Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hearty chili

This an awesome chili recipe for the men in your life! It is really hearty and filling! I was asked to bring chili to a Halloween party a few years ago and I found this recipe. Since then I have made it quite a few times. I usually serve it with a little bit of melted cheese on top and some cornbread. This is an easy dinner for those nights when you don't have much time or can't think of anything. Most of the ingredients I usually have on hand too so that helps!

I got this recipe off of the Big Oven app but you can find it here on their website as well.


1 pound Lean ground meat
1 large Onion chopped
1 tablespoon Chili powder
1 tablespoon Ground cumin
1/2 pound Smoked sausage (I like to use Polska Kilbasa instead)
1 12-oz can Kidney beans or Ranch Style beans
1 cup Pace's picante sauce
1 cup V-8 vegetable juice
1 8 ounce can Tomato sauce

Serves: 6

Brown ground meat with onion in large sauce pan or dutch oven.  Sprinkle chili powder and cumin over meat while cooking and stirring for about 2 minutes.  Slice and quarter the smoked sausage.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.  Add a little water if it gets too thick.

I have used smoked sausage and it tastes really yummy. I usually prefer polska kilbasa though. This last time I made this I realized that I didn't have any picante sauce on hand. You know the feeling when you thought you had all the ingredients and when you are in the middle of making it you realize you are missing something? So frustrating. Instead of picante sauce I used a jar of mild salsa and I honestly couldn't tell the difference. If substituting salsa for picante sauce I would just make sure it isn't chunky salsa.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Homemade White Bread

30 weeks pregnant and look at Jackson's awesome surfboard that Tyrone painted. It's getting glassed and fins put in it right now!

I have been wanting a Bosch mixer for quite some time now but I just couldn't justify spending money to get it. But my birthday was coming up and my husband kept asking me what I wanted and I'd say something like, "What I really want is a Bosch mixer, but I know they're really expensive, so I don't know..." I just felt like it would be great to have but it was a lot of money. Well, being the amazing husband that he is, he along with my father in law pitched in together and they got me a Bosch mixer and I'll tell you, IT IS BEAUTIFUL!

 This means no more kneading dough myself. This means that it will no longer take me all day to bake bread or cinnamon rolls, or bread rolls. It's amazing!!It came in the mail the day we were leaving out of town though, sadly. I opened up a few things and read the manual but I didn't actually get it out and use it for the first time until last night. I think Tyrone was almost more excited than I was to use it. He kept on saying he wanted to make bread with me. Those are great words coming from his mouth!

I got all the parts washed and ready to go. I found this recipe on pinterest and it is delicious! We ate half a loaf when it came out of the oven. I put butter and homemade strawberry jam on mine. Tyrone wanted peanut butter and strawberry jam on his. It was so yummy! Joyful baker is where the recipe came from.

This recipe makes 2 loafs. After the first batch came out of the oven, Tyrone suggested to make another batch so we made 4 loafs total. Then after that he wanted to make cookies. Homemade bread and cookies for dinner. YUM!

Homemade white bread
2 cups hot water (out of the tap)
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp oil
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
1/5 cup Powdered milk
2 1/3 cups flour (any combination of white and wheat - if mixing flours, start with white)
2 1/2 tsp saf-instant yeast
3 cups flour (any combination of white and wheat - if mixing flours, start with white)

 Combine ingredients in the order listed above in a stand-mixer bowl fitted with dough hook, saving the last 3 cups of flour to add later. After adding the yeast, turn mixer on and let ingredients combine slowly. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour, until the dough starts pulling off of the sides of the mixer. Turn mixer to high and knead for 8 minutes. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 150 degrees.

Once dough has risen, divide the dough into 2 even balls. Place on a floured surface and with your fingers, lightly press each ball into a rectangular shape about the length of a bread pan. Roll into loaves and place them seam side down in pans sprayed with cooking spray.

Place pans in oven and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Then raise the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven. Then remove the bread from the pans and allow to cool slightly before slicing. I like to turn my loaves onto their side on the cooling rack. This makes lines in the side of the bread and then you have perfectly even slices when you are ready to cut it.

This bread is great for toast or sandwiches. It is delicious!

I am so excited about my new kitchen gadget. Homemade bread is now a piece of cake.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Funnel Cakes for the Whole Family

My mother in law gave me a funnel cake kit last year for the fourth of July and I kept telling myself I need to try it but I never did. I finally decided this year that we should have a big funnel cake party with our friends and neighbors. I figured that would be more fun than making funnel cakes for just the two of us anyway.

I decided to send out an invite for funnel cakes but it took a lot more planning and figuring out than I thought. We have a small one bedroom apartment and so we can only invite a small number of people over. We decided that if we made them downstairs in the courtyard of our apartment we could invite a lot more. That's what we ended up doing and it was perfect. The weather was great and we started at 6pm so that friends with kids could come before it got too late.
The chefs.

our toppings table

We were trying to figure out how to cook funnel cakes outside and at first I thought we could just do it on the grill but then we realized that it won't stay hot enough to keep the oil at the right temperature. We decided to use outdoor stoves. We borrowed one from our neighbor and then we bought one at Sports Chalet for only $29.99. It will be awesome to have next time we go camping. It even comes with a little carrying case.

With the funnel cake kit we got, it came with a metal ring, to make the funnel cake in, a pitcher, and some funnel cake mix. The pitcher for pouring the batter works awesome. I would recommend getting one. I also bought a small 4.5 inch metal cookie cutter so that we could make small funnel cakes for the kids. I used a small clear plastic ketchup bottle and poured the batter out of that. They turned out great. They were the perfect size for the kids.

My husbands funnel cake. With how big my belly looks here you would think I already ate one.

Now on to the recipe. I tried a few before I found this one and this was definitely the best! I got this recipe from Taylor takes a taste

You will need a deep frying pan with oil filling the ring up about half way. When you pour your batter into the ring, pour it in a circle around the outside twice and then pour the batter crisscross all directions to keep the funnel cake together.  Cook for about 30 seconds on each side. The funnel cake should be a golden brown. Then add whatever toppings you'd like.

We quintupled the recipe. This much batter fed 26 of us, 14 adults and 12 kids, with many people having seconds.

Dry ingredients
1 1/2 cups AP Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Wet ingredients
1 1/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp lemon zest (I omitted this)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

powdered sugar
whip cream
chocolate syrup
cut up strawberries