Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Favorite's of 2011

     A couple of days ago I posted the Top 10 of '12. This list was made up of the most viewed recipes by you. There are lots of other recipes that I made this year that didn't make that list, but I thought they were amazing. So, now I'm going to share my favorite breakfasts, appetizers, dinners, breads, and desserts of the year.

Breakfast:
Braided Sausage Bread
    This savory breakfast is perfect for breakfast or dinner. You can make the meat filling the night before and stuff and cook to save some time in the morning.
Strawbery Crepes
These almost seemed like they should be served at a bed and breakfast!
Blueberry Cheesecake Pancakes
These were my mom's idea, and they were amazing!

Appetizers/Snacks:
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
     I love these and they aren't as hard as you might think!

Dinners:
Burgers
This recipe comes close to our favorite burger joint in town!

Bruschetta Pasta
I craved this for days after we had it! I think I ended up making it three times in two weeks.
Chicken Alfredo Pizza with Spinach, Bacon, and Sun-dried Tomato
This is so flavorful and a nice change from traditional pizza toppings
Creole Black Beans and Rice
This is one of my favorite meatfree dishes. Served with a side of garlic bread, it's very filling!
Mac N Cheese
Mac N Cheese is a staple at our house, and this is our favorite recipe.

Breads:
Blueberry Pull Apart Bread
     This tasted like warm gooey blueberry cinnamon rolls.
Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins
These are my very favorite muffins(or bread). Ever.
Nutella Babka
Nutella with anything can't be bad...
Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
I guess I should have made a separate section for muffins and bread! These take the classic combination to a whole new level and they are healthier than you would think.

Desserts:
Paper Bag Apple Pie
     This is my mom's award winning recipe....my favorite apple pie!
Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes
You would never believe there is a secret ingredient in these!
Blueberry Cream Cheese Strudel
This is a dessert (or breakfast?) that is not super sweet and loaded with fresh blueberries.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle
I thought this was going to be on the top 10 of '11 post, but it just got kicked off last week!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 10 of '11

     New Year's is just around the corner, so I thought I'd take a moment to review the top recipes of the year.

10. Cinnamon Buns with a Secret
     These cinnamon rolls are sure to please and have a secret ingredient that makes them a little more guilt free!

     A mock recipe from PF Changs. It's pretty close; Try it and see!

     These pretzel rolls might be my favorite bread. Ever.

     This was for my sister's birthday, and she still talks about this cake! Yes, it really was that good. 

    A great recipe for guests!

     I actually prefer these to the overly sweet store bought brand.

     Even though I didn't actually use sour cream, these were pretty good!

     A new take on an old favorite...

     We love pancakes!

     These were so good. They really did taste like the Girl Scouts version!

These recipes were selected based on the top viewed posts of the year. Keep your eye out for another post on my personal favorites that didn't make this list!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Cookies

     My mom used to make these cookies for my high school swim team when we would go to sectionals or other big meet. They were always a favorite because they taste very similar to smiley face cookies from a certain bakery in town (This is for you, Kelli!). She would make them with a star cookie cutter since the star was our mascot. Since I'm all grown up now, if I want these cookies I have to make them myself. It's a once a year deal, folks. I just don't like to roll cookies, which is why J does that part. That is part of the deal, I'll make the cookies if he rolls them out.
     These are pretty much my favorite cookies. Ever.

3/4 cup shortening mixed with butter (about half and half)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Icing:
powdered sugar
vanilla
water
food coloring

  • Mix shortening/butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy.
  • Sift and stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Chill dough for at least an hour. 
  • Roll to about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Cut as desired. 
  • Bake 7-10 minutes @ 350* til the edges barely turn.
  • Cool completely
  • For the icing: Put about 1/4 bag of powdered sugar in a bowl. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla, then a small amount of water til it's the right consistency. If you want several colors, separate icing into individual bowls now. Add food coloring one drop at a time.

     

Egg Nog Waffles

     Sorry it's been so long! We have finished all our holiday travel, and we are ready to hibernate until Spring! Hopefully, I'll be more regular on posting from now on. I've been trying to keep up on all your posts, but I know I have missed so many good recipes!
     Because Christmas is coming up, we always have egg nog in the house. It's just not Christmas without it! For this mornings waffles, I thought I'd see what egg nog did to waffle batter. Besides adding a delicious, Christmasy (I'm sure that is a word) taste, it made the waffles super fluffy.



