Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beet Bread

               
                        This is,hands down, the most colorful bread I have ever produced. It's shockingly pink with red beet bits..and you know what? it tastes amazing!

I know,I know..beet bread? seriously? I am serious. It's wonderful and earthy and makes one heck of a vehicle for a killer grilled cheese sandwich. There is a slight beet taste to it but not over the top. The best way to describe it is..earthy. While it was baking in the oven it gave off an almost dirt smell. I really thought I had done something wrong but I guess that's the smell of beets while being cooked. I saved myself the trouble of dealing with beets by purchasing a jar of cooked beets. You can buy a raw one and then peel it and cook it but I honestly had visions of my entire kitchen being covered in splattered blood red juice..no thanks.

The loaf is semi dense and if you make..please try it when making a grilled cheese sandwich. It's honestly incredible when toasted.

Beet Bread

3/4 cups Warm Water
1 tsp. Sugar
2-1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
3-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 cups Beet Puree
2 TBS Olive Oil

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water,sugar,and yeast. Let stand for minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients and knead on speed 4 with the dough hook for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may or may not need a small amount of flour to achieve this but only add what you need. I don't recall needing anything extra.

Place the dough ball into a lightly greased bowl,cover, and allow to rise until doubled,about 1-1/2 hours.

Remove dough from bowl,and place onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a tight ball and place onto parchment paper. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes-1 hour.

Place a baking stone into the oven while the oven heats up. Preheat the oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on top,make an X with a serrated knife.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when taped on the bottom.

Cool completely on wire rack.

** If you don't have a baking stone just pop the bread and parchment paper onto a baking sheet and bake as directed.**

Yield: 1 beautifully colored loaf
Source: Tablespoon 








Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello October!!!!

                 
                So very lovely to see you..I look forward to the cool crisp foggy mornings. I look forward to the changing leaves,apple and pumpkin baking,lighting the wood burning stove,planning the holidays and sitting back and trying to take it all in. I've allowed myself way to many anxiety attacks to creep in ( they started when I moved here), and I look forward to taking a giant deep breath and trying to remember what it's all about..and today it's all about the beef stew that's bubbling away in the crock pot and the buttermilk biscuits that will be served along with it.

How are you welcoming in October? 








Monday, September 29, 2014

Monster Cookie Bars

                 
                  I am such a huge fan of cookie bars!! Like crazy in love with bars of all kinds. I actually prefer them to cookies but mostly that's because I love how thick you can make the bars. Plus all it requires is one large pan and you are done.
                     

              I've made these bars twice now and this is what I learned: You can use 2 eggs instead of 3. You can use whatever kind of oats you want. I've used both old fashioned as well as the quick cooking and found there to be no difference. These take about an hour to bake..not the 35 minutes that's stated in the recipe. If you pull them out at the 35 minute mark there is a huge chance the middle is still in the liquid state. These totally over browned..even when I dropped the oven temp down. To solve this, simply tent the top with tin foil around the 30 minute mark or whenever you see it browning to quickly. They rise like crazy in the oven and then settle down once they come out. You can add anything you want into these bars and they will taste awesome no matter what. You may not have any of these issues and sometimes using ingredients from another country can alter the final product but wanted to put those tips out there to be on the safe side.

Monster Cookie Bars

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter,softened
3 Large Eggs
1-1/2 cups Peanut Butter..smooth or crunchy
1 TBS Vanilla
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
4-1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1 cup of whatever else you want..I used mini reese's pieces I had been hoarding but M&M's would also work!

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil and make sure to leave a 2 inch overhang on the shorter end side so that you can lift the bars out once they are cooled. Spray the foil with nonstick spray and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy,about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs,once a time,beating between each addition. Add in the peanut butter, vanilla,baking soda, and salt and mix until well combined. Add in the oats and mix just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and your other one cup addition with a wooden spoon until combined.

Transfer dough to prepared pan,pressing into an even layer.

Bake..well that all depends on how well you want them done. Start checking at the 30 minute mark and if they aren't done but are very brown,cover with foil and bake another 10-15 minutes until the toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool completely on wire rack. Remove bars with foil and cut into ginormous sized bars!

Yield: 24 bars if you are feeling generous..less if you aren't
Source: Just A Taste




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Take A Peek Wednesday: Spiders!

