Thursday, April 25, 2013

Roasted Peanuts

Michelle, here.

This week I held raw peanuts in my hand for the first time ever. It was less of a magical moment and more of a "OMG. Raw peanuts exist? Now what?" Thankfully, roasting peanuts is very easy. You don't even have to shuck them, if you prefer.

My husband said that, if you like your shelled roasted peanuts salted, you can soak them in salt water overnight. But, see, that requires that he tell me this the night before instead of when the peanuts are in the oven. Bah! Sounds like work.

Here is what I did:

1. Spread shelled peanuts on baking pans.

2. Set oven to 350*
3. Roast for 25 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Tada! Really, that's it.


1. Do one pan at a time. I tried to do two pans and the pan closer to the heating element was overdone. Thus my burnt first attempt. Peanuts seem to quickly go from perfect to What Have You Done!
2. If you have a gas oven, like me, roast them for only 20 minutes.
3. If the peanuts are a tad overdone, remove them from the pan right away so that they will cool off faster.

Left to right: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd attempts. :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pita Bread!

Last week was Spring Break at my college.  I decided that I'd visit my brother and his family who live 5 hours away with my time off.  So on Wednesday I packed up the car and my son and I hit the road!  We had a great time being lazy and hanging out and as we were leaving, my brother and wife decided to gift me with their old Kitchenaid Stand Mixer as an early birthday present!  Seeing as a Kitchenaid was the only thing I've been wanting for years, I was totally stoked. 

And the angels rejoiced!

Unfortunately, life took over as usual so I wasn't able to bust this bad boy out until an entire week after I got home!  But today was the day. I cleaned the kitchen, wiped down this glorious machine, and scanned my Pinterest boards for something to create.  Since I had also brought home a cold from my brother's house along with the mixer, I decided to make something simple so I wouldn't be overtaxed.  I settled upon this pita bread recipe from Under the High Chair which I had pinned a few months back.  

The recipe is as follows:

1 tablespoon yeast

1 ¼ cup warm water

1 teaspoon salt

3- 3 ½ cups flour

Dissolve yeast in water for about 5 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add salt and 1 ½ cups flour and with the dough hook, beat to make a batter. Add additional flour until a rough, shaggy mass is formed. Knead 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour if it is too sticky.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into six pieces for large pitas or ten for smaller. I make all sorts of sizes to suit different snacks and meals. Form dough into balls, then flatten with a rolling pin into ¼ inch thick discs. Try and keep an even thickness as this is what helps them ‘puff’. Let rest on the floured surface 30-40 minutes until slightly puffed.

Preheat oven to 425F.

With a large spatula, flip the rounds of dough upside down on to a baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes until light golden. Stick around for the first five minutes of baking when the pitas perform their magic and puff up from flat pancakes to proud, four inch high pitas.
After 5 minutes
After 15 minutes

Unfortunately, I did not achieve actual pita breads here.  While I did get some delicious rolls, they were not hollow in the middle.  I am not quite sure what I did wrong.  It's possible I used too much flour (I added an extra cup because it was so sticky) or I kneaded it too long.  I think maybe my dough balls were too thick.  My son sure liked it, though!

A special shoutout to Homeland for the tutorial on how to align pictures in HTML!