Thursday, August 22, 2013

Quick Breakfast Bread - courtesy of Aunt Sandy

So scrolling through Facebook yesterday I came upon a picture of beautiful bread.

Picture Courtesy of my Aunt Sandy
Isn't that bread gorgeous!? Studded full of dried fruit and looking absolutely delicious. I had to know.

So going through the post I discovered that my Aunt Sandy had made this bread, she calls it "Quick Breakfast Bread." In the words of my Aunt "Just made Quick Breakfast Bread - my own creation. This recipe is super easy to make and pretty healthy - no oil, low sugar, and full of healthy fruits and nuts! Took some last night to a gathering and it disappeared! Had to make another loaf this morning for our house."

After that description on top of the picture I had to make it. Of course I'm cheap so I didn't buy any nuts to put in it but I can tell you it would just make it taste even better I'm sure.

So I scanned the ingredients. Flour, check. Brown sugar, check. Baking powder, check. Salt, check. Ground cloves and cinnamon, check. Milk, check. Only thing I didn't have was the dried fruit and nuts.

So after working out and sending the handsome man off to work I headed to Walmart for the missing ingredient and to maybe hunt down a fruit and nut mix.

Upon entering Walmart in any town of any state you are bound to have an adventure. Honesty there really isn't a way not to in some way. You are at least entertained. It's comical to me.

Anyway, my adventure began soon after entering the doors. I had walked in wearing my sweaty workout clothes (they do fit and cover all parts necessary). As I walked in there was this little girl (about 7) who had stopped dead in her tracks as she had been leaving with her mother and her eyes popped out of her head and she started to bounce. She had spotted a friend at the Subway in the entry and was obviously excited. Her mother stated "Well don't have a heart attack" and I proceeded to head for the back of the food section. Then about 20 feet in I hear this LOUD belch come from between the two doors you walk through. I turned around momentarily and just kind of snickered to myself. After walking past the produce this young man looked and me and said "do you run track?"

I had to quickly think, well technically no but I ran track in 7th grade and then in June as well. Mind you this was internal talk to myself. I smiled and said yes, because I do run everyday. The man had this triumphant look on his face as he said "I knew it, I have a knack for these things." I just smiled and kept walking. It was 9 pm and I really wasn't in the mood to chat with someone as I was on a mission.

I found the dried fruits but couldn't find a delicious combo of fruits and nuts that would work in my bread that wouldn't cost me more than $3. (I'm a cheapskate - ask Mike).

So headed home and break out all the ingredients and begin to follow the directions:

It already looked magnificent. Though I changed a few things. I didn't add nuts and I used 1/2 flour and 1/2 oats. Up the fiber a bit since I was using unbleached white all purpose flour.

Then add milk.

It smelled heavenly with the cloves and cinnamon, almost Thanksgiving like.

Now the fun part, deciding on a pan. For whatever reason I have not replaced the loaf pan I used to have and tossed due to wear and tear. So I found this pan hiding under all the casserole dishes.

Make due with what you have. So I do.

The recipe said to bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees F. Well, my electric oven runs a bit hot. Also, on another note, I can't stand electric ovens/stoves. I miss my old gas oven. So I only baked for 20 minutes to start. It wasn't done so I added another 10. It came out perfect at 30 min in a larger pan and my oven.

Anyway, I digress. This came out beautifully. Flat - but beautiful. I think I may have actually forgotten to add the baking powder. Oh well, still amazing.

So this is fresh and smelling wonderful. My kitchen now smells irresistible. I of course, cannot wait to dig in. 1. It's fresh, hot bread out of the oven. 2. Perfect timing to add butter or other toppings as desired. 3. This just looked AMAZING.

So I sliced up a sliver and taste tested.

I must say this is DELICIOUS! Perfection in a loaf. You could of course add any sort of dried fruits you want or any nut. My aunt recommends pecans or walnuts but get creative by all means. The fruits I used were a berry mix (cherries, blueberries and cranberries). I found this combination to be perfect. Though I can guarantee I will try apples, raisins, goji berries etc. Whatever strikes my fancy that time.

I will probably be making another loaf tonight just because I could literally eat this whole pan of bread by myself in one sitting. Hopefully Mike likes it too, he didn't get home until 8 this morning and am unsure if he had some for breakfast or not.

So thank you Aunt Sandy for the delicious recipe :) Keep them coming.

Quick Breakfast Bread
Courtesy of Aunt Sandy

Makes roughly 8 servings

2 cups flour (or 1 cup flour and 1 cup old fashioned oats)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried fruit of choice (I used cherries, cranberries, and blueberries - get creative with your choices)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I omitted because of cost - that's me)
1 cup milk (I used skim)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Grease a 9 1/2 inch loaf pan (or 8 inch square pan in my case) and set aside.

Mix all ingredients except milk.

Add milk and mix well.

Put batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. (I baked for 20 to start then had to add another 10 min to that to cook completely).

My aunt recommends toasting and serving with butter or cream cheese.

Also can mix up all the dry ingredients the night before and then just add milk in the morning and bake while you get ready in the morning. Warm breakfast bread fresh from the oven in no time. :)

Now go out and cook!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quack!! Marinated Duck Breast Wrapped in Bacon

So it's August and that means kids are back in school and the summer is closing as we approach Labor Day faster and faster.

This also means that hunting season is upon us, or at least approaching (to Mike at a snails pace).

So since duck season is coming Mike has been preparing his decoys, gear, and calls. I will be joining him at least a couple times this season to go hunting. Starting with dove as it's a bit warmer and my personal dislike of severely cold conditions is evident in my hands losing color and feeling, Mike thinks that dove will be a good start. We will see how I do on a duck hunt later to see if I can 1. handle the cold and 2. like it.

So recently we have not really been cooking a crazy amount. We just moved to a new apartment and together so we have cooked more at home but nothing we haven't already cooked or is really not something we think we need to blog about.

However, on Monday - Mike's day off - he decided that we would have duck. We have plenty of game protein in the freezer from last years hunting season. So he pulled some duck breast out and marinated it and wrapped it in bacon. Was absolutely delicious. He has cooked duck for me before and the new recipes and techniques he had tried prior to Monday were iffy if tasty at all to me. If the meat is gamey I tend to not care for it as much and it was either gamey or tough from being overcooked.

Wild duck is different than duck you may order at a restaurant or with your Chinese takeout. Wild duck, in this case mallard, cannot be cooked through. You treat it like a good cut of steak. That is precisely what Mike did and it was like having a redneck filet minon. It was fabulous!!! And for me to say that, that means it was good.

He paired it with mushroom risotto and some bacon wrapped asparagus. What a meal!! Best meal we have had in the new place. Hope to have many more.

See the recipe here at his blog "Fowl Mouthed Therapy."

Now go out and cook!