Yummy-buns!

This weekend I was a baking queen! I started out Saturday with cinnamon rolls from scratch and then on Sunday I used the left over dough to make pizza. It was my first time making either of these from scratch so I am feeling pretty proud! I had to modify a bit because although I had all the ingredients in the house I didn’t have the right quantities of everything. So here is what you will need:

 

3 1/2 C warm water
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C oil
6T yeast

Mix and let sit for 15 minutes

1T salt
3 eggs
10 1/2 cups flour

Mix into yeast mix and let rise for 10 minutes.

1/4 C butter

1 C sugar
1T cinnamon

Icing:
1 stick butter
2 dashes salt
2t vanilla
6 C powdered sugar
Milk as needed

 

So this is what 10 1/2 cups of flour looks like:

You could cut this recipe in half if you only want to make a pan full of rolls and don’t want any left over. But this dough as pizza crust is REALLY good!

So I mixed up the yeast to get it active:

You just need to add the warm water, sugar and yeast together. I only had 2 little packets of yeast so that’s all I used. The more you add the more it will rise.

Once it sat for 15 minutes I mixed in the flour, salt, and eggs.

Let it sit for about 15 minutes and let it rise. The dough is sticky as heck and frustrating to work with. Use oil or flour to make it a bit easier to work with.

At this point take half of the dough or all of it if you halved the recipe and roll it out on a greased surface. I used foil coated in grease. I skipped the rolling pin foreseeing a big sticky mess. I just patted it out to a big rectangle. Spread butter onto the surface and add the cinnamon sugar mixture. Then roll it up.

Instead of having to deal with touching the dough and risking it sticking to my hands and falling apart I just picked up the foil and pushed it into a roll.

Next you just have to cut it in half, then half those halves, then once more. You’ll end up with 8 pieces.

You could brush some butter over the top if you want. I didn’t do that. Depending on the thickness of the dough you’ll bake it for around 12-20 minutes. I set my timer for 12 minutes and then just kept checking it. When it’s golden brown on top, it’s done!

Make the icing with a stick of melted butter, powdered sugar, and milk. I just eyeball this part. I didn’t have as much powdered sugar on hand so I just mixed in until it was a chunky consistency and then I added milk until it was thick but spreadable.

Wait for the rolls to cool a bit or the icing will just melt off. Spread the icing and serve!

These were SO good. Like the kind of good that makes you just stop when you take a bite. You could add raisins,nuts, what ever! I bet you could make this baklava style with crushed up pistachios and a little nutmeg. You could add rose syrup to the icing.

 

So about that pizza…

 

Best pizza ever!! My husband said it’s the best he’s ever had. I just patted out the dough into a circle using TONs of flour to keep it from sticking. Then I took some pieces of dough and rolled it into a roll to lay around the edges to create a thicker crust. Next I brushed butter, garlic powder, and italian seasoning on the crust. Then I put spagetti sauce in the center and spread to evenly coat. I used mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, onion, jalepeno, and black olives to dress the pizza. Another healthy coat of mozzarella and a mexican blend finished it up. I baked at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes….seriously….SO good.

 

Enjoy! Please tell me how yours turn out and what modifications you made!

 

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Caramel Marshmallow Popcorn

Oh My GOD.  How many of you buy a bag of marshmallows for s’mores or some recipe and end up with some leftover, and then it just sits there getting stale and you have no idea what else to use them in?!  This happens all the time.  Jayesh always looks pointedly at me when he sees a clipped bag of marshmallows in the back of the fridge.  Well now I’ve found a delicious use for them!

Almost always I have to have popcorn while watching a movie.  It reminds me of my weekly trips to the cinema with my mother.  We used to share a soda and a bag of popcorn with extra butter.  It was our thing.  Also reminds me of my grandfather-he LOVED popcorn.  He’d always ask me to pop a bag, especially when his throat was itchy from a cold.  He said he liked the way they scratched his throat on the way down.

So I’ve got a lot of fond memories tied up to these delicious little kernels.  Now I always like to top my popcorn with something other than butter.  I use pepper, red pepper, garlic powder, garlic chutney, etc.  I also like to dip them in salsa or sour cream.  Usually I like it savory, but every once in a while I have a sweet tooth and like to add caramel or something of the sort.  So here’s what you need.

 

Brown Sugar

Butter

Marshmallows

Popcorn (popped)

The brown sugar and butter should be 1:1 ratio.  Melt those in the microwave and mix.  Add in some marshmallows and microwave a little at a time and keep stirring.  The marshmallows inflate and make it hard to mix if you do a long period of time.  Pour this mix over your popcorn and ENJOY!!!

 

Does anyone else dress their popcorn, how do you do it?

