Homemade Cake Mix

Before I get started with todays post I have to do a couple shout-outs to friends and fam…

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Remind you of anything, Sister Lupiac? 😉

I had to covertly snap this and this was all I could get but this dude and 4 of his ‘bros’ were in Walmart with baskets full of nothing but beer and water.  Every single time I see something like this I have flashbacks to SAMS and a flat trolley thing full of beer. 😉

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My friends C, T and K went to Hawaii and sent me this care package.  Thank you so very much, my-extended-family-I-would-have-picked-if-you-got-to-pick-your-extended-fam. 😉

If you’ve read here for a while you’ve noticed that I cook exclusively with butter, Macadamia oil, peanut oil for frying and coconut oil if I know I’m the only one who will be eating it (we have a coconut allergy in the house).

Butter / peanut and coconut oil are easy to find.  Macadamia oil not so much.  I have to get it at Whole Foods when I’m in a larger town and it’s not what I consider cheap. That’s why you see a lot of mixing here.  Most often half butter and half mac oil.

If you’ve read here for a while you also know I’ll do some serious damage to / with Pele’s Fire. 😉

Thank y’all again so much for the care package. 🙂

Oh also I must add…the eye cream was something Aloha Oils threw in as a little gift.  While I may have the gray hair of a 75 year old woman…I do not have one eye wrinkle. 🙂

Ok now to todays post. 🙂

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This is one of my new toys from my shopping trip a couple weeks ago.

Before the house remodel I had a full size Kitchen Aid food processor and literally used it maybe once a year.  It just took up valuable counter space so we got rid of it after the remodel.

Well now that I have to make…like…everything…from scratch I occasionally need a food processor.  I didn’t want another huge one though and found this 4 cup KitchenAid at the Kitchen Store in the outlet mall.

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Up first…homemade ‘cake mix’…

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…to make a Key Lime Rum cake. 🙂

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I know…I know.  I’ve made several rum cakes here before and I can assure you there will be many more 😉 but this was hands down the best one yet.

My homemade cake mix is adapted from this recipe which she found here.  I’m in no way claiming this as ‘mine’ mine.  I just use the word my here as it relates to a recipe I made and am now sharing on my blog. 🙂

The original recipe says that the full recipe makes the equivalent of one box mix.  I didn’t find that to be true with my flour (and in the comments of both original posts quite a few other people noted this as well).  So my changes were…

  • Treated the full recipe as the equivalent of 2 boxes.
  • Cup4Cup in place of the flour.
  • I left out the liquid vanilla.
  • And I halved the butter because I think gluten – free flour benefits from some melted butter or liquid oil in the batter.  Plus I looked at a real cake mix and 1/2 stick of butter (per box) seemed to mimic the pre mixed fat content.  You end up with the same amount of fat in the end product.  The original recipe just added it all to the flour mixture and I halved it like a real cake mix.  Half in the dry ‘box’ mixture and half in the batter.
  • I also added pudding mix to mimic a ‘pudding in the mix’ box mix.  I would have done this anyway because the rum cake calls for a box of pudding.  But it worked so well I will add it to the cake mix recipe from now on.  I’ll change it up depending on the flavor of the cake.  Chocolate pudding for chocolate cake.  Lemon pudding for a citrus based cake.  Butterscotch for spice cake.  Etc.

This ‘cake mix’ looked like cake mix.  It acted like cake mix.  It tasted like cake mix.  Only better because it’s…well it’s gluten – free of course…but it’s also soy…preservative and unpronounceable junk free. 🙂

My new small mixer can only handle half the mix (or one ‘box’) at a time but that’s fine since the whole point is to mix up a few batches at a time and throw them in the icebox or freezer so they give you the convenience of regular cake mix.  I don’t mind having to do several half batches at a time then not having to mess with it again for a few months.

I put mine in the freezer and let me give y’all a heads up…the butter will freeze and you’ll have hard little lumps of it stuck together.  You’ll think…this chick is crazy there’s no way this is going to work.  Oh ye of little faith. 🙂  As you can see in the mixing bowl pic above…the lumps completely beat out during the mixing phase.

