because what is life without good food?

Breads

Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

My daughter, her friend and I went up to my friend’s lake house this weekend for a “girls” weekend. I wanted to bring along some fun “girly” things to eat, so I made up some chocolate mascarpone spread so we could make chocolate strawberry bruschetta, and while I was at it, I made a pumpkin maple spread too. But then I needed something to put the pumpkin spread on, so, despite the fact that it was a crazy busy day, on a total whim I started up some dough in my bread machine to make pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread. I wasn’t really sure that I would be home long enough on Saturday to bake it before we left, but somehow I managed it. And I was SO glad I did. This bread, with the pumpkin mascarpone spread is pure bliss to eat. You can just close your eyes and lose yourself in the lovely taste of it. My friend said she felt like she could just keep eating it till she exploded. I told her I wasn’t going to share that on my blog, but now here I am sharing it LOL. The young teenage girls loved it too.

We had such a fun weekend. We went for a LONG walk along the lake, then we had tea and hot chocolate and a lovely dinner … I made the salad, my daughter’s friend made cajun chicken pasta, my friend made green beans and we had rotisserie chicken and chicken sausages too, then we listened to funky music and my friend and I had wine and chatted while the girls danced their hearts out in the living room.

My friend who has three boys and has rarely (if ever?) had a girls weekend, wanted to take some of the bread home to her boys. I couldn’t let her have it ALL (my daughter wanted some!), but I did give her the smaller loaf to take home  … so the boys could try it too. I think she loved the girls weekend, but I could also tell she felt a little lost without her boys. I was craving some male energy too. Girls’ weekends are great, but … well, we need our boys, too. However, I do have to tell you my daughter and I were awfully tempted to buy this lakefront house we saw, move to the lake and leave our “city” life behind.

Yeah, that’s not going to happen. It is tempting, though …

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour. If you don’t have a bread machine or bread attachment for your mixer, see King Arthur Flour for traditional bread-making instructions.

  • 1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • To make the swirl: Cooking spray (or melted butter) + cinnamon sugar

Directions:

  1. Dump all the ingredients except for the “Swirl” ingredients into your bread machine and set it on the dough setting.
  2. When the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle, spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and roll it up. (I rolled it up lengthwise, and the dough was long enough to make one loaf pan plus a smaller loaf.)
  3. Spray your loaf pans with cooking spray and carefully transfer the dough into them, tucking under the ends to form a nice loaf shape. Spray the loaves with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place to rise.
  4. When the dough has risen to a big, puffy state (roughly double the size), bake at 375 F. for about 30 minutes or until the loaves are a deep golden brown on top and the loaves sound hollow inside when you thump them.
  5. Let the bread sit for about 5 – 10 minutes, then slice and serve with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream.

Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream

  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any on hand, here’s a quick recipe to make your own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Let the cream cheese warm up a bit at room temperature, then in a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all smooth and very well mixed. You can use a spoon or a mixer does the job quickly and gets the spread all nice and fluffy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty TuesdayWonderful Food WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyShow & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday , Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.


Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

It’s finally cooled off enough here to BAKE (yay! happy dance!) and I decided I needed to make some flatbread. My son loves flatbread … he came upstairs just after I took these flatbreads out of the oven and decided he was going to have flatbread and a fruit smoothie for dinner. I panicked a little because that boy has a BIG appetite and he could easily polish off just about all the flatbread in one sitting, but he only ate 3 of them! Whew! There were still plenty left for the photo shoot.

I’m participating in an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page and today is the letter I. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. G was Garlic. I was scratching my head for the letter I … how many healthy things can you think of that start with the letter I? All I could think of was Ice Cream, and even though I have several healthy ice cream recipes, it didn’t seem like a very good choice, so I asked my kids who are both wonderful at brainstorming. My daughter suggested Italian Seasoning and that led me to think: Italian food! There are lots of health benefits to eating Italian food. You should see all the wonderful Italian recipes on my facebook page today! (If you happen to miss it or want to see some of the other recipes that were shared, I’m pinning all of the recipes to my A-Z Health Challenge Pinterest Board.)

This flatbread might not be “traditional” Italian cuisine, but it does have lots of the wonderful healthy things that Italians use in their cooking: whole grains, olive oil, lots of herbs (via the Italian Seasoning!) and the wonderful flavor of Asiago cheese. And hey, what’s a good Italian meal without bread? This flatbread is a wonderful base for a pizza, or serve it as the bread with your meal with some olive oil for dipping. Oh they go wonderfully with hummus too! … or you can just eat them plain, hot out of the oven, like my son. If you have any leftover flatbreads, put them in a bag and freeze them for quick meals (add sauce, cheese, and toppings and you have instant pizza!)

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

Inspired by this recipe from Red Star Yeast. I just saw that recipe and thought it was such a cool idea to put zucchini in a yeast bread!

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons shredded asiago cheese
  • 2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 – 2/3 cup water (or other liquid)

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in the bread machine (or the bread attachment to a KitchenAid … that works too!), using 1/3 cup of water to start. Set the machine on the dough setting and watch it as it starts mixing: add water as needed until it forms a nice ball of dough. I had to use the full 2/3 cup on mine.
  2. When the dough is done, take it out and cut the dough into equal-sized pieces for the desired number of flatbreads. I made 12 mini-flatbreads, but you can make 2 large rounds for pizza or 6 for individual pizzas if you prefer.
  3. Dusting the dough with cornmeal to keep it from sticking, shape the dough into discs with your hands, cover and let rest for 5 minutes or so, then stretch the dough further with your hands or use a rolling pin to roll the flatbreads to about 1/4 inch thick (adding more cornmeal as needed to keep it from sticking).
  4. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place till your breads are the desired thickness, then bake at 425 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. I like to cook my flatbreads on a pizza stone to get them nice and crisp on the bottom, but you can bake them on a cookie sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone.

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursday, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Weekend Potluck.


Silvia’s Italian Focaccia

Silvia's Italian Focaccia

Last night Silvia’s Cucina shared a beautiful authentic Italian focaccia and it made me soooo hungry for focaccia that I went in the kitchen and made it right away. I already had focaccia on my mind after Sherron’s amazing caramelized onion & garlic focaccia and was dying for some good homemade bread after our travels. I was tempted to add some caramelized onions or tomato or cheese or something, but it was late and I thought perhaps I had just enough time before bed to make a simple focaccia.

I’m very glad I did. A slice of focaccia and a glass of wine was the perfect end to my day, and now I have a whole pan of delicious homemade focaccia to make sandwiches and things with!

Silvia says this recipe is from her brother, a professional Chef who made Focaccia daily when he worked at “Il Genovese” , in Milan in the late 90′s. I cheated and used my bread machine to mix up and knead the dough, though, so I’m not sure that mine has the same texture as hers did.  I did the glaze wrong as well, forgot the water and added some Italian seasoning & granulated garlic, so I’m guessing the top is quite a bit softer than hers. Make sure you pop over and look at her recipe if you want a more authentic Italian focaccia.

