Thursday, May 31, 2012

PB & J Bars

Peanut butter and  jelly bar time! A great treat to make for the last days of school. My son was a little disappointed since he couldn't bring any of this dessert to school for snack. He has a friend who is allergic to peanuts so my son understood why he can only eat this treat at home. (My son always brushes his teeth right before leaving for the bus just in case there were traces of peanuts in his breakfast.) My son tried to eat these bars for breakfast one morning but I vetoed that attempt. We have a rule no sweets before 10 am unless it is a special occasion. School days do not make it a special occasion. I will never know if you eat these before 10 am. I know my sister doesn't have that rule at her house but she thinks chocolate is a food group.
These bars are just as gooey as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My kids really liked this dessert but not as much as my husband. My husband highly recommends this recipe. These bars have already been requested for me to make them again. Next time, I think I will try grape jam instead.
PB & J Bars
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup strawberry jam

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and peanut butter. Mix until combined.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. 
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Beat until combined and then add the vanilla.
  7. Transfer two-thirds of the mixture to the 9 x 13 pan. Spread evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  8. Top the bottom layer of peanut-butter mixture with 3/4 cup of jam.
  9. Crumble the remaining peanut-butter mixture over the jam. 
  10. Spoon the remaining 1/4 cup of jam over the top of the bars.
  11. Bake the bars for 30 minutes and rotate the pan.
  12. Cook the bars for about 15 to 30 minutes. If the bars are becoming too dark then loosely cover the bars with foil.
  13. Allow the bars to cool and then run a knife around the edge before refrigerating for 1 hour. 
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies.
Did you already know... 
-In the U.S., over 3 million people have reported having an allergy to peanuts and other nuts.
-About 20 percentage of people with a peanut allergy may outgrow it.
-A peanut allergy can be fatal.
-Many schools have implemented a peanut free lunch table or classroom.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Feta Topped Chicken

Sometimes it is crazy here. Since I like for us to eat dinner as a family, sometimes I need to make something quick. I saw this chicken recipe and I thought maybe the cooking time was off. If the time was correct, then maybe the chicken would be dried out. I will say I liked how the chicken turned out.
The best thing about this recipe is how easy you can adapt it to your preferences. For an example, my husband does not like tomatoes. I topped his chicken with only the cheese. My oldest daughter likes olives so next time hers will be Greek style. My youngest children did not like the cheese but did like the tomato. I liked the original recipe. I prefer to buy the feta cheese in a block and then crumble it. If you need a quick recipe, this is the one I would recommend.
Feta Topped Chicken
4 chicken breast, boneless and skinless
2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
1 large roma tomato, cut into 8 slices
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. Slice your chicken breast in half like butterfly style.
  3. Brush each side of the chicken breasts with the balsamic vinaigrette.
  4. Sprinkle the chicken with the oregano, rosemary, thyme, and pepper.
  5. Place the chicken in an oven proof dish. (I used a Pyrex casserole dish.)
  6. Broil the chicken about 4 inches from the top of the oven for 5 minutes.
  7. Turn the chicken over and allow the chicken to cook for 5 more minutes.
  8. Remove the chicken from the oven and top each piece of chicken with a tomato slice.
  9. Sprinkle some feta cheese on each piece of chicken.
  10. Broil the chicken for another 3 minutes or until the center of  the chicken internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F.
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker website.
Did you already know...
-Feta is a brined cheese normally made from sheep or goat's milk.
-The word feta means slice in Greek.
-It is believed the cyclopes in Homer’s Odyssey made feta cheese in his cave.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mahogany Cake

