Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Donuts: Cinnamon sugar and cinnamon maple glazed.

I finally used my donut pan today!! I ordered it off Amazon probably about a month ago after seeing a few recipes for baked donuts that I just had to try. I didn't make any of those though. For my first donut, I went with a good old plain donut with simple toppings. Boy, what a good start to my donut making days! I was inspired by a friend's recipe - found here at Brittany's Pantry - and just changed a few ingredients. These came out moist and airy with a delicious flavor. I find cake donuts from the shop to be really heavy as opposed to the yeast donuts (my favorite is a boston cream donut, which I do intend to make someday...) but these aren't heavy at all. In fact, since they are on the small side, I could see two being a good serving size for these!

The original recipe was for 6 donuts, and I doubled it and got 17 donuts. I found if I tried to make them bigger the hole would fill up in my pan. So they are kind of small, but that is OK. Like I said, I don't mind eating two.

The batter is so easy. You basically just mix everything in a bowl. I love those kinds of recipes. The less mess the better!


Whenever I want to pipe something, I put my bag in a cup to put the batter in. Then I can just take it out and cut the tip and I don't get batter everywhere. 

 See?

You don't have to pipe it into the pan, but I think it makes it neater and faster this way! I oiled my pan with just a little coconut oil. I only had to do that once, and I'm not even sure it was necessary.



They only take 10 minutes in the oven, and they are light and fluffy.



For the cinnamon sugar topping, I wanted to get them buttered and dipped before they cooled off too much. I wanted that goodness to seep in.


I started using a brush for the butter, and then dipping them into my cinnamon sugar.

Like my bowl for dipping? It is handy having a toddler around! Also, this is ground raw sugar with cinnamon.


dipping...

I had to cover every surface. 
 After a couple donuts, I decided it would be much easier to just dip the donuts in the butter.


I had my second round in the oven while I was sugaring the first batch, and these came out a little more even after I realized I can't overfill the pan.


Here are the cinnamon sugared donuts!




Now for the glaze. My Mom had just gotten me some maple syrup from her trip out East and you can taste it in and out of these donuts. I think it is what makes them so good despite the fact that they are baked and not fried.


I just used about a cup of powdered sugar, maple syrup, and some milk to make the glaze. My recipe measurements are approximate because I kept adding, little by little, until I got the consistency I wanted. I wanted it to be thick enough to stay on the donut but thin enough to kind of slide over it. See how it coats the fork but is still dripping off? Perfect.


So the maple glazed joined the cinnamon sugared on the drying rack.



Mmmmm

My taste tester. 

I had a little glaze left over, and heaven forbid I let anything go to waste. I added some cinnamon and used it to make a pretty decoration on top of the glazed donuts, and a little cinnamon never hurt anything. 




I had made a double batch because I have been wanting to bring Gavyn's gymnastics coaches a treat for all they do. He goes to The Little Gym and we absolutely love it. He has been going since he turned one and it has done wonderful things for his confidence and large motor skills. His teachers are amazing and deserve treats every week!
So I found this cute box in my room from when my husband got a gift in it and I couldn't throw away a nice box - and now I'm glad I'm a pack rat because it was perfect for a donut delivery.




Basic Homemade Donuts
adapted from Brittany's Pantry

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, or combination whole wheat and white flours
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
1 egg
1 Tbsp coconut oil or other oil of your choice*
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup

*I used coconut oil because we don't do soy in our house, and most vegetable oils have soy in them.

Set oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add sour cream, egg, oil, and maple syrup and stir to combine. Add batter to large ziplock bag and cut a hole in one corner. Fill a standard donut pan (I got mine here) and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on cooling racks.

For cinnamon sugar topping:

Combine 1 cup of sugar (I used raw sugar that I blended in my mini food processor to make it a little more fine) and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in another bowl. Brush or dip donuts with the butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar topping. Set back on racks to dry.

For maple glaze:

Combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Add about a Tbsp of milk and mix. See keep adding milk until you get a good consistency. It should coat your spoon or fork but also drip off easily. Dip cooled donuts into the glaze and let dry.
You can also then add about a tsp. of cinnamon to any leftover glaze and drizzle it over the top for another flavor layer.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Playdough

Playdough is one of those things that really is much easier to buy than make at home, but the quality you get when you make it yourself is so much better, in my opinion. Also, it is much less expensive, and you know exactly what your child is playing with. Plus you just know they are going to try eating it. I did when I was a kid, and I bet you did too, at some point. Despite the store-bought brand being "non-toxic", I still wouldn't want my kid eating it! The playdough from this recipe is smooth and soft. It lasts a long time too if kept in a container or wrapped in plastic wrap. It is also a good way to use up standard food coloring since we don't put it in our food anymore!

