Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Apple Crisp

I made two trays of this apple crisp for my class the other day and it was almost all gone!  I had a few people ask for the recipe, so I thought I would share.  Apples are in season right now and taste so good, this is a great fall dessert for that reason.  I hope you try this, its so very easy!  I'm even including the recipe for the whipped cream I made to go with it.

Apple Crisp
by: Betty Crocker
4medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)*I used a combo of Macintosh and another tart cooking apple
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg  **I also added about 1/2 tsp of cloves
Cream or Ice cream, if desired 








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  1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.
  2. Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.
  3. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with cream (or warm with the whipped cream below).
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
by: me :)
  • 8 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (or more if you think its not sweet enough)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste 
  1. Put a metal bowl in the freezer for about ten minutes so it is nice and cold.  This helps that whipped cream whip faster (it really does work!).
  2. You can use a hand mixer or electric mixer for this (or a whisk if you are really brave).  
  3. Pour all the ingredients into the cold bowl.
  4. Turn your mixer on high and whip until stiff peaks form.  Don't whip too long, or you'll end up with butter.
  5. Put in the fridge until you are ready to use it and resist the urge to eat all of it with a spoon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicken Fricassee with Mashed Potatoes

This is a meal my mom would make a lot when I was a kid.  It is great for those leftovers you may be getting sick of or if you want a good comfort meal.  My mom calls it chicken fricassee, but I don't know what the real name of it may be, all I know is it is delish!

Chicken Fricassee
from: my mom

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup or more of peas and corn (or whatever your preference may be)
  • 2 cups chicken (or turkey) torn up into bite size pieces (precooked!)
Directions:
  1. Melt butter over medium heat.  When butter is melted, add onions and saute until translucent.
  2. Sprinkle flour over this mixture once onions are ready.  Whisk until all of the flour is absorbed.  Cook this mixture and stir very often for about 3-5 minutes.  You want to make sure that you cook it long enough to get all of the raw flour flavor out.
  3. Whisk in milk and broth.  You will want to whisk it good, or there might be lumps! 
  4. Stir often over medium heat until the mixture starts to bubble.  You will also notice that the gravy will begin to thicken at this point, like magic!
  5. When it gets pretty thick (like it would coat the back of a spoon), turn the heat to low. Now, add the peas and corn (frozen still is fine, that's why the heat is still on!) and chicken.
  6. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste.  Don't add too much salt without tasting it because broth can be kind of salty!
  7. Pour over your favorite mashed potatoes on each individual plate (homemade or boxed, I won't tell!), but don't combine it all until you are ready to eat, it might get a little soupy.
  8. Leftovers are super good :)
Thanks Mom!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Pie

I love this time of year and all of the pumpkin goodies.  Me and my friend Hope cooked almost all of Thanksgiving dinner on our own (Max put some butter on the turkey).  Instead of the traditional pumpkin pie, I made this pumpkin cream pie that I found on the Pioneer Woman's website.  I love her and her food always looks amazing!  I missed her when she came and visited OU :(

Ree's recipe called for a homemade graham cracker crust, but I already had so much today that I used a shortbread crust that I got at Target.  They had run out of graham cracker crusts already!  I probably shouldn't have done my shopping the day before Thanksgiving!  Also, I didn't use the whiskey that is optional.

Pumpkin Cream Pie
from: The Pioneer Woman 

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1-½ package Graham Crackers (about 15 Cookie Sheets)
  • ½ cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 stick Butter, Melted
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 1 box (3 Oz. Box) Vanilla Pudding (Cook And Serve Variety)
  • 1 cup Half-and-half
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • Pinch Of Cinnamon
  • Pinch Of Nutmeg
  • Pinch Of Ground Cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons Whiskey (optional)
  • ½ cups (plus 3 Tablespoons) Pumpkin Puree
  • ½ cups (additional) Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • Extra Graham Cracker Crumbs, For Garnish

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Grind graham crackers in a food processor (or, if you don’t have a food processor, place them in a large ziploc and pound ‘em with a rolling pin.) Add powdered sugar and melted butter and process until totally combined. Press into the bottom and sides of a pie pan until nice and firm. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until warm and “set.” Remove from oven and allow crust to cool completely.
In a medium saucepan, mix dry pudding mix with half-and-half and cream. Add spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick. Remove from heat and stir in whiskey, if using. Add pumpkin and stir to combine. Place lid on pot and set aside to cool. When cool enough, place pot in the fridge to cool completely.
When mixture is cool, remove from the fridge. In a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and brown sugar. Beat until very light and fluffy. Fold in pumpkin cream mixture until combined. Pour into cooled crust.
Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. Serve with graham crackers crumbled on top.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Bars

Hello again.  I know its been a while.  I'm more than halfway through my student teaching and I have really been enjoying it.  I had a little time last weekend and was hanging out with Brittani, so I made some pumpkin bars in honor of Fall!!  I love pumpkin and all things pumpkin related. These bars are very yummy and have the perfect balance of frosting and cake.  I hope you get to try these and enjoy them!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
from: How to Simplify

