Monthly Archives: January 2018

Honey & Whole-Grain Quick Bread: A Stir-and-Dump Recipe

Full of a mixture of five grains and seeds, plus a touch of honey!

Today’s recipe? Honey & Whole-Grain Quick Bread! For long-time readers, you’ll know that in addition to my love affair with chocolate, I also love bread. But I also try to be healthy. So, I developed an easy recipe for a whole grain bread that will have you thanking the bread gods (and possibly me) for your free pass to eat copious amounts of carbs.

This is what I call a ‘Stir-and-Dump’ recipe, in that you basically stir all the ingredients together, dump it in a pan, and away you go! That’s right, it’s a one-bowl recipe! AND it’s a quick bread, so there’s no waiting for the bread to rise, then punching it down, then letting it rise again. As much as I love yeast breads (my Pesto Swirl Bread, for example), I also love having a loaf of bread ready for dinner in only 45 minutes.

And the short-cut to make this delicious bread? A hot-grain cereal! I used one that had three different types of whole grains in it: steel-cut wheat, rye, and whole flax. And because my bread recipe adds in oatmeal and cornmeal, it’s suddenly got a mixture of 5 whole grains and seeds! See? Healthy!

Let’s get our bread on!

HONEY AND WHOLE GRAIN QUICK BREAD

  • 1/2 c. hot grain cereal, uncooked
  • 1/4 c. cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. oats
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. yoghurt (I used my homemade yoghurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. oil
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Mix the cereal, cornmeal, and boiling water together. Let sit for 15 min. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Sprinkle a few oats on top of the loaves. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the top of the bread is nicely browned. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a cooling tray to cool fully before slicing. And then enjoy your freshly baked Honey and Whole Grain Bread!

By the way, if you use steel-cut oats instead of rolled oats, just be sure to add them in to the other whole grains in the beginning, so that they can soak for 15 min. as well.

Honey and whole grains, in muffin form!

This recipe will make two small loaves, or one small loaf and a half dozen muffins/buns. I think the buns are great when served warm and with maple syrup! They end up tasting a bit like oatmeal pancakes — yum! I also plan to use any leftover bread to make homemade French Toast with; with more maple syrup, because I’m Canadian, eh!

Next Post: Greens! All the greens. I’ve got some purple leafy kale in my fridge that I want to do something with. Or maybe I’ll mix up some Glazed Orange Scones with the candied orange peel I made last night. Or maybe share my 10-Minute Mesquite Sweet Potato Mash? Let me know your preference in the comments!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Foodie Friday, and Happiness is Homemade! Plus at Full Plate Thursday!

Skittles-Flavoured Tutti-Frutti Popcorn! (w/ Bonus VEGAN Version!)

A rainbow of flavour in every bowl! That’s what I’m talking ’bout!

How did I come up with this TUTTI-FRUTTI POPCORN recipe? Well, when I was younger I used to love the multi-coloured and multi-flavoured popcorn one could buy at the popcorn store in the local mall. My sisters and I would buy it as a gift for each other on birthdays. Somewhere along the line, I stopped eating it, why I don’t know. (Adulthood, maybe? Eh.) Then last week someone gave me a whole bunch of skittles packages and I was trying to figure out how to use them. Suddenly it hit me…I could make TUTTI-FRUTTI POPCORN at home! Childhood regained!

This TUTTI-FRUTTI popcorn reminds me of the double-glazed kind I would buy at the local popcorn shop, glossily glazed in mouth-watering sweetness, yet with a hint of tartness and lots of crunch. One batch is just enough for a v. indulgent Netflix binge-watching session for one, or perhaps a couch and movie night for two.

Have I piqued your interest yet? Let’s get to making some!

