Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fresh Bread



Seriously, is there anything better?

I really don't think there is.

When it gets down to the basics of life . . .

bread is it!

Even Jesus refers to bread in teaching spiritual lessons!

"I'm listening!"

My cherubs love bread.

My cherubs love homemade bread.

But let's get realistic.

Who really has time for that?

Oh, there are some "easy" recipes.

It's true.

And I use them.

Occasionally.

But my go-to homemade bread and rolls:

Rhodes!


It's right there in the freezer section.

Usually on the bottom shelf.

I honestly don't understand that -- but whatever!

I grab a package or two to have on hand for when I'm needing that "fresh baked bread" without all of the effort!

Fresh Bread

Rhodes bread loaves
Pam
Butter

Take out the number of frozen loaves that you wish to bake.

Spray a bread loaf pan with pam.

Place one frozen bread loaf in the pan and lightly cover with wrap and set in a "draft-free" spot.

Allow to thaw and rise.

The temperature of your house will dictate the exact time.  However, the good news is all the directions are on the back of the package . . .even for a "quick thaw" method . . .which I've done several times because I haven't planned ahead enough!

Preheat oven to temperature on package and bake according to directions.

Once it's baked, rub the top of the loaf with the butter.  Preferably use a cold stick of butter so that it's not drippy with butter, but rather giving a nice light gloss.

Allow to cool a bit before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Cool completely before slicing so that it doesn't tear.




Saturday, August 25, 2012

Meaty Morning Muffins


Say that 3 times fast!

Meaty morning muffins.
Meaty morning muffins.
Meaty morning muffins!

Finding something different for breakfast is always my quest.

I don't like sending the cherubs off to school without a descent breakfast.

It must be how I was raised.

Umm . . .I don't remember that!

Which is my point! 

I don't remember what my mom fed me for breakfast when I was in school .  . .
and my cherubs won't remember either.

So why do I worry about it?

I have NO IDEA!

But I do!

So!  Because I do -- you get to have a new recipe to try!

That was good for something!

Morning Muffins

4 slices bacon
2 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP wheat germ
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup creamed corn
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup oil.

Preheat oven to 375.  Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan.

Mix dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients.  Make a well in the center of the dry and slowly pour the wet ingredients.  Mix until just blended -- don't over mix.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

8 to 5

My sweet cherubs!
We're 8 to 5 around here.
I'm not talking a work day.
I'm talking my cherubs!

For the first time, my cherubs' uniforms are
the same . . .navy and khaki! 


I've got one in grade 8 and one in grade 5.
That makes me official!
OFFICIALLY, I no longer have a cherub in elementary school!
We're on the brink of a full-fledged potential of hormonal outbreak!
My cherubs!
My sweet babies!
Growing up!
It's sweet.
As in bitter sweet!

The Mr. reminded me this weekend that our oldest cherub will be "gone" in 5 years.
When we say "gone" we really mean no longer residing at our house but fully consuming every ounce of finance we'll throw his way.
Many of you have already paved that road for us.
But in our small-world minds; in our own self-absorbed parent-moments; our cherubs are growing up fast!

Today was the first day of school.
This is my cherub with 3 sweet friends in her homeroom class.
Aren't they precious!
I'd show you a picture of the boy cherub.
But I don't have one.
The Mr. kicked him out of the car at the curb.
The carpool line was, and I paraphrase the Mr.,
"a living carpool mess and I wasn't waiting in that line!"
Umm . .. maybe the Mr. isn't as sentimental about the first day of school as I am.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Banana Rum Cake with Buttered Rum Sauce



I love all of my cookbooks.

Some I love more than others.

Some I use more than others.

One that I use alot is by the Cake Mix Doctor.
What I like about the Cake Mix Doctor is she usually starts with a cake mix and goes up from there.

There's a long story as to why I made this cake last week.

But a hint as to why I made it:  The Mr. forgot to tell me that I needed to send some "treats" to work with him the next day.

