceed to Chocolate Sauce Recipe for drizzle

1/2 cup dutched cocoa powder
1/2 cup rapadura or sucanat sugar
1 cup coconut oil
1 T. vanilla

Place everything in a quart mason canning jar. Put a medium size pot, half full of water, to simmer on stove. Place canning jar in water and warm slowly, stirring occasionally. The chocolate is done when the sugar is dissolved. Pour onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm. Break into pieces and use however! I melted the chocolate and drizzled the cheesecake with it. It firmed back up in about 10 minutes!

Now. Wanna learn what rapadura and sucanat sugar is? 

Rapadura is dried sugar cane juice. It is completely unrefined and can be purchased organic!  

Sucanat is unrefined cane sugar that retains its molasses content. It is used in place of brown sugar. Most commercial brown sugar is simply refined white sugar with molasses added. Sucanat is the real deal.
So there you have it. My two new favorite additions to my pantry. 

You really can taste the difference between commercial and natural once you start switching over!!

Healthy Pie Crust! (And Pumpkin Pie)

Did you know...that Crisco is so not good for you?
No lie. It's actually kinda bad for you. Kinda...times a few. 
But really, what makes such a divine pie crust? An easy to roll out, never fail crust?
In my books, that's Crisco. 
Well, time to re-write my books..because....

I got an awesome, healthy, Crisco free pie crust..that rolls out like a dream come true!
Let me start by telling you about Palm Shortening. If you already knew about it, shame on you for not telling me!! My life would have been so much better if you would have shared that info..! Anyway, in case you don't know what it is, here are a few little facts.

  • It does not require hydrogenation, therefore, it contains no trans fatty acid
  • The oil palm is native to West Africa
  • Palm shortening is palm oil that has some of its unsaturated fats removed, giving it a very firm texture, and high melting point
  • It is colorless and odorless, and will not affect the taste of foods
  • It can be used to replace margarine or Crisco in cooking with no adverse reactions
Guess what else. It makes perfect pie crust. And I love it. 

Another cool fact. Hard red wheat berries are beautiful in breads and stuff...but if you want to grind your own flour for pastry type food? Use soft white wheat berries. It grinds just like the red..but has a lighter color and softer texture (and is still super good for you)! Another must for beautiful pie crust.

So those were the really sweet things I learned today. And now, here are some cool recipes.

Wheat Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups fresh ground soft white wheat berry flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup palm shortening
4-5 tablespoons water

Place flour, salt and shortening in blender. Blend until shortening is cut throughout the flour and the mixture resembles crumbs. Add water until your dough will form a nice ball. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or so before rolling out. Too warm and it's way soft, I found...

Makes 1 9inch pie crust

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 egg
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup maple syrup, pure
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (did you know you can make this stuff? details later!)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

Mix everything in a bowl until well combined. Pour into pie shell. Bake 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and bake on 325 until a knife poked into the center comes out clean. Start checking after about 45-50 minutes. Cool completely and refrigerate before serving.

Imagine that. Pumpkin pie with no preservatives or refined sugar!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Aerro is a hot dog freak. He would eat them every single day if I let him, which I don't, but yeah! He loves them.
Sometimes, it's nice to mix things up. Who likes corn dogs? *raises hands* Who likes fatty, fried foods? *lowers hand*
So why not make corn dogs, but in a non fried way??
Introducing...the corn dog muffin. It's corn bread...made with whole grain flour..with cheese in it..and little squares of hot dog. So anyways, don't bother putting these in muffin liners. The ones made without were way better =). So cool!!

Corndog Muffins
1 cup corn meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup shredded cheddar
4 hot dogs, halved, quartered, and cubed

Mix everything in a large bowl until just combined. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake on 400 for 20 minutes. Cool and serve with ketchup, of course!

Pumpkin Pancakes

In keeping with my pumpkin theme, here are some pumpkin pancakes! Did you know that if you soak your whole grain flour overnight in buttermilk, it makes it easier to digest and you get more nutrients out of it? The cultured buttermilk (or milk with lemon juice if you don't have buttermilk on hand) breaks down the outer layer of the grain and exposes the inner goodness! How cool is that, anyway??

For pancakes/ waffles : Stir the whole wheat flour and the buttermilk together, cover it with a cloth and let it sit overnight.  The next day, I add the remaining ingredients and cook the pancakes or waffles.

For muffins/ quick breads :  Mix the flour with the butter (melted and cooled) or oil that the recipe calls for and add enough buttermilk to make it “soakable”.  Let it sit overnight, then mix in the remaining ingredients.
*I learned this from Heavenly Homemakers*

It's really not that much more work at all, and if you do baking in the morning like I do, it's super easy to mix up this part before one goes to bed. Let soak at least 7 hours before using.

