Tuesday, November 29, 2011

French Bread Bowls

French Bread Bowls, Adapted from Bread Machine Magic

Wow, it feels so good to be back to posting! I've really missed y'all the last week and a half, I'm so sorry about the sudden lack of posting, but the last couple weeks have been utterly insane for me and my family! Between celebrating our Anniversary, and then my Sister In Law's Birthday and Thanksgiving all in a space of 3 days... Was a little bit exhausting! Don't get me wrong it was a lot of fun too, but this Momma was just plain worn out, then to top it off we had our wonderful family staying with us (Which was a blast!) and then my Hubby and Son both got sick. :-( I needed to take a break from here in order to survive. I missed y'all, and I'm hoping to really get back into the swing of things!

Now on to the recipe! I've long been playing around with making Bread Bowl as I just ADORE them! And then a few of you requested a recipe for them, and suddenly the wheels got turning in my head. I have to admit, my favorite bread bowls are made with sourdough not french bread. But when you have limited time and a craving, you just figure something out. haha! These were actually quite easy, and really fabulous!

With my boys sick I've been making soup like crazy, and finally we just needed to finish up the leftovers but I was getting really tired of soup. So I thought making some bread bowls would change it up just enough that I could stomach another bowl of soup. haha! And you know it actually worked?!? The bread itself was just perfect, crusty outside and soft and chewy inside. A great flavor... Ok I'm totally drooling now. I did make these using a bread machine for the dough, didn't have the energy for anything else... hehe! But you can totally make this without a bread machine!

Filled with Hamburger Barley Vegetable Soup

Ingredients: yields 4 bread bowls
1 1/4 Cups Water
2 teaspoons Salt
4 Cups Bread Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
Cornmeal as needed

Directions:
Place all ingredients (minus the cornmeal) in your bread machine in the order listed, or according to your manufacturers directions. Select the Dough setting and press Start. Once the dough is done, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Then roll into an even log, and with a sharp knife cut 4 even sections. Form each one into a large ball, and using your knife cut an X across the top of each about 1/2 inch down. Then take a cookie sheet and cover with cornmeal, and place the bowls on the sheet. Dust the tops with a little flour, then cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. *Tip: Turn your oven on to 200F degrees for 1-2 minutes then shut off and place the pan in the oven to rise. Don't forget to remove pan before preheating the oven!* Once risen to double the size, pre-heat the oven to 450F degrees. Bake about 15 minutes or until crust is golden and and crisp. To serve, cut a circle in the top and using your hand scoop out the inner bread (saving to use for dipping!) leaving about a 1/2-1 inch lining of bread to soak up the soup. Fill with your favorite soup and serve with the innerds alongside!

Review:
I have to say I was really happy with how these turned out! They were remarkably easy, and full of flavor. You could leave out the garlic if you wanted to, or add in some other spices to give it more flair. I hope you'll give these a try with your next pot of soup! 4.5 stars.


Happy Cooking!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Carrot Cake Cupcakes ~ and Anniversary Post!

Our Wedding Day 5 years ago!
This last week has gone by SO fast, I can hardly believe it's already Friday... But you know what else has gone by fast? The last 5 years! 5 years ago today I married my best friend, the man of my dreams, and my soul mate, Jeremy! It's hard to believe it's been half a decade since we said "I do" sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday and other times it's hard to remember a time when we weren't!

For those of you who may not know, Jeremy and I didn't exactly have the most conventional dating relationship... lol! We met online via a mutual friend, I know, I know... He's lucky I wasn't some lunatic ;-). We spent so many hours on the phone, video chatting and eventually meeting in person. Somewhere in all of that we fell madly in love. And as unusual as our relationship may have started out, when he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife I responded in the way all women do... "Is this for real?!?!?" Ok... so maybe not EVERYONE reacts like that, but I was floored, happy, but he really surprised me. (I said yes by the way!) After what seemed like an eternity we finally said our vows to each other in a very intimate and personal ceremony with our closest friends and family there. As crazy as it sounds I can still close my eyes and remember every detail of that day. The look on his face when he first saw me in my dress, when our pastor goofed up our vows causing Jeremy to stumble and everyone cracking up laughing, my cheeks shaking from smiling so much but I just couldn't stop, and most of all I remember walking down the aisle to this wonderful man. I couldn't tell you if the congregation stood up as I walked past them on my Father's arm, or if every candle was lit like I wanted, all I saw was my future standing before me. It was like a dream... a dream come true!

