Garlic Confit Bread

I am still in a funk since vacation, we just can’t seem to get into the swing of things. But I seriously need to get my act together and get us on schedule since Noah starts kindergarten in a WEEK. Any advice from experienced parents is more than welcome! I’m creating a little Velcro morning schedule for the front of the fridge with everything he needs to do before we can get out the door and I’m thinking we’ll start practicing now so that we *hopefully* can have a smooth routine in place before we start for real. If anyone is interested in seeing the final product, let me know.
Garlic Confit Bread 2

We’ll find out who his teacher is this week and have an open house at school where we will meet her and see his classroom on Friday night. I also have to get some back to school clothes shopping done this weekend. Here in Nebraska, they provide school supplies which is nice but also kind of a bummer because I always thought it was fun to pick out notebooks and pencils and such when I was a kid. Like a rite of passage for the school year. Garlic Confit Bread 3
Are you all getting tired of me constantly talking about school yet? Can you tell it’s the only thing on my mind lately and I can’t think of anything else to talk about. I’d like to tell you it will stop soon but once he starts I’m sure that will still take up a lot of my brain. Also, is it bad that every time I think about it I feel like I might throw up a little? There’s a Boo-Hoo breakfast after drop off on the first day and I’m pretty sure I’m going to embarrass myself with the ugly cry.

Enough of my blabbering already. Let’s get to this bread. Because this bread can totally uplift your spirits.
Garlic Confit Bread 1

When you cook something confit style, it means the item is cooked at low temperature in some kind of grease, oil or fat. In this case, the garlic is slowly cooked in butter until it is soft and spreadable and the butter is infused with all the garlic goodness. Then a bunch of parmesan is mixed in and slathered on a fresh baguette. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. Garlic Confit Bread 5

We’ll definitely be inhaling this on the first day of school with some lasagna or spaghetti (lasagna was always our first day of school meal growing up).

Garlic Confit Bread
recipe from Bon Appetit

1 head garlic, cloves peeled
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons chopped oregano
Kosher salt
1 baguette

1. Cook garlic in butter in a small covered saucepan over medium-low heat until golden brown and very soft, 15−20 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; let cool.

2. Add Parmesan and oregano to garlic and mash to a paste; season with kosher salt

3. Heat broiler. Slice baguette in half lengthwise, then crosswise. Broil, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet until golden brown, about 2 minutes (watch carefully). Let cool slightly, then spread cut side with garlic paste. Broil until cheese is golden and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Slice.
Garlic Confit Bread 4


Easter Side Dish Round Up

Yesterday I brought a round up of desserts that would be perfect for Easter. Today I thought I would bring you a collection of tasty side dishes that will totally make your meal.

I have to start it out with the perfect hard boiled egg. We always make a morning of dying Easter eggs so the night before I boil a dozen eggs so we are ready to go the next day. Then when Easter rolls around, we make either deviled eggs or deviled egg macaroni salad with them.
hard boiled eggs
Hawaiian Sweet Rolls are amazing with ham so they would be perfect for Easter. The ones pictures below were made for sandwiches so I would make them smaller (you’ll get 24 out of the batch) when serving them as a side.
Hawaiian Sweet Rolls 1
I think cheesy potatoes always have a place at the dinner table, but especially with ham. If you are a classic mashed potato kind of person, these Buttermilk and Feta Mashed Potatoes would be right up your alley. If calories didn’t count, Creamy Cheesy Potatoes would be my life. If you’re looking for a chilled side dish, Loaded Baked Potato Salad would be the perfect meal accompaniment. I just want to face plant into that bowl of goodness.
Loaded Baked Potato Salad 2

Roasted vegetables have become my jam. I made these roasted green beans recently and I absolutely adore them. Another plus, they are super easy and quick to throw together. It’s always nice to have a healthy option among all the calorie laden sides. Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots are another great, simple vegetable side dish that your guests would inhale.roasted green beans 1

I love a cucumber salad and when it comes to Easter, I finally feel like we can break out the cool salads that are just so refreshing. This Cucumber Tomato Salad is all of those things and so visually appealing. Look at the colors!
Cucumber Tomato Salad 1

There you have it. Hope you found something inspiring for Sunday’s meal.

