Monday, October 29, 2012

Exciting Things Are Coming

I know i've been MIA for 2 months now. A new baby can do that to a person.
You know what else can cause someone to not blog?
Moving to a new house!!!!
Yes, our days of renting are OVER. And my days of an apartment kitchen with gross cabinets and limited counter space are also OVER!
We close on our house tomorrow and, once we buy a refrigerator, I will be cooking up a storm in my GORGEOUS new kitchen.
Pictures will be coming soon, along with some great new food-related posts.

Be on the lookout for:
Pumpkin Cinnamon Bread
Peppermint Fudge Cupcakes
My family's famous Enchiladas
Oodles of chicken recipes. I have 40 lbs of chicken in my freezer right now!

I've also been using my Vitamix a TON lately, so i'll try and get some smoothie recipes posted as well. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012


I've been a little busy lately. Pushing out a baby, and all. :)
Baby boy arrived Sunday morning and we are in love.
Give me a week or two and i'll get back to blogging, I promise!
I have REALLY missed being in the kitchen, so I've got a lot of things I want to do and try and share with all of you.
Happy Monday!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pantry Challenge: Week 4

Here it is! The LAST week of my pantry challenge! I'm actually considering just extending it a little bit because I feel like we still have quite a bit of stuff to eat up. Maybe i'll do a no-spend week next week. We'll see. :)

We made out well this last week. We ended up not leaving for our trip to Idaho until Wednesday morning, so Thursday night's dinner was leftovers/pasta/whatever was in the fridge. We also ended up staying until Friday night, enjoying hamburgers with family and friends up there. Saturday was a lazy day and a rough day on me, pregnancy-wise, so we just ordered in. Papa Johns, baby! (I had enough Papa Rewards points for a free pizza anyway). I pushed the breakfast for dinner back to Sunday night. :)

Also on Saturday, the local farm market opened up! I've been waiting for months to be able to buy local produce again! It's called Petersen Family Farm and I absolutely LOVE buying from them. Such a cute little family farm and it just feels good to support local farmers, don't you think? Anyway, I couldn't resist stopping by and picking up a few things! They don't open full time (Monday-Saturday) until the 13th, so I decided Saturday's spending at the farm could factor into this weeks spending.

Meal Plan: 

Monday-  Five-cheese lasagna with a side of peas and a salad. Pink lemonade to drink.

Tuesday- Leftovers. (It's a HUGE lasagna)

Wednesday- Penne with red sauce and Artisan Bread. Milk to drink.

Thursday- Hot dogs with homemade buns. A side of baked beans and rice krispie treats!

Friday- Out to eat.

Saturday- Mac n Cheese with peas and cut-up hot dogs. Fruit punch to drink.

Sunday- Mexican food! Possibly enchiladas.

Money Spent for the Week:

Petersen Family Farm- $17.75
  • A dozen apricots
  • 1 2 lb bag of cherries
  • Farm fresh eggs
  • My FAVORITE Raspberry Jalapeno Jam 

Smith's-  $33.24 ($90.44 before sales and coupons. A 63% savings!!!)
  • 5 boxes of cereal
  • 2 bags of mini marshmallows
  • 15 packets of Kool-Aid (not very healthy, I know)
  • 2 tubs of sour cream
  • 2 gallons of milk
  • 2 Sambazon Acai drinks
  • 1 box of Wheat Thins
  • 1 2-pack of bar soap
  • 6 boxes of Hot Pockets (for quick lunches)
  • 1 Stouffer's Party Size Lasagna
  • 4 boxes of Hefty storage bags
  • 2 tubs of ice cream

Total beginning budget for the month: $150
Total spent at the end of the month: $152.47

Holy cow, I just BARELY went over! I'll blame it on the $3 in impulse buys that my husband threw in the cart that first week. ;)

What a great month! While there were some changes in my plans and some meals that weren't exactly balanced or super healthy, it still feels great to know I can feed my family for only $150! Granted, i'm sure I could have done it for $100, but i'll save that for another time. :)

Thanks for coming along with me on my little pantry challenge journey!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pure Komachi 2 Chef's Knife Giveaway!!!

