Rustic Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Bread

Until recently I was terrified of making bread. It seemed so hard and labor intensive with a high probability of messing something up. Especially, since I didn't have a bread machine or a KitchenAid Mixer. I mean, how can one make bread without either of those? I did, however conquer my fear and made Hand-Kneaded French Baguettes which has since given me the courage to try other types of bread!

Yesterday I had a hankering for some rosemary garlic bread. A few months ago, if I wanted some, I would have jumped in the car and headed to the store. But now, I just take out my 25 lbs bag of flour and get to work!

This recipe takes some time, but trust me, it's well worth it! And most of "prep time" is just waiting for it to rise.

 *full printable recipe at the bottom*

First you want to activate the yeast in a bowl with a cup of warm water, 2 tbs honey, and 2 tsp salt. After about 10 minutes it will be foamy and you'll want to add the flour. 

After you have mixed the flour with the yeast mixture you're going to put some elbow grease into it and knead it for about 10 minutes. I really enjoy this. It's rather therapeutic to just knead the bread. After about 7 minutes or so add in a mixture of rosemary, oregano, and ground black pepper and knead some more.

The combination of these spices really enhance the flavor of this bread! And it let's out such a delicious aroma when baking.

After the bread has been kneaded for 10 minutes, it will be tight and hold it's shape. If you press your knuckle into the dough it should bounce right back.

At this point you will want to take a whole head of roasted garlic! Yes, a whole head. It may seem like a lot, but who doesn't love an abundant amount of garlic! When you start to knead it in, it will squish between your fingers. It will make the dough super sticky and slimy. You will think "this isn't right, it's not supposed to be like this". Trust me, it is!

Knead for a minutes or so and place in an oiled bowl for an hour until it doubles in size.

Once it's doubled in size, take it out and place on a floured baking pan and punch down the middle to turn it into a loaf. Flip the bowl over the loaf and let it double for an hour again. Then score the top, brush with olive oil, sprinkle rosemary and salt on it and pop it into the oven at 375º for 25 minutes. Then crank it up to 425º until the top is golden brown.

When it comes out it will be nice and crusty and the aroma of garlic and rosemary will make you salivate!

Serve immediately or set aside until dinner is ready. You can pop it in the toaster oven or regular oven at 250º for 5-10 minutes to crisp it back up to serve!

If you don't know how to roast garlic, here is a quick little lesson:

Cut a head of garlic in half horizontally.

Drizzle both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Put the two halves back together and wrap tightly with tin foil

Place in the oven for 1 hour at 400º and voila! You've got roasted garlic!

All Natural Kid Safe Cleaner

***Update: I have since replaced my entire essential oil collection with YOUNG LIVING oils***

If you're like me and have a toddler running around then I am sure that you have a cabinet that has locks on it that contain all your cleaners. And if your toddler is like mine, they have figured out how to unlock them. The day he learned how to break into the "cleaner cabinet" was the day I decided to ditch all those chemicals and go natural.

Just the thought of spraying harsh chemicals on all the surfaces that my child touches, makes me cringe. I often thought how long until he can touch the table? Can I prepare the food on the counter after spraying it? What if he ingested some?! Sometimes I felt that it was safer to not clean the counters then to spray harmful chemicals on them!

Well, wonder those questions no more! Here is a simple, three ingredient, cleaner that is child and pet safe and cleans sticky counters and smelly bathrooms!

All you need is a bottle of white vinegar, distilled water (or you could use tap I just had some laying around in the pantry), and essential oils. 

Mix the vinegar and water with a 1:1 ratio. So if you have 1 cup of vinegar then add 1 cup of water. For every cup of vinegar add 15-20 drops of essential oil. Just make sure you give it a good shake before each use since oil and water do separate. 

