Saturday, April 30, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

It's a busy season in our house! I haven't had much time to sit down and write, but here's a little view of what we've been doing:


Eco-dyed eggs for Easter.

Easter bread ready to the Feast!


After two weeks of rain and storms, sun!


Hail one evening at suppertime.

Strong winds brought down this tree branch Thursday afternoon. Thank goodness it wasn't any closer to the house!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Matushka Emily's Best Buttermilk Biscuits

I asked my dear friend, Matushka Emily, who blogs about family. home, and life as an Orthodox Christian at Charming the Birds From the Trees to share a favorite bread recipe this month. Some of my favorite recipes are ones she has shared with me!

There is almost nothing more delectable than a warm biscuit dripping with melted butter and slathered with jam. Often, I am in the mood for these little treats, but the thought of mixing, rolling out, cutting, and then doing it over and over again until the dough is used up seems like just too much work. Enter the Best Buttermilk Drop Biscuit recipe… you will have everything you need in the pantry already, it is easy to mix, quick to bake, and when you serve them, people will think that they took you all afternoon to make!

Best Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

Yields: 12 biscuits, if you’re careful about apportioning out the dough
Time to make: 25 minutes


2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sugar
¾ tsp. salt
1 stick + 2 tbsp. butter
1 cup buttermilk (I use 1 T. of white vinegar per cup of milk to make my own)
parchment paper


1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

2. Melt the 1 stick butter and let cool about 5 minutes.

3. Whisk together the dry ingredients.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter and the buttermilk, and stir until clumps form.

5. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients until just incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

7. Using a ¼ cup dry measure, scoop out and drop 12 balls of dough onto the baking sheet (this is easier if you spray the measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray).

8. Bake until the tops are golden brown, about 14 minutes.

9. Let cool on a wire rack.

10. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tbsp. butter and brush the tops of the biscuits with the butter before serving.

An Introduction to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is a popular cookbook and bread baking method. A friend of mind introduced me to the idea several years ago, and after a trying it, I was sold! This is the easiest way to bake bread at home for anyone nervous about bread baking or very short on time (or both)!

There is a “master recipe” and all of the recipes in the cookbook start from this list of ingredients and instructions.

Basic Bread


3 cups warm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T salt
6 1/2 cups flour


1. Add ingredients in the order listed to dough bucket or mixing bowl. This is best done by hand– do not over mix!

2. Cover and let rise in the fridge for three hours or until ready to use.

3. When ready to bake, remove from fridge and sprinkle top of dough with flour. Reach is and scoop up a grapefruit-sized ball of dough. It will be very sticky!

4. Quickly form the dough into a smooth ball (do not knead!) and set it to rest of a pizza peel or wood cutting board that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.

(I over mixed this batch, and the dough was very difficult to work with. My ball kept slumping. You don’t want that, but it will still work and taste okay.)

5. Let dough rest for approximately 40 minutes. 20 minutes prior to baking, put a pizza stone in the oven on the middle rack and a roasting pan or other baking dish on a lower rack. Preheat the oven to 450.

Note: If you are not using a pizza stone, that’s fine, but do no put another tray in to preheat. Do still use a roasting pan, however.

6. When it’s time to bake, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour again, and using a sharp knife, make several slashes across the top. A seashell pattern is my favorite!

7. Fill a measuring cup with 1 cup or so of warm water.

8. Open the oven door and sprinkle your pizza stone or other tray with cornmeal. Quickly slide the dough onto the stone. Immediately pour the water into the roasting pan on the lower rack and quicjly close the oven door before steam can escape. The steam will give your bread a very yummy crust!

9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove and allow to cool before slicing.

10. One batch will make 3-4 loaves of bread.

This bread is wonderful as a crusty side for salads, pasta, and soup. It’s also suitable for sandwiches and snacks!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Basket Cupcakes

This recipe caught my eye several years ago when my first son was less than a year old. That year I made it for the children of some friends of mine, and since then it’s been a favorite Easter treat in our house as well.

This recipe can be “doctored” any way that pleases the maker! The original recipe calls for a cake mix, but I’ve made it from scratch as well. If you make it from scratch, omit the pudding and extra ingredients. Focus instead on frosting and toppings.

In the interest of full disclosure, we rarely make these as written, typically omitting the candy, although one does make a pretty centerpiece! You can also skip the waffle bowls and make these in traditional muffin tins. They are quite large when made as directed, and one cake can easily be shared between 2 people.

Easter Basket Cupcakes

Adapted from Cupcakes! From the Cake Mix Doctor.



