Saturday, August 25, 2012

Meyer Lemon Donuts

The summer is almost over and the fall is approaching fast. I love the fall for so many reasons. Apple cider, pumpkins, Halloween, I could name a million.

I will post A LOT of fun dishes this fall. I know I've been MIA lately but I have been really trying to get my name out there locally. I would really love to show my children that you can be successful at doing something you enjoy while still being a great, active stay at home mommy. 

Anywho, I thought a great way to say farewell to summer is with a treat that's delicious regardless of the season. DONUTS!

The recipe  is a basic old fashioned but to add a little extra zing, I incorporated beautiful Meyer lemons I found at Fairway this week, they were perfectly ripe and added a nice delicate touch to a basic donut glaze.

Just a heads up, this dough must be refrigerated overnight.

Starting with 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of milk in a small sauce pan, I let it simmer until steaming and poured over 1 packet of active dry yeast.. Let the yeast and milk settle for about 10 minutes. Melt 3/4 cups of butter In the microwave for about 30 seconds. While the butter is cooling down a bit, take two eggs and put them in your mixer with the dough hook attachment and beat them for a minute. Add in the melted butter without turning off the mixer.

Continue to mix until fully blended and add in the yeast mixture. Once thoroughly mixed, add in 4 cups bread flour. Using the dip and sweep method.

Knead in your mixer or by hand for 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, with plastic wrap in the fridge overnight.

When you are ready to make your doughnuts, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment and turn your oven on to 350 degrees. The cookie sheets should be on top of the oven as the doughnuts will need to rise in a nice warm area.

Roll out your dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. You can use a round cookie cutter or a cup for the shape. For the doughnut hole I used the smallest circular fondant cutter that is used for flower making (I think) But you could even use a bottle cap if you do not have a small round cutter.  Place molded doughnuts on the cookie sheets and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

In a large heavy pot. Heat enough canola oil to go about 2/3 of the way up your pot and heat until 375 degrees. In the mean time get a few cooling racks and place a nice layer of paper towel on top to catch the grease.

Once the temperature is about 360 it will rise pretty rapidly so get ready.

Place the doughnuts in, 2-3 at a time for 30 seconds per side, or until nice and golden to your liking.

The dough is very delicate so I recommend picking up with a heat resistant spatula.

While they rest and degrease on the paper towel, make your delicious glaze.

1.5 cups of confectioners suger, the juice of 1 Meyer lemon and enough water to get to medium-thick consistency, about 1/4 cup(warm).

Dip your doughnut in half way through and let rest right side up so that the glaze drips down. I also used Alton Brown's chocolate doughnut glaze for a few, it was...OK

Hubby loved the ones I left plain the best, a real old fashioned doughnut.

For a basic glaze, just omit the Meyer lemon juice.  I even fried up the donut holes and let Julia roll a few in some sprinkles for a little quiet kitchen time while baby Jacob was asleep. I'd advise you not to let your toddler do this if you JUST MOPPED THE FLOOR! Like I did...whoopsie.

P.S This recipe makes 18.

Enjoy :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Black Tea Lemonade Au Naturale

I love drinks.. Not specifically alcoholic, but in general. It stinks that they have to be so high calorie and filled with sugar. Especially high fructose corn syrup which is a NO NO in our house.

That said, Soda is OUT. Boylan's is actually HFCS free and delish but we don't have a $1,000 a month soda budget here.

Long story short, to keep things interesting, I try to make drinks at home, using raw sugar, water, teas, and fruits. Jason LOVES Arnold Palmer, but the one in the supermarket has HFCS and the diet version is just as gross, with tons of "calorie free" chemical sugars. EW

Target had Tazo Iced Tea bags on sale last week which is my fave. So I bought a box of the black tea.  I boiled 6 cups of water with 1 cup of sugar (next time I will use 1/2 cup). I used 1 cup lemon juice which was about 6 lemons.  I left the tea bag to steep for about 10 minutes because I like a strong brew. I poured into a 2 quart pitcher an filled it up the rest of the way with cold water.

