Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Ice Cream"

This will be a super easy recipe. In fact - it only has one ingredient. I put ice cream in quotes, because, well, there is no cream in this, no dairy of any kind, just one thing, and that thing is...a...



Just a banana (or two or three)

Take a banana - peel it - freeze it - cut it up - put it in a food processor (or blender) - process - Eat!

And it really does look and feel like ice cream! It just tastes like bananas. :) But it is SO much better for you than ice cream, which is why I will deal with the super banana taste.

Now, you can make it more interesting. I added a bit of peanut butter (to keep it on the healthier end of things, I used the peanut butter you grind right in the store - so all you get is just peanuts) and a drizzle of honey. I am really not a banana fan - but this was excellent.

I've heard that you can add other fruits too, as long as 1/2 of the ingredients are bananas. One banana doesn't make a ton of the tasty treat, but it was enough for me. I think next time I will throw in a few berries as well (without the peanut butter) and it is very tempting to top it off with some chocolate sauce.

As seems to be a trend here, I discovered this treat at The Kitchn. (Really, if you haven't checked them out you should. They also have some great kitchen ideas - I think there was an article today about movable islands - which I should check out.)

Speaking of movable islands - Lost starts in less than a week!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Doughnuts, Donuts, whatever

One night last(?) week Ohlen asked me for doughnuts. (Time is slipping away, so this could have been earlier in the month than that....) Oh, now I remember - it was last Tuesday. Fitting that I write about this now seeing how it is a Tuesday, and Tuesday is the infamous Doughnut Day at our local grocer. It is a magical day where they give out free doughnuts and coffee (yay) in the morning. That morning we had gone and Ohlen got a doughnut and later that evening he wanted another. So I decided to look up a recipe for them. I didn't think I would find anything good, seeing as I don't have a deep fryer and wasn't looking forward to the prospect of frying anything anyways - not a fan. But I searched anyways.

Just a quick aside - I did a quick search of the difference between the two spellings Doughnut and Donut. Most sources call them interchangeable while one blogger insisted that doughnuts are made with dough and the others... aren't.... I'm going to go with the interchangeable call. I use the long form because I am a nerd like that.

Anyways, I found a great recipe for Baked Doughnuts from, where else, the Kitchn Blog. They provided a link to the recipe found on the blog I tweaked a few minor details and again used margarine instead of butter. (I should probably switch over. Any thoughts??) I also just did a half recipe - this is the full one.

Baked Doughnuts

1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees (divided)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (1 package)
2 tablespoons margarine
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch or two of nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup margarine, melted (called for unsalted butter.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast and set aside for five minutes. Be sure your milk isn't too hot or it will kill the yeast. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture. I used the measuring cup for this to save on dishes. Stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt - just until the flour is incorporated. With the dough hook attachment of your mixer beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. I would assume you could also mix this by hand. I happen to have some dough attachments so I used them. Here add flour or milk depending on if your dough needs to be more or less sticky. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth. Turn it out onto a floured counter-top, knead a few times (the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.

Move the dough to a greased up bowl, cover, and put in a warm place. I usually use the preheating oven. Let sit until about doubled in size - roughly an hour.

Entertain Child... (optional) :)

Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on your floured countertop. I don't think this is an exact science. I wish I would have made mine a little thicker. Use a doughnut cutter, if you have one, to cut out shapes. If you are like me and don't have one, just use what ever circular items you have available. I used some of the kids small plastic bowls to cut out the large circles and a small plastic container for the inside holes - although I think it was a little too big, next time I will try to find something smaller. Cut out the outside circle only and then transfer to you baking sheets covered in parchment paper. I didn't have any parchment paper, so I used a silicon baking sheet, which worked fine. Cut out the inner circles. (You wait to cut the inner circles as to not distort the donuts while moving.) Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.

More child entertaining, book reading, TV watching... :)

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes. I would start checking around 6 minutes. You really don't want them to over bake. They get hard fast. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and a quick toss in the sugar bowl. Eat right away. I did have left overs and saved them for the next day.

This was a half batch. Don't forget to bake the doughnut holes too! :)

This is a great recipe and I will definitely be making them again. There is alot of possibility for expanding the recipe, adding different ingredients. Mine were over done, as you can see from the picture. They still tasted ok - although they reminded me of a cinnamon and sugar pretzel (which really is not bad.) The rest of the family also enjoyed them, which is a plus. They weren't as good the next day, unless you put them in the microwave first.

Monday, January 25, 2010 Revisited

Almost 6 months ago I wrote about a new website I liked -

6 months later and I still love it! I just ordered a bunch of baby food last week - it came in two days - it was wonderful.

Now there still is the need for some research if you are looking to get the absolute best price. However, in these winter months, it is nice to be able to get some of the cleaning (and other) essentials delivered right to your door.

I have to say, when I got my first package from Alice I never thought the quality would remain the same once the site became more popular, but I'm happy to say that it is still great. Everything that should be taped up is - and put in separate baggies. I will never cease to be impressed by the great packaging. And how quickly the package gets to you. Usually with in 1 - 2 days. Especially with free shipping. Sure the cost of shipping is probably built into the price of the items, but it still feels good not to have an extra few dollars tacked on at check out.