So, onto the pumpkin pancakes! Aerro was in charge of potions this morning, and when he's using utensils, he only gets small ones. That way if there are spills, they're pretty minimal! Mini pumpkin pancakes!
Note: There is no sugar in this recipe!

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp flaxmeal
2 tsp oatbran
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. ginger
1 egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 T. coconut oil, melted

Soak flour, flaxmeal, oatbran, and buttermilk overnight. In the morning, whisk all the remaining ingredients into the flour mixture. Pour out onto lightly greased skillet. When bubbles begin to form, turn pancakes. Cook until golden.

These were so perfect with almond butter and maple syrup!!

A giant stack of mini pancakes!

Of course, little boys only get little stacks of pancakes, though.  =)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Bagels (With Maple Cream Cheese)

I've never made a bagel before. Have you?
But of course, why not try?! They can't be that complicated, right? And if I can make them, I can control the ingredients!

These are, absolutely hands down, my favorite bagel in the world right about now..! That is, of course, until I make different varieties! =)

Seriously, though..! I made 9 of these, right? Craig came home from work. Bianca came back from the store. I have 2 left. No lie. So, another batch is raising..they're that easy! And that good!

Make them. You won't regret it. I think...

Pumpkin Spice Bagels

2 1/4 tsp yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I use Saigon cinnamon)
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

Sprinkle yeast over warm water and allow to sit 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin, sugar, salt, and all spices. Stir in enough flour to form soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. (When using whole wheat flour, i notice that you may need to add a bit of water to this step to make it elastic and smooth). Place in oiled bowl, cover, and let raise 1 hour.

Turn out onto oiled surface and divide into 9 smooth balls. Poke a hole in the middle of the ball with your finger and begin forming bagel shape until center hole is about 1 inch big. Do this with all the balls and then cover and let rest ten minutes.

Boil, 3 at a time, in a large pot for 45 seconds each side. Remove with slotted spoon and drain well on a cooling rack. Place on a greased pan that has been coated with corn meal. Brush with egg white mixed with the 1 tbsp water. Bake on 400 for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

I blended 8oz cream cheese with 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup for the cream cheese topping.

My goodness, it's so much fun trying new recipes and finding out they're divine! Makes me smile inside, really.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins (with pumpkin- apple butter)

Obviously, I have a surplus of pumpkin, so it's on to finding my new favorite pumpkin recipes!
Muffins are the easiest of all things to make, I've decided. One, maybe two bowls, a spatula, and you're set!
Not terribly rich, these muffins are a perfect breakfast or snack! I topped them with just a bit of pumpkin-apple butter. Loves..!!

Pumpkin Muffins
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sweetener (I used part maple syrup, raw agave, and evaporated cane juice)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp salt
2 tablespoons flax(optional)
1 tablespoon oat bran(optional)
2 eggs
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
3 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and all wet in another. Fold together the wet and dry until combined, taking caution to not over mix. Fill greased or lined muffin tins 2/3rds full. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes or until the center comes out clean.


Recipe for Pumpkin Apple Butter here.

How to do a Pumpkin

Our garden gave us around 30 pumpkins this year. They were supposed to be cute, little pumpkins. The problem with growing non-hybrid is that usually it's not so cute and normal sized. It's gigantic. Growing stuff, if it was usually 12 inches high, in our garden, it was 4 feet. The corn? 15 feet tall. The dill? 4 feet tall. Zucchini? Around 8 cups pureed per zuc. Well, same with these pumpkins. Needless to say, we have alot..of..pumpkin to puree!!
Here's a photographic journey into my fun of preserving pumpkins!

First, wash and halve pumpkin.

Scrape out the fibers until clean.
Don't forget to save the seeds! 
Cut into 1 inch size slices
 Cut off outer peeling
Cube and cover with water. Boil until soft.
Then puree the well drained, tender pumpkin!

I freeze mine in 4 cup portion sizes. Now onto making healthy, delicious pumpkin recipes!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Apple Crisp

I had the challenge before me. Make apple crisp..with no refined sugar. At all.
So. I started with 6 apples, some agave, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
Here's what I came up with! I was a little scared to actually eat worked!
Craig will be so happy.

