Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Dec 1st was my birthday. I turned 39! I'm really not sure how I feel about this. It feels odd to say that I am now very very close to turning 40..which if you can hear the voice in my head,you'd think I was telling you all I was about to take my final walk out to pasture and would be calling it a day after that. I find I have a hard time dealing with the whole number factor because I never see myself as being 39 or 40 or 50. I'm just me..and so far, I'm doing alright. Last year I posted about my BIG weight loss..So this year, I have another big announcement: Daisy my delightful hen,laid her very first egg..on the morning of my birthday. Does it get any dang cooler then that?
Isn't it cute?? It was tiny and perfect..and she has laid one every day since. She is one of those proud hens..which means she squawks at the top of her lungs..and let me tell you, that is one of the most unladylike sounds you could ever possibly make. It's going to get really loud when all 7 decide to lay at the same time.
As part of my birthday we always decorate the christmas tree. I've been doing that for so long that I can't imagine not having that tradition. We put the christmas music on and take a trip down memory lane with each bulb and personalized ornament we unwrap.
I was also able to finally buy LED colored lights. I can't begin to tell you how happy that made me. I've only been able to buy white lights here and dearly missed the colored lights. I actually jumped up and down in the store when I saw them. I wake up early each morning and come downstairs and turn them on right away. I drink my coffee while sitting in front of the tree and listening to christmas music. I can't think of a better way to start the morning..
Monday, December 2, 2013
I love leftovers from Thanksgiving..if I'm totally honest, I prefer it over the actual day of eating it while it's all hot and fresh. There is something about thick pieces of cold turkey layered in a sandwich with some salt and may..love,love, love it! What made this years turkey taste even better was this bread. I baked it about a week before we had our meal and tucked it away all nicely wrapped in the freezer. I just knew it was going to go great with the turkey..And I was right.
We loved this bread..kind of hard not to when it tastes just like stuffing. We enjoyed it as a hot turkey sandwich,ate it with fried eggs, and as a regular sandwich. The bread is moist and is a real keeper..even when it isn't Thanksgiving. So make it no matter what time of the year it is!
3 cups (12-3/4 ounces) All-purpose Flour
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Sugar
3 TBS Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) Yellow Cornmeal
1/3 cup (3/4ounc) Potato Flakes
2 TBS Nonfat Dry Milk
2 tsp. Instant Yeast
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Toasted Sesame Seeds
2 tsp. Poultry Seasoning,or 2 tsp. Ground Sage
1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) Water
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and knead by hand or electric mixer until the dough is smooth and supple,adding any additional liquid or flour as needed ( I didn't need extras of anything)..this will take about 5 minutes by mixer or 8 minutes by hand. Grease a bowl with some oil and place the dough into the bowl,turning once to coat. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pick your shape. I went with a single round loaf but it can also be shaped into a log and placed in a greased 8x4 inch loaf pan. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for about 45 minutes,or until it's crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan is using. If making just a round loaf, rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 or 180 celsius. Bake the bread for 35 minutes, until it's golden brown and sounds hollow when taped on the bottom. Cool out of the pan on a wire rack.
Yield: 1 Loaf
Source: King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Winter is on the way. I've been busy with The Ladies and getting their home ready for the colder months that lie ahead.
We made sure to pick out a hearty breed that doesn't mind the cold winters here. It doesn't get brutal but it can and will snow and combined with the Noah's Ark worthy amounts of rain..well we didn't want any wimpy hens. These girls are really enjoying the cooler temps and happily run around all day. Still no eggs yet..but you know I'm checkin..a whole lot if I'm honest.
Speaking of keeping warm..we finally have our wood burning stove all set up! We've been enjoying a warm fire nightly for about 3 weeks now. I have wanted one of these since forever and can't tell you the joy it brings to me when I get to sit down for the evening in front of it. It's perfect for our living room and heats it up to a perfect temp. I actually look forward to when everyone is home on a day when it snows. I see hot chocolate and a christmas movie while enjoying the fire when it does happen!
I have so many crafts pinned that I finally decided to actually do one of them! I went out into my yard and picked out some branches,came inside and hot glued them together to look like a tree! Well..I needed some help from my husband because I am not to be trusted with hot glue unsupervised. I think it came out cute and can't wait to hang it on our tree!
