Plum Crumble Bars

2 Oct

I never thought I’d be one to say I was excited for plum season. Truth be told plums are towards the bottom of my list of favorite fruits. But, after last season, my opinions changed completely. My in-laws have a veritable grove of plum trees and convinced me to take a small box home last year when we went to visit. I was not excited about them. However, I took my mother-in-law’s advice and made a pie out of them. And then my world was changed forever.

Cooked plums have got to be the most underrated thing in the world. So sweet, flavorful, and delicious it’s a wonder more people don’t know about them. This year I was pining for plum season and was ecstatic to bring home a large box of plums from my in-laws to fill up my freezer for year-round treats.

I found a couple amazing recipes last year that I loved, namely Perfect Plum Pie and Plum Pocket Pies. These crumble bars are my latest find and may very well be my favorite of the three recipes. It’s so easy to make and turns out so beautiful. If you decide to make it for yourself, don’t be alarmed at the dry nature of the crust/crumble mixture. It will magically change from a dry floury looking mess to golden buttery crusty deliciousness. Oh and don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!

plum bars

For Plum Mixture:

  • 4 cups thinly sliced plums
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

For Crust & Topping:

  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½  cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled (not frozen)
  • 1 egg

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 9 x 13″ pan.

2. Toss plum slices with the 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and set aside.

3.  In a large bowl (or the bowl of your food processor) whisk together the brown and white sugar, baking powder, flour, spices, and salt. Cut butter into approximately 1 Tbsp. size chunks and add to flour mixture. Using a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture until it becomes crumbly (or pulse a few times in the food processor). Then stir in the egg. The mixture will be very dry and crumbly.

4. Firmly press two thirds of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the 9 x 13 pan. Then evenly layer the plum slices on top. Sprinkle the remaining crumble on top and bake for about 40 minutes or until the topping has turned golden and the fruit is bubbling.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing and serving.

Adapted from Clockwork Lemon

Spicy Salsa (Canning)

4 Sep

Salsa

I decided this year I would try my hand at canning some salsa. Being a rookie to the whole process I went to my canning guru sister, Annie for advice. She suggested this recipe because it’s her go-to and isn’t too sweet.

Made as-is it produced a very mild salsa, despite using a full cup of chopped jalapenos and about half of the removed seeds. It mellowed out quite a bit after it was canned. If you want a spicier salsa I’d add an additional 2-3 jalapenos and more seeds. If you won’t be canning the salsa, the recipe should be plenty spicy with just 1 cup of jalapenos.

The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup of sugar, but I left that out as my garden fresh tomatoes were plenty sweet on their own. If your tomatoes aren’t very ripe or sweet, you may want to add it back in.

I am also going to omit the instructions on how to actually can the salsa. There are just too many different factors that go into the process depending on where you live and what method you use. I suggest looking up your local Extension Office to get the proper information for your area (in addition to referring to your user manual for your canning equipment).

Yield: Approximately 8 pints

  • 8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained (I didn’t peel my tomatoes but feel free)
  • 2 1/2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups green peppers
  • 1 cup jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/8 cup canning salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar (optional)
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice

If you would like a smoother salsa, you may use a food processor to further chop your veggies. I found it worked best to process the onions & peppers together to a finer mince, then process the tomatoes separately and leave them a bit chunkier. Just be sure to chop your veggies into a small/medium uniform dice before processing to ensure evenly sized pieces.

Mix all ingredients together in a large pot and bring to a slow boil for 10 minutes. Can per hot pack method for your equipment and locale.

Recipe adapted from Food.com

Doreen’s Dinner Rolls

27 Jun

Several years ago my not yet sister-in-law, Rachel brought the most fabulous rolls ever to a family dinner. I cannot tell you how amazing they were. Delightfully light, but with substance and just a hint of sweetness. I knew I needed the recipe. So, although I did not know Rachel very well yet and felt like a huge dork doing so, I asked her for the recipe. And to my utter delight and eternal happiness, she gave it to me. My life has never been the same. I’m telling you these are the best rolls in the world not only because they taste so darn delicious, but because someone like me who guesses her way through every bread making endeavor, can make a perfect batch of rolls every time. Oh and just in case you’re curious, this recipe came from a lady at Rachel’s church named Doreen. Thank you Doreen and thank you Rachel. You and your rolls are beautiful angels from heaven.

doreens dinner rolls

Yield:  24 Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 ½ cups flour (approximate)

Directions:

Combine yeast, water, and a little of the sugar in a small bowl.

