Honey-Garlic Barbecue Sauce

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Who’s ready for some barbecue? I know I am!

As the days grow warmer and longer, one of my favorite ways to spend an evening is outside grilling up a tasty dinner!

I love a variety of barbecue sauces, but one of my favorites is a sweet sauce with a hint of tang. I am also a huge fan of local honey — which inspired me to whip up a batch of this honey-garlic barbecue sauce!

Perfect for burgers, chicken and beef as well as slow-cooked barbecued beef or chicken!

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Honey-Garlic Barbecue Sauce

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1 1/4 cups tomato ketchup

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup honey, local if possible

2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

-In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and whisk together on medium-low.

-Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

-This recipe yields approximately 2 1/2 cups of barbecue sauce.

Enjoy!

 

Freshly-Baked French Bread

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I am becoming more and more excited with organic bread baking! Because my daughters love deli-style sandwiches, fresh rolls and, of course, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I have been on a quest to find a delicious, soft bread recipe that I could bake organically and that wouldn’t tend to dry out by the next day.

I headed straight to Pinterest where I found an overwhelming amount of “the best” bread recipes. I went ahead and picked one, and I do believe this has been my favorite bread so far!

I absolutely love baking bread from scratch now — organic with no preservatives, additives or ingredients that really shouldn’t be there. This bread has only six ingredients and is so much better than store-bought!

Homemade French Bread

*recipe slightly adapted from lil’ luna

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 6 cups flour, divided
  1. Dissolve your yeast in ½ cup warm water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine hot water, sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups of the flour and stir.
  3. In a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix the yeast mixture and the hot water/flour mixture together.
  4. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Once all of the flour is added, cover with a clean dishtowel and let sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Separate your dough into 3 pieces (I typically make a sandwich loaf, traditional French loaf and some extra rolls or buns.) This dough is very sticky, so you will probably want to flour your hands and sprinkle a little on the dough itself. On a floured surface, roll each piece into a rectangle shape then form into a oblong loaf or place in a greased bread pan. You can also form this dough into round balls, slightly flattened, for rolls and buns.
  6. Place the dough on a greased baking pan, seam side down. Score the bread across the top 3 or 4 times, and brush with additional grape seed oil. Cover and let dough rise  for 30-40 minutes in a warm place.
  7. Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown.
  8. Note – when baking hamburger/hot dog buns or rolls, baking time will be approximately 15 minutes, depending on the size of your bread.
One batch of this delicious dough produced all of the various breads you see in the first picture! This dough is so versatile and oh-so-soft! Use it for sandwiches, served with pasta, for hamburgers/hot dogs … even delicious little rolls with butter and honey!
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Enjoy!

Cheesy-Bacon Egg Bake

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In addition to being some of the most wonderful women you could ever meet, the ladies at our church are very well-known for their phenomenal cooking — especially on Easter Sunday! We have a tradition of gathering early to share Easter breakfast together, and for those interested in cooking/baking, several recipes are available if you don’t have a particular dish in mind.

Last week as I pondered whether to bring cinnamon rolls or fresh fruit, I glanced over to see a printed recipe for an egg bake. What caught my eye the most was that the recipe called for 18 eggs!

Because we have seven sweet hens who bless us daily with an abundance of eggs, I am always on the look-out for a tasty egg dish!

This recipe is a keeper! Eggs with a soft, creamy layer of sour cream — pause for dramatic effect — covered in melting cheese and bacon! Did I also mention this recipe is one of the easiest dishes I’ve ever made?

This recipe is not my own, and I have to find out who contributed it! To thank her and give her a hug, of course!

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Cheesy-Bacon Egg Bake

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

18 eggs (salt and pepper to taste, scrambled to soft stage)

1 cup sour cream

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup crumbled bacon

-Scramble eggs to soft stage and spread into a greased 13×9 pan.

-Spread sour cream over the eggs.

-Sprinkle cheese and bacon on top.

-Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

*Side note — you could easily add a delightful variety of fresh vegetables or mushrooms to this dish. Serve with fresh fruit, if desired, and enjoy!

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Freshly-Baked White Rustic Bread

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After a long pause, I’m back to baking fresh bread! I am a novice when it comes to bread making, and as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have always been intimidated with the idea of baking my own loaves. I pictured my bread turning out as hard as a rock or as flat as a pancake! Or both!

