Posts Tagged Cook

Do It Yourself – “Farmhouse White Sandwich Bread”

DISCLOSURE: Home made breads are not your run-of-the-mill normal grocery store bread. It is heartier, dense, flavorful, stick to your ribs. It preserves differently as well.

After making Artisan Bread several times I felt I was adapted well enough to graduate to another standard. So I hit the google machine and type in homemade white sandwich bread and I hit the JACKPOT!!! On the first page I checked out Farm Girl Fare‘s blog site, and I fell in love with it.

I read her article on the perfect loaf of bread for beginning bakers and I was confident I could do this! The article is wordy, but it encompass information that is important to bread making. Things you need to know and also book recommendations and extra things you can do with the basic recipe to change things. In the latter part of the post is your baking directions and I suggest you read it in it’s entirety before you begin the process.

Honestly there is a lot more reading and waiting than actually doing work.

What do you need?
-4 cups all-purpose flour
-1½ Tablespoons Instant Yeast
-2 Tablespoons granulated or brown sugar
-2 Tablespoons your favorite neutral oil, or melted butter (neutral flavored oils being Canola, Safflower, Vegetable, etc)
-4 cups warm milk or water, about 85° F (Milk is the best imo)
-About 6 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
-1½ Tablespoons salt (VERY IMPORTANT)
Tips:

 
1. Read her blog post entirely.
2. I like using 1 TB of instant yeast. I just let it sit and meld longer.
3. Don’t leave out the salt. I forgot it once and the whole batch taste like cardboard.
4. Honey is a nice addition to the bread.
5. It really is true that the longer the bread sits and goes through its process the better it tastes. 
6. Once you do this a couple of times you’ll become pro. It really is not as hard as it originally looks like. 
7. If your bread dries out, using a damp non-terry cloth type towel to wrap the loaf of bread, turn the oven to about 200 and give it about 8-10 minutes. It brings back in the moisture. 
8. When you store your bread, it’s good to wrap it in surran wrap and then put it into a zip lock baggy. 
9. If your bread becomes hard and stale don’t throw it away! There are 100 things you can do with that stale bread like making croutons or stuffing! 

This has been my go to recipe, and I LOVE IT. 

Give bread making a shot! Skip out on the preservatives, have a heartier lunch sandwich, and it cost less in the long run.

 

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Do It Yourself – Chocolate Hard Shell Sauce

I don’t know about you, but I love chocolate covered fruit and ice cream. Instead of buying that magic hard shell chocolate sauce I make my own! Not only is it easy but it’s cheaper! (My favorite combination!)

Hard Shell Chocolate Sauce

What you need?
 
-6 ounces of Chocolate (Personal Preference Semi-Sweet)
-1 table spoon coconut oil
-1 small pot 1/2 way with water
-1 small pot that can sit on top of the one with water. 
 
What to do?  First, my disclaimer, my microwave and I have frequent disagreements so I just the stove, however this can be done in a microwave. 
 
Bring your water to a low simmer. Once it is simmering pour in your chocolate chips and coconut oil into the top pan and set it on top of the pan with simmering water. You chocolate should begin melting very shortly. As it melts, stir until it is completely melted. 
 
Immediately add to the top of your ice cream and put it into the freezer for a minute. Viola, hard shell chocolate sauce. 
 
Another Favorite is chocolate covered strawberries. Use a kabob skewer and insert the end into the top of the strawberry and swirl it around (I find it easier to leave the stems on.) If you want to add coconut or nuts just sprinkle them on top of the strawberry while the chocolate is still wet and then refrigerate until chocolate is set. 
 

It really is that simple. Coconut oil gives it that nice shine and helps the chocolate harden faster with very little work. ENJOY!

 

 

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Homemade – Jeanette Lemon Italian Cookies

One of the best things about where I work is the amount of cooking that goes on around here. Most specifically, baking! Someone is always having a birthday, baby, married, holiday….. something is going on and food is about. It can be a very dangerous place if you’re not careful. Haha!

On of these food perks is being able to grab recipe’s from my co-workers. One of the ladies in my department made these sinfully delicious lemon based cookies and I knew I just -had- to have the recipe.

Most commonly know as Jeanettes; they are a lemon zippy soft cookie that are very simple to make.

What you need:

 -2 cups unbleached white flour
-1/3 cup canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-2 tablespoons of milk
-2 tablespoons of baking powder
-2 tablespoons of lemon extract (or other extract. I used lemon rind of the same amount)
 
Icing
 -1 & 1/2 cup of confections sugar
-Desired amount of milk for desired icing thickness

What to do: This makes roughly 2 dozen cookies; Oven should be pre-heated to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together well blended. The dough should be pretty sticky so a little flour on the hands doesn’t hurt. Scoop up some batter and roll it into about an 1 inch ball and place ball onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cook for roughly ten minutes.

Mix confectioners’ sugar and milk. I preferred mine to be a very thin icing.

Once you Jeanette’s are done let them cool for a couple of minutes until they are bearable to touch. While still nice and warm lightly dip the top of each cookie into the icing. I then added a nice extra touch of Raspberry coarse sugar to the tops.

These are light, fluffy, lemony, and not too sweet. They vanished quickly in my house! My boys give me two thumbs up on this treat.

 

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Homemade – Hamburger Helper

I am the first person to tell you I am OVER hamburger helper. I DISLIKE cooking from a box! My husband teases me all the time about this, but I’d rather make it from scratch than use a box meal.  Well that didn’t help him any; Steven likes box meals once in a while and that is handy for the nights I do not want to cook. What do we do then? COMPROMISE!

Browsing a nifty post on Buzz I came across this gem of a post from another blogger I have fallen in love with!