Mix sugar, milk, eggs, butter, and salt in a large bowl.

After yeast has proofed a little, add to milk mixture.

Gradually add flour until a soft but not-too-sticky dough has formed. Knead 6-7 minutes. Let dough rise in buttered bowl until doubled in size.

Punch dough down and divide into three balls. Roll out each ball into a flat circle and cut into 8 triangles to make crescent-style rolls.

Let them rise again, about 40 minutes.

Bake at 400°F for approximately 12 minutes (or until golden brown), depending on the size of the rolls.

 

Mini Spinach Frittatas

20 Jun

I saw this recipe the other day and thought it would be a nice change for a weekend breakfast. They were super easy to make and everyone scarfed them down. I’d planned on having some as leftovers for a couple of days but there weren’t any left! Guess next time I’ll be making a double batch!

spinach frittatas

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon lemon pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix together spinach, ricotta, sour cream, and cheeses.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, hot sauce, cumin, salt, pepper, and lemon pepper.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the spinach mixture.
  5. Spray a muffin tin liberally with cooking spray. Evenly divide the mixture into the muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until eggs are set and beginning to brown.
  7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from muffin tins. Serve with more Parmesan cheese if desired.

Adapted from Baked Bree

Homemade Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni

9 Jun

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Sometimes you just want to have some good old comfort food. For most Americans, Hamburger Helper is/was a common staple at dinner time. Only problem is, it’s full of so much salt and additives that you can’t help but feel a little guilty eating it. This is a homemade version that gets rid of all that yucky junk you don’t need and leaves you with only the yummy cheeseburger goodness you want.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1½ cups macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: 

  1. Brown ground beef in a deep pan or pot (you’ll be adding a lot of liquid). Drain the fat.
  2. Add spices, sugar, hot water, milk, & pasta and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook until the pasta is tender.
  4. Add cheddar cheese and turn off the heat. Stir until the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve.

Adapted from Food.com

40-Minute Hamburger Buns

2 May

The other day I decided to make some pulled pork but didn’t have any buns. Feeling too lazy to go to the store I decided to make my own. Only I didn’t want it to take hours of my time. Imagine my delight when I found this recipe! It was super easy to put together and the buns turned out great. They are a little on the small side so if you want larger buns adjust accordingly. I’m guessing 8 buns would give you a nice size for larger hamburgers. Also, I weighed my flour and ended up using a bit more than the 3-1/2 cups of flour stated but I suck at making bread so you might be alright.

2014-04-30 20.20.05

Yield: 1 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt, and enough flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces and shape each into a ball. Place 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.
  3. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425°F for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Adapted from Taste of Home

Homemade Sunbutter

25 Apr

I’ve been trying my hand at a few different types of homemade nut butters lately and so far this has been my favorite.  Yes, I realize sunflower seeds are not nuts, but the term “seed” butter doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. My little 2 year old loves to eat this by the spoonful and I think it’s a great substitute for peanut butter for those who have allergies. This is super easy to make and takes less than 5 minutes in a food processor. Also, I custom make each batch… meaning I just add things to taste. This isn’t an exact science. If you’ve never tried your hand at making your own “nut” butter, I highly recommend it!

sunbutter

Ingredients

  • toasted sunflower seeds (I buy salted roasted ones from the bulk bins at the grocery store, but you could roast raw ones yourself)
  • light flavored oil (I use olive oil)
  • honey or other liquid sweetener, if desired
  • salt

Directions

Place sunflower seeds in the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment. I think I used about 2-3 cups of seeds. Don’t use too many or it’ll be hard to get a good consistency. The seeds will go through several stages before they get to the correct consistency and you’ll probably have to stop it every so often to scrape down the sides. First the seeds will get a mealy consistency, then pasty/clumpy. Keep processing until the seeds are smooth and release their oils. The mixture will look relatively smooth and shiny.

Once you get to this point, taste the butter. This is the time to add extra salt and/or honey. I think honey gives it a great sweetness that pairs very well with the seeds. Don’t underestimate the importance of salt, especially if your seeds were not salted, you’ll need to add a bit to bring out the flavor. Once the honey and salt are mixed in well, you can adjust the consistency of the butter to your liking. Just add a bit of your oil at a time until the desired consistency is reached. And that’s it! You really could use this same process for any other nut/seed butter you want to make. Try out different flavors and variations and see which one you like best!

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