Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with a Pumpkin Spice Latte

PUMPKIN!  I prepped breakfast the day before...
I stumbled upon Pinterest about a month ago - after I was flattered to discover photos from my first blog, "Living My Dream" at, had been pinned.  I had heard of Pinterest, but did not really understand what it was all about.  I knew it had photos that sometimes inundated my Facebook home page, but that was about it.  Had someone explained it was a site where you could bookmark your favorite articles, recipes and photos - organizing them on "boards" (in folders) however you liked, I would have been hooked sooner!  The bookmark section on my laptop's browser had been insane before the poor thing died on me.  Thanks to Pinterest, I have not done the same to my hubby's PC.

Anyway... earlier this week it began to feel like fall.  That meant one thing.  Pumpkin.  I absolutely LOVE pumpkin.  So, I searched for pumpkin on Pinterest and began a Pumpkin board.  YUM.

I thank this search for helping me find The Oatmeal Artist.  If you are fond of homemade oatmeal, you seriously need to check out Lauren's website.  (Although, you are probably so much cooler than I am that you already knew this site existed with all of its delicious recipes!)

Monday morning I tried the Lemon Blueberry Oatmeal.  I substituted rice milk for the milk and used the 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice suggested.  I only had frozen blueberries on hand, so I added them with the banana.  It was really, really good - not to mention filling!

In my freezer, I had one last cup of homemade pumpkin puree from last fall.  So, I put it in the refrigerator on Monday night to thaw.  Yesterday became a marathon cooking day.  I made tomato soup, The Daring Cooks September Challenge (you'll have to wait to hear about that one!), gluten-free beef broth from Gluten-Free Quick and Easy by Carol Fenster, cooked a roast on the Traeger, and I used my cup of pumpkin puree to make 4 different recipes!

The pumpkin dishes were all prepped to make for breakfast this morning.  My hubby enjoyed a home cooked meal rather than his usual bowl of cereal!

In one Corningware French White 16-ounce dish (I love these, as they are microwave, oven and freezer safe and they have lids), I combined the liquid ingredients for The Oatmeal Artist's Basic Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal.  In a second dish, I combined the liquid ingredients for the Pumpkin Spice Latte Oatmeal recipe.  In two separate containers, I combined the oats and seasonings.  This morning, I combined the wet and dry ingredients and baked them.  (In the future, I will mix all of the ingredients together.  I don't think it will hurt for the oats to absorb some of the moisture overnight.)


Oh - if math is not your strong point and you are making a single batch of the Pumpkin Spice Latte Baked Oatmeal, you would use 8 teaspoons (or 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) of milk and the same amount of coffee.  (There are 48 teaspoons in one cup, so 16 teaspoons in 1/3 cup.  Half of that is 8 teaspoons, and there are 3 teaspoons in a Tablespoon - so 8 teaspoons = 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons.)
Pumpkin Milk for Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe found at
Thanks to Pinterest, I also stumbled upon a recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Latte at  I made the Pumpkin Milk yesterday (using rice milk to keep it dairy-free) and made these for my hubby and I this morning.  I did not have pumpkin pie spice (GASP!  As a pumpkin lover, this must be some sort of crime), so I used Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus I had on hand (it added cinnamon and orange flavors to the traditional pumpkin pie spice - if I remember correctly.) 

It turned out to be a bit too much cinnamon for my hubby, but he drank the whole cup!  I'll have to try it again with pumpkin pie spice and add a touch more maple syrup at my hubby's request.  He also pointed out that the spices do not all blend and/or dissolve.  Some settle in the bottom of the cup.  I read the recipe, so it was no surprise to me.  He still drank the whole cup!  I made a half cup for myself (as I am limiting my coffee consumption) and was too full from my oatmeal to finish my latte.  So, I poured the remains into an ice cube tray and froze them.  Later, I plan to blend them with more rice milk for a homemade Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino.  It sounds delicious!  This would probably be incredible with a nice wallop of homemade whipped cream, but with amazing dairy-free recipes like these, giving up dairy is quite a bit easier.  (I'll try whipped coconut milk once I can add coconut back into my diet.)

Overnight Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal from The Oatmeal Artist

Each of these recipes required 1/4-cup of pumpkin puree.  So, I used the last of my puree to make Overnight Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal using another Oatmeal Artist recipe.  This was my FAVORITE recipe!  Don't get me wrong, the baked pumpkin oatmeal was amazing and the baked pumpkin spice latte recipe was great, but this recipe tasted like dessert!  Again, I made it with rice milk to keep it dairy-free.  I also made the mistake of sampling this last night.  It did not survive long enough to be my breakfast tomorrow morning.  As my eldest (nicknamed Monkey) pointed out, it's a good thing it is almost pumpkin season!  (I have plans for the Cinderella Pumpkin growing in my yard!)

Now, I have tried mixing overnight recipes in half-pint mason jars and they just never fit.  So, I mixed this one in a pint-sized jar.  It looks a bit large for the job, but it worked out perfectly.

Let me just say, my youngest (nicknamed Mutt at his request), only likes instant oatmeal.  He has snubbed every homemade oatmeal I have made.  Until now.  He said he would eat this if I heated it up a bit.  (That being said, he has not yet sampled the baked oatmeal recipes I made this morning, but I saved a bit of each for he and his brother to sample.)  I'll make a comment later to let you know their opinions.

I am so thankful for the Internet and for creative cooks that are willing to share their creations!

Homemade Tomato Soup

Better Homes and Gardens Fresh Tomato Soup
The mornings and evenings are getting chilly and last night the moon was full and huge.  My boys register for school today.  In short, it is beginning to feel like fall.

Yesterday, I picked some tomatoes from our garden and tried the Fresh Tomato Soup recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  I also found a copy of the recipe on-line.  In my cookbook, it calls for cilantro or parsley.  I used some of the fresh basil growing on my kitchen counter - so, I smiled when I discovered the on-line recipe actually suggests cilantro or basil.

My boys decided this would be great with a grilled cheese sandwich (even the picky eater!)

My husband felt it was a bit bland.  That may be because I did not have any chicken bouillon granules, so I substituted Gaylord Hauser Vegetable Broth.  I like this veggie broth, but it does not have as much salt as bouillon.

The only hot sauce I could find was Blair's After Death Sauce - from a gift pack of hot sauces I gave to my husband for Christmas.  I only used two tiny drops and the flavor was wonderful without the soup being too hot for my picky eater.

