Thursday, March 29, 2012

Homemade Onion and Cheese Buns!

 Anyone who knows me or has been following this blog, knows that I THRIVE on the challenge of doing my best to make the majority of everything my family eats from SCRATCH!  

I'm so excited that I finally perfected making Homemade Buns and 
WOW, they are so chewy and yummy and we will definitely not be purchasing store bought buns again, if we can help it.
 If you were to ask me what my favorite gourmet bread or bagel is, it is hands down, Onion and Cheese.
When my Ethan Kip asked for Salmon Burgers for his birthday dinner, I decided to try making homemade buns. 
So, I took my favorite French Bread Recipe and then added in dried minced onions to the dough and then shaped the dough into large rolls, topped them with a yummy cheese mixture of grated Parmesan and Asiago Cheese and WOW, they truly taste better than any bun you could purchase at any gourmet bakery.

AND the ingredients for the basic dough are less than $1.00 to make these.  
Here is a breakdown of the cost:
6 cups of flour--.42 (7 cents per cup of flour)
2 Tbsp. yeast-- .17
3 Tbsp. Sugar-- .21
2 tsp. salt-- .06
1 Tbsp. oil-- .12
Total-- 98 cents for the dough
(add in grated cheese for the top and you probably have another .75)

I always purchase a few blocks of gourmet cheese each month when we do our grocery shopping so we can have yummy cheese to put on top of pasta dishes, or in Huevos Rancheros and salads.  
It really is economical 
 to purchase cheese this way because when you grate it up, 
you have A LOT of cheese to use.
Homemade Onion and Cheese Buns
Mix and set aside until bubbly:
½ cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp yeast

Mix the following together in a mixer:
1 Tbsp Olive oil
3 Tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups HOT tap water
1 Tbsp. Dried Onion Flakes

Add yeast mixture to above ingredients, mix well.
Add 2 cups unbleached white flour. (this will be lumpy).
Add 3-4 more cups unbleached white flour until you have soft should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff (I add in 3 cups of flour and then add in more flour in 1/4 cup intervals until you have a nice soft dough)
Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl and let rise for one hour.  
Punch down every 20 minutes.

Punch down and then divide into 12 pieces
Shape into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet and let rise 30 minutes. 
Slash top of each dough ball with a serrated knife and brush with beaten egg white.
Top with grated Parmesan & Asiago Cheese (or whatever cheese you would like)
Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (35 minutes)
Cool on baking rack and ENJOY having gourmet buns to use for burgers and sandwiches!
 Now you have one more "mad skill" you can add to your life that is SO yummy and most of all EASY to make,
better than anything that you could purchase at the store 
and you know exactly what is going in the dough for preservatives, or chemicals.  
Just basic food storage ingredients!
Enjoy impressing your family today, with amazing, delicious buns!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Delicious many yummy uses and a recipe!

 I am sad that this morning we enjoyed our last orange from the case of oranges I bought 2 weeks ago.  
It's one of the things I love most about this time of the year, is the GREAT prices on oranges...
it's such a frugal way to enjoy produce 
this time of the year!
 Since Christmas we have bought 4 cases of oranges and enjoyed every single one. 
You may ask how a family of four can go through so many oranges, but they all get eaten up in one way or another and here is how that happens: 

Cut up and eaten for daily snacks 
and daily lunch box additions...

Cut in half and JUICED...

 and served with weekend 
pancake and egg breakfasts...

 Kids just LOVE 
fresh squeezed orange juice...

Topped on MANY winter salads...
Added to many smoothies...
Used to make up some absolutely 
delicious family favorite recipes....
Poppy Seed Bread (here)
Carrot Cookies (here)

And one of our all time favorites
Orange Rolls...
and below is the recipe for that! 

Orange Rolls

2 Tbsp. SAF yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ cup warm water
Mix together and let stand while getting other ingredients ready.

1 cup scalded milk
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs, well beaten
4 ½ to 5 heaping cups flour
Add butter and sugar to hot milk.  
Cool and add eggs, salt, and yeast mixture.
Add flour, knead well. Dough will be sticky.
Put in large bowl with a small amount of oil and coat well.
Let rise, punch down and let rise again.

