Monday, July 27, 2015

Mushroom Barley Soup

I absolutely love the hearty taste of mushroom barley soup. It was on the table for many dinners in my house growing up. I had always thought it was difficult and time consuming to make. Boy was I wrong! 

The whole process is all done in the same pot! Yay for me, less dishes to wash too! 
The Dreams Weaver~ Mushroom Barley Soup
What you will need:
1/4 cup olive oil 
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup barley
salt and pepper to taste
The Dreams Weaver~ Mushroom Barley Soup
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic; cook and stir until onions are tender and transparent.
The Dreams Weaver~ Mushroom Barley Soup
Stir in mushrooms and continue to cook for a few minutes.

The Dreams Weaver~ Mushroom Barley Soup
Pour in the chicken broth and add barley. 

The Dreams Weaver~ Mushroom Barley Soup
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until barley is tender, about 50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

The Dreams Weaver~ Mushroom Barley Soup
Enjoy!


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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fruit-Infused Vodka


Making your own fruit-flavored vodkas is the best way to preserve the season and take advantage of the abundance of fruit! This is the perfect way to preserve your left over fruit when you got just too much of it! {or picked too many!}  

You can create single fruit-infused vodkas, or come up with a concoction of multiple fruit flavors. The possibilities are endless!  

You don't need to get a fancy vodka for this. The fruit becomes the dominant flavor, so use a basic not too-expensive bottle.  

Fruit-Infused Vodka~ The Dreams Weaver

What you will need: 
2 cups chopped fruit, a single fruit or a mix of fruits  
2 to 3 cups vodka  
1 quart canning jar or other container with lid  
Strainer  
Measuring cup  
Small funnel 
Fruit-Infused Vodka~ The Dreams Weaver
The first step is to prepare the fruit to be infused. Wash and pat the fruit dry. Chop the fruit into small pieces, trimming away any stems or other inedibles. Peels can be left on or peeled off. 

Fruit-Infused Vodka~ The Dreams Weaver

Transfer all the fruit to the canning jar and pour the vodka over the fruit. Use enough to completely cover the fruit and fill the jar, about 2 to 3 cups in a 1-quart jar. Seal the jar tightly and put it somewhere out of direct sunlight.  

Fruit-Infused Vodka~ The Dreams Weaver

Next, infuse for 3 to 5 days. Make sure to shake the jar of fruit and vodka daily. You'll see the vodka gradually take on the color of the fruit. Taste it after 3 days and continue infusing to your liking. Most fruit vodkas are finished in 3 to 5 days, but you can continue infusing the vodka for longer.  

Next, we need to strain the fruit vodka. When the vodka has been infused, separate the fruit and the vodka by straining it into a measuring cup. If your fruit had a lot of seeds or sediment, line the strainer with cheesecloth before straining. Discard the fruit after straining, or you can freeze them and use as garnish in a cocktail! 

Fruit-Infused Vodka~ The Dreams Weaver

 Lastly, you need to transfer the fruit-infused vodka into a bottle. Pour the vodka into clean glass bottles and store out of direct sunlight. 
Fruit-Infused Vodka~ The Dreams Weaver

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Watermelon Hack: Cutting for Clean Eating

I have been a little MIA in blogland recently. But, that just means I have an overflow of unpublished posts!

What a better way to ring in Summer than with a hack to better your watermelon eating? 

Watermelon Hack: Cutting for Clen Eating~ The Dreams Weaver

Where has this been all my life? It seriously reduces watermelon drippage all over the place, and myself!

First, cut off a small circle on the bottom of your watermelon, but not too deep. This will provide a flat bottom so that you can cut your watermelon in half.

Watermelon Hack: Cutting for Clen Eating~ The Dreams Weaver

Next, cut slices across the watermelon.

Watermelon Hack: Cutting for Clen Eating~ The Dreams Weaver

Then, just turn your watermelon 180 and cut slices in the other direction.

Watermelon Hack: Cutting for Clen Eating~ The Dreams Weaver

Now, you're left with square cuts. Just pull out one of the squares, insta-watermelon popsicle! Less mess all over your face. Plus, you can soak your popsicles in vodka (or your alcohol of choice) and freeze them for a great Summer treat!
Watermelon Hack: Cutting for Clen Eating~ The Dreams Weaver
Enjoy!
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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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