Sunday, January 30, 2011

Amish Friendship Bread

A few weeks ago I thought, "A loaf of Amish Friendship Bread sounds really good right now." For those of you familiar with that type of bread, you may be saying to yourself, "Yeah, it's good, but passing on the starter bags you make is hard." To that I say, "I know, but I typically make more than one batch of bread, making for less new starter bags." :) The other problem was finding a starter bag... BOOM! This week there was a bag in the lounge at work. I swiped it up and took it home, ready to feed and burp it until I was able to turn it in to a great loaf of bread.

Then, my excitement got the better of me because I figured out I wasn't going to be able to bake it on day 10 - I had class that night. So, I Google-searched about baking it on day 9 and found some great stuff about this delicious treat, like two blogs that have put a great spin and some laughter to the whole thing. I also knew that the recipe that comes with it isn't the only kind that has to be made. Since many websites say "the recipe is forgiving," I searched for different variations. I found some great websites with excellent ideas, (seriously, search and you'll find all kinds of ideas) but picked two from this one and decided to go for the lemon and orange cranberry in addition to the regular recipe that came with my bag of bread goo

Tonight was the night to bake it (even though it's technically day 9). The only problem was that I should have double checked my pantry before I went grocery shopping. I knew I needed pudding and egg substitute, and assumed I had everything else. I ended up being short on egg substitute and oil. But, holding to the thought that "this recipe is forgiving," I proceeded. I followed the directions for making the new starter bags, made 2 bags and then put what was meant to be the other two starter bags in bowls (1 cup each). This left me with three batches of starter goo.

I made one batch of regular cinnamon, one of lemon poppyseed, and one orange cranberry. This is where it got interesting... I decided to use what egg substitute I had and divide it 3 ways. For the oil, I was planning on using 1/2 oil and 1/2 applesauce anyway, but with the shortness of oil it just ended up being 1/4 c oil and 3/4 c applesauce. (Also, the lemon variation recipe called for an additional cup of milk. I did not do this because the batter seemed fine without it.)

As I type this blog all 6 loaves are in the oven and my house smells DELICIOUS! (a positive outcome to the length of time they are taking to bake tonight) I plan on keeping the mini-loaves out for snacks and breakfasts, and will freeze the larger loaves for another day.

Also, here are a couple other things I've learned this week:
  • The starter bag CAN be frozen, but you'll have to do your own search to find out what to do.
  • You can make a smaller batch, resulting in NO bags to pass on. I remember seeing one site that said at each "feeding" just add 1/2 cup of the ingredients and then complete the recipe. (of course, now I can't find it when I want to)
  • Lots of people make this bread, and opinions vary widely. I, for one, love it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Turkey Chili

Today was the perfect day to make chili - a big football game on tv and frigid temperatures outside. My recipe for chili changes almost every time I make it, but does have some common ingredients. Below is today's version. (amounts are in italics because that's what changes each time) Also, I tend to "eyeball" the measurements. I don't like a lot of beans in my chili, so today's version had a total of about one can between the two types.

1 lb ground turkey
5 green onions, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes (with onion and garlic)
1/2 can low sodium black beans
1/2 can chili beans (medium sauce)
12 oz low sodium V8 juice
Emeril's Southwest Seasoning
other spices to taste

I am a big fan of "less dishes to do, the better," so I make this in one pan.
  1. Brown ground turkey, adding spices as desired. (I've found that the ground turkey in a tube falls apart more easily, making it perfect for this recipe. I add garlic at this point - because I add garlic to basically everything.) Drain meat, if needed.
  2. Add green onions, tomatoes, and beans. Stir, cooking for a little bit, letting everything get incorporated.
  3. Add juice and Emeril's Seasoning (to taste), stir. 
  4. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally. (Today I let it cook until the game was over - about an hour and a half.)
  5. Serve with condiments you like. (for me: light sour cream and cheddar cheese, today: beer bread on the side.)
Rating: I tweak the recipe every time, but it's always tasty!
Warming Up: always warms up nicely.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies...

Sorry I have not been posting lately, I guess the holidays kept me busier than I thought they would. :)
Below this post are two new recipes that I had / tried during that time. Please enjoy!

Speaking of the mom and I spent a day baking A LOT of cookies. We made five kinds of cookies and two types of bars (one is below). I don't remember ever spending a day like that with my mom before, it was really fun, and we got to enjoy our work when it was done.

One of the types of cookies we made was an idea I got from a friend at a different cookie baking event this holiday season. (She got the idea from one of her parenting magazines.) When the cookie is done it looks like a cute reindeer.

Form your favorite peanut butter cookie dough into a rounded triangle-like shape and bake the cookie. Put chocolate covered pretzels for the antlers (this is important because the chocolate melts and acts like a glue to keep the pretzel on) and use a dollop of frosting to place mini M&Ms for the eyes and a regular M&M for the nose. Super cute and super yummy!

Kit-Kat Bars

Recipe From: my mom, who got it from a friend

2 sticks of butter
1/2 c white sugar
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c milk
1 packet finely crushed graham crackers (about 2 cups)
Club style crackers

1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c butterscotch chips
2/3 c peanut butter

  1. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Line bottom with single layer of crackers.
  3. Combine butter, sugars, graham cracker crumbs, and milk in a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly and watching carefully.
  4. Spread half of the sauce over the crackers.
  5. Place another layer of crackers over the sauce.
  6. Spread the rest of the sauce over that layer of crackers.
  7. Arrange a third layer of crackers on top. Set aside.
  8. In a saucepan combine both kinds of chips and peanut butter over low heat. Stirring constantly until smooth.
  9. Spread melted peanut butter mixture over the top layer of crackers, covering completely.
  10. Refrigerate until sauce is hardened. Cut carefully in to bars with a sharp knife.

Rating: Delizioso! Probably my new favorite sweet, but not for everyday eating. :)

  • I layed the middle layer of crackers opposite direction from the other two layers, so cutting wouldn't just be on the cracker lines.
  • Could make this healthier if you used reduced fat crackers.

Chicken Parmesan Bundles

Recipe From: Kraft Food & Family Magazine

Please click on the above link for ingredients and directions.

Rating: Yummy!
Warming Up: warms up well, may want to cut the bundle in half first though
(Ok, I didn't actually make this one, but I picked the recipe. My mom and her husband made the bundles and they were delicious!)
  • We used fresh broccoli instead of spinach. This recipe lends itself to a lot of variations.
  • You could make it healthier with using more veggies, less cheese mixture. Or, as they point out on the recipe, use reduced fat cheeses and crackers.