Butter

Bread and butter are essential in my everyday eating habits. I eat bread and butter at least once a day. I did get a bread machine for Christmas this year and I have been making all kinds of homemade bread in it. It brings back memories from when my mom use to make bread for us when we were little, in her bread machine. Not only does it make the house smell incredible (I couldn’t sleep the other night because I was making bread and it’s warm fragrance over took the house and caused me to get super hungry haha) but there is nothing quite like a fresh slice of bread with dinner every night. I thought, well I make my own bread regularly; why not try making my own butter? That way I know exactly what is in the pounds and pounds of butter I eat in a month and who knows, maybe it could save us some mullah in the long run. So I found a recipe to make my own butter. Not only was it incredibly easy to make, but it was a BLAST. Jesse’s was napping (because he only got 4 hours of sleep the night before 😦 ) but I really wish he could have been up to watch the transformation from cream to butter. I will definitely have to make butter again so he can participate. I tried it on some bread immediately after I made it, and to no surprise, it tasted just like regular store bought butter. 🙂 Doing the calculations on the ingredients needed and how much a tub of butter costs at the store, I am pretty sure they are about even. But I think you should at least try it out or get your kids to participate in it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Quart of heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Pour your quart of heavy whipping cream in a big mixing bowl and add your salt. I used a hand held mixer, but I’m sure it would be much easier if you had your own stand mixer. Either option will work just fine for this.
  2. Turn your hand mixer on low and begin stirring up the cream and salt. You can gradually increase the speed as the mixture gets thicker. I suggest you start on a low speed because the cream will splash everywhere if you don’t. You will continue mixing the cream for about 20-30 mins. After about 20–30 mins the cream will clump up and start to produce liquid. The liquid is buttermilk. (Be careful to bring the speed back down on your mixer or place a towel over the bowl because again, the buttermilk will splash all over.)  At this point your butter starts to stick together really well, and it feels almost waxy, you are done!
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  8. Squish all your butter together so it forms some sort of ball.
  9. Place a strainer on top of bowl and strain off the liquid. Place your buttermilk liquid in an airtight sealed container and keep it in the fridge. Use it in other recipes such as fried chicken YUM!
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  12. Take your butter ball and rinse it in water to get any excess buttermilk off.
  13. Place butter in an airtight sealed container and place in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

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Enjoy!

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Just the other day it snowed 3 inches here! It was amazingly beautiful and peaceful. Growing up in AZ I never really got the opportunity to see snow fall or snow on the ground. When I went to college up north in AZ, I fell in love with the snow seasons. There is nothing more beautiful, to me, than seeing the bare trees covered in white snow, or the bushes no longer green, but white from snowflakes, and mostly I love the snow because of the quiet peacefulness it brings with it. For some reason whenever it is snowing it just seems like everything stands still and there is no noise outside. I LOVE that J (is it just me who feels that way haha!) Anyway, the snow was so fun to play in and the dogs were having a ball prancing around in it in our backyard. I am sad to see the snow melting already but I guess that’s what I get when I live in Seattle.

I have all of a sudden become some kind of super domestic women this weekend….I mean I made my own butter, yogurt, and applesauce. I also made lunch for the week for Jesse and I, dinner for the next two days, a fresh loaf of dill bread, and I made a delicious Cream Cheese pound cake for Jesse and I to enjoy for breakfast for the week. I have been really interested in making my own things like butter and applesauce, to see if it really saves Jesse and I some money. (If you know me, I’m always trying to save a buck where ever I can.) We just went grocery shopping this weekend and it was fun to pass by regularly purchased items thinking in the back of my mind, I’m going to make my own. J