Yes, you read that title right. I am doing a GIVEAWAY!
I've been sitting on this one for quite a while now, waiting until I could start posting more regularly.
First, let me note that this giveaway is not sponsored by anyone, I didn't receive anything for free, nor am I receiving any compensation for this. This prize came out of my own pocket and I am having a giveaway simply because I LOVE this knife and want to share it's amazingness with the world!

Let me introduce you to the Pure Komachi 2 Chef's Knife.
Yes, it is pink.
Amazing right?
Sorry if you don't like pink. It won't matter if you win this contest. You will absolutely love this knife anyway.
You may have seen this bad boy appear in some of my other posts:

Don't start thinking that this knife is only for produce though. I literally use this knife for just about everything I possibly can in the kitchen. Cutting up meat (though you have to avoid cutting up frozen meat, as it can be rough on the pretty pink color), slicing through bread, opening packages and cutting twine off a roast chicken, slicing up cheese. The possibilities are endless! Just yesterday, I used mine to hack up an enormous watermelon. She handled it with ease.
(Technically, the knife is colored so you can avoid cross-contamination, but I don't really worry about stuff like that. I just wash it really well, by hand.)

I really do LOVE this knife. Out of everything in my kitchen, it is by far my favorite. More so than my kitchenaid or my set of pink pots and pans, or even my silverware set.

The Pure Komachi 2 Chef's Knife is SO sharp! I've had mine for about a year now and it's still as sharp as the day I bought it! I have an entire knife set that we received as a wedding gift, and while I love it, I almost never use any of the knives anymore, because this one has taken center stage.

Ok. Enough gushing over the knife. Here's how to enter. :)
Simply click this link and follow the instructions!

Pantry Challenge: Week 3

Oh boy. Talk about a complete failure for last week! I barely stuck to the plan at all! Shoot!
Wednesday, Thursday, AND Friday, we (or just myself) ended up going out to eat. Pretty awful, right? Pizza Hut, Jimmy Johns, and IHOP. So bad.

I also ended up spending an extra $4.79 due to a late-night watermelon craving. This baby LOVES watermelon, let me tell ya.

In case you missed them, here are two posts from last week:
Basic Buttercream Frosting
Handmade Gift Exchange

This upcoming week is a tough one, with rent and a car payment being due, so I don't plan on spending ANY grocery money, just in case. Hopefully I can make the last of my Bountiful Basket from 2 weeks ago last yet another week. I have a ton of romaine lettuce, celery, chili peppers, potatoes, 2 spaghetti squash and some cherries left. Plus, half of the watermelon we bought on Saturday.

Meal Plan:

Monday- Pot roast with carrots, potatoes, and celery. Honey Whole Wheat Rolls on the side. (I didn't get around to making this last week, so it'll be tonight's dinner instead.) Milk to drink.

Tuesday- Snacks. Haha! We'll be heading up to Idaho Tuesday night, so dinner will be whatever we can scrounge up. Probably leftovers.

Wednesday- We'll be up in Idaho for a family BBQ! I'll be making and bringing my Tomatillo Salsa.

Thursday- Not sure yet, since I don't know if we'll be back from Idaho in time to make dinner.

Friday- Spaghetti squash with red sauce and a side salad. Water to drink.

Saturday- BFD. Breakfast for dinner. Eggs, toast, waffles, sausage and smoothies to drink. (Another meal from last week that I didn't end up making.)

Sunday- BBQ Chicken Crescents with baked beans and a side salad. Water to drink.

