Homemade Bagels – no kneading necessary!

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I’ve been quiet the last few weeks, but not because life has been quiet. In fact, I’ve been baking up a storm: homemade bagels, soft pretzels, lemon curd pie, flourless chocolate torte, salted caramel marshmallows, vanilla bean marshmallows, and more! I will be blogging about a few of these adventures, but I thought I would share the bagel recipe first because it is so easy and so delicious! Let’s face it, good bagels come from bagel shops and are too expensive to regularly indulge in. This recipe makes 10-12 bagels (depending on how big you make them) and costs a mere fraction of what it would be to get a dozen bagels from your favorite shop. And they are delicious!!!

Recipe:

For Dough
1 1/2 T sugar
1 1/2 T kosher salt
1 1/2 T rapid yeast
3 cups warm water
6 1/2 cups bread flour

For Baking:
8 cups water
3 T sugar
1 t baking soda
Flour for work surface
Whole wheat flour for bread peel
Toppings: sesame seeds, dried onion, poppy seeds, etc.
Pizza Peel, Bread Stone, and Metal Dish

Combine sugar, salt, yeast and water in 5 qt stand mixer with dough attachment. Add flour and mix until combined. Cover and allow to rise 2 hours. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

When ready to make bagels, lightly dust surface of dough with flour and break off a 3 oz or small peach sized piece of dough. Quickly stretch and shape the dough into a ball. Repeat until all dough is used. Allow to rise covered with saran wrap for 20 minutes. Meanwhile boil 8 cups of water in a large stockpot. Preheat oven to 450 F (20 min) with baking stone on center rack, and a metal dish on bottom rack. Once the water is boiling, lower heat to simmer and add sugar and baking soda.

Take a dough ball and make a hole in the center. Slowly stretch out the center until the hole is 2x the diameter of the dough wall. Drop the dough in the simmering water and cook for 2 minutes, then flip it over and cook one more minute.

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Take bagel out and lay on a clean kitchen towel dusted in flour. Repeat until all bagels are boiled. (I did three at a time, but you need to be careful not to crowd them in the pot or they will become misshapen.)

Transfer 5-6 bagels to pizza wheel dusted in whole wheat flour. Add toppings to bagels and slide onto hot stone.

Pour 1 cup hot water into metal pan in oven and quickly shut the door to create a steam bath. Cook bagels 12-15 minutes until slightly golden or longer if you want crispier bagels. Remove and allow to cool on wire rack. Repeat until all bagels are cooked. Enjoy slightly warm with cream cheese or toppings of your choice!

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halloween

The wait is over! For Halloween this year we went as Newsies. If you haven’t seen this early 90s Disney musical classic starring a young Christian Bale, you haven’t truly lived! That may be a bit dramatic, but it did come out when I was 7, so it is rooted in the memory of some of my most dramatic times in life. (I totally had a crush on Brooklyn and swooned every time I saw him on screen.)

I know I said we were going to do something out of Harry Potter, but we had everything we needed for Newsies, so I adjusted my plan. On that note, we were going to dress Toby up as a mandrake root and be Hogwarts students taking care of him (wearing our earmuffs, of course). He is such a fantastic screamer that we thought baby mandrake root (and its ability to knock you out with its screams) was hilariously perfect.

Another thought: a teapot. This kid gets all worked up and then shouts. In fact, people have confused our teapot for Toby. Ha!

Great ideas, too few parties to see them all into fruition, but we loved our Newsie costumes. I am already gathering ideas for next year. (I love dressing up!) What fun, homemade Halloween costume ideas do you have for little kiddos or the whole family?

Here’s a picture of Toby with his BFF Henry and Miss Rachael and myself. Henry went as the E*trade baby and Rachael and her husband went as his geeky parents. Cute!

 

pumpkins!

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So we took our little pumpkin to the pumpkin patch this weekend. All in all, not our best family outing due to how ridiculously overcrowded it was; however, we still enjoyed the sunshine, views of the Rockies, and company of each other. Toby was more interested in the hoards of people than the pumpkins, but I can’t say I blame him. There were some interesting people…

I’m going to go out on a limb and say Toby’s favorite part was sitting in the dirt, trying to eat dead leaves. If I had any doubts as to what the next 10 years are going to look like with our little man, he affirmed that it will be an adventure trying to encourage good things and discourage not so good things – like eating dirt, leaves, bugs, etc.

I mean, he’s already quite mobile and on his way to walking (at 7 months!), what was I really expecting?! Toby is going to give me a run for my money and I will enjoy (nearly) every second of it! :)

My favorite thing about this whole day… Toby’s hair basically matches his sweater or the pumpkins depending on the light! How cute is that!? Now on to his Halloween costume. I’m having trouble deciding which one to go with. We’ve thought of a few really good ones. Just when I’ve made up my mind, I change it again. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out what I eventually stick with – I will give a hint though, both can be found in Harry Potter, though one is a bit more fantastical than the other.

 

 

 

 

 

Soap Making

A friend of mine from Phoenix has recently adventured into making a number of household staples from scratch in an effort to reduce household costs. You can read about her adventures here. One of the things she has been raving about is homemade soap. I have been begging and begging for her recipe and she finally blogged it (here). I can’t tell you how excited I was to have it within reach… until I realized her process may not be the best for me to start with when I have baby around (it requires mixing chemicals and potential for burns, etc.). Not to be deterred from my soap making desires, I found some melt and pour recipes to get my feet wet and my appetite satisfied! After reading a number of different blogs, I made up my own recipes and I love the way they turned out!

