Monthly Archives: February 2013

Honey Oat Bread

honey oat bread 2

Let me just say this up front:  This is the best bread I’ve ever baked!  I love it!  I ran across the recipe on Pinterest and knew I wanted to try out immediately.  When I go to Subway, if I don’t get wheat bread, I get the honey oat bread.  This is world’s better than Subway’s loaf.  Just trust me on this.  It’s sweet, has a nice crispy crust, a soft middle, and despite there being 3/4 cups of oats in it, it’s not at all tough or dry.  It’s just perfect.  Seriously, give this bread a try, please.  😀

Now, I promised my Facebook friends several days ago that I would post this recipe, but it was the end of the week, which means I was tired.  I can normally build up a little reserve of energy over the weekend, so here I am, trying to post this while Connor takes his 45 minute nap.  (By the way, my handsome little man has recently put himself on a predictable daytime schedule of awake 2 hours, asleep 45 minutes.  It’s pretty incredible, and I am one thankful mama.)  And now, the recipe!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup oats (You can use either instant or old-fashioned.  I used old-fashioned in the bread and instant on top.)
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine (I used unsalted butter.)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp. honey, warmed
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp. oats
  • 2 cups boiling water

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, 3/4 cup oats, yeast, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, warm the milk so it’s hot enough to melt the butter, but not boiling.  Add the butter, stirring until melted.  (Let me say, it would probably be easier to melt the butter seperately from warming the milk, and then combining the two, especially if you’re using real butter rather than margarine.)
  3. Stir water and 1/4 cup honey into milk and butter mixture.
  4. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing the dough with a wooden spoon until it comes together to form a dough.
  5. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  The dough will be sticky at first, flour your workspace and hands.  If it is still sticky and wet after several minutes, add more flour one tbsp. at at time, until the dough is barely tacky.  If it is too dry, add water one tsp. at a time to soften it.
  6. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn dough to oil all sides, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about one to one and half hours.
  7. Once doubled, place dough on a dry, clean work surface, and flatten the dough with your fingers into a 9×12 inch rectangle.  Fold the dough into thirds, longways, and tuck the ends under to fit into a loaf pan.
  8. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about one hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Place an empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven and bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  10. When loaf is doubled in size, brush the top with warmed honey and sprinkle on oats.
  11. Pour the boiling water into the empty loaf pan, and place bread in center of oven.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the bread is a deep golden brown and the internal temperature is about 190-degrees.  (Leave the pan with water in the oven the whole time you bake the bread.)
  12. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting (if you can wait that long.  😉 )

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The orginal recipe (with pictures) can be found here:  http://www.bakingdom.com/2011/09/homemade-honey-oat-bread.html

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Love Blossoms

love blossoms

As we all know, Valentine’s Day was yesterday, and in honor of this holiday, I made these little two-bite cookies that I have dubbed “Love Blossoms.”  I’m sure we’ve all seen the same kind of cookie with kisses, but on Pinterest, I saw an idea to use heart-shaped chocolates.  I had coupon for heart-shaped chocolates, so that’s what I used.  They are cute as a button, simple to make, and sweet to give to your special Valentine.

The recipe I used can be found at www.hersheyskisses.com.  I just used Dove chocolates instead of Hershey Kisses, and I forgot one little step.  I hope you enjoy these little love blossoms!

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Ingredients:

  • 34-36 Dove chocolate hearts
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Granulated sugar*

Directions:

  1. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
  2. In a large bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter until well blended.
  3. Add 1/3 cup sugar and brown sugar.  Beat until fluffy.
  4. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Gradually beat flour mixture into peanut butter mixture.
  7. Shape dough into 1-inch balls.
  8. Roll in sugar.*
  9. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
  10. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned at 375-degrees.  (I baked at 350-degrees because my oven cooks hot.  Just know your oven.)
  11. Remove from oven, and immediately press a chocolate into the center of each cookie.  Cookies will crack around the edges.
  12. Cool completely on a wire rack.  The chocolates will become melty when you press them into cookie, but they will reharden in the correct shape if left alone to cool.
  13. Enjoy with your special someone, and let your love blossom!  😀