Even during my pre gluten – free days pretty much the only thing I ever used a box cake mix for was rum cake.  I’ve always made most of my cakes from scratch.  But every now and then I’ll come across a recipe that calls for a cake mix and I’m so happy to finally have a gluten – free replacement with flours I like and that to me truly mimics a real cake mix. 🙂

Try it with your favorite flour blends / fav oil or butter combos.  And for those who don’t do dairy…I think all the milk powder does is add moisture.  If you have to leave it out you can always try to create the moisture with the finished cake.  The rum soaking sauce in my cake added plenty of moisture.  With a buttercream type icing…you can ice your cake and leave it covered for 24 hours before slicing to seal in moisture.

I highly recommend the cake mix recipe…and the food processor.

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Today I used it to mix up a batch of tortilla dough.

It’s just so perfect for smaller spaces and for people like me who only use a processor every now and then (and who don’t mind working in smaller batches).

Hope y’all have a great weekend. 🙂

 

Homemade Cake Mix

2 cups Sugar

3 cups Flour  (I used Cup4Cup)

1/2 cup Dry Milk

1 tbsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 stick chunked up cold Butter

Optional…add a small box of pudding.

 

Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse the heck out of it until you have a very very fine sand like mixture.

 

Makes equivalent of two boxes cake mix.

I use a scale and my total mixture weighed 2 lbs 2 oz…or 17 oz per ‘box’.

 

To make cake

1/2 of the Cake mixture from above

(for me that was 17 oz…should be around 3 cups)

1 cup Water

(or liquid mixture…for the rum cake I did 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup rum)

1/2 cup melted and cooled Butter

(or oil or combination…for the rum cake I did 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup macadamia oil)

2 Eggs

(additional if recipe calls for it…for rum cake I used 4 eggs)

 

Place all ingredients in mixing bowl.  (Important note if you’re making the rum cake and didn’t add pudding to the cake mix base…add a box of vanilla pudding here .) 

Mix on medium – high for 2 minutes.

Poor into greased pan and bake at 350* for varying times depending on pan size.

The rum cake in the Bundt pan took about 40 minutes.  Smaller pans and cup cakes will take less time.

Know your oven and see the original recipe for some time guidelines.  🙂

 

Drizzling Sauce for the Rum Cake 

1 stick Butter 

1 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Water 

1/2 cup Rum

Heat butter, sugar and water on medium heat til the sugar melts and then thickens a little bit.  5 – 8 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in rum.  Slowly so it doesn’t rise up over the pan.

Let cool for a few minutes then slowly drizzle over cake.

Weekend Eats ~ Pic Dump

How was y’all’s long weekend?

I’m just going to do this pic dump style. 🙂

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Memorial Day here was a rain out.  We had over 5 inches of rain.

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My kitchen cactus, Albuquerque.  She’s not quite sure what to make of all the wet stuff. 😉

Some eats from the weekend…

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Potato salad.

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Homemade banana puddin’ with homemade vanilla waffers.  This was amazing.  Last summer I wrote about how sad it was making banana pudding for everyone else and none for me.  In some circles I’m kinda known for my banana pudding.  One of my uncles used to walk in the door for family get-togethers and ask ‘Where’s the banana pudding?’.

No banana pudding tears from me this year. 🙂

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Chopped bbq on a bun.  Potato salad and pintos.

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Fresh ground hamburger meat.

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Brisket, pintos, potato salad, corn and strawberry Crush.

If y’all wonder why all the Crush around here in the summertime…it’s just something we do as a throwback to summer as a kid.

Papa L’s side fam had a house on the water in a little town an a bay.  That’s where Alto – Janylvia gets her name.  I’ve written about Mema and her 3 sisters before.  Well 2 of them plus their Mom also had homes on the bay too…all right next to each other.  Mema always used to say we were just like the Kennedy’s.  Not quite in grandeur, Mema but they had nothin’ on us in the soul level attachment to the summer home on the water. 😉

From birth to 10-ish a large part of my summer was spent there.  Not only with Papa L’s side of the fam but also with Mama L’s side.  Mema and Pappy would let Meme use the house too and every summer Mama L would work her beauty shop for her and she would take me and sister L…and our cousins on that side of the family down there for summertime vacay with her too.

So very many of my childhood summer memories…with all three grandparents…are tied to that place.

I’m sure y’all are thinking “That’s lovely Jennifer but what the heck does that have to do with Crush?”

I’m gettin’ there. 🙂

The very first thing we’d do when we got to the bay was…hug the grandparents of course…but then reach into this huge red ice chest that sat right by the door.  It was full of iced down cans of orange / strawberry / grape Crush.  That’s the only time we ever drank those.  At the bay.  Never at home.  So they are quintessentially summer to me.  Around here now we pretty much only have them in the summertime too. 🙂  Although I have to tell y’all… the orange Sodastream flavor is really good.

