Monday, November 18, 2013

Bread or Rolls OR...Monkey Bread

My husband loves white bread, even though we normally eat whole wheat or whole grain bread, I make this every once in a while just to appease the taste buds. You could also use this same recipe to make dinner rolls. This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread. This last time I made bread, I decided I wanted to try something I saw on pinterest, and make monkey bread out of half of it. It turned out really good, maybe needs some icing on top, to make it complete. I served mine with just butter, hot from the oven. Here you go...

Classic White Bread
6-7 cups white unbleached flour (you could substitute whole wheat pastry flour)
3 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Softened butter
4 1/2 tsp. yeast
2 1/4 cup warm water ( not above 115 degrees)

In large bowl add:
3 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, butter, yeast and mix well.
Add warm water, Beat until well blended.
Add additional flour a little at a time. I add about 1/2 a cup at a time.
Once the dough comes off from the sides of your bowl, dump it onto a floured surface for kneading. Knead in more flour if dough is sticky. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticky.
Knead for 10 minutes or until dough is springy and smooth.
Grease large bowl with butter.
Place dough in greased bowl and flip the dough 1 x to coat it with butter.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Let dough rise for about an hour. The best way to do this is to turn the light on inside of your oven and place the bowl inside. It will rise quickly this way. The dough is ready to shape into loaves (or rolls) when it has doubled in size and you can poke your finger in the center and the indent stays. Grease 2 loaf pans with butter.
Punch down dough to deflate.
To shape loaves, divide dough right in half.
Take one half of the dough and place it onto a unfloured surface. Try to press it down to make a rectangle. About 10 x 5 inches. now you are ready to roll. Literally.
See below for rolls and monkey bread.
Start on the long end of your rectangle and roll dough slowly to form loaf. As you slowly roll dough up, press down with your fingers all along the length of the rectangle. What this does is seals it up and makes a nice tight loaf without a lot of air bubble holes. once you have rolled it all the way do a finishing seam by pinching it together lengthwise. On each end of you roll, karate chop the ends down to form somewhat of a seal.
Then fold dough, taking the right side in and then the left side in.
Now you are ready to place that directly into your loaf pan.
Butter tops of bread loaves with softened butter ( I do this with my hands) and cover with plastic wrap.
Again return your loaves to the oven with just the light on to let them rise.
Once they have doubled in size, remove them from the oven and preheat you oven for baking to 425 degrees.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. The loaves are done when you knock on them and they are hard on the outside and a rich golden brown.
Once you remove them from the oven allow them to cool for a few minutes before removing them from the pans and brushing them with butter.
Let them continue to cool before slicing.

For Rolls:
Follow directions above until you get to loaf shaping.
Take your 10 x 5 rectangle and divide dough in half, then in half again. Repeating until you have the size you want (remember that they will double in size as they rise).
Roll dough into balls.
Grease 2 square baking dishes with butter.
Place dough into baking dishes and rub softened butter on top of them.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Return dough to oven and turn on oven light again for rising.
Once your rolls have doubled in size, remove them from the oven and preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they are a nice golden brown.
Brush butter over hot rolls.
Serve warm with plenty of butter!
You can make these ahead of time and freeze them. Just take them out the night before you plan to eat them.

For Monkey Bread:
Follow the same directions for the bread until you get to loaf shaping.
Take you 10 x 9 inch rectangle and spread a thick layer of butter, sugar, and cinnamon. I mean cake it on!
Then divide your rectangle into 3rds.
Stack the sectioned pieces on top of each other.
Then divide into 3rds again, then cut those sections in half.
Stack dough inside of greased loaf pan(s).
Cover with plastic wrap.
Return to the oven for rising with only the oven light on.
When the bread has doubled, remove your monkey bread from the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Then cover the top loosely with foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.
Once it is a nice golden color pour on your favorite homemade icing. Or you could just put butter on top, like I did. So very delicious...your family with scarf it down!

My monkey bread is missing a part of it. I couldn't help but snag a piece before I remembered to take a picture, haha!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finally a natural deodorant that works!

I have been using natural deodorants for over 2 years. Before I started using "natural" deodorants I used Dove for many years. I hated that my under arms were dark and discolored and I was always really self conscience of it. I also had irritation every time I would shave. It was just not a good situation. I decided it was time for change. SO why not try out natural deodorants. I started out using Tom's Apricot deodorant. I really liked the scent and it seemed to work, OK. I would have to reapply at least 1x per day. I noticed right away that the dark spots under my arms were fading. Eventually my skin was completely restored after using Tom's for about 3 months. That proves to me how bad regular deodorant is for you. I was still not completely satisfied with Tom's deodorant. So I went on a mission to find one that worked for me. I tried out using just baking soda, but that only lasted for an hour or two until I actually started sweating. I also tried a salt crystal type deodorant. It was only a little better than the straight baking soda. Reluctantly, I went back to Tom's. Every couple of months I would get terrible skin irritation under my arms from it. I would then try out some other natural deodorant until I developed the same problem. I had thought about not using any deodorant at all. But it only took a couple of days to figure out THAT wasn't going to work. So I started searching online for recipes to make my own. At first the thought of making my own brought me back to the time I tried using straight baking soda...! But I decided to try it out anyway. And, I am so very glad I did. I absolutely LOVE my homemade deodorant. I like it so much that I told a random stranger at Whole Foods, that was staring at the deodorants, about it! Ha ha! I have been using it for the past few months. I only have to put it on 1x a day. I thought I would share my recipe with you. There is only 3 ingredients...

Equal parts of:

baking soda

&

corn starch

then stir in

extra virgin coconut oil

a little at a time until you have a thick paste

And there you have it! So simple, with ingredients that you probably already have. You can also add you own essential oils, if desired. I store mine in a Pyrex container. But any container with a lid will be fine. I use about a 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup corn starch and a couple spoons full of coconut oil and it lasts me several weeks. I apply it with my fingers, but you could probably put it right back into you old deodorant container to make it even easier. It is so cheap and easy to make, why not try it out?