Waffles:
1-3/4 c flour (take out 3-1/2Tbl if using whole wheat)
1 Tbl baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
2 c egg nog
1/2 c canola oil (I use 3 Tbl flax seed + 7 Tbl oil)
2 egg whites
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  • In another bowl, beat egg yolk slightly. Add in egg nog and oil. 
  • Add egg yolks mixture to flour mixture all at once. 
  • Stir until just combined, but still slightly lumpy.
  • Beat/Whisk egg whites till stiff peaks form. I do this in the Kitchen-Aid while I'm combining all the other stuff. 
  • Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter, leaving a few fluffs of egg white. Do not over mix.
  • Pour onto waffle iron according to your manufacturers directions. For me, it's 1/2 cup and this recipe makes 9 waffles.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Menu Plan November 20-24

     I guess it's been a while since I've made a menu plan. I'm not really sure how I've been forgetting as I read so many of your blogs that post a plan each week. It has been crazy around here. October we were out of town every weekend and November didn't bring the relaxation we thought it would have. We have had things to do in November too. I fear it will only get worse until the New Year when we will never go anywhere because I was made to live somewhere warm. Not Indiana! I dread even thinking of it.
     Of course our plan will be short, since it's Thanksgiving. Only last week, I realized that it was this week. I thought I still had two weeks to prepare my belly. We are eating light for the few days heading up to Turkey Day, especially after eating at Fogo De Meat Coma this weekend! If you've never been, and you have a chance you should go. I warn you in advance, "Salad Bar" in Brazil apparently means a couple vegetables, cheese, and a  whole lot of cured meats! That's not even the half of the meat you will consume. In light of that, a couple of vegatarian options for this week.
     Also, there will be no Meatfree Monday until the New Year! I'm so sorry if you look forward to that each week. With all the upcoming travel, there is no way I can commit to regular posting.

Dinners:
Red Beans and Rice
Wonton Soup
Oatmeal and Mixed Fruit
omelet and mixed fruit


linked up to Menu Plan Monday

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Apple Butterscotch Babka


     I love babka. It takes a long time, but it's totally worth it. This particular babka was melt in your mouth good. Apples and butterscotch. The yeasty-ness of a bread, the sweetness of a coffeecake, to struesal of an apple muffin, and the richness of butterscotch all in one. I don't know how else to describe it. It's just good.
     Other good babka's include: Easter Babka, Nutella Babka, Caramel Apple Babka, Chocolate Cinnamon Babka, and Apple Cinnamon Babka

Dough
4 oz warm milk
1-1/2 tsp yeast
1/4 c sugar
1 egg, plus 1 yolk
2-1/4 c flour (I part whole wheat)
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbl butter, cut into pieces, room temp
Filling
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup butterscotch chips
Streusal Topping
1/4 c butter
1/2 c flour
1/2 c brown sugar
  • Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand until creamy.
  • Whisk eggs, sugar, and yeast mixture until combined. 
  • In bowl of stand mixer, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture and beat until flour is incorporated. 
  • Add butter and knead 10 minutes until a smooth dough forms.
  • Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour 

  • Butter a 9x5 loaf pan. Add parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper.
  • Punch down the dough and let rest 5 minutes. 
  • Roll dough into a 16inch square. Brush edges of the dough with egg wash.
  • Spread apples and butterscotch chips over dough leaving about a half inch around edges. 
  • Roll dough up, pinching sides to seal as you go. 
  • Twist  the rolled dough 5-6 times to make it longer, then fold into a horseshoe shape.
  • Cross the ends to form a figure eight and twist a couple more times. Fit the twisted dough into the prepared pan. 
  • Let rise 45 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • To make streusel, combine butter, flour, and brown sugar. Using fork (or pastry cutter), cut into butter until mixture is about the texture of coarse bread crumbs. 
  • Sprinkle on top of loaf. 
  • Bake 50 minutes, rotating pan after 25 minutes.
  • Turn temperature down to 325* and bake 20-30 more minutes, until golden and knife comes out clean.
  • Don't underbake. Cool on wire rack.
linked up to 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Homemade Poptarts

