Monday, July 25, 2011

What a Great Weekend...

I have been wanting for at least the past 3 year to take a bread baking class at King Arthur Flour. This past weekend I am happy to say that my dream has come true. I was lucky enough to take the Beauty and the Baguette class. One that I need to take because every time I have made baguettes in the past they have always come out flat.

The back of the classroom where we learned all about how to make french baguettes.

My dough divided into 2 a waiting to be shaped into baguettes.

Some coming out of the oven all nicely baked...boy did it smell amazing in there!

My two baguettes cooling off after coming out of the oven.

I know I want to go back and take another next week too soon. Just kidding I am sure they are all sold out and I know a bunch of people that will hurt me if I go back without them this time.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grilled Pizza

I have been hearing a lot about making pizza on the grill. I even put it on my summer to-do list because I wondered how it would work. I honestly always thought it wouldn't work out well but I was so wrong. Also with the way how hot is has been so far this summer I am just happy not to have to turn on the oven to make pizza.

Grilled Pizza

2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavor (optional, but tasty)
1 tablespoon King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver OR Baker's Special Dry Milk OR nonfat dry milk
3 cups (11 ounces) King Arthur Italian-Style Flour or All-Purpose Flour*
3/4 cup (6 ounces) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) olive oil

*Substitute King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat flour for half of the Italian flour, if desired.

Mix all of the ingredients to make a soft, supple dough. Knead for 5 minutes, divide the dough in half, cover with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let rest and relax for 15 minutes (or for up to an hour or so; work it into your schedule as you see fit).

Grease two 12" squares of parchment paper. Use your greased fingers to press each piece of dough on the parchment into an 11" to 12" circle about 1/8" thick. Brush or spray the crusts with olive oil, and let them rest for about 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 450°F (with a pizza stone inside, if you have one).

Place the crusts with their parchment directly on the stone, or onto a baking sheet. Bake till they're just starting to brown around the edges, about 4 minutes. Remove from the oven, top with your favorite toppings-we've used pesto, sliced tomatoes, and mozzarella here-and bake for an additional 6 minutes, till everything's warm and bubbly. Yield: two 12" thin-crust pizzas.

To make grilled pizza: Be prepared to grill your pizza within 15 minutes of shaping it; you don't want it to rise too much. So, make sure your barbecue grill is heated (or cooled) to medium-hot by the time the dough is ready to grill.

Set the rack 3" to 4" above the fire. Take one circle of dough, on its parchment, and swiftly but carefully turn it (dough down, parchment on top) onto the grill. Peel off the parchment.

After 1 minute, turn it over; it should be stiff enough to turn quite easily (if not, your grill isn't hot enough). Layer with toppings. This is not the time to pile on the meat, cheese, veggies, etc. Since the pizza will be cooking very briefly, it's better to top with just a minimal amount of stuff: thinly sliced veggies, a thin layer of cheese, etc.

Bake an additional 5 minutes or so, with the cover on (if your grill has a cover), or until the filling is hot and the cheese is melting. Adjust the temperature of the grill if the bottom is browning too quickly. And, move the pizza around on the grill if one side or the other starts to get too brown on the bottom. Repeat the grilling process with the other pizza.

Review: This one was a keeper even before I tasted it because just for the fact that it was easy to make. Like I said before Mike really loved this pizza and even makes me to make it during the winter. I made it for friends and they were all impressed with it which makes it a great appetizer for a party!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jalapeno Popper Dip...Super Yum!

You know me and always looking for new recipes online. I came across one that just sounds too good not to make. Also since we were having people over for Jacob's birthday it was the perfect time to test it out...and I knew they would love it.

I don't have a picture of the dip but click on the link below and the original blog has a great picture.

Jalapeno Popper Dip
Jamie from: My Baking Addiction

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
4 ounces canned diced jalapeno peppers, drained
1/2 cup shredded Mexican style cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an oven safe serving dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Using an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth.
3. Stir in green chilies, jalapeno peppers, and Mexican and mozzarella cheeses. Spoon this mixture into the prepared baking dish.
4. Mix together the Panko and parmesan cheese and sprinkle it over the cream cheese mixture.
5. Spray the Panko and parmesan with a quick spray of non-stick cooking spray.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the topping is lightly browned.

Notes: If you are in a hurry, skip the Panko/Parmesan topping and simply microwave the cream cheese mixture until hot and bubbly.

Serve this dip with, French bread, fresh vegetables, tortilla chips, crackers…pretty much anything that pairs well with cheese!

Review: This one is a keeper for sure and has room for you to customize to your taste. I liked it because it has the popper taste but not super spicy. I know my brother-in-law makes his poppers with bacon so I think I might try to add some bacon bits to it the next time...maybe just on top first try and then if it is good mixed into it the dip. If you are looking for a crowd pleasing dip for next week this one is it!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Today is my baby's birthday and he is 5...where did the time go? WOW I just can't believe that he is 5 today. I am having a hard time with this because next thing I know he is going to off to college.

So today he is bringing cupcakes in to celebrate his birthday with his friends at school. I asked him what kind he wanted me to make and he said...chocolate cake...and he wanted it to be a Batman cupcake.

