Saturday, December 4, 2010

Brownie in a Jar with Stampin' Up! Deck the halls ...

Kelly Rose, Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator: Brownie in a Jar with Stampin' Up! Deck the halls ...: "I've always wanted to make a these gifts in a jar and I learned of this website from another Stampin' Up! Demonstrator with great ideas. I ..."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Microwave Caramel Corn

This is a fabulous treat and so easy to make. Be careful because the caramel corn is extremely hot when it comes out of the microwave.  You'll be tempted to taste it right away, but DON'T...wait till it has cooled.  It's worth the wait.
The original recipe calls for 12 cups of popcorn and the caramel ingredients are doubled.  If you're doing this in a large paper grocery sack, go ahead and double the recipe.  If you're going to do it in a microwavable bowl with a lid, such as the Tupperware microwave cookery stuff, then use just 6 cups of corn and the recipe as it appears here.
Microwave Caramel Corn

Put in 1 qt. measuring cup, or in a large microwavable bowl with a microwavable lid (this is what I do):
½ c. brown sugar
¼ c. butter
2 Tablespoons white corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda

(All microwaves are slightly different and you may need to adjust your times appropriately) Microwave on HIGH and boil for 2-4 minutes.  ( I do 1 minute, stir, 1 minute stir, 30 seconds remove) Pop 6 cups of corn.  Spray non-stick cooking spray, such as PAM, in a large paper grocery sack.  (I just use my Tupperware microwave bowl with lid that I cook the caramel in.) Put popped corn in bag (in bowl) and pour (stir) caramel mixture over it.  Put in microwave on HIGH for 1 minute; shake; microwave 45 seconds; shake; microwave 30 seconds; shake; microwave 30 seconds; shake.  Pour caramel corn onto a cookie sheet to cool.  (I use a silicone liner in my cookie sheet, so there is no sticking)  Stir while cooling so the pieces separate.

 I'm going to a craft fair tonight to sell my handmade cards and scrapbook and paper craft items.  These treat bag toppers are so adorable and fun to make. I'll be selling a topper kit.  You'll be able to add your own treats to the cellophane bags, assemble your treat toppers as shown here and give away treats to delighted friends! More info on the treat bags here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Garden Fresh Hash Browns with Herbs, Ham, and Eggs

My husband and I take such delight in gathering our meals in the garden.  This breakfast turned out to be so delicious I couldn't wait to write it down and share it.  The sweetness of the ham and tomatoes combined with the freshness of the herbs and the tang of Gruyere and fresh garlic create a taste bud explosion! If you garden, and I hope you do, then you're going to love this skillet breakfast.  If you don't garden, get these ingredients at a local farmers market.  Enjoy!

Country Garden Hash Browns

This is a great way to incorporate a nice variety of your garden produce and fresh herbs into a scrumptious country breakfast. This recipe serves 2 abundantly, 3 nicely, and 4 rather meagerly; so it should depend on your appetite whether you invite your friends or not. 

3 medium sized red potatoes, about 1 lb, scrubbed and diced
Olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 sweet banana pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
Fresh Herbs: Chives & Parsley are what I used
¾ cup diced ham (approximately)
2 Tbsp. shredded Gruyere cheese (parmesan or Swiss will also work well)
Fried eggs (one for each person) or scrambled depending on your preference
1 large tomato diced

Turn stove top heat to medium high. Add olive oil to a 10” iron skillet (or some other type of heavy skillet) to cover the bottom with about 1/16th of an inch deep with oil. Heat oil until it is barely smoking. Carefully add diced potatoes spreading out flat in pan, sprinkle with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Cover the pan with foil and allow the potatoes to cook undisturbed for about 5-8 minutes. Start checking after 5 minutes. Do not stir or turn until the edges of the potatoes are starting to brown. Turn browned potatoes and remove foil. Continue to fry for at least 2 more minutes before adding onion and pepper. Stir to combine. Allow onion to become soft and slightly caramelized. Add ham and minced garlic and stir. Add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives and parsley (combined) and stir. When ham is heated through, remove hash browns from the pan to a warm serving plate and sprinkle with cheese. Top with hot fried or scrambled eggs and sprinkle with diced tomatoes.

©Kelly Rose, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Refried Bean Recipe

Last year, the first year of our gardening adventure, we planted pinto beans.  The conversation before planting went something like this...

