Monday, May 25, 2015

Apple Fritter Bread #Secretrecipeclub

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you have the day off and are enjoying a picnic or two with friends and family.  We are bounding along on our first adventure with Olivia. I will let you know how it goes. Hopefully we aren't going to be scared for life about going out with her. 

Today on the blog is a special Memorial Day post for the May Secret Recipe Club.  For those of you who don't know the Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers that get together once a month for a special reveal day posting to share a creation from a secretly assigned member of the group.  It is a great way to learn about new blogs and find tasty new recipes.

This month I had Julie from Confessions of A Cooking Diva.  Julie is my kind of woman. She loves pink and books, especially cookbooks. Too bad she lives so far away otherwise I know we would be sharing our cookbooks.

I choose Apples Fritter Bread for my pick but I was eyeing so many recipes.  On the list were the old fashioned meatloaf and guacamole deviled eggs. My husband really wanted me to go with the deviled eggs but my sweet tooth won out.  Of course I didn't hear any complaints once the house filled with cinnamon and apple goodness. 

This might be more of a Fall recipe but Julie made it in March so I was in good company. After all who doesn't like a good apple fritter from breakfast or dessert for that matter. 

We were so impatient to try a piece I might have flipped the loaf before it was cool enough, hence the rip in some of the pictures.  Regardless this bread was amazingly good. We had it warmed, room temperature and topped with ice cream as a late night treat.  I managed to have enough restraint to keep it for three days before finishing it off. The last slice was just as moist and delicious as the first. 

Thanks Julie for such a great recipe. I am keeping it handy for another go around soon and it will definitely make an appearance come Fall. 

Apple Fritter Bread

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: bake bread breakfast dessert apple cinnamon fall
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar. I used light
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
For the Powdered Sugar Glaze:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Put to the side.

In a bowl of a stand mixer add the sugar and butter. Beat until creamy and the sugar is well incorporated into the butter.One at a time add each egg. Mix until incorporated and then add the vanilla extract.

In a second medium-sized bowl add the flour and baking powder. Stir until mixed and then add to the stand mixer. On low speed mix until combined.

Finally pour the milk into the batter and mix till incorporated.

Pour half the batter into the loaf pan, spreading until the bottom is completely covered. Top the batter with the chopped apples and then sprinkle with the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture.

Pour the remaining batter over the apple and cinnamon/brown sugar mixture.

Take a knife and gently swirl the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture into the top batter.

Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

For the Powdered Sugar Glaze:
In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar and the milk. Mix until well combined. You can vary the amounts of powdered sugar and milk to get the consistency you prefer.
Allow bread to cool at least 20 minutes before glazing.
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Olivia: Week Ten

This is my new favorite picture. And just think if I had actually posted this way back at eight weeks it would not have even existed. She is definitely a Daddy's girl and likes nothing better than to take a snooze on his chest. The photo sums up our lives right now.  Pretty much the same but with a baby. We do things as a family and just have two less adult hands to get the work done. It takes longer but somehow seems so much more enjoyable.

Can I just say too how confusing it is to talk about how old she is by weeks vs. months?  If you go by calendar months it is way different than weeks. Olivia's two month birthday came much faster than I thought. However, I actually corrected someone saying that she was two months when really she was only eight weeks. They were referring to the calendar date. Anyway, these are the things you can think about in the middle of the night. I have gotten some strange looks when it takes me a while to respond to the question "How old is she?"  In my head I am thinking are they asking weeks or months and seconds go by and it feels like an eternity as the person stares blankly at me waiting for an answer. 

Although we are talking about a two month old we are already in 6 month outfits. My long and lean girl continues to grow.  She got a new wrinkle in her thighs and I just want to eat them up. 

We learned she does not like the heat. The two days the other week which soared into the 80's made her a bit fussy. Off came the clothes and she was much better. I am not looking forward to August. 

She is much more alert and wake during the days. It is so fun to interact with her, see the smiles, and have mini conversations.  These times also leave me exhausted.  Some days she barely naps and I am lucky if she goes down for 30 minutes a few times a day. She also cut out her extra stretch of sleeping. No more are the days when she goes down again and sleeps till 9ish. She is normally up and ready for full at 7 am.

She is still squirmy but does like to be held out night. She takes nothing but the best cuddling and knows the second you try to sit down and will have none of it. Overall she is a very content baby and if she wants a few extra snuggles at night it is hard for me to say no. Actually impossible unless we want wailing but I know these days are fleeting and I will take every second I can get. 

