Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rhubarb pudding!!!

Rhubarb Pudding

I know we are trying to be healthy but for some reason this is my one dessert that only comes around once a year and for such a short time and I eat a lot of it.  This is a British dessert, so if you love the flavors of tart and sweet this maybe one to try.  I prefer just the tart but most love the sugary topping that goes along with it.


2.5 tbls of oil (original recipe calls for shortening)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup of milk
pinch of salt
1 cup of flour (heaping)

Cake Directions

  1. Wisk sugar, oil and egg together, then add the dry ingredients.  This dough should be thicker, not liquid  (add more flour if need be)
  2. Cut up ruhbarb and fill your container 3/4 full, add 1/2 cup sugar on top of the ruhbarb
  3. Heat oven to 350F
  4. Pour cake batter over the ruhbarb, spread to the edges
  5. Bake for 1 hour or till the cake is cooked (hint * you may want to put a pan underneath as sometimes this can boil over
    I always break some of the crust off to check see if it is ready
Sauce Directions (optional)

1.5 tsp flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Boil 1 cup of water in kettle
  2. add all ingredients including the boiling water into a pot
  3. Boil on stove till it thickens
  4. Add to each serving, this sauce will keep in a container.


* you can substitute apples if you do not like Rhubarb
* I have tried for years to dbl this recipe and every time I make a single batch I am reminded just how much better it is.  So take my advice and do not dbl it

This recipe came from my great grandmother so it has been around for a long time :)

Montreal Style Bagels

Montreal Style Bagels

This is by far my husbands favorite bagel, I am not nearly as big of fan, but I make them for him.  I can't get over that we have to drive 20-30 minutes to find them fresh and then pay a fortune for them.  So after an exhausting search I have found a recipe and tweaked it to perfection.  So are you ready to try your hand at these hard to find bagels.  Enjoy them warm from the oven, toasted, filled with your favorite toppings to create a sandwich, use your imagination, they will go quick.


1.5 cups warm water
2.5 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt (heaping)
1 egg
1 tbls honey
3 tbls oil
1 tsp brown sugar (packed)
6 cups white flour


  1. Combine yeast and warm water, give a quick stir and then let sit for 5 minutes. 
  2. put the rest of the ingredients in except for the last cup of flour
  3. Use your dough hook and turn your mixer on (or bread machine) and let mix and knead till you get a very firm dough.  It should be firm but smooth, add extra flour till the dough appears like described.  Mix for approx 8-10 minutes
  4. Cover bowl with saran wrap and let rise for 10-15 minutes
  5. Dump the bowl out onto the counter and divide into 14 (approx) even pieces
  6. Roll out into long ropes 8-10 inches and then make into circles (should resemble a bagel after this step)
  7. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet
  8. Let rise 15 minutes
  9. Get a large bot and fill 3/4's with water and add 1/4 cup honey, bring to a boil
  10. Drop the bagels (do not crowd pot) into the boiling water for 2 minutes, flip half way through
  11. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  12. Place the now boiled bagels onto a lined cooking sheet to cool for a minute or two so you don't burn yourself when touching them
  13. Take bagel and cover all sides with either sesame seeds or poppy seeds
  14. Put bagels in oven and turn oven down to 425 F and set timer for 17 minutes
  15. Once the oven beeps flip the bagels and set timer for an additional 5 minutes
  16. Cool on wire rack for at least 10-15 minutes before eating

Monday, May 13, 2013

The easiest bread you will ever make....and yes everyone can do it!

Artisan Bread

Have you ever gone to the grocery store or the bakery and drooled over the breads and then looked at the price....trust me once you make this you will never pay that price anymore since you can make it just as well.  The cost for these 2 loaves will be approx $.50.  Now you can drool over your own bread.

This bread is what I started with, it is super easy, requires almost no ingredients and once you have had a slice you will have a hard time stopping.  TRUST ME!

