The Easiest (and Tastiest) English Muffins Ever

We probably eat too many of these, but I just cannot keep enough of them in the house lately. With this pandemic, we shop in advance for typically a month’s worth of groceries. This is typical of us in the wintertime, with several feet of snow or roads impassable…but this is not typical of our lifestyle at the end of May. I ran out of english muffins at home and decided to make them myself. They are SO MUCH BETTER than the type you can find in the store! No special rings needed!

I used the recipe that Truffles and Trends shared, but tweaked it just a tad! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Pour warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar, then yeast on top. Let sit and foam for 10 minutes.

Add in olive oil, flour, and salt and mix (I used my Kitchen Aid with dough hook). Knead for 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed to make the dough stop sticking to the sides of the mixer.

Shape the dough into ball and place into an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Once dough is doubled, knead a few times on a floured surface and then divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by rolling it between the palm of your hand and the top of the counter.

Place the balls onto the Silpat or parchment and press them into flattish rounds. Cover rolls with towel and let rise 20 minutes. 

Heat a large frying pan (I didn’t need any oil or butter at all). Cooking the muffins in batches of 2 or 3, cover and crisp on low heat on first side until the muffins are puffed up and golden and toasted on the outside. This process took an estimated 5 minutes. Flip and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the second side is also golden and toasted. 

Store sealed in the refrigerator or freezer. So good!

*Many people use cornmeal for each side, but I don’t like it! I didn’t use cornmeal at all, but you can lightly dust each side prior to cooking them if you choose!

Greek Holiday Baklava

My stepfather’s family is Greek and since I was raised in his household, I grew up with amazing Baklava that we had every holiday season. Every year, it was always traditionally the same. As I have adult children of my own now, I have made Baklava myself for many years and have tweaked the syrup some from how my mother taught me to make it. I hope you enjoy! This recipe is way easier than you’d think!

Bakalava fresh out of the oven – before syrup

Ingredients

Baklava

  • 1  pound of raw, unsalted nuts (I use walnuts)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 pkg phyllo dough
  • 1 cup butter melted
  • Whole cloves for middle of each piece

Instructions

Baklava

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Chop the nuts very fine. You can do this by hand or in a food processor.
  • After the nuts are fine, mix the ground spices into them.
  • Unroll the phyllo and place it on a cookie sheet. Cover the phyllo with plastic wrap and then with a damp cloth to keep it from drying out quickly.
  • Place 5 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of your baking dish. Brush generously with the melted butter.
  • Sprinkle 5 to 6 tablespoons of the nut mixture evenly over the phyllo.
  • Add 2 more sheets of phyllo dough and brush with butter after every layer.
  • Continue to layer the nuts and phyllo sheets, brushing the sheets with butter as you go, until you have used all of the nut mixture.
  • For the top layer of phyllo, use 6 to 8 sheets, buttering each one.
  • Now, using a very sharp knife, cut the Baklava all the way through, into 4 long rows. Then cut diagonally to make diamond shapes.
  • Place in the preheated oven ad bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown.

Baklava still very hot with fresh syrup poured on

Syrup

  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon or orange juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • peel from 1 lemon or orange washed, cut in strips, and pith removed

Instructions

Syrup

  • Combine the brown sugar and the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Add the honey, cinnamon sticks, cloves and citrus peel and return to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove and discard the cloves, peels and cinnamon sticks. The peel is “candied” now so you can use it in other recipes.
  • Add the lemon or orange juice and the vanilla and mix well.
  • Remove the syrup from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • After removing the Baklava from the oven, immediately pour the syrup over the top (It will absorb all of the syrup as it cools).
  • Allow the Baklava to cool completely before serving. *My family always put one clove in the middle of each piece of baklava. It holds the top layers together & its a Greek thing!

Frozen Garlic Cubes!

Where have you been all of my life???

I bought this at Trader Joe’s…I finally remembered I had this in my freezer. My son told me to try these and he is so right!

This is the underside of the packaging. Cute little squares of garlic. I clove per cube!

This is the opened package. Just pop out however many cloves you need for a recipe and then put them back in your freezer until later.

This gives me so many ideas for processing and freezing my own garlic. Thanks TJ’s! I ❤️ U always!

-Mia

New Healthy Dog Treats!

Our dog Sitka is 4 now and we really want him to live forever and ever, or at least as long as we are lucky enough to have him to spoil and love! It’s super tempting to grab those easy, super stinky dog treats that all dogs adore from the store, but our Sitka loves homemade treats even more!oatflour

I use quick oats and process them down to a flour for pup treats…

cheerios

Same with organic cheerio type cereal…

ricekrispieflour

As well as organic rice cereal! These have a consistency of panko bread crumbs. Just wait, you’ll get it in a sec.