My leave from work is ending soon and I am dreading the day when off to day care we will go. Until then our days are filled with story time, songs, walks, and endless outfit changes. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pizza Party, Tummy Time and #WIAW

For some reason this week seems to have dragged on and on and on. I couldn't believe it was only Tuesday yesterday. I guess someone heard my wish to make time slow down. 

Despite the gray and rainy day I opted for a green smoothie. Using the blender when the baby is still sleeping always makes me hold my breath.  So far it doesn't seem to wake her up but I would really hate myself if it did just so I could have a smoothie. 

Lunch was avocado toast with our homemade bread. I started jazzing up the slices even more.  Avocado and hummus is super good and a new favorite is with feta and tomatoes. It looks prettier than the hummus slice too. 

Dinner was an unexpected pizza party when some friends stopped by after work.  Miss Olivia was such a sleepy face all afternoon. Against my better judgement she slept on me and Mr. J on and off for almost 3 hours. During more active hours we played with our animal friends. 

What is your favorite kind of avocado toast?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Honey Sandwich Bread

Being home with the baby leaves me feeling like I have no time for anything and yet here I am making bread. Getting up multiple times a night for feedings gives you lots of time to think about EVERYTHING. Some times they are crazy thoughts. Other times more logical. The other night I got to thinking about how much I hate store bought bread. I hate even more that it is expensive considering I don't even like it. 

I have made bread before. Its not like I am scared of yeast, it just is too much of a process most days let alone when you have a new born.  Then I was flipping through a cookbook where multiple recipes were for bread with a bread machine. The author used the machine to make the dough and then made whatever loaf/roll type creation she wanted. It got me thinking maybe I could do that. 

Now I am all for a good kitchen gadget but I am not one for clutter. I already feel like we have too much kitchen stuff and I wasn't about to go get something else.  Who knew if I was even going to find time to use it. 

My brother and I got my mom a bread machine for Christmas way back when we were still in high school.  She used it off and on but I had not heard of it for a good while.  Right about this time was when my mom came to visit. We were strolling through a kitchen store. I remembered the bread machine and asked if she still had it. She did and was more than willing to let us have it. She mentioned wanting a salad spinner. Oh the things you want when walking through a kitchen store. Thus the great kitchen tool exchange began. She took with her our fancy salad spinner and she brought back the bread machine on her next visit. 

Now I am still toying with recipes but so far so good. I can throw in the ingredients in as little as 5 minutes. I set our machine to dough and in 90 minutes the dough is ready for the bread pan. 

The pictures show that you need to be careful cooking the bread. I used the smaller portion of the double oven and it was too small hence the burn marks and dents on the top. Next time the bigger oven will be used. Regardless this is some of the best bread we have had for sandwiches in a good long time. 

The plan is to make one loaf a week for toast and sandwiches.  Let's see how it goes. 

Honey Sandwich Bread

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients (1 loaf)
  • 1 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cup all purpose white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
Add all ingredients to bread maker starting with water and ending with yeast. The yeast should go in last on top of flour and not touching any of the water.

Use dough setting to make dough. My machine takes about 90 minutes.

Lightly spray a 9X5 loaf pan. Set aside.

Once done remove dough from machine and place on a lightly floured surface. Gently shape into loaf and place in bread pan. Let rise about 30 minutes until the dough fills out the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until lightly browned and cooked through. The bread should make hallow noise when hit on the bottom.

Cool on a wire rack before storing.
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Friday, May 15, 2015

What I am reading lately...

Someone told me before I had Olivia that once she was born I would have all sorts of time to read. And I guess in a way it is kind of right. All of those late night feedings give me plenty of time to catch up on FB and Instagram postings. However no way can I read a book at this time. In the past eight weeks I have managed to get through only one. 

My Berlin Kitchen is by Luisa Weiss also blogger for The Wednesday Chef. I had not heard of this blog till I read the book but this is one of the first food blogs around way back when Julie was spreading her adventures with Julia Child via the Internet. My Berlin Kitchen is a collection of short tales from Luisa's life. She was born in Berlin but jetted back and forth between Boston and Germany after her parents divorced. She also lived in Paris and New York City. Each chapter is a story about the locations and people in her life during a particular time and most end with a linked recipe. Kind of like a longer blog post. 

This was actually the perfect post baby book. Each chapter or mini story could be consumed quickly. Thus if I only really got 5 minutes to sit down and read I might actually make it through the one chapter story. I remember the day I did 50 pages at once. It was glorious and hasn't happened since. My favorite part of the book though was the recipes. They all sounded so good and it got me itching to be in the kitchen. To date we have made only one recipe but I hope to tackle more in the coming weeks as I have about 5 others tagged as must make soon. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What Happened To Spring and #WIAW

Has it been hot where you live?  We went from 15-20 degrees below normal a few weeks ago to 15-20 degrees above normal this week. It was full blown summer temperatures. And I was one hot mama. I think the baby took after me in the whole I don't like the heat temperament. We have had a naked baby on our hands for the last few days.

Breakfast was homemade cinnamon swirl bread with chocolate peanut butter and banana. Love this breakfast. 

This sandwich was an attempt to recreate a local panini that I love. It has mozzarella, prosciutto, tomato, and arugula. I should have had pesto but even without this was one killer sandwich. I bought the ingredients and Mr. J made the sandwich. Happy Mother's Day to me! It was perfect. No more $8 sandwich for me. 

Snacks have been granola, yogurt, and BERRIES!  I am counting down the days till the fresh berries are back but for now the stores are stocked and on sale. 

Since it has been so hot dinner has been out. No cooking here. The first night we got Five Guys. There is one that just opened not too far away and we have gone way TOO often in the last couple of months. This one even has shakes. I don't know if this is a new thing for Five Guys or not but man is it dangerous. I got banana and Oreo pieces. Another night we got pizza. 

And finally my little nugget is two months old?!?!  Not sure how that happened. She is so big and bright eyed. We officially transferred over to the 6 month outfits this week.  Ahh!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Great Grandma Schaefer Mac and Cheese

This recipe should have been posted shortly after my baby shower. My mom was in charge of the food and did a fantastic job putting together a brunch feast. One of the recipes she made was this mac and cheese. I have plenty of mac and cheese recipes but this one is my mom's. To be more specific it is my Great Grandmother Schaefer's recipe. My mom refers to it as Grandma Schaefer's mac and cheese. 

I never posted it after the baby shower because, well, being pregnant is a lot of work. Then my mom came again after the baby arrived and made us lots of food including this dish of mac and cheese. Although it is hot and steamy outside and mac and cheese probably isn't on the top of your mind for dinner I thought it was fitting to post this around Mother's Day. Of course the original plan was to post before Mother's Day but babies are a lot of work too. 

The recipe comes handwritten in my grandma's handwriting complete with her memories of the dish.  They were Catholic and this was their Friday meatless meal.  She remembered roller skating to the grocery store to pick up the cheese, 10 cents at the time, during the Depression. 

My earliest memories of cooking and baking are with my mom, who learned to cook from my grandma, who learned from my great grandma.  I am lucky to come from a long line of home cooks who loved to share their creations with their families. I cannot wait till Olivia is old enough to be in the kitchen as my little helper and keep the tradition alive. 

Great Grandma Schaefer Mac and Cheese

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: bake cheese pasta
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni pasta
  • 3/4 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • salt and pepper
Crumb topping:
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Ready a 9X13 pan by lightly spraying with cooking oil. Set aside.

Cook elbow pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooking melt butter in a medium saucepan on low heat. Add flour, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Do not let the flour brown.

Add milk and seasonings. Continue stirring until thickened.

Remove from heat. Add 1/2 of the shredded cheese and stir until incorporated and melted smooth.

Mix melted cheese mixture with the elbow pasta. Add half of the pasta to the prepared cooking pan. Add remaining shredded cheese keeping just a bit for the top. Cover with remaining pasta mixture. Top with bread crumbs and cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the crumb topping is beginning to brown.

For the crumb topping:
Mix the melted butter and panko bread crumbs until the crumbs are moistened through.
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Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day

I hope all of the past, present and future mothers had a wonderful day yesterday. I love my mom and would always adamantly tout all the good things she has done for me over the years however it wasn't till this year, being a mom myself that I really truly can see everything she has given me and the sacrifices that came with those gifts.  Thank you Mom! 

Last year our little girl wasn't even a blurp on our radar. And here we are today and she is on my mind every second.  We had a great day together as a family. 

Dad made breakfast sandwiches at home. Our little girl is a sleeper for the most part. We didn't want to make plans that would involve waking her up. Thank goodness we didn't either because Sunday she slept right till 9 am. We did call the local breakfast spot when we could leave and the wait was 17 parties deep. No thank you.

Lunch was a picnic by the ocean with deli bought sandwiches. I had a massive chicken cutlet sub with fresh mozzarella and pesto. The weather was perfect for the ocean, sunny with a bit of breeze to stay cool. We went on a walk and relaxed at home. 