The Tip Garden

I typically have all of this stuff on hand in my pantry. If you don’t a small investment would save you money down the road.

Here is the staple list you will need

  1. Past Noodles (wheat, regular, vegan, or veggie it doesn’t matter)
  2. Powdered Milk
  3. Corn Starch
  4. Spices
  5. Cheese
  6. Meat

Pretty basic in many homes.

The first recipe we tired was the Cheeseburger Macaroni Helper:

 What you need; pantry kit:

-1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
-1 sauce packet:  2/3 cup powdered milk
-1 tablespoon corn starch
-1 teaspoon of each: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder,  Sugar, Paprika

Fresh Ingredients for cooking day:

1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
3 cups hot water
1 cup shredded cheese

What to do: Brown ground beef in large skillet, drain grease, add hot water, pasta and contents of sauce packet.  Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low about 12 minutes stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. During last few minutes of cooking, stir in the cheese; cover and cook final few minutes till cheese is melted.  Turn off heat and uncover. Let skillet dinner sit for about 5 minutes. This will allow sauce to thicken a bit.

HOLY COW how easy is that?! It was pretty nomnom and Money Saving Too!

Check out The Tip Garden for more pantry “hamburger” helper items.

FAQ

Q: Can I use regular milk instead of powdered? A: Yes; The first time I made this I use regular milk. I followed the ratio for milk the 2/3 of a cup of powdered milk would make. (1 & 1/2 cups of milk) So I added 1 & 1/2 cups of milk and 1 & 1/2 cups of water.

Q: How can I make this healthier? A: Use whole wheat noodles, ground turkey or chicken, reduce fat sharp cheddar cheese, and reduce fat milk or non-fat powdered milk. It’s not too shabby! If you’re like me and LOVE veggies add some onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and more.

Easy to make, easy to store, and quit worrying about “What’s for dinner?”

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Homemade – Plain Yogurt (*In the Crock pot!*)

I have learned that making yogurt is a time-consuming practice. Not so much because of the prep time, but the time it needs to cure. The yogurt did not turn out like what you buy at the store, but it was really good! I could eat this plain with nothing added where store-bought stuff I can’t do that.

Here are the three blogs I checked out for DIY Crock pot Yogurt

Money Saving Mom

Thankfully Thrifty

Keeper of the Home

The winner was Keeper of the Home. I opted for the additional steps for thicker yogurt. Although I like them all!

What you need: 

-1 Crock pot
-Whole Milk
PLAIN yogurt (must have active cultures)

TIP: You want to use 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt to every 4 cups of milk. In the other blogs, their ration was 1/2 gallon of milk 1/2 cup of yogurt.

What to do:

At this point I am going to recommend to simply go to Keeper’s blog! DIY – Plain Yogurt The layout and pictures are wonderful. READ thoroughly before doing this project. The first time I tried it I missed a step and this turned out VERY runny. (Although good still.)

FAQ

Q: How much time did you spend on this project. A: As I stated before this isn’t a hard project it just takes a lot of time to do.

Q: Can I use other types of milk? A: Some say yes and some say no. I have always used whole milk, BUT I think tonight I may just opt to try it out with 1%. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Q: Can i use these recipes to create Greek yogurt? A: Greek yogurt is merely a strained version of regular yogurt so in theory yes! You need cheese cloth. You simply let the yogurt sit longer and drain.

Q: This yogurt is very runny did I do something wrong? A: No; this isn’t like store-bought yogurt. Manufacturing has done a number on us! To thicken it up you can drain the yogurt with cheese cloth.

Q: Can I use this yogurt in my cooking? A: Of course!

Q: What if I don’t want plain yogurt. A: Just add your desired flavoring after the yogurt has been created. Add whatever items you want! Get inventive! I love crunchy granola with mine.

Practice Makes Perfect. This is a project that needs practice.

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Homemade – Instant Oatmeal

I just want to put this out there that I made this recipe PRE-South Beach Diet. It is so good and easy!

DIY Instant Oatmeal was my first find to my now favorite blogger Ms Jillee. I ADORE her style and love the ideas she posts. My posts are related to the experience and experimentation of other’s peoples ideas.

Without further adieu, I now introduce my first food entry into my blog!

Jillee’s Instant Oatmeal (Tweaked on accident)

  • 10 cups of quick oats (3/4 of a large tub) – One whole large container of quick oats.
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2  cups brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like your oatmeal)
  • 1 cup non-dairy creamer
  • one air tight container

What to do: Put 3 cups of oats into a blender and blend until it is powdery. In a bowel add powdered oats and all other ingredients together and mix well. 1/2 cup of oat meal mixture to 3/4 cup of milk, water, or half and half  as desired and heat to desired temperature in the microwave.

FAQ

Q: Why did you tweak the recipe? A: it was an accident but using the whole container of oats turned out be just fine. If it’s not broke don’t fix it!

Q: How much brown sugar did you use? A: I used two cups. The husband likes it sweeter. I found it to be just fine.

Q: How many servings does this make? About 24, so that makes 2.5 – 3 boxes of Quaker Oats for about $3.48. I had all other ingredients but the oats.

Q: The recipe lists non-dairy creamer but in the picture on Jillee’s site it shows Vanilla Non-Dairy creamer. What did you use? A: I used the vanilla, but next time I will use plain

Q: What do you like in your oatmeal? A: My favorite additions to oatmeal is sliced almonds and dried cranberries.

Q: Will do be doing more alterations to this recipe? A: Yes; I am going to try using a variation with whole cooking oats or steel cut oats due to my new dieting food habits.

This is a GREAT way to save some money on a very common breakfast item. I LOVE IT! 

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