Ingredients:
Bars

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Frosting
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. Mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin with a mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Pour flour, powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda into another bowl and mix.
  4. Pour flour mixture into pumpkin mixture and mix until incorporated and smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the baking dish and level out the batter.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the dish or frosting.
  8. Frost the bars when they have cooled -- To make the frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter in a bowl and mix until smooth. Add the sugar slowly until you reach the desired consistency. Stir in the vanilla.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hiatus

Sorry for the lack of posting lately.  I am currently doing my student teaching and working from 5-11 every night.  I'm only at home and awake for about an hour a day, so there hasn't been much baking or cooking for me.  I might be posting every once in a while, but not very often.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Berry Crumble

Its been so hot in Oklahoma lately that I haven't been baking too much.  Our little apartment gets so hot once the oven is turned on and our air conditioner barely works.  So, I'm going to post this recipe for berry crumble that I made for some friends in June and for Max's family in July.  It was a real hit with everyone and there were no leftovers either time I made it.  This recipe is very easy and the only thing you will probably have to buy are berries.  I hope you enjoy!

Berry Crumble
adapted from Playing House
  •  6 cups of berries of your choice (I like to use half frozen, mixed berries and half fresh berries such as strawberries or blueberries)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or apple pie spice
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, plus some for the pan
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for juicy fruit
  • Dash salt

1. Heat the oven to 400 F. Toss the fruit with half the cinnamon or apple pie spice, the lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar (and a tablespoon of flour if your fruit is juicy) and spread it in a lightly buttered 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan.

2. Combine all the other ingredients, including the remaining cinnamon or apple pie spice and brown sugar, in a food processor and pulse a few times, then process a few seconds more, until everything is well incorporated but not uniform. To mix the ingredients by hand, soften the butter slightly, toss together the dry ingredients, then work in the butter with your fingertips, a pastry blender, or a fork).

3. Crumble the topping over the fruit and bake until the topping is browned and the fruit is tender and bubbling, 30-40 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. (I really like to serve this with vanilla ice cream when the crumble is hot, yum!)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Veggie Lasagna (No Bake)

As you may have noticed from my previous post, I have indulged a bit over the past few weeks.  Max and I needed to start eating some more veggies so I combined a few recipes for Summer Veggie Lasagna that I found online.  This is nice for the summer too because you don't have to bake it in the oven so you don't heat up your whole house.

Summer Veggie Lasagna
adapted from a bunch of places
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 small summer squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 small eggplant (optional), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1-2 tsp of minced garlic
  • 3 tsp chopped, fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups part skim ricotta
  • lasagna sheets
  • olive oil
  1. Boil salted water for the lasagna sheets.  The number of lasagna sheets you need depends on how many people you are feeding.  You will need two sheets per plate.  Boil lasagna for the time stated on the box.  Set aside.
  2. Saute onion in olive oil until almost translucent.  Add garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove onion and garlic from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add summer squash, zucchini, and eggplant to the same saute pan.  Cook until the squash starts to become translucent.  Add salt and pepper.  You may need more olive oil to cook these.
  4. In a bowl, mix ricotta, onion and garlic mixture, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Taste the mixture to make sure it is seasoned well.
  5. To create the lasagna: cut one sheet in half and put on the plate.  Spread with ricotta mixture.  Layer with squash, eggplant, and tomato.  Cut another lasagna sheet in half and put it on top of the tomatoes.  If you want, you can sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and microwave for about a minute to melt it.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cruise of the Baltic July 2010

We (Mark, Joann, Allison, Matt, Joseph, Max, and I) recently went on a Cruise of the Baltic Sea.  We lived on a big boat for 12 days.  We started in Amsterdam and continued on to: Rostock and Warnemunde, Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki and Porvoo, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallin, Estonia; and Copenhagen, Denmark.  During this time we ate some fabulous food and, since this is a food blog, I thought I would share some of our culinary pleasures during our travels.


Pancake with bacon and cheese in Amsterdam.
Croquettes in Amsterdam.  Tasted like deep-fried biscuits and gravy.
A little bird, I can't remember which kind right now!
Cheese and bread in Warnemunde, Germany.
Potato pancakes and fresh sauerkraut in Warnemunde, Germany.
Seafood risotto on the boat.
Strawberry soup with creme fraiche.
Steak with a cream sauce on pasta.
Crepe with a Grand Marnier sauce and vanilla ice cream that was made fresh on the boat.
Raspberry cream with peach sauce and whipped cream in Finland.
Escargot! It was so delicious that I ordered it three times on the boat.
Chicken spring rolls.
Seafood linguine with shrimp, scallops, calamari, and mussels.
Crepe cigar with pastry cream filling and a dulce de leche sauce.
Chocolate mousse with raspberry creme and Chambord topping.
I believe this was a mushroom and goat cheese puffed pastry.
Chilled butternut squash soup with sage.
Petite filet mignon with pea flan and fresh potato chips.
Another rich, delicious chocolate dessert.
Sorry this is crooked.  This was a popular dish in Copenhagen, an open faced sandwich.  This one had salmon, caviar, onion, and an aioli.
Steak tartare.  This was very delicious.
Mushroom and pearl onions within a puff pastry.
A palate cleanser during a formal dinner.  This one was passionfruit.
Lobster tail with shrimp and scallops and a lobster risotto.
Lamb shank with carrot mashed potatoes, baked apple, and cooked red cabbage.
Chocolate mousse pit with chocolate sauce.
I don't remember the name of this one, but it was like a light cheesecake with a coconut crust and passionfruit topping.

