Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

A winter blizzard, my cute kids running around playing and a cinnamon scent floating out from my oven... what could be better! This bread was perfect and beautiful. My sister-in-law passed this bread machine recipe along to me and it quickly became a family favorite! I made a few changes from the original recipe simply because it called for some ingredients I didn't have. It sliced perfectly, raised nicely and was soft and moist. For wheat bread, it was not heavy or dense at all. I have decided that, besides being this delicious sweet bread, it would also make a great all purpose sandwich bread simply by leaving out the raisins and backing down to 1/2 TBSP of cinnamon. I am looking forward to making it again!

3/4 cup plus 2 TBSP hot-ish water (I know, not an official baking term!)
3/4 cup milk
1 TBSP yeast
3 TBSP brown sugar
2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 TBSP olive oil
1 1/2 TBSP cinnamon
2 tsp salt
1 cup raisins

Heat the water. You want it to be a bit hot to the touch because of the cold milk being added. The end liquid result should be a wamer luke-warm temperature. In a stand mixer, mix the water, milk, yeast and sugar for a few seconds. Add in the flour, oil, cinnamon and salt. Mix on medium/low for 5 minutes. Add in the raisins and mix for another 5 minutes. Grease a loaf pan. Remove from mixer and put directly into the pan. Press lightly to form it to the pan. Cover with a towel and raise, in a warmer area, for one hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-37 minutes. Allow to cool for a bit in the pan and then remove onto a cooling rack.

This made a larger standard looking bread loaf. For 2 small loaves, divide the dough in half and place in pan. Raise for 30 minutes or so and bake for 30 minutes.
If you don't have a stand mixer, just follow the steps in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Knead on a floured surface for the same amount of times. This will take some effort but it will give you a light end result. For a bread machine, choose the dough setting. Add in all the ingredients at once starting with the water and ending with the salt. Salt inhibits the yeast. When the dough setting is done, remove and put into loaf pan. Resume directions from that step.

Homemade Popcorn

I grew up with my mom making us this homemade popcorn. It filled our bellies with a warm salty snack and filled my memories with fun times. Now I make this for my family. The smell of popcorn throughout the house has brought my little guy out of his bed and down the stairs with his adorable little giddy smile convincing his way onto the couch and into the bowl! I'm telling you, it brings families together and creates special memories now for their childhood.

olive oil
Orville Redenbacher popcorn kernels
sea salt
stainless steel pot

Cover the bottom of the pot with the olive oil until it just starts to go up the side of the pot. Sprinkle in 1/2 cup of kernels. Sprinkle with sea salt. Top with the lid, leaving it cracked and ajar. This is important. It lets the steam escape. Turn heat to medium high. Popcorn will slowly begin to pop violently. When you hear it slowing down. Remove from heat. Pour into bowl, sprinkle with a bit more salt and devour!  Parmesan cheese is another awesome topping to make it even more yummy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vegie Bagel

My most recent obsession! I've been enjoying this sandwich for years but every so often, it becomes an obsession and an everyday lunch! It's delicious, fresh, light and addictive. I'm confident you will love this as much as I do!

Everything Bagels (I used the super thin bagels)
English cucumber (the ones wrapped in plastic)
Sweet Onion

So simple. Toast the bagel. Spread with guacamole. Top with vegies. Devour!

Isn't she pretty?!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins

A snowed in day. A busy oven.
These muffins are simple and delicious and perfect for a day tucked inside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup of oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups pumpkin
2 cups of flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Beat eggs with a mixer for several minutes until they get a bit fluffy. Add in the sugar and continue to mix on high while you stream in the oil and vanilla. Add in the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Fold with spatula just until flour is incorporate. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. If you're having a chocloate day, add in half a bag of chocolate chips. The combination of pumpkin with chocolate is one of the best combos in baking.

Divide in half for 2 small loaves or into muffin pans. This will reduce the baking time. Check at 25 minutes of baking at 325. Done when toothpick comes out clean.