Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sweet & Spicy Snack Mix

This recipe has been requested off & on for a few years now when I've made it.  I've been asked twice in the last two weeks so thought I'd go ahead & share it.  I came up with this recipe while trying to figure out something different to make for a bake sale.  It would sell out every time. 

For this recipe you will need:

3 Cups Chocolate Lucky Charms Cereal (or equivalent.  Basically you want a chocolate cereal with     marshmallows)
3 Cups Corn Pops Cereal
3 Cups Honeycomb Cereal
3 Cups Honey Teddy Grahams
3 Cups Pretzels (Can use twists, sticks, or snaps, or goldfish)
3 Cups Cheese Crackers (whole wheat goldfish, square cheese crackers)
1 Bag M & M's
1 Can Honey Roasted Peanuts
1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp Sugar
6 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Maple Syrup (use the real stuff, it's worth it)
1 & 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Ground Red Pepper (make sure it's fresh)
1 tsp Salt (I usually use sea salt)

I don't have as many pictures of this recipe, but it's an easy one.  Ask questions if I don't explain it well enough here.

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl (through the honey roasted peanuts).  

Melt the butter in the microwave (or on the stove).  Blend/whisk in the sugar, syrup & spices. Put the sugar in to the butter first so it melts, then add the other ingredients.  Pour onto the cereal mixture & toss all over to disperse the seasonings using your gloved hands or wooden spoons.  

Spread mixture out onto at least 2 half sheet pans. I usually line mine with silicone baking mats.

Bake in a 300 F oven for 30 minutes making sure to stir the mix on the pan every 10 minutes.  Allow to cool & dig in.  Enjoy!

Here is what my last batch of the finished mix looked like when it was done.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cinnamon Chip Scones

Found this one when I was writing the other post today.  Thought I would get it posted since it was already written.

I have been on a quest to make a Cinnamon Chip Scone for my tea party class.  I know cream scones are traditional, but I really like cinnamon.

For this recipe you will need:

1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Cinnamon Bits (I will talk more about these below)
2 & 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp. Light Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
1 & 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Butter, unsalted
1 Egg
1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

For the topping:
6 Tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
3 Tbsp. Sparkling Sugar (I'll talk more about this below as well)

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

First thing first you need to soak the cinnamon bits in the 1/2 & 1/2 for 20 minutes. I wouldn't do this for longer because they will weep and then you don't get the concentration of flavor that you want.  If you don't soak them first; you have hard bits in your scones that are unappealing.  I purchased the ones I used from the King Arthur website here.  The picture above are my bits soaking in the half and half.

 While your bits are soaking, go ahead & measure out your dry ingredients into a bowl.  Make sure that you also take your butter out of the fridge.  You want it to soften a little, but not get TOO soft.

Start to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  I do this by hand.  I find that I get less large lumps this way & it also prevents over mixing/blending.

The above picture shows what it looks like after I've worked the butter in to the proper consistency.  The picture below shows where I've taken & pressed part of the mixture together & it's held, but it's also easy to break back up again.  It's hard to describe this, you just need to try it & get a feel for it.  The flour mixture will not press together if the butter isn't dispersed through it properly.  Hope this helps to explain it.

Add your egg & vanilla to the half & half/cinnamon bit bowl & then mix into the dry ingredients.  Do not over mix.  Just get it all to come together.

Turn it out onto a lightly floured board & then roll out or shape by hand evenly.  I worked my into a rectangle because I knew I was going to cut mine with a knife.

Sprinkle evenly with 2 Tbsp. of the topping.  I used a Sparkling Sugar to add a little bit of definition to the surface of the scone.   I just think it's going to look better for the class & eye appeal is important when it comes to plate presentation.

Here are my cut scones before they go into the oven.  You can use a round cutter if you prefer that shape, I was going for 2" squares (I'm going to have to shape my corners better in the class) & that worked out pretty well for me.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool & enjoy!  I had 20 scones come out of the oven, 1 just didn't make it on the tray long enough for the picture.

Keep in mind if you cut your scones larger that you will probably need to increase your baking time.
Also, I read somewhere while I was working on these, if you freeze your scones for 20 minutes after cutting them it is supposed to increase their rise.  I didn't try this, but at some point might try it since I like to freeze doughs & bake then when I'm ready .  It would make for a nice weekend morning breakfast treat to just pull a few scones out of the oven & bake them.  Let me know if any of you try it before I get a chance.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ramen Slaw

This one's for Arlene, who asked me to post this recipe 2 weeks ago or so.  Sorry it took so long!

