Archive for the 'Home Sweet Home' Category

Cinnamon Rolls

November 4, 2012

I know Cinnamon Rolls are quite the game change from Low-Carb/Paleo, but I had a few people request the recipe after I baked these for church.

Usually, it’s been my family’s tradition to bake Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas breakfast, something I always look forward to with eager anticipation. These past few weeks however, I was struggling with a craving that just wouldn’t go away. A craving for hot, gooey, soft, melt in your mouth Cinnamon Rolls. I happily satisfied the yearning by baking them for our church Fellowship Meal, today (as a dessert, though I could’ve easily eaten them as the main dish). 😉

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Basic Sweet Dough:

3/4 C Buttermilk warm, 110 degrees (if you don’t have buttermilk, mix 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of whole milk and let sit for 10 min.)

6 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled

3 large eggs

4 1/4 C all-purpose flour

1/4 C sugar

2 1/4 instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 1/4 tsp salt

Whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 4 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after the first 5 minutes more flour is needed (the dough should not stick to the sides of the mixer bowl, only the bottom of it) add the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface (or lightly floured depending on how sticky it is) and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl (I just spray Pam in the bowl) and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If your house is drafty, then turn the oven onto 200 degrees for 10 minutes, turn it off, and set the dough in the oven to rise.

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**Rolls:

3/4 C packed light brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

Pinch salt

1 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled

Grease a 9×13 in. baking pan. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a small bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and press into a 16×12 in. rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter, then sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over it, leaving a 3/4 in. border along the long, top edge. Press on the filling to adhere it to the dough.

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Loosen the dough from the counter using a bench scraper or metal spatula, and roll the dough into a tight log. Pinch the seam closed and roll the log seam side down. Gently stretch the log to be 18 in. in length with an even diameter and pat the ends to even them.

Slice the cylinder into 12 evenly sized rolls (about 1 1/2 in. wide) using a serrated knife. Arrange the rolls cut side down in the prepared baking pan and wrap tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size and are pressed against one another, 1 to 1 1/2 hours (to make ahead, do not let the rolls rise, but refrigerate them overnight or up to 16 hours. Let the rolls sit at room temperature until they have nearly doubled in size, about an hour, then bake as directed).

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls until golden and puffed, 25 to 30 minutes.

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Glaze:

1 1/2 C confectioner’s sugar

3 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened (DO NOT microwave, just let it sit at room temperature until soft)

3 Tbsp. whole milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. After baked rolls have cooled for 5 minutes, drizzle glaze over them and serve.

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**_Recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book_**

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~Soli Deo Gloria

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Mexi-Keto Tacos

October 28, 2012

Almost three weeks ago, my husband and I started eating low-carb, high-fat. Steve’s been a little more serious about it than I have, but we’ve both been feeling more energetic and dropping unwanted weight. While we’ve found eating this way to be much more healthy and fulfilling, it has been a little tough to give up on some of our old foods and find creative ways to have variety while still eating well. Needless to say my Mexican hubby needs his tacos. Browsing different Paleo forums the other day in search of a good alternative, Steve found a recipe for taco shells made from Provolone cheese. Stopping at the grocery store on our way home from church to buy more bacon (we eat quite a lot of bacon) we also purchased the ingredients for Steve’s Mexi-Keto Tacos.

 

Picture Courtesy of Steve

 

Taco Shells:

*Make sure your Provolone cheese is round*

Microwave one slice of cheese on a piece of parchment paper on high for 65-75 seconds. Let it cool for a few seconds, then being careful not to touch the hot cheese, drape it over the handle of a wooden spoon balanced on two cups (before I took the parchment paper off, I made sure to shape the cheese first). The cheese is very greasy, so I’d recommend putting paper towels, or a plate beneath it. Once the cheese is cool to the touch, set on a paper towel-lined plate.

 

Taco Meat:

*These measurements are for every one pound of ground beef*

2 tsp. Chili Powder

2 tsp. Paprika

1 1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Cumin

1/2 tsp. Cayenne

1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp. Oregano

 

Add all ingredients to browned meat and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

 

~Soli Deo Gloria

Spice-Rubbed Picnic Chicken

September 10, 2012

One of the simplest dinners I make, comes in the form of chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs may seem a little daunting because of having bones and skin on them, but that’s actually  what makes it so easy to prepare. The bone and skin keep the chicken moist and tender making it almost impossible to over-cook.

This Picnic Spice-Rub Chicken is one of my favorite Summer meals. The rub has just enough spice in it to give it a kick, but not so much that it’s overpowering (I am NOT a spicy food person).