This soup will definitely be made again in our home!  (I even put some in a jar and froze it to see how it holds up.  If it turns out well, I will be making a bigger patch, freezing it in individual portions as suggested for lunches on 100 Days of Real Food.) 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Almond Butter Chia Pudding

Almond Butter Chia Pudding
Through The Daring Kitchen, I stumbled across Shelley's blog, C Mom Cook.  Her recipes looked amazing - and they were dairy-free, so I had to follow her blog.  (Had to - it was a compulsion.  Take a peek and you may feel the same.)

Yesterday, I read Shelley's post from Monday about Chia Pudding.  Her recipe was inspired by and slightly adapted from Katie's Chi Chi Chi Chia post on her blog, Betcha Can't Eat Just One.  (And Katie has a label for pumpkin recipes, so you know I just have to follow her blog now!)

I am beginning the 5th week of my doctor's 6 week diet - eliminating a slew of foods I normally eat.  This list includes chocolate, coconut, and agave.  But, I really wanted to try this pudding and was sure I could make something work.

I opted to substitute almond butter for the cocoa powder and maple syrup for the agave.  I am still adjusting to almond butter.  The pudding did not taste bad, but my boys were both right, it was not very sweet.  I did not want to add more syrup, so I sliced a banana and stirred it in after the pudding chilled.  (It was devoured before I could take a picture.  Oops!)

Chia Seed Benefits and Risks

Huh.  I planned to find a great link touting all of the wonderful benefits of eating chia seeds and I stumbled upon sights warning of side effects.  My curiosity got the best of me.  I found some info at the website.  However, I found the info at seed guides far more informative.  

I encourage you to check out the sites above.  Below, I tried to summarize what I learned...  but I may not have caught all of the info.

There are a ton of benefits to eating chia seeds.  Check out the benefits here

As for the side-effects... the following information was paraphrased from and

You should limit the amount of these seeds you consume (for adults it sounds like 2 Tbsp. per day should be the limit - less for children.) 

Pregnant or nursing?  You should avoid chia seeds.
High triglyceride levels?  I recommend checking with your doctor.  Although other websites indicate chia seeds may lower triglyceride levels and raise HDL levels, states that some types of chia seeds actually raise triglyceride levels. (This may be due to the high alpha-linolenic acid levels.)   According to webmd, you should only use chia called "Salba," as it does not significantly increase triglycerides.  
Hemophiliac? On blood thinners?  On an aspirin regimen? Preparing for a surgery? Check with your doctor first.  The omega-3's in the chia seeds can cause the blood to thin. 
High risk for prostate cancer? Check with your doctor first.  High levels of alpha-linolenic acid may increase your risk with this type of cancer. (According to webmd, the jury is out on this as studies have shown increased risk and no changes in the risk - but they recommend avoiding alpha-linolenic acid supplements.)
Low blood pressure? Ask your doctor first.  Some research indicates you should steer clear of chia seeds as they could drastically lower your blood pressure.
Take B17 supplements? Adding chia seeds to your diet could cause an overdose.
Allergic to mustard or mustard seed?  High protein levels in chia seeds can contribute to allergic reactions in some people.  Sounds like the risk is higher with allergies to mustard seed.

Almond Butter Chia Pudding

Almond Butter Chia Pudding (Dairy-Free) - Please Read Chia Seed Benefits & Risks 1st.

3/4 - 1 cup almond milk (I used original, unsweetened)*
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 banana (optional)

  1. Blend together almond milk, almond butter, and maple syrup.  (I used our immersion blender with the tall cup it came with.)
  2. Stir-in chia seeds.  Bananas may be diced and added at this point.  Or if you do not want them to brown at all, wait until the pudding has chilled.
  3. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  4. If desired, add sliced or diced banana.  
  5. Enjoy!
*NOTE: The longer the pudding chills, the more liquid the chia seeds will absorb.  I used 3/4 cup almond milk and it was perfect an hour later.  If you plan to chill overnight, you may prefer to use closer to 1 cup of almond milk.

I look forward to trying more varieties of this delicious dairy-free "pudding."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

National Creamsicle Day - Dairy Free Orange Cream Pops

Dairy-Free Orange Cream Pop

Well, today I should be posting about the incredibly yummy Daring Cooks Challenge for August.  However, I am waiting until I finish this restrictive 6-week diet my doctor has me on to make that incredibly delicious dish.  It will be so much better with onions and garlic, I am sure!

Today, I was fiddling around, looking on-line for some fun lunch ideas to surprise the boys with once school starts up in a couple of weeks.  I remembered a co-worker once telling me there is a National Food Day nearly every day of the year and I thought it would be fun to incorporate a few of those into the school lunches.  I googled National Food Days (I do love Internet search engines!) and discovered this American Food Holiday list stating today was National Creamsicle Day.

My boys thought I was teasing when I told them, and here is why...

Irony can be mighty fun sometimes!  Last week, my 13-year-old (Mutt), told me we should make Jell-o popsicles.  That afternoon, I began skimming through a book by Reader's Digest that I picked up at the library called, Homemade: How to Make Hundreds of Everyday Products Fast, Fresh, and More Naturally.  Guess what I found?  A recipe for Orange Cream Pops using orange gelatin.  (Ironic, right?)  I LOVE orange creamsicles and feared I would have to give them up forever.  Maybe not!  I picked up the ingredients last Thursday and Mutt and I finally made them last night.  However, we started the project so late, they would not be ready until today.  And then this afternoon, I discovered it was National Creamsicle Day.  My boys thought I was joking.  Little did they know... *grins*

I even found an article with a little bit Creamsicle history published August 14, 2012 on  Just CLICK HERE to read it - there is even a "grown-up" recipe included!

Of the four of us, only Monkey can have milk.  So, I adapted the recipe.  I did not want to break any copyright laws by sharing the recipe from the book, so I did another Internet search.  Taste of Home has the exact same recipe listed on their website.  You can find it by clicking HERE.  My recipe is modified to exclude dairy.

