6/22/17

Homemade Orange Breakfast Rolls

Originally posted in 2015

The picture above is rolls in the pan before rising or baking.

It's no secret I'm not a big fan of cinnamon rolls - but I do make really, really yummy ones!  I'm not a fan of breakfast in general, but these rolls are so tempting even I will eat one!  Picture a Dreamcicle or a Orange Julius drink in a breakfast roll.


Orange Breakfast Rolls

Dough: You can use a loaf of store bought dough, thaw and roll out to a rectangle approximately 10X15 or make a simple dough like this one;

1 pk. dry yeast (about 2 1/4 t)
3/4 c warm water
1/3 c sugar
1 t salt
1/3 c oil
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 c evaporated milk
4 - 4 1/2 c flour
Real butter, soft
Orange juice concentrate
White sugar
Dried orange peel


Dissolve yeast in the water in a bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and knead either by hand or with the dough hook of your electric mixer.  Use more or less flour so the dough is the right consistency and not too sticky or wet.  Knead about 5 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, cover and let raise until doubled.  Punch down.  Roll out on parchment paper or a floured surface to form a large rectangle.  Aim for about 16-18 inches across and 12-15 wide.

Spread with real butter.
Drizzle with orange juice concentrate.
Spread liberally with white granulated sugar.
Sprinkle with dried orange peel.

Roll up the long way.  Slice into 1 inch slices and place in a heavily greased baking pan or muffin tin.  I used a 'lasagna' pan which is slightly larger than the traditional 13X9" so I made 16 of them (4 across, 4 down).  You could make it into 12 - 16 depending on your pan and how thick you want them.  Place them into the pan.  Cover and let raise in a warm place until double in size (about 3 hours).  Bake at 350 degrees about 15-20 minutes until center rolls are done.  If you want to make them ahead and freeze; let rise about 1 hour and then cover and place in the deep freeze.  When you want to use them, remove from the freezer, let thaw and then let them raise about 1-2 hours past thawing until they double in size.  Bake as directed.

Let them cool a bit and then cover with a simple powdered sugar glaze.
One idea is this;

1 stick butter
4 c powdered sugar
1-2 t dried orange zest
2 T orange juice concentrate

Mix and spread on warm but cooled rolls.




Put into a greased bowl, cover and let rise

After rising and punching down, roll out to a large rectangle and spread with real butter
Sprinkled with dried orange peel

Drizzle with as much or little orange juice concentrate as you wish
 
Rolled up lengthwise and ready to slice into approximately 16 one inch slices to let raise and bake










You might be interested in some of these products to make the recipe above;
Wilton Recipe Right 13 x 9 Inch Oblong Pan
Frontier Herb Organic Orange Peel Granules 1.92 oz.
McCormick Gourmet Collection, Orange Peel, 1.5-Ounce Unit
Wilton Parchment Paper





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6/21/17

All About Shelf Stable Foods and Food Safety: Including Emergency Food Storage

A topic I touch on every now-and-then but don't harp on is emergency preparedness.  No matter where you live there are going to be some sort of natural disasters that affect your everyday lifestyle in some way. 

Roads flood, wind damages, hail breaks, tornadoes destroy, hurricanes decimate...  whether it's fire, flood, storms, wind, or even economic downturns, a loss of a job or health issues I absolutely believe in being at least a little prepared.  I know people have come to rely on the government to take care of them after a large natural disaster - but honestly you might not realize it's not their job and they don't have to.  Even so, even the government recommends you have at least 3 days of food, water and medications for everyone in your family - and don't forget your pets.

Having said that - I'll let you know why I'm post a little post about 'Shelf Stable Foods' today...  storms.  Lots of storms! We've had a very stormy spring this year and not just 'storms' as many people know them, but severe storms.  100 mph winds, hail, trees down, power lines down, flooding.  We get them quite often where I live so we are 'used to' them in that way; but friends and family in other parts of the country are also being hit hard this year and even those who live in areas that almost never see strong storms are getting them. 

 We actually have a 5 foot hole in our roof at this very minute 
from a storm that passed through last week. 
A tree fell on the house.