For this recipe you will need:

5 packages of Ramen Noodles *make sure to have 2 that are ORIENTAL flavor.  I'm going to use 4 the next time I make this...I thought it was a little noodle heavy this time.
2 Carrots, grated.  3 would also be good
1 bag Broccoli Slaw. I'm probably also going to use 2 of these next time. I purchased the Organic version, which was very nice but might have a slightly lower package weight. 
1 bunch scallions aka green onions
6 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar, seasoned
5 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
2 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 Cup Sesame Seeds
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional:  Cashews, Broccoli florets

Break "bricks" of Ramen noodles before opening the packages into 4 or 6 pieces (this saves having to cut the noodles later).  Open packages and set aside seasoning packet. Boil Ramen Noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.  

I grated my carrot directly into my large bowl to save washing extra dishes later.  Slice the green onions & add them into the bowl as well.  I added my bag of broccoli slaw and then tossed in the ramen noodles after they cooled off a little.

While the ramen was cooking I mixed the dressing.  I used 2 of the Oriental Flavor packets that came in with the ramen noodles.  Add the vinegar & oil and whisk to combine.  Taste it & see if you think this needs a little sweetness.  I *think* I added a little light brown sugar to the dressing, but can't remember. 

Toss the dressing onto the mixture, add the sunflower seeds & you are ready to go!  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  After I made the initial batch of this I found some cashews & those fit in really well with this.  I also think some blanched broccoli would also add some more color & a nice crunch to this salad.  As you can tell, I want it to have more vegetables and less noodles next time.

Hope you all enjoy it.  We had this with the baked beans I posted a couple weeks ago & some pulled pork sandwiches. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Come & See Me Cook in May

For any of you that might be in Olympia, Wa. this coming May, I will be teaching an English Tea Class at the Bayview School of Cooking May 9.  I'm currently working on several recipes for the class & it would be wonderful to see some friendly faces there.  Call the school directly at 360-754-1448.  It costs $45 to attend the class, but if you bring a friend it's $80 for both of you. It sounds like it's starting to fill up, so if you want to come, sign up sooner rather than later.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Baked Beans from Dried Beans

I made baked beans from scratch for the first time this week & they turned out great!

For this recipe you will need:

1 LB dried navy beans
1/2 of a med size onion (I will probably use a whole onion in my next batch)
Approx. 1/2 LB of Black Pepper Bacon Ends, you can also use a nice lean bacon with the excess fat trimmed off of it.  See your local butcher to find out if they sell the ends. They usually are priced less per pound.
3/4 C. Packed Light Brown Sugar (or Dark Brown, see below)
1 C. Ketchup
1 C. BBQ Sauce (I used a darker, Kansas City style)
2 Tbsp. Whole Seed Mustard, basically I used a nicer mustard, not the yellow kind
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar, I like a little extra tang, if you don't then you won't need this.
1/2 C. Cooking Liquid from the beans

I cooked a 1 LB bag of navy beans in salted water over low heat for a couple of hours and then allowed it to cool slightly and refrigerated them overnight in the pan.  I used enough water to cover the beans & kept adding water if the level got too low.  When I started the beans on the heat, I did bring the pan to a boil first, and then reduced the heat to low.  The picture above is what they looked like in the morning when I put them back on the stove to warm up while I got the other parts of the beans ready to bake.

I really didn't want raw or super crunchy onion with my beans, so I put them in a saute pan with a little olive oil on the stove first over a medium to medium high temperature.

Here are my Black Pepper Bacon Ends that I've diced up & removed the fattiest parts from.  It looks almost like ham, doesn't it?  It was GOOD!  Like I said above, check with your local butcher to see if they sell these in your area.  Ours sells them for a price that is more than half off per pound than the regular bacon & I found this batch to be very meaty, which was really nice.

Drain your beans (reserving some of the liquid to cook with), and then place them in an oven safe container.  Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Here are my onions after about 10 minutes or so.  I didn't intentionally try to brown them, I just got busy with the bacon ends.  So, at this point I'm adding in the bacon ends.

 I wanted to go ahead & get out some of the excess liquid from the meat & brown it up a little.

Another perk of cooking the onions/meat on the stove ahead of time was that I could go ahead & melt my sugar before putting it in the oven.  This just gives it a smoother texture.  Once the sugar melted, everything went in with the beans.

I added all of the other ingredients listed above, along with some salt & pepper, gave it a stir & then let it bake for 2 & 1/2 hours or so.  I did stir it a couple of times at the beginning.  The above picture is what it looked like after about a half hour of cooking, and the bottom picture is what they looked like when they finished.

