Homemade Hamburger Helper: Different Varieties and In Bulk

 Hamburger Helper is so stinkin’ convenient. If only it wasn’t so unhealthy. Its chock full of sugar, salt, preservatives and other junk but it sure tastes good and its filling. So I started making my own hamburger helper years ago. My children really like it.

hamburger helper 2

 

 

 

 

 

If you make Hamburger Helper you know that you use milk.  I use powdered milk because I can make up the seasoning mix and have it on hand and just have to add water.

Here are a few recipes for the Seasoning Packs you’ll need to make my homemade Hamburger Helper. Feel free to modify for your family.  The original Hamburger Helper has a lot of sugar in it. I prefer to have a more healthy dish so I have left out the sugar, you could add a bit of sugar in if your palate demands it.

Make up the Seasoning Mix and store it in a glass jar in a cool place. Be sure to label it and it wouldn’t hurt to keep the instructions for making the dish with the seasoning.

The first one is the classic Hamburger Cheesy Mac.

First make your Seasoning Mix.

This amount will make 4 different meals of Cheesy Mac.  For each recipe you’ll shake the jar well to combine and distribute the seasonings and use  one half cup of the mix for each recipe of Cheesy Mac.

1 – 1/4 cup instant powdered milk
5 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoon plus 1 tsp. paprika
1 – 1/2  Tablespoon  onion powder
1 – 1/2  Tablespoons garlic powder
1 – 1/2  Tablespoons  salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
 

You will need for each recipe of this dish:
Remember that the seasoning mix makes 4 recipes of this dish

1 pound ground meat
3 1/3 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

To prepare:

Brown the ground meat in a large skillet or pot.  Add one half cup of seasoning mix.

Add the water and the uncooked macaroni.  Stir well and allow to simmer on low heat for  15-20 minutes.

Once the macaroni is tender and all the water is absorbed, add the shredded cheese, stir.

Taste for salt and pepper.

 

Next up is Beef Stroganoff.  If you can get sour cream powder, its good in this mix and you’d use 2 - 1/2 cups of it in the big batch of mix, but since most people can’t, I decided to build this recipe using fresh sour cream added at the last minute of cooking.

Seasoning Mix
Remember, this makes 4 different recipes of the Beef Stroganoff dish

1 – 1/4 cup instant powdered milk
5 TBS cornstarch
10 tsp. garlic powder
10 tsp. onion powder
10 tsp. parsley
10 tsp. salt
5 tsp. pepper

  You will also need:  
Remember that the seasoning mix makes 4 recipes of this dish

1 pound ground meat
2 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups small egg noodles
1 cup sour cream

To Prepare:

Brown the ground meat in a large skillet or pot. Add one half cup of seasoning mix.

Add the water and the uncooked noodles.  Stir well and allow to simmer on low for  15-20 minutes. Add hot water if needed throughout cooking.

Once the noodles are tender and all the water is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

Taste for salt and pepper.

 

The last one is for a Rice Hamburger Dish. Instead of pasta, it uses rice. I cook my rice before hand. In fact, I cook whatever rice I am going to use in my menus during the week and refrigerate it. But for this meal, you can just put the rice on to cook while you are cooking the hamburger and preparing the other ingredients.

I guess this is sort of a Jambalaya type dish. Its as spicy as you want it to be, just add more pepper or seasoning like Tony Chachere’s . This Seasoning Mix Recipe will make 4 different dishes of Rice Hamburger.

1 – 1/4 cup instant powdered milk
5 Tablespoons TBS cornstarch
1\4 cup diced, dried sweet bell peppers (optional)

Spices and Herbs:
1- 1\2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons thyme
5 teaspoons onion powder
5 teaspoons garlic powder
5 teaspoons salt

OR, instead of the spices and herbs above, you can use 1\2 cup of Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning, or Zatarain’s

You will also need:
1 pound ground meat
3 1\2 cups hot water
1 cup shredded cheese
1 small can of stewed tomatoes (about 8 ounces)

Put 1 cup rice and 2 cups water on to cook. While that is simmering, brown the ground beef in a large skillet or pot. When the beef is done, drain it and place it back over the heat.

Add 1\2 cup of the seasoning mix to the beef, add the hot water and tomatoes then stir. Lower heat to a simmer.
Stir in the cooked rice. Cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken.
When heated through and thick, add the shredded cheese. Cover and let sit again another 5 minutes. Serve.

Dehydrating Corn and Green Beans

dried veg

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years I have dehydrated all kinds of food for my family.  Fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat and even complete meals are on my regular dehydrating list.  Two vegetables that I have always dried without using the dehydrator though were Green Beans and Sweet Corn.

Stringing Green Beans picture found at http://samplers-and-santas.blogspot.com/

Stringing Green Beans picture found at http://samplers-and-santas.blogspot.com/

I used to take a needle and heavy string and string up green beans to dry indoors.  Green Beans dried this way are called “Leather Britches”.  This is a very old method and it works well as long as you don’t mind veggies hanging around your living room or kitchen. 

Cast iron corn dryer picture found online

Cast iron corn dryer picture found online

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Corn is another one I have always dried without a dehydrator. I just stuck the cob of corn on a cast iron dryer and let it hang around til it was dry, then I’d shell it and store it.

I tried something new for me this week though, I dried both green beans and sweet corn in the dehydrator.  It was definitely faster.

dried corn

 

 

 

 

 

 

beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dried green beans can be used in soups and stews or just cooked the way you would ordinarily cook fresh green beans. The ones dried in the dehydrator are dried very dry, they are hard and crispy.  When I dry them on string they normally don’t ever get that dry, but I wanted them to be completely dry so I could store them in jars.  To dry Green Beans in the dehydrator, just rinse them off to get dirt and leaves off, break and string the beans, shell the over ripe beans, then place them in the dehydrator at 125*F. You can’t really over dry Green Beans so let the dehydrator run til they are so crisp that they break apart if you try to crush them with a hammer or heavy object.  I let these run in the dehydrator for about 8 hours.

corn

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sweet corn is dry and crispy too, so when I store it in jars it won’t grow mold.  Sweet corn is naturally very moist so it can take a little longer than the beans but this batch ran 8 hours at 125*F and turned out great. To prepare sweet corn for dehydrating, shuck the corn, pull out all the silks, cut the kernels off the cob with a big, sharp knife. Lay the kernels on the dehydrating mats in a single layer. Dehydrate at 125*F til completely dry, like the green beans.

This batch of dried beans and corn will be stored in mason jars but you could also store them in vacuum bags or in the freezer.  Dehydrated foods don’t take up much room so when you use them, think about how much they will plump up after cooking. I would use about 12 cup of this dried corn in a pot of vegetable soup, for example.

    

Oregano Oil For Colds and Flu

Disclaimer:  The instructions I offer here in this post (and in all my posts about herbs and home remedies) are what I use personally at home. Of course the standard disclaimer goes: I am not a doctor and don’t prescribe medicines or herbs, this is just what we have done here for generations with great results.  oregano in vodka

I learned from Shannon over at Nourishing Days that Oregano Oil can be used to treat colds and flu. I already use elderberry tincture for that so I did some research and decided to make Oregano Oil using the organic oregano in my garden and some cheapo vodka.

In the interest of full disclosure, that elderberry tincture? Man it burns going down.  So I put it in a cup of Earl Grey tea and its almost palatable.  Blech. But it works. 

Oregano tincture may be nearly as bad but I will make it. Since we don’t have small children here any longer, we can man up and take it.

Pack a quart jar with fresh oregano, pour some kind of spirits over it like brandy or vodka. Let it sit in the dark about 6 weeks. Strain it and store it in dark bottles or in a dark place like a frig or cellar.

The dosage varies depending on who you talk to but, like most herbal tinctures, I think 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon = 12.5 mg.) three times a day for adults would work nicely. Children’s dosage should probably be figured according to Clark’s Rule or Young’s Rule.

 

Grammies Garlic Oil

Disclaimer:  The instructions I offer here in this post (and in all my posts about herbs and home remedies) are what I use personally at home. Of course the standard disclaimer goes: I am not a Dr and don’t prescribe medicines or herbs, this is just what we have done here for generations with great results.

garlic oil

 

 

 

I’ve got an ear ache today and since I was out and about I thought I’d stop and get some garlic oil capsules. Then I remembered: I have HOMEMADE Garlic Oil in the frig at home! Yay!

I made it about 2 months ago. Other than someone eating a few cloves, its still there waiting for someone to need it. I sure do today.

Here’s how I made it and how I used it.

Peel enough garlic cloves to fill a half pint glass jar. If you don’t want to peel each one individually, try this:

Real Simple – How To Peel Garlic Cloves Quickly

Your Mileage May Vary.

After you get your half pint jar filled with peeled garlic, heat some olive oil. You’ll need a little less than a cup, a half pint holds one cup and the garlic will displace some of that. Don’t heat the oil to a boil, just get it hot to touch.

Pour the hot oil over the garlic. Let the jar cool to room temperature, put a lid on it and store it in the frig. If you store it at room temperature it will grow mold and junk.

It will be ready to use almost immediately but the longer you let it sit the stronger it gets.

To use it, spoon out a small amount of the now-congealed oil.  Let it melt.  Put about 3 drops in the affected ear followed by a cotton ball.

spoon of oil

 

 

 

 

I don’t recommend using this on babies or little children unless you’re sure your child won’t be bothered by it. Garlic oil tends to be very warm in the ear. Not burning but if there is inflammation in the ear, it could burn pretty badly when you put it in.

The wonderful thing about Garlic Oil is that it will kill bacteria both in your ear and in the rest of your body. When you feel yourself coming down with something, try taking garlic oil capsules or your homemade oil, about three times a day til you feel better. Or til someone asks if you’ve been eating at an Italian restaurant.

 

 

 

 

Home Canned Boston Baked Beans

I say “Boston Baked Beans” with a bit of hesitation because they’re really not true Boston baked beans but they are in close proximity.  I know how I say, “Pshhh…” when someone says a recipe is Southern Cornbread and its not.  Ha!  finished beans

The recipe I started with was Tasha Tudor’s Boston Baked Beans. I make them pretty often and serve them with some brown bread, a salad and maybe an apple cobbler.  They contain meat so they are a complete meal with a salad and bread. They take long cooking, 8 hours, at low temperature.  I have never been quite satisfied at how they turn out in a crockpot so I thought I’d can some. I wanted to have some already cooked and on hand for this Autumn and Winter so it seemed like a good idea to try.

 

I am canning this batch in pints because there are only 4 of us here right now and sometimes only 2 of us. This recipe must be pressure canned. This is a recipe for experienced canners, not for the novice. This recipe makes about 9 pints of beans, 7 to can and two that I bake in the oven for a couple of hours and have for supper. 

 

Ingredients:

6 cups Navy Beans with water to cover
2 – 6 ounce cans tomato paste
2 large onions, diced finely
6 cups water for the sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
8 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking water from the beans
About 3 ounces of a combination of bacon and smoked sausage or your preferred sausage, I think you could use Turkey sausage in this but the Turkey bacon might lose its flavor.   3 ounces is about what a person with a small hand could hold in their palm.

There are three preparatory steps to making and canning these beans.

  • 1. Soak the beans
  • 2. Cut up the meat
  • 3. Make the sauce

 

1. Soak the beans – Use Navy Beans in this recipe. You will need about 6 cups of beans. Wash the beans, pick through them for rocks and such. Put the beans in a large pot or bowl, cover them with clean water and allow them to sit on the counter top over night. Next day, drain them, put them in a big cooking pot, add 1 pinch of baking soda, bring to a boil, lower heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Once they have cooked for 10 minutes, keep them hot, don’t drain them or throw away the cooking water.

2. Cut up the meat – The sausage and bacon should be cut up into small bits, a little smaller than a bite. Once you start putting ingredients in the jars it will be easier if you have the meat already divided up into small portions, one portion of meat for each jar. You don’t need to cook the meat before putting it in the jars with the beans, the canning process will cook it.

meat

The amount of meat for each pint. Covers my palm.

 

 

 

 

 

              

 

3. Make the Sauce –  in a medium sauce pan add the  tomato paste, onions, water, brown sugar, molasses, dry mustard and salt. Bring to a boil, stir well, lower temperature but keep hot.

 

canning

 

 

 

 

Now you’re ready to can!

Bring the water in your pressure canner to a boil per the manufacturer’s instructions.  Heat the lids and rings. Bring some water to a boil and heat your jars.

meat in jar

 

 

 

 

1. Add a portion of the sausage and bacon to the hot jar

 

beans

 

 

 

 

2. Add about 1 cup of pre-cooked beans to the jar with the meat. It should fill the jar about half way with beans and meat. This recipe makes a saucy dish, there is a lot of liquid, if you want less sauce, add a few more beans to the jar, only 1 or 2 tablespoons of beans though. That sauce is good though over mashed potatoes!

 

add sauce

 

 

 

 

3. Now add sauce up to the shoulder of the jar

 

ready for canner

 

 

 

 

4. Add cooking water to fill the jar, leaving a one inch head space, add the lid and ring, tighten hand tight, put the jar in the prepared  canner.

Once all the jars are filled and in the canner, you can put the canner lid on and begin venting the steam. I vent for 10 minutes then add the weight. You should follow your canner’s manufacturer’s instructions. Also, I add some clean white dish cloths to the canner, I weave them around and between the jars to keep the jars from banging in to one another and breaking. 

Pressure the PINTS of baked beans for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.
Once they are finished, allow the canner to lose its pressure naturally. This means you will remove the canner from the heat, but leave the weight on and allow the canner to cool and release pressure over time. It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour for a full canner to release all its pressure.
Take the jars out and sit them on a towel to cool. Listen for the “ping”!

 

If you were to can these beans in quarts, you would:

  • Use enough beans and meat to fill the quart jars half way
  • Use enough sauce to fill the jar to the shoulder
  • Use enough cooking water to fill the jars and leave a one inch head space.
  • Pressure can the jars at 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes

My Onions Wear Panty Hose

Sometimes they wear them all winter.  onions 1 words

Here’s how to store onions in panty hose. Storing them in hose allows for air circulation and keeps the onions from touching each other. When you store onions where they can touch each other, its easy for them to start getting soft, then rot.

You can use panty hose, just cut off the legs, or you can use knee highs which is what I used this time.

Another way to store onions is to braid their stalks together and hang them. These onions didn’t have long, sturdy stalks so I opted to store them in hose. Onions can also be stored in flat boxes in cool areas after they have dried completely. 

onions 2

 

 

 

 

onions 5

 

 

 

 

First, be sure you are using onions that have a thoroughly dried stalk. If the stalk is green let it dry some more before storing them. I had several onions that had both dried and green stalks on them. I used them to make minced, dehydrated onions. Only the onions that had completely dried stalks were stored in hose.

 

onions 3

 

 

 

 

 

Next, rub off excess soil and dry onion skin. Don’t peel off any paper, it is a protection for the onion. Trim off the roots but don’t cut into the onion itself. Trim off the dried stalk.

onions 4

 

 

 

 


se and tie a tight knot in the hose on top of the onion.  Drop another onion in and tie another knot. Most knee highs will hold 4 or 5 onions and leave you enough space for hanging the hose either on a nail or tie a piece of twine to the top and hang it that way.
Drop the first onion into the toe of the ho

onions 6

 

 

 

 

 

Hang the onions in a cool, airy, dry place. Every time you need an onion, just snip on off below the knot.

 

 

Food Philosophy

I figured I’d share a little bit about my food philosophy. Never thought I’d have one much less be compelled to share it. Food is a gift and its a necessity. Everyone has to eat to live. But I see a lot of folks who, in this country, are flippant about food and take it for granted.

Sometimes when I read a luscious, over-the-top recipe, or when I read how people can’t get their children to eat some foods or how they simply refuse to force their children to eat anything the child doesn’t want I think …… now those are definitely First World Problems.