Silvia's Italian Focaccia

Silvia’s Italian Focaccia

  • 1 tablespoon of dried yeast
  • 3/4 cup water (I had to add a little extra water because the dough wasn’t sticking together properly)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the glaze : 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil , 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic.
  • For the top: chia seeds (or other seeds … optional … I just thought it would be fun to dust my bread with chia seeds)

Put all the ingredients except the glaze into a bread machine and put it on the dough setting. I was in a rush and only let the machine go for about 45 minutes, then I took the dough out, rolled it, folded it (as Silvia did), and stretched it to fit my 13 x 9 x2 inch pan. I turned the oven on the lowest setting (170 F), then shut off the oven, covered the pan and set it in the oven to rise. In about 30 minutes I checked it and it had puffed up quite nicely, so I poked it all over with my finger and then drizzled it with the glaze, then covered it again and set it in the oven for about 15 minutes to puff up a little more.

I sprinkled it with some chia seeds and baked it at 390 F for about 20 minutes, until it was a nice golden brown.

Silvia's Italian Focaccia

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck and Cast Party Wednesday.


Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

{guest post from Simply Gourmet Photography}

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

Hello everyone! I’m off on vacation … so today Sherron from Simply Gourmet Photography has volunteered to “blog-sit” on Sumptuous Spoonfuls. Sherron is an incredibly talented photographer and an amazing cook (as I’m guessing you can tell from the photo …). Sherron has inspired me in so many ways. Her dark chocolate peanut butter granola  was one of my favorite posts … but now I think I have a new favorite. This gorgeous foccaccia.