     I've seen a lot of homemade poptarts recipes coming up all over pinterest and the recipe blogs, so when I was assigned Emily Jane's blog, Six Kilos of Pumpkin, for this month's Secret Recipe Club I knew this was the recipe to try.
     I followed the recipe, pretty much as stated except for the fillings. I did make some with strawberry fruit spread, some with a generous smear of Nutella, and some with a sweetened cream cheese mixture. All were delicious. I don't think I could pick a favorite if I had to.  Just a warning, the jam spilled out the sides of my poptarts, but the other fillings did not. Protect your oven and pans with foil or something if you want to try jam!
     As for the process, the crust was relatively easy to make. It's pretty time consuming though. If you were in a hurry, you could use the rolled crust from the store. That never seems to taste as good as homemade though.

2-1/2 cups flour
1 Tbl sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, very cold
1 cup water and some ice cubes
fillings: jam, Nutella, sweet cream cheese  (1/2 cup cream cheese, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1Tbl+1tsp agave)

  • Put ice cubes in the 1 cup of water. The water needs to be very cold to make the crust.
  • Combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl. 
  • Cut butter into cubes and add them to the flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter to combine until it looks like peas. I don't have a pastry cutter, so I used my kitchen-aid mixer for a few seconds. 
  • Add about half of the water (not the ice cubes!).when you mix this, the dough should stick together in a ball pretty well. I think I used about 3/4 of the cup of water to make this happen.
  • Divide the dough in half. Place each half in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Break off a piece of dough, about 1/3 cup size and roll it into a rectangle. 
  • Smear filling on one side of the rectangle, fold in half, press edges down with fork to seal, and use a pizza cutter to make them look straight (if you care about that kind of thing). You will need to cut an air vent in the top of your poptart, so I cut an 'N' for nutella, or 'C' for cheese, etc. 
  • Place on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator until your pan is filled up. (Keeping the dough cold is what makes it so flaky!)
  • Just before baking, smear with an egg wash (beat up egg white) to help the crust turn golden.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges are starting to brown. 


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meatfree Monday:Lentil Soup

     I've never had lentil soup until now. I didn't know what to expect when I started looking up recipes. I didn't find one that I thought I would like every ingredient, so I combined a few (they are all so similar anyhow) and made my own. The result was a warm you up on a cold rainy day kind of soup, which was just what we needed since it was a cold rainy day.
     I thought it tasted a lot like vegetable soup. I served this up with some warm crusty bread, and it was very filling!

1 Tbl olive oil
1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable broth (I will use chicken or beef next time!)
1 cup dried lentils
1 can green chiles, drained
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
  • Heat the oil in soup pot (medium heat). Toss in the carrot, onion, and garlic. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. 
  • Add the broth, lentils, and chiles. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. 
  • Stir in the vinegar and simmer 2 more minutes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Apple Baklava with Honeyed Apple Syrup

     I mentioned a few weeks ago that we got a ton of apples at the orchard. Well, not a ton. But 24 pounds is close to a ton, right? This was the last big thing I made with apples.
     I had never made baklava before. In fact, I've only had it one other time in my life. The only thing I was worried about was using Phyllo dough. Me and Phyllo have not been friends in the past. We seemed to have reconciled our differences after this experience though. You really have to be careful to keep the phyllo covered so it doesn't dry out. And generously soak it with butter as you use it.
     I was so impressed that this came out as well as it did. It makes a ton, so my husband go to share with his co-workers. It was gone by lunchtime, which is always a good sign.

1/2 cup walnuts (I used pecans!)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2-1/2 lbs apples, pared and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 of 16-oz pkg phyllo, thawed
1 Tbl water
1/2 cup apple juice/cider
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 Tbl honey

  • Place nuts and bread crumbs in food processor. Set aside in small bowl.
  • Combine apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in large bowl.
  • Brush bottom of 13x9x2 pan with melted butter. 
  • Place a phyllo leaf in the pan and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of the nut mixture. Repeat 6-7 times or until half the phyllo is used.
  • Spread apple mixture into pan.
  • Top with remaining phyllo, brushing with butter and sprinkling nut mixture between each layer. Brush the top leaf with remaining butter.
  • Preheat oven to 400*
  • With a very sharp knife, make cuts through the top 3-4 layers to mark pastry. Make one cut lengthwise and five across. Sprinkle with water.
  • Place in preheated oven. Then immediately turn heat down to 350* and bake 50 minutes or until pastry is golden and apples are tender.
  • Meanwhile, make honeyed apple syrup: Combine 1/2 cup apple juice and 1/2 cup sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2-3 Tbl honey. Cool.
  • Remove pan and cut all the way through markings. 
  • Pour cooled Honeyed apple syrup over baklava. Cool in pan on wire rack.
check out some of the other recipes I made with all those apples!


