Snow Day Pretzels

Well…we are snowed in today…rather iced in. A big storm hit last night and dropped some snow followed by freezing rain. Our backyard is literally a big sheet of ice. In other words- we ain’t going no where.

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Cold days call for cozy food and hot coffee. Am I right or what? We had these soft fluffy pretzels at a friends house the other day and erhmehgersh were they good. Thanks Sarah for your delicious confections! So today, I decided we would make them again…it was a toss up between these or cinnamon rolls. Since of course we could dip these in cinnamon sugar topping…it was kinda the same thing right? Except that these pretzels are a cinch to make. Regardless, you should make some on your snow day…errr, ice day.¬†They may not be the healthiest thing on the planet…but good for a nice treat. After eating them, you can do some house work…like scrub your kitchen floors. (Well…at least that is what I did…)

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Snow Day Pretzels

Slightly adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar, or brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Kerrygold salted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2-2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking soda (for later)
  • 3 cups hot water (for later)
  • Melted butter (4 Tbsp)
  • Pretzel salt, Cinnamon sugar and/or other various toppings or dipping sauces.

Directions:

  1. Warm your milk in a pan to 110 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, this is just hot enough that it doesn’t burn your finger. Any hotter and you’ll kill the yeast…so don’t do that. After your milk is warmed, add yeast to the milk and let it sit for a few minutes while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Add the sugar and butter to the milk/yeast mixture and stir. Now dump this into a stand mixer. Add one cup of flour and begin stirring. If you don’t have a mixer, you can just add the flour to a bowl with milk and mix with a spoon.
  4. Add the salt and another cup of flour and continue kneading either in the mixer or by hand. Continue adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky. You may need to add more than the 2 cups. Knead for 5-6 mins in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand (come on…you can do it!)
  5. Let the dough rest and rise for 1 hour.
  6. Near the end of the rise, mix the baking soda with the hot water in a dish.
  7. After rising, divide the dough into 12 parts. This will make 12 smallish pretzels. If you want huge pretzels (aka “mall size”) then divide into 6 parts. Roll the dough into long logs and shape as desired. Feel free to use your play dough snake making skills for this ūüėČ
  8. Dip the pretzel shapes into the bowl of hot baking soda water and lay on a greased baking pan or parchment paper lined pan.
  9. If you want salted pretzels, sprinkle the salt on now.
  10. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
  11. After removing pretzels from oven, proceed to dip pretzels in melted butter and then cinnamon sugar mixture if desired. You could also make a cheese dip…or chocolate dip…or mustard dip…or just eat them plain!
  12. Serve with a cup of hot MonroePost Coffee¬†…unless you are serving to kids, in which case hot cocoa might make a nice pair.

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Even buddy liked them! (Well…that’s not a surprise)…

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Sweet Potato Cornbread

I know we have been focusing on coffee a lot around here on the blog. Life seems to have revolved around coffee for the main of this summer. I barely got a chance to tell you all about my exciting garden adventures this year. Maybe I’ll tell you about that next. I figured you were due for a recipe. Of course it will involve sweet potatoes. Did I mention that we harvested over 200lbs of them babies out the of garden this year? Man it’s been a while, I don’t even remember my last few posts. Regardless. Here’s a simple, yummy fall recipe perfect in time for eating festivities that are going to be taking place THIS VERY WEEK. Can you tell I get a little excited about eating? Someday…someday…I may convince my mom to let me post her family secret stuffing recipe. Ya’ll will go nutso crazy over that. Just ask my husband. He came into the family hating stuffing. He’s a believer now. Weren’t we talking about cornbread though?