*Note:  I forgot to roll my cookies in sugar and everything turned out fine.  It’s up to you whether you do it or not.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

valentines 2013 b

valentines 2013 c

I hope that everyone has had a great Valentine’s Day.  I spent the day with my baby and my nieces, and this evening has been with My Honey and my baby.  My loving husband spent the afternoon searching the aisles of Kroger in search of a few little gifts for me, and he did very well:  a dozen roses, peanut M&M’s, chocolate chips, and strawberries.  We had a nice little supper of slow-cooked roast with potatoes and carrots, fresh rolls, green beans, and macaroni and cheese.  He received some of his favorite candies that he doesn’t often get (Lego sweet-tarts and bleeps), peanut butter M&M’s, and a pair of pajama pants.  It was a lovely little evening filled with good food, fun gifts, dipping strawberries in chocolate, and watching some TV.  I hope you have all had a nice evening.

Despite my husband’s love me and my love for him, the greatest “Valentine” I have is Christ.  The love He showed on the cross cannot be equalled.  Salvation is the greatest gift I’ve ever received:  greater than my husband, greater than my son.  If you’re in a relationship of any kind with someone, if you’re single, I hope that you are saved by Christ, and if you aren’t, I hope you will become so.  It’s the greatest decision you will ever make in life, and there is no middle ground.  No decision is a decision against Christ, against God himself, and that only leaves to everlasting, spiritual death:  an eternity in Hell.  This Valentine’s day, think and act on this, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)  That, my dear reader, is the greatest Valentine you will ever read.  Think on this.  My prayers are with you.

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Crispy Fried Chicken

fried chicken 2

This is a dish that has literally taken me years to learn how to cook.  I’ve cooked plenty of fried chicken in my time, but I have never been able to figure out how to make it crispy breaded or how to keep the breading on the chicken.  Well, a few nights ago, I finally accomplished both!  Yay!  My Honey really enjoyed his chicken, and I was pleased with the results as well.  It’s really simple enough, if you’re willing to do some serious frying.  It may not be an every night kind of meal, but I know you all enjoy a good peice of fried chicken now and again, especially if you’re from south of the Mason-Dixon line.  If you’re like me, you’ve probably had trouble getting that fried chicken just right, though.  Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re in the right place.  I have learned how to get that tasty, thick bread coating fried to perfection on your meat of choice, and I’m willing to tell all.

I am going to post what I made a few nights ago:  four pieces of boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  You can use whatever meat and cut you wish to use, however:  bone-in, bone-out, chicken breast, chicken legs, chicken thighs, pork chops, steak, ect.  You may, however, have to increase the amounts of breading ingredients you use.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 peices of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup(s) of crispy coating (I used some of my homemade shake-n-bake, but you can also use coarse bread crumbs, boxed shake-n-bake, cornmeal, or cracker crumbs.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Any other seasonings you wish to use – I also utilized Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning, parsley flakes, and paprika.
  • Oil or shortening for frying

Directions:

  1. Wash your chicken under running water.  (This should always be done, especially with poultry.  I don’t know why; I just know to do it.)
  2. In a frying pan (I like cast iron.) add a generous amount of oil.  You are basically going to deep fry the chicken.  This is the key to keeping the breading from falling off the chicken.  I filled my skillet about half-full.
  3. Turn on your burner to medium heat.  (If you put it on high, your breading will cook before your chicken gets done.  Raw poultry is never a good thing.  If you cook it on low, your breading will be a greasy, soggy mess, and it will take forever for the chicken to get done.)
  4. Mix salt, pepper, Cavendar’s, and flour in a small-medium mixing bowl.
  5. In a second bowl, beat together the milk and eggs.
  6. In a third bowl, combine crispy coating, parsely, and paprika.
  7. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, coating all sides well.
  8. Dip the chicken in the egg wash, coating all sides well.
  9. Dip in the crispy coating, once again, coating all sides well.
  10. Carefully place your chicken in the oil.
  11. Follow steps 8-10 for the other three pieces of chicken.
  12. Cook on one side until it is a nice golden brown.  Then, carefully flip the chicken pieces over.  I suggest using a fork to flip the chicken.  If your oil is too hot, turn the heat down a notch and lift your pan off the burner for a few seconds (lifting the pan is only necessary with a electric stove).
  13. Allow the second side to cook to a golden brown.
  14. To know whether your chicken is done or not, stick the fork in the thickest part of the meat.  If the juices run clear and the meat is tender enough for the fork to easily go all the way through, it is done.  This test works for all meats, even ground meat, such as hamburgers.  Otherwise, you can invest in a meat thermometer, and google meat temperatures for doneness.
  15. Drain your chicken on paper towels.
  16. Serve with biscuits, mashed potatoes, gravy, and your choice of vegetable.  ( I like sweet peas, but My Honey prefers green beans.)