You'll notice that I have an abundance of dessert pictures.  Most nights, desserts looked so good that I ordered two.  I couldn't help myself!  Sometimes, I felt as if I was eating my way through Europe, but that is not a bad thing!  I tried a lot of things that I hadn't tried before, including steak tartare, escargot, and pate.  I hope you enjoyed this small taste of my culinary trip through Europe.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm back!

Sorry for the long break!  I took a long trip to Europe and haven't been cooking much (but I have been eating a lot).  I'll be updating soon with pictures of food from the trip and when I get a chance to cook next, I will post some recipes again! Hang in there; I will be back!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spicy Orange Chicken

I've been having to make dinners quickly before I work at 5 every day.  I found this the other day on a blog that I follow and it sounded quick, easy, and I had most of the ingredients.  This Spicy Orange Chicken is like takeout, without the high cost and it takes about as long as you would have to wait for them to deliver anyways!

Spicy Orange Chicken
adapted from: This Week for Dinner

Ingredients:
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 3 T butter 
  • broccoli (optional, or any other veggies that you like)
Sauce:
  • 3T brown sugar
  • 3T vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 1.5 C orange juice
  • 1.5 t. nutmeg
  • 1.5 t. dried basil
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1-2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 small can mandarin oranges (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in bag. Shake chicken pieces until coated. Brown on both sides in butter in skillet over medium heat. Drain off fat. The chicken probably won't be cooked all the way through, but that is okay!
  2. Combine sauce ingredients and add to skillet. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer ~30 minutes or until tender.  Make sure it is not simmering too violently, or you will end up with tough chicken.  For a “sophisticated touch” add drained mandarin oranges and heat about 5 mins.  
  3. If using (frozen) veggies, add about 5 minutes before finished cooking. (I added mine too soon and ended up with tough, brown broccoli, oops!)  You may need to turn the heat up a bit to bring the sauce back to a simmer.
  4. Note: cook chicken and sauce in covered skillet, but tip the cover a little to thicken sauce towards the end of cooking time.  Sauce will also thicken if you let it stand about 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Serve over rice, or grain of your choice. Enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Me and Brittani have been baking a lot together and I don't mind because her kitchen is much bigger than mine :)
We made these on Saturday to go along with the alligator burgers and butternut squash fries that she and her husband made, yum.  I had never had alligator before and I was quite surprised!  It was very tasty, especially with the barbecue sauce and bacon from the butcher we put on them!

On to the recipe: these Strawberry Lemonade bars were really tasty and a nice, light dessert for a hot summer night.  These were a bit tart, so if you want a sweeter bar, I would recommend using 1 1/2 cups of sugar instead of the called for 1 1/4.  Also, the crust is a little thin on these, so if you like a nice, thick shortbread crust you may want to consider multiplying the crust ingredients by 1.5.

Strawberry Lemonade Bars
from: Playing House
Crust
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Filling
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (Amy's note: I used an entire 3 lb. bag of small lemons to get a cup of juice)
  • 2-3 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 3/4 cup berries)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

2. Begin by making the crust. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.

3. While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. In the bowl of a food processor (or blender!!), combine lemon juice, lemon zest, strawberry puree, sugar and eggs and process until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth. Gently pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set (There will be a light colored “crust” on top from the sugar in the custard - nothing to worry about).

4. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Cool completely before slicing and use a damp knife to ensure clean slices. Store bars in the refrigerator, especially on a hot day.

Makes 24 bars.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June Garden

I posted some pictures of my garden about a month ago.  Its amazing how quickly these plants grow.  I have tomatoes that are still green, but they are there!  The squash are getting out of control and the pepper plants have little baby peppers on them!  I also finally uploaded the picture of the Oreo Cheesecake Bars I posted a while back.  Those disappeared really quickly...

Spaghetti squash on the left and sugar pumpkins on the right.  The are getting out of control!
Tomatoes, jalapenos, and basil which have gotten so big!
See what they used to look like?

Acorn squash and popcorn in the left corner.  Luckily, squash and corn get along because the squash is heading straight for them!

Finally, the tiny little tomatoes! I'm not sure if these are the cherry tomatoes or the big ones, but I'll find out soon, I guess.

