Whole Wheat Bread

This is one of our best loved recipes. We’ve been making bread for years and we’ve never gotten tired of this airy, 100% whole wheat. It freezes beautifully and makes the best toast. We grind our own flour (hard red wheat berries) and using the warm fresh ground flour to make the bread is the best.  Oh, another thing, we add our leftover hot cereal (oatmeal, oatbran, farina…) into the bread, no real measurement here, just add some in, too much will make the bread gooey!
4 cups water, 110 degrees
2 tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup honey
5 cups whole wheat flour 
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup gluten flour  
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
4-6 cups whole wheat flour 
Dissolve yeast in water.  Stir in 1/4 cup honey.  Stir in 5 cups whole wheat flour.  Cover and let sit 45 minutes to sponge (get big and bubbly).  Stir to punch down.
Add rest of honey, gluten flour, olive oil and salt (and hot cereal if using).  Stir to blend.  Add more whole wheat flour by 1/2 cupfuls, while running electric mixer until the dough cleans the side of the bowl or mix by hand.  Knead for 8 minutes.  Place in a large, greased bowl.  Cover and let rise till doubled (apx. 1 hour).
Punch down dough.  Divide into four parts.  Form loaves, mini loaves, rolls, hamburger buns, cinnamon bread etc.  Place in greased pans.  Cover and let rise 30-45 minutes.
Bake as follows:
One recipe=
4 regular loaves                                   Bake at 350 for 25 minutes (30 minutes with hot cereal)
16 mini loaves                                     Bake at 250 for 15 minutes
4 pans (square or round) regular rolls     Bake at 400 for 18 minutes
2 pans (9 X 13″ pan with 15 big rolls)     Bake at 400 for 18 minutes
2 pans (9 X 13″ pan with 18 small rolls) Bake at 400 for 18 minutes
1 pan (12 X 16″ pan with 35 rolls)          Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes
Remove from pans immediately.  Top with butter if wanted. 
Gluten Flour (from wheat), added to other flours in bread recipes, gives the dough extra elasticity and protein, resulting in a finer quality bread. When using gluten flour for this purpose use 1 Tablespoon or less per cup of other flour.


Care Packages

We just mailed off care packages to some of our college friends, my brother and his fiancee. We usually try to add a couple homemade things, something savory, snacks, drink mixes and miscellaneous candy. It’s usually the best time to forward mail or send anything they need at the same time. We use flat rate boxes and can pack them up to 20 pounds for just $12. 
Here’s a list of what we added this time. 
  1. Hello Dollies (I’ll try and get the recipe up soon)
  2. Molasses cookies 
  3. Candy eyeballs (just cause it’s fall)
  4. Hot chocolate and cider mixes
  5. Hash
  6. Popcorn packets 
  7. Gum
  8. Candy (three different kinds)

Smörgåstårta (Swedish Sandwich Cake)

Part of school for me was to pick a challenging recipe, predict how it was going to turn out, make it and then write an essay on it. I picked Smörgåstårta, a Swedish sandwich cake. I think it was the name that mostly made me pick this recipe, but I’m so glad I did. Smoked salmon was way too expensive and I didn’t even want to know how much the herring or kippers would be, so I researched the recipe more and found that I could use any meat I chose. Ham was my meat of choice and combined with a mild mustard sauce, cream cheese frosting, Swiss cheese and vegetables, it was delicious.

Let’s just say I’m not the best bread maker, or maybe it was supposed to be that hard and dense… Actually, after making the bread and while it was rising, I found out I could have bought bread from the store and used that. :-p I guess I just took the hard way. Mostly I followed the recipes, but for part of it, it was deciding what flavors blended nicely.

Bread Layer
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
2 cups water, heated to 99 degrees
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dark syrup
2 teaspoons cooking oil
1 1/4 cups whole weak flour
4 -5 cups all-purpose flour
Cheesy Mousse
cheddar cheese (or cheese of choice), grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup heavy cream
Cream Cheese Mixture
10 1/2 ounces cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (I used black)
Mustard Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 cup oil
Toppings of choice
hard boiled eggs
extra meat of choice
parsley or cilantro
Anything else 🙂

Dissolve yeast in water.  Add salt, syrup, oil and whole wheat flour. Mix in white flour
knead for 6-8 minutes. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
Remove dough from bowl and form into round cake. Let rise in greased pan (ideally springform) Cover and
let rise for another 45 minutes. Bake at 400 for abut 35 minutes
In a blender, mix cheese, mayonnaise and cream until smooth.
Mix cream cheese and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix sugar, mustards, salt and oil.
Slice bread lengthwise into three layers. Place first layer on serving plate and sprinkle with water. Spread
with cheese mousse and cover with a thin layer of cucumbers and cheese slices. Press the next layer down.
Moisten with water. Spread with butter the cover with ham and drizzle mustard sauce over. Add shredded
lettuce. Press on top  layer. Frost with cream cheese frosting.
Garnish with veggies, fruit, cheese, meat, or anything else!

