Kitchen Know-How: The Fluffiest Rice Ever

April+934a1 Kitchen Know How: The Fluffiest Rice Ever

Happy Monday!

I hope you had a fabulous weekend! We had a lot of rain, so we stayed indoors for most of the time. That means popcorn, movies, books, lots of baking and maybe some laundry. icon smile Kitchen Know How: The Fluffiest Rice Ever

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am starting a series of posts called “Kitchen Know-How”, where I share my cooking and baking tips and trick. Today is the first of them!

I had a conversation with my friends lately about rice. Crunchy rice to be exact.
How many times you have you cooked rice to find that it was still crunchy? I have been there…
There is nothing worse than a crunchy rice.
Well, maybe lack of chocolate in your day.
But we are talking rice today. So let’s focus, because this is life-changing!

We make lots of stir fry dinners during Summer. There is veggies galore at the Farmer’s Market and it’s a fabulous way to enjoy them.

Two rules to remember when cooking rice:
1. Rice to water ratio is always 1:2. That means 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. Always!
2. If you toast the rice before adding the water, it will always cook fluffy. Always!

I have been cooking rice this way for several years now and it always works.

Ok, I think I convinced you by now that this tip is at least worth the try. icon smile Kitchen Know How: The Fluffiest Rice Ever

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Hot and ready!

Fluffiest Rice Ever

2 Tbsp butter, salted is fine
1 c white rice
2 c water

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In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.

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Add the rice and toast it until it looks like this.
You don’t want all the grains to be browned, but a mix of both.

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Add the water. Pour slowly as it will steam up. Be careful!
The pot is hot at this point so the water will start cooking right away.

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Bring it to a boil.

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Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let cook until the water is absorbed and rice is cooked. It takes about 10 – 12 minutes.

Easy-peasy!

I hope you will try this tip and enjoy the fluffiest rice ever! Let me know, if you do. icon smile Kitchen Know How: The Fluffiest Rice Ever

I will be back on Wednesday with a sweet recipe! Psst, there will be chocolate involved.. icon smile Kitchen Know How: The Fluffiest Rice Ever

xoxo,

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE Kitchen Know How: The Fluffiest Rice Ever

Homemade Marshmallows

marshmallows Homemade Marshmallows

Husbands hate shopping.

It’s proven scientifically, people!

The roll of the eyes, when you say “we are out of  ketchup and coffee.” Because they know what’s coming. They know that ketchup is only the tip of the iceberg. They know that you will stop in the clearance section and browse the clothing department. Don’t even mention the kitchenware!

Ohh, the kitchenware.. Have you seen Wilton’s new baking gadgets line? I love the yellow handles! ( swoon )

Aaaaanyways, MY Husband hates shopping. Browsing the aisles, searching for a new kind of the product – that does not have any appeal.

marshmallows2 Homemade Marshmallows

Women looooove shopping. I love shopping!

Sure I have a list with me. I always shop with my kids, so I need the list like my right arm. Otherwise, we would be eating scrambled eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But I love to browse. I tend to drift off from our route into a bakeware section. Or cheese section. Or fruit stands!

The clearance sign – it’s all it’s fault I say. You are thinking: it’s on sale! It’s a great deal! I am getting it!
I have been there, ladies. Because, when you buy on sale – it’s like you are saving making money! Right?

I would bet a plate full of brownies, that our husbands don’t agree.

But they figured out a way to deal with it! They make up a strategy and grab the bull by it’s horns!

“Let me do the shopping today. You just relax.” – he says.
” I can do it in ten!” – he thinks.
“I am staying home with the kids… You think I can relax?” – I think.

Walk in, get what you need, pay and get out! That’s how they do it.

Yep. I witnessed it.

I was speechless.

I even admired it!

Just like my Hubby admired my homemade marshmallows, sitting comfortably on a plate in front of him.
Perfection was the word he used. Better than store bought might have been exclaimed.

