Category Archives: Breads

Apple Mango Muffins

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Muffins are an awesome breakfast and snack food, when you make them yourself. The problem with most store-bought muffins is that they add in preservatives to keep them fresh far longer than is normal, tons of sugar to make them tasty and your body crave it, and other crappy additives and chemicals to fool your brain and tongue into loving them and wanting more.
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As I wrote in my vegetable scraps article and all about juicing, fruit and vegetables peels and scraps can sometimes be worked into muffin recipes to make them more nutritious and fiber-full, as well as help reduce food waste. This does depend on the type of scraps you have, so use common sense. If you juice a cucumber, grapefruit, tomato, and celery, that would likely make some weird-tasting muffins. But if you juice all fruit, save that pulp for this recipe.
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Ingredients:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla flavor
  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup fruit pulp – (in this case apple and mangoes which I juiced)

Step 1: In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, vanilla, butter, fruit) and mix. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder). Pour the wet into the dry and mix well.

Step 2: Line 2 muffin pans with paper or spray with cooking oil. Pour about 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup. You can see I also sprinkled a little extra brown sugar on top.
Step 3: Bake in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until fully fluffed and golden brown.
Step 4: Remove and let cool.
Now you have fresh baked muffins to enjoy! You can freeze these for easy on-the-go breakfasts and snacks throughout the week. The flavor can be whatever you want to add, get creative and try different combinations of fruits, vegetables, or nuts.

I CHOOSE YOU! Red Velvet PokeBall Cupcakes

 

When I saw these online somewhere, I knew they HAD to happen! I wish I’d kept the original website I saw these on. Anyway, anyone who grew up roughly in the 1990s-now knows all about Pokemon, and these aDORable poke ball cupcakes will bring back fond memories and warm fuzzies.

These would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day party or gift, or any kid’s birthday party who is obsessed with Pokemon, or Pokemon GO. Complete with “I choose YOU” accents, these would steal the heart of any geek! #GeekLove 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box red velvet cupcake mix (or whatever kind you like)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • White frosting
  • Red food coloring
  • Marshmallows (mini)
  • Chocolate icing or black icing

Step 1: I cheated and used a box mix. Sorry, but a girl’s gotta pass classes. Make the cake mix, and pour into a greased muffin tin or use cupcake liners.

Step 2: Bake at 350 for 14-18 minutes, until cooked through and springy to the touch. Cool fully.
Step 3: Spread white icing all over the cupcakes. Then put a dot of red food coloring on one side, and smear it carefully over half of the icing to make the two-toned look. (This makes the red vibrant, if you mix it into the icing it will turn out more pink).

 Step 4: Put a mini marshmallow in the center, then pipe chocolate or black icing down each side to separate the white and red halves. There you have it, an edible, adorable PokeBall.

 

 You could also pipe the words “I choose you” onto a few to make sure the not-quite-as-geeky get it. Just put some icing in a ziplock bag, and cut a tiny corner off. No need for expensive pastry bags.

Seriously. Dying with the cuteness level of this.

These are competition-winning cupcakes too!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Soft Pretzels

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I’ve had a love affair with everything you can make homemade for quite some time now. From homemade oven-baked bread (that didn’t work very well… I need to try that again), to perfect pancakes, applesauce muffins, and even infused liquor, I love when I can take a few simple ingredients and make a whole lot of something I otherwise would have to buy at the store. Someday soon I will foray into making my own yogurt, bagels, kombucha, and sauerkraut too. 
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One thing I’ve had in the back of my mind to try was soft pretzels. They seemed like an easy enough task, though I wasn’t sure. History claims that a very long time ago, AD 610 according to TLC Cooking, a monk was frustrated with his class and had some leftover bread dough. He rolled the dough out into rolls and made the iconic pretzel shape to resemble hands crossed in prayer. Originally called “pretiola”, Latin for “little reward”, they were quickly re-named “brachiola” which means “little arms”. They reached Germany, where they became a huge hit and were known as bretzels. This translated in America to pretzels, and so the famous street/fair/and sports event food took its place in our history.
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So when I found on Sally’s Baking Addiction a 30 Minute Pretzel recipe, I knew I had to try it. However, my favorite soft pretzel is the Auntie Anne’s cinnamon raisin with glaze, so rather than a plain salt that’s what I was after. With a few tweaks, I was sure I could re-create that $6 treat for far less. This recipe ended up making 8 medium-sized pretzels. I’m sure you could cut it in half for one, or make smaller ones for young-uns. You can also omit the cinnamon and use less sugar and just roll in sea salt for regular soft pretzels and dip in mustard or cheese. In fact, I think I’ll need to make another batch of plain this weekend…
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Ingredients:
1.5 cups water
1 packet yeast
1 cup sugar or brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins
4 cups flour plus extra
2 eggs, beaten
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Step 1: Pour the yeast into 1 1/2 cups warm-ish water and stir. You don’t have to wait for anything to rise, just mix it well.
Step 2: Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. (Flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and raisins). Add in the yeasty water and mix with your hands. Add more flour if needed. Once you have a fairly rubbery dough, break off a fist-sized chunk and place on a floured surface.