Have you ever watched the Food Network Challenge cakes? After the contestants complete these elaborate cakes, they have to move it to the judging table. They have to be so careful not to break their creation. I would have failed the contest. When I made this cake, it came out perfect. Then I decided to move the cake to the cake stand. It cracked. I tried to fill in the crack with additional icing but it didn't disguise it. This Project Pastry Queen recipe was picked by Amanda of Homekeeping Adventures. Please check out the other members posting of the recipe at The Project Pastry Queen and for the icing recipe.
 The cake is really good. My oldest daughter said it tastes similar to the KFC chocolate cake. I did not add any espresso. My children are crazy already! I just added chocolate chips.
Cracked in transport
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz. chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease the Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  3. Dust with cocoa powder and tap the excess powder from the pan.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl for about 2 minutes or fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and beat for 20 seconds after adding each egg.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the boiling water with the cocoa powder. Stir until smooth.
  7. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla.
  8. In another medium bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  9. Alternating, add the flour mixture and cocoa powder to the butter mixture. Beat until incorporated.
  10. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  11. Spoon the batter into the Bundt pan.
  12. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  13. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes and invert onto a rack.
  14. Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes before icing.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen cookbook.
Did you already know...
-The Food Network Challenge cakes is a show about professional chefs competing for a $10,000 prize in front of a live audience.
-The contestants are assigned different themes they have to compete within 8 hours.
-The cakes have a minimum height requirement.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Stuffed Burgers

Now I wanted to post an inside out burger. I wanted to show you photos of what a burger looks like with the cheese and bacon stuffed in the middle of the burger. Since my goal was not to scare you, I decided not to show you a photo of it. It isn't Halloween yet.
When I make inside out burgers, it is normally just cheese but my oldest daughter talked me into added bacon. When I am forming the patty, I add cheese or bacon to the center of the meat. Then I just cook the burger. When you take a bite, you have the wonder melted cheese in the middle. Also, I top the burger with cheese since I do not ever have the cheese overload syndrome. My husband does and that is why we can't order pizza with extra cheese.
Magic sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp pickles, diced finely
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt

  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
  2. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
Recipe adapted from the Sandwich King.
Did you already know...
-In 1967, the Big Mac was sold at McDonald's in Uniontown, PA.
-The first Big Mac was sold for 45 cents.
-Not only did Jim Delligatti invent the Big Mac, he also help found the Ronald McDonald house charities.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I think I just might be doing a decent job in raising my son. He recently said to me that he was going to take over the world. I looked at him strangely. So, he replied, "I already know your answer-no."
My son loves pickles. If we are eating out, he will kindly offer to eat everyone's pickles. So, I figured I would try this recipe since it was a quick pickle. My son says these are not pickles but spicy cucumbers. I do not like cucumbers but I liked these "pickles". Now, I will admit I was hesitant to purchase dill. Once, I attempted to grow a garden outside my kitchen window. The only thing that grew was dill. I could smell dill all summer long. I was brave and decided I would go ahead and do it. I know I will never grow dill again. Why couldn't it have been lilacs? Why?
2 cups champagne vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp ground mustard
1 Tbsp salt
3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
1 bay leaf
1 English cucumber, cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped

  1. In a saucepan, add the vinegar, water, sugar, mustard, salt, garlic, and bay leaf.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer until the sugar dissolves. 
  3. Add the cucumbers and dill to a heat proof container like a Mason jar.
  4. Pour the hot pickling liquid into the container.
  5. Allow the pickles to sit at least 1 hour or overnight.
Recipe adapted from Sandwich King.
Did you already know...
-Pickles were on Christopher Columbus's ships to help prevent scurvy.
-This week is International Pickle Week.
-Americans prefer dill pickles over sweet.

How about you? Do you like sweet or dill better?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Olive Garden Salad

If you ask my youngest daughter what her favorite restaurant is, she will reply the Olive Garden. Sometimes when I make an Italian meal, she will pretend to be the waitress. I will tell her the menu and she will take everyone's order. She even carries around a pen and paper. The only person to give her a hard time is my husband. He will tell her he doesn't want what is on the menu and ask for crazy items. She will inform him that she is going to go talk to the chef about this. At first, he will reply that he doesn't care. When she starts to walk away, he calls her back and tells her he is afraid of the chef. 
 I have made this salad dressing a lot of times. It is suppose to be a copy cat recipe for the Olive Garden Salad dressing. I think it actually taste better and my family likes it a lot. When I first made this recipe, I misread the amount for the parsley. It should have been 1/2 tsp but I added a lot more. I like the looks of the dressing with the additional parsley so I have kept it.
Copy Cat Olive Garden Salad Dressing
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp agave syrup
4 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 cup parsley flakes
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp of salt
pinch of pepper

  1. Add all the ingredients in a bowl or a mason jar.
  2. Mix the ingredients well until all incorporated.
  3. Serve the dressing over salad.
Recipe adapted from Jamie Cooks It Up!.