Oh yeah.
Not just "treats" -- but his secretary was leaving and this was the staff good-bye.
Oh yes.
In a scramble, I looked through this great cake cookbook and decided to give this recipe a try.
The cherubs were so glad I did -- it's delicious!

Banana Buttered Rum Cake

3 medium-size ripe bananas, or 2 large ripe bananas
1 package (18.5 ounces) plain butter recipe golden cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
½ cup light or dark rum
½ cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

FOR THE GLAZE

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup light or dark rum
¼ cup water

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust it with flour. Shake out the excess flour.

Peel bananas and place them in a large mixing bowl. Beat bananas with an electric mixer on low speed until mashed. Add cake mix, pudding mix, ½ cup of rum, ½ cup of water, and the oil, vanilla and eggs to the bananas. Beat on low speed until ingredients are combined, 1 minute. Stop. Scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined.

Pour the batter in the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula.

Bake the cake until it is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer the Bundt pan to a wire rack and let cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the glaze:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, rum and water. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture boils, 3 to 4 minutes. Let glaze boil and continue stirring until it thickens, about 3 minutes longer.

Remove saucepan from the heat and set the glaze aside to cool 10 minutes.

Run a long, sharp knife around the edges of the cake, shake pan gently, and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool 10 minutes longer, then place it on a cake plate with raised sides.

Using a long wooden skewer, poke 12 to 16 holes in the top of the cake and slowly spoon the warm glaze over warm cake. Keep spooning until most of the glaze is absorbed (see note below). Let the cake cool to room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes, then slice it and serve.
Note: This makes a generous amount of glaze, and the glaze contributes to the moist and flavorful cake. But if you like, spoon only half of the glaze over the cake and save the other half to reheat gently and spoon over the cake slices when serving them with ice cream.
Store: Wrapped in foil or plastic wrap or placed in a cake saver, store at room temperature for up to 5 days. Freeze, wrapped in foil, for up to 6 months. Let the cake thaw overnight on the counter before serving.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Homemade Fresh Cherry Pie Filling

I couldn't get a picture taken . . .
I couldn't get my photo editing program to work . . .
I was frustrated and I'm posting it anyways!


You may be asking, "why would you want to make your own cherry pie filling?"

I'll refer you to the earlier post where I made mention that the Mr. brought home 11 pounds of cherries, because, and I quote, "it was a good price!"

Now, I will say, this is good for more than just pie.  We've eaten it on toast with a smear of cream cheese, on p.b. & j sandwich, with a cream on a scone, and with pork.  All pretty tasty!
Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

6 cups fresh pitted cherries, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds ( I used Bing)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1-2 tsp. almond extract, if desired




Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Cool slightly before using as a topping.

Refrigerate left-overs.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cherry Almond Bread


Cherries are a great fruit.

The Mr. loves cherries; especially the expensive cherries.

That would be the Rainier cherries.

But he doesn't always get those during cherry season!

But he always gets several pounds of Bing cherries when they're in season.

The other day, the Mr. went to the grocery store while I was away.

Cherries were nearly $3.00 a pound  . . .

OR!  He could purchase a flat of cherries for $10.00.

He went with the flat.

It made better financial sense.

Ummm . . . .that'd be 11 pounds of cherries he sat on the counter!

Yes.

11.

You know how fast cherries can go bad.

So he says to me.

Me!

"What can we do with these?"

Funny!
You bought them!

Now you want we/me to do something with them?

Those rhyming words get him mixed up all the time!

"I'll pit them if you do something with them."  the Mr. kindly said!

So with that information, I set out to "do something" with 11 pounds of cherries!

I made cherry bread!

I found this on a website; made some modifications, and here it is.