Step 3: Roll the dough out into a long strand, then cross it over into the pretzel shape. I’m actually going to try making letters and other shapes next time.

The next step is optional. Rumor has it boiling in baking soda water gives pretzels that chewy texture and browned color. Boil 1 cup baking soda in 9-10 cups water. Dunk the pretzels, and let boil for 5 minutes, then dry on a rack before baking. **Oh wait… it said 30 seconds. That could explain a lot. Only leave them in the boiling soda water for 30 seconds if you do this step**

A little hint: putting a wooden spoon across the top of a pot keeps it from boiling over. At least up to a certain point.

My post-baking conclusion was that while the boiling did cause a different color and taste, I like the pretzels without the baking soda step better, so I won’t be doing that in the future. However feel free to experiment yourself, maybe the altitude has something to do with it… #ColoradoBakingProblems

Step 4: Beat the eggs in a flat bowl/plate and coat the pretzels fully.

Step 5: Brush on some butter and cinnamon/sugar if you want extra sweetness. Bake the pretzels at 425 for 10-15 minutes, until nicely browned. Make sure to watch for burning.

Step 6: To make the glaze, take 1 cup powdered sugar and mix in 2 tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp vanilla flavoring, and 1-3 tbsp milk (depending on the consistency you want).

Drizzle the glaze over your pretzels and enjoy!

Warm and chewy right out of the oven, these pretzels were fantastic! Just as good, if not better, than anything I’ve had from a mall or baseball field. Will definitely be making these regularly, they are so easy and take less than a half hour total time.
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National Pretzel Day is April 26, so you have plenty of time to practice and perfect your favorite recipe!
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80% of all pretzels in the United States are made in Pennsylvania, where the hard pretzel originated. Unfortunately the Pretzel Museum in Philadelphia has closed, but they leave behind some fun facts:
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bullet Pretzels without salt are called baldies.

bullet An 1859 parade in New Orleans featured a float carrying a pretzel-baking machine.
bullet An average pretzel has 3.5 grams of fat and 260 calories.
bullet German kids wear pretzels around their neck for good luck on New Year’s. 
bullet Pretzels top some Christmas trees in Austria.
bulletA page in the prayer book used by Catharine of Cleves depicts St. Bartholomew surrounded by pretzels which were thought to bring good luck, prosperity and spiritual wholeness.
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For lots more fun facts on pretzels check out the TLC website.


What’s your favorite type of pretzel or topping?



Stuffed Pork Chops

What would Thanksgiving be without stuffing? Incomplete, in my opinion. I had never made stuffing myself before (I know, pause to gasp in shock) and so as per usual, I turned to multitudes of online recipes, compared that to what I had in my kitchen, and then just dove in with both feet. Hands, actually. You’re welcome. To prepare for next week’s big day, I made some stuffing and wrapped it in a slab of pig. Because ‘Murica.

Stuffing is also called ‘dressing’, and rarely ‘forcemeat’ (because who wants to eat bread mush with a name like that?); it is a mixture of carbohydrates and occasionally other meats, sometimes with eggs mixed in. It is usually stuffed inside the body cavity of an animal (hence the name) and baked within it, then served alongside the meat. Records of various stuffing recipes exist as far back as the Roman Empire, which published a kitchen anthology titled Apicius which lists thousands of Roman recipes. An article from Kitchen Project goes more into detail about the history and evolution of stuffing if you’re interested or want to try something different this year. But if you love the old easy standby, Stove Top, don’t feel bad. Introduced in 1972 and now owned by Kraft Foods, they sell nearly 60 million boxes every year around Thanksgiving. That’s a lotta stale bread.

