Bread, Muffins, and Dinner OH MY!

Hello Everyone!  Well per my last post it’s been crazy around here as furniture refinishing has been going on daily.  But I actually have been doing other things!  COOKING!  I know, I know we all cook but due to the fact that I have let grocery shopping get away from me I’ve had to get resourceful.  By this I mean open the fridge and pantry and work with what you have!

First up I’m sharing my newest and favorite addiction making my own bread!  I had a great conversation with my uncle a few months ago.  He shared that he was making his own bread!  I was intrigued as I’ve always had an interest in this but one I don’t own a bread maker and two kneading is a pain the you know what!  So first things first he said there are no machines and no kneading!  WHAT?!  He now had my attention and supplies for the basic recipe are minimal.  He shared with me the Jim Lahey method of bread making.  So I borrowed the book he had given to my mom and read.  I couldn’t wait to try it out.  Problem was I didn’t have a cast iron pot…hmmmm!  Mom always has the necessary supplies for my random needs.  She finally said I could borrow hers as long as I returned it! My first go at it I burned the bread but out of curiosity I cut it in half.  It was super soft and delicious.  So I didn’t give up I prepped my next loaf.  Using bread flour, active yeast, salt and water you drop it all in a bowl give it a quick mix and cover it.  Now’s the trick WAITING & WAITING & WAITING some more.  EIGHTEEN hours to be exact.  Which I just set my phone timer.  Then you remove it and place it onto a floured cloth (lint free) form the dough by tucking then cover it for two hours.  Thirty minutes prior to this rise completing you start the oven once ready you warm your cast iron pot then it’s time to bake the bread!  Here’s the quick part!! Thirty minutes with lid on then they say twenty-thirty lid off.  This is where I had my issue, my oven runs very hot so for me six minutes with the lid off is perfect!  I’ve now made fives loaves and looking forward to my next one being with kalamata olives!  Would eventually like to do as my uncle not purchase store bought bread and use all homemade.  As the cost is minimal and really it takes no time just patience.  So if you are considering baking your own bread I strongly recommend the Jim Lahey No Knead Method!!

Next is these delicious little breakfast muffins that were all gone within 24 hours of making!  If that says anything for how they taste I suggest you get in the pantry.  This recipe was one I found on pinterest the only problem I had was I was out of milk.  So what does one do?  Well I grabbed the heavy whipping cream I mean heavy whipping cream makes everything delicious if you ask me!  I also used whole wheat flour as to white flour. Then I started not paying attention to the recipe just the ingredients (which I never do being a baker).  Putting all ingredients in and mixing.  It seemed thick and lumpy like cookie dough.  Hmm didn’t expect that!  Oh well three scoops per muffin and into the oven they went.  Out came some delicious cinnamon and sugar muffins!  I hadn’t even put the topping on yet and they were great!  once I rolled them in some butter and cinnamon and sugar mixture they went from great to phenomenal!  I typically don’t recommend many substitutes who am I kidding lately I’m substituting up the wahzoo!


Next is a great little dinner that everyone enjoyed!  I had a breast and a half of chicken left from the three pack I purchased and had no idea what I was going to do with it.  Then I remembered I wanted to try these mini pot pies.  I boiled the chicken while the kids ate breakfast.  Then shredded it put in a bowl and put in the fridge.  Grabbed the bag of frozen vegetables out and put them in the sink to thaw.  We ran out the door doing the days plans.  Several hours later we got home and I grabbed the crescent rolls out of the fridge, the now thawed veggies and shredded chicken.  Then I looked at the recipe…once again crap I didn’t have any garlic and herb soup?!  Never had seen it to be honest.  So cream of chicken it was and I added a pinch of garlic salt, pepper, and I believe Italian seasoning a pinch of that mixed with chicken, thawed veggies viola I had my pot pie insides!  Rolled out the crescent rolls placed them in the muffin tins.  Which I’ll be honest the crescent rolls didn’t work so great so I ended up using a roll of pizza dough I had.  I know random but I had it and thought why not.  That worked much better!  Stuck them in the oven and once ready added a sprinkle of pepper and served.  I ended up having six extras to put in the fridge and ten that I bagged and froze.  I have no idea how they will be when I defrost so stay tuned.  The important thing here was the KIDS loved them.  I think because they were just their size.  S is on a broccoli kick too so she was happy they were loaded with this!  I will also say I likely would not have this much left over but Joe wasn’t home for dinner hence the abundance left over!