We actually have a 5 foot hole in our roof at this very minute from a storm that passed through last week. A tree fell on the house.  6 punctures of all sizes, 3 emergency tarps in place and an insurance adjuster coming tomorrow.  In April we had a strong storm that effected over 80,000 homes with wind and hail damage in this area.  The roofing companies are still so backed up that new calls are expecting work to start in September.  While we didn't have damage to our own home during that particular storm, we did lose power for 12+ hours and my husband couldn't get home due to all the trees and power lines down.  Every road - even back roads - were blocked by the police.  I was home with two itty-bitties (ages 2 years and 11 months) but you know what?

No problem here.  I can live and cook and have lighting without power for as long as we need.  I have various ways of cooking without power (a solar oven, butane and propane camp stove, a propane grill, a fire pit and lots of wood on hand...).  We have canned, shelf stable foods in our pantry (including milk for the littles) as well as variations of dehydrated foods, freeze dried foods and more.  The only thing I don't have it a silent generator to run our refrigerator or freezer - but I know to keep them stocked, have extra containers of water frozen (like an empty milk jug) to keep it cold and not to open the refrigerator or freezers while the power is out.  We sailed through a 12 hour power outage without any issues or concerns at all and the 2 year old didn't even notice anything different about our evening of dinner, reading a book (by lantern light) and even got to play a toddler game on his tablet.  Bedtime was smooth and when the power came back on around 6:30 am, he had no idea it had even been off.

This is a topic I'm so interested in that I get a little 'wordy' so I'm going to stop chatting and start posting the point of this post - SHELF STABLE FOODS AND THEIR SAFETY.   This information is readily available through the federal government food safety sites but I'm putting a bit of it here for an easy to understand and quick overview. 

In the event of a loss of job, natural or man-made disasters, etc. please at least have 3 days worth of food, water and medications ready for your loved ones.

Shelf-Stable Food Safety

What does "shelf stable" mean?
Foods that can be safely stored at room temperature, or "on the shelf," are called "shelf stable." These non-perishable products include jerky, country hams, canned and bottled foods, rice, pasta, flour, sugar, spices, oils, and foods processed in aseptic or retort packages and other products that do not require refrigeration until after opening. Not all canned goods are shelf stable. Some canned food, such as some canned ham and seafood, are not safe at room temperature. These will be labeled "Keep Refrigerated."

How are foods made shelf stable?
In order to be shelf stable, perishable food must be treated by heat and/or dried to destroy foodborne microorganisms that can cause illness or spoil food. Food can be packaged in sterile, airtight containers. All foods eventually spoil if not preserved.

Will commercially canned foods last forever?
Commercial canning is done under tightly controlled conditions — careful sanitation and the necessary time and temperature under pressure, but there are still limits to how long it will preserve food. There are several factors that limit the shelf life of canned foods. First, cans can rust over time. Shipping accidents, where cans fall and dent or are crushed, also cause container problems.
Then there's can corrosion. In all foods, but especially in high-acid foods like canned tomatoes, natural chemicals in the food continually react with the container. Over several years, this can cause taste and texture changes, and eventually lower the nutritional value of the food.
High temperatures (over 100 °F) are harmful to canned goods too. The risk of spoilage jumps sharply as storage temperatures rise. In fact, canned goods designed for use in the tropics are specially manufactured.
Store canned foods and other shelf stable products in a cool, dry place. Never put them above or beside the stove, under the sink, in a damp garage or basement, or any place exposed to high or low temperature extremes. Temperatures below 85 °F are best. Check your pantry every few weeks and use canned goods you have had on hand for awhile. Don't purchase bulging, rusted, leaking, or deeply dented cans.

Is the dating of shelf-stable foods required by federal law?
Except for infant formula and some baby food, product dating — having a "use-by," "sell-by," or "best-if-used-by" date — is not required by Federal regulations. Dating is for quality, not safety. However, if a calendar date is used, it must express both the month and day of the month (and the year, in the case of shelf-stable and frozen products). If a calendar date is shown, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date, such as "sell by" or "use before." While there is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating in the United States, dating of some foods is required by more than 20 states. A shelf-stable product can be safely used after the "sell-by" date. Products displaying a "use-by" date, although still safe, may not be of acceptable quality after the "use-by" date.


