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Sourdough Starter February 16, 2012

Filed under: sourdough — meier1014 @ 10:07 pm

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I have jumped into the realm of homemade sourdough, which means maintaining a healthy sourdough starter. There are many different ways to obtain a sourdough starter, you can get some from someone you know (let me know if you want some), you can order it online, or you can make one from scratch. I went the “from scratch” root. I found a good recipe on Pinterest, yes I am obsessed, and jumped in with both feet.
I have always loved sourdough, it’s my favorite type of bread ever. There is nothing quite like the tangy flavor that a good sourdough has. Mmmmmmmmmm…….. But I was always a little intimidated by the idea of using and maintaining a starter. I thought it was going to be this huge prolonged process, that was going to take up all my time or it wouldn’t be worth it. Man, let me just tell you, I WAS SO WRONG! I keep kicking myself for not doing this sooner. No joke, my sourdough starter is the best invested time I have made in my kitchen for I can’t even tell you how long. If you have been wanting to do join the world of sourdough bakers, here’s your chance.

Sourdough Starter

What you’ll need to start out
2 cups of flour
2 cups of milk (I like to use whole milk, it makes the starter a bit thicker. You can use water, but like I said I like milk because it makes it thicker)
Medium mixing bowl (do not use metal)
Clean dish towel

Combine the flour and milk in the mixing bowl, cover with the towel and place in a warm spot. I put mine on top of my fridge, that way it was out of the way and I didn’t have to worry about my kids getting into it. You are now going to have to wait anywhere from 3-10 days until the starter is useable. During this waiting period you need to make sure to stir your new starter every day. Once it has a sour smell and small bubbles are rising to the top you have a useable and healthy, if still young, sourdough starter.

Once it’s ready
Now you are going to need to storage container for your starter. It needs to be at least 2 quarts in size (trust me on this, I used an old 1 quart yogurt container at first and it just wasn’t big enough), non-metal, with a loose fitting lid. This is what I now use:

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It’s a 64oz glass container that I got at Walmart for like $5 and it was totally worth it. Anyway. Once you transfer your starter from the mixing bowl to you container simply put it in the fridge.

Maintaining your starter
This is the part that I was originally scared of. I thought if I made a sourdough starter I’d be stuck baking sourdogh bread every other day… Nope, not the case. A sourdough starter that is kept in the fridge can go 7-10 days without being touched and stay perfectly healthy (mine usually doesn’t go that long becuase I am obsessed with sourdough…). Here is what you need to do to maintain your sourdough:
Simply replace the amount you use with equal amounts of flour and milk (eg. Use 1 cup, stir 1 cup flour and 1 cup milk into your starter), this is called feeding. I usually let mine sit out overnight after I feed it to get it going really well before I put it back in the fridge. If you don’t end up using your starter in 10 days simply throw out a cup and feed it as stated above.

FYI
-Liquid may rise to the top of the starter and that’s fine, even if it’s dark. Just give it a stir and you’re good to go.
-Try to keep at least 2 cups of starter on hand, most recipes call for at least 1 cup of starter and you need something left to feed or you will have to start all over.
-I usually try to take my starter out of the fridge, unless the recipe states otherwise, at least a couple hours before I use it. That way it has time to wake up and get bubbly.
-If a recipe calls for a “fed starter” simply take out half as much starter as the recipe calls for, feed it (and your starter of course), and let it sit in a warm spot for at least 4 hours. Then measure out however much the recipe calls for, returning whatever you don’t end up using to you starter container.
-The realm of sourdough does require you to plan ahead a it more, but trust me, it’s worth it.