Me:  I wonder if we planted pinto beans if we would get a pinto bean plant that would grow more pinto beans?
Shawn:  I don't know.
Me:  Do you think we should try it?
Shawn: O.K. Do you have any pinto beans?
Me:  Yep, in the cupboard.
Shawn: Go get 'em.

And that's how we got started.  Our yield was about 3 cups of dried pinto beans. This year, we used the pinto beans that we grew last year as well as some more from the store, so we could compare and planted at least 10 times as much.  Our yield this year is about 70 lbs of dried beans.
We let the bean pods dry out on the plant and then when most of the pods were dry we cut all the plants off at the ground and left they lying (or is it laying?) on the ground to continue drying in the sun.  When we had a threat of rain, we took them into the Quonset hut and layed (or should it be laid...never really learned that one in school) them out on the floor to continue drying.  Once they were completely dry and the pods very brittle, we removed them from the pods by hand.  2 people worked on that project for about 8 hours.  A ridiculous amount of time.  If we continue to grow the beans, we must come up with a better way to get the beans out of the pods.  By the way, I was not one of those 2 people.  But the beans are delicious and it's really fun to eat things that you grew yourself.  Here's my recipe for refried beans...

Refried Beans

1 lb pinto beans
2 Tbs bacon grease
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
2 onions, 1 inch dice
Heaping tablespoon of lard or Crisco

Rinse thoroughly and pick through the beans. Remove any that are flat, remove any rocks or debris. Put the beans in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Heat the beans and water to boiling. Boil for 10 minutes over medium heat. Turn off the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour in the hot water. After 1 hour, drain and rinse the beans a second time. Return the rinsed beans to the pot, cover with 2 inches of water add 3 large pinches of salt, bacon grease, onions and jalapeño. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Add more water if needed. After about 2 hours, start checking the beans for tenderness every half hour. They should be extremely soft before refrying. To refry, add lard to a frying pan, and turn heat to medium. When the fat is sizzling hot, add beans with a slotted spoon and mash with a potato masher. If the beans start to dry out too much add more cooking liquid. Add salt to taste and serve immediately. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Hope you enjoy, and I'd love hearing from you...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cucumbers?! Make garden fresh Tzatziki sauce!

Our cucumber plant it going crazy right now and we don’t have any more lettuce! Ah! Yesterday, I thankfully remembered how much I love Tzatziki sauce! It’s a great way to use your cucumbers AND herbs!

Garden Fresh Tzatziki Sauce

1 medium cucumber, grated

16 oz container of plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon fresh dill leaves chopped (oregano is also good to use)

6 fresh mint leaves chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Grate the cucumber then wrap it up in a clean towel, and squeeze to remove the excess liquid. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Sorry about the bad photo, I'm having camera issues right now...

My favorite way to eat Tzatziki sauce is with the Persian ground beef kabobs, buttery white rice and grilled fresh tomatoes. I make my own “kabobs” by adding egg, bread crumbs, fresh minced garlic, grated onion, salt, pepper, oregano and a tiny bit of tumeric. I’ve never written the amounts for a recipe for this, but it’s approximately one pound of lean ground beef, 1 egg, ¼ cup breadcrumbs, 2 garlic cloves, 1 small onion grated, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper, ½ tsp oregano. Sometimes I will wrap this around skewers and grill, but most the time I just make patties out of the mixture and fry them in an iron skillet. My husband LOVES garlic and onions so he’s especially fond of these little patties. He tolerates the Tzatziki sauce because it has our homegrown cucumbers in it.

I also love to dip warm pita bread in the sauce…try making your own some time or just use a frozen pizza or bread dough to make some flat bread. So delicious!
If you try it, let me know what you think!
Happy harvesting!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Community Chickens

I'm so curious to know if anyone out there has ever been involved with community chickens?  You know, like a community garden?  We have space, but no money to invest...and a huge desire to be raising our own chickens to eat and our own organic eggs to use.  I would love to hear from you if you've ever tried it or know someone who has.  I have no idea how it should be organized....any suggestions?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Snow Pea Stir Fry Recipe

Snow Pea Stir Fry (side dish)
Add chicken and rice for complete meal
We have TONS of snow peas right now, so we eat them raw with Ranch Dressing, and sauted with garlic and basil, and in our salads, but our favorite way is this snow pea stir fry. Yummy!