                         
                    It's that time of year again! The time where you must be on a constant look out for the ginormous sized webs that take over..I've seen them span an entire hedge. The spiders are kinda cool looking too..
               
         I know most people find spiders to be hideous but not me. I find them rather beautiful. I don't want to hold one (although I did hold a tarantula once and I wasn't expecting them to have a sticky feeling on the bottom of their feet), I do find them all to be rather interesting in the looks department. I also have a house spider!
                  

               Here he/she is! I first spotted him in my pantry a few months ago and decided that since he wasn't bothering me I was going to leave him alone. He then disappeared and then reappeared right above our wood burning stove. I may or may not have fed him 5 or 6 flies since he's been here. I probably need more human contact at this point..


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Take A Peek Wednesday: Various Ways To Kill Time

                     
                    Lately my life has been taken over by various time suck moments. As I adjust to my husbands crazy work hours schedule ( hello 3:45 am wake up call!) I am left with a few more hours in the day. I am learning to love copious amounts of coffee to keep me going. I've watched the sun rise a ton of times over the last few weeks and I've gone to bed before 9pm on several occasions. I'm also spending a ton on time on pinterest..and missing home because of that. Farm life is screaming my name at this point and I am having a harder time ignoring it. Sometimes I just want to go home. I've started pinning things for Christmas!! haha..I am sooo not ashamed!
                   


                Another time suck moment is this cutie pie. My shadow,Bailey. 
                      


                    And my other side kick,Pixel. They will be hanging out with me for the next 6 weeks or so. I've been watching them twice a year for the past four years and they are seriously a part of the family at this point. These are the best kinds of time suck moments though..hanging out on the couch and catching a quick (3 hour)nap.

What's your favorite way to pass the time?


Monday, September 15, 2014

Pizza Bread

                    
                        As I zoom along my bread journey it has become very apparent that I am no longer posting anything but baked recipes..baked bread or some kind of dessert. I always saw myself as someone who enjoyed both cooking and baking but it's simply not true. If I could get out of cooking dinner and do nothing but bake various breads all day..well I'd be one happy woman. I'm going to be taking some time to re adjust my blog. I was losing interest in it because I felt like I needed to balance my love for all things yeast with some kind of dinner menu. We still eat very well..healthy from scratch meals but I have zero interest in photographing it and posting about it.
                         


                    I decided to stick with what I love and start posting those recipes instead. This is a baking blog..in all forms..breads,cookies,bars,muffins,bread,bread, and more bread. I can deny this no longer!

Whew..now that we have that over with..lets talk about this wonderful pizza stuffed bread. First of all,it's easy to make. Second of all,it's good both warm or cold. And third of all..it needs one hour of rising time on the counter and then one more hour in the fridge! You can use your families favorite toppings or like me, make it a ton of different ways depending on what you have in the fridge.

The most important thing regarding this bread is to make sure everything is sealed up tight. You do not want the mozzarella cheese oozing out and landing on the bottom of your oven ( that did not happen to me..but only because I caught the ooze quick enough). You should also allow the bread to cool down slightly before eating. It will give the mozzarella time to slightly firm up and allow the bread to settle. If you cut into it to quickly your dough will appear gummy. So give it a resting period and you'll be glad for it!

Pizza Bread

2 tsp. Instant Yeast
1-1/2 cups Warm Water
3-1/3 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Salt
1 TBS Sugar
2-1/2 cups Favorite Pizza Toppings;diced peppers,olives,pepperoni, etc
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 jar of Pizza Sauce,for dipping..optional

In a large bowl of a stand mixer sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Let sit for 3 minutes. Add in the flour,salt, and sugar and mix using the dough hook ( this can all be made by hand by the way..grab yourself a large bowl and mix it up with a wooden spoon),mix until combined. Add in the toppings and parmesan cheese and mix well. The dough is going to be tacky, but if it feels to tacky,add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it feels only slight tacky and comes together in a ball. This took about 4 minutes in my stand mixer and I did need to add additional flour to bring it all together.

Shape into a ball and place into a greased bowl and turn once to coat. Cover and allow to rise for one hour, THEN put it in the fridge for one more hour.

Dust your counter top with flour. Take the dough out of the fridge,gently deflate and turn out onto the floured surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle,about 11x7.

Sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Then,fold along the long side,like an envelope ( to make sure you did it right,fold the long side up half way towards the middle,then fold it over one more time. The seam should now be on the bottom or close to it. You want to make sure it's sealed up.So give it a good pinch.) Tuck the ends all the way under and make sure they are closed up good! Place your dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet or if you have one, bake it on a pizza stone! Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest while the oven heats up.

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celsius. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes,until golden brown. About half way through tent the bread with foil if it appears to be browning to quickly. 3 minutes before the bread is done,brush the top with olive oil...but only if you want. I usually skip this step.

Gently take the bread out of the oven and allow it cool slightly on a wire rack. Leftovers need to be stored in the fridge.

Yield: One big fat yummy pizza loaf
Source: Inspired by Charm




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Take A Peek Wednesday: Bee Love!

              

                             


                        


                     My wildflowers are giving one last bloom before they die off for the season and I along with the humble yet mighty bee are grateful for it.











Monday, September 8, 2014

Buttermilk Honey Oat Bread

                   
                   A large part of my summer was spent trying out as many bread recipes as I possibly could. I had so much fun trying out new techniques and ingredients and knowing I had a freezer full with homemade bread made me smile.
             
    
                 The bread has quickly become a staple around our house. It's so soft and has a wonderful honey flavor. It holds up well to anything you want to put on it..be it peanut butter or stacked high with sliced meats and cheeses.

Buttermilk Honey Oat Bread

3 cups ( 381g) All-purpose Flour
3/4 cups Oats-regular or old fashioned
2-1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Buttermilk..regular milk is also fine
1/4 cup Water
2 TBS Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Honey

Topping:
2 TBS Honey,warmed
2 TBS Oats

In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour,oats,yeast and salt.

In a small saucepan,heat the buttermilk,water,and butter over medium heat just until the butter starts to melt. Take off the heat. Add in the honey and stir until dissolved.

Pour milk mixture over the flour mixture and knead with the dough hook on speed 4, for 5 minutes. Add in more flour as needed if the dough is to sticky. Shape into a ball and place into a greased bowl,turning once to coat. Cover and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour.

Lightly flour counter top and plop the dough out onto the floured surface. Gently deflate,knead a few times and then roll up into a log. Place into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled,about 30 minutes-1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celsius. Brush the top of the loaf with the warmed honey and then sprinkle the top with the oats.

Bake 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 1 Loaf
Source: Bakingdom








Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Take A Peek Wednesday: Container Garden Lessons

                         
                My container garden is finished for the year and as I look back I can see where I went wrong and what I got right. First up..wildflowers. I am so glad I purchased a wildflower mix that was made especially for bees and butterflies. It helped in more ways than I could imagine. My little garden was a daily hang out for those wonderful pollinators and I was forever grateful. I will continue to plant as many flowers as possible to attract even more next year.
                     
                        I learned that when growing carrots that you must,must,must thin them out! I didn't do it and because of that,my rainbows came out in various shapes and sizes. They tasted amazing and will grow those again for sure. I blanched them and put them in freezer to enjoy this winter! A shot of color during the darker days will be very much welcomed.
                           

        
             I learned that although it's fun to grow a new veggie..you should only grow a few the first year to see if you even like it..and then grow more. The mouse melons were not a success for us taste wise. They grew like the amazon rain forest and attached themselves to every living thing they could get their sticky little climbing hands on. I was not impressed.
                            
             
           I also learned that this will be my last year growing tomatoes. I had tomatoes coming out my ears and only the chickens and I were eating them on a daily basis..No more of growing what we might eat but more of what I know we will eat.
                           
        
              I learned that harvesting potatoes is crazy fun. My husband and I dumped our containers out and laughed as we dug through the dirt to find our prized nuggets. Those were hands down, the best potatoes I have ever eaten. I will be growing those again but ditching the container method and moving on to something larger. I want way way way more potatoes next year.

I've learned a lot. I could have done a better job with some of my veggies and next year I'm planting 3 times as many zucchini..since we seem to eat a TON of that. Carrots and potato production will be kicked up a notch, and so will cucumbers. I plan on growing more strawberries since those were a huge hit. My banana shallots didn't make it, my rhubarb was a huge success..but I didn't harvest a single one since they say not to touch it the first year. The leaves are big..like elephant ears big! I can't wait until next summer..It's going to be bigger and better!
                      
