Never Buy a Bagel again!

Those Glorious, dense, wonderfully tasting beauties. Glistening golden brown and caked with cheddar cheese and slathered in Cream Cheese… Can you tell I like Bagels?

My mom Has been telling me for over a year that I’ve been wasting money on bagels. I should have listened!

I love Baking with yeast, but for some reason Bagels have always intimidated me like crazy… something about the “poaching” process has always made me apprehensive. But since I’ve committed to trying to make as much as humanly possible rather then buying, I thought I should give it a try. (Especially since those little “mini” bagels I love are freakin’ expensive!)

The recipe I used comes from a Good ole’ Jean Pointer Company’s coming Cookbook.

1/4 oz Yeast (just shy of a Tablespoon)
1 tsp Granulated sugar
3/4 C Water (around 100-110 degrees F)

Let sponge together in a bowl (no need to stir). When yeast is bubbly and top looks like a sponge add next ingredients. (about 5-10 min)

2 Large eggs
2 Tbls Cooking oil
2 C Flour
1 Tbls Granulated sugar
1 3/4 tsp Salt

Add to yeast mixture, Should be quite glopy looking.
Slowly add in an extra (up to) 1 1/2 C flour.

This will vary quite a bit depending on elevation and humidity. I only needed to add about another 3/4C flour.

Dough should feel sooth and elastic, not hard. If it starts getting too firm you’ve added to much flour and you can add a tiny bit of water to work in.

You can do the entire thing in a mixer, or by hand.
I usually mix in the first amount of flour and other ingredients in the mixer and then work the second amount of flour by hand on the counter, so I can control the dough better.

Take your dough and let it rise for 1- 1 1/2 Hrs till it has doubled in size.
Place your dough in a bowl and place a towel over it. Put it in a place that isn’t drafty to rise.

My favorite place to let bread rise is in this funny little cupboard in my kitched, I call my bread cupboard. Our heat duct runs right under it and it stays a wonderful temperature for raising bread.

If you don’t have a weird cupboard like me, Turn your oven to 350 for about 20 seconds then shut it off and put your bowl inside.

Poaching Liquid:
4 quarts water (16 C)
2 Tbls sugar

So 4C water to 1/2 Tbls sugar… you can use this ratio for whatever size pot you have. I ended up with 12C water and 1 1/2 Tbls Sugar for the pot I used.

Once your bagel dough has risen take it out of the bowl and kneed it a couple times.

Divide dough in to as few as 12 equal parts. (I made my bagels slightly smaller and did 16 parts, or you could make mini bagels and divide it down even more.)

I was a little put off when I started rolling them out because they looked so small! Don’t be fooled. They poof up A LOT in the water. So make sure to make them skinny enough if you want to have a hole in the middle when you are finished with them.

On a lightly floured surface (so the dough doesn’t stick to the counter)

Roll out your pieces in to about a 6-10″ rope (depending on if you are making minis or full sized bagels) Pinch ends together to make a circle and place on a cookie sheet to rest for 15min.

Make sure to REALLY really squeeze those ends together. My first few ended up coming apart in the liquid because I didn’t squeeze the ends together good enough.

Bring poaching liquid to a full boil over high heat, and then back it off to a steady boil over med heat for poaching.

Put bagles in a few at a time (don’t put too many in or they will stick together), poaching for 1 min on each side.
Remove from the water and place on cookie sheet.

Take 1 egg and beat in bowl. Brush on the egg on the top of the bagels before baking (this gives them their nice shiny golden brown look when they are baked)

At this point you can add whatever you want to the top.
I added Cheddar cheese** (grated) to the top of some of them, you can add poppyseeds, sesame seeds, or whatever your favorite bagel topping is.

**If you add grated cheese you will have to bake for 3-4 min longer as the grease in the cheese keeps them from crisping up as quickly**

Bake in 400 Degree oven for 20-25 min. This time frame is a guide. Some ovens are over hot, some under, start with 15-18min and see how they are looking then add extra time accordingly.

