Category Archives: Breads

Lemon Nut Bread

I am a HUGE fan of lemon-flavored things, especially breads and desserts.  So it’s not surprising that I instantly loved this lemon nut bread after the first bite. 

It is so moist and delicious, and the lemony glaze on top that soaks into the bread just makes it extra special.

This would be perfect to make on the weekend and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

And non-recipe related, but I just have to say that spring has finally arrived here in Alberta!  The snow has melted away, the grass is green, and the trees are slowly but surely budding and bursting with color.  It’s about darn time!  I literally feel my spirit lifting as I see more and more of the landscape changing color.

I hope spring has arrived where you are too.  And I hope you give this lemon nut bread a try!

Lemon Nut Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tb grated lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tb baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tb lemon juice

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add lemon juice and peel.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to the wet mixture, alternating with the milk.  Stir in the pecans.

Pour into a greased 9×5 loaf pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

In a small bowl stir together the powdered sugar and 2 Tb lemon juice.  Poke holes in the loaf with a wooden pick (I used a kabob skewer).  Drizzle glaze evenly over the top. 

Let stand 10 minutes.  Remove loaf from pan and let cool completely.

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Press-In-Pan Pie Crust

Easiest pie crust you will ever make, I guarantee it!  I have been meaning to share this recipe for a long time, and today I’m finally going to.

This is the pie crust I always use, and it’s an absolutely no fail recipe.  I readily admit that making a traditional pie crust is an art that I have just never been able to master.  With this pie crust I never have to worry about whether it’s going to turn out okay, and it takes a lot less time to make.

Simply mix together the ingredients in a bowl, like so.

Turn it out into a pie plate.

And just start pressing with your fingers until, voila, it looks like this!

This crust was used for this savory summer pie recipe, my absolute favorite quiche.

If you are looking for a quick and easy, from-scratch pie crust, then I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!  Until next time, Happy Cooking 🙂

Press-In-Pan Pie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 Tb milk

Directions:

Stir together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add oil and milk, 1 Tb at a time, until the dough comes together into a ball.  Turn out into a pie plate and press into the bottom and sides to form a crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. 

This crust works equally well with sweet and savory dishes.

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Blueberry Tea Bread

Good Sunday morning!  How is everyone?  Just peachy up here on the Alberta prairie.  Enjoying a cup of coffee and a little peace and quiet to myself before Jay wakes up.  Don’t you love that quiet, early morning time?  🙂

We had a freak snowstorm last week that dumped tons of heavy, wet snow on us.  But, as of today, it’s almost all melted away already.  Yes!  *pumps fist in the air*  And an unexpected positve outcome from the snow was that my car, which was in desperate need of a bath, looks much nicer now.  *another fist pump*

I had a hankering for something with blueberries the other day.  Luckily, I had a bag of blueberries in the freezer already.  So I went searching through my cookbooks, sure I could find the perfect recipe to satisfy my blueberry craving. 

Enter this delicious bread from Southern Living.  Just the thing I needed!  This is more of a dessert bread, not really something you want to eat every morning for a healthy breakfast (though I’m all for indulgence once in a while!). 

Like most quick breads, this does benefit from sitting for a day before you eat it.  I don’t know about y’all, but I can never let a quick bread sit for a day before eating it!  But I really did find with this bread, after eating it straight from the oven and then having a slice the next day, that it is much better the next day.  Still great not matter what, but just that much better if you can wait 🙂

I hope you enjoy, and until next time, Happy Cooking!

Blueberry Tea Bread

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tb cake flour
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 1 Tb chopped almonds (I left these out)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tb vanilla

Directions:

Combine first 4 ingredients.  Stir in 1 tsp butter until crumbly.  Set aside.

Combine blueberries and 2 Tb flour, tossing to coat.  Set aside.

Stir together remaining flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in remaining butter until mixture is crumbly. 

Whisk together egg, milk, and vanilla.  Add to the flour mixture, stirring until all ingredients are moistened.  Fold in blueberries.

Pour into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.  Sprinkle the almond mixture over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Lest rest in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

*All-purpose flour can be substituted for the cake flour.  For each cup of cake flour called for, use one cup of all-purpose minus 2 Tb.

