How to Make White Balsamic & Feta Vinaigrette

White balsamic and feta vinaigrette dressing

White balsamic and feta vinaigrette dressing

This feta vinaigrette is better than off the shelf grocery store dressing.  It may be hard for you to go back to store bought dressing after trying this one. Great for people who like vinaigrette dressings  with a  flavor that’s a bit milder than traditional balsamic vinegar.

There is one ingredient that’s in this dressing that you may have never used before.  Liquid lecithin.  I like to keep things as simple as possible and I try to keep the recipes with easy to find ingredients.  So why lecithin?

Oil and vinegar don’t mix.  In order for our vinaigrette to stay together and not separate into an oily layer and a vinegary layer we need something called an emulsifier to keep it together.  That’s where the lecithin comes in.

You can use Dijon mustard as an emulsifier for your dressing, but I chose the lecithin for this recipe because its flavorless and won’t interfere with the delicate flavor of the white balsamic vinegar.

Bottom line is, use lecithin if you can get it, if not, use Dijon mustard.

Ingredients for feta vinaigrette:

3/4 cup Olive oil

1/4 cup White balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon Honey

1/4 teaspoon Black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Dried oregano

2 teaspoons liquid Lecithin

Directions for making feta vinaigrette

Pour all ingredients into a mason jar and shake vigorously until well blended.  Serve on top of your favorite salad.The feta cheese will settle to the bottom during storage so be sure to shake it up a bit before using.

Dressing will keep for at least a week if it lasts that long.

No Knead Burger Buns Recipe

No Knead Burger Buns

 

No Knead Burger Buns

No Knead Burger Buns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to make your own burger buns, start with this no-knead fuss-free yeast bread recipe.  You may never buy hamburger buns again.  Be warned!  It’s hard to go back to store-bought buns after you’ve had them fresh from the oven.

Making bread from scratch may seem like a daunting task, but the hands on time is very minimal since I’ve eliminated the kneading step that many bread recipes call for.

Ingredients for no knead burger buns:

1 cup milk, heated to 110° F

¼ cup shortening

¼cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 Tablespoon yeast

2 eggs

3½ cups all-purpose flour

Directions for no-knead burger buns:

Combine milk, shortening, sugar, salt in a medium sized bowl. Stir to combine.  Cool to lukewarm.

Add the yeast by sprinkling over the top of the milk mixture. Wait about 5 minutes or until your yeast start to get very foamy.  It will look like a freshly poured glass of root beer.

Blend in eggs with the yeast mixture and stir until well combined.

Add gradually  flour and mix until dough is well-blended and soft.  You may need to use your hands to blend in the last little bit of flour and make sure it all gets incorporated.  The dough will be very soft.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least two hours or until you are ready to work with it.  Chilling the dough will make it easier to handle.

Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and shape  into 8 burger buns.  Let rise in warm place (80° to 85° F.) until double in bulk, about 1½ hours. This may take more time or less depending on the temp of your kitchen.

Bake at 375° F.  for 15 minutes or until buns are a deep brown color.  Brush tops with softened butter if you want the buns to be soft.  If you want crispier buns, then just don’t brush them with butter.

Makes 8 burger buns

Daily Inspiration-Doing it and Doing it and Doing it Well

Motivational inspirational quote

Motivational inspirational quote

There are times in life when we want something so bad, but we just don’t put the work in to get it.  Whether its getting a good grade in school, starting a business part time or writing that screen play, you have to put the work in.

It’s not enough to say, “I want to start a business”.  In fact, it’s better that you don’t say what you want.  The brain has a funny way of making us think we’ve actually accomplished something when all we’ve done is talk about to all of our friends.

Bottom line is, if you want to do something, do it.  Once you start doing it, do it as well as you can.

How to Make Cake from Scratch-11 Tips for Success

How to make a cake from scratch
How to make a cake from scratch

How to make a cake from scratch

With modern equipment and access to professional ingredients, baking a cake from scratch is easier than ever.  No matter what cake recipe you see in a magazine or pin on pinterest, there are a few universal rules that you need to follow before you even think about preheating your oven.

Baking can be overwhelming or it can be overwhelmingly successful and fun if you get your stuff together. There are 11 things you need to know because successful cake baking will depend on your knowledge and preparation.

