Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WDW - Homemade Artisan Bread


My dear friend Carol emailed me recently with this recipe. She is a really good bread maker, so I knew it had to be good. When I found out I could make it in the KitchenAid, I ran to the store and got bread flour so I could try it that very night.

OK, so do you like the La Brea type breads, you know those GORGEOUS artisan-type breads that look like you could never make them? I love them. I usually have a few loaves tucked in my freezer. Well, let me tell you, with this recipe you CAN MAKE them. Really. You can. I don't have a lot of experience with bread making and I found this recipe to be a snap. And, may I say that this bread took as little as 10 minutes of my time. The mixer truly does all the work. And it doesn't put a strain on the mixer at all.

I have never made homemade bread with such ease and such amazing results. The taste and texture are wonderful. It is nice and chewy like a good artisan bread should be. I guarantee you will LOVE this bread and be so proud you made it. I keep looking at the picture of this bread and just keep BEAMING! Maybe I'll post again with variations - I'm thinking I'd like to try 1/2 wheat flour next time or maybe toss in some rosemary.

This bread is great served alongside some really good olive oil for dipping. But plain old butter is quite fine, indeed. I am sure this would make a fabulous garlic bread, too.

Artisan French Loaves

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4-1/2 to 5 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon cornmeal

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the salt, sugar and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. You want the dough to be a little sticky, but not too sticky.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into 12-in.-long loaves.

Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet (I used Parchment instead). Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cornmeal.

With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake at 450° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each - 79 calories per slice).

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Funnies

drew n emma

You can only WISH that these were YOUR kids.
Sorry, but they're ALL mine.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WDW - My Mom's Beef Vegetable Soup


About this time each year I get a hankering for my mom's Beef Vegetable Soup. My mom didn't have many recipes written down, but this is one I managed to get from her many years ago. There is nothing better than a big pot of this hearty and healthy soup in your fridge; it's the perfect lunch on a cold day. In fact, the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it gets.

This is a very easy soup to make, even though you create your own broth. But you do need some time to make it. I like to pick a day I will be home all day, and work on it throughout the day. Today was that day for me, and a rainy one, too, which made it extra-perfect.

Here's to you, Mom- I enjoy this soup in sweet memory of you.

Wanda's Beef Vegetable Soup

1 7-bone or chuck roast
2-3 carrots
2-3 ribs celery
1 onion, quartered
3-4 beef boullion cubes (I use "Better than boullion" - near beef boullion cubes in the store)
water to cover

Bring the above ingredients to a boil in a large pot; simmer 4 hours.
Strain, reserving broth. Discard veggies. Cube meat, discarding bones.
Reserve meat.

In same pot, sauté the following until softened:

4 T. olive oil
2 c. diced celery
2 c. diced carrots
1 c. chopped onion
3 cups diced peeled potatoes

Add meat to pot, and the following:
1 can (29 oz.)crushed tomatoes
1 can (12 oz.) tomato paste

Simmer for 1 hour.

1 can (15 oz.) corn (or you can use frozen)
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans

Simmer 1 hour more. Season with salt and pepper.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WDW - Recipe Organization


I'm on a diet.

You were probably wondering when all of this food was going to catch up with me. Yeah, well it did....and I now need to shed a few of those pounds now. Ten to be exact. And since I'm counting calories (ugh) I'm going to avoid temptation and take this week off for posting a WDW. But, I know it's not fair to punish you for my sin. So, in lieu of a recipe today, I thought I'd feature something else you might find helpful. I'd like to share with you how I keep all my recipes organized.

I used to have a box full of recipe cards, which wasn't exactly too user-friendly in the kitchen. So, several years ago, I began typing out all my favorite recipes and saving them as computer files. Once I saved them, I printed them out, and now I store all my recipes in a 3-ring binder. Each recipe is one full page, and I keep them nice and clean with plastic page protectors that you can get at Office Depot. It is easy to add and subtract recipes as you like. I even bought special pages to make category dividers for easy recipe location. And it's also nice to have them on the computer in case I need to email someone a recipe as well.


So, if you would like to have your recipes nice and organized, consider taking this project on. It can be done a little at a time as you have the opportunity.

And, I'll be working on that 10 pounds while you do that.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Morning Coffee


Are you surprised this is my favorite coffee mug?

