Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Take A Peek Wednesday: Muiderslot





     
            Last week during fall vacation we got up at 5:15 am and a boarded a train to Amsterdam,then a tram and then a boat so we could visit,Muiderslot. A beautiful castle just outside of Amsterdam.
                           

           
        It was overcast out and there was a slight drizzle on and off the entire day which only added to the experience in my opinion..Who wants to visit a sunny castle?
                            

                          
         After walking around the inside and exploring all the rooms we headed out to visit the castle gardens.
   
           The herb garden..
                  The veggie garden..
                 And a pic of the boat we took to reach the castle..

          I can sometimes forget how much fun it can be to play tourist..All in all it was a wonderful day. I can tell you without a doubt, I am not a train traveler. It's just not me. There are people who love zooming all over the place but I am not one of them. Still..it's worth it when you get to see beautiful things like this.

What have you been up to lately?
                            
                    




                 













Monday, October 26, 2015

No-knead Cheddar and Chive Rolls

                  
                Here is a super easy recipe that requires zero kneading! You can add in whatever type of cheese you want,leave out the dried chives if you don't want them..maybe you want crumbled up cooked bacon with mozzarella? Actually that sounds really good and I think I will be making that version next time with pizza seasonings tossed into the mix.

The rolls freeze well so bake up a batch of these babies and be a hero at dinner time!

No-knead Cheddar and Chive Rolls

4-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 TBS Sugar
1 TBS Salt..or less if you want
2 TBS Dried Chives;optional
2-1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
2 cups Milk..low fat,full fat..you make the call
1 TBS Butter
2 cups (8 ounces) Shredded Cheddar Cheese


In a large bowl,combine 2 cups of flour,sugar,salt,chives,and yeast. In a saucepan,heat milk and butter to 115-120F. Pour over dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in cheese and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 mins-1 hour. Dough will soft and that is ok!

Grease either 2 or 3 9 inch round cake pans with non stick spray and set aside. Gently deflate the dough and divide into 2 or 3 portions and shape each portion into 12 balls. Place into prepared pans. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until nearly doubled,about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350/180. Brush the tops with milk or an egg wash if you prefer and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

** I only have two,9 inch round cake pans so I divided the dough to fit into those. You can make smaller rolls and pop them into 3 if you prefer. It's up to you**

Yield: 26-36 rolls
Source: Taste of Home 













Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Take A Peek Wednesday: The Last of Summer



                 
                                  







                 A little over a month ago we headed out for a final walk through of our favorite place..you can walk through it all year long but I like it best in summer..It's Fall and Winter pics from here on out!








Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Orange Walnut Snowballs

                    
                 Our alarm clock goes off at 4:15 am.. 5 days a week. I head downstairs with my husband and get the coffee on and work on breakfast and packing his lunch. He's out the door by 6:20 and I won't see him again until 7:30 at night..and that's only if there are no problems with the trains..and there are always problems. Now that we're pushing 41 we are slightly more tired these days and often times our smiles don't quite reach our eyes and the need to give each other that hug or encouraging word is very real. We're living in stressful times and the weight on the shoulders can be extremely heavy at times and the desire to carry more so the other can have a break is constant.
       
        When I see that a boost is needed..either by my side or his, I usually head into the kitchen. There is something honestly comforting to me about being in there and knowing that with just a few ingredients I hand over a plate of sunshine when my husband or two sons walk through the door. I can extend a plate over the fence to my neighbor and pass along the smile and encouragement I think we all need from time to time.

So go make someones day with cookies. Make your own day with cookies. Curl up with a good book or watch your favorite movie that you know by heart or if you are anything like me, you are smiling to yourself as you mentally prepare for the holidays that are arriving quicker than your realize!

Orange Walnut Snowballs

1 cup Butter,softened
3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
Zest of one Orange..Any size will do
1/2 tsp. Orange Extract
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 cup Finely chopped Walnuts
Additional powdered sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 350/180. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment..or in a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the orange zest and extracts. Combine the flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in nuts.

Shape into 3/4 inch balls and place onto prepared cookie sheet 1 inch apart.

Bake 7-12 minutes or until bottom of cookies are lightly browned ( in my oven that took 7 minutes but it can take up to 12 but start checking right before the 10 minute mark). Remove cookies to wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Pour additional powdered sugar into a bowl and place each cookie into bowl,turning over and over until completely coated.

Store in airtight container

Yield: 36 cookies
Source: Taste of Home             




Monday, October 5, 2015

Chocolate Orange Challah

             
                    Do you have a bucket list? I've got one. It's filled with breads I want to bake before my hands give out and I can't knead or braid or twist or fold again without being in pain. I'm probably strange for having a bread bucket list but I'm feeling pretty ok about it these days.
             
 
          A few days ago I tackled Challah. I actually had nightmares about this braid. I thought about it for days and days before I started. I watched THIS video on how to do the braid correctly and turned the volume down since I learn better with just the visual and replayed it over and over. I was pumped and ready to go. I doubted myself during the entire process and vowed to never do it again..because there was no way it was going to work.

But oh did it! If I had been by myself I can assure you I would have shed a tear or two because it blew me away. The author describes the bread as a twist on challah and babka and I would say that is indeed the case. It's one heck of a beautiful loaf of bread. The flavor is incredible and if you are a fan of all things,orange and chocolate then you must give this bread a try.

I decided to not post the recipe for this but instead encourage you to head over to Yin and Yolk and get it straight from the source. The tips and directions are spot on and honestly better than anything I could do here myself. I am not set up to take photos as I am doing something and she provides plenty of visuals as well as directions. It seems like there are a lot of steps, but honestly it's mostly waiting for the dough to rise in between each step. You can do this.

The only change I made was to use milk chocolate simply because that's what I have in my cupboard. My kitchen is cooler these days so my dough needed slightly more time to warm up when I took it out of the fridge. I was blessed with a beautiful sunny window which allowed my bread to rise comfortably for a few hours and was rewarded with a huge loaf of bread that left my family oohing and aahing and with me beaming from ear to ear.

I will be baking this again. Head over to Yin and Yolk for the recipe and click HERE for the video on how to form this beautiful shape!