Dairy-Free Orange Cream Pops


  • 1 package (3 ounces) orange gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) vanilla almond milk yogurt (or your favorite dairy-free vanilla yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or your favorite dairy-free milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 paper cups or Popsicle molds (3 ounces each)
  • 10 Popsicle sticks (if using cups)


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in hot water and stir until dissolved.  Allow it to cool to room temperature (we let it sit on the counter for about an hour.)
  2. Whisk in almond milk, almond milk yogurt and vanilla until all ingredients are well combined and smooth.
  3. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until firm.  OR fill paper cups.  You can put foil or plastic wrap over the tops of the cups and stick the popsicle sticks through to hold the stick straight and freeze until firm.  OR you can freeze the cups for about 2 hours and then insert the popsicle sticks so they will stand straight.
We had a fair amount of the mixture remaining after filling our popsicle molds (which were a fun gift to the boys from their Aunt a few years ago.)  Luckily, we found 3 paper cups stashed away in the cupboard.  I did not have any popsicle sticks, but I found exactly 3 plastic spoons in the silverware drawer.
Dairy-Free Orange Cream Pop in a Cup
The boys declared these a definite "Make Again" treat!  (And I added the Reader's Digest Homemade book to my wish-list!)

Friday, August 2, 2013

July 2013 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Eenie Meenie Miney Moe!

Potato Rösti
In a "celebration" of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we'd like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

And that truly was the challenge!  If you do not believe me, go to the recipe archives on The Daring Kitchen website (just click here) and try to decide for yourself!

In my case, my choices were severely limited, so it made the decision a ton easier.  My doctor has me on an restrictive diet to see if we can figure out if it is a food that has been making me sick - well, another food in addition to dairy.  So, no dairy, no gluten, no soy, no honey, no onions, no garlic, no beans, no fruits with pits; well, the list goes on, but you get the picture.

Here were our only guidelines for the challenge:

Mandatory Items: You must choose at least 1 past Daring Baker or Daring Cook challenge and recreate it by the reveal date.

Variations: Only variations are allowed are those specified in the challenges.
That's it.. all other rules/regulations/tips/tricks/notes/etc. will be found in each challenge - as will each printable file.
Have fun kids! Smile xoxo

Flipping Frying Patties!!!

My choice became a no-brainer when I stumbled across a recipe for Potato Rösti in the February 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge: Flipping Frying Patties!!!   Click here to find the challenge and the recipe.

Not only could I eat all of the ingredients, but my husband and I had not eaten rösti since we left Switzerland in 1997.  We had always purchased it in a pouch and cooked it up.  I had never made it from scratch.  And, I had already added gluten-free schnitzel to our menu for the week.  Rösti was the PERFECT addition.  It was also a wonderful surprise for my husband.  The boys had never tried it, and I am happy to say, even the pickiest eater enjoyed it.  Success. Yes!
Potato Rösti
Lisa, I loved the challenge - thank you so much!

If you would like to see the other wonderful creations, just click here.  Or, do a google search using the first paragraph of this post to find other bloggers describing their adventures with this delicious challenge!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Daring Cooks' July 2013 Challenge: Get Your Yogurt On!

The lovely Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler was our July Daring Cooks’ hostess and she asked us to create homemade yogurt in our own kitchens! No incubators needed, no expensive equipment or ingredients, just a few items and we had delicious yogurt for a fraction of the cost and a whole lot healthier than what you buy in the stores!
Coconut Yogurt with honey, blueberries, and homemade granola
I encourage you to stop by Cher's website to see more options for making yogurt from milk or milk substitutes using other thickening agents and cultures.  CLICK HERE for the full challenge and a lot more helpful information.

As I have to completely cut dairy out of my diet, this challenge arrived at the perfect time.  I miss yogurt and hate spending nearly $2.00 on 6 oz. of coconut yogurt.  This method took some time, but was not horribly difficult.  And the coconut flavor and creamy smooth texture of this yogurt far surpassed the expensive coconut yogurts I bought at the store.

Coconut Milk Yogurt

My Ingredient Choices:
1. "Milk": 2 13.5-oz. cans organic coconut milk (not to be mistaken with the beverage in a carton)

2. Culture:  PB8 Pro-biotic Acidophilus for Life Vegetarian Capsules.  I used 6 capsules but should have used 4 (I overestimated the amount of yogurt this would make.)

3. Thickening Agent: 1 packet Knox Unflavored Gelatin  (I wanted to use Agar-Agar Flakes, as I read they thicken the yogurt a bit better; however, the stores I went to did not carry this product and I had the gelatin on-hand.)

4. Sweetener: None (although non-dairy milks will turn out thicker with a sweetener for the pro-biotics to feed on.)

Equipment You Will Need:
• A double boiler or a bowl that can be nested in a pot without touching the bottom or a microwavable glass bowl*
• A whisk, for stirring together ingredients*
• Food thermometer
• A large bowl (or other container) for an ice bath (2-4 cups of ice and 1-2 cups of water – depending on the size of your bowl. You want to be able to cool the bottom and sides of the bowl you cooked your milk in)
• A smaller bowl non-glass bowl that will hold at least one quart if you do not want to put the hot glass bowl into the ice cold water.* 
• A heat source for incubating yogurt - I used my crock-pot
• Glass jars (five to six ½-pint (400 ml) jars) or a glass bowl for culturing yogurt*
• Liquid measuring cup*
• Measuring spoons*
• Pot holders

*IMPORTANT NOTE:  All equipment that will come in direct contact with the yogurt should be thoroughly washed before using, to mitigate the potential of any non-beneficial bacteria entering the equation. I run my equipment through the dishwasher and use the heated dry cycle. Some sources recommend sterilizing in boiling water.

