Cinnamon and Raisin Quick Bread

quick bread

I have many fond memories of Mom making bread on any given Sunday during the fall and winter months.

The furnace was her special place for the ceremonial bowl bread rising process. Like a kid in a candy shop, she’d relish in sheer delight at the site of risen dough.  Then she’d fastidiously knead the dough and allow the allotted time for it to rise again. I never partook in these events.  I merely watched her with sheer amazement.

While I am no longer fearful of bread making myself (I’ve even made a Challah), I actually approach this culinary experience as if embarking on the most awesome science experiment. However, working with yeast is still a little stressful (for me) and takes lots of patience. If you add water that’s too hot, it’ll kill the yeast. Too cold, nothing will happen. And, you need to be able to block out a significant amount of time to wait for the bread to rise. Sometimes, making bread feels like the shuttle launch; all conditions need to be perfect to yield the ideal loaf.

For these reasons, it’s hard for me to deny a bread recipe that doesn’t require yeast or a rising: a quick bread recipe. The operative word here is QUICK. Honestly, this recipe is as simple as your most basic recipe instructions: combine your ingredients, put in the oven to bake, enjoy.

I found this quick bread recipe over at Weelicious (one of my favorite food blogs).  It peaked my interested because it sounded healthy and delicious: Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread.  Healthy and delicious? Plus, after a quick glance through my and fridge, I had all the ingredients on hand – even the no sugar applesauce. Who wouldn’t want a nice warm piece of Cinnamon Raisin bread slathered with butter for breakfast?

I whipped this bread up in no time and 50 minutes later, the apartment was bursting with the warm comforting aroma of baked cinnamon.

While the consistency of the bread is very moist, without butter or jelly on top, there isn’t much flavor. I did use regular flour in place of whole wheat flour from the recipe but that wouldn’t make much of a taste difference.  I would  recommend adding more plump raisins as well as doubling the amount of cinnamon— to give it more sweetness since there’s no added sugar.  Next time around, I might try adding some dried apples and dried cranberries.

Hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Beef Stew

gloriabeefstew

There’s a little chill in the air.  It’s the kind that makes you want to lay around on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  While I can’t imagine having a lazy afternoon until my kids are in college, the next best thing would be to slow cook, or to make a big pot of nourishing soup– the ultimate comfort food.

Last week my daughter and I make some very tasty Butternut Squash Soup.  She was surprised to find that something so easy to make can taste so good.  So, we’re on a soup roll. In fact, another soup was requested to appear somewhere on this week’s dinner rotation.  Thankfully, I reached out to a resident NYC foodie, Gloria Kobrin, for her tasty Beef Stew recipe.

Gloria is a mother of two and a grandmother of two.  She has cooked her whole life for groups ranging from four to 100. Gloria specializes in creating deliciousgourmet food that is approachable to the home cook and that also happens to be Kosher. Gloria is the author of the Kosher Cookbook App for iPhone and iPad  and has just  launched her new website: www.kosherbygloria.com.

Gloria shares her recipes and cooking tips on her Kosher Cookbook page on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/KosherCookbookApp, on Twitter.com/Koshercookbook as well as on Instagram and on Pinterest.

Hope you enjoy this hearty recipe!

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

I feel out of sorts posting about a soup without my friend Seriously Soupy talking about it  After all, she’s been preaching to us for years how easy it is to make soup.

Last night for dinner my daughter and I made some Butternut Squash Soup (for the first time), and it was amazing. Let me clarify, it was restaurant-quality, according to my 9-year old son who had just last weekend, ordered a bowl of Butternut Squash soup at a local restaurant.

I could not believe how simple it was to prepare the soup.  And, I even cheated and bought the pre-sliced butternut squash cubes so I didn’t have any hassle.  We chopped all of the ingredients together and let them saute a bit on the stove in some butter.

butternutveggies

Is there anything better than walking into the front door and smelling vegetables cooking on the stove?  Our entire apartment was full of this warm, succulent aroma which was a welcomed distraction to the dreariness of the cold, rainy day.  Then, we added some chicken stock to the pot and voila, we let it simmer on the stove for 40 minutes.

maddybutternut

The last step is just to blend your soup and you’re finished.  It’s that easy.

I’ve hesitated to make Butternut Squash soups at home because I always thought they were too creamy.  And, for that reason, I don’t order the soup when I’m at a restaurant either.  This particular recipe calls for no additional cream; we let the veggies and the stock speak for themselves.

Be forewarned though, even without the cream, it’s still very filling. I had one large bowl for dinner and I was stuffed.

The best part about the soup are the leftovers, which will warm your bellies for days to come.  Also, don’t be afraid to freeze your soup too.  It’ll be just as good a few weeks from now when you’re looking for a quick dinner fix.

Hope you enjoy.  We certainly did.

Butternut Squash Soup:

adapted from Allrecipes

makes 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, potatoes, and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
  2. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Baked Apple Chips

apple chips

It’s starting to feel a tiny bit like fall here on the east coast–harbinger of apple picking and pumpkins galore.

I visited an amazing local farmer’s green market around the corner last week and was greeted with a cornucopia of fresh produce–locally grown.  The apples were just too impressive to pass up.  Instead of my normal morning workout, simply carrying two bags of apples was all that I needed to break a sweat.

With all those apples, I was compelled to bake some apple chips.

This recipe is super easy and really only requires one ingredient: apples. We used  Red Delicious apple sand a Gala apples but, really, any variety is fine. The key is to slice the apples as thin as possible. We used our handy OXO Mandolin to get perfectly even slices.

Next, just lay your slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. We chose to sprinkle our slices with some cinamon and sugar too before we let them bake in the oven for approximately one hour.

While baking, the sweetest smells of fall will waft throughout your kitchen.

After an hour, just loosen the apples from the paper and cook them for another 2-3 minutes and you’re resdy to enjoy the most delicious apple-based snack.

But, we now have a new (healthy) snack that we can make on a moment’s notice.

Enjoy.

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