Irish Soda Bread

I love this time of the year. The days are getting longer, spring is just around the corner and it’s time to make Irish Soda Bread. I love, love, love this bread. Simple, rustic and every bite is a little reminder of my great-grandparents who came over here from Ireland to start a new life here in America. The simplicity of this bread makes it convenient to have on a regular basis but I usually keep it for St. Patrick’s day and maybe a couple more times throughout the year because I cannot stop eating it. Did I say that I love this bread?

Irish Soda Bread

Right before you put the loaf into the oven, you need to cut a cross in the top of the bread. It has been said that by cutting the cross you ward off the devil, or you let the fairies out, or you are blessing the bread. Oh, legend and symbolism. But I think the real reason is to let thickest part of the bread expand as it rises. I admit, when I cut the bread I did tell the pups, Susie & Billy, that I was letting the fairies out. What? It’s a cute story.

Irish Soda Bread

I always make this bread on a pizza stone. I find the crust turns out perfect every time. I love the contrast between the crustiness and the slightly sweet, moist interior. I also love being able to whip several loaves in one day because it’s so easy to make. After I have my loaves cooled, I make my rounds to deliver soda bread to my neighbors and co-workers. When I’m carrying one of these loaves, my neighbors and friends are very happy to see this Irish-American gal. :)

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Nothing is better on a chilly March day than a slice of Soda bread slathered with some Kerrygold butter. And now it’s time to share my family’s recipe.

Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs unsalted butter
1 cup raisins
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Directions

Preheat over 400 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients and stir to mix well.

Add the butter and combine until the butter is well blended into the dry ingredients.

Stir in the raisins.

In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together then mix into the dough mixture with a spatula.

Turn the dough on on a floured work surface and fold it over (do not knead) several times, shaping into a round loaf. Transfer the loaf to a baking sheet covered with parchment and cut a cross in the top.

Bake 15 minutes on 400 degrees. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 15-20 minutes longer, until browned slightly and a toothpick poked into center of loaf emerges clean.

Cool the soda bread on a rack then serve.

Enjoy!

One Tasty Cookie

What do get when you add pumpkin, spices and dark chocolate chips together? One tasty cookie! Last fall I stumbled upon this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and knew I had to make them for Thanksgiving. Christmas. And recently for a friend’s birthday.

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There are a few things to love about this cookie. First, it’s healthy. Who doesn’t love a guilt-free cookie? Whole-wheat flour, pumpkin (naturally packed with benefits including Vitamin C, Vitamin A and fiber to name a few) and dark chocolate all mixed into one cookie (or two…three). Second, they are light in texture. Third, they don’t trigger a sweet attack. You know, where you eat one and before you realize you’ve cleaned out the whole cookie jar. And one more thing, this recipe is easy to make. Healthy and easy and tasty. What more could you ask from a cookie?

Since this recipe isn’t my own you’ll have to visit The Culinary Institute of America for the recipe.

Lets have one more look at these cookies. :)

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Happy Baking!

Weekend Bites

This is the Valentine’s Edition of Weekend Bites. I’ve been all over the web and I’ve come across dozens and dozens of Valentine’s Day related posts (and there’s more to come) so I decided to share some of my favorite ones. Believe me, it was hard to narrow the list down. But I did and lets get a move on, because the countdown to Valentine’s Day has begun. Tie your aprons and grab your whisks because this love stuff means serious business in the kitchen.

Allie, over at Baking a Moment, had me at chocolate mousse when I stumbled upon her Strawberry Rose Chocolate Verrines post. Beautiful and elegant this recipe is perfect for Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if my local grocery stores carry rosewater but I will have to look, fingers crossed one of them does.

Meriem, from CulinaryCouture, not only shared an amazing recipe for Valentine’s Day but also shared with us how relentless a food blogger can be when she (he) gets an idea. She shared her initial vision and her recipe testing and then the final result. Which looks pretty darn delicious and beautiful. I can’t wait to make them. I love, love, love cream puffs. Just take a look at her photograph, how could you not want to make these? Check out her post and recipe for Chocolate Filled Cream Puffs with Strawberry Sauce.

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During my blog reading I came across a post that definitely shakes up butter. Andrea, from Dishing Up the Dirt, shared her recipe for Beet Butter. That’s right. Beet Butter. I love beets and this is a very creative idea that I do have to try.

Okay, just reading all of these posts makes me feel like I should hit the treadmill. :) But they all look so worth a little extra time on the treadmill, right?

With so many delicious ideas out there, are you baking or cooking anything special for Valentine’s Day?

Debra

Recipe Girl by Lori Lange

When I saw this cookbook I knew that I had to own it. Recipe Girl by Lori Lange has been a wonderful addition to my cookbook collection. I’ve enjoyed her blog, Recipe Girl, for many years and her cookbook is a tasty extension of the blog I’ve come to enjoy and trust as a go-to for recipes. Ms. Lange filled her cookbook with simple, easy to make recipes that the entire family will enjoy. However, this doesn’t mean that this cookbook won’t be there for you when you have company company. This cookbook is perfect for all aspects of your busy life. It’ll become a go-to cookbook for you.

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By Lori Lange
Paperback 336 pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Ms. Lange’s cookbook is as great as her blog and I felt when I was making the recipes that I was cooking with a friend in the kitchen. As you read through the book you’ll find she includes tips on how to change up a recipe which gives you versatility for your meal planning. And another great feature is that she has something for everyone. Vegetarian? Gluten-free? Dairy free? You’ll find a recipe.

With just under 200 recipes, prep times and cook times clearly stated and beautiful recipes this cookbook is just plain fun to cook from. And at the end of a long day isn’t that what we need? A little fun and some good food?

Debra

Weekend Bites

Frozen. That’s how it’s been feeling for most of us for the past few weeks. Sub-zero temps, snow, and ice. So for this weekend I’ve pulled together some posts you will find very warming. Grab a cup of hot tea or hot cocoa and visit some blogs that will help melt that frozen feeling.

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A cookie seems to make everything better. And this Chewy White Chocolate Pistachio Cookie from In Jennie’s Kitchen would definitely make any bitterly cold day feel a little bit warmer. I love that there is a high yield for this recipe. I’m definitely making this cookie so expect to see a picture of it here sometime soon.

There is nothing more comforting than a chowder on frigid days and when you make a Corn Chowder I feel the corn adds a little bit of brightness and a little reminder of summer. So when I came across Corn Chowder recipe over at Whole and Heavenly Oven, I was a happy cook. I was looking for a soup recipe to make this weekend and I think I found it. Though, I probably won’t be adding in the ground beef. But it’s an interesting twist.

Macaroni and Cheese. Is there a better dish than Mac’ and Cheese to serve up on a bone-chilling night? Nope. Check out the Three Cheese Macaroni & Cheese Recipe over at Tina’s Chic Corner. Looks delicious, right?

The best place to keep warm is in the kitchen. So, get cooking and have a great weekend!

Debra

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