How to Make Your Own Squares of Chocolate for Baking

On April 12, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

Growing up, the most used cookbook in our home was one that had been my great grandmother’s.  She had given it to my mom, and as a child, it’s one of the first recipe books I remember reading and using.  I loved it best because it was old.  Even in my childhood I was fascinated [...]

Recipe to make your own 1 oz squares of chocolate | Busy-at-Home

Squares of chocolate chopped for use in a recipe.  I don’t, normally, keep them on hand.

Growing up, the most used cookbook in our home was one that had been my great grandmother’s.  She had given it to my mom, and as a child, it’s one of the first recipe books I remember reading and using.  I loved it best because it was old.  Even in my childhood I was fascinated with history and things from the past.  I was also captivated by the fact that my mother’s hand-written notes left a trail through all the recipes she had used. I could know how well she liked a recipe by the obvious wear on the pages, often splatters and stains that I suspect could more likely be attributed to we kids as we learned to cook, using her favorite recipes.

Hearth and home cookbook plus my squares of chocolate recipe

That first picture is what the original cookbook looked like. In some wonderful stroke of Divine providence, I discovered this copy for sale online and grabbed it up. I’ve never seen another since. The second shot is of our actual uber-loved volume, handed down through three generations in our family. The cover is gone. It’s been spilled on and stained. Notes are penned throughout. It has definitely been used. It’s a treasure-trove of childhood memories, for me, and a glimpse into history.  It’s usually secreted away in a sealed bag, to preserve what’s left of its pages and print, but I couldn’t resist pulling it out and sharing it with you.

Hearth and Home is a collection of recipes that I believe had been contributed by women from my great-grandmother’s church; and sprinkled throughout the text were quotes or “words of wisdom” from the recipe’s contributors.  I think it’s fun to see that back then, they wrote down a recipe, (that most likely had been in their head for decades); and they wrote them, as they were stored in their heads.  Many of the details were “just assumed”.  :) There was no formal format for writing down a recipe, as most were probably handed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next.  Often my mom’s notes in this cookbook were to add in an oven temperature and cooking time, as the contributors would naturally assume that those things would “just be understood”.  The other thing that struck me as I thumbed through the pages this evening, is that every page was HAND-written.  After comparing the handwriting on many pages, I’m convinced that the same person carefully copied each recipe into the book.  What a treasure it is!

cookbook pages plus squares of chocolate recipe

1. “Be careful of your thoughts.  They may break into word at any time.”  That tidbit of wisdom is timeless! 2. Three underlines under the title! I’m guessing that was a good one! 3. I remember Mom making ketchup and after seeing the condition of this page, I wonder if this was the recipe she used. The instructions also made me chuckle, as Mrs. George Biere obviously believed we would all understand to put the spice-filled cheesecloth into the pot with the other ingredients and then to remove the cheese cloth of spices, before we decided to thicken with cornstarch.  It’s just common sense, right?  :)

Some of Mom’s notes were more detailed than just temperatures and times, though.  If I look very closely, the faint outline of her homemade noodle recipe is penned onto the inside of the back cover. And though it has been missing for many years, the memory is so vivid to me of two recipes that always lived on the inside of the FRONT cover of our Hearth and Home cookbook.  The first was for my Grandma’s sugar cookies and the second was just a small note in the upper corner with the formula to substitute for a one ounce square of unsweetened chocolate.  That formula is in my head, now, as I saw it so many times over the years. But as I thought about it, I realized that I often do exactly what the wonderful ladies from the Bethel Evangelical Free Church did way back then.  I know it, so I assume everyone else does, too.  So much of what is second-nature to me, I take for granted that others will have already been taught.  Great pieces of knowledge,  heritage and wisdom are lost for that way of thinking; so today, I am determined to share with you the formula for a square of chocolate.  I’ll categorize it in our Kitchen Basics section.  And to further enhance your vast database of kitchen knowledge, I’ll give you the formula for semi-sweet chocolate, too. :)

handwritten notes in a cookbook plus a squares of chocolate recipe

It’s such a nostalgic moment to thumb through these pages and find my mom’s very familiar handwriting.

With the seemingly limitless digital age we live in, things like old cookbooks aren’t pulled off the shelves very often, any more.  We really have lost some of the magic and memories that they could hold for us, but the wisdom can definitely still be carried forward.  I don’t stain many cookbooks, these days, but I wonder if my flour-crusted laptop, Kindle and camera will hold any secret treasures or memories for my own kids and grandkids?  :)  I sure hope so!

What to Substitute for a 1 oz. Square of Chocolate in a Recipe

Rating: 51

1 minute

1 ounce (square) of baking chocolate

What to Substitute for a 1 oz. Square of Chocolate in a Recipe

Ingredients

    For 1 ounce of Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • For 1 ounce of Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

Instructions

  1. For either recipe, simply melt the butter and combine the ingredients.
  2. I'm also guessing you could substitute coconut oil or olive oil for the butter. This is just the way I learned it and, back then, the fat of choice would have been lard or homemade butter. I use butter, today, when I make it.
  3. It doesn't get much simpler than that! :) Now, go make something fabulously chocolate. You have all the keys to the kingdom!

Notes

Some handy conversions to know, if you need multiple squares of chocolate:

4 Tablespoons = 1/4 cup, 8 Tablespoons = 1/2 cup, 12 Tablespoons = 3/4 cup, 16 Tablespoons = 1 cup

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Gluten-Free Blue Corn, Brown Rice and Oat Flour Blend Recipe

On March 27, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. I love this Gluten-Free Blue Corn, Brown Rice and Oat Flour Blend Recipe for making muffins and quick breads, corn bread, waffles or pancakes. Using this gluten-free blend lets all your family and friends enjoy your baking talents. This is just one of several possible gluten-free flour blends, you can [...]

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Milling blue popcorn flour.

Milling blue popcorn for my gluten-free corn flour blend.

I love this Gluten-Free Blue Corn, Brown Rice and Oat Flour Blend Recipe for making muffins and quick breads, corn bread, waffles or pancakes. Using this gluten-free blend lets all your family and friends enjoy your baking talents. This is just one of several possible gluten-free flour blends, you can create in your own home, without the unwanted additives and prohibitive cost.  It’s a win for everyone.   If you’re looking for other gluten-free flour blend recipes, check out my Brown Rice, Amaranth and Oat Blend, with instructions for custom blending your own family’s favorite.  The blue corn is just a fun touch I added to make some treats for our granddaughters, Blue “Pixie Dust” Crepes filled with Honey, Berries and Yogurt and Blue Pixie Dust Tea Cakes (Gluten-Free Blue Corn Muffins with Blueberries).  You could definitely substitute yellow corn flour, in place of the blue.  I used blue popcorn to mill the flour in this recipe.