Dinner was dad made salmon, couscous and roasted carrots. Of course dessert was a big slice of chocolate cake. 

I couldn't have asked for a more special, enjoyable day. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Is it almost Friday and #WIAW

There are some days when I am cannot believe how it is Wednesday. Other weeks it is more like how is it only Wednesday. Yesterday afternoon seemed to last forever. I would really like the weekend.

We got an amazing loaf of Italian bread for dinner the other night. The two of us barely consumed a 1/3 of the loaf at night so it was up for grabs with breakfast. I toasted it with a fried egg and cheese. 

Somehow lunch got away from me. I think it has something to do with a crying baby.  Thus no picture. And here I am thinking what did I actually eat. I couldn't remember for the longest time...but now I know. It was pretty darn good. A chicken salad sandwich. The salad was made of just chopped up chicken breast and avocado. It is my new favorite thing. 

Dinner was actually leftover enchiladas. We celebrated early and made enchiladas on Monday.  We had the leftovers for Cinco de Mayo.  It has been so nice we go on walks before dinner. It is great to go on the walk but a pain to start dinner so late. Leftovers makes dinner time much more doable. 

Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
What did you eat Wednesday?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Round Up

Somehow April has ended and we are on to May.  The days are flying by.  I actually wore shorts both days this weekend. Did we skip spring and jump right to summer?  Let's hope not. I want the next month to last as long as possible.  I am going to cherish each day to the fullest.  First up is celebrating Cinco de Mayo.  

Mr. J and I love Mexican food. Thus this is a day we love to do up with a great big spicy feast. I am still dreaming up what we want to make this year. Before we finalize the menu here is a look back at some of our favorite Mexican dishes. 

Carne Asada Pizza

Friday, May 1, 2015

Easy Chocolate Cake

It's Friday. I have been waiting for this day since Monday. #weekendlove

This week has been full of highs and lows. I think that is my life now. Getting through the lows knowing that there will be the highest of highs just around the corner. 

When the highs come I want to jump around, scream and dance. And of course cake is always good. 

Chocolate cake is my favorite dessert. If I am at a restaurant and any form of chocolate cake is on the menu I am getting it.  Lava cake, Fudge cake, Triple Layer cake, yes please!

It is my special treat because to be honest I don't make cake at home. There is three reasons for this:

  1. Mr. J doesn't like cake. Although I could eat a whole cake all on my own it isn't advisable on a regular basis.
  2. I don't have a cake stand or any other kind of cake storage. This makes the whole process a bit of a pain once you enjoy the first slice.
  3. Frosting. I HATE making frosting. Powder sugar is the worst to work with in my opinion but you cannot have cake without frosting. 

This cake takes care of all of these issues. My 9 X 13 pan has a nifty lid and storage is a super quick.  The frosting of this cake, although having powder sugar, is boiled on the stove and doesn't need to be whipped in the mixer. The mess is minimal. And finally the cake comes out fudgy, almost brownie like, once the frosting soaks into the cake and cools.

The whole cake can me done in about 45 minutes from start to finish. Then you just have to wait till it cools. A difficult task when the whole house smells like chocolate. 

So we had cake all week. Cake for a day of extra smiles. Cake for the first overnight in the crib. Cake when Dad comes home from work. Cake for the first 70 degree day. 

Easy Chocolate Cake

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate cake
Ingredients (serves 12)
    For the Cake:
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 cups flour
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 2 eggs
    • 1½ cup whole milk
    • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • ½ cup butter
    • ½ cup butter
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    For the Chocolate Frosting:
    • ½ cup butter
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    • ¼ cup milk + 2 Tbsp
    • 5 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    For the Cake:
    Preheat oven to 400°

    Liberally spray or grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

    In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

    In another bowl whisk eggs, milk, vinegar and vanilla together. Set aside.

    In a saucepan melt butter, shortening and cocoa powder together, whisking until completely melted and smooth.

    Remove from heat and pour into flour mixture, and then add the other liquid ingredients. Stir together until smooth and there are no more lumps.

    Pour into prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes until center of cake is set.

    Prepare icing when cake is almost ready, approximately 5 minutes before the baking time is complete.

    For the Chocolate Frosting:
    Melt butter, cocoa powder and milk together over medium heat. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat. Whisk in powered sugar and vanilla until there are no lumps.  Pour icing over hot cake in pan.

    Allow cake to cool before slicing. The frosting will harden and soak into the cake.
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