Cornbread really has a special place in my heart. Over the years I gradually evolved my cornbread palate away from Jiffy mix. Yes, I really did eat Jiffy mix at one point in my life. I would eat a whole box of muffins by MYSELF. I was pregnant. Nevertheless, there’s something about cornbread that makes me happy. However, I have yet to actually “settle” on the perfect recipe. I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve actually tried. Probably like 100. I rule out any that call for 3 cups of sugar or a can of creamed corn. I just don’t have that stuff sittin around if you know what I mean. No judgement here if you do! Bet you actually have a dy-namic tasting cornbread. My ideal recipe calls for a lot of butter, a pinch of sugar, and heavy on the cornmeal. I stumbled upon a sweet potato cornbread recipe that actually tickled my tail feathers. I actually made the recipe more than once…so that speaks VOLUMES. Of course I have since tweaked it to my liking and thus present you with my final product. Please do not make this if you don’t plan to slather it with more butter and honey. Mk?

Sweet Potato Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups mashed sweet potatoes (boiled or baked doesn’t matter-I boil to save time!)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 1/4 cup thin yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 1/2 cup non-GMO cornmeal (we fresh grind it, so it’s more of the stoneground variety)
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar or sucanat
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray or butter a 9×13 pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix sweet potatoes, eggs, oils, yogurt and lemon. In another bowl mix together the remaining dry ingredients.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the sweet potato mixture and gently mix just until all flour is combined. Pour into pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes until top is brown and toothpick comes out clean!
  4. Serve with butter and lots of honey!

What is YOUR favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving?

We hope you have a very blessed Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for!

Cardamom Ginger Snaps

My house smells so good right now. I am really craving the fall and winter festivities. The pumpkins, the warmth of spices, curling up on the couch in blankets…cookies…

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Alright back to reality…or at least toss out the idea of afternoon naps. Sigh.

I had a craving for some ginger snaps today…random, ¬†I know. I think its my subconscious reacting to my poorly digested Mexican food from yesterday. ¬†Ginger snaps are one of those things I think you either love or you hate. So if you’re on the hater side, you prob want to skip this recipe. Unless you think you might be cured from your hating by trying my awesome recipe. I claim no cures…

On the other hand, these cookies make a lovely home freshener. Pungent ginger smell mixed with cinnamon and a pop of that super fresh cardamom smell…ahh…it’s good for the dreary day. And the uneasy stomach if you happened to eat something you probably should not have.

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Before I proceed with the recipe…I should go ahead and address that look on your face…the “Holy dude what the hay is cardamom?” look. It’s ok, I promise it’s not that scary. And I promise to refrain from all bad jokes regarding moms or cards or anything like that. If you know this amazing spice and its super powers…proceed to the recipe. For the rest of you…

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Cardamom is a spice that comes from a plant in the ginger family. (No wonder it tastes so good in these cookies!) The variety I use comes in a small green pod. The seeds inside the pod are what we use for cooking. It’s often used in middle eastern dishes. It’s a very different flavor than you may have experienced before…almost like a spicey, citrus, floraly flavor. It’ truly unique. You gotta try it! There are a couple different types of cardamom, but the kind I use is called green cardamom. It’s not that hard to find in stores, although I think you would have best of luck finding it Indian food stores or in stores like Whole Foods in the bulk section. I recommend that you only buy it in the whole pod form. They sell ground cardamom, but this is one of those spices that you loose a TON of flavor after its been ground. Soo, it means more work for you but its worth it. So how do you work with these strange little things? First off, each pod has about 6-8 seeds in it. The easiest way to get these seeds out is to gently smash the pod with the side of a chef knife. Then use your fingers to break it open and dump out the seeds! You will then need to crush the seeds a bit as you probably don’t want to bite an entire seed…they are strong tasting! I use a mortar and pestle. You could use a coffee grinder, or even just the blunt end of a butter knife in a cup or bowl that won’t break from you hitting it with metal! Make sense? Just crush the seeds however you can…they aren’t that hard!

