Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cranberry Walnut Scones with Sweet Lemon Glaze


All Purpose Flour- 13.5 oz.
Sugar- 2.4 oz.
Baking Powder- 1 oz.
Salt- 0.2 oz.
Cold, Unsalted Butter- 3.2 oz.
Currants or Craisins- 2.5 oz.
Walnuts, chopped- 2.5 oz.
Heavy Cream- 13 oz.

Butter, melted- 2 oz. (1/4 cup)
Powdered Sugar- 1 cup
Lemon Juice- 1 T. or more according to taste and desired consistency.

Sift dry ingredients together onto counter.

Cut cold butter into dry ingredients until butter is pea-sized.

Stir in the craisins and walnuts

Make a large well with dry ingredients and pour cream into center. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients as you gently stir by hand in a circular motion. Be careful not to take too much from sides at a time or cream might spill out of well. Continue stirring by hand until all dry ingredients are mixed in. Fold mixture a few times.

Press the mixture into a small sheet pan (or fill half of a large sheet pan). Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight if making a day ahead.

Cut into even squares and then into triangles. Place onto parchment lined baking sheets. Brush tops with egg wash (egg whites whisked with a little water).

Bake at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes. While scones are baking make the glaze by combining melted butter with powdered sugar. Add lemon juice until the glaze is thin enough to spread but not runny. Glaze scones while still warm.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cajun Red Beans and Coconut Rice

Living on a strict budget can be so hard!! So, to save money I try to cook with simple (and cheap) ingredients and avoid using meat a few nights a week. The perfect way to do this? Beans and rice.

For anyone who has lived abroad.... you know that beans and rice are a staple for a lot of countries. Because of that I got really used to eating beans and rice and now it's one of my family's favorite things to eat. But, beans and rice can get super boring if you don't switch it up. That's why I came up with this recipe. It's still made up of inexpensive ingredients but it tastes delicious! My husband and I joke about it being a meal for poor people with sophisticated palettes. haha! And, that's just what it is.


Cajun beans:
2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups water
1 T. chicken bouillon
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. coriander
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. paprika
1 t. cajun seasoning
dash cinnamon

*adjust all spices according to preference and taste.

Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover with lid. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Use a potato masher or fork to mash beans against the bottom and sides of pan. Mash about 90% of beans. Add more water if beans are too thick or mash more if too thin.

Coconut rice:
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
1 t. salt
1 t. white vinegar
3 t. sugar
dash of pepper

Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover with lid and turn heat down to very low setting. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice rest (still covered) for 5 minutes.

Serve large scoop of coconut rice with a bowl of cajun beans.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Classic. Cinnamon-y. Frosted to perfection.

These cinnamon rolls don't get any better. I've made cinnamon rolls, orange rolls, raspberry rolls, etc. and always liked them. But, never really LOVED them the way I love these. I finally came up with a great recipe that includes aspects of all the others... creating the PERFECT cinnamon rolls! Mmmm...


1 cup milk
4 T. shortening
3 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg at room temperature

Place milk and shortening in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until shortening is mostly melted. Stir and set in the refrigerator to cool it down. 

Mix 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt together in a large mixing bowl. When milk/shortening mixture has cooled down to about 105ºF (still really warm but not hot enough to kill the yeast) add it to the flour mixture. Add egg. Stir until well combined (about 1 minute) and scrape sides periodically.

Switch to the dough hook on your mixer. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and mix. The dough should be soft but still a little sticky. Run mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes. Allow dough to rest while you prepare cinnamon filling.

1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine cinnamon and sugar. Mix with softened butter.

Roll dough out into a large rectangle shape of about 12in. x 14in. Spread cinnamon sugar filling on top of rectangle. Roll long side all the way up. Use a piece of dental floss to mark the roll into 12 even pieces. Then slide the dental floss under the roll, bring both ends together on top of roll, cross ends and pull until the floss cuts all the way through the roll. 

Place each piece in a greased 9x13 glass pan. Cover with clean kitchen towel and place on top of your preheating oven. Allow rolls to rise for about 30 minutes or until they have risen enough to fill up the whole pan. 

Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown on tops. 

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine ingredients to make a frosting. Add a little milk if necessary to make the frosting thin enough to spread over warm rolls. Cool in the refrigerator while rolls are baking. When rolls are done baking spread frosting on top. 

BEST EVER Chicken Potpie

Flaky pie crust. Warm, creamy filling packed with moist chicken and perfectly cooked veggies. Once you try this potpie you will never go back to your old recipe or, heaven forbid... your frozen potpie from the grocery store!

This recipe is originally from my fabulous mother-in-law who taught me so much about cooking when I first married into her family. I don't know if I would have grown to love cooking as much as I have without her. She got me into making homemade bread every week, keeping fresh baked cookies on the table as often as possible and taught me how to make fast, delicious dinners with really basic ingredients. I owe so much to her.

