Monday, January 23, 2012

Sourdough Bread...

I can finally check off one of my new years resolutions....YAY!  Oh wait, I can check off two, but more on that later.  Last weekend,  started a SD starter and even though I can seriously make some bread, I wasn't that confident.  For one, I could just see myself forgetting to do one of the 1000 different steps and ruining my starter.  Secondly, I am never home for like 4-5 hours at a time and all this rising, the punching down, then rising again stressed me out.  I was determined, though.  Even if I had to get up at 3am and punch some bread dough, I was gonna do it!  My mom says this is the recipe she always used with success, but I actually took it out of a pentecostal cookbook.  Today, I'm going to give you the recipe for the starter.


1 pkg. yeast
1/2c. warm water
3/4c. sugar
3 T. instant potato flakes
1c.  warm water

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.  Add sugar and potato flakes;  mix well.  Add 1 cup warm water;  stir.  Put in a mason jar with lid and set on counter overnight.  Next morning, set in refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, then after that you can start your bread with the SD bread recipe.

First of all, be smart and put the mixture in a quart jar instead of a pint (like I did).  This will allow room for the yeast to bubble and work AND you will have room to feed your starter.  You will see lots of bubble action and your kitchen will smell a bit like moonshine, but it is worth it.  Quite satisfying....

Tomorrow, I will add the bread recipe.  Go ahead and start this, y'all.  You will have 3 of the best loaves of bread ever in 5 days or so after starting.  Yummy.  I've seriously had ppl calling my house asking for bread and or a cup of starter.  Lol, I'm evidently surround by

Friday, January 20, 2012

New years resolutions...foodie style.

I love to cook and eat too much to resolve to lose weight.  May sound horrible, but if nothing else, I am truthful.  Every year I find myself resolving to try a few new things in the kitchen and it does add a bit of excitement to my routine that can be mundane at time.  All wives and mothers know the definition of mundane...this I'm sure of!  This year, I resolved to try five new dishes/ways of cooking.  Here goes:

1)  Roast my own prime rib.  Never done this, isn't hard...I don't know why I have never done this!
2)  Roast a pork shoulder.  Again, I don't know why I've never done this.  I frequently cook for a large group of people and really need to find a few main course recipes that are less labor intensive.  By less labor intensive, I really mean I'm lazy and hate to do large amounts of dishes.  Just sayin'
3)  Learn how and attempt to master smoking meat.  Again, never tried this much.  I have a lovely grill with a smoking compartment and everything.  It seems that I am seldom home long enough to attempt a recipe that requires several hours.  This is sad.  Maybe I should resolve to simplify my life and schedule.....that's another post.
4) Make bread from a starter.  I'm a pretty fair bread maker, but I have never attempted a sourdough or Amish friendship bread from start to finish.  As I type I have a sourdough starter going and just put my first batch of dough to rising.  I am excited!!!!

Okay, y'all.  We'll see how this goes.  How about my readers...does anyone have any food resolutions they would like to share? 

My baby has her first crush...

This is so epic to me I feel like it deserves a post.  Babygirl just turned 6 and hubby and I have had several conversations about our surprise that she has no interest in boys.  My husband and I both had boyfriends/girlfriends before kindergarten.  Now, don't get me wrong...I've been pleased that she was lagging behind!  Right before Christmas break, I noticed one particular name coming up over and over in our discussions concerning school.  I often volunteer in her class (not as much as I'd like due to time constraints) and Loren keeps me updated on her classmates because she knows I love them as much as she does.  I cheer for them and often pray for them from the sidelines. I said, the name Jackson was being said over and over.  Then google eyes appeared and I knew we were in trouble.  Lol.  The kids are back in session after winter break and the talk has once again ramped up.  Now, Jackson seems to be simply "Jack" to Loren.  May not sounds like a big deal to most, but my girl is incredibly proper and doesn't abbreviate anything.  Finally, I decided I would ask her about this. 

Me:  Hey Loren, what's the deal with you calling Jackson "Jack".  Did the other kids give him a nickname?
Babygirl:  (Giggle, giggle)  No mom, it's something IIIII call him. 
Me:  Oh (at this point I'm speechless.  Do I risk embarrassing her by asking more or do I just drop it!?!)  I dropped it, btw.

Yesterday I get informed that Jack is allergic to cats, where he lives, that he wears the same Sketchers as her only a different color and that he got to lay beside her in the hallway during a recent tornado warning.  She added that she felt safe since he was beside her.  LOLOL!!!  Oh my.  I giggled and said he does seem to be strong and such a gentleman.  Babygirl beamed up at me and said " I knew you would agree with me!"

Heaven help us all!  Lol....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cream biscuits!!!