Note:  Only turn your chicken once.  The less you mess with the meat while it’s cooking, the better your breading will stay on the meat.

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Biscuits:  https://crystalpoe.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/biscuits/

Homemade shake-n-bake:  https://crystalpoe.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/shake-n-bake-chicken/

Gravy:  https://crystalpoe.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/white-breakfast-gravy/  (To make this gravy for supper, just omit the sugar and use the oil from frying.)

fried chicken 1

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Braided Cinnamon Wreath

braided cinnamon wreath 1

Here is yet another fun recipe that you can make from a basic sweet roll dough recipe (https://crystalpoe.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/sweet-roll-dough/).  I found this particular idea on pinterest, and you can find the original recipe here:  http://totallyloveit.com/braided-cinnamon-rolls/.  I haven’t cut into my version yet, but I’m sure it will taste great.  Basically, it’s a giant cinnamon roll, turned inside out and twisted into a circle.  It’s pretty to look at and not too difficult to make, assuming, of course, that you don’t have a two-month old wanting to be picked up and crying about it beside you.  😉

When you make this, keep in mind, the sweet roll dough recipe that I use and will post here, will yeild two large braids.  If you follow the recipe from totallyloveit.com, however, you will only make one braid.

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Ingredients:

*These ingredients (bread and filling) will produce TWO braids.  Halve the lists if you only wish to make one braid.

Bread

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 7 – 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 8-10 tbsp. sugar
  • 6 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a measuring cup, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Pour into a LARGE mixing bowl.  (If you’re using a glass or metal bowl that is cold, you should heat the bowl with hot water before putting in the yeast mixture.)
  2. Add milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and about half of the flour.  Mix until smooth.
  3. Add enough of the remaining flour to handle easily.  Mix with hand.
  4. Turn onto lightly floured board, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).
  5. Round up in a greased bowl, greased side of dough up.  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours).
  6. Punch down; let rise again until double (about 30 minutes).
  7. Divide dough into two equal parts.
  8. Roll one part out in a rectangle shape until about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  9. Brush butter over the entire top surface of dough.
  10. Sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar mixture liberally.
  11. Roll dough into a log, as if you are making cinnamon rolls.
  12. Slice log in half, longways (from end to end).
  13. Twist the two halves together, keeping the open layers exposed.  Shape into a circle.
  14. Bake on a buttered (or parchment paper covered) baking sheet.
  15. Top with more butter and sprinkle on more sugar and cinnamon.
  16. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 the last 5-10 minutes of baking to keep from burning.
  17. Top with powdered sugar.
  18. Repeat steps 8-17 with the second lump of dough, if desired.

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Yeast Doughnuts

yeast doughnuts

This morning, I had no cereal and was feeling too lazy to cook eggs or oatmeal for breakfast, so I decided I would make yeast doughnuts.  Don’t ask how that logic works; I’m a hormonal new mama who didn’t make a whole lot of sense to start with.  Suffice it to say I wanted a doughnut and felt ambitious enough to undertake the task since I haven’t had a big baking project since Connor was born.  It was time to test the waters of being mama to a 2 1/2 month old while trying to cook something involving yeast.  It took a better part of the day to get all of it done (I also made a Braided Cinnamon Wreath.), but I do think that at the end of it all, it was a success.  The best part of this story:  I don’t have a recipe for yeast doughnuts.  I have Google, but where’s the fun in that?  😀  (Don’t worry.  I realize I’m halfway to Crazytown.)

