Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Homemade Hot Dog Buns


        I've finally gotten around to making homemade hot dog buns!!! like everything else I have baked bread wise..I can't believe it took me this long to make something so simple and delicious. I can now never ever eat a prepackaged bun again. I've been noticing that alot more now. The more bread I bake at home the less I am able to tolerate the store brand..the stale tastless loaves just don't cut it anymore.

This recipe is a cinch to bring together and the only complicated part,if any,is shaping the dough into their bun shape...and even that was easy. You could brush the tops of the buns with an egg wash and a sprinkling of poppy seeds or salt if you like..but I left ours plain and it was perfect.

You can double this recipe and it can be made either by hand or by mixer. Like always, I went with the hand method.

Come back tomorrow and I will show you what I did with my buns!

Homemade Hot Dog Buns

1 TBS Sugar
1-3/4 tsp. Instant Yeast
1/4 cup Warm Water ( 110 F)
1 cup Warm Milk ( 110 F )
1 TBS Canola Oil
1 tsp. Salt
3-4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 Egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water and seeds ( for the egg wash)

In a large bowl,dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk,oil,salt and 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture. Beat like crazy with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Gradually add flour,1/4 cup at a time, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until you have a smooth eleastic dough. The dough will be tacky but not sticky so add any additional flour sparingly,please.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a dampened towel. Allow to rise until doubled in size,about 1 hour.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and divide into 9 equal pieces, Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape it into a ball and then roll the ball into a cylinder measuring about 4-1/2 inches in length. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and flatten the cylinder slightly. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, placing them only about 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet. Cover the buns with a towel and let rise until almost doubled in size,about 45 minutes.

          Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds or salt if desired. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until tops of the buns are golden brown. Remove the buns from the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool completely.

Yield: 9 Buns
Source: Tracey's Culinary Adventures,originally from King Arthur Flour

Monday, July 29, 2013

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins


               My husband headed back to work today and I baked muffins to combat the depression of it all. My husband and I have one of those types of relationships where we actually love being around one another..all the time! I shouldn't complain..he was home for 3 weeks and we got so much done! I'll post pics later this week to show you what I've been up to..besides the usual baking of breads and everything else :)

        So guess what I learned? European whole wheat is different from the American version. I don't get the bitter after taste that some complain about when using all whole wheat. My baked items come out lighter both in color and in taste. I don't experience the heavy texture either. I was also reading up on how many americans who can not eat wheat in the U.S. can infact eat european wheat without any problems what so ever. So there you go..a little wheat sharing from me to you!

This recipe comes from King Arthur Flour and like always they came out perfect in every way possible. They are light and fluffy,moist,not overly sweet and packed with delicious blueberries. I reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup and you could even go lower if you wanted or leave it as is. The choice is up to you!

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

2-1/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon;optional
1 cup Blueberries,fresh or frozen
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1-1/2 cups Buttermilk or Plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups with nonstick spray or like with baking cups,and grease the paper cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients,including the blueberries.

In a seperate bowl, whisk together the vanilla,veggie oil, and buttermilk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry,stirring just until combined.

Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups,filling them nearly full.

Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with coarse sugar or cinnamon sugar,if desired.

Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Cool the muffins in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: King Arthur Flour

Friday, July 26, 2013

Soft Wrap Bread


        Whew, this week has flown by! We had to get as much done as possible since my husband heads back to work next week..huge bummer on that one!

Some positives this week: Getting new passport photos taken..the last time I had one done,I weighed nearly 300 pounds..this time around I was 152 and the compairison was pretty shocking for me. I've actually forgotten what I looked like when I was heavier and it really is like night and day. 

I went for an eye exam and after all these years of never having problems, I now need glasses for reading and computer time. I kinda figured I did. My eyes have been tired and I noticed I was frowing alot when reading. The good news is..I'm still at 90% and just need some help. I had so much fun picking out a pair ( I've always wanted glasses since I was a kid!). 

I'm still trying to unpack boxes but it's been horribly humid here so those boxes can wait until it cools off a bit.

So lets talk about the wrap bread. I love them. My husband loves them and so do the boys. We stuff them with eggs for breakfast,lunch meats and cheeses at lunch time and taco meat or whatever else at dinner time. 

This recipe produces a wrap bread that is nothing like a tortilla but more like a Taco Bell-ish gordita texture wrap. It's chewy,pliable,soft and delicious. If you are a wrap fan like we are, then give this one a try!