But I have been finding some fabulous bread recipes which have greatly encouraged me! The most recent was found on Pinterest via the Creekside Cook. The title read: Stand Mixer Italian Bread. Stand Mixer … hmmm … definitely worth a try, right?

Yes, definitely, and now I’m so excited to share the recipe I found! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have! Once again, I want to thank Donalyn for sharing her recipe on Pinterest.

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For the most part, I followed the recipe exactly as it was written — however, after baking these loaves a few times, I made a few slight changes:

-I prefer cooking/baking with organic ingredients whenever possible — which is typically very easy to do with a recipe!

-Instead of spraying the bread with water while baking, I chose to brush the bread with oil twice during baking. Grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil worked wonderfully! I also topped the bread with Italian herbs and kosher salt before baking.

-When adding the additional flour during the second mixing, I only needed approximately 1/2 cup instead of a full cup. (I added the additional flour 1/4 cup at a time as stated in the original recipe.)

-My bread seemed to be done after 25 minutes — possibly our weather? Or elevation? So I would recommend keeping an eye on it after 20 minutes of baking.

The first loaf vanished very, very quickly! So the next time, I made two loaves. This recipe is also perfect for homemade hamburger buns!

So delicious served with olive oil, Italian herbs and a sprinkle of salt!

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Coconut Cake With Blackberry-Honey Syrup

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It is safe to say that I have caught the spring bug, and I love it! Sun-filled afternoons, soft rains and … wait for it … I was even able to open a few windows this week to let in the fresh air!

I tend to brush off the “official” day of spring because it is feeling so much like spring already! I am eagerly awaiting the first blossoms, buds and honey bees, and I suddenly have a great desire to clean everything in the house using all-natural, lemon-scented cleaning products!

This enthusiasm has carried over into the kitchen — culminating in a recipe I came up with for coconut cake with blackberry-honey syrup. I pictured this cake in the midst of a sunny spring picnic or family gathering. I could almost hear the robins tweeting in the background, and I am so excited to share it with you! I only wish we could gather to enjoy it together!

Coconut Cake

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

3/4 cup raw cane sugar

3/4 cup coconut sugar

4 large egg whites

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup coconut flakes

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-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

-In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, combine butter, coconut oil and sugars. Add egg whites and vanilla and mix on medium for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.

-Gradually add dry ingredients, alternating with the almond milk, until batter is smooth.

Pour into a buttered/floured 13×9 cake pan and bake for approximately 27-29 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean in the center.

-While cake is cooling, prepare frosting and blackberry-honey syrup.

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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 Tablespoons butter, softened

3 Tablespoons palm fruit shortening, softened

2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

-In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, combine butter and shortening until creamy. Add vanilla. Alternate powdered sugar with almond milk until creamy.

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Blackberry-Honey Syrup

4 cups blackberries, frozen

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

3/4 cup raw honey

-In a medium-size saucepan, combine all ingredients on low-medium heat and stir. As blackberries begin to soften, increase heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1-2 minutes or until syrup begins to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

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-When cake has cooled, frost and sprinkle with the flaked coconut.

-Before serving, drizzle individual servings with the blackberry-honey syrup and sprinkle with additional coconut flakes.

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I hope you will enjoy! Here’s to a lovely spring!

My Favorite Danish Meat Balls

After posting my Danish Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad the other day, I immediately knew the next recipe I wanted to share with you!

One of my family’s favorite dishes to pair with potatoes has to be Danish Meat Balls!

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Growing up, these meat balls were different than others — so extremely moist, tender and flavorful! When I was old enough to cook, this is one of the first dinner recipes I wanted to learn! They are one of my very favorites, and to my delight, my husband and daughters love them as well!

When I make them, my kitchen immediately smells like my grandparent’s or parent’s kitchen, and this makes me smile!

My Favorite Danish Meat Balls

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

l pound ground beef

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

2 eggs

1 cup milk

2 pieces of dry bread, processed into fine crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

flour

extra-virgin olive oil

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-In a large bowl, combine all ingredients by hand or large spoon until well incorporated. I like to use a food processor to finely chop the onion and turn the bread into fine crumbs.

-In a small bowl, add approximately 2/3-3/4 cup flour to dip the meat balls.

-In a large pan or on a griddle, coat with olive oil and heat to medium-high.

