Seriously easy wheat rolls

My husband seriously loves to eat bread. I love it too. I love it a little too much. If it’s in the house, I will literally keep eating it until it’s gone. All of it. Every last delicious crumb will be gone by the end of the day…maybe two days if I exercise any level of self-restraint…who am I kidding? I have no self-restraint when it comes to bread.

I also really and truly hate most store-bought bread with its preservatives, artificial ingredients, and fillers. Gross. Refusing to buy bread means that any time I want to eat bread, I have to make it myself. The first few times I tried making bread, it was like a science experiment gone wrong. Too much yeast, not enough yeast, too hot, too cold, I forgot to punch it down. Anything that could go wrong, seriously did go wrong. I am proud to say that I am now fairly proficient at making my own bread for the family. It’s delicious, fresh, and way healthier for you than store-bought.

I have a few easy go to recipes that my family loves. Their favorite recipe is for whole wheat dinner rolls. They are soft, flaky, and perfect for hamburgers or sloppy joes. My somewhat picky four-year old loves them. They take about 20 minutes preparation, two hours of rise time, and 16 minutes in the oven. Besides waiting for the dough to rise, this recipe is really only about a 30 minute hands on operation. Use this recipe if you are home on a Saturday or Sunday and want some deliciously fresh bread, or you just want to impress your guests at a cookout.

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Seriously Easy Wheat Rolls

This is a recipe I usually double. Half is used for rolls and the other half I use to make a braided loaf.

1 cup warm milk (I use almond milk because my son is allergic to casein)

1/4 cup sugar (use honey of you are anti-sugar)

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup melted coconut oil plus 2 tablespoons for coating.

2 1/2 tsp yeast

2 cups white flour

2 cups wheat flour

1/3 cup of corn meal for coating the baking sheet

1 egg white and oats or sesame seeds for making the rolls pretty (not necessary, but fun)

In one bowl, whisk together the warm milk, sugar, and yeast. It’s important that the milk is warm but not hot. Too cold and your yeast will not activate, and too hot could kill it. Let this mixture sit for 15 minutes.

While the yeast is setting, mix together the salt and coconut oil and measure out your four cups of flour.

Your yeast should start to look something like this:

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After the yeast begins to froth, add in the coconut oil and salt, then slowly knead in the four cups of flour. Add the flour until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. You may not need to use all of your flour.

Grease a large bowl with coconut oil and coat your dough in coconut oil. Place the dough in the greased bowl and cover with a towel or flour sack cloth. Leave the dough to rise in a warm undisturbed location for one hour. I usually leave the dough bowl in the microwave so that it stays warmer, since I live in a big drafty house.

While it is rising you can go ahead and prepare the baking sheet. Grease the bottom and coat with corn meal to prevent your bread from sticking and burning to the pan.

After it has sat one hour it should have about doubled in size. If you made a single recipe, punch the dough down and separate it into eight even balls of dough. Set these on your greased and coated baking sheet to rise one more hour, covered with a towel. If you decided to double the recipe, separate the dough in half. Half of the dough you will further separate to make the 8 rolls like above. Separate the remaining half into 3 even pieces. Roll out the three pieces into long thin lines of dough, braid together like you would hair, and tuck the ends underneath.

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

After the dough has risen a second time, you can now coat each roll  and the braided loaf with egg white. I use a little silicon kitchen brush for this job. Just cover each roll everywhere except where it is touching the pan.

Sprinkle the tops with oats or sesame seeds.

Bake at 375 for 16-20 minutes or golden.

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We used this recipe just the other day for grass-fed beef burgers served with homemade coleslaw. It was every bit as delicious as it sounds.

