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!

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

 

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 

 

Baking crazy!

I’ve been so busy baking orders for the holidays as soon as my fall courses ended that I took the entire day off yesterday and didn’t even decorate a single cookie! 🍪

<<
gar cookies are a pain in the butt, but they sure look cute when decorated!

I’ve made so many Ewoks this year, I’ve lost count!

<<
d snowflakes…

<<
.and Samoa Truffles

<<
even made my own sprinkles for my Spritz cookies!

After an entire day off, it’s time to get back at it and bake for my family. Now that makes me happy! ❤️

Happy Holidays!

Mia

Homemade Sprinkles!

It’s easier than you think!

After you’ve colored & divided the frosting into several bags, spread wax paper out and make lines! You can use different tips for different shapes if you’d like, but for most I like to use no tip and just snip the end of the bag to mimic a small round tip. (Way easier!)

Let these dry overnight! I flip one half over the other…

Then I take my kitchen scraper and “cut” the lines vertically. You can make the sprinkles tiny or longer-whatever you want!

They always turn out cute, unless you don’t let them dry all of the way!

I store mine in super small mason jars to keep them fresh. You can keep them for a few months all air tight!

Here’s my royal icing recipe:

1c powdered sugar

1tsp merengue powder

1tsp water

Seriously- that’s all. For these, I quadrupled the recipe- adding just a teeny bit more water. Sometimes as you are coloring, the frosting starts to dry up before you can get it sealed in bags. Just add a little more water. So simple!

Happy baking!

Mia

Sweet Potato & Mashed Pea Pup Treats

It’s super easy to make homemade dog treats with a crazy variety of ingredients. It’s important to know what ingredients are on the ok list for dogs and what are no ok and why.

I make so many different types for our pup, but here’s the recipe for this particular variety:

1 cooked and mashed sweet potato (skinned)

1 cup of cooked peas, mashed

1/2 c dried milk

2 cups brown rice flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

1/4 c chopped bacon

1-2 tsp reserved bacon grease

1 tsp coconut oil

1 egg

Brown rice flour for rolling

Add all ingredients together and mix well. Shape into disc form and roll out on brown rice flour. Cut with desired shape and place on lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 mins at 350 degrees. You’re looking for a crisp texture so make sure they’re cooked all the way through!

Humidity can play a factor in this recipe. If you see a drier dough, add a little extra coconut oil. If it’s too wet, add in a little extra brown rice flour.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Mia

Love A Great Organic Chocolate Chip!

Especially if I can find them at my local grocery store!

I’m not kidding! They have such a rich flavor and they’re organic! I found them at Fred Meyer (Kroger). I shop there all of the time because I adore their Simply Organic line! Great pricing too!

Just had another cookie. CAN’T STOP! 🍪

Happy baking!

Mia

Amazing Zucchini Cake Donuts!

Now don’t get me wrong…I adore traditional zucchini bread. I grew up with it and I still make the same recipe- although with mine, I use cake flour and no oil. Applesauce is my secret ingredient.

I’m thankful for my food processor, but you can totally grate your zucchini. Zucchini is soft, thank goodness.

I love this recipe with allspice. It adds to the cinnamon and creates such a great taste!

It’s really important in this recipe to whisk all of the dry ingredients, then add the eggs, applesauce & zucchini.

This sloppy mess is destined for greatness!

Donut pans are cheap! Make sure they’re non stick and even then, you need to butter or spray.

I made a simple cream cheese frosting and frosted these simply by drizzling light icing on them. My son loves them!

 

I made a simple cream cheese frosting and frosted these simply by drizzling light icing on them. My son loves them!

Ingredients:

  • 2¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsp powdered vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp allspice

 

Instructions:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray two donut pans with cooking spray.

 

  1. In a mixer, or with a whisk and a strong arm, combine applesauce, eggs and vanilla, mix until creamy.

 

  1. Add flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. mix until almost combined and add shredded zucchini.

 

  1. Mix until combined and pour evenly into the greased donut pans. Depending on the size of your pans, you may need a third donut pan. Never fill a donut pan higher than ⅔ full.

 

  1. Bake at 325 for about 16-18 minutes, being careful not to over cook.

 

Remove from oven and cool on cooling racks. I like to remove mine from the pan immediately. It can be tricky to get the donuts out without damaging them or leaving half of them in the bottom of the pan….so you can use your judgement on whether or not you want to leave them in the pan to cool or not. Let cool completely and store in a Ziploc bag.

These are delicious morsels. Prepare yourself! 🙂

 

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 stick butter

1/4 c cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp powdered vanilla

3-4 tbsp milk

Mix together and add into pastry bag. Drizzle!

 

Homemade Hoagie Rolls!

I think it’s important to make your own bread for most things. I don’t really care for store bought buns, hoagie rolls, etc. It’s easier than you think! phillies1

This really is a “less is more” recipe when it comes to flour. When it comes to hand kneading the dough, just lightly sprinkle in just enough to keep it from sticking. Nothing more.

hillies2

Let these puppies rest! I looooove them. They are like hoagie roll/pita pockets and that makes life perfect for stuffing with minimal mess. phillies3

The secret to perfect crust is the water in the oven just hanging out, creating some humidity. Don’t forget this step, or your rolls will be hard.

phillies4

Perfection. I can still taste them from last night. On purpose, I am careful not to cut them all the way open, so I can get that pita effect for stuffing. Yum!

Ingredients
For the rolls
    • 1 envelope active dry yeast or about 2 tsp, not instant yeast
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 3 cups all purpose flour + a little more for kneading
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus a little more to brush on the rolls
Instructions
To prepare the rolls
In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in 1/3 cup of the lukewarm water.
Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand for 10-15 minutes until the yeast activates and becomes foamy.
Meanwhile combine the flour, 3 tsp sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached.
Add the proofed yeast and the remaining 1 cup lukewarm water.
Mix on low speed until the dough has been kneaded for at least 5 minutes before adding the olive oil and letting it work its way into the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured bread board or counter top.
Knead the dough by hand for at least 5 minutes after it comes out of the stand mixer, remembering to use as little flour as possible.
Use the heel of your hand to stretch the dough across the kneading surface in a sort of smearing action, then fold the dough back over itself, turn it around a half turn and and do the same again. Keep repeating this action for at least five to 10 minutes to develop good gluten in the dough. The dough should appear relatively smooth but still a little sticky to the touch.
Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil, place the dough inside, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for at least an hour until the dough doubles in size.
Again on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough back into a ball and cut into 6 equal pieces.
Form the dough pieces into about 5 inch lengths and place them a couple of inches apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Very lightly brush the formed rolls with olive oil.
Drape the cookie sheet loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise in a warm place for at least another hour until they at least double in size. You con’t want to rush the dough rising at this stage or else your rolls will be too dense.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. The oven MUST be fully preheated. Place a small tray of boiling water in the back corner of the oven. I use an aluminum pie plate. This causes humidity inside the oven, which helps the bread fully rise before forming a crust.
Using a very sharp knife or razor blade, quickly but gently cut a 1/4 inch deep slit down the center line of the rolls before immediately popping the tray into the hot oven.
Bake for 10 minutes before reducing the heat to 400 degrees F and baking for an additional 20-25 minutes until the rolls are an even golden brown. They should sound hollow then tapped with your finger.
Let them cool on a wire rack before serving!

These rolls are perfect just as homemade sub sandwiches. Make some dough ahead too, so you can pull it out and bake them when needed. Happy baking!

-Mia