Thursday, December 9, 2010

Easy Breads

I am a huge bread fan.  The fresher the better.  Throw in some seeds and nuts.  I just could eat it all day long if I let myself.  I don't really buy storebought bread as the kinds that I like and feel are wholesome are usually a bit more expensive than I can stand to pay.  Matt and I both have this compulsive attitude of : why spend so much more on something I could do myself with a little bit of effort?!  Besides, making bread is really rather fun.  Its rather magical to turn a pile of powders and milk into something so tasty!  Plus, the house is all warm and smells delightful.  What is not to enjoy?!

I was typing these up for my sister to encourage her to bake with my little four year old niece so I thought, what the heck, I'll post them...I already typed 'em.  I already wrote up the recipe for my favorite quick, go-to bread stick/pizza dough in an earlier post, but here are a couple other quick breads I use when I am craving some great bread-y goodness and don't have time or ambition to make a real honest to goodness loaf.  Sometime I will type up a few of my favorites of those as well.  All in due time...

Baking Powder Biscuits
1 C    whole wheat flour
1 C    white flour (or other flour of your choice)
3 t      baking powder
1 t      salt
1/4 C Earth Balance (or shortening of your choice)
3/4-1 C milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Stir together all dry ingredients.  Add the shortening and mash it into the dry ingredients until the margarine is well broken down into small bits and mixed throughout the dry ingredients.  Stir in the milk starting with 3/4 cup and adding a little more at a time as needed until you get a nice sticky dough.  Drop by large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes.

Basic Cornbread
1 C     whole wheat flour (or half-and-half with white if you prefer)
3/4 C  cornmeal
3 T      sugar
3 t       baking powder
1/3 C  applesauce
2 t       vegetable oil
1 C     milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix together all dry ingredients.  Add in remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.  Pour into a baking dish (we use a 9inch pie plate) and bake for about 20 minutes or until it has achieved your desired level of golden.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter Magic

The snow is sort of magical.  The light fluffy drifting of flakes.  The sparkling crystals.  The quiet brightness of it all. I came home from my week out on the coast to a full day of non-stop snowing.  The city has been covered in a dazzling blanket ever since.  I have a much more positive attitude about snow anymore.  It used to really bring me down.  However, when I think about it that was probably because I had to drive through the snow which is always a terrible pain.  Now I just walk or jog my way through it and it is so much more enjoyable.  I also have come to really value these months of time to work around the home.  There are holiday gifts to make and the last of the tomatoes to can, epic Risk battles to wage, tie-dye inventory to stock up, and so much more.  I used to feel trapped, but now I feel happy about staying in with my slippers on and tackling the mending pile.  Winter encourages domestic bliss.  The fact that I am domestic at all is really magical.  Oh, how the seasons pass and we all grow and change.