Artisan Bread (2- 1lbs loaves)


2 cups warm water
2 tsp of active yeast
2 tsp of salt
3 cups white flour

This is my bowl I use every time, you can see it is not washed
in order to get the sourdough qualities

Everything is all dumped in at once
  1. You will need a bowl that you can cover, or a container with a lid
  2. Put the water, yeast, and salt in the container and then pour all the flour in at once
  3. Mix with a spoon till it is all blended.  This dough should be very wet, if it is not add a tablespoon of water to the dough
  4. Put the lid loosely on your container or cover your bowl with saran wrap and poke one hole in the wrap to let the gasses escape.
  5. Place on your counter and let rise for 2 hours
  6. You may put this dough in the fridge till at this point if you are ready to use it.  Just make sure you seal the container or recover your bowl so it does not dry out.  The dough will sink and not rise anymore, this is ok.
  7. Dump your dough out of the container (it will be sticky and wet) onto a floured surface
  8. Cut into two equal loaves
  9. Then shape (see picture) and put on top of parchment paper to let rest for at least 1 hour.  I also at this time put the paper and the dough on my baking sheet, so I do not have to transfer it later. It may not rise at all but rather spread out, this is normal.  The longer it rests the better it is, I prefer to let it rest for 1.5 hours to get those internal holes in the bread I love so much.
  10. Preheat the oven to 425 F, put a heat safe container into the oven under (lower rack) where you will set the bread (middle rack)
  11. Sprinkle the top of the bread with flour and then make even cuts through the top of the dough, don't be afraid, be gentle but get a good deep cut (1/4-1/2 inch cut)
  12. Pour 1 cup of water into the heat safe container in the oven, place the bread in (on a cookie sheet or a cooking stone) and quickly shut the door before the steam escapes.  Bake for approx 30 minutes
  13. Let cool on a wire rack...resist the urge to cut into it when it is hot, it will be worth your wait

 Container is loosely covered and rising for 2 hours

  • This bread keeps well on the counter overnight uncovered or put in a air tight bag and it will last up to 5 days, the crust will become soft but it still tastes great
  • I have tried adding whole wheat flour to this recipe and it can be done, but it does not have the same taste or appeal to me. Feel free to experiment though
  • I use the same container every time I make this bread, the container is stored in my fridge as I do not wash it, it gives the bread a sourdough like quality. yummy!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My newest obsession....Granola Bars

Granola Bars/Protein Bars/Energy Bars

I have always thought that granola bars were healthy, I grab one on the go if I have missed breakfast or offer them up to the kids any chance I get.  This past weekend I read the ingredient list and ummm more nasty sugar then you might want to believe and a few ingredients that sound healthy but I am almost positive they are not.   Soo....that lead me on a Saturday recipe search and so far in the past 12 hours I have made 2 different kinds.  One is perfect for my hubby and the other is perfect for my children and is school safe.  As my son just told me "I LOVE these, do not make anything else"

Please note the recipe I am about to share, should not be sent to school or functions where Nut allergies may be present.   For those of you who are not familiar just a quick note about nut allergies,you must not give these (or any nut products) to your children in the morning and then send them to school.  Children are sometimes so allergic that if there is any left on the skin/clothes/etc, even not visible to the eye a child may react.  Be cautious....

"Peanut Butter Cliff Bars"

2.5 C Rice Krispies/Puff rice/Brown Rice Krispies
2 C quick cooking oats
6 tbls oat bran flakes
1/2 C chopped nuts (cashews, almonds and peanuts)
1/2 C honey
1/4 C brown sugar
2/3 Cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla 
  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl
  2. Bring the honey and brown sugar to just before a boil, you want the sugar to be dissolved and the honey to be liquid
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla.
  4. Pour this mixture into the bowl with your granola, stir until well mixed
  5. This mixture must be pressed into a parchment lined 13x9 pan or cookie sheet if you rather.  If it is not pressed tightly it will just crumble, my little trick I take a piece of parchment paper and press down hard and repeat until it becomes firm.
  6. Put in the fridge and once it firms up cut into bars, then wrap in saran wrap for a quick grab on your way out the door or put it in an air tight container
  7. These bars keep up to a week in the fridge
I will add some pictures the next time I make them, my hubby loves these as they are packed full of protein and there fore a perfect protein supplement when working out.

