Twisted breadsticks two ways

From Six Sisters’ Stuff and The Recipe Critic

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One morning I woke up and asked my (two and a half year old) daughter what we should do that day. She suggested making breadsticks (we had just recently finished up the ones from our freezer – and obviously their absence from our lives was still on her mind) so who am I to disagree? She clearly has good taste and like any toddler, knows what she wants. As I was trying to decide between a savory or sweet breadstick, I happened on these two recipes and noticed that the dough was quite similar. This, I assumed, was a sign that meant I should make both. Though the directions may seem long, these are actually rather easy to put together. I lengthened some of the rising time (as more rising = more flavor) and added a few extra flavorings, but otherwise kept the recipes the same. These breadsticks were FABULOUS. So soft and so tender, with a bit of a crispy bottom. Garlic-y and salty or ooey gooey cinnamon sugary. We inhaled both kinds that day (and the day after), and savored every single bite.

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Here we go – for either type of breadstick, first make the dough!

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix warm water, sugar and yeast together.

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Let that sit for 5 minutes.

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Add flour and salt to the water, sugar and yeast.

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Using the dough hook attachment, mix this until smooth (about 5 minutes). The dough will be quite sticky, but should not stick to the sides of the mixer – it may stick to the bottom slightly.

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Lightly spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough inside. Spray a piece of plastic wrap and cover the bowl.

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Let the dough raise for 1 – 1.5 hours.

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Roll out the dough in a large rectangle on a floured surface. Brush the dough with 5 T of the melted butter.

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For the garlic butter sticks

Sprinkle the garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and parmesan (if using) over top of the melted butter. OR

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For the cinnamon sugar sticks

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of the melted butter.

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Continuing for both

Fold the dough in half.

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Cut the dough in half the long way and then into one inch strips – a pizza cutter works great for this.

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Twist the one inch strips of dough and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel, and let rise for 15-20 minutes (while the oven preheats).

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Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Once done, brush with melted butter. For the garlic sticks, sprinkle with a little extra garlic salt and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

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For the cinnamon sticks, mix up the cream cheese glaze and drizzle over the top or use as a dip.

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Yield: about 32 breadsticks per 1 batch of dough

Ingredients

For both doughs

1 1/2 c warm water

2 T sugar

1 T active dry yeast

3 1/2 c unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

For garlic butter breadsticks

7 T butter, melted and divided

2 tsp garlic salt, plus extra to sprinkle on top

1 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)

2 T grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Marinara sauce for serving

For cinnamon sugar breadsticks

5 T butter, melted

1/3 c sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

For cinnamon sugar breadstick glaze

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 T butter, softened

1 c powdered sugar

1/4 c half and half

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Make the dough for either type of breadstick

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix warm water, sugar and yeast together. Let that sit for 5 minutes. Add flour and salt to the water, sugar and yeast. Using the dough hook attachment, mix this until smooth (about 5 minutes). The dough will be quite sticky, but should not stick to the sides of the mixer – it may stick to the bottom slightly. Lightly spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough inside. Spray a piece of plastic wrap and cover the bowl. Let the dough raise for 1 – 1.5 hours. Roll out the dough in a large rectangle on a floured surface. Brush the dough with 5 T of the melted butter.

For the garlic butter sticks

Sprinkle the garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and parmesan (if using) over top of the melted butter.

For the cinnamon sugar sticks

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of the melted butter.

Continuing for both

Fold the dough in half. Cut the dough in half the long way and then into one inch strips – a pizza cutter works great for this. Twist the one inch strips of dough and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel, and let rise for 15-20 minutes (while the oven preheats). Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Once done, brush with melted butter. For the garlic sticks, sprinkle with a little extra garlic salt and serve with marinara sauce for dipping. For the cinnamon sticks, mix up the cream cheese glaze and drizzle over the top or use as a dip. These are best the first day, but are still good the day after.

To make the cream cheese glaze

Combine softened cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix until combined and smooth.

Yummy coconut chia seed pudding

From Cupcakes and Kale Chips

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A fantastic tropical treat! Even my husband will eat this – in fact, it is often requested. I have already made this several times this month. I love love love it as a light spring/summer dessert served over a mix of fresh fruit. Strawberries, kiwi, bananas, peaches, oranges, blueberries, mango, you name it. This satisfies my coconut addiction in a most scrumptious and healthy way. This will be on constant rotation this summer!

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

One can coconut milk (my favorite brand is Roland)

1 T maple syrup or honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 c chia seeds

2 c sliced strawberries

2 c blueberries

2 mangos

2 oranges (sliced)

Directions

Add first four ingredients to a mason jar or other covered container. Add lid and shake to mix (or stir if in a non shakable container). Let sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight for a thicker consistency. Divide fruit into 8 serving cups. Add chia mixture over top of fruit. Keep in the refrigerator.