Money Spent for the Week:

Smith's- $4.79 for a watermelon last Saturday

Total spent so far: $101.38
Budget remaining: $48.62

With no grocery spending this week and almost $50 left for the last week of my pantry challenge, I think i'm going to make it under budget! Woo!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Handmade Gift Exchange

Does anyone remember when I did this gift exchange last year? No? Well let me remind you!
There's this craft blog I follow, see. It's called Craftaholics Anonymous and twice a year, the amazing Linda hosts a handmade gift exchange! Now, i'm not SUPER crafty, but I try sometimes.
This year I was asked to make and send a gift to the awesome Michaela over at Covered in Mod Podge (talk about intimidating for a newbie crafter like me!). She mentioned that she liked blues and greens and after checking out her Pinterest, I saw that she'd pinned quite a few wreaths. I'm not very original, so after seeing this pin, I knew that's what I wanted to make.

I hope she loves it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Basic Buttercream Frosting

Need a quick, easy, no-fuss no-muss frosting? Well here you go! No need for fancy ingredients, techniques, or what have you. Just your basic spread-it-on-the-cake frosting.
The best part about this is that it is REALLY versatile. By adding only one or two extra ingredients, you can make ay flavor you like!

Basic Buttercream Frosting

Powdered Sugar
Softened, or room temperature, Butter
Grab your mixer and start out with about 3 cups of powdered sugar (which is about 1 lb, or half a regular 2 lb bag of powdered sugar), and then toss in 2 sticks of butter.
Using the whisk attachment, turn your mixer on low until everything is combined. You'll probably need to scrape down the sides a few times. Then you can ramp up the speed to medium and let it beat for a couple minutes. If it's too dry, add some more butter (or a little bit of milk or cream). If it's too wet, add some more powdered sugar. I like mine on the thick, dense side.
There you have it! Super basic buttercream frosting. Frost your goodies and enjoy!

BUT, let's get to the good stuff. Flavors!
If you want to flavor your frosting, add in your flavoring before you mix. Examples:

-To ramp up the regular buttercream flavor, simply add 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
-Lemon frosting (my FAVORITE) can be made by adding the zest of one lemon and even a tsp or two of lemon juice if you like.
-Actually, you can make just about any citrus frosting by adding some of their zest and fresh juice, like orange, grapefruit, lime, etc. . .
-Add 1-2 tsp of peppermint extract for peppermint frosting, which is especially great during the holiday season.
-Experiment with any other extracts you like, such as almond, hazelnut, or coconut.
-Fruit purees are also great additions! Whiz up some fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas. . . the possibilities are endless! Just remember when adding more liquid (by way of a puree) you may need more powdered sugar.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pantry Challenge: Week 2

So, here I am at the end of week one and it went really well!Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I always get sidetracked when family is in town. :)
I didn't spend any more on groceries during the week, despite REALLY wanting to run to the store a few times for miscellaneous items.
My only deviation from the plan was the weekend.
I wasn't really in a casserole kind of mood on Saturday, so instead we had chicken tenders and baked BBQ potato wedges. I was hoping to post the potato wedges recipe, but they really didn't turn out as well as i'd hoped. I'm thinking the cooking time was off, so i'll try again later this week and if they turn out great, i'll share the recipe. :)
Sunday, I was all set to make my chicken tacos, but then I got a phone call from my mother that her and my father would be visiting the next day (Monday), and I decided that I would rather just have a little Mexican buffet sort of thing for dinner with them.
In place of tacos, we had grilled cheese sandwiches.

In case you missed it, I DID share a recipe this last week!
"Revolutionary" Pizza Dough that I used for homemade pizza from the pantry challenge.

Now, for this weeks menu:

Monday- Mexican buffet! Make your own tacos and burritos.

Tuesday- Bagel pizzas with a side of spaghetti squash. Apple juice to drink.

Wednesday- Pot Roast with carrots and potatoes and a side of Honey Whole Wheat Rolls. Milk to drink.

Thursday- Penne and meat sauce with Artisan Bread. Lemonade to drink.      

Friday- Out to eat.

Saturday- Unsure. We have family plans during the day so we'll see what happens around dinnertime.

Sunday-  BFD, breakfast for dinner. Waffles with a side of sausage, eggs, nectarine slices, and smoothies to drink.

