fifty cents

focaccia, originally uploaded by iamchanelle.

i bought this focaccia bread at the Alpine Valley Bread bakery outlet in Mesa, AZ today.
[many thanks to my awesome pal for reminding me to check this place out while i was on that side of town!]

would you believe this beautiful bread was only fifty cents?! i paid for my bread with pocket change, how awesome is THAT?  i say pretty awesome.

the smell alone made me take this off the shelf. there was no description of this bread on the label, so i went with pure instinct.

and by instinct i mean my stomach.

as soon as i arrived home and opened the bag, i discovered a soft, chewy herbed bread, topped with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and cheese.

so. so. SO GOOD.

glad i bought two.

;)

if you live nearby, be sure to check this place out. take a big whiff as soon as you walk through the doors – it is heavenly.
avalley
love,
chanelle

cinnamon muffins

with a hot cup of french press and one or two of these cinnamon muffins, your morning is guaranteed to be a lovely one…

cinnamon muffins

by iamchanelle.  makes 1 dozen

the addition of a little white whole wheat flour makes these muffins a little nuttier in flavour, which really adds a nice element to all that delicious earthy cinnamon.

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk (i used almond milk, yummm)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted (i have tried apple butter here, but found these particular muffins already too heavy, and they did not release well from the wrappers – i recommend good old fashioned butter, if you can. results in a lighter muffin.)
  • 1 cup toasted walnut pieces, optional.
  • cinnamon sugar to top, not optional. ;)

preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
line 1 muffin tin with paper liners.

sift together flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  in a separate bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter and egg.
slowly incorporate into flour mixture, just until moistened.
stir in walnuts, if desired.

scoop into muffin papers, and sprinkle tops liberally with cinnamon sugar.

bake in preheated oven 18-20 minutes, or until tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

serve warm with a pat of sweet cream butter.

aaaaand, that’s a wrap!
that's a wrap
ba dum psssssshhhhht!
i’m here all week, heh heh….

hope you enjoy this little recipe i created for you.

love,
chanelle

magical buttermilk pancakes

magical buttermilk pancakes, originally uploaded by iamchanelle.

seriously.

these are magical.

especially when topped with cinnamon cream syrup.
DSC_0033
magical, i tell you.

these are the very same pancakes i told you about before – see how magical they really are? they can be blueberry, or plain, or chocolate chip, or even sprinkled with fairy dust. whatever you want.

Magical Buttermilk Pancakes
makes about 8 smallish pancakes.
i recommend tripling this recipe – these freeze exceptionally well if wrapped securely in plastic wrap (I love using that press&seal stuff).

1 large egg
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons applesauce (or oil. but trust me, you cannot even tell the difference when you use applesauce! try it.)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch kosher salt

* blueberries, chocolate chips, cooked and chopped bacon, etc. optional – about 1 cup.

heat a little butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Beat egg in a large mixing bowl, then incorporate remaining ingredients just until smooth.

ladle about 1/4 cup batter onto skillet and cook about 1 minute before adding any of the optional ingredients (blueberries, choco chips…) over the batter. i just grab a handful and sprinkle over the top.
When edges are golden and cooked through, flip pancake over and cook about a minute more.
Place in a warm oven, on a cooling rack or in your face.

best served with generous pats of sweet butter and cinnamon cream syrup, or real maple syrup. i mean, in my opinion.

hope you enjoy the magic!

love,
chanelle

THIS JUST IN:

THIS JUST IN:, originally uploaded by iamchanelle.

my blueberry pancakes are MAGICAL. i am feeling better already.
and you know what that means???? i’ll be back to posting again, woot!!!
***bling!!!***

we have been insanely sick around here, which would explain the cricket chirping you hear every time you click on my blog…

hang in there with me, and i will share some super delicious recipes with you sooooooooon!  you know i love you.

xo,
chanelle

once upon a lunch

once upon a lunch, originally uploaded by iamchanelle.

Once upon a [lunch]time, in a kingdom far far away from some people, and not so far away from others, there lived a girl who was very, very, incredibly, unbelievably hungry. It was nearing twelve noon and she had not yet eaten a morsel of food that day. Famished and weak, she crawled into her kitchen, only to find not much more than a morsel of bread in her pantry. Looking further, she discovered an onion, and a handful of small sweet peppers. Grabbing a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a pat of butter and three eggs, she set to work. Fueled by the promise of nourishment, she thinly sliced the onions and peppers and caramelized them in butter until deep brown and soft.

In a small bowl, she whisked the eggs with a little cream, salt and pepper and cooked them over medium heat in a small skillet as she would an omelet. The aromas filling her kitchen were almost too delicious to bear, but she knew in mere moments her hunger would be satiated. She spread two slices of bread with the last remnants of butter and toasted them until golden. In the final moments of broiling the bread, she flipped one slice over and placed thin pieces of smoked gouda cheese upon it.
At long last, everything was ready to come together. Removing the bread from the oven, she spooned the caramelized onions and peppers on one slice, slid the omelet over the onions, sprinkled with thyme leaves, and placed the last bread slice on the very top.
She then placed the beautiful sandwich on a pretty white plate, made a salad of mixed greens and dressed it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with just a little sprinkling of fleur de sel.
She then searched her kingdom high and low for the perfect backdrop for which she could stage her lunch for all to behold. Taking a few moments to adjust white balance and ISO levels, she photographed her masterpiece over and over again until she took the perfect shot, though she was nearly dead from hunger.


Once satisfied with the finer art of presenting delicious morsels, she TURNED INTO A TERRIBLE OGRE and DEVOURED THE ENTIRE THING.