***HINT: Take the spray nozzle off of an old cleaning bottle and screw it onto the vinegar bottle! Essential oils are best stored in glass and conveniently, the vinegar bottle will work with any spray nozzle***

Here is the fun part: you can create your own scent! I use Lemongrass Essential oil because once the surface dries (it will smell like vinegar initially - and trust me you'll learn to love it!) you have the fresh scent of Lemongrass. But you could do lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, or any combination! Just make sure it is 100% Therapeutic grade Essential oil not fragrance. 

The reason for using Essential Oils for cleaning is because many of them have natural antimicrobial properties that work as a disinfectant without being harmful to you or your family!

This cleaner costs less than $0.75 to make! Sure beats those $4-5 cleaners you're always having to replace!

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

Many moons ago we hosted an exchange student. One of the things that I took away from that experience was what he said "you American's put cheese on everything". Actually, I think that was the one thing he took away about us! Well folks, it's true. Whether it be shredded cheese, melted cheese, or in the case cheese mixed with sugar, you won't find many recipes that don't include cheese!

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

These are sure to be a crowd pleaser and are super simple to make! I don't like making cheese cake because it is labor intensive so I scoured the internet for different ideas. I had seen a few variations of these and figured why not? I was surprised how quick they came together and was more surprised at how absolutely delicious they are! 

You only need 5 ingredients to make these delectable desserts and they are so incredibly portable, they will surely be at your next gathering.

First you start with 4oz of cream cheese, which is half a block. Then you add 2tbs of powdered sugar and 1/2 a tsp of vanilla.  

 Whip it up with a hand mixer and voila! you've got the filling.

Next you are just going to take some washed strawberries and cut out the center. I also cut the tip off so they will stand up. Then you just put the filling in them. I made my a litter different by adding chocolate graham cracker dustings to mine instead of regular graham crackers. 

See? Super easy! If you aren't serving them right away then you can just place them in the fridge until you're ready to serve them. 

21 Day Fix
Serving: 4

Family Friday

Since coming back to the blogging world after having almost a year hiatus, I have been trying to restructure my blog. It has drifted away from being a "mommy blog" because my heart just wasn't in it. I live it every day and didn't necessarily want to write about it. It has quickly morphed into a recipe/food blog, which I am excited about. The main content of Simply Anchored is going to be recipes and do-it-yourself type posts. Which, to me and hopefully my readers, is way more exciting to write and read about than how many times my child had Strep this winter or what cute new outfits I found for him.

However, I do want to keep some personal feel to my tiny space in the cyber world. My family is my world and I can't just write like they don't exist and I'm running footloose and fancy free. After much thought of how I can balance it all I have decided to dedicate Friday to "Family Friday".

Photo Credit to Kathleen Clemons

This will be my time to write about the happenings with our family. A nice way to cap off the week by looking back on what goes on behind the scenes. 

All that being said, I realized today that in exactly one month Bub's will be two years old! I cannot believe it. When did I become a mother . . . when did I become a mother of a TWO year old?! When I was told to treasure every moment because time flies, I should have listened, because it truly does. 

No longer does he fall asleep in my arms. 

And no longer will he fall asleep on Gaga's floor while she cooks.

No longer does he have the face of a baby but has one of a little boy. 

No longer does he need me to feed him by hand. He's talking in full sentences saying things like "Mom, come play please". His manners are spot on with please, thank you, and sorry. And he uses them correctly. 

To me, though, he is still so little. He is still rear facing just like the day we brought him home, he still wants that bottle of milk laying on my lap in the morning, and he loves to be worn in the wrap when he doesn't feel good.  In the process of building a new house, I think we have been so distracted that we didn't see how fast he was growing up!

When it hit me today, we were laying on our bed and petting the cat. I jumped right up, told him not to roll off our high king bed, and I raced down to get my camera. I wanted a few photos of him before he turned two.

This time last year, he was just starting to walk and it was easy to get him to sit still for me. The photo above was from this time last year

I had to trick him a few times to get him to sit for half a second.

But he had other things on his mind!

Even though he is growing up he still loves his Bah Bah and Puppy. He doesn't go anywhere without at least one, if not both, of them!

