Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Sourdough Sandwich Bread (Bucket Dough Method)

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If my oldest son had his way, it’s very possible that he would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every single day.  Actually, it’s much more likely that he would request peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for every single meal.

This means that all it would take for me to achieve “Mom of the Year” status in his five year old eyes would be to produce a never ending stream of sandwich bread. Fortunately for me, I can make his dreams come true with my simple Bucket Dough recipe.

(I could. Continue reading Sourdough Sandwich Bread (Bucket Dough Method)

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Sticky Buns That Taste Just Like Grandma’s (Bucket Dough Method)

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One of my favorite childhood memories is when my family would vacation at my Grandparents’ house for several weeks each summer.  Among other fun activities, I eagerly anticipated my Grandmother’s homemade sticky buns.

My Grandmother was old-school, waking up at 4am to make and knead the dough (by hand, no less!), yet still allowing enough time for the yeast to rise.  She timed it perfectly so that the sticky buns were ready to eat by the time my brother and I woke for breakfast.

Years have passed, and I have often craved that sticky bun tradition.   Continue reading Sticky Buns That Taste Just Like Grandma’s (Bucket Dough Method)

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How to Make Bucket Dough (for Sourdough)

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Within this rather unimpressive looking bucket of dough lies a wealth of possibilities that most people believe are well out of reach for everyday life.  What I see, however, is the secret weapon that keeps my family well supplied with as much delicious, warm sourdough bread as we need.

It’s simple, and only takes about 10 minutes every 3-5 days.  And the many different uses for Bucket Dough make it time very well spent.  I can’t count the number of times that having Bucket Dough on-hand in the fridge has saved me when I’ve forgotten to plan a side dish to go with dinner.  Or when an we have guests over and I want to offer a special treat.  Or even when I realize I have nothing to feed the kids for lunch… Continue reading How to Make Bucket Dough (for Sourdough)

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Honey Whole Wheat Bread Machine Recipe

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Everybody needs a beginning point.  For me, the beginning of my bread making addiction was Honey Whole Wheat bread.

During my 3rd pregnancy, Daniel and I started moving towards a more “real food” type lifestyle.  Well, in all honesty, it might have been more likely that I was pushing real foods onto Daniel.  In any case, he’s a good sport and so I tried to persuade him to join me along the real food path by tempting him with homemade sandwich bread.  After all, who doesn’t love homemade bread?

He agreed to give it a shot, which put me in a little bit of a pickle. I should have thought it through a little more before offering to start baking all of our family’s bread, because the reality was that I had 2 little ones underfoot and a big pregnant belly in my way.   Continue reading Honey Whole Wheat Bread Machine Recipe

Cinnamon-Raisin-Bread

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread

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Even though homemade bread is delicious, having plain toast for breakfast every morning gets old fast.  But making a “fancier” loaf can feel like too much effort, even when you’re relying on a bread machine

Cinnamon Raisin Bread is your solution.  It’s a special treat that will trick show your family that you care enough to put in the extra effort. The reality, however, is easier than it looks because the bread machine does all the hard work for you.  As a bonus, the bread comes out moist, chewy, and delicious, even though it’s made with 100% whole wheat flour!  Your family will never suspect that it might be good for them.

In fact, I recently made a loaf while I was preparing to teach my first ever Bread Baking Class through my church.  This is how my test loaf of Cinnamon Raisin bread turned out: Continue reading Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Flexible Italian Chicken Dip

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Flexible Italian Chicken Dip

Yes, it looks like a colorless crockpot full of mush, but trust me…it’s delicious, versatile, and makes a great leftover! Perhaps even more importantly, my husband likes it!

I love slow cooker meals because they’re flexible. I can throw dinner together early in the day or the night before, then spend the rest of the afternoon interacting with my kids…or wasting time on the computer…just being honest here :)

The only “hard” part about this recipe is remembering to soak the lentils and brown rice the night before, because it requires me to think about dinner a full 24-hours before I’m actually going to eat it. It’s worth it to plan ahead, though, because it helps to make the rice and beans more digestible so that my family will be able to absorb more of the nutrients when we’re eating.

Plus, when I soak the rice and beans directly in the crockpot, then the rest of the prep goes that much faster. At lunchtime the next day, almost all of the soaking water has been absorbed, so I simply start throwing the remaining ingredients into the crockpot.

Flexible Italian Chicken Dip is also completely flexible because of what you put into it. Don’t have spinach? Skip it. Want to add bell peppers, broccoli, or extra carrots? Rock on. Throw in whatever veggies you have on hand. My basic template is to use a few handfuls of baby spinach, 1-2 grated carrots, most of a chopped onion, and a can of undrained diced tomatoes. But feel free to experiment and add any lonely refrigerator veggies that you just want to get rid of. Continue reading Flexible Italian Chicken Dip

Baked Mac n Cheese

Top Secret Pepperoni Mac n Cheese

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Mmm, I love baked Mac n Cheese.

And sneaking in some secret veggies that actually make it taste even better?  It’s a win-win for everybody.  Even for the vegetable haters in my family.  And the vegetable haters that we invite over for dinner that have no idea that they are even eating vegetables.  I was actually “shushed” once by a friend when I started to tell her the secret ingredient, because she didn’t want her veggie-skeptical husband to accidentally overhear!  He chowed down on at least two helpings of my Mac n Cheese that night, and I’m pretty sure he was none the wiser.

Developing this recipe has truly been a labor of love.  It’s not unusual for me to tweak recipes and make them “my own,” but I’ve tweaked this particular recipe so much over the years that it actually is my own by now.  The only ingredients it shares with the original recipe is butter, salt, and pepper!

The original recipe was was called “Creamy Ham n Macaroni.”  It was a family favorite, but one day I ran out of ham.  The only meat I had available was pepperoni, so I took a chance and threw it in.  My family loved it!  I even took the pepperoni version to a potluck dinner later that month and received rave reviews. Continue reading Top Secret Pepperoni Mac n Cheese