Unleavened Bread/Pizza

 It is that time of the year again: Pesach, or Passover.  During this week (since Monday night), my family and I will celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  We don’t eat anything with leaven in it, which means resorting to matzah or unleavened pita for sandwiches, pizza, and so on.  

 I recall the first time my family and I participated in this feast.  It was agonizing trying to figure out what to eat!  It seemed like every time we turned around a bag of food it had a leavening agent in it; however, many things have changed since then.  I realized this morning that our regular diets don’t consist of a lot of leavened foods, which has made Passover quite easy to experience this year.

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 In effort to try something new and not have to buy lots of matzah, I decided that I would attempt unleavened pita.  Unleavened pita is really simple to put together.  All it is, is just flour, warm water, and salt.  I added Italian seasoning to this batch, since it will be used for pizza for dinner.   

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To start you will need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water (I heated mine to 95 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

 Start out by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine three cups of flour, one teaspoon of salt, one tablespoon of Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder in a medium bowl.  Set aside the bowl. 

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 Heat 1 cup of water to 95 degrees F and then pour into the flour mixture.  Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.  You may or may not have to add more flour if the dough is too sticky, and vice versa, more water if the dough is too dry and crumbly.  When it is combined and starts to pull away from the edges, dump the dough out onto a floured surface and lightly knead it for a minute.  

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 Separate the dough into twelve pieces then roll them into balls with your hands.  You may have to sort of smash them a bit while you roll.  

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 Cover the dough balls with a damp cloth and let them sit for twelve minutes.  I used a damp paper towel and it worked just fine.  Make sure the surface on which your leave the dough balls on is floured.

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  When the twelve minutes is over, flour a rolling pin and then roll each of the balls out thinly.  Each piece of dough should be about eight inches in diameter each.  

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 Place three or four on a pizza pan that has been sprayed well with non-stick spray.  If you wish to make them into pizzas, then bake for five minutes then take them out, flip them over, top them with your favorite pizza toppings, then bake them for another 8-10 minutes.  The Natives topped their’s with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, turkey pepperoni, and jalapenos (please pardon the lack of the squiggly line over the “n”).  .  

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They came out very well!  They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and The Native enjoyed it so much they requested this as a regular way to have pizza every so often even when it is not Passover.  Who’da thunk?! 

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Cheers and Chag Pesach Sameach!

 

 

Banana and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 I haven’t blogged in almost two weeks.  Hey, I’ve been pretty busy!  Over this past weekend They-Who-Live-Far-Away came into town to visit me and my family!  It was a more than pleasant visit and I learned a lot.  Of course, it also stormed on Sunday, which blew in a lot of allergens.  Consequently, for the past several days I’ve felt like that bug that is squashed on your windshield.  However, today I’m starting to feel better and decided to make chocolate chip cookies!  

 Now, I’m a total sucker for eating raw oats.  They’re so delicious!  I mix a little water in, some cinnamon, and a serving of dried cranberries, then, in the famous words of Emeril Lagasse, “BAM!”. Instant breakfast!  I am also a sucker for chocolate chip cookies (especially raw!). So, when I came across a “clean” chocolate chip cookies recipe a few months back, I had to try it.  It was very similar to the recipe I am about to show you, except that the other one wanted me to chop up the oats into small pieces (which I blatantly ignored).  They came out delicious and were pretty nutritious (haha, see what I did there?).  Unfortunately, I lost the recipe!

 So this afternoon I found a blog called Don the Apron that had a similar recipe and gave it a go.  I am glad I did!    

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  What you’ll need to begin with:

  • 2 ripe bananas (Mine were as big as Ents so you may need three if your bananas are not as big.)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup oats (depending on the size of your bananas)

 As for add-ins, I used:

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 You could use other things such as raisins, craisins, M&M’s, pecans, walnuts, ect… it all depends on what you’d like.  🙂 

 Start off by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.  

 Peel your bananas and mash them in a bowl.  I used the back of a large fork for this process. 

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 Next, add in your oats.  

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 Here come the add-ins!

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 Now, since these are not your average cookies, they aren’t going to be roll-able in your hands.  You’ll need two spoons to kind of shape them into balls then drop them on your cookie sheet.  Now, the recipe says to put them on parchment paper, but I didn’t have any so I just sprayed the spots where I would drop my cookies on the sheet with non-stick spray.  On another note: you won’t have to worry about spacing the cookies too much because they won’t really spread.  Put them in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes! 

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The finished product: 

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Mmmm… nom nom time! 

 

Cheers! 

Yogurt Banana Bread

 Today is beautiful where I am.  The sun is gloriously shining and the temperature, though not exceedingly warm, is just right.  It felt like a great day to bake!  I decided upon banana bread since I have a bunch of bananas that were getting ready to expire in the next couple of days and banana bread is a great way to use them up!    

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 I have made banana bread several times in the past using a recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens cook book, but today I wanted to try out something slightly different and new: yogurt banana bread!  The recipe I decided to use is from Sweet as a Cookie.  I like how quick I was able to put it together, and that fact that I didn’t have to use an electric mixer was a bonus for me! 