Our salad included Romaine lettuce, cup of baby spinach leaves, plum tomatoes, croutons, and mushrooms.
Did you already know...
-Parsley belongs to the same family as dill, celery, and carrots.
-Italian parsley is flat leaf parsley.
-Parsley is rich in Vitamin A, C, and K.
-Parsley is a natural breath freshener.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Baguette Bread

Oh, I love baguette bread. Since I made lasagna this weekend, I figured I would make up some bread to go with it. I actually made the dough the night before and refrigerated it until I was ready for the second rise.
The crust was crisp with a soft inside. This bread accompanied the lasagna nicely. The left over bread we placed in the freezer to make some croutons at another date. Next time, I'm going to knead some herbs into the dough before baking.
The Almost No Knead Baguette
3 cups lukewarm water
5 cups all purpose flour
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp instant yeast

  1. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In another large bowl, add the water and yeast. Allow to rest for 5 minutes to make sure the yeast proofs.
  3. Add the flour and salt to the yeast water and stir to combine. 
  4. Mix the dough until no dry spots remain and the dough is fairly soft.
  5. Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes. The dough will be sticky.
  6. Add the dough to the greased large bowl and flip.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Divide the dough in half and shape into a slightly flatten oval. 
  9. Fold the dough lengthwise in half. 
  10. Seal the edges of the dough with the heel of your hand.
  11. Flatten the dough slightly and fold in half lengthwise. Seal the dough with the heel of your hand.
  12. With the seam side down, gently roll the dough into desired size.
  13. Place the dough seam down on a lightly greased of a baking sheet or a baguette pan.
  14. Roll out the other half of the dough.
  15. Cover the dough and allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
  16. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  17. Slash three or four times onto the baguette diagonal.
  18. Spritz the dough with warm water and bake for about 25 minutes or deep golden brown. 
  19. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur website.
Did you know...
-The bakers of Vienna invented the steam ovens and were the first to begin to bake hard crusty breads.
-In France around 1920, a law went into affect that did not allow bakers to begin work before 4 am. The bakers needed a bread for their customers. Since the baguette baked faster, the baguette bread became popular with bakeries.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Texas Pralines

When I tasted these candies, I knew I've had them before. They were creamy and delicious. This recipe was picked by Shawnda from Confections of a foodie bride for The Project Pastry Queen. I will say I love The Pastry Queen Cookbook but the cookbook doesn't always have pictures. My oldest daughter helped me drop the candy onto the waxed paper. I said to her, "Do you think this is how they are suppose to look?" She wasn't sure so I went and goggled images of Pralines. I had done it correctly and then I saw some chocolate covered Pralines. I took a few of the candies when they had cooled slightly and formed them into squares. Then I just dipped them into melted chocolate. These candies are great without the chocolate but the chocolate make them oh so much better.
 I have been giving these candies away to anyone who has been over to visit. My Dad just stopped by and I offered him one. After some, coaxing he said he would try one but only one. I saw him take two more. I offered him one of the chocolate covered ones and he preferred them without the chocolate. My husband who is not a fan of nuts liked them a lot. The majority liked them with the chocolate. Besides adding chocolate to a few of the candies, I substituted the corn syrup with agave syrup. (My grocery store sells agave syrup in the baking aisle. I purchased my pecans from the whole food bins in the grocery store since it is cheaper then purchasing them in the prepackaged bags.)
Texas Pralines
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups sugar
2 Tbsp agave syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
 2 1/2 cups whole pecans, toasted
(chocolate, melted if desired)

  1. In a 4 quart pot, combine the buttermilk, baking soda, sugar, agave syrup, and butter.
  2. Cook slowly over medium heat. Stir occasionally.
  3. Cook until the mixture reaches between 234 and 240 degrees F.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat.
  5. Add the vanilla and pecans.
  6. Using a mixer, beat the candy for about 3 minutes or until the candy starts to lose its shine and starts to become creamy.
  7. Drop the candy by the tablespoon onto wax paper.
  8. Allow the candies to cool thoroughly before wrapping them individually in plastic wrap or dipping in chocolate.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen.
 Did you already know...
- French Pralines have almonds in them.
-The French settles in Louisiana substituted the almonds with pecans.
-The American Pralines are softer than the European versions.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Taco Seasoning

