French bread and rolls 7132014

French Bread Recipe

I have made a lot of French Bread Recipes during my bread baking journey and some disappoint and others knock it out of the ballpark. I am always searching for just the one, you know the one that is crispy on the outside and chewy and soft on the inside and stays that way. It’s not an easy  list of tasks to accomplish at home with a regular oven. To steam or not to steam, to spritz or not, to egg wash, water wash… I mean seriously. Can it really be that hard?

french bread 2014

YES! It can be that difficult to make the perfect French Bread Recipe. I ran across this recipe in my web searches and the reviews were good, pictures were excellent and I thought I would try it.

french bread rolls 72014

french bread rolls 72014

The process is slightly different than other recipes I have tried. However, the end result was very good. It makes a lot of bread. I got two nice size french bread loaves, 9 sandwich rolls and 6 cinnamon rolls. I froze the cinnamon rolls, 1 loaf of bread and the sandwich rolls after baking and they froze superbly. They stayed crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. NICE!

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

This is definitely a French Bread Recipe to be reckoned with!

Cheers! Amy

Browned Butter Salty Sugar Cookies with Toasted Pecans and Dark Chocolate Chips Cookie

Browned Butter Salty Sugar Cookies with Toasted Pecans & Dark Chocolate Chips Recipe

I wanted to make some cookies for our weekly dessert this week. Some thing to use up the few bits and bites of this and that hanging around that needed to be used up before the monthly grocery store trip taking place this week.

The bits and bites hanging around consisted of pecans and 1 cup dark chocolate chips. I ran across this recipe (it actually popped up in my Facebook feed) and I read the recipe and bookmarked it for later. Than as the day wore on I kept thinking about those darn browned butter sugar cookies. I read the recipe again and decided that my bit of pecans toasted and that 1 cup of dark chocolate chips and a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon would be perfect for this weeks dessert. So the Browned Butter Salty Sugar Cookies with Toasted Pecans and Dark Chocolate Chips Cookie recipe was born.

I whipped them up Saturday night (it was late and I was pooped). Stuck them in the fridge and let them chill overnight. Sunday mid morning (after brunch) I set the bowl of dough out and let it warm up a bit (it was stiff, really stiff) and then got to rolling out little cookie dough balls of yummy goodness.

This recipe turned out superb and will make into the favorite cookbook. I did not sprinkle the salt on top. Brad and I both thought with the salt in the recipe there was enough saltiness.

Browned Butter Salty Sugar Cookies with Toasted Pecans and Dark Chocolate Chips Cookie

Browned Butter Salty Sugar Cookies with Toasted Pecans and Dark Chocolate Chips Cookie

Must try recipe!

Cheers! Amy

Freezer / Pantry List

How I Prepare for the Grocery Store

In the past I have written about how we do a big grocery trip one time per month and then through out the other weeks we grab milk or perishables as needed. Several of you have asked me how I prepare for the grocery store monthly trip.

It does take some planning and we’ve definitely went through some trial and error with buying too much or simply not enough when we first embarked on this one time a month grocery journey. We have it almost down to a science now.

We don’t have a lot of spare time to run to the grocery store every week. Plus we live in a rural area and it is not always convenient to jump in the car and drive to the nearest store 20-30 minutes away.

Here’s how I prepare for the Grocery Store Big Monthly Trip:

1. Weekend prior to our BIG monthly trip I take stock of our freezers and the pantry
2. Making note of
a. What we have on hand
b. What we are running low on
c. Any special requests one or the other of us has
d. Any special / new recipes I have marked to try and ingredients I may need to buy
e. Any special events we have coming up
3. I then sit down and make the list of what all we need
4. Over the years of doing this one time per month we have it down to a science of how many rolls of this and bottles of that we use
5. I check the sale paper for the store we go to (Aldi) and make note of any sale items we may want to stock up on
6. There are certain items that we are food snobs about and I watch for sales on those items and stock up when they go on sale (mayo, ketchup, flour, deli lunch meat, paper towels, tissue, etc.) Aldi does not sale these food snob items. We go to other grocery stores.

So you see there is method to our madness of one time a month grocery shopping. How do you prepare for the grocery store? Do you shop weekly, <gasp> daily, or monthly? Please share…

Cheers! Amy

Stock Pot of Scrap Veggies for Vegetable Stock

Homemade Vegetable Stock (Broth) Recipe

We embarked on a cleaner eating journey a while back and now we eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, which in turn leaves you with vegetable ends and bits after prepping them for cooking and eating raw. Especially during this time of year with all the gardens and fresh produce just begging to be eaten!

Vegetable Scraps for Broth

Vegetable Scraps for Broth

I kept hearing some people talking about a homemade vegetable stock (broth) recipe out of the leftover scraps. <wrinkling forehead> Really, come on who is going to want to use scraps to make broth?

Well after some research I decided this was an experiment I was going to try. I had all these vegetable scraps left over each week and if I could re-purpose them into something healthy and tasty, who am I to wrinkle my forehead (oh wait, I did that earlier! OOOPS!) I started saving my veggie scraps in a large freezer bag in the freezer.

Vegetable Scrap Bag for Broth

Vegetable Scrap Bag for Broth

When that got full I decided it was time to play mad scientist in the kitchen. I pulled out Brad’s huge stock pot (he brews with) and dumped all these frozen scraps in the pot. I added sea salt (just a little), fresh ground multicolored pepper corns and couple of bay leaves, fresh minced garlic and let the simmering commence.

