Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Flawless Kale Chips

I’ve suffered through one too many batches of burned or soggy kale chips. It took me a while to master my baked kale chip recipe, but I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way and I’d like to pass my tips along to you! 

You want a balance between crispiness and chewiness, without tasting burned. When baked properly, they really do make the perfect base for a satisfying chip alternative. They are also a super food and have many health benefits.

With these few easy techniques you’ll be well on your way to kale chip heaven. No dehydrator required!
Flawless Kale Chips~ The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
Kale
Olive oil
Sea salt or other seasonings (optional) 

1. Remove the stems and tear leaves into large pieces. Remove the stems very quickly by grabbing the base of the stem with one hand and pushing outwards along the stem to slide off the leaves.
 
2. Wash and thoroughly dry the leaves before beginning. If the leaves aren’t properly dried, the water can “steam” the kale chips while baking and lead to the dreaded soggy kale chip. Be sure they are nice and dry before you add in the oil.

3. Don’t skimp the oil, but don’t drench it in oil either A little bit of extra virgin olive oil goes a long way. I like to use ½ TBSP. of oil per baking sheet of kale chips. Rub the oil into the leaves to ensure all of the leaves are coated. Oil also helps the spices stick to the leaves. 

4. Spread kale into a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Be sure to rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking. 

5. It’s all about the low-heat for even baking. It takes a bit longer to bake, but I can assure you it’s worth it because you don’t get any burnt pieces. The goal is to crisp the kale, not scorch it into little black burnt pieces! In my oven, I bake at 300 for 10 minutes, then I rotate the pan, and bake for another 15 minutes.

6. Cool for just a few minutes on the baking sheet. This allows the kale chips to crisp up even more once they are out of the oven. 


Enjoy!


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Friday, January 16, 2015

Swirled Sugar Cookies


I use my basic sugar cookie recipe to make all sorts of treats.  From football sugar cookies, to heart-shaped sugar cookies, to swirled, it’s a great recipe to have on hand and modify to suit your needs.  Follow along for a quick tutorial on making these colorful swirled cookies using this sugar cookie recipe for the dough (and baking instructions), sure to please all your sweet tooth needs!
Swirled Sugar Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Make up a batch of sugar cookie dough, divide and place into 2 separate bowls. 
Swirled Sugar Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Knead food coloring into one of the parts of dough.  I made one half aqua and left the other half as is.  Chill the dough in the fridge for an hour or even overnight.
Swirled Sugar Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball of dough separately to about 1/4" thickness.
Swirled Sugar Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Apply a little water to the colored layer of dough to help the layers stick together. Lay the uncolored dough on top of the darker colored layer of dough.  

Swirled Sugar Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Trim the edges so you end up with a neat rectangle.

Swirled Sugar Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Save the scraps!  You can still bake the scraps up into yummy cookies!  They’ll just look ‘marbled’.

Start rolling your dough gently from one of the wider ends, brushing water on the dough as you roll it up.  Once it’s rolled up, you can work the log to even it out if the middle is thicker then the ends, and to even out any gaps.

Swirled Sugar Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Pour out some sprinkles, brush the outside of the log more water and roll it in the sprinkles.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for an hour, or stick in the fridge for a couple hours.

Swirled Sugar Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Once chilled, slice the dough with a sharp, thin blade into 1/4" rounds.
Swirled Sugar Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Bake according to recipe directions.  Voila!  Pretty, swirly cookies!
Swirled Sugar Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Enjoy!

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mini Apple Pie Cookies

These mini apple pie cookies are made of real pie crust layered with gooey caramel, and a layer of apple pie filling, topped with a flaky and adorable cinnamon sugar lattice crust.

Each and every bite offers the very best part of an actual apple pie, with all of the convenience of a cookie! No utensils or plate required! Seriously the best cookie I’ve ever had! I can't help but want to eat the entire batch~

Mini Apple Pie Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
1 batch of my pie dough, recipe here, or buy the ready made kind 

1 can of apple pie filling {just enough for a thin layer} 
1 cup of caramel sauce {just enough for a light coating} 
1 egg 
2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar 
A round cookie cutter, any size you like 
Mini Apple Pie Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver 
Lay out half of the pie dough {or 1 sheet if using store bought dough}, sprinkle it with some flour and slightly roll it out.
Mini Apple Pie Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Pour some of the caramel sauce onto the crust and evenly spread it around, creating a thin layer of caramel.
Mini Apple Pie Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Coarsely chop the apple pie filling into small pieces, you don't want giant chunks in your delicate cookies.
Mini Apple Pie Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Top the caramel layer with a thin layer of the chopped up apple pie filling, making sure not to add too much pie filling.
Mini Apple Pie Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Roll out the other half of pie dough, the same size as the first sheet, and cut it into thin strips.