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Pina Colada. 🙂

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Mama L’s homemade ice cream.  Plus my addition…Fruity Pebbs of course.

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And last but not least…this cake…which will have its own post here the next time we meet. 🙂

 

 

 

 

You’re So Brave

This post really has nothing to do with lupus or celiac or food but I feel like sharing.

I was going to wait and write about this later in the year when I’m on the ‘other side’ of it but it’s kinda relevant this month so here goes…

I’m in my early 40’s and my hair is 75 % gray.

I started going gray in my early twenties and started coloring when I was 22.   In those early years I rarely went a full 4 weeks without coloring.  As soon as the gray was visible…I hit the bottle. 😉

Much of my 30’s was spent in crazy lupus h3ll but even then I’d still color as often as possible.  Over the last 2 years I started reacting to the dye in various terrible ways but still kept up the dying…just a little less often.  About every 8 weeks instead of 4.

This past December I had the most awful reaction to my pre-Christmas coloring.  My breathing and coughing was so bad the first night I almost went to the ER.  I also had a bad skin rash type reaction that still hasn’t completely healed.  All of that from a little bottle of dye.

I decided right then that I couldn’t put myself through that anymore.  I’ve got enough health problems that I can’t do anything about I shouldn’t be making myself sick on top of it.  For nothing more than vanity.

I was scared at first but it’s really been one of the most empowering experiences.

Empowering except for the multi colored mess it became as it grew out.  I still have some of my natural dark brown mixed in with the gray.  So I had two natural colors going on…gray / brown…plus the remaining dyed ends which after five months (the last time I colored) were this awful washed out bronze-y brown ‘mess’.

For the first few months I just had my stylist take a 1/4 inch off each month but yesterday I went full on Jamie Lee Curtis

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and had her cut off all the remaining dye.

In December…after it’s been a full year of no dye plus I have a year of growth…I’m going to do a before / after post here with pics and tips and stuff.

I couldn’t stand looking at the ‘mess’ one more second so going in I’d already steeled my resolve and knew that no matter how short it had to be I was going to leave with nothing more than my natural growth.  I was scared but ya know what?  It’s actually not that bad.  It’ll be easy to handle in the hot South Texas summer heat and now I don’t have to look at the multi colored mess that it was before.  I’m going to grow it back long.

While I was getting it cut a little grandmotherly lady was getting her weekly ‘do’ and she leaned over and said “You’re so brave.”

Ummmm no sweet little lady.  Brave is running into a fire to save a child.  I’m just going gray. 🙂

But seriously what a sad comment on vanity…that a woman is seen as brave for nothing more than rocking her natural hair color?

Rock it I will though. 🙂

It’s been an adjustment but I can honestly say…I don’t miss the bottle one bit.  It made me feel like I was coughing up a lung and no matter how good a dye job everybody knows you dye your hair the second the smallest root shows up.  This has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I have no intentions of ever going back.

May happens to be Go Gray in May month for brain cancer awareness.  I know it’s also lupus and celiac awareness month and I haven’t really done a good a job here of focusing on awareness.  But ya know what…the blog just in its theme alone brings awareness to both all year long.  And to me a child suffering from brain cancer is so much more important than my 40 something year old self suffering from lupus or not being able to eat bread so I’m going to use my awareness post this month to draw attention to this cause. 🙂

44a48e0df500418dec80d6e733f164acChildren’s Brain Tumor Foundation

 

Happy summer kickoff weekend from me and my sometimes fake boyfriend Kid Rock. 😉

See y’all on Tuesday.  🙂

Just Call Me the Cookie Queen ;)

I’m saving up my cooking energy for the weekend so I haven’t been very creative in the kitchen this week.  I did want to share these with y’all.

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Cookie dough shaped and chilled for hours…ready to go.

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With this pic I wanted y’all to see how these made the perfect cookie crinkle.  The were crispy around the edges and on the bottom but chewy everywhere you see a crinkle.

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This cookie recipe from the New York Times has been floating around…well everywhere…for a while.  Inspired by Nicole’s post the other day I decided to try it too.

What makes these unique is that you use a mix of cake flour and bread flour.