Take it away, Sherron!

~~~~~~~

I am so excited to be sharing my recipe for focaccia bread with Sumptuous Spoonfuls.  Ann is wonderful and she has always been so supportive of my blog and photography.

It will be one year in June when I started my blog, Simply Gourmet Photography.  I have been taking pictures for a long time and just happened to be asked to work with some amazing companies as a food photographer.  I recently moved to MD and was needing a change, so I started the blog with the hope that new opportunities would come my way and they have.  I am now a writer for one of our local magazines and I enjoy it very much.  I still get to take pictures, develop recipes and write.

One thing that I love about Ann’s recipes is that they are fresh.  I love her salads the most!  She has inspired me on more than one occasion to create a fun salad and dressing.  What better accompaniment to a salad than a fresh loaf of bread.

I love bread and I make bread a lot for my family.  I have the easy one hour recipes and then I have the all day, double rise, let sit over night recipes.  I enjoy them all. I love the way the dough feels in my hands after it has risen, so soft and airy.  I find the process of making bread creative.  There are so many types of breads, toppings, flours and styles. You could never get bored with making bread.

This recipe for focaccia has been made numerous times for my family.  I especially like to make it for sandwiches and big parties.  It makes two loaves and the options for toppings are endless.  This flavor of the caramelized onion and grilled garlic is my favorite.  I will make this focaccia and use the bread for French Dips.  It holds up great for a sandwich and the onion/garlic combination compliments the beef well.

I look forward to hearing how you have enjoyed it.

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

Caramelized Onion and Garlic Focaccia

Makes 2 loaves

To make the caramelized onions you will need:

1 large red onion, sliced
1 T. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Splash of red wine

In a large sauté pan, add oil.  Add the sliced onion and cook over medium heat.  The onions will start to turn a light brown and then gradually become darker.  If you need to add a bit more oil go ahead.  You don’t want them to get dry.  When the onions are dark brown, add your splash of red wine.  This step is optional but it does add a deep rich flavor to the onion.  Continue cooking until the onions are dark, not burnt.  The process takes about 25 minutes depending on how many onions you have.  If you only use half of the
onion, the cook time may be shorter.

To make the grilled garlic:

1-2 bulbs of garlic
1/3 cup of olive oil

Cut the ends off of each garlic bulb.  Brush the ends with the olive oil. On your BBQ, set your grill to 350 and grill the garlic until browned on both sides. This can also be done in your oven, but you will miss the grill flavor. They should be done at around 15 minutes.  I try to do a bunch at this time and then store the extra’s in the fridge.  When they are cooked, I remove the cloves and smash into a small bowl with 4 T. of olive oil, this will be used on the focaccia bread.

To make the loaves of focaccia:

2 cups of warm water
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
4-5 cups of flour, start with the smallest amount and add as needed
5 T. of olive oil

Toppings for focaccia:

coarse salt
pepper
fresh herbs or dried (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
olive oil
grilled garlic (recipe above)
caramelized onions (recipe above)

Prepare the yeast by adding the water, yeast and sugar to a small bowl.  Set aside for 5 minutes until it starts to bubble.  If your yeast does not create a foam/bubbly top then you may need to start over.

In your Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle, add the salt, 3 cups of flour and 2 T. of olive oil.  Start to mix together and add yeast mixture.  Mix well. Let rest 10 minutes.

Change from the paddle to your bread hook.  On medium speed, add a 1/4 cup of flour at a time until the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the bottom of the bowl.  Because my humidity is so high I usually end up adding more than 5 cups-just add it in 1/4 cup increments and you won’t add too much.

Knead in your mixer for 7 minutes. Move dough to an oiled glass bowl and let rise until double.

When the dough has doubled, turn onto a floured surface and knead for one minute.  Cut dough in half.

Preheat your oven to 400.

Prepare your cookie sheet.  Spray or oil the sheet then sprinkle some cornmeal across the cookie sheet.

The two focaccia loaves should fit side by side on your cookie sheet.  With your hands pull and push the dough into a small rectangle to fit on half of the cookie sheet.  Leave an inch in between the two loaves.  It will be uneven, this is okay.  It should look like little hills and valleys over the top of each loaf.

Take a pastry brush and brush the olive oil and grilled garlic over the top of both loaves.  It will pool and look like a lot, this is okay as it all cooks into the focaccia.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Next, add the caramelized onions.

The final step is adding your herbs and coarse salt.  I used dried herbs in this recipe.  I sometimes use fresh and I love that too.  I usually use an Italian spice blend or you can use oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme.

Bake the loaves for 20 minutes.  The focaccia bread should be golden brown. We slice ours into 1 inch chunks.

I will often serve the focaccia with a dipping mixture of: extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, Italian herbs and salt.  My guests love it!

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

Take a moment to go like Sherron on facebook or Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did!


Crunchy’s Cornbread on the Grill

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

It was terribly windy yesterday, but my daughter wanted chicken cooked on the grill, and how could I possibly say no to that? We don’t get many evenings when we can stay home and grill. I asked her what she wanted with her chicken and gave her a couple options. When I mentioned the cornbread, that won hands down.

I’ve been wanting to try cornbread on the grill ever since A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock & Roll posted her recipe for it. My nickname for her is “Crunchy”. It’s kind of like pizza on the grill … it’s a little unexpected, something you might not think about grilling. I really love trying those sorts of things.

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

(Ooops! My foot’s in the picture … shh! don’t tell anyone … maybe they won’t notice … )

Crunchy’s Cornbread on the Grill

Recipe from A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock & Roll

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A sprinkle of nutmeg (1/8 teaspoon-ish … I didn’t measure, just sprinkled some on)
  • A dash of cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon or so … again, didn’t measure)
  • A teaspoon or two of honey (it was sitting there on the counter, so just drizzled a bit in, for fun … probably about a teaspoon)
  • A slosh of vanilla (I tried to pour in just a teaspoon, but my hand lost control and I over-did the vanilla. Ooops. I would recommend about a teaspoon … not as much as I used. It was still tasty, but a little too vanilla-ish.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

  1. Fire up your grill and push the coals over to make a “hot” area and a “cooler” area. Set your 10-inch cast iron skillet on the grill so it will get good and hot while you mix up the batter.
  2. Mix up all the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients except for the butter and stir to mix everything into a smooth batter.
  3. Put the 2 tablespoons butter in the cast iron skillet and set it back on the grill to melt. Once the butter has melted, put your oven mitt on your hand, take the skillet and swirl around the butter to coat the bottom of the pan, then pour most of the butter into your batter bowl and stir it into the batter, setting the cast iron skillet back on the grill. Pour the batter into the skillet, cover and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.
  4. Now it was terribly windy, right? So my grill didn’t get that hot. The chicken was taking FOREVER to cook … the asparagus was just lukewarm.  The cornbread cooked up okay, except the middle part wasn’t getting done. So I cheated a little and stuck the cornbread in my oven at 350 to finish. It only took about 5 minutes for it to finish in the oven and it still had that lovely smoky grilled taste. And while the cornbread was cooking in the oven, the chicken and asparagus finished up nicely too. If you get your grill nice and hot, you probably won’t need to cheat and use the oven …

My girl and I both loved the cornbread. She had a big wedge of it and polished it right off … along with her chicken, and ran off to play with her cat in the yard, leaving me on the patio with her big plate of crumbs for company.

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures.


Baked Strawberry Walnut Quinoa Bites

Baked Strawberry Quinoa Walnut Bites

I’ve been intrigued with the idea of baking with quinoa for a while now, so when I stumbled across this pretty muffin recipe from Poor Girl Eats Well, I really wanted to try it. They turned out a little differently what I expected, though, which is why I’m not calling them muffins. When I think of muffins, I think of something light, moist and cakey. These are not light and cakey. They are more dense, with a little crunch from the walnuts. I had my friend try them and she said they tasted like those fruit bars that you buy.

Anyway, they do have a lovely sweet vanilla taste, with juicy berries … and the quinoa adds a lot of fiber and protein, so that makes these little bites a really good breakfast … or a great snack to keep you going … especially before or after a workout.

Baked Strawberry Quinoa Walnut Bites

Baked Strawberry Walnut Quinoa Bites

