Tuesday, June 25, 2013

1 Hour Dinner Rolls

Even though it is way too hot to be baking much here in The South; I just love homemade bread. I've made a couple of recipes for 1 hour rolls or 1 hour sandwich buns before and I didn't care for them. They were too crumbly, bland, etc. Anyway, I decided to try one more recipe since I wanted to serve fresh rolls with dinner. I searched the internet, many of the recipes were the same ones I had used before or required ingredients that I didn't have on hand. Then I came accross 1 Hour Dinner Rolls from the Inquiring Chef which she had adapted from I Bowl 1 Hour Perfect Dinner Rolls from Phmomenon which had been adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I hadn't made recipes from either of the first two blogs before; but I've made a couple from Mel's over the years, and she hasn't steered me wrong yet.

These rolls did not disappoint. They were delicious, light and fluffy. I follwed Inquiring Chef's version exactly. Here it is. They don't have quite the exact flavor of a roll that has had a longer rising time will, but they are so close. I ate four with my meal. Seriously. Four. Then I had another 30 minutes later.


1½ cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 Tbsp. instant yeast
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. (28g) unsalted butter, softened 
1 tsp. table salt
4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour, lightly spooned into measuring cup and leveled off


For topping:
  • 3 Tbsp. (40g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. To the yeast mixture, add the butter, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix on low-speed until the ingredients begin to come together. Still on low-speed, add 1 cup of the remaining flour and mix for 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 cup flour. Mix on low-speed until the final addition of flour is fully incorporated into the dough. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. (You will know it is ready when the dough starts to make a slapping sound as it hits the sides of the bowl.) Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover it with a dish towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into an even ball. Using a serrated knife, cut the dough in half vertically, then each half vertically again into thirds so you have 6 equal strips of dough. Cut each strip of dough into fourths by cutting horizontally to make 24 little squares of dough. With lightly floured hands, roll each piece of dough into a ball.
  4. Place each rolled piece of dough into a lightly greased 9×13 baking pan in rows of 4. Cover the rolls with a dish towel and let them rise while your oven is preheating to 400 degrees F  – about 20 minutes.
  5. Lightly brush the rolls with about half of the melted butter before baking. Bake until golden brown, 13-15 minutes. Immediately after removing the rolls from the oven, brush them with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Flip the pan over to remove the rolls.

Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce

This is a short-cut meal. With a busy toddler, sometimes, I just don't have more than 20 minutes or so to make dinner. This dish comes together quickly with things I usually have on hand. I've served it to several people, everyone loves it, and nobody ever believes how easy it is to make.

1 lb pasta (I used whole grain penne)
1 26 oz jar of spaghetti sauce (I usually use my own, but if I'm out I use Hunt's 4 Cheese)
8 oz cream cheese
Freshly grated parmesean cheese (I actually prefer pecorino but I use what I have on hand)
Fresh basil (optional)

Cook pasta according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, cut cream cheese into several pieces. Warm spaghetti sauce and cream cheese together, stirring often to combine. Drain pasta and toss
with sauce. Place in serving dish, top with cheese and torn basil leaves.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Warm Potato Salad

This warm potato salad is similar to German potato salad. I usually serve it during the colder months along side a good roast or a baked chicken. Since it was only 74 degrees out today instead of 90+ like it has been for the last few weeks, I made it to go with pulled pork sandwiches.


4 russet potatoes, sliced into rounds
1/2 of a sweet onion, sliced into half moons
4 strips of bacon
1/3 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp ground mustard
3-4 dashed nutmeg, optional but recommended

Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. While the potaties are boiling, cook bacon in a deep skillet of medium heat until crisp but still a tad chewy, remove and drain on paper towels. Saute sliced onions until fragrant and soft. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a bowl then add to onions. Drain potatoes and add to the pot, toss with sauce. Crumble half of the bacon and add to potatoes, gently stir so you don't break the potatoes. Move to serving dish and top with remaining crumbled bacon.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

When I Fail as a Wife

Monday was NOT my shining moment as a wife. I've replayed everything again and again in my head, trying to convince myself it really didn't happen. He upset me; and I lost my cool. I literally felt like I was listening to someone else. I was taken aback just hearing myself. As much as I expect it from him, there are times when I am so ungracious when he has made a mistake.