Here is a pic from my living room window that faces the back of the house. You can tell how long our area is. If you look all the way back and to the left, you can just make out the lighter wood that is the chicken run. Every morning I will stand on my toes to see if I can see the white one,Belle ( she is the only one that stands out with her color in the early morning), and when I see her then I know it's time to run out to feed and water them. The window you see on the left is my kitchen window and the door next to that is our backdoor.
P.S. My neighbor to the right of me is moving. If you are considering a move to The Netherlands and fancy being neighbors with one happy bread baking,hen raising,veggie growing American,send me an e-mail and I will share the link of the realtor :)
Monday, November 25, 2013
Living abroad can be tricky around the holiday season..especially if the country you live in doesn't celebrate the same things as you do. Like, the 4th of July,Halloween, and Thanksgiving. It becomes even more strange when they do celebrate the same holiday as you..but in a different way. You start sinking into a big depression sometimes that can take years to climb out of. It took me awhile to source out what I needed and what I couldn't find I needed another version of. It's taken me a few years but we celebrate Thanksgiving just like home now!
The only difference for us now, is when we eat our meal. We decided to always have it on the weekend since no one has the thursday off and it was more relaxed that way. So we decided on Saturday to have it since next weekend is my birthday ( I'm looking at 39 this year and not sure if I will embrace 40 by 2014!).
We had the best time. It was our first Thanksgiving in our own home and that alone was something to be really thankful for. I had many many blessings to count this year and it really made me aware of how long I had been waiting for this moment. I was living in my own home. My very own home. We had a fire going in our wood stove and as I glanced out the living room window I could see the Hens running around. Everything at that very moment all came together for me. I am living the dream I never thought would come true.
Now some people will see my place and laugh at me. Sure it's in a neighborhood and of course the yard isn't huge and yes I talk like I live on a 5 acre plot when in reality it's a very small but long yard..But it doesn't matter because it's mine and I love it. To me I do live on that plot of land that will allow me to grow what I want and raise chickens. I've already got the chickens and this summer, I'll have the homegrown veggies! I am thankful for every blessing I have right now. I'm even thankful for the painful lessons I have learned along the way. They make me love this house and all the hard work that went into it that much more.
I'm thankful for every one of you that takes the time out of your day to stop by and say,Hi. I love the e-mails you send to me and all of the wonderful comments you leave me. So thank you.
You know what I'm also thankful for? buttered covered turkey. Seriously this was my best turkey to date. It was crazy moist, not one least bit dry, and it's a method I will use both on turkey as well as chicken! I simply took softened butter and mixed it with various seasonings. I smeared a small amount underneath the skin and the rest I covered the entire turkey with. After one hour is was a beautiful golden brown so I tented it. I never basted it once. The turkey under the skin was covered in seasonings and tasted incredible. Butter really does make everything better!
Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving this thursday!!!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Have you heard of The Cake Slice? I've been keeping my eye on them for some time. I have always loved the idea of joining in on a group that all bakes from the same cookbook and the recipe once a month. I then love chatting with them about it and then getting all excited about the next item we are going to bake. Well..I can officially say that I am now a member of the group! As soon as I noticed they were taking new members I leaped at the chance.
My oldest son laughed at me when I said I joined an online baking group. So..yeah, I can sorta see what he means..but he stopped laughing and got excited when he realized he would be eating some sort of cake once a month..for a whole year. He got behind the idea real quick after that. For me it makes perfect sense to join an online group..living in The Netherlands and not being surrounded by any sort of bakers makes me lonely for like minded people. I am now surrounded by like minded people :)
Anyway..lets get started. We are baking from a book called,Great Cakes by Carole Walter. The book doesn't have very many photographs..which totally shouldn't stop you from buying it. Some of my favorite cookbooks have little to none when it comes to photographs. I will be posting each recipe on the 20th of each month and our first cake is the applesauce spice cake. It's kind of left up to us in regards to posting the recipe. Some will,some won't. Although I enjoyed the cake I won't be posting the recipe. The simple reason is..we loved the brown sugar glaze the best!
