Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pumpkin Nut Bread

I made this recipe some time ago but thought it was worth sharing.
It is a 1 1/2 pound pumpkin nut bread.
Very tasty bread. We loved it.

Pumpkin Nut Bread

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tbls butter
1 tsp salt
2 1/3 cup bread flour
2/3 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
3 tbls brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp yeast

I most always just use my bread machine to knead the dough. I always keep track of the dough when it starts to knead to see if it needs extra water or flour to form a nice tacky but not sticky dough ball. I then take it out and form it into a loaf pan, into rolls or any shape I want and bake around 35 minutes at 350°. I use an instant read thermometer and strive for 190° to 195°.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rachael Ray's Buffalo Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad by Rachael Ray

My daughter in law Melissa turned me on to this. :o) LOL!

Serves 4

2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots, available in pouches
2 ribs celery with greens, chopped
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
1 package chicken tenders (12-16 ounces), cut into bite-size pieces
( I used 2 big chicken breasts)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup hot sauce (1 1/2 Tablespoons hot sauce and the rest of the 1/4 cup Taco Sauce)

Pre-heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
Combine lettuce, carrots and celery in a salad bowl. Combine ranch dressing and blue cheese crumbles in a small bowl.
Add oil and butter to hot pan with the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and sear for 2-3 minutes, then add hot sauce. Reduce heat a little and cook five minutes more.
Toss salad with dressing and season with salt and pepper. Top salad with Buffalo Chicken and serve.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bread Baker’s Apprentice: CHALLENGE #4 Brioche

UPDATE: This makes awesome toast. :)
Ok here we go again. :) This is "MY" try with the 4th BBA challenge. It is called Brioche. The loaf didn't rise up as high as I would have liked but you can sure see my braided "S". LOL. The rolls look a lot lighter in color and oh so light in texture.
This loaf is the RICH Brioche using one FULL pound of butter. I have to say that it is 'good' but I wouldn't make it again. Just too RICH. The texture is different. It has a light crumb and the crust is like flaky biscuit. :)
I think I will try the POOR Brioche one day.

WELL, can you see the "S"? LOL!

I do like the rolls best.
Are we having fun yet????

Saturday, May 23, 2009

How To Shape Pizza

Peter Reinhart, author of American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza, demonstrates how to stretch the dough over the backs of your knuckles to form the perfect thin crust, with a slightly thicker lip around the edge—no risky tossing and catching.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bread Baker’s Apprentice: CHALLENGE #3 Bagels

Ok now for my try at the 3rd recipe for bagels. CALLING ALL PRO'S! I have a question so please read through. :)
This was quite an experience for me. I normally do just bread. LOL. Well, I have tried baguettes once, cinnamon rolls and a boule but that's it.
I made the raisin/cinnamon bagels and put cinnamon sugar on the
tops. I find that they are VERY chewy and a tad doughy. Not doughy as in undercooked but you know doughy. I like them but I don't love them. I guess I'm use to the stale harder dried out ones in the store. My daughter in law stopped in and tried one and loved them. :)
As you can see in the photos half of the bagels have a rounded look and others are flat. Why did some of them flatten out like that?
I boiled one minute each side and baked for the total of 10 minutes.
Of course I did my signature "S" in a bagel. LOL!
Would you call these a success or not????
Are we having fun yet??? "YES"!

Monday, May 18, 2009


I made this recipe something like five years ago. I
really have to do this again as it was so yummy.
SO much to do and so little time. :o)
Below is the Focaccia recipe I used. It is a multi-purpose
recipe and the creator is Robert that use to have a yahoo group.
You will see down below the HOW TO for Focassia.
It is a bread that is thick squares that is italian tasting.

Refrigerator Bread/Dough

1 1/8 cups ice water
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons yeast

Place all of the ingredients in your machines fully
assembled pan. Select the dough cycle and press
start. After 10 minutes of kneading stop your
machine, remove the pan and cover it tightly
with plastic wrap secured with a rubberband.
Place the pan of dough in your refrigerator
for 24 hours. After the 24 hours remove the
pan from the refrigerator and place in a
warm to so the dough can warm up. Once
the dough has reached room temperature
(3 to 6 hours) place the pan back in your machine.