Blue corn flour milled from Amish Midnight Blue Popcorn - Gluten-Free Blue Corn

Blue corn flour milled from Amish Midnight Blue Popcorn.

Blue (or Yellow) Corn Gluten Free Flour Blend

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container, in the fridge or freezer.
  2. Use in muffins, quick breads, corn bread pancakes, waffles etc.

Notes

The links in the recipe are to the grain I use to mill my own flour, however you can easily find the flours already milled by clicking one of those links and then doing a search for that specific flour. Amazon has a great variety and typically some of the best prices.

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Gluten-Free Blue Corn Muffins with Blueberries

These Gluten-Free Blue Corn Muffins with Blueberries were made with this flour blend.

 

 

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Blue Pixie Dust Inspiration for Fun and Healthy Gluten-Free Snacking – Two Tasty Recipes

On March 27, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

Blue Pixie Dust is not something I typically find on my list of ingredients, when I begin a new recipe; but having raised four daughters and being blessed to spend lots of time with our beautiful granddaughters, I have enjoyed an abundance of fairy-imaginative play, stories, toys and movies.  There was no doubt in my [...]

Blue Corn Crepes with Honey, Berry and Yogurt Filling - Gluten Free and Delicious!   .   .    #ProtectPixieHollow #CollectiveBias #shop

These delicious blue corn crepes are filled with a mixture of fresh blackberries, raspberries, plain Greek yogurt, and raw unfiltered local honey.  They’re light, healthy and gluten-free — perfect for breakfast OR dessert!

Blue Pixie Dust is not something I typically find on my list of ingredients, when I begin a new recipe; but having raised four daughters and being blessed to spend lots of time with our beautiful granddaughters, I have enjoyed an abundance of fairy-imaginative play, stories, toys and movies.  There was no doubt in my mind that something so magical could definitely inspire recipes, conversation and giggles.  I was happy to accept this fun challenge from #ProtectPixieHollow and #CollectiveBias and share the news about the soon to be released DVD of Disney’s The Pirate Fairy.  It’s release is a topic of excitement and great anticipation for our granddaughters.  This sweet six-year-old, in particular, often regales us with her version of the tales of her favorite Tinkerbell movies, and is fairly bubbling over in her delight, imagining just what The Pirate Fairy must be about.

granddaughter-eating-blue-pixie-dust-crepes    .   .    #ProtectPixieHollow #CollectiveBias #shop

I love this little chatter-box, toothless grin and all! She is full of stories and enthusiasm! Her imagination has few limits and she is excitedly sharing what she believes “The Pirate Fairy” movie will be about, between bites of Blue Pixie Dust crepes.

The Pirate Fairy will be released on April 1, in a special Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital HD set, at Walmart.  This exclusive and limited edition package will include a free gift with purchase, the Pixie Hollow Bake Off DVD which includes 10 animated shorts. The Pixie Hollow Bake Off DVD follows Tinker Bell as she challenges Pixie Hollow’s culinary superstars when she refers to the art of baking as “just tinkering with flour.” Your children’s favorite fairies will use their talents to help Tinkerbell in a head-to-head bake-off with head baking fairy Gelata (voice of Giada de Laurentiis) and her Baking Fairies. The winning cake will be featured at Queen Clarion’s Arrival Day Party.  I can’t wait to pick up our copy at Walmart and watch it with the girls!  What could be better than fairies AND baking!!???!!!  :)

 



Trailer – The Pirate Fairy on Disney Video

Well, you know how it goes when the imagination starts running.  I couldn’t do just ONE Blue Pixie Dust recipe.  After all, we DID have all this blue pixie dust.  Waste not, want not.  So, I also made some Blue Pixie Dust Tea Cakes.  Now, you know as well as I do that presentation is a HUGE part of making any dish special. I could have told everyone that they were blue corn muffins with blueberries.  They were.  And the fact that they were much healthier than most desserts, didn’t keep them from being absolutely delicious, but had I presented them as blue corn muffins, there would have been substantially less fanfare.  :)  Thus, I served Blue Pixie Dust Tea Cakes, baked in the shapes of the flowers that Tinkerbell and her friends love so much.  I flipped the muffins upside down so the moist, colorful, berry-studded bottoms were facing up and no frosting or drizzle was necessary to convince anyone these were tea cakes.  Now, that’s presentation!  It makes the ordinary something special and imagination-inspiring.

Blue Corn Muffins with Blueberries - Gluten-Free and Delicious!    .   .    #ProtectPixieHollow #CollectiveBias #shop

Simple, healthy and gluten-free, sweetened with a touch of raw, unrefined sugar and studded with frozen blueberries, I present to you…Blue Pixie Dust Tea Cakes.

 

I’m sure you’ve been concerned about where on earth I could find the ingredients for such magical treats.  Well, no worries!  Most of them were picked up right inside my local Walmart.

Frozen berries at Walmart. #ProtectPixieHollow #CollectiveBias #shop

I can quickly pick up everything I need for recipes and my weekly groceries, all at the same time. Even when berries aren’t quite in season, the frozen berries at Walmart have always proven to be high quality and affordable.

The only truly tricky one, was that magical Blue Pixie Dust.  What creative ideas do you have for blue pixie dust?  Well, you know my newest kitchen tool is my flour mill and I got the idea to use blue popcorn and grind my own blue pixie dust flour.  It was perfect!  And before you panic, you can easily do it, too!  I milled my own, but if you don’t have a flour mill, you can buy blue corn meal and turn it into flour by grinding it in your heavy-duty blender.  I tried it in mine, just to be sure and it worked like a charm.  So, now you know the secret to obtaining blue pixie dust!

Freshly milled, blue corn flour.   .  .  .  #ProtectPixieHollow #CollectiveBias #shop

I milled this fresh, blue corn flour from organic blue popcorn. It’s perfect as Blue Pixie Dust!

 

I had never made crepes, before, but they’re just thin pancakes.  Right?  lol  So, there is a slight learning curve to making them, (translated as I threw away the first four, so don’t give up) but once you get onto it, they’re actually as simple as I had first suspected.  Make sure your pan is preheated at medium to medium high.  Only fill the center of the pan and then tilt and swirl the batter in a thin layer across the entire bottom of the skillet.  Practice and you’ll be a pro in no time!  Also, my original recipe used no sweetener of any kind in the crepe.  I felt like the berries and honey in the filling would be sweet, enough, but it turns out they still needed a little something for us.  After making them again, I added some honey to the batter.  You could easily leave it out if your family prefers.  Enjoy!