As time goes on the site is getting more and more items. There is still a lack of variety of some items - they don't carry the laundry detergent I use. (I just recently discovered my favorite detergent - love the smell - and seems to not affect the skin or allergies of my family. - SO EXCITED!!) :)

If you are at all interested I would encourage you to at least go to the site and check it out. Look up the items that you usually purchase and compare prices. Let me know if you do and what your experience with the company is like.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Favorites Friday

I thought it would be fun to start up a weekly post about my favorite things. Probably won't be many words, unless the picture needs some explaining. And I can't promise it will happen every Friday, but I'm hoping it will be most Fridays.

Look for another post coming very soon - maybe even within the hour - with some recipes for bread and soup. Perfect foods for a dreary day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


*I started this post Tuesday - and apparently when you do that it retroactively adds it to your blog, interesting. It's like I turned back time... (Yes, I now have an 80s song in my head...sorry)**

Last week my husband and oldest were both a little under the weather. So I decided to make some chicken soup. Over a year ago we went to supper at my aunt's house and she served a chicken and potato soup. It was delicious, so I used that as inspiration.

I also made some wheat bread. The bread recipe was very easy and turned out great. We finished it off in about a week and it was still holding up very well. I've started to store my homemade bread in reused plastic bags in the microwave - it seems to work well - no sign of mold. The bread recipe was found here at

Quick and Easy 100% Wheat Bread
(Makes 1 loaf)

1 1/2 C hot water
1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C honey
1 Tbsp molasses
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups (approx) whole grain wheat flour (I used Bronze Chief)
3/4 cup wheat bran (This is optional, I used a mix of oatmeal, wheat germ, and flaxseed - or you can just use all flour.)
1 package dry quick acting yeast (2 1/4 tsp for anyone else that buys in bulk.)

Combine the hot water, oil, honey, molasses, and salt in a bowl. Tip from the blog where I got the recipe: "If you pour the oil in the measuring cup first then the honey wont stick, and if you dip the tablespoon in the water/oil mixture before scooping the molasses it won't stick either."

Then add 1 cup of the flour to the mix - it will be runny. (See second picture) Stir in yeast.

Add 1 C Flour and the 3/4 wheat bran (or what substitutes you decide to use). Add the rest of the flour in 1/4 cup increments until the dough is still moist but no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. It will still be a little sticky. (You may use a little more or less than is called for)

Then cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 1/2 an hour. I preheat the oven and put the bowl on top. After the dough has risen, place it on a floured surface. Roll it around until it is covered in flour and in a rectangular shape (to fit your pan.)

Grease a loaf pan. I used a glass pan for the first loaf (as you can see in the pictures.) and a silicon one for the second. They both worked fine, however I wasn't very careful when putting the silicon pan in the oven so the loaf "deflated" a bit, but it turned out just fine.

Place the dough in the pan, cover, and let rise again until it is the size you want it to be. Both times I let mine rise for about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 for either 36 minutes if your oven is preheated or 42 if it's not. Enjoy your wonderful homemade bread!

Chicken Potato Soup

3 small chicken breasts
Olive Oil
3 cans Chicken Broth
3 - 4 Carrots, sliced
3-4 Potatoes, cubed
1/2 Onion, sliced or diced (however you like)
Parsley about 1/4 cup
Garlic Powder

* All ingredient quantities can be played with according to your own tastes.*

Pour some Olive Oil in the bottom of an oven safe dish. Put chicken in dish - drizzle with olive oil. Season to taste with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cover and put in oven at 350 until cooked through. (I want to say about an hour, but I can't remember for sure.) Meanwhile, put the chicken broth in a crock pot (or on the stove in a big pot.) Add a can full (or two) of water. Prep the carrots, potatoes, and onion and add to crock pot. Add the herbs, and spices. Place on high. (Probably medium or lower on the stove top. Play with it)
After the chicken is cooked through, remove from oven and shred (or cube - your preference.) and add to the crock pot. Cook for several hours - until the carrots and potatoes are soft.

--In Conclusion--

I made the two in conjunction, which worked out well - except that I started a little late and we ate a little later than I would have liked. I started baking the chicken, mixed up the bread and set it on the stove to rise, prepared the rest of the soup in the crock pot, surfed the web while the bread rose - put the bread into the loaf pan - let it rise some more, took the chicken out of the oven, put the bread in the oven, fed the baby, Yay fresh bread and soup for supper. :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pudding... finally

So I finally made the pudding a couple of nights ago. And then just never felt up to sitting down and blogging about it. Not that it turned out horrible or anything.

Butterscotch Pudding

Before I start, the original recipe can be found here. I switched out a few things for other things that I already had on hand. I usually skip over recipes that include items that I would only use for the recipe and then the rest would go bad, but I really wanted to make this, so I just crossed my fingers and hoped it would turn out ok. I'll put what I used for the recipe, but note what I substituted for.

