Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One Spoiled Puppy...

Our little puppy Miles is almost 2.  I can't believe it!  However, the great thing about this particular kind of dog is that they look like puppies forever.  And she still does.  But this little puppy is spoiled to the point where I think she thinks she is a human.  She has no regard for personal space and will sleep just about anywhere... and someone is always tucking her in or holding her like a baby... Take a look...

Wouldn't you spoil her too looking at THAT face???

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lion House Roll Yumminess...

I had never attempted to make bread from scratch before I moved to Utah.  To be honest, making bread seemed a little scary to me and way time consuming and my thought was "why on earth would I make bread or rolls when I can just run over to the store and bring some home from there?!?!"  Well after going to several homes for dinner where the rolls were MADE instead of BOUGHT, I began to see why someone would put extra effort in to making them.  There is probably nothing better than a homemade roll fresh out of the oven with butter and jam. 

So I decided, what the heck... I will give it a try.  I quickly found that not only did the final product make it worth it, but the actual making of the rolls was extremely therapeutic for me!  There is something about being in the kitchen rolling and cutting and inhaling the heavenly sent of the dough or the rolls in the oven that just makes me happy.  Now I have tried a few recipes now, but my favorite ones to make are the Lion House Rolls... I think it may have something to do with the way you cut and flip them.  Take a look at this fantastic video of the Lion House Head Baker showing you how to do it just like they do...

Before watching this video, cutting and shaping was the most frustrating part of the process to me... but I LOVE how you can just roll one big rectangle and then cut it up in to little rectangles and not have any waste or have to re-roll or anything.  And the whole flipping thing??? Well it's just plain fun!!!  I even got Miss Dee to do it with me the other day and we had a grand time.
These rolls are seriously famous here in Utah. You can buy them at some Deseret Book stores and The Lion House Pantry itself, but Lion House has also generously shared this recipe so anyone can make them at home!  Here it is:

2 cups warm water
2/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk
2 Tb. dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup shortening, butter or margarine  (I put mine in the microwave for 15-20 secs to soften it)
1 egg
5-5 1/2 cups all purpose flour

(Note:  I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this recipe and it works perfectly.) 

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the water and the milk powder and stir so the milk dissolves. Add the yeast to this mixture then the sugar, salt, shortening, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed of mixer until ingredients are wet, (I use my paddle/flat beater for this part), then turn to medium speed and mix for 2 minutes.

Stop the mixer, (I switch to my dough hook attachment at this point), and add 2 more cups of flour then mix on low speed until the ingredients are wet, then turn mixer on medium speed and mix for 2 minutes. The dough will be getting stiff and you may need to remove the bowl from the mixer and mix in the remaining flour by hand. Add approximately 1/2 cup of flour and mix again. (This can be done by hand or mixer). The dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff. (It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour). (I use closer to 5 cups.)

Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl and pour approximately one tablespoon of vegetable oil all around the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough over in the bowl so it is covered with the oil. (This helps prevent the dough from drying out.) Cover with plastic and allow to rise in a warm place until double in size.  (About 1 hour.)

Sprinkle a cutting board or counter with flour and put the dough on the flour. It is now ready to roll out and cut into desired shape and size of rolls.

(In the video they rolled in to the big rectangle and then brushed the whole rectangle with butter before cutting and flipping.  She said to make sure the butter was on the inside, so this is how I did it.)

Place on greased (or parchment lined) baking pans. Let rise in a warm place until the rolls are double in size (approx. 1-1 1/2 hours).

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are browned to your satisfaction. Brush with melted butter while hot. Yields 2 to 2 1/2 dozen rolls.  (I actually got 42, but I had a much bigger rectangle so I must have rolled them out thinner than they do... but they were the PERFECT size for us for dinner and we had plenty to share.)

Yes, those are MY rolls... me, who has never been a bread maker, so if I can do it, YOU can do it! 

Helpful Roll Tips from the Lion House Pantry:

Always add the flour gradually and keep the dough as soft as you can handle.

Don't feel you have to use the entire amount of flour listed in the recipe -- add only enough flour to make a manageable dough.

A soft dough will produce a lighter roll.

Brush the top of the rolls with butter when they are first taken from the oven.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Oh My, Chocolate Chip Pie...

The only way I can describe this recipe is "A little slice of Heaven".  Think almost a pecan pie texture, but with chocolate chips and walnuts.  It is so deliciously rich, but sooooooooooo easy to make.  I ran across this recipe on Pinterest, (my new favorite hobby), from A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock n' Roll, who adapted it from Nestle, and when I saw the picture I KNEW it was something I had to make IMMEDIATELY! 


1 unbaked pie shell (I used a Pillsbury pie crust from the refrigerated section of the grocery store and just gently pressed it in to my pie pan.)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
3/4 cup (1 & 1/2 sticks) softened butter
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts, but pecans would be yummy too!)

Preheat your oven to 325° F.

Beat the 2 eggs in your mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in your flour.  Beat in the sugar and brown sugar. Beat in your softened butter. Once it is all combined well, stir in the chocolate chips and the chopped up nuts, then spoon the mixture in to your pie shell!  Um, yes... that is it!!!!

Throw it in your preheated oven and bake it for 50 to 60 minutes.  (I took mine out at 50.)  The top will be crispy, but the inside of the pie will oozing with ooey gooey deliciousness.  Try to cool on a wire rack.  (I think mine got about 10 minutes before the fam dived in to it.) 

I topped my piece with cool whip... but I imagine any cream, ice-cream, or whipped topping would be good with this.  It helps cut the richness a little in my opinion.  This pie is definitely as good as you think it's going to be...

(BTW, If the only ingredient you are missing is a pie crust, go on over here and try out Jennifer's "No Roll Pie Crust".)