Do you prefer crunchy tacos or soft tacos? Growing up, we had tacos often. My parents always bought the crunchy shells. Since my husband does not like the crunchy shells, I normally serve soft tacos. The kids just love tacos and they don't care if their shells are crunchy or soft. The best thing about tacos is my oldest daughter will volunteer to make them. It is a food we do not order out but make at home often. (Pizza however is a different story.)
I use to buy the taco seasoning and use half. The packet seemed high in sodium. I have purchased the lower sodium packets and they taste fine. Then last year I saw a blog about making your own taco seasoning. I thought it was the coolest idea and have not purchased the packets again. I make up a batch of the homemade seasoning and store it in my spice cabinet. I prefer the taste and none of the kids have made any comment about noticing a difference. I guess tacos are tacos. It is also a great way to use your spices. I did change it a little since I prefer chili powder to cumin but adapt it to your taste.
Taco Seasoning
5 Tbsp. chili powder
3 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp ground pepper

  1. Mix the spices together and store in an air tight container until ready to use.
  2. When ready to use, brown the hamburger or chicken.
  3. Add 3 Tbsp of taco seasoning with 1 cup of water.
  4. Allow the meat to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with soft or crunchy shells.
Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats and Use Real Butter.

Did you already know...
-Taco Bell is named after the founder Glen Bell.
-In 1962, Mr. Bell opened the first Taco Bell in Downey, California.
-In 1978, Pepsi purchased Taco Bell.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lemon Tassies

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. We saw my husband's Mom and my Mom this past weekend. We are fortunate because we do see both Moms frequently. I wanted to make my Mom and my husband's Mom a special treat. I knew they liked lemon desserts so I decided to make Lemon Tassies cookies.
Sometimes when I make a lemon dessert, they are too sweet or too sour. I think these were the right combination. The other nice thing about these cookies are they transport easily. I even stacked them and it didn't affect the filling. Next time, I may use the left over egg whites to make meringue to top the cookies. This recipe will make about 12 medium size cookies or 24 mini cookies. I actually made 18 cookies.
Lemon Tassies
2 cups all purpose flour
10 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup and 2 Tbsp sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
1/2 tsp salt
cooking spray
Filling (recipe below)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Coat 1 muffin tins with cooking spray.
  3. In a food processor, process the flour and butter until fine crumbs.
  4. Add the sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt.
  5. Process until just combined and sandy in texture. Do not over process.
  6. With the dough, form 12 balls.
  7. Place each ball into the muffin tin and press the dough into the tin to make a cup.
  8. Bake the crusts for about 8 minutes and then rotate the pan.
  9. Bake the crust for another 8 minutes or until lightly browned all over.
  10. Remove the crusts from the muffin tins and allow to cool onto a wire rack.
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3 Tbsp lemon zest, finely grated
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract together until smooth.
  2. Fill each cooled crust with the cream cheese filling.
  3. Place the cookies onto a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake the cookies for 6 minutes and rotate the pan.
  5. Bake the cookies for another 6 minutes or until the edges of the filling begin to color.
  6. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies.
Did you already know....
-Tassies are little cups with a filling.
-Tassies should be bite size.
-Other fillings for a tassie are pecan, peanut butter, caramel, etc.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mini Apple-Cinnamon Loaves with Glaze

