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Author Archives: jabagley

Jessica’s Vegan Breakfast Cookies

These cookies were good and gave me a ton of energy when I ate them, so I figured I’d share the recipe. Originally they come from here. Check it out—here’s my take on them:

1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup mixed nuts, finely chopped
1 cup dried fruit (I used 1/2 chopped dried dates, and 1/2 choc chips. You can omit the choc chips, but why would you want to :)???)                                                                      3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.

2. Combine wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and form into golf ball sized cookies.

4. Place on baking sheet, and flatten slightly.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, until brown around edges.

Yes, you can sub 2 eggs and butter for the bananas and oil. Yes, you can freeze these. Yes, you can substitute flax meal if you have a nut allergy. Yes, I took this terrible picture on my webcam. Enjoy! jb

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Baking Organization 101 and Caramel Apple Bread

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For this post, I want to share about how I keep all of my baking supplies organized. I have one of those husbands who might be called unique. He needs things around him to be organized or he can’t sit still. I realize this is kind of a strange quality in a man, but I do love it most of the time. My baking supplies used to be in two overhead cabinets above the stove, crammed in with no space and no way to find anything. When Maddy Lu started, things were getting even messier. That’s when I decided I needed to do something- for my marriage and cabinets. My baking life after organizing has been so much easier! I will share how I keep my supplies and where I got the ideas along with some pictures:

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All of my baking supplies are organized in a large basket from Target. It was around $20 for the basket. It just so happened that everything fits perfectly!
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If you notice inside of my basket I have homemade vanilla. You can use any container, but I find that one with a spout is best. Use 4 vanilla beans for every one cup of alcohol you use (I used cheap Vodka that I bought at a liquor store when I was almost 8 months pregnant. No, the cashier did not bat an eye to sell it to me). Shake the bottle a couple of times a week and in a few months you will have your own vanilla. (Package it in smaller bottles for great gifts!) If you peek behind the vanilla in this picture you can see a bit of my container garden I have growing on the back deck. It got a little swamped with the rain we had this weekend.
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You can make a mason jar into anything (just look up ‘mason jars’ on pinterest… it will prove my theory.) I fitted the lid of a salt container under the ring of the mason jar and it pours just like normal, but can be filled with anything. I have several of these in my pantry. They’re great for grains like rice or couscous. They also keep humidity out of salt in the summer.

Since today was a cool, rainy day, I felt like it would be a great day to bake something delicious. I saw a recipe for apple bread a while back, and it caught my eye so I figured I’d give it a try and then share with our Maddy Lu readers (do we have those?). Here are some pictures of the journey, and the recipe below.

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Start with some good apples. We buy organic through Suburban Organics and it saves us some money on good food. You only need two medium sized for this recipe.
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Here’s my apple peeler! It isn’t an ancient torture device, though it may look like it. Yard sale find last year for $2, but it’s saved me tons of time and energy peeling and slicing apples.
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There goes that apple peeler working it’s magic. Anyone have an good ideas for what to do with the long strings of apple skin you get? Maybe a pretty pie topper.
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Oh yes. And it is so good, not to mention good looking. And this recipe makes two loaves which is nice for freezer cooking!

Recipe comes from Passthesushi.com (http://passthesushi.com/caramel-glazed-apple-bread)

Bread:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded peeled baking apples (2 large)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 (8×4-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray or shortening.

In large bowl, stir together apples, 1 cup brown sugar, the buttermilk, oil and eggs. Stir in remaining bread ingredients just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into pans.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on cooling rack. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top sides up on cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat to low. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling; remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

Gradually stir powdered sugar into glaze mixture. Place saucepan of glaze in bowl of cold water. Beat with spoon until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. If glaze becomes too stiff, stir in additional milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, or heat over low heat, stirring constantly. Drizzle glaze over loaves. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

Martha’s Cookie of the Month

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I’m a Martha person. Are you? Her recipes are usually simple enough, well tested, and tasty. She only makes me feel like the most disorganized person on the planet some of the time. What a woman. When I get too discouraged I just remember she spent time behind bars and it makes me like her again.

This month the special cookie in her magazine is the “Nutty Butter.” This really isn’t a “throw it in the mixer and forget it” type of recipe. There are a few steps involved, so make sure you have about 45 minutes. You can find the recipe for these cookies after the pictures.

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Recipe can be found on page 56 of Martha Stewart Living Magazine, April 2012.
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Mix Mix Mixing up the butter and sugars.
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Thank you to my back yard chickens for making this egg and these cookies possible!
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Highly recommend investing in a full sized sheet pan. It takes up the entire oven and you can bake all of your cookies in one huge batch. Cuts a lot of time and energy…
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Here they are! And they were awesome. Not just because I’m pregnant.

Ingredients:

  • I 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (If that sounds too healthy, substitute chocolate chips. That’s what I did.)
  1. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring, until toasted, 5-7 minutes. Spread oat mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet; let cool.
  2. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat together the remaining stick of butter and the sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add egg, and beat until combined. Add nut butter (I used peanut butter but you can also use almond or cashew), and beat until combined on medium speed.
  3. Add oat mixture and chopped nuts (or chocolate chips), and beat on low speed until combined. Add flour mixture, beat until combined.
  4. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheets, can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week. But they won’t last that long.

An Acceptable Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Koslicks (Koslick is my maiden name) are notorious cookie snobs. Your cookie better not be too hard, too lemony, too crumbly, too chocolatey, or not brown-sugary enough. I have never been able to make a cookie that is worth their caloric intake…until now.

I believe I have found the holy grail of ingredients… Cornstarch. Cornstarch?! In a cookie?! I finally found the recipe to appease even the most sensitive Koslick cookie palate. And today, I will share it with you. See below.

