Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I have recently started making all of the bread that Max and I eat.  I use a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  It is an awesome book because you can make a bunch of dough at the beginning of the week and keep it in your fridge until you need it and it lasts two weeks!  The dough doesn't usually last that long with us, especially not this week since we're running a little low on food.

I had a request for an easy bread recipe, so this is the one I wanted to share.  To make this recipe wheat bread, I discovered that you replace 2 of the cups of regular flour with 2 cups of whole wheat flour.  If you make it with all wheat flour, it turns out too dense and dry.  I'm only going to post a link to the recipe because you should really explore the website a little bit.  I also highly encourage you to buy this book.  It has lots of awesome recipes besides the master recipe.  You can also turn the master recipe into pita bread and baguettes.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

PS: if you have any questions or need any tips, leave a comment here or on facebook and I'll try to help :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

taco soup

Sorry for the lack of pictures in these last two posts, but today's food wasn't pretty, however it was delicious!  I made taco soup for dinner.  It couldn't be easier: the prep is about ten minutes and then the crock-pot does the rest of the work.  I adapted it a little, not much.  I'll give you the original recipe, but I used ground turkey, yellow onion, hot and spicy taco seasoning, and an extra can of drained kidney beans.  I wish I could remember where I got this, but thank you to whoever created this!!

Taco Soup
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 can corn, undrained
  • 1 can black beans, undrained
  • 1 can kidney beans, undrained
  • 2 cans Rotel (chopped tomatoes and chiles)
  • 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning.
  1. Brown beef in a large skillet.  When it is close to done, add chopped onions and mix well.  You can drain the beef before you add the onions if you want.  Cover the pan, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the onions are soft.
  2. Dumb onion and beef with the remaining ingredients into a large crockpot.  Mix well.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally (or not if you aren't home).
  3. Serving options: grated cheese, sour cream, or tortilla chips.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Granola and Brownies

Another busy week, but I managed to make a few things.  I made a really bad soup this week, I won't share that recipe.  I did make some awesome brownies for Valentine's Day.  They had cherry chips in them; they're like chocolate chips, but cherry flavored.  I also made some maple-pumpkin granola this weekend.  I managed not to burn it, which was good.  I love granola and always want to buy it, but it is so expensive!  It was so cheap to make :)
I also started my block student teaching last week.  I am helping out in a fourth grade class room with a partner.  It is supposed to ease us into student teaching.  I will do two more Fridays in the class and then I'll be there for three full weeks.  I'll get to teach and help out kids!

Here are the recipes for the brownies and granola.  Sorry there are no pictures!!!

adapted from Aaron Sanchez's Mexican Brownies
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Press the paper into the corners of the pan and lightly grease the paper with butter.
  2. Melt the 2 sticks of butter in a nonstick saucepan over medium-low heat; do not boil. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla to the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
  3. Add the cocoa, flour, cinnamon, chili powder, salt and baking powder and mix until smooth. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out fudgy, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack, then use the parchment paper to lift out the brownies before slicing.
*I added cherry chips.  If you add these or regular chips, add them last.

Maple Pumpkin Granola
adapted from Sugar Plum
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Craisins
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, cinnamon, vanilla and salt until combined; stir in oats and sunflower seeds until combined.  Spread onto cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crisp.  Remove from oven and stir in craisins and cool.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pound Cake #2

So, I attempted pound cake again for Luke's Superbowl party this weekend.  I used a different recipe in hopes that I would not burn it, and guess what!?  I didn't!  I managed not to undercook it also!  I was really happy with the results and made another loaf after the first one came out of the oven so that Max and I would have something to snack on during the week.  I also made the chocolate chip cookies with orange from the previous post again this weekend for a friend's birthday.  I realized as I was making the cookies that I forgot half of the butter last time!  Although I wouldn't recommend it just in case, the cookies were really good even though they were missing half of their fat and no one noticed the difference.

On to the recipe:

Condensed Milk Pound Cake

  • 1 cup (8 oz, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (7 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (3 3/4 oz) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, chopped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (8 1/2 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder; set aside. Put the sugar and the chopped vanilla bean, if using, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until the vanilla bean is finely ground and then sift the sugar/bean mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, returning the mixture to the food processor afterward. (If you aren't using the vanilla bean put only the sugar in the bowl of the food processor at this point.)
  3. Add the butter and salt to the food processor. Process until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then add the condensed milk and pulse until well incorporated, about 15 times. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Add the dry ingredients and pulse until no traces of the flour remain, about 10 times. Add the eggs and pulse just until combined, about 5 times. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. (If you are using vanilla extract, add it now.) Finish mixing by hand to fully incorporate the ingredients.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a tested inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool completely in the loaf pan on a rack.
Make sure to start checking on it at the 50 minute mark, some ovens have higher or lower temperatures.  If you are baking in a nonstick loaf pan, lower the temperature of your oven by 25 degrees.  I did this and I think its why I managed not to burn it again!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

another busy week

This week has been another busy one.  I haven't even been able to make dinner this week, as I'm writing my stomach is growling.  I had a bowl of rice with peas for dinner because it was the only thing I could scrounge up in my house, I really need to do a better job food shopping this weekend.

I did manage to make some cookies this weekend.  I made the dough on Sunday so that I could stick some in the oven when I had time on Monday.  I felt bad for my class because I had promised them dessert at some point and I hadn't delivered yet.  I made a double batch of Martha Stewart's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I split the batch in half so that I could add different things.  I added orange zest to one half and coconut to the other half of the dough.  They were really successful, though the orange ones more so.  One of my teachers even asked for the recipe.  I'll post the recipe later with pictures, but I'm at work and can't find the right recipe online.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Martha Stewart
Makes about 3 dozen
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week. 
*I added the zest of one orange to these and it was excellent.  Add this at the same time that you add the salt, vanilla, and eggs.  Make sure you wash your orange well first!!