Recipe from Poor Girl Eats Well. I made 6 larger “muffins” and about 20 mini-muffin-sized bites.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour (or quinoa flour, if you can find it)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (I actually used part strawberries, part blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, loosely chopped
  • several strawberries, thinly sliced (for the top)

Directions
1.  Preheat the oven to 375°.  Spray a muffin or mini-muffin tin with cooking spray or use muffin liners.  In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs, bananas & vanilla.  Mix in the dry ingredients, stirring together until everything is well blended.

2.  Add the quinoa and mix well.  Fold the chopped strawberries (and/or blueberries) into the batter.  Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.  Place one strawberry slice on top of each lil bite, and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

3.  Remove from oven and cool for a couple of minutes.  Remove the bites from the pan and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Baked Strawberry Quinoa Walnut Bites

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals and Trick or Treat Tuesdays.


Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

It’s a dreary, wet morning in South Dakota. Everything is very green and growing fast … I need to get out and pull weeds and tend my little garden. And I have some MORE grocery shopping to do … but first, I think we need a little color to brighten the day.  Just looking at these little toasts makes me happy.

This is a little fruit crostini I whipped up last week for a snack. I was very pleased with it overall, but I have to be honest with you, I didn’t like the french bread as the base for this little toast. I think it would be much better on blueberry bagels or maybe some sugar cookies or snickerdoodles? Something that goes better with the juicy fruit. But I do have to say the maple, ginger, and basil in the cream cheese is oooh so good. The fruit mixture is just perfect with the sweet creamy cheese. You could toss on some toasted nuts as well. I think that would be nice. I’m not sure why I left off the nuts … ah well, you get the idea.

If you are serving this at a party or get together (they’d be marvelous for a brunch, don’t you think?), rather than making them all up like this, you could also serve the bagels with the cream cheese and bowl of fruit on the side and let the guests do the work of putting them together. But if you’re making them for a big crowd, you’ll need to double or triple the recipe …

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • Blueberry bagels (or other fruity bagels), sliced & toasted (or sugar cookies or snickerdoodles … just please, don’t use French Bread like I did …)
  • 3 cups mixed fruit, chopped into little pieces (I used honeydew melon, blueberries, pineapple, and strawberries)
  • A few fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • Toasted nuts, if you like. I think walnuts or pecans would be nice on these …

Mix the maple syrup, ginger and basil together. Take 2 Tablespoons of the syrup mixture and mix it in with the cream cheese. Mix the rest in with the fruit.

Toast the bagels, spread with the sweet ginger basil cream cheese, and top with fruit. (If you’re using cookies, I suppose there’s no need for toasting …)  Garnish with fresh basil leaves and a few toasted nuts (if you’ve decided you want nuts).

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

P.S. You might notice I added a watermark to my images … I will be doing that from now on, just because, well, they are my images and I work hard on them. I really love it when people share my pictures and recipes, but I don’t like it when people post my words and/or pictures as if they had taken / written them. If you like my photos or recipes, please share, but just mention that it’s from  Sumptuous Spoonfuls and give me a link back to my blog, okay? Thanks for understanding …

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsScrumptious SundaysWeekend Potluck, Moosewood Monday, Tuesday Talent Show and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Italian Garlic Pizza Crusts

Boboli Style Pizza Crust

This is another one of those recipes I’ve been making for years. It’s a Boboli-style pizza crust that is delicious plain … or topped with just about anything you like to put on a pizza. My son loves to eat this garlicky Italian “flatbread” plain, with no toppings. Sometimes my daughter and I will slice one into wedges and dip it in olive oil. I like to have a few in the freezer ready to top whenever we need a quick meal. This time I made them for my daughter’s birthday party. We thought the girls would enjoy making their own pizzas. It was a great hit, and so fun to see what each girl put on her pizza. One girl took a big sniff of the crust, exclaimed she could eat a whole one just like this, and took a few bites out of it before she put the toppings on her pizza. It was really cute.

Here’s the party setup with all the toppings set out. There’s just one problem with this setup: not enough meat. I use so many vegies on my pizzas and just a tiny bit of meat, I forget how much meat other people like on their pizza. We ran out of sausage and pepperoni. (Luckily I had some more in the freezer!)

Pizza Party

Italian Garlic (Boboli-Style) Pizza Crust

Adapted from Food.com. Makes 3 normal-size crusts or 6 individual-size crusts.

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water (plus extra if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Put the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. (It doesn’t have to be in exact order, just make sure to bury the garlic under the flour.)
  2. Put the bread machine on the dough setting and press start. A few minutes after starting, check the dough. If it’s not sticking together properly, add a little extra water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to form into a ball.
  3. When the dough cycle is complete, divide the dough into several equal parts. I’m making individual crusts for a teenage birthday party, so I divided mine into 6 parts. This makes a pretty good-sized individual crust. For smaller ones, divide into 8 pieces. For normal-sized pizza, divide into 3 parts.
  4. Shape each piece of dough into a disc shape, cover and let rest for a few minutes.
  5. One at a time (keeping the rest of the pieces covered) on a clean surface dusted with cornmeal, with a rolling pin, roll each piece of the dough into a circle. Mine turned out to be about 8 inches in diameter.
  6. If you have a pizza stone, set each round on a flat surface dusted with cornmeal that will allow you to easily slide the crust onto the stone. I used the back of my cookie sheets and a couple cutting boards. If not, put the pizza crusts on cookie sheets or pizza pans. Spray the crusts with cooking spray, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until the crusts are as thick as you want them. I wasn’t sure how thick the girls would want their crusts so I went for a medium rise; I think it took about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425, prick the crusts with a fork to keep them from puffing up in awkward spots, and bake until the crusts are golden brown. You can put these crusts in a bag and freeze them for future meals. They will keep well for a month or two.

Boboli Style Pizza Crust

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Thursday’s Treasures, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bread Bloghop.


Double Chocolate Banana-Berry Bites

Double Chocolate Banana Berry Bites

This is my favorite banana bread recipe, chocolatized. With strawberries. My daughter didn’t want me to go there. But the chocolate fiend in me just couldn’t help it. I was so intrigued with making a chocolate strawberry muffin-ette … I just HAD to have them.

Double Chocolate Banana Berry Bites

I made my daughter some of our regular chocolate chip banana bread so she would be happy too. She wants to use the berries in crepes. I wonder if they’ll last that long … I’m guessing not … strawberries don’t last very long at our house.

Double Chocolate Banana Berry Bites

Double Chocolate Banana-Berry Bites

Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 3 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vanilla non-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (add more or less, depending on how chocolatey you want your muffin-ettes)
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup quality chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet)
  • Strawberries, cleaned, tops cut off and halved or quartered
  • Raw sugar, for sprinkling the tops
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the bananas, sugar, yogurt, canola oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is thoroughly mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips, reserving a few for the tops of your little muffin-lings. If you want, you could add some chunks of strawberry to the batter.
  4. Spoon the batter into mini-muffin pans coated with cooking spray. Top each muffin with a berry piece, sprinkle whatever batter is still “exposed” with a bit of raw sugar, and add a couple chocolate chips.
  5. Bake at 325° until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 – 25 minutes.

Double Chocolate Banana Berry Bites

(And oh by the way, if you want some dang good banana bread that’s NOT chocolatized or berrified, just leave out the cocoa powder and the strawberries and bake in a 9×5 inch bread loaf pan for about 1 hr 15 min.)

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This post was also shared at Thursday’s TreasuresWeekend Potluck, Everyday Mom’s Meals, Trick or Treat Tuesdays and  Totally Tasty Tuesdays and A Crafty Cook’s April Link Party.


Smoky Stuffed Pepperoni Pull Apart Rolls

Post #3 of 5 in my Five Favorite Things for my Five Thousand Foodie Friends series …

Smoky Pepperoni Cheese Stuffed Pull Apart Rolls

#1 was salad. #2 was dip. #3 is BREAD! You might have noticed if you’ve hung around this blog very much that I adore making bread. There’s no better smell in a home than a loaf of fresh bread in the oven …