Is it safe to use cans that freeze accidentally?
Cans of food that freeze accidentally, such as those left in a car or basement in sub-zero temperatures, can present health problems. Frozen cans could swell because the food inside expanded when frozen. However, cans can be swollen because of contamination with Clostridium botulinum or spoilage-causing organisms. Do not use any swollen cans; discard them.
Also, discard frozen cans that are not swollen but have been allowed to thaw at 40 °F or higher. Cans that have thawed and refrozen are not safe.
A frozen can that has not thawed can be safely defrosted in the refrigerator and used. If the canned food is still frozen, let the intact can thaw in the refrigerator before opening. If the product doesn't look and/or smell normal, throw it out. Do not taste it!
If the product does look and/or smell normal, thoroughly cook the contents right away by boiling for 10 to 20 minutes. At altitudes below 1,000 feet, boil foods for 10 minutes. Add an additional minute of boiling time for each additional 1,000 feet elevation (for example, at 3,000 feet, boil for 12 minutes). Spinach and corn should be boiled for 20 minutes at all altitudes. This is due to the high density of these vegetables. Products can then be refrigerated or frozen for later use.

What are dried foods?
Drying is the world's oldest and most common method of food preservation. Drying technology is both simple and readily available to most of the world's culture. Examples of dried foods are jerky, powdered milk, dried beans and peas, potatoes in a box, dried fruits and vegetables, pasta, and rice. Canning technology is just over 200 years old, and freezing became practical only during this century as electricity became increasingly available.

Does freeze-drying make food shelf stable?
Yes, freeze-dried foods are shelf stable. Freeze-drying is a commercial process that can be used to preserve such food as dried soup mixes, instant coffee, fruits, and vegetables. To freeze dry, frozen food is placed in a special vacuum cabinet. There, ice changes from a solid state directly to a vapor state without first becoming a liquid. This process, whereby water escapes from the food, is called "sublimation." To use freeze-dried foods, they must be rehydrated with water. They retain their original flavor, texture, and nutrients, but must be packaged in moisture-proof, hermetically sealed containers.

What is an MRE?
MRE stands for "Meal, Ready-to-Eat." MRE's were originally designed for the U.S. government and have been used since the 1970's in the U.S. space program, U.S. military, and USDA's Forest Service. The MRE package is officially known as a tri-laminate retort pouch. It contains normal food that is ready to heat and consume, such as chili or beef stew.

Is an MRE shelf stable?
Yes. MRE's are shelf stable because they have been commercially sterilized by heat in a sealed container to destroy bacteria that can make it unsafe or spoil the food. Like food in metal cans, MRE's can be kept for a long time, but not indefinitely. The shelf life is highly related to the storage temperature. For example, if stored at 120 °F (a temperature that could be encountered on desert battlefields), the MRE should be used within a month. Stored at 60 °F, an MRE can last 7 years or more.





If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. - American Housewife at Amazon





You might also be interested in product related to this post available through Amazon;
Harmony House Foods Dried Vegetable Sampler (15 Count, ZIP Pouches) for Cooking, Camping, Emergency Supply, and More
Mountain House Just In Case...Classic Assortment Bucket
MRE (Meals Ready-to-Eat) Genuine US Military Surplus w/ Menu Selections, 13 Cheese Tortellini
ULTIMATE MRE, Pack Date Printed on Every Meal - Meal-Ready-To-Eat. Inspected by Western Frontier. Genuine Mil Surplus.









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6/18/17

Zapple Pie - Incredible Zucchini Apple Pie (.... Made from Zucchini But You'd Never Know It!)

