Honey Fruit Cake

honeycake

I end up creating this desserts and meals that I would have never thought of before, usually when I have other things to do that I don’t want to do. Mostly throwing together a bunch of ingredients and hoping that it turns out yummy. I nail it about 99% of the time, I won’t sat 100% because I have had some really big bombs before. But I will never admit that out loud. lol

But I digress, I wanted to make something that would make me feel warm and remind me that spring and summer were just around the corner. I love the winter but only when it snows and I live in an area where it doesn’t snow just get cold. 😦

The warm smell of honey and vanilla just makes your smile and then the burst of fruit flavor in every bite reminds you of the warmer weather that is coming. Even if you frozen fruit it still tastes yummy. 🙂

I used strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries more for the mixed fruit. Another yummy combo would be peaches and strawberries. I think that might be my next cake. 🙂

Warm Honey Fruit Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup mixed fruit, fresh or frozen
  • 1/8 ts salt
  • 3 Tbs butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375˚F
  2. In a medium bowl comine flour, egg, sugar, honey, milk, baking powder, butter. Mix until everything is combined.
  3. Use a spring form plan. Spray the side and bottom of the pan. Pour cake batter into pan.
  4. Sprinkle fresh or frozen fruit on top of the cake. Do not press the fruit down.
  5. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake at 375˚F for 30-45 minutes or until done. Once baked cool cake on wire rack.

Great Tasting Bagels

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

I am a bagel addict. I love bagels! The perfect bagel is crunchy on the outside and yet chewy on the inside. You can top them with eggs and cheese, jam, jelly, cream cheese or even make sandwiches from them. The bagel is a universal food. 🙂 A blank canvas, if you will, that has endless possibilities.

I have two ways I love bagels. Toasted with butter and as a breakfast sandwich with eggs, ham and cheese.

If you think what is needed to make bagels, I bet you already have most of everything that you need. At most you will need yeast, so you can spend $0.99 for a pack of 3 or $3.49 for a jar that you can use over and over again. After all is said and done your homemade bagels come to $0.12 per bagel or you can spend $3.99 for a package of 8 and  have it come to $0.50 per bagel with all those extra additives. You can make 8 bagels for $0.99 or buy them for $3.99. Saving $3 per 8 bagels. And the cost will just go down if you buy the yeast in bulk.

Now you see in my recipe that I used honey instead of sugar and changed out 1/2 cup of all purpose for wheat flour. I just liked the flavor it gave better. You can use sugar and 100% all purpose flour if you want. The bagels take about 2 hours to make from start to finish. But the good news is that most of that is waiting time. 🙂

New York Style Bagels

 

  • 2.25 teaspoons of active dry yeast (one pack of yeast)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of honey or sugar
  • 1 Âź cups of warm water, divided
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour or bread flour (will need extra for kneading)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • ½ cup wheat flour

 

Directions:

  1. In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Give a quick stir to mix everything. Let it sit for five minutes, until it all dissolves in the water. Should be very bubbly.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture.DSC_0081
  3. Pour 2/3 cups of warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about Ÿ cup of water. You want to result in a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
  4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough. Hint: Spray the table top with water then cover with plastic wrap. This will help keep your surface clean and makes for easy clean up when you are done.
  5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil. Turn the dough in bowl to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Hint: I put the oven on let it warm up to 170˚ then I turn it off and place the dough to rise in the oven. Works great.DSC_0087
  6. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes once dough is done rising. DSC_0092
  7. Carefully divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. To shape each piece into a ball, press it gently against the countertop moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms. Repeat until you have 8 dough balls.DSC_0097
  8. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.DSC_0101
  9. After shaping the dough into balls, place them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. DSC_0104
  10. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 30 seconds, and them flip them over to boil for 30 seconds. Be careful not to boil too long or they will turn to mush. Hint: Make sure that the water stays boiling when you put the bagels in!
  11. If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water for better sticking.
  12. Once all the bagels have boiled, transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet that has been dusted it with cornmeal.
  13. Preheat your oven to 425ÂşF. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to flip them half way through, to keep that round bagel shape. Cool on a wire rack.

 

 

Optional Toppings:
Caraway seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds. *Make sure to do this as you are taking the bagels out of the boiling water.*

Just in case you don’t eat all the bagels in day one here are a few tips and tricks to help keep those bagels tasting great.

Do’s

  1. Do eat bagels fresh. 😀
  2. Do share bagels with family and friends. 🙂 Sharing is the nice thing to do!
  3. Do freeze bagels to preserve their freshness.
  4. Do take caution when slicing your bagels. (be safe and use an official bagel slicer, I have a slice scar on my thumb from when I was young, I didn’t remove it from the whole in the middle before the knife came down. BE CAREFUL!)
  5. Do enjoy them with butter and/or jam.
  6. Do make breakfast sandwiches with them. (egg, ham and cheese is the best) 😀

Don’ts

  1. Don’t mix smelly bagels with non-smelly varieties in the same bag. (gross) 
  2. Don’t store salt, onion, garlic or everything bagels in a plastic bag unless freezing them. (they go soggy, gross)
  3. Don’t store bagels in the fridge. (they get hard, hockey pucks anyone!)

 

Power of Citrus and Honey

We all know powers of citrus. Oranges were historically used for their high content of vitamin C, which prevents scurvy. Citrus fruit juices, such as orange, lime and lemon, maybe have been useful for lowering the risk factors for specific types of kidney stones. Grapefruit is another fruit juice that can be used to lower blood pressure because it interferes with the metabolism of calcium channel blockers. Lemons have the highest concentration of citrate of any citrus fruit, and daily consumption of lemonade has been shown to decrease the rate of stone formation.

And there is honey. Sweet, smooth tasting honey. Historically, honey has been used by humans both orally and topically to treat various ailments including gastric disturbances, ulcers, wounds, and burns. However, it is only recently that the mechanisms underlying the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of honey have come to be understood. Honey has also been used for centuries as a treatment for sore throats and coughs and, according to recent research, may be an effective soothing agent for coughs.

Knowing all this just made making citrus and honey drops make sense. I get to eat something that is good for me and tastes like candy. Yeah I call that a win win. I had everything already in the house so it didn’t cost me anything to make except my time, which was only about 30 minutes of doing something. The hardest part is waiting the 12 hours while it is in the dehydrator. I have never tried them in the oven yet. Maybe I will make that my next experiment in the kitchen.

Sorry for the bad picture. I had to hurry up and take it before the kids ate everything!

Citrus & Honey Gummy Drops

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c  + 2 TB clear jel
  • 1 1/3 cup fresh fruit juices ( I used a combo of orange, lemon, and grapefruit)
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 c honey

Directions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan combine clear jel and honey. Mix until completely combined. Boil on medium for one minute.
  2. Slowly add in the citrus juices. Mix until smooth. Boil on medium for one minute or until think.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Trust me on this, this is a must! You don’t want to burn your hands like I did. Once cooled place in a piping bag or a large zip lock bag.
  4. Pipe even size drops on to the fruit roll up tray that works with your dehydrator or on a parchment sheet.
  5. Let them ‘cook’ in the dehydrator for about 12 hours. That is the hard part waiting! They are done when they pull apart like a gummy worm/bear.
  6. Once done place them in the refrigerator and let cool.
  7. Take about 1/2 of sugar, paper or plastic bag and place the gummies in. Shake until well coated. You don’t have to do this step but it will help with keeping the gummies from sticking together. 

Easy Chewy Granola Bars

Chewy Granola Bar

 

A few years ago I fell in love with a granola bar and with in six months of me finding it they stopped selling it. It’s that the way it happens though. They were this perfect combination of chocolate, fruit, salty, and crunchy. I just had to find away to have them again. I have tried to make granola bars several different times, they all came out crunchy and never stuck together very well. I had to find away and one night I did. I was nervous but since they were gone in less then 48hrs I think they were a huge hit.

