Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…


My Favorite Bread!

After last Monday’s bread fail, I should probably share a successful baking episode.  This is my favorite bread to make.  It takes some planning, because it has to rise for at least 18 hours (at least in my cold house) and then another two, but if you make it in the morning and then bake it the next day, it works perfectly. 
I follow this recipe.  To the letter.  Here’s the play-by-play. 
Yeast in the bowl-
With all the flour and salt (I use 1/2 WW and 1/2 UB White)-
Mixed and risen-
Folded and rested-
After the final rise-
Baked to perfection-
I forgot to score the bread, so it cracked, but let me tell you, it still tastes wonderful!  


My First Award!

I Received a Stylish Blogger Award!

I can’t believe it!  I received my first Blogger Award!  I am very honored to be awarded this lovely Stylish Blogger Award by Alex of A Moderate Life, who is one of the sweetest people I have “met” in this crazy bloggy world.  She constantly goes out of her way to help out not only me, but fledgling bloggers all over! Thanks so much!  Keep up YOUR great work.   
Here is how it works: IF YOU WANT TO…
First: Make a post linking back to the person who gave you the award
Second: Share 7 (random) things about yourself
Third: Award 10 recently discovered bloggers with this award
Then: Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won your award
1- I only started blogging because everyone was so sick of hearing me detail what I was cooking and making.  Apparently I am boring to real life people.  
2- I am an only child.  You might have known that already.
3- I have been teaching dance for 11 years.  It was my first job, and I’ve never stopped.
4- I have been known to eat Nutella straight from the jar for dessert.  And Breakfast.
5- I have no hand-eye coordination.  Can’t throw, catch, or hit.  Pretty terrible at video games, too. 
6- I rowed on the crew team for 1 year in High School.  I loved being on the water.  Then they made us run way too much (in my opinion).  I didn’t rejoin.
7- My elbows are freakishly hyperextended.  It creeps most people out.  Maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll show you sometime!
Here are the 10 bloggers that jumped into my mind!  They are all special, and, to my knowledge, have not received this award yet. 
4.  JohnLyn at Hummingbird Homemaking
5.  Michelle at Health Food Lover
10.  LoraLynn at VitaFamilae


Apple Chips

We were recently gifted with a ton of apples.  No, not really a TON, but lots of apples!  Now, we love apples, but after a week or so, we realized that they wouldn’t all be eaten fresh before they went bad.  I decided to try drying them.
Now, in a perfect world, I would have a dehydrator.  Or an oven that went below 170*.  And maybe one of these:
Alas, I have none.  I wasn’t about to let that stop me, no siree!  I started with 9 apples and went to town.
Coring them…
Peeling them…
Yes, I know I could leave the peels on.  I don’t care for the taste of the peels on the dried apples.  Don’t worry, I saved them for something, you’ll see!
 Finally, I chopped them into pieces that were small enough to fit into the food processor and then sliced them thin with the machine.
Onto the baking sheets they went.  It took 4 huge sheets to fit them all!
I set the oven to the lowest temperature I have (170*) and went to town.  Whenever I had to leave, I just shut the oven.  I took them out whenever I had to cook something else.  I taste tested throughout the process.  Once they were crunchy and dry, I decided they were done.  
I stuck them in a jar, and have been snacking on them.  They went into yogurt, onto peanut butter sandwiches, and straight into my mouth.

This post was featured on Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Mondays, Healthy Kids Meals at Creating Nirvana, and Tuesday Twister at GNOWFGLINS!


Flavored Peanut Butter

I have been playing with my peanut butter recipe more and more lately.  I thought you might want to know what I have come up with! 
Honey Peanut Butter- 2 cups peanuts and 1/3 cup local honey
 Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter- 2 cups peanuts, 2 t vanilla, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 T cinnamon, 1/2 cup raisins
Chocolate Peanut Butter- 2 cups peanuts, 1 t vanilla, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 T cocoa powder

All measurements are SUPER estimates.  As in, I measured, and then added more without measuring.  Smart, I know.  But at least it’s something!  Experiment to your heart’s content!
(From top to bottom- Chocolate PB, Cinnamon Raisin PB, Honey PB)

This post was featured on the Healthy Kids Meal Carnival at Creating Nirvana and the Hearth and Soul Bloghop!


Roasted Veggies with Quinoa and Leftover Dressing

I wasn’t even planning on sharing this meal with you.  As I took the pictures, I thought, this is going to be boring, why am I wasting my time with photos?!  What I thought was just going to be a simple, thrown together meal of old standards and leftovers turned out to be PHENOMENAL.  
I might be exaggerating, but probably not.
It was just roasted veggies (carrots and broccoli)
 and served it over quinoa.  The thing that brought it from boring to awesome?  The leftover Meyer Lemon-Vinegar dressing from this post
This post was featured on Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade!


Help my Hot Dog Buns!

It is with a heavy heart that I share this with you.  My buns were a complete and utter failure.  They look like dog biscuits and taste like dust.  But, I need to share it with you and beg for help.  
It began innocently.  The saurkraut looks like it is ready to eat, and John picked up some nitrate/nitrite free hot dogs up to try them with.  I just kneeeewww (sense the sarcasm?) that I could make the buns, so he didn’t get them.  Sigh.  If I only knew.  I grabbed this recipe and thought, “Hmm… Easy and Perfect?  GREAT!”

First, John melted down 1 cup raw milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup unsalted butter, and 1 T honey.