Homemade Marshmallows

4 Tbsp water
4 Tbsp corn syrup
12 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
1 Tbsp ( 3 tsp ) gelatin
2 Tbsp cold water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar for dusting

We are dealing here with boiling hot sugar so caution is advised. In other words: don’t burn yourself!
Line your 8″ x 8″ baking dish with parchment paper. Dust the bottom with powdered sugar. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, fitted with a candy thermometer, mix together water, corn syrup and sugar. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally, and boil until the thermometer shows 235 degrees.
In the same time, place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Let sit for few minutes.
When the sugar mixture reaches the 235 degree temperature, remove the saucepan from heat and add the dissolved gelatine. Whisk it together.
With the mixer running, slowly pour the hot mixture into egg whites. Add the vanilla and continue whipping for at least 5 – 6 minutes.
Pour the marshmallow fluff into your prepared pan and spread evenly.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until set.
When ready, flip the marshmallow square onto powdered sugar dusted surface and cut into half and than each half into half again and so on.

 source: Joe Pastry

This is a basic recipe for marshmallows. With Summer just around the corner and s’mores on everyone’s minds, I thought it would be fun to make these fluffy sweet sponges of goodness from scratch.

What is your take on shopping?

Linking up to Fabulous Friday.

xoxo,

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE Homemade Marshmallows

Carmelitas

carmelitas1 Carmelitas

I saved a bird today.

That sounds heroic, doesn’t it? icon smile Carmelitas

It was a horrific experience, I tell you. But let’s start from the beginning.

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It was a beautiful day. Gorgeous blue skies, not a cloud in sight, with a warm, lazy breeze in the air. Try to keep the kids indoors! No way! They have their shoes on before you know it. Ready to dig in the warm sand of their sandbox, swing carefree on their swings. Pure bliss…

Suddenly, the happiness is interrupted by birds’ chirping. And not the good-morning-it’s-a-beautiful-day kind. It sounds like a fight! For life! It gets louder and louder! Terrified Intrigued by the sounds, I look towards the source. Oh, the horror!

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Our black lab is galloping towards a group of birds fighting ( probably for a piece of worm ), grabs one and heads back towards me! With the bird! In it’s mouth!

The birds are chirping even louder! Now our girls are screaming!

I grab the dog by it’s collar and try to make him let go of the bird! “Not infront of the kids!” – was my only thought. I had no idea what I was doing. I think I might have yelled something at the dog, try to shake the bird out of his mouth. As soon as I saw the bird on the ground, I held the dog with all my strength! Until the bird disappeared under the fence.

I know it’s in his nature to be a hunter. He is a lab after all. But I just didn’t want my girls to see it! I remember my parents’ dog bringing his trophy to show. Few times it even happened to be our neighbor’s chickens!

Anyways, the bird ran away in one piece. Chirping all the way – probably cursing the dog.

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So I made Carmelitas.

Because baking calms me down.

And a gooey caramel-filled bar will make you forget how terrified you were just a moment ago. icon smile Carmelitas
When you see how easy they are to make, you will be whipping them up in no-time!

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Place all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

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Stir it all in.

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Add the melted butter.

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Stir until all is combined.

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Reserve half of the oat mixture.

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Press the rest onto the bottom of your dish.

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Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crust.
( Sorry for the blurry photo icon smile Carmelitas ).

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It’s still bubbly!
Cool completely before cutting.

Carmelitas


1 c all-purpose flour
1 c rolled oats
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c ( 1 stick ) butter, melted
1/2 c caramel sauce ( see note )
1/2 c chocolate chips ( you can use up to a cup if you want more chocolate in your bars )

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10″ x 6″ or 8″ x 8″ square baking dish. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients ( flour, oats, sugar, soda and salt ).
Pour in the melted butter and stir until it all comes together.
Reserve half of the mixture.
Press the rest onto the bottom of your prepared dish.
Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
Pour the caramel sauce over the chips.
Sprinkle the rest of oat mixture over the top.
Gently press it down.
Bake for 22 – 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Cool completely before cutting.



source: Pillsbury via That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Note on the caramel layer:
The original recipe from Pillsbury suggest using a caramel ice cream topping. Lizzy from That Skinny Chick Can Bake used 14oz. package of caramels melted with 1/3 of a cup of half and half. Mind you, I halved the recipe and used 10″ x 6″ dish, instead of 13″ x 9″ dish. ( A square 8″ x 8′ pan will work. ) I used my home made caramel sauce ( see the recipe here ). Use what you have on hand.

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Enjoy!

Linking up to Crazy Sweet Tuesday.

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE Carmelitas

White Chocolate Chip and Raisins Cookies

whitechocrais White Chocolate Chip and Raisins Cookies

        My Hubby is very particular about his chocolate chips cookies. He has this magical ability to recognize the perfection in them. As I refuse to buy a ready-made dough in a tube, I am looking far and low for the best recipe.

        Why do you think his favorite cookies are snickerdoodle and not the all-time-classic chocolate chip?