Like I said, I made a Cream Cheese Pound Cake for breakfast this week. I may have had a little sliver of it last night because I couldn’t resist. 😉 Let me tell you, it was probably the most delicious pound cake I have ever had. Seriously, I don’t know why I liked it so much, maybe it was the denseness of the cake, maybe it was the slight sweetness it had, or maybe it was because I got to cook it in my new bundt cake pan, but whatever the reason, I highly recommend you try this cake out and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C Butter, softened
  • ½ C Buttermilk (If you don’t have buttermilk, use an extra ½ C butter in its place)
  • 1 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 C Sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 C All-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together your softened butter and cream cheese.
  3. Add in your buttermilk; make sure you are beating this at a low speed so the buttermilk doesn’t fly everywhere.
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  5. Next, add in your sugar and combine all the ingredients together until nice and fluffy.
  6. Then add in your eggs one at a time, mixing the egg into the batter well before adding in the next egg.
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  8. Once all your eggs are mixed into your batter, sift in your three cups of flour, then add salt, and your vanilla.
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  10. Make sure everything is well combined.
  11. Take your 10in budnt cake pan and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Pour your batter into the cake pan and place in the 300 degree oven for 1 hour and 40 mins.
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  13. Cake will be done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pie with a Pecan Crust

Maybe the season is over where you can enjoy a pumpkin pie, but I am still going to give you the recipe to my pumpkin pie with a special pecan crust. I know typically pumpkin pie is reserved for the fall, but I made this pumpkin pie, per Jesse’s request, for Christmas and I just have to share it. We gobbled this bad boy up in just a few days’ time. The pie filling has a swirl of cheesecake in it and the crust is made with graham crackers and crushed up pecans! UMMM YUM!!!!  Try it out, let me know what you think 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of 8oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • ½ C White sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg

For the crust:

  • 1 ½ Sleeve of cinnamon graham crackers
  • ½ C Crushed up pecans
  • ¼ C Firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ~5 TBS butter
  • ¼ C Cinnamon applesauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large freezer baggie, place your graham crackers and pecans. Seal the baggie up really well because you don’t want little pieces to fly out. This is the part where you can incorporate you kids 😉 get to banging the heck out of those graham crackers and pecans, I like to use a rolling pin, but a spoon or your fist would work too. Crush them up until they are little little pieces until they look like crumbs.
  3. Melt your butter in the microwave.
  4. While the butter is melting pour your crumbs into a big mixing bowl. Mix in your sugar.
  5. Then place your melted butter (you may need more. If the crust looks dry and is not sticking together melt more butter.) and applesauce into your crumbs and stir well together.
  6. Once everything is incorporated, grease a round pie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Press all the crumbs really well into the pie pan making sure to squish it up the sides of the pan as well.Pop in the oven for about 15 mins.
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  8. While your crust is baking, place your cream cheese, white sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a mixing bowl and mix them together until everything is well incorporated.
  9. Mix in your eggs, one at a time.
  10. In a separate mixing bowl, combine your pumpkin and spices.
  11. Once your crust is done, pour your pumpkin mixture into the crust. Swirl in your cream cheese mixture.
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  14. Pop in the oven for about 50-60 mins.
  15. Cool to room temperature and then let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Enjoy!

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(Jesse took this picture….not the greatest picture, but you have to give him love for trying ;))

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(Enjoying Christmas dinner together!!)

Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

What is a better sweet treat for the holidays then Sugar Cinnamon Pecans?! Not only do they make your house smell freakin fabulous while they are baking, but they taste so delicious! I got so many compliments on these little sweet pecans and I shared this recipe so many times because people just loved them! 🙂 I put them in a cute little mason jar and gave them as Christmas gifts this year. I also kept a bunch for Jesse and I because we couldn’t stop eating them. Seriously, if you can mix together few ingredients, I highly recommend you try making these Cinnamon Sugar Pecans. Let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ C Sugar
  • 1 ¼ C Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBS Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3-4 C Pecans
  • 2 egg whites

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. And Spray a cookie sheet with a thick amount of non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl beat your two egg whites until nice and frothy.
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  4. In a separate mixing bowl combine sugars, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Mix everything together really well.
  5. Place your pecans in your egg whites first and mix REALLY well! This step ensures that the cinnamon sugar coating will stick to the pecans.
  6. Then transfer the pecans to the cinnamon sugar mixture and coat all the pecans.
  7. Then place them on your cookie sheet in a single layer. They can be next to each other and touching each other, just not piled on top of each other.
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  9. Finally place in the oven for about 45-55 mins until the cinnamon mixture is nice and hard. (If the underside of the pecans is still a little wet after the 45-55 mins, its ok, you don’t have to put it back in the oven, it will dry eventually.)
  10. If you don’t devour them all at once 😉 then place in an air tight sealed container for storage.

Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Jam Muffins

One of my Sunday routines is to make a breakfast item that Jesse and I can enjoy throughout the week. Something quick to just grab and go, but it also has to be something super tasty at the same time. I always make granola bars, but I like to make something else so we are not eating granola bars every morning. This week I made these oh so divine Cinnamon Jam Muffins. They are these sweet muffins, filled with jam and swirled in cinnamon! Ugh yeah….they are so good!! Jesse has already ate 4 of them and I barley just made them two days ago haha! He usually approves of my sweet treats, but he really has enjoyed these delicious muffins.

I am always on the lookout for breakfast items that are quick and delicious that I can make ahead of time. If you have any suggestions I sure would love to hear about them! I am asking for a bread machine for Christmas this year in hopes of making some yummy breakfast breads with it. I urge you to try out these Cinnamon Jam Muffins; let me know what you think!

Ingredients: (makes 12 muffins)

  • 1 ¾ C Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¾ C Sugar
  • 1/3 C applesauce (I used cinnamon applesauce, but plain will do)
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ C Milk
  • Jam, any you prefer

Cinnamon topping:

  • 1/3 C Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ C melted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a cupcake pan, or use cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until everything is well incorporated.
  3. In a different mixing bowl, combine your sugar and applesauce until well blended and then incorporate your egg.
  4. When your wet ingredients are mixed together well, add about half of your dry ingredients to it and mix just until blended. Then add in about ½ of your milk and mix  until blended as well. Repeat with the dry and then repeat with the milk until everything is mixed together.
  5. In your cupcake pan, fill your cupcake tins with batter until about ½ full. Place a dollop of jam in each cupcake tin and then fill the rest of the tin with batter until it is about ¾ full.
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  7. Place in the oven for about 18-25 mins.
  8. Once the muffins come out of the oven, prepare your melted butter in one bowl and mix your sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.
  9. While the muffins are still warm, pop them out of the muffin tin and one at a time dip the top of the muffin into your melted butter first and then swirl it around in your cinnamon sugar mixture.

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Place on a cooling rack, and let cool completely. Place in the fridge for storage.

Enjoy!!

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Mini Chocolate Caramel Apples

Jesse and I made this sweet treat together on Wednesday night. This is definitely a tag team effort and if you want to make successful Mini Chocolate Caramel Apples, you are going to need a partner. Working with caramel is super tricky, but working with caramel on apples is even harder. Caramel and apples do not want to be best friends! Caramel tends to slide right off of apples making it difficult to enjoy caramel and apples together. So I figured out an easy alternative way to make caramel apples that includes chocolate, YUM!  I actually made these for Jesse’s work potluck for Halloween. They always have a baking competition at his potlucks and I like to enter just for fun! This time I actually WON! The prize was just a little gift, but the pride of a job well done really made me so happy!  All of Jesse’s and my hard work paid off because people enjoyed this treat as much as we were hoping they would. So if you are looking for a fun treat to bring to a potluck, or just make for Thanksgiving this year. Try out these tasty little mini chocolate caramel apples; let me know what you think!