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Irish Soda Bread

St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, and I want to share a few of my favorite recipes for those of you planning an Irish feast!  I am very proud of my own Irish heritage, but even if you’re not Irish yourself, well you know what they say, everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day 😉

As a teenager, I became fascinated with stories of Irish myths and legends  and I still am.  How I would love to step into that magical world, even if just for a moment, and see the mighty hero Cu Chulainn in his battle fury (said to be frightening indeed!) or the warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill leading the Fianna to victory.

And someday I’ll make it to Ireland and stand on the hill of Tara just as the high kings of Ireland did so long ago.  I may be old and need a walker to get myself up there by that time, but gosh darnit, I’ll make it!

I think few foods are as closely associated with Ireland as soda bread.  I’m no expert on Irish food, but this is how I make my soda bread and it’s delicious, if I do say so myself.  Every time I make it I think to myself, I should make this more often!  And then 6 months or a year goes by.  But I really should make it more often!

It’s said that the cross in the bread is meant to ward off the devil, or possibly to let the fairies out.  Personally, I like the idea of releasing the fairies before baking since goodness knows, I wouldn’t want to bake the wee poor things 😉

So here’s my recipe for Irish soda bread.  Tomorrow I’ll be sharing another recipe for St. Patrick’s Day.  Enjoy!

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tb butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:

Stir together the dry ingredients.  Cut butter in until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Add raisins.  Stir in buttermilk just enough so that dough leaves the sides of the bowl. 

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 1-2 minutes, or until fairly smooth.  Shape into a round loaf, about 6 1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on a baking sheet.

Using a floured knife, cut a cross about 1/2 inch deep through loaf.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown.  Brush with softened butter, if desired.

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Orange Nut Bread

Today’s recipe comes from this slightly battered old cookbook:

I bought it from Amazon a while back with a gift card I won from Swagbucks.  If you don’t have a Swagbucks account yet, just go to http://www.swagbucks.com  to sign up. Update: t’s been brought to my attention that for some strange reason the link keeps going to the Wordpress website.  I have no idea why!  I’ve typed out the address now so you can copy and paste it 🙂  

There’s something about old cookbooks that I just love.  I love the worn, tattered pages, the splotches of food strains here and there, the faint musty smell.  *Swoon*  I’ll take an old cookbook any day over a shiny, brand new one.  

I’ve never made an orange-flavored quick bread before, and this one sounded interesting.  I decided to use dates rather than raisins, and I never realized before now what a great combination oranges and dates are!  This bread is sweet and moist and chock full of dates and nuts.

To get the orange peel, I used my vegetable peeler to get strips like this.

I just used my knife to quickly chop it up finely.  Here’s the batter ready to go into the oven.  You can see all the lovely bits of orange, dates, and nuts in the mix.

Fresh out of the oven.

Slices of this were especially nice with a little cream cheese spread on.  Perfect along with a cup of morning coffee or tea!

I hope you try this and enjoy it!  Until next time, happy cooking 🙂

Orange Nut Bread

Ingredients:

  • juice and rind of 1 medium orange
  • 1 cup raisins or chopped dates
  • 2 Tb melted shortening (I used vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Directions:

Pour orange juice into a measuring cup.  Add enough hot water to equal 1 cup.

Using a knife or food processor, finely chop orange rind.  Add to a large bowl with raisins or dates, diluted orange juice mixture, shortening, vanilla, and egg.

In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Add the chopped nuts.  Add to the bowl with the wet ingredients.  Mix just until combined.

Pour into a greased 9×5 loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.

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The Best Granola Bars

I did it, I finally did it!  I finally got my husband to do the dishes and laundry for me, you ask??  Well no, I haven’t quite gotten that lucky yet (I wish!). 

But I did find the perfect granola bar recipe.  I tried making homemade granola bars quite some time ago, but they kept coming out either too crispy or crumbly, or something just wasn’t right.  So I gave up.  Then last weekend, when there weren’t any granola bars on sale for a good price at the store, I decided to give them a try again. 

Jay goes thru a lot of granola bars since he works in construction and needs snacks that he can pick up and eat on the go.  His one stipulation was that they be chewy.  I chose this recipe from Allrecipes since I had all the ingredients and it had gotten really good reviews.  They were sooo good!  I made them for Jay, but I think I ate close to half of them myself.  I guess I’ll just have to make some more!

They had the perfect amount of chewyness.  Jay definitely approved.  And I love that I know exactly what ingredients went into making them.  This recipe is so versatile too, I’m already thinking of different variations I want to make.  I hope you give them a try too and enjoy them as much as we did.

Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂

The Best Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (all I had was wheat bran, so I used that)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 13×9 baking pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats and next 7 ingredients (flour thru walnuts).  In another bowl whisk together the wet ingredients.  Pour into the oats mixture and stir until everything is well coated.

Spoon into prepared baking pan.  At this point, I found it easiest to wet my hands a little (so they wouldn’t stick to the mixture) and press the mixture firmly into the pan.  This will ensure that the bars stay together nicely and don’t come out crumbly.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden around the edges.  Cool completely before turning out and cutting into bars.

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Homemade Bagels

Yes, you can make your own bagels!  If you’ve got the basics of bread-making down pat, these will be easy peasy for you to make.  And if you’re not so comfortable with bread-making, well I’m going to include step-by-step instructions for you.  I hope this will encourage some of you to give these bagels a try! 🙂

I suppose you could call these honey whole-wheat bagels if you want.  They’re just my standard recipe that I use.  You can add cinnamon and raisins, orange zest and dried cranberries (yum!), shredded cheese, chocolate chips, whatever you want.  Or sprinkle poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or dried minced onion on top before baking. Be creative!  For this demonstration, I’m sticking to just the basic recipe. 

In a large bowl stir together the yeast, hot water, honey, salt, and 1 cup whole-wheat flour.

Now mix in the remaining flour until the dough comes together.  I admit I was lazy and let my mixer do the work for me.  No, I do not have a fancy Kitchenaid mixer.  Yes, I’m just fine with that. 

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.  Or continue to be lazy and let your mixer do the kneading.  It should look something like this.

Now just cover that up and put it in a warm place to rise until doubled.  Once it’s through rising, you’re ready to plunk it down on the counter and get to shaping some bagels!

You want to pinch off portions of dough now and roll them into balls, somewhere between golf ball and tennis ball size.  The easiest way I’ve found to shape the bagels is to just punch a whole through the middle of the ball with your finger, like this.

Stretch the hole out a little bit until it looks like this.

You’ve just made a bagel!  Now keep going until you’ve got a whole pan of lovely bagels.

Cover them up and let them rest for 20 minutes.  Once they’ve rested, it’s time to give them a little water bath (this is what makes them chewy!).  Bring a large pot of water to a simmer (I use my “chicken fryer” pan), then place your bagels in the water.

Let them simmer 1 minute on each side.  Take them out and set them on paper towels or tea towels to drain for a few minutes.  If you have a pair of tongs, they’ll really work best here.

Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush the tops with the egg wash.  Now they’re ready to bake!  I forgot to snap a picture at this step before putting them in the oven, so just use your imagination.  But here they are just out of the oven.  Look at those beautiful bagels!

This may seem  a little strange, but one of my favorite ways to eat a warm bagel is dipped into yogurt, like this.  Give it a try sometime!

Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂

Homemade Bagels

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups flour (I use half whole-wheat, half all-purpose)
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water (120-130 degrees)
  • 2 Tb honey
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp water

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup whole-wheat flour, yeast, water, salt, and honey.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a ball.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth.  Place dough in a greased bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Turn dough out onto the counter and pinch off small balls of dough (golf ball to tennis ball size).  Using your finger, poke a hole in the center.  Gently stretch the hole out until it’s about 1 inch in diameter.  Place onto a baking pan.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Cover the bagels and let them rest for 20 minutes.

Bring a large, shallow pot of water to a simmer.  Drop the bagels in.  Cook 1 minute, then flip and cook 1 more minute.  Place on paper towels or a tea towel to drain.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Whisk together the egg white and 1 tsp water.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of each bagel with the egg wash.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

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