French-Style Baguettes

I grew up overseas. Anyone who can say that, hates this:

Not “wonder” bread specifically, just bagged bread. When you grow up overseas, you are so very, very spoiled by the fresh, homemade foods that are afforded you- for good prices! Fresh fruit for sale on the side of the street, ice cold bottled Coca-Cola, and the aroma of fresh baking bread at all hours of the day wafting from the small roadside bakeries. Oh.my.word. My mouth is watering…

Anyway, needless to say, I am a sucker for a recipe that promises to give me back even a taste of what that life was like…so when I saw this recipe for fresh, crusty European style baguettes in 30 minutes, start to finish (with only 5 ordinary ingredients,) I knew I had to at least try it out.

So glad I did! The recipe was actually quite similar to the baguettes I remember. The outside was not as crisp, but I think I took mine out a minute or two too soon, so that probably accounts for at least some of the difference. It truly only took me 45 minutes from opening the yeast packet, to buttering my bread…and that was only because I had to wait for my husband to bring me some ice!

Ice?

Yeah, weird, I know… but it’s pretty cool. After putting these loaves into the oven, you pour several cups of ice down into the bottom of the stove. The steam evidently helps to create a soft loaf inside, while still allowing for a crisp exterior. I don’t know, I’m not a scientist. 🙂

But it sure did taste good!

Try it out! Let me know what you think!

Quick & Crusty French Baguettes

2 cups very warm water

1 packet yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

3-4 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar.  Set the bowl on top of your preheating oven for ten minutes.  Stir in the salt and add the flour a half-cup at a time, until the dough becomes soft but not sticky.  Knead the dough until elastic.

Cut the dough into four even pieces.  Roll each of them into four long, thin ropes.  Twist together two of the ropes to form one loaf.  Twist the other two ropes together to form a second loaf.  Transfer both onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

You can now bake the loaf right away (if you’re in a hurry) or allow it to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.

Now for the SECRET: Fill a large bowl with 3-4 cups of ice.  Open your hot oven and place the baking sheet with the baguettes inside, then toss the ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door.  Do NOT open your oven for 15 minutes.  Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.

(Picture and recipe from Babble.com)

It’s good. Trust me.

A long while ago, in this post, I promised to share 2 recipes with you. Two really good recipes. I shared one… and completely forgot about the 2nd one. It’s the cardinal sin of recipe sharing- to talk about how good something is, then not share it. I’m sorry. Truly.

Are we ok now?

Phew- I was worried!

Ok, so here’s the deal. I am head-over-heels for rice. I eat it plain, I eat it with a little butter and salt, I eat it fried, with sauce on top, basically any way you can fix it, I will eat it and love it.

So, when I saw this Chipotle-esque spin on a rice dish, I knew I had to try it. My husband is not as crazy over rice as I am, but he loves Mexican flavors, so I hoped this one would win him over.

It did! Major score.

I hope it wins not only your approval, but the approval of the rice “fence-rider” in your life.

Check out the recipe here:

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bake

Psst… I borrowed the picture from TastyKitchen as well, and of COURSE I originally found this recipe via Pinterest 🙂 You had to know that was coming. Enjoy!

 

Two Hooves Up

Dear Chick-fil-a,

You are the best. Hands down. You are friendly, clean, prompt, polite, attentive, and pleasant. We appreciate you. Your delicious chicken doesn’t hurt either.

Love,

Our Family

Needless to say, we enjoyed our free Cow Appreciation Day Breakfast today! Don’t worry if you haven’t gotten your free food yet, the day’s not over! Click here for info on creating your easy, peasy cow costume for free food today.

 Calf-Approved

Cute little cowtail… 🙂

And since I was too embarrassed to ask anyone to take a family picture, I stole this picture of Elijah’s Grandparents (my mom & dad) and two of his aunts. He needs to be able to see this one day as blackmail proof of how cool they are. 🙂

Hungry or Cheap- this one’s for you!

Why yes, I did spend the last hour making a family of cow costumes…

Don’t you know?

Tomorrow is “Cow Appreciation Day” better known, in our household, as: “Dress Like a Cow for Free Chick-fil-a Day.”

Don’t judge me…I’ll stoop as low as the next gal for some free food 🙂

If you don’t have a costume, don’t worry. You can do like I did, and go here. You can download the cow starter kit, print it off, tape it on your t-shirt, and voila! A free entree’ for your cow self. No offense there- I’m not really calling you a cow… per se’.

Oh, and yes, a White cow with black spots + A Black cow with white spots TOTALLY = A white baby cow with brown spots. We’re talking genetics here, folks.