Waffle bowls (10 or so)
1 package (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix
1 package (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
Buttercream frosting


3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Green food coloring
Jelly beans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the outside of each waffle bowl in aluminum foil, tucking the edges of the foil just inside the top of the bowl. Place the bowls on a cookie sheet and set aside.

2. Place the cake mix, pudding, milk, oil, eggs, and egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds or so. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue blending on medium for another 2 minutes. Fill each waffle bowl with 1/2 cup or so of batter.

3. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes or until they test done. Let the cakes cool for five minutes then carefully remove the foil and continue cooling to room temperature.

4. While you wait, prepare your favorite frosting!

5. Place the coconut in a plastic bag with several drops of food coloring (I use this and recommend mixing to make green before adding to the coconut). Shake well until the coconut turns green. Add more coloring as needed.

6. To assemble, frost each cupcake then immediately sprinkle on coconut to resemble grass and place a pile of jelly beans on the middle to resemble eggs. To create the basket handle, shape one Twizzler into the correct shape and insert it into the cupcake.

7. Serve and enjoy!

Easter Bread Redux

I’ve been making this Easter Bread since 2007.

This recipe appeared in the Mexico Independent Mirror March 31, 2007. It is time intensive, but so worth it! I don’t have many pictures detailing each step of the process, as I don’t make this until Holy Saturday (tomorrow), but I do have a few pictures from several years ago. I’ll add more pictures later, but I wanted this posted before the holiday in case anyone would like to make it for Sunday.

Easter Bread


12 eggs in shell, uncooked
Egg coloring
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
Grated peel of two fresh lemons
1/2 cup warm water, 110-115 degrees
2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 eggs at room temperature
4 1/2 cups white flour
1 whole egg at room temperature


1. Color uncooked eggs and set aside. (Do this very carefully if kids are helping!)

2. Scald milk. Add sugar, salt, butter, and lemon zest. Set aside milk mixture to cool to lukewarm.

3. Sprinkle yeast into water and stir to dissolve.

4. Add milk mixture to yeast and water. Add two eggs.

5. Add 2 1/2 cups flour and beat until smooth.

6. Slowly stir in remaining 2 cups of flour, a little at a time, until a dough forms that is easy to handle.

7. Turn dough onto lightly floured board, knead until light and elastic, about 5-8 minutes.

8. Place dough into lightly greased bowl, turn over so the top is greased.

9. Cover with a clean towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

10. Punch the dough down.

11. Cover and let rise again until almost doubled, about 1/2 hour.

12. Divide dough into 4 parts. Form each part into a rope 36 inches long. On greased baking sheets, shape two of the ropes into a very loosely braided ring leaving space for 6 eggs. Repeat with other two ropes.

13. Insert 6 eggs in spaces in each ring. Cover and let rise until doubled, 1/2 hour. The bread will rise and surround the eggs.

14. Beat whole egg and brush it on the bread. Optional: sprinkle with tiny colored candies.

15. Bake at 375, until lightly brown. Serve warm or refrigerate overnight and reheat in a moderate over for 8 minutes.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real} for Holy Week


~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

{pretty} and {real}

Snow falling this morning around the hosta. (However, let us remember it is April 21!)


The elephant in the room.


With the baby now mobile (army crawling), no more crayons or toys scattered around!

Blessed Triduum to all!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rolls in 30 Minutes

Spring is here and so is the season of burgers! This quick and delicious recipe is great for nights when you don’t quite plan ahead (last minute barbecue, anyone?) or need a quick dinner roll.

This is a slight variation on the original, with all quantities reduced.

Rolls in 30 Minutes


1 3/4 cups warm water
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar or several tablespoons honey
3 T. active dry yeast
1 1/2 t. salt
1 egg, beaten
5 cups white or wheat flour or any mix (more as needed)


1. Mix first 4 ingredients and let rest for 15 minutes. It should get sponge and get bubbly.

2. Add remaining ingredients. Mix, then knead for 5 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 425.

4. Roll out to 1/2″ thick. Shape immediately. I use a 3 or 4 inch biscuit cutter, but you can make them any size you like. Smaller for kids is a lot of fun! If you want to make dinner rolls, shape into balls by hand.

5. Let rise for 10 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes or until done (they will be browned and sound slightly hollow when tapped.

I found this recipe on Crystal Paine’s Money Saving Mom when she was making it several months ago. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the original source of this delicious recipe. If you happen to stumble across it, please let me know!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!


I love the farm scene set up on the piano. It just breathes peace to me.


The view from the Ergo. Happy baby every time...especially after a long walk.


Big Brother was a little overexcited while painting, and swiped Little Brother's nose.


Sunning the diapers on a crisp Spring afternoon.