House Update 3

Today we had to make the final decision on the color of the house. This is quite daunting because colors change in different light. Luckily our amazing builder Matt Lucas ordered a large quantity of samples so he could put them up on the house so we would be able to see exactly what the exterior will look like. We are aiming for a very light gray that leans towards beige. We also need to pick out the color of the gutters. Should there be a contest or do we want them to disappear and not be noticeable? Picture is below so you can email me your opinion.

Front Steps:

Steps went in last week. We decided to have the steps run the length of the front entry. I think that this looks more modern and sleek. Maybe we will put some planters on the side of the front door when the house is done. I want the final look to be minimal and not fussy. A metal roof on the garage and over the front door will create contrast and add to the modern farmhouse feel of the home. We chose black framed windows for the exterior that are white on the interior. I love the way the black framed windows look against a light gray house.

Homemade English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins

Fun to make and way better than packaged.

I have been wanting to make English Muffins for awhile. My family loves to eat English Muffins for breakfast and lunch. English Muffins are great to use for a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich or a tuna melt or simply toasted with some jam.

I saw this recipe on King Arthur Flour website. I love King Arthur Flour and always keep a supply of their all purpose, bread flour and “00” flour on hand. This English Muffin recipe calls for bread flour. The main difference between all purpose flour and bread flour is that bread flour has a higher protein content which produces lots of gluten which is essential in creating more stability and rise in the dough. All purpose flour is better for cakes and cookies.

This English Muffin recipe comes together very quickly but does require a double rise. The first rise is about 1.5 hours and the second proofing is a quick 15 minutes after the muffins have been shaped. Since this is a softer dough it is a good idea to shape the English Muffins and place them on the griddle or heavy bottom frying pan that you will be baking them on. The pan or griddle should be heavily sprinkled with semolina flour before you place the English Muffins on the pan. After the English Muffins have been placed on the pan you will need to sprinkle more semolina flour on top, cover with parchment paper and let proof for 15 minute . The semolina flour will prevent the bottom of the English muffins from burning before the inside is cooked. After the second rise you should place the griddle or frying pan on medium low heat.

The first side of the English Muffin will take 15-25 minutes, the second side will take roughly 15 minutes to bake. I like to turn the muffins periodically so that they brown evenly on the bottom. The English Muffins are done when the internal temperature reaches 185-200. After the English Muffins are ready let them cool completely and then brush off most of the semolina flour from both sides. After the English Muffins have cooled completely you can use a fork to cut them in half. Do not use a knife or else you won’t have the nooks and crannies.

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English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins are easy and fun to make
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Proofing1 hr 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack, lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bread, muffins
Servings: 16 Muffins
Calories: 160kcal

Equipment

  • Cast iron Griddle or heavy bottom frying pan
  • Stand mixer

Ingredients

  • cups bread flour
  • tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • cups lukewarm milk
  • 3 tbsp butter softened
  • 1 egg beaten lightly
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • semolina flour to sprinkle on pan

Instructions

  • Mix flour, salt and yeast together
  • In a stand mixer fitter with dough hook add butter, sugar and mix
  • add egg and milk and continue to mix for 1 minute
  • add flour mixture and mix for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and puuls away from sides
  • shape into a ball, place in bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rise for 1.5 hours until double in size
  • remove from bowl and gently press down in center of dough to deflate
  • divide the dough into 16 pieces, gently roll into a ball and flatten into a 3½ inch disk shape
  • Place each disk on a cast iron griddle or heavy bottom frying pan heavily sprinkled with semolina flour
  • sprinkle more semolina flour on top of muffins and cover with a piece of parchment paper
  • let english muffins rise for 15 minutes
  • place griddle or frying pan on medium low heat
  • cook English muffin for 15 – 25 minutes until bottom is a light golden brown
  • flip muffins over and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown on bottom and internal temperature is between 185 and 200. Adjust heat lower if muffin bottom is beginning to burn.
  • Let English Muffins cool completely.
  • Scrape most of the semolina flour off of the muffins when they are cool
  • Always use a fork to cut muffins in half. DO NOT USE A KNIFE.

