Friday, January 29, 2016

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Hello Friday! I thought I would be spending the day in Boston but my meeting got canceled yesterday.  Its annoy to have to reschedule meetings but I am so, so happy not to be stuck in Boston traffic right now. 

I am really ready for the weekend. This week was long and I am tired. Plus temperatures are going to be in the 50s in Connecticut. I am pretty happy with just the no snow factor this winter but having the warm temperatures sure has been a bonus. 

Do you have any plans? My parents are coming to visit. I really want to spend as much time outside as possible.

I have mentioned before that I am trying to make our own bread.  I have been pretty good about making a loaf a week.  Mr. J can make his lunch sandwiches from it and we both enjoy a good slice of toast. So far we have stuck to plain Jane white or Anadama. The other day we ventured off course and added some cornmeal to the white.  It was pretty good and a recipe will be coming shortly. 

This loaf is Honey Oatmeal.  I made some quickly before the snow storm and it was a hit.  We actually ate about half the loaf before the day was done. It was snowing and the warm bread smelled and then tasted so good.  We couldn't help ourselves although Miss O was not a fan.  

Today we were breadless. I need to make more soon!

Honey Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

by Dish and Dine
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus rise time
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients (1 loaf)
  • 1½ cups lukewarm water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1½ cups quick cook oats
  • 2½ teaspoons (or 1 packet) Active Dry Yeast
Place all ingredients into your bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. I do liquids first, dry ingredients next, ending with the yeast placed in a small well on top of the flour.)

Set your bread machine to dough cycle and allow it to run its cycle.

After the cycle is complete, preheat oven to 350°F.

Turn dough into a lightly buttered loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes, watching closely to make sure it doesn't get too brown. Bread is done when top is a golden brown and loaf sounds "hollow" when tapped.

Allow to cool before slicing.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Browned Butter Maple Cinnamon Granola

This week has gotten the best of me and it is only Wednesday. Monday went on forever. Forever. I was hoping for the weekend by 2 pm. I have a weird schedule this week which sometimes helps the week fly by. This time however not so much.

I am learning to be more thankful and cognizant of the good thing in life.  This week doing this so far has taken more effort than other weeks.

Mr. J is home all week. 

The weather is warmer and no snow in the forecast.

We have a roof over our heads and food on the table.

This granola.

Having granola on hand has been a goal since Olivia was born. It is the perfectly quick breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and even dessert. I could eat some all day long. It is filling and healthy.

Actually this browned butter maple cinnamon granola is a bit sweeter than my typical version but sometimes you need a little sweetness in your life.  And whoever complained about a dish being sweet. Not me; that is for sure.

This batch is simple to throw together with just a tad bit of extra time required to brown the butter. You can skip this step and just use melted butter but you will be missing out on a bit of extra flavor that comes from the nutty-ness of browned butter. One batch is the perfect size to last us throughout the week. 

Browned Butter Maple Cinnamon Granola

by Emily Morris, adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast maple syrup oatmeal
Ingredients (Makes approx. 5 cups)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Get out a large baking sheet and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, almonds, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Add the maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk until combined. 

Pour the brown butter maple mixture over dry ingredients. Stir until dry ingredients are well-coated.

Pour the granola mixture onto the baking sheet. Spread granola into an even layer.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until granola is golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and stir one last time. Let the granola cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Crock Pot Boston Baked Beans #secretrecipeclub

Oh my goodness snow! I am writing this post early, early on Saturday morning. There is nothing like a jolt to the system than to wake up to an unexpected 12 inches of snow coming later in the day.  A few lessons here....don't wake up at 4:30am and immediately check your phone at the weather forecast.  Count your blessings that you are only getting 12 inches.  

I am not the biggest fan of snow.  I like it on Christmas eve and Christmas day and that is all.   I am thankful the storm is falling on the weekend and my family is all together.  We have food. We have a fire.  But I still don't like snow. 