Soft Wrap Bread

3-3-1/4 cups ( 12-3/4 ounces-13 3/4 ounces) All-purpose Flour
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) Boiling Water
1/4 cup Potato Flour,or 1/2 cup(5/8ounce) Potato Flakes
1-1/4 tsp. Salt
2 TBS Vegetable Oil
1 tsp. Instant Yeast 

** Make sure you use instant yeast. It dissolves during the kneading process,so you don't have to knead liquid into the dough**

Place 2 cups of the flour in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the flour and stir until smooth. Cover whe bowl with a tea towel and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

In a seperate bowl, whisk together the potato flour ( or flakes) and 1 cup of the remaining flour with the salt,oil,and yeast. Add this to the cooled flour-water mixture,stir,then knead for several minutes on the counter to form a soft dough.

If kneading by hand,keep your hands and work surface lightly oiled. The dough should form a ball but still be somewhat sticky so only add flour if necessary ( I've never needed to add any). Place the dough in a greased bowl and let it rise,covered, for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into eight pieces ( each the size of a handball, about 3 ounces), cover and let rest for 15-30 minutes ( I usually do 20). Roll each piece into a 7-to-8 inch circle and dry-fry them (fry without oil) over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes per side, until puffed and flecked with brown spots. Adjust the heat if they seem to be cooking either to quickly or too slowly; cooking too quickly means they may be raw in the middle,while too slowly will dry them out. Transfer the cooked breads to a wire rack,stacking them to keep them soft. Serve immediately, or cool slightly before storing in a plastic bag.

Yield: 8 Soft Breads
Source: King Arthur Flour The Baker's Companion

Monday, July 22, 2013

Oatmeal Muffins


        Happy Monday! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. This is the last week of my husbands vacation and it's going to be anything but relaxing. We have Ikea furniture to put together,walls to paint,eye exams that are due,yard work to get done, boxes to unpack and so on and so on and..well you get it :)

  In between everything I have managed to get some baking done. The weather has been warm and humid so I'm getting all the baking done during the early morning hours. These muffins start the night before when you mix the buttermilk and oats together. Then in the morning, you quickly bring the rest of the ingredients together and before you know it, you have warm soft muffins on the table. They have a wonderful oat taste and are not to sweet. I went ahead and added in a small handful of chocolate covered sunflower seeds but feel free to use raisins or even nuts.

Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup ( 3-1/2 ounces) Quick-cooking or rolled Oats
2 cups ( 16 ounces) Buttermilk
1/2 cup ( 4 ounces) Brown Sugar
4 TBS (2 ounces) Butter,melted
1 Large Egg
1 tsp. Baking Powder
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 cups ( 6-1/4 ounces) All-purpose Flour
1 cup ( 6 ounces) Raisins or add in of choice

In a small bowl,combine the oats and the buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 or 220 celcius ( I went with 350 or 180 because 425 seems way to hot to me).

In a large bowl,combine the buttermilk and oat mixture,brown sugar,melted butter,egg,baking powder,baking soda, and salt. Gently stir in the flour and raisins. Scoop into 12 greased muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes,until the tops are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven,let cool for 5 minutes on rack, then turn out of the pans to finish cooling.

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: King Arthur Flour The Baker's Companion

Friday, July 19, 2013

Soft Burger Buns


            I've had some really bad burger buns in my lifetime..and all but one came from the U.S.. To me there is nothing worse than a stale tastless bun and coming from a country that loves burgers so'd think we'd get a better handle on those. When I moved here and spotted the "American Hamburger Buns" packages,I'd buy them. I'd come home,open the package and wrinkle my nose. Those weren't american bad as alot of ours are, these were a whole new level of bad.

 Now before someone gets upset with me I do want to say  that not all the buns are bad..that would be stupid to say. I've had some real decent ones but I'm talking about the gummy,tasteless,dry buns we've all boughten to many times while at the store. 

        Once I got into bread baking it only seemed natural to give the burger bun a go aswell. I have never been so happy! I think you owe it to yourself to give the homemade version a try. They are so soft,fresh,taste amazing and you can add pretty much add whatever you like to them within reason. You can add some shredded cheese to the mix,diced up green chilies,add in different spices or just leave them as is. Burger buns obviously make great burgers but they are also great as sandwiches or for breakfast with a fried egg and bacon tucked inside.

This recipe comes from King Arthur and honestly, not one of their recipes has ever let me down. I can't say enough positive things about them. Give these a try. It's not hard.

Soft Burger Buns

1 cup (8 ounces) Water
2 TBS Butter,softened
1 Large Egg
3-1/4 cups ( 13 3/4 ounces) All-purpose Flour
1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 TBS Instant Yeast
1 tsp. Onion Powder; optional but worth adding
1/2 tsp. Dried Minced Onion; optional but worth adding

Combine all ingredients and mix and knead them hand or mixer..until you've made a soft,smooth dough ( try not to add to much flour when kneading by hand). Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl,turn to coat,cover bowl with plastic wrap,and let rise for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each piece into a flattened ball. Place the buns on a greased baking sheet or sheets,cover with plastic wrap that has been greased (to avoid sticking to the buns), and let rise 30 to 40 minutes,until they are quite puffy.