Notes

Semolina flour prevents the bottoms of the muffins from burning. I like to brush most of it off before once the English Muffins are cool.
Muffins can be frozen in airtight plastic bags.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 238mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 63IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

Chocolate-Caramel Matzo

Chocolate-Caramel Matzo

Crisp Matzo is coated in Caramel and Melted Chocolate

This chocolate- caramel matzo recipe is great to serve for dessert after Passover dinner. Break the chocolate-caramel matzo up into pieces so it’s easy for people to grab a piece. This recipe was given to me years ago by my dear friend Caryn and I continue to make it every year. It is quick, easy and fun to make and it is absolutely delicious. I like to keep the caramel layer thin so it is like a thin sheet of caramel between the chocolate and the matzo. Have fun with this recipe. Add more chocolate chips if you want a thicker coating. I guarantee your chocolate-caramel matzo will come out absolutely delicious.

Some Variations:

After spreading out the chocolate top with crush walnuts or peanuts

Sprinkle chocolate with sea salt

Mix white and dark chocolate chips

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Chocolate-Caramel Matzo

matzo covered in caramel and melted chocolate
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Chill Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: passover, matzo
Servings: 24 pieces
Calories: 70kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 3 matzo
  • ¾ cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • preheat oven to 350
  • line 2 baking sheets with foil and parchement paper
  • place 1½ matzo on each baking sheet
  • add butter and brown sugar to a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium low heat
  • continue to whisk for 3 or 4 minutes until sauce thickens
  • pour sauce over matzo and spread into a thin layer with a rubber spatula
  • bake in oven for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 325 and continue to cook for 5 minutes
  • caramel should be bubbling and golden brown.
  • remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on mazto.
  • Let chips sit on matzo for a few minutes and begin to melt then spread with a spatula
  • refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Break into pieces and serve

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 70kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 55mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg

Fillet of Sole with Dried Cranberry Reduction

Fillet of Sole with Dried Cranberry Reduction

This is a very healthy and flavorful fish recipe that is perfect for a mid week dinner when you are short on time. The sauce is made by sautéing onions and dried cranberries and then adding balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. The result is a syrupy cranberry reduction that is absolutely delicious over flaky white fish. This is definitely a healthier dish which requires only one tablespoon of butter in the entire recipe. The fish is sprinkled with breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and lightly sprayed with olive oil before broiling in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes. I like to serve the fish with Pearl Couscous Primavera. The whole dinner will be ready in 30 minutes.

I like to incorporate healthy fruits and vegetables into my recipes whenever possible. A lot of flavor can be added to a dish using fruit instead of butter and oil. Cranberries are a great way to add a tangy sweetness to a dish. Cranberries are healthy and have research indicates that they can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cranberries contain polyphenols with anti inflammatory properties which help lower hypertension which results in better cardiovascular health. This recipe for Sweet Cranberry Reduction is a great way to prepare a healthy meal without sacrificing flavor.

What Are Some Other Ways To Use The Cranberry Reduction:

  • Grilled Chicken Breast
  • Halibut, Cod or Flounder
  • Pork Chops or Pork Loin
  • Lamb Chops or Leg of Lamb
  • On a Turkey Sandwich instead of mayonnaise
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Fillet of Sole with Dried Cranberry Reduction

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Vinegar Blended with Dried Cranberries creates a Sweet Tart topping for flaky Fillet of Sole
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fish, seafood
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 304kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lb Fillet of Sole
  • 1 cup onions chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or more if you like
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • melt butter in a pan and add onions
  • saute onions until translucent and add cranberries
  • add vinegar and brown sugar
  • simmer for 5 minutes
  • while sauce is simmering sprinkle salt and pepper on fish
  • top with breadcrumbs and spray or drizzle olive oil on fish
  • bake in oven for 5 or 6 minutes until done

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 729mg | Potassium: 461mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 82IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 1mg

Colcannon

Colcannon

Colcannon is a hearty Irish dish that combines kale (or cabbage) with mashed potatoes. There are four main ingredients in Colcannon; potatoes, kale, milk and butter. The dish should be served with extra pats of butter on top so that they melt over the Colcannon while it is being served. Ok, so this is not one of my healthier dishes but even my keto loving husband had to stick a fork in the Colcannon after I made it. The white potatoes mixed with the green kale and melted butter on top is quite irresistible. It is absolutely delicious to grab a forkful of the potatoes and kale and dip it in the melted butter. If you serve colcannon in individual portions it makes it even easier to achieve this experience. Try serving the Colcannon in individual ramekins with a pat of butter on top.

What should I serve with the Colcannon?

Typically Colcannon is served with ham, sausages or corned beef. It would also make a nice side dish with stew. If you’re looking to keep the main dish a little lighter then broiled salmon with a lemon sauce would work well.