                         









Monday, September 1, 2014

Sweet Potato Bran Muffins

                  
                Whew...I'm back! Did everyone enjoy their summer? My teenaged sons have been back in school for two weeks now and I have been enjoying the last few free moments with my husband. He's had several months off as he waited for a new job to start and it's honestly been amazing to have him home. We were able to get a ton of things done around the house and worked on several projects together. All good things must come to an end though and he was heading out the door once again. I baked a ton of bread and buns today because I didn't know what else to do with myself!

I have so many bread recipes to share..tons of sourdough breads as well. For now..I give you a wonderful muffin recipe to welcome in Fall...Because it's coming you know..Are you ready?

If you don't want to use sweet potatoes then sub pumpkin puree for it. The original recipe called for it but I can get my hands on sweet potatoes all year long and pumpkin is always a challenge. I have never once noticed a difference in taste or texture when using one or the other so I stick with what is readily available to me.

Sweet Potato Bran Muffins

1 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Sweet Potato Puree
1-1/2 cups Crushed Bran Flakes
2 Eggs,Beaten
2 TBS Molasses
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Line a muffin tin with liners or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk,puree,and crushed cereal.Let sit for 5 minutes.

Stir in eggs,molasses,brown sugar,and vanilla and mix until combined. Add in remaining ingredients and gently mix to combine.

Fill each muffin tin evenly with batter. 

Bake 14-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove from tin and allow to cool on wire rack.

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: 365 Days of Slow Cooking   




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Take A Peek Wednesday: How I'm Spending My Sumer Vacation!

                 
                 How has your summer been? I've been busy..busy in the garden,busy on day trips, busy around the house, and busy trying to get some relaxation in there. 
                           
 
                  The garden is coming along nicely and have already made some mental notes for next years garden. Like..plant 3 times the amount of zucchini because we are already out. I had one plant that didn't produce anything! I've learned my lesson with watermelons..as in, don't even bother in this climate. I'm waiting on my blue jade corn to come into harvest as well.
               


           I've been hitting up the local second hand shops and was thrilled to finally find an egg wire basket! is it no the neatest thing ever? The second hand shops here are for the most part seriously disappointing but every so often you can score something fabulous.
            


                     We've gone on a bunch of nature walks..I'm determined to soak up as much vitamin d as possible before the long dark days of winter hit us..and you know they are coming!
                


                  In just a few short weeks the boys will be heading off to school and my husband will be headed off for a new job adventure. So for now please excuse my absence. I am loving the time with my family and will return soon.

I have so many things to share with you all..I finally made a sourdough starter that is thriving. I've baked so much bread it's unreal. I'm learning new ways of stretching the food budget. So stay tuned and I wish you all a wonderful summer!







Sunday, July 20, 2014

TCSB's July Cake: Glazed Almond Butter Cake

     
                    Here is my monthly cake from, The Cake Slice Baker's. We were given a choice of 4 cakes from Great Cakes and I went with this one.
                 


                 It's a pretty straight forward butter cake with an almond topping that is crunchy and chewy at the same time. Overall not a bad cake and one you could serve to all lovers of almonds.







Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Take A Peek Wendesday: Where Has Summer Gone?

                 

                I'm currently participating in a 100 day happy challenge. You post a pic everyday,for 100 days of something that makes you happy. This was my pic for yesterday..Rain...We are in a stretch of miserable non stop rain.

The happy part was that I baked up some cookies..because a rainy day really does require freshly baked cookies.

I sure hope summer makes a return. I've got corn and watermelons that are relying on it. Not to mention my spirit. I need more sun and warmth! 





Monday, July 7, 2014

Whole Wheat Orange Blueberry Drop Biscuits

             
                      Summer vacation is in full swing over here..and with that comes with two forever hungry teenage boys. It.Never.Ends. The crazy thing is, they don't snack in between meals. Ever. I suppose on one hand I should be happy that they aren't constantly on the hunt for something to eat but when they do eat? wow. I'm seriously impressed with the amount they are able to put away with out ever gaining weight. If I sound envious,it's totally because I am. I am on the cross trainer 6 days a week to keep up with my love of all things bread. Like these drop biscuits.