Preheat oven to 379 or 190 celcius. Bake the buns for 12-15 minutes,until they are golden brown. Remove them from oven and cool them on a wire rack. 

Split and use for burgers or sandwiches!

Yield: 8-9 Buns..I got 9
Source: King Arthur Flour

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grilled Naan

          One of the things I am loving about my new house is the backyard. I've eaten out more times here than I ever did in our rental. The funny thing is, we are closer to our neighbors here with even less privacy,yet I feel way more comfortable. One one side of me there is a complete fence that runs along the entire length of our I basically don't see one of my neighbors. On the other side the second half is totally open. I guess the ex owner and these people were great friends. What I do love though is that the first half of both our places is set up so we both have some privacy. That means I can go out there and sit in this are and relax. I love that. We can still see one another of course but everyone gives eachother space..and I love that.

We've been enjoying our yard as much as possible. The weather has been beautiful and for us,that means grilling. We're crazy about flat breads and I couldn't wait to give this recipe a try. It's so easy to make and you can get creative with the toppings. I left some plain and the others I covered in a garlic oil and topped it with crumbled feta.

You can brush these with just some melted butter or you could turn these into naan grilled pizzas if you like..make sure you roll them thin and then watch them puff up on the grill :)

Grilled Naan

2-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 tsp. Instant Yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 TBS Sugar
2 TBS Plain Yogurt
I cup Warm Water
1 Egg

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes ( you want a nice smooth dough so it might take you longer than 5 minutes. If your dough is to sticky, then add additional flour as needed).

Place dough in a bowl thats been covered with a small amount of oil;turn dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 8 equal sized balls.Dust the tops with flour and cover with a tea towel;allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Heat an outdoor grill to high. Roll each ball of dough on a lightly floured surface into an oval shape that is very thin. Place carefully onto grill and cook 1-2 minutes or until bubbles appear and it puffs ever so slightly (not all of mine puffed so don't worry if yours don't either). Turn the naan and cook the other side for another 1-2 minutes. Serve warm.

** On a side note, I needed waaaaaay more flour than the 2-1/2 cups that were stated so don't be alarmed if you do aswell**

** You can cook these naan in different ways. You can brush one side with melted butter and place the butter side down first onto the grill and then brush more on the top side. I went ahead and placed my naan plain onto the grill and then when I flipped it, I brushed the cooked side with garlic oil and feta cheese. I closed the lid and let the cheese slightly melt. The possibilites are endless when it comes to toppings these guys. You could even brush the cooked side with melted butter and then a cinnamon/sugar mixture!

Yield: 8 Large Naan Breads
Source: The Stay At Home Chef

Monday, July 15, 2013

Where I've been hanging out!


        So we moved into our new house a little over a week ago. It's been crazy..We signed the papers and happily took the keys on friday July,5th. We spent our first night here on saturday and all moved in by sunday. It was just my husband and two sons doing it all..but we did it!

I'm still knee deep in boxes and happily finding a spot for it all. The weather has been beautiful so every chance I get, I'm sitting out my new backyard. I know for American standards I have a weenie one. I know this. I'm wondering if you can see what I do though..that front part? all but the large butterfly bush will be taken out and that will be my large garden. I can already see corn growing and carrots sprouting up and cucumbers,tomatoes and anything else I want to grow. If you look straight back there are also 3 fruit trees..a cherry,pear and plum tree. I think the previous owners planted them way to close together and Im likely to take both the cherry and the pear out. The trees don't look well and she told me the birds ate all of her cherries. Beyond that is a chicken coop and a large carport area. Behind me is a long walkway to the backdoor that is actually covered in a fine mesh. The woman had mainecoons and wanted them to sit outside but not take off. So she covered a part with mesh and a screen door. We're keeping it like that and Im going to try and grow things that I want the birds to stay away strawberries.


      This is my other favorite new kitchen. I am not over the top crazy about the color but I can live with it. We have heated floors in the living room aswell as the kitchen and a brand new wood stove in the living room that will be put to use this autumn. There is a built in dishwasher and a built in fridge/freezer. I still brought mine because the one they have installed is so small.

My oven has 7 different settings and is smarter than I am. I've baked several different types of breads and they have all come out perfect. The only problem? it's so small..smaller than I realised. It doesnt even fit a standard cookie sheet in there. We'll figure the problem out soon but for allows me to bake like crazy again and thats what really makes me happy.

