Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sammie's Baking Day

I have a budding baker in my house...  Samantha loves to bake bread.  For real, from scratch bread.  She has done this a few times in the past and has been bugging me since we moved to let her bake her bread again.  Today I let her. 

She uses a recipe from Paula Deen's My First Cookbook for honey butter and Homemade Bread.

Sammie's Bread

Ingredients

1 cup Milk
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup warm water
2 packages dry yeast
5 cup all purpose flour (with a little extra for kneading)
Cooking Spray

Measure the milk in the liquid measuring cup. Put the cup in the microwave and nuke it for 40 seconds on high, until it's slightly warm.  Pour it into the large bowl.  Add the sugar, salt, and vegetable oil and stir them well.  Measure 1 cup warm water from the tap, put the yeast into the water and stir it about 5 times.  Let it sit on the counter for about 10 min.  It should bubble up pretty good (Sammie likes to watch it bubble).

Pour the yeast mixture ontop of the milk and stir it well.  Add the flour one cup at a time, mixing it well after each cup.  Use your wooden spoon.  By the end it's pretty thick, she tends to ask for help at this point or just do it with her bare hands. 

Put a clean towel over the top of the bowl and put it somewhere warm to rise.  (A good spot is next to the oven which you can preheat to 375 while it's rising).  Let it be for about an hour.

Stir it down, and  then turn it out onto a floured cutting board or counter top to knead.  Knead the dough for about 2 minutes.  Add a little flour if it's sticky.

Spray your loaf pans (you need two) with cooking spray.  Divide the dough in half, shape into a loaf and put it in the pan to rise.  Cover it with a clean towel.   Let it rise for about 15 more minutes.

Put it in the oven for 35-40 min until browned on top and hollow sounding.

Let cool for 15 min, then turn out onto a board to cut. 
Here's my Sam I am with her yummy homemade bread.... I need to remember to let her do this more often especially since she does it all on her own except for pulling it out of the oven and it's oh so good!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Recipe free day....

My plan for today was to share the yummy lettuce wraps that I cooked for dinner last night...  Except, they weren't all that yummy.
The girls did eat them without drama, which is always nice but the recipe needs some tweaking (or maybe a whole new recipe who knows) before I share.

Today's plan includes Banana Hotdogs (A new breakfast food we are trying, banana on hot dog bun with peanut butter and jelly), sandwiches for lunch and homemade pizza for dinner.  Nothing new to share there either. 

We have been prepping for back to school this week (have I mentioned how happy I am that school starts Tuesday) so I have been doing some stockpile cooking.  I made a huge pot of Minestrone soup on Wednesday and froze it in individual servings for after school snacks or lunch.  My oldest loves soup for snack and I would rather she have a nice healthy bowl of Minestrone then a package of Ramen.  I hit up Sam's club and stocked up on baked chips, fruit leather, granola bars etc...

We had meet the teacher yesterday for the younger two and the girls are all very excited about it.  I think both of their teachers are nice but I'm a little worried (okay, well a LOT worried) about  whether or not they are going to be challenged.  I am reminding myself that God has this in control.  Everything about this move has been God directed and I have felt that peace so I have to remember he has this too.  If it doesn't work out at the school I can always homeschool them.  We shall see what happens with that.

I'm sure I have bored you enough for today.... What are you doing for school prep meal wise?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Facebook Apple Bread

We all see the recipes passed around on facebook.  We share them to our walls so that we can find them later but how many of those recipes have you actually tried.

I admit,  have NEVER actually made one of them.  I always mean too but then I just don't get around to it and it's buried somewhere and I'm not digging it out.

Today was different.  I had apples that the girls hadn't eaten yet and needed to be used or thrown out.  Normally when I have apples like that I make Ozark Apple Pudding (a family recipe from Jim's side).  This morning I decided I was going to make the Apple Cinnamon Loaf that has been floating around facebook.  It said it cooked in 20-30 min... Now I have baked many breads and that seemed a bit short to me but figured it was worth a shot.

I increased the apple because I wanted to use more and make it nice and appley (is that a word?). The girls of course woke up while I was making it and they were anxiously waiting for it to cook so they could eat.  Hungry girls having to wait for bread to bake... Led to somewhat grumpy girls too I might add :)

I tried to keep them entertained divvying up the school supplies for open house today but they were still anxious. 

The bread took 55 minutes to bake through...  It was good and I'm glad I made a double batch so I could freeze one for another day but it is not as quick as they said.

