Category Archives: Hodge Podge

Bread Crumbs and Croutons

Ever find yourself faced with this?

The sad end of a loaf of bread.  You didn’t eat it fast enough so now it’s dry and crumbly.  What can you do?

Don’t just chuck it!  You have so many options!  You paid good money.  Let’s make the most of it.

You could just make toast and be done with it…

Or you could pick something off of this timely list of uses for stale bread I just discovered in my inbox.

(Who knew? Bread as burnt food savior!)

OR!! You could jump on the DIY bandwagon with me…

homemade bread crumbs and croutons!  It’s pretty cool because now you avoid:

1.  Throwing out a hunk of bread

2. Buying croutons

3. Buying bread crumbs.

I’d call that a win.  Also none of this takes very long at all so you don’t even have to slave away in the kitchen for hours!

Here’s how:

Break it down into convenient food-processor-insertable strips and, using the grater attachment, grate them into crumbs.  Insert the sticks through the feed tube while it runs.  The whole process takes about 5 seconds flat.  You could also just grate them by hand.  All you need is crumbs…

No fancy prep work required!  Just spread the plain crumbs in an even layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes (for a whole sheet),  stirring once about halfway through.  Let them go until they’re nice and crispy but be careful not to let them burn!  They can turn on you quickly toward the end of their bake time.

Look at that….whole wheat Panko.  Ready top this creamy pasta dish or lend a satisfying crunch to baked sweet potato fries.

I left them plain so they’re as versatile as possible.  You can easily season them!  Just stir in your favorite blend of dried herbs.

To make croutons, slice your bread sticks into cubes.

Toss with olive oil, salt, and whatever seasoning you want.  I used a pretty classic mixture of dried oregano, dried basil and garlic powder. I won’t give measurements because it really depends on your taste and how much bread you use.  Use just enough olive oil to coat each cube.  Once I arranged them on the cookie sheet I also sprinkled them with a bit of fresh parmesan cheese.

My one inch cubes baked at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Flip each cube and bake for another 15 minutes.  They’re ready to come out when they’re golden brown and crispy!

Waste not.

Save bread and money!

((Equally valuable….right?))

Enjoy!

❤ Ellen

P.S.  Happy last day of summer!  This is a day of mourning for me.  Tomorrow, however, the fall inspired deliciousness begins and I’ll be all happy again.  Get ready for pumpkin/apple/root vegetable overload!

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S’mores…on a stick.

Dip your marshmallows in chocolate and crushed graham cracker.

Insta-s’more.

S’more stick.

S’more bite.

S’nuff said.

(I’m officially done with s’more posts and cheesy s’more jokes.  You’re welcome.)

Enjoy!

❤ Ellen

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Making ‘Mallows (and s’mores!)

I made marshmallows!! Coolest thing I didn’t know I could make ever!!

I know you’re already rolling your eyes.  Time consuming…fussy…and why!? Jet-Puffed are so good!

But oh. my.  Hellooo, stud.  I’m swooning.

Dear friends, I’m no candy maker, but this was ridiculously fun.  It’s definitely not an every day thing but it is SO worth setting aside for a rainy (or SNOWY UGH) day.

((It’s like we used up all our summer on a 100+ degree July. We ran out early or something…it has felt suspiciously like autumn lately.  Make s’mores and cling to summer with me!))

So here’s the deal.  I thought I could tweak this recipe…make it my own..but…I’m scared.  Too much could go wrong!

I know I’m always telling you not to be afraid of recipes.  But these little guys

these little fluffy, sugary sweeties

intimidated the heck out of me.

So here you have my attempt at the marshmallow recipe from Smitten Kitchen (location of all things wonderful and delicious).  Always reliable.

I did not change the recipe.  Not even a little bit.  I did, however, learn a few things along the way.  I also survived and I’m here to say: you can too.

(Brace yourself for a wordy post…turns out I have a lot to say about marshmallows.)

((I won’t be offended if you don’t care about marshmallow technique.  Feel free to move on with your life.  Jet Puffed marshmallows are delicious and easy .  Have a great day!))

1.  No corn syrup?  Make your own!

[1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1/8 cup water]  =  [1/2 cup corn syrup]

Just heat the sugar and water gently, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves completely.  Don’t be tempted to use honey or maple syrup in this particular recipe.  You won’t get the same sort of smooth finish and/or the mixture will scorch, (according to my research), when you have to boil the mixture until it reaches 250 degrees.  Speaking of which….

2.  I don’t own a candy thermometer but I wish I did.  I learned that the syrup is ready when it forms a rigid ball when dripped into a cold glass of water.  So…obviously…I obsessively dripped syrup into water from the second it started boiling…panicked that it would burn/get too hot.  Effective…but stressful.

3.  Be warned: super hot sugar + gelatin = friggin volcano.  This is just the tail end after I got over my shock.  Make sure you do this part in a LARGE bowl.

4.  The single greatest thing about my ancient electric beater is this button.

I want that button for real life.  Who doesn’t need a burst of power sometimes?

5.  Not only will you not be able to get every last bit of marshmallow out of the pan so don’t try (pet peeve) but ALSO you will make a horrible mess and sticky, sugary goop will coat ever surface in your kitchen.  Luckily: it melts in warm water.  Easy clean up!

Whew.  Still with me?  It already looks like marshmallows doesn’t it!?

The key to some serious fluff:  Egg whites.  Whipped to death.

Look at those millions of beautiful little bubbles forming soft peaks!

Mix it all together and chill out.

((I solemnly swear that this is as smooth as this novice candy maker can get a pan full of sticky sugar goop.  That photo is of what I like to call “the bottom.”  Marshmallows always get melted into something anyway so I’m not worried.))

When it’s set, remove the sheet of uncut mallows from the pan and either cut them or make a single GIANT s’more.

…I cut them into 1 inch squares.  I recommend a hot pizza cutter.

If your cutting utensil is hot it’ll slide right through like…well…a hot knife through butter.  It also won’t stick..which is the key.

So uh…I dunno if you noticed but you now have graham crackers and marshmallows.

I think you know what to do here.

((but just in case you don’t))

“These are s’more’s stuff…

Ok pay attention.  First, you take the graham.

You stick the chocolate on the graham.

Then you roast the mallow.

When the mallow’s flamin’…

you stick it on the chocolate.

Then cover with the other end.

Then you scarf.”

((If you get that reference we’re best friends. ❤ The Sandlot ❤

Enjoy!

❤ Ellen

So, like I said, this is far from an original recipe.  I followed this recipe exactly from start to finish.  I DID make my own corn syrup but that doesn’t count.  I have seen suggestions for peppermint marshmallows everywhere (peppermint instead of vanilla extract) and it sounds amazing.  Shoot I may even want to attempt chocolate peppermint marshmallows for Christmas.  That’s a little crazy, though, it might only ever exist in my head.  Smitten Kitchen is a wonderful blog with all kinds of delicious reliable recipes.  Check it out! I just wanted to show you that it was, in fact, possible and hopefully give you a few helpful hints.  I hope you at least drooled a little over some oozy gooey marshmallow photos.  I did.  Love you!

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