Crumb Coffee Cake

 

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Mother’s Day is upon us and I wanted to kick off the celebration with a delicious coffee cake recipe. The flavorful cinnamon crumb layer is extra thick and sits atop a fluffy piece of vanilla-buttermilk cake.  It’s a special treat that goes well with breakfast, brunch, or as a dessert. Another bonus is the coffee cake is even better the day after it’s baked, establishing it as a great option for a make-ahead menu item.

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My mother actually introduced this recipe to me shortly after I had Smith. She stayed at our house for several days to act as a private chef, housekeeper, and grandmother extraordinaire as we adjusted to our new life as a family of three. We were so grateful for all she did for us in those first few weeks as new parents and I remember experiencing a feeling of homesickness when she left, the kind of homesickness I used to feel when I was eight years old and at a slumber party.

It turns out we never stop needing our mothers. I still talk with my mom nearly everyday and seek her advice on several occasions. Now that I am a mother myself, I have an even greater respect for my mom. She is determined, independent, intelligent, and friendly to all she meets. My mother is also fiercely passionate about politics and she can turn a simple conversation about bananas into something involving the government in less than five seconds. But above all that, what I love most about my mother is her fantastic wit and sense of humor. She can always make us laugh until it hurts. Thank you, Mom, for being the best mother to us. Your children and grandchildren love you so much.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Crumb Coffee Cake

Yield: 8-12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tablespoons (1 and 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature1
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature2
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform  with butter. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with 1 Tablespoon of flour and tap out the excess. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir the flour, sugar, and salt together. Add in the pieces of butter and stir on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of the flour mixture.
  3. Mix the baking powder and baking soda into the remaining flour mixture. Add the room temperature buttermilk, egg, and vanilla and mix everything together until the batter is smooth, fluffy, and resembles frosting – about 2 full minutes. Transfer the batter into the prepared springform pan and spread evenly.
  4. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the reserved flour mixture. Mix with a fork until well blended. Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter and use your fingers to press them lightly into the batter. Bake the cake until the center is firm, about 55-60 minutes. Place on a baking rack and cool for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan. Allow cake to cool completely before serving.

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction, who adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated

Local Love: Covered Bridge Creamery

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Tucked away on the back roads in Charm, Ohio is a place called Covered Bridge Creamery. It’s owned and operated by the Robert Mast family and is home to our favorite source of local milk. I first discovered the milk when the gallons appeared on the shelves of the grocery store where I shop. It happened to coincide with Smith’s transition from formula to cow’s milk and I was intrigued. I purchased a gallon and we were very happy with the product we received.

Then, a few weeks later, Jayne from Honeyrun Farm left a comment on one of my Facebook pictures and informed me that she and her family make special trips to the Masts’ dairy farm just to stock up on milk. With her enthusiastic endorsement, I excitedly suggested that Robert, Smith, and I go to check it out. I’m so glad we did.

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It turns out Covered Bridge Creamery is less than five minutes from our house. It’s also very close to where my childhood Amish babysitter, Tina, lived when we were young. She was the babysitter my sister and I purposely locked out of the house. We made her cry and ended up in big trouble from our parents. Poor thing. Wherever you are, sweet Tina, I hope you are doing well. I’m sorry we were awful to you. 

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But back to the creamery. It’s nestled in a quiet and picturesque location. Not surprisingly, there is a covered bridge on the land where the animals traverse. The milk is produced from only 20 cows, all of whom happily graze on the grass of the multi-acre pasture and are fed non-GMO feed as well. The milk is processed using vat pasteurization. According to the UC Berkely Wellness Page from December 2014, “In regular pasteurization—the standard method used by large dairy operations—milk is heated to high temperature for a short time (161°F for 15 seconds). In vat pasteurization, milk is heated in small batches to a lower temperature for a longer time (145°F for 30 minutes) and then rapidly cooled. Flavor is better preserved, and usually the milk is not homogenized, so that a layer of cream coats the top.” This means the milk is perfectly safe to drink and it also means you have to shake up the milk before you drink it or you may end up with chunks of cream in your glass.

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On site, the Mast family has a refrigerator with gallons, half-gallons, and pints of their whole milk along with chocolate and strawberry-flavored milks. They operate on the honor system and have an empty coffee can where you can leave cash and take what you wish.  I have been to the farm a handful of times and I usually see Mr. Mast. He is a friendly and hard-working man and is patient with my barrage of questions.