I'll keep you updated as things get bigger.  I forgot to take a picture of the cucumbers, they aren't much to look at right now anyways.  I'll be excited to finally start eating things I have grown.  I've eat things that Janine has grown (she's my friend I'm gardening with) which is exciting and everything is so yummy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tortilla Pizzas

Since I've started my new job at night, I've had to make dinner for me and Max before I leave or I would be very hungry when I got back at 8.  I was browsing some of the food blogs that I frequently follow and I came across this recipe.  I went to the store after class and intended to buy some pitas, but the store didn't have any!!  They did have some big, wrap-sized tortillas that I thought would work really well.  I was right and now I am sharing this yummy recipe with you :)

Tortilla Pizza
adapted from: gimmesomeoven 
  • wrap-sized tortillas (any flavor, I used spinach-herb)
  • mozzarella cheese
  • pizza sauce 
  • Parmesan cheese (if you like a little extra cheese)
  • any toppings you like!
    • I used Canadian bacon and pineapple
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with your pizza stone in it. 
  2. Put on the sauce, cheese, then toppings.
  3. Put in oven and bake for about 10 minutes, but check on it because the crust is so thin.
  4. Pull out of the oven and enjoy!
I made one of these for each of us.  Because the crust is so thin, they may not be as filling as normal pizza, but are super-duper yummy!!!  This is a quick dinner that I think most people will enjoy!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Quinoa Salad

I start my new job next week as night time coordinator at the Writing Center and I am very excited.  That doesn't really have anything to do with the recipe for today, but I thought I'd share :)

Today's recipe, quinoa salad, is something I kind of made up.  I was inspired by a recipe for quinoa stuffed peppers.  I made this to bring to a friend's house the other day and she asked for the recipe, so I thought I would share it with everyone here too!  Max loves this, so its not a girly meal; he finished everything that was left over from Brittani and Chris's house, I didn't get to have any!

Quinoa Salad
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (or chicken broth)
  • 1-2 avocados, diced into cubes (depending on taste or availability) 
  • 6-10 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can Rotel (I used the kind with cilantro and lime juice)
  • lime juice (however much tastes good to you, it also helps stop the avocado from browning)
  • cilantro (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  1. To cook the quinoa: bring 2 cups of water (or broth) to a boil.  Add the quinoa.  Turn heat to medium and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork.  Let it cool for a while before you add all of the other ingredients.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to the quinoa.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Chill and enjoy!  
I usually eat this for lunch.  Quinoa is very filling and is considered a complete protein.  If you haven't had it before, you really should try it.  It looks a little like couscous, except bigger.  It has more flavor than couscous or rice.  I usually make it with Better than Bouillon because it adds a bit more flavor.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

I've kind of been on an Oreo kick lately.  Lemon was the theme a few months ago, now I've moved on.  Oreos are delicious on their own, but adding them to other things multiplies their deliciousness in my opinion.

Max and I went to our friends' house yesterday for Memorial Day.  Brittani and Chris just moved into a new house and it has an amazing backyard, which we enjoyed a great dinner in.  We had buffalo chicken legs, salad, and quinoa salad (which I will post the recipe for soon).  We also had Oreo Cheesecake Bars.  These are really easy because you can do the whole thing in a food processor and you don't need a springform pan (although I really want an excuse to use mine!).

I took a picture, but I forgot to put in on my computer, so I will add it later.

Oreo Cheesecake Bars
adapted from: Annie's Eats
Ingredients:
For the crust:
  • 23 Oreo cookies
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 6 tbsp. sour cream, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 12 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with foil.  
  2. To make the crust, place the Oreos in the bowl of a food processor.  Process, pulsing, until the cookies are finely ground.  Add in the melted butter and pulse until the cookie crumbs are moistened.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan.  Press the crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside and prepare the filling while maintaining the oven temperature. 
  3. To make the filling, add the cream cheese to the bowl of the food processor and process until light and smooth, about 2 minutes (you don't need to clean out your processor bowl since you'll be adding more Oreos soon).  Mix in the sugar until well combined.  Blend in the sour cream, vanilla and salt.  Beat in the egg and egg yolk until incorporated and very smooth looking, scraping down the bowl as needed. Stir in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula (or if you want smaller pieces, you can add them in the food processor).  
  4. Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool about 1 hour to room temperature.  Cover the pan and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.  
  5. To cut the bars, pull the cake from the pan by lifting the foil up out of the pan.  Place on a cutting board, peel away the foil, and slice into bars.  Clean the knife blade between each slice to keep the edges neat.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Strawberry Smoothies

Today's post isn't so much a recipe as it is a bunch of stuff you throw in a blender.  Every morning, recently, I've been having one of these for breakfast because I have this job where I have to go to class and take notes.  This is quick and it helps keep me full through the 3.5 hour class.  I kind of made this smoothie recipe up by looking at a mixture of other smoothie recipes online.  For this recipe, you can use any fruit you want and any juice you want.  The frozen fruit gives it a nice thick texture.  This is my favorite version, so far!