Roll dough out like a jelly roll and spread with a mixture of:
6 Tbsp. softened butter
1 Tbsp. orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
grated rind of 1 orange
Roll up and cut and put on greased cookie sheet or in muffin tins.
Let rise until double and bake for 10-15 minutes in 400 degree oven.
Frost with cream cheese frosting while still warm.
(I cut mine apart after frosting and let them cool on wire racks so they aren't too doughy!

Cream Cheese Frosting
(4oz) 1/2 package light cream cheese
1/4 cup REAL butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla together until smooth. Add in powdered sugar and blend until creamy.

Oranges...whether eaten plain as a snack, 
or  juiced, topped on a salad, 
made into a smoothie, or added to recipes...
it's one truly one of the favorite winter time fruits in our family!!
I hope you and your family enjoy the 
WONDERFUL yummyness 
of citrus and oranges as well!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ten Amazing Years!

From here on out it is double digit numbers...
we no longer have children in the single digits, 
and quite frankly, it makes me sad a little bit.

(last year's birthday
 How has it been 10 years ago since 
our family welcomed 
our sweet 3 pound Ethan Kip into this world!
My how the time has flown by...
I no longer have a little toddler 
to pack around on my hip!

I no longer have a little boy to sit on my lap 
and read our favorite books together!
"Guess How Much I Love You" Sam McBratney
"The Kissing Hand" Audrey Penn

This book was definitely life changing as 
EVERY single night before bed  
and many times during the day 
we give each other the "I Love you" sign!!

 However, I have a handsome young man that even though he likes to read and read and read books by himself,
still likes to snuggle on the couch right next to me 
 and read when we get a free moment.  
I love and savor those moments greatly!

March 19th, 2012
Such a FUN, happy day for my Ethan Kip...
it started out with a surprise bike (he had NO idea he was getting that)
breakfast consisted of his favorite smoothie and boiled eggs on toast,
lunch meant, having mom come and sit and eat with you in the lunch room at school,
dinner consisted of Salmon burgers, on homemade onion and cheese buns with all the toppings, homemade FRENCH Fries, sparkling cider and 
GERMAN Chocolate Cake...the best!!  (here)
We also got to enjoy dinner with Grandpa and Grandma Smith!
Here's the day in photos!
10 candles... 
one amazing son!!

No matter how old you get Ethan Kip,
I'll always say...
"I love you right up to the moon....and back"!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Green Split Pea Soup...Frugal Deliciousness!

 St. Patrick's Day... 
such a fun time of the year where everyone wears green 
and makes sure to add green things to eat to their menu plan!

I'm not someone who likes to dye things green 
and so I like to make things up to eat that incorporates green using natural things.
Green Smoothie and eggs for breakfast,
Mint Chocolate Cookies for a treat
and for dinner a bowl of Green Split Pea Soup 
with either French Bread, or Cornbread!!
If I were to think of my very favorite soup, 
it would be a tie between 
Green Split Pea, OR, Ham & Bean Chowder (here)

 I love the thrift of taking a handful of dried beans, peas, or, legumes and making a big pot of healthy soup for my family!  

It's amazing how just a few simple things added to a pot of soup and left to simmer for awhile, can be so flavorful and keep you coming back for more! 
Such is the case for Split Pea Soup!
Green Split Pea Soup

1-1/4 cups green split peas
Ham hock (OR 1/2 cup chopped ham...I usually pull a bag of ham out of my freezer that I freeze from the ham we cook up at Christmas or Easter)
8 cups water
2 large onions chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
2 cups diced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 large potatoes diced
2 more cups water
(salt and pepper to taste) 
Combine 8 cups water, peas and hamhock in a large pot and bring to a boil and gently simmer for 1 hour.
Add in onions, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes 2 more cups water and salt and pepper to taste. 
Simmer gently for 1 more hour until veggies are tender and soup is really thick.
Great with a dollop of cottage cheese, 
a sprinkle of hot pepper sauce 
and not to forget homemade bread of some kind!

Enjoy a frugal, yummy pot of soup today 
and if it happens to be a holiday that has 
GREEN as part of it, you can be festive as well!