PBTREATS

These peanut butter balls are no-bakes and so freaking easy and just 4 ingredients! Here’s the recipe:

No-Bake Peanut Butter Ball Pup Treats

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats, processed into medium coarse thickness (not fine)
  • 1 cup fresh peanut butter, non-salted (I use organic, non-salted fresh peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup water  (you can sub out the water for milk or broth if you’d like)
  • 1 4oz pouch of baby food fruit, such as apples & oats

Hand mix or food process all of the ingredients in a bowl until it looks like this gooey mess:

PBDOUGH

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out mixture and hand roll.

Roll the formed balls in processed oats.

It’s that easy! I store these in an airtight container in the fridge, which can last in there for up to a week, but they never last that long! 🙂

Blueberry Chia Pup Treats

Seriously, Jon even tried these and said they were bomb! (Sitka agreed!) You don’t need to worry about using chia seeds for these- they’re vet approved! Chia seeds even help with dogs shiny coats- just make sure you soak them first!

BBTREATS

Ingredients:

1 4oz pouch of baby food fruit or veggies

1/4 cup of frozen blueberries, processed or chopped

1 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup powdered cherrios

1/2 powdered rice cereal

2 tsp soaked chia seeds

1 large egg, beaten

1 tbsp honey

frozenblueberry

I just throw blueberries into my food processor and use them this way!

babyfood

I wasn’t kidding about the baby food! It’s awesome! I make veggie treats with them too!

Instructions:

I put everything into my food processor and pulse until its all combined. Depending on the type of baby food you use, etc. you may need to add a little more of the dry ingredients to get a wet dough, but something that you can roll out and cut with a cookie cutter. I added about 1/4 of powdered cherrios today to get the right consistency.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 mins. They will be a little soft still, but firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack after a few minutes.

You can store these in your fridge for up to a week!

Enjoy!

-Mia

 

Salsa 2 Ways!

Between what is ready to pick at my house and what I found at the farmers market last weekend, I had some extra jalepenos and poblano peppers needing to be used, so I made salsa!

Ingredients:

3 jalepenos, seeds removed

2 poblanos, seeds removed

2-4 tomatoes

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

Cilantro- I use a handful, it’s to your taste

Salt & pepper

I pulsed it, just long enough for there to still be some small chunks. My guy doesn’t like salsa too thin!

I do something some people don’t…I strain the salsa to remove the excess juices. Not all, but enough so it’s not juicy.

I put half into a reusable container to lid up and then…

Add the other half to a container with some fresh corn! Jon LOVES corn salsa.

*one thing to note: corn salsa only gets better as it sits in the fridge for a day or so. It melds with the onions and peppers and takes on a fab flavor.

I like easy “recipes” like this!

Enjoy!

-Mia

Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli!

This is some seriously easy stuff to make! I put it on my slow cooker at 2pm and it was ready to eat 4 hours later!

Ingredients:

3 lbs steak, sliced thin and into strips

2 cups beef broth

2/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

6 tbsp cornstarch

6 tbsps water

3 heads broccoli, cut into florets

Rice or noodles, cooked

Instructions:

Inside the slow cooker, whisk together broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and brown sugar.

Place slices of beef (uncooked) in the liquid and toss to coat.

Cover either lid and cook for 4 hours on the low setting.

After 4 hours, whisk together cornstarch and water in small bowl. Add mixture to slow cooker, along with the broccoli florets. Gently stir to combine.

Cover with lid and cook 30 minutes on low to cook broccoli and thicken sauce.

I always prefer to serve over brown rice, but noodles or another rice variety is great!

Enjoy!

Mia

Amazing Slow Cooker Pot Roast!

I’m spoiled with one of those Cuisinart all-in-one slow cookers that’s non-stick. I’ve only had it about 1 year, but WHERE HAS IT BEEN ALL OF MY LIFE? Seriously, its worth it to splurge and have a non-stick version because the clean up takes just a minute. The stuck-on food on my old slow cooker was why I didn’t use it very often. That’s all changed!

Ingredients:

1 chuck roast (mine was 3lbs)

Olive oil

1 pound carrots, cut into chunks (I use rainbow carrots)

1 onion, peeled and cut into large chunks

3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks

1 pound of small potatoes, cut in half (I use small purple potatoes)

2 cups beef broth

1 tbsp corn starch

potroast5

Seasoning for meat:

The meat gets its own section. 🙂

2 tbsps steak seasoning

1 tbsp sea salt or kosher salt

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp dried thyme

2 tbsp dried rosemary

Instructions:

Rub all over both sides of meat and sear meat in hot pan with olive oil. Remove from pan and set aside.

potroast4.jpeg

Here comes the veggies! I use all organic veggies. Cook in same super hot and olive oil coated pan as you cooked the meat in and keep moving them around for about 5 minutes, until they have a nice sear on the edges.

Place meat in slow cooker, then seared veggies all around the meat. Cover the meat and veggies with the beef broth.

potroast3

It should look like this! 🙂

potroast2

Cook on low for 7 hours. After its all done, pull the roast and veggies out and set aside. Skim any fat off of the surface of the drippings. Pour drippings into saucepan with the cornstarch whisked in and cook 5-7 mins on medium heat until it gets to a slow boil. That’s some mean flavored gravy. I always go crazy and make mashed potatoes too. My fam loves them whenever possible!

Enjoy!

-Mia

Taco Salad With Homemade Avocado Crema!

I’ve always loved Taco Salads. I prefer them when I can control the ingredients and love baking shells instead of frying!

I do fry up the poblano and jalepeno rings however!

The Crema:

4 avocados, halved and scooped out

2 limes, squeezed

1/4 c cilantro

1 cup sour cream

1 clove of garlic

1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper

Just blend it or pulse in the food processor! We store the Crema in squeeze bottles with lids in the fridge. 🙂

Back to my salad:

I usually line the bottom with refried black beans, hamburger browned with taco seasonings and then just start layering on whatever peppers, cheese, and other toppings sound great! I love how everyone can make them how they want!

-Mia

Roasting Veggies!

Whether I’m roasting broccoli, carrots, cauliflower or potatoes, I’ve found that it’s important to make sure everything is close to the same size to ensure even roasting.

I always drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and cracked black pepper on the Silpat prior to loading the sheet pan with the cut veggies. After I top with veggies, I drizzle and sprinkle a little more, add 3-4 cloves of chopped fresh garlic and fresh herbs. In this roasting, I added fresh oregano and flat leaf parsley, because my herb garden is is going wild right now!

*One tip I’ve learned through failure is if you want to throw broccoli or cauliflower on with your other veggies, they take half the time to roast! Just add them after you’ve flipped the others and you’ll be great!

I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and then roast for 20-30 mins depending on how crispy you’re wanting your roasted veggies!

This Veronica Romanesco will be roasted soon! (I literally check on my Romanesco plants every day!)

I could literally eat roasted veggies every single day. When I pack my lunch, I love to bring them in a container and just munch on them, even if they’re cold!

Happy roasting!

Mia

Lemon Cream Cheese Pie With Strawberry Glaze!

Ok, so initially the plan was to make a strawberry cream cheese pie, but then I couldn’t get lemon curd out of my mind! I love lemon anything and the idea of lemon and strawberry together was irresistible!

pie

Typically, you see graham cracker crust with cream cheese pie, but with lemons dancing through my mind already, I decided to use some of my favorite Trader Joe’s cookies that my son brought to me the week prior. Here they are in all of their glory:

tj.jpg

They are so amazing on their own…light and slightly lemony. Yum.

 

CRUST:

I put 2 sleeves of cookies in my food processor and pulsed it until they were fine crumbs, then drizzled in 3 tbsp of melted butter and pulsed that until combined. I then pressed the mixture into a pie plate and popped it in the fridge while prepping the cream cheese filling.

pie2.jpg

FILLING:

  • 8 oz cream cheese softened, not light
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla powder
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar

Using a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. While continuously beating, slowly add sweetened condensed milk and then vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Pour into the cool crust, then tightly cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

LEMON CURD: 

curd

I use Ina Garten’s recipe, because she’s a genius and everything she makes is perfection. Here’s where I am getting the recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-curd-recipe-1941910

Ingredients

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

STRAWBERRY GLAZE:

glaze

  • cups ripe strawberries, hulled
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1tsp cornstarch, dissolved in
  • 1cup cold water
  • tbsp butter
  • tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Crush enough strawberries to make 1 cup pulp.
  2. Place pulp in medium saucepan; add 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch mixture.
  3. Cook and stir over medium heat 2 minutes or until mixture boils, thickens and is clear.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in 1 tablespoon butter and lemon juice.
  5. Cool to room temperature.

TIP!

I give the filling in the crust about 30 mins at least to sit in the fridge before topping with the lemon curd, then another 30 mins before I put the strawberry glaze on too! So good!

Any questions, shoot me a message!

-Mia