  To begin, you will need these ingredients: 

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  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed (I used three since I had a third one that really needed to be used).  
  • 4 tbsp vegetables oil
  • 1 cup yogurt (the original recipe calls for vanilla yogurt, which I did not have, so I just added about 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla to it)
  •  2 eggs 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

 Start out by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, 4 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 cup of yogurt, 2 eggs, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.  

Image I noticed that before I added the banana to the other wet ingredients, it all looked like a smiley face! 😛   Mix it all up then set this bowl aside. 

 In small bowl combine 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 1/2 cups of flour.  

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  Stir the dry ingredients together then add them to the wet ingredients.  

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 Mix up all that yummy-ness! 

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 You will notice from the picture above that I added some raisins (1 cup) to it.  I also added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

 Grease an 8-inch loaf pan well, then pour the batter in there. Into the oven it goes! 

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 I set the timer for forty minutes to begin.  When I checked it at forty minutes, it looked semi-done, but boy was I wrong!  

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 The middle was all gooey still, but the edges were starting to brown.  I took the bread out of the oven and covered the edges with foil to avoid them browning much more then stuck it back in the oven. 

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 I ended up baking it for an additional twenty-two minutes.  It came out a bit darker than I would have liked, but not horribly dark.  Perhaps the adding of cinnamon darkened it a tad? 

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 At any rate, I recommend giving this recipe a try.  The Natives and I certainly enjoyed it! 

Cheers! 

 

 

Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins

 I am always looking for new recipes to try.  A lot of those recipes, albeit, are dessert and breakfast items.  Guilty as charged!  Among all the different breakfast dishes I have made, muffins have and still rank as my favorite!  Muffins are easy and you can mix up what you put in them in order to make them either nutritious, snack material, fun, or any combination thereof!

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 Another great thing about muffins is that they are totally portable.  This awesome level of portability makes them great on-the-go breakfast food for days like my tomorrow, where I have to be somewhere in the wee hours of the morning.  This muffin recipe, which I found here, was neither hard to put together, nor time consuming.  I was able to make twenty muffins with one recipe, filling each muffin cup about 3/4 the way full.  The muffins came out light and very moist, and were a huge hit with the Natives and They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.  

 Here are the ingredients you will need!

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  • 1 cup of flour (I used all-purpose flour)
  • 3/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (the creamy kind is what I used)
  • 1/2 cup of mashed banana
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Now, the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of chopped strawberries, but I didn’t have any strawberries to chop!  So I just poured the majority of the batter without the strawberries, and made the last eight muffins with 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.  I also threw in 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 

 Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.  

In a medium sized bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, 3/4 cup of quick cooking oats,  1/3 cup of brown sugar (packed!), 1 tablespoon of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt (if you so desire, the salt can be omitted).   Set aside. 

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In another medium sized bowl, combine 1 cup of milk (I used whole milk), 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of mashed banana, 1 beaten egg, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. 

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I mashed my banana with the back of a fork.  I also used only 1 and 1/3 of the two bananas pictured above.  I just gave the remaining part of the second banana to one of the Natives. 

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Whisk them all together!  🙂   There will be a bit of whisking in order to fully incorporate the peanut butter.  

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Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  I wanted to be careful not to over-stir, so I began by folding the ingredients to combine them, then stirred a tiny bit at the end.

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You will want to grease or line the muffins tins now, then pour your muffin batter in.  I didn’t have enough muffin batter to fill all twelve of the second muffin tin.  If you have the same problem, make sure to fill the empty muffin cups about halfway with water.  Into the oven they go!  

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Mine cooked for 15 minutes, but depending on your oven you may want to check them at 12 minutes and then increase the time they bake if they are not done.

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Cheers!  🙂  

 

  

Lunch Idea!

 Early this afternoon, I found a workout on Youtube from XHIT that looked intriguing: “Cardio Kickboxing Workout“.  So I did it through twice since it was only about eight minutes long.  Now, regularly after I work out, it is time for lunch.  If not, I eat a healthy snack something along the lines of yogurt, cottage cheese, or crackers with peanut butter or hummus; however, today I was inspired by Pinterest to try something new!

 The aftermath of this inspiration was an egg, cooked with cottage cheese, put on a plate of spinach and baby kale, then topped with craisins instead of dressing.   

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 The snack was filling, delicious, and ultimately satisfying.  I know a lot of people who do not like cottage cheese, but when it is combined with an egg or two it doesn’t taste so cottage-cheesy (if that makes sense).  I use the small curd cottage cheese and for this dish, only 1/4 cup per egg.  

 Cheers!  

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Since I blogged this past Sunday I have been very excited to blog again.  I love writing!  Upon wondering what recipe I should blog about next, my best friend, Jaine, who was with me at the time, exclaimed, “You should do a dessert!”.  So dessert it is!  Now, in my house, the Natives’ and They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s opinions of what should be made carry a lot of weight: I like to make them happy!   So upon consulting with the Natives and They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, it was decided that I would make chocolate cupcakes.  Unfortunately, after thoroughly looking around the cupboards, not all the necessary ingredients were found.  So what to do instead?  Well, in my opinion, you can never, EVER go wrong with anything of the chocolate chip cookie kind.  In search to find a new chocolate chip cookie recipe to try, I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookie bars.  Instant win!