This time I wanted to stuff some pull apart rolls with pepperoni, but I wanted something kinda different to compliment the pepperoni. So I made up a smoky cheese mixture to compliment the pepperoni. I was SO excited once the idea came to me. It’s got three kinds of cheese, some smoked paprika and basil.

I think baking bread for me is sometimes kind of like art: you have a picture in your mind of what you want it to be, but once you begin making it, it takes on a life of its own. That is exactly what happened here. I had a vague notion, but I didn’t really know what I was going to put in the bread when I walked into the kitchen.

If you wanted to make these meatless, try mixing a steamed vegetable with the smoky cheese mixture. I think broccoli would be nice, or maybe asparagus?

Smoky Pepperoni & Cheese Stuffed Pull Apart Rolls

Smoky Stuffed Pepperoni Pull Apart Rolls

Dough ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

Smoky cheese filling ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • A small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped (about 2 Tablespoons)

You’ll also need:

  • 12 thin pepperoni slices
  • 1 egg white (for brushing the tops)
  • Sesame or poppy seeds (for the top, if desired)

Put all the dough ingredients into a bread machine and set it on the dough setting. When the dough is ready, roll it out on a clean surface dusted with flour as thin as you can manage without tearing the dough. Cut the dough into circles with a biscuit cutter or a glass or cookie cutter. It doesn’t even have to be round: you can just cut squares with a knife.

Take a piece of the dough and place a slice of pepperoni on it, then top with a small ball of the smoky cheese mixture.

Place a piece of pepperoni on the dough and top with a half spoonful of the cheese mixture.

Place a piece of pepperoni on the dough an top with a small ball of the smoky cheese mixture

Pinch up the sides of the dough, like this:

Smoky Pepperoni & Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

Then pinch together the other sides to seal in the filling:

Smoky Pepperoni & Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

Place the little balls of dough pinched side down in a muffin pan sprayed with cooking spray. You should have enough filling to make 12 “muffins”, but you may have some extra bread dough left at the end. You can make that into some plain rolls or a little loaf of bread.

Smoky Pepperoni & Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

Spray the dough with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel, and let the pan rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or so or till your little rolls are nice and puffy.

Bake rolls at 350 for about 20 – 25 minutes or until a deep golden brown color on top. Serve hot. If there are any leftovers, keep them in the fridge and re-warm in the microwave.

Smoky Pepperoni & Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

This recipe was shared at Full Plate ThursdaysWeekend PotluckFabulous Fridays, and Strut your Stuff Saturdays.


Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Peasant Bread

Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Bread

Is that bread … green? Yes. Yes, it is. I know it might look a little odd, but I wanted to try making a green bread for St. Patrick’s Day. Well, the color of the bread after it’s cooked isn’t quite as bright green as I might like, but it is still green. More importantly, it’s delicious. I ate about half of one of the loaves last night by myself. The slight crunch of the sunflowers with the subtle cheese and spinach taste play together so marvelously in this bread. I think this would be the perfect bread for garlic toast, bruschetta, sandwiches, toasted or just plain (like I was eating it last night). It’s tasty enough to munch on with no butter or anything added at all.

Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Bread

You could make this bread really fancy pretty by making the spinach-cheese into a swirl in the bread instead of incorporating the spinach right into the dough, like I did with my French Bread with Basil & Gruyere.

Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Peasant Bread

Inspired by Ally’s Kitchen’s Buttermilk Cranberry Walnut Bread. If you don’t have a bread machine, see Ally’s recipe.

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed, with the extra liquid squeezed out, and then chopped fine … reserve any liquid to use as “water”
  • 1/4 cup water (or spinach juice)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • 3 cups bread flour (add a little more if needed)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds

Dump all the ingredients except the sunflower seeds into your bread machine and start it on the dough cycle. Check the dough a few minutes after you start it while it’s “processing” to see if the dough is sticking together properly and making a nice ball of dough. If it seems like there is too much flour, add a bit of water. If it seems like the dough is too sticky, add some bread flour.

About 25 minutes into the dough cycle (when it is near to done), throw in the sunflower seeds. I actually tossed mine in after the dough cycle was done and then I had to go back and knead them in myself.  I think it would be easier to toss them in just a bit earlier, so the bread machine doesn’t break them to bits, but incorporates the seeds into the dough.

Cut the dough in two and shape it as you like. I shaped half of the dough into a round loaf and the other half into a long, skinny french-bread-style loaf. They both turned out to be pretty big … I was kind of amazed to get that much bread from just 4 cups of flour.

Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This only took about 30 – 45 minutes for me.

Bake at 375 for 35 – 50 minutes or until the top is browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove from oven and let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes before cutting with a good bread knife. I like to spray my loaves with cooking spray to soften the crust and make it all pretty and shiny, but if you want a chewier crust, don’t do that.

Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Bread

Here’s my big old round loaf. I’m going to freeze it and take it along when I visit my sister this weekend. I think she’s gonna love it.

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This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

I was having a serious chocolate craving and nothing I had on hand was going to cut it. I was tempted to make something like a chocolate pudding cake until I saw this recipe from Rock Recipes for Chocolate Pecan Banana Bread. I couldn’t help but fiddle with the recipe, though. I reduced the fat, increased the amount of cocoa, reduced the sugar and then added honey and Nutella and substituted hazelnuts for the pecans (to go with the Nutella!).

It was just what I needed to satisfy that intense chocolate craving. Yes this is DARK, decadent chocolate. My favorite. Mmmm.

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Adapted from Rock Recipes

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons applesauce
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Extras:

  • 1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Raw sugar, extra chocolate chips, and/or toasted chopped nuts (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
  4. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with raw sugar, toasted chopped nuts, and chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMidnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTuesday Talent Shows, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bread Bloghop.


Sunshine Surprise Muffins

Sunshine Surprise Muffins! Orange & Kumquat with a Cream Cheese Filling

These little lovelies are like sunshine in a muffin! With a surprise creamy filling.

They are from my friend Mia … everything she makes is tempting … I would love to go live with that lady! She is so amazing. Ally and I are fighting over who gets Mia’s spare room.

When Mia posted these Orange Marmalade Cream Cheese Muffins, I knew I had to make them. Only problem is that I have no oranges, or orange juice, or orange marmalade for that matter. BUT I have kumquats, and some very thick kumquat syrup that’s very much like marmalade and some orange pineapple juice and orange liqueur. I think this’ll work …

Sunshine Surprise Muffins! Orange & Kumquat with a Cream Cheese Filling

Sunshine Suprise Muffins (a.k.a., Kumquat Marmalade Muffins with Cream Cheese filling)

Slightly Adapted from Mia’s Domain

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 large kumquat, chopped fine, seeds removed (or 2 tablespoons orange zest)
  • 1/3 cup pineapple orange juice (or orange juice)
  • 1/3 cup orange liqueur (or orange juice)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons kumquat or orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Other ingredients:

  • 12 1-inch cubes of light cream cheese, cold (mine were more like blobs and I’m not sure they were 1-inch)
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade (for glaze)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients together till they’re well mixed.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and fold to combine, just until moistened. Be careful not to over-mix the batter.
  4. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners or spray with cooking spray. Fill muffin cups 1/4 full, plop the cream cheese cube into the center, then top the cream cheese with additional batter.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until muffins are baked and golden in color. Remove from oven and glaze with orange marmalade.
I recommend eating them with a fork. If you eat them with your fingers like this, your fingers get all sticky. If you happen to be trying to take pictures at the same time, your camera gets all sticky … um, yeah. Cleaning off my camera now …

Sunshine Surprise Muffins! Orange & Kumquat with a Cream Cheese Filling

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayTastetastic/It’s a Keeper ThursdaysWeekend Potluck, and Katherine Martinelli’s Citrus Bloghop.


Sunflower Rosemary Flatbread / Pizza Crust

Rosemary Sunflower Pizza Crust