Money spent for the week:

Smith's- $25.45
  • 3 boxes of Kool-Aid Jammers juice pouches ($0.41 each after clearance and coupon!!!)
  • 3 boxes Capri Sun juice pouches ($0.68 each after clearance and coupon!!!)
  • 3 bottles Ken's salad dressing ($0.50 each!)
  • 1 Knorr Rice Mix- Mexican style
  • 1 box Kraft Mac n' Cheese
  • 1 can Black Beans
  • 1 tub of Butter Spread
  • 1 tub of Sour Cream
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 bottle Santa Cruz Lemonade
  • 1 bottle Hansen's Natural Apple Juice
  • 1 carton organic Beef Broth
  • 2 Avocados
  • 1 bag of Bagels
  • 1 Red Onion
Total spent so far: $96.59
Budget remaining: $53.41

The rice mix, black beans, sour cream, avocados, and red onion were all for dinner with my parents last night. I wasn't planning on purchasing them, so I spent a little more this week than I wanted, but my mom was at the store with me and purchased a chuck roast for me, so it evens out. :)
Of course, unexpected clearance and manager's special finds also tend to get the best of me, as proven by the 6 boxes of juice pouches.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Revolutionary" Pizza Dough

About three years ago, I received a recipe for pizza dough from a church activity that was called "revolutionary." I tucked it away into my recipe binder to try it soon, and now three years later, I have finally made the recipe. Talk about procrastination, right?
This dough came together SO quickly and I love that it uses whole wheat flour along with white flour.

"Revolutionary" Pizza Dough
Printable Recipe

1 Cup Warm Water
1 Tbsp Active-Dry Yeast
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

Add the yeast to the warm water and let it dissolve and bubble for about 10 minutes. Then, add your sugar, oil, and salt. Mix it up a bit.
 Oops! Forgot to include the whole wheat stuff in my ingredients pictures. Grab your flour!
 Add one cup of each, white and wheat, to your wet ingredients and mix it up as best you can.
 Once you've incorporated the flour, dump the dough out onto a floured surface.
Now you're going to knead in the last 1/2 cup of flour and just knead away until nothing is sticky and you have a nice ball of dough, about 5 minutes.
I just left it right there on the counter and covered it with a towel to rise. You only need to let it rise for 15 minutes! During that time, you can start pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees.
Now, roll out your pizza dough. Make a circle, a rectangle, or what have you. See my sweet new rolling pin?! Well, new to me. It's vintage from the 50's!
 Crimp up the edges to form the crust. Gotta make sure all the toppings don't fall off the side!
My pizza stone is currently covered in baked-on cheese (we had a calzone explosion) and i'm having a tough time cleaning it off, so i'm just using a baking pan here. You should probably spray it with some pam or sprinkle with cornmeal. I didn't and half my crust stuck to the pan!
 Cover it with your desired topping! We went for a simple sauce and cheese combo.
 Bake it at 400 for about 10-12 minutes, or until your cheese looks scrumptious. Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pantry Challenge

I'm doing a pantry challenge!
Last year, I did one for the month of August and it was great! I posted about it each week on my personal family blog, which was so great because it definitely held me more accountable.
For that challenge, I limited my budget to only $100 for the whole month (crazy!) and ended up going over by about $50.
This time around, i've set my budget at $150 to spend on groceries between June 18th and July 16th.
I am also budgeting $50 for "eating out" because, well, sometimes this pregnant woman just can't resist an In-N-Out cheeseburger or bran muffin from Mimi's Cafe.

*I won't list what's on the menu for breakfast and lunch each day. We each kind of do our own thing for those meals. Breakfast is almost always cereal for me and the hubs and oatmeal with honey for the little one.  Brad buys lunch at work almost everyday and Katie and I just scrounge around the kitchen*

Here we go!

Pantry Challenge: Week 1 June 18th-June 24th

Meal Plan:

Monday- Rotini with red sauce with a side of garlic toast, and red and green grapes. Water to drink.

