Baking Powder Biscuits

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups flour
2 Tbs. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Cut in shortening until crumbs are the size of small peas; do not overmix. Gradually add milk. Stir until dough leaves sides of bowl.

Turn dough onto floured surface and knead 10 times. Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out biscuits.

Bake at 425 for 10 to 12 minutes.

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Biscuits are Stephen’s territory around here. While I can make them, his turn out fantastic – even though we use the same recipe! We usually make them with half wheat flour and half all-purpose. We like the heartier texture of the wheat flour better.

You can see our Buttermilk Biscuit recipe here. It’s pretty similar, but not entirely the same. We prefer the buttermilk biscuits over the ones without buttermilk, but we don’t keep buttermilk in the house very often.

Instant biscuits

Why is it that when I go to do a search for a biscuit recipe, all the recipes call for Bisquick? I’m typing up our biscuit recipe for somebody, and was having some issues typing the instructions (I’ll post it here when I’m done). Our recipe right now is just a list of ingredients, a temperature, and a time to bake them, but I needed a better explanation. Since the recipe is similar to the Betty Crocker recipe, I headed to their site.

I am so disappointed. I expected to find a from-scratch recipe, but I can’t find one. Almost every single basic biscuit recipe I find calls for Bisquick. Sure, that’s easy, but we don’t generally keep that in the house (and on the rare occasion we do have it, it’s a homemade version).

Why is everything so instant today? With a million and a half recipes out there on the internet, why are the easiest to find the ones that aren’t actually from scratch?

Now. . .if I could just find a way to make the delicious biscuits WITHOUT using shortening, and using a better fat. . .

Making cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are the best. I’m waiting for the last pan to come out of the oven right now. After that, I need to get far, far away from the cooling cookies.

The recipe I used is Chocolate Chip Wheat Cookies. I made some modifications this time though – partly due to what we had in the house. :O)

The first change I made was to use butter. We don’t use margarine any more, so that was an easy switch in this recipe.

Instead of vanilla (we’re out), I tried almond flavoring. It was surprisingly good. It was the one change I wasn’t sure we’d like, but it was good.

I also used only half the Splenda blend that it called for, and used regular brown sugar for the rest. Actually, I used 2/3 cup regular brown sugar, because the Splenda brown sugar blend uses only half the amount for the same amount of sweetness.

There is so much controversy about artificial sweeteners and how they affect our bodies. The more I read, the less I’m convinced we need to be consuming so much! So I used less this time, and used real sugar (which also amazes me what it does to our bodies). I will try my best to limit how many cookies I eat. The only things that will make it easier are the three guys in my house who like cookies and the fact that I don’t want to gain 45 pounds with this pregnancy like I did with Caleb.

Anyway – just wanted to share the modifications I made – because they turned out really yummy!

Butterscotch cheesecake

Oh wow. The cheesecake tastes SO good. All I did was add about half a bag of melted chocolate chips to a basic cheesecake batter. I didn’t make a crust for it, and baked it in a heart-shaped pan.

The chocolate hardened more than I would’ve liked, but it’s a nice flavor contrast to the butterscotch. Overall, the flavor is wonderful.

I get about .001 points for presentation though – even though I buttered the pan, it does NOT come out easily. It comes out more in bite-sized pieces than a nice slice. Next time it would be better if the pan were lined since I don’t have a springform pan.

Here’s the recipe I used: Philadephia 3-Step Cheesecake.

Good thing it tastes good, because it sure does look funny!

Cheesecake flop

Maybe I shouldn’t call it a flop quite yet since we haven’t tasted it yet.

Stephen absolutely loves cheesecake, so I thought I’d get creative today. I experimented with a basic recipe and added melted butterscotch chips to it. Once I took it out of the oven and it cooled some, I melted chocolate chips to drizzle over the top.

The chocolate chips weren’t melted enough though so they ended up globbing instead of drizzling like I envisioned. It looked pretty silly. I spread it out with a rubber spatula. It doesn’t look as good as it did in my head, but hopefully it’ll still taste pretty good.

heart shaped cheesecake

We’ll try it later after it’s completely cool. It smelled good baking. . .

Strawberry Lemonade Punch

Strawberry Lemonade Punch
Serves 18
1 12 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 tubs Crystal Light Lemonade mix
3 1-Liter bottles of sparkling water, strawberry flavor

Ice Ring:
1 1-Liter bottle of sparkling water, strawberry flavor
Fresh or frozen strawberries, if desired

To make ice ring, pour one bottle of sparkling water into a tube (or bundt) pan. Add strawberries, if using. Freeze for 12-24 hours.

To make punch, combine lemonade concentrate and Crystal Light in the bottom of a punch bowl. Add the sparkling water to constitute the lemonade. Although the punch will be yellow, the sparkling water gives it the strawberry flavor.

If you use the ice ring, it is easier to put the ice ring in the punch bowl before you add the sparkling water to constitute the punch or else it can make a huge mess while you try to drop a huge chunk of ice into an already full punch bowl.

I’ve served this at my studio recitals and it is always a huge hit.

New bread machine

Years ago, I had a bread machine. Then Stephen bought me a stand mixer for Christmas. I used the mixer so much that I eventually gave away the bread machine.

Then last year, I broke my mixer. For some reason, stand mixers don’t like it when you jam plastic spoons in between the dough hooks.

I went back to mixing bread by hand. I’ve been able to get bread so inexpensively with coupons recently that I haven’t been making it much. But the few times I have, I’ve really missed my mixer.

Then I got together with my friend OldPathsMom. She had found a bread machine at Goodwill for under $4, so she bought it. Since she already had a bread machine, she gave the new one to me.

I tried it tonight. It squeaks a little bit, but that should be easily remedied. I am so thankful for it!

The recipe I tried in it is a multigrain recipe made with our honey and quail eggs, olive oil, oats, oat and wheat flour, but no white flour. It’s got great flavor but it’s always had a rough texture. I’ve been playing with the recipe for over a year, trying to get it absolutely perfect. That’s why I’ve not ever posted it here because it hasn’t been ready to share yet.

Now, with the bread machine, it kneaded it so well that it felt every bit as soft as a loaf of white dough. I wanted to make breadsticks with it, so I took the dough out after the knead cycle. The flavor was fantastic, the texture was great, and the breadsticks turned out wonderfully.

I’m happy to have a bread machine again!

Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

Oh boy, this feels like it’s going to be an interesting week. Now Stephen is coming down with the bug that Caleb has. It’s a stomach virus. . .and I’m beginning to be thankful that I don’t have any lessons planned until next week. That’s just enough time to let all of us get sick and then get the germs out of the house by next Tuesday. I hope.

We had chicken and rice soup for dinner tonight, and it turned out absolutely delicious. I figured I’d put the recipe on here so I’d have it in case I want it later.

The measurements here are approximate. This is pretty close though.

Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

1 chicken breast, cubed
1 large carrot or 2 medium carrots, sliced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tsp or so Soul Seasoning (similar to Old Bay. You could also use chicken boullion or soup base)
pinch garlic powder
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
2 bay leaves
black pepper to taste
Water to cover – between 1 and 2 quarts depending on how watery you like the soup

Simmer chicken and pepper over medium high heat until mostly done. Add onion, carrot, and rest of spices. Cook for 30 minutes or so, or until carrots are tender. Add rice and cook until rice is warmed through. Remove bay leaf and serve.

I know it’s not the most detailed recipe – I just dumped things in when I made it. It turned out really well though, and we all loved it, so that works for me.