Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sunday = Bakeday

This past Sunday was cold and overcast, which is a perfect day to spend baking in the kitchen! Outside of a short run, I spent most of the day in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of my creations. I'll have to remember for next time!

I started by making my grandma's Special K Bars. I've heard a lot of other people refer to these a Scotch-A-Roos or Special Cereal Bars. However, in our family we prefer to use Special K as the base cereal for these bar cookies because it turns out better than using any other kind. The recipe is online here. I do make a few changes to make these come out just perfect! I use butterscotch chips instead of peanut butter ones. I also use 1-1/4 cup of chocolate chips and 1-1/4 cup butterscotch chips to coat the top so there is enough (or a little extra) for coverage. Finally, I increase the amount of cereal used to 8 cups so the bars are firmer! It it best to let these stand and set-up for an hour or so before cutting into them.

Then, I moved on to making homemade bread with yeast and actual kneading. We have a bread maker, but I have been wanting to use my new Kitchenaid stand mixer to make some real dough. I found a great recipe for Earl's Home Made Bread online. The bread turned out great, although it took a lot of time to make. I kept letting it rise and kneading over and over. I was also a little nervous letting my mixer run for several minutes at a time, but it seemed to work just fine - no mixer engine overheating. The loaves tasted best the day of and got a little less soft each day. Oh well, it was a good experiment and a bread I will definitely make again! I'll probably half the recipe in the future because we can't really eat two loaves in one week.

After running with my friend Mandy, I helped her make an apply crisp to take to a dinner party. She was in a crunch for time and I had spare time to help cut up apples. I always get nervous recommending recipes I have never tried but she needed one with no corn-based ingredients, eggs, or milk. I found this apple crisp that seemed to fit the bill and she decided to make it! Although I did not get to taste this, she did get rave reviews for the dessert! This is now next on my list to make!

I finished up the day making a vegetarian pasta bake. I sauteed fresh veggies - mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, zucchini - and some minced garlic in olive oil. Then, I added spaghetti sauce (just the jar kind from the store) and stirred in some basil, oregano, and parmesan to give it some flavor. I let that cook up for a few minutes before I mixed in cooked pasta. I put it in a 9x11 pan, topped with shredded cheese, and baked for about 25 mins at 350 degrees. It turned out awesome! I make a lot of different pasta bakes (usually with whatever we have around) and this one takes the prize! Not only was it great tasting, it was meatless! I think my new trick will be to add some parmesan to the the sauce before baking. It really gave it some flavor.

It was definitely a relaxing Sunday in the kitchen. I love being in the kitchen when I have time. I just wish I had more time to be there more often!


Nikki said...

Sounds like a great day, and lots of yummy goodies! I'll def have to try that pasta bake!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for making us the special cereal dessert (or whichever you decide to call it). I really appreciate the help with the Apple Crisp too! And it was SO good. I wish we had any left!