A word to the wise: I personally avoid recipes for playdough that include jello mix or anything else that makes it smell good or taste good. You are basically just giving your kid a snack then and if that is what you were going for, there are better "dough" recipes out there than playdough recipes!

The hard part about making playdough is that it needs to be babysat on the stove and if you do it right, your arm will hurt by the end! You have to keep stirring and stirring until it is really thick, and if you stop stirring you risk it burning or getting really hard in one spot. You'll also have a lot stuck to the sides of your pan, like this:




This is what the dough should look like after it comes together in the pan. At this point, it is ready to take out and knead by hand. 

So the pan needs to soak for a while after making it. It comes right off though after a good soaking. You also have to knead the dough, which isn't hard, but it is another step. 


After kneading the dough is ready and yours to divide up and color the way you like! I made mine into 4 pieces and colored them blue, green, red, and yellow. I just added some drops of food coloring to each bit and kneaded it in. Just work the dough until the color is evenly distributed. 


Aren't they pretty? I love the mild colors. They are so fun to play with too!


Homemade Playdough

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 T vegetable oil
food coloring

Stir together flour, water, salt, cream of tartar, and vegetable oil in a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. keep stirring until it becomes so thick it creates a ball. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before handling. Place on a clean work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth. Divide and color as desired!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What makes me happy:

I've decided to start a once a month post about the things in my life at the moment that I am absolutely smitten with. I have always had a personality that tends to go crazy with something one month and then fall out of it the next. You can imagine the money I spend on crafts....yikes! I'll also go through phases where I am obsessed with cream cheese, or spinach, or leggings, or braids...so this seemed like a really good idea when my good friend Brittany from Brittany's Pantry gave me the idea. I love her blog and think it is a great idea to throw in a post that is a little off my normal format.

So here it goes! My October digs:

1) Dolman style tops. Whether it be a sweater, long sleeved t-shirt, or tunic, I love this style of shirt right now. Maybe it is because my chest is holding some extra weight from breastfeeding, or my arms are holding extra weight from loving on food, but these tops fit me - at least I think they fit me - so great!



2) Washable tempura paint. My son is really into painting right now. He has finally found his creative side and I love it. I ordered this set of paints from Amazon, because they don't sell paint in such quantities at my local store. Those little 4 ounce tubs - get us through one paint session. I love how this paint comes right off of their hands, clothes, hair, and the back of my kitchen chairs. Yet, it stays on the paper...of which I prefer good scrapbook paper as opposed to regular construction paper. It holds up to toddler painting much better!





3) Burlap and lace. OK, I am not a trendy person at all. The fact that this is kind of trendy right now had nothing to do with why I like it. I have always liked a "rustic" look to things and burlap gives me that country, woodsy feel. Then the lace dresses it up a bit. I'm doing my daughter's birthday party in burlap and lace (and snowflakes) and I am absolutely obsessed. I ordered this ribbon from Etsy and I think I have spent at least half an hour just caressing it since it arrived last week.

This is a terrible pictures, but it is the wreath I made for my daughter's party...


4) Cauliflower. I had to include some food item. I have always liked broccoli and cauliflower, but I usually cook it somehow. I like to roast it or steam it and serve it with butter. However, lately I have been loving it just raw! I eat it kind of like a chip, and dip it in either hummus or salsa mixed with sour cream. It is crunchy and creamy at the same time. Although, I recommend not eating a whole head of cauliflower in one sitting. Especially when you are breastfeeding.

OK this isn't raw cauliflower, but it is a cauliflower crust pizza, which was pretty dang good. I served it with bread!


5) The closet clean-out of fall. That horrible yet wonderful project in which I go through my closet, decide what I don't want anymore and what needs to be put away for summer. Then going into the basement and finding the clothes I have down there and doing the same thing. I have a love-hate relationship with this project. I love it because I discover old clothes I forgot I had, I get organized, and I learn a little bit more about myself as I go through clothes. I hate it because I end up with piles of clothes I can't possibly sort in one day, meaning there are piles of clothes everywhere for days. Then there is the issue of what fits and what doesn't...if I want to try selling any of it - or just give the $60 maternity dress I wore once away. It does make me happy though, just because it is getting done.