Although I do have a "print friendly" button option at the end of every post, for the most part when I print off my own recipes I choose to highlight and copy it to a word perfect blank page and print it off.   I've had this site up since 2006 and over the years I kept my eye out for a fun recipe widget but the only ones ever available were for websites on WordPress.  Mine is on Blogger.  And I don't really like WordPress (ok, I hate it) so for all the things about Blogger I can't stand, it's easier to live with than WordPress.  So... with all that background babble, there is one recipe widget for Blogger that I've found that lines up the recipe in a nice way for readers to print... but boy is it a pain for me on my end.

I like to just type the recipe quickly on my site and be done with it.  But I know a lot of people like the little recipe widgets.  So this post is actually a test post.  I decided to do one 'test' post using a recipe card widget and see if I love it enough to go through the hassle of using one every single time...  or not.

I have chosen my zucchini apple pie recipe as the test recipe since this was first posted back in 2006 and it's about time it sees another run.



print recipe

Zapple Pie - Faux Apple Pie Made from Zucchini

In 2005 and 2006 I had so many zucchini's in my garden I started to make EVERYTHING out of zucchini.  This is SO good and SO like apple pie that it became a family favorite.  Most people cannot tell the difference between this and a 'real' apple pie.

Ingredients
  • 6 cups (approx) peeled, scooped out, quartered and thinly sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup (heaping) sugar or granulated sweetener of choice*
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 4 T butter, real
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t (scant) nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (plus water to make 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • pie shell, plus a top crust
Instructions

Preheat Oven: 450.

In a saucepan over medium heat combine the zucchini, sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add 2 T lemon juice. Stir to mix and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Mix the rest of the lemon juice and water with the flour in a cup and stir into the zucchini mixture to thicken. Remove from heat.

Spoon the zucchini filling into the pie shell. Place the top crust on and crimp the edges to seal. Put the pie into the hot oven and close the door. Then reduce the heat to 350. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is browned and the filling is bubbling.

*I like to use a mixture of part brown and part white sugar or natural sweetener substitute.  About 3/4 white and 1/4 brown.


http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/309/492/1600/DSC02234.jpg











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The Best Homemade Vanilla Pudding (Vanilla Custard Actually) - and SUGAR FREE VANILLA PUDDING - CUSTARD



Homemade Vanilla Pudding


I was pretty sure I had a post on homemade sugar free vanilla custard or pudding but without digging to long or far into my files, I found one post from 2006 - but nothing recent.  Well, it's 2017 now so it's time to update and post again!  Not only because it's been 11 years but because originally back in 2006 I was still often using sugar - and today of course we are sugar free so this post is for those seeking a super delicious, easy, amazing vanilla custard as well as those like us who prefer to make most things without white, refined sugar.  It's totally adaptable on a couple different levels.

Another thing I want to mention really quick (I know!  I'm getting to the recipe in a second!)  This is actually a vanilla custard but in America, over the years the line between custard and pudding has been lost on most people that are younger than say, 50 or 60 years old.  For the record, a custard is thickened with eggs while a pudding is thickened with flour or cornstarch.  This custard/pudding that I make uses both.  And if you are choosing to use almond milk, coconut milk or (my favorite) a blend of both; then using both thickeners makes for a perfectly thick and creamy pudding/custard verses the thinner style you normally get with almond or coconut milk.

I also sometimes use flour to thicken (about a heaping 1/3 cup) but use cornstarch other times.  Cornstarch does have less carbs.  I also have resistant cornstarch in my pantry for when I'm being really careful carb-counting.  I used regular cornstarch this time.  You can also use xanthan gum - but I didn't do that on this one so I'm not sure of the correct substitution amount for this recipe.  I'm guessing about 1 1/2 teaspoons might do it.

Homemade Vanilla Custard  (Vanilla Pudding)

1/2 c Truvia natural sweetener or a semi-heaping 3/4 cups sugar
3 T cornstarch, heaping
Dash of salt
3 1/2 c milk of choice 
4 egg yolks, beaten and in a small bowl
15 drops liquid natural sweetener (optional but I like the flavor of mixing 2-3 natural sweeteners)
1 T vanilla
1 T butter

In a saucepan on the stove whisk together the dry Truvia sweetener or whatever granulated natural sweetener you are using as well as a dash of salt.  Turn the burner up to medium and start to pour in the milk while whisking.  Bring it to a simmer and then turn down a bit; remove one cup of the liquid.  Drizzle (pour slowly) this liquid into the 4 beaten egg yolks, whisking.  Now drizzle (pour slowly) this mixture back into the pan of milk/pudding on the stove while whisking.  Turn the heat back up to medium and add the liquid sweetener drops at this time if you are choosing to use them.  If you are not using them, you may want to use a little more Truvia, Just Like Sugar or other sweetener to make up for it; it's all up to you and how sweet you like your pudding and custards.