Now you may be asking what all this has to do with a post about Carrot Cake... Well... My wonderful Hubby isn't a huge cake fan, however he LOVES carrot cake. So on our wedding day I surprised him with a Carrot Cake Grooms Cake. I couldn't honestly tell you if he remembers that detail or not but I'll never forget it. He freaked out at first thinking it was a mistake (which cracked me up!) and then was really surprised when I said it was for him. So for our 5th anniversary I thought it would be fun to surprise him again with his favorite cake, this time in cupcake form. I really hope he enjoys them, and they will also be gracing our Thanksgiving Dessert table this year!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes, My Grandmother's Recipe

Ingredients: yields 1 13x9 pan or 24 cupcakes
Cake
2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Oil
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 Eggs
2 Cups Shredded Carrots
8 oz. Can Crushed Pineapple, undrained
1/2 Cup Raisins
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans

Frosting:
8 oz. Package Softened Cream Cheese
6 Tablespoons Softened Margarine or Butter
2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans (optional)

Directions:
For cake:
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and whisk together; set aside. In your mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs. Beat well, then slowly add in the flour mixture and mix well. Add in the carrots, pineapple, raisins and pecans. Pour into a greased and floured pan, or using an ice cream scoop, scoop into lined muffin tins. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. For a 13x9 pan bake for 50-60 minutes, for cupcakes bake for about 20 minutes rotating halfway through. Cake is done with toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

For Frosting:
Combine the cream cheese, margarine, sugar and vanilla in your mixer, beat until smooth. For cupcakes you can then spread or pipe onto the cake and then sprinkle with more nuts. For a cake you can spread the frosting on smooth and sprinkle the cake with the nuts or you can add the nuts to the frosting before spreading.

Review:
These are just beyond delicious! I doubled the recipe this year since I am making them for Thanksgiving too (which we're celebrating this Sunday) and they smelled fantastic baking and totally hit the spot for breakfast... haha! The bonus is un-frosted this cake is completely dairy free! So if you're looking for an easy Dairy free dessert this year I promise this will wow! 5 stars.

Happy Baking!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes ~ Guest Post!


 Hey y'all!! I'm SO excited about today's guest post! Today a very good and "old" friend of mine, Samantha, has agreed to share her famous recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with y'all! When I say old I don't mean so much in years, but Samantha and I have been friends since we were in Jr. High, and though we've lost touch at times over the years, you really wouldn't know it by the relationship we have now. I am so blessed to have her as a friend and I am SO honored that she's sharing this recipe with us today! She's a busy Momma herself to a sweet little boy, and I appreciate her taking the time to write up this post! Now without further ado I turn this post over to you Sam!
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I make these every year for Thanksgiving and my family goes crazy. I have to hide them so they don't get eaten before dinner. I constantly get requests to make more and more each year. This will make about 2 dozen cupcakes, last year I doubled the recipe to make sure everyone had enough, and most likely will again this year. It's a great treat for after Thanksgiving dinner, if you can wait that long. I hope you guys enjoy them as much as my family does! Happy Thanksgiving.


*This picture does not do these cupcakes justice, my son helped me with the icing so they aren't as pretty as you can make them!


What you will need:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten until frothy
1 cup mashed cooked or canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk

Directions:
In medium sized bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs. Blend in mashed or canned pumpkin. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk, blending until batter is smooth after each addition. Spoon batter into baking cups (I usually find ones with pumpkins on the bottom for the holiday).  Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, or until a wooden tooth pick comes out clean. Let them cool and then I frost them with cream cheese frosting and top with a little pumpkin decoration.
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Don't those just sound amazing y'all?!? If I can find the extra time I might just whip some up for Thanksgiving this year! Thank you Sam SO much for this post! I love ya girl! 

Samantha and I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Maple Glazed Carrots

Maple Glazed Carrots, Farmers Wife Original
With the holidays fast approaching, I've been going back over some recipes I've never blogged about this year. Believe it or not at any given time I have a back log of recipes that have yet to make it onto the site. Sometimes it's nice to be able to not worry about cooking something new for a week and just post recipes that I haven't taken the time to post yet. And other times I get struck dumb at how long it's been since I made a particular recipe and it's not made it's way to y'all yet! This is one such recipe... I made this earlier this year... for Easter. HAHA! I honestly don't know why it's taken me so long to post this recipe, other than to say I forgot about it and replaced it with what I would probably deem more impressive meals. But the truth is no meal is complete without at least 1 delicious side right?

Now I'm weird about carrots, I do love them. But I hate them raw, even with ranch I'm not overly fond of them. But cooked in a stir fry, or with a sweet glaze and I think these little babies become like a piece of heaven on my plate! I've made these a few times over the years, tweaking the recipe just a bit each time til it was just right, and this time I just fell in love. My little Sous Chef went nuts about these, which really surprised me! As a baby carrots were one of his least favorite foods, and he's never eaten them since, until I made these at Easter. I think he ate more of them than my Hubby and I combined... So if you're looking for a kid friendly veggie side for this holiday season I hope you'll give these a whirl!

Ingredients:
1 Bag of Baby Carrots
1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt

Directions:
In a medium saucepan combine the syrup, sugar, cinnamon and salt on low-medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved add in the carrots and mix to evenly coat them all. Cover and let come to a low boil, stirring frequently so the sugar doesn't burn. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until carrots are fork tender. Serve warm.

Review:
These carrots are so very simple, yet full of delicious flavor. They are a great side dish especially with so many saltier sides like Mashed Taters and Green Bean Casserole that most of us make this time of year. My little Sous Chef gives these a 4 star rating!

Happy Holiday Cooking!

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