Saturday, December 28, 2013

Breaking in my Christmas Gifts

     I hope everyone here had a wonderful Christmas.  I know we certainly did.  We spent 3 days back home, and it was just enough for Monkey to stock up on what looked like a year's worth of toys and clothes.  As much as I enjoy my visits home, I always look forward to being back in my own house, and especially in my own kitchen.  This year for Christmas my amazing husband surprised me with a bread machine under the tree!  He joked that with this I could make bread, and still be able to use the oven to cook him dinner.  I know I may sound like someone out of the dark ages, but I was amazed how easy it was to dump the ingredients in the pan and let it do it's thing.  I kept running back to it to make sure it was all okay.  I'll admit, I was a little hesitant to believe that the bread would come out as good as my hand-kneaded with love recipe, but much to my amazement, it was better!  So here's the recipe I used for my bread machine to make a 1.5 lb loaf of white bread:

1 cup warm water
3 TBS vegetable oil
3 TBS white sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Dump your liquid ingredients into the pan first.  Next add the dry ingredients, saving the yeast for last.  You don't want your yeast to touch the liquid ingredients.  Place the pan into your machine and set it to Basic (or White Bread, depending on your machine).  Let cool on wire rack before slicing.

    You have no idea how excited I was that the bread just did its own thing while I was able to scurry around the house, putting away all our other holiday goodies!  Another present I was excited to try out was my first ever cast iron skillet!  I've been wanting one for a long time now, so when I opened the present from my Grandma, I couldn't wait to get it home to break it in.  After the initial breaking in of the skillet, per my step daddy's directions, I decided to try it out on breakfast.  We always have grits and eggs for breakfast on the weekend, and I always have leftover grits.  Instead of throwing them out, I made these yummy grits cakes: (The following comes from Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible)

When you make grits, pour your leftovers into a widemouth mason jar or another cylinder container.

Let them sit in the fridge overnight.  When you're ready to make breakfast, pull them out and run an offset spatula or thin knife around the edge to loosen them from the container.

Slice the grits "log" into 1/2" slices.


Heat some butter (I used 3 TBS per batch) in a skillet, and add grit cakes.  Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and heated through.

Enjoy :-)

And now I'm off to break in yet another Christmas present: The Big Bang DVDs

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