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The Covered Bridge Creamery seems to be doing very well, both locally and outside of our region. Their milk appears in the Granville farmers’ market and he informed me they are expanding their processing space as well. It’s pretty neat to be able to see exactly where the milk we consume is coming from. Especially when it’s a place like Covered Bridge Creamery.

If you are in the Holmes County area, do yourself a favor and visit this lovely operation. The address is 4568 T.R. 370 Millersburg, Ohio.

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Full Disclosure: This post was not sponsored. It is part of my effort to highlight my favorite local places because I think they should become your favorites, too. :)

Baked Blueberry Lemon French Toast with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

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This past weekend, I had a few of my very dear childhood friends over for brunch. It was really lovely catching up with these ladies and I am always amazed to see how we each have embarked on our own paths and yet that bond we once had still remains strongly intact.

Now that I have a child of my own, I often wonder what the most important factors are in determining the type of person an individual becomes. Parenting? Siblings? Birth order? Peers? Geography? There are several variables, that is certain; but I know that the group of friends a person surrounds themselves with has to have a significant role in development.

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I was very fortunate to have had a great group of girlfriends when I was young. They were (and still are) very kind, compassionate, and empathetic human beings. We went through those awful and awkward middle school years together and had very immature moments; but we sincerely cared about one another.  I can recall a particular instance, in seventh grade, when a group of us were on a hayride and one of the boys on the tractor trailer said something mean about how I looked and Andrea swooped right in and put that kid in his place and then reassured me that he was “such a jerk.” She may not even remember this event now, but I am eternally grateful.  While most 13 year old girls would have been more concerned with fitting in, Andrea didn’t stand for that kind of rudeness. I think that’s why my parents always loved her so much. There are countless other warm memories the group of girls and I share and some of those were recounted as we dined together. It makes my heart happy and very thankful.

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Robert was working on Saturday morning so I tried to prepare most of brunch in advance because it’s sometimes challenging cooking while Smith pulls dirty diapers out of the Diaper Genie or uses my eyeliner pencil as a crayon on our bathroom floor. One of those items I prepared in advance was this baked blueberry lemon French toast with fresh blueberry sauce. I used day-old sandwich bread because stale bread is the best type of bread to soak up the custardy goodness in this type of dish and assembled the French toast the night before. All I had to do the next morning was preheat the oven and pop the dish in the oven.  I also made the blueberry sauce to accompany the French toast the day before. Perfectly simple.

In addition to this recipe, I also served:

I had a wonderful time reuniting with these wonderful women and I think they did, too. Have a great weekend everyone!

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Baked Blueberry Lemon French Toast

Yield: About 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 loaf of day old French or Amish sandwich bread
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
  • Cinnamon sugar to sprinkle over mixture (1 tablespoon ground cinnamon plus 3 tablespoons sugar)

Directions

1. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Add the bread cubes and mix until coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the French toast. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the bread to soak up the custard mixture.

3. The next morning, when you are ready to bake the French toast, remove the dish from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 degrees (putting a refrigerated casserole dish directly into a hot oven can shattered the dish!). Bake until the top is golden and the filling is set, about 60 minutes.

4. Place onto serving plates and top with blueberry sauce.

Fresh Blueberry Sauce

Yield: About 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

1. Place the blueberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, or until the berries have plumped and released their juices.

2. In a separate, small bowl stir together water, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Whisk this mixture in the blueberries and stir until mixture is thickened, about 2-3 more minutes.

3. Remove from heat and serve over French toast, on yogurt, or over baked brie.

Source: Blueberry Lemon Baked French Toast- Giada De Laurentiis, Fresh Blueberry Sauce- Annie’s Eats, who adapted it from David Lebovitz

Food Memory Friday: Blackened Chicken with Black Bean and Corn Salsa

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The summer Robert and I were married, I was finishing up my physics pre-requisite for graduate school and my schedule allowed me extra time to cook for us each night. Those were the days. I was able to work out every morning and I happily perused cookbooks and magazines for menu ideas. I also consulted with my mother a lot as I tried to figure out my way around the kitchen and she introduced me to this recipe. She’d made it a few times before and it was a delicious hit. Feeling confident, I collected the ingredients I needed. I was happy to find that I already had everything in our apartment. The chicken breasts I was using were frozen, but I figured if I allowed them to thaw for a few hours, I would be in good shape by the time I was ready to make dinner.