Even gluten – free these are totally deserving of all the hoopla they’ve gotten in the blog world. 🙂  But they haven’t replaced my go-to from a couple weeks ago. 🙂

I used the original recipe and just subbed Cup4Cup for the cake flour and the bread flour blend for the bread flour.  Plus I browned the butter.  After these I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to make cookies again without brown butter. 🙂

I used Cup4Cup because it’s my favorite flour but also because it already has a high corn starch percentage.  If you don’t have access to C4C…in Nicole’s recipe I linked above she breaks down the components for gluten – free cake flour in the ingredients.  She also has the recipe for the gluten – free bread flour.  Her version of the recipe is also scaled down to make a smaller amount.

Anyway…if you’ve seen these around for a while and were wondering if they were worth it…oh they are. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Look What I Made, Y’all

Hot Dog Buns. 🙂

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So last week I refreshed my Spice House stash and just had to make a batch of chili with the HOT chili powder and Spanish paprika.

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Chili powder / cumin / paprika / beef broth base / salt / pepper / onion and garlic powder.

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New bun pan.

Apparently New England style hot dog buns are a ‘thing’.  I’d never heard of them but when looking for something else I saw this pan and had to check it out.

Then I did some research and found out these squared off buns are a New England treasure.  From the Boston Globe

Nothing says New England summer better than a split-top hot dog roll, buttered and toasted, its crusty exterior the perfect bed for hot dogs, of course, but better yet, creamy lobster salad or fried clams. Long associated with fish shacks, backyard barbecues, and Fenway Park, this iconic staple got its start during the post-World War II boom of automobile travel and the growth of America’s first franchised restaurant chain: Howard Johnson’s.

 

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I took the Hawaiian dough from last week and made one change…recipe at the end of post. 

I figured that the main thing in pineapple is citric acid so for this batch I left out the pineapple juice and instead added 1/4 tsp of ascorbic acid.

It was a HUGE success.

For this style of bun you put the dough in the pan and let it rise…

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…then you place a baking sheet on top and weigh it down with something heavy like a cast iron skillet.   You do this to keep the dough from rising higher than the edge of the pan and also so the rolls will be uniform.

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When you take the dough out of the pan…the bottom becomes the top.

The shape looks like little hills so the way I taught myself to cut them was to  ‘slice 3/4 the way down the hills and all the way down the valleys’.  Silly…I know.  But when researching these rolls people seemed to be having trouble figuring out how to cut them.

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Buttered and pan toasted.

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Try to ignore all the junk in the background.  I wanted to take a quick pic of the bottom so y’all could see how well they held up to all the fixin’s.  I was still able pick these up even after I added the chili.

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I wish y’all could reach thru the screen and feel how soft these are. 🙂

Couldn’t have been happier with them. I’m going to make some more this weekend to use with chopped bbq brisket.  And I definitely want to try it with a seafood…maybe crab or shrimp…salad this summer.

 

Did y’all have a good weekend?  I went on a kitchen shopping spree and got some new toys. 🙂 I’ll share them as I have a chance to use them in stuff for the blog.

 

 

Bun Roll Dough

3 cups (375g) Bread Flour

2 tsp Yeast

4 tbsp Sugar

1 tsp Salt

6 tbsp Dry Milk Powder (I use Peak)

1/4 tsp Ascorbic Acid

1 1/4 cups warm Water

4 tbsp melted Butter

1/2 cup Water Roux

Directions 

Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and milk powder.  Stir to combine.

Dissolve ascorbic in water.

Make a flour well and add water/ascorbic, butter and water roux.

Kneed on medium high speed for 5 minutes.

Icebox overnight.

Spread in pan.  Let rise til almost to the top of pan.

Cover pan with a baking sheet and place a heavy oven safe pan on top.

Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes.

Let cool completely before slicing.

Blog Your Heart Out

Kaila at GF Life 24 / 7 tagged me for this Heart of My Blog exercise.  Kaila is a recent college grad…who prior to her celiac diagnosis didn’t have a cooking background. I’m really enjoying watching her throw herself into cooking / baking.  You can see her kitchen confidence grow with each post.  Instead of wallowing or just settling for pre packaged convenience foods she’s turning herself into a home chef. 🙂

 

Who / what encouraged you to start blogging? 

I’d been reading blogs for a long time but had never really been motivated to start my own.  Then I got this celiac diagnosis and knew I was going to have to completely change my cooking ingredients and techniques.   I thought a blog would be a good way to share my own experiences with all the changes and to also interact with other gluten – free cooks.