I am very excited as to what this next year will hold for us! We will be moving to the new house soon, we will have lots of space to play inside and out. And this is the last summer we have together before I go back to school. 

Every single day with him is such a blessing and a joy. I couldn't imagine having it any other way. He has grown to be the sweetest, most kind and gentle loving boy I have ever met. 

Blueberry-Lemon Greek Yogurt Bread

Let me first admit that baking is not one of my strong suits. I am too impatient, I never read the recipe through so I wind up doing it out of order, and I don't like how many ingredients I have to take out and measure.... math is another one of my weak points. But I can't keep buying bakery goods and I feel like such a horrible mom for serving baked goods out of a box. Shouldn't a stay at home mom be barefoot in the kitchen baking up a storm?

Today I had a hankering for some blueberry baked good of some sort, I had a bunch of blueberries in the fridge and decided to make a blueberry bread. And those little blueberries were sitting right next to a lemon that was begging to be zested! Why not, right? I am also a hoarder of greek yogurt so I decided to add that in the mix to lighten it up. While I was getting out all the ingredients I remembered people telling me about substituting applesauce for oil. BINGO! Healthy bread, right? Except I had no applesauce, or so I thought. I looked around the pantry and my eyes zoomed in on Bub's Go-Go Squeezes. Perfect! See it's all about improvising.

Before we go any further I have to tell you that this took much longer than I had planned. In the middle of mixing together all the ingredients, admittedly in the wrong order, Bub's had taken out all of our glass milk bottles that we hadn't returned yet and was sorting them. That was until he smashed two of them together and was standing in the middle of a pile of broken glass. The screeched zoomed to a halt as I picked him up and started the clean up.

Alright so here is what you all have been waiting for ....

Blueberry- Lemons Greek Yogurt Bread

Creamy Sausage Tortellini

I am a planner. So when it comes time for dinner, I already know how I'm going to attack it. I usually go through Pinterest the night before or the morning of and pick a recipe. Normally, I will modify it depending on what we have on hand or what my picky family will eat.

However, sometimes I have to go on the fly. Our family has been getting over strep so we haven't had a chance to get to the local farm to get our meat. Which means: no chicken, beef, or pork in the house. Thankfully, in my search for my last bottle of frozen Peppermint Creamer stashed in the bottom of our chest freezer I came across a pack of pre-cooked/ seasoned sausages my husband picked up at Sam's Club. Most of you know by now that we don't eat store meat. We only eat meat that has been locally raised. So that sausage has been in the freezer for a longgggggg time. But I was desperate. 

I rummaged around some more (feet high in the air because I can't reach the bottom without basically climbing in) and found two bags of tortellini's. With no recipe in hand, I had to just whip something up! So I did. And to my surprise it was a major hit!

Printable Recipe at the end!

First you are going to want to take either pre-cooked sausage or uncooked sausage and either cut them or crumble them in a pan on high. So many choices right!? 

Then you are going to add one clove of minced garlic. And sauté it in the sausage grease

Next you take one 20 oz can of diced tomatoes. Add them to the cooked meat. If you don't have diced tomatoes, no worries! Remember I was scrounging today and that's what I had. I really liked how it turned out because it gave some nice chunks to bite on! If you have spinach, dice it up a tad and toss it in. 

Next you're going reduce the heat to medium-low and take about 3oz of cream cheese and melt it into the sauce. If you want it creamier, like I did, add about 1/2 cup of greek yogurt. Or you can lighten it up even more and use milk. 

Once the sauce is done, start your pasta water. The reason for this is because the tortellini takes about 5 minutes to cook and you're going to want to toss them as soon as they're done! Once they've cooked, add them to the sauce.

If you find the sauce is rather thick, you can add a little bit of pasta water. I would say a tablespoon at a time. Or go a head and add some more milk. 


Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

In a house with picky eaters I am always trying to find ways to take our favorite recipes and revamp them in a healthy way. One of my husbands favorite meals is a yummy, gooey, meat filled Philly Steak and Cheese. My original recipe I lightened it up but it was still carb filled. This time around I decided I would cut out all the bread and mayo and stick to the basic elements.