Ingredients: (this recipe made ~40 mini apples)

  • 1 Bag of baking caramels
  • 2 TBS cream (According to the packaged directions)
  • 5 Green apples (I love to use the green apples because the sour of the apples taste great with the sweet of the chocolate and caramel)
  • ½ C Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Mini cupcake holders
  • Bamboo skewers (cut down to smaller sizes)
  • Melon Baller

Directions:

  1. I found it easiest to peel the green apples as close to the skin as possible. It is much easier to get a good ball shape if the skin is off the apples, but you don’t want to take off too much of the apple under the skin because then you will lose a lot of your apple.
  2. Jesse had to do this part for me because it was pretty difficult to get the ball shape with the melon baller. Pretty much take each apple and try to get as many balls out of it as you can.
  3. Place each ball on a cookie sheet covered in either tin foil or wax paper.
  4. Once you have all your balls cut out of your apples, place a cut up bamboo skewer in each ball. I think I cut them down to about the length of my pinkie.
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  6. Then take a double broiler and melt your chocolate.
  7. Once your chocolate is melted, drizzle your chocolate all over your apple balls. Once every apple is drizzled with chocolate, place them in the fridge for about 30 mins so the chocolate can get super hard and stuck to the apple.
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  9. While your apples are in the fridge melt your caramels. Place your unwrapped pieces of caramel in a double broiler and add your cream according to the packaged directions.
  10. Once your caramel is completely melted, let it boil for about 3 mins. Then take it off the double broiler and let cool down.
  11. You don’t want your caramel to be superhot or else it will melt your chocolate.
  12. This is where you will need another person to help you!! This is how Jesse and I did it:
  • I took the bowl that had the caramel in it, and set it next to the baking tray with the chocolate covered apples on it. I also had the mini cupcake holders ready to go next to me.
  • I would take one apple, hold it but the stick, drizzle caramel all over the chocolate and apple, place it in a mini cupcake holder, hand it to Jesse and he would immediately put it on a tray in the fridge.

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  • It is important to get these apples in the fridge as quick as possible because 1. You don’t want to melt the chocolate and 2. You want the caramel to harden up really quick before it gets watery and runny.

13. Once you have all your caramel apples in the fridge, leave them in there right before serving!

Enjoy!!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Cinnamon Streusel Topping

As I sit here at work, surfing the internet, waiting for my meeting to start, I am happy! Do you want to know why?! Well there are lots of reasons to be happy this morning 🙂 God sure has blessed me in more ways than I can count! But to just name a few, the beautiful changing colors outside my window, my wonderful husband and family who support me and are always there for me, my puppies, my community group and church, my health, my friends, and particularly at this moment, my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins with cinnamon streusel. Yeah, you head that right! I smile inside every time I take a bite of one of these delicious muffins. They make my mornings so happy, maybe that’s just the foodie in me, but I can’t think of a better breakfast to start off my day. I feel so lucky to actually enjoy the art of baking, it’s not everyone’s forte you know. Every Sunday after church, I look forward to baking treats that Jesse and I get to enjoy during the week. I only pray that when children come along someday, I will still have the energy and time to bake.  😉

I know you want to start your day off with a warm cup of coffee (after all, it is starting to get cold outside)  and one of my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Cinnamon Streusel  topping so lucky for you, I am going to share this recipe with you! Hopefully they make you as happy as they make me! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • ½ C sugar
  • ¼ C brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 C plain Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ C unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ C applesauce (I used cinnamon applesauce for a little extra cinnamon flavor)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Chocolate chips

For the Cinnamon Streusel Topping

  • 1 ¼ C all-purpose flour
  • ½ C brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ C sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ C unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat a standard muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  2. To make the cinnamon streusel, combine the flour, sugars, and spices. Then pour your melted butter all over mixing in really well until you get a nice crumble going on. Set aside.
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  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and powder and salt.
  5. In another large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, yogurt, butter, applesauce, egg and vanilla.
  6. Pour your dry ingredients over your wet ingredients and mix together, don’t over mix, just until everything is incorporated. Add in a handful of chocolate chips and mix those in too.
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  8. Spoon the batter into your muffin pan. Each cup should be about ½ – ¾ full, depending on how large you would like you muffins.
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  10. Sprinkle the tops with your cinnamon streusel and lightly press the crumbs into the batter.
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  12. Place in the oven for ~ 18-20 mins.
  13. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 mins before removing from the muffin tin. For me this made 16 muffins, plus 8 mini muffins.

Enjoy!!

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