Thursday, January 29, 2015

Braided Cardamom Pulla Bread

I've been making Pulla Bread (Finnish Coffee Bread) for years all because my sister-in-law made it for Christmas one year and I fell head over heels with it.  My first time ever tasting Cardamom, the spice in the bread and in my opinion, the star of the show.

I didn't make this braided loaf, my brother-in-law (my sister's hubby) made it this past weekend when they were visiting us.  I introduced them to Pulla Bread last Fall and when they got back to their home, my sister asked if I could email her the recipe.  They've been making it several times since and I have to admit, his Pulla Bread out does mine 10 fold!!  He found a new recipe from Saveur and you can find it there at:

This recipe makes the bread heavy but so moist.  Again, the Cardamom give it the perfect touch of spiciness to sip with your morning coffee or tea.

Cinnamon rolls do not compare to Pulla Bread!  So if you're stuck indoors because it's too cold to go outside what better way than to get in the kitchen to do some baking and smell the lovely aroma of fresh bread baking and enjoy some delicious sweet bread with your hot drink?  This is a must try!!

Perhaps my brother-in-law will open up a bakery in our local town?  This recipe would definitely be a winner for sure!!  Thanks BIL!!  By the way, we've run out of Pulla Bread and no one can make it like you!! :)

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Homemade Almond Milk

I have been snacking on raw almonds for the last several months.  I never did before so it took me awhile to like them but now I don't think twice when reaching for a snack.  When I saw this recipe in my Food & Wine magazine, I knew I had to make it especially since I had most of the ingredients.

1 cup raw almonds
5 cups filtered water plus more for soaking
4 plump Medjool dates, pitted (optional) - I skipped these
2 tsps. sugar (optional)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 pinches of sea salt

In a medium bowl, cover the nuts with filtered water.  Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Here are the almonds 24 hours later.  The water is a bit foggy and the nuts are soft and plump

Drain and rinse almonds nuts

Transfer nuts to a blender and add 5 cups of filtered water as well as the dates, cinnamon and salt.   Puree at high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

 Line a fine sieve with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl.  Pour in the nut milk and let drain for 30 minutes.

 Using a spatula, press down to extract any remaining milk; discard the solids.

This is what it looked like when I removed the sieve and cloth.  Doesn't it look like real milk??

Pour the milk into a an airtight container and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.  Stir or shake the milk before serving.  milk can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

This reminds me of Horchata, a Mexican rice milk we drank quiet often growing up in West Texas.  But this is much healthier.  I enjoyed my Almond Milk with some ice. I need to find a place on the internet where to buy raw almonds in bulk and cheaper.  The small bag of (1 1/2 cups) I bought at the local grocery store cost me almost $7!  That's expensive milk!!!  If you know anywhere I can buy some good raw almonds please let me know!

Have a great week, keep warm, until next time,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lazy Girls' Guacamole

Avocados are really popular these days.  Every where I visit on the internet (a lot of food sites and Pinterest) someone is making something with an Avocado.  Apparently they're healthy and full of nutrients.  Click HERE to read the nutritional facts on the Avocado.

I bought a bag of 6 small avocados the other day thinking I may use them in some of the recipes I found on the internet.  The other night I got the craving to eat an Avocado.  It was late in the evening and hubby was already in bed reading.  As I contemplated what to do with it, all of the sudden it came to me that perhaps I could cut it open, salt & pepper it and then add some Srirachi Hot Sauce and eat it like that. . . . so yup, that's what I did.  I didn't even remove the seed.  I wanted something quick and easy.

Here are the ingredients and directions on how to make this quick and easy guacamole, the lazy girls way.

1 small Avocado
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 Lime
Srirachi Hot Sauce

 With a sharp knife, slice open the avocado with several slits

Squeeze in few sprinkles of Lime juice

 Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Finally, add as much Srirachi Hot Sauce as you can handle

and there you have it!!  You don't even have to mix it up.

Now it's time to dig in!!  I didn't even need chips.  Doesn't this look delicious?  and to think how simple it was to make?!

It was big enough to satisfy my craving but small enough not to make me feel guilty for eating a late snack.

Until next time,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spicy Cauliflower Mushroom Stir-Fry

Another Pioneer Woman recipe. . . . . I'm on a roll and why stop??  She mentioned stir-fry and my ears perked up immediately.  The only thing I did different was add mushroom only because I needed to use them.

1 Whole Head Cauliflower
8 oz. Mushrooms - optional
2 Tbsps. Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsps. Soy Sauce
1 Whole Lime
2 Whole Green Onions, sliced
1 Tbsp. Sriracha
Sliced Limes for Serving (optional)

Pull apart the whole head of cabbage into florets

take apart the florets to make smaller florets (they look like popcorn to me)

On med-high heat, heat the oil and then add the mushrooms.  Stir-fry until an even brown

Once the mushrooms have browned, move to a plate and set aside

Heat more oil in the pan and then add the cauliflower florets

also add the minced garlic to the cauliflower.  Stir-fry for about 3 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and somewhat brown

add the mushrooms to the cauliflower and stir together

add the soy sauce

add the lime juice

add the green onions

finally, add the Srirachi sauce and stir everything together until well heated.  I had to add more hot sauce because we like it spicy.

Serve hot with white rice or with hamburger, like what hubby and I had.

or eat alone.

Eat it however you like, no matter how, this side dish is a treat!  My meat and potatoes man surprisingly loved it and polished his plate!  This is an quick and easy side dish, do try it!

Until next time,

Saturday, January 3, 2015

White Chocolate Cherry-Orange Scones

Did you know it's scone season?  Why? Because Downton Abbey's 5th season series starts in about 24 hours from now.  Scones are English and you have to have something English besides your tea while watching DA.  There's plenty of time to make these very simple goodies to go along with your tea so hop to it!  We musn't waste any time.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsps. butter
1 cup dried cherries (or dried cranberries)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 medium orange, zest and juice
1 cup heavy cream + 2 tbsps.
2 tbsp. raw sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, salt and sugar

Add the butter and cut in using a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly looking

add the cherries and combine with flour mixture

Here's a side note on those cherries.  For years I have been looking for dried cherries and have never found them until I walked into a local store called "The Glenwood Market" here in downtown Manistee.  What a thrill it was to finally find some knowing that I would use them in my scone recipe.  If you can't find dried cherries where you are click The Glenwood Market.  They takes orders and ship all over the country.

add the white chocolate chips and combine with flour mixture

Zest the orange.  Here I am using a zester I bought about 20 years ago at a Pampered Chef party.  It has come in so handy throughout the years, I will never get rid of it.

So much flavor in orange zest!!  Combine with flour mixture.

This is what the orange looks like when I strip the zest.

Slice the orange in half and squeeze juice from the orange into flour mixture

Add 1 cup of heavy cream.  Combine liquids with flour mixture.

Using clean hands, combine the mixture until thoroughly combined.  Flatten into disk shape.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap

Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.  Remove dough from refrigerator and plastic wrap.  Turn onto a flour covered surface

With a rolling pin, roll dough until it's about 1/4" thick

Slice into four 3 inch thick sections

Then slice each section into triangles

Brush heavy cream onto each triangle

Then sprinkle on the raw sugar.  Place in pre-heated oven for 17-24 minutes or until golden brown.

Place scones on wire rack to cool.

The orange zest gives the right amount of tang.  The sweetness from the white chocolate and cherries balance all the flavors giving your palate a most delicious experience :)

Tea and scones are ready for the BIG night.

Happy Downton Abbey eve to everyone!!

Until next time,