Ingredients:1 lb snow peas
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil
½ tsp. sesame oil (optional)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp sherry
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp corn starch
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger root (Tip:  Grate what you need and freeze the rest, it will keep for a long time in the freezer and is much easier to grate when frozen.  And a microplane grater/zester is a MUST HAVE!  Use for grating fresh nutmeg and zesting lemons and limes)

Combine the cornstarch and water, mix well. Combine brown sugar, sherry, and soy sauce, set aside.

Add Oil to frying pan or wok, large enough to contain all the peas and allow room for stirring on Medium High heat.
When oil is sizzling hot and just starting to smoke, add the peas and toss in hot oil for 1-2 minutes depending on your desire of doneness.

Add ginger and garlic to hot pan and stir until softened and aromatic. Add the brown sugar mixture and water and cornstarch. Stir quickly to combine. When the sauce has thickened and begins to coat the peas, remove and serve hot. © Kelly Rose, 2010

I like to marinate chicken thighs in Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Salad Dressing and Marinade for 1 hour. I then lay them in a Pam sprayed glass baking dish and sprinkle with Steak seasoning. Bake in a 400 oven for about 45-55 minutes. Prepare the peas after you remove the chicken from the oven and serve together with a salad or rice for a complete dinner. Your family will really thank you for this one!

Here's to the Snow Pea!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

First Loaf Recipe - Bread Recipe

Here's the recipe for the first loaf of successful bread with photos.  The day after I made these loaves, I tried a buttermilk whole wheat recipe that also turned out terrifically...soft, not crumbly, good taste...a keeper recipe!  I'll share that recipe later.  I hope the photos help!

5 to 6 cups bread or all-purpose flour, approximately
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 cups hot water (120 - 130 degrees F)(you really should use a thermometer)
3 Tbsp. shortening, room temperature
This recipe is for 2 loaves of bread baked in medium bread pan (8 x 4 inches).  The directions are for using a Kitchen Aid to mix and knead.

In your mixer bowl combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and dry milk. 
Pour the hot water into these dry ingredients and beat with the paddle attachment to blend thoroughly.

Add the shortening and continue beating until well combined.

Add 1 cup flour and beat for 3 minutes at medium speed.

It helps to actually set your timer for these blending times. Smile.
The photo above is after the 3 minutes.  See the "stringy" effect?  The gluten strands are beginning to form.

Add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time until the dough forms a soft, elastic ball around the dough hook attachment. I have included all the progressive photos of this bread making step so you can see the dough as the flour is added.

After it gets to the stage where the dough has cleaned the sides of the bowl thoroughly and is not sticky to the touch, you can begin kneading.  Set your timer for 10 minutes.  I have to stand next to my mixer because my mixer starts to dance across the counter.

The photo directly above shows the kneaded dough.  You should be able to stretch the dough for quite a ways and it will become almost paper thin before breaking.  If your dough was soft enough, this is what it should look like. Bernard Clayton says that to test your dough to see if you've kneaded enough, put the dough on a flat surface, slap your hand onto the dough and count to 10.  You should be able to remove your hand without any dough sticking to it.
Now place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until the dough has doubled in bulk.

Now punch down the dough to remove large air bubbles.  Remove dough to a cutting surface and cut into 2 equal balls.  Let these rest for 3 minutes.

Form the loaves by flattening the balls into ovals slightly longer than the pans.

Fold the sides under and pinch together.  You'll see on my bread what happens if you don't pinch thoroughly enough. Tuck the ends of the dough under and pinch.

Place the shaped loaves into greased pans and cover with waxed paper for the 2nd rise.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F about 20 minutes before baking.  The second rise will take about 45 minutes to an hour.

Here's what it should look like!

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, then lower the oven heat to 350 and continue baking for an additional 25-30 minutes.  Halfway through the baking, turn the pans 180 degrees inside the oven so they bake uniformly.

Cool on a wire rack. Aren't they beautiful!

And there's my hole from not pinching carefully enough.
This is excellent bread...not too big on taste, but is soft and hold together really well.
I'm excited to share the whole wheat recipe with you as it tastes much better and comes out looking just as beautiful.  Till then!  Thanks for stopping by!  Kelly
Thank you Mr. Clayton!

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Favorite Homemade Pancake Recipe

Growing up, the only pancake I think I ever ate was a Bisquick pancake and ...I really don't care for them.  The older I got, the more I realized there were good pancakes out there to be eaten, so of course on my quest to be able to make anything and everything from scratch, here's the recipe I've developed for a light, fluffy, delicious homemade pancake.

