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White Wheat Bread


I’ve been posting a lot of soup recipes lately, so I figured a good bread recipe was in order.  After all, that’s why we make soup in the first place, right?  To go with our bread?

Dennis and I actually haven’t had any bread for the last 22 days, and won’t have any again for the next twelve.  We started the 17 Day Diet at the end of January, and this bread was the last thing I made as a temporary farewell to high-carbohydrate foods, knowing our mouths would not enjoy it for another month or so.  This diet cycles in 17-day increments and during the first two, there is no bread.  We are eating so good that I don’t miss it, but perhaps this spectacular recipe helped with the separation anxiety.  It was so delicious that recalling it makes me smile even a month later!  It also helps that I got the original recipe, which I adapted to the one I’m sharing here, from a friend (thank you, Tracy!), so it gives me the warm fuzzies all around.  You just can’t beat the combination of friendship and warm bread.

While this bread still does not beat out my number one favorite to date, Honey Oatmeal Bread, it is a very close second.  I was very impressed with how soft and tender the bread is, and the flavor, as with all homemade bread, is of course incredible.  It goes very well with soup, or just slathered with butter as a meal.  Not that I speak from experience or anything.

White Wheat Bread

To ensure success, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. Cold will inhibit the yeast’s growth.  If you’re in a hurry, you can quickly bring the egg to room temperature by placing in a bowl of hot tap water for five minutes before cracking, and can warm the milk by zapping it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until lukewarm.

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1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 cup milk, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg, beaten, room temperature
1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 – 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Combine yeast, sugar, and water in a large bowl; let stand five minutes. Add milk, oil, honey & egg; stir well. Stir white whole wheat flour and salt into yeast mixture. Gradually stir in enough all-purpose flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface & knead until smooth & elastic (about 8-10 minutes.) (Tracy says it will only take a few minutes to do this if you use a bread hook on your Kitchenaid.) Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down, and divide in half; shape each half into a loaf. Place in 2 greased 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 3 inch loaf pans (I used 9×5 which seemed to work well, but they’ll probably be higher with the smaller pans). Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Makes 2 loaves.

Recipe source: adapted from a 1986 Southern Living Magazine, shared with my by Tracy R.

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Classic Chili


First of all, I apologize to those of you who have me in a reader.  I’ve started updated my posts from 2009 because the photos went missing from most of them, and I’m afraid I’ll be junking up your readers with all these old “new” posts for the next week or so.  Thank you for bearing with me.

Second, remember that snow I mentioned last week? Well, it didn’t stick but it’s snowing like cuh-razy as I type this on Sunday night.  And it’s sticking!  We took a long walk in the middle of it and Jessie was in HEAVEN.  Snow walks are her absolute favorite.  She’s definitely got some husky in her blood.  Thank goodness she’s past her “pulling” phase where she’d pretend Dennis was her sled and try to drag him by the leash! lol

Anyway, I’m hoping it’s arctic where you live too, not because I wish you ill, but if there is one good thing about cold weather days, it’s the hot and delicious foods you can fill them with.  Like this classic chili.  I grew up eating plain beans and cornbread every winter and now I don’t feel right unless I make chili or beans and cornbread at least once every winter.  I’ve made many recipes, and never the same one twice, but I wanted to track down a recipe that had a classic flavor that would please kids and adults alike (for family gatherings) and that I could rely on as my go-to recipe.  I knew that Mel would probably have one for me (she has a whole collection of best recipes and she’s never let me down), and I was right!  I knew when I found her momma’s chili recipe this would probably be the one I was looking for.

We all have our different preferences when it comes to chili.  I love a lot of veggies–bring on the celery, tomatoes, onion, green pepper (and red, yellow, and orange pepper, for that matter) and lots of beans.  I do like some ground beef and spiciness, but it’s not essential.  But I think this is a chili that anyone would like, which is exactly what I was looking for.  I do believe this is my favorite chili now, even without an over-abundance of veg!  So delicious.