Blue Corn Crepes with Honey, Berry and Yogurt Filling

6-8 crepes

Ingredients

    For Crepes:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon high quality sea salt
  • 1 cup blue corn flour
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2-3 Tablespoons honey, (raw, unfiltered and local if you can get it)
  • For Filling:
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey, (raw, unfiltered and local if you can get it)
  • 3 cups berries (I used fresh blackberries, raspberries and blueberries - fresh or frozen work)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon

Instructions

    For Crepes
  1. Preheat a 6 or 8 inch skillet or crepe pan over medium heat. Lightly oil the bottom of the pan.
  2. Pour all liquid ingredients into your blender pitcher and blend until combined.
  3. Add the corn flour and salt and blend on high speed to remove all lumps and create a thin, smooth batter.
  4. Pour batter into the center of your pan, covering the inner half of the pan bottom. Then gently, but quickly, tilt and swirl the pan to spread the batter over the outer half, until the bottom of the pan is coated in a thin layer of batter.
  5. Place the pan back on the burner and cook until the crepe is golden brown on the bottom and the top is nearly dry and full of "popped" bubbles.
  6. Flip the crepe and cook for only a few seconds more. The second side will be much lighter in color than the first, (which made these perfect for our "pixie dust" dessert, since the blue side could be rolled to the outside of the filled crepe).
  7. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a plate while you finish cooking the rest of the crepes.
  8. For Berry Filling
  9. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl, until berries are thoroughly coated.
  10. To Assemble Crepes
  11. Crepes can be rewarmed, quickly, in the microwave or served cold. If rewarming, heat for only a few seconds, 10 or less. Place a generous scoop of filling down the center of each crepe and fold one side in over filling.
  12. Fold the second side, over the first.
  13. I made a drizzle design on the plates with honey and placed the filled crepe in the center, then drizzled a little more honey over the crepe and garnished with a mint leaf.
  14. Enjoy!
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As I mentioned, before, with my abundance of lovely blue pixie dust, I decided to make one more fun treat.  I think you and your family will love these easy and gluten-free Blue Corn Muffins with Blueberries.

Blue Corn Muffins with Blueberries

12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 280 grams Gluten-free Blue Corn Flour Blend (MUST be weighed!)
  • 122 grams (1/2 cup) sugar (I used Zulka Morena unrefined sugar.)
  • 12 grams (1 Tablespoon) baking powder, aluminum-free
  • 4 grams (1/2 teaspoon) Celtic Sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (could substitute butter, not margarine), melted
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Instructions

  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, milk eggs and vanilla.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Add blueberries and mix thoroughly.
  5. Grease cups of a 12 cup muffin tin or line with muffin papers.
  6. Fill cups about 3/4 full with batter.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Leave in tins for about 10 minutes and then remove from tins and cool on a wire rack.
  9. Enjoy!
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So, is there Blue Pixie Dust in your future?  I hope so!  What creative ideas do you have for healthy snacks your kids will love?  Be sure to pick up a copy of The Fairy Pirate, at Walmart on April 1, to get all kinds of imaginative inspiration!

Gluten-Free Raspberry Cinnamon Muffins Recipe

On March 2, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

Here it is.  The promised muffin recipe.  You’re going to love them!   Print Gluten-Free Raspberry Cinnamon Muffins Recipe Ingredients280 grams Gluten-free Whole-grain Flour Blend (MUST be weighed!) 122 grams (1/2 cup) sugar (I used Zulka Morena sugar.) 12 grams (1 Tablespoon) baking powder, aluminum-free 4 grams (1/2 teaspoon) Celtic Sea salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon [...]

Here it is.  The promised muffin recipe.  You’re going to love them!

Gluten-Free Raspberry Cinnamon Muffins

No one would guess these are gluten-free. They taste like a regular whole-grain muffin. Slightly sweet and PERFECT texture/ crumb! Lots of possible fruit and spice combinations, too, I think.  Delish!

 

Gluten-Free Raspberry Cinnamon Muffins Recipe

Gluten-Free Raspberry Cinnamon Muffins Recipe

Ingredients

  • 280 grams Gluten-free Whole-grain Flour Blend (MUST be weighed!)
  • 122 grams (1/2 cup) sugar (I used Zulka Morena sugar.)
  • 12 grams (1 Tablespoon) baking powder, aluminum-free
  • 4 grams (1/2 teaspoon) Celtic Sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries, coarsley chopped

Instructions

  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix the milk and vanilla in a one-quart bowl or measuring cup.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave and then mix it into the milk and vanilla, whisking quickly as you pour it in. You will end up with tiny, drops of soft butter floating on the top, as it rehardens, but it will be okay. Trust me. Those little drops of butter will mix into your batter easily and this will prevent the egg, you're about to add, from cooking in the hot butter.
  4. Add the egg to the milk and butter mixture, whisking until it is thoroughly combined.
  5. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour the liquid ingredients into the center.
  6. Mix until all the flour and liquid are combined and no dry powder remains. Unlike working with flours that have gluten, you can't really overwork or toughen your baked goods by stirring too much. The gluten is what causes tough baked goods when overworked. Since you are working with gluten-free ingredients you can stir to your heart's content.
  7. Gently fold in the raspberries.
  8. Place cupcake papers in muffin tin, or grease the muffin tin well, and fill each cup about 3/4 full.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Enjoy!
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Are you experimenting with gluten-free baking?  What have you loved?  What hasn’t worked out as well?  Do you have a good tip or idea you’d be willing to share?

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a day packed full-to-overflowing with blessings!

Make Your Own Gluten-Free Whole-Grain Flour Blend (Brown Rice, Amaranth and Oats) to Substitute in Favorite Recipes

On March 2, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

As a participant in the Grain Mill Wagon Challenge, I received a WonderMill Grain Mill and compensation to test the appliance in my own kitchen and to create five recipes using freshly milled, whole grain flour. The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.  This [...]

As a participant in the Grain Mill Wagon Challenge, I received a WonderMill Grain Mill and compensation to test the appliance in my own kitchen and to create five recipes using freshly milled, whole grain flour. The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.  This post contains affiliate links marked with an *.

Gluten-Free Symbol | Busy-at-Home © 2014

Last week, I shared a little about my need to become more knowledgeable and skilled in the art of gluten-free cooking and baking. Yes, there is DEFINITELY an art to it.  My traditional way of baking and measuring, simply won’t work with these new ingredients. It requires a little “un-learning”, which comes easier to me, now, in this menopausal stage of life.  :)  I feel like “un-learning” is sort of a natural state for me, at my age.  With age and “wisdom”, comes the understanding that you really don’t know everything you thought you did and even if you do, you won’t remember it.  lol  It seems to be working out for me, anyway. I guess I’ll go with it.

There is so much information available, about gluten-free baking, it can be pretty overwhelming to sift through; and without an advanced chemistry degree, it’s sometimes hard to discern who ACTUALLY knows what they’re talking about.  :)  After reading many, many articles and blogs, I have to tell you that the most helpful have been the blogs of people who live without gluten every day of their lives.  They’re hard-core, all-in, and they know from personal experience, what works and what doesn’t.  I’m so excited and grateful for those who have already done the hard work of pioneering — blazing the trail for the rest of us.

I’m not much of a re-invent the wheel girl, so it helps to have some great role models.  The one I feel that has been the most helpful to me, personally, is Shauna James Ahern, over at Gluten-Free-Girl and the Chef. She doesn’t just share gluten-free recipes, though she DOES have so many that look absolutely scrumptious.  She’s a teacher, whether that’s what she set out to be, or not.  I feel as though I’ve attended “gluten-free school”, after studying her wonderful blog, and I understand so much more than I did, before I arrived there. What I love about Shauna is that she provides me with the information, formulas, tips and ideas to create my own custom gluten-free flour blends and use them in recipes my family is already familiar with and enjoys.  Her site is a wealth of information and I can’t encourage you enough, to go, and rifle through its pages, to glean those nuggets of knowledge that will inspire you on your own gluten-free journey.

Gluten-Free Grains Infographic | Busy-at-Home © 2014

To create a gluten-free flour blend that works in your everyday recipes, providing you with the textures and “mouth-feel” that you’re used to, you need a proper balance of proteins (grains) and starches.

This flour blend recipe was part of my guest post, today, over at the Grain Mill Wagon Challenge.  You can check out that post to get all the details about my continuing experiments, and all that I’m learning, with the WonderMill Grain Mill.  I am loving it SOOOOO much!  It makes me feel sort of accomplished and crafty, using it, though it really involves no skill on my part. I flip the switch, pour in the grain, and the mill does all the work.  If there was a way to take credit for it, I would do it, but take my word for it, milling your own flour with a Wondermill is a no-brainer.  It’s simple, it’s quick and it’s healthier for my family.  What’s not to love?

WonderMill Grain Mill

* My well-used WonderMill. Oils in grain begin to oxidize and turn rancid within 72 hours of milling. That’s why whole grain flour you purchase at the market, should be stored in the freezer, to preserve freshness and nutrition. The reality is, however, you have no idea how long it took that flour to reach the store, and then how long it has been sitting on the shelf. The way around this for commercial producers is to produce “white” flour, which is simply milled grain that has had the bran and endosperm removed before grinding, removing the healthy oils that cause their storage problems. Unfortunately, the healthy oils, vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber that our bodies need, are contained in the bran and endosperm. See why milling fresh flour, on your kitchen counter, is a great benefit for your family’s health?  Saving for a mill is a good investment.

 

Ok, so let’s get to the recipe.  I read that to make my own gluten-free,

  1. all-purpose flour blend, I needed to use 600 grams of any combination of gluten-free starches that I liked and 400 grams of gluten-free whole grain flours.
  2. whole-grain flour blend, I should combine 700 grams of any of the whole-grain flours and 300 grams of the starches.
  3. To use either of them in recipes, I would need to substitute 140 grams of the blend, for each cup of flour the recipe called for.

Based on what I had in my house, I mixed up this first whole-grain blend.  I immediately used it to bake some beautiful and delicious muffins.  I was hooked.  Very, very excited.  Now, lest you think that everything comes up roses the minute you switch to gluten-free baking, let me introduce you to my attempt at using this blend to make whole grain tortillas.  Failures and mistakes will happen, and yes, I cringe a little at the cost of learning, but the truth of the matter is that it is something that’s important to know and I WILL figure it out, eventually.  Don’t give up.  You learn from what didn’t work, make adjustments and try, again.  It’s worth the effort and initial expense to be able to serve delicious, satisfying food that is healthy for the people we love.

homemade tortillas

Aren’t they pretty? Lightly browned and inviting. Ptttewwww! Blech! Dry, crispy, unbendable, without cracking — basically not good. Yes, my first attempt at gluten-free tortillas is a bust. I will NOT give up, however. I’m pretty sure the problem has to do with that “un-learning” I mentioned earlier. The dough, substituting the blend for the flour in the recipe, turned out more like thick gloppy batter, than dough. So, my gluten-oriented brain kept adding more flour blend until I had a dough that I could roll out and cook. Bad call.  I have some ideas about solutions for this problem. I’ll keep you posted.

 

In the meantime, this first whole grain blend was most certainly not a bust in the Raspberry Cinnamon Muffins I will be sharing with you in my next post.  I am confident this blend would also be great in things like banana and zucchini bread, pancakes and waffles or brownies and cobblers.  As I continue to experiment and expand our gluten-free recipe file, I’ll share the recipes we develop.  In the meantime, mix up a batch of this blend to use in your own recipes.

gluten free raspberry cinnamon muffins | Busy-at-Home

Look at the texture! the crumb! These muffins were so delicious. Yes, I speak of them in the past tense, because they were gone in a blink. The whole family, even our white bread lovers, gobbled these whole-grain, gluten free beauties up.  You know you want a bite!  Fresh whole grain bread, sweet raspberries and melting butter —  now that’s breakfast !  mmmmmmm……..  So good!

 

The links you’ll see in the recipe are to the grains I purchase online, to make my flours. Living in a small town, I don’t have quick and easy access to health food stores that sell organic grains, or grains of any kind, really. Without a doubt, I will eventually learn which stores in the city (30 miles away) offer what I’m looking for at even more affordable prices.  Until then, this has gotten me started and it’s delivered directly to my door.  You may find that works for you, as well.

 

Gluten-Free Whole-Grain Flour Blend (Brown Rice, Amaranth and Oats)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Carefully weigh out the flours and arrowroot.
  2. Mix until they are completely blended.
  3. Store, in a ziptop freezer bag, in the freezer.
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Have you been too afraid to attempt gluten-free baking?  What are the obstacles that hold you back?  What information or tips would make you more willing to give it a try? Maybe you’re an excellent gluten-free baker.  I would LOVE to hear from you.  Let’s dish!  What are you secrets for success?