linked up to


Monday, November 7, 2011

Meatfree Monday: Crock Pot Refried Beans

     I love refried beans from a restaurant. I don't love canned refried beans. It's like they aren't even the same food. If the canned version is even food...it makes that weird canned dog food sound when you dump it out. So naturally, when I came across this recipe for homemade refried beans, I had to try it. It had to be better than the canned kind, right? Yes. just agree.
    It is better! I think it's about as close to restaurant style beans as you can get. I was impressed with how easy these were to make and how delicious they were when they were done. I don't think I'll be able to buy canned refried beans again.

3 cups pinto beans
water
5 chicken bouillon cubes (use vegetable for vegetarian!)
1 Tbl garlic salt
1/2 onion, big slices

  • Cook on high until beans are soft(about 3 hours?), stirring occasionally. Add more water as needed. 
  • Strain beans and save juice. 
  • Add 1 cube of butter and a little juice.
  • Blend to mash beans. Add juice to obtain desired consistancy. Leave the beans runny because they will set up more than you think!
linked up to Sunday Funday

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Apple Spice Cake w/ Maple Buttercream

     I volunteer to bake things for the children at church, so that I don't have to work in the ________. You fill in the blank. There. I admitted it. I know I used to teach third grade. Wouldn't I be so good at _______. Well, maybe. But, I'd rather bake things. That is where I am in my life right now.
     This baked thing was for the cake walk at the Fall Festival last week. I basically took a recipe for carrot cake, and used apples instead. Since refrigeration was not an option, I opted for maple buttercream in place of the normal cream cheese icing. It was fabulous, if I do say so myself. (I made a couple cupcakes, so I would know how it tasted.)

Cake:
8 Tbl butter, softened
3 lbs apples/peel, core, chop
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 Tbl oil
4 eggs
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
Icing:
1 cup shortening (or butter)
1/2 tsp maple flavoring
1/2 tsp butter flavoring
7-8 tsp water
4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbl meringue powder
pinch of salt

  • Heat oven to 350* Grease 2 8-inch round pans with butter. Place wax paper in the bottom and grease the wax paper too.
  • Put the apples in a food processor. 
  • Put 4 Tbl butter in skillet over Medium. When melted, add apples and brown sugar. Cook until soft and mostly dry. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to blender and puree. 
  • Add 4 Tbl butter, sugar, and oil and pulse til combined. Add eggs one at a time.
  • Combine flours and other dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the flour mixture to the apples. Add the milk. Process until it just evens out.
  • Pour into pans and bake til middle is set, about 45 minutes. 
  • Cool slightly and take out of pan to cool completely.

  • For the icing: Cream shortening, flavoring and water. Add dry ingredients and mix on medium until all is combined. Blend until creamy. (makes about 2-1/2 cups). To make thin consistency (for icing cake and putting between layers)Add 5 tsp water and gel coloring.
  • For decorations: make another batch of icing in medium consistency. Add all ingredients until smooth, then add in 2-1/2 tsp water and gel color. Use this to pipe on decorations
linked up to 





Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Beef-Stuffed French Bread

     I love stroganoff. I love bread. This recipe is like stroganoff stuffed in bread. It's perfect.
     I found this recipe in one of those books you pick up by the cashier at the grocery: Taste of Home's Ground Beef Recipe Cards. I love that cookbook because most of the recipes are easy to make and reasonable budget-wise. I love Taste of Home because they always have recipes that real, normal people can make. Things that don't have crazy ingredients that I've never heard of or won't be able to find at the store. Anyway, let's get on to the recipe. It's so good.