Oh how I love these biscuits.  Anytime I can combine a ubber simple recipe with a consistently delish result, I am a happy momma.  My dear husband, who doesn't like biscuits unless they are out of a can (his momma did him wrong!), actually likes these.  This recipe is my staple biscuit recipe and is my go-to when I have my husbands family here for Christmas morn.  Paula Deen has this recipe available on food network, but I am quite sure she, like the rest of us, has happened upon this one somewhere along the way.  My mom has made this recipe for years--really as long as I can remember.  So, while I like to give credit where credit is due, this one is beyond me. 

I wish I had pics for y'all, but my laptop has gone on strike, so you will just have to take my word on one thing.  These biscuits rise fantastically while being baked.  Rolling out a 3/8" biscuit will result in a end result of 1 1/2".  Perhaps best of all.....the biscuits always have a lovely crack right in the middle that allows then to be halved so easily.  May not sound too exciting to y'all, but these biscuits really melt my butter (pun intended).  This recipe will make 10 large biscuits or 16 smallish ones.  After rolling and cutting out, I often place them on a sheet pan and flash freeze for later use.  If you do this, you can simply pull them out when ready and stick them immediately in the oven and bake normally.  It's a no fail!  Now, onto the recipe:

2 cups self-rising flour
1TBSP sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream

Mix together flour and sugar.  Slowly add cream.  As I've said before, the amount needed will vary based on your humidity levels.  After making this recipe a few times, you won't even measure, you will just get a feel for what you need.  I always make a well in the middle of my flour and pour my cream in and slowly bring everything into the center with a fork.  Add cream until mixture just pulls together and dump onto a heavily floured surface.  The mixture should be quite sticky.  Knead about Seven times and pull in flour as necessary to make a workable dough.  Roll out to desire thickness, cut and place on a sheet pan.  I place a small pat of butter on each biscuit and cook for 8-12 minutes in a 450 degree oven.

As I said earlier, I always keep these in the freezer.  They can be used for a quick weeknight "breakfast" supper meal, used for country ham and biscuits, thrown on top of beef stew, etc.  The options are endless.  Happy Baking!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Garlic cheese biscuits....

I know I seem to have this huge Italian theme going on here and honestly, we don't eat that much Italian!  The next recipe is really simple and really fattening...sigh.  Even though I love the recipe, I don't fix it too often.  I often make mini-muffins out of these and make a double batch so I have some in the freezer when I need them.  As the gals would say on Steel Magnolias..."this recipe belongs in the freezes beautifully section of your cookbook!".  Many people choose to call these muffins, but I really think the texture is more biscuit-like.

First, preheat oven to 350.  Next combine two sticks of butter (softened), two cups of self-rising flour and 1/2 pint of sour cream.  Mix until combined.  This will serve as the basic recipe.  Paula Deen bakes them without any additions and you might as well, personally I find them a bit bland without doctoring them up in some way.  Now you can add any combination of goodies.  Sometimes I add sharp cheddar and bacon.  Other times I add garlic powder and jack cheese.  Green onion and country ham is olives and jack cheese is  You get the idea, you can adapt these to your tastes and add as few or as many ingredients as you like.  Of course, cooking time will vary based on the size of your muffins or biscuits.  Be advised that these do not brown too much, so I find that as soon as the bread springs back, it is ready.  Experiment with these and you won't be disappointed.  Since y'all know I live for simplicity, I happily report that because of the ungodly amount of butter in this recipe, greasing your pans is not needed.  Woohoo...shortcut alert!

Tomorrow...cream biscuits.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bread #2

Okay, Y'all.  This may just be the most difficult and time consuming post I've ever  My sweet Italian bread...actually it's Kroger's Sweet Italian bread.  If y'all haven't discovered it, you are indeed missing out.  It is sold in a two pack by the deli for 1.99 and for my family of three, I get two meals out of two loaves.  As the title implies, the loaf is slightly sweet and it is very moist. 

You will need:
A 350 degree oven
heavy duty Reynolds Wrap
4 tbsp butter, per loaf (salted)
patience to wait for the loaf to warm

Take loaf and with a serrated bread knife, cut slits in the bread every two inches or so taking care not to cut all the way thru.  You want the bread to stay "hinged".  Place a small pat of butter in every slit and wrap in Reynolds wrap.  Place in oven on a sheet pan, or if you are lazy like me, throw it in directly on the rack.  The idea here is to simply heat the bread through and melt the butter. 

My family and friends go CRAZY over this and they all believe this is  This pairs very nicely with spaghetti, lasagna or really any type of pasta.  I will also admit to cutting this bread thin and putting a healthy dose of Nutella on.  Yummy.  Enjoy, y'all.  It really doesn't get much easier or better than this.  Thank you, Momma!

