Monday, September 8, 2014

Orange Pull Apart Bread - The Secret Recipe Club

It's the second Monday of the month and you know what that means!!! It's Secret Recipe Club reveal day for my group. This month I was assigned, The Tasty Cheapskate - where tasty and cheap eat together. Jean has a great concept for her blog, eating delicious foods for cheap. All of her posts have cost breakdown and it was interesting to see how the prices of items have changed in the past three years. I chose a recipe, Orange Pull Apart Bread, that Jean made in October 2011. She noted the cost of an orange was 33 cents, I paid $1 for an orange to make this recipe...crazy!

I have seen pull apart breads all over Pinterest but haven't tried one yet because when I read the instructions, it seemed daunting...until I saw this post. Jean had step by step instructions and the fear was gone. I knew I couldn't mess it up with all the photos she provided....well, except that I rolled my dough a little too thin! It still worked out well and I ended up with thinner pieces of bread to nibble on. I think the next time I'll try it, I'll frost it with a cream cheese frosting, a la orange cinnamon rolls I used to eat growing up as a kid.


1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 packet of quick-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 3/4 - 3 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar mixed with zest of one orange
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Heat the milk to melt the butter and then add in the water into a bowl of a stand mixer. The liquid should be warm but not too hot. Add in the sugar and yeast. Once you start smelling the yeast, add in the eggs and vanilla. Mix together. 

Add in 1 cup of flour and mix on slow with a dough hook. Add in another cup of flour and mix. At this point, my dough was really wet, so I ended up using almost 3 1/2 cups of flour until my dough was no longer sticky. Knead the dough until it forms into a ball. The dough is different than regular dough that I'm used it, it's more oily, but that is because it is a richer dough. Once the dough has formed into a ball, allow to rise until its doubled in sized. I use the proof setting on my oven (LOVE), and it took about an hour. 

Grease a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn out onto a floured counter. Roll into a 12 x 20 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Take the melted butter and spread it all over the dough. Sprinkle the orange sugar all over the buttered dough. 

Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 5 strips from the short side. Stack the slices and then slice the long piece into 6 squares. Stack all these pieces together, cut side up and place them in the greased loaf pan. Allow to rise again until the dough is to the top of the pan or slightly above. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the top becomes golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan and then transfer to plate where you get to pull apart slices of delicious orange bread. 


Friday, September 5, 2014

Cookbook Review: 100 Days of Real Food

I've mentioned before how I'm in the process of eliminating as many processed foods as I can from our house and the stars aligned when my copy of Lisa Leake's 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook arrived on my door step! You might have heard of Lisa before through her blog, along with her husband and two kids, they went 100 days without eating highly processed or redefined foods. It was a great insight for me to see how it can be done with kids...and it's simple once you understand it all. 

That's what I love about this cookbook! Everything is laid out for you - how to shop at the grocery store, reading food labels, example meal plans, 100 recipes, and so much more! I know this is going to be go-to cookbook when I'm meal planning. 

There's a great section of the book called "Lunch Box" that has different options for kids lunches. I find I struggle with sending Madeline with different items for lunch every day. I'm sure I'll be using this section frequently. 

The first recipe I'm planning to make is the Veggie Corn Chowder. It's perfect timing because next week the temps are supposed to return to "normal" early fall weather (no more 90+ days) and it will make enough for leftovers while I'm traveling to Atlanta next week. 

Some of the other recipes I have my eye on include:
  • Spiced Nut Mix
  • Asian Lettuce Wraps
  • Super-Easy Whole-Wheat Biscuits
  • Homemade Chicken Nuggets
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites
I could go on and on!

If you're thinking about reducing the amount of processed food your family eats, definitely check out 100 Days of Real Food cookbook!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Oatmeal Cream Pies with Maple Cream - #FilltheCookieJar

I'm excited for this month's Fill the Cookie Jar reveal! This month's theme was Fall and it gave me so many options to choose from. My sister in law gave me a copy of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook and I knew it was a great place to start looking for a recipe. The cookbook is broken down into the four seasons, so I went right to the fall section and found this recipe for oatmeal cream pies.

As a child I loved Little Debbie's oatmeal cream pies, but have never made a homemade version. These are so much better than them! I called them a grown up version. They had the perfect amount of spice and toasting the oats brings out an amazing nutty flavor. The original recipe called for a ginger cream but I knew finding crystallized ginger would be difficult, so I substituted maple syrup instead. The cookies are crisp, but I had put the cookies in the fridge due to the heat and humidity and they softened up. That's what I loved about them and really reminded me of my childhood.


1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg

Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment papers and set aside. On a separate baking sheet, spread out the oats. Place on the baking sheet on the upper rack and make for 10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Keep the oven on to make sure it's preheated to bake the cookies. 

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg. Slowly add in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the toasted oats by hand. 

Scoop the batter into two tablespoon sized balls and place them two inches apart on the baking sheet. With dampened hands, flatten each to 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes until they were lightly browned and then remove and allow to cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets. Transfer to a wire rack to completely cool. 

While the cookies are cooling, beat the cream cheese with confectioners sugar until smooth. Add in the maple syrup until combined. Spread the filling onto half of the cookies and then top with the remaining cookies. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Honey Vanilla Coffee Cream

I'm slowly in the process of eliminating as much processed food as I can from our kitchen and this was a big step for me to replace my store-bought coffee creamer. I didn't realize how simple and easy it was to make and I can't wait to try out different flavors - almond, caramel, pumpkin spice...the possibilities are endless! 