1 lb ground beef (or turkey or chicken or...)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large baked potato, peeled & cubed
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup
1 can mushrooms, drained
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 loaf French bread (or Italian)
1 cup shredded cheese

  • In a large skillet, cook the beef and onion. Drain. Add the potato, soup, mushrooms, parsley, garlic powder, pepper, and hot pepper sauce. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. 
  • Cut the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. Hollow out the bottom of the loaf, leaving a 3/4 inch shell. Set aside. Place the removed bread in a blender, cover and process until crumbled. Add 1 cup of the crumbs to the beef mixture. Stir in cheese.
  • Spoon beef mixture into the bread shell. Replace bread top. Wrap in heavy duty foil. 
  • Bake at 350* for 20 minutes. Let stand about 5 minutes before slicing.

Baked Zucchini Fries

     I know, another zucchini recipe. It's almost winter. The farmer's market still is still selling it, so I say you can still eat it. I think the first time I like zucchini was when I ate it fried. While fried foods usually always taste good, I don't recommend eating them regularly...even it if is a fried vegetable!
     These zucchini fries give you a little fried feel, without the guilt. Basically pieces of zucchini dipped in butter, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese are baked until crunchy and golden. These "fries" are delicious and the perfect side to any meat.

3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1 (about 9 inch) zucchini
1/4 cup butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 425* and line baking sheet with parchment paper or greased foil
  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Slice into 1/2in x 4 in fries
  • Combine bread crumbs, cheese, and seasoned salt in a zipper bag. 
  • Dip the zucchini fries into the melted butter, then toss into the zipper bag.
  • Place the fries onto your prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake until golden and tender, about 15 minutes


Monday, October 31, 2011

Meatfree Monday: Pizza Dough

     What an month! There were five weekends in October, and we were out of town all of those but the wedding weekend. We are so tired and ready for some good food again. My body always feels so gross when I eat out all the time.
     For this meatfree post, I'm sharing a new pizza crust recipe. I really, really love my beer batter pizza dough, but sometimes I can't make it to Trader Joe's to get the beer I like to use for it. I found this recipe to use those times. I wasn't expecting a lot really. The recipe is so plain, but as we were eating it, there is just something special about it. I think it's light and complex. The longer you let it rise, the more complex the flavors become. I will definitely be making it again.  I also must explain, the picture has pepperoni in it. I know it's a meatfree post. But we really have made garden vegetable pizza and lots of other meatfree toppings since this first one, but for some reason I don't have a picture of those. This recipe is really for the dough, top with your choice of toppings.

from one of my new favorite cookbooks: Mark Bittman's
The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living

 2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 Tbl olive oil

  • Combine dry ingredients. Stir in 1-1/2 cups water, The dough should be sticky and wet. 
  • Place in a warm spot, and set 6-12 hours. the longer the better.
  • Heat oven to 500*. Oil a baking sheet and spread on the dough. 
  • Drizzle with 2 Tbl olive oil and add pizza toppings. 
  • Bake 8-12 minutes or until cheese melts and crust is golden.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Meatfree Monday

     This October has  been crazy for us. We have been out of town or very busy every weekend, and most weeks too. I was in the wedding of one of my very good friends this weekend. It was lovely and perfectly Jenn. I was home about 2 hours the whole weekend between dropping off daughter, rehearsals, hair, girl time, wedding, and picking up daughter.
     What I'm trying to say is....there is no Meatfree Monday today. I hope to be back next week! Have a great week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Pasta

     I love cheese dip. The Velveeta & Rotel dip is probably my favorite homemade dip. It's fast and easy. In five minutes, you have a snack for unexpected guests. Or a side for your tacos. Or a sauce for your pasta. I know Velveeta isn't healthy. At all. But, every once in a while it's ok to splurge. 
     I made this cheesy delicacy last night as a topping to our build your own bean taco or nacho bar. I knew we would have a lot left over so I had to come up with a way to use it up. This turned out even better than I had hoped. J said I could make it every week if I wanted to. I don't think I'll do that, although I wish I could eat things like that every week and not have to worry about it. 
    Like I said, we used what we left from our dinner last night, so if you want to snack on the dip before or after dinner it would be ok. Also I used garden delight penne to add in some veggies to this otherwise unhealthy dish, but you could use any kind you like.