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Crockpot Mexican Style shredded chicken February 13, 2012

Filed under: crockpot — meier1014 @ 10:59 am

I love mexican food! It’s delicious. Plain and simple. But we have two little kids and we’re usually pretty broke, so going out to eat isn’t typically an option. I found the recipe for the chicken a couple months ago, but it called for a packet of taco seasoning. I was pretty upset. We didn’t have any taco seasoning and I was CRAVING shredded chicken tacos. So after a little research, and using what we had, I created my own taco seasoning mix. I have to say, it’s better than the store bought stuff AND you can control the sodium content.
This recipe has so many possibilities. I have always simply made it for tacos, but we ALWAYS have leftovers. I have used it in a veggie salad, we use it on nachos, I am sure it would be amazing as chicken enchiladas. Heck, I used it as a tortilla chip “dip” while my Hubby was making the nachos (I was starving lol). The best part of this chicken really has to be the fact that I ALWAYS have the ingredients on hand, not to mention you’re house will smell amazing all day long! Ok, in to the recipe.

Crockpot Mexican Style Shredded Chicken

Ingredients
-1.5-2 lbs chicken breast (I put mine in straight from the freezer)
-1 recipe/packet taco seasoning
-1 cup salsa
-1 cup chicken broth/stock or water
-mexican style hot sauce, to taste (I used Tapatio)

Taco Seasoning:
-2 tsp chili powder (I found some hot mexican chili powder that was delicious!)
-1 1/2 tsp paprika
-1 1/2 tsp cumin
-1 tsp onion powder
-3/4 tsp garlic salt
-cayenne, to taste (we like it kinda spicy so I used approx a 1/2tsp)

Directions

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Place chicken in the crockpot and sprinkle taco seasoning over the top

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Add the salsa and the chicken broth

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Cover and cook on low for approx 8hrs or on high for approx 4hrs. You will know the chicken is done if it falls apart when you try to pick it up with a fork.

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Pull out some of the chicken and use 2 forks (or your hands, but it will be REALLY hot) to pull it apart. This should be really easy, I can usually just smash it with one of the forks and call it good. Return the chicken to the crockpot and repeat until it is all shredded up. Let the chicken sit in the crockpot, on low, until you’re ready to use it.

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It will be extra flavorful and juicy now. Use it whatever way you see fit.

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We chose tacos, and they were AMAZING!!!!!

 

Vegan Quinoa Chili February 8, 2012

Filed under: entrees,soups and stews — meier1014 @ 9:40 am

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I can’t believe I can post something on this blog that has the word VEGAN anywhere near it, let alone in the title!!! My friend Lizz would be so dang proud of me! I also can’t believe that I enjoy something vegan as much as I enjoyed this chili! I am usually not a meat free chili lover. Heck, I usually am not a meat free chili LIKER, but this stuff was amazing. The quinoa gives it a similar texture to chili with ground beef in it, without giving it that weird chewiness that cheap ground beef has. It was also a pretty cheap meal to make, which is ALWAYS a plus. So if you’re looking for something cheap, something healthy, and the ability to say you enjoyed something vegan, you need look no further.

Vegan Quinoa Chili
original recipe from two peas & their pod, slight modifications have been made

Ingredients
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 chopped tomatos
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tbs paprika
1 tbs smoked paprika (or 3tbs of normal paprika)
1 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1 tbs ground cumin
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions
Directions:
-In a medium sauce pan boil water
-Add quinoa, cover, and simmer until all the water is absorbed. Approx 15 mins
-In a large pot (I always use my cast iron dutch oven) heat the olive oil over high heat.
-Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
-Stir in garlic, jalapeƱo, carrot, celery, peppers, and zucchini. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
-Add the beans, all the tomatoes, and tomato sauce.
-Stir in the cooked quinoa.
-Season with both paprikas, cayenne, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
-Simmer chili on low for about 30 minutes. Serve warm

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World Class Meatloaf February 3, 2012

Filed under: entrees — meier1014 @ 9:17 am

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I love meatloaf. I know that sounds weird, but it’s just so delcious. It’s kind of like eating a giant slice of meatball, and the Italian in my blood just can’t say no to that!! I have been perfecting this meatloaf recipe for years. No joke. I’ve probably been working on it since junior year of high school, so around 8ish year. But I think I have FINALLY gotten it just right. I have heard many a time “This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had”, and I would have to agree. If you like meatloaf at all I would take the time to try this recipe. It’s amazing if I do say so myself.