These are some SWEET kitchen essentials.  A silicone spatula and an enameled Cast-Iron skillet.  I love being able to use my spatula in hot foods without it melting, and as for enameled cast-iron...well, it's pricey, but awesome.  You get that great heat conduction of the iron skillet without having to worry about the constant seasoning and rusting of traditional cast iron.   And Julia (Childs, that is) recommends enameled cast iron, so that's enough reason for me to use it!

Kelly's Buttermilk Pancakes (small batch)

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 eggs divided
3/4 cup buttermilk (you can substitute yogurt for the buttermilk!)

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wire whisk. Add the egg yolks, buttermilk and melted butter to the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended.  Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into batter.  To fold do a bottom to top circular motion "lifting" the bottom of the bowl ingredients onto the top and "folding" over with a spatula.  If you choose not to beat the egg whites, your pancakes will not be as light and fluffy.  The buttermilk gives a great flavor to the pancakes.  Heat a heavy skillet (I use a large iron skillet) over medium low heat with a tablespoon of corn oil.  When the oil is not (not smoking), add the batter in 1/4 cup amounts.  Batter may need some shifting to create a circular pancake, but move quickly!  When the pancake has even bubbles on top, turn and cook the other side.  If you keep you heat low enough, your pancakes should not burn, but they do take longer to cook.
Note:  This recipe feeds 4 quite nicely. You can double this recipe for a larger crowd by doubling all ingredients except the eggs.  You only need 3 eggs when doubling.
My favorite pancake syrup is Log Cabin when I'm too cheap to buy real maple syrup.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Snow Pea Bounty

Look at these gorgeous things!  Aren't they beautiful!  And just as delicious as you would imagine.  I made a stir fry with them today that was divine.  The sauce turned out a little thick, though, so I'm going to try it one more time with some adjustments before I post the recipe.  But I can tell you that I used brown sugar, soy sauce, fresh garlic, sherry, fresh ginger and cornstarch.  The taste was magnificent.  I'll also be posting a terrific and quick recipe for marinated chicken thighs. The combination makes an impressive meal.
edited 7/4/2010 Here's the recipe I promised!  Snow Pea Stir Fry.

I killed the yeast!

Yesterday I tried another recipe from Bernard Clayton's book that required warmed milk, but I think I got the milk too warm.  I didn't check the temperature, went ahead and added it to the yeast mixture and I got NO RISE!!!  I was SO mad at myself for wasting all that flour and yeast.  AAAHHH!!!  A hard lesson learned!!
Don't kill your yeast with too much heat!  And it was kneaded so beautifully, too!  I will try that recipe again, and we're out of bread, but I was too depressed to try again and today my car needs to be cleaned.  And truthfully, I'm still recovering from the trauma.  I should have taken a picture to show you.

No-Knead Batter Bread

This was actually the first bread recipe that I have used multiple times.  It always turns out and it turns out best when done with all-purpose flour or with adding only 1/2 cup whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose.  But any more than that and the loaf comes out dry and crumbly.  I haven't experimented any further than with the flours.  This recipe is for only one loaf of bread, and since I make all (well, mostly all) the bread we eat, I like to bake 2 loaves at time.  But if you're a beginner, try this recipe!  I found it in a very old cook book (Sesqui-Samplings, 150 Years of Cooking in Indianapolis, 1821-1971) that was my grandmothers.  She was a great collector of recipes. 

No-Knead Batter Bread, William H. Kuntz

1 1/4 cups water (110-115 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast
3 cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. shortening (I use Crisco)

Dissolve yeast in water in mixer bowl.  Add salt, sugar and half of the flour.  Blend with paddle attachment.  Add shortening and beat 2 minutes at medium speed or 300 strokes by hand (don't do that, get a Kitchen Aid).  Scrape sides of bowl frequently.  Add remaining flour and blend with spoon until smooth.  Scrape batter from sides of bowl and spoon.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (about 30 minutes). Beat batter about 25 strokes
Place in greased loaf pan and cover.  Let rise until dough reaches top of pan.  Bake in a 375-degree preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until brown.  When done, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped with finger.  Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool.  Brush top of loaf with butter if you desire a soft crust.  Cool before slicing.