I’m so glad you came by and I’m looking forward to your next visit!  Have a blessing-filled week!

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Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

On February 27, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

This post contains affiliate links. Links followed by an ” * ” are affiliates.   You won’t need special skills or knowledge to wow your friends and family with this easy, gluten-free dessert.  You may feel like there are quite a few steps, but all of them are super simple.  It shouldn’t throw you into [...]

This post contains affiliate links. Links followed by an ” * ” are affiliates.

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake from Busy-at-Home.  It's gluten-free chocolate heaven!

Fudgy, creamy chocolate decadence. You’ll only need a thin slice of this rich, dense cake to satisfy your deepest chocolate cravings.

 

You won’t need special skills or knowledge to wow your friends and family with this easy, gluten-free dessert.  You may feel like there are quite a few steps, but all of them are super simple.  It shouldn’t throw you into a panic when you find out guests are eating gluten-free.  There are so many delicious recipes you can prep that will make them feel completely indulged without anyone else at the table feeling like they’ve missed out on something.

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake from Busy-at-Home.  Easy, delicious and gluten-free.

Baked in a spring form pan, you have lots of options to serve your Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake. Go rustic, elegant or casual depending on your setting.

A few weeks ago, our son-in-law discovered he would need to be eating gluten-free.  Since we are lucky enough to be able to share meals with him, our daughter and grandkids at least once a week, I wanted to start fine-tuning some recipes that I can prepare to let everyone enjoying a family dinner with us, be able to eat anything on the table. This Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake is one of them and you’ll be seeing more and more gluten-free recipes popping up on Busy-at-Home.  Enjoy!

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake

Rating: 51

16 servings

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake

Gluten-free and fudgy decadence in a simple, but elegant dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup real butter (not margarine)
  • 1 lb semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar, (I used Zulka Morena* less refined sugar.)
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla* extract (I use the beans in the link, and make my own.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt*
  • powdered sugar and raspberries, (for optional garnish)
  • extra butter for greasing pan

Instructions

  1. First, prepare your pan. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan by spreading butter over the bottom and sides. Cut a circle of parchment and line the bottom of the pan with it. Tightly wrap the bottom, and up the sides, of the pan with foil.
  2. Set the prepared spring form into a large roasting pan.
  3. Start boiling a large pan of water, while you mix up the rest of the cake.
  4. Place the chocolate, cream and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in my case a glass bowl)
  5. (I don't have a double boiler, so I use a glass bowl over the top of a saucepan that has about three inches of boiling water in the bottom.)
  6. Melt the chocolate, butter and cream together. Stir, frequently, until everything is incorporated and the texture is smooth and creamy.
  7. Set the chocolate aside.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla until they are frothy and doubled in volume.
  9. Scoop 1/3 of the egg mixture into the bowl with the melted chocolate. Gently fold the eggs into the chocolate with a rubber spatula.
  10. Repeat the folding-in step two more times, until all the egg mixture is incorporated into the chocolate.
  11. Pour the finished cake batter into your prepared spring form pan.
  12. Now, grab that pot of water I had you start boiling, in the beginning. Gently pour it into the roaster, until it reaches the halfway level on the side of the spring form pan.
  13. Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. The sides will have begun to set up and pull away from the edge of your pan, but the center of the cake will still be very jiggly and soft.
  14. Remove the cake from the oven and take the spring form out of the roaster. Remove the foil from the spring form and then set the pan on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Once it has reached room temperature, cover it and set it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
  15. Remove the cake from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving. Unfasten and remove the spring form's outer ring. At this point, you can simply leave the cake on the bottom of the pan, like I did, or invert it onto a serving plate, whichever you prefer.
  16. You can dust it with powdered sugar and/or garnish it with berries or mint leaves. It would be delicious with fresh, homemade whipped cream, too!
  17. However you decide to serve it, you will want to keep the slices "petite". Even though it is only a 9" cake, I cut it into 16 slices. It's super, fudgy and rich, so that was definitely a big enough piece, for one serving. Scrumptious!
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Best Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

On February 17, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

I don’t bake nearly as often as I did when the kids were younger, but once in awhile, I just need a chocolate chip cookie.  Yesterday, our daughter, son-in-law and all the grandkids were here and it seemed like the perfect time to whip up a batch of these delicious beauties.  They are stupendous!  Hands [...]

I don’t bake nearly as often as I did when the kids were younger, but once in awhile, I just need a chocolate chip cookie.  Yesterday, our daughter, son-in-law and all the grandkids were here and it seemed like the perfect time to whip up a batch of these delicious beauties.  They are stupendous!  Hands down, my absolute favorite cookie.  You would never guess that they contain whole wheat flour.  And as promised in my last post, I weighed out the flour for you so you can duplicate the same excellent results that I get.  If you don’t have a kitchen scale and will be measuring your flour by the cup, then be advised that I used the scoop and swoop method.  Still, weighing will get you the most consistent results.

Best Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe | Busy-at-Home

Yes, I know you definitely would love a bite of one of these! I wish I could hand you one of these warm, soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies right through the screen, but the next best thing is having the recipe. You can easily make these at home.

 

At first glance, my recipe may seem to include some “unusual” ingredients, but I promise you they are so mainstream in our house, that I forget to mention them to you in my recipes.  I just wanted to give a brief explanation and let you know that you can definitely make the substitutions, if you need to.  I just wanted you to have the exact recipe that I use, so you can be sure of the same yummy results.

I’ve talked to you, before, about Zulka brand Morena Pure Cane Sugar.  I buy it at Walmart and in the recipe, below, I linked it up to my Amazon affiliate for you, in case you can’t find it locally.  You could substitute regular granulated sugar, cup for cup, but I like using this unrefined, non-GMO pure cane sugar for its deeper, fresher taste in baked goods.  Because it hasn’t been refined, it retains some of the cane syrup which affects the color and flavor.  The granules are not as fine as granulated sugar, but incorporate and melt into my baked goods just like white sugar.  Because it is left unrefined, Morena sugar is not white, but its natural tan color.  I can purchase a 4 pound bag for less than the store brand 4 pound bag, at Walmart.  They have recently started stocking it in the baking aisle, though I used to only be able to pick it up in the ethnic foods aisle.  If you’re having trouble finding it, be sure to look both places.  You can print a coupon for 50¢ off Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar.

zulka morena pure cane sugar

Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar

I’ve been making my own vanilla extract, at home, for a little over a year, too,  and there is no rival for the flavor.  I prefer to use Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans when I make it.  My recipe does call for homemade vanilla, but you can substitute your preferred brand.