Fast forward a few hours and I followed the recipe to a tee. The kitchen smelled wonderful as the food baked in the oven and it looked gorgeous as I ceremoniously placed dinner on our table. We each served ourselves a piece of chicken and dug in. A few bites in, Robert turned his fork upside down and examined the piece of chicken pierced through its prongs closely. “This chicken is really chewy,” he said, “is there something different about it?” I assured him that it was the usual chicken I always purchased and I took his plate to check it out myself. I cut the chicken in half and scraped the salsa away to reveal a delightfully raw piece of chicken. The center was still cold and nowhere near the safe temperature recommended. My heart sank and I apologized profusely. Bert reassured me we could just pop the chicken in the microwave, which we did, but we both had not-surprisingly lost our appetites by that point. On the bright side- neither of us ended up with any food-borne illnesses and I learned a very valuable lesson in defrosting chicken that day.

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Here we are nearly eight years later and I still make this dish a few times a year. Every time I do,  it seems like one of us will bring up that chewy chicken I served just a few weeks after we became a family. We laugh and then we both furtively check our chicken to make sure it is indeed cooked through.

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Blackened Chicken with Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Yield: 4 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 15 oz can (1 1/2 cups) black beans, drained
  • 15 oz can (1 1/2 cups) corn, drained
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Olive or coconut oil
  • Sour cream, green onions, avocado, tortilla chips (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the black beans, corn, and salsa in a 9×13 inch casserole dish. Set aside.

2. Combine the chili powder, garlic, salt, and cumin in a bowl and pour into a thin layer on a plate. Dip each of the chicken breasts in the spice mixture and use your fingers to “massage” the rub evenly on each piece of chicken.

3. Heat olive or coconut over medium-high heat in a large saucepan until hot. Carefully add each piece of chicken to the pan and sear the chicken on each side, until blackened, about 2-3 minutes each. Transfer the pieces of chicken to the casserole dish with the black bean and corn salsa. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and top with shredded cheese and other toppings, as desired.

Source: Taste of Home

 

How to Make Delightful Hard-Boiled Eggs

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With Easter right around the corner, it seemed like the perfect time to talk about hard-boiled eggs. They are fun to decorate and they are even more delightful to eat. Since we’ve moved from Columbus to the country, I’ve gotten into the habit of purchasing fresh. local eggs because they are readily available and scrumptious. Though the fresh eggs are fabulous, I quickly noticed they are very difficult to peel if I hard-boil them.

With a little google research, I discovered this is likely due to their freshness compared to eggs commonly found in grocery stores. In very fresh eggs, the inner shell membrane adheres tightly to the egg white, making it trickier to peel away the shell without puncturing the cooked white. As the egg is exposed to air for longer periods of time, it loses some of its protective coating and that bond between the shell and the white becomes weaker. Translation: older eggs are easier to peel.

But what if you can’t wait around for a few weeks to allow those eggs to age before you need to cook up a batch of hard-boiled beauts? Fear not! I have successfully used this method for the past 2 months. The key is to place the eggs in already boiling water. This instant high heat allows the egg white to separate from the shell right away for easy peeling. The reduction of heat to a gentle boil prevents the whites from getting too tough.  It results in beautifully-cooked eggs and peeling is a breeze.

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Here’s what you do:

1. Bring a pot of water (about 2 inches high, or enough to  completely cover the eggs) to a full, rolling boil.

2. Carefully place the eggs into the boiling water (I like to use a soup ladle to ensure I don’t burn myself with boiling water).

3.  Turn down the heat to medium to a gentle boil and cook for 11 minutes.

4. Drain the eggs and place in a large bowl of ice water for 15 minutes.

5. Peel and enjoy!

Source: Serious Eats

 

 

Feeding Our Rump Roast: Carrot Cake Toddler Muffins

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One of my new favorite genres of books are the memoirs written by comediennes. I read Mindy Kaling’s book last fall and I recently finished listening to Tina Fey’s book Bossy Pants. I laughed out loud as Tina spoke about her experiences with motherhood and I particularly loved when she sarcastically said something along the lines of, “I have one young child, so naturally I am a parenting expert.”

What is it with becoming a parent that makes us think we know it all? I have to admit that I read some of the parenting and sleep training books before we had Smith. It was a form of nesting for me and it made me falsely believe I was ready to rock it. No refined sugar or processed food, breastfeed for 12 months, formula is evil, formula is wonderful, no television under two, no grains before an infant turns one, introduce grains at 4 months (no- 6 months!), no bottle after age one, let your baby cry it out, never let your baby cry it out. It’s all a little overwhelming and, quite frankly, some of these guidelines flew right out the window after the little one arrived. Of course, the major safety rules are non-negotiable; but, with my very limited amount of parenting experience, I’ve learned there is no one-size-fits-all.