Here’s what I used (all purchased from my local Hobby Lobby):

Soap Molds
Glycerin soap base (clear)
Goat’s milk soap base
Shea Butter soap base
Essential oils: vanilla, almond, lemon, & lilac
Soap dyes
Lavender and dried orange zest
(I already had on hand 1 cup of ground almonds and 1 T dried lemon zest)

You will need a microwave safe pyrex bowl, plastic spatula, measuring spoons, ladle, and about 10 minutes of time.

So worth it right!!

I made 4 different types of soap (two of the bars are divided into two types of soap).

Vanilla Almond Shea Butter Soap (2 bars):
6 oz glycerin base
2 oz shea butter base
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 T almond essential oil
1/2 t vanilla essential oil

Orange Vanilla Shea Butter (2 bars):
4 oz glycerin base
4 oz shea butter base
1/2 t vanilla essential oil
1 t orange rind
1/2 t orange dye
*would be great with 1 t of orange essential oil if you have it on hand!

Lemon Goat’s Milk (2 bars):
2 oz glycerin
6 oz goat’s milk base
1 T lemon rind
1/2 t lemon essential oil
1/8 t orange dye

Lilac with dried Lavender (2 bars):
8 oz glycerin
1 T dried lavender
1/2 t lilac essential oil (or lavender e.o. – I just don’t like lavender)
1 T purple dye

In all cases, melt soap base in pyrex bowl in microwave for 40 sec. Stir. Continue to microwave in 20 sec intervals until melted. Add essential oils and dyes. Stir. Add exfoliants. Spoon into soap molds with ladle. Allow to set for at least 2 hours. To layer soaps, do first layer, then put mold into freezer for 10 minutes before pouring next layer on top. Enjoy!!

 

 

Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon, Zucchini, and Peas

 

The other night we had one of those “clean out the fridge” meals. You know, the ones where you need to get rid of produce before it goes bad so you think of something that will use up all your random bits of produce and hope it tastes good. Maybe you call it “everything but the kitchen sink,” but either way, you get the point.

We had at least 3 large zucchini, half an onion, a couple of decrepit tomatoes and a handful of frozen peas in our fridge as well as 4 pieces of week old bacon just waiting to go bad. So we threw it all together in a pasta and made a simple carbonara sauce to tie it all together. So easy! Seriously, I think the whole meal took 20 minutes.

RECIPE:

1 onion, diced
3 zucchini, halved and diced
2 tomatoes, diced
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas
4 slices bacon (or let’s face it, as much bacon as you want!)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan (+ more for garnish)
2 eggs
1 lb pasta of your choice (we used spaghetti)
salt and pepper to taste
handful of freshly chopped basil for garnish

Cook bacon until crisp in large saute pan over medium high heat. Set bacon aside but retain pan. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan boil water and prepare pasta as instructed. Add onions and zucchini to bacon drippings in the saute pan and cook until onions are clear. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Lower heat to medium and add tomato. Season with salt and pepper. Check on pasta. About 1-2 minutes before pasta is done, add frozen peas. Retain 1 cup of pasta water in measuring cup and drain the rest of the pasta and peas and return to the pan.

For Sauce:

Gently beat 2 eggs together with parmesan until well blended. Slowly beat in 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water to mixture (stir quickly to avoid cooking the egg). Pour mixture over spaghetti and peas and toss with tongs for 2 minutes, add reserved water as needed for consistency. Add sauteed vegetables and crumbled bacon and toss. Check seasonings. Serve up pasta with grated parmesan and fresh basil!

 

 

Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with bread making the past month. One of the breakaway hits of this time has been caramel pecan sticky buns. You just have to look at them to understand why (though ignore the lime green glare, it’s what happens when you take pictures next to baby’s lime green bebe pod).

This recipe requires either challah or brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. (I swear, I will end up convincing you to buy this book.) The main difference between the doughs are the amount of honey, eggs, and butter. Though both are excellent, I lean towards the brioche (by far the more caloric) due to the way the dough flakes and puffs.

Once again, I feel as though this recipe is not mine to share. Pick up the book to get it! You won’t regret it. Well, maybe your waistline will. Ha! (Got to love breastfeeding…)

 

 

 

blueberry sour cream pancakes

Today we are taking a family day – no church, no lunch with friends, no commitments or obligations, just family time (and a blog). To celebrate our morning, we made blueberry sour cream pancakes. These pancakes are some of the best I have ever had. We adapted the recipe from Ina Garten’s Banana Sour Cream Pancakes recipe. These pancakes are fluffy and delicious. For some, they may be too thick. We like to thin them out with more milk to our preferred consistency. Experiment!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 T sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 3/4 c milk (we usually use 1 c)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 t grated lemon zest (or 1/8 tsp lemon juice)
  • 1/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh, if fresh sauté until ready to burst)

Directions

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest (or juice). Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined; fold blueberries into mixture.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned. Add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with fresh blueberries, butter and maple syrup. And, enjoy!

Have a restful Sunday!