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Lactation cookies

Lactation cookies

Lactation cookies

It has been eons since I last posted any recipes. Between the pregnancy, my husband finishing police academy and starting as an officer, prepping the house for baby number two, and just life in general, I am sad to say that this blog has been very low down on my priority list. I am 37 weeks pregnant with little boy Muse, and I have been nesting like crazy getting ready for him to arrive. One of the things I wanted to do before he comes was to stock the freezer with lactation cookies. For anyone who might not know about lactation cookies, they are basically cookies that are baked with galactagogues to promote milk production in lactating mothers. They are also really delicious. There are a million recipes online for lactation cookies, but none of the ones I searched seemed to have the ingredients I wanted to use for my own lactation cookies. So what’s a girl to do? Make her own recipe of course! So here is my lactation cookie recipe. It makes 5 dozen three inch across cookies. I made them to freeze and have on hand for when the baby arrives, but if you do not want or need that many, simply cut the recipe in half.

Lactation cookies

1 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil

1 cup honey

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp blackstrap molasses

2 tsp salt

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup milk

3 cups wheat flour

2/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1 ¾ cups oats

1 cup wheat bran

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp baking powder

3 tsp cinnamon

4 tbsp flax seeds

2 tbsp chia seeds

6 tbsp brewer’s yeast (nutritional yeast)

1 ½ cups of either chocolate chips or raisins (I used raisins)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

In a mixer, combine coconut oil, honey, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, peanut butter, and molasses until smooth. Add one egg at a time until fully mixed. Add milk and then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the wheat flour, all purpose flour, oats, bran, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, flax seeds, chia seeds and brewer’s yeast.

Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir well, making sure that there are no pockets of flour. Add in your chocolate chips or raisins.

Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 12-14 minutes. Makes 5 dozen 3 inch cookies.

Enjoy with a cup of mother’s milk tea.

Honey-nut lavender cupcakes with lemon-lavender icing

Due to tight finances and both my husband and I trying to cut back on sweets, it has been an inexcusably long time since I last posted. It’s hard to be creative in the kitchen when you are simultaneously trying to be a supportive wife and keeping sweets out of the house. However, since the last time I posted, I became a consultant for a company called doTERRA which sells certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils. These oils are AMAZING! I use them for everything. Headaches, sun burn, bug bites, scrapes, sore muscles…doTERRA has an oil for everything.  They are not like most oils you see on the market that have additives and fragrance added and you can’t even apply them directly to the skin. Because they are 100% oil extracted from organic plants from which they are derived, you can actually consume them. For example, I used lemon oil in my tea last night to help ease a sore throat…but I digress.

This morning my daughter said to me, “Mommy, I want a cupcake.”

To which I responded, ” You want a cupcake? Where are there cupcakes?” (Because she doesn’t usually mention something unless prompted I thought perhaps she had seen a picture of one in one of her books etc.)

With bright eyes and excitement she proudly exclaimed, “They’re HIDING in the kitchen!”

After a little bit of prompting she asked if we could make cupcakes together. Who can say no to an adorable two-year old asking for hiding cupcakes? I certainly can’t. So, I literally dusted off my baking equipment (I really should clean my kitchen more often) and got to work making a new recipe. And I figured…what the heck, since I’m baking I may as well try out some of my essential oils in the recipe. Without further ado, this is what Doodle Bug and myself concocted this morning.

Honey-nut lavender cupcakes with lemon-lavender icing

Honey-nut lavender cupcakes with lemon-lavender icing

Honey-nut lavender cupcakes with lemon lavender icing

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ cup coconut oil

1 cup almond milk

½ cup honey

8 drops of doTERRA lavender essential oil

½ cup almond flour

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

Whisk together the eggs, vanilla, milk, honey, coconut oil and lavender oil. Sift together the almond flour, all-purpose flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes. While the cupcakes are baking you can whip up your icing.

Lemon-lavender icing

1 cup shortening

6-7 cups powder sugar

1 tsp vanilla

5-6 tablespoons almond milk

6 drops doTERRA lemon oil

6 drops doTERRA lavender oil

Always mix your icing based on taste. Start out with 4 cups of sugar and add more to reach the texture/sweetness desired. Too sweet? Add more milk or a dash of salt. Not enough lemon or lavender flavor for your liking? Add another drop.