And she lived happily ever after.
*burp*

Pumpkin Pie Mini Muffins

I have some more muffins to tell you about.
I know, I know – I make a lot of muffins.  I just can’t help myself.  This particular recipe was sent to me so I could make them for a seminar, and they were so good I came right home and made some for us.
And then I made some more.
They are just really, really good.
I also roasted my own pumpkin for this (just for kicks and giggles), but you could certainly use canned solid pack pumpkin.  Make sure you don’t accidentally grab pumpkin pie filling.  That would make for one goopy sweet muffin.
Pumpkin Pie Mini Muffins
2 2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup softened butter
4 eggs
15 ounces pumpkin (about 2 cups)
3 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Note:  If you are like me and do not always just have pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can make your own: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, scant 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons whole milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
In a stand mixer, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.  Add pumpkin.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice together.
Alternate adding flour mixture and milk to the pumpkin mixture just until incorporated.  Gently fold in walnuts.
Bake at 350 for 10-14 minutes, until tops are golden.
Cool on wire racks.
Makes about a million.  Or somewhere close to 10 dozen mini muffins.

Yummy.
Who can resist cute little pumpkin mini muffins, I ask you?
Not me.

Ogle my Bagels

It is the little, simple things in life that make me happy.

Like, waking up on a Saturday morning to yet another glorious Arizona sunrise like this one:

And deciding that I want to have a bagel for breakfast.
And making some.
In my Sponge Bob pajamas.

Bread Machine Bagels
made from this recipe, and tweaked only slightly.
makes 10 smallish bagels.

1 cup warm water
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

3 quarts water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 egg white, beaten
kosher salt
and toppings of choice:
minced fresh garlic
minced fresh onion
sesame seeds
poppy seeds
etc.

Cornmeal for dusting

Place water, salt, sugar, flour and yeast in a bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough setting and Start.

When the cycle is finished, turn dough out onto a floured board and let rest.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil along with the 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Generously dust two baking stones (or ungreased baking sheets) with cornmeal.

Divide the dough into ten equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place your thumb into the center of each ball and gently “twirl” on your finger to enlarge the hole and even out the dough around it. Cover the bagel dough with a clean towel and let rest about 10 minutes.

Transfer about 3-4 bagels at a time to the boiling water and boil for about 30 seconds on one side, flip over and boil 30 seconds more.

Drain briefly on a clean towel. (I found that adding a small dusting of flour on the towel diminished separation anxiety between the wet bagel and the dry towel.)

Arrange boiled bagels onto the baking stones and brush tops with egg white.
Sprinkle your toppings of choice over each, or leave plain.
(I use minced garlic and onions on a few and left the remainder plain.)
Sprinkle kosher salt over the tops of each.

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.


Ogle, then enjoy. Several. In your sponge bob pajamas.

Happy weekend, everybody!

Citrus and Almond Biscotti. Makes your tummy happy.

What, you say? Citrus? Almonds? Biscotti? Together? No way would that work.

Yes way.

I was asked to choose something to bake from a selection of amazing citrus-based recipes for my sister-in-law’s baby shower a couple months ago,

and these popped right out at me. I have never seen biscotti with citrus before, and wondered if that would really make a good connection.

Turns out, it does. It’s like a happy party in your mouth.

The citrus zest retains its brightness, even after baking, and surprisingly is not masked at all by the flours and sugar. I also used a little almond meal in place of some of the flour called for, and was very pleased with the result. The biscuit had a little more snap, and the earthy almond really did compliment that citrus! Following is my version of this recipe – I actually adjusted almost everything originally called for.

Citrus and Almond Biscotti
adapted from an awesome recipe found at allrecipes.com

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (one could also use almond extract here, I am sure!)
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch kosher salt

For the “topping”
1 egg, beaten
about 1/4 cup slivered almonds that you have coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a stand mixer, or mixing bowl with beaters, cream butter and sugar. Add three eggs, one at a time, until well mixed. Beat in citrus zest and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. Gradually mix into butter mixture until well incorporated, but be careful not to over mix.

Divide dough into four pieces, two per baking stone or ungreased baking sheet. Shape each piece into a rectangle about 1 foot long by a couple inches wide. Ish. I never pull out my measuring tape when doing something like this, I just eyeball it. So, like I said….”ish“.

Brush the beaten egg over the top of each piece, and firmly press in the almonds.

Place 1 baking tray at a time in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until golden. Let cool for about 5 minutes, and carefully transfer to a cutting board. (For me, this meant two spatulas and some choice words. Perhaps using some parchment might be a good idea here? Let me know if you do that and how it worked. ) Cut into diagonal slices, about 3/4-1 inch in width. Place back on the baking sheet, cut side down and bake for about 12-15 minutes more, turning once. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container – whatever is left.
:)

First Day (of the rest of our lives)

We just began a life sentence of sorts.

It hit me this morning, as I sat at the breakfast table with my kids, enjoying our freshly made English Muffin Bread, (which is pretty good, I might add; needs some minor tweaking before I will post my version…)


I realized that today has officially begun the next twenty years of driving kids to and from school, homework, field trips, homemade costumes for plays, new friends, bad friends, best friends, girl friends, heartbreaks, PTA meetings, sports injuries and {hopefully} graduations.

For today was my son’s first day of school.

I actually had a bit of a hard time grasping the fact that my firstborn has grown up enough to begin higher learning (higher than, say, legos or swinging…), to begin making his own choices in the world – good and bad, and to begin growing into the great man I know he will be.
I still feel like a kid most days, and am constantly aware of how quickly life changes around me.

Maybe I am being sentimental.

(three days old)

In fact, I AM being sentimental.

But my, how they grow up too fast.


(1st day’s school work – “we learned about ants today, mom!”)