Thursday, November 11, 2010

Live and learn

I'll apologize for my absence, but in all honesty, I don't know what happened to my ability to make things work the other night.  It seemed my cinnamon rolls had one thing after another that went wrong and after careful deliberation I decided it was all my fault.  Did you know you could kill yeast?  I knew I could, but had never succeeded in killing the little guys before.  Mission accomplished.  I have now murdered a "packet" of yeast.  You know what's even better?  Proofing yeast at midnight to mix into dead dough that you have promised to the birthday girl for the next morning's breakfast.  The reason I have the guts to tell this story is, dear readers, everything turned out all right in the end!  The cinnamon rolls were marvelous and the children (especially the birthday girl) gobbled them down.  They were intensely cinnamony and soft, so I will now pass on this recipe that has become tried and true.  For the record, this was modified just a hair from my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, which I adore.  You will need, 2 1/4-2/1/2  cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 cups of pastry flour, 5 tsp of vital wheat gluten, 1  package  active dry yeast, 1 cup milk, 1/3  cup butter, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/2  teaspoon salt, 3 eggs for the dough.  You will need 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup of butter, softened, for the innards.

Prep:  In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 1/2 cup pastry flour and the yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat and stir milk, 1/3 cup butter, the granulated sugar, and salt just until warm (120°F to 130°F) and butter almost melts; add to flour mixture along with the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Add the 5 tsp vital wheat gluten.  Then, stir in as much of the remaining flour (in equal parts pastry flour to all purpose flour) as you can.  NOTE: I usually go for the minimum which is 4 3/4 cups total.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased (butter or canola oil), pre-warmed, bowl; turn once to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (45 to 60 minutes).  Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease (butter or canola oil) two round 9x1 1/2 inch baking pans; set aside. For filling, in a bowl, stir together brown sugar,  1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, melted butter, and cinnamon; set aside.  Roll each dough half into a 12x8-inch rectangle. Spread half of the cinnamon goodness mixture from end to end leaving one inch on one long side. Roll up rectangle, starting from the filled long side. Pinch dough to seal seams. Slice rolled rectangle into 10-12 equal pieces. Arrange in prepared pan.   Cover loosely with waxed paper, then with plastic wrap. Chill for 2 to 24 hours. Preheat oven to 375°F. Let chilled rolls stand, covered, for 30 minutes at room temperature. Uncover and brush the rolls with 1/2 and 1/2.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; drizzle with Vanilla Glaze. (Vanilla Glaze involves 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and enough water to make it drizzle - you can add a little more sugar or a little more water if need be) ENJOY!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Easy Mac n Cheesy Bake

Let's face it, we can't eat gourmet every day, no matter what the circumstances.  But, with an allergy we have to be cautious about which boxes of mac and cheese we pull off the shelf.  I'm very comfortable with Kraft Mac 'n Cheese (which is kindly spmf) because I know the label and I know that I don't have to reread it.  This is one those recipe's that really doesn't take much time and shakes up the Mac 'n Cheese box.  To start, cook 2 boxes Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as the package directs.  Once everything is mixed together add 1 can rinsed black beans, 1 can corn, 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chili's, and 1 cup grated cheddar cheese.  Place mixture in casserole dish and sprinkle 1/2 cup grated pepperjack cheese on top.  Put in 375 oven for 15-20 minutes and serve with Kirkland's Organic Tortilla Chips on the side.  On nights where I'm running crazy I've been known to skip the last part, and everything turned out alright, just a little less melty.  Variation:  You can add 1 lb (or a little less) pre-cooked ground beef or thinly sliced pre-cooked chicken if you must have meat in this dish.  I pre-cook the beef/chicken with 1/2 an onion, 2 garlic cloves, and a handful of red/orange/yellow peppers that have been neatly diced.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Modified Amish Friendship Bread

I love Amish Friendship Bread.  I love to cook it and most definitely love to eat it. Drawback?  Pudding has soy in it.  So, after a little research I made this bread the other night.  I would like to say that for those of you looking to eat without the interesting words that are lab created, this really takes the cake.  (Pun intended)  Warning, not everyone likes to get a little starter.  So, just freeze the little 1 cup of "starter" until you're ready to cook with it.  (Just remember to feed your last starter so you'll have more to bake with)  Promise, it turns out just fine.  You'll need to start by making this pudding recipe that I found on
Stir 2 tbsp. cornstarch and 1/2 cup sugar together in a small saucepan. Stir in 1 egg thoroughly. Add 2 cups milk a little at a time, stirring after each addition. Add 2 tbsp. butter and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Add 1 tsp vanilla.

In a separate bowl (I mix mine together in my KitchenAid, against all popular instructions) mix the following dry ingredients together 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1-1/2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup nuts (optional).
To this bowl add your 1(ish) cup of bread starter , the pudding you made, 2 tbs canola oil or melted butter, and 2 eggs.
Pour batter into two well greased (with butter) and sugared bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jazz up spaghetti night!

