Saturday, January 24, 2015

How to Clean and Descale a Keurig Coffee Maker


Cleaned my Keurig since it was only brewing 1/2 cups and the pump was making terrible noises.

To clean, also known as the descaling process, (from the Keurig manual): 
  1. Take all removeable parts off and wash, stick a pin or paper clip up into the exit needles to dislodge any clumps, be careful they are sharp, replace parts. 
  2. Fill reservoir with white vinegar and brew until the add water light comes on. Leave power on and let the Keurig sit for 4 hours.
  3. Discard any remaining vinegar and rinse. 
  4. Fill with fresh water and brew until vinegar is dissipated, (took me at least 10 cups). 
 Note: I had to unplug my Keurig and plug it back in because it was stuck on one blue light. Brewed about 10 cups of plain water to clear the vinegar out, but it worked! Yay! And my Keurig is running smoothly again.  Ah, fresh coffee  :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Blog Layout

Someone asked me to change the background on my blog because the recipe's were hard to read. I was thrilled that she took the time to let me know, and that she comes back to my  recipe blog time after time, year after year.

I also took off the affiliate links since they were no longer generating revenue.  Please support my blog by shopping my Etsy store or clicking on the Google ads. 

So, here you go, a new blog layout, please let me know what you think, and Happy New Year!  :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Different Types of Yeast

I was curious about yeast, so did a little bit of research, here is what I discovered about yeast.

Instant Active Dry: milled finer so it does not have to be dissolved, will also give 2 rises.  Can be used interchangeably with regular active dry, just skip the water activation.

Rapid Rise: Milled smaller so it does not have to be dissolved and also has additives, so you skip the first rise.  It does affect the bread texture.  Rapid rise can not be substituted for bread machine yeast.

Bread Machine Yeast: is milled finer so it does not have to be dissolved, is an instant yeast, but not a rapid rise. *It is also drier and hydrates more quickly than rapid rise. (*could not confirm this).

Fresh Compressed: solid block that commercial bakers tend to use and is more reliable and dissolves easily.  It has a 2 week shelf life compared to a 1 year shelf life of the granular yeasts.  Use 2x the amount of fresh yeast as granular yeast.

This is crazy...but it makes sense tip from King Arthur's web page:
"Keep in mind, also, the characteristics of your own kitchen. If you bake bread all the time, your kitchen is full of wild yeast, and any dough you make there will rise vigorously. If you seldom bake bread, or are just beginning, your kitchen will be quite “sterile;” your dough won't be aided by wild yeast, and will rise more slowly than it would in a more “active” kitchen."

I bake bread every day, so my kitchen is a wild thing, and I also use lots of yeast, which means it's always fresh.

I use my oven as a proof box on really cold days. Happy baking!

This page was helpful for how much yeast to use and rising:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/yeast.html
This page is very helpful explaining the different types of yeast:
http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-inst...
And this page for bread machine yeast:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-bread-machine-yeas...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Free Christmas Recipe Card Blank

For my small cookie swap I decided to collect everyone's recipe and make a little book.  Since I couldn't find a nice, free, blank, Christmas recipe card template, I made one using www.picmonkey.com.


Sharing it here with you.  Merry Christmas friends and happy baking  :)
 
To Save to your computer:
Click on the image, then right click the image with your mouse.  From the menu, click on "Save Image As".  Name your file then click on "Save".




Friday, November 28, 2014

Cherry Pie Cookies

Oh my goodness, get out of town, these cookies are delish!

There weren't any notable dishes or recipes in the cooking magazine we just got in the mail until the very last pages, when hubby spotted the ad for Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie filling.  The ad featured a plateful of delicious looking cookies and a recipe for Cherry Pie Cookies.



We all love cherries, so I tried the recipe right away, and then made them again for Thanksgiving.  The cookies were a big hit and now they are a new family favorite.

The easy to bake cookies are almost magical...their disappearing act is amazing.

Cherry Pie Cookies
by Lucky Leaf

Makes 2 dozen cookies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup margarine, softened
2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 (21 oz) can of cherry pie filling
1/2 cup white chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips (I used Wilton candy melts)

Mix butter and margarine until fluffy.  Add flour, powdered sugar and vanilla just until combined and soft dough is formed.

Roll the dough into two-inch balls.  Place on greased baking sheet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press thumb into center of cookie to make a well.  Place cherries into each cookie.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool.

Melt chocolate according to package directions.  Drizzle over cookies.  Let chocolate set and serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

Notes:  I made my balls a little smaller than the recipe calls for, about 1 1/2 in., and did not push down the center too hard, so the cookie does not get thin in the center and break.  I placed 3 cherries in each cookie, and came up a bit short on cherries.  Drizzling the chocolate didn't work for me , so I used a small ziplock bag, snipped a corner then piped the chocolate on.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Shredded Chicken Sandwiches



Shredded chicken sandwiches are a regional dish of Ohio and are served at potlucks, concession stands, parties and even restaurants. 

These sandwiches cook up super fast with my new Instapot, but you can also cook the chicken in a regular pressure cooker, crock pot, or start with a rotisserie chicken or canned chicken for a quick and yummy dinner.   

Shredded Chicken Sandwiches:
Make a gravy with about 1/4 cup of flour, 1 can of chicken broth, and 1 can cream of chicken soup 
Add 1-2 lbs. cooked shredded chicken
1-2 sleeves of ritz crackers (crushed), season to taste
Serve warm on buns with a slice of American cheese

To cook the chicken in a Instapot or pressure cooker:
Add 1 can of chicken broth and chicken, (about 5 breasts or 2 lb of tenders) to pressure cooker.  Season.
Use the poultry setting or pressure cook for 15 minutes.
Remove chicken from pot and shred.  In the pot make a gravy using the Saute setting.
Stir in crackers and chicken, serve warm on bun with a slice of American cheese.

You can make these quick sandwiches at home to enjoy anytime you need a quick meal, or just craving a bit of the Midwest. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Double Chocolate Banana Bread




Sixty four cents for a bag of ripe bananas, "yes, please!"

The best way I know of to use ripe bananas is to whip up a batch of yummy banana bread.  But instead of the typical banana bread, I wanted to try adding chocolate.  I was dreaming of a full blown deliciously moist chocolate and chocolate chip banana bread.  mmmm, mmmm.

This is one of those rare recipes that came together on the first try, and oh, is it soooo good.  So easy, and so chocolatey you will want to run to the produce department for marked down bananas :)

Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9 x 5 bread pan with butter flavored cooking spray. 

Mix the following until blended:
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
2 eggs
2 1/3 cup mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt

Add:
1 1/2 cup flour
Fold in:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a cake tester or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.