  • 2 13.5-oz cans organic coconut milk (not the beverage in a carton)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Sweetener (if using)
  • 4 PB* Pro-biotic Acidophilus for Life Vegetarian Capsules (or read the label of your pro-biotic capsules and use enough to have about 25-30 billion pro-biotics for this quart-sized batch of yogurt.)
  • 1 packet Knox Unflavored Gelatin
  1. Place the coconut milk, ½ cup (120ml) of water and sweetener in a bowl and stir until well blended.
  2. Combine 2 Tbsp boiling water with 2 teaspoons (1 packet is a smidge over this) Unflavored Gelatin.  Stir until gelatin has dissolved.
  3. Prepare the ice bath - combine 2-4 cups of ice in 1-2 cups of water, depending upon the size of your bowl.
  4.  BE CAUTIOUS USING THIS STEP!  Using the microwave to boil liquid can be tricky.  The liquid may not appear to be boiling until it moves around, when it may bubble and splatter up and out.  I used a larger bowl than I needed and carefully placed it on the counter after each minute to stir it with a rubber spatula.  When it was done, the liquid erupted into bubbles as the spatula entered the liquid.  Place the bowl in the microwave and heat in one minute intervals until the mixture comes to a boil. (After each minute, remove bowl from microwave and stir). Depending on the strength of your microwave, this may take 4-7 minutes. (Alternately, you can heat the mixture using the double boiler method).
  5. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove from the microwave and place the bowl in an ice bath. (NOTE: I poured the mixture into a clean non-glass bowl and then set it into the ice bath, as I recently had a coffee cup sitting on a cool tile counter crack in half when I added hot water for tea...) Stir until the temperature of the mixture drops 90°F/32°C if you are using a pro-biotic starter. 
  6. When the liquid cools to 110°F/43°C, stir in the starter. (If you are using a freeze-dried culture or pro-biotic capsules, make sure the liquid has cooled to the temperature recommended for that particular culture).  NOTE: my culture did not specify, so I cooled to 110 degrees.
  7. Ladle the yogurt mixture into ½ pint glass jars (should be ~5-6 jars depending on how full you fill them), secure the cover.  
  8. Incubation:  I chose to use the crockpot method.  Our directions read: Slow cooker – This is the method that I use the most. To use a slow cooker, place the cooker on its “warm” setting and pour in enough hot water to come half way off the jars. Place the cover on the cooker and check the temperature of the water every ½ hour to hour to make sure it isn’t getting too hot (actual temperature range will depend on the starter type you chose). If the water starts to get too hot, unplug the machine and wrap the crock pot in a large towel to hold the temperature for the rest of the incubation period. However, my hot water was WAY too hot, so I removed the jars and cooled the with cold water until it reached 105.  Then, I returned the jars to the crockpot, making sure the water level was about mid-way up the jars.  My crockpot's warm setting was too warm, so I turned it off, unplugged it and wrapped it with a towel.  I checked the temperature every half hour and turned it on warm briefly if it began to drop.
  9. Incubate the yogurt for about 5-8 hours. Longer incubating times will result in a tangier yogurt. The optimal incubating temperature is ~122°F/50°C for yogurt starters (if you are using a freeze-dried starter or pro-biotic capsules, follow the recommended temperatures for those starters). Ideally, you want to keep the temperature as close to that as possible for the incubating period. Realizing that may not be possible – I try to target keeping the mixture between 115°F/46°C and 125°F/52°C (95°F/35°C to 105°F/41°C if using pro-biotic capsules).
  10. Once the yogurt is done incubating, carefully transfer the containers to the refrigerator and chill for at least 8 hours. This step helps to thicken the yogurt and lulls those ravenous friendly bacteria back to their sluggish state.  Note: To avoid putting the hot jars onto the cold glass shelf in my refrigerator, I folded a kitchen towel in half and put on the shelf first. 
  11. After the cooling period, the yogurt is ready to be enjoyed.  

    Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
    Once processed & tightly sealed, most yogurts will keep, refrigerated for one to two weeks. I have had success with some yogurts keeping for longer, but it usually doesn’t last long enough for me to test that theory.
This is how my yogurt looked after the incubation stage, I panicked until I read on another site that this can sometimes happen.  So, I stirred each jar prior to refrigerating, and they turned out fine!
Even without a sweetener, I loved the smooth texture and amazing coconut flavor!

It was even better with about a Tbsp. honey and 1/4 cup frozen blueberries blended in.
Homemade granola made the perfect addition!

As for my pickiest eater?  He is not a huge coconut fan, and felt the coconut flavor was a bit too much for him; however, with the addition of blueberries, honey and granola, he said he would eat it anyway.

Just for my picky eater, I attempted making yogurt with regular milk, but my warm setting on my crockpot took the temperature over 150 degrees within a half hour.  It must have killed the culture.  It ended up as a liquid with a tad of thickness at the bottom.  I plan to try it again with Lactaid for the non-coconut lovers in my home and with almond milk as another dairy-free option for myself.  (Hmmm... maybe I will make that today...)

Cher, thank you for this amazing challenge!  I was absolutely giddy with excitement about how yummy and relatively easy (thanks to your amazing information) this was to make.

All other readers, I strongly encourage you to use the Daring Cooks July '13 Challenge: Yogurt! post at The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler if you plan to make your own yogurt.  Cher has oodles of information, links to other resources and options to choose from!

To see more fun yogurt creations, visit The Daring Kitchen.  I was amazed at the creativity.

Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

June 2013 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Life of Pie

Crostata di Marmellata - dairy free crust & blueberry honey jam filling

Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie!

Of our four choices, I chose the Crostata di Marmellata; although I am very late in posting!  Better late than never?  My boys certainly thought so!  It was devoured.

To read the full challenge and see all four yummy choices and their recipes, please CLICK HERE and visit Rachael at pizzarossa. 

I faced several challenges with this recipe (and found myself very thankful for the Internet and blogs!)

First, I needed a dairy-free crust (preferably without resorting to shortening.)
Second, I wanted to avoid using white flour.
Third, I wanted to avoid using refined sugar.

I was so happy to stumble upon Rosalie's Never Fail (Dairy-Free) Pie Crust recipe at The Joyful Baker!  The recipe uses coconut oil instead of butter - brilliant!

I made a couple of modifications to the crust (one of which likely made my work more challenging than it should have been.)  I substituted King Arthur Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour for the unbleached all-purpose flour.  Bad idea.  Substituting 1/3 cup would have worked better.  I learned my something new!  Whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid than all-purpose flour.  I also substituted 1/4 tsp vanilla for 1/4 tsp of the water.  Yum!  Next time, I will try Rosalie's way of making this crust.  Although I had to put a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough to prevent it from falling apart (likely due to my flour exchange), the dough turned out and tasted really great!

As for the filling... Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food was awesome enough to share a recipe from Ashley Eller (of Sweetie Pie Bakery) for Strawberry Honey Jam.  This jam is pectin free and does not use refined sugar.  I made some and it was delicious!  However, my eldest (Monkey) glared daggers at me for even considering the use of his favorite toast topper.   So, I picked up some blueberries at a local berry farm and made the Blueberry Honey Jam by substituting blueberries for the strawberries.  YUM!

I wanted to make my own apricot jam for the glaze, to completely avoid the use of refined sugar.  However, the only apricots I could find were expensive and not local.  So, I bought a tiny jar of apricot jam and used that for the glaze.

To create this delicious treat I made the jam the day before.

Crostata di Marmellata
1.  I made and canned Blueberry Honey Jam following the recipe at 100 Days of Real Food.
2.  I made the pie crust (mostly - see comments above) following the Never Fail (Dairy-Free) Pie Crust recipe at The Joyful Pantry.

