Growing a Kitchen Garden It’s time to start planning your gardens for this year. I know the snow is deep (we received 24 inches today) but the days are racing by and if you want to grow the most useful kitchen garden, a little planning is needed. A kitchen garden read more
This recipe for a family-friendly holiday punch uses the new Dark Gingerale from Schweppes. It's tasty and refreshing! Whip up this drink in minutes. The longer it sits, the better it tastes. read more
A favorite kid treat for the holidays is the traditional pigs in a blanket. These little hotdog morsels are not only fun for the kids, they are also a great way for me to try out different dips on unsuspecting eaters. Of course, I enjoy making them homemade since it’s painful to buy 3 or 4 tubes of crescent rolls for one appetizer when I am trying to keep to a shopping budget.
I make these with whole hotdogs and cut into thirds for the trays. The cool quicker, and it just seems more like a finger food when they are that size. I suppose you could make them with little sausages and teeny triangles of this tasty dough, but life is short. 🙂
Homemade Pigs in a Blanket
I’m not sure there is an easier recipe for canning grapes than this one. It’s a good thing since our entire East side of the yard is mile high with them. What you will end up with is a grape juice concentrate that can be diluted and sweetened to taste. You get the full-bodied flavor of grapes because you are essentially canning whole grapes. This is a great first recipe for new Canners.
Canned Grape Juice
7 Quart Jars with lids and bands
14 cups wild grapes
Sugar if desired (you can certainly add it now or when you are ready to serve.)
Sterilize your jars
Fill with 2 cups of grapes
Pour boiling water over grapes, leaving 1/2 inch headspace
Hot water bath can them for 10 minutes
Allow to cool before storing
Wait 2 weeks before using.
Open quart jar and pour through a strainer into a 2 quart container. Add 1 quart cold water and taste for sweetness. Add additional sugar or other sweetener as desired.
I find that the kids love this juice with little to no added sweetener. You may have to adjust for the variety of grapes you are using, so don’t worry if you have to taste, sweeten, taste, repeat.
During a conversation on baking that my online friends and I were having, I shared my recipe for the best hamburger buns in the world, or at least the best buns I have ever made for our biweekly hamburger dinners. These are soft, fluffy, and in no way heavy.
I don’t like store bought buns because they taste like the plastic bag to me. They don’t have any flavor of their own and when the bread sticks to the roof of my mouth, it’s unpleasant. If you are going to eat a bun with your burger, why not make it the best burger bun in the world?
I also use my breadmaker for the dough. Don’t discount this small appliance. It’s not only the perfect place to proof dough if you use a breadmaker, there is no mess and you can use what precious counter space you have for other parts of the meal (Perhaps this just refers to my teeny kitchen, but some readers can probably relate.)
Best Hamburger Buns In The World Makes 8 buns 1 cup lukewarm water 2 TBSP lard 1 Egg 3 1/2 cups flour 1/4 cup sugar 1 1/4 tsp salt 1 TBSP yeast *Add ingredients to your breadmaker in order required(mine is wet first, so that is how the recipe is written) *Use the dough cycle. When it's done, continue: *Gently mold dough into an even loaf shape for cutting. *Divide dough in half, then each half into 1/4s. Now you have 8 perfect sized hamburger or sandwich rolls. *Shape each dough so it's smooth on top and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet(not quite touching but close enough so they bake together) *Cover and let rise in a warm spot until rounded(they grow larger during baking) *Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until golden *Remove and butter each bun lightly to keep them soft.
It’s a snowy day here on the farm, so I am compelled to tidy. That means checking the homebrews in the pantry. Currently, I have a Dandelion Beer from back in June. It’s by far my favorite homebrew concoction so far. Sadly, there isn’t much effervescent, but the taste is crisp and clean. I LOVE it! I’m looking forward to trying again this spring and trying to nail it. Unfortunately, it requires fresh dandelion greens as well as the root, so I can’t make any just yet.
My second homebrew is just some plain, old Kombucha that I bottled in February 2016. It’s delightfully fizzy and still tastes faintly of apples, with a crisp bite at the end. No way would you know that it was fermented tea unless you were already familiar with this tasty brew.
Finally, today I started some hard cider using a kit I purchased off of Ebay. I’ll let you know how it goes. In 10 days I bottle it, so pics will follow.
In other news, my bookshelves are tidied and dinner is ham with scalloped potatoes and veg and rhubarb sauce on the side. It’s a fussy kitchen day, since we have a self-imposed snow day today. No reason other than this time of year is “meh” for schooling. We drag all month until the first of the year when we kick off with full energy until spring. It really pays to not take off all those “holiday and vacation” days the rest of the year.
The kids had to split wood today and that means they needed the will to survive. Simply put, I bribed them with food and I don’t care who knows about it. Of course, that also meant I got to play around with recipes and if you have been reading long enough, you know I am always looking for an excuse to cook.
Using the breadmaker is one of my best kept secrets as a mom. Today for example, I made these cinnamon rolls while I vacuumed and mopped the floors. By the time those poor, exhausted children came in from their wood handling, I had rolls rising and my house smelled like minty freshness. It was easy. Just throw all the ingredients into the breadmaker and use the dough setting. If you don’t have a breadmaker, you can certainly treat this dough like a regular bread recipe, but it is a little bit stickier and softer than a regular dough.
Bread Maker Sourdough Brown Sugar Rolls (12 Rolls)
Make the dough:
- 1 Cup sourdough starter OR 1 cup buttermilk+1/4 cup flour mixed in
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 egg
- 3 TBSP honey
- 2 TBSP butter
- 3 cups flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp yeast
Place in your breadmaker in the order recommended by manufacturer. Press dough setting
After dough is made, combine the following:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
On a lightly floured surface, turn out your dough and gently shape it into a rectangle, roughly 12 inches square. No need to be precise, but make the dough the same thickness throughout.
Then, spread with:
- 2 TBSP softened butter
and evenly sprinkle with the brown sugar, cinnamon, almond mixture.
Roll dough into a log, seam side down. Slice into 12 even pieces, using a serrated knife or thread to do this. (I manage to do this evenly by using a piece of dental floss and cutting the log in half, and each half into 6 pieces. It seems to work better than starting at one end of the log.
Place the slices on a 13 X 9 greased cake pan and let rise until doubled (30 minutes) Then bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
This is where the magic happens!
Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then carefully flip the entire pan over onto a platter or parchment covered cookie sheet. When cooled enough to handle, but still warm, drizzle cream cheese frosting over all. It’s heavenly if you flavor your frosting with caramel flavoring-but plain is still amazing. Here is my mixture:
- 1/2 cup cream cheese frosting
- 1/2 tsp caramel flavor (optional)