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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After spreading out the chocolate top with crush walnuts or peanuts
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:
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.
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.
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