For some reason I am not into the proper rolled out biscuits. I just don't have the time nor the patience for it. Drop biscuits? I'm all over those. They are quicker,taste just as good and you can mix and match the flavors and add ins.

Blueberry and orange is one of my favorite combos and with some added whole wheat for good measure you can pretty much feel awesome for plopping these down in front of your kids..and then watching in awe as they inhale them before you have time to serve milk.

Not a fan or orange? swap it out for lemon. It's all good!

Whole Wheat Orange Blueberry Drop Biscuits

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup All-purpose Flour..or use all WW
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 cup (8oz) Orange Yogurt..I used low fat
1 Egg
1/4 cup Butter,melted
1 tsp. Orange Zest
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Blueberries

Glaze:
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1 TBS Orange Juice..plus more as needed
1/2 tsp. Orange Zest

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celsius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease with nonstick spray;set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients.

In another bowl,whisk the yogurt,egg,butter and orange zest until blended. Add to flour mixture,stir just until moistened. Gently fold in blueberries.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto prepared pan. 

Bake 15-18 minutes or until light brown.

In a small bowl,combine the glaze ingredients;stir until smooth. Drizzle over warm biscuits.

** If using frozen blueberries, use without thawing! Not a fan of blueberries? try raspberries**

Yield: 12-15 Biscuits
Adapted From: Taste of Home                        




Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Take A Peek Wednesday: What I'm Harvesting

                      
                   My backyard is alive with bees,butterflies, and food! The chickens are laying eggs,my veggies are growing, and I am just so thankful for it all. So what have we been eating, you ask?
                 

  
              The sweetest strawberries and golden raspberries,for one! I realize I should have planted at least 5 container raspberry bushes because they taste that good. I had forgotten how sweet berries are when you grow them yourself. It's such a treat to walk out there and pluck a few and eat them while checking on everything.
                   


                 My patio snacker cucumbers are growing like weeds! We,along with the hens have been snacking on these delicious cucumbers..which by the way,were grown entirely in my front window! I will have to take a picture of it because it grew 3 times bigger than I had imagined and the cucumbers are way bigger than I expected. I laugh every time I see people walking by only to stop and come back to see what it is we have growing. I did not plan to grow them in our front window but the plants grew so tall so quickly that I was afraid to move them.
                    


         I have been so worried about my baby corn and my blue jade sweet corn. I lost a lot of corn..I could totally relate to poor Charles Ingalls from Little House On The Prairie when that man lost a corn crop for the millionth time. I nearly cried over the 7 plants I lost and vowed to never try again. I kept pushing forward though and was so happy when I saw them thriving finally.
                          


           They've done so well that I was finally able to harvest my first baby corn! Isn't it cute??? It looks just like the corn from the cans you can purchase..but it tastes a million times better. My corn crop won't be a huge one but I still managed to grow the baby corn and that is something. My blue jade still has a ways to go before I know if it worked or not..but they are getting taller by the day and look great! I grew corn people...CORN!
               


          My golden zucchini is doing very well and we are eating a ton of that.
          

           I love the funky shapes they come in..this one looks like an egg plant! 
                         
                   
 Now for what I'm waiting on: My potato plants are kicking major butt and have started to flower. I reached in the bag to see if I could find anything..I pulled out a small new potato! I am going to wait until the plants are done flowering and by then the potatoes should be of a decent size. I'm waiting on string less celery that I forgot to take a picture of. They are coming along just fine and look like cute little celery stalks right now.
                  

             My rainbow carrots are doing well but need some more time before I can pluck those out.
                        


          My mouse melons are coming along..still way to small yet but they are thriving in the green house.
                       

             My pear tomatoes are coming along and so are my tiny tim tomatoes. I've got small watermelons growing but I am not sure about those. We need some massive warm days and so far those have been few and far between. 

I happily spend every moment I can sitting outside and listening to the buzzing of the bees..speaking of bees...
                  
         

     I spotted this poor tired little chap the other day as I was taking the clothes out to the dryer. Someone on my facebook page had posted about feeding these guys a little sugar water if they appeared to be still and close to death. I guess they are ok but are in need of a sugar boost. I ran inside, mixed up a little sugar water and took it out to him. He crawled over and started drinking right away..within minutes he was just fine and on his way again :) Hopefully as a thank you he stopped off and did some pollination for the zucchini plants!