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Blueberry Banana Bread

29 Apr

My five-year-old asked me today, “Mom, why do we always have to do everything you tell us to do?” This was after I told the kids they couldn’t play until they cleaned up the toy room. I know…worst mom ever! At first I told her, “Because I’m Mom, that’s why.” But then I decided to provide some enlightenment. I asked her if she knew what I did all day. “I cook for you, I clean up your messes, I do your laundry, I drive you places, I buy you fun prizes sometimes at the store, I take you to the library and the playground, I sit outside with you while you ride bikes, I let you play with friends while I do the dishes, I vacuum, I scrub toilets, I take care of you when you are sick…” We came up with a  pretty good list. And then I said, “Sometimes, I figure the least you can do is do what I say.” She gave me a pretty awesome pout, but decided not to argue. And someday, she’s going to call me on the phone and say, “Mom, guess what my five year old said to me today?” And I’m going to smile and say, “Serves you right. Love you!” 🙂

Blueberries and banana bread; they go together like kids and questions. Only the bread will always turn out great, even if the answers to your kids questions could use some work. 😉

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Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp vanilla

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350^F. Lightly coat five 3/4-inch mini loaf pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – set aside. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla until well combined. Beat in bananas until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating just until incorporated. Add blueberries, and gently toss to combine.

Scoop the batter evenly into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until center tester comes out clean.

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Coast Toast

21 Apr

This is no ordinary French Toast…I cannot impress upon you how serious I am…this is NO ORDINARY French Toast. So, so good – I actually preferred not to put syrup on mine. How many French Toast recipes can stand on their own with out a little drizzle of syrup? Not many!!! I also tried it with a fruit compote, which was super tasty – but I really just loved it plain. Perfect amount of orange snuck in there. Perfectly complimented by the dusting of powdered sugar. Just…well, perfect.

P.S. Happy Easter!!!

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Ingredients:

1 loaf soft French bread

1 qt whipping cream

10 eggs

3/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

2 Tbsp vanilla

2 Tbsp orange flavoring

Combine all ingredients. Pour over bread slices. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Remove bread and discard liquid. Spread butter on a flat grill. Cook bread until golden brown on both sides, then bake at 450^F for 5-7 minutes or until bread is puffed up like a soufflé. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

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Original recipe: www.brocktonvilla.com

 

Irish Soda Bread

20 Apr

Easiest loaf of bread I’ve ever made. Dense and hearty, this bread is great for slathering with butter and jam, or dunking in some soup. No yeast = no rise time. Extra bonus!

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Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 – 2 cups buttermilk or soured milk

Preheat oven to 450^F. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the buttermilk, leaving about 1/4 cup to use as needed. Using your fingers, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more buttermilk if necessary. Dough should be soft, but not too wet or sticky.

When dough begins to stick together and form a ball, remove it from the bowl and place on a floured work surface. Continue to bring it together until it is formed into a ball. Pat the dough down into a circle, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 400^F and bake for an additional 30 minutes. When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom, and will be golden in color. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Original recipe: www.oldworldgardenfarms.com

Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels

21 Nov

“Mom! These are the best ever!” Palm to the forehead…why do I bother cooking anything that takes even a smidgen of effort? My kids always rant and rave about the things I throw together last minute, and poke their fork hesitantly at the things I slave over. I’ll tell you why I bother; I do it because I like my food to be interesting. So, I’ll keep doing it until one day my children develop taste buds and an appreciation for good food. In the mean time, however, I do thank my lucky stars that there are quick fixes out there that do taste pretty darn good.

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Ingredients:

1 pkg refrigerated crescent rolls

6 pieces of bacon, cooked crispy and broken in bits

shredded cheddar cheese

Lay out crescent roll dough in 2 rectangles, and cover with cheese and bacon bits. Tightly roll dough, sealing the edges and cut 4-5 individual pinwheels from each rectangle. Place on baking sheet and bake 375^F for 12-15 min.

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Pumpkin Bread

28 Oct

I made pumpkin cookies a little while ago. They turned out ok, but they were just like regular chocolate chip cookies! Pumpkin cookies should be fluffy and soft, not flat with crispy edges. 😦 That recipe did not make the blog cut. Anyone have a really awesome pumpkin cookie recipe they’d like to share?

