Saturday, September 28, 2013

Half White Half Wheat homemade bread

On Sunday night, two weeks ago, my husband wanted to make bread. Ever since he gave me my Bosch he wants to make bread with me all the time. I absolutely love it! It's so fun to be in the kitchen with him. We have made a few different types of bread now and I wanted to try something with wheat. We found this great recipe at Adventures in Bowersland. This recipe makes two large delicious loaves of bread. When we were baking these loaves we had to move the shelf down in the oven because they were touching the top when we checked on them.The great thing about wheat is it is very filling. One piece of toast and you feel full.


4 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour or bread flour
4 cups luke-warm water (115 degrees F)
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp butter
olive oil

Mix together 1 cup warm water with the honey and the yeast. Set it aside for about 10 minutes to activate. When the yeast mixture looks all bubbly, you know it is ready. In a large mixing bowl mix the yeast mixture with the other 3 cups of warm water and 4 cups of white or bread flour.  Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour and continue mixing. Stir until the lumps are all out and cover with a damp towel. Set it aside for 30 minutes. The dough will rise slightly.

While you wait melt the butter and set it aside. You want the butter to be cool before you add it to the mixture so it doesn't kill the yeast. Add the butter and salt to the mixture as well as the last 3 cups of whole wheat flour adding just a little at a time. Once you've mixed in all of the flour, roll the dough out onto a well floured surface or turn on med/high if mixing in your KitchenAid or Bosch. When the dough pulls off the side of the bowl you know it is ready. I ended up having to add about 2 cups more flour to get the dough the right consistency. You want to make sure it's not too sticky but you don't want to add too much flour or it will end up really dense. If kneading by hand, knead on a floured counter top for 10-15 minutes adding more flour as needed until it no longer sticks to the counter top. Once you are done kneading it, place some olive oil in a large mixing bowl and put the dough back into the bowl. Put a dash of olive oil on top of the dough and turn it a few times to cover it in oil. Place a damp towel over the bowl and let it rise for about an hour or until it is double in size.

Once it has risen, you can punch the center of the dough ball to get out all of the air bubbles. Cut the dough into two pieces and roll each piece out either on the counter top or in your hands to get the rest of the air bubbles out. Then, shape your dough balls into loaves. Place the dough balls into two greased bread pans. Cover the bread pans with a damp towel again and let it rise for 30-45 minutes. This is the last time, I promise!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while the dough is rising in the loaf pans. The dough should almost double in size. Bake for about 40 minutes or longer if you want a darker crust.

When the bread comes out of the oven, place the loaves on a cooling rack. I like to put mine on the side and then the cooling rack makes lines in the bread and they make perfect slices if you cut along them.

On a side note, the day after we baked this bread my water broke and our little baby decided that it was time to come. He came 4 weeks early. When we got home from the hospital 4 days later everything in our fridge was old and spoiled so this bread was awesome to have. We had amazing friends and family who helped us out with meals, cleaning, diapers, premie clothing, etc. I can't thank them enough! We love this new little bundle of joy!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Whole Chicken in Crockpt

This is one of my favorite Sunday recipes. Anything in the crockpot is easy but this one takes about 3 minutes to prepare. There is nothing to chop, unless you want to add vegetables to it.

1 small whole chicken- (make sure it fits in the crockpot and you can still put the lid on)
Lawry's seasoned salt
1 cup water

place three small tin foil balls in the bottom of the crockpot. Pour 1 cup water into the crockpot. Season the chicken with Lawry's seasoned salt and pepper. Place chicken on top of tin foil balls. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. I can promise you that this chicken will be close to the most tender chicken you've ever had in your life, if not the most tender. It just falls apart. It makes a great dinner and great leftovers. Sometimes I'll shred the chicken and freeze it or use it for enchiladas the next day. It's also nice to save the water at the bottom of the crockpot. It makes for a great chicken broth. I would just strain out any chicken pieces that are left in it.

I added corn and a side salad to it to make a complete meal. We had a great meal that only took probably 10 minutes total. These kinds of dinners are my favorite! If you decide to try it let me know how your chicken turns out!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Crocheted Hot Pads

A friend of mine gave me crocheted hot pads for Christmas last year and I have absolutely loved them. They are so cute and they are perfect for putting on the kitchen table underneath hot pans or dishes. I have been wanting to learn how to make them for quite some time now but my friend and I just haven't had the time to get together. Finally on Labor day I decided to go to Michael's and at least pick up the supplies. Once I got home, since Tyrone was still out of town I thought, I bet I could just teach myself. So, lo and behold I went to youtube. I have looked at multiple blogs but not knowing much about crocheting I didn't really understand much. I found a video on youtube that was perfect for me and my skill level. In order to be able to follow the video you do have to know how to do a basic crochet stitch. If you know how to do that, it's pretty simple to follow along.
What you will need: 
One ball of this sugar 'n cream yarn ( it will  make one hot pad.) Look for worsted weight, cotton yard if you can't find or don't like this brand. 
a size G crochet hook
1 tapestry needle to finish off the end of the hot pad 

They've got all sorts of fun colors at the store to choose from. It was really hard to pick. My hot pad turned out looking like it was made for Easter. I think I'll do some more neutral colors next time, but I'm pretty proud of it so I'm going to use it anyway.

Here are a few videos to start with if you are new to crocheting all together. Even if you have never done it before, I promise you it's possible. The main video skips some of these basics, so watch these first two videos if you need to and then go onto the hot pad tutorial.