My Mom encouraged me to blog.  She said I was a good writer and cook and that it was a natural fit.

 

How did you choose what to blog about?   

I didn’t really have to choose.  Once I had the celiac topic forced on me it was a no brainer.  It’s actually turned out to be a huge blessing.  Blogging forced me stop wallowing and get in the kitchen to create content for my posts.  I decided to mishmash lupus and celiac into ‘lupiac’ because I’m dealing with both every single day.  The blog turned out to be much more celiac focused because the lupus stuff is just too depressing to write about.  But I have and will continue to write about lupus when I have something interesting to say.

 

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I did a Five Things about you post here before so I’m just going to link to that.

 

Three words that describe your style / blog?  

Humorous.  I didn’t start the blog with the intent of it being funny but family and readers keep telling me my stories and side comments are funny.

Inspiring.  I hope the recipes and techniques I share here inspire you to take them and use them to make your own version of whatever I’m blogging about.  In no way do I think my way is the best or the only way.  It’s simply the best way for ME.  I hope it inspires you to take the information and do the same for YOU. 🙂

Casual.   This isn’t a professional blog.  I free flow posts all the time.   I write the way I speak which isn’t always with perfect grammar…and I hate commas. 😉   I want this place to feel like you’re in my kitchen not my classroom. But I do wish I could give y’all better pics here.  Part of it is because I don’t have a nice blogging camera…yet…but a bigger part of it is that I have hand stability problems due to all the lupus joint problems and inflammation.  It’s very hard for me to hold the camera steady.  When you’re trying to get something in the oven  or on the table you don’t usually have the time to take a 100 pics trying to get the best one.  I do what I can and hope it gives y’all a good idea what I’m trying to share. 🙂

 

I’m not going to say I’m tagging these bloggers in case they don’t want to be tagged but these are five wordpress blogs I enjoy.  If they want to play along that would great but if not that’s cool too. 🙂 I decided to go with a mix of blogs since those of us on the gluten – free side of the blog world tend to already read all the same gluten – free blogs.

gfandme has been reading my blog since pretty much the beginning.  She’s a huge support and I look forward to reading her comments.  She blogs her gluten – free recipes and unlike yours truly…she takes beautiful pics.  Her rustic bread recipe saved me in my early gluten – free days and I will be forever thankful. 🙂

Gallivance is a blog by Terri and James.  High school sweethearts and world travelers.  They share their travel thru pics and stories.

ELW Essence (Milly) is another blog I’m drawn to for the travel aspect.  She writes about her travels and fashion and beauty and even being gluten – free.

Charlotte Hoather is an opera singer from England.  She’s super sweet and I love it when she stops by here.  If you read my five things post above then you know I adore all things from across the pond.  She blogs about her performances and posts sound from them as well.  Reading her blog gives you a glimpse into the opera world…which was something I wasn’t familiar with at all prior to checking out her blog.

Made by you and I is a food blog.  (Not gluten – free just cooking food in general.)  He makes all sorts of food and takes amazing pics too.  He shares the same philosophy as I do about cooking being something that is personal and without a singular ‘right’ way.  He hasn’t updated the blog in a few weeks but scroll thru the blog and he has a lot of recipes. Plenty of them in the healthy category.

Thanks, Kaila for tagging me.  It was nice to think back to my early days of blogging and to see how far I’ve come (I’m coming up on a year). 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Eats and Hawaiian Style Rolls

A quick blog note before I get started on the post.  If you tried to email me last week (starting on May 5th)…or to contact me thru the blog contact page…I didn’t get it.  Last month we switched internet providers and I had until this past Monday before I lost my old email address that was linked to the blog.  With the remodel and everything I forgot to update it in wordpress and didn’t realize that until this weekend.  It’s updated to the new address now and I’m so sorry if you reached out and got a bounced email.

This weekend I made…

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Chicken fried steak.

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Prune kolaches or KOH-lahch as my Mema sometimes called them. 🙂

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Red velvet birthday cake.

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And these rolls.

I made the rolls for Papa L’s birthday / Mama L’s Mother’s Day meal.  Served them with a chicken fried steak meal.

They’re adapted from this recipe from the bread book.

There’s nothing wrong with the original recipe at all but I cook because I love the creating and experimenting process and I want food to taste like I want it to taste.  Everyone who cooks wants that.  Otherwise we’d just go buy some cookie cutter prepackaged version and be done with it.