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What matters most, again from what I’ve learned in my short 15 months of motherhood, is finding a method that works for you and your partner and being open to amending those methods about 345 times. The good news is that Smith is thriving at the moment. He is growing and developing well. He loves to eat ice cream with his Grandpa and he sill isn’t the greatest sleeper on earth, but he is not currently dipping my makeup brush in the toilet and that makes me feel pretty good about life.

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I came up with this recipe for my little rumpy last weekend when I was researching some new breakfast options for him besides his beloved baked oatmeal. I used the method of microwaving and straining ripe bananas from my favorite banana bread recipe to maximize banana flavor and decrease the mushy texture that can occur with this overripe fruit. Plus, the natural sweetness from the bananas and Zante currants, which are essentially mini raisins, allowed me to only add a small amount of honey to achieve a nice flavor. I also added oats and used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour to make these babies a healthier whole grain baked good. Smith gave the muffins his seal of approval and the little beeferoni even inhaled two of these muffins for breakfast one morning.

Happy Monday, everyone.

 

    Carrot Cake Toddler Muffins

Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Ingredients

  • 4 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup instant oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup currants

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard-sized muffin tin with muffin liners. Set aside.

2. Place peeled bananas in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl with a microwave-safe lid (I prefer to use glass). Microwave for 4 minutes, checking the bananas halfway through to ensure the juice from the bananas doesn’t overflow. When the 4 minutes is up, place a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the microwaved bananas and the juices onto the strainer. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, using a spoon to gently mash the bananas. After the fruit is well strained, place the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Cook the reserved liquid from the bananas in a small saucepan over medium heat until the juice is reduced to about half the amount, roughly 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the mashed banana mixture and whisk well to combine.

3. Add the carrots, melted butter, vanilla, and honey to the banana mixture and stir until well-mixed. Next, add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4.  In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the oats, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, cinnamon and currant. Add the flour mixture to the banana carrot mixture in 3 batches, mixing gently with a spatula after each addition. Stir just until combined. Don’t over mix!

5. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the batter evenly into muffin liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven an allow to cool on a baking rack until completely cooled. Enjoy! Leftover muffins can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag.

Source: Lolly’s Original Recipe :)

 

Maple Oatmeal Scones

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Weekend mornings. Aren’t they lovely? Some of my favorite moments occur during these times.  Sipping coffee,  chatting with Bert, cuddling up with my little rumpy while he is still cozy in his PJs and clinging tightly to his blanket. It’s simple and wonderful.

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One of the biggest differences that I’ve noticed life with a young child brings is waking up before 6am on Saturdays and Sundays. In my previous life, Bert and I would consider getting up at 7 on the weekends early. Now, “sleeping in” until 7 is considered an amazing miracle from God. On the bright side, this new normal means I am lucky enough to see the sun rise nearly everyday in every season of the year. It reminds me of a quote from Mindy Kaling, “There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.” While I once agreed with the fabulous Mindy, I have to say that I’ve grown to love the sight of the sun sneaking up on the horizon. It’s a symbol of the hope of a new day and I find it both comforting and inspiring. Thanks for summoning me from my slumber to see it, Smith.

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These maple oatmeal scones are a perfect breakfast for those weekend mornings when you have time to take in the morning light and wake up with the birds. They are delicate, buttery, and just sweet enough to feel like a special treat; but easy enough to whip up and eat the same morning. Or, you can easily make them during the week and freeze them until you are ready to savor the moment.

Happy Saturday, everyone.

Maple Oatmeal Scones

Yield: 8-12 large scones (depending on how you cut them)

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Slowly add the cold butter in at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-size pieces. Stir together the buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs and add to the flour-and-butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will be stick and a little crumbly.

2. Pour the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Using floured hands, gently knead to ensure the dough is combined. Pat the dough into a big circle, about 1 inch thick. Dip a knife in flour and gently cut the dough into wedges. Again, the dough will be sticky, so keep coating the knife with flour as necessary and use a spatula to transfer the scones to baking pans lined with parchment or silicone mats. Space the scones about 2 inches apart.

3. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before applying glaze.

4. To make the glaze, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Drizzle each scone with 1 tablespoon of the glaze. Sprinkle with uncooked oats.

Source: Ina Garten

French Onion Soup

I’m posting a recipe for soup in an effort to bring on warmer weather. You see, it seems inevitable that whenever I get ahead of myself, I end up putting my foot in my mouth. I was tempted to “think spring” and write about asparagus, but I know it would backfire and we would end up with snow in May. Kind of similar to the time I was talking to some of my friends that have babies younger than Smith and I told them that infant sleeping gets better. “Smith was sleeping through the night by six months; the waking up in the middle of the night will be over before you know it,” I told them with a sense of relief and achievement. What a foolish, foolish mother I was.