Honey Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

Honey Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns 1
Yay for some spring weather! It’s seriously about time! And one of my absolute favorite things about nice weather is grilling out. I definitely take every opportunity to grill during the spring, summer and fall. It’s quick, easy, doesn’t dirty the kitchen and it’s healthy. Not much else you could ask for.
Honey Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns 2
One of the big things I missed while strictly eating clean was bread. It’s incredibly hard to find a bread that is actually 100 percent whole wheat and doesn’t have any added sugar, corn syrup or other yucky ingredients.
Honey Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns 3
So instead of banning bread (let’s be honest, that was never going to happen), I searched and found a whole wheat recipe so that we could still enjoy burgers and chicken sandwiches.
Honey Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns 4
The honey slightly sweetens the buns and the whole wheat pastry flour keeps them light and fluffy. They are definitely best the day you make them but they freeze well so if they don’t get eaten right away throw them in a labeled freezer bag for next time you grill something delicious.
Honey Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns 5
Honey Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
recipe from The Prairie Homestead

1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 to 3.5 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
Sesame seeds or rolled oats

1. Combine the milk, butter and honey in a small saucepan and heat over low just until butter melts. If mixture is uncomfortably hot when you put your finger in it, let it cool to 100 degrees F.

2. Place the yeast in the bowl of your mixer then pour the warmed milk mixture over it. Stir well. Mix in egg, flour and salt. Knead for 5-6 minutes until smooth and elastic.

3. Place in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

4. Punch dough down then divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each dough portion into a ball then flatten slightly into the size you wish the finished bun to be, they will rise up slightly but not out. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12-18 minutes, brushing with melted butter and sprinkling with sesame seeds or rolled oats when 2 minutes remain.


Caramel Rolls

Caramel Rolls
I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week, I know I sure did. I got to spend the week with my parents, brother and my aunt who was visiting from Jersey. We had a great time hanging out together, shopping, cooking and stuffing our faces of course. I definitely did some backtracking on the baby weight loss plan. Oh well, Thanksgiving only comes once a year.
Caramel Rolls
Something I have been incredibly thankful this year is the opportunity to move back to Nebraska and be closer to family. It has been such a blessing for our family. I do find myself missing certain things from Fargo though.

One of those things is this doughnut shop that had the most amazing caramel rolls. They were as big as your head, super tender and amazingly sugary. They were the kind of thing that was so good but once you ate the whole thing you totally felt sick. Worth it, but sick all the same.
Caramel Rolls
So since they are a thing of my past, I decided to go on a hunt for something similar. These caramel rolls totally hit the spot. They are way smaller than those caramel rolls we used to occasionally indulge in but taste incredibly similar. They take some time and planning but they are so delicious.
Caramel Rolls
Caramel Rolls
recipe from With a Grateful Prayer and Thankful Heart

For dough:
1 large egg plus enough water to measure 1 cup
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups bread flour
3 Tbsp. nonfat dry milk
3-5 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. yeast

For glaze:
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. rum, optional
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup chopped pecans

For filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. flour

1. Mix egg, water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of your mixer and stir. Let sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy. Mix in flour, nonfat milk and salt into dough. Mix in butter and knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until a smooth ball forms. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray and place dough in the bowl. Let rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.

2. Meanwhile, mix all filling ingredients together in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix together corn syrup, rum and butter.

3. Once dough has risen, divide the glaze evenly between two 9″ round cake pans. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans.

4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a 16″ x 12″ rectangle. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over dough, leaving an uncovered strip about 1″ wide along one long end of the rectangle. Starting with the sugar-covered edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Cut into 16 rolls, using a serrated knife.

 5. Space eight buns in each of the prepared pans. Cover the pans, let rise till they spread out and touch one another, about 60 to 90 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F while rising.
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Then cover lightly with foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
7. Remove the buns from the oven, and loosen their edges with a knife. Carefully (the sugar is hot) turn them out onto a rack or parchment-covered sheet pan to cool, scraping any glaze that may have stuck to the pan onto the warm buns.

Parmesan and Cracked Pepper Whole Wheat Focaccia

Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper Foccacia
During the hot days of summer, Noah and I spent a lot of time at the library browsing the shelves for Clifford and cookbooks. The deal was always that he got to pick a few books, do some puzzles in the kid area and then he would tolerate me looking through the cookbook section for a few precious minutes. Every time we ended up with some kind of dessert/baking cookbook to take home (he always wanted a cake or cookie book).
Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper Foccacia
I’m one of those weird people that enjoys reading cookbooks so once he went down for his nap, I had the chosen cookbook(s) sprawled open, typing up must try recipes. I have to say, my favorite of the summer was Flour by Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston. That is a definite must stop if I am ever there visiting.
Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper Foccacia
I was literally drooling over every page of decadent desserts and baked goods. Towards the end of the book, she included a few bread recipes that looked delectable as well. This Parmesan and Cracked Pepper Whole Wheat Focaccia is one of them. Although this is a bit more dense than a traditional focaccia (because of the whole wheat flour), it is quite delicious and made some delicious sandwiches and sopped up yummy marinara sauce. I loved the sea salt, cracked pepper and parmesan that covered the top.
Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper Foccacia
Parmesan and Cracked Pepper Whole Wheat Focaccia
recipe from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe

2 cups water, at body temperature*
1 tsp. active dry yeast
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. kosher salt, divided
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup olive oil, divided
Big handful of yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the water and yeast and let sit for 30 seconds to allow it to dissolve and activate. Dump the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, 2 tsp. salt and the sugar into the water and carefully turn the mixer on low speed. Let the dough mix for about 30 seconds. When the dough is still shaggy looking, drizzle in 3/4 cup olive oil into the mixer.

