Monthly Archives: March 2014

Quick and easy bread: delicious Irish soda bread

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Quick and easy bread: delicious Irish soda bread

This bread is easy enough and delicious enough to make and eat every day!!  I know you won’t, and I won’t even go there either, but really it’s a great recipe to have on hand to round out a hot meal.  It takes just minutes to throw together, about 45 minutes in the oven and a little rest while you are finishing the rest of the meal.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water….homemade bread in all it’s lovely whiteness (more about that later)…

I made this recipe for Irish soda bread for our St. Patrick’s Day meal, fitting, eh? I found the recipe in my rusty trusty Fannie Farmer Baking Book (the one I was going to throw out when somehow it made it’s way into my house, but then I decided to use it to press flowers in, then finally when I actually started cooking and baking, realized that it contained some great recipes and instructions!  Now it’s my go-to for baking.  Funny how things work out….)  Here are the photos, then I’ll add the recipe.Quick and easy Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day or really just for any day! Delicious and easy, recipe posted by dennasideas.com

It’s such a gorgeously rustic looking bread!  I love the texture, color and the big cross in the center.  Oh, and the smell while it bakes, and did I mention that it was easy?  And only takes 4 ingredients!  F.O.U.R.  Having said that, I didn’t actually have all of the ingredients on hand….Quick and easy Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day or really just for any day! Delicious and easy, recipe posted by dennasideas.com

I had spent my time working on roasted cabbage and an “Irish” stew variation (made with what I had on hand: sausage, potatoes, onions and carrots…but I guess that that’s fairly authentic anyways).  So I go to bake up some Irish soda bread, like I did last year.  I measured out the dry ingredients and opened the fridge.  I knew that I didn’t have buttermilk, so I would just use milk and vinegar or lime juice….but no milk!!!  I dashed to the computer and typed in “substitutions for buttermilk” and found a great link here, so I found out that I could use yogurt as a substitute!  Yay, I had lots of greek yogurt!

Here’s a close-up of the texture (I was eating the leftover bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil as a snack…sooooo good!)  Remember, this was made with yogurt, and no extra fat!  A very white color and great taste, and it must have a lot of protein with 2 cups of greek yogurt!!  Now on to the recipe….

Quick and easy Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day or really just for any day! Delicious and easy, recipe posted by dennasideas.com

Irish Soda Bread

(an authentic recipe from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham, 1984)

4 cups all purpose flour

1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups buttermilk (or 2 tbsp. vinegar in milk to make 2 cups OR 2 cups of plain greek yogurt)

Preheat your oven to 3750 F.  Grease a baking sheet or an 8-inch round pan…I used baking parchment on a cookie sheet.  Add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl (flour, salt, baking soda) and mix them around.  Add buttermilk and stir it up with a fork until it holds together in a rough mass.  Since I was using thick yogurt, I actually had to add just a bit of water to the dough to make it mixable.  Knead the dough a few times (I did this right in the bowl) then pat into about an 8 inch round mound on the sheet (or in the round pan). Using a sharp knife, slash a large X into the top of the dough, about 1/4 of an inch deep.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until it is nicely browned and the X has spread open.  Transfer to a rack to cool for awhile, then wrap it in a slightly damp tea towel and let it rest, on the rack for about 8 hours.  This recipe makes one round loaf, and it should be completely cool when you serve it.  The rest time in a damp towel helps the crust to nicely soften up.  We didn’t wait 8 hours, obviously, or it wouldn’t be such a quick bread!!

If you can whip this up right before you prepare the meal, bake it, then let it sit in the damp towel while you make the rest of the meal, it should be ready to be served when the meal is ready.  Using the towel is a good way to store leftovers.  This bread also makes great toast!  I love it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or just plain with butter.  This loaf was enough to go with 2 meals for the six of us!  So thankful for our blessings!Quick and easy Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day or really just for any day! Delicious and easy, recipe posted by dennasideas.com

(now I am craving some yummy bread….!)