With the forecast as it is I immediately started freaking out about losing power. Knowing this is a pretty likely scenario I wanted to finish off this post so it would be all ready for Monday as this is the Group D posting day for January in the Secret Recipe Club.  This month for the Secret Recipe Club I had Karen from Lavendar and Lovage.

Karen has an absolutely fabulous blog. Her pictures are beautiful. Her recipes are sophisticated yet totally accessible. Not to mention her posting some super comforting ones lately which were so tempting on cold days. Chicken and Pearl Barley stew anyone?  

Karen also spends lots of time in France.  I am missing my days in France more and more. I am secretly plotting a way to be able to pick up and spend some time there once Miss O gets a bit older. But we aren't here to talk about France.

I chose her Crock Pot Boston Baked Beans recipe, because we have been talking about Baked beans for such a long time. We stayed home for Christmas this year but one of the things we would have enjoyed had we gone home for the holidays is Mr. J's Mimi's baked beans. They are so good and always a treat. It is one of those recipes you want to make sure you get your hands on. I know she makes hers in the crock pot so when I spotted Karen's recipe I wanted to give it a try.

After a few quick conversions and a trip to the store for the beans this recipe came together super easily. It takes a bit of planning just to soak the beans the night before. However I whipped everything together in the morning before work.  And like magic we came home to a yummy smelling house and dinner was pretty much done. We had ours with Kielbasa. 

Brown on brown is never great to photograph so don't let the pictures fool you. This is a really great recipe. Not quite Mimi's but close and that is saying a lot. 

Crock Pot Boston Baked Beans

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours, largely unattended
Keywords: slow-cooker side beans American winter
Ingredients (serves 8-10)
  • 1 bag dried Navy beans
  • 2 onions, peeled and very finely diced
  • 4 thick strips of bacon
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons molasses (or black treacle)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup water
Put the beans into a large bowl and cover with water to at least 4" above them, and soak overnight.

Next day, put them into a large saucepan with fresh water and boil them for 10 minutes. Drain them well and spoon them into the crock pot/slow cooker.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well with a wooded spoon.

Put the lid on the crock pot/slow cooker and set the temperature for low and cook for 8 hours until the beans are soft. It is also OK if the beans cook slightly longer.

Serve the beans as side to ribs, beef, bacon, ham or on toast for a hearty snack or light lunch. To be truly New England you could also eat with eggs as breakfast.
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Friday, January 22, 2016

Mrs. Enger’s Cinnamon Rolls with Coffee Frosting #thebookclubcookbookCC

Did you make any new year's resolutions? I don't really. I am constantly setting goals throughout the year and I find it somewhat silly so many people pick January as a time to re-calibrate for the whole year. I kind of feel like I need to re-calibrate once a week. If not more.

One of the things I miss most from my pre-baby days is reading.  I have mentioned it before and as we go into the new year it is one of my focuses.  I really want to find more time to read. And yes, I am counting magazines at the gym as part of this reading :)

I have been thinking about reading more for a while and so even though #thebookclubcookbookCC had the month of December off, I dutifully picked up the January book. This month's book is Peace Like A River by Leif Enger picked by our hostess for the month, Sarah at the  The Pajama Chef

Not familiar with the  #thebookclubcookbookCC?  Well it's a group of 11 bloggers where each month we pick a book, to read or not is up to you, and then make a recipe either from The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp or something inspired by the book. If you are interested in joining see this post from Camilla, our leader or Sarah's invitation.

There is a giveaway at the bottom of this post for The Book Club Cook Book so keep reading. 

I really enjoyed the book. It is something I never would have picked up on my own but enjoyed never the less. The story is of a father and his three children. The father has a great sense of faith and seems to have some miraculous powers based on observations from his son. This faith is put to the test as the eldest child, Davy, ends up in jail and then escapes. The family goes on a search adventure into the west to find Davy.  They end up meeting someone special along the way. Together everyone ends up back home after some unexpected trials and tribulations. The book had a lot of potential recipes as food brought comfort and solace at many points throughout the novel.