Shake your Kombucha

 

For a few months now, my husband and I have been drinking Kombucha.  What’s that you ask?!  It’s a magical elixir!  It’s basically a dose of good bacteria to make things right in your body.  It detoxifies, balances, and makes you feel so so good.  There’s claims that the guy who made GT’s Kombucha, gave it to his mother who had breast cancer and it helped her fight it.  Who knows if these claims are true or not.  I’m not saying it will cure cancer.  My friend told me she had been drinking it through her pregnancy and she swears by it.  So I thought we’d give it a shot.  First we shared a bottle once a week and now we have a whole bottle once a week.  I read a lot of reviews about this stuff, and mostly people complained about the smell and flavor, but honestly I don’t really notice anything.  It smells like vinegar and tastes like whatever flavor it is.  I like the berry ones and the ginger one.  There’s bacteria colonies floating around in it so you shouldn’t shake it violently and it is effervescent.  I suppose if you’re a finicky eater you probably won’t enjoy this stuff, but I like it.  I’ll try anything a couple of times.  I’ve noticed I have more energy, I feel cleaner from the inside, and I’m super regulated.  I feel the balance.  If anybody is a raw foodist, then you can drink this, it’s totally raw.  I’ve heard of the pasteurized kind, but that makes no sense to me.  Pasteurizing kills the bacteria, so I don’t see how that would be effective.

The drink contains probiotics and powerful antioxidants.  I’ve also noticed my skin has a glow through the week. It’s low in calories and sugar and is great as part of a cleanse.

So don’t be a pansy!  Just put your big girl underpants on and take a swig, you’ll feel amazing!

 

Read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha

Sunday Short Stack

I love Sunday breakfast with my hunny!!  We kept it classic and just did pancakes and bacon.  I’m pretty picky about pancakes-they have to be fluffy and light.  I’ve got the perfect recipe for the fluffiest pancakes ever!  I’ve been making them this way for years and have never had a bad batch.

What you need:

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2 tablespoons butter, melted

I don’t know many people who just have buttermilk on hand.  So here’s how you make it = mix the milk and white vinegar together and let sit for 5 minutes, voila!  You have buttermilk!

During that 5 minutes, mix your dry ingredients together.

Once the milk is done transforming, mix in the egg and butter.  Then mix together the wet and the dry ingredients.  It should be a thick consistency.

Heat the stove to somewhere between medium and low heat.  Nice and slow is the trick with pancakes.  I see some people crank the heat up and the outside of the pancake cooks too fast so it doesn’t have a chance to get fluffy.

Once you pour your batter on the skillet, just wait for the bubbles to appear.  Once you see those flip the pancake over and leave it alone.  Don’t move it around, don’t lift it up, and for Pete’s sake don’t tap the top of it with your spatula!

(FYI – my batter is thicker so you won’t see as many bubbles as you would with a thinner batter, but this picture below shows the bubbles as they start to appear.)

 

Just watch the sides of the pancake, the whole thing will lift and when you see the sides looking done, place it in a dish.  Look at mine…see how thick and fluffy!!

Patience is key here.  When the pancake cooks slow it allows all the gas to release and fluff up the pancake.  What you end up with is light airy goodness!

Sometimes I add a little vanilla and cinnamon, or white chocolate and strawberries.  This is the standard pancake and you can add anything you like to it.  Blueberries, chocolate chips, nuts, anything!

Don’t forget your bacon!  We just seasoned ours with black pepper and red pepper flakes.  We makes ours in the oven to cut down on the mess.  We set the oven to 350 degrees and make a little foil basket in a cookie sheet to catch the grease.  If you like your bacon crispy but soft too, this is a great way to make it.  We just stick them in before we make pancakes and they’re done by the time we’re done.  Once you pull the bacon off just let the foil basket sit there and cool off.  Once the grease hardens crumple up the foil and toss it!  Easy peasy!

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken – Vegetarian Substitute Tofu

 

If you’ve never tried Indian food, this is a good place to start.  Butter chicken is one of my favorite dishes.  It is so decadent and really very bad for you, but so so delicious.  There’s ways you can cut back on the fat and calories, but it just won’t taste as good!

My crock pot broke 😦 so I wasn’t able to make this with step by step pictures as per usual.  If you don’t have a crock pot you can make this on the stove and just simmer for a while.  The flavor really matures over time, but it will still taste good either way you do it.
This isn’t entirely from scratch, but it is the easiest way to do it at home.

Here’s what you need:

4-6 boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil

Stir fry these ingredients on medium heat until the chicken has some color and the onion is translucent. Then pour entire contents of pan into crock pot.

Then add:

15 cardamom pods (we just eat these, but if you don’t just put them in some cheesecloth)
2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp curry paste (like Patak’s hot curry paste)
1 tsp red chili powder (optional)
2 tsp tandoori masala
1 tsp garam masala
8 oz (?) of heavy cream or milk (you can use coconut milk, but that makes it Thai!)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 5.5 fl oz can of tomato paste
Salt/Pepper to taste

Throw all of that into your crock pot and mix gently.  Set it to high for 4-6hours or medium for 6-8 hours.
Serve it with some rice or naan.  I have a good recipe for home made naan without a tandoor!  Ours tastes just like the restaurant kind!  I’ll give you that recipe soon.

 

A couple of notes from the chef 🙂

If you have Indian spices at home use those to customize this dish.  If you like more of certain flavors.  The ingredients I listed make this dish less complicated and more user friendly.  If you aren’t used to cooking with Indian spices, it can be intimidating until you learn them and figure out what each one adds to the dish.  You should be able to find the things I listed here in the international aisle.

Also feel free to increase the amounts of curry powder or curry paste.  2 tsp is really very little, usually I am putting spices in by the tablespoons.

Another thing that really adds to the flavor is using bone in chicken and getting it cut so that the marrow is exposed.  The marrow darkens the gravy and just adds a nice flavor to it.

For vegetarians just add in tofu where there’s chicken!  Simple!  You should probably saute the onion and garlic before you add in the tofu because tofu doesn’t take long to brown.

If you have any questions, feel free to write me.  If you end up making it please tell me about your experience!

 

 

Chai, Chai, Chaaaaaai

I know it’s as hot as the devil’s toenails outside. So why on earth would you want a chai tea recipe?! I’ll tell you why. Because it’s good. I’m not a big chai drinker, I usually only have it if my husband wants it on a Sunday morning. Sometimes in the winter I will make some. It is great for warming you up because it’s not just hot tea, it also has SPICE. Chai is so common in an Indian house, it gets made every 10 minutes, really! Well not always, but I have an uncle who has like 25 cups a day. So here’s what you need:

 

Black Tea

Water

Milk

Sugar

Chai Masala

Mint

Ginger

Vanilla

 

Milk and water will be half and half. So if you want to make two mugs of tea then start with one mug of water and then you’ll add one mug of milk.

Put your water in a pot and set the heat on high. Add in the black tea, sugar, and chai masala. Also add in a few sprigs of mint and some ginger shavings. The amounts are all based on how much you want to taste. Bring this mix to a boil and let it boil for a minute or two.

Add in the milk and bring back to a boil.

Let it boil for a few minutes and then pour through a sieve into coffee mugs.

Now you can make your own chai masala at home so that you can control it’s flavor or you can buy a packet of it at your local Indian store. Some of the main things that go in it are:

Peppercorn

Cardamom

Cloves

Nutmeg

Cinnamon

Soonth or Dry Ginger Powder

You would toast the whole ingredients and then add the powdered ingredients and blend until it is a fine powder. The roasting helps to bring out all the flavors and it will make your home smell amazing!

Whenever I make chai I add in a lot of masala because I love when my tea is spicy. I add in vanilla to smooth out the flavor. Just a little bit though, the vanilla can overpower the flavor.

Mess around with the recipe.  Some people don’t like their tea as strong so they add the milk and water to the pot from the start.  The milk doesn’t allow the tea to steep as much so it’s a lighter tea.  I like my tea stronger so I boil the crap out of it with just water and then add milk at the very end.  Have you tried chai?  Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

 

You can get any black tea and make this.  We use loose tea but tea bags work just the same.  Red Label is a good one.

 

 

 

 

Ugly Pie

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July.  We decided to take it easy this year and just have a little meal at home.  The heat is just unbearable so going to a picnic anywhere seemed unrealistic.  Especially with the little man.  We just grilled up some brats and I made my famous watermelon salad.  We also had potato salad and a really delicious dessert.  What was for dessert you ask?!!!!

Recipe courtesy of my good friend Belkis.  (Go visit her blog: belkiscruz.wordpress.com)

I call it Ugly Pie because it’s pretty ugly when I scoop it onto my plate…but so SO good.  It’s incredibly simple, and goes down really easy.  It’s a nice light dessert for the summertime.

Here’s what you need:

1.5 Graham cracker packets

A tub of Cool whip

8 oz of softened cream cheese

2 packets instant chocolate pudding

sugar

1/2 stick of butter (melted)

Mash up the graham crackers, add sugar and melted butter and mix it all up.  To take this crust over the top add a few shakes of cinnamon.

Pat that graham cracker mix into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Make sure it’s packed tight.  If the graham cracker mixture isn’t sticking to itself add more butter.

Next mix together half of the cool whip and the cream cheese.  Mix until it is fluffy and lay it down on top of the crust.

Make the chocolate pudding according to the instructions on the packet.  It should be 2 cups of cold milk and mix until it sets.  Once it sets pour it over the cream cheese/cool whip layer.  Add the rest of the cool whip on top and decorate with graham crackers.  I decorated with Oreos because I didn’t want to open another pack of graham crackers.

Let it sit in the fridge to set a little and dig in!

I didn’t take a picture of it scooped out because we weren’t patient and didn’t let it sit in the fridge to harden.  It was a mess, but I don’t care, it was SO good.