This recipe, which comes from the blog “Lil’ Luna”, is a very easy recipe to put together.  I am rather pleased with the results!

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The outside greets you with a heavenly crispness when you first bite into a piece of this cookie wonder, but then offers a deliciously soft and moist inside.  If soft or chewy cookies are your thing, then I recommend giving this recipe a try!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Start out by creaming 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) of softened, unsalted butter.  You will know when to stop when it looks like this:  peaks sort of form when the beater goes round and round.  I know that originally the recipe instructs you to melt the butter then wait for it to cool before you do anything else, but I don’t have a microwave.  Consequently I have to melt everything on the stove, which 1) takes longer and 2) makes everything get really, really hot.  I didn’t feel like having to wait however long it was going to take for my butter to cool down so that the soon-to-be-added egg wouldn’t cook, so I decided I would just go ahead and cream it.

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After creaming the butter, add 1, packed cup of brown sugar.

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  Then mix it in!

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Next, add 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and mix it in.  Set this aside after the egg and vanilla are mixed in.  We will come back to it in a minute.

Image In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of sifted flour (I used all-purpose flour), 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda.  Go back to your mixer and gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed butter/brown sugar mixture.   When the dough has come together grab a 9 x 9 pan and grease it.  I don’t have a 9 x 9 pan, so I used a 10″ round pan.  It didn’t exactly make cookie “bars”, but it was close enough.  Hey!  Nobody’s perfect. 😛  I also decided to use wax paper instead of greasing the pan.  It turnout out alright so which ever way floats your boat works!  Dump your cookie dough in there.  I recommend dropping large spoonfuls of the dough in different places around the pan.  It would make it easier to spread out.

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Next, sprinkle 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.  You can any kind from white chocolate to dark chocolate.  I pushed the chocolate chips down into the dough lightly.

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Now put it in the oven and bake it for 20 minutes or until golden on top.

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Viola!

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If you do the cookie in a pan like this, then let it cool down a bit before you attempt to remove it from the pan.  If you used wax paper,  first take the wax paper out of the pan (hold it taunt), then slide the cookie off the wax paper after the cookie has cooled a bit.  If it is a little stuck, use a metal spatula to get it unstuck.

Enjoy!

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Cows in a Blanket

Two days ago was a beautiful and sunny Saturday; the warmest we’ve had all winter long!  The temperature was at a balmy eighty degrees and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen.  The next day was a completely different story: the temperature had dropped to the mid-twenties and the sun was hidden by a very dark and grey sky.  On top of that: it snowed and iced!  Since the temperature didn’t rise enough over the next several hours to melt that snow and ice, the local ISD’s decided to not open today, which meant that They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named were home from work.

Now, in this establishment, when They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named are home we cook almost every meal and bake a tasty treat.  So for lunch, I made “cows in a blanket”.  They are cooked, beef hot dogs, rolled in what is normally used as a dinner roll, and baked.

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This dish is very simple and yet so tasty!  The bread recipe I used was created by Melissa K. Norris. You can find her online here:  http://melissaknorris.com. The beauty of her recipe (besides it being so easy to put together and delicious) is that it takes no time to rise, meaning that this menu item doesn’t require previous planning and takes only an hour from start to finish!

To begin, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Warm 1 1/4 cups of water to 95 degrees F.  While that is heating, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of active dry yeast in a medium-sized glass, plastic, or wooden bowl.  Add the water to the yeast mixture and stir slightly.  Set aside.

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 In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine three cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.  Mrs. Norris’ recipe does not call for onion or garlic powder; rather, it asks for 1 teaspoon of an Italian herb mixture, but I chose to use just onion and garlic powder for this dish.  Stir to combine.

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  Now add your flour mixture to your yeast mixture and stir.  It will start to look like this:

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 Now it’s time to add two tablespoons of olive oil.

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After you stir in the olive oil, your dough should look something like this:

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 Now it’s time to clear some counter space and sprinkle some flour on it.  Place your dough out on the flour and knead it for three minutes, or until the dough “springs back” a little when you gently poke it with your finger.

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 You will want to start boiling your hot dogs now.  Just place them in a pot, cover them with water, then turn the burner on high.

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Once the hot dogs come to a boil, turn the burner down to low and set a timer for five minutes.  When the timer beeps, turn off the burner and let the hot dogs sit.  While the hot dogs are cooking, you will want to cut your dough.  I use a tool like the one shown below,  I don’t know the name of the cutter, but it is really useful when separating, portioning, and cutting dough though.

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I cut the dough in half, then those halves in half, and so on until I get sixteen pieces.  After portioning your dough, roll each piece into a ball with your hands.  Roll lightly and don’t mash the dough in.

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Next take a floured rolling pin and roll them into ovals.

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After you’ve rolled out all the dough balls, grab a baking sheet.   Roll the hot dog in the dough and place on a baking sheet.

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Put them into the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops are golden.

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Serve and enjoy!

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