Chewy Granola Bars

  • 2 c oats ( I used the one minute quick cook oats, but didn’t cook them)
  • 1 c rice Krispie cereal
  • 1 c preztels, broken into pieces
  • 2/3 c light brown sugar
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 2 ts cinnamon
  • 2 TBS almond slivers
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips (I used a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate)

Directions:

  1. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set to the side.
  3. In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine all the wet ingredients. Heat until all the sugar is completely melted.
  4. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat and combine with the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Press mixture hard and evenly into the prepared pan. Place in fridge for about 30 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl melt chocolate chips. You can use the double boiler method or the microwave heating in 10 second intervals. Once the chocolate is melted pour over the granola and spread out evenly. Place back in fridge until chocolate has set. Then cut into bars or squares. Enjoy

Summer Time Chicken Grilling

I love my grill! Some might say I have an unhealthy fascination with it. Once the weather warms up, the stove and oven are off, and that grill is lit.

Nothing says warm weather more then the smell of good food on the grill. It can be anything: burgers, chicken, hot dogs, sausage, and steak. They all smell so good, and they look great with the grill marks when they come off the grill. I love my grill. Even grilled vegetables are great on the grill. I like putting vegetables in a little foil packet with a pat of butter then throwing them on the grill to cook. Oh, the flavors are just amazing. Simple to do yet you get such great aromas and flavors.

Tonight was no different. Grilled Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts. Now since I make my own mustard it will have a different flavor than store bought, but it tastes great with either one. This is one of my to go to meals during the hot months, and let’s face it, in the South, that’s about eight months out of the year.

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

 

 Grill Honey-Mustard Chicken

  • 2 whole chicken breast, cut in half
  • 1.5 TBS deli mustard
  • 3 TBS honey

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl mix together the mustard and honey. Set to the side for later.
  2. Start the grill. Give the grill a few minutes to warm up. Place chicken skin side down on the grill. Cook for about 25 minutes.
  3. Using either a spoon or a grill brush spread a small amount of the honey-mustard on the chicken. For for about 5 minutes then turn over and spread another small amount of honey-mustard on the turned side.
  4. Keep turning the chicken and spreading the honey-mustard over the chicken until it has been used up. You want to coat the chicken slowly so not to burn the chicken.

Enjoy with vegetables of your choice.

 

Honey-Wheat Bread

I hate wasting money. The other day I was thinking that I have milk, flour, yeast, butter, and honey. Why am I buying bread when I have everything I need to make bread?! The only thing I didn’t have is wheat flour and I wanted to make honey-wheat bread. So I started to do some research on bread making since the first time I did it was not so good. But I have made my husband’s favorite bread Nissua a few times and everything came out perfect. How hard could this really be.

I knew how I wanted my bread to taste. I wanted fluffy, light, and not bland. I think that I found that perfect balance in this recipe. I am never going to buy bread again. Not only that it really did not take that long. Sure three and half hours but you only really do anything for maybe about 45 minutes from start to finish of actual work. The rest is waiting for it to raise and bake. And while you are waiting you can do other things around the house. Or watch a movie like I did, just pause it when it is time to do things.

Honey-Wheat Bread

Honey-Wheat Bread

  • 2 packages active yeast (1/2 ounce)
  • 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 3 cups wheat flour
  • 2- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Directions:

  1. In  a small bowl mix 1/2 cup warm water and yeast. Set to the side for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a small sauce pan warm milk, butter, and salt. Be careful not to burn the milk.
  3. In a large bowl place wheat flour, milk mixture, honey, and yeast. Using a mixer, beat on low for 1 minute, scrapping down the sides. Then beat on medium until everything is completely combined.
  4. Using a wooden spoon or heavy duty spatula, add remain flour 1/4 cup at a time, making sure to mix completely. Add enough flour to make dough easy to handle.
  5. On a lightly covered surface knead dough for about 8-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and springy. Grease the bowl with cooking spray  or oil. Place dough inside bowl, and turn to get coated with oil. Cover with a hot, moist towel, and let rise for about an hour in a warm place or until it doubles in size.
  6. Punch down dough, and divide into two. Roll each piece into a rectangle about 18×9 inches. Fold into thirds using the smaller end. Then fold that into half and roll out into a 9×9 square. Roll dough up tightly. Pinch ends together and tuck under. Place dough into a greased bread pan seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover with a hot, moist towel and let rise for about an hour in a warm place or until it doubles in size.
  7. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place pans in middle of rack and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the top. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Makes 2 loaves.