Bread of the Month: English Muffins

This year I decided I am picking one new bread item per month to home-bake. If you have followed my blog for any length of time you will know that I love to bake but my baking had been mostly limited to desserts. It’s only within this past year I began to feel comfortable making dough items such as buns, rolls, pastries and our everyday lunch bread at home.

But Luke borrowed The Bread Bible from a co-worker and I was inspired. Although there are  many wonderful baked goodies out there many of them I cannot eat because of an allergy to barley for more see: Why I am barley free Part One . Much of the time I do not mind eating gluten-free even though I am not allergic to gluten. Still availability of gluten-free breads and baked goods is limited here in upstate NY and even if it is available I never know when/how I can get them.

This Bread Bible provides great fun new dessert to try but also includes easy recipes for basics I have not eaten in over a year like bagels, hamburger buns, sourdough bread, and english muffins.

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I have always loved english muffins they are so crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. That is why they are great for toasting served with a little butter and jam or peanut butter and bananas. I  also think they make for great PB and J’s, breakfast sandwiches with fried eggs, or for eggs benedict. So for as you may have guess for January’s bread of the month I chose to make homemade English Muffins!

I was surprised at how easy the process was. Very similar in steps to our homemade bread recipe, all ingredients are combined after yeast has time to proof then the dough rises in a deep dished oiled pan for an hour.

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After the dough has had time to rise, it is rolled out to about a 1/2 in thick. To cut the muffin rounds I used one of our glasses.

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Once all the dough was cut into rounds I got out the large electric skillet and cooked/fried them on the oiled surface for about 10 minutes on each side then let them cool on a wire rack. I was surprised at how quickly the dough rose as it baked.

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So there you have it: homemade english muffins. They are crispy on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside. If I was to make them again I may try to work the dough less to add more fluff or rise. I would also probably add 1/2 C cornmeal to the dough recipe.

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I made a double batch and put most of them in the freezer; the rest went in the fridge. They serve as a great breakfast option along side our Greene’s gluten-free granola bars.

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So what is your favorite carb? Do you have a love for baking?

Happy Blogversity!!!!

Last year today I posted my first major post on A.Greene’s Adventures. So this week marks a year of blogging, my blogging anniversary or Blogversity!!!

I started A. Greene’s Adventures as a means to get back in the habit of writing and to share my new life in Corning New Work with family and friends who were thousands of miles away. Since then I have become connected to so many other bloggers, writers, pintrest pinners, and facebook friends. All of whom have enjoyed A. Greene’s Adventures about local foods and events, living with food allergies, baking and cooking, and life as a newly wed.

So much has happened in a year as I’ve reviewed with you through food: 2013’s Low Calorie and Healthy Meals , events 2013 in review  and  6 months and 100 posts and marriage: Niagara Falls Anniversary Part 1 and Wow it’s been 6 months but let me point out some of the blog stat highlights of my now year old writing hobby:

My First major post: A Lesson in Independence

Most popular posts:

1. A Vegetarian Mediterranean Meal

2. Stina’s Bridal Shower

3. Tell Them Thank You!

Most popular topics: Gluten-Free, Barley-free, food, and natural

Day with most views:  Wednesday, January 8th 2014 with  144 Views 

Month with most views and visitors : October 2013 with 1,005 views and 560 visitors

Views total: 8,811 and counting

Comments total: 384

Total Blog Posts: 160

Last major post: Drink it in 2300 revisited 

So there you have it!! A lot has changed in a year. I promise more on the topics above along some news ones such as establishing friendships in a new area, and finding a job(s) when you have no known connections in the area.

I’m looking forward to another amazing year of sharing my adventures learning how to transform, transition, and transcend.

2013’s low calorie and healthy meals

Luke and I exercise at the Y twice a week and try to get out at least once on the weekends for a walk, hike, snowshoeing, . . .something. But we also count calories, this way we don’t feel like we are truly on a diet but we portion what we eat and how much of it we have. For this reason and for allergy health reasons (see barley-free living ) many of the meals that we plan are gluten-free, high protein, and/or low calorie.

As  we start this new year and try to get back to those oh so necessary routines, diets, and exercise I thought I’d share some of last year’s low calorie and healthy eating highlights. So here are some of the top hits from this past year that you might find worth trying out for your new (returning to old) diet and routine.

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1.  A Vegetarian Mediterranean meal. This is my most popular food post ever. It is an easy dump recipe into the crockpot that I adapted from a recipe I got while in Egypt. The base of this recipe is what I call a lentil stew, although it has no vegetables or grains in it, the lentils ,if cooked over time, create a consistency of stew more so than a soup. It’s great for lunches or dinner with a salad or pita bread an hummus.

