Sunday, July 27, 2014

Shiner Bock Beer Bread Revisited


I blogged about this bread about a year ago on my old blog, The Katy Rose. Recently we had Shiner Bock in the cooler, so I decided to make it again, this time using all molasses (instead of honey and molasses) and a mix of white whole wheat and unbleached flour. It was even better this time!

There is a very slight and pleasant pungency from the beer that goes well with the slight sweetness from the molasses. I see no reason to tweak the recipe any further.


Shiner Bock Beer Bread

1-1/2 cups Shiner Bock beer
2 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups unbleached flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Measure 1-1/2 cups beer, drink the rest, and let it sit on counter about 10 minutes. Dissolve yeast in water and pour into mixing bowl; let sit for 5 minutes. Add molasses and oil and mix on low. Whisk together flours, yeast, and salt, and add half of mixture slowly, still on low. Switch to dough hook and add remaining flour mixture and knead until well mixed, about 5 minutes. Add additional flour to keep dough from being too sticky. Place dough into greased bowl, cover, and let rise till doubled, about an hour. Remove from bowl, punch down, and cut into 2 pieces. Shape into rounds, place on parchment covered baking sheet, cover, and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. In the meantime preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover loaves and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove to wire rack and allow to cool before slicing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Purge - Along

One of my favorite quilting blogs is by Rachel of Stitched In Color. She recently posted about purging unloved fabrics and getting organized.

It was a very persuasive post and after considering the concept for a few days, I finally decided to take the plunge! Here are the sad "Before" pictures.

The Mess

I can actually blame this on my cat.

I can't blame this on my cat.

Remarkably, my yarn stash looked pretty good.

I have a work bench in my room where I tinker with various crafts, and some of my supplies share space with fabrics and yarns in the closet, so I started with craft supplies. I also straightened and organized my doilies, laces, and embroidery supplies, as well as separately packaging my yarn and embroidery Christmas projects.


I counted yarn skeins and recorded brands, fibers, and colors on a spreadsheet. I had the brilliant idea of keeping a skein of each yarn on the shelf while storing the remainder in a plastic bin on an upper shelf.

Organized yarns.

I have fairly well organized upholstery fabrics on the top shelf, so I just pulled all my quilt fabrics to separate into color stacks and then fold them using my 6-1/2 inch quilt ruler.

The folding area.

Here are the "After" shots.

Katy was glad to have her bed back.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Neat and easy to see.

Bundles, "theme" fabrics, and yardage on fabric organizers.

Charms, layer cakes, and my pitiful selection of solids.

I still need to go through my scraps!

The best thing about this Purge was creating the ability to see not only what I have but also what I need. My obsessive love of darker valued prints and teal colors has left a dearth of solids and lighter values, so I have vowed to take inventory next time I order fabric. I also love knowing exactly what yarn I have and being able to see at a glance if I have enough for a project. Organizing was very satisfying, and I feel such a lift every time I look in my closet.

Rachel has many suggestions for what to do with unloved fabrics, but I decided to donate mine to Goodwill. I may dislike them, but hopefully someone else will love them and put them to good use.

Here is the link to Rachel's Purge-Along.

the Purge

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Streusel Summer Berry Muffins


About 10 years ago I made these muffins for the first time, using a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com. I added berries and a streusel topping and a family favorite was born. I remember standing in my kitchen listening to my husband and Mom rave about them. Year later when I started a catering business, I used a variation of this recipe to bake dozens and dozens of bakery style muffins.


The recipe is more time consuming than the box mix I used in the past, but they are worth the extra time - not too sweet, tender and addictive. The tart-sweet mixture of raspberries and blueberries and crunchy streusel add the perfect touches.


Streusel Summer Berry Muffins
adapted from Best Ever Muffins

2 cups unbleached flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blueberries

Streusel
1/4 cup unbleached flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar mix
2 tablespoons salted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or 375 degrees in convection oven. Prepare muffin pan with baking spray or paper liners.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Make well in center. In small bowl whisk egg and stir in milk, buttermilk, and oil. Pour all at once into well in flour mixture. Mix quickly and lightly with fork or fold gently with spatula until moistened; do not beat. Batter will be lumpy. Gently fold berries into batter. Use ice cream scoop to place in muffin pan cups or paper liners.