 While it cooled down to 120*, I mixed 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1.25 t yeast, and 1 1/2 t salt.  
When the liquid was cooled, an egg was beaten in. 
Then it was all combined.
I added another cup of flour as I mixed it.  
I rolled it out and cut it into 16 dog-sized pieces. 
Each piece was shaped into a bun-type shape.
So far so good, right?  Well.  It never rose.  At all.  I know the yeast was good, because as I was making this, I used more of the yeast for another loaf of bread (which actually worked really well).  Our house is cold, so I had it in the oven that had been preheated for a minute and then I left the light on.  I waited a LONG time, and it never changed.  I baked it anyway, hoping for a little oven spring.  
Nothing.  They still look like this, only a little darker.  We both had a bite, and couldn’t even choke them down.  
So, I ask you: 
1) What do we do with them?  Breadcrumbs?  Any other ideas?
2) How the heck do I make hot dog buns?!?!

This post was featured on the Hearth and Soul Bloghop!


Shave Oil

Yesterday I shared with you all my recipe for Orange Cleaner, and I realized as I was tagging it that it was one of the only non-food creations I have shared!  Uh-oh!  To remedy that, today you will be presented with…
Shave oil (Ohhhhhh!  Ahhhhhh!)
John has very sensitive skin that gets quickly and easily irritated when he shaves.  He had been using this product for a while, with moderate success:

I was happy that he was happy, but as we continue down this frugal green path, it hasn’t been fitting in.  A quick check of the ingredients and some research revealed:
  • Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil
  • Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice
  • PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
  • Eucalyptus Globulus leaf oil
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea tree) oil
  • Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) leaf oil
  • Cinnamomum Camphora (Camphor) Bark Oil
  • Limonene
  • CI 61565 (Green 6)
So.. Basically, a bunch of oils, some aloe, some scientific things, and  some artificial color.  Hmmmm…
The grape seed oil is a carrier oil and makes up the majority of the oil.  The aloe is added for its soothing, healing properties.  The rest of the oils are essential oils to serve various purposes.  The rest are just for fun? 
More research has yielded more information about the different types of oils than I will share with you, but here is what I have done with it so far.
I filled a tiny bottle with Grape Seed oil and added maybe 5 drops of tea tree oil.  Why?  Because I had Grape Seed oil in the kitchen and tea tree oil has antibacterial properties.  After John shaves, he is prone to tiny whiteheads. 
He keeps it in the shower and has used it 3 times so far.  He said that it feels great on his skin, like he “isn’t even pulling sharp blades across his face.”  I guess that is a good thing!  I noticed that the irritation and tiny whiteheads he gets after shaving were gone MUCH more quickly.  
He did have a few requests, and I have some tweaks that I want to make.  He would like some more soothing or cooling ingredients, so I will be adding either some aloe or some soothing essential oils (or both!).  In my research I have found that Jojoba Oil is very good for skin, so now that I know this works (in theory) I will be getting some.  So, the next batch should be SUPER awesome.


This post was shared on Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Your Green Resource at Live Renewed, and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet!


Orange Cleaner

In our quest to remove nasty things from our bodies and lives, we have changed more than the way we eat.  It has brought about changes in what we use on our bodies and in our home.  
We use white vinegar and baking soda for most of our cleaning needs, but sometimes we need something a little stronger.  The solution? 
White Vinegar
and Citrus Peels
I save the peels from all the citrus fruit we eat.  Instead of putting it into the compost, I put it in a mason jar and fill it to the top with white vinegar. 
When the jar stopped smelling like vinegar and started to smell like oranges (or whatever peels you are using) it is ready.  Just pour it out!
I pour it into a spray bottle diluted halfway with water.  It is a great degreaser!

This post was featured on Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS and the Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet!


Pepperoni Bread

When I made the large batch of pizza dough to freeze, I saved one set to make pepperoni bread.  This recipe is something that my mom has always made for Christmas Eve.  It was steeped in tradition, not for any reason other then my obsession with tradition.  A few years ago I began to make it myself.  It was always delicious, and interesting.  If you followed Munching Madness, you may have read about it there.  If not, here’s a photo from one super fun attempt.
(Yes.  It’s green.  Adding coloring to the eggwash will make that happen.  Just so ya know!)
This was my first attempt at a Real Food version of Pepperoni Bread.  The cheese was raw mozzarella from grassfed cows.  We used pepperoni that was nitrite/nitrate free and organic.  Could we have gone full throttle and gotten it from a farm, yes.  We didn’t.  Moderation, people.  Moderation.
Once the dough finished all of its rising, I cut it in half so I could make 2 breads.  One was for eating and the other for freezing.  The dough then was rolled out on a silicone baking sheet to it wouldn’t stick to anything.
It was covered with pepperoni and cheese!
Once it was rolled up, it went into the oven at 350* until it was done.  I think it took about 40 minutes since it was a small loaf.
Check it out!

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Frozen Fun!

Continuing with yesterday’s fill the freezer theme, I wanted to let you in on a few other things I have been making in large batches to freeze.  
Meat-free macaroni sauce
Same as the the one with gravy meat, but, well, without meat.  First, I browned garlic in butter and added tomato paste.  Then I added tomato sauce, water and spices and let it boil down.  When it was cool, into the jars it went.  For more details, check out the gravy meat post. 
Pizza Dough Batches
I also made a bunch of pizza dough to freeze.  I made this pizza dough recipe and doubled it twice.  They were individually wrapped up and frozen.  I’m not posting pics, because it was the same as the other recipe and that would be boring.  
The freezer is starting to really shape up! 
What do you freeze?

This post was featured on Real Food Wednesday hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop!