baking · cooking · Recipes · Uncategorized

Homemade Grape Nut Cereal and some baking

Hi everyone:

A few weeks ago I had the idea to make some homemade cereal. I got the idea from Atlanta from Home At Winshaw to make grape nuts. I googled and perused Pinterest for some recipes and finally found one that I wanted to try.  It turned out so well I wanted to share it with you all.

Grape Nut Cereal Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used sprouted whole wheat)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk (or soured milk – milk with 1 tsp vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Method

  • Preheat oven at 375F.
  • Mix all ingredients save raisin and walnuts and pour into a lined cookie sheet or baking dish.
  • If you are cooking the mixture on a cookie sheet, it will only take approximately 15 minutes. I decided to bake the mixture in a dish and it took approximately 35 minutes.
  • Once baked, allow to cool completely on wire rack.  I broke the bread up into pieces so that it would cool faster.
  • Once cooled, pulse the mixture in a food processor in batches and place on baking sheets – you will likely need two baking sheets if you make the entire breads worth.
  • Bake at 250F for approximately one hour, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes and let cool
  • Toast the walnuts if using and pulse the cereal and the walnuts together again.
  • Add raisins if you’d like. Let cool completely and store in a jar for 2-3 weeks.
  • I decided to only make half the batch and freeze the rest of the bread so that I need only blitz it up later to make more cereal.

Also, here are some of the other things I baked today.

I wanted some biscuits so I made half plain, half cinnamon bun style. They turned out a bit different than usual since the butter I had was already soft but they taste very nice nonetheless and of course, hubby likes them.

It has been a very busy day at Fenton house for me. Filled with laundry, baking, cleaning and making a nice dinner – and also some school work. But despite it all, it was a nice day and I am grateful I get to spent Sundays at home doing the things I love the most.

I hope you all had a great day, too.

Thanks for reading.

Jacqueline

baking · comfort food · cooking · Recipes · Uncategorized

Just a Sunday

Today was the first restful day I’ve had in weeks so I thought I would do some baking. It gets awful quiet here on Sundays as Mark tends to work on that day almost every week. I watched Northanger Abbey whilst I did my housework so at least I had some company, even if from fictional characters.

I decided on making a cobbler but all I had in the freezer was a mix of fruits (peaches, strawberries, mango and pineapple) and decided to use those – I suppose it makes a sort of tropical cobbler. I also made a quick batch of custard (using Bird’s custard powder) for serving.

I also made a big quiche for our dinner tonight and lunches for the week. I often use a “press-in pan” pastry for quiches as it is quick and always turns out flaky and rich.

This quiche was a caramelized onion, double smoked bacon, and cheddar quiche. I used one onion, one thick rasher of bacon, and a few grates of cheese before pouring over the egg mixture. It is kept simple but I find it cooks best that way. And always turns out nice.

I also finished the tea cosy I was making today. I am very proud of myself for getting the hang of knitting and the tea cosy itself didn’t turn out too bad. It is a nice skill to have and to build on.

Other than knitting, I have been doing some free hand embroidery as practice before starting on bigger projects. I am not very good yet but better than I thought I would be. It is just nice to be creative and is better than surfing the internet aimlessly as I had started to do. Mark’s mom also lent me puzzles to do and Mark and I have been making them together. I am basically an 80 year old in a 27 year old’s body, but alas – it could be much worse!

I hope you all had a great Sunday. We are now just finishing up our dinner and my husband is happy with a full belly. Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

Jacqueline

baking · Chocolate · comfort food · Recipes · Uncategorized

Baking up a storm – Nigella’s chocolate chip cookies

Good afternoon everyone:

It has been a stormy day in Nova Scotia, with school closures and delays. Rather than making my way through half snow plowed streets I decided to stay home, get school work done and do a spot of baking.

We didn’t have much in the way of baking supplies in the house but we did have all the ingredients for Nigella’s lovely (and quite large) chocolate chip cookies and I thought I would share them with you.

