Monday, November 24, 2014

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Honey Rolls

               It was Thanksgiving at our house this weekend! Since they obviously don't celebrate that over here no one has the normal Thursday off so we've just always done it on the weekend. There is something so special about getting up early and getting things ready for a wonderful meal that will be enjoyed by your family later on. I'm pretty sure I smiled all day long.

These rolls were a huge hit. They're soft,filled with wonderful things like whole wheat flour,flax seed,wheat germ or wheat bran if you prefer,honey, and cinnamon. I whipped these up a few weeks ago and tucked them into the freezer and can say that without a doubt,they freeze well, and they will be made over and over and over again.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

1-3/4 cups Boiling Water
1/3 cup Wheat Bran or Wheat Germ
3 TBS Ground Flax Seeds
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/3 cup Honey
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 TBS Active Dry Yeast
1-1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2-1/2 to 3 cups Bread Flour

In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer,pour the boiling water over the wheat bran,flax seeds,salt,cinnamon,honey,and oil. Mix to combine and allow the mixture to cool down between 110-115 F. Add in the yeast and allow to dissolve.
     Add in the whole wheat flour and beat with the dough hook until combined. Continue mixing while adding enough bread flour to form a firm dough. Beat on speed 4 for 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough into a greased bowl,turning once to grease top. Cover and allow to sit in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Gently deflate dough.

Turn onto a light floured surface and divide the dough into 24 pieces. Shape each into a roll and place either on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or two greased 9 inch cake pans. Cover and allow to rise until doubled,about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Bake the rolls 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove rolls from baking sheet or cake pan and allow to cool on a wire racks.

Yield: 2 Dozen
Source: Taste of Home Christmas Cookbook 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Onion French Bread

                   Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving? We are going to have this weekend since that's what works out for the family. I bought my annual turkey in Germany about a month ago and then went back this weekend to pick up one more. I've decided to cook that one up early December and freeze the meat for Christmas day. I really dislike having to cook anything other than a nice breakfast that morning and figured if I got my act together way before the day arrives we should have plenty of things to nibble on.

Like this bread for instance. It will be making an appearance on both days I think. It has such a wonderful flavor from the onion soup mix and it's so easy to make! get two loaves out the deal. One for now and one for later..or one to share..or one to hog for yourself because you deserve it. I was sitting on the couch yesterday morning and I decided to try and stuff the bread before rolling it up. I had some shredded cheese and ham to use up and I can say without a doubt, this bread is awesome when stuffed. I am thinking it will be stuffed with turkey left overs at some point.

** For my Euro people: They don't sell the normal onion soup mixes like we are used to. They do however sell a dry french onion soup mix here in NL and that is what I used. I imagine they would sell something similar in Germany. It tastes just like the stuff back home and I have heard from other expats that they like to use the mix to make dip with as well**

Onion French Bread

5-5-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 envelope Onion Soup Mix..I think I used 4 TBS of my mix
4-1/2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
3 TBS Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
2 cups Warm Water
2 TBS Butter
** Optional egg wash if you want one; egg white mixed with a tablespoon of water**

In a large mixing bowl,combine 2 cups of flour,soup mix,yeast,sugar,and salt. Add warm water and butter. Beat on medium speed with dough hook attachment. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Continue to mix on medium speed until a smooth and elastic dough forms,about 3-4 minutes.
  Place the dough into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled,about 1 hour.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Punch dough down. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 4-5 times and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 14x6 inch rectangle. Starting with the long side roll the dough up. Pinch along the edge to seal into the dough and place seam side down onto prepared pan and tuck the ends of the dough under. Repeat with remaining dough and place along side the other one. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 30-40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celsius. With a sharp serrated knife,make 3- 4 shallow diagonal cuts. Brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack.

** If you decide to stuff the bread at some point,sprinkle toppings onto the dough once you have rolled it out into the rectangle shape and then gently roll it up and make sure to pinch and seal everything to make sure the melted cheese doesn't ooze out**

Yield: Two Loaves
Source: Taste of Home 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lentil and Rice Soup

                   Sometimes I don't want to think about food. I don't want to think about what is for lunch and most of the time I don't even want to think about dinner. I am about to turn 40 and as I look back on my life thus far..I've done a ton of cooking. I started out young and it's starting to catch up with me. I am honestly sick of cooking and I am not sure if I am ever going to like to again.