I loved the cinnamon rolls featured in the book and ultimately in the recipe chosen for The Book Club Cookbook.  I am a huge cinnamon roll fan and knew that was going to be my recipe even before I opened page one of the book. I made these when we had extra family around during the holidays. The recipe makes 4 dozen and although I am up for the challenge and could probably consume all 4 dozen on my own it would not have been a good idea. Yea, for being ahead of the game.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers participating as well!

Mrs. Enger’s Cinnamon Rolls with Coffee Frosting

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus rise time (3
Cook Time: 18-20 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast bread cinnamon coffee
Ingredients (4 dozen rolls)
    For the Rolls:
    • 2 cups water
    • 3/4 cup honey
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or lard
    • 1 scant tablespoon dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 6 tablespoons ground cinnamon
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 8 cups flour
    • Melted butter
    For the Frosting:
    • Coffee
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    To make the rolls: 
    Bring to a boil 2 cups water, the honey, and oil or lard. Allow to cool.

    Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water, with a dab of honey to hasten proofing. Put cinnamon and granulated sugar in a bowl and mix.

    Place cooled water-honey-oil mixture in a large mixing bowl and add the eggs and salt. Add the yeast mixture. Stir in flour; you want a fairly stiff dough, so you may need to adjust the amount.

    Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead well 15-20 minutes, until smooth and elastic. (I used a stand mixer for about 5-10 minutes. Shape into a ball, place in a greased bowl, cover, and set aside to rise at least 3 hours.

    Punch the dough down and knead a few minutes. Roll out dough thin—it will make 2 or 3 large flats. Brush the top surface with melted butter, then lay on a heavy coat of cinnamon and sugar. Roll flats up into tight cylinders and pinch the edges together to seal. Slice cylinders into three or four dozen rolls, place on jelly-roll pans, and allow to rise overnight, covered.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls 18 to 20 minutes.

    To make the coffee frosting:
    While the first batch bakes, set up a pot of strong coffee. Use 1/2-3/4 cup in a bowl containing confectioners’ sugar and melted butter. Stir until smooth and not too thin. Drizzle over the warm cinnamon rolls, or spread it on with a knife.
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    This month Sarah at The Pajama Chef, this month's host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

    One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from January 1st till January 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    *Disclosure: Sarah received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016

    2015 in Review

    Happy 2016! This year was a big year for us. We had a baby. The baby meant less blogging and less cooking. I miss my daily interactions with all of you out there but Mr. J and I have enjoyed unplugging and spending more time with our little one. Boy does she change every single day. No joke. But I will write more about that later. Today we are reviewing the year. 

    Here are some of my favorite posts from 2015.

    January - This month was my baby shower. There was a Hungry Caterpillar theme. It was so cute and I make sure to read The Hungry Caterpillar to Olivia frequently. As for the blog my favorite recipe for the month was Salted Caramel Sauce.

    February - Waiting was the game in February. I was huge and uncomfortable. I was convinced and horrified that Olivia would come early. I was done being pregnant but I wasn't ready for the baby just yet either.  One Sunday morning we got ambitious and made our very first Dutch Baby.  We devoured the whole thing within minutes.

    March - Miss O arrived on the 12th.  

    Chocolate Coconut Granola

    April - We were still learning all the ins and outs of a baby. My mom came to visit for a week and I became a Pro at quick recipes that would be easily grabbed for snacks.

    Garlic Flatbread

    May - Did May happen?  It got warm and I tried to walk outside as much as possible.  I dreaded going back to work in June.

    Easy Fudge Cake

    June - Arg! I had to go back to work. In some ways I was very ready to start a more normal routine and get some none baby time.  However it would have been nice to have like 2 hours a day of this and not going back to work full time. Chocolate cake helped!

