Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Executive Decision

Ok, so I've been thinking. And thinking a lot. And I've come to a hard truth. I am failing miserably at this mission. I bake maybe once a week. While I love to bake, there is no way this is going to get updated every day.

So I made an executive decision. We're shutting our doors here at A Year of Baking. Well, technically, A Year of Baking is merging with my new, more generalized for the home, blog, Mrs. Undomestic. I'll still post recipes, but they will be there instead of here. And I'm going to leave the blog up for awhile, as I slowly move the recipes over to the new blog. So you can still get them as you need them.

Sorry folks, but we're shutting our doors. Head over to Mrs. Undomestic instead and see recipes and more!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday's Tips and Tricks-Honey

Another new addition, we'll cover some awesome kitchen tips and tricks on Thursday, that can make your life slightly less stressful.

Today's tip actually comes from a recipe I made earlier in the week, Granola Bars.

One of the main ingredients in these bars was honey. 2/3 cup to be exact. While honey is healthy and sweet, making it a nice sugar substitute, it is also a pain to get pour out of measuring cups and spoons. Once you've dumped most of the honey, you end up standing there for another 5 minutes waiting for the drizzle to finish.

Which leads us to today's tip and trick. The simple way to save some time when using honey. Before you pour the honey into your measuring cup or spoon, spray the insides of the utensil with non-stick cooking spray. Just a quick spritz should do the job, as long as you get the entire thing (especially important when using a measuring cup). When you do this, it will simply cause the honey to plop right out, no dripping.

Additional Tip/Trick: Spraying the measuring cup/spoon also helps remove shortening and peanut butter quickly and easily.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday's Wacky Grocery Lists

After some consideration, I decided to add a few "theme days" to the blog and this is the first one. 95% of the time, I do my major grocery shopping on Thursday, since we drop Beautiful G off at school a little earlier than usual and pick her up a little earlier than usual, which makes Wednesday the day I make my grocery shopping lists.
So what makes it Wacky? Well, I buy according to what's on sale/the coupons I have. To some this may seem normal (it now does to me) for for others, this is completely wacky. If you would have told me a year ago that I would go to three different grocery stores and one drug store just to get my grocery shopping done, I would have laughed. A year ago, I shopped at one grocery store and one health food/produce store (which was located directly across the street). Despite the fact that another grocery store was literally down the plaza from my health food store, I would only shop there in the middle of the night if I needed something in an emergency, since they were the only grocery store opened past 10 pm (this was also true of our Walmart and Target. If it was past midnight, I had to drive a good 15 to 20 minutes to find an open store).

Tonight, I went to one store and tomorrow I'm going to 2 more, plus CVS. And I'll probably pay the same amount of money as I would have a year ago and bring home more food. And I'll still save more than the gas I spent to get to my various stores.

Ok, so my lists! Here's how this is going to work. I'll list the stores and what I'm buying. If something is an exceptional deal you can't pass up, I'll post the price information and coupon (if an online coupon is available, otherwise I'll tell you it came from the paper). Otherwise, I probably won't bother with prices. After all that, I'll tell you our dinner plans for the week, so you can see how my shopping played into my meals (or, if a meal is from my stockpile, I'll mention that). The stuff I plan to use in recipes, I'll write in RED, so watch for them!

Normally I do all the shopping on Thursday, but Beautiful G had basketball practice tonight and it was literally around the corner from the store and they had stuff I needed before tomorrow, if we wanted to eat lunch that is! So tonight, we went to Stater Brothers and bought:

13 Stater Bros yogurts (PRICE: FREE! There is a coupon for $0.55 off any Real California Dairy Product and yogurt was $0.50 each. Stater Bros doesn't give overage, so they rang up as $0.50 off instead. The really nice part about this is that the coupon is a PDF that you can print many, many times validly and is good until 2012. I saved a copy of the PDF and will keep buying yogurt that way! Also, this works on any dairy product with the "Real California Milk" label, so even if you don't have a Stater Bros nearby, check your local store and see if any of the dairy products are labeled that way!)

