Posts Tagged 'bread'

Baking Beats the Blues

Ah, New Jersey in winter, when a glimpse of the sun is a rare and wondrous moment!

It was pouring rain yesterday. (That’s redundant, isn’t it? What else could be pouring when discussing the weather? Snow doesn’t pour.)IMG_9918 I was working from home and the gray and gloom was making me blue. I’ve seen several articles lately that baking and cooking lift depressed moods and I know it’s true for me. I didn’t have much time to do anything that would require multiple steps, but I knew I needed to get in to my gorgeous new kitchen (have I mentioned that I have a beautiful new kitchen, incredibly functional as well as gorgeous?) and create!

I opted for batter bread. Batter bread is so simple, fast and flavorful. It’s not the same texture as a yeast bread, but it works for sandwiches and yummy snacking. I didn’t really like any of the recipes I found online (to be fair, I didn’t spend much time looking).IMG_9920 I knew one of my cookbooks had a recipe. (We were out with friends last night and we talked about actual paper cookbooks – would they last?) I went and pulled out one of my trusty cookbooks (I have 3) and there was my recipe. My 3 go-to cookbooks are “The Settlement Cookbook” – my very first one and I love it, “The Joy of Cooking” – 2 copies of that, and “Woman’s Day Collectors Cookbook“. And that is pretty much the order I use when I’m searching for some basic recipe.

IMG_9921Batter bread it was – less than 20 minutes prep and it pops in the oven. I had some non-alcoholic beer for the riser and I used my herbs de provence for seasoning, with a touch of onion powder. Nothing better than smelling something good from the oven as you hear the rain thundering on the skylight. Okay – it’s better to actually EAT the yummy thing from the oven!

The Pie Lady

It has happened – we handed over the final payment check. The kitchen ceiling was repaired after the pipe leak (yes, the pipe was repaired also). The floor was pulled up and redone in the doorway and the breakfast room. The kitchen is gorgeous and functional and I love every moment I spend there. I have been cooking and baking and trying out new recipes. I may have done more cooking in the last few weeks than I have done in the last few years. Okay, that WAS an exaggeration, but you understand the emotion there. 🙂

I’m not a vegetarian, I do eat meat, but I eat a lot less meat than I did in years past. That’s partly age/digestion and partly diet/weight. 🙂 Now you know all my secrets. kale pie openAlthough Thanksgiving dinner is not at my house (except for the fun of hosting it last year), I do contribute a vegetable side dish and sugar free desserts. This year I wanted to find something exciting and interesting, something that would ‘represent’ my gorgeous new kitchen. A FB friend posted a link to LiveKindly’s article “12 Meat-Free Mains for the Ultimate Vegan Thanksgiving”. The picture looked so yummy I had to click through. The pictures of the entrees were GORGEOUS and nearly all the dishes sounded delicious. Some of them even looked as if they would not be too difficult to make.

There were still 2 weeks to go before T-day, so I decided to test out some of the recipes and decide which I should make. I got ambitious and made both the Kale Almond Butternut Squash pie and a no-sugar apple pie. I was in a hurry and multi-tasking, so I did not chop the kale as finely as it needs. cooked kale pieMy other take on this recipe, and I thought this while I was making it and after eating it, is that it needs liquid. Next time I will either puree some of the squash before adding it to the pie, or mix in some squash soup. The crust, however, is phenomenal. I’ve not cooked with coconut oil before (I’ve used coconut milk) and the particular brand I used was very solid (I gather some brands are not as thick). I foolishly put the dough for the top crust into the refrigerator while I was working and it was so thick/dry that it was very difficult to work it. That’s on me, however, not the recipe. The crust is delicious. My husband said it was like eating scones. He broke off edge pieces and munched on them. 🙂 I have to agree. Using the coconut oil for the crust added a dimension to the pie I’d never have imagined. Fantastic recipe (but add some liquid).

The apple pie was also an experiment. I used to make my sugar-free apple pie filling by pureeing raisins with some juice. There is a LOT of sugar in raisins. I had 2 ideas for this year. apple pie closeupI used dried apricots, which have a lot less sugar than raisins, pureed with cranberries and cranberry juice (diet). I misjudged that as it was my first time working with the apricots, and I did not have enough liquid there. I layer the apples, then spread some of the pureed mixture, then sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg, and do the layers again. On the top I put fresh orange zest. It tasted fine, but it needed more moisture. It also was not going to be sweet enough for my brother-in-law, who likes things much sweeter than we do (my husband and I). But we had a great dinner that night – pie for dinner and pie for dessert.

I’ll tell you about the other dishes and the apple-pie remake in another post. 🙂 I’m including the obligatory cat photo. I apologize for the horrible quality but I took it with my incredibly old iPad2 (7 years old already). Had I gotten up to get my camera, WC would have moved and I would not have this picture of her. She’s so cute when she is sleeping. Also QUIET. 🙂
wc sleeping


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