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#ExtraordinaryBread – Butterflake Herb Loaf

Another recipe done and another tasty loaf (actually two loaves) of bread. For the complete recipe, see the King Arthur Baking Company recipe. This is a recipe I have made before. This time, I made a few adjustments.

Instead of regular milk, I used 1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk, mixed with 1 cup warm water.
For the flour, I used 1 cup wheat flour, 1 cup unbleached bread flour and the rest (by weight) was all purpose flour.
The recipe calls for splitting the dough into two balls, rolling out the dough and cutting out ten circles for each loaf of bread. Instead of rolling out the dough, I manipulated the dough into discs with my hands. I also like numbers that are easily divided in half, so I did 16 circles for each loaf of bread.
The recipe lists numerous herbs for the filling. Herbes De Provence has nearly the same herbs and I had a jar in my cupboard that I need to use up.
I spread the herb-butter mix over the disc, folded in half and spread on one of the outer sides to help the bread pull apart easier.
Two pans ready to rise.
Ready for baking.

As expected, since I had made this recipe before, these loaves tasted great!

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#Extraordinary Bread – Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)

Several years ago, I watched the movie “Julie and Julia” with some of my friends. The movie involves two story lines. One details Julia Child’s start in the cooking profession. The other follows a blogger named Julie as she challenges herself to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child’s first book, 524 recipes, in one year. I enjoyed the movie and always thought cooking through a cookbook would be a fun thing to do.

When King Arthur Baking Company announced last week that they were having a contest (randomly drawn winner) for bakers to make any of the twelve recipes in the Extraordinary Bread collection, I thought I would give it a try. I plan to try out each recipe and post some tips and suggestions with each.

While I am definitely not the writer that Julie Powell was, nor are my cooking/baking skills any where near a professional like Julia Child, I do enjoy trying new things.

Today, I made Khachapuri. The bread is shaped into flat “boat-like” ovals and filled with a mix of cheeses and topped with an egg. Based upon the ingredients, I assumed the bread would taste somewhat like a flattened bagel. With that in mind, I made some modifications to half of the “boats”.

For the recipe, visit the King Arthur Baking website.

Measured out each of the dough ingredients. My flour tends to be rather compact in my storage container.
So, for greater accuracy and a better bake, I would strongly suggest weighing the flour rather than going by the cup measurements.
Dough mixed and kneaded in bread machine.
Cheese filling combined in mini food processor.

The recipe makes four bread boats. I knew that my family would likely not eat all four of these. So, I only made a half batch of the cheese filling to be used with two of the boats. For the other two boats, I combined 1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese with 1/4 cup Cinnamon Sweet Bits (found here).

The recipe says to roll out the dough into ovals.
I found it worked well to just push the dough into ovals with my hands – less mess, no need to wash the rolling pin.
Two ovals were filled with cheese filling and the edges turned up.
Two ovals were filled with the ricotta-cinnamon mix and the edges rolled up.
Before baking, I brushed the edges with egg wash. I sprinkled Swedish Pearl Sugar on the edges of the cinnamon boats.
An egg was cracked over the cheese filling prior to the last ten minutes of baking.
The Ricotta-Cinnamon filled bread tasted like a cinnamon bagel with cream cheese.

Each type of Khachapuri tasted really good, but I especially liked the Ricotta-Cinnamon combination.

The loaves are rather big – each loaf is enough for two or three people to eat. I think next time I make these, I will make twelve small loaves rather than the four large loaves.

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Hidden Hugs

Image result for inspirational quote of hugs

I read somewhere that hugs may be necessary for survival. While that may not be the case, hugs are definitely important for mental health. Unfortunately, in our social distanced pandemic lifestyles, we have become a fairly touch-deprived society. Hugs are avoided for everyone’s health and safety.

I have many young patients, who, when they arrive at my dental office, are eager to give me a hug. Unfortunately, their parents will now stop them and reprimand them for doing so. I miss that part of my job. It was always a lift to my day, especially when the patient was one who had previous difficulty with going to the dentist.

See the source image

So, in this pandemic era, I need to look for other ways to “hug” through words of praise, words of thanks, and words of encouragement.

Tomorrow is National Hug Day. To celebrate the day, I decided to make some treats – Brownies filled with Hershey’s Hugs. To make these, I used my favorite brownie recipe, but any recipe or even a box mix would work. Before baking, place a hug into the batter, bake as normal. After they have cooled, you will have a hidden treat – a Hidden Hug.

So, even though real hugs may not be possible, look for the hidden hugs in your life.

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National Cheese Pizza Day – a little slice of homemade heaven.

Recently, when looking for a recipe to use up an abundance of zucchini, I ran across a recipe for “Naked Greek Feta-Zucchini Turkey Burgers” on Skinny Taste. I’m not sure whether it is truly a greek recipe, but it did sound really tasty. To make it more “greek”, I made some homemade Tzatziki sauce and wanted to serve them on Pita Bread rather than hamburger buns.