Cherry Almond Bread

1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
2  tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. almond extract
1 c. sour or Bing cherries, pitted and halved (canned, frozen, or fresh)

GLAZE:
6 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
4-6 TBSP heavy cream
1 tsp. almond extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream sugar and butter.  Add eggs and almond extract and combine well.
Combine dry ingredients then stir into creamed mixture by hand.
Fold in cherries.
Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.
Bake for 1 hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make glaze while the bread is baking.
Immediately, punch holes in the top with a toothpick or knife when bread is removed from oven.
Pour glaze over hot bread. Remove from pan quickly after glaze is absorbed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lookie, Lookie!

Have you noticed the new look?

Different Colors?

Different Fonts?

Even a little different lay-out!

I tried not to change the lay-out too much.

Because it bugs me when I go to a blog and they've changed it . . .and I can't find things really easy and fast . . . like I normally do!

Then I get frustrated.

And I read the post, but I keep thinking about how I don't like the new lay-out.

I didn't want that to happen to you.

But I did add some things!

The search button!
Ohhhh!  That's kind of fun!

I've tried it several times.  There was only one thing I couldn't find.

I must have it under a weird label!

But I'll look for it and make changes!

And how 'bout that follow by e-mail thing?

Kinda cool!

Some of you have already signed up that way!
When a new post is made, you'll receive an e-mail in your in box with the entire post!

Then there's the Top 5 listing!

That's the top 5 most looked at posts in the last 30 days. 

If you've noticed, it changes as people search for different posts.

And there's the translate button.

If English isn't your first language, then you can select your favorite language to have the recipe translated to.
The only other little thing I changed were the pictures of my cherubs at the very bottom.

They're so cute!

I couldn't leave them out!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Some of My Favorite Apps.

Must be a slow cooking day, right?

We've been on vacation for two weeks!

That means no food in the house and laundry up to my eyeballs!

So!  Here are a few of my favorite apps!

1.  "Songz" -- it's free.  My friend told me about it.  Pretty cool if you're into music.



2.  "GeoQpons" -- it's free.  My friend told me about it.  Pretty cool if you're into saving money.



3.  "Lose It" -- it's free.  My friend told me about it.  Pretty cool if you're into calorie count.



4.  "Card Star" -- it's free.  My friend told me about it.  Pretty cool if you don't want a bunch of those store cards hanging from your key ring.



5.  "Michael's" -- it's free.  Found it myself.  You don't have to kick yourself because you're buying something and you left the 40% off coupon at home . . .it's on this app!



Friday, August 10, 2012

Terrific Two's

Today!

Friday, August 10, 2012

this little blog is
2 YEARS OLD!!!!

That's right!

Two years ago, I decided that I'd start a blog.

I had no idea what I was doing . . .

. . .and still don't!

I started writing out recipes that people requested.

Sometimes I'd make the recipe and take a picture,

like the professional bloggers do.

But I wasn't a professional.

And I'm still not!

Then I started trying new recipes, whether found or created by me,
and posting that too.

I worked to improve the pictures . . .

all the while, not really realizing that people are reading.

It had become a past-time of sorts.

I'm not a writer.

I'm not a baker or a chef.

I'm just a mom.

A mom who is happy in life;

loves her family;

enjoys cooking;

and at the end of the day -- my kitchen is where we gather.

We gather to laugh.

To talk.

To slow down, just for a bit.

During the busy day, it's at the table where "family" happens.

Here I am, two years later, still blogging about food.

Through your reading of these recipes, my hope is that in the kitchen you find enjoyment, pleasure, and laughter.

I'm hoping that the recipes I share with you bring your family together too.

I looked back over these past 2 years and was amazed by the stats. Maybe you're interested too!
  • Over 17,400 page views
  • An average of 50 page views a day
  • There are 13 "followers"
  • Readers from:
    • Australia
    • Brazil
    • Canada
    • Denmark
    • France
    • Germany
    • India
    • Netherlands
    • Russia
    • Singapore
    • South Korea
    • Sweden
    • United Kingdom
    • United States
  • Majority of the readers (71%) use Windows -- but 18% of you use an iphone
To those of you who read my ramblings and are brave enough to try a new recipe . . . or make an old, forgotten recipe from years ago . . .

