About Me

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I am a wife, mother, daughter, christian, veterinary technician. I love my family. I love to bake. I love crafts. I am not a writer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tamale Pie

One thing is for sure, we love comfort foods! Chili and cornbread fit the bill around here.
I adapted this recipe from one with a yeast bread crust for when we needed a quick dinner without time to wait for the crust to rise. It's like a pot of chili with the cornbread cooked on top. Yummy!
We use home canned tomatoes and beans that my husband canned from dried beans. He canned pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, Great Northern beans, and black-eyed peas all from the bags of dried beans you buy at the store. These are great for dinner so I don't have to remember to soak beans or put them on to cook in the mornings.

Tamale Pie

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can kidney or pinto beans
1 can stewed tomatoes, not drained
3 tablespoons chili powder
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
1 cup water

Cornbread Topping
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour, I use whole wheat
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
1 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 425F.
Brown beef in skillet with onion and garlic. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
If you have a deep iron skillet or Dutch oven like I do, then you can cook all of this in one pot. Otherwise, transfer the mixture to a 9x13 baking dish.

For the topping, mix together dry ingredients. Pour in milk, oil, and egg. Stir well. Pour on top of filling in baking dish, making sure not to pour all of it in one spot.
Top with shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the bread comes out clean.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sunday Dinner Rolls

There's nothing I like more than the smell of bread rising. The smell of that yeast reminds me of waking up in the morning to eat a hot slice of my mother's delicious homemade bread fresh from the oven. My mom has been an early riser for probably her whole life. Sometimes on Saturdays she would get up way before the rest of the family to grind wheat with an electric flour mill and make fresh homemade bread for us. 

 Yum! Makes me hungry just thinking about it!

Now I live about 400 miles from my mom but I made myself learn to make homemade bread because I missed it so much. Sadly, I don't have a flour mill, but mom keeps my freezer stocked with flour ground in her mill. It isn't quite the same as the fresh ground flour, but sometimes you just have to take what you can get!

On Sundays, we eat lunch after church with a family that has become very dear to us and has made us like their own. Since I enjoy making homemade bread, I have volunteered to make rolls for lunch so many times in a row that it is now presumed that those rolls will be there every week. Now I am the one up early making bread. I love it! The house is so peaceful early in the morning.

Don't be afraid to make these rolls just because you don't have a stand mixer. Kneading dough by hand is more work but it is worth it!

Sunday Dinner Rolls
1 1/4 cup hot water
4 Tbsp sugar
1Tbsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tsp instant yeast
4 +/- cups flour*

*If you want to use whole wheat flour, I usually measure about 1 1/2 cups wheat flour first, then add white flour until dough is the desired consistency.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add water, sugar, salt, and oil. Mix well. Using the dough hook attachment, stir in 1 cup of flour and the yeast. Slowly add flour until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. You don't want to add so much flour that your dough pulls away from the bowl "cleanly." If you do your rolls will be firmer. Leave the dough a little softer for softer rolls.

 Use dough hook to knead dough for 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a large greased bowl, cover with a clean towel, and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.*
Punch down dough and divide into 24 balls. Place in a greased 9x13 baking dish, cover with a clean towel, and return the dough to the warm spot. Let dough rise for another 1 1/2 hours.

 *If you don't need 24 rolls, say for a smaller family, simply freeze dough in balls after the first rising. Move dough to fridge about 24 hours prior to use, and let rise in a warm place for about 4 hours before baking.


Preheat oven to 400F. Bake rolls for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Top with melted butter for extra yumminess.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Breakfast in Bulk

This past weekend we made our monthly trek to the buy-in-bulk store. We always come out with large quantities of things that make me happy like flour, sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder. Not to mention the GIANT package of yeast that I have used for over a year without running out (I do make a lot of bread and rolls.) We have saved so much money shopping like this, and also save the hassle of buying a 5 lb bag of flour every two weeks. Another thing I love about shopping there is the lunch of a hot dog and cherry Coke for little over a dollar. Can't beat it!

Ok, to get back on the topic.  My husband goes through breakfast  phases where he eats the same thing for breakfast for months at a time. His current staple is a bowl of granola with plain yogurt on top. Now, if you have ever bought granola from the cereal isle, you know that it comes in very small quantities and is quite expensive. That sent me on the search for an alternative that I could make for a fraction of of the price. After a little bit of tweaking, this is what I have come up with. We buy all of these ingredients at the wholesale club in large quantities. The oats are sold in a 9 lb box, the honey in a 5 lb bottle, but we go through it about every two months.

Here is the basic recipe. This granola is very versatile. I have added nuts and breakfast cereals such as Cheerios or Wheaties. It also would be good with dried fruits or chocolate chips (added after baking of course), or anything else you like with your granola.
When I make this I usually double the recipe to keep from having to make it  as often.

Breakfast Granola
4 cups oats, quick cooking or regular
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300F. In a large bowl, stir together oats cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, honey and vanilla. Pour oil mixture over oats and mix well, making sure to get all of the oats at the bottom of the bowl wet. Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Stir granola and bake 10-12 minutes more until granola is golden. Once granola has cooled, make sure to store in an air tight container.
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Friday, May 18, 2012

More Valuable Than Rubies

From the beginning of time, God created the woman to be the keeper of the family. The book of Proverbs gives many guidelines for us to pattern our lives after, including a portion dedicated to the discussion of a valuable treasure found in a woman that is virtuous. When I read this portion of scripture, I see many things that describe a good wife and mother. As a wife and a [new] mother, I want to create and keep a home that pleases God and my family.

In saying all of this, my blog will be written about the things I do to make my house a home for my family. I enjoy cooking and baking from scratch, trying new recipes, reading cook books, saving money, sewing, crocheting, and many other crafty things. My husband enjoys gardening and canning, which I'll be posting about as well.
Well, now that this has been quite a serious post, let me say a little more about myself. I am the wife to a wonderful, hard working man who takes good care of me and always makes sure I have what I need. I am a mother to the sweetest little angel whom we welcomed into this world almost 5 weeks ago. My world has changed in the last 5 weeks beyond what I could have imagined. In about 2 more weeks I will return to a job I love as a veterinary technician. It will be hard to leave this little boy at home with my husband who will be out of school, but I know that he will be in the best of hands!

I hope that I will write things in this blog that may interest you in some way. I welcome comments and feedback and need all the help I can get regarding blogging and my writing skills!
To start off on the left foot, (I'm a lefty!) I will post my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. My husband will appreciate this because they are his favorite cookies! Who doesn't like a good chocolate chip cookie?
I cannot take credit for this recipe, it came from one of my many cookbooks, "Baking: Easy-to-make great home bakes" edited by Carole Clements. This book is full, as expected, of easy delicious recipes.
Tollhouse Cookies

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350F.
Cream butter with sugars until well combined. Stir in vanilla and egg.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, and salt. Stir into butter mixture until well combined.
Use a spoon to stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Place heaped teaspoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake until lightly colored, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

The end result is a soft chewy cookie that is delicious! If you think they are too "flat" you can increase the flour to 1 1/4 cup.