If you have a favorite spice cake recipe that has a mixture of apples,nuts,cinnamon,and nutmeg..I would say please use this glaze to go along with it. We loved it. Like alot. I have serious visions of me making just the glaze and then taking the whole bowl into the pantry to eat alone with a spoon. I'm not saying I will. But I totally could. If you really want the recipe of the cake, click on one of the member links below and I'm sure you will find several who have included it.
Brown Sugar Glaze
3 TBS Butter
3 TBS Light Brown Sugar
3 TBS Heavy Cream
3/4 cup Sifted Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
In a small saucepan,melt the butter with the brown sugar over low heat. Then,stir in the heavy cream and cook slowly until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the powdered sugar in three additions,whisking until smooth. Add in the vanilla and whisk to combine. If the icing is to thick,add a few extra drops of the cream. You want is pourable but not runny. It sets quick so get it on the cake as quickly as possible.
Yield: 1/2 cup,enough to glaze a 9-inch bundt cake
Source: Great Cakes
Monday, November 18, 2013
Happy Freezing Cold Monday! It's really cold,you guys. The hens might have to come and live inside with us for the winter because I don't know if I can keep making myself go out there every morning. I imagine I look rather comical to anyone else who might be up at the crack of dawn and looking out their bedroom window. You'll see me trucking towards the hens with fresh food,talking to them about the importance of laying their eggs already, and then tossing the food around as fast as I can so that I can make a mad dash back inside to fill their water container back up only to have to then run back out to give it to them. I'm in trouble when it starts pouring down with rain or snow.
I see alot of homemade soups and breads in our future..infact for Sunday dinner we had Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup with thick slices of Cider Loaf. For dessert we had leftover Cowboy Coffeecake. We were happy campers!
These pancakes are also making us happy these days. I had never heard of a scotch pancake until I purchased a new bread book called, Brilliant Bread by James Morton. He's from the U.K. and I'm loving his book. I've baked 3 of his breads so far and we've loved all of them. Then I spotted this recipe in the back of the book. He mentioned eating them with butter and jam..not maple syrup like American pancakes. I went hunting for other recipes of it online and sure enough, they all ate theirs with jam..almost like toast. I'm gonna be honest and say that we did infact eat ours with maple syrup and peanut butter instead of butter. They were crazy good. I've made these about 4 times now and we love them a little bit more each time. They are fat,thick,perfect little fluffy pancakes. Eat them with jam and butter or with maple syrup or however you like. I know you will love these.
And yes, the recipe is in grams..
200 g Flour
1 TBS Baking Powder
1/2 tsp/ Salt
100 g Milk..I needed more**
** The recipe makes a very thick batter..to thick in my opinion to drop by tablespoons full. I added enough milk to form a very thick batter that almost starts to run off of the spoon**
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together until nice and smooth.
Preheat a frying pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of butter to grease the bottom of the pan. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons full onto prepared pan and slightly spread the batter out..it won't spread out on its own so spread it out just a little. Cook for 1-2 minutes,until bubbles start to form on the outside and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Yield: 14-16 wee fat scotch pancakes
Source: Brilliant Bread
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Do you own a Christmas Cactus? I love these guys. I've got two..one that has white blooms and the other has a pinkish red bloom.
Something pretty amazing happened when we moved into our new house. I placed them in our one of our living room windows and watched in amazement as they began to grow and grow. I had them in a window in our other place but there is something about the amount of light they get here that I guess they didn't get in the other one. Then the blooms started popping up a few weeks ago. I would get maybe 4 or so blooms when we lived in the other house..but in this place? they are covered on both plants! I've never seen so many blooms before and I'm so excited to watch them all open up. It's the simple things I tell ya.
Have you started playing Christmas music yet? I started this morning. I know some people wait until after Thanksgiving to get into Christmas..but life is to short to wait sometimes and I decided to enjoy it as much as possible this year. There is a radio station online called, AccuRadio and they have an entire section for Christmas music and I'm so happy I can barely stand it :)
Still no eggs yet..I check every morning when I feed the hens but so far they haven't blessed us with any.