*a version of this recipe was found online, I have modified this recipe to fit our families needs

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hamburger Buns

Hamburger Buns

With all this lovely weather we have been having we love to bbq.  When I decided to cut bread out of our weekly groceries this was one of the worries I had, how would I ever find a bun that would work for hamburgers? not only did I find a bun that makes an amazing hamburger bun but it can double as a sandwich bun as well.  This bun is very easy to modify and freezes very well.  I usually double the batch and then put the remaining buns in the freezer so I don't have to make them so often.

Recipe (makes approx 8 buns)

1 tbs active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup warm water
1 egg
2 tbs of oil
2 tbs of sugar
1 tsp of salt
2 dbl of gluten powder (optional)
2.5 -3 cups of flour

1 tbs of butter to brush the tops of the buns before they go into the oven

  1.  Add your yeast and water to your bowl and let sit for approx 5 min
  2. If using a bread maker add the rest of the ingredients in the order it appears written.
  3. If using a mixer add the wet ingredients together and give it a good mix, then add your dry ingredients.
  4. Always slowly add the last cup of flour to your dough so that you accidently don't put too much flour in.  This dough should be slightly tacky.
  5. Let mix till you have a very well shaped ball of dough 
  6. Take out the ball of dough and let sit and rise in a covered (saran wrap or tea towel) bowl.  Place the bowl in the oven and turn the light on.  Remember do not turn on your oven.  Let rise till it doubles or about 1 hour
  7. Lightly flour your counter and then dump the risen dough out and split it into 8 same size amounts.
  8. For regular sandwich rolls just shape into balls and put on a greased/no stick pad covered cookie sheet and let rise for about 45 min.
  9. For Hamburger buns, roll out the rolls into long 6-8 inches ropes and then shape like the picture below.  You can do this for your sandwich rolls as well if you wish, they just appear fancier.  One you have shaped your burger buns press down and squish your buns into the pan, this will make them flatter so they are not too tall of buns that are hard to eat.  (see pictures for explanations on how this is done)  Let rise 45 min.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375 F, while the oven is preheating melt the butter and gently brush onto the tops of the buns.
  11. Bake for 15-17 minutes
  12. Let cool completely before slicing
Dough should look like this
cover and let rise

After first rise
Roll out into about 8-10 inch strand
cross over
                   Tuck one end under and into the middle and then do the
same with the other side

This is what they should look like before
being squished


Whole Wheat Buns - replace up to 1 cup flour with the same amount of W.W flour.  The texture of the buns are a bit more dense but they still taste great. 

Doubling the recipe - Double the entire recipe  except for the yeast
squished down ready to rise the second time
Sesame seeds or other toppings - can be added after brushing them with butter.

Freezing - these freeze very well and taste great when defrosted

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pizza Crust to die for

My husband LOVES pizza, it is his by far favorite food so I have tried many recipes and some have failed, some have been good and some have been excellent but this one he rates a 9 and for him that is a WOW!!!! I did something right.  I got a request this morning for a pizza dough recipe so thought I would post it here.  We are on a bit of a health kick right now, or should I say he is so I am not making any pizza for the moment but the next time I do I will post some pictures.  Oh oh I am getting hungry.


1 cup beer
2 Tbls butter/oil
2 Tbls sugar
1 Tsp salt
2 - 2 1/2 cups of Flour
2.5 Tsp of active dry yeast