Tomorrow,  Garlic cheesy biscuits!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's cold and I need carbs...

Well, not really.  My butt would probably disagree with me on this one...In the winter I crave carb-laden foods.  We have finally had our first serious cold snap and bit of snow.  Because of this, I find myself thinking about preparing meals that are carb heavy..surely I am not alone in this.  I thought it might be kind of fun to post some of my go-to bread recipes.  My husband does require some type of bread with every meal.  While I enjoy making bread, I don't do it that often.  Who has the time?  So, I've found a few recipes that are quick and easy and I pretty much wear them out.  lol.  All of these recipes can be made in 10 minutes or less and require NO special ingredients, yeast or rising.  The first recipe must be credited to my girl Ree Drummond.  Ree, also known as the Pioneer Woman, has some fab recipes and my family usually loves them.  Ree does not know that she is my girl, but in my heart she!  In her cookbook, she has a recipe for olive cheese bread and it is to die for.  I fixed the recipe along with a regularly garlic bread for my daughter's birthday party.  If I was a bettin' gal, I would have bet the garlic bread would have gone first, but it was hardly touched.  As usual, I did change the recipe a bit, so I will put mine here and note the differences.

1 loaf crusty french bread (I used a loaf from Sam's)
1/2 cup Hellman's mayo
1/2 cup Monterrey jack
1/2 cup colby/monterrey jack
1 stick salted butter, room temp
7 oz jar of green olives, chopped
14 oz can black olives, chopped

Cut loaf of bread in half.  Combine all ingredients after shredding cheese.  Schmear on bread.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or so.  You will have a gooey, decadent mess.

This bread is good hot, warm or even cold.  My husband who hates olives will even eat this.  I promised to tell you the changes I made, so here goes:

Ree added 2 green onions, chopped and instead of the cheese mixture I chose, she did a whole cup of Monterrey jack.  If I'm being honest, the only reason I chose the cheese mixture above is because that's what I had on hand.  It was sooo yummy, who am I to change it.  Ha! Really, really good with anything Italian.  Bread can be prepared ahead of time and frozen.  Just allow to defrost for 30 minutes or so before cooking. 

Tomorrow (hopefully), my Sweet Italian Bread!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A rant....

I am going to break away from my typical food postings and just speak my mind for a minute.  Today I started a new semester.  Really shouldn't be that big of a deal, I'm practically a pro at this point, but for some reason, each new semester always feels like the first day ever.  What will my professors be like?  Will they be fair or difficult?  Will I like my classmates? Will I do well?  All typical questions I suppose, but today was much worse for some reason.  My six year old, who is still recovering from her t&a, was sick.  Not so sick that she couldn't go to school, but really borderline.  Today, while navigating the newness of new classes, my daughter was on my mind.  All the familiar questions and emotions of a new semester were rushing through my head along with new ones.....Why did I wait until I had a child to pursue a degree?  Is this even fair to my husband and daughter?  Can I really hold out with this insane schedule I currently have until I graduate?  Will this very expensive piece of paper I am working towards really be worth the effort?  Will my child make it through the day and if not, who will pick her up?  My parents work, my sisters are in school....I have no back-up.  It's stressful. 

As I sat in class pondering my life (or lack of it), I began to study my classmates.  Suddenly I felt very old.  I was surrounded by fresh-faced young ladies who were fresh out of high school.  Most were obviously carefree and probably attending on mommy and daddy's money.  So carefree in fact, they couldn't even bother to dress professionally.  Most were in sweats, wearing no makeup and had their hair up in ponytails.  Don't get me wrong, I am no diva by any means, but I felt out of place in my white button up and khaki pants.  My face was sporting a ligh application of Bare escentuals and my hair was pulled back in a neat ponytail with sideswept bangs.  For those of you who don't know, my major is elementary education and I shared that major with a huge portion of my classmates today.  Despite it's low-pay and social status, the field of education is a white collar, professional career.  As I continued to observe my fellow classmates, I became increasingly disgusted by their lack of preparedness and concern.  Few students had even purchased the required books for class!  Really?  I also can't forget to mention that 65% of the class came in late and saw nothing wrong wilth leaving their cell phones on during a lecture. 

While I won't continue to bore you with details, I left classes today feeling a bit sad.  After spending the day surrounded by our future educators, I feel our poor children have a hard row to hoe.  We do not need teachers who have gone into the field for the "cushy" 175 day work schedule only.  Our children deserve the undivided attention of a teacher who DOESN"T lecture with her cell phone constantly in her hand.  Our children deserve the kind of teachers that I consistently had as a child.  Persons that strived to make a difference..all the while maintaing a professional, moral presence.  Ugh.....Sorry for the rant, but I just had to get that off my chest.