Labels: Life in the Netherlands
Monday, November 11, 2013
I slacked off with my blogging last week..it was just,one of those weeks. I wasn't feeling 100% myself and just decided to take a quick step and regroup a little. I go through that every so often...well I was already waiting for it. I get a little down when the holidays start coming on. I miss home and everything that means when it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is what it is and I'm really good about kicking my own ass and pushing myself forward,but I also know that a few days of down time does wonders for me in regrouping and pushing forward. I am planning our meals and can't wait to buy our first Christmas tree and get it set up in our new home :) We're still getting everything situated..4 months on and I still have some boxes to unpack and a few walls to paint!
So lets move on,shall we? Muffins are a staple in this house and as soon as I spotted this recipe I ran into the kitchen to make them. I love,love,love, mint chocolate so I prayed that no one else in the house would like these so that I could have them all to myself. No such luck because everyone else loved them too.
Mine came out darker than I would have liked and will keep a better eye on them next time. My oven has a special cake/muffin mode and it tends to bake everything up a lot quicker and I keep forgetting that. If you are a fan of mint chocolate,give these a try! And yes..the recipe is in grams..buy a weight scale already :)
Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins
280 g Flour
1 TBS Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
115 g Sugar
150 g Chocolate Chips..I used mini's
250 ml Milk..I used low fat
85 g Butter,melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp. Mint Extract
Green Food Coloring,optional
Pre heat oven to 370 or 190 celcius. Line a muffin tin with wrappers and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour,baking powder,salt,sugar, and chocolate chips.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs,milk,melted butter,mint extract and food coloring ( I think I used maybe 4 drops). Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Fill your muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake for 20 minutes of until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire rack and enjoy warm or room temp.
Yield: 12-14 muffins
Source: Not Only Muffins
Monday, November 4, 2013
Happy Monday! Did everyone have a good weekend? Ours was pretty laid back. The weather wasn't all that great so we spent it in doors. I was able to get a jump start on some baking which is always good in my book and happily thumbed through a new cookbook I received a few days ago. Today it's pouring down again and I'm already dreaming of warmer times!
While zooming around the kitchen saturday morning I was able to whip these babies up for us to share as a mid morning snack. Baked donuts will never replace the fried version..and I'm going back on one of my beliefs in never owning a deep fryer. It's time,people. I am having dreams of apple fritters and maple bars and since they take awhile to make, I won't be doing it often. So in between those, I will rely on the baked versions. These donuts are soft,full of flavor, and a great way to use up any left over pumpkin or sweet potato puree you might have laying around!
Baked Pumpkin Donuts
3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree
2 Large Eggs
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Bread Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
3 TBS Sugar
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celsius. Grease a 6- well donut pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
Using a hand held mixer or whisk, combine the puree,eggs,vanilla,sugar, and oil. Beat just until it's smooth.
In a small bowl,combine the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low,add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Fill each well 1/2 full and smooth the batter.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
In a small shallow bowl,combine the topping ingredients. Remove donuts from pan and immediately toss into the coating,turning over and over until covered. Cool slightly on wire rack and enjoy warm with coffee,milk,or tea!
Yield: 8-9 Donuts
Source: Pick Fresh Foods
Friday, November 1, 2013
Happy Friday! Yesterday was Halloween..so I bought some candy..and waited. Then waited some more. Then sampled some of the candy..and waited some more. Then I gave the family some candy and we waited some more. I was in bed by 9 with a bowl full of candy. No one came. I keep hoping trick or treating will catch on like it has in Amsterdam and other Dutch towns..but so far in the 7 years of living here, I haven't gotten one trick or treater. Oh well..maybe next year!
Halloween was still a great day though,mostly because of this bread! I got up this morning and baked another loaf to tuck away in the freezer for later on and already put down more dry cider onto my shopping list so that I can bake more of it. It's really that good. When it comes to plain bread..plain as in,no cheeses or anything else added, this has to be in my top 4. The dry cider adds a subtle yeast hint..almost like a beer bread but not as overpowering and I swear it makes the bread fluffier and crazy soft. The loaf is huge by the way and will disappear quicker than you think.
The recipe has you weighing your ingredients, and like I have said a million times before: Buy. A. Weight. Scale. Your life will change when it comes to baking. The hardest things you need to find for this recipe is dry cider and whole wheat spelt flour. It's worth it. I promise.