Please let me know if you have success with this recipe!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kelly’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Ranch Cookies

I’ve been looking for a cookie recipe for some time that used whole wheat flour and oatmeal. I found one by Mrs. Fields (Peanut Butter Oatmeal Ranch Cookies) that included whole wheat, oats, peanut butter, honey, sunflower seeds and raisins. AND it only used one stick of butter instead of the usual 2 sticks. You can find her original recipe in the Mrs Fields Cookie Book. And according to what I saw, you can get this book on Amazon for one cent!  Ah!  And she has some fabulous recipes in there!  I find that I'm always adding salt to her recipes...but what do I know? She's the millionaire cookie maker, not I.

My husband has high cholesterol, so I want to feed him as many oats and whole grains as possible. I really like the idea of only one stick of butter for that reason as well. I’m also a little stingy with my butter so a cookie recipe that tastes good and doesn’t use half my butter at once is a GREAT thing!

These cookies are not decadent, but they’re very good, and make a great “lunch bag” addition for my husband. He’s also the reason used chocolate chips in place of the raisins.  So here's my "tweaked" recipe.

¾ cup Whole Wheat Flour
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking POWDER
½ tsp. salt
1 cup oats (old fashioned or quick)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup salted butter, softened
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300° F.

Combine flours, baking powder, salt and oats in a bowl with a wire wisk and set aside.

In the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer, beat sugar and butter at medium speed to form a grainy paste. Add the peanut butter, honey, eggs and vanilla. Blend thoroughly.

Add the flour mixture, sunflower seeds and chocolate chips. Blend at low speed until combined. Be cautious not to overmix.

Drop the cookie batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 23-25 minutes until bottoms turn golden brown. Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a cool flat surface. © Kelly Rose 2010

Notes: I love, love love, my kitchen aid.  I've been dreaming of the meat grinder attachment. Every kitchen needs a kitchen aid...every cook, needs a kitchen aid, but truly, I would NOT be baking bread with out it.  I do NOT knead by hand, and I don't intend to start. Don’t eat these cookies when they’re hot, they fall apart too easily. Don’t overbake, because with the whole wheat, they get hard in a hurry if you don’t watch the time. Hint: Always put the timer a minute or two lower than recommended to check the cookies along the way to the finish line. That way, you’ll know exactly how long to bake YOUR cookies. Everyone’s oven and altitude is different. And again, these are not melt in your mouth decadent cookies..they’re good, and you can feel good about serving a cookie packed with healthy ingredients and lower fat content. But don’t be misled, this is not the place where you will always find healthy and low fat recipes. This is all about stuff I like.
The whole wheat I used in this recipe was from a friend of mine. We’re trading a bag of her locally grown organic whole wheat flour for one of my new Stampin’ Up! catalogs. Smile! I already have my flour, she doesn’t get her catalog until the new ones come out in July. Interested? Check my Stampin Up! website blog for info on getting yours!

Let me know what you think of the recipe...

My First Sucessful Loaf of Bread

I’ve attempted many different recipes for bread in the last year, but by far, this recipe for “The First Loaf” turned out the best. The loaf was tall and had great uneven holes all through out the loaf. The texture was just slightly dry, but it did not crumble. The taste was a little bland, but then it was WHITE bread, what could you expect? I do think that anyone who follows his instructions and reads the preceding chapters on Equipment and Ingredients before beginning will have a successful loaf of bread as I did. And it REALLY made me smile. The recipe can be found here.
The recipe came from Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Breads. It’s a book I checked out from the library, but I think I will purchase it. Although Clayton did not cover in his chapter on “What Went Wrong—An How To Make It Right” what I was looking for when I checked it out, I have learned quite a bit about the art of making bread from reading his book. What I wanted to “fix” with my bread is the texture. I have been unable to make a loaf of whole wheat bread that doesn’t crumble and fall apart. My whole wheat bread is also fairly flat and dense without the lovely uneven holes all throughout. I’ve made some marvelously TASTY breads, but none that don’t fall apart. He never addressed this issue…at least not in what I’ve read so far and certainly not in that chapter which I did read entirely. The book is 748 pages and has a treasure store of different recipes. That’s why I’d like to have the book. There are recipes for almost every kind of bread you can think of from every corner of the world. And his stories of how he got the recipes are quite interesting.

Yesterday I tried Clayton’s pizza dough recipe with an adaptation of my own. It was the best traditional pizza crust I have made to date, and pizza dough is not something I’ve struggled with. I’ve been quite happy with what I’ve made, but I’m even happier with Clayton’s recipe…well, Clayton’s recipe with my own twist.