 I've looked at it in all different thankful you can be home to make your family healthy meals..don't care right now! Be proud of yourself for getting off of 95% of prepackaged foods..don't care right now! Be ever so thankful and proud of your family for not being picky eaters and loving all the meals you make..even the most humble of dinners..Don't care..ok, that's not true. I am actually super happy about that one. My family is forever happy with whatever I place in front of them. I can plop down a huge loaf of freshly baked bread with a salad and they're happy. I'm currently on a soup kick and this one is loved by all of us. It's humble,cheap,filling,healthy,and delicious. Serve it with baked bread or rolls or maybe some crackers. The leftovers store well in the fridge and makes delicious lunches throughout the week.

Lentil and Rice Soup

3 TBS Olive Oil or Butter
2 Shallots,Diced
1 Onion,Diced
1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 tsp. Dried Rosemary
1/4 tsp. Dried Thyme
6 cups Chicken more as needed
1-1/2 cups,green,orange..whichever you like
1/2 cup Brown Rice..I use the quick cooking type
Salt and Pepper to taste or any additional seasonings you might want to add..Make this recipe your own!

In a large stock pot, heat up the oil. Add in the diced shallots and onion. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes,rosemary, and thyme. Continue to cook until the shallots and onions start to caramelize.
   Add the broth and bring to a boil. Pour the lentils and rice into the boiling water. Give a quick stir. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils and rice are cooked to your liking.
  Salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to top each soup bowl with sour cream or feta or with nuts.

** The soup can become very thick while simmering and you made need additional broth if you want a less thick soup. It will also thicken when cooled down and stored in the fridge. To reheat the soup,place into a soup pan and pour in desired amount of broth to bring back the soup consistency.**

Yield: Depends on the size of the serving!
Source: The Elliot Homestead          

Monday, November 10, 2014

Malt Buttermilk Muffins with Chocolate Chips

          A few months ago I came across a container of, Horlicks Malted Drink Powder and snapped it up. I have seen various cakes and cookie recipes that had that as an ingredient. Well they called for the chocolate version,not the original that I had purchased and didn't realize until I went to make a recipe with it. I refuse to be wasteful with ingredients and decided to make the recipe anyway and tweak it here and there. The muffins turned out really moist thanks to my addition of buttermilk and the malt powder gave the muffins a nice wholesome flavor.

By the way, did anyone grow up drinking this? I think our version of this in the U.S. is Ovaltine? I didn't drink it growing up but remember always wanting it after watching A Christmas Story!

Malt Buttermilk Muffins with Chocolate Chips

1-3/4 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Malted Milk Powder
1/3 cup Sugar
1 TBS Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 Large Egg
1/3 cup Mini Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celsius. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large bowl,whisk together the flour,malted milk powder,sugar,baking powder,baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl,whisk together the buttermilk,oil,vanilla, and egg. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly among the liners.

Bake until golden brown,about 18-22 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely. 

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: Kitchenmonki

Monday, November 3, 2014

Spelt Soda Bread

                   As the weather gets cooler my need for all things comfort kick in. I am enjoying my morning coffee with a hit of Bailey's and there is usually a muffin or homemade cookie to go along with it. I am using the crock pot several times a week and there is always freshly baked bread of some kind to go along with it. 

Soda bread is basically a quick bread that reminds me of a giant biscuit. It's best served warm with butter and honey! You can jazz this recipe up by tossing in a handful of parmesan or sharp cheese into the mix or possible adding in your favorite herb. Stick with the original or mix it up..either way it's all good!


              Spelt Soda Bread

600 grams/1lb 5 oz White Spelt or All-purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
14 floz Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celsius. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or if you have one,pop a baking stone into the oven as you heat it up.

In a large bowl, combine the flour,baking soda, and salt..( if using cheese add it in now). Pour in the buttermilk and using a claw-like action,bring the flour and buttermilk together until everything is combined and forms a wet ball.

Turn out onto a floured surface and,using a tiny bit more flour,gently shape the dough into a round,then flatten slightly with your hands. Place your hand under the dough to give it support as you transfer it to your baking sheet. With a large knife,cut a cross into the bread which will allow it to expand as it bakes ( If baking on a stone, place the bread onto the stone,make the cut, and close the oven door).

Bake the bred for around 40-50 minutes,or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom. Allow to cool for 15 minutes or so before cutting into.

Serve with lots of butter and jam or honey or whatever you like!

Yield: One very large soda bread
Source: Bread On The Table: Baking Traditions for Today