250 g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
250 g Bread Flour
1 tsp. Salt
150 ml Milk
1 tsp. Honey
2 tsp. Instant Yeast
250 ml Dry Cider
In a large mixing bowl,add your weighed flours and salt;stir to combine and set aside.
In a small saucepan,warm the milk and honey together. You want the milk just barely warmed up. Take it off the heat. Stir in the yeast and allow to stand for 5 minutes or until the yeast is nice and foamy. Pour the cider into the milk mixture and then dump it all at once into the flour. Grab a wooden spoon and stir until a rough ball has formed.
Tip out onto a lightly floured surface ( the dough is going to be sticky but DO NOT add anymore flour than what is needed.a sticky dough is ok in this matter. I think I only added 1 tablespoon of dough in the 5 minutes that I kneaded it.) Knead the dough for 5 minutes and then place into an oiled bowl,turning the dough once to coat it. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for one minute. Shape into a bowl and return to the bowl. Cover it with a tea towel and allow it to rise again for 25-30 minutes,until the dough has risen once again.
Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius ( the original recipe has a much higher temp but I worried about it burning so I opted for a lower temp and it was just fine). Flour a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper and set aside ( I used parchment paper and baked it on a pizza stone. If you are going the stone route,pop it in the oven to warm up while you preheat your oven). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, Knead a few times and then shape it into a nice round ball;place onto prepared pan or parchment paper. Dust the top with flour,cover with a tea towel and allow to rise 15-20 minutes..about the length of time it takes your oven to heat up.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when taped. The dough seriously expands in the oven and will split around the bottom. It's ok. I actually thought I had done something wrong until I looked up other versions of this loaf and they all came out looking like mine. You can also score the top of your bread, and I did that this morning and it still split slightly.
Cool on wire rack and enjoy!
Yield: One large beautiful fat loaf
Source: Kitchen Diaries 2
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Saturday morning starts out like any other day of the week: I get up and get the hens fed and watered for the day. Each morning they get a bowl full of greens,oats,nuts,corn or peas and whatever else I think they might like. Then I walk out and feed them,grab their water container and refill that and their dry food if it's empty. It's been happening just like that since they came to live with us at the end of July.
Well..as soon as I walked out my back door I knew something was up. You see..my huge beautiful Hyacinth decided to let me in on a secret. She was a HE!!!! The sound stopped me cold in my tracks. I actually prayed that I heard it wrong. I walked closer to their coop and as soon as I rounded the corner, there she was..Their coop as a window they can look out of and as soon as she saw me, she cockadoodledoo'd me. I was devastated and she was over the moon to let us all know her little secret. I was actually angry.
I was angry because I was now stuck with an animal we couldn't keep. I can't have a rooster while living in a very populated neighborhood. I couldn't do that to my neighbors,whom I suspect would become very resentful towards us, and if I'm honest, I didn't want chicks. I'm not set up for that. I was both angry and sad at the whole situation. I really liked her and now I was down one hen when it came to egg laying. My husband and I scrambled to find him a new home. I never realized how much roosters are hated. No one wanted him. No one.
We called people,we begged people,we bribed people..nothing worked. Then we found a solution: He would live on a working farm but in the meat bird section. I knew this was his reality. Everyone else we called said they would kill him on the spot. This farm would allow him to free range until he was turned into their dinner and it was up to us to come to terms with that.
This morning we loaded him up and I cried. I cried and cried and cried. My husband called me awhile later very excited to tell me that he wouldn't be eaten but instead would live out his days producing tons of baby chicks for them!!! I couldn't believe it. They were impressed with how huge he was ( I guess he was twice the size of the other roosters) and they loved how beautiful he was. I am so happy. I guess he has a wooded area to free range in and since they are a biological farm, he will be eating as well with them as he was with me. It's a perfect ending to a sad situation. I've decided to stick with my 7 hens since everyone is settled in already and leave it at that. Hopefully I won't be surprised again with a rooster!
I'll miss you dear,Hyacinth but I'm excited for your new life!
Monday, October 28, 2013
We are currently under a sever weather warning and urged to stay indoors. The wind is so strong that I'm worried something is going to crash in on us. I keep running out to check on the hens to make sure they still have a roof over their heads. My oldest son has to bike home and lets just say that I will be relieved once everyone arrives home safe and sound!