Ok so there are my food shares for this week!  If you have done any great recipes lately please share as I love to try new things!  Another thing to remember just because you are out of one of the ingredients doesn’t mean you can’t make it.  Get creative I always say the pizza delivery never messes up if it comes out horrific!

Have a great rest of your day!  Cheers!

Get In My Belly!

Hello Everyone,

Well the weekend came and went and after I left my parents on Sunday after stuffing my face with mom’s vegetable soup and baking powder drop biscuits I realized I keep meaning to share some recipes of food I have made and been asked to make many times over.  With that being said I feel confident you too will be asked to make these many times over.  I will also say a few of these are adapted from family members (which I have noted) and I don’t think they will mind you using at your next gathering!  One last thing my mom and I as you know love to bake and you may find it shocking but many of our recipes outside of baking consist of using the shake method.  I have noted quantities but please know we typically just use one shake, two shakes, etc.  So let’s get cooking and baking!!

So let’s talk about a bread that will knock your socks off!  Banana Bread!  Yes, I eat this at all times of the day even for dessert!  That’s when I add a little extra butter!!  I believe the story goes that my mom pre my dad dated a man, I know I was shocked by this as well but that man’s grandmother gave my mom this recipe.  My parents have been married for over forty years so if the man’s grandmother would like credit within my blog I would be happy to do so.  Just send me a note!  My family has been enjoying this recipe for many years and now my family enjoys it as often as banana’s turn brown.  As my opinion is NEVER throw brown bananas away always bake with them!  Then take the peels and cut them up and bury them a few inches deep in your vegetable garden to rid it of aphids!  These little pest HATE banana peels!  So here is the recipe for the Banana Bread!IMG_0988

Let’s move to my Tomato Basil Bruschetta!  This is something I can’t even remember where I learned about but I have been making for years.  It is always a hit actually I made for our “Friendsgiving” party this year and mentioned I was going to make for our New Year’s Eve party.  Well I brought out my other appetizers and my one friend waited about half an hour and said “I thought you were making your bruschetta?”  Then Joe chimed in “Ya where is the bruschetta!”  I honestly was just not really interested in whipping it up as we had just ate a big dinner a few hours earlier.  But I ran upstairs and whipped it up as I don’t like to let my guests down!  So if you decide to make these just plan to be asked to make them again.

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Next is what Joe likes to say “The best pretzels you will ever have!”  He actually thinks these should be made and sold at baseball games in place of popcorn or peanuts!  Actually, I would totally agree with this statement!  They are super addicting and the recipe I will share makes two bags full so there is plenty to share weather to snack on at work or have as a bar snack when friends are over!  The cheese dip I can’t vouch for as I never make it as these little gems need no stinkin’ dip!  Lastly, I do think the pretzel is what makes these what they are so I recommend trying to find the Tom Sturgis brand!

Last on my list of appetizers is one that my brother-in-law shared a few years ago at Thanksgiving!  It’s a brie with jalapeno jelly, pecans and crackers!  This is another one that is perfect for any occasion and available year round.  I will say I usually share this one in the fall/winter months but again can be used any time of year.  This is more of a lay out and guests put together to enjoy then really any work on your part!  I can already tell your loving this one!  The most important part to this appetizer with that being said is choose a great platter to display it on!  As a side note I used to always use Braswell’s Jelly but they stopped carrying it at my local grocery store so I switched to Reese Mild and I think it taste just as great!  I found Reese’s right by the apricot jelly, etc.  Braswell’s I found at a small end cart in the produce section.