Tuesday- Hot dogs with a side of potato chips and carrot sticks. Milk to drink.

Wednesday- Homemade cheese pizza with a side salad and cantaloupe. Water to drink.

Thursday- Quesadillas, bean, corn, and cheese for me, chicken and cheese for Brad, with salsa and sour cream. Milk to drink.

Friday- Out to eat?

Saturday- Chicken and corn casserole over rice with fruit/veggie from Bountiful Basket on the side. Milk to drink.

Sunday- Chicken Tacos with fruit from Bountiful Basket on the side. Water to drink.

Money spent for the week:

Bountiful Basket- $47.50
  • 1 conventional basket full of half fruits/half veggies
  • 1 Mexican theme add-on pack, with garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, yellow onion, green onions, grey squash, avocado and tomatillo
  • 7 dozen tortillas, which includes 5 dozen flour and 2 dozen corn
  • 5 loaves organic 9-grain bread
Smith's- $23.64 after coupons
  • 6 gallons of milk (at only $1.25 a gallon!!!)
  • 1 package of hot dog buns
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 2 lbs of cheddar cheese
  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1 tub of butter spread
  • 1 can of cat food (I had a free coupon)
  • 2 boxes Mac n' Cheese (impulse buy by the husband)
  • 1 4-pack Ocean Spray Sparkling Juice
  • 1 package of salami (another husband impulse buy)
Total spent so far:  $71.14
Budget remaining: $78.76

I'm not too concerned that half my budget is gone already, because I am stocked up on milk for more than the rest of the month, as well as cheese. My bountiful basket purchase will also keep me stocked on fruits and veggies for about 2 weeks, as well as enough bread for the rest of the month and enough tortillas to last a LONG time.

June Update

Why hello there, blogland! I've been pretty MIA lately. Have I mentioned that i'm pregnant? I have? Ok, good. Because it's a perfectly valid excuse. :)
Not to mention the three weddings within a month's time, my daughter's birthday, a camping trip, a week in California, and the time where I ate In-N-Out three times in one week because that is all the baby in my belly wanted to eat!

I'm here to just give a quick little update on what will be happening around here in the next couple of months. I won't be promising to post with a lot of consistency, but I DO plan on posting more often than I have been, and I've got a few ideas to share.

  • While the month is almost over, i've decided to start a pantry challenge. I did one last August, posting on my family blog, and it went really well. It's about that time again, where the cans on the back of the shelves are getting a little old and the cash flow is getting tight (insert pregnancy excuse again here). I hope, hope being the key word here, to post my menu plan once a week and at least one recipe from that menu plan during the week. I'll post more about the rules and budget in another post.
  • Easier recipes. I'm not saying my recipes now are difficult. What I mean by easier recipes is that I want to post more of the basic things. I realize a lot of people probably already know how to make mashed potatoes or buttercream frosting, but many people don't. When I first started cooking, I felt silly and sad having to search on google for things like "how to cook corn on the cob" and "cooking broccoli" but everyone has to start somewhere! I want my blog to be one of those resources for people who are starting out or who just need a quick reminder on how to make a simple pasta sauce.
  • Another hope: To at least once a month post a "Pinterest recipe." Something that i've pinned on Pinterest, and then tried out in real life. This is mostly to help narrow down my pin boards. :D
  • Upcoming posts:
    • Simple, versatile, Buttercream Frosting
    • My husband's favorite Banana Bread
    • Pantry Challenge
    • Freezer Jam
    • Fried, Smashed Potatoes (This one is only in the idea stage)
    • Homemade Gift Exchange (Remember this post?)

I've also acquired some amazingly cute kitchen stuff lately that I need to share with you all! When I find my camera charger, that is.