TUTTI-FRUTTI POPCORN 

  • 10-12 c. popped popcorn (about 1/2 c. unpopped + 1/4 c. oil)
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. butter plus 5 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ c. corn syrup
  • 7 regular-sized packs of skittles (or approx.. 1/3 c. skittles of each flavour)
  1. Melt and mix brown sugar, corn syrup, and ½ c. butter over medium to high heat and stir until boiling. A light sauce will form (as opposed to butter running separate from sugar. You’ll know what I mean when you see it). Continue stirring caramel sauce and let it boil until it has become a slightly thicker caramel sauce.
  2. Put 1/5th of the caramel mixture in a separate pot and add in one flavour of skittles plus one tbsp. butter. Stir over medium heat until skittles have dissolved into the caramel and it has become a homogenous sauce (it will take a bunch of continuous stirring and smushing of the skittles). Stir in 2 c. of popcorn, until thoroughly coated, and spread on a half a cookie sheet in a 250 degree oven. Do the same with the remaining 4 flavours, one at a time.
  3. You’ll end up with two cookie trays in the oven, one with two flavours of popcorn on it, and one with three flavours of popcorn on it. Every time you add one of the 5 flavours of popcorn to the oven, stir the other colours to re-coat with flavoured sauce (it has a tendency to melt off). Be sure to keep the flavours of popcorn separate on the trays.
  4. Once all the flavours are made, bake both trays in the oven at 250 degrees, for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie trays. Once cool, break up any chunks that have formed, and mix together in a large serving bowl. Then…dive in! Try each flavour separately, then try them together! You really can taste the separate flavours. Yum-o!

Often I bake and cook and bring in my creations to my workplace, or send it in with the DH to his, but this? This popcorn is all mine, my friends!  I’ll be honest, the process is a bit finicky to do with all the different flavours, but the final result is worth it.

Yum, yum, YUM! (Is all I have to say.)

BONUS VERSION: If you use a vegan margarine instead of butter, it’s…VEGAN because skittles are vegan. (Did you know that? I didn’t until recently.) Impress your vegan friends and be the life of the vegan party. Or just eat it because something this delicious will probably not make it out your door, just sayin’!

NEXT POST: I’m thinking either Cinnamon Swirl Bread (yes, I’m all about the swirl lately) or maybe something with veggies. I could do with some nice green veggies right about now! Mmm…nutrients. Veggies may not sound delicious when compared to candy-covered popcorn, but I always feel better after eating a veggie-based meal, and that sense of well-being and vitality is just as great as a bowl full of candy popcorn. (Yea or nea? Let me know in the comments!)

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday (x2) and at Happiness is Homemade! And at Full Plate Thursday! Plus, at Southern Bite!

Pesto Swirl Bread aka How to Up Your Soup Game

Perfect with a hot bowl of soup, especially on a cold winter’s night!

Last week I wrote about how to make Super-Easy Pesto Focaccia; this week, it’s time to step up our bread-baking game and make some Pesto Swirl Bread! Delicious, freshly-baked bread, swirled throughout with some hearty pesto…there’s nothing quite like it to make Soup Night something to look forward to!

Plus, Pesto Swirl Bread looks fantastic, and it really isn’t as hard as you might think. I love it fresh out of the oven, when it’s still hot and has puffs of steam escaping, but the DH prefers Pesto Swirl Bread toasted and crunchy, with some butter melting on top. Either way, it’s delish!

Let’s get to making some!

PESTO SWIRL BREAD

  • 2-3 tbsp. pesto
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 c. warm water (110 degrees is perfect — too hot or too cold will affect the yeast, fyi)
  • 3/4 tbsp. yeast 
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 c. oil
  • 3 c. flour 

Mix the water and yeast together and let sit until foamy. Stir in sugar, salt, and oil. Add in flour, a cup at a time. Knead dough (I use a mixer) until everything is incorporated, and then for an additional 5-10 minutes (this stretches the gluten in the dough). Once the dough is no longer super-sticky (just tacky), place it in an oiled bowl, cover it with a damp-ish cloth, and put in a warm place until it has doubled in size. (I usually turn the oven on for a minute or two and then turn it off, and place the bowl with the dough inside. It warms up the space enough to help the dough rise, but not enough to start cooking the dough.) This rising of the dough takes about an hour. 