Thank you!

I hope the time you spend in your kitchen is fun and you're not just feeding your family; you're feeding their soul.

To my Mr. and sweet cherubs -- thank you too! You withhold a bite so that I can take a picture! You rate a recipe to see if it's "blog worthy" or not! You hold the plate of food in "perfect" light so that I can take a descent picture! You even buy me kitchen gadgets for presents! I love you guys!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Garlic, Onion and Parmesean Croutons



I remember when the cherubs were little cherubs.

They loved to dip croutons in ranch dressing.

I loved for them to dip croutons in ranch dressing.

That meant I got to eat some croutons.

I love croutons!
Who ever came up with serving dried out flavored bread on salads?

I don't know, but I think I love them!

What I don't like about croutons are the cheap, tiny croutons.

Can't stand those!

What I also don't like is the cost of croutons!
The ones I like aren't all that expensive . . .

 . . .until you look at the amount that comes in the bag!

Remember the Caesar salad I made to take to dinner at a friend's house?

I also made homemade croutons!

That's one of those crazy things you do when your air conditioner is out!

Heat the oven to 250 degree for 2 hours or until all the bread is dried out.

Made perfect sense!

Make yourself some croutons and impress your friends!

This recipe may drive you crazy -- I have no amounts!  It's all by look . . . and taste!

Mostly by taste!

Garlic, Onion, and Parmesan Croutons

1 loaf french bread
olive oil
butter, melted
garlic salt
onion powder
fresh ground pepper
Parmesan cheese (the kind that comes in the can . . .like pizza cheese)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Cube the french bread.  I cut into slices first, then cube it.

Arrange in a single layer and allow to air dry for a couple of hours or more (if you have the time for this -- if not, just skip this step).

Place bread in a large bowl.

Drizzle olive oil (maybe 1/4 of a cup) and about 1/4 of a cup of melted butter over the cubes.  You want enough moisture to sparingly coat the bread, but you don't want a puddle of oil in the bottom of your bowl!

Sprinkle with onion powder, garlic salt, fresh ground pepper, and the Parmesan cheese (kind of heavy with the cheese).  Stirring very well to coat.

Taste a cube of bread.  If you don't like it now, you won't like it when it's dried out!  Adjust as necessary.

Line a cookie sheet with foil and pour the cubes into a single layer.

Place in the oven and allow to toast/dry out.  Stirring occasionally.

You will have to taste periodically throughout the cooking time to make sure it has that "crouton crunch!"  Once you've reached perfection, remove the croutons from the oven and allow to cool before serving . . .if you can make it that long!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Caesar Salad Dressing



Disclaimer:  I am not particularly fond of Caesar Salad or the dressing.

The croutons,on the other hand, I kinda like those.

But not so much anything else.

My cherubs, on the other hand, really like Caesar salad.

Sometimes, I'm nice and give a salad choice.

When I do that I make 2 Caesar salads for them and 2 different salads for me and the Mr.

However, we were going to dinner at a friend's house and I agreed to take a salad.

I gave them a choice.

Her reply, "OH!  We like either!"

My girl cherub was the deciding vote -- Caesar won!

But because my friend is a good cook -- I had to go above and beyond and make homemade croutons . . .

 .  . . AND homemade Caesar dressing!

Since I don't have  a dressing recipe, I began to search.

The basic difference I found:  either it's "real" and it's made with oil and egg yolk, or it's "kinda real" and it's made with mayonnaise as the base.

Because my air is out again -- and I didn't really want to serve raw eggs (or the anchovies) to the children, I went with the "kinda real" version.

You know what, I may become a fan of Caesar dressing!

Caesar Salad Dressing

1 1/4 tsp. minced garlic cloves (I use the jarred stuff . . .already done for you!)
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup mayonnaise,
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Add the mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and whisk until well combined.

Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference.

Serve over torn romaine lettuce, croutons, and shaved Parmesan cheese.