Over the weekend, I was looking around for a new pizza crust recipe and I stumbled across this handsome one. The thing that initially attracted me to him was the beer. It’s hard for me to resist a good beer … mmm … a nice nut brown ale. I was a little disappointed there wasn’t much left for me to drink. But I got over it soon enough. I mean, how could you stay mad at something that looks and smells (and tastes!) this good?

Sunflower Rosemary Flatbread

Sunflower Rosemary Flatbread (or Pizza Crust)

Adapted from Allrecipes.com. You can eat this as a flatbread or use it for pizza crust. I cut the dough into four pieces to make smaller flatbreads I could freeze, then pull out for fast meals when I’m in a hurry. It’s so easy to whip up a funky pizza on the spot when you have a good flatbread in the freezer.

  • 1 cup beer (I used Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Ale)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients except the sunflower seeds in the bread machine and start it on the dough setting.
  2. About 30 minutes into the cycle, when the machine beeps at you to add the “extra” ingredients, throw in the sunflower seeds. If you forget, don’t worry. Just knead them in just before you roll out the dough.
  3. When the dough is ready, take it out and cut it into the desired number of flatbreads you want. I did four, which made for nice individual-sized pizza crusts. If you want bigger pizza crusts, cut it into two pieces. Shape each piece into a disc. Cover the dough and let it rest for 5- 10 minutes.
  4. Flatten each disc with your hands to make a slightly larger disc. Cover and let rest another 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and put your pizza stone in to get good and hot (if you have one … if you don’t,  you can bake your flatbreads on a baking or pizza pan).
  5. Dust your rolling surface with cornmeal, and use a rolling pin to roll each disc into a flat circle about 1/4 inch thick. Set each flatbread on a cornmeal-dusted pan or pizza peel once it is rolled out. At this point, you have a choice. If you want thick, fluffy flatbreads, spray the dough with cooking spray, cover with a clean dry kitchen towel and let the dough rise until it is the desired thickness. Or, for a thin crust, start cooking them as soon as they are rolled out. I made mine on the thin side, although by the time I got the fourth one in the oven, it was getting a little on the thick side.
  6. Slide one crust at a time onto your hot pizza stone in the oven and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown color.  If they start to get puffy spots while they’re cooking, poke them with a fork to burst the bubbles.
  7. You can eat these as flatbread, with olive oil or a pizza sauce for dipping, or top them with your favorite pizza toppings. I used one for a potato pizza and froze these three for later. You’ll be seeing them again soon, I’m sure.

Sunflower Rosemary Flatbread

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.


Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

There’s something so comforting and homey about baking bread. Every once in a while I like to make an old-fashioned bread, something like my grandmother might have made when I was a little girl. Memories of her house are so full of the scent of homemade bread. Gram (as we called her) was always baking bread, buns, or pie. Of course she did it all by hand. This little wooden cutting board is one of the things I was lucky enough to inherit from Gram, along with a LOT of bread pans, including a bunch of adorable mini-bread pans that my daughter and I both love, and some regular-sized loaf pans too. In fact, I think it was one of her loaf pans that I used for baking this bread.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal (the recipe calls for the old-fashioned rolled oats, but I used the quick-cooking oatmeal and it worked fine)
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk + a little extra

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program machine for the dough cycle, and press Start. About 10 minutes into the cycle, check the dough and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or milk–I had to add a little more milk. It should be holding together well and forming a nice ball of supple dough.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it’s crested 1″ to 2″ over the rim of the pan.
  3. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F or the dough sounds “hollow” when you thump the top of it. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking. I didn’t need to tent it. The color came out a beautiful golden brown.

If you don’t have a bread machine, see King Arthur’s site for traditional instructions.

I used one of my new favorite bread spreads on my first slice of honey oatmeal bread … a mixture of light cream cheese and a bit of kumquat syrup. My son came home from his dad’s house today and the first thing he wanted was two slices of bread, toasted, with peanut butter and grape jelly. And a big glass of milk. He was happy I had some bread made when he got home. I’m happy he’s decided it’s okay to eat mom’s homemade bread.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Full Plate Thursdays,  Tastetastic Thursdays, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Some days I feel overwhelmed … and I wonder why. I mean, things are so much easier now than they were just a couple years ago. I listen to my friends’ problems and I feel like I have it so easy. I’m really okay. There aren’t any big tragedies in my life. My kids and I are healthy, I have a good job, a good home, good food, great friends and family.

But still some days everything in my life feels like just too much. I don’t know what it is. There just is too much to be done, too many things pulling at me, and I get to the point where I just don’t know how to respond, how to deal with anything. I can’t make a decision, I can’t even answer my kids’ questions. I just have to tell them to wait a bit. It’s times like this when I turn to the kitchen … the preparation of food soothes me, comforts me, makes things feel a little better.

And then I get a big hug from my daughter for making banana bread and everything is all right again. Is life really that simple? Can everything be turned around in an instant with one little hug?

Amazingly, yes.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Adapted from Taste & Tell. This is a soft, moist banana bread with a subtle hint of peanut butter. For more peanut flavor, add some chopped peanuts. If you toast the nuts before adding them, it will bring out the peanut flavor even more.

  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • For the top: a couple tablespoons of raw sugar (turbinado sugar)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan or mini loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Mash the bananas in a large bowl, then add the milk, peanut butter, vanilla, yogurt and egg and mix well.
  3. Stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into one 4x5x9 inch bread pan or a few smaller loaf pans (I used 3 smaller ones.)
  5. Sprinkle the tops of the batter with raw sugar and place in the oven to bake.
  6. Bake smaller loaves for 30 – 45 minutes or larger loaf for 50 – 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread rest in the pan for a few minutes before removing.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s TreasuresFull Plate ThursdayFit & Fabulous Fridays, and Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.


Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

The magic of this bread is it has these teeny tiny little speckles of pepperoni and an underlying hint of cheesiness to it, but the flavors are very subtle, so you have this soft savory bread with just a hint of this extra flavor and (if you don’t tell them ahead of time) people can’t quite identify what it is. It’s a perfect bread for that grilled cheese sandwich … or an egg in a hole … or toasted alongside your favorite soup or pasta dish or a big cheesy omelet. You can use it to make cheesy garlic toast or even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

The bread machine does pretty much all of the work here, so it’s a cinch to make too.

Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

Adapted from Food.com. (If you don’t have a bread machine, consult the original recipe for instructions. )

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sliced and finely chopped pepperoni (in about 1/4 inch pieces … the bread machine will “cut” it into speckles for you)
  • ½ cup finely grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups water

Directions:

  1. Toss all the ingredients in a bread machine and set it on the dough cycle. You can bake it in the bread machine if you want, but I like the shape of the loaf better when it’s baked in a loaf pan.
  2. When the dough is done, take it out and shape it into an oval shape. Set it in a standard bread pan that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  4. Bake at 375 for about 35 – 40 minutes or until the top is a deep golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.
  5. Remove the bread from the pan, spray it with cooking spray (softens the crust and makes it all pretty and shiny) and place the bread on a rack to rest for 5 to 10 minutes (if you can stand to wait that long). That’s the hardest part … the waiting … when your house is full of that delicious fresh bread aroma and your mouth is watering …

Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdaysThursday’s Treasures, It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, and Weekend Potluck.


Hoppin’ Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

I love the round shape of this bread and the lovely brown color, the heat of the hot pepper, and the oozing cheese … and how quick and simple it was to make.

I really love the idea of adding the cheese in hunks to the bread instead of shredding it because then you hit spots of melted cheese in your bread if you eat it hot out of the oven. Some of the cheese slips out the side a bit while the bread is baking, too, and makes a little cheesey crust at the bottom edge of the bread too that I just loved.