As soon as the mixture starts to slowly boil, turn the heat back down to simmer and let it cook while stirring the whole time, until it becomes thick.  When it's nice and thick (and a texture of 'pudding') you can remove it from the heat and stir or whisk in your vanilla and a pat of butter.  Taste test.  Pour into a large serving dish and place a layer of saran or plastic wrap on the top to avoid a skin forming.  Let it set on the counter for about 20 minutes to cool just a little before placing it into your refrigerator to chill completely cold.  (I also scoop out 1 cup at this time to a bowl... and eat it warm!  LOVE fresh, warm, vanilla custard or pudding).

*NOTE*  You can make this into banana pudding by adding 2 sliced bananas to it before placing the plastic wrap over the bowl.  Be sure they are either on the bottom of the serving dish before pouring the pudding in, or are gently stirred in so they are not touching the air as the air will make them turn brown.




Whisk the dry sweetener or sugar with the corn starch

Add the milk and start to heat while whisking or stirring until it starts to get thick

Mix about 1 cup of the hot liquid into your egg yolks before returning this mixture to your pan

Whisk the egg and milk mixture back in, raise the heat and continue mixing

After it gets nice and thick remove from heat and stir or whisk in the vanilla and a pat of real butter for delicious flavor

Thick, smooth and so delicious!

Mmm.  Homemade Vanilla Custard


If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. - American Housewife at Amazon




Just Like Sugar Table Top Sweetener -- 16 oz
Truvia Baking Blend Natural Sweetener 24 OZ(Pack Of 2)




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6/12/17

How to make homemade mozzarella cheese - fairly quick and easy - with lots of photos showing you the steps!


Having this website since 2006, there are many foods I make regularly that have been posted before - and although I do repost some of them and sometimes take new photos and post again just to keep the site active with new posts, most of the time I won't do that - because some recipes get posted 3 or 4 (or 5?)  times over the years.

Today I have to make more homemade mozzarella cheese so instead of reinventing the wheel, it's much easier to repost the recipe.  So, here is one of today's projects - one of about 20 things on my to-do list!  Luckily this is made fairly quickly so I can get on to the other daily tasks. 




I will put links to the actual products I order, own and use, at the end of this post so you can see exactly what I use. Once you invest in a few key ingredients, you won't have to order them again for a long time because you only use about 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of them for each batch.  Keep your rennet and lipase in the freezer and it will last at least 6 months.



Homemade Mozzarella

1 gallon whole milk - not 'ultra' pasteurized
1 t citric acid - dissolved in 1/4 c cold water
1/4 t lipase - dissolved in 1/4 c cold water
1/4 t liquid rennet (or 1/4 of a tablet cheese making rennet) - dissolved in 1/4 c cold water
1 t non-iodized salt (use cheese salt, sea salt, kosher salt, ice cream salt, Himalayan salt, etc.)