I've been stressed for a few weeks. When I get stressed, I tend to throw a pity party. Most of my spiritul attacks happen during these times. I feel sorry for myself, I compare my situation/husband/finances/home/social life, etc. to that of someone else whom I perceive to be more "blessed" than I have been. It's an ugly, downward spiral. It happens gradually, over a period of time, so I almost don't realize it is happening. I find myslef praying less, reading my Bible less, putting off my cleaning tasks, the laundry, watching more TV. That is pretty much how it went for about 4 days, then he upset me. All that pent up pity came out in one big hissy fit. Sure, he was wrong; but my reaction was not from love, or anywhere even remotely productive. It wasn't that I couldn't control my emotions, it was that I chose not to.

Rather than bringing my frustrations to God in prayer, I had held them in, telling myself they weren't important in the grand scheme of things. Yes, my problems may be trivial in the light of others, but God cares about them just the same. As His daughter, my hurts matter to Him. He wants to comfort me. Satan has done a wonderful job of convincing women that our problems are too trivial for God and that we ought not bring them to Him in light of all the good things in our lives, especially when there are so many in this world less fortunate than us. We have bought into it for too long! God cares about everything you experience. You are no less important to Him than anyone else. There are times when we need Him for little things, and times when we need Him for big messes, they are all times when we need Him. His arms are open, He is waiting.

Had I gone to Him, answered when He called me close, I wouldn't have felt so pitiful and powerless. I wouldn't have lashed out at my husband. Just as God is extending me grace for lashing out at my husband, I need to extend my husband grace when he makes a mistake. It is so easy to buy into Satan's lies, he wasnts you to fell bad about yourself, to doubt God, and to lash out at your husband. Trust God. When you mess up, buy into his lies, and make a bigger mess of things, remember:
"My Grace if sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
Accept His grace, ask for forgiveness, forgive your husband, and ask his forgiveness too. Then, move on. Don't let this become another stumbling block in your life.
Ever since my outburst, God has brought wonderful articles written by Christian wives before me. on one hand, I feel convicted for my failures as a wife, and on the other hand, these articles are serving as a source of direction and encouragement from women more experienced than I. When I fail, I am shown how big His love is.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

German-style Pork Chops

My Hubbie thought these were amazing!

Ever since I visited Germany as a teenager, I have loved their culture and food. Since returning, I have made it my goal to re-create the delicious meals I enjoyed there. This recipe is in no way authentic, but it uses German flavors to create a delicious, no-fuss dinner.

Growning up, we ate Shake N Bake pork chops on a pretty regular basis. I loved them, and still enjoy them when my Mom prepares them. I don't purchase many convenience foods, but love the simplicity that this method offers, so I use this crumb mixture. It's great on pork or chicken.

I think the German mustard really makes this dish, its robust flavors pair well with the richness of pork.


4 pork chops
2 tablespoons German-style mustard
Crumb Coating Mixture:

  •  2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs                    
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled dried parsley
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease or coat with cooking spray. Brush pork chops on both sides with German-style mustard. Combine Crumb Coating ingredients in a bag, add chops and shake until coated, one at a time. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 - 40 minutes, ensure that pork is fully cooked before serving.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Retro Recipe: Cake Flour Pancakes

I recently came across an old pancake recipe from Swan's Down for "Lightest Ever Pancakes". The recipe card intrigued me, since it looked like it was probably created mid-century, and I LOVE old recipe cards. Since I happened to have some Swan's Down cake flour, I made them for breakfast this morning. I followed their recipe exactly at first, even though the batter looked too thick. The first few pancakes were really thick and never created the bubbles you look for to tell you when to flip. So I added a few splashes of milk and a little vanilla to the batter to thin it out. Also, it irks me to make pancakes without vanilla, pancakes need vanilla.

The vintage Swan's Down recipe card can be found here. I just love vintage recipe cards.