Strawberry Smoothie
  • 1/2 of an avocado (I put the other half in the fridge with some lime juice spread on it.  That stops it from getting brown before the next day.)
  • 5-7 frozen strawberries
  • a few spoons full of plain low fat or fat free yogurt (maybe about a 1/2 cup)
  • a few glugs Orange-pineapple juice (or whatever juice you like or milk)
  • a palm full of fiber powder (this helps me stay full longer, but its totally not necessary)
  1. Throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend away!
  2. If you find that your smoothie is too thick and your blender is struggling (as mine often does) then add more liquid.
That's all there is to it!  This is really yummy and you can make it your own.  If you need more sweetness, you can add sugar or honey, but I find the juice adds all the sweetness I need.   Enjoy :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Scones

Three posts in three days?  That's gotta be a record or something!  Like I said in an earlier post, I've made some really good things lately and they are pretty easy too.  I think I have shared my love for King Arthur Flour before, but I don't know if I have told you how great their recipes are!  I have made a few things from them before, but their scones are real winners.

You can make these scones with anything you like.  I have used chocolate chips and another time I used craisins and a citrus-vanilla extract from King Arthur.  I have only made the drop version, which I will post here.  If you want to make pretty triangle ones, you should head over to their website.  Actually, you should probably go over to their website anyways, its pretty great.  On to the recipe...

Scones
from: King Arthur Flour

Dough

  • 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup to 2 cups chopped dried fruit, chocolate or other flavored chips, nuts, or a combination, optional
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or the flavoring of your choice
  • 3/4 cup half and half or milk (I use milk, it works fine)

Topping

  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons sparkling white sugar or cinnamon sugar, optional
 Instructions

1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.(I use my stand mixer to make these)
2) Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
3) Stir in the fruit, chips, and/or nuts, if you're using them.
4) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla or other flavor, and half and half or milk.
5) Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
6) Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, dollop the scone dough in 1/3-cupfuls onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator overnight if you want to make hot fresh scones in the morning.
7) Bake the scones in a preheated 375°F oven for about 30 minutes (my oven usually cooks them faster, so watch them after 20 minutes).
8) Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they're completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days. 

*my notes are in italics

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

Today's recipe is absolutely amazing.  Max said: a cookie that you turned into another cookie? That's weird.  It might seem weird, but these Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies are so delicious.  That's right, they are chocolate chip cookies with crushed up Oreos inside of them.  Sometimes you get a little bit of filling in your bite and it is delicious.  No pictures, sorry, but I promise you these cookies are worth it :)

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies
from: Lovin' From the Oven
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 11 broken pieces Oreo Cookies (or more if you want!)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream butter, and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.
2. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients then stir in oreos and chocolate chips until just combined.
3. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Honey Beer Bread

Hello everyone, sorry I've been missing for a while.  Over the past few weeks I've had some exciting things happen.  Brian came to visit us for a whole week and we had a lot of fun, started partying around 1pm every day!  My parents came to visit last weekend for my graduation!!  After five years, I am finally done with my undergrad!  I have one semester left for student teaching and then I will finally be able to join the work force.

I have been baking a lot lately and I have some awesome recipes to share with you soon.  The one I'm going to share today is Honey Beer Bread.  This is one of my favorite quick breads to make because it is so delicious and sooooo fast!!  There is a Mulberry Tree growing in the garden so I picked some of those the other day and decided to add them to this recipe.  If you don't have mulberries, you could use any other type of berry or just leave them out, it is so good without anything added.

 I ate some before I remember to take a picture, oops!

Honey Beer Bread
adapted from: Gimme Some Oven 
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer (I prefer Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier, it goes so well with the mulberries)
  • 4 Tbsp. (half stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup of mulberries, or berry of your choice (optional)
Method:
(Makes 1 loaf)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9″ x 5″ x 3″ inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, berries, and salt.  Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed.  (I like to spray my measuring spoon with Pam so that it comes out really easily)
  3. Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter.  (Use a pastry brush to spread it around if you’d like.)
  4. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve immediately.
*If you leave the berries out and use a less sweet beer this goes really well with dinner.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Garden


This post doesn't have any recipes (sorry), but I wanted to show off my garden a bit.  I planted things at the local community garden and things have been going pretty well so far.  We had a bit of a mishap the other day; someone moved my tomato plants for some unknown reason.  I'm sure they had good intentions, but I moved them back to where I had them.  I caged them too, maybe they'll get the message and not move them again.

What I'm growing:
  • Box Car Willie Tomatoes (a heirloom variety)
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Acorn Squash
  • Jalapenos
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Sugar Pumpkins (to make pumpkin pie)
  • Basil (Sweet and Piston varieties)

Acorn Squash, tomatoes, and jalapenos.  This was before I put my stolen tomato plants back.  See that little poof of green right before the hay ends?  That's piston basil.  It's tiny little basil leaves and I thought it was very cute so I had to buy it!!

Most of the garden, with Janine and her friend gardening.  In this picture you can see spinach, cucumbers, flowers, rosemary, sage, and lots of other things!  It was cloudy this day.

Okay, this doesn't look like much yet, but it's Janine's popcorn.  I really hope it grows, because I think it is really cool.