I was a littler nervous that my husband would look at it and scoff, but he didn't! He actually enjoyed it. Success.

This recipe is super simple and only uses green peppers, minute steak/shaved steak, onions, evoo, and mozzarealla cheese! To view the full recipe scroll to the bottom.

You're going to want to take a sweet onion and cut it into this strips and sauté them in he evoo, on high, until they are translucent.

Once the onions are cooked, add the steak. I usually tear mine into smaller pieces, but it all depends on what size it comes in. I just find it makes it more enjoyable to have smaller pieces instead of a deli meat size piece. 
Add the steak to the onions and cook until it's no longer pink. Keep stirring it around because it will stick to the pan. 
It will look like this!
Preheat your oven to 375º. Cut your green peppers length wise and take out the seeds and ribs and lay on a baking sheet. You're going to take some of the mozzarella (or cheese of your liking) and line the inside of the pepper.
Take the cooked onions and steak and fill 'er up!
Cover that delicious steak with more cheese
Pop in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. If you want the peppers to be a little softer you can add some water to the pan and cover it with tin foil to trap the steam.
Voila! Healthy, no bread, steak and cheese!

21 Day Fix

Mason Jar Fruit

I had a recipe planned for this post that I was super excited for. I waited all day for my yummy dinner to cook in the crock pot, I texted my husband saying he was in for a delicious dinner, and I was skipping with glee. That was, well, until I tasted it. Waves of nausea flew through my body. It was completely and utterly disgusting. Not only did I not have a backup plan for dinner, I didn't have a back up post to share! 

Because I am trying to save money, I choked down that crockpot disaster and called it a night. As for my post, thankfully my husband had to run to the store to get a few things. One of those things were strawberries since Bub's had eaten all of them and was begging for more! 

One thing I hate more than my fruit going bad before I can eat it, is throwing it in the trash and seeing it magically turn into cash floating deep into that unscented Hefty bag. I knew there had to be a better way. I didn't want to only buy small quantities since Bub's eats his weight in fruit and I didn't feel like replenishing my fridge every few days. 

Recently I have started to ditch storing food in plastic and have turned to glass. So I figured, why not ditch those slotted plastic boxes that the berries come in and store them in mason jars!?

BINGO! No more fruit going bad after half a second in the fridge and now I don't have to cut them each and every time my son wants fruit! Win Win!

Storing fruit in mason jars, or the like, since they are expensive, will extend the life of your fruit upwards of 3 weeks. Yup you heard it! Fresh cut fruit for 3 weeks! 
Before you start to jar them you must wash them. You don't know who has touched them or what they have touched. So do yourself and your family a favor and run them under some water. Then you'll want to pat them dry.
 Wouldn't want that cute hand to get germs from who knows where!
The strawberries were very tempting to Bub's when I was getting photos of them that he literally snuck his hand between my camera and the berries an grabbed one (photo above).
After rinsing them off you want to slice the tops off then cut them into bite sized pieces. Make sure your shaking the jar so they settle down to the bottom. 
If you see any fruit that has already gone bad before you start, just toss it. Remember, one bad fruit can spoil the entire lot. So you can either eat it if it looks like it's going to turn or just ditch it if it's too far gone. 
You might have noticed that I didn't use actual Mason Jars. They are expensive and I had so many random jars kicking around the house. Feel free to use old pasta sauce jars, salsa jars, or any other glass jar with a lid. And an easy way to wash them out is to use a baby bottle brush. I have a few in the house, but if you don't they only cost a few bucks and it's worth it. You can really get in there. If they aren't super clean then your fruit will take on the taste of the previous substance that was in the jar. 
....and he tried sneaking another one...

Store them in the fridge and enjoy for the next few weeks!!

This works wonders for strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, lettuce, green peppers, ect. If you can cut it up and fit it in the jar, then you can save it!