Ezekiel bread – grain version

From Food.com

“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.” (Old Testament Ezekiel 4:9)

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I was brought to the inspiration of this bread by my Instagram account – thanks to @beachyogagirl and her daily meal of Ezekiel bread and smashed avocado (YES). I love being surrounded by inspiring people doing amazing, every day things. I use some forms of social media for just this purpose. I follow people who are passionate about what they do – from fashion to food to yoga.  Who doesn’t love a space filled with positivity, support and and an uplifting sense of community instead of the all too often competitive and tear someone down mentality that social media sites can be known for? More to the point, inspiration (for food or otherwise) can be found anywhere. Don’t be afraid of a recipe, just try it! (bread making tips from me here)

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Most Ezekiel bread is made from sprouted seeds, which are ground into flour. While incredibly nutritious, it also seemed a bit time consuming, so I opted to try this version instead. I looked through many of the recipes out there – this one uses lentils and a combination of wheat, barley, millet and rye flours. I rewrote some of the instructions so they were more clear, but otherwise followed the original recipe. This bread is dense and heavy and will surely satiate any appetite. It is packed full of only good for you ingredients and is bursting with protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C, to name a few. And most importantly, it is glorious under some chicken salad, heavenly with a smashed avocado on top, and is even delicious with a generous dollop of peanut butter (according to my toddler, but hey, peanut butter makes everything good, right?).

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Here we go!

Cook your lentils according to package directions. Let cool. (I did this step a few days in advance and stored them in the refrigerator).

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Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water, add honey and let sit for 10 minutes.

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In a large bowl, mix the wheat, barley, millet and rye flour together.

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Blend lentils, oil and small amount of water (from the  remaining1 1/2 cups water) in a blender (I used my immersion blender and it worked great).

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Place the mashed beans into a very large mixing bowl with the remaining water.

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To the bean mixture, stir in two cups of mixed flour.

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Next, add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in  the salt and remaining flour.

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Place on floured surface and knead until smooth. Add more water, if needed, to bring the dough together.

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Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

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Let rise until double in bulk, 1-2 hours (it will be really heavy).

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Knead again and cut dough and shape into 4 loaves.

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Place in 4 greased loaf pans. Let rise until double in bulk, about 45-60 minutes.

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Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from pan and place loaves on wire rack. Let cool completely before slicing.

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Yield: 4 loaves

Ingredients

4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

2 c warm water, divided

1 T honey

1 lb dried lentils, cooked

8 c wheat flour

4 c barley flour

1⁄2 c millet flour

1⁄4 c rye flour

1 T salt

4 -6 T olive oil

Directions

Cook your lentils according to package directions. Let cool. (I did this step a few days in advance and stored them in the refrigerator).

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water, add honey and let sit for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the wheat, barley, millet and rye flour together.

Blend lentils, oil and small amount of water (from the  remaining 1 1/2 cups water) in a blender (I used my immersion blender and it worked great). Place the mashed beans into a very large mixing bowl with the remaining water.

To the bean mixture, stir in two cups of mixed flour. Next, add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in  the salt and remaining flour.

Place on floured surface and knead until smooth. Add more water, if needed, to bring the dough together.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double in bulk, 1-2 hours (it will be really heavy). Knead again and cut dough and shape into 4 loaves. Place in 4 greased loaf pans. Let rise until double in bulk, about 45-60 minutes. Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from pan and place loaves on wire rack. Let cool completely before slicing. Freezes well.

**tip: slice your bread before freezing, so you can just grab what you need, no need to thaw the entire loaf**


Favorite chicken salad

From Damn Delicious

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This is my favorite chicken salad ever. Bold statement? It’s completely true. I love everything about this chicken salad. It has crisp apples, sweet grapes, tart cranberries, crunchy almonds, and tangy Greek yogurt. It’s absolutely perfect and I promise you won’t even miss the mayonnaise. Pair it with some Ezekiel bread and a green salad and you’ve got an easy weeknight meal or a tasty treat for lunch!

Ingredients

1 pound cooked chicken breast, cut into small cubes

1/2 c diced red onion

1/2 c diced apple

2/3 c grapes, halved

1/3 c dried cranberries

1/4 c sliced almonds

1/2 c plain Greek yogurt

1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more, to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Your favorite bread or rolls for serving (such as Ezekiel bread, pictures here)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine chicken, red onion, apple, grapes, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve sandwiches on bread with chicken mixture.


Fudge Popsicles

From the Smitten Kitchen

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Fudgy. Chewy. Chocolatey. Heavenly. I think that about sums it up. These are a perfect homemade rendition of the classic summertime chocolatey treat. My toddler devours them, finishing with sticky fingers and a happy smile that only comes from chocolate. These are a wonderful treat for any day and are especially delicious when dreaming of the warmth and light that summer brings. Bring on summer, as you will be well prepared.

Yield: 10 popsicles, 3 oz each

Ingredients

4 T semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate

2/3 c sugar

2 T cornstarch

3 T unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/2 c whole milk

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 T unsalted butter

Directions

In the bottom of a medium saucepan over very low heat, gently melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with a little bit of the milk, about a half cup.  To the melted chocolate, add in sugar, cocoa powder, remaining 2 cups of milk, and salt and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture and raise heat to medium. Cook mixture, stirring frequently until it thickens, anywhere between 5 -10 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter and stir until combined.