This recipe takes about an hour (including prep and cooking). I usually buy food in bulk, so my chicken is frozen and I have to get it out to thaw in the morning. Another secret to juicy chicken is to cook it completely thawed and never frozen, so you will have to count in de-frosting time, as well.

A few of the many sides that go well with this chicken are: green or fruit salad, Caprese salad, cucumbers with a vegetable dip, or watermelon strawberry smoothies. And don’t forget a good glass of red wine or an ice cold beer!

Spice-Rubbed Picnic Chicken: 

modified from Cook’s Illustrated

(serves 8)

5 Pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, thawed

1/4 C. butter, melted

2 Tbsp. Kosher salt (do not substitute with table or sea salt)

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 Tbsp. chili powder

2 Tbsp. sweet paprika

2 tsp.  ground black pepper

1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and lay skin side up on foil lined trays (I use cookie sheets or a broiler pan-just make sure if you use one of those that it has rimmed sides to catch the fat). Using a sharp knife, cut two or three slits in skin of chicken making sure not to cut through to the bone. Brush melted butter over skin, thoroughly.

2. Mix together Kosher salt, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in small bowl until thoroughly combined. Taking desired amount in hand, rub onto chicken making sure to get underneath the skin where slit as well.

3. Cook 30-50 min. or until thighs register 175 degrees on an instant read thermometer.  Let cool 5-10 min. before serving.

~Soli Deo Gloria

In Like A Lamb, And Out Like A Lion

April 12, 2012

The old expression “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb” is not something to pin your hopes on, as it’s the second week of April and it’s been raining cats and dogs the past couple days.

Bad weather tends to make me (and I’m sure I’m not alone here) rather moody, and not quite sure what to do with myself. But, it’s never polite to be completely self-absorbed with feeling sorry for oneself, so grab a cup of tea, round up the kids, and start tackling the ever-growing book pile we’re all prone to have.

 

My current book pile (for quite some time now):

Evidence Not Seen ~ Darlene Deibler Rose

Lectures On Calvinism ~ Abraham Kuyper

Keeper Of The Bees ~ Gene Stratton Porter

Drawing Of The Dark ~ Tim Powers

What Did You Expect ~ Paul David Tripp

Streams In The Desert ~ L.B Cowman

 

What books are you currently reading?

“What I Like Best…”

January 11, 2012

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”   ~ A.A. Milne 

Chocolate And Rum

December 14, 2011

I ate way too much today. It’s easy to do that sometimes. Something came over me, I threw caution to the wind, and stuffed myself. I eat when I need to comfort myself, and I’m missing somebody very special right now, so I hope that someone gets home soon, otherwise I’ll end up becoming a Mauritanian Beauty. Not really. It’d be difficult to gain that much weight in three days.

The sad part is, even though I’m stuffed like a turkey, I would eat that Chocolate Mousse again in the blink of an eye. Easily the best Chocolate Mousse I’ve ever tasted, a breeze to make, and NO SUGAR! You know you want this, it has rum in it; so set aside an hour to slap this together and enjoy with some homemade whipped cream.

Chocolate Mousse

Makes 5

1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup dark-brewed coffee

4 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon rum

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Heat a medium-sized saucepan one-third full with hot water until lightly simmering. Place heat-proof bowl on top and melt together chocolate and coffee, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat.

Whisk the egg yolks and rum together until very thick (you can also do this in an electric mixer on medium-high speed for three minutes). Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

Beat the egg whites, salt, and vanilla until the whites form soft peaks. Being careful not to over mix, fold the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Spoon into five 6-oz dishes, cover, and refrigerate for three hours.

For Whipped Topping

1 cup chilled heavy cream

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat together heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla in electric mixer on medium-low speed for one minute until frothy. Increase mixer speed to high, and continue to beat until mixture forms soft peaks, about three minutes.

Spoon onto chilled Mousse, and sprinkle lightly with cocoa powder.

(recipe modified from TasteSpotting)

~Soli Deo Gloria

Chocolate Confabulations

December 11, 2011

Everybody loves chocolate. That’s a fact. If you don’t, well, I’m sorry, but that’s just unorthodox. Another fact is women especially love chocolate. Men, go buy your wife some chocolate if you want to be on her good side; and don’t get her sickly sweet, cheap, milk chocolatey pretenders. Eating that is as bad as guzzling O’Doul’s when you could be quaffing Guinness. Get her the dark chocolate-then she’ll really love you.

These cookies are definitely the most chocolatey chocolate you can have in a cookie without going into a coma. They taste heavenly with milk, ice cream, or, if you really want to have a very intense chocolate experience, eat them plain.

When you make these, you want to create them for others to devour, unless you want to be found 24 hours later drooling, with chocolate crumbs clinging despondingly to your zonked countenance. You. Will. Eat. These. So, do your friends a favor and make these for them instead.