Choose a beer that you like because even with the hot peppers and the cheese, the taste of the beer does shine through.  I chose a Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown beer for this bread. I wish they would make this beer year-round because it’s a smooth nutty brown beer that I really love the taste of. You might think this odd, but I like a nut brown ale when I want a lighter beer. I didn’t get to drink any of this beer, though, because the recipe calls for the entire bottle. Good thing it’s early in the morning or I might have had to be sad!

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Hoppin’ Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Slightly adapted from The Carolina Sauce Company

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tablespoons to 1/2 cup finely chopped jalapenos or other hot pepper of your choice (I used 1/2 cup but adjust the amount according to what your taste buds can handle)
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 12-oz bottle beer
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing on top of the bread

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the cheese and chopped chiles, then pour in the beer and stir until just combined (the dough will be somewhat stiff and dry-looking).
  4. Turn dough onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for several turns, then shape the bread into a nice ball shape.
  5. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush the top with the beaten egg.
  6. Bake at 375° F for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Test the bread for done-ness with a knife or toothpick … if it comes out clean, it’s ALMOST done. Bake for about 5 minutes longer, then take it out and enjoy! (They say to let it rest a few minutes, but I cut it right away and it was just fine.)

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Game Day Blog Hop{Fusion Friday}, Weekend PotluckTrick or Treat Tuesdays and Talent Show Tuesdays.


Kumquat Basil Walnut Quick Bread

Kumquat Basil Walnut Tea Bread

This is another great find in my quest for kumquat recipes … I had already tried a yeasted bread, but then also I wanted to try a quickbread. This one turned out so yummy it’s almost gone already. My friend came over last night because she wants help with setting up a food blog and she brought along her little boy who is just a toddler. We were looking for a little snack to feed him and this bread was right there. I cut him a slice, which he scarfed down immediately. As we were distracted on the computer, he went over and grabbed my glass loaf pan off the counter and came walking towards us saying “Toast!” … it was so cute! (aside from the fact that I totally panicked that he would drop the pan and it would shatter and hurt the little guy) … so yes, he got another slice. And so did his mom.

I think I am going to have to make another loaf of this “toast” … I just love the pretty orange specks of color in it, the tang of the citrus, and the crunch of the toasted walnuts.

Kumquat Basil Walnut Quick Bread

Kumquat Basil Walnut Quick Bread

Adapted from Kumquat Growers.

I wanted to add some spices to the basic recipe and was having a hard time deciding which spices I wanted … I opted for fresh basil just for something different, and I like the subtle hint of basil, but I am thinking next time I will try switching out the basil for some ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of cardamom, some vanilla and maybe some cloves.

  • 2/3 cup 1 % or skim milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup pureed kumquats
  • A small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (or pureed with the kumquats)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • About 1 Tablespoon raw sugar for the top

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs and oil.
  2. Add the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.
  3. Fold in the pureed kumquats, basil and nuts.
  4. Pour the batter into a  8″ x 4″ x 2″ loaf pan and sprinkle the top with raw sugar.
  5. Bake in a greased in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean. (I had to cook it for about 15 – 20 minutes longer than that.)
  6. Cool and remove from pan.

Kumquat Basil Walnut Quickbread

This recipe was shared at Crazy Sweet TuesdayCast Party Wednesday, and These Chicks Cooked.


Citruslove: Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

I was searching the internet looking for interesting recipes to make with my kumquats … when I found this recipe for Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread. When I read the ingredients and his description of it, I was totally entranced. This is what Chef Ron Oliver says about the bread:

“This is a yeast-leavened cornbread – more of an artisanal bread than your typical quick cornbread that is leavened with baking powder. The addition of olive oil is a signature of Portuguese cornbreads, and the kumquats, which grow abundantly in Central Portugal add a nice touch of fruitiness to complement the fruity olive oil.”

So really this bread is not much like a cornbread. It’s soft and moist and almost orange-flavored, but not quite. There is just a slight crunch from the cornmeal, and lovely little flecks of orange color from the candied kumquats. I don’t know quite how to describe it other than to say it is an amazing taste sensation.

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

Adapted from Chef Ron Oliver

Makes 1 10-inch round bread

  • 3 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup candied kumquats (Recipe here … or use Kumquat Conserve), finely chopped (measure after chopped–I used my handi chopper and chopped them up till they were almost a puree)

Bread machine instructions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in the bread machine. Set the bread machine on the dough setting and start it up.
  2. When the dough is ready, pull it out and shape it to fit in a 9 or 10 inch round pan (Chef Oliver suggests a springform pan, but I used one of my pottery dishes.)
  3. Spray or brush with oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and let it rise for an hour or so until the dough is big and puffy.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour … if the bread is getting too dark brown during baking, cover it with foil. I covered mine after about 30 minutes of cooking.

If you don’t have a bread machine, see Chef Ron Oliver’s Instructions.

Chef Oliver suggests serving it with an Almond Parsley butter, but I decided it needed something creamy. So I took an ounce or so of light cream cheese mixed with a small spoonful of the kumquat syrup (from candying the kumquats) and that creamy sweet-citrus taste was absolutely heaven on this bread.

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

I had a hard time stopping myself from inhaling the whole loaf. And it’s a BIG loaf. I managed to stop myself after two good-size wedges … and now I’m imagining the sandwich I am going to make with this flippin’ amazing kumquat bread tomorrow.

This recipe was shared at CitrusloveNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Tastetastic Thursdays, It’s a Keeper ThursdaysMidnight Maniac Meatless Mondays and  Katherine Martinelli’s Citrus Bloghop.

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Click here to view all the other lovely citruslove recipes …


French Bread with Gruyere Cheese and Fresh Basil

French Bread with Gruyere Cheese and Fresh Basil

This beautiful part-whole-wheat bread has a soft texture, with a subtle flavor hint of cheese, basil, and sesame.

French Bread with Gruyere Cheese and Fresh Basil
Adapted from Taste and Tell who got it from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, who got it from The Sister’s Cafe

Makes 1 beautiful long loaf

Dough ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
For the “filling”:
  • About 1/2 cup finely shredded gruyere cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
For the top of the loaf:
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Sesame seeds and coarse sea salt (for sprinkling on top, optional)

Put all the dough ingredients into a bread machine and set it on the dough setting. Once the dough is ready, roll the dough out on a clean floured surface to a large rectangle roughly about 9 x 13 inches in size. Sprinkle the bread with the cheese and basil. I wanted a very subtle flavor, so I didn’t use much cheese or basil … you could definitely add more cheese and/or herbs if you like.

French Bread with Gruyere Cheese and Fresh Basil

Roll the loaf lengthwise and tuck under the ends.

French Bread with Gruyere Cheese and Fresh Basil

Arrange the loaf on a long flat pan with the seam side down, spray with cooking spray, then cover and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or so.

Brush the loaf with egg white and dust with sesame seeds and sea salt (if desired).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 – 30 minutes or until the bread is a rich golden brown color. Spray with cooking spray immediately, then let the bread sit for 5 – 10 minutes after baking before cutting.

French Bread with Gruyere Cheese and Fresh Basil

If you don’t happen to have a bread machine, see Taste and Tell’s blog for traditional instructions. In absence of a mixer, try this:

Use warm water. Dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm (lukewarm, not hot) water. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes until it bubbles. Then add salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and beat well until it is fully mixed. Add in more flour until the dough sticks together well and makes an elastic ball of dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead the dough by hand for a few minutes.

Cover the dough and leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes, then punch it down by kneading it a couple rounds. Allow to rest another 10-20 minutes. Then turn dough onto a floured surface an with a rolling pin, roll into a 9×13 rectangle. Roll dough up, starting from long edge of loaf to seal. Arrange seam side down on large baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with corn meal or sprayed with cooking spray. Spray the top of the loaf with cooking spray. Cover lightly; allow to rise about 45 minutes. Brush entire surface with egg wash (one egg beaten slightly with 1 Tbsp of water). If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds and coarse sea salt. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

