Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spiral Apple Bread

This is really great, we liked the addition of the cinnamon sugar mix over the top.
I found the original recipe from Trick & Treat.  I did the dough in my bread-maker and added the Cinnamon & Sugar mixture over the top.  I like that you don't have to peel the apples, but I suppose you could if you wanted.

I also made the dough the night before and covered it overnight so I could make these in the morning without having to wait for the dough to be made.  You could probably use a loaf of frozen bread dough too to really make the process easy.
Ingredients for Dough:  {I doubled this because we had company.}
-3/4 cup warm milk
-2 tbsp melted butter
-2 tbsp sugar
-2 cups flour
-1 1/2 tsp yeast

Additional Ingredients:
-3 to 4 apples
-1/4 cup melted butter
-1/4 cup sugar or Cinnamon & Sugar mix
1. Layer dough ingredients into bread-maker pan in the order listed.
2. Set bread-maker to dough setting and allow cycle to run.
3. Use dough right away or place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use {overnight}.
4. Remove dough, cut into equal sized pieces {I was going to make 4 spirals, but changed my mind and made 3.}
5. Roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thick.  
6. Then slice {I used a pizza cutter} the dough into straight strips; about the width that your apple slices are from the core side to the skin side.
7. Core and slice all of your apples.
8. Lightly grease an 8 inch baking dish {a pie plate works well} or spring-form pan.
9. Beginning in the middle of the pan, start by wrapping a strip of dough around a slice of apple, when you get around the apple, add another apple.  
10. Continue adding apple slices and dough strips until the pan is mostly full.
11. Sprinkle spiral with cinnamon sugar mixture, if desired.
This one I just sprinkled with coarse raw sugar.
12. Allow spirals to rise 30-45 minutes.
13. Bake apple spirals at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.
14. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes before removing from pans.
You can mix a little milk (about 2 tbsp), about 1 tsp vanilla and some powdered sugar until it makes a good drizzling consistency and drizzle over your spirals.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Frosted Banana Bars

These are great banana bars, they're actually more like banana cake.  I found the recipe from Taste of Home.

Ingredients for Bars:
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-2 eggs
-1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 ripe bananas (about 1 cup)

Ingredients for Frosting:
-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 3/4 to 4 cups powdered sugar

Process for Bars:
1. Cream together butter and sugar.
2. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.
3. Add in sour cream and bananas (broken into chunks).
4. Beat in baking soda and salt.
5. Add flour.
6. Beat until smooth.
7. Spread batter into a greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan or 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  {I used a 9 x 13.}
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
9. Let cool completely.
Process for Frosting:
1. Add cream cheese, butter and vanilla to mixer bowl.
2. Add powdered sugar.
3. Beat until smooth.
4. Spread frosting on cooled cake.
5. Enjoy!  Store covered in refrigerator.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Handmade Stepping Stones

These are really fun to make!  And I think you'll find them a lot easier than they seem.  
This is really fun to do with kids; they love to create something that will be permanent in their outdoor living space.
Start collecting your cardboard boxes now so you have a variety of shapes and sizes when Spring comes!  Enjoy!
-concrete mix, like Quikrete  {I think I used 3 or 4 bags to make 16 stepping stones; it will depend on the size of your boxes}
-shovel for mixing
-assorted boxes, your stepping stones will be the size and shape of the bottom of the box {I like lots of different sizes and shapes, but keep in mind the larger the bottom of the box, the heavier the stepping stone will be.}
-rubber gloves, optional
-large container for mixing {I used a wheelbarrow}
-assortment of polished pebbles, large beads, glass pebbles, small glass tiles, etc.  {glass is nice because the sunlight shines though it}
Process: {Sorry, I didn't take time to take pictures as I went.}
1. Mix one bag of Quikrete with enough water to make it into a thick oatmeal consistency; use the shovel to mix, thoroughly. {Don't mix in too much water or they'll take longer to set and won't be as durable when finished.}
2. Either fold the flaps of your boxes in or cut them off so they don't get in your way.
3. Pour/shovel concrete mix into boxes until the concrete is about 2 inches deep in the box.
4. Shovel into boxes until all of the mix is used.
5. Shake or kick the sides of the boxes to level the concrete mix and remove any large bubbles of air.
6. Immediately press glass pebbles, polished stones etc. into the surface of the concrete {press them in, but be careful not to bury them}.
Tip: You can create designs, images and/or words!
-make a set of stones to be displayed in your yard or garden that go together
-maybe put a different letter on each stone, arrange them to make a word/name
-make an image of someone/something you love; clouds, trees, family pet!
-create cool designs you love!
7. Allow the stepping stones to set at least 5 hours or overnight.
8. Carefully rip the boxes away from the set concrete stepping stones.  {Don't worry about the cardboard on the bottom of the stepping stone, the cardboard will decompose into the soil around it.}
Tip: If you are having trouble ripping the boxes off you can wet the stepping stones with water and let the water soften the cardboard; then they will be easier to rip away, although this will create more of a mess.
9. Arrange the stepping stones around your yard or garden and enjoy!

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