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It turns out there is a wee little thing called sleep regression that tends to pop up when the little ones hit new motor milestones. The sleeping gets better, but then it takes a wild turn and you find yourself sprawled out on the floor of your baby’s room with your hand wedged inside his crib at 3:30am. It’s a humbling time. As a result, I’m embracing the cold with this French onion soup to coax the number on the thermometer upward.

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French onion soup combines two of the world’s most glorious ingredients, melted cheese and caramelized onions, to make a special  lunch or a great main dish for dinner time. It warms the stomach and the soul.

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French Onion Soup

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 onions, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • Loaf of artisan bread (or whichever bread you prefer)
  • 1/2 lb sharp swiss cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and sauté until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes.

2. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme.

3. Sprinkle the onions with the flour and stir to ensure the onions are well-coated. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn’t burn, and cook for 10 minutes .

4. Add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

5. When you’re ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the swiss cheese and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Ladle the soup in bowls and add the toasted bread slices to the top. Serve immediately.

Source: Tyler Florence 

Homestead Living: Amish Sandwich Bread

IMG_5550 I almost titled this post, “White Amish Bread” and realized that didn’t really sound right. Kind of like when I said my brother earned his “small pilot’s license” or my parents looked at a house where the kitchen was described as a “big wife-loving kitchen.” It’s all in the word combinations, folks, so Amish Sandwich Bread it is. IMG_5539 The Amish community is well-known for growing, canning/preserving, and making the vast majority of their own food. Though they too have evolved with the times and rely more on processed and pre-packaged ingredients, from-scratch cooking and baking is nothing new in their book. The new movement that is striking the rest of our nation, is old hat for them, and the idea of homestead-living is probably something they would find humorous.

IMG_5615 (Smith and his cousins) I’ve been wanting to find a good recipe for sandwich bread for several months now. After trying a few different versions, I found this one and it’s one that our family has been enjoying for the past few weeks. This bread is very easy to make, it yields 2 loaves, and it’s delicious. It is soft, slightly sweet, and is sturdy enough to hold sandwich fixings.  I attempted to improve the nutritional value by swapping in whole wheat pastry flour in place of some of the all-purpose, but the texture was just not as good. Whole wheat sandwich bread is my next quest. IMG_5541 Have a great weekend, everyone. Amish Sandwich Bread  Yield: 2 standard loaves Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water to form an egg wash (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together milk, water, sugar,  and yeast. Cover and allow the yeast to activate and foam for about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in salt and oil into the yeast mixture.
  3. Using an electric mixer with a dough hook, slowly add flour one cup at a time mixing well after each addition. Mix for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place dough in a well-greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a lightly warmed place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch down the dough and divide into two equal pieces. Shape into loaves and place in 2 greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 mins or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the loaves with egg wash before baking. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from pans and with a pastry brush, lightly brush melted butter immediately after. Allow to cool completely.

Source: Barely adapted from Bakerette

Smith’s Puppy Pawty

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The little rump roast I am always writing about is a full blown toddler these days. He’s walk-running, trying to ride Athena like a miniature pony, throwing tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, and making us laugh on a daily basis. We had a first birthday party for him last month and, boy, did we have fun. Our immediate families and close friends joined us for a little shindig that involved lunch, cake and ice cream, and opening gifts.

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To highlight the adorable relationship between Smith and our dog, Athena, I decided on a puppy theme for the gathering. I kept decorations pretty low key by making some garland with cardstock and colored baker’s twine. My mother-in-law printed pictures of our rump roast and Athena together to display throughout our house.

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I didn’t get any pictures of the non-desserts, but the menu included:

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While this PAWTY was definitely a celebration of our ham ball’s birth, it was also a celebration for the birth of new parents, new aunts and uncles, new cousins, and new grandparents and great grandparents. This past year was definitely not all sunshine and lollipops, but it was an absolutely life-changing and incredibly amazing time that we will not soon forget. It’s difficult to put into words how it feels to be given the gift of motherhood. When I sit and think about the love I feel for my son, I can only describe it as a physical symptom of a combination of butterflies in my stomach and chest tightness. As I type that out, I realize It doesn’t sound pleasant-perhaps it may even sound like I need to find a cardiologist- but it’s a good thing. A wonderful thing. Happy birthday, my sweet boy.

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