I have a hard time finding it funny or cute when people allow their children to play with food. I heard a story once about a man who took a box of oranges to a a very poor family. He went back the next day to take some more food and found the family’s 6 children playing baseball with the oranges. That would bother me.  I even have a hard time letting children play with food in VBS, though I’ve never spoken up about it.

thanksgiving_dinner

Sometimes, first world problems are inevitable, they are unavoidable because of where we live and the culture we live in. Sometimes we create those problems for ourselves. When you’ve seen a truly hungry child dig through the trash to find something to eat or pick up your discarded paper plate and lick it, then you do know that the things I described above are first world problems.

{I’ve edited this post to add this because I think its important to the discussion:  I have taught my children not to be wasteful and that goes against the grain sometimes because of the wasteful culture we live in. Its hard standing up for something like this, kind of like home educating, but I believe its important and worth taking a stand}

I’ve seen starving children and adults. And it has changed me and the way I think about food and recipes. Only in a culture that is as bloated with food as ours is food, “fun”.

I’m seriously not knocking making cute snacks and stuff for your kids. My Mother made those ‘Dirt and Worms’ pudding desserts for my children and I thought they were cute as could be. And I didn’t have a problem with it because they actually ATE the pudding. But you know, there is fun and there is fun-where-you-waste-food.

We’re blessed with plenty of food and with opportunities for acquiring food. Most of us are blessed with bountiful food and can be creative and have fun with preparing it.   But for me; just talking me here, I can’t play with my food very easily if I suspect it is going to be wasted. I have a hard time promoting recipes that are filled with junk and a bazillion ingredients that are unhealthy and I have a hard time making something that I know people aren’t really going to eat and be nourished with.

My Mother grew up in this country but grew up very poor. She shared with me when I was younger that she often did not have adequate nutrition. Certainly many of the early photos of her showed an extremely thin but smiling child and young adult. Because she grew up with frugal, hard-working parents (who were also very thin) she learned how to make the most of whatever food she had on hand. She taught those things to me. 

Most of you reading here  have never had to chew the ends of a cooked chicken bone to get all the nutrition possible out of it. You don’t do that because you get plenty of protein and you were perhaps not taught to be that frugal.  My Mother used to do that and I picked it up from her. I never thought about it until a friend from Cameroon and I were eating chicken wings together and as I was chewing the ends of the bones I looked up and she was chewing the ends of the chicken bones and we both found it rather funny.  The event must have made quite an impression on me because it got me to thinking about how very wasteful and ungrateful our culture is altogether about food. It got me to thinking that even though I chewed the ends off chicken bones, I have done my share of wasting food and being stupid with food.
bare-chicken-bones-isolated-on-white-background

 

 

 

 

 

Now I know some of you were raised like me and some of you trained yourself to be frugal about food and other areas of life. So I’m not fussing at you. I’m just thinking out loud.

The waste in restaurants, the waste in our own kitchens, the waste at schools and other institutions is enormous. I was taught that if I waste food, I will eventually be in want of food.  In our culture that doesn’t seem to be the case, we just keep on wasting food and the food keeps on reappearing. What we don’t understand is that we are wanting on a nutritional level because we eat so much fake food and junk.  We are wanting on a spiritual level because we are so dang spoiled.

I mean, look at all the Food Blogs. Look at all the time, money and effort we spend on trying new dishes and making something good that appeals to us or is healthy for us. Food is a huge thing, beyond the need for it to survive.

So what exactly is my Food Philosophy?  Here are a few phrases that sum it up.

  • Eat simply. Eat real. Don’t waste your time, money or health on fake food. Simplify how you prepare food as much as possible. The fewer ingredients in a dish, the better.
  • Take all you want but eat all you take.
  •  Don’t waste food or take for granted that it will always be there. Food is a gift, in some places a rare one.
  •  Be thankful for whatever food you have and eat the healthiest foods you can afford. Show your thankfulness by sharing your food, preserving it when you can and by eating it with a thankful heart.
  • Don’t allow food to overtake you and become an idol. Eat to live, don’t live to eat.
  • Find the balance where you can enjoy the bounty of our country without being wasteful and ungrateful.

