Saturday, February 9, 2013

Rustic Country Breakfast

Snow days call for an extra special breakfast. With more than 12 inches on the ground, I'm in for a good bit of shoveling this morning and needed something hearty. My favorite breakfast, which I'm pretty sure I've inherited from my father, is eggs, bacon and toast, with a glass of black coffee and orange juice. Unlike my father though, I add veggies and cheese to the meal.

This morning I toasted 2 pieces of homemade bread, scrambled eggs 1 egg and 2 egg whites with peppers, spinach and tomatoes, and baked bacon. 

Yep, BAKED BACON! AMAZING! This is probably the whole reason I'm writing this post... to share my discovery of baked bacon. I've seen it all over Pinterest, heard about it via the Food Network, but never tried it. Well, I'm here to say I should have tried it sooner because it is beyond incredible!

It melts in your mouth, crumbles beautifully and tastes delicious, plus it has no fatty pieces to throw away. And it's super simple. Heat the oven to 400˙, put the bacon on an edged cookie sheet or in a casserole dish, bake for 20 minutes (or until done). I like to empty the grease out of the pan then continue to bake it for another 5 minutes. Place it on a paper towel to absorb any extra grease. It's that simple! You can of course replace the bacon with turkey bacon, however I have not tested the baking bacon with turkey bacon. If you do, let me know how it turns out. Enjoy and Happy Eating!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Bread Baking

This morning all I wanted was fresh bread. Like the kind you get at your local family owned bakery... but I didn't want to spend $10. So I took to Pinterest to find the 'perfect' recipe. Unfortunately, it's a lot harder to find such a recipe. Many recipes are super easy, no-kneed, using 3-4 ingredients but required 12-14 hours to rise. Although I had 12-14 hours, my stomach and taste buds were only willing to wait 3 hours at most.

I finally found a recipe that was faster, but made 2 loaves... and I, being one person, only needed one loaf. So I made some amendments, tested it, and, if I may say so myself, turned out wonderfully!

1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 packet of fast acting yeast
3 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar

Add the yeast to the water... let sit for a few minutes. 
Do NOT use HOT water, or you will kill the yeast.

Mix the flour, salt and sugar together

Add the yeast and water, mix slowly and carefully, folding as you go.
Try hard not to over mix, or the bread will end up tough.

After about 10-15 turns, it should look like this.

Cover for 2 hours. I like to take a towel, wet it, microwave it for 30 seconds and place it on top of the mixing bowl. It provides the bread with a warm place to rise.

This is after 1 hour of rising. 1 more hour to go!

Flour a surface (I used a baking sheet) and lightly flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking to them. After the dough has sat for 2 hours, pull it out of the mixing bowl, form it into a round (No Kneeding!), cut a few lines into it and pre-heat the oven to 450˙.
Put the pot in the oven while you pre-heat it. This will help give the bread a crunchy crust and bake faster. When the oven is ready, take the pot out (careful, it's HOT!), lightly grease it with Pam, sprinkle a little flour into it, then place the dough into the pot. It's okay if it loses shape or the lines cut into it. Put the lid and bake it!

Bake for 30-35 minutes (I suggest 35 minutes). When it's done, remove the lid and let it sit for a few minutes.

Pull it out of the pot and let it continue to cool on a cooling rack.

The bottom of the bread

Enjoy with olive oil, butter, or just plain!

Feel free to share... Photos are original, please give credit to Jeanne Marie, ApronStringstoDiamondRings
©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mac 'N Cheese, Please!

To all my readers, I have been absent from my writing for over a month, and to apologize I have one of the simplest, yummiest, All-American foods for you! Today, being Memorial Day, many of us gather together to celebrate and remember the men and women who risked their lives for The United States of America. We celebrate the holiday with parades dedicated to our troops, moments of silence, The National Anthem and then many of us come together for an All-American feast of hot dogs and hamburgers smothered in Heinz Ketchup, pasta and fruit salads, apple pies, and so much more.

Almost every year, at any U.S. holiday, whether it be Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Labor Day, someone always brings Mac 'N Cheese. A childhood favorite for most, it has become a posh and high end side dish at many famous restaurants, especially when made with gourmet cheeses. Restaurants in New York City such as Blue Smoke ($8), DuMont ($15), and in Chicago, Rockit Bar and Grill ($15), Wilde ($14), just to name a few, have top-rated Mac 'N Cheese! So here's a simple, basic recipe to get you started on creating your own 5 Star Mac 'N Cheese.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Burger with Quinoa and Asparagus

With my time in Chicago coming quickly to an end, and spring just around the corner (weather wise, at least), it was time to clean out the freezer and add some color to my plate. When I buy meat, whether it be beef, turkey, chicken or pork, I usually buy more than I'll eat so I can freeze it and have some at my fingertips for a quick meal.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Open Faced Avocado Tomato Bagel

The Bagel has some of the most delicious New York Style bagels I have ever had. It was my last week at work, before making my big move home, so I decided to treat myself and bought 3 bagels! They don't last long so I had use the quickly and cleverly.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Carrot Cake Cupcakes (Low Calorie)

Happy 24th Birthday to Me! Here's a low calorie Carrot Cake Cupcake I made using a recipe from Cooking Light. I switched out the sugar for No Calorie Splenda. Can't even taste the difference! I added Lite Cool Whip with a shake or two of cinnamon for icing instead of using creme cheese. You could also use light creme cheese if you wish! To all my readers, Enjoy!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mashed Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower is a great substitute for mashed potatoes. It has a similar flavor, if you can believe that, and texture! Fewer calories, by about half! The only difference is that the cauliflower has more liquid than a potato, but they're still fairly good. I've read a few recipes that steam the cauliflower then smash them with a bit of milk, but I wanted to give it a bit more flavor so I roasted the cauliflower with garlic and olive oil, then mashed them in a MagicBullet with some low fat butter milk and a dash of salt.

1/2 head of cauliflower, or about 2 cups
dash of EVOO (olive oil)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/8 cup buttermilk
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400˙. Mix the cauliflower with olive oil and garlic, put into a casserole dish and roast for about 30 minutes, turning them once or twice so they brown evenly. Then using a food processor or MagicBullet, mash the potatoes with a pinch of salt and about 1/8 c of low fat buttermilk or 1% milk. If you want them smoother, add more milk until it's at the consistency you'd like. Serve immediately! Happy Cooking, and Enjoy!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved