Monday, November 23, 2009

Gingerbread Coffee

I like coffee, and I like flavoured coffee, but only if it still tastes like coffee. This is a simple recipe to jazz up the morning java and deliciously Christmassy. I make it in my French press mug, as no one else in my house drinks coffee, but it could also be made drip style if you like.

Gingerbread Coffee
3 tbsp medium grind coffee
1 teaspoon molasses
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger)
2 cups boiling water
cream/milk to taste

Put coffee, molasses, and spices in French press. Cover with boiling water. Steep 5 minutes, enjoy with milk or cream to your liking.

Or: In drip coffee maker, place usual amount of grounds in basket. Top with spices (increase amount to make larger pot) and molasses. Brew and serve.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homemade Gift Round-Up

This is a little off-topic for the blog, but it's coming up to Christmas and I figure everyone can use some new ideas. The following is a list of anything I've come across and said "that's kind of neat". Lots of edibles, a bit of alcohol, a few "well duh" ideas you've seen before.

And so:

Personalized and Homemade Gift Ideas

photo calendar (pics of family events, like birthdays, anniversaries/weddings, etc.)

body scrubs

oreo truffles

salted caramels

espresso bark

photography cards

kid's book-on-cd or tape read by you (with book) (use Audacity )

chai tea mix (or mexican hot chocolate )

jalepeno jelly

wine jelly

chutney or salsa

homemade Kahlua or Limoncello or Skittles Vodka or Blood Orange Vodka or Coffee Infused Vodka

rosemary plants (get now, grow bigger)

homemade pasta sauces (canned or frozen?) w/ pasta

"best of" personal recipe book / Family cookbook

homemade dog treats

embroidered/stamped pillow cases or tea towels

homemade biscotti w/ small gourmet coffee

homemade greeting cards

beer bread mix

prepped scrapbook (ready for the recipient to just plop in photos)

cookie mix in a jar

cake in a mug (microwavable)

Seasoning mixes / Meat rubs

personalized stationery

vanilla sugar

caramel, chocolate and/or white chocolate popcorn

homemade pancake/waffle mix with syrup

Snuggie/ Slanket knock-off

Apple Butter (Crock pot recipe)

Lotion Bars

Bed Caddy

Silk Lavender Eye Pillows

Eyeglasses or Camera Case

Cupcakes in Mason Jars (suitable for mailing)

Felt Sphere Ornament

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Four Grain Honey Bread

Now, I know that you've probably never heard of the book Kneadlessly Simple, and it's not as sexy as Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, but it has some great recipes and makes some fine bread. It also doesn't have a waitlist in my library.

Four Grain Honey Bread (No-Knead) from Kneadlessly Simple
1 loaf
2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup corn meal (white or yellow)
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon instant, fast rising, or bread machine yeast
1/2 cup honey or corn syrup
1 1/4 cups ice water
Canola oil or corn oil to coat dough and pan

First rise:
In large bowl, mix flours, corn meal, oats, rice, salt, and yeast. In measuring cup, mix very cold water with honey/syrup. Stir the water into the flours - it will be very thick, but you won't need to use your hands. Mix well and thoroughly blend. Add water or white flour if needed to get a thick dough. Spray or brush top of dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. If desired, chill in fridge 3-10 hours, then let rise at cool room temperature for 12-18 hours. It works best to mix this up, set in the fridge until bed, and leave on the counter overnight.

Second rise: Stir the dough. Fold the dough using a spoon or spatula toward the middle of the bowl. Oil a 9 x 5 loaf pan, then sprinkle with a little cornmeal and oats. Turn the dough into the pan and spray/brush with oil again. Sprinkle a little cornmeal and oats on the top and press into the dough. Slice 4 or 5 diagonal lines into the loaf with a sharp knife. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise: 2-4 hours at room temperature, 1.5-2.5 hours in the microwave with a warm cup of water, or 4-24 hours in the fridge. Rise until the dough is 1/2" above the edge of the pan.

Bake: Preheat oven to 350*F. Bake 50-60 minutes. Tent with foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. If you have a fancy-pants instant read thermometer, it should read 207*-209*F. It really does take this long to bake - the moist dough takes a long time to get finished. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing. Keeps 2-3 days on the counter, or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Greek Feta Pasta

This one doesn't freeze, but it's so quick, easy, and delicious that I have to share it.

Greek Feta Pasta
Serves 4

4 cups pasta (bows, shells, penne, etc.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled or diced
1 cup diced tomato or quartered cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup sliced olives

1. Cook pasta as directed on package.
2. Pour oil into microwave-safe bowl or mug. Add garlic and oregano. Microwave 30 seconds on high to blend flavours. You can do this in a small frying pan on the stove, but the microwave is faster, easier, and less likely to burn.
3. When pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. Add everything else to it, stir. Eat. Enjoy.

This is a lovely one-dish meal. It's the kind of vegetarian that I don't miss the meat on.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pumpkin Waffles (now with pumpkin butter!)

Pumpkin Waffles
(Serves 2, multiply recipe for more servings)

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pumpkin butter
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspooon vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Stir until just barely mixed (overmixing leads to toughness).

Cook on waffle iron (or fry for pancakes). Serve with peanut butter and honey, or just butter and syrup. Leftovers freeze well for homemade toaster waffles.

1/2 cup pumpkin butter = 1/2 cup pumpkin puree + 2 tbsp brown sugar + 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cup flour = 3/4 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup all purpose flour