Sugarless Apple Crisp
6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3 tbsp raw agave
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 cup oats
1/3 cup flour
maple syrup + melted coconut oil

Toss apples with agave, cinnamon, and nutmeg. If you want it sweeter, add more agave. Let sit until juices form.  (I made a huge bowl of this the night before, let it sit on my porch overnight, and by morning, it was faily dripping in juices! I did sprinkle with lemon juice, too.)
Place in 8 by 8 square pan lightly sprayed with olive oil.
Combine oats + flour in a small bowl. Use equal parts maple syrup and coconut oil until a crumble forms. I used about 3 tablespoons each. (This is usually where people add some brown sugar..if you're not anti-sugar, add 1/3 cup) Sprinkle on top of apples. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes or until browned and apples are soft.

Yes, I know, my recipes aren't very technical but that's mostly because I just toss, add, sprinkle, etc until it "looks right". =)
p.s. even my anti-healthy sister loves this stuff!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Orange Bread

In my quest to make all kinds of bread, I knew a swirled bread had to be next. I have fabulous memories of fall and winter-time, eating cinnamon swirl bread with eggnog for breakfast. It was tradition in our house! But could I make a swirled bread?? 
My first attempt didn't work so well. I took the loaf out of the pan too early and it flopped. But, not to be dissuaded, I tried again. (By the way, I cut up the flopped loaf, dried it in cubes, and lets just say I'll be posting a recipe for bread pudding real soon!!)
This time, it turned out perfect!! Woohoo for success!!!

The orange in this bread gives it such a nice....zing. I like the word zing when associated with citrus. It just fits. =)

Cinnamon Orange Bread
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
3/4 cups orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 tablespoon fresh grated orange peel
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 1/4 cups flour (at least half whole wheat)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
2 tsp cinnamon (Saigon Cinnamon is the best!!!)
2 tsp butter

1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp orange juice
1/2 tsp orange peel, grated fresh

 Dissolve yeast in water. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, orange juice, sugar, shortening, peel and salt. Add 2 cups flour, yeast mixture and egg; mix well. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into rectangle. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over rectangle that has been spread lightly with butter. Roll up and seal edges. Place with sealed edge down in two greased 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise about 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in pans. Combine glaze ingredients; spread over loaves.
Photos =)

The Final Product!! So beautiful~

I can't wait to make this into french toast tomorrow! If it's delicious fresh and divine toasted, can you imagine what it'll be like as french toast? I believe I'll be making an orange syrup tomorrow morning to top it off..!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Healthy Cupcakes!

Did you know it was possible to have a healthy cupcake?!
It's true! And they taste AWESOME!!!
I was super excited to find Chef Curtis Stone had a healthy cupcake recipe that I totally had to make it! My advice is to NOT overbeat the egg whites. I did the first time and the cupcakes were super sticky...
So...Try these! You won't be disappointed!!

Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes

5 organic egg whites
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the frosting
1 cup nonfat cream cheese
1/2 ripe banana

  • Preheat the oven to 325F.
  • Place the egg whites in a large bowl and using a handheld mixer whip the whites on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until the whites begin to lighten up and hold their shape.
  • Increase speed to high and whip in the salt and honey until the whites hold a soft peak, then add the vanilla extract.
  • Fold in the yogurt.
  • In a separate medium mixing bowl combine the flour and baking powder and mix well.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the egg whites a little at a time, gently folding them in with a rubber spatula.
  • Once fully incorporated, scoop the batter into cupcake tins lined with cupcake papers.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes or until they have colored and gently spring back when pushed with a finger.
  • Remove from the oven and cool the cupcakes at room temp.
  • Mix the cream cheese and the banana in a medium mixing bowl until well incorporated, leaving small chunks of banana throughout the frosting.
  • Once cool, spread a little of the banana frosting over the cupcakes and top with small banana slice and blueberry. 

( I had to make a healthy cupcake because, well, I was very unfair to my family when I made these cupcakes..I'm not advocating them for their health factor..but for their taste =)...They're not in the slightest bit good for you, I'm sure, but hey....If you want to go healthy, use the recipe above ;-) )

Black and White Cupcakes
  • 2 cups Cake Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¾ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ cups Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3 whole Eggs Room Temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • ¾ cups (plus A Tad More) Whole Milk
  • 1 cup white chips
  • _____
  • 1 can sweetened condensed Milk
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet & dark chocolate (4 oz each)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for a few more seconds. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. Mix to combine. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk in three batches, mixing for a few seconds after each addition. Scrape sides of bowl, then mix one final time. Add white chips. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until poufy but not brown. Cool before icing.

Sticky Chocolate Icing: Mix ingredients together in a small/medium saucepan. Melt ingredients over medium low heat, stirring gently. Icing is ready when all ingredients are melted and combined. Spoon warm icing over warm cupcakes, stirring icing to smooth after every third cupcake or so. Allow iced cupcakes to sit at least ten minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Favorite Tea

I have an obsession with tea. I am always mixing and finding new combination to love.