I buy apples all year long. My oldest daughter loves them so much that her friends give them to her. She eats them all the time. So, I always have them in the house and I really should cook with them more. I tend to only bake with apples in the fall when we have an abundance of them. I guess that trend may just change especially since this recipe.
This week's pick on Project Pastry Queen was by Emily of A Gilt Nutmeg. My family loved them. My husband doesn't like nuts so some loaves were nut free. The original glaze is suppose to have Calvados in it but there were no nips available and I didn't want to have a large bottle when only 1 Tbsp was needed. My family liked the apple juice substitute. I purchased a can of frozen apple juice. I let it defrost in the refrigerator. After opening, I used 1 Tbsp of the concentrate for this recipe and then made a pitcher of apple juice for the kids.
Mini Apple-Cinnamon Loaves with Apple Juice Glaze
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced
Glaze (recipe below)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Arrange the nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for about 7 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Grease 5 (6"x4"x2") mini loaf pans with cooking spray.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the oil mixture until incorporated.
  7. Fold in the apples and pecans.
  8. Fill the loaf pans with batter about three quarters of the way to the top.
  9. Bake the bread for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean.
  10. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes before moving them onto a cooling rack. 
  11. Spoon the glaze over each bread.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tbsp agave syrup
1 Tbsp apple juice concentrate

  1. Melt the butter, brown sugar, syrup, and apple juice over medium heat.
  2. Simmer the mixture for 2 minutes or until it thickens slightly.
  3. Spoon the warm glaze over the loaves of bread.
  4. Allow the glaze to cool for at least 1 hour.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen.
Did you already know...
-Calvados is an apple brandy.
-It is traditionally drank after dinner.
-There are many different Calvados brands available and they are ranked like cognac.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fresa Agua Fresca

Several years ago, I had a family portrait done of us. I keep it on the computer as the wallpaper. My youngest son wanted to us the computer but could not connect online. While he waited, he leaned forward to study the photo. He said to me, "Boy, do I look young." I started to laugh and I replied, "Son, you are young." My seven year leans forward and says so kindly, "Alright, boy do you guys look young." Thanks Son!
 As you can guess, I will be having an entertaining weekend with my son and family. Sunday is suppose to be beautiful. Tomorrow, I will visit my wonderful Mom. Then next day, I will be relaxing! (I have to take advantage of this since the only other day I am pampered is my birthday!) I wish you a Happy Mother's Day weekend too! If you are planning to make a meal for your Mom, I highly recommend this drink. If your Mom doesn't like strawberries, you can try maybe blueberries and lemons. If your Mom likes some rum, it would be a nice addition. The kids couldn't get enough of this drink. The pitcher was gone within minutes. I have already said this is a must on our menu for the picnic. 
Fresh Strawberry Water Drink
2 cups water
15 oz. bag of frozen strawberries, unthawed
2 limes
1/4 cup sugar

  1. In a blender, add the water and strawberries.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Squeeze the juice of the two limes into the strawberry mixture.
  4. Add the sugar to the desired sweetness.
  5. Blend well and drink!
Recipe adapted from Myrecipes website.
Did you already know....
 -Fresca is the Spanish word for fresh.
-Agua is the Spanish word for water.
- Fresa is the Spanish word for strawberries. It also is a slang word for a preppy person.
She is making faces in the background!
Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Adaptable recipes

Do you ever see a recipe that catches your eye but when you read the ingredients you think maybe not? When I saw the Triple Cheese Bread recipe on the back of the King Arthur flour, I thought this recipe was made for me. Then I read the ingredients and saw cottage cheese. My Mom loves cottage cheese. My sister loves cottage cheese. Even my history professor loved cottage cheese so much that she ate it every day for lunch. Why she would choose to eat the same thing every day was the bigger question? Maybe since you can't change history so why change lunch? I will never know.
As you probably guess, I am not the biggest advocate of cottage cheese. I do like ricotta cheese so I decided to adapt it to my liking. I am really glad I did since this bread was so good. I also needed something quick for supper so I decided to make the rolls into sliders. My husband and son had turkey sliders. They liked it. I prefer ham and cheese. They were good. These rolls would even had been good with roasted vegetable sliders. These rolls would be perfect for a picnic with mom.
Can you see the cheese in the bread?
Seven Cheese Bread
6 oz. warm water
1 package of yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup of five cheese Italian blend