I'm really enjoying this adventure so far.  Sometimes I feel like a little kid, especially when the buds start coming up or I find something I didn't expect.  I'll keep you guys updated as things progress.  Cross your fingers that I have some veggies in a few months!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pulled Pork

I've been totally slacking lately.  Not only have I not posted much, I haven't been baking much either.  And it seems like everything I have baked lately is a repeat from the past few weeks.  I made those grapefruit lemon bars two nights ago, but this time just with lemon.  They are a bit too tart.  So, I am going to share another dinner that I have made recently that Max and I thought was very yummy.  Crockpot Pulled Pork!!!  If that doesn't sound delicious, you need to get your taste buds checked.

This is a super easy, super yummy way to make pulled pork at home without a fancy smoker.  The ingredients are really easy, and you will most likely have many of them in your pantry already.  The one thing you may have to buy is a pork butt (pork shoulder, etc. There are a lot of different names but just something good for pulled pork).  I got mine at the butcher, but a grocery store may sell them.  We just don't have a lot of really good grocery stores in town and its sad :(

Now for the recipe:

Crockpot Pulled Pork
adapted from: A Year of Slow Cooking 
*my notes in italics
  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder*
  • 1 onion, sliced in rings 
  • 2 cups ketchup (a 24oz bottle seems to be exactly 2 cups) 
  • 1/2 cup warm water 
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I probably added about a tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (again, I added about a tablespoon and I used the Chipotle kind)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or more depending on taste)
  • 1-2 tsp liquid smoke
  1. Use a 6 quart crockpot
  2. Trim meat, and place into your crockpot. Add sliced onion. 
  3. Squeeze in 2 cups of ketchup, and then pour 1/2 cup warm water into the ketchup bottle and shake. Pour the ketchup-y water into your crock. 
  4. Add vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire, Tabasco and salt.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork.
  6. Take the meat out and shred with two forks.  Pour some sauce over the meat and then more over it when you make a sandwich.  I wouldn't recommend  shredding the meat in the pot with the sauce because it may become too "sauced."
  7. Serve over rice, or make sandwiches on rolls or sliced bread.
*Note: Make sure you trim the fat off of your meat.  I made the mistake of not doing this and the sauce was a little greasy.  It should still be nice and tender since it is braising for such a long time in so much liquid.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grapefruit Lemon Bars

I went to the farmer's market a couple of weeks ago and bought two grapefruits.  I ate one and didn't feel like eating the other one.  So what do you do with one grapefruit and one lemon? Make Grapefruit Lemon Bars!  I've been on a huge citrus kick lately.  This is the third tray of lemon bars I have made in the past two weeks.  They are addictive and I'm sad that citrus and quickly going out of season :(  I am happy, however, that lots of other fruits will be coming into season soon!

About these bars: they have a wonderful shortbread crust with a creamy, yellow grapefruit and lemon curd.  Making the curd is a little time consuming (you have to whisk for a while)  but the results are SO worth it.  I had to grab a spoon and scrape the bowl when I had poured all of the curd onto the crust.  I even bought more lemons today so I can make a big batch of this stuff to put on toast, cookies, a spoon....

By the way, Max and our friend Luke gave these a big thumbs up!

Grapefruit Lemon Bars
From: OB Cookie 

Shortbread Crust
Adopted from Joy of Cooking
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks) softened
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. In large bowl beat all ingredients minus flour.  Stir in flour.  Light knead until blended. 
  3. In 8x8 baking pan with fingers press dough into bottom and up around the edges about ¾ in. 
  4. Bake for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned and darker at the edges. 
  5. While baking, make the curd filling.  
  6. Allow to cool slightly for about 5 minutes and add the curd.  Refrigerate for 4-5 hours or until cool and set.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Grapefruit Curd
Adopted from James Peterson’s Baking

  • Juice and zest from one ruby red grapefruit (about 1 cup juice)
  • Juice and zest from one lemon
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter cut into tablespoon pieces
  1. Set a saucepan of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer.  
  2. In a heatproof bowl that will fit over pan, whisk together eggs and sugar for about 2 minutes until pale.  
  3. Then whisk zests and juice.  
  4. Set the bowl over the saucepan.  Stir constantly with a whisk for about 8 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken (this took me about 12 minutes, be patient!).  
  5. Add the sliced butter, one piece at a time and stir constantly.  
  6. Cook for about 2 minutes longed.  Remove from heat. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hoppy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!  I didn't make anything Easter themed this year except for an amazing carrot cake.  Max and I went to a local Chinese food restaurant for my birthday celebration/Easter dinner.  It was really yummy and it was nice to have a quiet dinner with just me and Max.
So, back to this carrot cake.  This is from the Pioneer Woman, yet again, because her recipes are awesome.  It has a cream cheese frosting, which is supposed to have pecans in it but I usually leave nuts out of all my recipes because of my allergies and those of my family.  The frosting can be made in like 3 minutes.  The cake is moist and fluffy and so pretty with the carrot pieces.  I made this in a 9x13 Pyrex pan, but you can make it in pretty much any pan you want, just be sure to adjust your baking time. 


