Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tip from Mom Tuesday #35: Preheating Teapots



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Beer Bread


Skill Level: Beginner
Skills Attained: Quick Bread
Supplies:
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 bottle/can of beer (12 ounces)
  • 1/2 butter (1 stick) (melted)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • 10" bread pan
  • Cooking spray

Beer Bread may be my third most frequently requested baked good that I make next to Monkey Bread and Apple Pie. I love this recipe because it's so simple, yet incredibly delicious. There is no kneading or rising required. A shout out to my dear, long-time friend, Abbie, for this recipe:)

A few things to note about the ingredients:
  • Self-Rising Flour: This flour includes baking powder (the leavening agent) and salt, so this simplifies the number of ingredients needed for this bread recipe. 
  • Beer: Use a beer that you enjoy. I recently had a few extra IPAs in the fridge, and I don't particularly care for IPAs. I wanted to use them though. The bread was still good, but you could definitely taste a hint of the IPA. So, stick to a beer that you enjoy drinking, because the flavor will stand out. 


Step 1: Mix Dry Ingredients and Beer. 


In a large mixing bowl, stir 3 cups of self-rising flour and 3 tablespoons of white sugar. Then, pour the beer into the bowl and mix. Dump the mixture into a greased 10" bread pan. 



Step 2: Add butter.




Melt the 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter and pour over the "dough" mixture in the bread pan. 






Step 3: Bake. 




Bake the bread in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. 






Step 4: Slice and enjoy!



Remove the bread from the bread pan. Allow the loaf to cool for a few minutes, but best served warm. I enjoy this bread with jam or as a side dish served with soup. I've always been tempted to make this into french toast, but perhaps that would be a bit indulgent:) 




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Beer Bread Recipe: 

  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 bottle/can of beer (12 ounces)
  • 1 stick butter (melted)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir the 3 cups of self-rising flour and 3 tablespoons of white sugar. Then, pour the beer into the bowl and mix. Dump the mixture into a greased 10" bread pan. 
  2. Melt the 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter and pour over the "dough" mixture in the bread pan. 
  3. Bake the bread in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. 
  4. Remove from the pan and slice. Best served slightly warm. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Canning Applesauce


Skill Level: Intermediate
Skills Attained: Water Bath Canning
Supplies:
  • Supplies listed from Water Bath Canning post (6 pint-size jars)
  • Apples (peeled, cored, and quartered) (10 pounds)
  • Lemon Juice (3 Tablespoons)
  • White Sugar (optional) (up to 3 cups)
  • Large Pot
  • Potato Masher
  • Paring Knife

I'm staying true to my word from last week's post and providing you with step-by-step instructions on how to can applesauce! As I mentioned last week, I'm not an expert canner, so I don't have a lot of experience to draw from. However, applesauce may be one of the easiest goods to make and can since there are so few ingredients. So, I hope you take a chance on this very fall recipe.

Step 1: Prepare the jars for canning. 




Before tackling this endeavor, read through the Water Bath Canning instructions. 






Step 2: Prepare apples. 


Peel, core, and quarter the apples. You may be wondering what type of apples to use. You can use any type of apple that you'd like for this recipe. I prefer a mixture of apple types, and I scored a really inexpensive bag of apples at the farmer's market since they were mostly bruised. They work equally as well for applesauce. 

Step 3: Cook apples. 


Add the apples to a large pot and add a little bit of water (just enough to prevent the apples from sticking). Cover the pot and bring to a boil. After the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and let the apples cook for approximately 45 to 60 minutes. The cooking time may differ depending on the types of apples used. You will know the apples are done when you can easily mash them with a potato masher. 






Once the apples are soften, use the masher to break down the apples into applesauce. Add 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice as well as sugar, if desired. Personally, I don't add any sugar to my applesauce. However, I saw recipes that added up to 3 cups of sugar. It's completely your preference. 



Step 4: Process applesauce. 


Keeping the mixture over low heat, transfer the applesauce to the jars per the Water Bath Canning instructions making sure to remove the air bubbles in the jars and wipe down the rims. This recipe yields 6 pint-size jars. 



Place the lids and metal bands on the jars and process them in the water bath canning pot for 20 minutes. 


Allow the jars to cool on the counter for 24 hours, and then store them in a cool, dry cupboard. Enjoy up to six months later! Once you open the jar, store it in the refrigerator. 