Here is the recipe with my changes (doubled apples and I added salt... baked goods require salt)

Apple Cinnamon Loaf


Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 apples peeled and chopped 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and sugar a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Beat white sugar and butter together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated; add vanilla extract.
  3. Combine flour, salt and baking powder together in another bowl; stir into creamed butter mixture. Mix milk into batter until smooth. Stir in half the chopped apples. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Next add half the apples and half the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apple mixture into batter.
  4. Pour the remaining batter over apple layer; top with remaining apples and add more brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using a finger or spoon.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.
 
Here's a tip btw.. if you need softened butter but don't have any just pop it in the microwave for 15-20 sec... 
 

 My bread stuck... but the girls didn't care and it was Yummy!  Great addition to coffee in the morning!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A twist on Fettucini Alfredo

Well my girls love Pasta... they would eat it every night of the week if I would let them (which of course I won't).  We have been experimenting with gluten free pasta and so far we have been pleased.  That being said, tonight we just used normal pasta.  I forgot to pick up the gluten free pasta at Woodman's and didn't feel like going there after my dental work today so I just picked up a box of fettucini at Target. 

I found the basic recipe on another blog and imported it to Plan to eat.  If you have plan to eat here is the link http://www.plantoeat.com/recipes/1431713

For those of you who don't (and this includes me because I'm still on my free trial and I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it or not). 

The basic recipe is from abearinthekitchen.blogspot.com

This is a Cajun Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and of course I modified her recipe a bit to our tastes.

Ingredients
  • 1 lb Fettucini Noodles
  • boneless skinless chicken tenders
  • cajun seasoning blend
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms (or some sort of mushroom)
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach torn
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded italian cheese blend (I think I used more, I just took two handfuls)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to tastes
  • fresh parsley
 
Cook fettuccine according to package directions. **Important - scoop out 1 cup of pasta water before you drain the pasta and set it aside.** Drain and rinse with hot tap water to keep pasta from sticking. Set aside.

Sprinkle each chicken tender on both sides with ample blackening spice, rubbing the spice in to adhere. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, get skillet very hot. Working in batches place chicken breasts in skillet (so as not to crowd the pan) and sear on one side until very browned, about 3 minutes. Flip chicken over and sear on other side for 1 minute. Place chicken on sprayed baking sheet. Add another tablespoon of butter to the hot pan and repeat searing until all the chicken has been done. Place chicken on baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, just until cooked through. Remove chicken and slice on the diagonal into strips. Cover with foil and set aside.

After chicken breasts go in the oven, start on the sauce in the same skillet. If needed add another tablespoon of olive oil and get the skillet nice and hot again. Pour chicken broth into skillet and whisk up all the brown bits... It's going to produce a lot of steam when you add the broth so be prepared for that. Add tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic and saute until softened, about 2 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
 
 Continue to stir for 6 minutes, until cream has reduced and thickened (for me this is hard to gauge, I just watched it and when it had been long enough moved on).  Stir in two handfuls of torn baby spinach leaves, then  Remove from heat and stir in cheeses, stirring constantly until cheeses melt. Add pasta and toss. Add the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce so it will coat the pasta. Add chicken and toss. Serve topped with parsley and Parmesan cheese if desired.
 
 
 This meal earned 4 stars at our house (meaning everyone enjoyed it).... I hope you guys do too

Changes, lots and lots of changes....

Well my friends, long time no blog... 
When last we met I was frantically trying to finish my bachelor's degree and awaiting my husbands return from Saudi Arabia.  We knew we were due to move, but not where we were moving too.  

 Welcome to Kenosha, Wisconsin....  Jim has been assigned here as a recruiter and is currently away at school.

We have had a very busy summer, visiting family and friends in Texas, saying goodbye to all of our friends and family in Missouri and moving north.  It has been quite the adventure.

The house is finally fully functioning and set up (well aside from my room, why is my room always last.... oh well I will get to it at some point).  The girls start school next week (can I get a Halleluiah anyone?) and so far I am still unemployed.  I have had a few interviews at the hospital I am hoping to work at but no decision has been made about the position yet so I'm in limbo.  There are other hospitals, clinics, jobs etc but this is the place I want to work at so I will wait a bit longer.
I did in fact finish my bachelor's degree in nursing and now I'm trying for my Grad school... Waiting on transcripts from all of the lovely houses of learning I have graced with my attendance before I can proceed.  

We have found a church, where the music and message are good and the girls are happy.  I still feel like a ship lost at sea there but that's okay I'm sure that will pass eventually.

Since moving here I am trying to make some dietary changes for the whole family, less processed food, more vegetarian nights, and more activity!  I will again be sharing recipes and just life in general with the few people who choose to follow my blog. 

So Welcome Back my friends!