So with that in mind, let’s get to the stuffing of meats! For stuffed pork chops, I made the stuffing, pounded the meat thin, then rolled it around a gob of the bread mush. It tastes way better than I’m making it sound, trust me! This recipe can also easily be doubled, tripled, whatever, depending on how many you’re feeding. It can also be a great way to use up leftover pre-made stuffing in the days after Thanksgiving when you’re tired of just having it with turkey.

Ingredients:
2 pork chops
3 sliced day-old bread, cubed
1 tbsp Italian seasonings
1 tsp dried onion
1 tsp paprika
1 egg
2/3 cup broth 


Step 1: Use fresh pork chops, or thawed if frozen. You’ll need to cover them with plastic wrap, then using a rolling pin or other such heavy, blunt object, pound the meat until it is about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Ideally your chops will be wide yet long, so they can close around a cups’ worth of stuffing.

Step 2: Chop up the stale bread slices or lightly toasted bread into inch cubes. Put into a medium bowl, and mix in the broth and seasonings. You want the bread wet but not soupy. Finally add the egg to bind and mix it all well. This should make about 1 1/2 – 2 cups. 

Step 3: Divide the stuffing between the two chops, and scoop a handful into the center of one. Roll up both sides so they touch or cross on top and secure with a toothpick or twine.
 

Step 4: Put the stuffed chops in an oven-safe pan and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until pork is totally done, at least 145 degrees. The chops should be nicely golden and tender, the stuffing soft inside and crunchy without. Serve with side dishes of your choice. I made some rice and poured my ‘special’ mushroom gravy over it. (Secret: It’s a can of cream of mushroom soup. For reals.)
 


If you have a favorite recipe which uses up leftover stuffing after Thanksgiving, please share!

Breakfast Strata

This breakfast strata is filling, delicious, cheap and surprisingly easy and customizable. All your typical breakfast favorites make an appearance: eggs, milk, bread, cheese. Then you add in some breakfast meats if that’s your thing (bacon, sausage, ham) and/or some vegetables if you like that sorta stuff (spinach, onion, peppers, asparagus), bake it up nice and warm and gooey and enjoy! Whatever you like and have on hand can be mixed in. This turned out divine!

Ingredients:
6-8 eggs, lightly beaten
2 slices bread
1-2 cups cheese (cubed, sliced or shredded)
1/4 cup milk
4 slices ham (or bacon or crumbled sausage)
1/2 cup chopped spinach

Step 1: Beat the eggs and add the milk, mix well. Lay the bread in a sprayed 8×8 oven safe pan.

Step 2: Layer the meat, veggies and cheese on top of the bread.

Step 3: Pour the eggs over top.

Step 4: Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, until the eggs are fully cooked. Let it cool a few minutes, cut into pieces and enjoy!

Tastes even better than it looks, which is pretty darn good!

The bread is slightly mushy but holds texture, and the flavor combination was just perfect. This can easily be vegetarian, but it’s just not the same without eggs so I’m not sure if it can be vegan. Maybe a tofu egg substitute? I’ll have to dabble more in vegan cooking in the future.

Salmon Latkes

When you have a mission to eat only (or at least mostly) food you already have for a month, it is certain that you will come up with some… interesting… combinations. That is exactly what I’ve decided to do, due to moving situations, I have 2 boxes of canned/boxed food and handfuls of frozen meat that I am determined to get through. Since pork chops and rice can only be tolerated so many days a week, I decided to get creative with tonight’s dinner. I had some frozen fish fillets and most of a 5 pound bag of potatoes, so I said, self, salmon patties are delightful, and latkes are good. What happens when I put a fish inside a baked potato patty? Turns out, something quite delicious happens.

Ingredients:
2 small potatoes
1 large salmon filet (8-10 oz)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups spinach
2 tbsp sour cream (optional)
2 slices old bread, torn up
2 inch square chunk feta (you can use whatever cheese you like, or none at all)
Garlic salt
Paprika
Parsley

Step 1: Wash the potatoes, poke holes all over with a fork. Microwave 6-8 minutes, until slightly soft. Then dice and boil another 8-10 minutes until mashably soft. (That’s a word now.)

 Step 2: Microwave the salmon 2 minutes per side and cut into small pieces.

 Step 3: Mash the potatoes in a large bowl. Add the salmon pieces.

