Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dried Cherry and Maple Granola!

It's been a long couple of weeks here at the Perkins' household.....If you've read some of my previous posts, you know that we've been helping to care for my aging step-mom since my father passed last August. She's been on a roller-coaster ride, health-wise - good weeks, bad weeks, a tiny stroke, a fall, etc. Because of her many health issues, she decided to enter an assisted living facility for a month where she could get some steady rehab. She wasn't even there a day before I got a call at work that they were rushing her to the ER. After a staggering amount of tests and x-rays, the doctor pulled us aside and delicately explained that "Grandma Jo" was suffering from multiple organ failure. By the weekend, we had Jo in hospice and on Monday, Jo happily joined my dad in heaven. We're grateful that she's finally at peace, but we will sorely miss the part she (and my father) played in our lives. Now Dave and I are the "old folks" in the family!

Needless to say, I've gotten very little baking done in the past couple of weeks  - we've been doing a lot of "grab-n-go" eating. Understandably, Dave and I have missed our simple home-cooked (and baked!) meals. So this past Tuesday, before we took off running, I grabbed my EZ DOH and whipped up some home-made granola! Oh my........It was quick, it was easy, it was crunchy and it was SOOOOOO tasty!!  Even Dave, who is not into more "natural" foods, loved this recipe. I'm thinking you'll love it too! ENJOY!! 

Dried Cherry and Maple Granola   

3 Cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 Cup flaked coconut
1 Cup chopped pecans
¼ Cup toasted wheat germ
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ Cup maple syrup
1 large or extra-large egg white
1 Cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 300. Place first seven ingredients in the EZ DOH bucket and turn handle until everything is thoroughly combined. In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy, then add to the mixture. Turn EZ DOH handle until everything is again, thoroughly combined. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Pour granola onto the parchment, spread evenly. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Halfway thru baking, use a large spatula to carefully turn the granola, being careful not to break up the clusters. When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and cool on a baking rack. When cool, add the dried fruit. ENJOY!!!

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen - “Big Cluster Maple Granola” by Deb Perelman 


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Berry Lovely Lattice Coffee Cake!

Happy Valentine's Day to my many bread-baking friends! I'm sure this weekend you'll all be thinking about the people that make your life "love -ly" .....and how you're going to express that love! A very wise and popular author, Gary Chapman,  suggests that there are five love languages: words, gifts, quality time, acts of service and physical touch. Have you ever thought about how you "speak love?" Me, I'm a "word" person, so I spent a lot of time this week picking out the perfect cards for my special folks. My hubby is a "gifts" person, so I can count on getting a box of my favorite french mint chocolates- yay! There isn't one "love language" that is better than another.....they're all just different...and their own way. 

For those of you who are "gift" or "acts of service" oriented, you might enjoy baking this gorgeous and delicious Berry Lattice coffee cake for someone you love this weekend......or any weekend! Whether you bake or not for Valentine's Day, be sure to express your love and appreciation somehow to those special folks in your life - they are a great gift! 

Berry Lovely Lattice Coffee Cake

¼ Cup warm water
1 Tbsp/pkg Red Star Platinum Yeast
½ Cup warm milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour or bread flour

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

While dough is rising, prepare Berry Filling:
½ Cup strawberries
½ Cup blueberries
½ Cup raspberries (or your own mix of berries!)
¼ Cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon shredded lemon peel

Combine berries in a food processor or blender and process until nearly smooth. Combine sugar & cornstarch in a medium saucepan, then stir in processed berries. Cook and stir until thick & bubbly. Stir in lemon peel. Cool.

Divide dough in two equal pieces. Roll out half and press into a greased 11” tart pan. Spread with filling to ½” of edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the other half into an 11” circle and cut into ¾” wide strips. Weave the strips over the filling in a lattice-pattern. Trim overhanging edges and press into the side/bottom dough to seal. Cover lightly and let rise about 30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Cool briefly in pan, then remove from tart pan. A dusting of powdered sugar is lovely!
Adapted from a recipe in BHG “The Complete Guide to Bread Machine Baking”  


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Meatball Skewers with Stand By Bread!

This is going to be a quick note....... I wanted to get something "out there"  to keep my Friday promise to you all. Promises are important. That's why, though it's late, I'm tapping out this blog. I've been pretty busy keeping a promise to my dad to "take care of Jo" (my step-mom) after he passed. She's done fairly well to this point, but her loneliness for Dad has begun to take over and her health is declining. We're there for her, keeping our promise to Dad, and showing our love for her, in large and small ways. 

Today's recipe is a "small way" I want to say thanks to all of you for reading my blog. I think you'll really enjoy playing "pick up sticks" with these tasty skewers! I wish I could lay claim to the original idea, as I think it is easy, so cute, so yummy! I PROMISE you - you and your friends will love this recipe! 

Meatball Skewers!

1 lb. ground turkey
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp dried Basil
1 tsp dried Italian herbs (I used Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle)
½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Shredded mozzarella cheese
10"-12" wooden skewers, if you put 3 meatballs on a stick; 6” skewers if you put 2 on a stick)
Marinara sauce for dipping

Prepare EZ DOH’s “basic” recipe for bread (see “My Life as a Loaf – Stand-by Bread”). I used 1 cup of water and cut the flour back to approximately 2 ¾ cups). Prepare as directed. While dough is rising, prepare the meatballs:

1.      Preheat oven to 375°
2.      Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
3.      In bowl combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Oregano, Basil, red pepper flakes and garlic. Form into 1 inch, or slightly smaller, meatballs (I ended up with about 20-24 meatballs)
4.      Divide risen dough into four pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle, approximately 5”x7”. Cut each rectangle into four to five 7” strips.
5.      Thread the end of one strip of dough then meatball. Repeat the process with 1 more meatball, alternating dough-meatball, ending with dough (see pic) . Make sure to spread dough and meatballs away from each other by about ¼", so the meatballs bake through and the dough has room to expand.  (You may have a little dough left over – bake a roll!)
6.      Bake for 20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the bread is lightly browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle each skewer with 1-2 Tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese. Place back in oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted.
7.      Serve immediately with warm marinara sauce for sipping.

Inspired by/adapted from:


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