Ok, that's all for now! Thanks to everyone who is so patient. I know this is just a cooking blog, and just a side hobby for me, but it's been so fun to accomplish what I have so far and I appreciate everyone who takes the time to peek into my kitchen. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly "Uncrustables"

If you have children you probably know about Uncrustables.  These tasty little PB&J sandwiches have the crusts already cut off and are sealed into these little pockets of yumminess. You can find them in your freezer aisle for a pretty hefty price tag. I decided to make my own for less than $0.50/sandwich. (Even cheaper with coupons, sales, cheaper bread, etc. . .)

Peanut Butter and Jelly "Uncrustables"

Peanut Butter
Jelly (I'll be making these with homemade strawberry jam once I find an awesome sale on strawberries.)
 Set up your assembly station.
Just had to throw this in there, one of my FAVORITE things is getting that first scoop in a new jar of peanut butter. If I was Maria in the Sound of Music, it would have been included in my song about favorite things. :D
Spread a layer of peanut butter on each and every slice. I'm going to be taking the crusts off of these, so only spread it in the middle. You want PB on every slice to prevent the jelly from sogging (is that a word?) into the bread while your sandwich thaws. Plop a bit of jelly into the center of half of the bread slices.
If you have a sandwich sealer, go ahead and use it now. I do not. I used this great pink tumbler from Ikea. Just find something round, or square, that is about the right size to cut out your sandwich. I pushed the cup down and then just kind of twirled it a bit to really seal it shut.
Go ahead and pull the crust away from the sandwich (it shouldn't be too difficult) and stick the crusts in a bag to use later. You can use them for homemade breadcrumbs, croutons, etc. . . Just stick the bag in the freezer until you find a great use for them.
 And there you have it! Don't they look just like the store-bought ones?! And just as yummy too!
Go ahead and stick them into your bag/container and keep them in the freezer. Pull them out about half an hour before you want to eat, to let them thaw. Unless you like them frozen. I know some people who are like that. . .
 Here's one after it's been frozen and thawed. Not soggy at all and perfectly delicious. :D

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mini Bagel Pizzas

Bagel bites. . . Bring you memories from your childhood? Sure does for me! I remember my little sister and I being so excited when we spied the huge box of them from Costco heading for our freezer. The one's I've made here are about 2-3 times the size of regular bagel bites (my store didn't have teeny-tiny bagels, sadly), but they are still darn tasty! And VERY easy to put together!

Mini Bagel Pizzas

Mini Bagels, I used 10
1 Cup of your favorite Pizza Sauce, store bought or homemade
Mozzarella Cheese
1 tsp Italian Seasoning (optional)
1 tsp Dried Oregano (optional)

I nabbed these super adorable little "mozzarella pearls" at my Smith's store on clearance for only $2.49. However, you can use shredded, cubed, or chop up your own into little pieces. Because I was going for convenience, I used a basic store-bought sauce and jazzed it up with the Italian seasoning and oregano.
Slice all your bagels in half and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Try to find one big enough to hold all of the bagels, so you don't need to also use a dinner plate. :)
Spread about 1-1 1/2 teaspoons of sauce onto each bagel half.
Now go ahead and add some cheese and chopped pepperoni onto each bagel. You can also use whatever toppings you like, of course.
Stick them straight into the freezer and let them sit for 2-3 hours, until all the toppings are frozen solid. You don't want any falling off later! And yes, my freezer is so tiny I had to use the ice-cube tray area.
After they are good and frozen, you can transfer them to some kind of freezer-safe tupperware or gallon-size freezer bag. I've learned to label the bag/container with the cooking instructions, so you might want to, also.
When you want to cook these little suckers, simply pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and then bake on a cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes. Of, if you're in a pinch and pregnant and starving and you can't wait, zap em in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Freezer Lunches Theme Week!!!

First of all, Happy Easter! Whether you celebrate or not, please make sure you get some ham in your tummy tonight. I love big holidays mostly because of the big food!