1 lb Velveeta
1 can rotel
1/2 lb chicken, cubed
1/2 box penne
Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning
  • Boil pasta according to package directions.
  • Saute chicken sprinkled with Mrs. Dash.
  • Cube Velveeta and dump rotel on top. Microwave for 5 minutes, stirring after 3.
  • Drain pasta and combine with chicken. Pour cheese dip over the top. Stir to combine.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Old Fashioned Bread Pudding with Apples & Cinnamon Sauce

     For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Gloria's blog: Canela Kitchen. I looked up canela and it means "cinnamon." I love cinnamon, so I knew right away that I was going to have a hard time deciding which recipe to pick. There were so many good recipes, especially dessert recipes! After I looked through the archives, and reading through most of the blog, I decided on a bread pudding. I had some old bread that I wanted to use up, and my grandpa always made bread pudding when he had old bread, so it held a bit of nostalgia for me.
     I mentioned in some earlier posts that we visited the local apple orchard and ended up with 24 pounds of apples. I thought I could use a couple up by adding some chopped apples to the bread pudding, and what goes better with apples than cinnamon? Not much I think. So, I changed the vanilla sauce to a cinnamon sauce. I think maybe Gloria would like this change since she likes cinnamon enough to put it in her blog title. Another change I made was to reduce the liquids in the recipe, thus taking away the need to bake with a water bath.

3 cups bread in 1 inch pieces (or use enough to fill up your 9x13 pan)
2 chopped apples
2 cups hot milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbl butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Sauce:
1 cup sugar
2 Tbl butter
3/4 cup water
1-1/4 Tbl cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

  • Put bread and apples into 9x13 baking dish. (Use an 8x8 dish if you like a thick pudding)
  • Mix eggs, milk, butter, sugar, honey, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  • Pour egg mixture over the bread and apples. 
  • Bake @ 350* for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • For the sauce: Mix sugar, butter, water, and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan. Heat and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cinnamon. 
  • Cool before pouring over pudding.
linked up to
and 



Meatfree Monday: Peanut Butter & Jelly with Bananas

     This isn't much of a recipe really. It's one of our favorite lunches when we don't have leftovers. We always have the ingredients on hand. It's just and improvement on an old favorite.
     Sometimes we change it up a bit and have peanut butter/nutella/banana or peanut butter/apple/honey sandwiches.

2 slices whole wheat bread
all fruit preserves (we like strawberry or raspberry the best)
natural peanut butter
sliced banana

  • Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread. Spread jelly on the other. Top one side with slices of banana. Add the the other slice on top to form sandwich.

Meatfree features of the week...
a small collection of my favorite meat free recipes that I come across as I search the web each week. All the recipes that I post from various blogs will be stumbled to bring a little extra love to their posts...and if you happen to be one of my featured recipes you can grab my "I was featured on Meat Free Monday" button for your post.




40 Cloves of Garlic Spaghetti from Cinnamon Girl
MMMM....Garlic!






















Honey Pumpkin Bran Muffins from Sugar Plum
These look like a great fall breakfast, don't they?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Burger or Hot Dog Buns

     I know this is a little late. We are still grilling here, in spite of the cooler temperatures. I just love grilled foods. For a long time, I wanted to try my hand at homemade burger and hot dog buns. I love homemade breads, and I knew this would be no different. The recipe is originally from allrecipes and had so many good reviews, so I figured this would be a good place to start. These buns were fairly easy to make (for yeast bread) and added that homemade roll taste to our otherwise boring grilled hot dogs. I used white whole wheat flour instead of of all purpose flour.
     These buns freeze well too. We ended up with 16 hot dog buns, and we only needed 8 for the meal. We froze them and had them again a couple weeks later, and they tasted great.

1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
4-1/2 cups flour (take out 1/2 cup + 1 Tbl if using whole wheat)
2-1/4 tsp yeast (or 1 pkg)
2 Tbl sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 egg

  • In a small saucepan, heat milk, water, and butter until very warm.
  • In a large bowl, mix 1-3/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix milk mixture into flour mixture, and then mix in the egg. Stir in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, or about 8 minutes.
  • For burger buns:Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape into smooth balls (for burger buns) and place on a greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly. Cover and rise for 30-35 minutes.
  • For hot dog buns: Divide dough into 16 pieces. shape each piece into a 6x4 rectangle. Starting with the longer side, roll up tightly and pinch edges to seal. Let rise about 20-25 minutes. 
  • Bake at 400* for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

anyone know how to get those stupid white corners off?
     These apple muffins with a crumbly cinnamon sugar topping will make your house smell so good. A perfect breakfast on a crisp, Fall morning. I enjoyed mine with my favorite Black Magic coffee from our local coffee shop. They are moist and cinnamony (That's a word, right? Well, it should be) and irresistible. I kept thinking that they remind me of something, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
     I actually used both whole wheat and white flour this time around. If you prefer to use all whole wheat, just use 1/2 cup minus 1Tbl instead of 1/2 cup white.