The cake recipe (
Devil's Food) and frosting recipe (Easy Vanilla Frosting) was easy to figure out but the decorating now that is a little bit trickier. Mostly because I waited to the last minute to figure out how to do this. Also we don't have a good party store in the area so I couldn't find any Batman party supplies.

It got me thinking of how I could make a batman symbol and this was the best I could come up with. First I found a stencil online and shrunk it down to cupcake size.

Then I traced it a bunch of times onto wax paper so I could get enough for the whole class.

Flipped the paper over and filled it with melted dark chocolate and waited for it to cool and harden.

I then colored the frosting yellow and put one symbol on each cupcake....I sort of want to put a chocolate outline on it but I am going to resist the urge because sometimes less is more and I don't want to mess up a good thing.

I think they came out great and I hope all the kids enjoy them!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Let's Welcome...

The Newest Member of our Family:

Connor Michael
Born: 01-13-2011
Time: 4:04pm
Weight: 8lbs
Length: 20"

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

It is that time of year again when I need to get the teachers a little something for all their hard work during the year. I like to give them something from the store and add a little something homemade as well. I found the perfect thing on another blog (Make & Takes) this year that went with the mug/hot chocolate set I bought...Hot Chocolate on a Stick.

First you need to make a recipe from King Arthur Flour that has been featured in their catalog for some time now...Cocoa Blocks.

The person at Make & Takes used Alton Brown's marshmallow recipe but I thought I would make the recipe I saw last year from King Arthur Flour instead.

Homemade Marshmallow

3 packages (1/4-ounce each) unflavored gelatin
1 cup (8 ounces) cool water, divided
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (11 ounces) light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
crushed peppermint candies, peppermint oil, or espresso powder, all optional
confectioners' sugar, to sprinkle on top

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup cool water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cool water in a small, deep saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase the speed to high, and whip until the mixture is very thick and fluffy, and has cooled to lukewarm, 8 to 10 minutes. (It should be cool enough that you can spread it into the pan without burning your fingers.)

Add vanilla towards the end of the mixing time. This is also the time to add a few drops of peppermint oil, if desired, instead of vanilla extract. Or try 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder for a coffee-flavored treat. To use the crushed peppermint candies, which will tint the marshmallow pink and add flavor, stir the candies into the marshmallow mixture, leaving some swirls of plain white.

Spread the marshmallow mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan (glass or ceramic is best). Use your wet hands to smooth and flatten the marshmallows. Sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the top, and let sit for several hours (or overnight) before cutting. Use a greased knife or cookie cutters to make squares or other shapes. Yield: about 100 1" squares.

Review: Both recipes where not hard to make at all. I found that cocoa blocks to be like making fudge which I guess you can say is fudge in a way. Making homemade marshmallow is something I have always wanted to do again and I think the recipe was much better then the last one I tried out a while ago. Next time I might try a different flavor then vanilla to make it interesting. I did make hot chocolate like suggested on the blog with heating up some milk (6oz) and swirling the stick into it. One of the best Hot Chocolates I have ever had...which makes this a keeper for sure!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reindeer Cookies

Someone made these cookies for Jacob's holiday party last week and I just had to try and make them. There really isn't a recipe for them it is more of decorating cookie dough. The only thing I did different was use sugar cookie dough instead of peanut butter cookie dough. I used a heart shaped cookie cuter instead of trying to make triangles. I also put the M&Ms on before they went into the oven and stuck all the chocolate stuff on when they came out of the oven...super easy and super cute!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pretzel Things...

Today Jacob had a holiday celebration at school and I signed up to bring juice but couldn't pass up the opportunity to make something as well.

I have seen these all over the place lately and I know Heidi just made something similar so I had to give it a try.

Chocolate Pretzel Things

Waffle type pretzels

Hershey Kisses (I used the caramel ones)


1) Preheat over to 275

2) Put the kisses on the pretzels

3) Put in the oven for 2 - 3 minutes (I did 3 and it was too long probably because it was the caramel kind). Take out and put one M&M on top of each pretzel/chocolate.

4) Put in the refrigerator to cool for about 10 minutes. Then eat them!

Review: These are super easy to make and so addictive it isn't funny. I know Heidi made them using rolos and a pecan on top but since I was bringing them to school I didn't want to use nuts. This is a keeper for sure and a great treat to make as a gift for someone...

Dinner Week of 12/12 - 12/18

I am starting to feel the holiday laziness for cooking dinner...

Sunday - Had take-out because we were out all day
Monday - Spaghetti and Meatballs
Tuesday - Tuna Casserole
Wednesday - Picadillo and Rice
Thursday - Baked Chicken cutlets with pasta and veggies
Friday - Went out for dinner
Saturday - Pizza

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dinner Week of 12/5-12/11

I forgot to keep track of what I made this week but I think I got most of it...

Sunday - Had a Hanukkah Dinner at Oma's
Monday- I can't Remember
Tuesday - Beef Stew in the slow cooker
Wednesday - Sausage Pasta - I changed things a little bit but this is where I got the idea
Thursday - Sweet & Sour Tofu Stir Fry - I prepared the tofu the same way from this recipe but I made a sweet & sour sauce and added it to some broccoli, scallions, mushrooms and red pepper.
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - At at Ma & Pa's



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