This recipe was shared on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Wonka Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursdays, Tastetastic Thursdays, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bread Bloghop.


Sweet & Savory Stuffed Holiday Wreaths

Holiday Apple and Cranberry Stuffed Bread Wreath

These pretty wreaths of bread were haunting me last night … I just had to make bread wreaths for our lunch today.

Sweet and Savory Stuffed Holiday Wreaths

Dough recipe from Simply Gourmet Photography who found it on allrecipes.com (submitted by Linda Wilson)

Wreath-shaping instructions from Discovering Sourdough

Dough Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Fillings: ham and shredded cheese, sweet apple-cranberry stuffing

Directions:

Put all dough ingredients in a bread machine and set on the dough cycle. (If you don’t have a bread machine, Simply Gourmet Photography has instructions for making them by hand.) When the dough is done, cut it in half. Roll each half into a large circle.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath

Slide the dough circle onto a large baking sheet or pizza pan sprayed with cooking spray. Mark a circle in the center of the circle with a small bowl, but do not cut through the dough.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: mark a circle in the dough

Cut the star-shape in the center of the dough circle like this:

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: cut a "star" in the middle of the dough

Now, put your stuffing in a ring around the dough. For this one, I used a bunch of chopped cooked ham and shredded sharp cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I was trying to make a simple filling that my kids would eat … I would have liked to add onion and chopped bell pepper and perhaps even a nice spicy mustard sauce under the ham, but I kept it simple for the kids.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: add the filling

Now, fold in the outer edge over the filling:

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: fold over the edges of the dough over the filling

and then take the points of the “star” and pull them to the edge. Tuck the ends underneath the edge to hold them in place.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: pull the points of the "star" out to the edge and tuck the ends of the dough underneath

My daughter helped with this part:

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: fold over the edges of the dough over the filling

The other one we stuffed with apple cranberry stuffing and toasted walnuts. I think it would be better with a little caramel sauce under the apple cranberry stuffing.

Apple & cranberry stuffed breath wreath

Let the loaves rise in a warm place for about an hour or until they are good and puffy, then bake at 400F for 20 minutes covered with a piece of aluminum foil. Take the foil off after 20 minutes and then bake another 5 – 10 minutes.

Sweet Apple Cranberry Stuffing

  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • About 2 cups of peeled chopped apples
  • 1 Tablespoon mixed berry  jam
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, halved
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for 5 – 10 minutes over medium high heat until the apples are crisp-tender.

We had the ham-and-cheese stuffed wreath for lunch, with the apple-cranberry one for dessert.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysWonka Wednesdays and Full Plate Thursdays.


Thanksgiving Aftermath & Parmesan Cornmeal Biscuits

Our Thanksgiving Table

We had a festive Thanksgiving this year.  The table was all decked out with autumn colors, pumpkins and leaves. My dad and sister cooked up one of his wild turkeys. Of course we had all the fixings too: stuffing and mashed potatoes, beer-braised brussels sprouts with bacon, mashed vanilla sweet potatoes, maple walnut cranberry sauce, a big beautiful salad with tahini yogurt dressing, dinner rolls, and lots of wine and pie.

The next day I had to work, but I am fortunate that my boss lets me work from my parents’ house. We munched a lot that day. I had pie and chai tea for breakfast. We didn’t really have lunch–we just munched on leftovers and things. My sister made turkey nachos. I spooned some of the cranberry sauce over a block of cream cheese.

Cream Cheese and Cranberries with Crackers

We discovered yes, it is even better with a slice of jalapeno.

Cream Cheese and Cranberries with Crackers & Jalapenos

… and then for dinner, my sister made turkey soup with homemade noodles, and I made up some of my parmesan cornmeal biscuits. My boss called while I was mixing up the biscuits, and I forgot to put in the egg. I was so disappointed–I have made these biscuits so many times and they should be light and tender, with a beautiful contrasting crunch from the cornmeal. I was arguing with everyone that the biscuits sucked because I know how they are supposed to taste, but everyone else insisted that they were great. They were okay I guess … just promise me when you make them that you won’t forget to put in the egg. Even if it’s the day after Thanksgiving, there are people and dogs everywhere, and your boss calls while you’re mixing up the batter.

Parmesan Cornmeal Biscuits

Parmesan Cornmeal Biscuits

I made half with jalapenos, half without. The adults all loved the jalapeno version, but my kids wanted the “plain” ones. Try other cheeses in place of the parmesan.

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons chilled butter
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt
  • Finely chopped jalapenos or green chile (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix first 7 ingredients (flour through baking soda) in a large bowl.
  3. Cut butter into small bits and mix in with a pastry cutter, 2 knives or use your fingers to blend until butter is blended in and mixture is a coarse meal. I like to use my fingers because I love the feel of the crumbly flour and butter on my hands.
  4. Add parmesan cheese and mix until blended.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk egg and yogurt until smooth.
  6. Add the egg/yogurt mixture to flour mixture. Stir well to mix into a moist, thick batter.
  7. Turn the batter onto a well-floured surface and sprinkle with flour.
  8. Roll to 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and cut into shapes.
  9. Bake at 400 for 15 – 20 minutes or until nicely browned on top.

Parmesan Cornmeal Biscuits


Soft and Fluffy Do-Ahead Dinner Rolls

Soft Fluffy Sweet Dinner Rolls you can Make Ahead of Time

My sister found this dinner roll recipe. I have no idea where she got it. She thought we ought to make it for the holidays one year. So we tried it, and they are just lovely. Buttery, slightly sweet, soft and fluffy: the perfect dinner roll. The nicest part is you can do all the “hard” work ahead of time, then pull them out and just let them rise and bake up fresh on the day of the big feast!

Thanksgiving dinner can be such a rush, it’s nice to have a few things you can make ahead of time that you don’t have to mess with too much on Thanksgiving.

We often make these at times when we don’t have a feast planned–we make just the rolls or maybe one or two other things. My kids will eat and eat and eat them. There aren’t that many things we all agree on when it comes to food, but these rolls are true common ground for my family.

Dinner Rolls from Heaven :)

Soft and Fluffy Do-Ahead Dinner Rolls

Her original recipe was slightly different … I can never follow a recipe … I cut the butter in half and I substituted some whole wheat flour for part of the bread flour. The amazing thing is the rolls stay nice and fluffy even with the whole wheat flour!

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want your rolls)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast

Put the ingredients in the order listed into a bread machine and put it on the dough setting.

Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan with cooking spray.

When the dough is done, pull it out of the bread machine. Shape pieces of dough into nice balls by pulling the top of the dough down with two fingers and pinching it underneath. It really takes two hands to do this effectively so I had a hard time taking a picture of this part of the process … try to make the balls roughly the same size.

Making the dough into balls

Place the balls into the baking pan allowing a good amount of space around each one so it has space to rise. I couldn’t fit all my dough balls into this pan. I got out a small casserole pan to bake the rest in.

Dinner Rolls in their Pan

Now you have two options: you can let the dough rise and bake it today … or you can cover the pan and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 4 days. I have a nice cover for my 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan so it was quite easy for me to just put the cover on and stick it in the fridge.

On the day you want to eat your rolls, take the rolls and put them in a warm place to rise until they are big and puffy. Rising time will vary depending on how warm your “warm place” is … anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  (You might notice the lighting has changed … yes, it’s dark out and a day later and I’m ready to bake my dinner rolls now!)

Big and Poofy All Ready to Bake

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 – 20 minutes. If they seem to be getting too dark too fast, cover them with aluminum foil for part of the cooking process. Uncover in the last few minutes to let them brown.

Spray the lovely rolls with cooking spray to soften the tops before serving to your hungry crowd.

If you have any leftovers, these rolls are awesome for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Look at the lovely soft texture of these rolls!

The Lovely Texture of these Soft, Sweet Dinner Rolls


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