 Step 4: Put all remaining ingredients into a bowl and mash together well. I just dug right in with my hands.

 Step 5: Get about 1/4 cup oil hot in a frying pan over medium heat. Form palm-sized patties with the salmon-potato mixture. Place into the oil and enjoy the sizzle. Cook about 5-7 minutes per side, until nicely browned and cooked through.

 These were delicious, it really is like a mashed potato with a slightly fishy flavor. You can add whatever other spices you like, take out the spinach, add other veggies if you want. If you want it vegetarian, just take out the cheese, sour cream and egg, and use some of the potato cooking water to hold it all together. I guess technically the salmon makes it pescatarian. Maybe lacto-ovo if you leave the egg and sour cream. You can also use bread crumbs, cooked old rice, or oats as a binding agent if you don’t want bread or the potatoes.

I topped these with salsa, sour cream, and sriracha and served over a bed of mixed baby greens. Yum!

Applesauce oatmeal breakfast muffins

Most mornings I enjoy waking up early enough to make myself a big warm breakfast. But some days I’m just too tired to wake up early. So over the weekend I decided to make myself some muffins that I can freeze and reheat any time. I found a recipe for Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins, and changed it a bit. I added nuts and dried fruit to add a little crunch and flavor. This recipe made 18 muffins, and I would probably eat 2 at a time because they were small. But at just over 50 calories each, that’s an indulgence I don’t have to feel guilty about!

Ingredients:
1 cup old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup non-fat milk
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. sugar
1 oz chopped mixed nuts
3 diced dried prunes

Step 1: Mix the milk, oats, egg whites and applesauce. Spray a muffin tin and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 Step 2: In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, fruit and nuts of choice.

 Step 3: Mix the wet & dry ingredients, and spoon into the muffin tins.

 Step 4: Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until dry all the way through and brown on top.

Step 5: Cool and enjoy! Adding 1 cup sugar or brown sugar would likely make them taste even better, but would add more calories.

Grilled ham, egg & cheese

I wanted something different for breakfast one morning, and had a craving for grilled cheese. Eggs are highly recommended as a breakfast food to keep you full longer, so I figured I’d put an egg on it too. Something seemed to be missing, and when I realized I had sliced ham in my freezer the perfect breakfast had taken shape! At less than 10 minutes to make, this hot, melty breakfast sandwich is perfect any day of the week.
Ingredients:
2 pieces bread
2 tbsp butter
1 egg
1 slice ham
1 slice cheese

Step 1: Butter one side of both pieces of bread and begin heating a small frying pan on medium.
Step 2: Crack the egg, you can beat it if you like scrambled or leave the yolk if you like it messier. Spray the pan and pour in the egg. Let cook until nearly solid, then flip and cook 1 minute on the other side.
Step 3: Put one slice of bread butter-side down in the pan, the egg on top of the bread, ham and cheese on top of the egg. Top with the other bread slice, butter-side up.

Step 4: Cook for ~2 minutes, until bread is brown and toasty. Flip with a spatula, and cook on the other side until golden brown. Slice diagonally and enjoy!

If I had the ingredients, I would probably add tomato or avocado too, just to see what it was like. This was melty, cheesy, hot and delicious!

White bread with flax

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I have always loved fresh baked bread, and have been dying to make my own! Now that I finally have an oven, I plan on making my own as much as possible. So I found a simple recipe online, and decided to try my hand at it. Take a look at my first attempt!
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Ingredients:
6 cups flour
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground flax
2 cups warm water
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Step 1: Add the sugar to the warm water and dissolve. Then add the yeast. Let it sit somewhere warm until it starts to foam. That means the yeast ‘woke up’ and is breaking down the sugar to make CO2, which makes the bread rise.

Step 2: Add the oil & salt. Then add the flour 1 cup at a time. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and no longer sticky. Let sit until it doubles in size (about 1 hour).

Step 3: Knead again on the floured surface. This recipe makes dough for 2 loaves, so divide and place into an oiled bread pan. I made one regular loaf, and one twisted loaf, like french bread.

Step 4: Let rise again. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the top with butter so that it stays soft.

This loaf ended up breaking, because I didn’t let it rise above the level of the pan. So more patience next time. Other than that, it came out beautiful! I will be trying again soon for sure. I dream of the days of sandwiches on homemade bread, and dipping my own buttered bread in warm spaghetti sauce…