15 Jose Ole Chimichangas/Burritos
2 boxes of Cheez-It White Cheddar Crackers
1 jar Skippy Peanut Butter (no coupon)
5 Stater Bros flavored waters (no coupon)
1 small can Stater Bros mushrooms (no coupon)
1 small jar Stater Bros relish (no coupon)
1 small can Stater Bros olives (no coupon)
1 42 oz bottle Stater Bros Ketchup (no coupon)
1 Twix Peanut Butter (no coupon)
1 box Slim Fast mint-chocolate bars (no coupon)
1 Haas Avocado

Tomorrow, I plan to hit up the following stores:


2 California Pizza Kitchen pizzas
6 Fuji Apples (approx. 3-4 lbs) (no coupon)
2 Haas Avocados (no coupon)
3 Roma Tomatoes (no coupon)
3 Dole Salad mixes (no coupon)
2 lbs Baby Carrots (no coupon)
2 lbs Brown Onions (no coupon)
1 2-liter Diet Coke
1 2-liter Sprite
3 10 count Mission Flour Tortillas (no coupon)
3 cans Rosarita Refried Beans (no coupon)


3 lbs Navel Oranges (no coupon)
3 6-oz containers of Blueberries (no coupon)
5 lbs ground beef (no coupon)
2 64-oz Minute Maid Orange Juice
1 Zone Bar
13 Anthony's Pasta (Price: FREE! They are running for $1 this week and there is a coupon for $1 off one that is also allowing more than 2 copies to be printed. It's here. You do have to sign up, but you have the option not to receive email from them and once you sign up, the coupons are available to print right away.)

So what are we eating this week?

Thursday:  Fried Diablo (from the stockpile, except the mushrooms and olives. Sorry, no sharing the recipe, from a friend and I promised)
Friday: Mac & Cheese (except the macaroni noodles, from the stockpile)
Saturday: Taco Pizza (not on the grocery list. Dave knows the ingredients and requested it. He hasn't shared with me what to buy for it yet!)
Sunday: No cooking day (we usually eat out)
Monday: Salsa Chicken (From the stockpile, except for the tortillas)
Tuesday: Pizza
Wednesday: Burgers (except the fresh toppings like tomatoes, from the stockpile)

Not much in the way of baking stuff up there. Means I'll have to get creative with what I have!

What's on the menu at your house this week?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Granola Bars

I bought oats a couple weeks ago and have been wanting to make something with them. I kept telling myself I'd make Oatmeal cookies. Finally, today, I sat down to make them. Then at the last minute I changed my mind and made granola bars! The nice part of this recipe is that you can throw in your own extras so you can make them all your own.


4 cups rolled oats (traditional, not quick or instant)
2/3 cup white flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour (if you don't have it, substitute white flour, making it 1 cup total)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
2/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
Up to 2 cups of mix ins (I used 1/2 cup peanut butter chips, 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped walnuts)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine everything but your mix ins in a large bowl. Yup, throw it all together and mix well with your electric mixer
3. Add your mix ins and mix them in by hand, using a spatula.
4. Spread the mixture across a baking sheet with edges. I also used my new bar cookie pan which worked exceedingly well for this!
5. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until slightly brown.
6. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut into bars.

This should make 24 bars, and because I'm on a health kick, you get the calorie information too!

Based on the way I made it for 24 bars:

Calories: 194
Total Fat: 10.7
Cholesterol: 10.4
Sodium: 54.9
Carbohydrates: 31.9
Dietary Fiber: 3.4
Protein: 3.1

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Their Mother's Apple Pie

Ok, it may not be your mother's apple pie, but it is good. Apples were on sale this week at a couple places and I picked up 6 of them. Then I got my first chance to use my brand new apple corer/slicer! WHOO HOO! And yes, that's my brand new apple corer/slicer in the picture above! So I made apple pie.

I love apple pie. I love making apple pie. And I love the whipped topping you put on top of apple pie. What I don't like is making pie crust. That's because I suck at making pie crust. I can't make one at all. Which is why I bought my crust. Yup, I cheated. I'll freely admit it. If anyone has an easy pie crust recipe, please share it with me (and if you don't mind, I'll share it with everyone else! You'll get full credit in the form of a guest post!)