Molasses Cookies

This is by far one of my favorite cookie recipes. The soft chewy inside with the crispy bits around the edge and the coarse sugar coating. It’s a super simple recipe and turn out beautiful every time.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
coarse sugar

Cream brown sugar, butter and shortening.  Add molasses and egg.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.  Add to wet ingredients.
Chill for an hour.  Roll into 1 inch balls and roll coarse sugar.
Put on ungreased cookie sheet two inches apart and bake at 375 for 10-11 minutes or until set.
Let set for a couple minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.



Chili Mac

I got this recipe from the Hacking family. The kids taught me how to make it while we were babysitting them. Now we make it all the time and it’s become a family favorite! Thanks Hackings!

16 ounces pasta of choice
3 cans of Nalley chili
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream

Cook pasta to al dante. Heat chili. Drain pasta and mix in chili, cheese and sour cream.

Notes: we used three different kinds of chili,one thick, one original and one jalapeno and it gives the mac a little bit of a kick.

Pamela’s Spinach Salad

This is one of my favorite salad recipes. I use whatever salad ingredients I have on hand and goat cheese is delicious on top, so play with the variations! 

2 bunches spinach
1 red onion, thinly sliced
10 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
6 hard boiled eggs, sliced
craisins , optional
1 cup oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar (or less)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce or Yoshida’s
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix dressing ingredients and let meld in fridge.
Mix salad ingredients.  Pour sauce over.  Toss to coat and serve.

-Basil Strawberry: spinach with onions, basil, strawberries and chicken

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar

Blend cream cheese, butter and lemon juice until smooth.
Beat in sugar, a little at a time.
Chill 30 minutes.

Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons or more milk

Beat butter until smooth. Add half of sugar and half of the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth. Add remaining
sugar and liquids and beat until smooth.

Cinnamon Buns

This isn’t that hard of a recipe, but we don’t make them very often. This recipe makes a lot, so we freeze the leftovers. Of course no one can decided on what frosting/glaze they like best. Everyone likes a different one… glaze, buttercream and cream cheese. 

Basic Sweet Dough:
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups water
2 Tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
6 cups flour
Cinnamon Filling:
3 cups brown sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup butter

Mix water and milk. Heat to 110 degrees. Add yeast, sugar and 2 cups flour.  Mix till thoroughly combined.
Cover and let sponge for 35-45 minutes covered..
Add salt, butter and eggs.  Stir.
Mix in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until it cleans the side of the bowl.  Knead 6-8 minutes.
Let rise till doubled (apx. 45 minutes).
Punch down and divide into quarters.
Working with one quarter at a time, roll into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle, apx 10.5 inches wide.
Mix together filling ingredients until they form a thick paste (use pastry blender or hand mixer).  Or mix brown sugar and cinnamon together.  Spread on butter and then spread sugar mixture.  Spread one third of filling on dough, spreading right to edges.
Roll dough tightly.  Pinch seam.  Using dental floss, cut into 1 1/2 inch wide pieces.  Place, pretty side up on a greased round cake pan.
Repeat with other two sections of dough and filling.
Cover and let rise 30 – 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

To bake in morning, complete through till ready to put in oven.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge.  In the morning, let pans set at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Bake as usual.
To serve, invert onto plate and frost.  These really need milk with them.

Lasagna Soup

My new favorite soup. This is a spicy, filling and delicious cold and leftover when the pasta has absorbed all of the broth. This is also a super easy recipe to make!

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (I used grounds sausage)
3 cups onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28 ounces) can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
8 ounces pasta (I like penne)
fresh basil (optional)
mushrooms, chopped (optional)
Cheesy Yum:
1/2 cup basic leaves , chopped
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch pepper
mozzarella cheese, grated
meatballs (cooked and quartered) (optional, I’ve done this soup more times without that with)

Heat oil in large pot.  Add sausage and cook until brown. Add onions and cook until softened.  Add garlic,
oregano, red pepper flakes an fresh basil (if using). Add tomato paste and cook until tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, mushrooms (if using), meatballs (if using) and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add uncooked past and cook until done.
While pasta is cooking, mix together basil, ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper together.
Serve topped with mozzarella cheese and yummy cheese mixture.
Notes: cook pasta separately if planning on serving hours later.