Did I mention that they turned out really good?  The beans were so nice and tender, and all of the flavors did come together nicely.  I did taste them again about a half hour before taking them out of the oven just to see if I needed to add anything else, and I did add a touch more salt & vinegar & an extra squirt of ketchup.  If you like them sweeter, go ahead & add a little more brown sugar, or use dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar for more of a molasses sweetness.  Hmmm.  I may have to try that next time. 

Hope you all enjoy these as much as we did. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Working on the blog/ Test Post

I've been working to add a Pinterest Pin to my posts, so wanted to test it out to see if I was able to get the code inserted properly.  I do now have a "Pin It" button on the right side of my blog.  So if you have liked some of my previous posts and want to pin them go ahead.  They are ready to be pinned.

The other code I was working with was supposed to put a pin it button on each post so you don't even have to go to the side of the blog.  Let's see if it worked.

Nope.  Didn't work, so I'll try to get it fixed tomorrow.  I did get a button inserted on the bottom of each post so if you want to post to twitter, facebook or google plus.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Homemade Oatmeal Waffles

One of my friends asked me the other day if I had a waffle recipe that I liked.  I told her that I had an oatmeal pancake recipe that we really liked, but I had never thought to try it in the waffle maker.  Well, today I corrected that, and the mix worked out really well.  So well, in fact that we had no leftovers.  It could also be that it's been a long time since I've made waffles, but either way I was happy with them.

For the Oatmeal dry mix of this recipe you will need:

5 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour (Bleached will work the same, I just don't think it's necessary)
1 cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal (the fast cooking stuff should work fine here as well, just not my preference)
1 cup Cornmeal (I used yellow, white is fine as well)
1 cup Ground Flax (I use this brand found on Amazon) I'll talk a little about flax later in this post.
1/2 cup Sugar  ( I use cane sugar)
3 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 Tbsp. Salt
For the batter of this recipe you will need: 

2 Tbsp. Butter, melted (I put this in the bowl first & then melt it in the microwave before adding the other ingredients)
2 Cups Oatmeal Dry Mix from above
1 Cup Milk (I use 2%, you can use what you regularly buy for your house)
2 Eggs

Put all of your dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together until well combined.

 I used a whisk, but a spoon would work fine as well.

 This is what the dry mix looks like when I finished mixing it.  If you want the oatmeal broken up more, you can run your mix through a food processor, but my family likes it the way it's done above.  I store the extra dry mix in a plastic container in a cool, dark place (one of my kitchen cabinets), but you could also use a zipper bag or canning jar.  Another friend of mine also recently told me that some of the creamer bottles are clear under the label, so take off the label & you can store you pancake mix in one of those, too.  If you have enough jars, you could even measure out 2 cup portions that you could add the eggs, milk & butter to later & just shake to combine.

Here is my batter with the melted butter at the bottom so it's not as visible.

Here it is after mixing.  I would give it about a few minutes to rest before making the first waffles (or pancakes).  This will help the cornmeal & oatmeal not to be quite as crunchy/chewy.

I put a couple of large scoops into my waffle maker.  I did spray it first with some non-stick spray.

The light has gone off telling me it's done now.  

Here is the finished waffle on my cooling rack.  It was only there long enough for the picture.  One of the kids came & ate it shortly after this pic was taken.  In the past, I have frozen leftover waffles & then just popped them into the toaster in the mornings when we've wanted to have them.  This would be a great recipe to do that with.

I want to let you all know I tend to go lighter on the sugar in the mix because my family tends to put cinnamon sugar or maple syrup on their pancakes/waffles.  If you find the mix not sweet enough for your family, increase the sugar a bit.  If you find it too sweet, reduce it.  This is part of that recipes are guides I told you all about before.  Also, if you tend to like thinner pancakes, add some more milk to the mix.  I like my pancakes think & fluffy, so I tend to add just the cup of milk.

I told you above in the ingredient listing I would talk a little about flax.  Flax is one of those really good for you whole grains and it's one of the highest plant based source of omega - 3s.  The reason I use it ground is because it's the best way for your body to absorb the nutrients.  It's really hard for your teeth to crack into those whole flax seeds. They look pretty, but they are hard for your body to get the nutrition out of.  I had a hard time finding a reasonably priced package of the ground flax at the stores in my area, so that's why I wound up using the Subscribe & Save option at Amazon.  You may be fortunate enough to have a better selection in your area.  Besides this recipe, I use the ground flax in pizza and bread doughs, and I have been known to slip a little bit into cookie batter from time to time.  It's just an easy way to add some extra protein and fiber to your baking without changing the flavor.

Hope you all enjoy the waffles as much as we did!  Let me know if you have any questions/comments about it.

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