This is a video on how to start your original chain. If you need help making your slip not, watch the final hot pad tutorial video. She goes through some things kind of fast but you can see how she does the knot.

Here is a good video tutorial for the single crochet stitch. You will use this after you finish your original chain.

Lastly, here is the video I watched to learn how to make the complete hot pad.

I hope you are able to follow along. Let me know if you try it and how yours turn out! Good luck!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pan Roasted Chicken with Lemon Garlic Green Beans

I kid you not this is one of the best dishes I think I have ever made. It is seriously to die for! It's pretty simple too which I love. This is one of those meals I can make around lunch time and then stick in the fridge until my husband's headed home from work and then I just throw it in the oven and dinner is ready when he gets home. Although when I texted my husband today to see when he would be home, he said he had a work meeting and wouldn't be home until late so I ate this dish all by myself and loved it! I sure wasn't feeling guilty about going back for seconds!

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I did. I was worried that it wouldn't have enough flavor but that is definitely not a problem. I'm not sure if it's because I made it ahead of time and let it marinade in the lemon for a few hours before I cooked it, but it was full of flavor!

I got  the recipe from Real Simple
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound trimmed green beans (I used a can because it was all I had)
  • 8 small red potatoes, quartered (I used 3 regular potatoes)
  • 4 chicken breasts (bones left in, with skin, about 3 1/4 pounds) (I used 2 breasts and 3 legs) 
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.
    3. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.   (I baked mine for 50 minutes and the potatoes were already tender so I didn't have to bake for another 10 minutes. I don't know if I could have waited any longer to eat it anyway, the lemon chicken aroma coming from the oven was making my stomach growl.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Tyrone has been out of town a lot lately and our home feels so lonely without him. Now, there are countless things that I should be doing. With him being gone you would think I'd get a lot accomplished but that hasn't seemed to be the case. Last week he was out of town 5 days for work and the whole week I just lounged around the house relaxed and didn't do a whole lot. Tyrone left out of town again a few days ago to go on a trip with some of his college buddies and the first night he was gone I was on Facebook and his friend's wife, Ellen, said that with her husband gone she had already cleaned the whole house! She was my inspiration. I decided it was time to be productive. I first cleaned the house and organized quite a few things for the baby. Yesterday I worked half a day and ran errands. Then today I baked homemade cinnamon raisin bread. I feel like that's much better than last time he went out of town. Plus, I worked on Saturday and I'm working on the holiday tomorrow so that's got to count for something right?

Now, as I mentioned on my birthday post, Tyrone got me a Bosch mixer for my birthday a few weeks ago and I absolutely love it! Baking bread is much simpler now and it isn't nearly as big of a task as it used to be. I came across a recipe that makes three loaves of cinnamon raisin bread which is perfect because for one, I only have 3 loaf pans and secondly, I have two friends I wanted to take loafs to and then that leaves me with a loaf for Tyrone and I. Using this recipe in the Bosch is awesome because its bigger than a kitchen aid mixer and it can handle a lot of dough. With the kitchen aid mixer, once you add most of the flour you might have to knead it on the table to make it smooth at the end because the mixing bowl will be too full.

Here is the recipe from Super Glue Mom

  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1 cup warm water (between 110-115 degrees)
  • 5 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour + more for kneading
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (approx.)
  • 3 9×5 inch loaf pans
  • Warm milk (in the microwave or stovetop) to a luke-warm temperature (120-125 degrees).
  • Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes or so.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large bowl) add in eggs, sugar, butter salt and raisins. Next, add milk and yeast mixture as well as the water.
  • Add the flour gradually to make a dough. (Mine only took just over 8 cups. I would start with 8 and slowly add up to 9 as needed. In the mixer I watch for when the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl leaving the sides of the bowl clean.)
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth. I usually finish my dough on the counter since my stand mixer is not a huge one and it tends to overfill. (Because I had the Bosch mixer I was able to use the dough hook and just knead it with the hook in the bowl for a few minutes until the dough was smooth.)
  • Place dough in a large, buttered, mixing bowl and turn to grease the surface of the dough.
  • Cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise. I usually turn my oven on for a couple of minutes while I am mixing the ingredients, turn oven off and let my dough rise in there. It’s warm enough but not hot that it will cook it. (It has been so hot here lately that my dough doubled in size without using the oven in only 40 minutes.)
  • Allow to rise until doubled, usually about 1½ hours.

  • Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle ½ inch thick.

  • Moisten the dough with 2 tablespoons milk and rub all over the dough with your hands.

  • Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon and sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the moistened dough.
  • Roll up tightly (the long way). The roll should be about 3 inches in diameter.

  • Cut into thirds, and tuck under ends and pinch bottom together. (I use thread to cut the loaves into three even pieces. This is the same technique I use when cutting cinnamon rolls. (I also cut off the very ends of the long rolls to make the ends look better and fit into the pan easier.)
  • Place loaves into 3 well greased 9 x 5 inch pans and lightly grease tops of loaves.

  • Let rise in warm place, uncovered, again for about an hour.

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped.
  • Remove from oven and let cool on rack. Take melted butter and spread over tops of loaves (totally optional).
  • After about 20 minutes, lay loaves on their sides and remove from pans. Allow loaves to cool before slicing.

  • I bake all 3 loaves at once, cool and slice. I freeze 2 of them for later use.