And the last ingredient I need to explain is Celtic Sea Salt.  You can use regular table salt, as a substitute.  I’ve just read so much great information about the health benefits of Celtic Sea Salt, that it didn’t make sense for our family to keep using processed table salt.  Here is a link to one article that was helpful.

Now, that you have an understanding of why I chose the ingredients that I did, I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as our family does!  Have a blessing-filled evening!

 

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups Morena Pure Cane Sugar (can substitute granulated sugar)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon homemade vanilla (or substitute any pure vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups (258 grams or 9.1 oz) whole wheat flour
  • 5 cups (678 grams or 1 lb 7.9 oz) unbleached white flour
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt (or substitute table salt)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (12 oz) bag milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugars together in bowl of stand mixer.
  2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until dough is uniformly combined. The dough will be very stiff.
  4. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  5. Roll into golf ball-sized balls and place on greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 14 minutes.
  7. Cookies will still appear soft and some may even look doughy, but trust me, take them out just as the edges begin to brown and don't go longer than the recommended time. Your cookies will continue to bake for a minute or two even after they are removed from the oven. They will set up without becoming hard and crunchy. You'll have perfectly soft, chewy and delicious cookies.
  8. Enjoy!
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Best Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies | Busy-at-Home

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Do You Scoop and Swoop…or are You a Spooner? How You Measure Flour Affects Your Baking Success

On February 15, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

This post is all about sharing a secret that every successful baker must understand.  Armed with this knowledge, you will be well on your way to becoming a baking GIANT!  (or moderately sized with a GIANT baking heart, if you prefer.)  At least in your own kitchen.  :) It IS true that cooking a great savory [...]

This post is all about sharing a secret that every successful baker must understand.  Armed with this knowledge, you will be well on your way to becoming a baking GIANT!  (or moderately sized with a GIANT baking heart, if you prefer.)  At least in your own kitchen.  :)

homemade baguettes

Mastering the “baking basic” that I’m sharing, today, will have you tackling recipes without fear and winning! In a few weeks, I’m going to show you how to make these totally delish, crisp and chewy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, baguettes. You can DEFINITELY do it!

It IS true that cooking a great savory dish leaves a little more wiggle room for experimentation and creating a smashing success with just about whatever happens to be in your pantry.  A little of this, a dash of that and maybe even some of that leftover chicken from last night’s dinner and you can whip up a culinary masterpiece, with ease.

The chemistry of baking, on the other hand, is a little more particular, and requires precise measuring to create the necessary reactions when specific ingredients, in specific amounts, are combined.  Intimidating?  It doesn’t have to be.  As a matter of fact with just a little knowledge and a collection of basic formulas for the baked goods you love most, you can be comfortable baking every day.  AND, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will be to use what you know to experiment and get creative with baking, just the way you do when you’re cooking.

That’s the basis for a whole new category of posts I want to share with you in 2014 — Baking Basics. You’ll see it in the menu tabs above, and I’m hoping it will fill up quickly with posts you can reference, when you have questions. Identifying yourself as a scoop and swooper or a spooner is the first important baking basic I want you to think about, as it has a tremendous impact on your success when you’re baking.

WonderMill Flour Mill

My new WonderMill. I LOVE being able to use my own freshly-milled flour in our baked goods!

So, what’s the verdict? Are you a “scoop and swooper” or a “spoon and leveler”?  What about the recipes you use?  Were their authors scoopers or spooners?  It may not seem like a big deal, but I promise, understanding the difference will help you achieve much more consistent results when you bake.  Until I started baking large batches of breads, cakes or cookies for freezer cooking, I didn’t realize how significantly the way I measured flour would affect my final product.  After some time experimenting, I’m convinced that some of my friends who say they love to cook, but can’t bake, may find that this simple knowledge can change their minds.

measuring flour

The WAY you measure flour can make a huge difference in your finished baked goods. Do you scoop your flour or spoon it into the cup before leveling?  Neither is necessarily wrong, but they each result in vastly different outcomes.  Even baking experts don’t agree which is best, though they DO agree the difference is important.

The scoop and swoop method is exactly what it sounds like.  You dip your measuring cup into the canister to fill it and use a finger to swoop the little mound off, making the flour level with the top of the measuring cup.  Spooners add flour to their measuring cup, a little at a time, and then using the flat edge of a table knife or some other straight edge, level the top with great precision.  Each method incorporates a different amount of air into the flour and affects how much flour is actually in the cup.  Scooping and swooping adds more flour (by weight) to your recipe — as much as 20% more, depending on how vigorous a scooper you are.  :)  If you’re baking a recipe that calls for 4 cups of flour and the recipe’s author was a spooner, but you scooped, you would end up adding almost a whole cup more flour than the original author used in her recipe.  And when you are baking multiple loaves of bread, where 12 – 15 cups of flour may be used at one time, that difference becomes even more significant, using 3 or more extra cups of flour, compared to the original recipe’s author.  Holy bread brick, Batman!

No wonder so many people think they can’t bake.  This is quite a dilemma, since I don’t think I have EVER seen a recipe that stated whether the author scooped and swooped or spooned and leveled.  What’s a perfectionistic, wanna-be GIANT supposed to do?  Ideally, I would convince all of you to measure your flour by weight  and every recipe would be written with weight measurements.   The reality is, that’s probably not going to happen.  Oh, I’m definitely going to get some of you weighing your flour, but those of you who don’t have access to a scale, can still be great bakers.  You just have to keep certain facts in mind.

Finesseur Digital Scale

This Finesseur scale is the one I use. It’s a little pricey and you can definitely find cheaper models, but I was investing for long term use and I specifically wanted the tare feature that allows me to zero out the weight when I set an empty bowl or cup onto it, to measure ingredients into. I can quickly convert from pounds to ounces to grams, with the touch of a button. I really like this model. Whichever one you end up selecting, be sure you get digital, that can measure precisely in even small fractions of an ounce.