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2. Stuffed Bell Peppers: This is my second most popular dinner item. These peppers are nice and basic with plenty of room for variation. They requires a little prep. but nothing complicated. Once the peppers are stuffed you can stick them it the oven on low heat and leave them. We often make this on an exercise night where we can put the oven on a low setting, go exercise, and when we are back dinner is ready with minimal mess to clean up afterward. It’s a great all-in-one meal  packed with protein and veggie goodness.

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3.Gluten-Free Low-Cal Marsala. This is a great delicious meal that takes an Italian classic and cuts out calories by using two key substitutes. First I use steamed zucchini instead of pasta. For most Italian meals zucchini pairs perfectly with the meat dish; plus you get a filling serving of veggies for the night. Second I use Parmesan as a substitute for bread crumbs. Parmesan if dry enough if seasoned like Italian bread crumbs it works perfectly for coating chicken and it’s lower in calories.

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4.Gluten Free Low Cal Meatloaf:  I am not a huge fan of traditional meatloaf in the sense of dense bread and meat slices with a sweet sauce on top. This light loaf is extremely low calorie and tastes amazing. Ingredients including rice, and zucchini, with a zesty tomato topping give the loaf a great texture and taste that make it a true all-in-one meal. For both this recipe and the stuffed peppers I make ground beef go further by adding minced mushrooms. Mushrooms are a great away to cut calories plus they have a similar texture and consistency as ground beef when cooked.

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5.BBQ Teriyaki Bowl: Another great easy low-cal recipe. I actually got the teriyaki marinade recipe from a good friend and old tutoree from Japan. The longer the chicken marinates the better the flavor/texture when grilled. For a lower calorie meal you can use greek yogurt instead of mayo as the thickening/cream base of the marinade. Just know the mayo the fat layer in the mayo keeps the chicken very moist. Recently I have added ground ginger to the marinade as well. Once again this recipe is gluten free! No flour in this marinade!

So how are you doing trying to get back into the normal routines?

What are your favorite healthy homemade meals?

Drink It In: 2300 revisited

For those of you who are newer to my blog my first “real” post of A. Greene’s Adventures was last year at this time about a local event at the Corning Glass Museum called 2300 (see 2300 degrees ).

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2300 degrees is a free event sponsored by the Corning Glass museum every third Thursday night from November to May. Each month the museum chooses one night to close the galleries and transform this tourist attraction into a site for a night on the town.

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Corning Glass Co.  launched 2013’s 2300 degrees with a “Finger Lakes Finest” themed event which meant free wine tasting.  The Finger Lakes Region, as our area of upstate New York is called, is home to many local wineries and wine trails nestled in the hills surrounding the local lakes.

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To start off 2014 the museum hosted a similar 2300 night called “Drink It In” which like last year featured free wine tasting. This year there were three less local lake wineries than last year and a little change-up in the variety of the wineries present. But this did not change the enthusiasm and crowd drawn to this event. There were still 26 wineries present offering their seasonal best reds to whites,  drys to sweets, and everything in between. And a local artist Jeff Mack made amazing goblets in the Hot Glass Show.

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This year we met up with two other couples and took our time wandering. Now that we are familiar with the museum and some of the local wineries we felt there was no rush in trying them all. We caught up with good friends after the holiday-craze, enjoyed snacks, and tried a few wineries. Near the end of the night we enjoyed the big band sound of: Big Mean Sound Machine from Ithaca in the Auditorium.

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One feature of these 2300 events I did not mention last year is the glass museum sale. Although I am not one for modern art or large expensive (and also breakable) glass pieces, the museum does offer great sales deals on this once a month event night. Those items not already on sale are all 23% off and that includes the non- or less- breakable items like toys, ornaments, jewelry, books, lamps, glassware, chess sets etc.

January’s 2300 launch was just as fun and entertaining and the previous years. Maybe this year we will make and effort to attend another month’s 2300 events.

Our Rochester Routine

Once every 3 months or so Luke and I take a weekend day trip up to Rochester, NY. It is our closest big city. The first fews time we drove up just to explore and find out what shopping/food options were available. Now we have made it a routine to stop at two specific areas:

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First up is Pittsford Plaza. This mall area has several stores we like to go to including the original (and nicest) Wegmans, a two story Barnes and Nobles, a movie theatre, our closest Cheesecake Factory, and Trader Joes. We usually stop in Barnes and Nobles to get Starbucks in the Cafe and pursue some books.