These statements make up my philosophy of food.  I’m not saying that these statements will solve the world’s problems with food but if you will think about them a little, they will go a long way toward changing how you look at the blessing of food. 

I know, I know you don’t waste food. I know. But I do see it all around me. I just wanted to set down how I think about this right now.

 

Homekeeping 101

Everyone needs a little help now and then. If you need some information and a bit of instruction on basic homekeeping duties or if you know someone who is newly married or planning on setting up housekeeping, check out my eBook,

“Homekeeping 101″

When printed off, in color, the Homekeeping 101 eBook makes a great gift!

homekeeping 101 print

 

 

 

 

 

 

Often today, women begin homekeeping without the luxury of already having the knowledge they need. They have to learn as they go, a little here and a little there.

Thirty years ago, when I became a wife and started keeping my own home, I was already prepared and had trained for my new career. My Mother and Grandmother taught me with diligence and care all the homemaking skills that I would need for this new era in my life.

Since I can’t come and teach you in person, this eBook will teach you some basic homekeeping skills. –Sylvia

My 21-page ebook covers these topics (and more!):

  • Help with Creating Routines for Cleaning Rooms
  • Cleaning Methods for Rooms
  • Bed-Making Tips and Methods
  • Basic Household Schedules
  • Natural Cleaners
  • Essential Oils: A Primer
  • Deep Cleaning Routines
  • Laundry Primer and Tips
  • Special Laundry Needs: Wool Care & Ironing
  • Caring for Rugs
  • Household Tips
  • Washing Dishes
  • Recipes — Roasting Chicken, Making Stock, Boiling Eggs, Homemade Crackers and more!
  • Tips for Cleanliness

 

Click here to purchase Homekeeping 101

Amish Bread

bread

Light Whole Wheat Amish Bread

Many of my Readers know that I once owned and operated a bakery in Amish country.  I baked bread, rolls, pies, cakes, donuts and more for the whole countryside.

After 9/11 the business almost dried up, just like a light switch, it was gone. We struggled on for a while but with 2 mortgages to pay it was hard. We finally sold the business and our country home and went back to our little home in the suburbs.

No one has opened up the business again, the new owners just rent out the house.  The home we are in now is the home where I grew up so the situation is not really so bad as it may sound. I love it here.  I get to watch my children climb in the tree I planted. I get to garden in my Mother’s garden.

Anyway, back to the bakery.
  While I was there I learned a lot of Amish recipes.  Amish recipes aren’t typically healthy because they utilize white sugar and flour.  But they sure are tasty!  Feel free to use alternate ingredients.

Amish Bread is a phenomenon all its own.  Its soft, delicious and easy to make in big batches. When someone starts bread baking, I always recommend they start with this kind of bread.  We sold over 40 loaves per day of this bread in our heyday.

Equally well received was the Amish Wheat Bread. You can use the same recipe and replace all the white flour with light whole wheat or half whole wheat and half light whole wheat.  If you use all Whole wheat, the dark kind, you’ll need to add about 2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten to help the bread rise. The photo above, to the right is 100% Light Whole Wheat, King Arthur flour. The photo below is a side view of the Amish White Bread.

amish country bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amish Country Bread

2 1/2 cups milk, heated to about 115*F – I just heat it on the stove in a pan and I heat it til I can stick my finger in it and its very warm but not uncomfortable. Or you could use a thermometer.

2 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 rounded tablespoon fat*
2 Tablespoons salt**
3-4 cups bread flour

* I use lard, shortening will work. Coconut oil tends to make the loaf dry. Olive oil works well.
** It seems like a lot but if you reduce it, only reduce it by a teaspoon or so

lecithin

Lecithin from egg yolks

If  you anticipate your bread hanging around the house a while before its devoured, you can add 2 tablespoons powdered lecithin. Lecithin is a natural product derived from egg yolk that keeps the bread moist and keeps it from crumbling.  Mine never hangs around that long, chances are, yours won’t either!