Spreading the pesto on the dough. (I doubled the recipe, to make two loaves.)

Once the dough has risen, punch it down (pow! pow! pow!) and, on a floured surface, roll it into a rough rectangle. Spread the pesto on top of the rectangle, and roll the dough up tightly. Place the rolled dough in a greased loaf pan, and put it back into a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size. Remove the pan from the oven, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and then put the pan back into the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is golden brown. Take the pan out and let it cool for a few minutes before removing it from the pan, and let it cool on a cookie rack (if you don’t remove it from the pan, the trapped moist heat can make the bread bottom a tad soggy. And no one wants a soggy bottom). Slice, and enjoy your freshly baked Pesto Swirl Bread!

This bread freezes well and, like most of my recipes, is easy to customize. You could add in some fresh chopped garlic, or cheese, or both! You could turn these into buns too; they’d be great with burgers, I think! If you make the bread, let me know if you make any additions — let’s learn from each other!

Next Post: I’m working on a recipe for Tutti-Frutti Candied Popcorn. This is one recipe that won’t make it to the DH’s office; I’ll be eating it all myself! Bonus: there’s a vegan version of it too! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday as well as at Happiness is Homemade! And at Full Plate Thursday! And, at Foodie Friday!

Super-Easy Pesto Focaccia and Why I Currently Have 50 lbs of Flour

Pesto-topped focaccia — what could be better?

I love fresh bread, but I also love easy meals that come together in a jiffy. When I was given a jar of fancy pesto recently, I knew I had to put it to good use, and I did; I made Pesto Focaccia! So, so easy, and so, so good, whether fresh out of the oven with dinner, or heated up in the microwave for lunch the next day.

Why is this such an easy focaccia to make? Because I use my Easiest-Pizza-Dough-In-The-History-Of-Ever as the base! Some dough, some pesto, some salt…et voila, fresh focaccia for dinner! You could make this from start to finish in 45 minutes, and that includes the baking!

Seriously, it’s that easy. Let’s get to making some!

SUPER-EASY PESTO FOCACCIA

  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) quick active dry yeast
  • 1 c warm water
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (or vegetable oil is fine too)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. pesto
  • large grain salt (if you have it)

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add rest of ingredients, except for pesto and large grain salt. Mix it up in a mixer (or hand mix. I’ve done both). Let sit for 10 minutes. Flatten it onto an oiled cookie sheet, and let it rest for another 10 minutes. Spread the pesto over the surface, and press your fingertips into the surface all over for that class focaccia look. Sprinkle the large grain salt on the top. Bake in a 425 degree oven until the crust is puffy and golden. Serve, and enjoy! 

Oh, and I did mention in the title that I have 50 lbs of flour in my kitchen. Much to the chagrin of my DH, I must say. He’s not fond of opening the fridge and being faced with containers of flour, and then opening the freezer and being faced with the same. He wanted to order out the other day; I said, we have plenty of food in the fridge! He said, we have plenty of flour! (Incidentally, we didn’t order out. I just made this easy pesto focaccia and served it with some soup!)

But why so much flour? Because a few weeks ago there was a great deal on flour so I bought a large bag, only to find out when I got home that it was bread flour. Now, bread flour is very different from all-purpose flour, in that it in higher in gluten, and gluten content affects your baking. You can bake bread with all-purpose flour, but I don’t recommend making cupcakes with bread flour. Anyway, so I had all this bread flour, but I needed all-purpose. So I bought a bag of all-purpose flour. And then today I came across a suuuper good deal on all-purpose flour, and I just couldn’t resist…so I bought another 25 lbs. Poor DH. The look on his face when I walked in the door with a 25 lb bag of flour and not much else!

But why do I keep flour in the fridge and freezer? That, dear reader, is a story for another day!

Next Post: I’m thinking Pesto Swirl Bread. Or…maybe veggies. Mmm…veggies. I do love them!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, and Happiness is Homemade! As well as at Full Plate Thursday! And…at Foodie Friday!