I can’t use 140g / cup of flour in my baking.  It makes everything turn out far too dry for my taste.  Hawaiian rolls as I know them don’t have a vanilla flavor.  I also have learned that I really really do not like the taste of eggs in gluten – free bread so I use a water roux to replace them in pretty much all of my bread now.

So anyway…in no way was I trying to create a ‘better’ roll…these were just some little tweaks to make them fit my taste buds. 🙂

Last week I shared my new go-to cookie.  These might be my new go-to rolls. 🙂

After the icebox rise you truly can’t taste the pineapple in them at all…no one in my house could anyway…so they work with any meal.

I used the bread flour blend but if you wanted to try these with a traditional gluten free flour blend I would use the same measurements plus 2 additional tbsp water and add an egg.  With traditional gluten – free flour you probably wouldn’t be able to handle the dough the same way you can with the bread flour blend so you’d need to just spoon the dough into the pan.  I haven’t tried making them this way but if I wanted to try making them with a traditional flour blend…a little extra water and an egg is where I’d start.

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When I need dough to rise quickly I do the microwave thing where you boil some water for 5 minutes then put the dough in and close the door.  It works great but the problem with that is…’out of sight out of mind’.  I got busy with the rest of the meal and forgot about these.  They way over rose causing them to fall when baking and to look like little mushroom rolls.

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Kinda cute in smurf-y kinda way. Crispy top…super soft bottom.

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I had some left over dough so the next day I made a few normal shaped rolls.

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Real Kings Hawaiian rolls and…

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…the rolls I made. 🙂

Super soft…perfect ‘chew’…delicious.  I’ve already got another batch in the icebox to make hamburger shaped buns.

Seriously…I wish y’all could feel how soft these are. 🙂 They were just screaming ‘butter me, butter me‘. And I don’t know about y’all but I always listen to my rolls. 😉

Happy Motown Monday. 🙂

 

 

Hawaiian Style Rolls

1 1/2 cups (188g) Bread Flour

1 tsp Yeast

2 tbsp Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt

3 tbsp Dry Milk Powder (I use Peak)

1 heaping tbsp frozen Pineapple Juice Concentrate*

1/2 cup hot Water

2 tbsp soft room temp Butter

1/4 cup Water Roux

Melted Butter for brushing

 

Directions 

Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk powder.  Stir to combine.

Dissolve pineapple in water then make a flour well and add pineapple water, butter and water roux.

Kneed on medium – high speed for 4 minutes.

Icebox rise overnight.

Shape and let rise til doubled.

Bake at 350*.

In my oven…

The muffin tin rolls only took about 8 minutes.

The regular sized rolls took about 15 (but they were baked in mini individual bread pans so if you packed them into a larger pan it would probably take a little bit longer.)

This amount of dough will make 2 mini muffin pans or about 8 regular sized rolls.

*We don’t drink pineapple juice and it would just go to waste if I bought cans of it.  That’s why I use the frozen concentrate.  Frozen it has a really long expiration date so I can just scoop out what I need and then back in the freezer til the next time I need some.

Happy Birthday, Papa L

No food pics or recipe today…just some sappy family stuff. 🙂

I’ve written a lot about Papa L here on the blog. He’s actually the only person in my life who WANTS to be on the blog. You can read about him here and here.

And right here today.

He always makes me laugh…he tells people he’s gluten – free now…he has an obsession with ants and with mowing the grass on Thursday…he’s always made sure we’ve never wanted for anything and more than anything else…he loves our Mom more than life itself.

Only certain kinds of men should be allowed to have daughters and Papa L should be the poster dad. 🙂

He loves it when I talk about him here and normally I would have a pic to go with the post but we still don’t have everything back in its place from the remodel and I can’t get to the pics.

Since this is a food / health issue blog…today I’m going to share a Papa L story related to my Lupus diagnosis.

I was diagnosed  the day before Thanksgiving…so right in the middle of the Thanksgiving / Christmas holiday season.

All I ever wanted in life was to have kids. OK…that’s not true. I’ve wanted a lot of things in life but more than anything else I wanted to have kids.

So finding out I couldn’t have them right in the middle of the holiday season was almost more than I could take. In fact I ended up on Zoloft for a little while til I could pull myself together.

Everything was making me sad / cry. Decorations. Christmas Music. Wrapping Paper. Every child I saw. The Cosby Show reruns. Just…everything.

One day Papa L said ‘Let’s get out of the house’.