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Cardamom Ginger Snaps

Ingredients

  • 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1¬Ĺ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 cardamom pods worth of seeds. About a 1/2 tsp crushed cardamom seeds. (See note above)
  • 12 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (I¬†find that the microplane does an excellent job!)
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¬ľ cup organic molasses
  • For coating: 1/4 cup sugar + 1/2 tsp powdered ginger mixed

Directions

  1. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, and spices.
  2. With a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl.
  3. Add egg, fresh ginger, vanilla extract & molasses and mix.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix. You may need to use a spatula at this point! Dough should be thick!
  5. Scooping a spoonful at a time, roll the dough in your hands to make a ball.
  6. Drop the ball in the sugar coating mixture and roll around until coated.
  7. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 mins. 12 min will yield a softer cookie, if you like crunchy traditional “snap” cookie bake longer…maybe even closer to 16 min.
  9. Let cookies cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.

While I was sitting here working on typing up this post earlier, Elyse decided to sneak into the kitchen, get a chair and start chowing down on these. I was obviously too focused. I eventually caught her…this is her running away with a handful of cookies laughing her head off. Oh children…

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Coconut Flour Peppermint Brownies

Coconut flour scares me. I’ve tried many recipes and they have all failed miserably. Not to mention Coconut flour is expensive. Or at least it WAS…until my beloved Costco started selling it by the 4 pound bag. SCORE! I was determined as usual not to give up. We’ve tried a few things here and there that were¬†ok, but I’m gonna be honest, cooking with any alternative flour is an experience for your palate. We have to let go of the expectation that it’s going to taste the same. Alright? Oranges taste like oranges not apples. Wheat tastes like wheat. Coconut flour tastes like…well, coconut flour. (Ps-It doesn’t really taste like coconut, it’s pretty bland on its own so its versatile).

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So. Brownies. Yes, that’s why we are here right? I just feel obligated to fill up the page with words before posting a recipe and a (less than professional) photo. I really want to invest in a better camera someday (sorry iPhone). Okay, I am not going to lie to you…because that would not be very nice…but while these brownies taste great…they taste healthy. Come on, you know what I mean. I mean, they ARE healthy. Like you-can-eat-a-whole-pan healthy. BUT, they don’t taste like the (no names mentioned but starts with a “G” and ends with “delli”) boxed ones. Leave those hopes at the door. Instead, opt for this yummy, gluten free, refined sugar free, high fat brownies. If you cringed at the last part, you need to go read my¬†article¬†on fat ok? One last word- I have added a some peppermint flavor in the form of a high quality Essential oil. I use Young Living oils as they are safe for eating, please be mindful that not just any peppermint oil will do. If you don’t have that oil, feel free to use peppermint extract or leave it out. ūüôā Mk? Let’s go.

Coconut Flour Peppermint Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey (or 1/2 and 1/2 of both)
  • 5 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 drops Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil (if doubling stick to 3 drops)

Instructions:

It’s really easy. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir to incorporate everything. Pour in a small pan (I used a glass bread pan). Cook for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for as long as you can, ideally like 30 mins…otherwise it kinda falls apart. If you want to double the recipe, use an 8×8 pan. Triple it for a bigger pan. They are pretty rich and dense so a little goes a long way.

There ya go.

Now, don’t all run to Costco at the same time for this amazing deal on coconut flour.

P.S- If you need some Peppermint oil, give me a holler, I can hook you up. ūüôā

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My Favorite Banana Bread

If you are anything like me, you probably have some brown bananas on your counter. Its ok, I understand, this time of year its very hard to keep bananas for more than a few days before they start getting attacked by fruit flies and turning brown overnight. No worries. Never throw those babies away! I actually buy extra bananas just so I can let them turn brown on purpose so I can make this recipe.

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I absolutely love this recipe. I felt like a bit of a rebel from deviating from my moms famous banana bread recipe. I love ¬†moms too, this one just holds a special place in my heart for some reason. I just like the crackly little bits so much. I seriously try to keep this around for more than a day, and I fail miserably every.single.time. If you decide to make this brace yourself and prepare your mind that you won’t be able to save any. Especially if your husband comes home from work looking for a snack. It’s all over, just eat the whole loaf. I have made some modifications to the original recipe, but feel free to tweak to your liking as it comes out similar!