This is the way I made it after my slight adjustments:

2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter

Measure sifted flour into sifter; add baking powder, salt, and sugar. Beat egg in bowl or

large pitcher, add milk, and blend. Sift in dry ingredients all at once, add melted butter,

and beat with egg beater just until mixed. Do not over-mix pancake batter, it makes them tough and chewy. It should be slightly lumpy, not perfectly smooth. Bake on hot griddle, turning only once.

Verdict: These were awesome. The texture is very, very light.

This is how the first stack came out, before I adjusted the liquid level. They were dense and not as fluffy as I like. They were still good though.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Peach Crumb Bars

Peaches are in season! One county over from ours is the home to several peach farms. I love to go visit during peach season. Fresh peaches abound and I like to stop at a little restuarant and enjoy a scoop of Peach Ice Cream or a Fried Peach Pie. My local grocer had peaches on sale, so I stocked up. I wanted to make homemade peach ice cream, but I had to order a replacement part. I was going to make peach pie, but I didn't want to have to wait hours for it to be cool enough to eat. So I came up with this recipe based on a lemon bars recipe I like.

For the Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
5 cups diced ripe peaches (about 7 peaches, peeled)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 TBS cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Dough: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter, and then the egg. The dough will be crumbly.  Place the bowl of dough in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Filling: Place the diced peaches in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the peaches and mix gently.

Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan. Spread the peach mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the peach layer.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar for extra cuteness.

These did not last long in our home.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pig in the Potato Patch

I feel like I've been the spokeswoman for pork lately. We had a 20 lb Boston Butt that I needed to use, so I've been coming up with yummy ways to use it. This recipe is super simple and people really like it. It is one of my Hubbie's favorite lunches.


Leftover Pulled Pork
Baked Potato (I do this in the microwave during warmer months)
Sour Cream
Salt & Pepper
Green Onions
any other fixins you like on your baked potato, shredded cheddar would be yummy

Split the baked potato, season with salt and pepper to taste, add a tablespoon of sour cream, top with a good amount of pulled pork,and sprinkle with green onions. Enjoy.

You can also make baked potatoes in the crock pot. Just put them in and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. You can wrap them in foil if they'll need to keep warm, but it isn't necessary.

I shared this recipe at the Full Plate Thursday linky party.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Family Dinner

When I was growing up, we almost always ate dinner together. Every night, whether Mom made a big meal or we picked up fast food, all six of us sat down at the dining table. Most of our friends who visited found this to be rather odd. "You mean you do this every night?" Most of the time. We always talked over dinner and discussed our day. Looking back, it was really special. My Mom would take turns asking each person how there day was, one of my friends who came for dinner at least once a week told me "your mom knows me better than my own mom". It was probably true. Most nights of the week my cousin or a friend or two joined us for dinner. My Mom still hasn't learned how to cook for less than 8 people. Everyone was always welcome at our table.

Now, before I make us sound too much like a made for TV family, let me say, we didn't always get along, not everyone was always happy to be there. That happens with four kids. Whoever was mad or on restriction would want to stay in their room during dinner. The rule was even if you weren't eating or on speaking terms with the rest of the family, you had to come sit at the table. Except for a few extreme times, everyone usually ended up at the table together. Of course there were nights where someone had practice, or was out with friends. Our talks were usually happy and lighthearted, but sometimes not. We weren't a perfect family, but we spent time together, eating a meal, talking, and sometimes, arguing.

Though my son isn't talking much yet, I still want to carry that tradition on with him. It's so easy to eat in front of the TV, not talking. We've done it, more times than I like. For the last few months, we've made an effort to turn off the TV, sit around the table, say a prayer together, and talk over dinner. I think it makes a big difference.

Anyone who doesn't already do so, I would encourage you to try this, even if you only do it once a week. It could be breakfast if everyone isn't home around dinner time. My parents managed to have family dinners with four teenagers on four different crazy schedules. I've heard statistics that say children who have family dinners do better in school,are less likely to get into drugs; I don't know how true they are, but it couldn't hurt.

The meals don't have to be elaborate, my Mom makes fabulous food that is very simple. She knows what works. I've shared her Goulash recipe here before. In coming weeks, I'll try to share more of her meals.