Bake 25 minutes or until golden.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies


For years one of my favorite cookie recipes has been these Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies from Allrecipes.com. My husband is somewhat of a cookie purist and prefers either chocolate chip pecan, oatmeal pecan, or peanut butter, but I like a combo of the three.


I think my few changes to the recipe - almond butter and peanut butter, white whole wheat, almond flavor, toasted pecans, grated chocolate - make it even better.


Using an ice cream scoop, for me this recipe makes 15 nice-sized cookies that are slightly crisp on the edges and soft and melty inside.


Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from the Allrecipes version here

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rolled oats, pulsed a few times in food processor
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 oz grated German chocolate
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In medium bowl, cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Add peanut butter, almond butter, vanilla, almond extract, and egg until well blended. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; mix on low speed just until combined.

Mix oats,chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and pecans; add to dough and mix on low speed until evenly distributed.

Use cookie scoop and drop dough on prepared pans, about 3 inches apart. Slightly flatten, and bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Red Velvet Cake


My husband watched one of those "how it's made" shows about red velvet cake production and immediately requested red velvet cake. After about a week he reminded me he was still craving it, so I decided that in spite of our attempts at healthier eating, red velvet cake would hit the spot. A previous attempt at red velvet cake was made with butter, and it was good but not stellar. After some research I decided that an oil-based recipe would be more moist than one made with butter and chose Martha Stewart's recipe.


We loved this cake! It was moist, more chocolatey than most red velvet cakes, had a nice texture between light and dense, and tasted wonderful with cream cheese frosting. It's the kind of cake that you want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We had to give away part of it to keep from eating it all.

Lighting was bad the day I made it, so photos are not the greatest!

Red Velvet Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart

2-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons white vinegar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put parchment paper in bottom of two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans and spray generously with baking spray. Sprinkle with cocoa and tap out excess.

Whisk flour, salt, and cocoa; set aside.

Combine sugar and oil and beat on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add food coloring and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, scraping sides of bowl with spatula as needed.

In small bowl, mix baking soda and vinegar until combined. Add to batter, and mix on low 10 seconds. Evenly divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake until cake tester inserted in center of each cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans and return to rack to cool completely. After cake is completely cool, frost with choice of frosting. (I refrigerate it after frosting it.)

Frosting:
1 - 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 stick salted butter, softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing until smooth after each addition. Add vanilla and beat well.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rainbow Quilt Finished!

I am very happy with this quilt! I finished it on Saturday and gave it to the pastor on Sunday. In the card I let her know that I am still working on the label and will sew it on for her when it is ready. I've decided to name the quilt "You're the Rainbow To My Cloud", from a quote by Maya Angelou.


The back of the quilt was a mix of fabric blocks using fabrics from the quilt front, plus a tie-dye fabric that brought all the colors together. I thought the swirl in the pattern complimented the "motion" of the pinwheels on the front.

Color range red, orange, yellow, green

Color range blues, purple

Pinwheels


The binding was the same fabric as the darker fabric on the pinwheels.


I quilted free-style horizontal waves with the walking foot. With the exception of a small glitch, I loved the way it turned out.

Quilt front

Thanks to my patient quilt-holding husband, who begged me not to include his legs.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rainbow Quilt


One of the associate pastors of our church has been appointed to another church, and since we moved here less than a year ago, she and I have enjoyed an all-too-brief period of getting to know one another. From the first time we shared Starbucks until now, I experience a lift to my spirit every time I see her. She is one of those people that makes you feel not only accepted but cherished - that is a rare gift.

She will still live close enough to visit from time to time, but I wanted to commemorate her leaving by making her something special. She recently shared vacation photos of rainbows and mentioned that rainbows have a special meaning for her. I haven't heard that story yet, but I decided a rainbow quilt of some sort would be a perfect gift. I looked at several patterns, but when I thumbed through the March/April 2014 McCall's Quilting, I found exactly what I wanted.


This quilt, called "Prism" by designer and quilter Abigail Dolinger of Aby Quilts, was easily adapted to a rainbow theme. I pulled from my stash, rather than purchase new fabric, and I like the way it's coming together so far.

Reds through yellows

Yellows/oranges through greens/blues

Blues through purples