Create a lattice crust {just like on a pie} for the top of the pie filling. You can create the lattice,{just like a real pie!} right on top of the filling. Or, you can do what I did, I created the lattice on a floured board and then flipped on top of the filling.
Mini Apple Pie Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Now it's time to cut out your pie cookies!
Mini Apple Pie Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Once the cookies are all cut, brush the tops of them with some egg wash and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar.

Place them onto a baking sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden and firm.

Let them cool just a little..
Mini Apple Pie Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Now, get ready to bite into the juiciest, chewiest apple pie cookie ever!
Mini Apple Pie Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Easy Pie Dough

Pie dough is an easy base for many different types of pie recipes. There's apple pie, blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, ice cream pie...I can go on and on about all of the pies out there, but let's get down to pie business. Pie dough is extremely easy to make last minute!

Sorry for the lack in images for this post! I was so excited to make pie dough for the first time that I forgot to snap any! {images coming soon!}

What you will need:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tbsp. sugar 
1/4 tsp. salt 
8 tbsp. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes 
3 tbsp. very cold water 

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together. 

Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk.  Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with a rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12" in diameter and about 1/8" thick. 

This recipe makes enough dough for one 9-inch single-crust pie, or mini apple pie cookie that I will show you how to make tomorrow! They're dangerously addictive!


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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Upcycled Jersey Multi-Strand Infinity Scarf

The idea for this scarf came about when I had an abundance of tees that either my husband no longer likes or has sadly shrunk! {And it helps that I get a ton of sample tees from being a buyer, so we never have a shortage of them!}

What is even better about this project is...wait for it....no sewing required! Woohoo!! Makes it super easy to do.
Upcycled Jersey Multi-Strand Infinity Scarf~ The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
1 old tee (the larger the better)
1 pair of sharp scissors
1 ruler

Start with a large tee. Any old shirt will do that does not have graphics past the armpits! Make sure it's seamless. If not, don't sweat it- that can be the point where you wrap all strands together!

Cut off the bottom hem of the tee. Then cut 1 inch wide strips horizontally across the shirt from bottom to armpit. You can cut as many strips as you would like and if you want you can also make them varying widths. The more strips, the more strands your scarf will have. If you want to be exact, you can measure each strip. I didn't measure, simply because I'm lazy and wanted to get it finished.
Upcycled Jersey Multi-Strand Infinity Scarf~ The Dreams Weaver
Save the bottom hem and set aside, this will be used at the end to wrap all the loops to make one scarf. 

Stretch all of the remaining loops until they become long and noodle looking, and the raw edges start to roll inwards. 
Upcycled Jersey Multi-Strand Infinity Scarf~ The Dreams Weaver
Cut one end of the bottom hem so it becomes a long string. Cut like 5 inches from the bottom hem, knot it around the strands to secure them in place. Wrap the strip a few inches around the center of the scarf, and back over to meet the other ends. Knot the ends together tightly. Trim the loose ends and tuck the knot underneath the wrapped fabric.
Upcycled Jersey Multi-Strand Infinity Scarf~ The Dreams Weaver
If you want to get all fancy, you can opt to sew the bottom hem around the scarf so it's less bulky.
Upcycled Jersey Multi-Strand Infinity Scarf~ The Dreams Weaver



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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gingerbread Men Cookies



These gingerbread men cookies are full of ginger and spice, and maybe not everything nice! They are so easy to make too.
Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
3 cups flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) softened butter
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup honey (or molasses)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Icing:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1-2 tbsp. hot water

Makes 2 dozen

Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add honey, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets covered in parchment paper. 

Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies with icing or leave them undressed.



Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days. 

Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver

Enjoy!

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Quick and Easy Pizza

I absolutely love pizza! So when I got a good recipe for a pizza crust, it just gave me the excuse to eat more pizza during the week.
This is a great recipe when you don't want to wait for your dough to rise. You just mix it and let it rest for 5 minutes and then it's ready to go! 
Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast 
1 tsp. white sugar 
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) 
2 ½ cups flour 
2 tbsp. olive oil 
1 tsp. salt 
Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver
Preheat oven to 450°F. 

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. 
Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. 
Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll with a rolling pin. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pan or baker's peel.

Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver

Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver
Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving. 
Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver
Enjoy!


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