So...I'm here...alive,exhausted,covered in bruises and scrapes and more happy that I could ever possibly say. I have tons and tons of recipes to share and will be doing that later on this week. For now though, I am heading outside to fire up the grill. The weather is to nice to ignore and I've got a grilled naan recipe to try.

Hope you are all enjoying your summer!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Peanut Crunch Baked Donuts


             Can you believe we finally have summer vacation over here? Today was the last official day for them and tomorrow is for showing up,handing in the last of their books and giving a final goodbye. Their vacation only lasts 6 weeks over here so needless to say they try and make the best of the time they do have. The first bit of it will be used moving in our new home..which is now only 2 days away!!! The rest will be sleeping in,watching way to much tv,bugging me to no end when it comes to baking somethings, and me secretly loving having them home and bugging me.

I baked these donuts for them a few weeks back when I discovered we had a small amount of peanuts left over from a bag I had boughten. Out of all of the baked donuts I have made, these were the most cake-like and I was slightly let down because of that. I realise baked donuts will come out more cake-like than fried-like but these were way to soft in my opinion. They still tasted great but to soft for a baked donut.

Peanut Crunch Baked Donuts

1 cup All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 Large Egg
3/4 cup Milk
2 TBS Vegetable Oil


2 TBS Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1 TBS Milk


1/2 cup Chopped Lightly Salted,Roasted Peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease either a mini donut pan or a regular sized one and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, cream together sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Carefully add egg, milk, and oil, mixing until thoroughly combined. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until there are no lumps.

Fill each donut indention 3/4 full. Bake 7-9 minutes for the mini and 9-10 mins for the regular sized donuts or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the pan before removing and allow to completely cool on a wire rack.

Place a strip of wax paper underneath the wire rack to collect any of the frosting that should drip off from the donuts. In a small or medium sized bowl, whisk together the peanut butter and powdered sugar. Slowly add milk,whisking constantly until you get a smooth frosting ( you made need to add more milk to reach a smooth consistency).

Dip the top of each donut into the frosting and transfer to wire rack. Immediately sprinkles the top of each donut with chopped peanuts. Let frosting set for 5 minutes before serving. Store in airtight container for up to 2 days.

Yield: 30 Minis or 8-10 Regular sized Donuts
Source: Mini Donuts: 100 Bite-Sized Donut Recipes

Monday, July 1, 2013

Vegetarian Sausage and Chickpea Jambalaya


 First off..4 more days until we move!!! We are finally in the home stretch. I can see the light at the end of a very long tunnel and gosh is it looking good. We met with out mortage guy one last time and thanked him for all the help. I told him owning a home has been a dream of mine since I was little so this was a huge moment for me :) We drive by the house every single day and and we've noticed the house is being cleared out now..seeing that brings everything that much closer!

Last week I spotted a deal on vegetarian sausages and decided to pick up a few packages. I wouldn't normally buy them simply because they come 2 to a package and they aren't yippee on buy one get one free deals! Which by the way is something I didn't always see here. When I first moved here there was hardly any decent sales in the grocery stores and there wasn't a buy one get one free anywhere to be seen. However that has changed over the years and snapping up a bargain has finally come to The Netherlands!

Like most of my recipes, I spotted this on Foodgawker and couldn't wait to give it a try. Simply put, we loved it. It's an easy dish to put together,it's healthy,and packed with yummy delicious veggies. You can totally change the veggie sausages to chicken or beef if you like and add in or take away the vegetables that you and your family prefers.

The amount of spices was never listed so basically season to taste. I started with a teaspoon of each one and went from there. 

Vegetarian Sausage and Chickpea Jambalaya

1 cup Brown Rice..I used quick cooking
2 cups Vegetable Stock
1 tsp. Tomato Paste
3 Vegetarian Sausages
1/4 cup Chopped Sundried Tomatoes
1/2 cup Diced Celery
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms
1 cup Cooked Chickpeas
1 small Onion,Chopped
2-3 Minced Garlic Cloves
1 Lime
Paprika..season to taste
Chili Powder..season to taste
Ground Cumin..season to taste
Salt..season to taste

In a medium pot,combine the broth and tomatoe paste;bring to a boil,add the brown rice,cover, and simmer until cooked.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan,  add a small amount of oil and cook the sausages until heated through. Cut up the sausages and return to pan. Add the tomatoes,celery,mushrooms,chickpeas,onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the seasonings and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cooked through.

Add the veggie mixture into the pot of rice and stir to combine. Add the juice of the lime,stir to combine and serve warm.

Yield: 4 servings
Source: Adventures In Being