Once the cupcakes are completely cool you can decorate with your icing and some cute accents like lemon peel or dried lavender buds. I love this recipe because the cupcake is nutty and not too sweet, which offsets the beautiful sweet flavors in the icing. Enjoy!

p.s. If you are interested in trying some of these amazing essential oils send me a message or look at the website: http://www.mydoterra.com/kristimuse/

Pumpkin Pie “French Toast Cups”

It has been an extraordinarily long time since I last posted to my blog. I cannot believe that July was the last time I made a post.  I have multiple excuses for allowing it to fall to the wayside…One excuse is that I have a two year old little girl who demands attention every waking moment of her day. Another excuse is that my husband is three months shy of finishing his degree, and as we reach closer and closer to that graduation date it seems that more and more of his time is spent doing school work…which in turn means less and less time for him to spend with our daughter giving me any sort of alone time. I have also started two other projects which have proportionately taken up what very little free time I do have to spend on anything other than my house, husband, and daughter.

All of the above are simply just excuses, but the real reason is that I have not made me time a priority. I love baking and I love sharing my recipes with people, so here I am! Back and ready to bake! In honor of Thanksgiving I made a delicious breakfast recipe I like to call Pumpkin Pie “French Toast Cups.” These are fantastic, light, and perfect to serve the morning of Thanksgiving while the big dinner is being prepared. You can even make them the night before, and then bake them in the morning, so that you do not have to clean up pots and pans from breakfast. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie “French Toast Cups”

INGREDIENTS:

6 eggs

½ cup coconut milk (or any kind of milk you have)

½ cup pumpkin puree

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 tsp molasses

1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

One medium loaf of bread or 3 small loaves (I had three small loaves of whole wheat bread at hand)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use a bread knife to cut your bread into small cubes. Put the cubed bread into a large bowl and set aside.

 

Small cubes of bread

In a smaller bowl, first whisk together the eggs and milk until light and frothy.

In a larger bowl mix together brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, and pumpkin puree. Add the egg mixture to this mixture. Once the two are well incorporated, add the 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice and stir well.

Pour this batter over the bread cubes and let the mixture soak in for a few minutes, using a spatula to make sure all of the bread is well soaked/coated with the batter.

Batter soaked bread ready for the baking cups

Spoon the bread into one dozen muffin cups. Reusable silicone baking cups are fantastic for this sort of recipe because the bread has nothing to stick to, and you don’t need to grease the pan. If you don’t have reusable silicone cups, then you will definitely need to grease the pan first.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot out of the oven

Serve with syrup, powdered sugar, or whipped cream.

Bon Appétit

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Lactose free, whole-wheat blueberry muffins

It’s blueberry picking season, folks! Delicious, fresh, local, bursting with flavor blueberries are ripe for picking…that is as long as you do not have a clingy toddler who prevents you from accomplishing such tasks as blueberry picking. Alas, I did not get out this year for fresh blueberries. Doodlebug does not like to sit still or allow mommy to do anything that requires even minimal concentration focused anywhere but upon her. She will not always want to be with mommy 24/7 though, so I relish this time with my clingy baby who wants nothing but to spend time with me. I know that this phase too shall pass. In all honesty, the thought of taking my 21 month old out into the heat to pick blueberries sounds like a nightmare, anyway. Can you say “tantrum?”

If, like me,  you can not get out to pick blueberries this year, I suggest befriending someone who does in fact have the time and energy to go out into this wickedly hot Virginia sun and pick them for you. My delightfully witty and wonderful friend and sorority sister Angela was super sweet and brought us a giant bag of fresh blueberries from Pungo Farm out in Virginia Beach. (I invite you to find out how witty and charming Angela is for yourself by following her blog at http://shortnfeisty.blogspot.com/). I had no idea that she was going to bring us some of her blueberries, but I really appreciated the gesture. There are few things on the planet that I enjoy more than fresh blueberries. I will literally eat them by the handful until I am either rolling through the house like Violet Beauregarde or they are all gone (the latter usually happens first).

