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.

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

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
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 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
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.)

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
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

Special Note

For the present, anonymous comments are not allowed at Robin, Restored due to the large number of spam comments that make it through Blogger's spam filter. I'm sorry about those of you who comment as Anonymous and sign your names. I'll try later to enable the function again.
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