Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Garlic Parmesan Bread

I find it hard to find good bread machine recipes - they are often very dry, but I liked this one.  I will make this again. 
Modified from Taste of Home

1 cup warm water
2 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp butter, softened
1 tbsp. honey
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups bread flower
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine, in order suggested by your manufacturer.  Select basic bread setting.  Choose 1.5 lb loaf size.  Click bake on the bread machine (check after a few minutes to see if you need more flour or water, but mine didn't need anything).

Makes 1 loaf (1.5 lb). 

Beer Cheese Bread

I've made this new recipe several times now.  I'm very pleased with it. It is easy and it uses up the random beer that people leave at my house....we don't drink beer.....so you can bring yours, but take it home!  Anyway, this is very good!

Beer Cheese Bread
Modified from Cooking Light
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 cups flour
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp basking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup cheddar, shredded
1 bottle (12 oz) of beer
2 tbsp. butter, divided

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook onion in oil until browned (about 10 minutes), then add in pepper and garlic and cook for another minute.  Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.  Add in onion mixture, cheese and beer.  Stir until just moistened.

Put into a bread pan (coat with cooking spray).  Drizzle 1 tbsp. of butter over the batter. Bake for 35 minutes.  Drizzle with second tbsp of butter and then bake for 25 more minutes or until golden brown (timing worked for me).  You can also test with a toothpick.  Cool in pan for a few minutes then put on wire rack to completely cool. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Ellen Rose (Ellie) Stannard

Holding my brand new niece!  She's absolutely gorgeous!!  The most beautiful girl ever (I can get away with that since I had boys)! 

Monday, March 07, 2016

Creamy Coleslaw

Everyone knows I make "weird" coleslaw...and honestly I don't like "regular" coleslaw. But Ray does.  And one place I DO like it is on BBQ sandwiches.  We made these great BBQ Chicken Sliders, but they needed coleslaw to top.  So hence I found a coleslaw recipe I like.  This is nice and easy and means I have a "regular" recipe if necessary plus it tops my sliders.

Creamy Coleslaw
Modified from Taste of Home

1 pkg (14 oz) coleslaw mix
3/4 cup  mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp celery salt

Place coleslaw mix in a large bowl. In small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Stir until well blended.  Pour over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. 

Serves 6.

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

This is my other "basic" biscotti recipe - the boys and Ray both really liked these.  They turned out well and are nice and easy. 

Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Modified from Brown Eyed Baker

1/4 cup butter (they said unsalted...I used regular butter, but I took out 1/4 tsp of salt for it)
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (so the original recipe was 3/4 tsp)
3 cups flour
1 pkg (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (they said 1.5 cups...I just threw in a full bag)

Preheat to 375.  Line with parchment paper (I've actually been doing this on these recipes). 

In mixing bowl, cream the butter and shortening with sugar until lightly and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt. Gradually add in flour until incorporated.  Finally, mix in chocolate chip cookies - I recommend doing this with your floured hands as dough is VERY stiff at this point.
Divide dough into two parts and shape each into a 12 inch log, about 3 inches wide.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.  These will rise a little, but not much, so think about what your finished log to look like as you shape.  Let cool for about 20 minutes.  Reduce oven to 300.  Cut the log into 3/4 inch pieces with a serrated knife.  Return slices, cut side up, to baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn them over and do bake for another 15 minutes.  Cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen biscotti. 
My biggest "lesson" of the biscotti is that the shape of the log REALLY matters as that helps you get that crunchy final product you want.  You don't want large logs - you really do need to divide the logs. I'll probably always double this, but do it in 4-6 logs to make it easier to bake and then cut. 

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Brownie Biscotti

One of my current baking goals is biscotti. This isn't because I like it (I actually really don't...I like soft cookies), but because I think it will ship well.  One of my cousins is deployed currently and his mail is especially slow where he is.  These made it!  He even got to share these with some German soldiers.  So the first time I did biscotti, I felt it tasted good (that was the pumpkin pie biscotti and gingerbread biscotti), but the texture wasn't right. I have it now!  There definitely was a learning curve with this one!  I also think this is one where I started with "weird" versions and I needed to start with "basic." 

Brownie Biscotti

1 pkg fudge brownie mix
3/4 cup ground almonds (I bought a 6 oz bag of sliced almonds for a double batch and put them through the blender...it wasn't quite the 1 1/2 cups I needed so I topped it off with whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg plus 3 egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
In a large bowl, mixed the brownie mix, ground almonds, flour and baking powder.  In a small bowl, whisk egg, egg whites and extract.  Add to brownie mix, stir until combine (umm...yeah...this is hard...I did it with my hands and almost kneaded it).  Dough will eventually be sticky, at first it seems like you don't have enough liquid and so the "kneading" is what gets it to that right consistency. 