Bagels should be golden brown when ready to come out.

Place bagels on cooling racks (if you have them) as soon as they come out of the oven. This keeps the bottoms from becoming soft from the condensation their heat will create on the counter top.

Homemade Bagels

They aren’t the most beautiful Bagels I’ve ever eaten, but they certainly are the best.

This recipe makes amazing tasting bagels, that aren’t quite as dense as store bought ones.

Lesson learned. Listen to my mom. Don’t be afraid of poaching!

Enjoy!

-A-

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars, could you seriously get a larger mouthful for a title!

My husband and I aren’t huge breakfast people, we always seem to wake up late, dashing out the door starving!

My husband works a physically demanding job and grabbing a regular granola bar or something of that nature for a mid day snack (or breakfast) just doesn’t cut it.

I had been searching for a granola bar recipe when I stumbled on this recipe off pintrest (see all my time wasted on there HAS produced a few good results) and have made it countless times since!

Every time I make these and share them I am hounded for the Recipe.

The Original recipe (see here) is for Cookies but I made them into bars because I’m lazy most days and baking cookies takes more energy ūüėČ

I also Freeze these. They keep for a LONG time in the freezer. I cut them in to individual bars, wrap then individually in saran wrap and then put them all in a large ziploc bag in the freezer. They don’t freeze 100% solid, so you can literally eat them right out of the freezer if you want.

1C flour

1/2 t Baking Powder

1/2 t Baking Soda

1/4 t Salt

1/2 C Brown Sugar

1/2 C Sugar

2 T Butter or Margarine

1 Egg

1/2 C Peanut butter (smooth is my preference)

1 Medium to Large Banana (if you want them softer, more cake like, add more banana)

1 1/2 C Quick Oats

1 C Chocolate Chips (or more if you want)

Bake in greased 9×9 baking dish at 350 for 10-12 min

If you double the recipe (like I always do) it will take about 25-30min to bake.

Bars should look lightly to med Brown all around and the edges should be pulling away from the sides slightly. Check center by inserting a butter knife or toothpick. It should come out clean (minus the chocolate from choc.chips) when done.

Enjoy!

-A-

2014… The year made from scratch

New year, New adventures, New fun, New Recipes!

Our family is growing by 1 this year! Super exciting, and terrifying all at the same time. So I need to plan.

I used to pride myself of the amount of things we ate that I made from scratch. Everything from Jam to bread, to pizza and spaghetti sauce. Then I had a baby and started a thriving business all in the same year. Slowly my freezer and pantry full of home made goodness turned into Prepackaged and easy to use everything.

My husband changed jobs, and most days his scheduled “end” time fluctuates, sometimes by hours. I usually only have about 30 min notice that he’s on his way home, so unless meals are in the crock pot It’s incredibly hard to pre-plan much for dinner.

So I succumbed to jarred pasta sauces, easy made dinners, easy to feed toddler lunch food and fast food. Neither healthy, very tasty or budget friendly!

Now we have another baby on the way, I’m entering my “quieter” time of ¬†my business year, and I have a huge urge to see just how far I can Slash my grocery budget by doing some back to basic, made from scratch recipes.

Over the Christmas Holidays We have gotten to spend 2 amazing weeks with my family while my husband did some work in their area! (have I said how much I LOVE his new job and boss?!) While at my parents, my mom showed me a few (VERY well loved) cook books she used when we were kids. These cook books saved them hoards of money and time with recipes for making base mixes and such from scratch. (for example, a cornmeal base mix that can be turned into everything from muffins to breakfast muffins, to topping for a casserole by adding 1 egg and a cup of milk to the pre-made base)

If my mom could make 90% of our food from scratch wen we were kids (there were 3 of us) and participate full time in ministry with my dad, I figure I should give it a solid shot.

So here starts 2014, 4 months till baby Wheels #2 is due, and loads of time to try stuff out, perfect some favorite recipes and do some food stockpiling if you will for when our precious little girl arrives!

My goal is to see what % of our food budget I can cut out by switching to made from scratch items, and keep you all updated on what recipes worked great, and which ones didn’t.