In exchange for the berries, Angela requested that I bake blueberry muffins with her. We have been planning a baking get-together for a while, but life/work/plans kept getting in the way. And, with her leaving in less than two weeks to move to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career, my time with her to bake and just to simply hang out is running short. So yesterday, I spent a wonderful afternoon baking with my dear friend who is about to leave forever (probably not forever, but that is how it feels at the moment ). I am super excited for her, but I will miss her dearly.

*On a side note, if any more of my friends even so much as suggest leaving Virginia, I WILL tie you down. Most of my friends have already moved away to: Spain, San Diego, St. Louis, South Carolina, Peru, Phoenix, Seattle…you get the point…*

The following recipe is the one I created yesterday to bake with Angela. I did not have any dairy milk or butter in the house, so the recipe happens to be lactose free, but it would work the same way if you want to make a traditional blueberry muffin recipe with cow’s milk ingredients. Also, in an attempt to make the muffins a tad bit healthier, we used some whole wheat flour and wheat germ, but again if you want traditional muffins or just do not have whole wheat flour or wheat germ at hand, you can just use all-purpose flour.

Lactose free, whole-wheat blueberry muffins

You will need:

½ cup coconut oil (a little bit above room temperature, make sure it is soft)

*you can use 1/2 cup of butter if you do not have coconut oil and do not care if they have lactose

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 ¾ cups almond milk

*or just use dairy milk if you do not care about lactose

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup wheat germ

* or you can just use 3 cups of all-purpose flour in lieu of the all-purpose + wheat germ+ whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

In a large bowl whisk together the coconut oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, almond milk, salt, and vanilla.

In yet another bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, and baking powder.

Slowly mix together the egg mixture and the flour mixture. Add the coconut oil and sugar mixture to the egg and flour mixtures. Stir until well incorporated and add the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into greased muffin cups.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Recipe should make 2 dozen.

Enjoy!

Chocolate chip cookies! A cookie jar classic

For the past three days I have been insatiably craving chocolate…chocolate in any absolutely any form. I have been craving chocolate from the moment I wake to the moment I go to sleep at night. This has been one of my more absurd episodes of chocolate craving. It does not usually get this bad!  I have been adding a teaspoon of hot chocolate powder to my coffee in the morning. Every time I went into the kitchen this week, I took a small handful of chocolate chips from the gigantic BJ’s size bag of chocolate chips that I bought for all of my baking needs. My lovely hubby came home from school last night and brought me some Edy’s brand chocolate brownie ice cream. It was glorious, but it only temporarily made the chocolate cravings subside. So what’s a girl to do?

Make chocolate chip cookies! Perhaps my small handfuls of chocolate were feeling a bit jipped. They are meant to be eaten as part of a cookie. They were, by design,  created to be added to the Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of that gloriously large bag of chocolate chips. And I, in my infinite selfishness, deprived them of their sole purpose in life by just scooping them up and eating them sans cookie. I think that it was the chocolate chips’ revenge by making me crave more and more chocolate until I actually made cookies out of them.

Anthropomorphizing of my baking goods aside, I really did squelch that desire for chocolate by baking some chocolate chip cookies. I don’t know if it is because the chocolate was now encased in delicious cookie and therefore more substantial or because  I simply reached my chocolate limit for the week, but I now have a cookie jar filled and chocolate craving conquered. I did not in fact use the Nestlé Toll House recipe. I try to use all of my own recipes on this blog (unless otherwise noted).  So below is my very own chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Chocolate chip cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

2 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 1/4 cups flour

1 – 2 cups of chocolate chips (ironically, I like less chocolate chips in my chocolate chip cookies and therefore only used 1 cup of them)

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla extract.

Slowly stir in the flour and baking soda to the wet ingredients mixture until all of the ingredients are incorporated and you have your cookie dough.

Add the chocolate chips to the dough and spoon onto cookie sheets.

My recipe should make 2 dozen.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes.

Enjoy!

