I am a newlywed on a budget, just trying to make healthy and inexpensive meals for my husband and I to enjoy. He eats a lot, so cost is a big factor. Though I work 3 jobs, I manage to find time 6 nights a week to cook a full dinner for us both. I am constantly looking for new recipes that are moderately healthy, taste great, and won't break the bank.

On the side, I also own a brownie business called Gersheybars. My passion and love for cooking started when I was just a small child, baking with my mom and grandmother. The brownie recipe has been passed down through 5 generations and I am thrilled to finally have an outlet to share them with everybody else. Friends and family have helped spread the word and made my business as successful as it is today.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bread Machine Pizza Dough

Pizza night! We love the pizza dough from Trader Joes but this week they were out of it when I went to pick some up. So off to AllRecipes I went, where I found this recipe for pizza dough. I love the addition of beer into this recipe. It gives the dough a nice bite. We topped our pizza with store-bought sauce, sliced onions and roasted garlic. Delicious! The dough makes enough for 1 large pizza. I don't have a stone, or a pizza pan, so I don't have exact measurements, but it was plenty for the 2 of us.

  • 1 cup flat beer
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  1. Put beer, butter, sugar, salt, flour, and yeast in a bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough setting, and press Start.
  2. Remove dough from bread machine when cycle is complete. Roll or press dough to cover a prepared pizza pan. Brush lightly with olive oil. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Spread sauce and toppings on top of dough. Bake until crust is lightly brown and crispy on the outside, about 24 minutes.
Pizza - before going into the oven


Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

I was asked to make some sugar cookies for a baby shower, and wanted to try a different recipe than the last time. Why, you ask? Because I like trying new recipes. Simple as that! This recipe is awesome, and works perfectly for sugar cookie cutouts. I used a round cutter, and they did flatten a bit, but they definitely kept their shape, which can be a real challenge with sugar cookies. The original recipe was a tad bland, so I added an additional cup of sugar and I think they're perfect.

I also used a new frosting from AllRecipes, again, because I like trying new recipes! It's very thick. I was expecting a thinner icing that I could dip the cookies into, but this definitely needed to be applied with a pastry brush. Not sure how I feel about that. I love the way it dries -- a glossy smooth finish with a nice shine, but the application process could be a bit frustrating for the average at-home baker.

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar (I used 3)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (instead of flour, I use confectioners sugar to keep the surface from sticking while I roll it out). Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • assorted food coloring
  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

Baked cookies - I rolled dough to 1/2 inch thick and they definitely flattened a bit. Still chewy and soft on the inside though.

Frosted cookies - I used a pastry brush to paint the frosting on. These will be clocks when they're finished, but I'm waiting for the base to dry before using tempered chocolate to pipe on the numbers and clock hands. Updates to follow...

Finished clock cookies

Best Bread Machine Challah

The price of bread at the grocery store is absurd! $3.99 for a loaf of bread? I think not. Maybe it's the fact that we spent 6 years living basically in poverty, but I just can't comfortably spend that kind of money on something I know I can bake myself, for much less money.

This recipe for challah is SO delicious. Better than the last recipe I made, and up until now, I thought that one was the best! This makes a 1.5 pound loaf that's eggy, slightly sweet, and just a great sandwich bread. It's so simple to make in the bread machine...as Ron Popiel would say, "Set it and forget it!" But make sure to set your machine on "light" so it doesn't get too crusty. I also used the "sweet" bread setting on my machine.

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  1. Add ingredients to the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer.
  2. Select Sweet (or Basic, if you don't have a sweet option) Bread and Light Crust settings. Start.
I forgot to take a picture of our loaf, which has since been devoured, so I stole this picture from the original recipe that's posted on Allrecipes.com.