Dutch Oven Bread

 

I feel like a broken record but I don’t think this Winter is ever going to end and it seems that I’m coping by baking bread and ingesting as many carbohydrates and dark chocolate as possible.

 

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I have been using the New York Times No Knead Bread recipe (pictured above) and yesterday I tried Alaska From Scratch‘s Dutch Oven Crusty Bread recipe.  I like both of them and think that after a few more tries I’ll find my groove with my oven, the amount of time to let the dough rise and the yeast, water, flour combination.    Do you have a trusty bread recipe?  If so, please share!

 

image via Gemma Correll

neutella day

cookies

 

So if you haven’t noticed, I have been tinkering around in my blog for the last few months because I was trying to get some of the bugs, like setting up a publish time and photo formatting working.  While I haven’t gotten everything figured out, I decided it was time to get posing again and I will be sharing lots!  Like how I bought a dutch oven (on sale at TJ Maxx) and an immersion blender to help me through Winter.

banana nutella muffins

 

When we were kids my Aunt Missy used to bring back Nutella from Germany and we were amazed that we could eat such a delicious treat on toast for BREAKFAST!  Now you can get it in almost every grocery store but it still holds a special place in my heart.  So when I realized that today was Nutella Day (I know, another day) I thought about few months ago when I made Nutella Banana Muffins and decided that I should make this Nutella Swirled Banana Bread recipe.  I think I’ve learned that you really need to make sure that the Nutella is covered by batter so you don’t have it browning or even burning before the muffin or bread is fully baked.  Do you have any baking with Nutella tips or recipes?

 

 

 

 

carrot cake

 

Did you know today was National Carrot Cake Day?  I didn’t either but I can get behind this random holiday, especially because I have about 4 pounds of carrots in my refrigerator. There are a lot of great recipes around the blogs for carrot cake but I am a huge fan of Carrot Cake Cookies or Carrot Cake Sandwiches.  I haven’t made a batch for awhile but you can grab the recipe here and there is this one here.  They aren’t that different from each other but it is always good to have options.  The picture above is Carrot Cheese Cake and you can find the recipe here.  What would you make? Or are you a more traditional Carrot Cake fan, like this Kitchn recipe?

Christmas Cookie Time

 

Nothing like Jimmy Fallon, The Roots and Mariah to get you in the mood for some Christmas cookie baking!

And with Bon Appetit’s 25 Days of Cookies series you’ll have plenty of new recipes to try and share with friends.  Even though I have my go to sugar cookie recipe, I am going to try ba’s painted cookies idea.  Are you sticking with the old standards or trying something new this year?

have a great weekend

 

 

 

If you have time this weekend you can get a head start on your Thanksgiving dinner with these make ahead dishes.

 

Is this how you feel about your holiday knitting?

 

I’ve talked about buttermilk substitutes a lot but Joy the Baker gives us a few more options and a recipe for Maple Buttermilk Custard pie.

 

An interesting conversation about beauty rituals.  Do you have one?

 

A video of Louis C.K. explaining his just say no policy.

 

You can now map out the places you’d like to explore on Pintrest.

 

Day of the Doctor is almost here!

 

 

thinking about thanksgiving

Between my relocation, new job and my anticipation for the Day of the Doctor, Fall has sped by leaving me with a little over a week before Thanksgiving and about a month before Christmas!  Truth be told, I’m not that into Thanksgiving and I am more concerned about getting sugar cookie dough made, putting together the list of folks who receive Christmas cookies and if I should get Amazon Prime for all my holiday shopping.  However, I know folks love turkey day so here is the NY Times Essential Thanksgiving Recipes post and I’ll also share a Maple Pumpkin Pie and Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie recipes late this week. But the thing that I am going to keep reminding myself over the next few weeks is “don’t worry” and I suggest you do the same!

cold weather, warm dish

sweet potato greens mac and cheese

Even though snow has fallen I haven’t really been in the cold weather mode yet but yesterday the cold to the bone feeling washed over me and I was in mac and cheese mode. Lucky for me I was on the Naturally Ella blog and found the recipe for Sweet Potato Spinach Mac and Cheese and about twenty other recipes I plan on making. The alterations I made to the recipe were mostly time and money savers and of course I added more cheese and butter.

 

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

1 medium sweet potato
3 cups whole wheat pasta or your preferred pasta
3 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cup milk, I used Whole
2 cups Italian cheese blend (the premixed bag- you are looking for asiago and mozzarella)
2 cups parmesan cheese
lots of leafy greens, like a bag of spinach or tub or mixed greens is what I used

 

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

 

Peel and cube sweet potato. Mix together cheese and set aside.

 

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add sweet potato, and cook until tender, 8-12 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.

 

Bring a pot of water to a boil again and cook pasta for 5-6 minutes. Pasta should still be al dente (and not overcooked!) Drain and set aside.

 

Place cooked sweet potato in a food processor with ¼ cup of milk. Pulse until smooth and set aside or use an immersion blender.
In a sauce pan, melt butter and add garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Whisk in flour and let cook for another 1-2 minutes to cook out flour taste. Whisk in 1¼ cup of milk and cook until mixture begins to thicken. If mixture does not thicken add a little more flour, just a dash or two until it thickens up. Give it time after each addition of flour to see if it thickens.

 

 

Whisk in sweet potato puree and continue to cook until hot. Remove from heat and add half of the cheese mixture.

 

In a large bowl, add pasta, spinach, and cheese sauce. Toss until spinach is slightly wilted and cheese is covering the pasta.

 

Pour into large casserole dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes- cheese on top should be browning.

decorating donuts

 

Have you ever thought of having a donut decorating party or making it apart of your holiday party or baby shower?  You could purchase plain donuts at the grocery store and pick up frosting, sprinkles, coconut, nuts and cereal for guests to decorate the donuts. If you wanted to you could make the donuts from scratch you can use this recipe or a trick my friend taught me, just take a can of biscuits a shot glass or something similar, cut a hole in the biscuit dough and fry them up and here are a bunch of icing recipes. I think this activity would be fun for kids and adults and would even be a great way of getting rid of your decorating odds and ends.

 

 

 

 

lunch time

I have some news… on Monday I started to work full-time at a High School just outside of Chicago, IL. This means a lot of things but mostly that I won’t get to walk into the kitchen in whip up my lunch like I have this past year and I have completely forgotten how much of a chore it is to pack healthy tasty lunch. So I thought I would start sharing what’s in my lunch, this way I can share some probably easy recipes but it will also keep me on track for packing my lunch and not buying it. The first place I’m hitting for new recipes are is Yummly. The mission of Yummly is to be the world’s largest, most powerful, and most helpful food site in the world, so I think it will help keep my lunch box lively. What did you bring for lunch?