3. Using 2/3 of the pie dough, I baked a single crust as directed in the original recipe.
Shh... pretend I did a better job with my foil and part of the edge is not too dark...

4.  I added two cups of Blueberry Honey Jam.

5. Using the last of the pie dough, I created the lattice topping.  (And cut out a few stars for the 4th of July!)

6. I baked the pie as directed in the original recipe.
7. I made the apricot glaze.
8. After removing the pie, I brushed the glaze onto the pie crust.
Did I forget to mention that my picky eater even ate the edge of the crust?!  It was not secretly disposed of in the garbage.  The magic of glaze?!

Now, to see some real works of art, check out the Life of Pie Challenge in the recipe archive at The Daring Kitchen.  And, don't forget to visit pizzarossa!

Rachael, thank you for this amazing challenge!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Strawberry-Apple Granola Cooked on the Traeger

Strawberry Apple Granola cooked on the Traeger
I have been trying to pull my family away from store-bought cereals by making and freezing pancakes (2 recipes will be posted soon!)  However, cereal is the breakfast of choice in my home.

During the winter months, I like to make homemade granola.  However, as we only have a window air conditioner, I generally avoid using our oven during the summer - unless it's a nice, cool, rainy day.

While cooking our meatballs for the June Daring Cooks' Challenge, I wondered if the Traeger would work to bake my granola.  The answer is YES!

I found my favorite granola recipe at quite some time ago.  It is listed as "Granola-4 Recipe" and was submitted by Tammy Kimbler.  Click HERE for the original recipe.  Ordinarily, I make it using pure maple syrup as the sugar and dried figs as the fruit.

This time, I wanted to make granola without the ginger.  So, I changed things up a bit.

Strawberry-Apple Granola

6 cups rolled oats (I buy them organinc in the bulk-food section for about $1.49/lb.)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup (Costco usually has great prices.)
3 egg whites
1/4 - 1/2 cup sliced almonds - optional
1/2 cup freeze-dried apples, chopped
1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries, chopped

1. If using an oven, preheat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  If using a Traeger (I used Cherry pellets), open lid and set on smoke for about 5 minutes.  Then close the lid and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine oats and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix well.
Oats and cinnamon.
 3. In a smaller bowl, lightly whip egg whites.  Stir in maple syrup and vanilla.  Then, add to oats and cinnamon and mix well.
Oats, cinnamon, maple syrup, egg whites, and vanilla.

Dry and wet ingredients combined.
4.  Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Arrange oat mixture in a single layer.

5. Place cookie sheet in Traeger.  (Or in oven.)
Granola going onto the Traeger.  See the smoke from the cherry pellets?!
6. Cook for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes.  (I like my granola crunchier, so mine cooked about 40 minutes.  However, I always check it 30 minutes in to make sure it is not too dark.)

7. If you want to add almonds, they taste best toasted.  (Like how I decided that for you?!)  Place sliced almonds in a single layer in an oven-safe dish.  Place on Traeger for 5-7 minutes, stirring after 3 minutes.  Watch closely, so they do not burn.  (Or broil in oven, still watching closely so they do not burn - they will probably brown faster.)
Slivered almonds before and after toasting.
8. When cooked to your liking, remove granola from the grill and turn the Traeger off.

9. Allow granola to cool completely.  (I set the pan on a wire rack and clean up as it cools.)

10. Stir in apples, strawberries and almonds (if using).
Recipe used about 1/3 of the bag of strawberries and the full bag of apples.
11. Store in an airtight container.  (As you can see, I folded the long edges of my aluminum foil in toward the center, rolled one short end closed, and used the open end to funnel the granola into the jar.)
Easy-pour lining!

Strawberry Apple Granola cooked on the Traeger
 12. Enjoy!

We love our granola with almond milk or coconut milk for breakfast.  How do you like yours?

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Successful First Attempt of Canning Jam

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I journeyed to the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market

My hubby discovered Chocolate Habaneros a couple of years ago.  They have an amazing flavor and are a perfect addition to salsas, guacamole, and chili.  Unfortunately, this year we were late in our arrival at the annual Master Gardener's Spring Garden Fair (held at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds the weekend before Mother's Day) where we have purchased these plants in the past.   However, the gentleman that sells the pepper plants planned to be at the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market on June 8th.  Thus, our fun Saturday excursion. (I will have to find out the name of the pepper man's business from my hubby and add that to a later post...)

Unfortunately, Chocolate Habaneros do not germinate well.  So, we were unable to purchase any to grow them this year.  However, we purchased a Chocolate Ghost Pepper plant instead.  (Even my hubby is a little nervous about the heat these may generate!)  He also found several other pepper plants he wanted to try, which made him a happy camper.

As for me?  Well, I knew I wanted to make a homemade jam for this month's Daring Bakers' Challenge.  So, I picked up half a flat of fresh, organic strawberries at the Farmers' Market.  My wonderful mom gave me her canner, as she no longer uses it, and I set about searching the internet for a good recipe.

When I stumbled across How to Can Some Jam: A Simple Method Without Pectin or (Refined) Sugar on the 100 Days of Real Food Blog, I knew I found my recipe.  This Strawberry Honey Jam recipe is from Ashley Eller with Sweetie Pie Bakery.

Click HERE for the recipe.

I only had 3 pounds of strawberries, so I cut the ingredients in half.

There was only one problem with this jam.  Monkey (my 16-year-old) likes it so much that he REALLY did not want me to use it in my Daring Bakers' Challenge.  *sigh*  His favorite snack is toast with jam, honey or cinnamon and sugar.  The fact that this jam is made with honey makes it absolutely perfect for him.  I know.  How? He a point of telling me.  He actually glared at me when I mentioned using some of his precious jam for my challenge, which is very unlike him!

Luckily, a blueberry farm we like to visit opened last weekend.  They were closed Monday through Wednesday.  And Thursday, simply did not work for me - I had plans.  My hubby and I went to see The Steve Miller Band perform at the McMenamins Edgefield Concert on the Lawn with friends of ours.  I may be dating myself, but it was fun to hear "Abracadabra," "Fly Like an Eagle" and "The Joker" performed live!

So, today, I am off to the Morning Shade Farms to pick up 10 pounds of blueberries and honey.  (We normally pick our own, and I still hope to this summer, but feeling the way I have recently, this was the perfect way to have enough fresh blueberries to freeze for the winter and make more jam!)

I hope to have my June Challenge posted by the end of the weekend...

