Friday, September 19, 2014

Artisan Bread

I love bread when it comes out of the oven- who doesn't?

Carol walked me through making pizza crust which Gabe loves.

My next bread challenge was making a loaf and I decided to make Amish White Bread. I was shocked to see this pin take off on Knead it Punch it Bake it.

 We are leaving soon to return to Florida and I wanted make something with the bread flour I have left in the house. Gabe was sitting next to me on the couch and saw the recipe from
Real Life Dinner and Maria has step by step instructions! 

The first cut of bread with butter and we were in carb heaven. I know this loaf isn't going to last long..........


2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
4-5 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal


If your are going to use a kitchen aid mixer- I saw somewhere to warm up the metal bowl first before you add the water and yeast. Not being an experience bread maker I did this. Not sure if it helped but wanted to add the tip.

Add 2 cups of warm water to a large bowl.

Sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of yeast over the water and let it sit for five minutes.

Add the 2 teaspoons of sugar and the 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt  and the 1 teaspoon olive oil to the yeast & water.

Measure the flour and add 4 cups to the mixture.

I used my kitchen aid and I had the water and yeast in the metal bowl which I added the sugar, salt and olive oil. Started to add one cup of flour at a time and mixed with the dough hook until all four cups were combined. At this point the dough should not stick to the bowl. Added the additional cup of flour and once that additional cup is combined and doesn't stick to the bowl knead for 3-5 minutes.

Take the dough out of the bowl with floured hands and roll it in a nice round ball.

Cut the dough in half ( you will have 2 balls of dough), Roll each ball with your hands still floured into equal size.

Sprinkle a large cookie sheet with the cornmeal and place each ball of dough on the cookie sheet about 5 inches apart. Make sure each ball is dusted with flour and cuts are made in the top of the dough-

Use a serrated knife to cut the bread into a tic tac toe pattern into the top of the dough, you don't want to cut to deep.

Cover with plastic wrap and let it double in size. I'm not going to give you a time for this to happen. It depends on how warm your kitchen is  and if you used rapid yeast. Keep an eye on it and it and you will tell when it doubles.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Take off the plastic and place the dough in the preheat oven on a shelf in the middle of the oven.

Maria gave the tip to place 3 cubes of ice on the bottom of the oven. I placed the cubes in a small metal pan not directly on the bottom of the oven. She said this makes the crust amazing.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Take out of the oven and place on cooling racks.

If you are like me it doesn't cool long- we cut into it and the butter melted - really good!

Note: The boys came over for cookies. I didn't have any but the bread just came out of the oven and was still warm. I asked if they liked bread and they said yes! I cut them each a slice and put plenty of butter on it. They went away with happy tummy's.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sit Softly

MM 112 Weeks

               I have to tell you a secret- see that human at the fence? He has bacon! 

                                        Double you pleasure and double your fun!

                                                             Bacon breath?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Flower Girl At 95

My favorite part of this story was about who would be a more suitable flower girl, "a bewildered tot of 3, or a loving woman who clasped her hands in awe when you came into the world..." Beautiful!!

As you get older you realize that there is nothing else in the world that matters as much as your family. They're the only ones who care about you and will remember you, and the time you have with them is precious.  Being a big part of your granddaughter's wedding is a huge deal, and someone her age knows not to take that for granted.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Copycat Panera Mac n' Cheese

My friend Cyndy is a fabulous cook/baker and I am honored to have her a guest poster today. Perfect weather for Mac  n' Cheese
                                              Thank You Cyndy!

Stress Management

Picture yourself near a stream.
Birds are singing in the crisp, cool mountain air.
Nothing can bother you here.
No one knows this secret place.
You are in total seclusion from that place called the world.
The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.
The water is clear.
You can easily make out the face of the person whose head you're holding under the water.
There now, feeling better?
If nothing,  this made you smile.  While not feasible, it made me laugh. 

Ah, Comfort food.  Just those words make me feel relaxed.  My favorite comfort food of all time is Mac n Cheese.  But not just any will do, it has to be Panera's.  I've been making this recipe since I found it on the internet.  The flavor is unique.  All that  creamy goodness melting on your tongue with every bite you take.  It's so quick and easy to make & it sure does help when you've had a tooth extracted..... yeah, that wasn't fun but there is no reason you should suffer and not eat good,  right?   What an excuse huh?  It sure did hit the spot.  I can have all the soft food I want so i'm going back into the kitchen and see what else I can make...... ice cream.... marshmallows.......  Well, the dentist did say soft food......

Thanks for letting me share my favorite Mac n' Cheese Recipe Linda.

 16 oz pipette pasta or other small pasta shapes
 4 tbsp unsalted butter
 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
 4 oz white American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces
 8 oz extra sharp white Vermont cheddar, shredded
 2 tsp – 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (adjust according to your tastes)
 1 tsp Kosher salt

 1 tsp hot sauce (Used Frank’s)

  Cook pasta as directed on package,   Drain in colander and set aside

Place Butter in large 3 to 4 quart sauce pan and melt over low heat.  Add the flour to make a roux and keep stirring  to keep from scorching about a minute and a half.  Start adding the milk slowly making sure there are no lumps.  Keep whisking until the mixture until it thickens and starts to bubble.  This might take a bit. I stirred mine for about 10 minutes.

Remove from Heat and stir in cheeses a small handful at a time stirring until it melts, then keep adding the cheese until all of it is incorporated.  Add the mustard, salt & the hot sauce.  Stir well.  Return the pot to the flame and add the pasta and coat the pasta well and make sure that the pasta is heated through.  Serve immediately.  Store leftover in covered container and refrigerate.

Panera Stove Top Mac and Cheese

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Always there

The day I found the below photo on reddit, a story was  on the news about a young man who lost a bracelet when he was about 11 years old at a beach on Long Island. 

The bracelet was special- it had the name of his father who was a firefighter whose life was lost on 9/11.

The rest of the story is Here

 This is another amazing story, not related to 9/11 but it shows- Love never dies.