Now you have a few choices. You can make a
wonderful loaf of white bread
by setting your machine on the white bread
cycle and pressing start. You
can make focaccia, pizza crust, dinner
rolls or baguettes from this dough
as well. If you are going to make one of
these then set your machine for
the dough cycle and press start. When
the machine beeps...


Remove the dough to a 10x13 baking/cake
pan that has been well oiled with olive oil.
Gently spread the dough out to fill the pan.
If you need to let the dough rest for 10
minutes and then finish spreading it out.
Once the dough fills the pan (including the corners)
cover with a damp towel (not a terry cloth one)
and let sit until the dough has risen about 1 hour.
Take your fingers and make random indentations
in the dough. Don't go over board you just want
some indentations, but you don't want to deflate the
dough. Next drizzle on some olive oil (about 1/8 cup),
sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary or other herb
you like, like oregano, thyme, etc.Then sprinkle with
1/2 tsp. salt (kosher salt is best). Place in a
preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 20
to 40 minutes or until the focaccia is golden
brown. Remove from the oven and remove the
focaccia toa cooling rack to cool.

Pizza Crust:

This recipe makes enough dough for 1 thick crust
pizza or 2 thin crust pizzas. Remove the dough
to a lightly oiled surface divide in half if your
going to make thin crusts. Form each half in to
a small rough ball and let sit for 10 minutes.
Using your hands slowly start flattening the
dough out in to a circle. Then use a rolling pin.
Once you have the dough to the thickness and
size you want move it to a oiled pizza pan, top
and then bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 to
30 minutes or until the crust is golden and
toppings and cheese are hot and melted. If
you wish to cook on baking stone you will
need to preheat the oven for 30 minutes.
Shape and roll out the dough on baking
parchment, top and then place in the oven on
the hot stone parchment and all bake for 20
to 30 minutes or until thecrust is golden and
toppings and cheese are hot and melted.

Dinner Rolls:

Remove the dough to a lightly greased surface.
Divide in to 12 pieces.Shape each pieces in to
a smooth round ball and place in a high sided
baking dish. You want to use a baking dish that
is large enough to hold all 12 dough balls with
about 1 inch of space around them. Cover with a
damp non-terry cloth towel and allow to rise
until doubled (1 to 2 hours). Bake in a preheated
400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the
rolls are golden brown. Remove the rolls to a
cooling rack to cool. Serve room temperature or warm.


Remove the dough to a lightly greased surface. Roll
the dough out in to a log about 12" long. Using a
sharp knife or a dough scrapper cut the dough
in to 3 long strips. Do not cut with a sawing
motion, press down and cut that way. Take each
strip of dough and roll between the work surface
and the palm of your hand to smooth it out and
to lengthen it to a length that is just long enough
to fill on a cookie sheet. Place the dough strips on a
lightly greased cookie sheet, cover with a damp
non-terry cloth towel and allow to rise until
doubled (1 to 2 hours). Bake in a 400 degree oven for
30 to 40 minutes or until the baguettes are golden brown.

For Artesian Style Crust:

This works will all of the above except for the
loaf baked in the bread machine. Before you
place the final item in the oven to bake place a pan
with high sides in the bottom of your oven with
4 cups of boiling water in it. Then place your
bread product in to bake. With the exception of the
pizza you can also spritz the bread with a spray
bottle of ice water ever 1 to 2 minutes for the
first 10 minutes of baking. The combination of both
of these will help give a crispy crackly crust.

"This wonderful artisan style bread has a
wonderfully complex flavor and is easy to make."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cream Of Wheat Bread (one of my favs)

Cream Of Wheat Bread
(2 lb size)

1 1/4 cup evaporated milk
5 tbs. butter
1 egg
2 1/2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 cups bread flour
1 1/3 cups Cream of Wheat, uncooked
1 1/2 tbs. vital wheat gluten
2 tsp instant yeast
I used my ZO Bread Machine to knead the dough and then place most of the dough into a 9 x 5 bread pan and 6 rolls into an 8 x 4 pan. YUM!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

SO many rolls:

I was just sitting here thinking about the next recipe for the Bread Baker's Apprentice Book challenge being bagels. The challenge is sure getting me out of my comfort zone. :) Just like the time I did ten dozen rolls for my youngest sons wedding.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bread Baker’s Apprentice: CHALLENGE #2 Artos Greek Celebration Bread