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
2 apples, finely chopped
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
4 Tbl butter, melted
4 Tbl brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

  • Place muffin cups in pan. 
  • Combine flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Stir in apples and sugar.
  • Place milk, eggs, and butter in a separate bowl and mix. 
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir until just combined.
  • Divide batter evenly into muffin cups. 
  • To make the topping, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over the muffins.
  • Bake in 400* for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Grilled Scotch Chops

     When I decided to make this recipe, I thought we had bourbon. That is what David Zinczenko said to use in his recipe. The day came to make it, and I found that we only had scotch but no bourbon (I feel like that should be some kind of country song). I guess the hubs was feeling a little crazy that day. So, the recipe became scotch chops instead. I think they would be great with bourbon, but they are amazing with scotch!
      I wish I would have made some different sides. The mac n' cheese just didn't seem to fit with such a "fancy" meat. This is what it means to live and eat with a two year old...fancy meat for mom and dad; mac n' cheese for everyone.

1/3 cup scotch (or bourbon)
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl brown sugar
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
pork chops (or chicken)

  • Mix the booze, honey, soy sauce, sugar, oil, ginger, and peppers in a large bowl. Set aside about 1/4 cup of the marinade.
  • Add chops to the rest of the marinade and toss to coat. 
  • Grill.
  • Nuke the remaining marinade on high for about 90 seconds and spoon over the chops.

Braided Sausage Bread

     I love breakfast for dinner. Actually, I love breakfast for any time of day. There is just something about sausage, eggs, or bacon. That is just my kind of food, I guess. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that we should have breakfast for dinner once  a week. We don't always get to have a good hot breakfast during the week, so if we have it at dinner, I can still eat the foods I love.
     I loved how this turned out. It reminded me of my favorite bakery's sausage rolls, but without the time and commitment of a yeast roll. Actually, for the amount needed you need to have two packages of crescent rolls, but for some reason I only bought one. So we had one sausage braid and one phyllo wrapped roll. Both were delicious, but I just hate working with phyllo. I'm pretty sure when package in my freezer is gone, I'll never buy it again. That's for another post though.

1-lb turkey sausage
4 cups mozzarella cheese
1 tsp hot sauce
1 Tbl parsley flakes
1 egg
2 pkgs crescent rolls

  • Brown sausage. Mix in cheese, hot sauce, parsley, and egg. Stir and heat until cheese is melted.
  • Unroll both packages of crescent rolls and press together making a long rectangle. (If your baking sheet isn't long enough, make two shorter rectangles instead) On the long edges of the rectangle, make two inch slices every two inches. These slices will make the top braid.
  • Place sausage mixture down the middle of the rectangle. 
  • Criss-cross your sliced edges to make a braid. 
  • Bake according to crescent roll package directions.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Snickerdoodle Cookies

     When I was younger, my mom always made snickerdoodle cookies. She says they are the easiest to make with little notice, because you pretty much always have the ingredients on hand. It's true. For something that is so easy to make with what you already have, these sure do taste great.
     I've made them for many different occasions. This particular batch...well double batch...was for all the kiddos at my church. The cookie bakers don't have to be the little old ladies. I don't want to be in charge of all of the kiddos (I'm retired from  teaching after all), but I will bake them cookies and send them home. Your welcome.
     I've also tried some variations, such as adding in toffee chips. That has been my favorite addition.

1 cup shortening(or part butter/part shortening)
1-1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2-3/4 cup flour
1 tsp soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbl brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

  • combine shortening, sugar, and eggs. Mix well. 
  • Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. 
  • Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  • Roll dough into balls, and then roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  • Place on cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes @ 350*. Cookies should just start to crack on top.
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