Monday, September 24, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

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I did a great job of sticking to my menu plan last week--it's so nice to have it all planned out for the week.  The only change I made is having Chicken and Wild Rice Soup on Saturday instead of plain old chicken soup.  Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday--BBQ chicken strips with leftover sides from the fridge
Monday--Crock pot pork roast, baked potatoes, corn, homemade bread
Tuesday--Chicken enchiladas
Wednesday--Hamburger/potatoes/carrots/diced tomatoes in the crockpot
Thursday--Breakfast for supper

I added a recipe this week for Refrigerator Pickles.

Refrigerator Pickles

This is my favorite way to use up the bounty of cucumbers from my garden.  I adapted this from

  • 6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 2 pounds) 
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (instead of these spices, I used 2 tsp. of pickling spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I don't use garlic in my refrigerator pickles)

  1. Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and remaining 1 cup onion.
  2. Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days.

Packed in a jar

I usually put these in jars instead of a bowl.  Depending on how tightly I pack the cucumbers, I sometimes need to make more vinegar/sugar mixture.

With vinegar and spices

Adventures in Breadmaking: Couronne and Pain d'Epi

This week I continued with Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by making Couronne and Pain d'Epi.  Couronne is a ring-shaped bread.  Pain d'Epi, or wheat stalk bread, is shaped like a stalk of wheat.  I need to work on my shaping technique still, but the Pain d'Epi was really good.  It was crunchy on the outside and light and chewy on the inside.


Pain d'Epi

Monday, September 17, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

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The weather is looking a whole lot like fall this week, with highs expected to be in the 50's most of the week.  I spend more time in the kitchen when the weather cools off.  Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday--Roasted turkey breast, sweet potatoes, carrots
Monday--Spaghetti and garlic bread
Tuesday--Fish, pasta side, veggie
Wednesday--Parmesan Drumsticks, mashed potatoes, veggie
Thursday--Hot ham and cheese sandwiches, applesauce, raw veggies
Saturday--Chicken soup

I added a recipe for Blueberry Crumb Bars this week.

Adventures in Breadmaking: Ciabatta Bread

I got the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois for Christmas last year and have been working my way through the different recipes.  The book has a base recipe and then additions and different shapes/sizes for different types of bread.  This week I tried Ciabatta Bread.  It is oblong-shaped and rather flat.  We ate it with the chili I made.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

 From--where else?
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and cinnamon, if desired. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the shortening (butter) and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares. 
We had these the first day warm with ice cream, and after that cold from the refrigerator.  They were great both ways!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I haven't linked up with Menu Plan Monday in many months, but with the kids back in school, I'm getting back into all kinds of routines, including menu planning.  Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday--Corn dogs, mixed garden veggies, applesauce
Tuesday--Cubed steak, mashed potatoes, veggie
Wednesday--Spaghetti and garlic bread
Thursday--Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Friday--Homemade pizza
Saturday--Homemade vegetable soup

I also put up two new recipes for Stovetop Granola and Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

Stovetop Granola

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

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Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is another recipe from

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
  • 2 cups warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
 In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, 1/3 cup sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add raisins and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours. Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, divide in half. Roll each into a 15-in. x 7-in. rectangle. Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over dough. Sprinkle with water. Starting with a short side, roll up tightly, jelly-roll style. Pinch seams and ends to seal. Place, seam side down, in two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over loaves. 

I've made this with and without the glaze--it's great either way!  Like all homemade bread, it dries out quickly, but makes wonderful toast with honey; it also works for french toast. 

It's obviously been awhile since I updated this blog, because now I realize I already posted this recipes.  Oops! 

Stovetop Granola

I adapted this recipe from, taking some of the suggestions in the comments to cut down on the butter and brown sugar used.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup butter (I used 2 T. butter)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I used 2 T. butter)
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds (I had sliced almonds that I used)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (I didn't have cranberries on hand this time)
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oats then cook and stir until starting to brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. (I also added about 1/3 cup of coconut with the oats.) Remove from heat and spread out on a cookie sheet to cool.
  2. Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat. Stir in the honey and brown sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Return the oats to the pan. Cook and stir for another 5 minutes or so. Pour out onto the cookie sheet and spread to cool.
  3. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and stir in the almonds and dried cranberries. Any additional nuts and fruit can be stirred in at this time also. 
After I cooked it on the stove top and poured it on the cookie sheet, I baked it in a 275 degree oven for 10 minutes, then left it in the oven an additional 10 minutes with the oven door open.  It ended up nice and crispy instead of being chewy.