I know, spaghetti night is rough here too!  However, there are a variety of ways to keep it interesting and lively in order to keep those you love eating it.  We love DelGrosso Organic Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Sauce/Tomato Basil, Trader Giotto's (TJ's) Arrabiata Sauce/Three Cheese Sauce, as a base for cooking.  Sometimes I'll omit the 0.8 lb Whole Foods Organic ground beef (soy free) and throw in 1 1/2 cups of frozen spinach and 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms (standard or portabello).  Other times I'll substitute a package of Wellshire Farms sausage (think link sausage) and dice it up for "Sausage Sketti" night.  If I'm in the mood for something a little spicy, I'll add 1 cup (sometimes a little extra) of Kirkland's Organic Salsa to the spaghetti sauce (with or without the ground beef).  Even if you're keeping it traditional, don't be afraid to experiment.  A pinch of sage and a dash of oregano goes a long way to really bringing out the Italian flavors in spaghetti sauce.  I've found that most traditional noodles are spmf, but we really love the multicolored noodles from Whole Foods (

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lentil, bean, potato, and sausage soup with quick yeast rolls

This made a nice meal for the family but was definitely time consuming.  You will need 1 bag of bean soup dry beans that have soaked overnight.  After rinsing them add to 8 cups of water with 1 tbs salt  and bring to a rapid boil.  Add a bay leaf and decrease the heat to low and simmer the beans covered until they are tender.  This can take as many as three hours.  (If you are impatient, you can purchase 2 cans of lentils, 1 can of red beans, 1 can of pinto beans and start from this point.  Make sure to take great care to rinse the canned beans and add about 6 cups of water.)  Dice your 12 oz Wellshire Farm's Sausage ( into little triangles and after washing 4 potatoes cube them with their skins intact and add to the pot.  Add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1 Edward&Son's Not-beef bullion cube.  Simmer until potatoes are tender and serve with yeast rolls below.

This is a  modified recipe from 

Put 2 cups whole wheat white flour, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp vital wheat gluten and 2 tsp baking powder in  a mixing bowl.  Microwave 1 cup milk for about 45 seconds (or until the milk is warm to the touch, but not hot) and dissolve 1 pkg quick rising yeast and 4 tbsp of butter.  Mix together wet and dry ingredients. Roll out onto heavily floured surface into 1/2 inch dough and cut your biscuits. Place on the pan. Let rise 1/2 an hour or until doubled. Brush the tops with melted butter or canola oil. Bake at 425 degrees until done (about 10-15 minutes).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Re-purposed Towels

I have an issue with things being thrown away.  We recycle and compost as much as possible in our home.  However sometimes there are still items that meet the end of their intended purpose.  I'm one that looks through magazines and says, "Hey, that's a great idea, I can make that!" or "I know what I can use to do that!"  You know those old towels that have holes in them that you just can't bear to throw out?  Have no fear!  Instead of using paper towels (which you end up tossing because they get ratty) between your non-stick pans for storage cut up these towels and put them between your pots and pans.  If they start to look bad, wash them and reuse.  If you're mighty handy with a sewing machine add a nifty border (ribbon) around the edge for less fraying.  Ta da!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Simple Cheesy Potato Soup

This is soy, peanut, and malt free (spmf) - it can be made dairy free very simply by substituting rice milk products for the milk products listed.

Fair Warning:  Everything I cook is (haha) with a grain of salt.  I never measure anything, so if you find that you like yours with less salt or little garlic, who am I to tell you otherwise.  I'm just giving guidance.

Ingredients: 8 potatoes, 3/4 garlic cloves, salt, 2 cubes of Edward&Sons bouillon (spmf), 1/2 cup chives, pepper, 2 tbs flour, 1 cup cheese (I like mozzarella or cheddar), 1-2 cups milk or half and half, 1/2 cup sour cream

Take 8 fair sized potatoes and wash, somewhat peel, and slice them.  Place them in a pot with just enough water to cover them.  Add 3-4 garlic cloves that have been sliced and salt to taste.  Bring to a boil for about 20 min until potatoes are tender. Decrease the heat to low.  Mash the potatoes with a whisk in the pot and add 1 Edward&Sons Not-Chick'n bouillon cube, 1 Edward&Sons Garden Veggie bouillon cube, 1/2 cup diced chives, 1 tsp pepper, and 2 tbs of flour.  In order to have the flour mix in better, add a small amount of cold water to the flour in a separate bowl then scrape the paste into the soup.  Whisk well.  Now add 1 cup cheese, 1-1 1/2 cups of milk or half and half, and 1/2 cup sour cream (optional) Stir well and ladle into bowls for enjoyment.

Variation:  I like to add 1/2 a lb of sausage (Whole Foods makes a Sage Breakfast sausage that meets the spmf criteria) or bacon, also I've been known to throw in corn, broccoli or cauliflower.  Have fun!


An introduction seems in order.  I've been contemplating a blog for a while to show off my children, the food I cook since my husband is allergic to soy, peanut, and malt, and the small things I get to create when I'm not along for the ride.  I hope to post frequently, especially with recipes.  Hang on tight, nothing is ever as it seems.