The original recipe doesn’t have any veggies save the onions in it, but I’m a big Wendy’s chili fan, so I went ahead and added some celery and green pepper to mine to give it a similar feel.  Though I thought the taste was excellent with them in, I’m sure it’s just as excellent without so leave them out if veggies in chili isn’t your thing.  I also adapted the recipe for the crockpot (less liquid so it doesn’t get too runny), but if you want the stovetop directions you can get them from Mel’s site here.

Oh, and by the way, guess what I did with the leftovers?  I added some more cans of stuff to bulk up the amount (canned chili, salsa-style roasted tomatoes) and stirred in some chopped all-beef hot dogs, then sent it with Dennis to the family Christmas party along with shredded cheddar cheese to garnish it.  I didn’t get to attend due to my work schedule, but Dennis brought home an empty crock so I guess the “chili dog chili” went over well! :)

Classic Chili

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2 medium onions, diced
2 teaspoons salt
2 to 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 large cans (29 ounces each) pinto beans, drained
46 oz. (one large can) tomato juice
1 cup ketchup
2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

Brown the hamburger and onion in a large skillet with the salt. Drain grease.  Add to a large 6-quart crockpot, then stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4.

Recipe source: adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Banana Pepper Roast

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Our friends Joe and Marissa (of the “good peas” fame) invited us to lunch after church one day a million years ago, and she served a roast along with many delightful sides.  I only took a small portion of the roast ,being much more interested in the salad, her mashed potato casserole, and butternut squash bread, but once I took a bite, I was going back for more.  I’m not much of a meat eater, so when I found her roast irresistible, I asked her what her secret was.

“Banana Peppers.”

“Banana peppers?” I repeated, surprised.  “What else did you use?”

“That’s it.  I just poured a jar of banana peppers over the roast in the crockpot.  The acid from the brine really helps tenderize the meat.”

This was so simple, I had to try it at home.  I’m just surprised it took me so long!  But I’ve made it twice in the past month, to make up for lost time. :)

I adore the salty, piquant flavor the banana peppers & juice impart to the beef, and it really is melt-in-your mouth tender after roasting all day in the slow cooker.  And talk about easy!  Although Teri taught me to sear the outside  of a roast before sticking it in the crockpot, I didn’t even do that. Easy peasy & delicious…squeezy?

I know this combo sounds a bit odd, but you’ve got to try it to believe it!  It goes really well with mashed potatoes topped with a pat of butter and garlic salt, as I discovered after taking this picture. :)

Banana Pepper Roast

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1 (3-5 lb) beef roast
1 (16 oz) jar mild banana pepper rings

Place roast in a crock pot and pour the jar of banana peppers, juice and all, over the top. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until tender.

Dal Makhani with Baked Saffron Rice

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I have a folder on my computer called “future blog” wherein lies all the pictures of food I’ve made that I want to post recipes for.  There are currently 150 pictures in it, which may explain why it has taken me so long to post this recipe!  I have less time time to post recipes than I used to, so I usually just scan the folder when I have a minute and pick whatever picture stands out.  Today, this one winked at me, reminding me how much I enjoyed it and how sorry I should be for having forgotten to post it sooner.

Sorry, dal makhani. You deserve better.  I’m not worthy!

Dennis (the picky eater) and I both enjoyed this Indian dish so much the first time that I ended up making it two weeks in a row, which is rare since I like to try new things constantly.  It’s a very simple recipe, but it is bursting with flavor!

Dal Makhani with Baked Saffron Rice

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Dal Makhani:
1 cup dried lentils
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
fresh cilantro for garnish

Saffron rice:
1 cup long grain white rice
1 tablespoon butter
2 chicken bouillon cubes
½ teaspoon saffron threads
2 cups water

Place the dried lentils in a medium pot and add cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but not mushy. Drain and return to the pot. Place the pot on the burner again.  Add the tomato sauce, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and butter. Stir and let the mixture simmer over low heat, covered, for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the rice: Spray a 1 ½ quart casserole dish with cooking oil and measure rice and butter into it. Heat the bouillon, saffron and water together until boiling and pour over the rice. Cover and bake 30 minutes.

Taste the dal makhani mixture and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more cayenne if you’d like it spicier. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the cream. Serve with minced fresh cilantro over saffron rice.

Recipe sources: Jenna’s Everything Blog and ifood.

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