Hi, my name is Heidi and I'm addicted to carbs. Thank God for the metabolism He blessed me with because, honestly, my diet is probably 50% carbs, 30% sweets, 10% wine/soda/coffee, and 10% fruits/vegetables. Don't hate me.
Having an intense love affair with carbs I have a certain weakness for fresh baked bread. I adore my bread machine, but sometimes I just wanna get my hands dirty and do it all myself. However, since I'm also a busy mom, I would like to do it with minimal time and effort which brings me to this fabulous recipe from King Arthur for quick and easy sourdough.
My Number One Tip is always proof your yeast before starting. More than once I have baked bread that turned out like a brick and figured out later it was because my yeast had gone bad. How disappointing. The loafs were totally unsuitable for eating, but I may have accidentally tapped an unused talent for brick making. To avoid making a similar discovery, just add a pinch of yeast and dissolve in 1/3 cup warm water and add a pinch of sugar. Let sit for about 10 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly. Once the yeast is proofed, move on to prepping your starter. Since I planned to bake this bread early the next morning I whipped up my starter just before heading to bed for the night, and the timing was perfect. (I do have my own "aged" sourdough that I keep in the fridge and "feed" about once a month, which is a great route if you're planning to bake a lot of sourdough. Sourdough starter can be used in breads, muffins, waffles, pancakes, etc.)
One of my goals for 2018 was to get our family budget under control. As the family member in charge of any shopping that doesn't involve my birthday gift, my Valentine's Day gift, or my Christmas gift, I have no-one but myself to blame for our overinflated budget. I decided to start by slashing our grocery budget, because Heaven forbid I should cut into my weekly Target trips or the hubby's beer budget. And this is how I found myself facing the challenge of two large containers of blueberries (2 for 1 at Target) that were about to turn. Food waste is a pretty big problem in our household, and I was determined not to lose this battle with the fruit drawer. And one can only drink so many smoothies, so I began the hunt for an amazing blueberry muffin recipe.
Sometimes Pinterest can be my worst enemy when it comes to searching for new recipes.In this case, however, the very first muffin recipe photo that caught my eye was accompanied by a 5 star rating and 1300 reviews. I baked a dozen of these babies Friday night. My husband and I ate them all in three days. We did not share them with my picky nine year old, who prefers the muffins made from a box. Pfftt. (You can search this recipe yourself under Jordan Marsh's Blueberry Muffins, or just get it here, since you're already here anyway.) This recipe has been featured in The New York Times more than once, so it must be good. Right?
First thing's first: this is definitely more of a hybrid of a cupcake and a muffin. So if you're a Muffin Purist, if such a thing exists, then be warned. More sugar, more butter, less eggs. Everything my little southern heart (and tastebuds) could desire.
This recipe is so easy, but of course I have a few tips to make it even easier. Make sure all of your ingredients (except the milk) are at room temperature when you get started. I also find that beating each egg individually before adding them to the batter one at a time helps keep the resulting muffins fluffy and light.
When it comes to vanilla, fresh vanilla bean is amazing. I order mine through Beanilla.com. Their assortment is unbelievable. I honestly had no idea that there were so many flavor variations in Vanilla. They also make this Vanilla Bean Paste that I've been using in all of my baked goods lately. A little goes a long way, and I love seeing those little specks of vanilla bean. When you're adding your vanilla, try experimenting with a bit of almond extract or a pinch of cinnamon for a deeper, more complex flavor.
I'm back! I sincerely hope your 2018 is off to a better start than mine. Our past two weekends have had some exciting moments to say the least.
Most of you have probably heard about Hawaii's missile scare on Saturday. Nothing like waking up to a text from Hawaii's Civil Defense telling you that North Korea has launched nukes at your little set of islands in the middle of the Pacific. For 38 tense minutes we didn't know whether we were going to live or die. That's right, it took 38 minutes for them to confirm that someone hit the wrong message button. Now, on the bright side we all have a much better idea of what to do should such a catastrophe ever truly occur. Furthermore, that time when my husband and I were still dating and he tried to break up with me via text no longer holds the top spot as my most memorable text message.
The week prior I had taken off from blogging to nurse my shoulder following an injury, and now I am learning to be ambidextrous, which I have heard also helps make you smarter. (Let's hope so.) I was hiking on the beautiful West side of Maui with my daughter and some friends when I lost my balance. Now, I still haven't decided if this next part illustrates how klutzy I am or how old I'm getting. Either way, I did not actually fall. I merely whipped my right arm into the air (because I was cradling my camera in my left arm) to maintain my balance and felt something go SNAP. It only hurt for a moment, but the next morning I was in agony and couldn't move it.
This post is a day late due to some unfortunate New Year's Day superstitions. You see- I'm a southerner by birth, and we take our superstitions very seriously. For instance, it is considered good luck if the first person to cross the threshold of your home in the New Year is a man, and even better luck if he's tall, dark, and handsome, and bearing gifts. (Actually, I guess thats good luck anytime.) Yesterday I actually chased one of my daughter's friends away from the door (squawking like a maniac) so that her father could come inside first. Then I spent the next five minutes apologizing for scaring her and for being rude. This must be why Mama Chapman always had one of her sons on standby each New Year's morning- to avoid such an awkward situation.
We southerners also believe that whatever you spend New Year's Day doing will set the tone for the entire year. Spend the day cooking and cleaning, and you'll be trapped in the kitchen all year long. Spend the day slaving away at work, and good luck taking a vacation this year. So I spent the day eating, drinking, and sleeping. (I wish. Fingers crossed.)
Anyhow, I'm here today to make it up to you with a delicious and easy pie recipe. I swear this pie taste just like a giant Nestle Tollhouse Cookie, fresh from the oven. It's so good, in fact, that I've already blown my New Year's resolution to eat healthier thanks to the three slices I've already downed.
This pie recipe is so amazingly easy. No tricks or tips needed. You can pretty much just dump all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, give them a quick spin with a spoon, and dump the batter into the pie crust. Throw it in the oven and take a quick nap, then enjoy all of your hard work. But DON'T tell your family how easy it is to make. Let them think you've been sweating away in the kitchen to bake them a gourmet dessert.
Now if you really wanted to get fancy and creative, there are tons of possibilities. You could make a pie crust from scratch. Or even try it in a graham cracker pie crust. The nuts are optional, but I love to add Pecans or Walnuts for a little extra taste and texture . I also love to use a Vanilla Bean Paste instead of vanilla extract. The paste is more intense in flavor, and I love the little speckles of vanilla bean. (Beanilla makes an awesome paste.) Try different flavor chocolate chips- dark chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter chips. Make this recipe your own!
Normally I like my cookies to be a bit undercooked, but that's not the goal with this pie. You want the pie to be fully cooked and set, otherwise it will collapse into a puddle of chocolatey mush when you cut it to serve. The pie is done with its golden brown on top, and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, not counting the melted chocolate chips.
Set the pie on a wire rack to cool for about half an hour before serving (remember all of my burned tongue warnings). Serve while still slightly warm. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, caramel (it is amazing with my Bourbon Brown Sugar Caramel, link to recipe below), chocolate sauce, or whatever tickles your fancy.
That's all there is to it. See, I told you it was easy. Don't forget to let me know how delicious your pie turns out.
Bourbon Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce http://www.iriegirlcookies.com/script/so-much-bourbon