Striving to Eat Real Food

Well, the bad news is that I am still running behind on my Daring Bakers' and Daring Cooks' Challenges.

The truth is, I have been sick since the end of April.  Well, not ALL of that time.  I have had little breaks (the longest being 3 full days over Father's Day weekend - and trust me, I was excited about that!) where my body has not hated me for eating.  What's up?  No clue, but we're still looking into that.  I'm not worrying about it or wanting sympathy; I'm just explaining why I am so far behind...

On a positive note two good things have come out of this.  First, I am striving to eat real food and avoid processed foods.  (Alas, dairy is also out of my diet forever... Cheese is the toughie, but once I am feeling better, I will experiment with goat cheeses.)  Second, I have made a lot of progress with my newest passion - crazy quilting.  Unlike this blog, my first blog, Living My Dream, has been incredibly active the past few months! *grins*

Friday, June 14, 2013

June Daring Cooks' Challenge: Meatballs Around the World

The June Daring Cooks’ challenge sure kept us rolling – meatballs, that is! Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to try meatballs from around the world and to create our own meatball meal celebrating a culture or cuisine of our own choice.

I encourage you to click on the links above and check out their blogs!

My family LOVES meatballs with their spaghetti.  So, at least once a year, we have made Make-Ahead Meatballs from a recipe submitted to the Freezer Pleasers section of Taste of Home's Quick Cooking, which was submitted by Ruth Andrewson (my magazine states she is from Idaho, but the link above says Washington.)

Note:  For this meal, I broke it down into two days.  Making the meatballs on Day 1 and the spaghetti sauce on Day 2.

We do not have central air conditioning in our home, so our meatball making has all taken place during the cooler months.  The timing of this challenge encouraged me to try something new.  I made some changes to the recipe we have used in the past to add more flavor.  And, I tried cooking some of them on our Traeger.  (It turned out to be quite cool on the day I made these, so I cut my baking time in half by doing a batch in the oven while cooking another batch on the Traeger.)

Make-Ahead Meatballs on the Traeger
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time:  1.5 hours
Yield: roughly 12 dozen meatballs

Equipment required:
2 Large mixing bowls
Measuring tools
Spoon(s) for mixing/shaping, if desired (I used a Pampered Chef small scoop)
Cookie sheet
Parchment paper (optional)
Food processor (optional)
Metal Spatula
Cutting board
Kitchen knife
Paper towels
Freezer bags or Freezer containers
Traeger grill and pellets OR oven

2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 lbs. sausage (I used 1 lb. mild Italian and 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage)
4 eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup grated carrot, optional
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. white pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
2 cups fine bread crumbs (or 6 cups soft bread crumbs)

Traeger Directions:
1. Make sure you have enough chips in your Traeger!  (I used Hickory.) 
2. With lid open, set Traeger to smoke until hot (about 5 minutes)
3. Set Traeger on High (400 degrees Fahrenheit.)
4.  If using fresh bread crumbs, pulse bread (6-12 slices depending on the size for soft bread crumbs) in a food processor.  I had dried bread cubes on hand from homemade wheat bread, and pulsed them in the food processor until I had 2 cups worth.  Set aside.
5. In large mixing bowl, whip eggs.
6.  Add onion, carrot (if using), salt, Worcestershire sauce, white pepper, and oregano to eggs and mix well.
7.  Mix bread crumbs into egg mixture.  Mix well.
8. In a very large bowl, combine the ground beef and sausage (I alternate adding beef and then sausage to be sure the flavors mixed evenly.)
9. Work the bread mixture into the meat.  I take care mixing this part very, very well.  (No one wants a meatball that is mostly breadcrumbs and eggs.)
10. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (if using - this makes clean up much easier!)
11. Shape meatballs.  Scoop meat with a small spoon (or Pampered Chef small scoop), roll into ball, and place on cookie sheet.  (I fill the cookie sheet and then continue shaping the balls and placing them into the bowl I used to mix the eggs and breadcrumbs, so they are ready to cook when the first batch is done.)
12. Bake on Traeger for 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until no pink remains.  (I cooked all of mine for 15 minutes.  To keep the Traeger hot, I removed the pan from the Traeger and turned the meatballs, then put them back on the grill for another 5 minutes, and repeated the process.)
13. Drain cooked meatballs on a plate lined with paper towels.  Continue cooking remaining meatballs on the parchment lined cookie sheet.
Meatballs cooked on the Traeger
Meatballs baked in the oven.
As you can see, the meatballs cooked on the Traeger browned beautifully.  (For the record, my picky eater thought the meatballs I cooked in the oven tasted too much like my meatloaf, but he loved the ones I grilled on the Traeger!)

Oven Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Follow steps 4 through 11 above.
3. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until no pink remains.  (I cooked mine for 15 minutes.  And, I removed them from the oven to turn them, to keep the oven hot, then returned them to the oven for another 5 minutes, and repeated the process.)
4. Drain cooked meatballs on a paper-towel lined plate.

There are so many ways to enjoy meatballs, feel free to substitute these with your favorite recipe.  We enjoyed ours with homemade spaghetti sauce (recipe below) and homemade Rosemary Flax Baguettes from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoe Francois. (Out of curiosity, I even baked one loaf on the Traeger!  I think I preferred the rosemary flavor from the oven-baked loaf, but it was fun and tasty anyway!) 
Oops!  I forgot to slice the tops.  They were tasty, though!

To Freeze:
Line a clean cookie sheet with plastic wrap.  Place cooked meatballs this cookie sheet, so they are not touching.  Place in freezer for a couple of hours.  (This keeps the meatballs from freezing together in a large clump.)  Remove from tray and put in freezer bag or freezer container and freeze.  The recipe I adapted this from recommends storing 30 meatballs per bag.  However, my family uses about 16 meatballs per batch of spaghetti, so I freeze about that many per bag.  Meatballs may be frozen up to 3 months.

Homemade Mushroom, Basil and Oregano Spaghetti Sauce
Homemade Mushroom, Basil and Oregano Spaghetti Sauce cooked with fresh tomatoes

This was my first attempt at making spaghetti sauce from scratch.  We always have a lot of tomatoes at the end of summer, and I thought it would be fun (and healthy) to can spaghetti sauce this year.  (I have never canned anything, so this will be new!)  And, before making a huge batch, I wanted to be sure I could make a sauce we liked.