Unfortunately, I did not have any pita bread and did not want to run to the store just to buy one thing. So, I went to my favorite baking site. King Arthur Baking to find a new recipe. “Quick and Easy Flatbreads” were just like the name says, quick and easy. And, they were really tasty as well. This recipe includes both yeast and baking powder and were ready to eat in less than an hour. The result was a successful dinner with left over pita/flatbreads for lunch sandwiches.

While making the flatbreads, I thought that they might taste good as a pizza crust. Unfortunately, the extras were eaten rather quickly and I was unable to try.

This morning, I saw an advertisement that said today is National Cheese Pizza Day. Okay, a good excuse to try out my idea for flatbread pizza. I used the KAF recipe (I doubled the recipe this time) and added a tablespoon of Pizza Dough Flavoring (also from KAF).

The dough was mixed in my bread machine.

Left to rise for 45 minutes,

Split into small balls of dough,

Rolled out to 1/4″ thick circles, 6 to 9″ in diameter,

Fried in a dry frying pan (no oil) over medium heat,

Flipped and fried on the other side.

After about 15 minutes, I had a nice stack of flatbread.

To make my homemade pizza, I spread some pizza sauce over the flatbread and topped it with several types of pizza, spices, thinly sliced scallions and chopped yellow pepper. The pizza was placed on a pizza stone and baked at 425 degrees. Because the flatbread was precooked, the pizza was ready to eat in just a few minutes. Watch carefully, because mine was done in about 5 minutes.

What I liked about using this recipe for the pizza crust:

  • quick and easy, once the crust is made, the pizza is ready to eat in less than ten minutes,
  • since the crust is precooked, there was no concern about being soggy near the center of the pizza, and
  • can be refrigerated or frozen for a quick pizza dinner on another day.

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Chocolate almost always makes life better!

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Last weekend, my grocery delivery included a container of cocoa by mistake.  Since I already had plenty of cocoa in the cupboard, I decided to use the cocoa in several new recipes rather than just trying to find room for it in with my other baking supplies.  My favorite source for baking recipes is King Arthur Flour.  So, that is where I went for some inspiration.

The first recipe I tried was Cakey Brownies.  While tasty, I decided that I really prefer fudge brownies.  

The second recipe I tried was Almond Flour Brownies.  Being gluten-free, I wanted to see how these tasted.  I have to admit that I could not tell that they were any different from Fudge Brownie recipe that I have used numerous times in the past. 

The third recipe I tried was Chocolate Graham Crackers.  These were amazing!  I will certainly be making these again.  This recipe would be great for making homemade Oreo-type cookies or ice cream sandwiches.  

I also made some homemade Hot Chocolate Mix. While tasting okay, I really do prefer the different flavors of premade mix that I have left over from the holidays.  

Lastly, I made some Chocolate Waffles.  These were especially tasty with homemade strawberry jelly.  

Since I am trying to eat healthy, it’s a good thing I have two boys home to help eat these treats! img_2484

Lemonade and Brownies

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InstaCart is a really nice service when you are self-quarantined at home.  Yesterday I had some groceries delivered. 

One of the items I had ordered was powdered buttermilk, which I use in many of my baking recipes.  While I know how to make replacement for buttermilk, the powdered stuff is really handy.  When the order arrived today, I received powdered baking cocoa instead!

Well, remembering the old adage about lemons and lemonade, I decided to make the most of the situation.  So, I made brownies for my boys.   

Maybe tomorrow, I will also make some lemonade

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Free Hugs

It’s wond’rous what a hug can do.
A hug can cheer you when you’re blue.
A hug can say, “I love you so”
or, “Gee I hate to see you go.”

A hug can soothe a small child’s pain
and bring a rainbow after rain.
The hug! There’s just no doubt about it,
we can scarcely survive without it.

A hug delights and warms and charms,
it might be why God gave us arms.

Hugs are great for Fathers and Mothers,
sweet for Sisters, swell for Brothers.
Chances are some favorite Aunts
love them more than potted plants.

Kittens crave them. Puppies love them.
Heads of State are not above them.
A hug can break the language barrier
and make the dullest day seem merrier.

No need to fret about the store of ’em.
The more you give the more there are of ’em.
So stretch those arms without delay, and
Give Someone a Hug Today!
From – The Serious Teddy Bear

Happy National Hug Day!

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All Things Grinch

Last December during a longer lunch break, I walked by a uniform store. Glancing in the window of the store, a couple items caught my eye.  Displayed high on one of the walls, I saw long sleeved red scrub jackets.  On another display below the jackets were bright green scrub pants.  When I saw them, it made me think – Grinch.  When I went into the store, I discovered that the displays were not directly adjacent, it was just an illusion created by looking through the window.  That visual image, however, gave me a creative idea for work, so I purchased a red scrub jacket and a pair of green pants. I have worn both of these items at work, but not together.img_4295 Now that the Christmas season is here, it was time to put them together.

To create the costume, I designed an digital embroidery pattern (using Art and Stitch) based upon a Grinch face in a child’s coloring book.  The face was embroidered onto green fleece and sewn, like a visor, inside the front edge of a pre-made Santa hat.  To complete the costume, I even found matching green gloves and red Poinsettia shoe on Amazon.

