Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bread Machine Breadsticks

Thought I'd share my VERY FIRST EVER experience with a bread machine! I will be honest, I was quite intimidated, but it worked beautifully! I'd always been afraid of making any kind of bread dough because I didn't really know how to knead it AND using active dry yeast seems tricky! But my mom got a bread machine from a garage sale (for $5!) a while back and she let me have it! (Wow, I just  realized that within the first 4 sentences of this post I've used 5 exclamation points. See how excited I am?) Well, I wanted to try this yummy looking breadstick recipe and freeze our leftovers.... It was GREAT! They were SO easy, the machine does all the hard work! This is actually what they look like...


Throw all of these ingredients into your bread machine:

1 cup warm water
1/4 cup oil
3 cups of bread flour
1 tsp. salt
3 TBS brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

~Once the dough cycle is finished, roll the dough onto a lightly buttered cookie sheet.
~Using a pizza cutter, cut the bread sticks into 20-24 pieces (depending on the size you want) ((The dough rolled out on the pan was probably 10x12 inches.))
~Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.

When breadsticks come out of oven, drizzle this mixture on top:
4 TBS melted butter
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Then, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, and you have absolutely delicious buttery, garlicky, parmesan-y breadsticks to serve with dinner or just for a snack! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yummy, Cool, & Healthy Summer Treats!

Since we have had some seriosuly ridiculous heat & humidity lately, I have really enjoyed some fun snacks that are COOL and NO BAKE! I try not to use my oven very often in the summer because it just gets so hot in our house, so when I found these recipes I was excited to try them and am very pleased!

The first one was one-bowl no-bake energy bites! You had me at "one bowl" and "no bake".  I tweaked the recipe (basically guidelines!) from this blog (through one of my favorite blogs, it out, she is great!) . What I like about these is that they are not only easy, but they can totally be tailored to your specific taste!

What you need:

  • 1/2 C peanut butter
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 1 C old fashioned rolled oats( you could toast these for several minutes in a 350° oven for a nuttier flavor. BUT you would have to turn on the no toasting for me :D )
  • 1 C shredded unsweetened coconut ( but you can substitute any dry ingredient for this! I didn't have any coconut so I added some chopped pecans, some flax seed, and some mini chocolate chips to equal one cup. Coconut would have been good though!)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tsp your favorite spices or spice combinations(optional, I put in just a pinch of cinnamon, but I couldn't even really taste it)
  • 1/2 C mini chocolate chips ( or any other add-ins..nuts, seeds, dried fruit, whatever!) 
In a large bowl add the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla.  Stir to combine. Once this is combined add the remaining ingredients.
Once it’s all combined place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Then remove from the fridge, scoop out some dough and roll into a ball with your hands.  You can make these any size! Mine were probably a rounded tablespoon or just-smaller-than-ping-pong-ball-ish, and it made about 2 dozen.
If yours are too sticky you can consider adding more dry ingredients into them or rolling them in something like ground nuts, coconut, etc so they aren’t as sticky.  Place the balls in an airtight container either in the fridge or freezer for quick and easy snacks! Ours is in the freezer, and we just grab one or two as a sweet but healthy snack when we desire! If they are too hard just out of the freezer, let it sit for just a couple minutes! De-lish!
Next up: Choco-Peanut butter Banana Ice cream!
It only takes 3 or 4 ingredients and it is great! I got this recipe from this blog! 
~Basically you freeze a banana. (It's easiest to freeze it in 1 inch chunks, rather than whole) 
~After it is firm, take the banana out of the freezer.
~Place it in your food processor. I tried it in my blender the first time because I cannot follow directions, and it was NOT as easy as the processor. So trust me on this one. 
~And process it until its smooth and creamy! It is good to even eat it like this!
~But it's BETTER if at the point you add about a tsp. of cocoa powder ( chocolate syrup would probably work, too) and also a spoon full of peanut butter! The amounts of cocoa powder and peanut butter can be altered depending on your preference)
~Process until well blended.
~ Place in your bowl! I then stirred  handful of mini-chocolate chips into it (for obvious reasons). 

This is seriously really good, and you actually think you are splurging and eating a sweet not so healthy treat. Try it! The amounts I used makes one generous serving. So just multiply by how many servings you want, and you'll be good to go!

This post has been very peanut buttery and very mini-chocolate chippy, but thats good in my book! Let me know if you try either of these and how it turned out :-)