Once chilled, this was really delicious, tasted exactly like an A.P. It was a little on the sweet side for me, I like a lightly sweetened tea. But if you are used to the prebottled version this is exactly on point.

Break down:
6 cups boiling water
1/2-1 cup sugar in the raw depending on preference
1 iced Tazo tea bag

steep 10 minutes for strong brew

1 cup lemon juice, 6 lemons approx.

After doing the math, and depending on the size of your drinking glasses, 1 8oz glass is approx 110 cals of NATURAL ingredients, no processed BS.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Overnight French Toast with Blueberry Compote

When you have young children at home your house is never spotless...Unless you have a maid (we don't) or you have odd children who sit quietly and let you clean everyday (we don't). So I thanked my lucky stars(and Jacob for taking a nice long morning nap) when I was given the opportunity to dust, sweet, mop and wipe this morning. The point of telling you this is because now, instead of spending all weekend cleaning, Hubby and I can relax, hang loose and spend some quality family time.

What better way to start off a lovely weekend than with a 5 star breakfast!

If you know anything about me you know that I LOVE COFFEE. I gave it up cold turkey for both pregnancies so that means that for 18 out of 24 months I had ZERO cups of coffee. Needless to say I am back with a vengeance.

If you want a 100% gourmet cup of iced coffee follow my cold brew recipe HERE. If you rather prep  the night before and whip up something delicious and FAST in the AM here is the easy road...

I pulled out our 100 yr old Mr. Coffee and brewed 11 cups of coffee, (Melita Classique) for 11 cups I used 11 HEAPING tablespoons of coffee. We like it bold here at the House of J. If you like your coffee lighter, regular tablespoons should do it.

Once it finished brewing I popped it straight in the fridge. This will be our iced coffee for the weekend, no ice required :)

For a classy touch I froze regular milk, vanilla soy milk and my caramel sauce(recipe here) in Julia's ice pop maker. Once it was half way frozen I stuck in some toothpicks for easy removal. This will flavor the iced coffee and make it even more cold and delicious without watering it down with ice.

You can stop here of course or you can make "Overnight" french toast...

Recipe as follows:

6 Pieces of bread. We used honey whole wheat
4 eggs
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix ingredients 2-5 until eggs are beaten and smooth.

Line a baking dish with 2 tablespoons melted butter and dust with cinnamon.

I did the dip and pour method, many online recipes say pour over bread but to make sure all pieces were saturated I did both.

place bread in dish sprinkle with cinnamon and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight...

When you wake up in the morning, take your baking dish out of the fridge and preheat oven to 350.
Bake for 30 minutes.

While your french toast is in the oven, realllllly impress your hubby with blueberry compote :)
1/2 pint blueberries, juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1 tablespoon sugar.

Boil until blueberries "pop" and mixture becomes saucey. Serve on the side in a cute little spouted cup :)

Enjoy a beautiful breakfast for 2. Or a fun, hectic, delicious breakfast for 4!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Swedish Meatballs for My Sweeties

Swedish meatballs is one of those dishes that are so yummy but you never think to just whip up a batch at home.

It's also a great make-ahead type of meal which we really need right now...Jacob is in his, "If mommy isn't holding me I'll scream my head off" stage. I remember it with Julia.

I will never forget that from about 3 months to 5 or 6 months old, EVERY time I would take a shower I'd come out to her HYSTERICAL. It's not that Hubby doesn't try, He snuggles them, kisses them, and plays them guitar. But when you are nursing an infant, they just want their momma. Now that Julia is 2 shes a big time daddy's girl but still won't let me shower without her playing in the bathroom every time.

SO...I've been trying to make dishes that I can prep during nap time and then get them all together quickly, later on.

For the meatballs.I used 3/4 pound ground pork. It was enough for the two of us plus a little extra for Julia.

To the pork add:
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian style, we buy them in bulk)
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lemon-pepper seasoning(a great kitchen staple to have in the house)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tsp paprika

Mix it all together and form little meatballs, for a nice small meatball use a tablespoon scoop as a guide.