Now here in rural route that really just means ‘let’s go to Walmart’. And back then we only had a little basic no frills / no groceries Walmart.

So off we went.

And what did we buy you ask?

Well candy of course. 🙂

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Santa Clause candy to be specific.

And you know what?  I ate that candy like a 3 year old and learned a little something too.

Turns out you’re never too old for everything in the world to be made a little…or even a whole lot better…with some candy from your dad. 🙂

Happy Birthday, Papa L. I love you. 🙂

 

I associate so many different songs / singers with Papa L…everything Willie Nelson…those Celtic lady singers…all sorts of A&M songs…Cattle Call…Sloop John B…really I could go on and on…but since I always emphasize his gift of laughter here I’m going to roll with this one today. When we were little he seriously had a T-shirt with this on it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

aka…quite possibly the best cookies I’ve ever made. 😉

I wanted to try something different and decided to brown some butter and use it for cookies.

I just randomly picked one of my many chocolate cookie recipes and subbed an equal amount of brown butter for the plain butter.  I left everything else the same. You could just do the same with your fav recipe but I’ve included mine at the end of the post.

I browned the butter the night before and left it on the counter to set up so it would be ready to go when I was ready to make the cookies the next day.

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There’s an extra half a stick in this picture but it was for something else and I forgot to move it for the picture. 

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The butter will look like there’s no way it will whip up all fluffy and pretty but…

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…it does. 🙂

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I can’t even tell y’all how good these were.

I can already tell they’re going to be the new go-to chocolate chip cookie in the Lupiac household.

 

 

 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks Butter *browned

1 1/4 cups Brown Sugar

3/4 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

2 tsp Vanilla

2 3/4 cup Flour  (that’s 344g for me)

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 bag Chocolate Chips

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350*

Beat butter and sugars on medium high until pale and fluffy.  About 4 minutes.

Beat in eggs.

Add vanilla.

Reduce speed to low.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate.

Mix on low til blended.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.

Let cool on pan for a few minutes before you move them to a cooling rack.

 

*To make Brown Butter 

Melt butter on low heat.

Cook until golden brown.

Stir occasionally to keep from burning.

You’ll really know it’s done by the smell.  It gets this super intoxicating / nutty scent.

Visually it will be golden brown and will have small brown bits sinking to the bottom of the pan.

Remove from heat.  Poor into a bowl and let sit until solid but soft.  When I say solid…it doesn’t get solid like cold butter but you want it to firm up some so that it’s not liquid anymore.

Also you don’t strain this like making ghee.  You use the brown bits and all in the cookies. 

Happy Cinco de Mayo

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Isn’t this cute? 🙂

Sorry for being gone so long.  The downtime from the remodel lasted longer than I anticipated it would.  I got really sick…breathing wise…from the various remodel smells (stirred up dust…paint…wood stain…contractors who seemingly took a bath in cologne…etc).  I also got some bad lupus related blood results and have been in a small funk.

But I’m ready to stop wallowing and am able to get back in the kitchen. 🙂

Up first…these cute Cinco de Mayo cupcakes.

If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time then you know how much I love Tex – Mex food.  Well I also love Mexican culture.  I don’t have any Mexican blood in me but I most definitely have a little Mexican in my soul. 🙂

So…it should be no surprise that I’d celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Fajitas are on the menu today.   And these cute cupcakes for dessert.

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Dry ingredients.

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Wet ingredients.

I wanted to make these margarita flavored since only adults would be eating them.  I didn’t have any tequila and didn’t want to wait til I could go to the liquor store so I used one of these premixed things.  It was OK but if I wanted to do this flavor again I’d go get the tequila.

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I don’t really have a recipe for these.  I used a scaled down version of my rum cake recipe and subbed the margarita drink mix for the rum.    You could also do the same thing with your favorite gluten – free (or full) box cake mix.  Just sub your chosen alcohol for about half of your total liquid.

The icing was some of the Pillsbury Supreme Key Lime icing that’s out right now.  I would add a little green food coloring to this next time.

The sombrero is a gummy peach ring plus a gum drop for the hat.  And for the hat ‘stitching’…some of those little decorating pearls found on the cake mix aisle.  I used Karo syrup to ‘glue’ everything together.

I’d totally make these again for a Mexican themed meal.

Thank you to those of you who emailed to check on me. 🙂 I can’t wait to catch up on y’all’s blogs. 🙂

 

 

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