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
from: Pioneer Woman
  • FOR CAKE:
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 4 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 cups Grated Carrots
  • For Icing
  • 1 stick Regular Butter, Softened
  • 1 package (8 Oz) Cream Cheese (I used fat free because its all they had left at the store the day before Easter!!)
  • 1 pound Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 cup Pecans, Chopped Finely
Preparation Instructions
Cake:
  1. Mix together the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. 
  2. In another bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and combine. Then add carrots and mix well.
  3. Pour into a greased and floured (Baker’s Joyed) pan (bundt, sheet cake, 9 x 13 pyrex) and bake until done, 25 to 50 minutes, depending on the pan you use at 350.
  4. Cool completely.
Icing:
  1. In larger bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. 
  2. Add sugar and vanilla and blend, then mix in the nuts. 
  3. Spread on cooled carrot cake.
*Again, leave the nuts out if you want, I didn't miss them!!
**You may want to cut the frosting recipe in half.  I liked it, but Max thought it was WAY too much, so go with your preference.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Birthday Post!

I haven't posted in a while! I have been so busy with the fourth grade class and so tired when I come home that not much has gotten baked the past two weeks.  During spring break I made pretzels, those were super yummy and I might post that recipe soon.  Yesterday I made cupcakes for the class today, but I used the recipe for chocolate cake and vanilla frosting that I posted a little bit ago.  So, today I am going to share a recipe I got from the Pioneer Woman (if you have never visited her site, you should and you may just fall in love) for Lemon Squares.


Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares
from: Pioneer Woman

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 25 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 12
Ingredients
  • 1-⅓ cup All-purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 stick (1/2 Cup) Butter, Slightly Softened
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar (lightly Packed)
  • 1 cup Oats
  • 1 can (14 Ounce) Sweetened Condensed Milk (you can use fat free!)
  • ½ cups Lemon Juice
  • Zest Of 1 Lemon
Preparation Instructions
  1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES.
  2. Mix butter and brown sugar until well combined.
  3. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Add oats and flour to butter/sugar mixture and mix to combine.
  5. Press half of crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 11 inch pan.
  6. Mix together condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread onto the bottom layer of the crumb mixture. Top with the other half of the crumb mixture, but don’t press.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Allow pan to sit on counter for 30 minutes after baking. Cut into squares and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until cool.
  9. Serve cool. They really taste better cold, the lemon shines!




    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Pumpkin Soup

    Max and I were watching Food Network the other day and on one of the competition shows someone made pumpkin soup.  Max said that he really likes squash soup, so I went online, bookmarked the recipe, and made it today.  This recipe only takes about 30 minutes and is pretty cheap, especially if you have a decent collection of spices on hand.  This was super filling too; I only had one bowl and was satisfied 2 hours later.  I didn't take a picture because I forgot! 

    On a side note, it snowed here yesterday! It was 65 on Friday, snowed on Saturday, and tomorrow its supposed to be 65 again!  It wasn't a ton of snow, but very odd for March in Oklahoma.

    Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Soup
    From: Food Network
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
    • 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1 cup half-and-half (I used fat-free)
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 3 cups chicken broth
    • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
    • 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1. Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat, and cook, whisking frequently, until the butter starts to brown and foam, about 2 to 3 minutes. 
    2. Stir in the onion, carrot, celery, sage, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and cook until tender, stirring frequently, until tender. 
    3. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional minute.
    4. Stir together the half-and-half and cornstarch in a liquid measuring cup, and pour it into the pot, along with the chicken broth, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, salt and pepper. 
    5. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. When the soup starts to thicken reduce the heat to low. 
    6. Using an immersion blender*, puree the soup until a smooth consistency is reached and simmer until ready to serve. Ladle the soup into serving bowls.
    * If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender.  Just remember, hot soup expands when you blend it so don't overfill the blender.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    St. Patrick's Day Cake

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!! I was going to make Irish soda bread today, but I really wanted to make something challenging so I decided on cake.  It doesn't have any Bailey's or Guinness in it, but OH MY GOODNESS is it tasty!!! I do have a recipe for Irish car bomb cupcakes...maybe I'll make those next week.

    This chocolate cake with vanilla frosting was really easy and had super simple ingredients.  I didn't even use my stand mixer for the cake part! I used it for the frosting though, because that makes life soooo much easier.  The only "odd" ingredient is buttermilk, but I think I've mentioned before that they sell powdered buttermilk that works just as well and lasts so much longer.  I had some green sprinkles left over from Christmas sugar cookies, so, ta-da!, the cake is now St. Patty's Day themed!


