Thursday, August 27, 2009

English Muffins

Oh my goodness, I have found a new love, and it is from scratch English muffins.

Yep, another recipe from the BBA!

And, how simple it was! I had a little trouble with the dough rising the first time, so I just let it proof longer then the 60-90 minutes (I actually just went to work and let it sit, so ended up being closer to 4 hours). Came back and it had risen to a nice consistency.

Shaping the balls was super simple as well. I measured it out to about 2.5 ounces each and this is how they looked after about 2 hours of rising. I didn't have cornmeal to dust over the top and bottom, so I had to settle for flour.
The interesting thing about these is that you cook them on the stove! Very strange concept but it was cool to see everything coming together. After a few minutes I flipped them over and another few minutes after that, I finished baking them in the oven. I probably could have left them in there another couple of minutes but I like my bread a little doughy so I was very happy with the results. If you separate them with a fork you'll get the little nooks and crannies you are used to seeing :)

This morning I toasted one and threw some butter and cherry preserves on and holy cow, it was a party in my mouth! I'm not going to be buying English muffins from the store anytime soon. This was such a simple recipe to make, although I wish the recipe yielded more than 6, but I'll just double the batch and freeze the extras next time!

Chocolate covered bacon

Well, I was bored the other day and finally decided to give into the fad that is chocolate covered bacon! And since I don't want to spend like $5 for a 1/4 pound, I did something with the mound of chocolate I've had since Christmas.

  • 6 slices of bacon (I think if you can find a thick cut at your local deli it will be even better then the store brand, vac-sealed package I used, but it's what I had on hand and it worked)
  • Chocolate (I tried the double boiler method but think it got too hot too quick, the chocolate came out horrible, so I had a bag of chocolate chips I just threw into the microwave)
  • Bake the bacon on parchment paper at 375 for 15-20 minutes (depending on your desired level of crispiness). Cool on pan for 5 minutes. I broke mine in half for easier dipping.
  • Melt the chocolate until a creamy consistency
  • Once the chocolate is melted and bacon is slightly cooled and the grease is blotted off, simply dip to coat in chocolate.
  • Place on wax or parchment paper and put in fridge until chocolate is hard.
The result? Tasty! I got a bunch of comments about this on my facebook page, mostly people grossed out, but it's like the salty/sweet factor like a chocolate covered pretzel, but with bacon. I liked it, my neighbors liked it, so everyone was happy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Healthy summer salad

I'm trying to get more veggies in, but lettuce isn't exactly my friend sometimes (and a lot of it goes bad before I make my way through a head of it), so I'm trying more lettuce free salads. And one of my clients gave me some homegrown cucumbers, and my tomato plants are exploding in my garden, so it's perfect for salad! But, trying to get my protein in too, so I came up with this simple and yummy salad.

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Hardboiled egg
  • Goat cheese (or whatever cheese you may have on hand)
  • Greek dressing
Mix and enjoy!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

It was a rainy day today. I woke up at 7:30am and it was raining and it finally tapered off around 5pm. So, what's a girl to do?

Get out her Bread Baker's Apprentice book and bake some bread.

Today I made cinnamon raisin walnut bread, and even though I'm not a huge fan of either raisins or walnuts, this bread is AMAZING. My neighbors love me because I am always bringing them fresh baked goodies :)

The recipe was super easy too, although I had a couple of hiccups along the way. I don't have shortening, so I substituted butter, and I was just an ounce or two shy of 1/2 cup of buttermilk, so I added enough soymilk (since that's all I drink) to get to the right amount. Oh, and after I let the dough rise for 2 hours I realized...


Seriously!!! But, all was not lost, I just added it in then and punched the dough down and kneaded it by hand for a few minutes and well, you really can't tell that it was added way later.

Ready to rise
After rising for about 90 minutes

Following the directions I rolled it out and added the cinnamon sugar and rolled it up and baked it for 40 minutes (turning halfway through), but I didn't get the crusty cinnamon sugar top I had hoped for that the book talks about, but that's no problem as the bread is still absolutely delicious. Even Charlie loved it! I busted him taking a bite out of the edge of the loaf...bad dog!!!

Fresh out of the oven

I'm seeing friends for lunch tomorrow so I'll be taking them a few slices but this is definitely one I'll be making again and again.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Greek salad

There is this restaurant by my house that is known for their Greek salads. They put a ton of chicken on them, grilled to perfection, and their house dressing is out of this world. All I know is that it's creamy, kind of pink (I think from beet juice?) and just delicious, but at $9 for a small salad, that is definitely an indulgence!

So today, I set out to make my own, and I was pretty happy with the results! (I wish I could say how much of each I used, but I didn't measure anything, so I'll just tell you what I put in it).

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast seasoned with lemon juice, garlic powder and Greek seasoning
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes (I used the cherry tomatoes from my garden)
  • Red onion
  • Mild pepper rings
  • Feta cheese
  • Beets (I used the canned, which were okay, but not as firm as fresh would have been)
  • Ken's Steakhouse Greek salad dressing
Serve with a side of pita bread and you have got yourself a delicious, healthy and super filling salad!


Sometimes when you want a healthy, filling breakfast and don't feel like cooking eggs, instead of reaching for cereal, why not go for oatmeal?

I have in my cupboard Country Choice Organic Quick Oats and I love how versatile oatmeal can be. Instead of going for the flavored, full of sugar, instant oatmeal, so what I do and go through your fridge and pantry to see what you've got on hand!

(Serves 1):
  • 1/2 Cup quick oats
  • 1 cup water (I use 1/2 C water and 1/2 C soymilk)
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • Dash of agave nectar (I'm not sure how much I use, I just squeeze a dollop in there)
Stir ingredients and bring to a boil and mix for 3-5 minutes. Boiling the oats and liquid together adds a creamier texture.

Top with your fruit of choice (I had raspberries and blueberries on hand).

You've got yourself a filling, nutritious breakfast!