This is my take of the BBA Challenge #2. I decided
to bake the plain Artos Greek Celebration Bread.
The Christoptomos freaked me out a tad. It looked like an
octopus to me. LOL.
I tried out my new proofing baskets that I got from:
I had never used anything like that before and it is only
my 2nd time trying a boule.
I added 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of extra flour and of
course I again put my initial on the biggest boule. :o) I just had too.
Awesome smell, super taste and the texture is great. :o)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bread Books I have

I think it is really funny that the bread books I have are mostly for Bread Machines as I now use the bread machine to knead only and I form and bake in the regular oven. The only time I bake in the machine is if I want bread and it is HOT, HOT, HOT out. :)

Here are the bread books that I have:

Ultimate Bread by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno
Bread Machine by Carole Clements
Prairie Home Breads by Fertig
Bread Machine Baking by Better Homes and Gardens
The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook by Tom Lacalamtia
The Bread Machine Magic Book of Helpful Hints by Linda Rehberg & Lois Conway
More Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberg & Lois Conway
The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Bible by Beth Hensperger (MY FAVORITE)
7 Bread books by Donna Rathmell German (THESE are my next favorite)
COMING SOON: The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart :o)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bread Baker’s Apprentice: CHALLENGE #1 ANADAMA

Nicole the arthur and creator of the site had thoughts of baking every single recipe "in order" in Peter Reinhart’s outstanding book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread.
She thought she would ask the simple question if anyone cared to join her.
I was the 27th one to join her in her one year endeavor. :)
Last I knew we were over 150 strong and growing. :) The deadline to join is today. I am still waiting for my book to get here but I got the 1st recipe from a friend and created it today.
I put my own special creative touch to the first challenge loaf named ANADAMA by adding my initial to the loaf and instead of the second loaf I did rolls.
I used Polenta in the soak but used fine corn meal for the topping. I like the bread but I don't care for the crunch of the topping at all. I would make the bread again for sure but
not add anything to the top. I haven't been so excited over baking bread in a long long time.
I may do some recipes ahead of time as we are going to be vacationing in August. We are traveling from here in northern NY to California and back on the Harley. :o)
My special thanks to Nicole for getting us all excited about being in our kitchens.

Happy Mother's Day To All The Mom's! :o)

Happy Mother's Day Everyone!
Here is a photo of my best pal (MOM) who passed in 2005!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My first quilt!

Just showing off my first quilt that by the way isn't finished. LOL! I started it in 2001! I still have the borders and binding to do. :o)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Baby Shower Cake and Cupcakes

The baby shower for my newest grandson to be born in June is tomorrow. Melissa (my newest daughter in law) asked me if I would make the cake. I said sure and then when she came to the house the next time we decided on the cake and I suggested a few cupcakes to be sure we had enough. My name writing isn't very good. :)

I will be putting these on top of the cupcakes just before we leave tomorrow.
Winnie the Pooh Edible Cake Decorations

Real Busy Week

It's been a REAL busy week. Today I have to catch up on laundry, pay bills and decorate a shower cake and cupcakes. :)
I'll post a photo later.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ok my first post! Well not really.

My first post? Well, at one time I tried blogging for a while. It just became tedious so I deleted the whole thing. DUH! Of course my first post in my Home and Hobby blog has to be about my family.

First me. LOL! I'm 53 and I have "so" many hobbies. I'll blog about them as I go along. :o)

My husband of 35 years is Albert. He is 54 and loves his Harley, his laptop and then I think "me". He is sick of working. The poor fella has worked since he was 14. He recently quit smoking. Actually it has been 80 days I think. We won't talk about how it has been around here.

My oldest son is Andrew and he works in a lab. He is 29 and married one year to Melissa a 28 year old physical therapist assistant. They are due to have their first son Mason in June. :) We are excited and I can't wait to meet him.

Our younger son is Ronnie and is a sheet rock finisher and he has his own rock band called
He is 26 and his wife of 5 years Erica a home-maker is 24. They have a six year old son named Drew. He is such a joy in our lives.

Right to left:
Erica, Drew, Ronnie, Melissa, Andy, Susie and Albert! Taken 9/8/07