World Class Meatloaf
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: approx 1hr

Ingredients
-1 egg; lightly beaten
-6oz V8 juice
-1/2c bread crumbs (I LOVE making bread crumbs from dill rye bread and using them in this. They give it AMAZING flavor)
-2tbs onion soup mix
-1/4c fresh shredded parmesan cheese
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-pinch of garlic powder
-1/2c chopped onion
-1/2c any color bell pepper (I use a combo of red and green)
-3/4lb ground beef (I usually use 80/20, the higher fat content helps hold it together)
-3/4lb ground italian sausage (don’t use sweet)
-bacon (usually 3-4 strips)
-ketchup
-BBQ sauce
-siracha sauce (or hot sauce of your choice)

Directions
-Preheat oven to 375
-In a large mixing bowl combine the egg, v8, bread crumbs, onion soup mix, parmesan, garlic, garlic powder, onion, and bell peppers
-Crumble in ground beef and italian sausage and season with salt and pepper
-Combine until all the ingredients have been worked together, set aside
-Now this next step is something I have worked out through trial and error. Take a broiling pan (You know, that rimmed pan with a flat “lid” that has slits in it), cover the top with foil, and use a knife to cut the slits into the foil. This way the fat from the loaf will drain into the pan underneath and your loaf won’t be sitting in a big pool of fat.
-Shape your meat mixture into a loaf on your foil cover broiling pan
-Cut slices of bacon in half, width way. Cover the top of the loaf with bacon, from side to side, NOT from end to end (this will make it WAY easier to cut)
-Place in the oven for 30 minutes. While it’s cooking combine the ketchup, BBQ sauce, and siracha.
-After the 30 minutes take out the meatloaf, brush the bacony top with your sauce mixture, place a meat thermometer in the center, and return to the oven
-Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches 160
-Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes
-Remove the thermometer and slice

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Cake Batter Protein Pancakes February 2, 2012

Filed under: breakfast — meier1014 @ 10:24 am

This recipe goes along with the Cake Batter Protein Cookies I posted a little while ago. I actually made these before I made the cookies, but forgot to take pictues…. I made them again this morning and remembered the camera. These pancakes are delicious and filling. They are a little on the dense side because of the protein powder, but it doesn’t ruin the flavor. You can use any protein powder, but I love the flavor our cake batter protein powder gives them. Mmmmmm cake batter!! Anyway, please give these a try. You won’t regret it.

Cake Batter Protein Pancakes

Ingredients
-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-2/3 cup protein powder
-1 tbs sugar
-3/4 tsp baking powder
-pinch of salt
-2 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 cups milk
-assorted sprinkles

Direntions

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Place flour, protein powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl

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Wisk to combine, making sure there’s no clumps, and set aside

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Place eggs, milk, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl

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Whisk until well combined

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Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined

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Add sprinkles (as much as you like)

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Stir

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Preheat an electric skillet to 350 (or a pan over medium) and pour batter, using 1/4 cup per pancake, onto skillet and cook until bubbles form around the edges (2-3 mins)

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Flip, they should be golden brown on the cooked side. Allow to cook until both sides are golden brown (about 1-2 mins)

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Enjoy!

 

Homemade Coffee Creamer February 1, 2012

Filed under: drinks — meier1014 @ 9:18 pm

I have recently started drinking coffee. I know, weird. But my coffee habits have come with creamer habits… I love coffee creamer. But it’s exspensive and has so many chemicals. So, when I saw this recipe on Pinterest I HAD to try it. Especially since I had everything I need already. It was beyond simple, so give it a try.

Homemade Coffee Creamer

Ingredients

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1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
14oz milk (whole, 2%, skim, whatever you want)
2tbs of you favorite flavored syrup or 2tsp vanilla
Storage container (a quart size mason jar, which I didn’t have, works awesome)

Directions
Place all ingredients in your storage container and mix until well combined.

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