2. With the mixer on low speed, knead the dough for 4-5 minutes or until smooth. The dough should be somewhat sticky but still smooth and have an elastic, stretchy consistency. If it is much stiffer, add in a few tablespoons of water; if it’s looser, mix in a few tablespoons of flour (I had to add more flour).

3. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer dough to the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel. Place in a warm place and let rise until doubled, 2-3 hours.

4. Once risen, flour your hands and your work surface and turn the dough out of the bowl. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangle about 10×15 inches. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a baking sheet (I used a jelly roll pan) and place the dough on top. Sprinkle the top generously with flour and loosely cover. Place in a warm place again for about an hour or until it rises a bit and gets puffy.

5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and position rack in the center of the oven.

6. When the dough is ready, remove the plastic wrap and dimple the dough all over, using all ten fingers and firmly poking straight down into the dough all the way to the bottom. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top, drizzle evenly with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and then sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 tsp. salt and the pepper.

7. Bake for 35-40 minutes (mine only took about 30 minutes), or until completely golden brown on the top and the bottom. Let cool on the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes then cut into serving pieces.

*When you put your finger in it, it should feel neither hot nor cold

Apple Zucchini Bread

Apple Zucchini Bread 2
The zucchini in my garden has been growing like crazy. It especially gets out of control when you are out of town for a few days and don’t have someone to check on it. This is what happens. The zucchini in the middle is the biggest one I’ve ever seen. It was kind of insane.
Zucchini 1
So because of the large amount of zucchini, I have been on the hunt for recipes to use it up. Although, zucchini bread isn’t the most creative use of it, this recipe sounded so yummy that I just had to give it a try. And I’m so glad I did.
Apple Zucchini Bread 6
The bread was moist from the apple and zucchini and had a warm, spicy flavor from the cinnamon and nutmeg. It was perfect for the cool morning we enjoyed it. I personally think the walnuts are a must because of the crunchy texture they add to the bread.
Apple Zucchini Bread 3
And I don’t feel so bad eating a bread with almost the same amount of sugar as flour since it has fruit and vegetables in it. That’s good logic, right? Anyway, make this and eat it up warm with butter slathered on it. You won’t regret it.
Apple Zucchini Bread 4
Apple Zucchini Bread
recipe from Veggie Zest
makes 1 loaf

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 apple, grated
1 cup grated zucchini
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
juice of ½ a small lemon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
dried apple slices (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, whisk the eggs slightly then stir in the grated apple, zucchini, vegetable oil and lemon juice. Gently fold this mixture into the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Stir in the chopped walnuts (I chose to top mine with the walnuts since Joel doesn’t like them and they would be easier to pick off). Pour batter into a greased and floured loaf pan. Top with dried apple slices if desired. Bake for about an hour, or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
Apple Zucchini Bread 5

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls 2
My homemade bread kick continues but has slowed a bit with the crazy heat summer has brought. I haven’t made any in a few weeks and I feel like I’m going through a homemade carb withdraw. So I thought sharing this recipe with you all would help me cope.
Hawaiian Sweet Rolls 4
These rolls taste so much like King’s Hawaiian Rolls and are just perfect as a dinner roll or for a yummy ham sandwich. I made them bigger and went with the latter option as a main dish.

They do take quite some time to rise and it’s very important that you let them double fully so they turn out nice and fluffy. But now that it’s so hot outside, I can just put the dough upstairs to rise since it’s nearly impossible to keep it cool up there.
Hawaiian Sweet Rolls 1

The ingredient list worried me a bit with so many sweet items but they were just perfect. You have to try them!

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
recipe from La Petite Brioche
yields 3 loves, 24 dinner rolls, or 12 sandwich rolls

6-7 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter (one stick) melted
2 (1/4 ounce) envelopes yeast

1. Beat the eggs then stir in the pineapple juice, sugar, salt, ginger, vanilla and butter. Place 3 cups of flour in a large bowl and thoroughly mix in the egg mixture. Sprinkle in the yeast packets and mix in. Add remaining flour. If the dough is sticky and difficult to handle, add a bit more flour. It should be a bit tacky, but not wet. Knead for about 5 minutes or until a smooth ball forms (I do this whole process in my mixer). Grease a large bowl and place dough in it, turning to coat the entire dough ball. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

2. Punch dough down and divide into thirds for loaves, or into 24 or 12 balls to make rolls (depending on the desired size). Place into greased loaf pans or baking pans. Cover and let rise until doubled again.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.