Saturday, February 16, 2013

Recipes for a great weekend

February is a wonderful month, especially for us teachers. We have two back to back 3-day weekends. This year, here in San Diego county, we are even more fortunate that one of those weekends was cool and rainy - just the way I like it - and the next is sunny and warm.

Our first 3-day weekend was spent puttering around the house, playing dress up, dancing with the dog, watching Thomas speed around the train tracks, reading Harry Potter, knitting, and baking four (!!!) loaves of delicious rosemary bread to go with our vegetable soup. It was my idea of the best kind of weekend - just staying in the house, cozy by the fire.

Here are some recipes for you to enjoy on your long weekend, or any day!

Saturday Morning Pannycakes

This is what my kids beg for most Saturday (and some Sunday) mornings. Quick, easy and fun to fix up in a jiffy, while the little ones watch cartoons. Or even better, Jack Hannah's Into the Wild =D


1 cup unbleached flour
1 tbsp double acting baking powder
dash of sugar
1/8 tsp salt

1 cup soymilk
1 tbsp veg. oil or melted butter/margarine
dash of vanilla
1 heaping tbsp ground flax (optional)

1/4 cup, or less, chocolate chips! or other mix in of your choice. (optional)

Sift or whisk together dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir in chocolate chips, if using Combine wet ingredients in a measuring cup, then pour into dry ingredients. Stir vigorously until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Let sit for about 5 minutes. While that sits, warm up your pan. I have an electric stove, and warm mine on 6, then cook the pancakes on 4, medium low heat. I wash up my utensils and put everything away, then the batter should be puffed up a bit, and you should see air bubbles on top. Resist the urge to give it a good stir, and just dip in spoon and pour spoonfuls into your pan. This makes about 5 4-5" diameter pancakes.
Let cook until small bubbles appear on top, flip and cook a couple more minutes until light brown on bottom. Enjoy warm with the topping of your choice - or none at all! =)

Home-Grown Rosemary Bread:

Romano's Macaroni Grill's bread is the best thing about that place. I LOVE that bread, and have always wanted to be able to just make it at home. I searched the web for a recipe and tried a couple, but they all felt like they were lacking something. So, I've come up with this variation, that my family found irresistible - enough for the little ones to climb up onto the counter and devour half a loaf in a matter of seconds.

My favorite part of making this bread is heading out to the garden with my little big girl to pick some fresh rosemary. If its summer time we often also have fresh basil and oregano, but for now I had to use dry. Feel free to use fresh if you have it on hand, just adjust accordingly.


1 Tbsp yeast (I use Red Star Active yeast in a jar)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup warm water

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp fresh rosemary - separated into 1 tbsp piles
2 tsp dry basil (1 tbsp if fresh)
1/2 tsp dry oregano (1 tsp if fresh)

2 tbsp melted butter/margarine - 1 tbsp in the bread, 1 to top it after baking.
Salt to sprinkle on top


To do this my quick way, preheat your oven to 210 degrees f, then turn it off once the oven is preheated.

Whisk together the yeast, sugar and water. Let sit for about 10 minutes, until fluffy and about twice as high.

While the yeast sits, finely chop your rosemary and set aside. Sift or whisk together flour, salt and spices. If you are lucky enough to have a counter top mixer, I just put those ingredients into the bowl with the whisk attached and let it run a bit. (I can't thank you enough for that one, dad!).

Once yeast is ready, I pour in the 1 tbsp melted butter, then dump it all at once into the flour mixture. With the dough hook attached, I put it on speed 2 and let it do its thing for about 5 minutes. If you're doing this by hand, I imagine it would take at least 10 minutes of kneading to get it right. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Have a glass bowl (I use a casserole dish) sprayed with non-stick cooking spray ready. Once the dough is beautifully soft, flour your hands and take it out of the bowl. Form it into a nice ball, put it in the glass bowl and pop it in your nice, warm oven. Let the dough sit there to rise until doubled in size. This should take about 30-45 minutes.

When the dough is nice and fluffy, take it out and turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into two and gently work it so it makes 2 nice smooth balls. Turn on oven to 375 degrees f, place your 2 loaves onto an ungreased cookie sheet, sprinkle tops with remaining rosemary and place into oven. Let bake for about 20 minutes, until light brown. Remove from oven, brush with 1 tbsp melted butter, sprinkle with a little salt and place back into oven for about 5 minutes, until a deep golden brown. I have an electric oven, and once put these on low broil for about 2 minutes, and it makes the crust just a bit crispier, more like they have at the restaurant.

Here are some pics from our wonderful, long weekend. Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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