6) The community pride in my town. I recently went to the homecoming parade in our town to which we moved just over a year ago. Holy cow - these people are serious about their parades! I was so impressed and almost moved by the amount of town pride I felt. I'm so glad that I now live in this community and while we may not stay the rest of our lives, I'm glad we are here now. 

7) Stretching. Back when I was a gymnast and when I worked out at the gym all the time, I made stretching part of my daily routine. Since having kids, it went wayyy down on the priority list, and I'm lucky to get 5 minutes to do some jumping jacks, very lightly, in my living room. Stretching became a non-essential part of life that I just couldn't afford to take time for. Well, lately I have been feeling really really stiff. Stiff and old. My back hurts, and my muscles have been crying out to be stretched. So I'm starting to make it a priority again. It may not burn tons of calories or build lots of muscle, but it is important, and right now for me, it is the most important part of the time I get to work on my body. Since I began stretching just a few days ago, I feel better. Everywhere. The pooch on my tummy may not be shrinking at the moment, but I feel great!

Yep. Those are my feet. I still have a slight tan line.  That is a crayon on the floor to the right. 


That is it for this month! Hopefully I'll have some new, fun things to talk about in November!



Friday, October 25, 2013

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Another Mom in my Mom's group just became a mother of two instead of one. She had her second little boy just the other week and is one tired Mama! Ten months ago, I would have killed for somebody to bring me a hot meal I didn't have to cook. Especially a week of hot meals. Another friend of mine arranged a Take Them a Meal set-up where you can sign up to bring the family a dinner on the week chosen. I think this is so brilliant. Not only do I completely understand the need for a nice home-cooked meal after having a baby, but I love feeding people. I love cooking and sharing my food. I saw a recipe like this at Reluctant Entertainer but made a lot of changes. Mostly because I was trying to use what I had on hand, and I was doubling the recipe. It was a perfect meal to make double of though, and very satisfying and healthy. 

It is chock full of veggies and can be easily made dairy free by emitting the cheese. It would still be a great meal. I served it with my rendition of Mexican rice (in other words - I just threw in some chili peppers, tomato paste, and homemade taco seasoning). I also used both corn tortillas, which I had a surplus of, for our casserole style enchiladas and homemade flour tortillas for the traditional rolled enchiladas which I brought to the lucky family of now four. I also brought out a jar of my homemade enchilada sauce and stretched it a bit with some tomato sauce and taco seasoning. 

The recipe I write below will be for just one batch of enchiladas, but in my pictures I am making double. 

I started by roasting cubed butternut squash and onions. I cubed them pretty small so there weren't huge chunks in the enchiladas. 




After those roasted for about half an hour, I added zucchini and corn.


All the vegetables roasted together and made what would make a pretty good side dish on its own.


Then I added black beans to the filling.


The filling!



Then time to roll! I put a scoop of filling in each tortilla along with some shredded Mexican cheese. These would also be amazing with goat cheese, in my opinion!


                            


I laid them in a pan with some sauce at the bottom, and squeezed them all together.


 And topped them with more sauce and the rest of the Mexican cheese


That was the traditional enchilada pan. For us, because my corn tortillas were just falling apart when I tried to roll them, I decided to take the easy road and make a casserole. Same great taste, no rolling necessary. Using corn tortillas also made this gluten free, for those who care about that kind of thing.




 The two dishes ready for the oven



Then I baked them for about  half an hour until all the cheese on top was melted. The filling was warm, so if it had been cold it would have needed to cook for longer. 

 Here is the rolled enchiladas:


And here is the casserole style:

 

 I  love all the veggies in this. It is pretty, delicious, and so healthy!



Big smiles for this meal!


Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 cup corn, frozen or fresh

1 can black beans

1/2 recipe homemade enchilada sauce, or a large can of mild enchilada sauce

2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

10-12 corn tortillas or homemade flour tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place cubed butternut squash and chopped onion on a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 20-30  minutes or until tender. Add the zucchini and corn to the mixture for an additional 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the roasted butternut mixture and the black beans.
  3. Pour a thin layer of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of 13″ x 9″ casserole dish. Place 1/3 cup of the squash and bean mixture into each tortilla. Top with a couple tablespoons of shredded cheese and roll up, leaving the ends un-tucked. This will allow the sauce to get into the enchiladas later. 
  4. Continue until the pan is full of enchiladas. It’s okay to squeeze them together and add in extra if you need to. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of enchiladas. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese has thoroughly melted and is beginning to bubble around the edges, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with Mexican rice, sour cream, acovado, or whatever else you can think of!