  1. In a cup, add the water and sugar.
  2. Add the yeast and allow to dissolve. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and butter.
  4. Add the yeast water and the cheeses.
  5. Mix until the dough comes together.
  6. Place the dough onto a clean surface that has been dusted with flour.
  7. Knead the dough for 10 minutes.
  8. Whip down the large bowl and spray with cooking spray.
  9. Add the dough to the bowl and flip it.
  10. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and spray the plastic with cooking spray. Then flip the plastic over so the sprayed side is facing down towards the dough.
  11. Allow the dough to rise for about an hour. (I allowed it to rise for 5 hours and it was fine.)
  12. Punch the dough down and divide into about 12 pieces. (I made 13 pieces since I didn't want the rolls so big.)
  13. Place the dough pieces onto a sprayed cookie sheet.
  14. Allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes.
  15. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees F.
  16. Place the dough into oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the rolls are done. (I didn't want to wait so the oven had only reached 100 degrees F and I cooked the rolls for 25 minutes. They came out perfect and not doughy but I had made 13 rolls.)
  17. Serve immediately or allow to cool
 Recipe adapted from a King Arthur bread recipe.
Did you already know...
-The oldest flour company in America is King Arthur.
-The company was formed in 1790 by Henry Wood.
- Henry Wood began the business in Boston by importing flour from Europe.
-Since 1896, King Arthur flour has been domestically grown.
His smile is great!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pizza Sauce

My husband has been doing a dangerous thing lately. He has been doing some grocery shopping. Since he is hungry, he has been buying the frozen french bread pizzas. So, I caught him eating them. I asked him what he was doing. He claims he was hungry and needed something. Since he is a smart man, he said he knows mine do taste a lot better but I didn't have any in the freezer ready to eat.
To make your own frozen french bread pizza is easy. I take a french bread and cut it close to the edge. I also cut the other side closer to the edge if I'm going to freeze it. The middle section my children eat but you could make croutons. On each inside of the bread, I slather on the pizza sauce and toppings. Then I just wrap it tightly and freeze. I have sometimes cooked the pizza half way through before the cheese becomes bubbly and allow to cool before freezing. When ready to eat, I place it on a baking sheet. I preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and cook the pizza for about 20 minutes or until the pizza is cooked through.
Pizza Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf 
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and heat for a minute.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Cover and bring the sauce to a boil.
  5. Uncover and lower the heat to simmer.
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence.
Doesn't this look better than store bought?
Did you already know...
-Stouffer's started in 1922 by Abraham and Mahala Stouffer.
-They started with a dairy stand and later opened restaurants.
-In 1950s, they expanded their business to include frozen meals.
-Stouffer's is now owned by Nestle USA with sales over $1 billion.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Alright, Mother's Day is less than a week away. Can you tell I'm a little excited? There are only two days of the whole year that everyone in the household takes care of me. I do not take advantage of these two days. I do not act like a diva and say please provide me with a small bowl of green M&Ms only. I do not go crazy but it is nice to feel appreciated. Now if only it doesn't rain and then the picnic will be fun. 
 I will admit my husband is very sweet and makes me breakfast on Mother's Day. He makes the best french toast. Since I knew we will be having french toast next week, I decided to make some pancakes. I frequently look at The Pastry Queen cookbook. There are so many recipes I want to try that The Project Pastry Queen have posted before I joined. When I saw Mother's Day Pancakes, I had to try them. It does say Mother's Day. 
 This recipe made enough for 5 people with plenty of left over. I made little silver dollars and then froze them. When you want to make them, you just pop them in the toaster oven and toast them. My youngest daughter checks making them. Yes, she liked them that much.
Mother's Day Pancakes
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

  1. Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk in a large bowl. 
  2. Whisk in the baking soda until combined.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Whisk until incorporated.
  4. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla.
  5. Heat a frying pan over medium heat.
  6. Add a little oil to the pan and wait about 30 seconds.
  7. Pour 1/2 cup of the batter into the frying pan.
  8. When bubbles form on top of the pancake, flip the pancake over.
  9. Cook the pancake until the bottom is golden brown.
  10. Serve immediately with maple syrup or sugar.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen.
Did you already know...
-It takes roughly 40 gallons of sap from the maple tree to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.
-It does no permanent damage to a maple tree and only 10 percent of the trees sap is collected per a year.
-The maple syrup tapping season tends to last only 8 to 10 weeks.
Now you know why it is so expensive.