    S'mores Brownies

    July - Miss O got sick for the first time and I thought I just might lose it. My best friend came to visit. We decided to do a full gut renovation of our kitchen. Yes, it was craziness. Of course we didn't know how crazy for another couple of weeks. 

    August - No kitchen. We lived off the crock pot surprisingly well. Washing dishes in the kitchen sink wasn't quite as easy. 

    Cinnamon Chocolate Zucchini Bread

    September - I turned 31.  Birthday celebrations were pretty low key, except for an epic journey to Prince Edwards Island.  If we were crazy for gutting the kitchen with a 4 month old, going on a 12 hour car ride was pure insanity.  We were back to a functioning kitchen although most things were still packed away and we were living with only the basics. 

    Oatmeal Maple Scones

    October - The Fall. Oh the leaves and the apple picking. Miss O started sitting up and eating solids.  She started making the cutest facial expressions and her personality really started to come out. At this point I couldn't remember my life before her. 

    Sweet Potato Pie

    November - Thanksgiving. And we celebrated twice. My brother and his family along with my mom and dad came to visit for a week in early November. We had a wonderful but hectic time with 3 little ones and 6 adults. The kiddos certainly did a number on us even though we out numbered them 2 to 1.  For the actual Thanksgiving holiday we went back to Maine and met much of Mr. J's extended family.  It was a short trip but so nice to see everyone.  

    Almond Toffee Sandies

    December - I had my first few nights away from Olivia early in the month. It was so hard but easier than expected. We all survived.  Then Miss O started on her ear infections. We have been fighting them ever since.  However, Christmas was all around. We got a tree, decorated the house and then hosted both families. The kitchen finally got done just before everyone came.

    So there you have it.  Like I mentioned earlier 2015 was quite a year. I think we are finally back in our groove.  We have the work/baby schedule semi figured out, the house is back together again, and we aren't rushing to get a million things done for the holidays.  I am ready for a bit of cold weather to force us to snuggle inside together. Cheers to 2016!

    Monday, January 18, 2016

    My Favorite M&M Cookies

    How is it already half way through January?  I still haven't written my end of year wrap up and truth be told my motivation is dwindling with every day.  Christmas came with a flourish of activity and visitors. New Year's was super low key by comparison.  Mr. J, Miss O, and I lazily watched TV, movies and ate whatever was around. We weren't rushing to finish a house project or prepare for the holidays or really have any thing to do. It was wonderful.

    I think the lack of obligations took over from then on and here we are on January 18th as my first post of the new year. That and we all got massively ill. Miss O actually fared the best of all of us.  But sickness can no longer be an excuse for my lack of posting.  I actually have about 4 half written posts.  I just don't seem to have the motivation or the time to finish them. Bed time comes fast around here.

    Of course cookies can change all of that.  I made these cookies last weekend and instantly knew I had to post about them.  They are my favorite. I love M&M cookies. They always seem a bit more special to me than the old faithful chocolate chip.  All of the different colors instantly make me happy. And these taste amazing to boot.  Plus they are super simple and can be put together on the most hectic of days. 

    So I promise to post a bit more frequently. And to do my year end wrap up. And eat a few more of these cookies. Promise.

    My Favorite M&M Cookies

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Keywords: bake dessert cookie
    Ingredients (12-15 cookies)
    • 8 tablespoons of salted butter
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 egg
    • 1½ cups all purpose flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¾ cup M&Ms
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter until just liquid, around 30 seconds. You can take the butter out when there is still a few solid chucks. Gently swish the bowl until it is completely melted.

    Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat the butter with the sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and the egg; beat on low speed until just incorporated.

    Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until a ball of dough forms.

    M and Ms and incorporate with your hands.

    Roll the dough into 12 large dough balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the cookies look puffy and dry and just barely golden. Take them out even if they look like they're not done yet. Let them cool on the pan, as they will continue to cook.
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