Happy Eating!

I pin it to win it…

…your affection that is.

I’m of the old breed that believes that the way to a person’s heart, not just a man, is through their stomach. So picture me frantically worming my way in there with some delish recipes. 🙂

Pinterest has delivered me with some all-time low recipes, but also some all-time highs, and this week we have had the joy of taste-testing two of the best recipes I have ever gotten off of the internet. One at a time though…

First things first- the best “fake-out take-out” Chinese meal I’ve ever made.

And I have tried to replicate a lot of Chinese take-out restaurant style meals. Most have turned out moderately to seriously unsuccessful. There’s just something missing. (Perhaps a literal ton of grease.)

So I skeptically pinned this recipe for “Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken” the other day…. I pined over it, but didn’t get my hopes up.

Then I took the plunge- I made it.

An boy oh boy, it was so good. We decided that if we served this at home with some egg rolls and homemade fried rice, we could easily fool guests and tell them we picked up take-out.

Try it. You’ll thank me for it, and I’ll weasel right into that heart, er stomach, of yours. 🙂

*I’d say it’s more of a “sesame chicken,” but the original recipe called it sweet and sour*
The chicken coating:
 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt + pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
The sweet and sour sauce:
 3/4 cup sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
Start by preheating your oven to 325°. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat, then dip into the eggs.  Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9×13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for one hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes.
As usual, I halved this recipe and it turned out just perfect for the 3 of us. Also, we served it over white rice 🙂
Enjoy!
*Recipe & Photo from this post on “Life as a Lofthouse”*

Is Anyone Hungary?

For some Hungarian Goulash, that is!

Oh my word. I can’t help myself.

I know that’s a terrible pun, but if you heard the other ten options I tossed around in my head, you’d be thankful I went with that one.

It’s a sickness, I tell you.

Anyway, on with it.

A dear co-worker and friend of mine, from several years ago, shared this recipe with me. And just like many recipes I receive, it was lovingly stashed in a drawer, basket, or box full of many other “to try” recipes, and forgotten. What a mistake!

This is a warm, simple, throw it in the crockpot and forget about it kind of meal. There aren’t layers and layers of ingredients, and I must admit, because of that, I was skeptical. I figured it’d be boring. I was wrong!

Very tasty- hope you try it and love it!

*The recipe calls for stew beef meat. However, there was a great sale on pork shoulders at our grocery store a few weeks ago, so that’s what I had in my freezer. I cut it up into 1 inch pieces just like the recipe said, and it worked so well that my husband recommended that we never try the stew beef! We’ll see 🙂 If you try it out, let me know! Also, I only did half of this recipe, so the cooking time was significantly shorter (several hours.) Just keep an eye on it.

Hungarian Goulash

2 lbs. beef stew meat (or pork) cut into 1″ cubes

1 lrg. onion cut up

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup Ketchup

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1 T brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1 c. water

Place meat in slow cooker. Cover with onion. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over meat. Cover and cook on low 9-10 hours. Then turn crock pot on high. In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour with some cold water and shake to dissolve the flour. Add this mixture to the crock-pot, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until sauce is thickened.

Serve over rice or noodles (we’re rice people, so we went with rice!)

 

 

Given in

I’ve done it again.

I’ve given in to the “pin.”

Pinterest, that is.

If you are on Pinterest (as if there’s anyone that isn’t these days!) then you have likely seen this picture circulating:

DSC_0050_6299

The Pioneer Woman’s Crash Hot Potatoes (picture is hers also.)

Technically, I discovered this recipe a long time ago while actually on the Pioneer Woman’s blog. Then I added it to my “recipes to make” list, and forgot about it…I had the best of intentions when I created that list, but somehow when I plan my weekly menu plan, I always forget to check there first! 

But last night, I was pinning away, and happened upon one of the many, many pictures of this recipe that are floating around on Pinterest. And they just looked so tasty!

Luckily for me, I had bought a clearanced bunch of red new potatoes for only 79¢ yesterday at our grocery store. So when my handsome husband decided to grill some hamburgers for dinner tonight, I knew these would be the perfect accompaniment.

I was right.

They’re super simple! I only made one change to the recipe. The PW sprinkled hers with rosemary, but since we were having “ranchero” burgers, I sprinkled ours with S & P, and a little dry ranch powder.

Mmm, Mmm, Good!

So, thank me later when you make these. And check out the Pioneer Woman for yourself- her food is great!

Crash Hot Potatoes

 

  • 12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil (to keep potatoes from sticking.) Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.