Before you begin, preheat your oven to 500*F. You won’t use this high temp to bake the bread, but you’ll turn off the heat and use the heated oven to help the bread rise.

1) Heat the milk, add about 1/2 cup of the milk to a cup and then add the yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Let this mixture sit and foam for about 5 minutes.

2) Add the rest of the sugar, salt, fat, rest of the milk and the lecithin to the mixing bowl.

3) Once the yeast mixture foams, add it to the mixing bowl ingredients.

4)  Now start adding the flour, a cup at a time, to the mixing bowl ingredients,  mixing until you get a soft dough. If you’re using a stand mixer to knead the dough, knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and leaves the bowl clean.

If you are kneading by hand, add flour and knead for 10 minutes. Don’t add more than 4 cups of flour.

5) After kneading, grease a large oven-proof bowl. Gather the dough up into a ball and place it into the greased bowl. Pick up the ball and turn it over in the bowl, this greases the top surface of the dough. Cover the bowl and dough with a clean cloth.

6) Place the bowl into the heated oven, turn off the heat and let the oven door hang open a bit.

If you’re not using the heated oven to raise the dough, just place the dough in a warm area. Allow the dough to rise til double, about 45 minutes to an hour if you’re using the heated oven and about an hour to an hour and a half if you’re not using the oven.

While the dough is rising, prepare two loaf pans by greasing them well. You can use spray oil.

7) Once the dough is risen and doubled in size, divide it into to two equal portions. I shape each portion into a loaf by first pulling the sides of the ball down and tucking them underneath the ball, kind of like a mushroom. Then I hold the ball with the tucked ends near my palm and roll the “mushroom” on the table. This presses out air bubbles.

8) Place the dough into the prepared pans.  Using a fork, pierce the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan 10 or 12 times all over the top of the loaf.

9) Allow the loaves to rise until they are about 1 inch over the sides of the pans. This can take up to two hours.

10) Preheat the oven to 325*F. Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Turn the pans over and remove the bread from the pans.

Brush the tops and sides of the warm loaves with butter, this makes the crust soft once the bread cools.

Allow to cool before storing in plastic bags.

You can really dress this recipe up by adding fresh herbs.

One way to use this recipe is to make an herb loaf.  Divide the dough into two portions. Place the rounds of dough on a greased cookies sheet or on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Paint the tops of the loaves with an egg-wash made from 1 egg white and a little water. Then slit the tops in a decorative pattern using a small sharp knife.  Now sprinkle over the top, kosher salt, rosemary, oregano and thyme. You can also use a bit of grated Parmesan cheese if you like. Bake at 350*F for about 25 minutes. Cool on a rack before storing.

 

Black Raspberry Pie

black raspberry plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the black raspberry plants that came up in our back yard a few years ago. Probably some passing bird left the seeds. They came up and we nurtured them along.

 

black raspberries

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked about 4 cups last week and about 6 cups this week. Black Raspberries taste like a very mild Blackberry, but with that little ‘tang’ that says, Raspberry! 

I decided to make a pie this week. I could have made a cobbler I guess but this just seemed like what to do with raspberries.

Here is the recipe:
2 pie crusts
8 cups black raspberries
1 – 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour (any kind)
1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring OR 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, depends on what you like. Cinnamon is probably the preferred flavoring for Black Raspberries.
2 tablespoons butter

Make your pie crusts or use those refrigerated ones, I won’t tell.

Next, put the berries in a big bowl and add all the other ingredients except the butter.

raspberry pie 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gently toss the berries and all the ingredients, then pour them into the pie crust. Dot with the butter, cover with the second crust, cut slits in the top crust. Paint the top crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

raspberry pie 2

 

 

 

 

 

 
Bake at 350* F for about an hour and a half. The crust can get too brown, so cover it with foil after it gets as brown as you want it to be.

raspberry pie 3

 

 

 

 

 

 
After the pie is done, allow it it to cool to room temperature before serving. The temptation is to eat the pie while its hot and it will be good if you do but it will be thin and drippy. If you allow it to cool, it will thicken up and you can cut it like, well like pie.