Wearing the costume at work has proven to be a good behavior management strategy.  For the past week, I have had great patient and parent cooperation, even with patients who have not been good in the past!

img_4307A few days after I made my visor, I was shopping at Target.  When walking past the boy’s clothing section, I noticed some green gloves that were the exact shade of the fleece I had used.  Since I had excess fleece, I purchased two pair of gloves and made a couple Grinch hats.  To complete the winter wear sets, I embroidered a triple heart (because, according to the story, the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes), and made neck warmers.  I will be donating these two sets of “Grinch Gear” to the Hats and Mittens collection next year.

For holiday fun, I decided to make some Grinch treats to share at work and with my sons.  Here are a couple recipes:

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Grinch Shortbread Cookies (makes 36)
1 cup  butter, room temperature
1 cup granular sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup Gluten-free flour
1 cup  Almond Flour
green food coloring
Red Jolly Rancher candies

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.  Add vanilla, egg and food coloring and mix until creamy.  Whisk together flours and salt.  Gradually mix dry ingredients into batter. Chill for at least one hour.  Roll out dough to 1/4″ on a lightly floured surface.  Cut out a larger heart with a small heart in the middle.  Place a Jolly Rancher in the middle heart hole.  Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely before removing from parchment paper.

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Grinch Fur – aka Haystacks (makes 36)
12 ounces dark green Candy Melts
12 ounces vibrant green Candy Melts
1 1/2 cups peanuts
12 ounces Chow Mien Noodles
Candy Hearts

Directions:
Place Candy melts in an 10 cup microwave safe  glass bowl.  Microwave approximately 2 minutes.  Stir well until all pieces of candy are melted and blended together.  Stir in peanuts and Chow Mien Noodles.  Place by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and top each with a candy heart. Refrigerate until set.  Store in an airtight container.

Grinch Poppers (see my original post 12-22-18)

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Hats/Scarf Sets and Reindeer Brookies

Again this year, my dental office participated in the collection for the Hats & Mittens Organization. The boxes of donated items were picked up on Thursday.  About 150 items were donated at our three offices.

Like last year, I knit several items to donate.  New this year, several of the scarves that I included in the sets were woven. The hats and scarves were combined with purchased gloves to make winter sets.  Hopefully these sets will keep the children and teens who receive them nice and warm this winter.

Linen Stitch Scarf and Swirl Knit HatIMG_3272

Ombre Teal to Brown Knit Scarf and HatIMG_3269

Dotty Stitch Hat and CowlIMG_3265

Woven Scarf with Cable KnitIMG_3264

Woven Scarf with Swirl Knit HatIMG_3261

Woven Scarf / Ribbed Knit HatIMG_3236

Woven Scarf / Ribbed Knit HatIMG_3233

Woven Scarf / Ribbed Knit HatIMG_3230

Rib Knit Hat and Cashmere ScarfIMG_3228

Dotty Stitch Hat and Striped ScarfIMG_2971

Boa Yarn Knit Scarf and HatIMG_2944

As a special treat, I am including the recipe for the Reindeer Brookies I made today.  Kinda fun and very tasty!

Reindeer Brookies (makes 36, plus scraps from cutting triangles)
img_4285Cookie Base 
1/2 cup  butter, room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granular sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup flour
1 cup  chocolate chips (I used Andes Candies chips)

Brownie Layer 
1/2 cup  butter, melted
1 cup granular sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup Triple Cocoa Blend
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour

Chocolate Frosting and Decorations
1/4 cup  butter, softened
1/4 cup Triple Cocoa Blend
2  Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pretzels, broken
Mini M & Ms, red and brown
Sugar eyes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.  Add vanilla and egg and mix until creamy.  Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.  Gradually mix dry ingredients into batter. Stir in chips. Spread dough into bottom of the pan.

Beat together butter and sugar until creamy.  Add vanilla and egg and mix until creamy.  Whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.  Gradually mix dry ingredients into batter. Spread batter evenly over the cookie dough.  Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely. Once cooled, cut into 3″ x 1 1/2″ triangles.

Beat together butter, cocoa, milk and vanilla until creamy.  Add powdered sugar slowly, beating slowly at first until incorporated, then beat at medium high speed until frosting is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Spread over cooled brookies. Place pretzel pieces to look like antlers.  Add sugar eyes and noses to complete the decorating of the reindeer.

Happy Independence Day!

In honor of Independence Day, I decided to post a few Patriotic Crafts.

Red, White and Blue Quilt donated to Quilts of Valor

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A quilt given to a foreign exchange student to remind him of his time spent in the USA:

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A woven scarf:

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And, some Raspberry & Blueberry Scones:

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Raspberry-Blueberry Scones
Makes 6 scones
1 cup  flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/4 cup granular sugar
1/4 cup butter, cold, cut into pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tbs dehydrated blueberries
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
2 Tbs freeze dried raspberries, cut in half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder and sugar.  Cut in butter (a mini food processor works really well).  Add milk and vanilla.  The batter will be very crumbly but should hold together when pressed into a ball (add a small amount of milk if necessary).  Mix in berries and chips.  Divide into six scones.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Drizzle with glaze (optional).