  1. Ideally your beer should be flat.  To do this you mix it or pour it from one cup to another until most of the froth is gone, it you run out of time this step can be skipped. 
  2. Warm the beer so it feels just warm to your touch. Luke warm is also ok, just not straight from the fridge
  3. Put all the ingredients in the bread maker or your mixer in the order they are written.  For the bread maker select your dough setting and let run.
  4. If you are using a mixer also put in all the ingredients and start to mix
  5. For both appliances I prefer to let it only mix till it forms a smooth looking ball, if the ball is too dry (not tacky) to touch add a bit more water till you get that texture and if it is too wet add a bit more flour till it starts to form that ball.  
  6. Remove the dough and let it rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour in a slightly greased, covered bowl.  I place the bowl in my oven, cover it with saran wrap or a cloth/towel etc and turn the light on.
  7. Remove your dough and roll out into any size thickness and size of crust you are looking for.  I do this on a lightly floured surface but last time I tried this with cornmeal and the result was excellent.  So either will work
  8. Transfer the dough to your pan (pizza pan, or even a cookie sheet with suffice)
  9. Preheat your oven to 400 F
  10. Spread your toppings and cheese and then bake for 15-25 min.  The range in time is due mostly to the thickness of your crust and whether you would rather it crispy or soft.  Our timing is usually about 17 min.  Sometimes to get the cheese to crisp up and brown even darker I will put it under the broiler for a few minutes. 


  • Whole wheat crust - replace one cup of white flour with W.W flour
  • IMO the beer is the most important part, however you can replace the beer with any liquid of that amount.  I have tried substituting with broth etc and it just is not the same.
  • This dough can be made up ahead and put in fridge till you are ready to use it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

100% Whole Wheat Bread

After reading many sites and reviews on 100% whole wheat bread, it appears that it is not as easy as you would think to create a tasty, soft loaf that is not too dry or flaky.  This is my first try at it and so far it looks and smells great, the real test is after it comes out of the oven, will it be nice and moist or dry and flaky?  I am posting this bread first as this is the one I was making today so thought I would catch up on the other's I have talked about a little later on.

I did not take pictures of the mixing or the rising but this is how it looks 3/4's of the way done it's rise in the pans


Recipe (2 Loaves)

2 3/4 cups hot water
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbls molasses
1 Tbls salt
6 cups of W.W flour
3 Tbls of wheat gluten powder (this can be omitted)
2 Tbls of dry active yeast


  1. Put all the ingredients in the order they are written in your bread machine and select the dough cycle.  I recommend not completing this cycle but rather as soon as it makes a ball that is not stuck to the sides, unplugging your machine and removing it and then follow from number 3 on.  The ball of dough should be very tacky and sticking to your fingers.
  2. Put all ingredients except for the last 2 cups of flour into your mixer or your bowl.  Stir/Mix and slowly add the remaining 2 cups of flour till the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the side of the bowl.  This dough should be tacky to touch.
  3. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover.  Put in your oven with the light on.  Do NOT turn on your oven.  Let rise till almost doubled, approx 50 min.
  4. Lightly flour your surface you will be working on, dump the dough out onto it and quickly and gently knead till the dough is back to its original size.  Shape into a ball and divide into two.
  5. Shape by turning the dough into itself over and over (you tube shows a great demo if needed) and then place in a greased loaf pan.
  6. Let rise till doubled in size, approx 45 minutes to an hour.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350F, I do not use my convection to cook bread
  8. Once preheated place your bread in the oven for approx 30-35 min.  Bread is usually cooked when it is brown in colour and sounds hollow when you knock on it

Not too hard right?  I have tried to write the directions like I was in the kitchen doing it so it should be easier...maybe?

Well as I write this my house is smelling amazing, the windows are open to enjoy this lovely spring weather and the inside smells like fresh bread, can it get any better?  Oh yes it can fresh warm bread from the oven slathered in homemade fresh butter. (recipe to come later)  UPDATE:  This bread recipe is a keeper, light fluffy WW bread, I would never imagined.  I shared a slice slathered in butter with a friend today and she agrees, it is good.  Enjoy baking up a couple of loaves.

*This recipe was originally found online but I have altered it and probably will continue to do so till I find the best taste and texture for it

I am not a great one with words but......

I will keep this short and sweet as I am sure most of my posts will be but since there was such a huge demand I have caved to the peer pressure and will try and post my trials and successes with some of the frugal and healthy changes I have and am continuing to implement this year.  Stay tuned for recipes and pictures.