Daily Tidbits

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to all who entered my first ever giveaway. The winner is Neen! Neen, I've sent you an email, so get back to me as soon as you can with your mailing address.

It's interesting to note that of 112 comments received, only 68 of you actually have your email as part of your blogger identity. Several of you left comments of "please enter me", and not only is your email not part of your blogger identity, you didn't leave one as part of the comment!

So, I'm reiterating my request again. Trust me when I tell you that you'll not only win more giveaways if you do this, you'll make more friends.

Go into your blogger profile and click the little box next to the words, "Show my email address". If that email address is one that you don't want made public, then create a different address in yahoo or hotmail or whatever. That's what I did. (I haven't had any spam issues or problems doing this either.) Once you do this, people can respond to comments you make or easily answer your questions. It's really nice, and it's a neat way to make new friends.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread

Printable Recipe

Day 1: Receive the start or make your own (see the bottom of this post for a starter recipe) Do not refrigerate the bag. Just leave it out on your counter.
Day 2-5: Mush the bag
Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk to the bag; mush to mix
Day 7-9: Mush the bag

Day 10: Bake! Mush the bag, then pour the batter into a glass or plastic bowl.
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk and mix with a wooden spoon.
Fill 3 gallon-sized Ziploc bags with 1 cup batter each and give the bags to three friends with a copy of this recipe. Or freeze them for later.

To the remaining batter in the bowl, add the following:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
nuts are optional

Mix it together with a wooden spoon. Grease two loaf pans and coat the pans with a cinnamon sugar mixture. Divide the batter between the loaf pans and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 325 for 1 hour. Cool in pans for ~10 minutes before removing.

You can also make muffins. They're delicious. I make one loaf of bread and do the rest as muffins. Bake as you would regular muffins.


------------------------------------------
Amish Friendship Bread Starter, if you don't have one

1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup milk

Put all three ingredients in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and mush it until well blended. Consider this Day 1. Follow the same directions as you would for the bread, as if someone had handed you a starter, rather than making your own! Do not refrigerate the bag. Just leave it out on your counter.

Day 2-5: Mush the bag
Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk to the bag; smoosh to mix
Day 7-9: Mush the bag

On Day 10: Mush the bag, then pour the batter into a glass or plastic bowl.
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk and mix with a wooden spoon.
Fill 3 gallon-sized Ziploc bags with 1 cup batter each and give the bags to three friends with a copy of this recipe. Or freeze them for later. Make your bread as directed.

Holly's Note* (amended):
Normally a friend gives you a starter of Amish Friendship Bread and 10 days later, you make bread and give starters to other people. You can make your own starter though. It's easy.

My family loves Amish Friendship Bread. I, however, am always reluctant to give away the starters. I should just ask people if they want one, but I don't. I freeze them! On day 10, when you divide up the starter into plastic bags, just freeze those bags. When you want to start some bread, just thaw one out and treat it as Day 1.


You can also just take one bag of starter and make bread with it, as is. Just thaw it, dump it in a bowl and follow the recipe for Friendship bread. This is a very forgiving recipe. I've only done one bag for 8 or 9 days, and it turns out just fine.




Monday, October 27, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival ButtonI've always entered the bloggy giveaway carnival and I've even won some things. So, I figured it was time to offer up something of my own. So, here it is. A new copy of Keeping Good Company: A Season-by-Season Collection of Recipes With Entertaining and Homemaking Ideas. It's a lovely cookbook. I picked it up at the school book fair and it's just been sitting on the shelf, waiting for a good home. It's darling.
I hate giveaways that have a gazillion rules and make you go someplace else to look at something and then come back and prove you did it. I know that doing so generates more traffic which is what a lot of people want. I don't. You came for a giveaway, you didn't come to check things out, but feel free to look around anyway!



All I ask is this: change your blogging profile to show your email, if it doesn't already. Don't you think it's annoying when people comment on your blog and you can't reply directly to them because their email says, "

I can only ship within the US. Sorry! **Comments are now closed. Thanks to all who entered.**




Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pork Chops with Gravy

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1 t. parsley
1 t. thyme
1 t. season-all or additional seasonings of your choice
4 bone-in pork loin chops
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. oil or butter for browning
2 T. butter
2 T. all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
2 T. cornstarch, mixed in 1/4 cup cold water, optional
Additional beef bouillon to taste

Whisk egg and milk together. Combine the bread crumbs, parsley and thyme in another shallow bowl. Sprinkle pork chops with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dip chops in egg mixture, then crumb mixture.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook pork chops in oil for ~2-4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Transfer to an ungreased baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 425° for about 10-15 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°.

In the same skillet, melt butter. Stir in flour and remaining salt and pepper until smooth; gradually stir in broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the cornstarch/water mixture if necessary. Add additional
bouillon or other seasonings to taste. Serve gravy with pork chops and mashed potatoes.

Holly's Note:
I found the original recipe at Taste of Home. I modified it significantly, mainly because the original recipe called for a milk gravy made with whipping cream and it wasn't as good as a broth-based gravy. I also only had dried herbs, so I played with the measurements there too.




Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Printable Recipe
Makes ~12 muffins


1 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 cup white and 1/2 cup wheat)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake about 16-20 minutes. If I bake them for longer than 16 minutes, they get dry. Serve warm.

Holly's Note: I found the original recipe at Bake or Break and I modified it slightly. We love muffins. They freeze well. I throw them in school lunches and they're thawed by lunch. Or you can pop them in the microwave for 15 seconds.



Friday, October 10, 2008

Easy Brownies

Printable Recipe
~16-24 brownies


1 12-ounce bag chocolate chips (whatever you like)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate chips. Stir constantly and remove from heat when chips are fully melted. In the same pot, blend in the sugar. Then add eggs, blending fully one at a time. Add vanilla, salt and flour and beat until air bubbles form in the batter. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Holly's Note:
I found the original recipe at
My Kitchen Cafe. I suggest you check it out. There are lots of good, easy recipes there. I honestly prefer my regular brownies over these, but this recipe has a texture reminiscent of store-bought mixes without that tell-tale store-bought taste that always gives away that they're from a mix! These are very chewy and fudgy. I used milk chocolate chips because that's what I had on hand. I think they would be even better with semi-sweet, Special Dark chips, or a mixture. You could even go so far as to use mint chips.