Nigella’s chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients

  • 150g butter, softened
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 100g white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk (cold from the fridge)
  • 300g flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 326g chocolate chips

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and lime a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Melt butter and beat together with both sugars (I just used very soft butter instead of melting it)
  • Beat in the vanilla and eggs until creamy.
  • Mix together the flour and baking soda and gradually mix the flour with the wet mixture
  • Fold in the chocolate chips
  • Scoop out the cookie dough using a large ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measure and press the dough a bit. This will make approximately two batches of 8 cookies (unless a Cookie Monster lives at your house…)
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes, let cool on baking dish for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack.
  • Eat!

I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday.

Sincerely,

Jacqueline

baking · comfort food · cooking · Recipes

Easy Chicken & Biscuits

Hello everyone:

I have a simple, budget friendly recipe for you all today.  Chicken and biscuits are such a comfort food and a great meal to whip together when you have leftover chicken in the fridge.  And if you have a enamelled pot, it goes from the stovetop to the oven – and everyone loves less washing up.  This is a recipe I just threw together, but it turned out so delicious I wanted to share it with everyone.  Of course it can be made bigger by doubling the recipe but I try not to make such big meals as it is only just us two at home at Fenton house.

For a vegetarian option, use a can of chickpeas instead of chicken and a nice vegetable broth, it works just as well.

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Chicken & Biscuits (for 4-6 people)

Ingredients

For the chicken mixture:
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped (optional but adds a lot of flavour to the base)
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded chicken
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
salt and pepper
mixed herbs, such as herbes de provence

For the biscuit mixture*:
1 cup flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter
1/3 cup of milk plus a few tbsp if needed

Method:

  • Preheat the oven at 375F.
  • Drizzle olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add onions, carrots and celery and sprinkle with salt and the bay leaf.  Allow vegetables to sweat and soften.
  • Once the vegetables are softened, remove the bay leaf, and add the flour to the vegetables and mix well.  Gradually add broth and whisk.  Bring the vegetable mixture to a simmer to thicken.
  • Stir in shredded chicken, peas, and corn.  Season with salt and pepper and herbs.  Take off the heat.

Next, to make the biscuits.

  • Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together well.
  • Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or knives until it forms fine crumbs.
  • Gradually stir in the milk until mixture makes a dough – try not to over mix the dough.
  • Turn the dough out on a floured surface and press it down to form a circle.  Cut into 6 triangles or cut out into circles and place on top of the chicken mixture.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, let set for 5 minutes and enjoy.

I hope you do try this recipe.  I look forward to hearing your comments!

Sincerely,

Jacqueline

*biscuit recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

baking · books · lifestyle · Vintage Lifestyle

Christmas Baking & Gifts

Hello everyone:

I wanted to share with you all some photos of the baking I did for Christmas as well as some of the gifts I received from my family.  I also bought myself some gifts with the money I was gifted from my family.  I am not a big spender so buying myself some housewares was a treat and many of the purchases were items I had my eye on for years.

Firstly, I will start with some of the baking I did.  My husband and I, for the past two years, have decided to opt out of the Christmas rat race.  In doing this, I decided on primarily homemade gifts for our family members.  I made the cookies shown below, as well as soup and chocolate bark for my family members.  This will be a tradition I continue to do as it is not only heartfelt, but it a big part of my values to eschew the modern consumerism of this holiday.  This has been a big change for me during this time, but choosing to purchase and gift more consciously is very important to me.

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Mince pies and mince pinwheels made with the leftover pastry
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Chocolate dipped shortbreads
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Molasse crinkles, thumbprint cookies, and earl grey sugar cookies

Below are some of the gifts I purchased for myself or are from my family members.  I am very fortunate to have been able to purchase or be gifted these items and I hope you find them as beautiful as I do.  My mother also gifted me a new electric blanket as my previous one died (probably from all the love and use).

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A beautiful rose doiley from Wheaton’s (the cake stand was previously gifted to me from my sister-in-law)
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I am a big fan of Susan Branch’s blog and artwork so I decided to order the newest edition of her first cookbook.

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Quilted star placemat from Wheaton’s (tea set previously gifted to me from my Husband)  I had been longing for these placemats for years.
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This is a condensed version of Mrs. Beeton’s original household management.  As a lover of all things domestic and Victorian, I was glad to find a copy of this book for a good price and look forward to trying some of the recipes.
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From my Husband who clearly knows my love of Wuthering Heights
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Brooch made by my sister-in-law.  Her Embroidery Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheStitchingKitty

Thank you for having a look at my blog.  A lot of changes are coming and I hope you come back soon!

Sincerely,

Jacqueline

baking · Recipes · Retro Recipes · Uncategorized

Retro Recipes: Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler

I am a sucker for all things retro and that includes recipes.  Recently I have been fascinated by the 1950s era, and nothing speaks quintessential housewife like an old fashioned peach cobbler*.

21106772_10159153675610177_8159572068003208125_nIngredients

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 cups sliced peaches, peeled and sliced (I used a dozen small-ish peaches)
1 tsp lemon juice

1 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, peaches, and lemon juice.

Cook over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.  Boil for one minute and pour into ungreased casserole dish.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in butter using a pastry blender until mixture looks like fine crumbs.  Stir in milk and drop dough into spoonfuls over the peach mixture.  Sprinkle remaining sugar on top.  The mixture will look sparse, but it grows whilst cooking.

Bake 25-30 minutes and serve on its own, with whipped cream, or with some vanilla ice cream.

Please let me know if you try the recipe.  🙂

Buon Appetito!

Jacqueline

*Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

Uncategorized

Getting an education

become

I have some exciting news – I am going to university.

This September I turn 27 years old and for some reason it is quite frightening to me, those numbers.  2.7.  I feel I should have done more with my life – travelled more, read more, lived more.  But we can’t turn back time.

This decision to go back to school has been a giant step for me.  I have been struggling a lot in my current job.  I have been struggling a lot with my mental health, too.  But going to University, it feels like a dream.

About three years ago, I really started feeling the wanting to go to school.  I have spent most of my life feeling inadequate, uneducated, and not worthy of education.  And clearly, for a time, I gave up.  I went to college to get a “real” job.  I became a legal secretary.  During the past three years, I have poured over different university websites trying to decide what I would take, what would interest me.  I kept going back and telling myself I couldn’t do it.  I wasn’t capable of getting an education.  Switching back and forth and back and forth between the ideals of who and what I should be.  Who and what I am.

It has been incredibly difficult.  But turning the chapter on your life always is.  It made me think about how we are just the choices we make.  We can remain, complain, and muddle through – live the same years over and over again.  Or we can start again.  Growth.  That’s what life is about.

I look forward to writing about my classes, my books, my essays, and all the things that will make up the next four years.  I have been thinking on what will come after the undergraduate and feel I have a pretty solid plan.  However, I feel that the after is all most people want to know about.  You are going to school for an undergraduate – why?  What are you going to do after?  To me this means when are you going to graduate, get a real job, and live your life like a real adult?

The thing we need to realize is that this, right now, is our life.  There may never be an after. As morbid as it sounds, we are not immortal! Or the “after” plan could fail or falter.  The next four years of my life are dedicated to books and learning and growth.  And the “after” bit will come.  It always does – well, usually.

The inherent disappointment I have felt has hit hard, and from the people I thought would be my cheerleaders through it all.  But again the lesson always is to have no expectations from anyone.  I suppose it is much better to feel disappointment from others than disappointment from yourself.  And I do not want to wake up 20 years from now saying “I wish I had gone to school” and never have done it, never taken the step out of my comfort zone.

There is a quote I will leave you with which has sat with me for the past week:

We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.

Thanks for reading.

Jacqueline