Since I didn’t have a recipe, but I did have a craving, I figured I could make something that would work.  Enter my grandma’s Sweet Roll Dough recipe and Amy K.’s cinnamon roll icing recipe.  (Sweet Roll Dough:  https://crystalpoe.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/sweet-roll-dough/ and Icing:  http://thekinnardfamily.wordpress.com/?s=cinnamon+rolls)

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Ingredients:

Doughnuts

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 7 – 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • oil for frying
  • powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Icing

  • 4 tbsp. softened butter
  • 3 tsp. flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼–1/2  tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Doughnuts

  1. In a measuring cup, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Pour into a LARGE mixing bowl.  (If you’re using a glass or metal bowl that is cold, you should heat the bowl with hot water before putting in the yeast mixture.)
  2. Add milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and about half of the flour.  Mix until smooth.
  3. Add enough of the remaining flour to handle easily.  Mix with hand.
  4. Turn onto lightly floured board, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).
  5. Round up in a greased bowl, greased side of dough up.  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours).
  6. Punch down; let rise again until double (about 30 minutes).
  7. Punch down; divide into about 12-15 doughnut size rolls.  If you have a doughnut hole maker, punch a hole in the middle of each roll.  If you’re like me and don’t, just make a hole in the middle.  Try to make it wide so that it will still be there after the doughnuts have risen again.
  8. Allow doughnuts to rise until doubled in size (20-30 minutes).
  9. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying the doughnuts.  (Medium-high heat)
  10. Cook the doughnuts 2 or 3 at a time, carefully cooking both sides.  They will need to cook about 2 minutes on each side.
  11. Drain on paper towels placed on baking racks.
  12. Spread generously with icing.
  13. Dust with powdered sugar.  (optional)

Icing

  1. Mix ingredients well in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Spread on doughnuts while they are still a little warm but have drained and dried from cooking oil.

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Sweet Roll Dough

cinnamon rolls 2

Cinnamon Rolls

Braided Cinnamon Wreath

Braided Cinnamon Wreath

Yeast Doughnuts

Yeast Doughnuts

There are some recipes that are versatile by design, especially when baking.  Basic pancakes, chocolate chip cookie dough before you add the chocolate chips, basic muffins, cornbread, and more, including sweet roll dough.  All three yummy in your tummy confections above were made from the exact same sweet roll dough recipe.  It’s a recipe out of my Grandma’s favorite cookbook.  It was given to her as a wedding present in 1957, and she still has it.  I believe the book is a Betty Crocker cook book, but I won’t swear to that.  I have been told that one day I will inherit the book, and I treasure it already, even though it’s not yet mine.  I know that when it is, it will be a reminder of my wonderful Grandma.

Anyhow, this particular recipe is HUGE!  (It calls for at least 7 cups of flour – seriously.)  Today, I used it to make a dozen doughnuts (some of them quite large) and a braided cinnamon wreath, from the same batch of dough. Be ready to bake when you break this recipe out because that’s what you’re going to get to do.  Other than doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and the pretty little wreath thing, you can make babka breads and any other sweet yeast bread-thing you want to make.  Just add the flavors you need with spices, fruits, chocolate, icings, or whatever, and then divide it up however you are directed:  loaves, rolls, braids, ect.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 7 – 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. In a measuring cup, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Pour into a LARGE mixing bowl.  (If you’re using a glass or metal bowl that is cold, you should heat the bowl with hot water before putting in the yeast mixture.)
  2. Add milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and about half of the flour.  Mix until smooth.
  3. Add enough of the remaining flour to handle easily.  Mix with hand.
  4. Turn onto lightly floured board, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).
  5. Round up in a greased bowl, greased side of dough up.  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours).
  6. Punch down; let rise again until double (about 30 minutes).
  7. Divide dough for desired project.  Shape, let rise, and bake according to recipe.

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Links to foods above:

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