You need chocolate.

Maybe a little more chocolate.

Okay, fine, a lot of chocolate.

A little cocoa powder for good measure.

Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). I think that also applies to refraining from eating this cookie dough with a spoon.

Thick And Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons instant coffee

10 tablespoons butter, softened

1  1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

16 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (optional: you could omit these and have double chocolate cookies)

1. Adjust the oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, and instant coffee together until the coffee is dissolved.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes, scraping down bowl and beaters as needed. Beat in the egg mixture until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in the melted chocolate, about 30 seconds.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in the chips until incorporated. Cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the consistency is scoop able and fudge-like, about 30 minutes.

4. Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until the edges are set and beginning to brown, but the centers are still soft and puffy, 10 to 12 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. (The cookies will look raw between the cracks and seem underdone.)

5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.

(Recipe adapted from _The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book_)

~Soli Deo Gloria

Easy Peasy Crêpes

November 29, 2011

I had hinted my next post would be centered around Gumdrop Cake, but alas and alack life is full of many trials and undercooked, crumbly Gumdrop Cake is part of my sanctification process, I’m sure. I won’t bore you with the details of my Gumdrop Cake fiasco, but let me conclude by stating that Gumdrop Cake takes a very long time to cook, and is best baked two weeks in advance.

Now, who loves Crêpes?

The only thing better than pancakes are pancakes that are thin, so you can eat more of them and not feel like your waist line is thickening. And the only thing better than thin pancakes are thin pancakes filled with tangy sour cream and strawberry goodness, all topped off with fresh whipped cream.

Many people may draw back in dread when threatened with the prospect of cooking Crêpes. Don’t panic. The only reason Crêpes sound complicated is because they are thoroughly and utterly of French origin. In reality, Crêpes are ridiculously easy to make, with the bonus of being perfectly delicious.

For Crêpes:

(Serves Twelve)

1 cup whole milk

4 large eggs

1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil

Place milk and 2/3 cup water in a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or medium bowl. Whisk in eggs, then flour, salt, and oil.

Heat 8 inch skillet over medium heat till very hot. Pour 1/4 cup batter into skillet, tilting to coat bottom evenly. Cook until underside is pale golden, 1 to 2 minutes, then run a rubber spatula around Crêpe to loosen it and flip Crêpe with spatula. Cook until underside is pale golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer Crêpe to a dinner plate. No need to use parchment paper or towel.

You can use any type of filling for your Crêpes that you wish, depending on your craving of either savory or sweet, but for breakfast Crêpes I prefer to use strawberries and sour cream filling.

For Filling:

3 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Place strawberries in bowl and crush till uniform. Set aside. In separate bowl whisk sour cream and powdered sugar.

Fill Crêpes, fold into tight cylinder or fan, top with whipped cream, and enjoy!

 

(Recipe adapted from _Perfect Recipes For Having People Over_)

~ Soli Deo Gloria

Fall Teaparty With Friends

November 23, 2011

Every year, my Mom, sisters and I have had a Fall Teaparty with some dear friends of ours. There is always much joy, excellent food, quirky games, and laughter. My two sisters were married last year and moved to Montana, so sadly they were unable to join our festive gathering this year.

We usually divide up the menu between our two families, and I have contributed some of my own creations in the past, but this year my dear Mom provided her own special appetizer. (Not pictured below, but Butternut Squash Soup was our main dish)

  Baby Brie With Caramelized Onions And Toasted Hazelnuts

This Brie was absolutely delicious; baked with the caramelized onions and toasted hazelnuts, then spread on some crackers, it made a wonderful Fall appetizer.

  Apple Salad With Cinnamon

I’m not too big on apple salads, but this one was a nice side with these delicious sandwiches:

     Chicken Salad On Croissants 

We had a lovely dessert that, while a bit on the sweet side, tasted perfect with a nice cup of tea.

     Chocolate Toffee Bars

We took turns, after our meal, going through the alphabet attempting to name an author whose name began with that letter. We were able to make it through most of the alphabet, but amongst many giggles were unable to discover any authors with names beginning in “U, X, and Z.”

Beelzebub: King Of The Earth, Or Chicken?

November 19, 2011


Technically, this post isn’t about food, but chicken is pretty tasty and I’m looking forward to all the eggs we will be obtaining from our 31 chickens. This little black chick, which my brother cleverly named “Beelzebub,” set the wheels in my head to turning though, and reminded me again of how Christians don’t need to fear Beelzebub, a.k.a Satan.

A small red man, with a gargoyle face and horns sprouting from his head, jumping from side to side yelling and waving his sharp trident in the air, while flames spurt all around him – this is just one of the many wrong views people have of Satan. Not only do they believe he is this little horned man, instead of the fallen angel Lucifer, but some also believe he and God are locked in a deadly battle of equals, and he, Satan, has the world wrapped around his fiendish finger. Even though Satan is demonic, he is a virtual Sherlock Holmes wearing many disguises, and he can appear angelic to people, even at times quoting Scripture to them.

In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis clears up one of the greatest misconceptions about Satan; that he is God’s opposite:

The commonest question is whether I really ‘believe in the Devil.’ Now, if by ‘the Devil’ you mean a power opposite to God and, like God, self-existent from all eternity, the answer is certainly No. There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite… The proper question is whether I believe in devils. I do. That is to say, I believe in angels, and I believe that some of these, by the abuse of their free will, have become enemies to God and, as a corollary, to us. These we may call devils. They do not differ in nature from good angels, but their nature is depraved. Devil is the opposite of angel only as Bad Man is the opposite of Good Man. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael.

If Satan and his devils are the opposite of Michael and his angels regarding their natures, I think it safe to assume that would also mean they are opposites regarding their appearances.

Usually, when somebody says the word, “angel,” what do you think of? The first thing that comes to most people’s minds is either an innocent little cherub holding a harp, or a beautiful woman with wings wearing a long, flowing dress of white. However, the Bible teaches that angels are fearsome creatures to behold. Everyone recorded in the Bible who saw an angel, was accounted as having fallen flat on his face, because he was so frightened by the angel’s appearance (Joshua 5:13-14, Numbers 22:31, Genesis 3:24, and Ezekiel 10:14). Because devils and angels are opposites, this means instead of presenting a frightful façade, a devil may make himself look very alluring. In Genesis 3:1, Satan is portrayed in the shape of a serpent. The word serpent means: a dragon or other mythical snakelike reptile. Most pictures of dragons illustrate them as very beautiful creatures. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Not only does Satan change his appearance to that of a messenger of light, but we are told he can also quote scripture. Unfortunately for him, Satan can’t quite get the meaning right. He spoke to Jesus in Matthew 4:5-6, saying:

For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’

Even though he uses Psalm 91, he muddles the meaning from that of urging believers to put their trust in God, to making it sound like a test, throwing doubt on God’s faithfulness. His muffing of Scripture he uses to his advantage however, by entrapping people in telling them part of the truth (or minor truths) so they will place their confidence in him; and once he has their trust, he betrays them in ways so major it is enough to send them to Hell.

Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, illustrates this point very well, when the witches tell Macbeth he shall become the Thane of Cawdor. Their prediction comes true, but Macbeth’s friend Banquo wisely asks, “What, can the Devil speak true?” Later, seeing what the witches prophesied did come true, he gives Macbeth an insightful warning:

But ’tis strange, And oftentimes, to win us to our harm the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray’s in deepest consequences.

Knowing Satan has the power to entrap and attack people, or change his appearance may seem frightening, BUT it is only because God gives him that power and permission to do so. Satan is a mere, helpless puppet in the sovereign hands of our Lord. The most famous proof of this is in the book of Job, where Satan must first obtain permission from God before he is allowed to torment and tempt Job. Satan may be stronger than human beings, but Christ is stronger than Satan and has triumphed over him. Satan is destined for the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10; Job 1:12, 2:4-6: Mark 3:26-27; and Luke 22:31). God’s promise of crushing the serpent’s head was fulfilled in Christ’s death on the cross, a cross which was set on a hill called Golgotha, a name which means “Place of the Skull.”

If we continue to cling to a wrong view of Satan based on superstitions instead of God’s Word, then we’re no better than people of the past who were so caught up in pagan holidays (such as All Hallow’s Eve) they began to believe in the very witches and spirits they made up! These mythical beliefs have led to profound outcomes such as the Salem’s witch trials, where many innocent people were persecuted and killed because some fell so far away from God and His truth, even to the point of being frightened into believing a black cat was the devil.

Just like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, Christians have forgotten to put their trust in the real King. When Christian attempts to enter the palace Beautiful, he hesitates, frightened by two lions standing on either side of the narrow path that leads to the door of the palace. What Christian doesn’t realize is that these lions are chained, and even though they are roaring, angry, and intimidating, they cannot possibly harm him. Just like Christian, we forget Satan is a defeated enemy, a chained lion, and the real King of the earth is not bound. He is the one who has chained the lion, and who still (and always will) have a firm grasp on that chain. We do not need to be afraid of Satan, who is “chicken”; he is terrified of our Great Redeemer.

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world   ~1 John 4:4

~Soli Deo Gloria