When life gives you zucchini…make zucchini bread and zucchini muffins and zucchini pie…

Earlier this year I started a vegetable garden in our backyard. As a novice gardener, I really had no idea what I was doing. I tried to read about gardening, consult gardening blogs, and ask my “garden veteran” neighbor for advice before planting. Nothing can teach you how to do something quite as well as just digging in and getting your hands dirty. I really had no idea what I was doing, but things have turned out fairly well. We have already harvested collard greens, radishes, onion, cucumber, squash and zucchini. One of my biggest learning curves, however, was discovering just how BIG zucchini plants get. They are taking over my garden. I can’t even walk through some of the rows any more. Good gracious, we have zucchini coming out of our ears (of corn that is). I have so much squash and zucchini we do not even know what to do with all of it. We have already vacuum sealed a bunch of it for our freezer. We have been eating sautéed squash and zucchini. We have made squash and zucchini salads. After doing all of these things, we still had a bunch in our refrigerator waiting for some more recipes.

In order to get a few more zucchini out of our fridge, I made a batch of zucchini muffins. They were alright, but did not quite taste the way I wanted them to taste. I added too much flour with not enough egg, and they tasted a bit too dense or something.  My mom gave me her recipe to try out. I used her basic recipe but tweaked the spices and fillings, and they were fantastic. Here is the recipe if you would like to try them.

Zucchini Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 cup oil (I used vegetable oil)

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup walnuts

1 cup raisins

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Slowly stir together the wet and dry ingredients, and then add the zucchini, walnuts, and raisins.

If making loaves of bread, pour the batter into two greased and floured bread pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. You can also make two dozen muffins instead of two loaves. If you make muffins, they will bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

We had zucchini bread and muffins for breakfast for a week with this recipe. If walnuts and  raisins aren’t your thing, you can just leave them out. I like a little bit of texture in my bread, personally. Plus with the raisins and walnuts it made a much more filling breakfast item. If you want them to be healthier, you can also use 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (instead of using all 3 cups all-purpose flour). Thank you, Mom, for the recipe!

I also made zucchini pie. Yes, you read that correctly. Zucchini Pie. Who knew such a thing existed? I surely didn’t until I was searching for creative ways to use my zucchini, and once again my mom came through with her brilliant ideas. “Why don’t you make a zucchini pie?” she said to me. You can use zucchini to make an apple (like) pie, apparently. My dad and Kev had a piece of the pie, and they didn’t even know that it was not in fact apple pie until I said something. My dad’s comment was something along the lines of, “How did you make zucchini taste like apples?!?” If you peel the zucchini, cut it length-wise, scoop out all of the seeds, and cut it into apple slice size chunks, you can just substitute zucchini for the apple in your favorite apple pie recipe. I would recommend letting the zucchini sit out in a bowl for a few hours before adding the other ingredients to your pie filling. I made the mistake of cutting the zucchini too thin, adding the ingredients, and I did not have the time right then to make the pie. I had to come back to make the crusts later on so that I could bake the pies, and all of the water drained out of the cut pieces. If I had drained the water I would have lost all of the spices, etc. I ended up simmering the pie filling on the stove top and adding more zucchini, some corn starch, and a little bit of flour to make a respectably thick pie filling. If you just let the water drain and then add the ingredients, I am sure you can avoid the soupy hassle I had to deal with.

My apple (and/or zucchini pie) recipe

10 cups of freshly peeled and sliced fruit (once again, if using zucchini, let it sit and allow the liquid to drain off before using in the pie)

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 T butter

In a small bowl mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and fruit.

Pour the mixture into a two pie 9 inch pie crusts. Place small pieces of butter on top of the fruit mixture and then cover the fillings with pie crust tops.

Brush the top of the pie with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cut vent holes in the pie crust top so that the steam can escape while baking. It also let’s you make creative designs on top of your pie.

Bake at 425 degrees for 50 minutes.

My very first slice of zucchini pie!

Enjoy! Zucchini pie…who knew!? I have to say, it was pretty darn tasty!