Growing Out On A Limb


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Naan bread

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This bread is so delicious that it is definitely worth the effort to make your own at home.  I’ve always thought that naan bread was made on the inside walls of a huge ceramic oven (so obviously not something I could do here) but this recipe is so easy and so much better than what you get in the store (and so much more satisfying to eat too).  And the only ingredient that I might have to go to the store for is the greek yogurt, so it’s one I could make almost anytime.

Original recipe is here:  http://budgetbytes.blogspot.ca/2010/09/naan-127-recipe-016-serving.html.  This is an awesome site if you haven’t stumbled across it before.  

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp dry active yeast

1 tsp sugar

1/2 cup water

2.5-3 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup plain greek yogurt

1 large egg

DIRECTIONS

Start the yeast, sugar, and water in a small bowl, letting it sit until it is froth on top.

Stir in the oil, yogurt, and egg.

In a larger bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the salt.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until well combined.  Then add the flour a half cup at a time until you can no longer stir it with a spoon (1 – 1.5 cups later).

Turn the dough out onto a floured counter.  Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep it from sticking (around 3 cups of flour total).  The dough should be smooth and soft but not sticky.

Cover the dough and let rise until doubled in size (about 45 mins).  After it rises, gently flatten the dough and cut it into 12 equal pieces (the original recipe says to cut it into 8 pieces, but I like it a bit flatter so cut into 12 pieces last time).  Shape each piece into a small bowl.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with oil.  One ball at a time, roll it out until it is about 1/4 inch thick.  Place the dough onto the skillet and cook until golden brown and bubbles have formed.  Flip to the other side and cook until golden brown.

Note:  Roll out only one ball at a time.  Mine isn’t getting as bubbly as the original recipe either… maybe try lower heat next time?  Also, added italian seasoning during the last batch and it was good!  

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Spider Pancakes

In the spirit of Halloween, we made Spider and spider web pancakes this weekend!

The only trick to these is to put the batter from whatever recipe you like into a squeeze bottle.  I’m not sure we’ll ever have plain old pancakes again!  The possibilities are endless… letters, cars, Christmas trees, snowmen.

Oliver thought these were pretty fun.  But as long as there is syrup, he is happy.

Look at me, whipping out another idea I saw on pinterest.  As much fun as it is to browse pinterest for ideas and inspiration, it’s much more fun to actually knock a few of them off the list (and in most cases, less time consuming!).


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Blueberry Dutch Pancakes

This recipe came from my Living magazine, also found here.  It’s copied below because I am in no position to be modifying Martha’s recipes!  Nor would I want to in this case.

I love how it puffs up while it bakes – this would be a really impressive-looking dish to take to a brunch. And the best part is that it tastes as good as it looks.  No, the best part is how versatile it is … think of all the different fruit you could use in this!  Oliver didn’t like it as much as the rest of us, I think because it tastes ‘eggier’ than a regular pancake.  But he’s also not that into trying new things these days so I won’t give up on it and will try it again.

INGREDIENTS

4 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 cup flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp butter

1 cup blueberries

Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Blend together eggs, milk, flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a blender.

Heat cast-iron skillet over high heat (I used one 12″ pan but the original recipe split the batter between four smaller ones).  Melt butter.  Pour in the batter.  Scatter the berries over top of the batter.

Bake until puffed and cooked through and the tops are set, about 20 minutes for the 12″ pan.

Top with more berries, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Serve immediately.


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Pumpkin Monkey Bread

Fall means pumpkin and pumpkin means yummy!

I’ve had monkey bread on the brain for a while now and I’m not sure why.  I’m also not sure why monkey bread is called monkey bread but it ended up delicious so I’m not going to worry about it.

I always go searching for pumpkin recipes this time of year and came across this one.  I didn’t get any pictures of the finished product but I did get a few of my little helper coating the dough in sugar.

He loves to help and looks so proud when he sees the finished product and relates it back to us making them.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup warm milk

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

2 Tbsp melted butter

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Approx. 3 cups flour

 

For coating

1/3 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

For glaze

1 cup icing sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp half & half (or milk)

1/8 tsp vanilla

 

DIRECTIONS

Stir milk, water, sugar, and yeast together.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to proof yeast.