I'm going to keep this post short in case we lose power. These muffins are so delicious and soft! We loved the fall like flavors and had a hard time stopping at just one muffin!
Whole Wheat Apple Oatmeal Muffins
1-1/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1-1/4 cups Quick Cooking or Old Fashioned Oats
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Cardamom
1/8 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 cups Low-fat Buttermilk
1/2 cups Packed Brown Sugar
2 TBS Oil
1 Large Egg,lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
2 Small Apples,Cored and chopped into small pieces
Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celsius. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large bowl,combine flour,oats,baking powder,baking soda,salt,and spices.
In a medium bowl,combine the applesauce,buttermilk,brown sugar,oil,egg,and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet into the dry;stir just until combined. Fold in the chopped apples.
Fill each muffin cup 2/3-3/4 full. Bake 16-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: Cookies and Kate
Friday, October 25, 2013
What a productive week this has been! I've been knee deep in bread dough,chicken poop (not at the same time), running errands,and taking care of various things around the house. We made an appointment for someone to come out and finish installing the wood burning stove that was in the house when we bought it. It's brand new and has never been used. They will be here in about 3 weeks and I can't wait! I've always wanted a wood burning stove and plan on putting it to work the second it's ready to go!
A week or so ago I made apple butter. I also mentioned that I would be sharing a recipe that used up some of the butter that was made. Well here it is.. apple butter spice cake. Good lord is it infused with a good amount of spice. The cake is crazy moist,slightly dense and filled with a spice blend that will make you glad you served it with some ice cream to balance it out a bit. This type of cake actually gets better and better days after it was baked. The flavors calm down and settle a bit so if you are able to, give it a day or so of resting and dig in!
Apple Butter Spice Cake
1 TBS Butter
1 cup Apple Butter
3/4 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
3 TBS Canola Oil
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 Large Egg
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 cups plus 2 TBS White Whole Wheat Flour or All-purpose
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp. Ground Ginger..I only used 1
1 tsp. Allspice
1/4 tsp. Salt
Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celsius. Grease an 8 inch square pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a medium to large saucepan,melt the butter over medium-heat;swirl the pan until the butter turns a nutty brown,about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Add the apple butter,brown sugar and oil into the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Add raisins,buttermilk, egg, and vanilla and thoroughly mix. Add flour,baking soda,spices and salt; whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan evenly.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
** If you wanted to skip the whole brown butter thing, you totally can. I honestly don't feel like it added anything special to it so if you can't be fussed to do it then chuck everything into mixing bowl instead. Keep an eye on the time. My cake was done before the 35 minute mark. Store in an airtight container and enjoy for days and days**
Yield: 9 servings
Source: Eating Well
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I thought I would post an update on the ladies since it has been awhile. All is well in Hen Valley! They are happily clucking their days away in the backyard.
Do you know what they all so happily do all day? eat and poo..and then poo and poo some more. I never realized how much they can drop in one day. I go in every two days to rake and clean everything up..and as soon as I'm done they run around and poo all over the place again.
They are huge now..like HUGE. This one..Hyacinth is the largest of the 8. We thought that she might be a rooster for awhile but after some research we learned that this breed is very big..both male and females are large so hopefully that translates into big beautiful eggs! Speaking of eggs...we still aren't there yet. It could technically happen any day now but more than likely won't be until some time in November. They show no signs of wanting to lay yet..but I do still check each morning. Just in case :)
Monday, October 21, 2013
This weekend I made a decision to completely stop buying bread from the store. It's actually harder than it sounds..I've tried before to make the switch to making it all myself 100% of the time..but I have failed several times. I don't believe myself to be this snob when it comes to the bread from the store. It can be very good. We also have bakeries all over the place and they sell freshly baked bread as well. The truth is..I no longer feel comfortable buying it from the store because of all of the fillers they put in there and I don't want to pay the extra price for a bakery loaf when I know I can make it at home for pennies. I know not everyone can make the switch and find nothing wrong with that..but I have way to much time on my hands and decided to fill it up by baking crazy amounts of breads and buns to keep us going. I'm realistic though and have no problems with purchasing breads here and there so I am in no way anti bread unless it's made at home..I'm just kinda fed up with the poo bread sold in the stores.
