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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter 2013...

I was not sure if I wanted to have a repeat of our our mostly homemade easter this year but my daughter decided for me. She begged for me to make our treats again. Now that I am working part time I was not sure if I could swing it but I had a light week last week since the kids were on spring break so I gave it a shot.

Notice the eggs on the window that the kids made yesterday. How fun is that? Oh and that white stuff on my lawn, yes that is still snow... I do not ever remember having this much snow on Easter EVER!

Our Breakfast Menu:
Fresh fruit... Cantaloupe, Strawberries & Grapes
Colored hard boiled eggs :)
A bit of bacon
Maple Sausage
Hopping Easter Bunny rolls   (It wouldn't be Easter without them)

The home made candy treats...
"Cadbury" eggs

"Reeses" eggs
"Peeps"  I forgot to take a picture before they got loaded into the baskets :)

lots of bunny rolls
Love this floppy eared "twisty" bunny!
I have links to most of the recipes for the candy in my previous Easter thread or click here

These Bunny rolls have been a tradition in my family since before I came along. My Great Aunt Christine Harris (otherwise known as "Auntie") found the recipe in a magazine and added them to the family brunch feast. I did not realize how much I missed them and all the traditions of our family Easter until I began making them for/with my kids.

Here is the recipe for the rolls with a printable version

Easter Bunny Rolls

1 Packet Yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup water warmed
1 cup Milk Warmed
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Shortening
1 Teaspoon Salt
5-5 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 Eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange zest (grated orange peel)

Soften yeast in warmed water.
Combine milk, sugar, shortening & salt. When lukewarm mix in 2 cups of the flour. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in softened yeast. Add orange juice and zest (peel).
Add flour one cup at a time until dough is just barely sticky and still soft.
Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 - 10 minutes. dough should be soft, smooth and elastic.
Place dough into a lightly greased bowl. Turn dough to cover completely wit a light coating of oil. Cover and let rise for at least 2 hours or until dough is double in size.
Punch dough down and let rest for 10 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To shape into bunnies cut a piece of dough a bit smaller than your hand. On a clean un-floured surface roll out into a rope.
for twisty bunnies use one piece of dough proximately 6-8 inches long. form into a "U" shape. grab at the bottom of the "U" and twist 2 times to form bunny and ears. cut a piece of dough the size of a marble roll into a ball and place in the opening at the bottom to form the "bunny tail. Place on parchment paper

For double roll shape bunnies use the same length of dough to form to dough circles. Cut 3 small pieces of dough to form 2 ears and a tail. Make sure to "snug up" the tail and ears to the dough rolls well not just place them "next to" the rolls. Tip... I assemble this type of bunny roll right on my parchment paper.

Make sure to leave 1 1/2 to 2 inches between bunnies.

Cover and let the bunnies "proof"or rise a bit, about 30 minutes. Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

When rolls have puffed up a bit place them in oven and bake for 12 -15 minutes.

For a glossy look you can gently brush the rolls with an egg wash (whisked egg white and 1Tablkespoon of water) just before baking.

After the rolls have cooled store in an air tight container until ready to use. Frost just before serving.

Simple glaze recipe:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 Tablespoon milk
1-2 cups of powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients to make a thin glaze

"Double roll" Bunny unfrosted

The "LOOT"

                                                                    Happy kids!

Happy Easter everyone!
Count your blessings and hug those you love as often as you can. You never know when life will throw you a curve ball!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole

Some meals are just a pain! There I said it! For me Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of those meals. We love it but I hate preparing it! It is just soooo putzy! We are talking like a 10 here folks.

About a year ago I ran across this recipe on Pinterest for Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole It is soooo good! Yes it is still a little bit putzy but it makes a lot! Today I actually split it into 2 8x8 casserole dishes and freeze one (I will let you know how that turns out later).

A few changes I make are that I personally hate swiss cheese. I know I'm missing out but I just can't get around it. I usually use a mix of whatever I have on hand. I have used Mozarella, Colby jack, Monterey jack, you name it. All have turned out fine. I do always use the Parmesan called for. I also usually make my own breadcrumbs. I actually haven't purchased bread crumbs in years!

Also I am thinking of using this sauce mixture as my "go to" Cream soup.It is that good and so versatile!

So head on over to Cooking Classy And drop Jaclyn a note to say thanks for this delicious recipe.

My Putz Factor... 3.5 but soooo worth it!

Edit 7.21.13   I have frozen this multiple times and it turns out awesome! I put it in an aluminum disposable pan (usually the smaller square) and freeze it (uncooked) after its frozen I can fit this size pan in a large zip top bag of in my large foodsaver bags. I try to take it out of the freezer the morning I want to bake it or at lease a few hours before. It takes 45 minutes to an hour depending on how frozen it is. Since it has raw chicken in it I err on the side of cooking a little longer.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A new variation on our favorite bread...

OMG... This is soooo good! I'm so happy my hubby picked up the wrong kind of flour last week! My favorite flour is Dakota Maid unbleached all purpose flour. My hubby mistakenly picked up Bread flour last  week. Now you may think this is not a big deal but if you want to make pancakes and muffins it does not work so well. Bread flour has more protein and gluten so things bake with a more dense consistency.  I wanted to use up the bread flour so I was doing some reading and decided I would try to adapt our favorite sandwich bread.
  I decided to try substituting a cup of wheat flour for a cup of the white all purpose and bread flour for the rest of the all purpose. My thinking was 1. I follow a similar process when making the light wheat from the Artisan bread in 5 minutes cook book. 2. you need more gluten when working with wheat flours because the tend to be more dense.

Here is the altered recipe Printable recipe is here

*Makes 2 loaves

3 cups luke-warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
1/3 cup oil
1 Tbsp. salt
 5- 6 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes. Add the oil. Add the dry ingredients starting with wheat flour, then add 1 cup of white flour and then add the salt. Mix until combined. Add flour 1 cup at a time until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl or knead the dough thoroughly until all ingredients are incorporated, and dough is smooth, elastic, very slightly sticky (6-10 minutes). As you knead the dough, you may add more flour as needed, and repeat the process until dough reaches the desired consistency. 
Cover the bowl of dough with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (an hour or more depending on how warm your kitchen is.) If your kitchen is cold like mine you can place the covered bowl inside the oven with the oven light on, and another bowl of warm water sitting on the lower rack. Or if you are like me and your crockpot is always on the counter you can remove the cover, set a cooling rack on top and set heat to warm. Place your covered bowl on top. Warning! if your Crock pot runs hot turn it off after a while otherwise this is what happens :)
FYI this was not todays dough and I did manage to save the above batch and the bread was fine.
Punch the dough down, divide and and form into 2 loaves. Place the dough in 2 greased bread pans. (I use 9" pans.) Cover and let rise till the top of the dough is an inch or two above the bread pans. Even in my cold kitchen this part only takes about 30-45 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Brish the tops of the bread lightly with butter. Remove the baked loaves from their pans immediately, and place on a cooling rack.Slice and serve after they have cooled for at least an hour.

 Girl Approved!

Please disregard my children's disheveled look. We are  on spring break and getting dressed is not high on our priority list :)

                                                                      The Boy loves it too!

Putz Factor 3