Anyway, her Chicken Potpie recipe is just about the best comfort food in my book. I love it. I've made a few alterations to this flaky, flavorful potpie and it turns out every single time.

I cut mine open too soon. If you let the pie rest for 10 minutes before cutting the filling will be thicker.

My boys were too hungry to let it rest. :)


2 cups cooked chicken
2 cups cooked vegetables (carrots, potatoes, peas, etc.
2 T. butter
2 1/2 T. flour
2 cups milk
2 tsp. chicken bouillon

1 tsp. salt
dash pepper
dash dried sage

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and whisk. Whisk in milk until smooth. Add bouillon, salt, pepper and sage. Turn heat to medium and continue stirring until thickened- about 10 minutes or so. Turn off heat. Add cooked chicken and vegetables. Set aside until pie shell is ready to be filled. 

Pie Shell:
2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup ice water

Combine flour and salt. Cut in the shortening with pastry cutter or a large fork. Add ice water. Mix until barely incorporated. DO NOT over mix or pastry will end up being tough. Separate dough in half.

Lightly flour countertop. Take each half and roll out until circle is about 1 inch larger then your pie pan. Place first half in pie pan. Pour filling inside. Place second round on top. Tuck edges under the first round and gently pinch together to seal it shut. Cut two slits in the top of the unbaked pie to allow steam to release during baking.

Bake at 425ºF for 25 minutes or until the center is no longer shiny and the edges are golden brown. Allow pie to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Harlequin Pinwheel Cookies

These are my husband's all time favorite cookies! They are crispy but also fudge-y with a bit of crunch from the walnuts and not too sweet (so you can eat lots of them!).

Maybe I shouldn't even talk about them because I can't give out the recipe. Yes. That's right. I'm terribly sorry. But, this recipe is so good that it is a family secret. My in-laws were gracious enough to let me have it but I'm sworn to secrecy and not allowed to share it.

HOWEVER... I can share with you a few links to similar cookie recipes that I found online. So, if you are feeling adventurous and want to try something a little fancier than your average cookie recipe then try one of these delicious recipes:

Classic Chocolate Pinwheels

Christmas Pinwheels

Patriotic Pinwheels

Easy White Bread

This is an easy and delicious bread recipe that I make every week for my family. I made this recipe a few times in culinary school and have been in love with it ever since!


Water- 12 oz.
Instant yeast- 0.25 oz.
Bread flour- 1 lb. 4 oz.
Salt- 0.5 oz.
Sugar- 0.75 oz.
Nonfat milk solids (powdered milk)- 1 oz.
Shortening- 0.75 oz.

Straight dough method:

Mix water and yeast and set aside while you measure out all other ingredients.

Add sifted flour to top of yeast mixture. Add all other ingredients to top of flour.

Mix with dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes. Turn speed to medium for another 10-15 minutes. Dough is finished mixing when it is elastic and hardly sticky to the touch.

Cover bowl and let dough rise for 30 minutes (until dough springs back after being touched). Weigh dough into two even portions (about 1 lb. 3 oz. each). Shape into loaves and place in 2 greased loaf pans. Cover and let dough rise in pans until doubled (about 30 more minutes).

Bake at 400ºF for 20-30 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from Professional Baking by: Wayne Gisslen

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Russian Borscht

Mmmmm, Borscht. My "go to" recipe on a cold, wet day. There is nothing better than the smell of fresh, simmering borscht on the stove and homemade bread in the oven.  Seriously. Good. Borscht is relatively easy, delicious and very healthy as well. 

This recipe is straight from motherland Russia. My husband lived in Russia for 2 years serving a religious mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and fell in love with Borscht. He brought this recipe home and converted me to it's deliciousness. :)

1/2 lb. steak
4 beets
3 large potatoes
3 large carrots
1 head of cabbage
1/2 onion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Beef Bouillon
1/2 cup ketchup
Bay leaves
Sour cream for serving

Cut steak into 1/2 in. strips and set aside. Fill a large stew pot half full with water (about 3 quarts of water). Add a few tablespoons of oil and some salt and pepper to the water. Once water boils add meat. Turn heat down but keep water boiling for 30-40 minutes. 

In the meantime chop beets, potatoes, carrots, cabbage and onion into uniform pieces (I usually cut them all into small strips. See picture below). After the meat has cooked in water for 40 minutes add the beets to the pot. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Then add potatoes and beef bouillon.

In frying pan sauté the onion, carrots and garlic in a small amount of oil and ketchup. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add this mixture to the pot along with the bay leaves and more salt and pepper. Combine well and let cook for 15-20 minutes. Then add cabbage. Cook another 10-15 minutes or until ready to eat. Sometimes I let the soup simmer for a few hours to get the meat really tender. 

Scoop a dollop of sour cream into each bowl of soup and serve with delicious hard bread (like rye or sourdough). And, if you want to have a really authentic Russian meal then make the soup a day ahead and re-heat it the day you are ready to eat. It always tastes better leftover because all the flavors blend well over time.