  1. If you don’t personally know the recipe’s author and how the flour was measured, your first attempt at making the recipe is ALWAYS going to be a trial run.  Don’t give up if a recipe doesn’t turn out the first time.  It may be as simple as adjusting the way you measured the flour, so always keep track of what method you used and try, again, using the other method.
  2. If the recipe gives weight measurements (oz or gm), in addition to volume (cups), then weigh your flour to get results consistent with the author’s.
  3. If you have a kitchen scale, you can update the recipes you use most often, and new ones that you try, by measuring out the flour in cups and then weighing the total amount.  Note the ounces and grams measurement on the recipe, so anyone using the recipe after you, will have access to the most accurate measurements and you won’t have to rely on memory when baking it, in the future.
  4. Be consistent in the method you use for measuring flour when you create your own recipes.  You’ll want to share with others who use it, what method you use, so they can come as close to duplicating your method, as possible.

    weighing flour on a digital kitchen scale

    I am a scoop and swooper, by nature, and I found that measuring in this way was yielding me, on average, 5 ounces of flour in each cup, when measuring finely ground, whole wheat flour. (Yes, the coarseness and type of flour you’re using can affect the volume, too.) Even more reason that weighing is a more trustworthy method of measuring every type of flour.

  5. If you can afford it, buy a kitchen scale.  Successful bakers and chefs rely on this method to achieve consistent results every time they bake.  5 ounces of flour is 5 ounces of flour whether you scoop it up in a cup or you spoon it delicately into the bowl.  It is the most accurate way to measure and to help ensure baking success.

    weighing flour

    When I spooned and leveled a cup of flour, the average weight ended up being 4.4 ounces. That doesn’t seem like a huge difference between the two methods — only .6 oz per cup. But what if a recipe called for 4 cups of flour. The difference then would be more than 1/8 cup for the total recipe. And for mixing up multiple loaves of bread, as I do, it would be more than a one cup difference. Baked goods with too much flour become dry, hard and crumbly. With too little flour, they can be doughy, not hold their form or spread too much. Are you starting to see why weighing flour can be the difference between success and failure when baking.

To give you one final illustration of the differences between volume measurement and weight measurement when it comes to flour, and why weighing is far superior, let me show you two bags of flour I recently milled.  One was milled from hard white wheat berries, the other from Einkorn wheat berries (an ancient variety, without all the modern-day modifications).  In a recipe, if I were using volume measurements, I would need almost twice as many cups of Einkorn flour to achieve the results I had with hard white.  Someone creating a recipe that says use x amount of cups of either one, would have to note what specific wheat their flour was milled from to get the same results for anyone else who used the recipe.  However, if they gave weight measurements, the recipe, as written, would work with either flour.

two bags of home ground flour

The difference in volume, between the two varieties is significant, but within .2 oz, for the entire bag, their weight is identical.

Have I convinced you, yet?  Are you already in the car on the way to Walmart to buy a kitchen scale?  :)  There are other factors that can affect the favorable results of your final baked products, but accurately measuring flour is at the top of the list.   From now on, recipes I publish, here, at Busy-at-Home will give both volume and weight measurements and if you don’t have access to a scale, you’ll know I scooped and swooped for the results I got, so you should, too.  :)

How do you measure flour?  Have you ever been frustrated to follow a recipe exactly and still not have it turn out?  What’s your greatest baking fear?  Success?  What puzzles you about baking or what questions would you love to have answered about baking?  I’m anxious to show you that you can be an extraordinary baker and I’ll help with all I can.

Now, go bake something amazing!  You can do it!

#ad — Easy Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole Recipe

On January 27, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

… My hibernation instincts are becoming more and more urgent with each drop in temperature that we experience, here in southeast Nebraska.  We don’t actually have a speck of snow, right now — just raw, bitter, windy cold.  Excuses not to venture outdoors are easy to come by and it’s a time when I find [...]

Easy Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole | photo and recipe © Busy-at-Home, #TheWrightBreakfast #ad #cbias

Your family will love this DELISH breakfast casserole and YOU will love how easy it is to prepare!

My hibernation instincts are becoming more and more urgent with each drop in temperature that we experience, here in southeast Nebraska.  We don’t actually have a speck of snow, right now — just raw, bitter, windy cold.  Excuses not to venture outdoors are easy to come by and it’s a time when I find myself staying inside, doing lots of baking and creating savory, body and spirit-warming dishes for my family.  Breakfast is a big winner morning, noon and night at our house and one of my favorite things to fix can be prepared quickly and then just popped into the oven.  Once it comes out of the oven, in all it’s hot, cheesy goodness, my family (young and old) will swarm this dish and leave nothing behind.  I often make a double batch so there will be leftovers.  Squares of this tasty and filling casserole are delicious warmed and stacked on a bun, bagel or between two slices of bread for breakfast on the go.  You can also crumble them into a pita pocket or tortilla and also have a delectable portable breakfast for the last-minute, sleepy heads rushing out your front door.  It works as well for lunch, brunch and dinner as it does for breakfast and honestly, serve it with a salad, some fruit and /or veggies and you have a delicious, pretty well-balanced meal.

Wright Brand Breakfast Sausage #TheWrightBreakfast #ad #cbias

Wright Brand Link Sausages were easy to find in the Fresh Meats department at our local Sam’s Club. For $9 and some change, it was a great price for the 3 individual trays included in the package!

You could use your family’s favorite breakfast meat in this casserole, whether it be sausage, ham or bacon.  We love sausage; and the fresh, lean and flavorful taste of Wright Brand Breakfast Sausage is one of my favorites to cook with.  I purchase it at Sam’s Club and not only is it high quality meat, but it is also a great value.  For a little over $9 I get THREE trays of sausages!  Since it only requires one tray to make a meal, that’s a great money-saving value!

Whip this up for breakfast and make an extra one to use for breakfasts, all week long!  You’ll love how quick and easy it is to put together!  Enjoy!

Easy Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole

Rating: 51

15 minutes

1 hour

12 servings

Easy Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

  • 10 Wright Brand Breakfast Sausage links (app 1 lb.)
  • 2 cups shredded raw potatoes (Can substitute hashbrowns that are thawed and patted dry or rehydrated.)
  • 18 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional garnish: sour cream, diced tomatoes, parsley

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9x13 pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove sausage from casings, crumble and brown. If you use Wright Brand Sausage, it is so lean it won't even require draining. If not, be sure to drain off any excess fat.
  3. Spread the shredded potatoes in an even layer in the bottom of the 9x13 pan. (Peel and shred your own potatoes, thaw frozen hashbrowns and then pat them dry, or like me, you can rehydrate dehydrated hashbrowns to make this dish. All work equally well.)
  4. Layer the cheddar cheese over the shredded potatoes.
  5. Sprinkle the browned and drained sausage over the cheese layer.
  6. Dice the onion, pepper and parsley. I tend to make these smaller than a dice, since my family prefers smaller chunks. Try not to leave these out, though. They add so much depth and flavor to the dish.
  7. Spread the veggies and parsley over the sausage.
  8. Mix the eggs and milk in a large mixing bowl. Whip until light and frothy. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the layers in the 9x13 pan.
  9. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until completely set in the center.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  11. Cut into squares and serve with sour cream. parsley and diced tomatoes.