Now, on to the main event. I am FINALLY having another theme week!
Pregnancy sure affects my cooking/kitchen time, but I've got some energy and motivation back and I'm ready to go! However, I know this energy won't last very long once the third trimester/a newborn baby arrive and I know that quick and easy meals are going to be a life-saver! I'm prepping now for those days ahead, and thus, this next week's theme: Freezer Lunches!

You hear a lot about making dinners and even breakfasts to keep in the freezer for easy reheating for the family, but what about lunch? I think my worst time of day for eating is lunchtime, because I find it so easy to grab a bag of chips or an ice cream sandwich top ramen rather than actually make a lunch. Life is just too busy! Not to mention my complete lack of making lunches for my hubs to take to work. :(
But no longer! Come along with me this week as I share with you easy, quick, lunch-portion sized foods that are just perfect for grabbing from the freezer, heating up, and enjoying a scrumptious meal in the middle of the day.

*Warning: We like pizza around. You will see. . . *

Monday: Mini Bagel Pizzas

Tuesday: PB&J "Uncrustables"

Wednesday: Bean and Cheese AND Steak and Cheese Burritos

Thursday: Ham and Cheese AND Pizza  Pockets

Friday: Pizza "Lunchables"

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Honey Whole Wheat Rolls

Honey Whole Wheat Rolls. . . Honey whole wheat rolls. . . I really don't know what to say about these. They are just. . . good! I know when people think of wheat rolls, they imagine the dense, bland kind you can find at most grocery stores, but these are NOT dense and they are NOT bland. I will say they are healthy, but healthy doesn't mean you have to sacrifice on taste! I've made these multiple times for potlucks, church get-togethers, and family dinners and they are always a hit. People are amazed that whole wheat rolls can actually taste good!
With Easter coming up, why don't you give these a shot to compliment your ham and tatoes. :)

Honey Whole Wheat Rolls
Dear author of this recipe, you rock!

4 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast (or two of those costly little bags)
1 Cup Warm Water, 110-115 degrees
1/4 Cup Butter, melted
1/4 Honey
1 Egg
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 tsp Salt
2 1/4-2 3/4 Cups of All-Purpose Flour (You can also substitute Bread Flour and add an extra 1/8 Cup of water, but I was out of bread flour yesterday)

-Yeast and water not really pictured because they are working their magic in my mixing bowl right there in the picture.
 Dissolve the yeast in your mixing bowl. After 10 minutes it should look foamy and bubbly.
Now add everything else to the yeast! Well, not quite. Only add 1 cup of the all-purpose flour at first. Also, make sure your melted butter is cooled down. If it's too hot from being melted, it could kill the yeast! Oh no!
Slowly add another cup of flour until you get some big chunks sticking together, like this.
Now you can transfer your dough to a nice floured area. Keep about 3/4 cup of flour handy, like in my measuring cup in the picture. :)
Knead that sucker! Slowly add more flour until it's not too sticky anymore, or what the original recipe calls "smooth and elastic." This should take about 6-8 minutes. You probably won't use all of the flour. Try not to skimp on the kneading. When you knead, it helps the gluten develop and will make your rolls fluffier!
Once you have a beautiful ball of dough, set it in a greased bowl and cover to rise for about an hour.
After an hour, punch down the dough and divide it up into your rolls. You can probably stretch this dough out to make 15-18 rolls, but I usually just stick with 12. Place them in a greased 9x13 pan and cover. Let them rise at least 45 minutes. In all honestly, we unexpectedly had to go somewhere at the exact time that the 45 minutes were up, so I let these suckers rise for an entire hour extra while we were gone. And no harm was done. :)
15 minutes before they are done rising, start pre-heating your oven to 375. Then you can put them in for 20 minutes. or 18 minutes if you like your rolls a little underdone. ;)
 Take em out. Mmmmmm!!!! Let them cool for about 5 minutes and then serve!
We like just about all bread products to be smothered in butter in this house, but eating them plain works fabulous as well!

Extra notes: Don't you just love that there is NO sugar in this recipe?! I love that! Not to mention the whole wheat flour and oats. :D
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