Set aside to cool slightly then pour into popsicle molds. Freeze 30 minutes, then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze the rest of the way before serving. 

*For storing, I like to unmold all the popsicles at once by dipping the bottom of the mold in warm water. Then I wrap each popsicle in wax paper and store in a plastic bag in the freezer. 

*This is the mold I use. 

Mango Chia Smoothie

Adapted slightly from The Gracious Pantry

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I love love love making (and eating!) smoothies. I try new ones all the time, as they are a quick and healthy snack for my toddler and I (and for my husband, if he’s lucky enough to get leftovers). I made this smoothie for lunch today, and it went beyond my expectations. I have been meaning to make smoothies with cottage cheese for a while now (greek yogurt is good, but often rather sour and sometimes requires too much extra sweetening). I was really excited when I ran across the idea to use cottage cheese instead. This smoothie is a perfect reminder of summer. Tropical, sweet and decadent, and so healthy! Who doesn’t love feeding their family (or themselves) with really tasty food that is also really good for you? I love the added little crunch from the chia seeds, and I have a bit of a mango addiction, so this really satisfied my craving.

Ingredients

2 cups frozen mango (no sugar added)

1 1/2 cups milk (I used whole milk, because that’s what I always use!)

3/4 cup cottage cheese

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Sweetener of choice (I used about 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup)

1 fresh mango (optional)

Directions

Mix mango, milk, cottage cheese, sweetener, and flesh from one mango, if using, in a blender until smooth. Stir in chia seeds (I have this one, so I like to take the blades out before adding the chia seeds … I do not like cleaning tiny chia seeds from the blades!). Let sit for about ten minutes (to soften the chia seeds a bit). Enjoy!

Ian Knauer’s Bread

From The Farm hosted by Ian Knauer (book here!)

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I have been hopelessly addicted to watching The Farm. It’s on Amazon instant video, and I think I watched the entire 13 episodes in four days (who does laundry during nap time anyway?). I am now completely head over heels in love with the book. There are several bread recipes listed in this soul feeding cookbook and I plan to make them all (is that too ambitious? please tell me it’s not).

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First up is a skillet bread used for BLT’s, as inspired by the show. This bread will be making repeat appearances at our dinner table this summer. It is so ridiculously easy – simple, quick, with few dirty dishes (yes!) and it turns out perfect. As in super crusty and crunchy on the outside and incredibly soft and moist on the inside. It was dreamy for BLT’s and made delightfully soft while still crunchy garlic bread. It holds up well for several days, retaining that super soft interior and crusty exterior (just be sure to store it in a paper bag). It is safe to say that I am completely, utterly smitten. I think you should be, too.

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Here we go!

In a large bowl, mix flour, yeast and salt with your hands.

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Add in warm water, and mix with your hand until incorporated.

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This is a very wet and sticky dough.

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Turn dough out onto a clean work surface.

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Knead by slapping the dough on your work surface, pulling the dough toward yourself…

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…and folding it over onto itself. Dough will be very sticky.

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Knead until the dough comes together and becomes smooth. Lightly flour the surface of the dough, scrape it up, and fold the edges of the dough into itself to make a round form.

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Flour a bowl (such as the bowl you mixed it in) and cover with a kitchen towel.

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Let rise for one hour.

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Once doubled, repeat the folding process by flouring your work surface and folding the dough over into itself to make a round form (fold edges or corners inward). Dough will be very soft and smooth.

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Put the dough in a 10″ floured cast iron skillet and lightly flour the top.

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Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for one hour. 

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After the dough is doubled, cut steam holes in the top. Do what you like – slashes, an “x”, or use your kitchen scissors and cut into the dough creating rows of spikes (done here). 

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Bake at 475 F for about 45 minutes – tap the bottom, it will sound hollow when done. Store in a paper bag. 

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Ingredients

4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (can use bread flour, too, if that’s what you have)

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 tablespoon salt

1 3/4 cups warm water

Directions

In a large bowl, mix flour, yeast and salt with your hands. Add in warm water, and mix with your hand until incorporated. This is a very wet and sticky dough. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface. Knead by slapping the dough on your work surface, pulling the dough toward yourself and folding it over onto itself. Dough will be very sticky. Knead until the dough comes together and becomes smooth. Lightly flour the surface of the dough, scrape it up, and fold the edges of the dough into itself to make a round form. Flour a bowl (such as the bowl you mixed it in) and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise for one hour. 

Once doubled, repeat the folding process by flouring your work surface and folding the dough over into itself to make a round form (fold edges or corners inward). Dough will be very soft and smooth. Put the dough in a 10″ floured cast iron skillet and lightly flour the top. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for one hour. 

After the dough is doubled, cut steam holes in the top. Do what you like – slashes, an “x”, or use your kitchen scissors and cut into the dough creating rows of spikes (done here). Bake at 475 F for about 45 minutes – tap the bottom, it will sound hollow when done. Store in a paper bag.