To make up for one pumpkin-fail, I had to redeem myself with a recipe that I knew would end up good. This is my grandma’s pumpkin bread and it is fabulous! It’s really unlike any other pumpkin bread I’ve ever had (secret ingredient being coconut!). Her recipe calls for raisins too but my family is anti-raisins unfortunately, so I typically leave them out.

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Ingredients:

5 cups flour

4 cups sugar

3 cups pumpkin

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp nutmeg

4 tsp baking soda

2 cups raisins

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup grated coconut

Mix all dry ingredients and sift together. Add pumpkin, eggs, and oil and mix well. Stir in raisins, nuts, and coconut. Pour into 3 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350^F for 1 hour or until toothpick test comes out clean.

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Treacle Scones

22 Oct

If there was a fall version of the scone, this would be it. Molasses, ginger, all spice… good stuff, people. Make yourself a breakfast treat, and if you have the brilliant idea to make breakfast for dinner for a family of 6, either double the recipe or plan a side – this recipe only makes 8 scones. 🙂 If it’s just you, then eat them all yourself…I won’t tell.

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Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp all spice

1/4 cup butter

1 Tbsp molasses

milk

Mix dry ingredients. Heat molasses and butter until melted. Stir the liquid into the flour mixture and enough milk to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Divide dough in half, roll each piece into a circle about 1/2″ thick. Cut them into four triangles and bake at 400^F for 10 min until browned. Serve with warm butter, Buttercream Syrup, and jam.

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Best-Ever Cornbread

11 Oct

So, I live in Utah, and Utahan’s sometimes have a funny way of saying things. Case in point: I laugh every time I read this recipe, because whoever added it to our Ward Cookbook, listed one of the ingredients as ‘corn mill.’ Now, I have lived here since I was 9 1/2, but I have yet to, and hope to never, succumb to the spreading epidemic that is the Utah accent. Meal is meal…not mill. Pillow is pillow, not pullow. Any words that drive you crazy in your local-ese?

In addition to the flavorful vernacular, this recipe does produce the best cornbread I’ve ever had – ever. I’ve always liked cornbread, but the texture is often dry and a little grainy. Solution? Make it like cake – literally. I’m sure the nutritional value just skyrockets as soon as you say the word ‘cake mix,’ but it tastes too good to complain. So I won’t.

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Ingredients:

1 yellow cake mix (prepared per directions on box)

1 cup corn meal

1 cup flour

2 Tbsp sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk

1/4 cup shortening

Mix the cake mix per directions on box. Mix all other ingredients and then add to the cake mix. Bake in a greased 9×13 pan at 375^F for 35-45 min.

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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

11 Oct

I asked my husband to make this Cinnamon Swirl Bread recipe that I found online, and was so excited when he finally did! When I took a few pictures of it, he asked, “Are you going to put it on your blog?” I said, “Of course!” And he added, “Well, I better give you the recipe then.” I was slightly confused, considering the fact that I was the one that gave him the recipe…or so I thought. He’s been obsessed with making the perfect loaf of bread lately, and it’s a good thing I decided to add this recipe to the blog because, apparently, he made up his own and the only place it resides is in his head. A sudden case of amnesia, and this piece of cinnamon-swirl, gooey goodness could have been lost to us forever. That would have been a real tragedy! That and the loss of my husband’s mind…I’d miss that too.

 

 

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Ingredients:

3 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cups warm water

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbsp yeast

1 tsp salt

butter – room temperature

cinnamon/sugar (about a 3:1 ratio, ex: 4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup sugar)

In a smaller bowl, mix warm water and sugar. Add yeast and allow it to proof. Sift together flour and salt, then add yeast mixture. Knead together until dough pulls away from your fingers – a little sticky still and not too dense. Cover the dough and let rise to double in size. Roll out dough to 1/2″ inch thick rectangle and spread a layer of softened butter over surface (the thicker the butter, the more pronounced the marbling in your loaf). Sprinkle the butter layer with a generous coating of cinnamon/sugar mixture. Fold the dough in thirds long-ways, then fold in thirds again from the opposite sides, forming a loaf. Place in greased bread pan and bake at 350^F for 20 minutes. When bread is done baking, remove from oven and brush top crust with butter. Best when served warm!

*You can use regular flour, but bread flour allows your loaf to rise and hold it’s shape better. Our all-purpose flour loaves always turn out much more dense.