Now let’s talk about my grandmother’s Baking Powder Drop Biscuits!  These are so simple and go perfect with just about anything but with soup I loved!  Adding a little butter or a squeeze of honey is always welcome!


On to the soup!  Mom made vegetable soup on Sunday and yes this is my blog and yes sharing what I do is all great but you know what sometimes someone else does something great and it’s worth sharing!  My mom is a vegetarian but my dad is not.  I will also say dad is the main cook in my parents house!  Yes I know you didn’t expect that.  Don’t discount my mom here.  My mom is a great cook but when we were younger mom always worked later than dad so I think this is a big part of why dad has always done.  As we joke the dinner bell rings promptly at 5:30 at their house each night.  If you are not there you don’t eat.  This is no joke I remember as I kid sliding in on my bike just in time to eat.  Once dad cleared and washed the dishes you were well you know how the saying goes S#*! out of luck!  Ok so back to the soup it is vegetarian but hearty.  Joe ate a bowl mom sent home and thought it was fantastic and I will say he is typically the one to not even give something a try if there is no meat involved!  I know silly man!  So here you have the Vegetable Soup Recipe!


One main course item I feel necessary to share with you is one that will fill your home with the great aroma of sesame seed oil.  Which in our home means Joe’s favorite dinner is being served!  Pork Tenderloin with a few seasonings!  The smell alone of this is inviting and I will also say for Christmas we did the same recipe with our beef tenderloin and was just as good but I think the pork showcases the flavors a bit better.  The amount of each seasoning will depend on the size of the tenderloin.  Just make sure it is covered on both sides with the oil.  The black pepper is the other stand out ingredient here so don’t be shy.  The garlic powder is an accent so just sprinkle; not so much of a shake for this one!

Ok now it’s time to talk about our sweet tooth…Now you all know I am a baker or maybe I should rephrase that I have a love for baking.  Yes I went to culinary school but as in the title of chef I think ALOT of work goes into earning this title and can sometimes be used by people who may not have done the work to earn it.  So let’s just say I’m passionate about baking.  I share this passion with my mom as well.  It is one thing we LOVE to do together.  We have had many crazy experiences in the kitchen always ending in one thing a great dessert!

I think sharing a no bake cheesecake is a good start for us!  Not that I’m doubting any of you and your skills because I’m not but this cheesecake is so good and with a few holidays just around the corner that brunch is an appropriate meal to celebrate them I think this will go over well with your guests!  Plus there’s a bit of champagne in it and no we don’t bake it out so CHEERS!  It is our Strawberry Champagne Cheesecake.  One thing I will mention about cheesecakes baked or not.  When we had our micro bakery and did the cheesecakes for a local restaurant we had many trials and errors with pans.  I will say my ALL TIME favorite springform pan to use is one with an extra lip on base.  They are a real pain to find.  I ended up getting mine from an individual bakery supply contact I found.  Back to the cheesecake the key to this cheesecake is set up time.  Make sure you allow this cake at least 24 hours to set up.  If for some reason you go to use it and you can’t slide it off on to your platter have a back up plan.  Mine is to have wine glasses or small bowls ready and a ice cream scoop!  The taste will still show through and you will still be a rock star!  You can totally play it off as this was what you planned on.  I will say this has only happened to me one time but it has happened so don’t freak just rock it!  P.S. Don’t mind the ingredients on the paper this is how most of my recipes look; that just means they get a lot of love!2016-01-19 10.45.15 WOW!  Now that was fun!  I have many recipes to share and will try to be better about doing so and also more specific and maybe less shaking!  If you have any problems with opening the recipes let me know.  I just took pics so you could open and print and simply add to your box of recipes!  I hope you and your family and friends enjoy these as much as me and my family and friends have!  Cheers!