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We rarely actually buy books but as bookstores in general are disappearing we enjoy being able to  flip through a book before buying it for cheap online at Amazon. Awhile back we were looking at homemade beer recipe books (see Bottling our first homemade brew). This time around with a Christmas gift card in hand we perused the international cooking area. Taking pictures of the book info for Sushi, Curry Crockpot recipes, and a Korean Cook Book we ended up only buying me a new journal. But we left with ideas for birthday present books. 🙂

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Our next stop was Trader Joes. Growing up in SoCal Trader Joes were common and many. In fact my grandfather owned a dry cleaning business across the street from the original Trader Joes in South Pasadena. Trader Joes just has certain products (at certain prices) we can’t get anywhere else; so we stock up. This time around we walked away with frozen swordfish steaks, ginger snaps, crackers, and  a whole lot of coffee.  We enjoyed samples of cheese, vegi chili with corn chips, and I had a caffeine boost of sample size cup of their dark roast coffee.

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The second normal stop is a suburb of Rochester: Henrietta. Here is the closest Red Robin, Melting Pot, Play it Again sports (where we ended up getting my snowshoes), and several international restaurants and grocery stores. In Henrietta we usually stop at the Korean food market to pick up frozen beef for eating Korean BBQ at home along with a big container of Kimchee and rice pasta. In the same shopping center is also a nice game store Millennium games. We tend to stop in there to see what is new and double check any sales. When all our shopping is through we go get dinner at Red Robin, Sticky Lips (see Kayaking and BBQ) or most often Seoul Garden: for Korean BBQ.

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On the long drive back and forth we enjoy singing along to CDs, trying to find a decent radio station, looking out the window, and just talking-about anything. Sometimes it’s nice to have a long drive to bring up topics that don’t have to have distinct starting or ending places; just sharing thoughts.

In the end we get home tired but happy with our half date half errand day in Rochester. How about you? What date/errand routines do you keep?

Photo Uh Oh

So I wanted to apologize to my readers for any blog posts you have read recently in which the pictures are missing. I had a photo uh oh moment.

I had to manage my photo library (file was getting to big) and didn’t realize that by deleting  photos from my library I was also deleting them from posts!! I will attempt to replace pictures to my posts over time.

But it’s going to be a long un-fun task (just like going through my library and deleting pictures was).  So I appreciate you patience.

New fun blog posts coming soon. 🙂

2013 in review

I know we are a little more than a week into the new year but it has taken me a full week to get back into the normal routine of things (I can’t be the only one who’s in the post-holiday struggle for normality). As I look back on almost a full year with this blog I thought I’d review some of the highlighting events of 2013.

So here is a review of 2013 blog style:

January: survived our first NY winter:  A Lesson in Independence and explored our local museum’s winter events: 2300 degrees

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February: Started a new Valentines tradition: Valentine’s Pie: a New Tradition, and explored what it means to be newly married :Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage Myth busting: Round 2

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March: Celebrate Luke’s birthday with brewery tours/tastings in Rochester: A Chemistry lesson for a birthday present, Shared about my allergy to barley: Why I am barley free: Part One, and celebrated Easter: Hot Cross Buns and Berry Salad

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April: Celebrated 6 months of marriage: Wow it’s been 6 months!, shared details about our wedding:The Dress and  learning how to look for a job: Patience: giving myself time

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May: Traveled to the West Coast for an Oregon vacation and my brother’s college graduation: Vacation Highlights Part 1: Family TimeVacation Highlights Part 2: Date Days

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June: Went Kayaking in Rochester: Kayaking and BBQ, bottled our first homemade barley-free beer:  Bottling our first homemade brew and celebrated my birthday in Ithaca: An Ithaca birthday Adventure

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July: Explored local festivals: Two festivals and Korean BBQ, Fixed up the front porch: Home Improvement: The Front Porch Project, and traveled to Washington to be apart of pre-wedding events for my brother’s wedding : Pre-wedding Jitters

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August:  Particpated in my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal shower: Stina’s bridal shower and other wedding events, attended two local foodie festivals in NY: Smoke on the WaterTaste of Ellicotville, and hiked a local landmark: Walkins Glen State Park= Gorge-ous

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September: Looked back on my brother’s wedding: The Wedding, and shared more about my job-search: A New Year: Teacher without a classroom

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October: Picked pumpkins and attended an Apple Festival: Picking Perfect Pumpkins;  Apple Fest,  shared about my allergy to tree-nuts:Why I am tree-nut free Part one,  and celebrated a year of marriage with a trip to Niagara Falls :Niagara Falls anniversary Part One

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November: Kept busy with non-blogging activities and shared about them in: busy: and update

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December: Started two new holiday traditions: Post-Parade Cookies and Cocoa and Christmas Concert TSO. Attended our local holiday festival: Sparkle and shared our Christmas with my parents: A Very Corning Christmas present and A handmade and heirloom Christmas

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That is one very full blogging year! And that is only a small portion of the blog-post in this past year and doesn’t include any of my recipes. So what can you look forward to reading about this next year? You’ll find out soon enough.