I love pintrest, but in the past few months I’ve had quite a few pintrest recipes fail hardcore, and has shook my faith in the recipes being posted, so Most of my recipes are being pulled from tried and true, very old school cookbooks my mom has.

So no, this isn’t my New Years Resolution, (because I hate them) but rather my Lets slash my budget resolution AKA the year from scratch… that just happens to start at the beginning of 2014…

Most of the gems I’m starting with are coming from the “Make a Mix Cookery” cook book by¬†Karine Eliason,¬†Nevada Harward and¬†Madeline Westover. Here is a link to Amazon.com to take a look or purchase it

Image

I’m spending this week compiling recipes and mix ideas, and next week I’ll kick it all off.

I am going to compile a board on pintrest of recipes I will try out. You can follow my pintrest board here.

-A-

Lick the Bowl PB Icing!

                     

Yesterday I was having one of those “Holy crap I need chocolate cake” days… But I was reallllllly lazy so I wanted an easy route. With no vehicle that day, I had to make it.
So out with my stash of boxed cake mixes to see what I could drum up and that moment of weakness months ago when I bought a few boxed cake mixes was a “Huzza!” moment for me that day!

(not that I have anything against boxed cake mixes or those who use them!)

I had seen on pintrest this post about putting marshmallows on top of an almost baked cake to get a “fake” icing type thing.. so I thought I’d try that..

I really should have taken a picture for one of those “Nailed it” Botched Pintrest idea sites. It looked bad, and tasted worst. (note to you people Don’t bother trying it.. they look pretty right out of the oven, then they shrivel back and harden up)

SO, I scraped all the marshmallows off and searched for an easy peasy Icing idea, Then I saw the PB !!! uhhh YA! I love Peanut Butter… SO MUCH, Noting makes my mouth water more then just THINKING of Reese PB cups.

So I whipped up a quick pb icing and I probably should have just stuck my face in to the bowl and ate it all. SO GOOD.

So I’m sharing… SO EASY!

1C PB (I used Smooth)

1/4 C Marg (softened)

2-3ish C icing sugar

1/4 C milk

Make sure you use an electric mixer to whip it together as it’s really hard to do it via hand power… but if you are one of those crazy buff people that likes to get a work out while cooking be my guest.

You can adjust the icing sugar/milk ratio a little at a time to make a thinner icing to use as a drizzle or to thicken it up for a stiffer icing to ice a cake with. My cake was in a 9×13 pan so there were sides to it.

Have fun, but beware, It’s not my fault if you make it and eat it with a spoon… you have been warned.

No Bake Enchilada

say Whaaaaa… !

Yup, I love enchiladas but lets face it, they are a lot of work to put together and then before you know it they are gone… and eating them second time around just isn’t as good. I’m a big fan of leftovers so making a meal that really only tastes it’s best the first time seems like a waste of my time.

I made these the other night out of desperation in the heat. I hate eating the token salads on a hot night. We have had heat for weeks now so I’ve started getting creative with our meals.

I Pre-cooked a bunch of chicken the other night, when it had cooled down for the evening, and shredded it to be used in dinners for the next few nights.

What you need:

2C Shredded Chicken (Or cooked and cubed or sliced or whatever)

1C Sour Cream

1/2C Salsa

1/2 Package of Taco seasoning (if you have bulk taco seasoning about 2T)

mix sour cream and taco seasoning together, add salsa and mix with chicken. Let set in fridge till dinner! (if you are impatient like me just use right away, but it will taste better the longer it has to soak together)

Scoop on to taco shells and sprinkle cheese and or lettuce and Voila!

I kid you not, these taste A LOT like traditional enchiladas, just cold. And the beauty is the longer the chicken sits in the mixture the stronger the taste is, so it’s even better second day around.

– A –

Never buy Iced Coffee again!