Tips for making great mashed potatoes:

You must dry the potatoes after you boil them and before you mash them. When the potatoes are tender drain the water and put the potatoes back into the pot over a low flame to remove excess water. Stir the potatoes over the heat for a few minutes to dry them out. This step will insure that you you have fluffy, light mashed potatoes. If your mashed potatoes are dense and gummy it’s because there was too much water left in the potatoes.

Return the potatoes to the pot after draining the water. Stir over low heat to remove excess water before mashing potatoes.

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Colcannon

Hearty Irish Potato and Kale dish
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: potato
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 401kcal

Ingredients

  • lb yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter portioned
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • cups chopped kale hard stem removed, chopped and loosely packed
  • tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 scallion trimmed 1 inch from top and bottom and thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Put potatoes in a pot and add cold water to cover
  • bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender
  • strain potatoes and return them to the pot and place over low heat to remove excess water
  • after a few minutes remove potatoes and place on side
  • melt 3 tablespoons of butter in pot
  • add chopped kale and saute for a few minutes until soft
  • add milk and cream
  • add potatoes and mash with a potato masher
  • mix in salt and pepper
  • place colcannon in a bowl
  • make 2 depressions on the top and put a pat of butter in each one
  • scatter sliced scallions on top and serve

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 925mg | Potassium: 938mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3493IU | Vitamin C: 64mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 2mg

Best Fluffy Pancakes

Best Fluffy Pancakes

These homemade pancakes are super easy to make. Try them plain or with a few chocolate chips scattered inside.

Weekend mornings were meant for fluffy, light pancakes. This pancake recipe is ready in a jiffy and absolutely delicious. The key to fluffy pancakes is baking powder and not over-mixing the batter. If you mix the batter too long you will activate the gluten. Too much gluten will result in gummy, dense pancakes. This applies to all batter recipes. You want to incorporate all the ingredients but it is ok for the batter to be a little lumpy. In this fluffy pancake recipe I recommend you mix the dry ingredients first then mix the sugar, butter, milk and eggs in a separate bowl and add them to the dry ingredients to blend together. A few turns with a whisk is all you need to fully incorporate the wet and dry ingredients. After the ingredients blend together let the batter rest for a minute while you are heating up the griddle.

The batter should be slightly lumpy but all the ingredients should be combined. Make sure you mix the bottom of the bowl.

What is the best pancake pan?

A cast iron griddle works best for fluffy pancakes. Lodge makes a great cast iron griddle that doubles as a grill available here on Amazon. This is one of my favorite pieces of cooking equipment. I use it for steak, burgers, fish, pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches. A good cast iron grill will last many years if you care for it properly. After use, wash the grill and dry with a towel then lightly coat with vegetable oil before putting the grill away. This will prevent the cast iron from rusting.

What about the Buttermilk?

Indeed a lot of fluffy pancake recipes call for buttermilk but since I usually decide to make pancakes when I’m still in my pajamas and I don’t keep buttermilk in my refrigerator on a regular basis I had to come up with a fluffy pancake recipe that would use ingredients that most people have as staples in their home. Buttermilk does help pancakes rise but you will be equally pleased with my no buttermilk recipe.

Pancake Add-Ins:

  • Chocolate chips: sprinkle a bunch of chips on top of the pancake immediately after you pour it in the pan. Adding it to the batter will effect the rise.
  • Blueberries sprinkled on the pancake just after pouring the pancake in the pan
  • Sauté slices of banana in butter and brown sugar and serve over the pancakes
  • Top pancake with Jenn’s View candied bacon recipe and warm maple syrup with a splash of bourbon
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The Best Fluffy Pancakes

The easiest fluffiest pancakes
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breakfast, pancakes, brunch
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 360kcal

Equipment

  • cast iron griddle

Ingredients

  • cups AP flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • vegetable oil for coating pancake pan

Instructions

  • mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together
  • in a seperate bowl combine milk and butter and microwave for 1 min until butter is melted
  • let milk mixture cool until it is just warm and whisk in eggs.
  • add to flour mixture
  • lightly mix to incorporate all ingredients. Do not over mix. Small lumps are fine
  • Let batter rest while you warm cast iron griddle on medium heat
  • brush griddle lightly with vegetable oil
  • use a ladle to spoon pancake batter onto griddle
  • add chocolate chips if desired
  • flip pancake when bubbles appear on top of pancake
  • serve with fresh berries and real maple syrup

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 602mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 578IU | Calcium: 238mg | Iron: 3mg