Notes

Leftovers are easily reheated in the microwave. They also make great breakfast sandwiches or burritos when you need to eat on-the-go.

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Easy Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole | photo and recipe © Busy-at-Home, #TheWrightBreakfast #ad #cbias

Easy, hearty comfort food is a great way to start a special morning (or just a cold winter one) with the people you love.  This recipe definitely fits that category and is filled with delicious ingredients.  You’ll notice as it bakes, this casserole reverses its layers, with the egg and potatoes forming the base and the sausage, cheese and veggie’s rising to the top.  I hope you will enjoy working this sensational dish into your meal rotation.

What’s your favorite, easy breakfast recipe?  Do you and your family enjoy “breakfast for dinner”?  If you enjoy high-quality, fresh ingredients as much as we do, I think you’ll love Wright Brand Sausage. You can learn more about it and collect some great recipe ideas by following the company on Facebook or Twitter.  Plus, you can visit selected Sam’s Clubs on January 31 and February 6th & 7th to visit Wright Brand Sausage demo stations and sample it for yourself.

….

I’m sharing this recipe and post as a member of #CollectiveBias and as part of the #TheWrightBreakfast campain.

Creamy, Delicious Potato Soup

On January 18, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

January is usually a “cutting back” time for American families.  We’ve come off the high of holiday parties, gifts and traveling and are settling into the realities of cold, blustery winter and higher heating bills.  Even if we’re not consciously seeking ways to cut expenses and save money, it seems as though we just naturally gravitate [...]

Crock-Pot Potato Soup | Busy-at-Home

Yum! This creamy, potato soup is a filling meal with some crusty, homemade bread and a green salad. It will warm you, down to the tips of your toes — and bonus? — it’s easy and inexpensive to make!

January is usually a “cutting back” time for American families.  We’ve come off the high of holiday parties, gifts and traveling and are settling into the realities of cold, blustery winter and higher heating bills.  Even if we’re not consciously seeking ways to cut expenses and save money, it seems as though we just naturally gravitate to staying home, spending less, and preparing simple, filling, body- and soul-warming foods in the wintertime.  The bonus of simple eating is that it happens, more often than not, in the comfort and warmth of our own homes.  Eating at home saves money.  Cooking from scratch saves money.  Using a Crock-Pot slow cooker saves time and energy that you can invest in other worthwhile endeavors –like Pinterest DIY projects or organizing the household or just enjoying an afternoon playing board games with your family.  It’s a win-win, really.  Save money, save time, eat healthier, enjoy family (and maybe just a little Pinterest).  What’s not to love?  :)

If you’re getting earnest about saving money on groceries, a Crock-Pot® Programmable Slow Cooker with iStir™ Stirring System could be a big help in getting some of those simple, but delicious, meals to the table for less.  Using your slow cooker to prepare meals at home can save money in your grocery budget.  Less expensive ingredients or cuts of meat, slow cooked with herbs and seasonings, can become flavorful, filling and cost-effective meals.  I recently had a chance to test this latest addition to the Crock-Pot slow cooker line-up and I think it is probably one of the most versatile and efficient slow cookers I’ve ever used.  And I don’t say that lightly.  As the owner of EIGHT slow cookers (I know, I’m getting help.:) ), I definitely have something to compare to.  I like this one — a lot!  Let me tell you why.

Crock-Pot iStir Slow Cooker #ad

The slow cooker comes with two different stirring paddles – one for thick, heavy dishes and one for stirring thinner recipes, like soup.

  • It’s not the largest available, (that would be 7 quarts), but it is a hefty 6-quart capacity cooker.  Whether you have a small family or a large one, whether you’re making a family meal or making queso dip for a crowd, it will be up to the job.
  • It includes the iStir technology, which I didn’t consider that important of a feature, at first.  However, after using it, I realize how often during the cooking process I was opening my slow cookers to stir the contents and allowing all the steam and heat built up inside to escape.  The built-in stirring capability means much more consistent, efficient and even cooking.  Plus, if I walk away for several hours, the dish is still being stirred occasionally and won’t end up being burnt to the bottom of my crock.
  • The stirring mechanism is controlled by a motor on the top of the lid, which is removable and interchangeable with a classic lid handle, for cooking without the stirring feature — when making a roast or pork loin, for example.
  • The lid clamps down to make a tighter seal and to make it easier to transport without spills if you’re taking it to a potluck.
  • The iStir has digital controls that allow you to set the cook time for your dish for anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours.  The temperature for the slow cooker can be set for High or Low, as is typical of these appliances. And when the programmed cooking time has been completed, it automatically switches to Warm.Crock-Pot iStir Slow Cooker digital controls #ad
  • The oval-shaped stoneware crock works well for large cuts of meat or for soups, dips and casseroles.
  • Both the crock and lid are dishwasher safe.
  • The polished stainless steel and black exterior will fit with any kitchen décor, plus it’s attractive sitting out on the counter.

This tasty soup is a great example of a dish that is prepared and stirred without ever having to remove the lid of the slow cooker during the cooking time.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine!

 

Creamy, Delicious Potato Soup

Creamy, Delicious Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • optional garnish: grated cheddar, diced bacon pieces, chopped green onion

Instructions

  1. Peel and dice the potatoes.
  2. Mince the onion and garlic.
  3. Add the potatoes, onion garlic and chicken stock into the slow cooker.
  4. Stir together and put the lid on the slow cooker.
  5. Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or on low for 5 to 5 1/2 hours. Whichever temperature you choose, you want the potatoes to cook until they are fork-tender, not mushy. Since every slow cooker heats a little differently be sure to check the doneness of your potatoes as the soup cooks. Then you can determine the optimum amount of time for your own slow cooker.
  6. Once the potatoes have cooked through, remove the lid from the Crock-Pot slow cooker and add the cream cheese, cream and butter to the crock.
  7. I used my immersion blender to puree about 1/2 of the potatoes and mix the other ingredients into the soup. We prefer our potato soup to have some chunks of potato in it, but you could puree the entire thing, if you like it completely smooth. Also, it would work just as well to put the mixture into a blender pitcher to puree it, if you don't have an immersion blender.
  8. Serve with your favorite garnishes. We love it with grated cheddar and green onions and when I have some on hand, I fry two or three strips of bacon to dice up for garnish. Delish!
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