Ingredients: 
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (or whichever you prefer)
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. I use my stand mixer for this… and one of the reasons why I love this recipe so much is that you can make the dough using only one bowl! So next you want to…..
3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Then add the chocolate chips.
4.  I roll my cookies into one inch balls and place them close together on a baking sheet. You can fit quite a few on one baking sheet since they puff up rather than spread out when they are cooked. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on how large of a pan you use. I used a sheet-cake size, so I can literally fit this entire batch in my oven all at once. Which is amazing. Start to finish the cookies take me about 20 minutes. Makes approximately 36 cookies.

*Recipe comes from http://kelseysappleaday.blogspot.com/, which she adapted from Anna Olsen, Food Network Canada.

“Tandoori” Naan

Okay, so I don’t have a Tandoor oven in my house, nor am I hiding one anywhere else on my property. I am just a big fan of naan and hummus, and I thought I would search for a recipe that gave me that same flavor without the same price tag (I calculate these will cost about .30 cents for a batch of four, which is a savings of $1.70 versus even the cheapest store bought varieties!!!).  Unashamedly I saved the Trader Joe’s “Tandoori Naan” freezer safe bag, and yes I will be storing the home made version in it.  This post should really be called “bread maker” naan, because that’s what it is.  I’m VERY into fast and easy recipes, so if you don’t have a bread maker….. I don’t know what to tell you. That’s Kelsey’s department and maybe she can come up with some great alternative for you. Note: If you have a 15 month old with an egg allergy, it isn’t advisable to let them sample this bread or to eat a whole piece. And that’s coming from personal experience. Oh well, here’s the recipe. While you’re testing it out I’m going to grab the Benadryl.

Ingredients:

Directions:
  1. Add ingredients to the bread pan according to the manufacturer’s directions. (Typically they want you to add the wet ingredients first, dry on top, finishing with the yeast)
  2. Set Cycle: dough; Loaf size: 2 lb.
  3. After about 5 minutes, check the dough; add a tablespoon of water at a time if too dry, or a tablespoon of flour at a time if too wet.
  4. Preheat oven to 450F, put 2 baking sheets in to heat for 10 minutes (this will help the naan to puff up and brown).
  5. When dough cycle is done, turn dough onto a floured surface and punch down; Divide into 8 pieces.
  6. Working one at a time, with the other pieces covered, roll dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
  7. Bake for about 4 minutes, until puffed up.
  8. These freeze very well.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-naan-bread-machine-41503#ixzz1lhvM9G2B

Jessica’s Rustic Apple Pie

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Rustic apple pie.

What makes something “rustic?” Is it unfinished looking? Usually. That’s the case with this apple pie. There are no crimped edges, no perfectly pressed crust. There’s not even a stitch of butter in the crust, which is normally a no-no for me [Jessica]. This pie takes about 15 minutes to throw together, and that’s what’s so beautiful about it. Maddy Lu has an eye for the “rustic” in dessert. It might not be pretty, but I bet it’s one of the best things you’ve ever eaten! Here is my recipe for rustic apple pie. I highly recommend it… and your husband will thank you when he walks in from work and smells the cinnamon. Maybe a back rub is in order?

Preheat Oven to 375…

Ingredients:

FILLING

  • 8 Medium Sized Apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • A generous sprinkling of cinnamon
  • 3 TBS Flour

CRUST

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. To begin, slice and core your apples. This is the time when an apple peeler/corer comes in handy.
  2. Melt a stick of butter on medium heat, once melted, add the flour.
  3. Add the white/brown sugars and the cinnamon.
  4. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. That’s it.
  5. Get that crust prepared- using a pastry cutter or a big fork, cut the flour/salt into the shortening.  Mix in the water with your hands until the dough comes together.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface- you want a big huge pancake.
  7. Lift the dough onto your baking sheet, and dump the apples into the center.
  8. Pull up the edges so they come in about halfway towards the center.
  9. Bake on center rack at 375 or until you can see the apples are bubbling and the crust is browned.

Caramels and Contractions

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It was a November night a lot like this one, but rewind about 365 days. I had already bleached the bathroom three times that week, folded baby boy Onesies, re-folded baby boy Onesies, and packed my bags. Twice. I (Jessica) stood over the sink and made my decision— tonight, it would be the caramel apples.
And so the hunt began. Our initial obstacle was the caramels. At the first three stops we came up with nothing. I begged Andrew to check just one more place. I NEEDED to make these apples tonight. The baby would be here in just a few days and I wanted to have them as gifts to give family and friends who helped us watch the dog during our hospital stay. Well, we found the caramels, headed home, and I stood over the stove and rubbed my hands together. I was ready to begin.
And then— it began. Just… not what I was expecting to begin. Everything started as a twinge. And then a cramp. And then one more. And then I was sitting on the floor. And then five minutes went by and I was sitting on the floor again. I kept pressing on towards the goal. I had to finish these apples. Had to top them with nuts. Had to drizzle the chocolate. Had to shove sticks in their tops.
Andrew watched me like I was crazy. He was the crazy one—he had his watch and was timing my every contraction. He just swore they were getting closer together and begged me to call the doctor. I didn’t want to overreact, but his pleas got the best of me. We called, I went, a few hours later labor stopped, and we came back home.
Long story short, Isaiah was born sometime the next day.  But caramel apples remind me of that special time, especially since I lived off of the leftovers during his first weeks.
We had a caramel apple special last week. We got so much support—thank you. And to those of you who didn’t order an apple, maybe this post will make you jealous enough to order one next time around. Enjoy the pictures.