Last Minute Dinner Bread

I am pretty good about making lists and doing what I need to do at the times I plan to do them…..most of the time. But with children, you never know what is going to happen. My typical time to start my bread machine for dinner is 3. It takes an hour and a half to make dough, and I pull it out, shape it and let it rise and bake it for dinner. Well, on Thursday, that just did not happen and it was just an hour before dinner. But we were having pot roast and we just *had* to have fresh, warm bread to go with it :).

So I did what every reasonable 20 something would do and I scoured Pinterest :). And I found one that I love! I love it so much I may actually make this even when I do have time.

2 ½ C warm water
6 Tbsp sugar (I used half sugar half honey but use only honey for pizza dough)
3 Tbsp yeast
2 Tbsp oil
6 C flour (can use white or wholemeal)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Stir water, yeast, sugar and oil together. Leave for 5 minutes until it becomes frothy on top. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Knead. Roll out if making a pizza base or shape for use as buns / bread / loaf. Paint with oil or milk (if you can be bothered). Bake at 200C or 400 F for 10-15 minutes for rolls or pizza and 20-35 for large loaf.

*I made one extra large loaf, but next time, I will double the recipe and make three normal sized loaves. I would be nice to only do the “work” once and have two loaves of yummy baked bread in the freezer.

I used bread flour and placed a pan of water in the oven to make the crust nice and crusty, and it was so good warm with butter spread over it, that my dinner was almost cold by the time I got to it.

For lunch the next day, I toasted two pieces and ate it with my broccoli cheese soup, and again, it stole the show :)

 

S’mores Snack

We had the privilege of going to the Cincinnati Zoo and I enjoyed getting to know some ladies from one of the churches that has partnered with us in ministry. As we dove deeper into the zoo, some of the young children became a bit cranky, and one lady came prepared with snacks.

The kids who knew her were excited to for the goodness she gave out in individual zip-lock bags, and the missionary kids soon joined in with their delight.

She gave out small bags with a S’mores assortment. I didn’t need a recipe to copy her, but did inform her that I would replicate the deliciousness for future snacks to go.

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I used the off brand golden graham cereal, semi sweet chocolate chips, and small marshmallows when I made it the very next week. I filled a gallon zip-lock bag 3/4 of the way with the cereal, added 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1 1/2 – 2 cups of marshmallows.

This is perfect for children of all ages. I do have to warn you though, it did seem to turn off my ability to snack in moderation. Divvying the snack after mixing it is a great idea to prevent such a problem.

Oh, and I found this to be the perfect s’more ratio ;)20131111-145859.jpg

I will gladly take any other snack recommendations, I’m sure there are many more awesome snacks I will never think of on my own :)

Streusel Oatmeal

I semi-recently shared a recipe for Chocolate Covered Banana Baked Oatmeal. I have started to eat oatmeal because of the health benefits and because it is supposed to be a nursing super food and I plan on having a baby soon!!

My daughter prefers silly faces to smiling in the morning :)

My daughter prefers silly faces to smiling in the morning :)

My kids and I have been eating it almost every day with tons of different variations but I would like to share my absolute favorite variation with you! It is like having desert for breakfast, but still has less sugar than store bought cereal, and no preservatives.

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Streusel Oatmeal – Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups of milk of your choice but I use Whole
  • 1.5 cups of quick cooking oats
  • pinch of salt
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter
  • Nuts – I prefer pecans, but I’m from FL :)

Directions:

  • Bring milk to a boil, I stir it a bit to prevent the milk from burning to the pan.
  • Add the oats and a pinch of salt when it begins to boil
  • Boil 1.5-2 mins, stirring occasionally
  • I let it rest for a minute or two after I remove it from the heat to let it thicken
  • Top each serving with a slice of butter, a spoonful or two of brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts.

This is probably not a new idea to someone who makes oatmeal often, but if making oatmeal is new to you I would suggest you try and experiment with it! It only dirties one pan and only takes a few minutes to make and is pretty healthy overall. I had to make it several times before it was edible, but I learned that making it with milk makes all the difference! What is your favorite oatmeal add ins?

Even a picky eater will eat something with a spoonful of brown sugar....right? Letting the kids put their own cinnamon makes it extra special :)

Even a picky eater will eat something with a spoonful of brown sugar….right? Letting the kids put their own cinnamon makes it extra special :)

Sausage Dinner

I just have to share my new favorite meal with you! It is super easy and one of the most delicious meals I have ever tasted, and could pretty much eat it twice a week. Granted, I do have issues with moderation…. :)

Ingredients:

  • Sausage links (I use 5 brats)
  • Veggies (I use fresh green beans and chopped carrots, about two cups worth, you could use broccoli)
  • Potatoes (nope, these don’t count as veggies ;)
  • One large or two small yellow onions (not an option, this makes it sweet and flavorful)
  • Package of Italian dressing seasoning
  • 1/2-3/4 stick of butter

Directions:

  • Place brats on bottom of a 9×13
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  • Layer potatoes, veggies and onions on top.
  • Sprinkle italian dressing mix evenly over mixture.
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  • Slice butter thinly and place evenly on top of everything.
  • Cover and bake at 375 for about an hour, or until it smells like heaven and the brats are fully cooked.
  • You could also just cook it in foil but I find it easier to line a pan with foil. If your worried about aluminum in your diet, just use a dish with a bake able cover and omit the foil. I am sorry I do not have an after picture but we eat it so fast that it doesn’t last very long. We alternate different veggies and combinations, but the sausage, onion and seasoning are non negotiable ;)

Waffle-ly Goodness

Waffles

Waffles (Photo credit: jonathan mcintosh)

 

 Everybody loves waffles! They are great with fruit, jam, butter, peanut butter, Nutella, syrup (according to some anyway :) and my personal favorite, powdered sugar. I make them several batches at a time, and just pull out as many as I need at a time. This recipe itself is not an unhealthy breakfast, but what you add on top is up to you.

 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup cooking oil or 1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

 

  • Preheat your waffle maker
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Mix the vanilla, eggs and melted butter in another medium bowl.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the center of your flour mixture.
  • Let sit 5 minutes while the baking powder does its magic.
  • Bake according to your waffle maker. Or just fill it up, close it, and open it when the steam slows down. If your iron has a timer, know I am jealous of your technology ;)

 

This is just the base recipe, you can sub out some of the flour for cocoa powder and up the sugar for extra yumminess, or add nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips or bananas to the mixture for variety.

 

Bread Day

I spent the day doing all my bread prep for two weeks, and I thought I would share a bit about it. I cannot believe how fast time goes by, and how its been a week since I posted! I have been busy with traveling, meetings and then playing catch up when I got home. We missed a meeting so I could avoid any further traveling, and I will be home (or within two hours) until after my baby comes. I have had amazing first and second trimesters every pregnancy, but the last trimester has been difficult the last pregnancy and is getting more difficult this time. Still good; still healthy, but I have limits.

I don’t like limits, by the way, but I’ve learned to embrace them regardless :)

So, in my desire to eliminate as many artificial and unnamed ingredients as possible, I have been making my own breads. I have always made biscuits and cornbread from scratch, but I have upped it to making more waffles and breakfast breads (instead of having cereal), and even making sandwich bread myself.

I don’t make tortillas though. We use them a lot, but I refuse to make them without the tortilla press, and I am cheap. Very, very cheap ;) maybe I’ll find one at a yard sale one day…..

So I started the day by going to a neighbor friend’s house and picking up a dozen eggs. Honestly, I love the fresh eggs, I can’t taste a difference, but I don’t have to worry about my eggs being from sick chickens.

My next mission was to make some butter. I then proceeded to make waffles for breakfast, I made two batches with the help of my tiny army.

Here I am teaching Adelle how to cut the oil, and she thought it was hilarious.

Here I am teaching Adelle how to cut the oil, and she thought it was hilarious.

After we snacked on some waffles, I continued to bake the waffles and started on my batter breads. I made two pecan struesel, and two Strawberry Breads. I used the same recipe for the two, I just put struesel on top of one and omitted the strawberries.

Before making the struesel, I found I was out of brown sugar, so I made more brown sugar. I made a ton this time, I use it often enough.