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-Form into round meat balls or flat patties (about the size of a golf ball or slightly larger), and roll into the flour. The meat mixture will be extremely moist, so the flour is a tip from my Great-Uncle Rudger to help hold everything together! 😉

-Cook meat balls completely through until there is no pink left in the middle. I usually check one or two before I put all of them onto a plate. As you continue cooking, add more olive oil as needed to prevent sticking.

I highly recommend trying this wonderful dish with the potato salad recipe — they pair extremely well together and for me, always taste like “home sweet home”!

I hope you will enjoy!

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Danish Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad

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This week I noticed something lovely — as I walked outside, I didn’t need a winter jacket! Not only that, I felt fine in a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt! Our temperatures have climbed into the 40 degree range, even inching into the 50’s, and it feels wonderful!

Ahh! Spring really is on it’s way! The chickens are overjoyed to see grass and sunbathe in sunshine, the bunnies are hopping for joy and Marcie has once again began venturing outdoors!

Of course, Jonathan, the girls and I are pretty excited, too! I’ve found myself beginning to daydream of spring/summer picnics and barbecues — which in turn got me daydreaming about a delicious family recipe — Danish Warm Potato Salad or as Grandma would call it, Varm Kartoffle Salat.

The official first day of spring isn’t until March 20th, but I simply couldn’t wait that long to share this with you! Warm, creamy and so delicious — this recipe is sure to inspire you of spring/summer gatherings as well!

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Danish Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

16 small red potatoes

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/3-1/2 of a red onion, finely chopped

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. dill, or to taste

5 Tablespoons sour cream

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-Rinse potatoes well and cut into cubes. In a medium-size saucepan, cover potatoes with water, add a pinch of salt and boil for approximately 15 minutes or until tender.

-While potatoes are cooking, finely chop (by hand or in a food processor) 1/3 to 1/2 of a red onion. Saute onion in the olive oil until onion becomes soft — mix in salt and sugar.
-When potatoes have finished cooking, drain in a colander and pour back into the saucepan. Mix in onion mixture, dill and sour cream.
-Serve warm and enjoy!

Serves approximately 4-6 people

Blackberry-Honey Smoothie

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As I’ve mentioned before, I love smoothies! They’re incredibly versatile — perfect for breakfast, a snack or a refreshing pick-me-up. This smoothie is smooth and delicious — reminiscent of summer with a slice of homemade blackberry pie or ice-cream. The added benefit is that blackberries are highly nutritious and an excellent source of fiber.

Blackberry-Honey Smoothie

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1 cup vanilla almond milk

1/3 cup ice

2/3 cup frozen blackberries

1/3 cup raw oats

2 Tablespoons raw honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender until well-incorporated and smooth.

Garnish with additional blackberries, if desired.

Note: If you prefer your smoothie to be seedless, pour beverage through a mesh strainer before serving.

Enjoy!

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A Chocolate Dream Cupcake Recipe

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This cupcake couldn’t have come at a better time!

Last week we had the “official” celebration of National Chocolate Cake Day, although I must say, I can easily celebrate chocolate cake throughout the year!

Then while participating in the Three-Day Quote Challenge, there was this lovely gem that I’m particularly fond of …

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To make it even better, our family actually celebrates numerous birthdays in February … and then, of course, there’s Valentine’s Day!

This cupcake/cake recipe is perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day … any day! It’s moist, light and rich in chocolate flavor. And then there’s the frosting — so creamy, so chocolatey and, quite literally, the icing (frosting) on the cake!

For Cupcakes or Cake

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

Adapted from Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Recipes

2 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder (dark chocolate is preferable)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

3/4 cup raw cane sugar

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup vanilla almond milk

1/3 cup chocolate almond milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

-In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter, coconut oil and sugars until light and fluffy.

-Add vanilla and eggs and mix until well blended.

-Alternate flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder with the almond milks on low speed until batter is well-blended and smooth. Do not over-mix.

-Fill cupcake liners/cases approximately 2/3 full and bake for 17-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out of center clean.

*For cake, spread into a greased 13×9 cake pan and bake for 26-27 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center areas comes out clean.

For the Chocolate Frosting

3 Tablespoons butter, softened

3 Tablespoons palm fruit oil, softened

2 2/3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup vanilla or chocolate almond milk

1 Tablespoon vanilla

-In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter and palm fruit oil on medium speed.

-Alternate powdered sugar/cocoa powder with almond milk/vanilla until frosting is smooth and creamy.

-Frost when cupcakes/cake has cooled.

Truly a chocolate dream!

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