The smell rising out of the simmering pot was really good. I let it simmer for 4-5 hours. The veggies all turned to mush. I strained it, removed the bay leaves and let it cool. The taste was phenominal! I could have just drunk a warm mug full with a few crackers in it for a snack (okay, you caught me; I did drink some with a few saltines mixed in). Soooo Goood!

I bagged and poured into containers and froze a lot of it. Kept a quart jar in the fridge for whatever I cooked that week, the broth would replace the water for pasta, potatoes, rice, simmering sauce, etc).

Homemade Vegetable Stock (Broth) Recipe

Water
Scrap vegetables (leaves, ends, all the bits you usually throw away. carrots, celery, onion, squash, etc.)
Bay leaf or 2
Fresh Minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Using a large stock pot / dutch oven
Dump in veggie scraps, cover with water, add spices
Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer 3-4 hours. Add water as it boils down.
Remove from stove, remove bay leaf too and let cool.
Freeze in freezer bags, containers for later use
Use for: soups, stews, cooking rice, pasta, potatoes, make gravy. During the holiday I used the broth to make my homemade stuffing and gravy! Tasty Stuff and Healthy Too!

Cheers! Amy

Cinnamon Rolls

Weekly Menu Plan

It’s hot, humid and sultry in the southern states right now. Nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year. Somewhere around 87-95 degrees and extremely humid. Our weekly menu plan has been made up of quicker meals that don’t heat up the house as much. I am trying to limit my baking to 1 day per week.

This weekly menu plan is no exception. Although we have had a few cravings and wanted a fewer meals that take a bit longer to cook, but still fit in with time of year. We have also been visiting our Farmer’s Market and enjoying all the goodies that this time of year has to offer.

Here’s the weekly menu plan for this coming week:

Dinners:
Leftovers (clean out the fridge)
Fried chicken, potato salad and steamed snow peas (I have a whole chicken in the freezer I need to use up)
Spicy lettuce wraps, egg rolls
Rosemary salmon patties, parmesan couscous (new recipe for this)
Cheeseburgers, Brad’s potato wedges
Ground chicken stuffed banana peppers or ABTs (we have some banana peppers in the freezer to use up)
Open Night

Snacks:
cheese & crackers, cut up veggies, fruit, nuts

Desserts:
Homemade Dark Chocolate Brownies cinnamon rolls

Cheers! Amy

A Peek into Brad & Amy’s Kitchen

Guilty as Charged! I have been absent for way to long!

So to let you know that even though I have been absent we still cook, brew and live life to be enjoyed in the kitchen.

Here’s a peek into Brad & Amy’s Kitchen happenings while I’ve been absent:

Even though I may not always post as frequently as I should. I am always thinking of new posts and jotting down ideas. Taking pictures and enjoying cooking. From time to time Brad steps in and takes over and makes dinner (sigh, I like those days) he makes a mean pizza from scratch. I was in a picture snapping mood and snapped this picture last time he made pizza using my mother’s rolling pin. This is one of my favorites!

Brad rolling out homemade pizza dough

Brad rolling out homemade pizza dough

Below is the end product of Brad’s pizza he was rolling out in the picture above. Sooo Good!

Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza

Another peek into Brad & Amy’s Kitchen and what we have shopping for at the Farmer’s Market and here’s a couple of pictures of some of the tasty goodies we have been getting. Ripe luscious peaches, fresh sweet blueberries, assorted shockingly tasty tomatoes (grape, Cherokee purple, yellow, German Johnson), various potatoes, deep purple plums, sweet red peppers. Just love this time of year!

Farmer's Market Goodies

Farmer’s Market Goodies

Farmer's Market Goodies 2

Farmer’s Market Goodies 2

Cheers! Amy

Hot Dog Chili Recipe

Hot Dog Chili Recipe

Everyone loves chili dogs (well most everyone). Let’s be honest here, it’s hard to fine a good for you tasty hot dog chili recipe. I have scoured the grocery store shelves. They all contain ridiculous amounts of sodium, fake meat and stuff I have no idea how to pronounce or what on earth it actually is.  We are doing our best to eat a less processed, clean diet. So, I decided (with input from Brad) that it was time to make a homemade hot dog chili recipe. I searched high and low and the recipes were long and tedious. Now, I am sure those recipes are tasty in their own right… But let’s face it, I simply don’t have time to make chili that takes 4-5 hours to cook. The starving masses must be fed in a timely manner.

I took bits and pieces from various recipes from across the world wide web and this was the recipe that won the coveted place in the favorite stash.

It takes roughly 30 minutes to fix (and that was with frozen ground sirloin). The taste was spicy with a little heat from the chili powder and Yummy! We both ate A LOT of chili (as you can tell from the picture above) and just really enjoyed this after so many ugly canned attempts. I can imagine serving it on a plate of nachos, chili cheese fries (all homemade). Just good stuff!

By the way our new hot dogs are Applegate unprocessed all beef hot dogs. A little hard to find, but oh so worth it! I thought were going to have to give up hot dogs. Instead they just got a lot better.

All Natural Hot Dogs

All Natural Hot Dogs

Here’s the latest induction into Brad and Amy’s Recipe Favorites:

Hot Dog Chili Recipe
Hot Dog Chili Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Add 1 cup of water to non stick skillet. Stir in onion and crumble ground beef into skillet.
  2. Add garlic, chili powder, honey, cumin, Worcestershire sauce and cook beef until browned. Add tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 12-18 minutes to meld flavors and thicken (cook down a bit).
  3. Use like any other chili (southern style burgers, chili dogs, chili cheese fries anyone?, mix in some cheese and do a take on the famous cheese/beef dip)
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Hot Dog Chili - Simmering

Hot Dog Chili – Simmering

Cheers! Amy