I found this recipe I thought sounded good at, and made a few changes I thought my family might like.  It turned out a little sweet.  Next time, I will cut the sugar in half and add a lot more garlic.  (I already doubled the garlic from the original recipe I found, but 8 small cloves simply was not enough!)  I had no idea when to add mushrooms, so Google became my handy friend.  I found this recipe on Pham Fatale and added my mushrooms the way she added them to her ravioli sauce.

Preparation time: ???  I was SLOW peeling my tomatoes, so this took me quite a while.
Cooking time:  2 hours 5 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

Equipment required:
Large non-reactive pot
Small skillet
Large spoon
Cutting Board
Kitchen Knife
Kitchen Shears (optional - I use them to "chop" my herbs)
Slotted spoon
Large bowl of ice water
Bowl to hold freshly chopped tomatoes
Measuring tools
Immersion blender (or a blender could work)

4 lbs. fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced (I will add more next time, but my cloves were small.)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 4 tsp. dried)
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
2 1/2 cups (8 oz) button mushrooms - finely chop 1 1/2 cups mushrooms.  Slice the rest & set aside
1 tsp. salt
4 sprigs parsley
1 Tbsp sugar (I will use less next time)
Meatballs - optional
Favorite pasta, cooked as directed
grated Parmesan cheese - optional (I am eating dairy free, but for those cheese lovers in my house we had this available.)

1.  Prep all ingredients.  To peel the tomatoes, I found great tips at The Shiksa in the Kitchen, and used the Boiling Water Method.  I filled a large pot with water and brought it to a boil.  While it came to a boil, I washed my tomatoes and cut a small "X" onto the bottom of each one.  Next, I boiled 3 tomatoes at a time for 25 seconds.  Using a slotted spoon, I removed the tomatoes from the boiling water and put them in a bowl of ice water (to prevent them from cooking more from the hot water.)  When they were all done, I peeled them - most peeled quite easily, but I was slow at this.  Next, I cut the tomatoes, scraped the seeds out, chopped them, and set aside in a bowl.
2. In a large non-reactive pan, heat the olive oil.
3. Add onion, basil, oregano, garlic and salt.  Saute until onion is almost tender (5 - 8 minutes).
4. Add 1 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms and saute 2 minutes.
5. Add tomatoes, parsley and sugar to the pot.  Heat to a boil.  Reduce and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.
6. While sauce is cooking, add remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil to a skillet.  Heat oil.  Add remaining sliced mushrooms and saute 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
7. Remove parsley after sauce has simmered 2 hours.
8. Use the immersion blender, being careful not to hit the bottom of the pan.  (Alternatively, you could allow the sauce to cool, scoop batches of it into a blender and blend until desired consistency.  Once blended, return it to the pot to continue cooking.)
9. Add sliced mushrooms and meatballs (if desired).  If using fresh meatballs, heat sauce an additional 5 minutes.  If adding frozen meatballs, heat an additional 10-15 minutes - until meatballs are heated through.
10.  Serve warm sauce over warm pasta.  (And sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.)

I would LOVE to thank Shelly and Ruth for this challenge!  I learned a yummier (is that a word?!) way to make amazing meatballs for my family and was inspired to create spaghetti sauce from scratch.  We had my husband's 95-year-old grandfather over for dinner and  he loved it as much as my family did.

To see more amazing meatball ideas (some are even vegan!) visit The Daring Kitchen or copy this sentence and paste it into your search bar:
The June Daring Cooks’ challenge sure kept us rolling – meatballs, that is!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Oops! I have fallen behind...

My apologies to my fellow Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks.  Due to unforeseen circumstances, I have fallen behind on my challenges.  I have made a list of items to complete.  It just may take me a while before I am ready to catch up!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 2013 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Peach Tea Soaked Savarin with Vanilla Chantilly

Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

Let me begin by thanking Natalia for this fantastic challenge!  She only had three weeks notice to host our April challenge, and during that time she tried several Savarin recipes to find one to share with the Daring Bakers.  Making the Savarin was not hard, but it was very time consuming, so my hat is off to Natalia.  I encourage you to check out her blog, Gatti Fili e Farina, for a bit more information about Savarin.  She also has fantastic photographs of the dough as it forms threads and for the window pane test.

In her words, Natalia told us where she found our recipes:
Recipe Source: I must tell you that I tried many recipes (we are submerged in Savarins!) and the recipe I chose is a mix of the recipes from a very famous Italian Blogger, Adriano Continisio of Profumo di Lievito, and a very famous Italian Chef : Luca Montersino. He has his show on Alice TV, a cable channel that focuses on cooking . The link to their recipes are: and For the pastry cream I followed the recipe in Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen. For the syrup I followed the recipe from Luca Montersino. 

I chose to make the Savarin on a Saturday while we had friends visiting.  If I were to make it again, I would break it down into two days.  I would bake and soak the Savarin in the syrup the day before I planned to serve it.  I would also complete steps 1 - 6 of the Pastry Cream and Chantilly recipe the day before.

The Savarin was a big hit with the adults and the young adults in our home.  I'd love to make it again sometime using a dairy free filling.  My biggest disappointment with my Savarin was that I did not soak it long enough.  I worried it would become too soggy to handle, so mine soaked less than 5 minutes.  Next time, I will add more soaking time.  That being said,  it was still delicious and our friends happily took some leftovers home with them.

Following, you will find the information and recipes Natalia shared with us. (I added my photos and a few of my own notes in bold italics.) 

Peach Tea Soaked Savarin with Vanilla Chantilly
Notes: This is a very rich dough but following Luca’s and Adriano’s tips and with the help of a mixer you won’t have any trouble! The key is to know how to handle a very rich dough. We need a very healthy and active gluten in this recipe but fats can inhibit it; so we have to develop the gluten well before adding any fat. For this reason I liked the fact that Adriano adds even the yolks after the autolyse not to disturb gluten at all. The salt crystals can cut the elastic strands of the gluten too so they are added later as the butter who is the last addition.
After the first proofing we proceed in a couple of folds to strengthen the structure of our dough with the ‘Dough Package fold’ method that will result in a smaller and tighter crumb. After that the dough will be shaped on the work bench with a method called “Pirlatura” (that is used for Panettone as well) put in the pan, proofed , baked and then soaked in a flavored syrup. In my recipe I chose to fill the hole with what we, in Italy, call Chantilly that is a pastry cream thinned with whipped cream. And then I decorated it with fresh fruit.