I then made my biscuits. Biscuit recipes are all about the same, but since I cannot have vegetable oil, I used coconut oil instead. I was a bit worried since coconut oil melts at a lower temperature, but they turned out amazingly flaky and tasted great.

I also used this recipe to make three loaves of sandwich bread. I took my own suggestion and added half wheat flour. We ate some of the bread with dinner, its pretty amazing, but I still prefer it to be all white ;)

His faces are hysterical sometimes! Its hard to catch them on camera though!

His faces are hysterical sometimes! Its hard to catch them on camera though!

I used some of my awesome buttermilk, and fresh butter to make some cornbread muffins.

I spent a large part of my day with this project, but I let the kids help and took breaks to play and attend to their needs. I will have to see over the next few weeks if having these things pre-made and frozen is more convenient than trying to make them everyday.

The finished breads.

The finished breads.

Freezer ready!

Freezer ready!

I had the kitchen cleaned by dinner time, and made some yummy honey mustard/bacon/cheese covered chicken breast. My husband tried it (he doesn’t eat things with sauce, period). He even loved it! He is not a terribly picky eater, but I am happy with this step ;)

Simple but yummy dinner.

Simple but yummy dinner.

I learned some random things today:

1. I’m not good at being prepared!

2. I actually like wearing an apron. Its nice to not have to look for a place to wipe my hands, keeping my clothes clean is an added bonus.

3. Adelle gags at fried squash, even though she eats is raw all the time…

4. I have never made too many fresh green beans, I LOVE having good eaters. It wasn’t easy to get them that way, but I intend on keeping it that way.

5. My children could eat butter by itself, but no, I don’t let them :)

6. My husband loves me enough to eat something he was so sure he would hate!

7. I only partially like it when my husband folds laundry, I may not ask that favor again to save room for more helpful favors. Am I the only wife who thinks like this????

8. Better Homes and Garden magazine is mostly ads, and its not worth the subscription most of the time.

9. I CAN make bacon. I thought I couldn’t, but learned that I just didn’t do it long enough in the past. If its crispy enough, I’ll even eat it, I didn’t start liking bacon until this pregnancy.

10. I even went all day without burning myself, I may be less clumsy than I used to be, or I may now have what my husband calls “Kitchen Hands.”

11. Hearing, “I help you,” “I want to help you,” and “Yay! I did it!” from my one year old is one of the best feelings on the planet.

12. I can grow tomatoes without killing them! At least so far. I’ve barely had to water them though since it won’t stop raining in FL.

13. Moccasins may be cute and comfy with my skirts, but are a hazard in the rain. I had to change my shoes after three near collisions with the ground. Blame the rain, pregnancy or shoes…

This is not relevant, but this is what my kids look like when we arrive at a hotel at 3AM. This picture makes me laugh, and I'm not even sure why.

This is not relevant, but this is what my kids look like when we arrive at a hotel at 3AM. This picture makes me laugh, and I’m not even sure why.

Kale Chips! Yum! (Who knew?)

Kale

Kale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“Mommy, more kale please!!” Now who wouldn’t want to hear their one year old say that?! I’m not joking, he REALLY wanted more kale! I had a slightly lower iron level than my midwife would have desired at my last appointment, so I’ve upped my kale and pumpkin seed intake, and finally got around to trying these chips that have been recommended for weeks by several different people.

 

Ingredients:
Fresh kale, whole leaves or shredded, about 5 whole leaves worth
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Seasoning salt

 

Directions:
Drizzles olive oil on kale
Sprinkle seasoning salt
Bake at 350 for 10-15 mins

 

I now use a ziplock bag to coat the oil evenly. The first time I made it I drizzled it and there was a bit much oil, it tasted amazing, but I’m learning to be moderate so I adjusted :) The seasoning salt also goes a long way, so you don’t have to add much and not worry about sodium intake. This makes a great substitute for chips. Or so I’m told, I don’t eat chips unless I make them myself anyway (I should share that tortilla chip recipe, its amazing!).

 

Do you have any healthy snack alternatives to share? I’m no longer hesitant to try new things :)

 

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