******

What have you canned before? Let me know about your experience if you try out this recipe!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Water Bath Canning

Skill Level: Intermediate
Skills Attained: Water Bath Canning
Supplies:
  • Large Pot
  • Canning Rack
  • Ladle (or Spoon)
  • Flat Plastic Tool (or Butter Knife)
  • Canning Jars
  • Canning Lids 
  • Metal Bands
  • Canning Funnel
  • Magnetic Lid Lifter
  • Jar Tongs

I've held off for a while in posting instructions on how to can, because I am a little overwhelmed with the process myself. I find one of the best ways I learn is to teach others, so here we go...

Canning is a preserving process that allows you to enjoy fresh produce (and even meat) for months to come. There are two main ways I know of canning: pressure canning and water bath canning. For pressure canning, you need a pressure cooker. Since I don't have one any more, I will show you how to water bath can. For me, this process is a little easier anyway.

I've used the water bath canning method to can strawberry jam, salsa, bruschetta, and I hope to can some apple sauce next week (stay tuned for that upcoming post!). 

Step 1: Prepare the jars and equipment. 


Canning supplies being washed.
If you don't know someone to borrow the canning equipment from, you can purchase a starter kit for a reasonable price from Ball or on Amazon.

Properly washing and preparing the lids and equipment is an essential step in the canning process. Many people are leery of homemade canned goods because of the risk of harmful bacteria. One important way of avoiding the growth of nasty bacteria is to clean the supplies at high heat. You can wash the cans and other supplies in simmering water (not boiling water or else the glass jars may rattle against one another and break), or you can wash them in the dish washer on the top rack. If you are washing in the dishwasher, be ready to use the jars and other items immediately at the end of the cycle. [The dishwasher should still be steaming when you open the door.]

Place all the cleaned equipment on top of a towel to dry. 

Step 2: Prepare the contents. 


Tomatoes ready to be canned.
As I mentioned, I've water bath canned a few things, and I get most of my recipes from Ball. It's important that you use a recipe specific to canning. Canning recipes require a certain pH level. If you can a non-canning recipe, harmful bacteria may ruin the contents of the jar and inadvertently cause illness. So, be wise; use a recipe specific for canning.  



Step 3: Prepare the lids. 


Soak Lids in Hot Water

You will notice a rubber ring around the inside of a canning lid. This ring softens and acts as a seal when heated. To begin the softening process, place the lids in a bowl and poor hot water over the lids. Allow the lids to soak for a few minutes before placing them on the jars. Use the magnetic lid lifter to remove them from the hot water. 



Step 4: Fill the jars.



Fill Jars
Remove Air Bubbles

Using the canning funnel, ladle or spoon the contents into the cleaned jars leaving 1/2" of space at the top of the jar. (If the jar is filled up too much, the jar may overflow when processing. If the jar is not filled up enough, the jar may have too much air, thus creating too much pressure and cause the jar to crack when processing....believe me, I've done it.)

Using a flat plastic tool (or butter knife), remove the air bubbles from the jar by swiping the knife around the inside of the jar.

Wipe the jar rims with a clean paper towel or cloth to remove any residue. You want a clean surface so the lid seals to the jar properly.

Wipe Rims Clean


Step 5: Place lids on jar.


Screw on Metal Bands




Center the hot lid on the jar so that the seal matches the rim of the jar. Screw the metal band until the band is "fingertip tight", meaning not too loose and not too tight. 






Step 6: Process the jars. 


Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. The pot should have enough water in it so that the jars are completely submerged under water (with about 1" of room above the lids). Bring the water to a boil before placing the jars into the pot.

Carefully place the jars into a pot of boiling water using a canning rack. Leave the jars in the boiling water for the specified amount of time per the recipe.


Step 7: Allow jars to cool. 



Carefully remove the jars from the pot of boiling water using the jar tongs and gently place them on the dry towel. Do NOT push down the tops of the lids to check and see if it's sealed.  You will most likely hear the lids "pop" within 10-15 minutes of processing the cans; this signals the lids have sealed. However, wait up to 24 hours before touching the lids and moving the jars. Store the canned goods in your cupboards to enjoy for months to come!

*****

Use this canning method to can fresh produce that you want to enjoy year round. For recipes, visit Ball