Ok, so the recipe:

1 recipe (or pre-bought) double pie crust (this means both top and bottom)
5 Apples, cored and sliced (and peeled if you want, I don't like to peel them, though)
1 cup sugar
1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice (optional, I don't but many people do)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 Tablespoons flour

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix it all around. I mean throw it all around and use your hands! It's very therapeutic. I love, love, love mixing it all. Sorry, I was distracted by a phone call as I was finishing up the mixing and forgot to take a picture. Oops!

3. Press the bottom of the pie crust into the bottom of the pie pan and add the apples. If you have any of the dry ingredients sitting on the bottom of the bowl, throw them on top and mix a little more.

4. Add the top layer of the pie crust over the apples. Mush together the top and bottom edges of the crust (yes, mush is my technical term. Go with it!)

5. Cut 4 "X"s into the outer sides of the top pie crust. This will help vent the pie while it cooks. If you want, you can cover the outer edges of the pie with aluminum foil while you bake it. This will prevent the outer edges from over-crisping/burning. I didn't this time, because it turns out I'm out of aluminum foil. Oops again!

6. Bake for an hour. I baked mine for 45 minutes and while it was good, it was still slightly gooey when I cut into it later, so if you like yours a little drippy, then go with 45 to 50 minutes. Otherwise, go with 55 minutes to 1 hour. Also, I have no idea why, but none of my stuff comes out looking great. It always tastes good, but I have no clue why it comes out looking weird...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No Baking

Yeah, no baking, at least not today. I baked Macaroni and Cheese last night for dinner, but unless you count the premade pizza I bought from Costco, no baking today. I was way too busy with a friend's baby shower. I swear, it was totally worth it. See my post about it over on Mrs. Undomestic.

Hopefully I'll have a new recipe for you tomorrow!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I couldn't believe that I hadn't put this recipe up here before, since I make this at least once a month. Dave is half-Mexican and I love chicken enchiladas. This is fairly simple and makes a wonderful dinner. We usually have enough for Dave to take leftovers to work the next day.

For those worried about the spice, don't be. Dave may be half-Mexican, but I'm a blonde-haired, blued-eyed girl from Ohio. I don't like spicy food, with very few exceptions. I don't make mine spicy. If you want to make yours spicy, you simply add more spices!


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 15-oz can of cream of chicken soup (you can substitute cream of mushroom if that's what you have)
1 8-oz can of green chilis
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
8 to 12 oz sour cream
8 to 12 flour tortillas
2 to 4 cups cheddar cheese

1. Turn the oven to 375. Because the first rule of baking: preheat the oven!

2. In a skillet, thoroughly cook the chicken. I had it easy tonight, I went to buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts (because it was on sale) and found that the store only had frozen pre-cooked cubed grilled chicken (at the same price). This saved me the step of chopping and of defrosting the chicken. You can use either if you prefer, but usually its cheaper to buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them up.

3. At the same time, combine the cream of chicken soup and green chilis in a pot and heat it through, stirring occasionally. Sorry the picture is bad, but I promise, it's just those two ingredients. They don't look so hot in real life either.

4. Once the chicken is cooked, add the chili powder, cumin, red pepper, and oregano along with about 2/3 to 1 cup of water. Mix it together and let it cook until the water has cooked off.

5. Once the cream of chicken soup and green chilis have heated through, add the sour cream. I usually put between 1/2 to 3/4 of a 16 oz container of sour cream. Mix well and heat it up, stirring ocassionally.

6. Once the chicken is completely cooked, put a small amount onto a flour tortilla. A note about tortillas. If you refrigerate your tortillas (and you should if you want to keep them fresh), then microwave them for a few seconds (30 seconds each side when you do 12) to soften them back up. Add some of the cheese to each tortilla as well and roll it up into the burrito (or enchilada, eh?)

7. Roll them up and place them in a 13"x9" pan. Mine usually make 12 to 14, but tonight it only made 10. It usually also takes 2 13"x9" pans.

8. Once cream is cooked completely, it will look thick and be bubbling.

9. Pour the cream all over the enchiladas and add a whole lot more cheese to the top.

10. Bake the whole thing for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted. It may not look great, but it sure does taste good. We all eat seconds, except Sunshine. This is another meal she simply doesn't eat. No explaining her.