    Awesome Chocolate Cake
    • 2 cups Flour
    • 2 cups Sugar
    • ¼ teaspoons Salt
    • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
    • 2 sticks Butter
    • 1 cup Boiling Water
    • ½ cups Buttermilk
    • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
    • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
    1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
    2. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
    3. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
    4. In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.
     Wicked Awesome Vanilla Frosting
    from: Tasty Kitchen
    • 1 cup Milk
    • 5 Tablespoons Flour
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
    • 1 cup Butter
    • 1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)
    1. In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. 
    2. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (Make sure you let it cool all the way, you don't want to melt the butter, if you are in a rush put the pot in a pool of ice water to cool faster but make sure no water gets in the mix!) 
    3. Stir in vanilla.
    4. While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 
    5. Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Orange Brownies

    When I get stressed, or bored, or antsy, or if I have anything else I should be doing, I usually end up baking.  One time, when I was stressed, Max looked over to me and said, "do you need to bake something?"  This week has been one of those weeks.  I'm on spring break so I'm bored and I feel stuck in the house.  So, I made chocolate orange brownies.  I really wanted to make a cake, but we were missing some ingredients.  I think I will need to try something more challenging soon because as soon as the brownies were done, I wanted to make something else.

    These Chocolate Orange Brownies were good, but a little dry.  I think I overcooked them a little because they had set all of the way when I took them out and a toothpick came out clean.  I even cooked them for five minutes less than the recipe called for, but I've mentioned my crazy oven before, right?




    Chocolate Orange Brownies
    From: Rock Recipes
    • 3/4cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
    • 1/4teaspoon salt
    • 1/2cup butter
    • 5 squares unsweetened chocolate
    • 3/4cup granulated sugar
    • ¼ cup light-brown sugar
    • 3large eggs
    • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • zest of one large orange
    1. Sift together flour, cocoa and salt. Melt together butter and unsweetened chocolate over low heat (either in the microwave or a double boiler). Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Add eggs,vanilla and sugars. Stir very well until sugars are dissolved.
    2. Gently fold in dry ingredients. Then fold in: zest of one large orange, finely grated and chopped
    3. Pour batter into a 9 inch square baking pan that has been greased and lined with parchment paper (or just greased like I did). Sprinkle the top of the batter with the chocolate chips.
    4. Bake for about a half hour (I baked for 25 minutes and they were overcooked, start at 20) at 350 degrees F or until the surface of the center of the brownies appears dry and firm. Toothpick test will not work for this recipe but it will tell you if the middle is still liquid. Do not over bake these brownies or they will be dry rather than moist and chewy.
    5. Cut into squares when still slightly warm, they cut more cleanly.

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    English Muffins

    Today is Pi Day!  That means it is March 14, or 3.14.  I feel like I should probably make pie later, we'll see if that happens.

    This week was my first in the fourth grade classroom.  I was there everyday and I got to teach a few lessons.  The week went really well and re-confirmed that this is what I really want to do.  I did make a kid cry, but that was an accident...

    Last weekend I made English Muffins.  Its one of those food that people, including me, never think of making from scratch.  I think it was worth it, the flavor was really good.  There weren't the nooks and crannies that are associated with English muffins, but they had a slightly flaky texture which made up for it.  If you have a griddle or cast iron skillet, I highly recommend trying these at least once to see what you think.

    I liked this recipe because you don't need a collection of empty tuna cans or round cookie cutters to shape them and I had all of these ingredients sitting around.  I used powdered buttermilk for this.  I used to buy buttermilk, but I would only need a cup or so and the rest would sit around and spoil until I threw it out.

    English Muffins
    from: A Sweet Spoonful
    Ingredients:
    2 1/4 cups bread flour
    2 tsp. sugar
    3/4 tsp. salt
    1 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
    1 tbsp. shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature
    3/4-1 cup milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
    Cornmeal, for sprinkling
    Directions:
    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix in the butter (or shortening) and 3/4 cup of milk (or buttermilk). If the dry ingredients are not yet fully incorporated, add enough of the remaining milk so a dough forms. Stop mixing right when this occurs: don’t over mix! Sprinkle flour on a dry surface and turn the dough out of the mixer, and knead by hand for about 9-10 minutes. The dough should be tacky (but not sticky), and register 77 to 81 F. 
    2. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and roll the ball of dough around the bowl to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least an hour, or until the dough doubles in size. It helps to keep the dough (in terms of rising) in a relatively warm place–away from cold, drafty windows or open doors.
    3. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape into small balls. Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray lightly with oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
    4. Move the dough balls to the baking sheet, spacing them evenly with enough room to rise and double in size. Mist them lightly with oil and sprinkle with cornmeal then cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise another hour, or until the rolls are nearly double in size. Preheat the oven to 350 F
    5. Heat a flat griddle to medium (350 F) (you can also use a skillet on the stove top if you don’t have a griddle). Brush the griddle lightly with oil and gently transfer the dough balls to the griddle. Allow them to cook for 5-8 minutes or until the bottoms are a rich golden brown color. Be careful not to burn. Carefully flip and cook the other side for the same amount of time. They should flatten as they cook.
    6. Remove the muffins from the skillet and transfer them to a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes.Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.
    Makes: 6 English muffins