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St. Paddy’s Day Green Mason Jar Desserts

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A sweet little green dessert packed in serving-sized mason jars!  For half of the winter I’ve been looking forward to celebrating the green…the green of spring.  There is no green around here.  Amazingly, the snow has started melting a lot and we can see grass, it’s just not green yet.  Seriously, it’s been about 12 years since we’ve had nice weather to be outdoors for my daughter’s bday next week.  It has always been winter weather, usually snowing.  So bring on some shamrocks, rainbows and a whole huge pot of gold!  Spring is in the air!
St Paddy's Day green mason jar desserts with kiwi and lime jello and pound cake by dennasideas.com Extra bonus for you: 5 minute shamrocks:  use a heart punch.  punch. glue together, or not.  There you go.St Paddy's Day easy to DIY shamrocks  dennasideas.com Enough with the decorating, back to the desserts…St Paddy's Day green mason jar desserts with kiwi and lime jello and pound cake by dennasideas.com

My Mom gave me a flat of little mason jars, I’ve had so much fun with them!  They are the perfect size for individual desserts.  So instead of making a big trifle with the pound cake I baked the other day, I made these jar desserts for each of us.  It wasn’t very difficult to fill the jars.  All you need is cake, whipped cream, jello and some fruit slices.  The other day I baked up a vanilla pound cake, the old fashioned kind, and tinted it green.  (any kind of cake should work).  I sliced the pound cake up then cut out circles with a cookie cutter.  Mix up some green gelatin/jelly jello, I used lime flavor.  Use a tiny bit less water than called for, and do the ice cube method to cool it off faster.  Add a few spoonfuls of jello to each jar, then let it set up (I stuck them into the freezer for a bit) while you are cutting the cake into circles and whipping the cream (or Cool Whip will work).  The rest of the jello went into the fridge to start setting up.

St Paddy's Day green mason jar desserts with kiwi and lime jello and pound cake by dennasideas.com So, jello, a round of cake, a squeeze of whip cream.  Then slice up some kiwis and chop each slice in half.  Set them in the jars against the side (so you can see them!), then fill up the hollow with some jello when it is half-set, so it is still kind of blobby and pourable.  Then another layer of cake and some whipped cream.  Let them sit for as long as possible in the fridge (overnight is best. Especially if the cake was a little stale!)  When I open them up, I’ll add another slice of kiwi on top.  I love that these jars have lids, so easy to pop into the refrigerator.  They would be great to take on a picnic (if the weather was nice enough!), or even for the kids’ lunches (if I was nice enough!)St Paddy's Day green mason jar desserts with kiwi and lime jello and pound cake by dennasideas.com My favorite Irish band has a new release today! yay! And here’s a great watch for today:

St. Patrick’s Day Healthy Fruit Rainbow Pancakes

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St. Patrick’s Day Healthy Fruit Rainbow Pancakes

There’s still a bit of time to make something yummy for tomorrow!  Well, ok, time is rather ticking away, but there’s still time to rush out and buy some fruit and whipped cream!  And then tomorrow you could mix up a batch of pancakes….layer them up and there you go, a fruit rainbow for St. Paddy’s day!  I saw this idea on Pinterest, but then when I started putting it together I realized that whatever was used in the photo was not pancakes (cookies I think).  (P.S. I just found out that the idea was from i am baker! Yes, cookies, with an awesome cream cheese frosting!)  So my pancakes were a bit floppy and the stack was leaning a bit….solved that with a straw right down the middle of the pile!  The “fun” part is to layer your fruit in the order of the rainbow.  If you don’t remember that order, watch the fun little video at the end of this rainbow post, then you’ll never forget again!healthy fruit rainbow pancakes for St. Patrick's Day by dennasideas.com

The fruits I used were red grapes, frozen blueberries (fresh ones would have looked more blue), kiwi, banana, orange and strawberries.  So easy!healthy fruit rainbow pancakes for St. Patrick's Day by dennasideas.com

And then it was sliced up into four awesome slices….healthy Rainbow fruit pancakes for St. Patrick's Day by dennasideas.com healthy Rainbow fruit pancakes for St. Patrick's Day by dennasideas.com

Add each fruit in a blanket of whipped cream between layers of pancakes.  Like I said, it was quite easy…..or would have been if this hadn’t happened….Rainbow pancakes by dennasideas.com - Page 001

My mixer went crazy while I was getting a pancake out of the pan…when I looked over at it, a ring of cream was blobbing out of the bowl.  What a goopy mess!  But it didn’t actually surprise me….that’s how I usually cook….messy…. 😉

Anyways, to cheer myself up, I love to watch this video for St. Patrick’s Day!  An 8 minute account of St. Patrick’s life for the kids….even with flannel boards!