At this point I covered them in plastic wrap and popped them in the fridge. If you don't have an infant and a toddler feel free to make it all at once..

When you are ready to eat, get a big pot of water and set it on the stove to boil.

In the mean time make the meatball sauce.
1 tablespoon butter in a small sauce pan. Once melted add 1 tablespoon flour and stir until smooth and tan in color.

Add in 1 cup beef broth and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Let it simmer on medium heat while you start cooking the meatballs..

Just add enough oil to a large pan to coat the bottom and toss in your meat balls, once browned turn them with a fork to brown on all sides, this takes about 10 minutes..

Add in some spiral egg noodles to the boiling water and a pinch of salt and cook per the instructions on the package.

While your meatballs and pasta cook, take 1/2 cup heavy cream and add to your sauce. Sprinkle in a pinch of paprika and a pinch of lemon pepper just to meld the flavors of the meatballs with the sauce and let simmer until it thickens.

Pour sauce over noodles and meatballs and there you go!!
Now you only have to go to Ikea for furniture :)


Friday, August 3, 2012

Herb Crusted Grilled Chicken with Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

It's been one of those days...

I don't think you can understand it unless you're a mommy. I don't mean that to be offensive but its just one of those things. I'll try to explain.

Julia is 2. She can really express emotions very well now and can get a tad dramatic. It's so beautiful to see her grow and flourish but can be overwhelming.

She was a mini me today. We worked out together, we shopped together, we played together and she was just amazing. She even counted to 10 today for the first time(usually its up to 4).

On the flip side, Jacob is itty bitty and only understands two things.. Mommy is holding me or mommy is not holding me. Which is also a beautiful stage that I am so blessed to experience again.

Long story short, it was just one of those days where you are filled with so much love and happiness and your kids realllllly need you so your just in "momma mode" with no off switch. Not even for a second.  My point is...

I wanted to just go with the flow for dinner, throw in ingredients here and there and just go with my cooking instincts and not have to think.

Enough babble.. here we go.

I originally took out chicken breasts for cutlets. But that includes dipping and dredging and frying and I still felt guilty about my bacon egg and cheese bagel this morning AND a slice of pizza in the afternoon. Grilled chicken it is!

2 chicken breasts trimmed and cleaned in a bowl.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup dried oregano
1 tsp ground rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste.

set aside

In a small sauce pan...
1 tbs butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped

cook until butter is melted and garlic is nice and brown
Add in 1 small can tomato sauce(San Marzano is the best but Tutorosso is a very close 2nd)
simmer on medium-low heat until little bubbles start forming.
increase to medium-high and pour in about 1/8 cup red wine.

side note- I used "The Velvet Devil" Merlot to drink and cook with for this. @ around $14 it's at a good price point where you don't feel guilty cooking with it but its still decent enough to drink. A little tart for my taste personally but still very good.  It's actually made in Washington which is pretty cool and the label is fun if you were to show up with it at a party or a dinner.
Once the sauce comes to a bubble again lower the heat and let it settle a bit. Throw in 1/8 cup basil 2 tablespoons oregano and 1 pinch of onion powder.

Get a griddle pan ready by heating it up on the stove a bit.

Add in 1/4 cup heavy cream to the sauce pan and throw the chicken in the griddle pan.
Grill until brown on both sides. about 10 minutes total for thin chicken breasts. While the chicken is cooking the sauce should be thickening. This would be the time to prepare pasta or another kind of side to serve with it.  Polenta or risotto would be delicious with this but I didn't have the time. We used whole wheat thin spaghetti.

When the chicken is 90% cooked, take it out and cut in slices. Throw back on the griddle and cook until all the chicken juices and herbs are coating all sides of the chicken slices.. This step isn't necessary but if serving with pasta its nicer to slice it so that you, and whoever you are serving it to (in my case, Hubby) doesn't have to sit there with a fork and knife cutting it up in the pasta dish.

Serve tomato basil cream sauce over the pasta or risotto or polenta and add your grilled chicken.Serve with the rest of your wine, that is... if you didn't drink it all while cooking.