Pour the milk into a clean stainless steel pot.
Heat to 55 degrees.
Add lipase water mixture and stir slowly.
Add Citric Acid water mixture and stir slowly.
Heat slowly to 90 degrees. Remove from heat.
Add the rennet water mixture, stir slowly but stir well for 10-20 seconds.
Cover and let stand 5-10 minutes.
During this time the curd should separate from the whey and become a firm jello like layer on top.
After 5-10 minutes check for a clean break with a knife or frosting spatula.
Cut a checkerboard pattern across the curd to cut it into 1 inch cubes.
Swirl the pot a little and put back on heat.
Slowly heat to 105 degrees.  Remove from heat.
Swirl the pan again (no need to stir, but you can if you must).
Slowly spoon out the curds with a slotted metal spoon into a colander sitting inside a large bowl to catch the whey - or if you only have a wire strainer, line it with cheesecloth or a gauzy fabric so the curds don't get stuck in the wires.
Pour the last bit of the curds into the cloth from the pan.
Set the whey to the side, you don't need it for this recipe any longer.
Gently press on the curd to press out a bit more whey liquid.
Place in a microwaveable bowl.
Microwave 1 minute.
Drain again.
Knead and press to get more whey out.
Drain.
Microwave 35 seconds.
Knead and press again and drain.
Add your salt.
Microwave 20-30 seconds more and continue to knead and pull.
You can wear food safe heat resistant gloves if you have them as you are microwaving to get the cheese hot so it will stretch - and you will kind of burn your hands a bit.  It's hot!
You are hoping to be able to stretch it like taffy.
If it breaks more like bread dough, it's not hot enough.  Heat again and stretch again.
If you've reheated 3 times and it's still not quite as stretchy as you would like, that's ok, it will still look and taste great.
Form whatever shape you want (twist or balls, etc.) and plunge them into a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes.
Remove, wrap and refrigerate.



Read through the directions, and look at the photos so you know
what to have ready or on hand before you begin.


HINTS AND HELPS


You need rennet - liquid or tablet (either vegetable or animal).

Do not use the Junket brand in the grocery store - it's made for custard and you want a thicker curd than that. Get real rennet or you may not end up with a good curd.

Citric acid and lipase - Lipase is kind of optional; some people don't use it, but it adds flavor.




Heat your milk S L O W L Y so you don't scorch the bottom and you never accidentally boil it.






When you mix your citric acid, lipase and rennet with water, do NOT use chlorinated water, as chlorine kills the rennet.  If you do use tap water (which is chlorinated), some people add a bit of milk to it to neutralize it first. I have made it that way and made it without adding milk. I've not found a big difference either way but I've had great results from adding 1/4 t calcium chloride dissolved in 1/4 c water.  Works either way but much better curds with the calcium chloride.





  Have a thermometer.  You HAVE to know the correct temperature of your milk.  Some people have a digital - I bought a super cheapy on Amazon, calibrated it right before starting so I knew it was on target.  





 This is the "clean break" you look for after adding the rennet.
When you insert a knife or icing spatula you can see it is thick, like jello and breaks away from the liquid whey under it.





Cutting across, turning the pan and cutting across the other way gives you cubes.
This is giving the curds more surface area so the whey can separate from it.




Heating to 105 degrees before removing from the heat and starting to drain and knead.





After you heat to 105 and remove from heat, you can let the curds sit for 5 minutes.
During this time have your colander or strainer ready over a bowl to catch whey.
Have your cheese salt ready.  You can also get your bowl of ice water ready.







Starting to remove the curds from the whey.

 

Pour the last of the curds in.  The yellow liquid is the whey you will be pressing out gently and draining off.



After the 1 minute microwave to heat it, press and drain.

 

This is after the second microwave, knead and drain.
You can see it all comes together.
Keep heating and pulling until it pulls like taffy.
Yep, it's hot - you'll get burned hands if you don't have food safe gloves.  I didn't own any for the first few times I made cheese and it really burns your hands and it's hard to get it hot enough to 'pull' when you can't touch it.
I finally ordered some from Amazon and I'm so happy I finally caved and bought them.






Shape into whatever shape you wish.  I do balls.  Plunge in ice water 5 minutes.





SO GOOD!  The salt brings out the flavor so you don't need anything else, but you CAN add whatever herbs you wish to it.  (Basil, chives, etc.)







These are the products I ordered from Amazon and Used;

Lipase Powder-Italase-(mild) 1oz
NOW Foods - Citric Acid 100% Pure - 4 oz.
Organic Liquid Vegetable Rennet, 2oz.
Gerber Birdseye 10 Count Flatfold Cloth Diapers, White (24in x 27in)
Chefaith Silicone Oven Mitts [Red]

           


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