I suppose while I'm being honest I should also admit that I watched the documentary called, Food,inc and that kinda opened up my eyes. Has anyone else seen it? a must watch..especially if you live in the U.S.
So now that I have that confession out of the way..lets talk about this bread! It's so soft and delicious! The rosemary isn't over powering,the whole wheat flour adds a great flavor, and sliced up and toasted makes a great fried egg sandwich! Bake some bread today!
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
1 cup Warm Water
1 TBS Sugar or Honey
2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1 tsp. Salt
2 TBS Fresh Rosemary,chopped or 2 tsp. Dried
1/4 tsp. Italian Seasonings
1/4 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
2 TBS Olive Oil..extra virgin or regular
1-1/2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Bread Flour,plus extra for kneading
Egg Wash: 1 egg,whisked with 1 TBS Water
Dried Rosemary,for sprinkling on top
In a large bowl,combine the water,sugar,and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Stir in the salt,rosemary,seasonings,olive oil, and whole wheat flour. Add the bread flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes,adding in more flour as needed to prevent sticking,until smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl,turning to make sure both sides are coated. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size,about 1 hour.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a tight ball. Place the ball onto a cornmeal dusted pizza peel or parchment paper,dust the top with flour and cover with a tea towel. Let rise until doubled,about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven and pizza stone if using to 400 or 200 celsius. Brush the risen loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle with dried rosemary.
Bake on the stone for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
** If you don't have a pizza stone then don't worry you can use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprinkled with cornmeal**
Yield: 1 round loaf
Source: A Hint of Honey
Friday, October 18, 2013
Friday! I think it's my most favorite day of the week. Well if I'm honest everyday is a friday for me since I don't work outside of the home, but I love the day because it means my husband and kids are all mine for the next few days. My two sons are off next week for Fall vacation and I love that.
This recipe I am sharing today has been posted before..but the photo was atrocious. So I whipped up these mini cakes yesterday and ran outside when I spotted a wee bit of sunlight. It's been a challenge this week when it comes to natural light so I'm actually basing my baking on what the weather is going to be like. Soon the weather will change and will make going outside even harder..so for now I keep my eyes sharp on the sky and snap away when I can.
These mini-loaves are more cake like than bread like..but a lot of sweet quick breads are like that. The cakes have a wonderful subtle chocolate flavor and the spice mix screams fall. If you are unable to get your hands on chai mix I will include a quick recipe that was included below. I am able to get it here but when I added the mix, it wasn't spicy enough so I went ahead and added the additional recipe they included. That gave it a wonderful spice flavor that I will use in place of the store brand chai mix. The loaves are moist and delicious and would make a wonderful gift this christmas season!
Chocolate Chai Mini-Loaves
1/2 cup Water
2 (1-ounce) squares Bittersweet or Semi sweet baking chocolate
1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter,softened
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 cup Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt
1-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
3 TBS Instant Chai Tea Latte Mix
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 TBS Butter,softened
1 TBS instant Chai Tea Latte Mix
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
4-5 TBS Milk
**Chai mix substitute: Combine 2 tsp. Cinnamon,1 tsp.Ground Ginger and 1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves in a small bowl. Use 2-1/4 tsp. in the batter and 1 tsp. in the glaze**
Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celsius. Grease bottoms only of 3 ( 5-3/4 X 3-inch) mini loaf pans;set aside.
Combine water and baking chocolate in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat,stirring occasionally,until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat;cool to room temperature.
In a medium sized bowl, combine brown sugar,butter,eggs and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add chocolate mixture and sour cream. Continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low,add remaining batter ingredients and mix until batter is smooth.
Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack completely.
In a small bow,combine all of the glaze ingredients except for milk. Beat at medium speed,adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Glaze cooled loaves.
** You can bake these loaves in any size pan that you want. I baked mine up using a mini loaf pan set that has 6 individual loaf pans that are all in one tray. If you bake this in a 9x5 then increase the time to 45-50 mins.**
Yield: 12-16 servings
Source: Land O Lakes
Labels: quick bread