Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Kids Praise Mom for Good Food, Mom Faints, has yet to be revived.

Early last summer I was drying parsley and basil like it was my job. Every Saturday I'd go out and pick a bunch of each, then come in and dry the leaves in the oven for saving for the winter. I wanted to do something with those spices for our family canning exchange but didn't want to just give spices. I found the recipe ended up using was Garlic Bread Seasoning (see recipe a few back). The suggested use for the seasoning was on these breadsticks.
These breadsticks won me "these are so good!" from my kids. So YES this recipe is a winner.
These were very easy to make - the hardest part was the even cutting and twisting, but once they rise, any struggles you’ve had disappear. What's better is once you serve them - no one will complain your cuts and twists aren't perfect - they'll be raving over the amazing breadsticks you've made.
These aren't Olive Garden Breadsticks, but they are a soft delicious breadstick worth the time and effort.
Next year? I look forward to more herb growing and drying. That reminds me - I need to order my seeds!!

1 1/2 cups warm water (105 - 110 degrees F°)
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand-mixer, add warm water, instant yeast, sugar and salt. Stir to combine (using the dough hook if in the stand-mixer)
Add 2 cups flour and mix well. Gradually add in the rest of the flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and sticks to your finger a little bit. (Remember to only add up to 4 cups flour total. Adding too much flour will make the breadsticks too dense and not soft.)
Cover bowl and allow to rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Remove dough from bowl and place on a clean and lightly-floured surface. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray. Roll dough into a large rectangle, about 1-inch thick, and cut into 12 strips with a pizza cutter.
Roll out each piece of dough into a long rope then twist. Place dough twist onto prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of dough, placing side by side on baking sheet.
Cover and let rest 30 minutes to rise again until doubled.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden-brown. Remove from oven and rub a 1/2 stick of butter over the warm breadsticks. Sprinkle tops evenly with Garlic Bread Seasoning! http://myrtlegrace.blogspot.com/2017/12/ipema-family-canning-exchange-2017-wee.html

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Bake-ware with Athletic Abilities

Once upon a time I bought a mini pie pan - it's a metal pan with 6 wells for pies. When was this? I don't recall. Why did I buy this? I also don't recall. Where? The Wilton tent sale! I swear that place is like Target - you enter into a different world where things magically jump into your cart and you get home and wonder how it all happened. The Wilton Tent Sale no longer exists so there is no fear of this happening again - they did have a special sale store this fall - but it wasn't nearly as good.
Anyway… This summer I decided we should probably use that pan and make some individual strawberry pies. I did this for two reasons - Individual Strawberry Pies… really is that a question? And also because the large pie takes a long time to set up. These mini pies setup faster and my time was somewhat limited.
These little pies were delicious! I use a pie crust recipe which again - I suck at making. Not even going to share that recipe. Notice I even did the grated butter trick and still, my crusts sucked. The premade rolled out crusts are always way better. I will give you my strawberry pie recipe. That one is delicious, fresh, contains Jell-O, but it's great.
If you want to make this in the winter - I'd highly suggest it. Strawberry Pie is always welcome - at least to me it is.
Now I need to consider other pies for my mini pie tin… hrm… French Silk? Apple Pie? Perhaps it's time to get the pan out again…

Fresh Strawberry Pie
1-1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3-ounce package strawberry Jell-O
2 pounds fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
1-1/2 cups water
1 baked 9-inch deep-dish, or regular 10-inch pie shell

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add water and lemon juice. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cook and stir until slightly thickened and clear, 4 to 5 minutes. Add Jell-O, and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Stir strawberries into gelatin mixture. Turn into a baked and cooled 9-inch deep-dish or regular 10-inch pie shell. Chill 4 to 6 hours or until set. Serve topped with whipped cream, if desired.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tasting Summer Freshness in the Middle of Depressing Winter

Our garden this summer was all about the tomatoes. All the plants were started from seeds this year. I spent plenty of time lovingly coaxing them to grow in the basement under the florescent lights and wow - what a bounty we received!
This summer we canned tomatoes plan, we made pizza sauce, and loads and loads of pasta sauce. At the end of last year or maybe the year before we made some roasted sauce (it was 2014, oof!  Time flies). Since we tend to be lazy - to some extent - the idea of just tossing tomatoes, garlic, and onions in pans with olive oil, then blending them with fresh basil and adding some (shhh) lemon juice then boiling those jars… that's easy. Maybe my version of lazy and easy need some tweaking. Either way. We did this process at least 3 or 4 times this fall. We just had THAT many tomatoes.  That does not include the pizza sauce and multiple batches of canned tomatoes.
Last year we got tomato seeds too - these cute little yellow guys. They produce amazingly well, so our sauce is a pretty orange color - so good. So bookmark this recipe, since it's… winter…  I know I'll be eating fresh sauce all winter long - you can too - next year!

Our recipe for Roasted Tomato Sauce

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Worrying about pot lids in the bathtub

One of the strangest things I've canned yet - has to be zucchini.
Strange because usually you can something to maintain freshness and zucchini? Well, it comes out a sloppy mess - but honestly, all I use canned zucchini for is in baking, so the sloppy mess works out.
I will have to figure out a new process next year since I melted my food processor on a potato… Yes, you can do that. Ugh.
The "fun" part of canning zucchini is using the $300 pressure canner that Andy got at Goodwill for $10. There's nothing like watching that pressure gauge go up and pray to God above that the lid of that pressure cooker doesn't land in the bathtub in the bathroom a floor above you. Pressure canning is a bit scary, but so far so good. No giant holes in the ceiling and no lost limbs. I feel like both of those are in the win column. AND I can make fresh zucchini bread all winter. Hrm… makes me think I should make a few loaves….

This is the recipe we use to can our zucchini:

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

May your Christmas be filled 
with the GIFT of faith
And the BLESSING of hope
And the PEACE of His love.

The Raatjes Family 
Andy, Erin
Bronwyn, Nicholas

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