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WDW - Scalloped Potatoes

scalloped potatoes

Until recently, I had all but given up on making scalloped potatoes. Though I had tried several recipes over the years, none came out the way I hoped - and they were so time consuming to prepare. Then, one fateful day, I was served this recipe at the Thompson's. They were absolutely perfect - tender and perfectly seasoned. I asked Deborah for the recipe and was very pleased to find that they are a snap to make. So, now I possess the ability to make perfect scalloped potatoes, with the added perk that they are super simple to prepare. Happy me.

All you do is toss all the ingredients together in a bowl (no tedious layering) and dump them into a baking dish and top with the cheese. It's that simple. And they taste absolutely amazing - you'll want to try these soon!

Scalloped Potatoes

Thompson Family

8 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 ½ cups whipping cream
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. each: salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cups grated swiss cheese

Mix all ingredients (except cheese)together and place in greased 9 x 13 pan.

Top with cheese.

Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 1 ½ hours (covered for first hour, uncovered for the last ½ hour). Broil top for a couple minutes for extra browning, if you like

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Celebrating Brady's 6th year with the Lord


It's hard to believe that Brady has been with the Lord for six years already. The time that has passed has helped the loss seem a little easier at times. But, there are still very intense moments where I really miss my boy and would do anything to hold him in my arms and touch him. But the Lord is good to constantly bring my heart to a place of deep gratitude for what He has accomplished in Brady's life. Oh, how I long for the day when we will be reunited!

As is our custom, on each January 5th we do something to celebrate his life in a special way. If you have been following my blog for awhile you may have remembered that Rich gave me a very special gift last year - a stencil of Psalm 103:1-4 for our porch soffit. Well, it has been sitting in its box for some time, so we decided to get it up in time for the anniversary this year! It is just one of those things we neglected to get around to, in the busyness of life.

Here is Rich putting it up. He did a magnificent job! He had the stencil custom made to our soffit. Each side was one big stencil. It came with a sticky back that you press into your spot and paint carefully onto with a small brush. I absolutely love the typeface Rich chose! And the words .... may they always be the most since expression of my heart.


Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name!


Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies. Psalm 103:1-4

I shall never be able to forget how gracious the LORD was to Brady (and to all of us) when I am regluarly greeted by these words. These may not be the commandments per se, but I am glad that these awesome verses are "written on the doorframes of my house." (Deut. 6)

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

dimanche matin avec Riche - "Rancho Queso" Huevos Rancheros


Oh my. This past dimanche matin was a taste buds party! Rich has been wanting to put his own twist on Huevos Rancheros - or as he likes to call them, Rancho Queso Huevos Rancheros. We kind of dubbed our home "Rancho Queso" when we moved in. In our neighborhood, people have names for their ranches and Emma's nickname has always been "the Cheese" - hence Rancho Queso (literally, Cheese Ranch). The reason we nicknamed Emma that is a long story.... anyways on with this amazing dish!

This dish is a mix of many wonderful flavors and textures. Each person gets their own little "package." It starts with a corn tortilla "cup" which is nice and crispy on the edges, then tucked inside is flavorful Chorizo sausage (Mexican sausage), fresh cilantro, an egg and a topping of velvety Monterey Jack cheese. It is then finished off with a very fresh "kicked up" Ranchero sauce. Delicious!

Here is the easy step by step in pictures, and then you'll find the recipe below. This dish has a lot of 'wow' factor and is very fun to eat, too.








Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups

Cooking Spray

2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 (6 1/2 inch) corn tortillas
3/4 lb. Chorizo sausage, cooked and crumbled (we got ours at Schreiner's)

2/3 cup fresh cilantro (divided)
6 large eggs
3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup purchased fresh salsa (we like Jack's from Costco)
1 can (8 0z) Ranchero Sauce (we used Herdez brand)

Spray six 6-oz. ramekins with cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place tortillas on a plate, cover with a damp paper towel, and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave one minute or until tortillas soften.

Press tortillas into ramekins and place on rimmed baking sheet. Brush each tortilla with olive oil.

Top each ramekin with a couple tablespoons of cooked sausage. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or so of the cilantro. Crack an egg on top of each. Sprinkle cheese evenly over all ramekins.

While they are baking, prepare Ranchero sauce by combining salsa, Ranchero sauce, and remaining cilantro.

Bake 20 - 25 minutes, until egg white appears just set. Serve immediately with Ranchero sauce.

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