        Because I have not perfected them yet… And when it comes to classics – I want perfection.

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       So I have been on the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookies recipe. I tried so many of them, I could write a book about it! Few times I actually got them right! I was happy and content.

       Until I made them again… and they would raise too much… and be too chunky….

     What are the features I am looking for? Flat, crispy edges, gooey and chewy inside, studded with chocolate chips and “when you pull the cookie apart it has to have the gooey threads”.

     Yes, I did Google it out.

     And got 2,3 million results!

     It means that I am not the only one who wants my chocolate chip cookies that way.

    And that 2 million people found the secret to it and I am not one of them…

    But I am not being discouraged by the statistics! I accept the challenge with grace! I will make batches and batches until my apron hangs on a single thread and there is no more flour in town!

   Aaaanyways, at this point I am baking the cookie dough without the chips. I will bake a first dozen and then I know if it’s what I am looking for. This time, the cookie was chewy on the inside and had the crispy edges, but it was too chunky, and there was no gooey threads.

    So I added white chocolate chips and raisins to the dough and instantly, magical-y the cookie was accepted and yummy.

April+489a White Chocolate Chip and Raisins Cookies

White Chocolate Chips and Raisins Cookies

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 oz. butter, softened
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c raisins

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients ( flour, soda ). Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for 2 minutes. Add sugars and salt. Beat until fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir it in.
Add the chips and raisins and stir again. Scoop the dough with a cookie scoop or a tablespoon onto the baking sheet.
Bake 11-12 minutes, until the edges start to brown.
Cool on a wire rack.

   Please, don’t think it’s a reject cookie recipe. They are really delicious! If you are a fan of white chocolate and raisins combo – you will love these!

  I will keep you posted on my search and if you have any tips or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. I am eager to hear them!

    
How do you like your chocolate chip cookies?

Linking up to Weekend Potluck.

Enjoy!

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE White Chocolate Chip and Raisins Cookies

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

pb&jbars Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

       It’s the third Thursday of the month.

       What does that mean?

      It’s the Improv Challenge time!!

      As a participant, you have to make something that will include two assigned ingredients.

      This month the two ingredients were: peanut butter and jelly.

       A perfect pair for a baker, if you ask me.

      As of recently I am on a bars roll, I went with cheesecake bars for the challenge.

     They are delicious and will satisfy any pb&j lover. Yum!

 Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

makes 16

for the crust:
1/2 c butter, softened
1/3 c powdered sugar
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c oatmeal
1/4 c Cheerios, crushed

                                                       Grease a 8″ x 8″ square baking dish. Set aside.

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Beat the butter for 2 minutes.
The butter has to be really soft. It whips better.

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Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.

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Add the flour and mix it all with a spatula or a wooden spoon.

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Add the cereal and oatmeal and mix it all until combined.

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Press the dough into your prepared pan.
 It will be sticky so be patient.
Note: I highly recommend using parchment paper or a aluminum foil to line the pan with. It will make it easier to get the baked bars out onto a platter. I will certainly do that next time. icon smile Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

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Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, until the edges start to brown.
Leave the oven on the same temperature.

for the filling:
1 8oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 c peanut butter
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp jelly ( I used my homemade cranberry jam )

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Beat the cream cheese until creamy.

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Reserve about a 1/2 c of soft, whipped cream cheese.
Mix it will 3 Tbsp of jelly. Set aside.

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To the rest of the cream cheese, add the peanut butter and beat until combined.

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Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.
Like this. icon smile Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars Yum!
Now go, give your Hubby a spoonful to taste.
He will love you for it.
Trust me. icon smile Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

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Add the egg and mix well.
Add the vanilla and milk and mix again.
Add the flour and stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon.

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Spread the cheesecake filling over the crust.

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Spoon out the jelly cream cheese mixture and swirl with a spoon.
Bake 18 – 20 minutes. It will appear set and start to come off on the sides.
Cool for 30 minutes on the counter and then transfer to a fridge and cool about 2 hours.

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Voila! PB and J cheesecake bars to enjoy. icon smile Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars
You can warm up a little bit of jelly in a small bowl in a microwave and drizzle if over the bars before serving.

If you are interested in participating and joining the Improv Challenge group, contact Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.
I hope you do, because it’s always lots of fun!

Enjoy!

The winner of the Dessert Decorator Pro was announced yesterday. You can see it here.

xoxo,

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

 Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

Also linking this up to Sweet Treats Thursday on Something Swanky. and Foodie Friday. and Weekend Potluck.