Divide dough into thirds and shape into rectangular logs (again this is STICKY...be prepared...some of the comments on the original recipe said they added flour...I actually just might flour my hands in the future).  Bake at 350 for 24 minutes (this sometimes needed a little more...just feel it and see).  Remove from oven and cool for a bit (what I did was let the first batch cool while I baked the second).  Then cut into 3/4 inch slices.  Place cut side down on baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes or until firm (this usually took me a little longer).  So with a double batch, I had two sheets of logs....so I did first baking on first, then cut and did second so they could cool quite a bit, which worked for me.  You want them to look dry - no moisture. 

Cool on wire racks.  These will harden as they cool, which they should do.  You want a "crunch" with biscotti. 
You can top with sliced almonds and melted white chocolate if you want. I didn't as I ship most of mine.
Makes 2.5 dozen. 
So what I don't like about this recipe is the "hidden" nuts.  This is mainly because I ship overseas and I can't just TELL people there are nuts in here even if you can't see them.  So I've been putting "allergy" stickers on these.  But I still don't like that. So I replaced ALL the ground almonds with whole wheat flour and it worked.  I was worried I'd lose consistency (as the ground almonds are moister), but it did fine.  You CAN taste what the almonds add and I think that's a better recipe, but I also think that the plain is still good.  Both are good, adding almonds just adds an added taste dimension, but depending on what you are doing with them, not having nuts in them might be useful.  Oh, when I did this, I also exchanged the almond extract for vanilla extract. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Lemon Monkey Bread

This was okay....not great, not bad.  Ray and I discussed it and we think that we'd rather just have rolls OR a sweet...and this is like a halfway house. We aren't big on the sweet/savory stuff so this makes sense.  I took the leftovers in to my pre-algebra test and my students gobbled it up, though!

Philly Cheeseteak Stew

This was very yummy!  Definitely has the taste of a Philly. My meat was a little tough, but I overcooked it. 

Philly Cheeseteak Stew
Modified from the Cozy Apron

1.5 lb beef, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
4 tbsp. flour, divided
2 onions, sliced
10 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups beef stock, hot
Provolone cheese

Add beef to a large bowl and season with salt, pepper and onion powder. Toss to coat.  Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. of flour and toss again. 

Place a hot over medium-high heat and put 3-4 tablespoons of oil in it.  Cook beef until nicely browned.  Set aside.  [Be careful here...if you overcook, the meat gets chewy.]  Add more oil if needed to pot, then add in sliced onion and caramelize.  Add in mushrooms and cook until nicely sautéed.  Add thyme and garlic and stir to incorporate.  Add 2 more tbsp. of flour to onion mixture and stir well.  Slowly add in beef stock.  Reduce to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and add back in meat.  Stir.   Top with shredded provolone cheese [I think I used my shredded Italian cheese mix.].  They recommend bread bowls.

Serves 4.

Andrew's Work

Ray was planning out a table...so Andrew did, too!  Andrew was helping me make cookies and decided he need a recipe...this is his recipe...I couldn't convince him he could use more paper....he cut out that square....

Thursday, February 18, 2016

New Star Wars

We took Adam to see the new Star Wars movie - he was SO thrilled!! He was so good the entire time in the movie, too!

General Grevious

The boys like to "form" General Grievous to fight Daddy in their light saber battles!

Making Tacos

Learning the art of taco making from Daddy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Andrew's Puzzles

Circular Needles

I did some research online and got the best idea for sorting my circular needles.  All it is is a binder with plastic archival sleeves, marked by type.

Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments

Decorating the Christmas Tree

Christmas Pictures

New Glasses

Andrew got glasses...I figure both boys are fairly doomed on this issue!

Lego Boys

The boys are really into Legos. Adam can know do the HUGE ones by HIMSELF. Andrew is just starting to do the bigger project, but has issues with attention span and tends to let them go on too long and so ends up losing crucial pieces!
Tie fighters

There were NINE bags!

A Rough Term

We knew this was going to be a rough term, but oh, boy, it is barreling along!  I am teaching six classes and taking one (this was NOT in the plan).  Ray is working full time, of course, and defending his dissertation in March (he has to fly to Ohio to do it).  I am getting my application in order and will be applying to start mine next fall. 

On top of that, we can't stay healthy. No one in the state can, I swear. I had a student tell me (and this is a student I trust/believe) that her son had scarlet fever. I didn't know that even existed anymore!! I guess if you get strep bad enough, it does!!

Then there's hockey....oh, my, I want this season OVER.  I am sick of it and so our the boys. We started in October....can't we be done yet?