Monday, April 23, 2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

So I need to begin by saying this bread is divine especially as toast. I have always loved me some cinnamon swirl bread but it is so expensive in the stores for a tiny little loaf so about a year and a half ago I went on the hunt for a good homemade recipe. I never found one that I totally loved so I decided to creat my own and add pumpkin to it another one of my favorite things. Now who doesn't love pumpkin with cinnamon I mean come on. If you are the bread making kind of person I highly encourage you to give this bread a try. The recipe makes 6 loaves. I usually make all 6 and freeze half of them so we can have it when we want but you are more than welcome to scale down the recipe for your needs.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread
 1 1/2 cup warm water
 1 1/2 cup warm milk(I used whole but I am sure any would work)
 3 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
 4 eggs,room temp
 2/3 cup canola oil(or vegetable)
 1 1/3 cup brown suga
r 2 2/3 cup pumpkin
 2 tsp salt
 3/4 tsp ginger
 3/4 tsp nutmeg
 1 T. cinnamon
 1 c. raisins or craisins(optional I have made with both)
 1/2 c. ground flax seeds
 13-15 cups flour(I used half white and half whole wheat)
 1/2-1 cup butter, softened(just use how much you like. sometimes I use the whole cup sometimes less)
 1- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
 4-5 T. cinnamon
 In a large bowl or bowl of your mixer, place the warm water and milk yeast and sugar. Mix and let stand for about 10 minutes until mixture is foamy and yeast dissolved and activated. Next add the eggs, oil, brown sugar, pumpkin, salt, ginger, nutmeg, 1 T. cinnamon, flax seeds, and half of the flour and mix until well combined. Continue mixing in the rest of the flour until you have a soft, pliable dough but not a sticky dough. HOw much flour you add depends on the humidity and altitude you are at. I always add more flour because I live in a humid place. Add in the craisins or raisins if using. Dump dough out and knead by hand a few times. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a cloth and let raise till doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down and divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle, spread some butter over all the surface, sprinkle with desired amount of brown sugar and cinnamon, then roll up jelly roll style and form a loaf and place in a greased bread pan. Repeat with remaining 5 pieces. YOu may use more or less amounts of the filling ingredients depending on your preference but we tend to like a lot of filling in ours. Cover the loafs and let raise till doubled in size again, take about 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how warm your home is. Place in a 350 degree oven and cook for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Serve with butter Yummm!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

I found these little gems on pinterest and new I had to try them out. Boy where they divine!! For all you peanut butter and chocolate fans out there this recipe is for you. So simple to make and fast as well. If you need a peanut butter and chocolate fix these babies are for you.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
1 pound white chocolate(i just used white chocolate chips)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or 12 oz of chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream(no sustitutions)

Line a 9x9 or 8x8 inch pan with parchment or waxed paper, leaving an overhang. Melt your white chocolate in the microwave for about one minutes, stir until chocolate is melted and creamy. Add the peanut butter and stir until blended and smooth. You may need to microwave an additional few seconds to get chocolate to melt all the way. (i had too but watch closely don't cook to long) Spread this mixture into your pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until a bit firm.

In another bowl melt the chocolate or chocolate chips with the heavy cream in 30 second increments(in the microwave), stiring after each increment, until smooth and creamy. Pour over the peanut butter mixture . Chill for 3 hours or until set. Later, lift out the candy and cut into small squares or shapes with a quality small cookie cutter.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mongolian Beef

What can I say this recipe was a winner!!! All things Chinese are loved in our household and this did not disappoint. I found this recipe about a week ago on Pinterest and just knew we had to try it out. Boy was it tasty even the leftovers were great and the sauce that goes over the beef is good just by itself over rice. If you like Chinese you better give this recipe a try. Now it does require frying in oil so it is not a skinny dish but eat lots of steammed veggies alongside and make yourself feel a little bit better about it!

Mongolian Beef(this is doubled cut in half if have small family)
2 lbs Flank steak
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 T Hoisin Sauce
1 cup cornstarch
2 T oil
1 tsp ginger, fresh minced or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 T minced garlic
1 1/2 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 c water
1- 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar(or light)
1-2 tsp sesame oil
1 T. hoisin sauce
vegetable or canola oil for frying(about 1-1/2 cups)

Cut the steak against the grain into really really thin slices(easiest to do this when meat is partially frozen)in medium size bowl, mix the 1/2 cup soy sauce and the 2 T. hoisin sauce and place cut steak into bowl and mix till well coated. Put in fridge for 1-2 hours. Then take out and dredge with the cornstarch until each piece is evenly coated and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the 2 T. oil in a sauce pan over medium low heat. Don't get the oil too hot. Add the ginger and garlic to pan and saute for a few minutes making sure not to burn the garlic or ginger, Then add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce.Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat. if you want your sauce thicker while it is still boiling add a little cornstarch mixed with water to it.

Next heat the 1 1/2 cups oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Heat till nice and hot but not smoking. Add the beef and cook until browned and cooked through. Since the beef is really thin this should only take a few minutes. I also had to do mine in batches. When cooked take out of oil and place on paper towels to soak up the extra oil. When all the beef is cooked you can coat it with the sauce and eat over rice or you can do what we did and keep the sauce and beef seperate(so the sauce doesn't make beef soggy) and dish up a little rice, beef and sauce onto each individual plate with steamed veggies. oh and sprinkle with chopped green onions if desired!! Yum!!!