Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Who doesn't love the smell of fresh bread? 
Even better, a slice of fresh bread with butter?!

All recipes are created by Jenna unless stated otherwise! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

There is nothing better than a homemade loaf of bread right out of the oven. The aroma that fills your kitchen suddenly transforms your house into a home. Baking bread on a crisp fall or winter day is seriously one of my favorite things to do! It is relaxing and comforting...even the process of baking bread warms you up on those cold days. Disclaimer: I live in days are really not that cold but it is all relevant...right?

Below is my recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I enjoy it toasted and with my coffee in the mornings but I also think it could be a great addition to your Thanksgiving or any of your upcoming holiday dinners.

Makes 1 Loaf (serves about 10)
Prep-Time: 1 hour (not counting rise time)
Rise Time: 3+ hours 
Bake-Time: 40 minute 
Cool-Time: 1 hour (if you can wait that long)

What you will need:

1 1/4 cups warm water; it is important it is not boiling
1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp salt (my mom doesn't eat salt and I limit my intake so I have made this recipe without salt and it is still good, however, if you are not used to the absence of salt I highly suggest not skipping this step)
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp raw sugar
1 cup raisins (if you want more go for it)
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut 
1/2 cup skim milk (warm for 20 seconds just so it is not cold from the refrigerator when added into the ingredients) 
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (don’t be afraid to keep adding if the dough is too sticky)

Let's get started: 

1) In a large bowl (I use our Kitchen Aid) sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Let the yeast sit for about a minute. 

2) On low beat in the oil, salt, cinnamon, sugar and milk. I use the whisk attachment for this step and let it all mix up for about a minute. You do not want or need to over beat your yeast. 

3) At this point in the process I switch to using my dough hook attachment on my kitchen aid (pictured below). Slowly add in the flour one cup at a time. In betweens cups add in small amounts of raisins and the coconut so that when you finish adding in the flour everything is already mixing in. 

4) If the dough is too sticky you can slowly add in more flour. Once the dough appears to be too thick to mix with tools start to beat/knead it with your hands. Continue to slowly add flour if it is sticking to your hands.

5) Once you have worked the dough (about 2-5 minutes by hand) you will set it aside to let it rise.

6) Cover the dough with a clean damp cloth and place in a warm or sunny place for a minimum of 3 hours. The dough should double in bulk.

7) When you are ready to bake the bread preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

8) Knead the dough one more time (add flour if it is sticky) to get rid of any air pockets.

9) Now, it is ready to bake. I just plop my loaf on a baking sheet but if you prefer you can shape yours at this point or put it in a loaf pan. 

10) Bake for 40 minutes on the middle rack and enjoy the aroma that is starting to fill your home.

11) Let bread cool for about an hour. This is hard to do so don't beat yourself up if you cut into it a bit early...I know I usually do.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!



Monday, November 17, 2014

Homemade Applesauce!

Let me start off by painting a picture for your imagination...
It is gloomy and chilly outside, you just put on one of those made-for-TV holiday movies (oh, come on, you know you secretly enjoy them), you are curled up on the couch with your coziest blanket (in our home there are a couple of furry children in this scene as well), maybe you have even lit some holiday scented candles. Now, it is time to enjoy a snack that fits this perfectly lazy fall afternoon...homemade applesauce!

Does anything else say "it's Fall" better than this?

All recipes are created by Jenna unless stated otherwise! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Serves 10
Prep Time: 25 Minutes 
Cook Time: 60 minutes at minimum 

What you will need:

Apples - 10 (or 10 cups; generally, 1 apple will equal 1 cup once cut up) 
(I used Green Apples from my friends orchard but Honey Crisp are the sweetest and the best)
Cinnamon Stick - 1
Ground Cinnamon - 2 1/2 TSP 
All Spice - 1/2 TSP
Raw Organic Sugar - 1/4 Cup (if you use Honey Crisp Apples you could use less sugar (about half of that) because these apples are naturally sweet and delicious)

Let's Get Started:

1) Wash apples, cut off bottoms and tops or use an apple core remover 
2) Use a vegetable peeler to remover about 90% of skin (less or more depending on    your preference)

3) Cut the apples in half, and then cut the halves in half

4) Put apples into your pot with ingredients (cinnamon, all spice and sugar)

5) Mix it all up until the apples are coated in all that yumminess
6) Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes
7) Stir and throw in 1 cinnamon stick. Then turn stove down to simmer/low and continue to cook for about an hour.
8) Stir with a whisk. At this point the apples should be soft enough to break down easily but by using a whisk stay a bit chunky.

9) Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature.

Now, not only does your house smell absolutely delicious but you are also ready to enjoy a healthy homemade snack on a perfect fall day! 

Or, if you are like my husband, you can turn this healthy snack into a sweet treat by pouring the applesauce over vanilla ice cream. It tastes like apple pie without the crust...a great and healthy substitute for pie this holiday season.  

Cheers to Lazy Fall Afternoons (on the weekends of course)!



Share your favorite cheesy made-for-TV holiday movie by commenting below! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Favorite Fall Boots from Urban Outfitters!

I was browsing online the other know, doing a little online shopping...and I came across so many fantastic boots for Fall/Winter on the Urban Outfitters website. I would feel guilty keeping these gems to myself so I decided to share my favorites...which, as you can tell, was a lot and hard to narrow down.They have everything from casual to chic, from ankle to over the knee and in every price point as well. 

From Clockwise: 
3) MUK LUKS Jenna Slipper Boot (does anyone else think it is a sign that the last two boots share my name?) 4) Minnetonka El Paso Geo-Panel Ankle Boot 5) Sam Edelman Mackay Lace-Up Boot 

From Left to Right

From Clockwise:

So, have you completely fallen in love with boots yet? 

Share your favorite boot style with us by commenting below.