  1. Read your recipe carefully and make sure you understand all the steps.  Do you have all of the ingredients the recipe calls for?  Do you have the right kind of pans in the correct sizes?  Do you have enough time to complete the recipe uninterrupted?
  2. Use the best ingredients you can find, if you want the best tasting cake.  No you don’t have to get Amish butter that costs $12/pound, but don’t use butter powder!  (If you didn’t even know there was such a thing as powdered butter consider yourself lucky.)  Using fresh eggs, real cream & high quality vanilla extract will make all the difference in the world.
  3. Don’t make any substitutions when you are working with a new recipe.  After you have successfully made a recipe once, then you can experiment with it one ingredient at a time.
  4. In most cake recipes, all of your ingredients should be at room temperature.  Recipes usually specify this, but if yours doesn’t, know that room temperature ingredients incorporate more thoroughly and evenly.
  5. Place measured ingredients on wax paper or a flexible work surface like the one I used in this video if it makes sense to do so.  Doing this instead of putting everything in individual bowls will save you from having to wash a ton of dishes later.
  6. Have all of your ingredients measured and ready.  When it comes time to mix everything, you won’t waste time fumbling around with measuring spoons. Before you measure things out, you’ll want to preheat your oven unless your specific recipe says otherwise.
  7. When working with an electric mixer, know that moist ingredients can be mixed at a higher speed.  Dry ingredients and ingredients that are heavy, like dried fruit and nuts, should be started at a lower mixer speed so they don’t fly out of the mixer bowl and into every orifice and crevice of your kitchen.
  8. Know your oven.  Some ovens run hot, some run cold.  If your oven is still under warranty, you can have it calibrated by a service person. If that’s not an option, you can buy an oven thermometer for less that $10 and use that thermometer as your guide instead of the temperature dial on your oven. Center your cakes and space them evenly to ensure proper heat circulation.
  9. Don’t fill your cake pans more than 1/2 – 2/3 full or you run the risk of spills.
  10. Always test for doneness by using a skewer or a toothpick.  Don’t always rely on the time stated in the recipe because it can vary based on your oven.  The skewer should come out clean.  If wet batter covers the skewer, the cake needs more time in the oven. Butter cakes usually pull away from the sides of the pan a bit when they are done, so look for that too.
  11. Use the right type of flour.  Some recipes call fro all purpose, some call for cake flour.  Be sure you are using the right one.  Self rising cake flour is available too and is essentially cake flour with the salt and baking powder already added.

I hope these tips help you the next time you want to bake a cake.  If you need some step by step video recipes I have a graham cracker cake recipe and a super easy one bowl cake recipe that is perfect for beginners.

7 tips for grocery shopping like a boss.

Grocery shopping tips
Grocery shopping tips

Grocery shopping tips

Shopping for food can be fun or it can be a burden. It totally depends on how you go about it. If you go out shopping without much planning or without a list, it will almost definitely be a burden. But if you think of grocery shopping as a way to eat real food and spend a little time doing some advanced planning, you may even look forward to your weekly shopping trips. Here are 7 tips for going grocery shopping like a boss.

1. Begin shopping from your favorite chair. Start shopping before you even think of entering a grocery store. Look online and see whats fresh, in season and on sale. Look through the grocery store ads that come in the mailbox too, to see if there are any deals you can work in your weekly meal plans.

2. Make a menu plan for the week based on whats in sale, but be flexible. The menu plan doesn’t have to be written in stone.

3. Make your shopping list based on what you plan to prepare for the week, being sure to include items needed for breakfasts and lunches you intend on packing.

4. Check pantry staples before shopping to make sure you have the basics. You don’t want to get halfway through a recipe only to find out you ran out of white pepper. Its easier to restock pantry staples one at a time than all at once. Grab a PDF printable pantry list here.

5. Use a service like e-meals if you don’t want to do all this work by hand. They even have menu plans based on what the store has on sale for that week. This type of service is great for families who don’t have too many individual dietary restrictions.

6. Go shopping during off peak hours.  This may be difficult depending on your work schedule, but shopping at 2 pm during a weekday or Saturday morning as soon as the store opens may be good times.  I know you want to sleep in, but it may be worth it to get your shopping out of the way. You can always go back to sleep when you get back home. :)

7. Shop with a list. I know I said it in #3, but it needs repeating. Even a quick list typed out on you phone is better than nothing. My goal is to shop once per week. If you find yourself at the grocery store every day after work, you can definitely save lots of time and energy by writing out a list and grabbing all of the things you need one time per week. What do you do to minimize time spent in the grocery store? Tell me right here.