back to it.

August 20, 2013

Summer is officially over for my fam.
Jaymin started school Monday.
ALL DAY school.
As in, drop him off in the morning, pick him up in the afternoon,
and he eats lunch there.
It's weird. More on that later.

Last week I started forcing myself into a routine again
to get ready for back to school.
Laundry, bread making, bathroom cleaning.
Okay, I haven't gotten to that last one yet but its on the agenda.
So I thought I'd answer some recipe and meal questions
since I'm in domestic mode.

Let's start with bread making.
I make 2 loaves a week.
One gluten free, one regular.
It's cheaper and healthier and that's pretty much why I do it.
Not for the "joy" of it like some women out there. ;)
Then again, it is quite exhilarating to watch your bread rise, smell it baking in the oven,
and then eat a hot steamy slice with butter and honey dripping off it it...mmm.
I reserve the right to the first slice as the appointed bread maker. ;)

I use this gluten free bread recipe and pretty much follow it to a tee.
This lady does an excellent job giving the step by step process
and what to expect in consistency, texture, etc.
The first time I made this I had trouble getting it out of the pan after baking,
so now I line my bread pan with parchment paper.
Spray a little cooking spray in the pan first and it helps the paper to stay put.

Then the loaf just lifts right out.

This is the recipe I use for our regular bread.
It's simple and easy - a win win.
But I don't have a bread machine so I mix the ingredients in my kitchen aid
and let the dough rise in the bowl (covered with plastic wrap) for 1 hour.
Then knead, place in a buttered bread pan and let rise for another hour.
I was making it with half whole wheat flour and half white
but I could never get it to rise very well (whole wheat flour is so dense)
so currently I'm just making it with regular unbleached flour.
Not super healthy but hopefully healthier than store bought.

I mentioned that yeast and I don't get along.
It could be contributed to user error but whatever. ;)
Thankfully, I finally figured out what works for me.
I buy my yeast in a jar instead of the little packets
and read somewhere that it stays fresh if you keep it in the fridge.
Also using non-expired yeast helps. ;)
I go through a lot more of it these days so that's not hard.
I also turn my oven on to a low temp and set the dough on top to rise.

I usually make homemade chicken nuggets once a week.
They're such an easy go-to, they taste good and its a dinner my kids actually like.
Jami shared her awesome recipe last year so I started using that
but now I ground rice cereal (usually chex) in my food processor
and add sunflower seeds, sometimes pumpkin seeds, onion powder,
garlic powder, salt and pepper for a more complex flavor.

I love grinding it up really fine like this cause it coats the chicken really well
and seems more like "real" chicken nuggets.

Some of you have asked about my cream of chicken and cream of mushroom dry mixes.
I went to one of Jami's mom's cooking classes a couple years ago
and got the cream of chicken recipe. It's all I use now.

cream of chicken dry mix:

2 c. non-fat dry milk crystals
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. instant chicken bouillon (buy the good stuff)
2 Tbsp. dried onion flakes
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. pepper

- combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container
- as a substitute for a 10 1/2 oz. can of condensed soup, mix 1/3 cup of dry mix with 1 1/4 cup water in a saucepan until thickened. Add 1 tablespoon of butter if desired

I decided to try to make my own cream of mushroom by using the same recipe
but substituting dehydrated mushrooms for chicken bouillon.
It's okay but definitely not perfected yet.

I also make peanut butter chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis.
I have a favorite recipe
(that I usually double and stash in the freezer and bake after children's bedtime)
and a gluten free one that's actually really good.

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies:

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
chocolate chips

- combine wet ingredients
- combine dry ingredients, add to wet
- add chocolate chips
- bake at 350 for 8 minutes (that's in a gas convection oven, you might need to modify temperature and time. Just don't over bake so they stay nice and soft)

gf peanut butter chocolate chip cookies:

1 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
chocolate chips

- mix
- bake at 350, 12-14 minutes

I make these because I'm almost always craving peanut butter and chocolate
but also because I don't have a really good basic chocolate chip cookie recipe
that doesn't use any fake ingredients.
I like to stick with good old fashioned butter and sugar.
If you have one please share!

In regards to my baby food post...

I steal most of my mason jars from my mom.
She has an amazing array of sizes and shapes that fascinate me and find their way into my car.
Usually when I ask where she got something she has NO idea.
Even if it was purchased earlier that day.
BUT. I do know that most of her mason jars and lids come from walmart, so check there.

I have a few more recipe questions to answer and will hopefully get to them next week!

1 comment:

amy said...

I've got to try making this bread. especially the gluten free kind. oh and the pb cookies because now, I am craving them. thanks!

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