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Pumpkin Cake-Donuts

7 Oct

I’ve got to work on my donut skills a little. I’ve decided that I’m much better at making donut holes than donuts – the smaller size is easier to cook through without burning the outside. Any suggestions on how to keep your oil at a consistent temperature while you cook? None the less, these turned out pretty tasty. We made them for end-of-the-season treats for my daughter’s soccer team, and kids don’t care if treats are beautiful, so they were the perfect audience for my first batch. Like I said…I need a little work on my skills. 🙂

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INGREDIENTS

For the doughnuts:
3½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree

Canola oil or peanut oil, for frying

For the cinnamon-sugar:
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the spiced glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg
Dash of ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves
2 tbsp. milk

DIRECTIONS

  • To make the dough, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl.  Whisk to blend, and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and butter and beat until well blended.  Stir in the egg, then the egg yolks, and then the vanilla until incorporated.  Combine the buttermilk and pumpkin in a liquid measuring cup and whisk together.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the pumpkin mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Once the dough is mixed, cover and chill for at least 3 hours or until firm.  (The dough still seemed quite soft so we did an additional 30 minute chill in the freezer.)  
  • On a well-floured work surface, roll or pat out the dough to a ½-inch thick round.  Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour.  Using a 2½ to 3-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of dough.  Use a smaller cutter (or a wide pastry tip) to cut a hole out of the center.  Reroll and cut the dough scraps as necessary.
  • Add oil to a large saucepan or Dutch oven to a depth of about 2-3 inches.  Attach a thermometer to the side of the pan and heat the oil to 365-370˚ F.  Add the rings of dough to the hot oil so that they are in a single layer and not touching.  Fry, turning once, until both sides are golden brown and doughnuts are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes total.  Use a skimmer/strainer to remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined rack.  Bring the oil temperature back up to the target range before repeating with the next batch of doughnuts.  Use the same process for the doughnut holes, frying for a shorter time.
  • To make the cinnamon-sugar, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and whisk to blend.  When the doughnuts are just cool enough to handle, dip half of them in the cinnamon-sugar to coat completely, shaking off the excess.
  • To make the spiced glaze, combine the powdered sugar and spices in a small bowl.  Add the milk and whisk to combine, until a thick glaze is formed.  If necessary, add a bit more milk to thin the glaze out.  Dip the remaining half of the doughnuts in the glaze.  Allow the glaze to set before serving.

Best-Ever Muffins

10 Sep

Today was a day of miracles. Miracle 1: Our car lives! Turns out a wire – a very important wire apparently – had been broken. New alternator, new wire = working car. Huzzah. Miracle 2: My baby took a nap. A real, honest-to-goodness nap. Not 5 minutes, not 2 second, but 3 hours. I got the kitchen cleaned, the floor swept, mopped and vacuumed. Miracle 3: For the first time ever, my 2 year old pooped in the potty. It took a couple of hours of, “Mom, I have to go potty…actually, I’m ok” – pretty much every five minutes. I didn’t think she’d do it. I was so sure it would end up in her panties. And then I heard a little voice from the downstairs bathroom while I fed the baby, “Mom, I’m going to do it myself. I’m going to go poo….Mom! I did it!” I had to check of course and I was so ridiculously proud. It made the six other pee accidents I had to clean up throughout the day totally worth it.

Miracle 4 didn’t even happen to me, but to my sister. They have been in desperate need of a second car for quite some time, but having school loans to pay off, they have been making do and pinching pennies so that they can get their debts taken care of first. With three kids and a pilot husband who sometimes comes home from flights at odd hours, you can imagine that pick ups and drop offs aren’t always convenient or easy for the little ones.. I was just talking to her this morning about how much she would love to have a van, but how impossible that dream seemed. And then my parents came by for dinner tonight and said that my sister’s husband had gotten a call – “Someone has anonymously donated money towards a car for you – a van. The keys are here for you, please come and sign the paperwork and take it home.” My jaw dropped. I don’t think my sister has stopped crying yet. She thought it was my parents, but they were just as surprised to hear the news. We literally have no idea who it was! There are so many things that happen in this world that are terrible and scary, but then someone goes and does something like this, and my faith in humanity is restored. There are wonderful people in this world! Whoever you are – thank you for your generosity. It couldn’t have gone to someone more deserving. I made you some muffins, but since I don’t know who you are, my kids ate them in honor of you. 🙂 I hope they grow up to be as kind.

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Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup oil

Combine dry ingredients and make a well in the center. Combine egg, milk, and oil; add all at once to dry mixture. Stir until moistened. Fill well greased or paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 400^F for 20-25 min.

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