Stir in salt, egg, butter, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and half the flour.  Mix.  Continue to add remaining flour bit by bit until dough pulls away from the sides and is sticky to touch but doesn’t stick to hands.  At this stage turn mixer on for 4-5 minutes to knead.  Lightly grease dough and bowl and cover to rise for 1 hour.

Lightly grease a pan and set aside.

For coating:  Put melted butter in one bowl.  Mix sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.  Once the dough is risen, coat it by rolling about 1 Tbsp of dough into a ball, coating with butter and then rolling in sugar.   Place it in the pan.  Continue until the dough is gone.  Cover with plastic wrap and let raise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 25 minutes or until browned slightly.  Remove from over and cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze by mixing icing sugar, maple syrup, cream, and vanilla together until smooth.  Drizzle over monkey bread.


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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

I have tried a few zucchini bread recipes along the way but this one easily takes them all.  Who knew those little flecks of orange zest could make such a difference?  And while hubby doesn’t usually like nuts in sweet breads, I finely chopped the pecans and I won’t leave them out next time.  Not even for hubby.  Sorry hon. 

It isn’t a low fat recipe by any means (what Paula Dean recipe is?) so I may try to tweak it a bit in the future with applesauce in place of some of the oil. 

INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

3 eggs

2 cups white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips

1 Tbsp orange zest

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. 

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, spices and baking soda (I don’t have a sifter so I just whisk it all together). 

Beat eggs until light and fluffy.  Add sugar and beat until well blended.  Stir in oil, vanilla, zucchini, pecans, chocolate chips, and orange zest.  Stir in sifted ingredients.  Pour into prepared pans. 

Bake for 50 minutes (mine took 10-15 minutes longer) or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Wait 10 minutes or so before removing loaves from pans. 

Yum!


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Streusel Rhubarb Bread

My mom and dad have lots of rhubarb in season right now and this sweet bread recipe seemed like the perfect thing to help use it up. 

This bread (found here) is deliciously sweet with just the right amount of tartness from the rhubarb.  I think I would try to modify it a bit next time though – applesauce for some of the oil, some whole wheat flour, maybe a different nut – but that’s not to say that the original recipe below is anything but fantastic. 

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp vinegar)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb

1/2 cup chopped pecans

 

TOPPING:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small cubes

 

DIRECTIONS

Combine brown sugar and oil.  Add egg, mix well.  Beat in buttermilk and vanilla. 

Combine flour baking soda, and salt; stir into brown sugar mixture just until combined. 

Fold in rhubarb and nuts. 

Pour into two greased loaf pans. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool before slicing. 


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Waffles

Waffle day is a favorite day in the treehouse! 

I admit, this is all hubby’s domain.  It’s that I would mind making the waffles but it was his from the start:  he decided he wanted them one day, bought an old-school cast iron one-waffle-at-a-time waffle maker (no non-stick here!), then started trying recipes.  When the first couple attempts were just so so, he started his research and came across this article.  It seems she had a similar quest and went through the trouble for us. 

The recipe is Marion Cunningham’s Raised Waffles and it is seriously the best waffle I have ever eaten.  Ever.  Anywhere.  It is yeasted (who knew??) so the resulting waffle is light and crispy like a waffle should be, instead of being a waffle-shaped pancake.  Another perk:  it is mixed the night before so you (er… hubby) just have to cook them in the morning. 

We love making a double batch of these and freezing them so we can just throw one in the toaster oven for Oliver.  He loves them topped every which way:  yogurt, peanut butter, bananas, jam… the possibilities are endless! 

 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup warm water

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 cups whole milk, warmed

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 cups flour

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 tsp baking soda

 

DIRECTIONS

Pour water into a large mixing bowl, keeping in mind that the batter will rise to double its volume.  Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes. 

Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour.  Beat until well blended and smooth.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand overnight at room temperature. 

The next morning, preheat the waffle maker.  The original recipe says to heat to approximately medium-high*.  Our cast iron maker sits on a burner at medium heat. 

Just before cooking, add the eggs and baking soda.  Stir to mix well.  The batter will be very thin.  Pour the appropriate amount of batter into your waffle maker* and cook until golden and crisp.  This is 4 minutes a side in our cast iron maker*. 

* The heat, amount of batter, and cooking time is going to vary between waffle makers so you will have to experiment but it will be worth it! 

OH.  YUM.