This tea obsession began with my herb obsession. I discovered Bulk Herb Store and fell in deep like. I've used yarrow to break a fever, chamomile and lemon balm to help ease restlessness, dandelion and alfalfa to relieve water retention, comfrey to soothe bee stings, spearmint to soothe morning sickness, on and on.

Lately, I've been downing red raspberry tea with alfalfa and orange peel mixed in. The raspberry strengthens the uterus and prepares it for delivery. Alfalfa helps to keep water retention at bay. Orange peel just tastes plain good. =)

My favorite place to spend the paycheck is at the herb store. I've quite the collection now and it's SO much fun blending! Today, the pot held anise, clove, raspberry, elderberry, rose hips, and two cinnamon sticks. Add a dash of vanilla and it tastes like fall!

I love researching herbs and am fully convinced that they do help ailments. I've linked my top fav herbs to their pages on what they're good for. Have a read! In the meantime, begin mixing! Fresh, loose leaf tea tastes so much better then store bought bagged tea!

Some of what's in my herb cupboard.=)

Red Raspberry Leaf
Chamomile Flowers
Cinnamon Stick
Orange Peel
Rose Hips
Lemon Grass
Spearmint Leaf

Veggie Bars

A picture is worth a thousand words so spare you reading, a photo.  =)

Veggie Bars

1 pack crescent rolls
8oz cream cheese
1/3 c mayo
2 tbsp ranch powder mix
1/2 c grated cheddar
1 grated carrot
1 broccoli bunch, chopped small
1/2 cucumber, cubed small
1/2 green pepper, cubed 
any other veggie you want =)

Press crescent on cookie sheet. Bake 375 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely. Blend cream cheese, mayo, and ranch powder together. Spread on crust. Top with chopped veggies and cheese. Enjoy!!

I was craving this SO BAD the other day and just had to make it! Thankfully, I had the ingredients on hand! It turned out amazing. We won't go into just how many pieces I alone ate, though.....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rosemary Herbed Focaccia Bread

Once upon a time, my grandma created the most amazing rosemary focaccia bread for my baby shower. It was the bread of the evening. People still talk about it, and that's no lie! It's a bread to crave! I always just thought that if I wanted rosemary focaccia, I'd either have to go to my grandma's or Macaroni Grill. Not. So.
I am in so much like with this recipe, mostly because it's as simple as any other bread one! No complicating steps, and a perfect turnout!!

Dipped in oil and vinegar, it makes a perfect side to anything Italian. Cubed and toasted in the oven, it makes divine croutons. Sliced in half, it makes for a perfect sandwich. The basil, onion, and rosemary meld so well together!

Rosemary Herbed Focaccia Bread

2 tsp yeast
 1 1/4 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried, chopped onion

Put yeast in small bowl with 1 cup of the warm water. Leave 5 minutes and then stir to dissolve. Mix flour, herbs, and salt in large bowl (or mixer bowl). Pour in dissolved yeast and oil. Slowly mix in the last bit of water and knead (by hand or machine) 10 minutes. Rise in oiled bowl, covered, 1 1/2-2 hours. Punch down and divide into two balls (if you want smaller rounds) or leave as one. Form into ball(s) and let rest 10 minutes. Roll (or press) into 9 inch circles and place on oiled baking sheets. Raise another 30 minutes and form dimples in dough rounds with your finger. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with more rosemary and some garlic salt. Bake on 375 for 30 minutes or until browned.

Craig likes his assembled with mayo, bacon, pepper jack, turkey, and lettuce.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Happy Orange

Some mornings, Aerro wakes up a complete grump. Not this morning! When he rolled out of bed, breakfast was waiting along with his little guy. Carved out like a pumpkin, this little orange made the perfect bowl for Aerro's fruit! I chopped up apple, banana, grapes, and the orange and filled the cavity. Yeah, this was a hit..!!
Make it sometime! It's super easy and basically mess free. A lot easier then carving pumpkins for sure!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Potato Chowder/ Pepperjack Biscuits

Tonight was a soup night. I love soup nights. They're among the easiest meals to make!
I mostly just throw ingredients in a pot until it looks good. It's fun, and this soup turned out just how I pictured it in my head.
Satisfying and hearty, this recipe will now be a staple in this house!

The second time I made this, I added 2 stalks celery to the onion/garlic step and some cayenne and a tsp dill to the herb step. A lot better!

