Monday, March 31, 2014

Lightly Sweet Easter Bread

Easter is right around the corner, so I thought I would dig out my Easter Bread recipe and make a few loaves.  It is so good, lightly sweet and soft.  It can be eaten for breakfast or as a dessert, with a nice cup of coffee or tea.   Recipe below.

It's very festive after the glaze and sprinkles decorate it.
This recipe makes two large loaves, or 4 small loaves.

8 cups of unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups milk, I use skim
1/2 cup white sugar
2 navel oranges
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1 cup butter, melted
8 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anise or almond extract
Canola oil
Extra flour for kneading
2 tablespoons of melted butter

2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup skim milk
multi colored nonpareil sprinkles

Dump the 8 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Attach dough hook to your mixer. Zest the oranges.  Juice both of them into a small bowl and set aside.  Crack the eggs into a bowl, add the salt and the anise extract, lightly scramble together, set aside.  

Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat, stir occasionally until it is warm, but not hot.  In the meantime, put the sugar in a small bowl and stir the orange zest into it, set it aside.  

When the milk is warmed, stir the sugar mixture into it until it dissolves.  Next, add the yeast to the mixture, stir and let sit for 10 minutes.

Add the milk/yeast mixture to the flour and begin to mix with your mixer.  The dough will be stringy. Add the melted butter, and continue to mix.  Add the orange juice to the dough and mix to combine. Next, add the egg mixture and continue mixing.

Depending how big your oranges are, and the juice you squeeze from them, you may have to add flour to the dough.  Once a sticky ball of dough forms, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes, or until it is soft and elastic.  It will still be slightly sticky. 

Coat the surface of a large bowl with 2 teaspoons of  canola oil.  Place the ball of dough into the bowl and turn it to coat, so it does not stick to the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a towel and set in a draft free warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

While waiting for the dough to rise, line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

When the dough has risen, turn out onto a floured surface and divide in half.  Divide each half piece in two, so you will have four pieces of dough.  Roll two of the pieces into 24 inch ropes.  Loosely twist them together. Lay them side by side and fold over each other like mock braiding.  Put the braid onto one of the baking sheets and form it into a circle, carefully pinch and seal the ends.  Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough to make another loaf.  Brush the tops with melted butter.  Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top of each braid, and let rise in a draft free area until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Unless you have double ovens, bake one at a time.  Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown on top.  Remove from baking sheet to cooling rack and cool completely. Once they cool, glaze and decorate them.

For the glaze:  In a medium bowl add the confectioners sugar.  Gradually pour in milk and whisk together to reach your desired consistency of glaze.  Drizzle the glaze over the bread and sprinkle with nonpareils before it dries. Let glaze dry completely.  Wrap and store the bread at room temperature.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pin Up

I have a lot of antique jewelry pins, that I love to wear.  You don't always see younger women wearing pins, I am sure they think they're mostly for the older set.  I love wearing pins in a lot of different ways, on my coat or jacket lapel, cinched at the waist to close a fly away sweater, and you can attach some of them to a chain and wear as a necklace.  I like to be creative when I wear them, so they catch the eye.  Here are some of my antique pins, handed down from generations of relatives to my mother and my aunt and then to me.  They make me happy when I wear them, it makes me curious as to how they wore them way back when.

Pewter & Teak Wood Elephant Pin, Silver and Rhinestone Leaf Pin,  Marquisite Oval Leaf Pin, Scarab Pin
Marquisite Medallion Pin, Pettipoint Turtle with Ruby Eyes Pin, Ceramic and Gold Painted Bar Pin, Silver and Blue Stone Pin 
 Carved Ivory Pin, Oval Ruby and Sapphire Pin, Silver and Ivory Carved Rose Pin, Silver and Amethyst Pin
Big Rhinestone Encrusted Bow Pin

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Just Like Mom Use To Make - Old Fashion Cinnamon Rolls

My mother who was all Irish,  use to make cinnamon rolls for all of us kids when we were little.  They were always a treat and the house smell fantastic as they were baking.  She had a lot of mouths to feed with a small budget, so she always tried to find inexpensive ways to feed us.   She could open up the food cabinets and put together something for us to eat, just by using what she had. It may have been breakfast for dinner some nights, which was fun and interesting!  This is a take on her "just like mom use to make" cinnamon rolls.  They use no yeast, only simple ingredients that are staples in your pantry.  This is how I made them, recipe below. 

Only a few ingredients make these delicious cinnamon rolls.
Ge the dough mixing in the bowl until it forms a ball.
Roll it out, melt some butter.
Spread the butter over the dough, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar, ahhhh...the good stuff!
Use parchment paper on your baking sheet so your tasty rolls won't stick, you don't want to loose any of it!
Roll up the dough, slice them down, place on the baking sheet.
All lined up and baking in the oven.
All done and no frosting necessary!
OK, OK, I had one, somebody has to taste test these things! And I have to tell you they are wonderful. I put the others in storage for the rest of the family to eat.
Old Fashion Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk, I used skim 
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Combine flour, baking powder, softened butter, sugar, egg and milk in the bowl of a mixer.  Mix on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead it a few times, just until it is smooth.  Roll it out into a rectangle and spread it just to the edge with the melted butter.  Sprinkle on the cinnamon to the edges, and then the brown sugar.  Roll the dough tightly from the long side until you get to the end, turn it seam side down.  With a serrated edge knife, cut through to make 1- 1 1/2 inch rolls, be careful not to smash them. Press the edges to seal, if they don't seal dab a little water on them and press. Place 2 inches apart on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, depending on your oven, or until lightly browned around the edges.  Serve warm.  Makes 12 rolls.  These can be reheated in the microwave for a few seconds, do not over cook them!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fruit Filled Crepe "Sundae"

I remember the first time I tasted a crepe - it was in French class, the teacher had a food tasting day and made Crepe Suzette (minus the liqueur), we were in middle school.  I didn't make my crepes from scratch I found these handy pre-made ones at Wegman's and made a light and tasty dessert, it's like a sundae without all the fat and sugar.   This is how I made it, recipe below.

1 Package of Melissa's ready to use crepes (51 calories each).  Washed blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries.
 Two teaspoons of raw sugar and orange zest, stir into the fruit.
 Cover the berries and let them sit for two hours.
Build your crepe - lay flat on a plate, in the center fill with fruit, top with fat free/sugar free whipped topping, and a few sliced almonds.  Fold it over, top with a dollop of whipped topping, drizzle with a little chocolate sauce (Hershey's Chocolate Syrup is fat free) sprinkle on a few more almonds, garnish with berries,  dust with powdered sugar......
 And dig in!  It's delicious.
Fruit Filled Crepe Sundae

1 package of Melissa's pre-made crepes
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blackberries
6 - 8 large strawberries
2 teaspoons of raw sugar
1 teaspoon of orange zest (if you do not like the flavor of the orange leave it out)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 container of fat free/sugar free whipped topping
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
Powdered Sugar

Wash and hull/stem all the berries in a colander and let them dry.  Into a medium bowl, slice the strawberries and mix in the other berries.  Sprinkle on the sugar and orange zest, toss with the berries, cover and let sit for 2 hours.

Build the crepe - lay flat on a plate, spoon berries down the center, add some whipped topping over the top of the berries and sprinkle on a few almonds.  Fold each side over to the center, top with a dollop of whipped topping, drizzle with chocolate syrup, a few more almonds, garnish with raspberries and dust with powdered sugar.  Makes 4 filled crepes.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Score! Rustic Wrought Iron Table

While on my stroll through Lancaster County, I stopped at a store called Kirkland's, what a great home decor store.  They have everything for the DIY home decorator, such as myself.  Framed artwork, draperies, lamps, candles, furniture, nick knacks and so much more.  I saw this table when I stopped by, it was on clearance.  It had a few imperfections that I thought gave the table character, I didn't think there was that much wrong with it for the discounted price.  The original price was $129.99, they marked it down to $79.97 and then marked it down again to $30.  Score one for me - I brought it home.

The table size is 38 1/2" H x 31 1/2" W x 18 1/2" D, has a wood table top and a black wrought iron base.
 This is the top that is a little scratched, but nothing major that interferes with the use of the table.
 The weathered wood top has a small gap in it, I thought it was supposed to be that way and could not figure out why they were discounting it so low.
 I put the table in my foyer and decorated it for Easter!  I may sand and stain or paint it later, but for right now I like the way it looks.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

I made up an Easter/Spring display across my dining room table, I need something to brighten my mood for the season, the temperature certainly isn't doing that.  I started with a twine runner, and these tall wood candlesticks and faux topiaries that I found at Gabriel Brothers, they are the center piece on my table.  I built the rest of my display from things I had in my Easter/Spring decorations.  You don't always have to buy new things, use what you have.  Although, I will have a lot of uses for those candlesticks!

Carved wood candlesticks- Small 18", Medium 22" and Large 24". with faux topiaries.
This is the front of my display.  Wrapped around the candlesticks are two garlands - Lilacs and a mixed Boxwood.
I started tucking little things into the garlands - A moss covered birdhouse and little bird, a bunny and speckled eggs.
 Sparkly bunny and a small pot of tulips.
Another sparkly bunny and a big bunny, more speckled eggs.
And a bird nest.
This is the other side of the display.
Glittered birdhouse and speckled eggs.
Sparkly peep and more eggs.
 Grape Hyacinth and Daffodils with moss in egg cups.
 Baby bunny.
 And another glittered birdhouse.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring has Sprung!

I am getting ready for Spring, although snow is in the forcast for today, YIKES!  I am sick of the snow already, move along!  The daffodils and crocuses are up and some of my trees are already budding.  I am ready for the warmer weather.  I brought out all of my Easter/Spring decos, decorated the house, and made a new wreath for the front door to brighten up the outside in hopes that the snow will pass us by.

I started with these tulip and lilac bushes, got them all for $6.00, wire cutters and a glue gun.
 Recycled and old wreath....
Cut the flowers off the bushes, placed all the flowers where I wanted them and glued them on.....
 A pretty, colorful wreath to welcome Spring!