Preparation time:
Sponge: 30 minutes
First Mixing and Autolyse: 35 minutes
Second Mixing: 35 minutes
Proofing: 2 to 3 hours
Shaping: 20 minutes
Final Rising: 1 to 1,1/2 hour
Syrup preparation: 15 minutes
Glaze preparation: 10 minutes
Pastry cream preparation: 30 minutes
Whipped cream preparation: 15 minutes
Baking: 40 minutes
Soaking: 1 hour
Glazing: 10 minutes

Equipment required:
• Scale or measuring cups and spoons
• Stand mixer with paddle and beater or hand held mixer with dough hooks and beaters or very motivated arms!
• Dough scraper or spatula
• Grater for lemon and orange zest
• Knife for lemon and orange peel
• Small bowl for the sponge
• Bowl for egg whites
• Bowl for yolks
• Small bowl for butter
• Saucepan for pastry cream
• Bowl for Pastry cream
• Saucepan for syrup
• Saucepan for the glaze
• Brush for the glaze
• 28 cm (11 inches) Savarin mold (springform or not)
• Cling film
• Cooling rack to let the cake drip
• Pan that fits under the cooling rack to catch the drippings
• Ladle
• Big bowl for soaking the Savarin


Servings: 8/10
2½ cups (600 ml) (12-1/3 oz) (350 gm) bread flour (NOTE: measure into a separate container before beginning.)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water, lukewarm
6 (320 gm) large eggs at room temperature, separated
½ satchel (1½ teaspoons) (4 gm) instant yeast or 15 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast
4 teaspoons (20 ml) (20 gm) sugar
2/3 stick (1/3 cup) (80 ml) (75 gm) butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) orange and lemon zest (optional)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (55 gm) butter for greasing the work surface, hands, dough scraper & baking pan

In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lukewarm water, 3 tablespoons (1 oz) (25 gm) flour and yeast , cover with cling film and let rise 60 minutes  (NOTE: Next time, I will add the water and the yeast first, and then stir in the flour.)

1.After 30 minutes put the egg whites in the mixer bowl and start working with the paddle at low speed adding flour until you have a soft dough that sticks to the bowl (about 2 cups or 270 gm) and work until it comes together, cover with cling film and let rest 30 min

2.Add the sponge to the mixer bowl along with a tablespoon of flour and start mixing at low speed (if you wish to add the zests do it now)

3.When it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl add one yolk and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour

4.Add the second yolk , the sugar and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour

5.Raise the speed a little

6.Add the third yolk and the salt and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour

7.Keep on adding one yolk at the time and the flour saving a tablespoon of flour for later

8.Mix the dough until is elastic and makes threads (NOTE: Natalia's blog has a great photo of this.)

9.Add the butter at room temperature and as soon as the butter is adsorbed add the last tablespoon of flour

10.Keep on mixing till the dough passes the window pane test

11.Cover the dough with cling film and let it proof until it has tripled in volume 2 to 3 hours.

12.You can prepare the Pastry cream now if you chose to use it, and refrigerate it

13.While you wait prepare your baking pan buttering it very carefully not leaving too much butter on it

14.Grease your dough scraper, your hands and your work surface and put the dough on it and fold with the Dough Package Fold two or three times around (5 folds twice or three times). Cover with cling foil and let it rest 15 minutes on the counter

15.Turn the dough upside down and with the help of your buttered dough scraper shape your dough in a rounded bun

16.Make a hole in the center with your thumb and put it in the prepared pan 

17. Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm spot until the dough reaches the top of the pan about 1 hour

18.Pre-heat oven to moderate 340°F/170°C/gas mark 3

19.Bake the Savarin for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown

20.Meanwhile prepare the Syrup
21.When the Savarin is done take it out of the oven, let it cool and remove carefully out of the pan

22.You have two choices now: you can immerse it in syrup right now or you can let it dry out (so it will lose some of his moisture that will be replaced by the syrup) and soak it later on.

23.To immerse it in syrup it is a good idea to place it in the mold you baked it in (I’m afraid a spring-form one wouldn’t work for this) and keep adding ladles of syrup until you see it along the rim of the pan. Or you can just soak it in a big bowl keeping your ladle on top of it so it doesn’t float. Once the Savarin is really well soaked carefully move it on a cooling rack positioned over a pan to let the excess syrup drip.  (NOTE: I feared the syrup would overflow from my bundt pan, so I attempted using a bowl first.  However, the Savarin kept floating, and the bowl was too narrow at the bottom to allow the top section to soak.  So, I returned it to the bundt pan and carefully ladled the syrup over the top.  In the future, I would allow my Savarin to soak at least 5-10 minutes.  If it becomes too soft, I could always place my cooling rack over the sink and carefully turn the Savarin onto the rack.)

24.The soaked Savarin gains in flavor the next day

25.Whatever you decide the day you want to serve it glaze it and fill the hole with your filling of choice and decorate it. You can serve the Savarin with some filling on the side.

26.Enjoy it !

Peach Flavored Syrup:

Servings: 1 savarin
1½ cups (350 ml) peach tea
1½ cups (350 ml) peach juice
1½ cups (350 ml) water
1 cup (240 ml) (8 oz) (225 gm) sugar
zest of one lemon
one cinnamon stick (Note: I substituted 1/2 tsp of cinnamon)

1.Combine tea, water, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil
2.Let boil 5 minutes and remove from the stove

3.When cooled a bit add the peach juice.

Pastry Cream and Chantilly:

Servings: 1 savarin plus some for serving
2 cups (500 ml) milk
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) sugar
zest of one lemon
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1¼ oz) (35 gm) cornstarch
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream

1.In a saucepan bring to a boil milk and sugar (Note: I added the zest here.)

2.In a bowl whisk together egg yolks, egg, cornstarch and sugar

3.Add the hot milk to the eggs one tablespoon at the time to temper it

4.Pour in the saucepan again and bring to a boil stirring constantly

5.When the cream thickens remove from the stove

6.Put cling film onto the cream (touching the surface) and cool

7.Pour 1 cup (250 ml) cold heavy cream in mixer bowl with the whisk attachment

8.Beat until whipped
9.Combine with the cooled pastry cream adding a tablespoon at the time of whipped cream until it gets to the right consistency. Or it looks right to you !


Servings: 1 savarin
2 tablespoons (30 ml) apricot Jam
2 tablespoons water

1.In a saucepan mix jam and water and warm up

2.When the savarin is cool and soaked brush it with the glaze

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
You can store the dried savarin for 5 days in a closed container. If you have soaked it cover well with cling foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.