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Crackly Banana Bread

  • 3 large ripe-to-over-ripe bananas
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, warmed until it liquefies
  • 1/3-1/2 cup organic sugar, or a combination of maple syrup and sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1 T molasses
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) sprouted flour (feel free to use whatever flour you want)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional…ha, as if!)
  • 1/4 cup (plus a little extra) (50 grams) uncooked millet

Heat oven to 350¬į and grease a 9×5 loaf pan. In large bowl mash the bananas with a potato masher or fork. Whisk in egg, oil, sugars, molassas and vanilla. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, & spices (Do not add millet yet!). Gently incorporate dry mixture into your banana mixture, being careful not to overmix! Add millet and chocolate chips and fold into batter.¬†Pour mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle the top of the bread with some extra millet. Bake for 50-55 mins until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pan or wait at least 15 mins before cooling on a rack or plate. (I have been known to dump it immediately after it comes out and I usually loose its pretty shape and burn my mouth on melted chocolate chips…so it’s probably best to wait.)

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I love Smitten Kitchen by the way…she cooks up some goood stuff.

Sourdough Dinner Rolls

I found these amazing looking dinner rolls on Pinterest. Of course I was skeptical. And as usual, my first attempt is not 100% perfect. Nevertheless, I feel that this recipe has the potential to be a REAL winner. If it were not for a few “oops!” mistakes on my part they would have turned out¬†looking¬†beautiful. However, they tasted¬†amazing¬†so the looks of them didn’t really matter. Especially when slathered with coconut honey “butter”. Yum.

Soft Wheat Rolls (adapted from soursaltybittersweet.com)
Makes 12 (ish) rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (100-110F)
  • 1 t sugar (only necessary if using active dry yeast)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (or spelt, kamut, etc) **may need to add a few more tablespoons if the dough is looking sticky
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 3 T ¬†honey or maple syrup
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 2T coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tsp active dry yeast (optional) (Depends on how quickly you want these to rise! PS-Longer is better!)

1. Heat the milk in the microwave or saucepan to between 100-110 degrees. This is just warm, not hot! Whisk in the sugar and yeast, if using, and let sit 5-10 minutes or until frothy.

2. Combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough begins to come together. Scrape onto a lightly-floured surface.

3. Knead for 10 mins or so. Adding only a little extra flour at a time to keep it from sticking to you or the counter. You want a nice soft dough. It should not be hard to knead at all! This was one of the easiest breads I have kneaded!

4. Coat a mixing bowl with oil or butter. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover the bowl and let rise for 4-12 hrs (sourdough starter alone) or 3-5 hrs if you use a combination of yeast and starter. I added about 1 tsp of yeast and let it rise for about 4 hours.

5. Butter a 9×13 pan

6. Divide each piece into 12 equal pieces, each of which should be 50-55 grams (1.75-2.00 oz). You may have more or less pieces depending on total amount of flour you added.

7. Press each piece of dough into a disc, gather the edges and pinch them together. Place each ball pinched-edge down in the prepared pans.

8. Cover the pans and let rise for another 3-9 hrs (again depending on if you used starter alone or combo of starter/yeast). Mine were risen in about 2 1/2.

9. Preheat the oven to 375 for 20 minutes. Before placing the rolls in the oven, brush the tops of the rolls with beaten egg. Bake for 20 min, or until the tops are golden brown

10. Let cool on wire racks for 5 minutes. Turn out of pan and serve.

11. I served with honey-coconut “butter”. Basically just take a big scoop of coconut oil and a few tablespoons of honey (raw is best!) and whisk or beat together. You may need to pop it in the fridge for a few to harden it back up if you got the oil to warm. Enjoy!

*A few notes from my experience: Everything looked fantastic until I brushed the tops of the rolls with the egg. My rolls “fell”. Thus, I think I will be skipping this step in the future. You could easily rub a little button on them when they come out of the oven to soften them (that’s what the egg wash does). ¬†However, I don’t even think its really necessary. These rolls were very very soft and fluffy! I also forgot to add the egg to the dough-I am not certain what difference it made but next time I might try adding it just to see. However, they were excellent without the egg in the dough, so if you don’t want to mess with that-don’t! Finally, I used spelt flour which may have caused my “falling” dough since that is quite characteristic of spelt, but spelt imparts such a lovely flavor. Feel free to use any kind of whole wheat flour. My plan is to slowly convert these to 100% whole wheat, but we will see!

Sorry I don’t have a picture for you. I ate them all to quickly. Oops! Plus they weren’t as pretty as the pictures. I gotcha next time.

Sourdough Bread- Savory and Sweet

It’s rainy and cold here today. The kind of day where you wear fuzzy socks in the shape of animals (you know the one’s you get in your Christmas stocking?), snuggle with warm laundry out of the dryer, and bake bread…

And make spaghetti because its easy and it’s your husband’s favorite meal. However, I discovered early in marriage that you cannot have spaghetti without good sopping bread. You know…how you have to sop up the last of the sauce on the plate after all the noodles are gone? I didn’t know it had a name until I met Alex. If I really love him I make my own sauce. But alas, fresh tomatoes are out of season.

So…Bread.

I managed to get a batch of sourdough kneaded between juggling the two kids. I usually like to make my dough while the baby is sleeping, but I forgot to grind my flour before putting her down-that usually wakes her up. Soo, I managed kneading with both kids underfoot. Elly is officially crawling and pulling herself up on things. So big!

Anyways. So while I was kneading the bread- I had the grand idea of making a savory loaf for dinner (with Spaghetti) and a sweet version for breakfast. So after kneading I made a mix of Parmesan, and Italian herbs and then a cinnamon sugar mix. I divided the dough and rolled out and topped the savory one with olive oil then the spice mix/cheese and rolled it up, plopped it in the bread pan. I did the same with the cinnamon sugar mix, but used coconut oil instead of olive. Then they will rise for a few hours. Yummmm.

K. So here’s the low down.

Sourdough Bread

Adapted from gnowfglins.com s sourdough e-course
  • 3 cups active bubbly starter (means you fed it a few hours ago and its all bubbled up)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/4 tsp conventional yeast (optional)- I added this because I didn’t have a lot of hours to let this rise because I started later in the morning. I didn’t use this last time and it was fine.
  • 5ish cups of freshly ground flour

Making: Mix the starter, water, salt and yeast (if using). Add 3 cups of flour and mix with spoon. Add 1/4-1/2 cup increments of flour until dough is “shaggy.” I mixed with my hands at this point. Then let the dough sit for 15 mins or so to let the flour absorb the water.

Kneading: After 15 mins time, pull the dough out and begin kneading. I rarely add more flour- in fact sometimes I wet my hands with warm water to add a little moisture back in. Just gotta play with it. Knead for 5 mins. Let dough rest after first kneading to let it chillax for a few. Then repeat this process until you feel the dough ready. I ended up kneading for 15 mins . Note: this is hand kneading. If you had a stand mixer it would be a lot faster. However, as a caution, 100% whole wheat dough’s and stand mixers don’t get along to well…

Creating: Then the sky is the limit with the creative add-ins or toppings. I made my in like a swirl loaf fashion, but you could sure knead add-ins right into the dough! I would like to try to make a bread with some flax, millet, and sunflower seeds added in! Mmm!

Rising: Since this is a sourdough, the rising period will be longer. I place these in a warm location as it speeds the process greatly! Usually from 5-8 hours is normal. Although I am sure if it were a super nice warm sunny day you could get away with 4 hours or so. I put mine next to the dehydrator if it is running, in the laundry room, or warmed oven (just pop it on for a minute or two-don’t leave it on!!).

Baking: Bake the bread in a 375 degree oven for 50 mins. I will sometimes put the bread in the cold oven and let it rise a tiny bit more while the oven pre-heats. This is a trick that I learned in the e-course I did on sourdough!

 

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Here we go. Yes.

Can you smell it?

 

 

 

I would highly recommend the e-courses that gnowfglins.com offers. I learned a lot about how I cook and prepare food through these series of courses. Her site is also very informative, even if you don’t do the classes!

 

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