Potato Chowder

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 regular carrot or 1/2 cup baby carrots, cubed
2 15oz containers/jars organic chicken stock
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 tsp freshly minced basil
1 tsp fresh minced thyme
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Put chopped potatoes, carrots, and one container of stock in medium sized pot with all the herbs/salt/pepper. Simmer on medium. Heat the onion and garlic in another saucepan with olive oil until soft. Add the other container of chicken stock and the flour. Stir quickly to combine, avoiding lumps. Boil 2 minutes and pour into potato pot. Simmer until potatoes and carrots are soft. Add milk, sour cream, and shredded cheddar. Heat through. Garnish with chopped green onions.

You can also add 4 strips chopped, cooked bacon or 3/4 cups cubed ham. =)

Pepperjack Biscuits

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup shredded pepperjack
1/3 cup milk, plus 2 tablespoons milk

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in cubed butter using a pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in pepper jack cheese and milk until dough forms. Knead on floured surface 8-10 times. roll out and cut into 9 squares or 7 circles. Bake on 450 for 10-12 minutes or until browned. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hamburger Buns

My Mother-In-Law's buns are the best.
Everyone agrees.
And as strange as that sounds, it's perfectly normal to walk around saying Jean has the BEST buns...We mean it in a good way. =)

They even look the best! See??

*starts to salivate*

Now, you must have the recipe. It's quick, easy, and fool proof!!

Hamburger Buns
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water
1/3 cup powdered milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted (I used olive oil)
4-5 cups flour (or a mix, half and half, whole wheat/unbleached)

Mix yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let rest 10 minutes.
Whisk the rest of the water with the milk, sugar, salt, butter, and yeast mixture. Add 2 cups flour and beat 1 minute. Knead in the remaining flour. Turn onto oiled surface and hand knead 3 minutes, adding flour if necessary. Put into greased bowl, cover, and let raise 1 1/4 hours. Divide into 12 equal pieces and form into ball. Flatten ball and put on greased pan. Raise for 20 more minutes and bake on 350 for 20 mins or until lightly browned.

See? How easy is that anyway?? No complicating directions. No special steps. Just mix, raise, roll, and bake! Boy, were these ever a hit in tonight's dinner!

To assemble our burger, you'll need a burger, caramelized sweet onion, some peppered bacon, sliced pepperjack cheese, some really good bbq sauce, some lettuce and tomato, and that's pretty much it! Mouth watering satisfaction!!

I'm probably going to look at this picture every day. It makes me smile. And be kinda hungry. YUM!

Artichoke Dip

Sometimes, things can be not so healthy but yet insanely delicious.
Well, this is that kind recipe. Go ahead...lecture on the fats in cream cheese and mayo..but while you do, please try some of this dip!

Honestly, it's the best I've ever had. Credit to my Aunt in Michigan! And credit to my other Aunt Eva for the presentation of the food. She's gourmet like that. =)

Now, go make this stuff!!

Artichoke Dip
1 can organic artichoke hearts, chopped
1 8oz cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced,
1.5 cups parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayo

Mix all ingredients fully and bake it in a breadbowl (or pan) for a half hour on 350. Serve with toasted baguette bread.
Eva put the bread bowl on a pizza stone, surrounded it with cubed and sliced baguette, and sprinkled everything with a layer of Parmesan before baking. It turned out perfect!!

Honey Lemon Muffins

To go along with my infatuation with muffins, here's another recipe. These muffins have just the right hint of sweet with a touch of lemon zing. An interesting combination that's really delicious! Don't bother only making one batch. =) I learned the hard way. Craig came home, and in one sitting, one batch was gone. Just like that.

Honey Lemon Muffins

1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel (zest)

Mix all just until combined. Fill lined muffin tins 1/2 full. Bake at 375 for 15-17 minutes

Breakfast Burritos

Craig doesn't seem to mind waking up to these in the morning! They heat in the oven on 400 for 20 mins or in the microwave wrapped in wax paper for a couple minutes. Super easy to assemble and really good!

Breakfast Burritos
10 eggs, scrambled and crumbled (I season mine with powdered onion, pepper, garlic, and parsley)
1lb sausage, browned
2 cups shredded cheese
5 potatoes, cubed super small, seasoned, baked, and cooled
Chopped onion and peppers if you want

Layer a small portion of each on a burrito size tortilla, roll up, and wrap in foil. They're the best with salsa!!

Oat Pancakes + Mango Cremes

All credit to my mom on these two recipes!

Oat Pancakes
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Combine the eggs, milk, oil and lemon juice; add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until second side is golden brown

(not my photo)
Mango Cremes
4 mango
some raw blue agave (or sugar)
handful of blueberries
some cream

Blend and add creme until desired consistency. Of course, if you don't want all the fat in cream, use milk. =)