I had seen on pintrest some recipes that “Claimed” to be your forever solution to homemade iced coffee… I was intrigued. My husband LOVES Iced coffee, as in would drink them 3x a day, every day kind of love. When ever Mcdonalds has their $1 iced coffees he gets one pretty much every day… but who really wants to drink Mcdonalds iced coffee. We both would prefer the $4.50 ones from Starbucks, but our budget just can’t support that if we want to eat real food, and have things like Toilet paper in the house.

So yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and make this concoction. I am now kicking my self for my sheer laziness in not doing this sooner. I’ve also linked the original posters website you can see some pretty pictures of it too ūüôā (The Pioneer Women – Perfect Iced Coffee)

This stuff will last weeks in the fridge (so i’m told) although the jug of it I made last night is already 2/3 gone… (like I said LOVE iced coffee)

What you need.

1 Can evaporated milk

1 Can Sweetened Condensed milk

Mix these two together and store in a jar with a lid (so you don’t get that funky fridge taste after a day or so)

1/2lb of ground coffee

1 Gallon of water (room temp, or cool doesn’t matter)

Dump all the coffee and water together in a bowl and let sit for 8-12 hrs      (I am REALLY impatient so I only waited about 6 hrs and it still tasted good, probably not quite as strong as it could have been though)

after it has sat, strain it over another bowl. You could use maaaaaaany different methods for this. I used a wire strainer and just layered a bunch of cheap coffee filters all over it so the grounds wouldn’t get through, you could use a Sock or cheese cloth or anything that will catch the liquid.

THEN, Fill up your desired glass with ice

*Use the biggest one you can find, because once you fill it with ice the actual amount of coffee you get isn’t that much. We used the med sized mason jars. Looked a bit getto but worked excellent.*

Fill your cup about 2/3-3/4 full of coffee concentrate and add some of the cream mixture. My advice is to leave a bit of extra room to taste it and see if it’s too sweet or strong. The cream mixture is VERY sweet so you don’t need too much.

Enjoy filling those bellies with this lovely concoction, we are ditching the morning hot coffee in our house till Fall!

– A –

Kelly O’s “Special” Sauce Recipe

For those of you that live in and around the Kelowna area, you must be familiar with Kelly O’Bryan’s.If you aren’t, Get in your car right now and go there!

They have this Magical food called “Pachos” which are these amazing waffle fries with Melted cheese on top. Sounds good right? WRONG. They are AMAZING! What takes them from good to AMAZING is the sauce they serve with them. “Paco Sauce” is like magical sunshine in a jar, that I could literally eat with just about anything (and believe me I have tried it with MANY foods) For my American friends it resembles a version of Chick-fil-a sauce, for those of you who don’t know what either of those taste like… say sorry to your taste buds for neglecting them and make this stuff!

This sauce is limited to Kelly O’Bryan’s, which is a problem since I live in Chilliwack about 3 hours away. So on one of our excursions there I bought a jar of it and brought it home. I had my mom Taste it, because she has that ridiculously insane gift of tasting something and knowing how to make it…

So in all her awesomeness she came up with a recipe that is pretty much bang on. So for all you Pacho-Loving friends out there, here our version of their “Special Sauce” recipe!

Kelly O’s “Special” Sauce (Copy cat)

(Due to Copyright Infringement I can’t label this recipe the same name as theirs)

1 1/2 C Miracle whip (DON”T use Hellmans… it doesn’t taste the same)

1 1/2 T Mustard

1/4 C White Vinegar

1/2 C Sugar *

1/2 t Basil

1/2 t Tarragon

1/8 t Pepper

1/8 t Salt

1/8 t Garlic Powder

* (A number of awesome readers have tried this recipe with honey instead of sugar, and have loved the results, so this is one great alternative)

mix together and store in a jar in the fridge…

Put this stuff on EVERYTHING! I use it to dip grilled cheese sandwiches in, or chicken strips, or fries, or fish and chips or as a condiment on hotdogs, burgers or sandwiches…¬† it’s seriously good.

Enjoy!

– A –

Just to add:

Due to Copyright infringement on the “Pacho Sauce” name the Recipe name has been changed.