I love the light flavor of the honey and vanilla and I didn't need as much creamer as I usually pour into my coffee. I used regular milk this time, but I'm going to try almond milk next time and I'm going to even attempt to make my own sweetened condensed milk! Plus I found this super cute carafe at Target and I knew it would be perfect to hold my creamer. 

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 3/4 cup milk (your preference: whole, skim, almond, heavy cream, etc)
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the honey with a small amount of milk in the microwave to thin it out and for the sugars in the honey to completely dissolve. Add the remaining milk, condensed milk and vanilla extract. Stir to combine and then place in the refrigerator until you're ready to use. 

Check out recipes for other flavor combinations at Reclaiming Your Castle

Friday, August 29, 2014

Corn, Tomato and Cheddar Pie

As I mentioned, we have been overwhelmed with tomatoes and this was another one of the recipes I made to use up more of them. My garden is really slowing down now with the cooler nights we've been having. My cucumbers are done and I'll only have four cucumbers left to make one last batch of cucumber salad. I had a couple ears of corn left over from dinner and stumbled across this recipe while killing time on Pinterest one night.

It was the perfect thing to make for a Sunday night dinner. The recipe is a little time consuming, especially since the crust is made from scratch and you need to seed the tomato slices (but easy to make). It was really good and gobbled it down...except for Cooper. He's on a bit of an eating strike right now, it's been exhausting just sitting down at the table for dinner. Our dinners usually end with a plate being thrown and him not eating anything. I won't bore you with any more details, but I'm sure the other moms out there, know what I'm going through.


2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
3/4 cup whole milk

1 3/4 lbs tomatoes
1 1/2 cups corn (preferably fresh off the cob)
3 Tbsp chives, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
7 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter, melted

To make the dough, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt together. Using a pastry knife, cut in the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture becomes crumbly. Stir in the milk with a fork and stir to combine until a dough is formed. Form in a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the filling. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inc thick slices. Seed the tomatoes to reduce the chance for your crust becoming soggy. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo and lemon juice. Set aside. 

Divide the dough in half and roll half of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12 inch circle and transfer to a 9 inch deep dish pie pan. Layer half the tomatoes, half the corn and half the chives. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Layer half the cheese on top. Repeat the remaining layers of tomatoes, corn and chives. Season with salt and pepper and then drizzle the lemon mayo on top of the last layer. Top with the remaining shredded cheese. 

Roll the other half of the crust out into a 12 inch circle. Cut out the center with a cookie cutter or use a knife to cut slits for the steam to vent. Place on top of the pie and crimp the edges together. Brush the top with the melted butter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool before slicing. The pie can be served warm or at room temperature. It great both ways!




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gazpacho with Basil Cornbread Croutons

This year my garden has been a little off. I'm getting a bumper crop of peppers, all my tomatoes ripened at the same time (even though some were supposed to be ready in early July), and my parsley and basil didn't do well. I'm blaming it on the weather, lack of rain, and this is our first garden at our new house...need to work out the kinks. 

Over a course of a few days, I picked way more tomatoes than I knew what to do with. I knew I needed to figure out something to do with them, so I made 2 quarts of sauce with most of the Roma tomatoes. I still had a bunch of early girl and Mr. Stripey heirlooms to use so the next thing on my list was gazpacho. I used more tomatoes in another recipe...I'll be sharing it later this week. I looked around for a gazpacho recipe since I had never made it before. 

The soup turned out amazing. I just threw it all in the blender, pureed it and then let it hang in out in the fridge while I made cornbread croutons. Seriously, it can't get any easier than that! It makes six large portions, perfect for dinner on a hot summer night! 


Croutons
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped basil 

Gazpacho
3 lbs ripe tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper, seeded
1 cucumber, seeded
1 shallot, peeled
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x9 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the croutons. In a small liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk and eggs. Combine the egg-milk mixture with the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add in the chopped basil and mix in. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. 

Allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack and then remove the bread from the pan. Place on the cooling rack to completely cool. Once cooled, cut the cornbread into the desired size of your croutons. Place them on a large baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Stir once halfway through the baking process. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

In a blender, add in the all the ingredients. Puree until there are no chunks. You might need to do this in batches. I did the tomatoes separately and then combined everything in a large bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator  for at least one hour before serving (the longer it sits, the more the flavors blend together). Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and croutons. 


Monday, August 25, 2014

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake

Yes, once again I found myself with over-ripe bananas that I needed to use. I think it happens at least one a month, but no one was complaining this month after I made this cake! It was soooo good. The cake is moist and light, and then the caramelized bananas with the melted butter and brown sugar glaze, takes it up a notch. I really can't put it into words, trust me, you just need to make it for yourself.



1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3-4 medium bananas, sliced horizontally and then sliced vertical
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray, place on a baking sheet and set aside. 

Pour the melted butter in the bottom of the pan. Spread the butter around to make sure the entire pan and sides are well-coated with butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the melted butter. Begin to cover the bottom of the pan with the sliced bananas in a pinwheel. Use small pieces of banana to fill in the gaps. Add 8 to 10 short banana pieces around the sides. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking powder. In a smaller bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just combined. Gently pour the batter over the bananas.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the center of the cake is set and golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for at least one hour. Once cooled, invert the pan on a plate. Remove the pan and allow the butter sugar mixture to flow over the cake. Slice and serve. 

Source: Averie Cooks