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Semi-Homemade Pretzels and Beer Cheese

I looooooove pretzels.  Someone mentioned to me that sometimes when bakeries that make pretzels run out of pretzel dough, they just use the bread dough, and I was like wahhhhhh?

So this was probably a bad thing for me to learn how to do.  I might have eaten  the first batch all by myself.  And they come out perfect every time. But I especially love them in beer cheese, so I did some searching and then took a little from everything and came up with a lovely, gooey side of cheese.

Soft Pretzels
12 frozen white dinner rolls (I use Rhodes or my homemade yeast rolls)
1 egg+1 Tbsp. water
6 cups water
1/2 cup baking soda
Allow your dinner rolls to thaw.  The oil your hands and roll them into logs.Cover and let rise for 1 hour.About 15 minutes before the hour is up, preheat oven to 375In your big saute pan, combine water and baking soda. Bring to boil.In a bowl, combine 1 egg and 1 Tbsp. of water. Whisk smooth.Once rolls have risen, drop each roll into baking soda water, and let cook 30 se…
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Cauliflower & Cheese Bake

This is the longest winter ever.  It seems like it will never end.  I think we're having a few signs up spring now.  Lighter outside.  But the nights are still super cold, and snow flurries are still in the game.
I wanted comfort food without wrecking my reboot, and I still have some frozen cauliflower in the freezer, so I thought I'd give "mac" a try.  If I could get all the cheesy goodness for less calories, I'd be happy.
It worked! Although, next time I think I'll rice my cauliflower, it was super cheesy, creamy and delicious.

Cheesy Cauliflower 16 oz. cauliflower florets, frozen
1 cup cheddar, shredded 2 Tbsp. butter 2 Tbsp. flour 1 cup so delicious coconut milk drink, unsweetened
Topping 2 cups beer bread, cubed 2 Tbsp. butter Microwave frozen florets until no longer frozen.  I do about 8 minutes.Preheat oven to 400F.While that's going on, grease you 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish.In your large saucepan, melt butter.Whisk in flour until smooth.Add milk. Whisk …

Oil-Free Granola

It's April!  The holiday season is over, and now it is time to reboot my lifestyle.  I've let myself be bad for awhile, and it shows. No problem. Simply stop being bad and start being smart!

I'm going to be adding more straight up homemade items to the recipes going into the fresh food season, and I've got some ideas and tricks up my sleeve I think you're going to really enjoy! I'm also bringing back the nutrition info, to help people make healthy choices and do the macros/micros thing.

The base for this is super easy.

4 cups oats, old fashioned or steel cut
1-2 cups goodies (no more than 1 1/2 in the oven)
1 cup pure maple or Log Cabin original
Pinch of salt

Here's my Maple-Nut Cherry Granola
4 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup red quinoa, uncooked
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds/pepitas
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1/4 cup salted almond pieces or slivers
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
5 oz. sweetened, dried cherries
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Stale Bread Monkey Bread

I hate food waste. I try really hard not to do it.  Just ask my mother-when she cuts romaine I annoy her mercilessly for wasting the ends rather than saving them for soup.

So I was unhappy to find the rolls I bought on Saturday for the kielbasa dinner I had planned tonight were absolutely rock hard this morning. Immediately I started looking for ways to use up stale bread that weren't bread crumbs or french toast.

And then I saw a monkey bread recipe using fresh bread, rather than biscuits.  So, I figured, I could adapt it to this.

1 bag of stale rolls (about a gallon bag and a half), diced large
2 eggs, beaten well
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp +/- cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 stick of butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
Preheat oven to 350F.Thoroughly grease whatever you're using to bake. This doesn't stick together as well as the fresh made stuff (make sense if you think about it-no gooey bread). I used the traditional bunt, but next time I'll use a plain old casser…

Homemade Cheese with bonus Dulce de Leche

I'm trying to learn how to make everything by scratch, and while rummaging through the internet I learned about acid-set cheese and knew I had to do it. It was cheaper than cottage cheese or cheese curds, so why not?

But then I was leftover with all of this acid whey, so out into the lost lands of internet forgotten I went again, and found several recipes for Dulce de Leche made from acid whey. Tada. No waste.

So, you get a super mild cheese, which makes it easy to add things through, and a tangy caramel too!

1 gallon whole milk
1/2 a cup white vinegar (or lemon juice)
Pour milk into your big pot, and simmer until reaches 175-180F.Remove from heat.Add vinegar 1 Tbsp. at a time, giving a stir in between, until it separates into curds and whey.  Trust me, it will be obvious when you get there. It really separates.Let sit 20 min.Line a colander with a cheesecloth or flour sack cloth.  Sit on a bowl to collect whey.Using a ladle, drain cheese in colander, being careful to stop an…

Tart Cherry Pie Filling

Dad grows all sorts of cool stuff, from asparagus to natty little heirloom pears, but by far my favorite is the cherries.  He stopped by today with a big ol' bag of tart cherries so I just had to make pie filling.

I pretty much only get to have cherry pie at home. Most of the stuff on the market contains red dye 40, which I'm pretty flippin' allergic too.  So this is something I'm pretty good at making. I generally can even eyeball it.

Sadly, I ate it so fast, there are no pictures.  I will update at some point.

5 cups tart cherries, pitted
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water+ 2 Tbsp. cold water
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cherries and 2 Tbsp. cold water.  Cook on medium until starts to cook down and get juicy.In a cereal bowl, whisk together cornstarch and warm water.Slowly pour into cherry mixture.  Cook until bubbly and soft. If a little too thick, you can thin out with a bit of water.Pour or scoop into sterile jars. Cool halfway and then …

Sweet Almond-Orange Scones with Blood Orange Curd

I bake when I'm anxious.  I'm incredibly anxious. I haven't been sleeping great, thanks in part to the pre-doctoral limbo of waiting for acceptance, and in part to this brutal online course I'm taking.

I made candied orange peels 2 weeks ago, and I still have a lot left, and I had some blood oranges in the house, so I decided it was curd time. And scones go with curd.

So this one is a 3-fer. I'm going to give you the recipe I used for the peels, the scones, and my curd. Obviously, you can sub out 1:1 the Lakanto for sugar. Do stick to white sugar for this recipe though.

Candied Blood Orange Peels (From Tiphero)
4 blood oranges
2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
Water for boiling
Cut off tops of oranges. Score into 4ths.Carefully remove the peels, and cut into bout 1/4 inch pieces.Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring orange peels to a boil. Remove from heat and drain.Repeat two more times.Set peels aside.In the medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of water and 2…