3/4 C Heavy Cream (they wanted not ultra pastuerized)
1 1/4 C Milk (Original called for whole - I only had 2%)
5 oz Brown Sugar (Original recipe called for Dark, I used light)
1.5 oz Margarine (Wanted Butter)
2 Tbsp Cornstarch (woah, I didn't substitute at all here...)
1 Tbsp Sugar
2 Large Egg Yolks
1 Large Egg
Pinch Salt
Splash Vanilla

In saucepan melt butter on low heat. Add Brown Sugar. Stir to incorporate - cook for 10 minutes. Add salt
Meanwhile, combine dairy and warm up - do not boil.
Whisk and egg and yolks together in a mid size bowl.
Mix Cornstarch and Sugar in a medium bowl. (They wanted sifting - I didn't do it.) Whisk to combine and make a well in the center.

After the Brown Sugar and Butter have cooked add the Dairy mixture and whisk to smooth out. When this mix is hot to the touch, turn off heat.
Next comes some crazy moving and mixing, but I think the purpose is to have very few lumps - and it did serve that purpose.
Ladle a few ounces of the liquid mix into the well in the cornstarch mix. Whisk in small circles and incorporate. Add a bit more.

Ladle and whisk some of the Dairy mix into the Egg mix. Then combine the Egg and the Cornstarch mixes. Whisk that together, and add into the saucepan with the remaining Dairy mix.
Put the pot on the stove over medium heat. Whisk like crazy - your arm will hurt - maybe even cramp. This took awhile. There was a point where I thought the mix was starting to burn so I pulled it off the stove, but kept whisking and this is when it thickened up a little - so I put it back on the burner and kept whisking until it actually started glooping (boiling).

Take off of heat and add the vanilla. Taste test! Add any salt or vanilla as you see fit.

Serve warm or cold.

Pudding Verdict:
This pudding reminded me alot of my mom's butterscotch pie. Which isn't a bad thing. However, it was too sweet for my tastes - and I think the rest of the family's taste. It probably would have been really good with some whipped cream made from some of the extra cream. Although, the next day, after cooling off, the sweetness was toned down. I think if I were to make it again, I would use less extra sugar, or take out the brown sugar and butter part and just make it vanilla pudding. I would like to make it using all the specific ingredients they wanted, just to see what the difference is, but I thought it turned out pretty good. It did exceed the amount of dishes I like to dirty for one recipe, but I'll let that slide this once. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No pudding yet....

The Case of The Unmade Pudding

Exhibit A: The Neverending Cookie Container was empty - and it needed filled. I might have had a mutiny on my hands. I live with a houseful of cookie monsters.

Exhibit B: Yes, I am a gamer. In a very loose sense of the word. I don't have time to be a real serious one, but I still am one. Anyways, for Christmas I got The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, so I've been playing through that. I hear it calling for me right now...

Exhibit C: This is probably actually the main reason. Yes that is a bag of raw sugar - and a mortar and pestle. If you would look in it, you would find crushed raw sugar. Why? Because I am currently completely out of regular white sugar. Not a grain of it in the house. So I thought I would try to use the crushed raw sugar, since the recipe only calls for 1 Tablespoon. It would have worked out great - except that am also currently out of milk. I probably could have used something as a substitute. I have Buttermilk and more cream than it actually calls for - and it might have worked, but it was just too much. I don't want the whole thing to flop because I was experimenting with substitutions. Sooooo my pudding post must wait for another day.

Exhibit C-2: This should go with the last, but I didn't take a picture. Our second vehicle has a flat tire, so Jonathan took the tire to be mended yesterday - so I didn't have a car with which to run errands either yesterday during the day or today. Sure I could have gone last night, but I also didn't realize I was out of that much until too late...

Exhibit D: Ok, they really didn't have any bearing in my not getting the pudding made. I just like this picture. I love that the window is low enough that Noah can see out (and the dogs - that is just hilarious.) Oh and it isn't really that cold in our house. Noah is just learning how to pull himself up on things and when he does this in the kitchen he sometimes falls. He has been hitting his head when he falls, so we started putting the hat on him to protect his noggin from all the banging around oh the hard floor.

Hopefully, I will have a pudding post for you tonight or tomorrow morning.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Even the best laid plans...

So my plan for the evening was to try a recipe I found for some Butterscotch Pudding. I've been meaning to for quite a while. But, as I was getting the ingredients together, my oldest was finishing his supper - and brought a bit of it up. Sooo my evening changed quite a bit - with an unscheduled bath for both boys (they sure didn't mind that part) Not sure what the deal was with the vomiting because right after he was running around with excitement about taking a bath. No fever. He's had a bit of a cough, so that might have been the culprit.

So look for that recipe coming soon. (Hopefully) And more recipes after that. I really like blogging, but I've been a little unsure what to blog about. I think I've decided to mostly blog about food stuff. And, of course the occasional kid stuff. I hope that since I have a specific topic, I'll be here more often. Look for a blog make over soon too, to go along with those topics.

Hope everyone is enjoying 2010. I ushered in the year in the middle of this game: Mystery of the Abbey. It's kind of Clue meets Guess Who - but more involved, and a lot of fun.