Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Easy Artisan Bread

Easy Artisan Bread
from the Crow's Nest

6 1/2 c. bread flour
1 1/2 T dry yeast
1 T salt
3 c. warm water (100-110 degrees)
You will also need:  A three-sided cookie sheet, corn meal, baking stone, hot water

In large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and salt. Stir in the warm water until mixed well, scraping sides of bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes, adding more flour to your surface if necessary. Return to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 2 hours.

Turn out onto a floured surface again, and using a large sharp knife, cut the dough into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the loaf you want. Form each section of dough into the desired shape (round, long, baguette..whatever). Please on a 3-sided cookie sheet that has been liberally dusted with corn meal. Cover with clean dish towel and let rise about 40 minutes or until about doubled in size. You can keep part of the dough in the fridge for future use (within 9 days), if you don't want to bake it all at once.

About 30 minutes prior to baking, preheat your oven to 450. Once the oven is to temp, place a pizza/baking stone on center rack, and an old pan (I use a scratched and dented old 9 x 13 pan I have) onto the bottom rack. They need to be heated prior to baking. Once bread is ready, gently slide the loaf onto the baking stone and put 2-3 cups of hot water into the lower pan.  Quickly close the oven. It's the steam from the water that makes the crusty loaf! Bake for 25-30 minutes. When you knock on the loaf, it should sound hollow.
Remove from the baking stone and cool. Cut and enjoy warm with some yummy butter!

This bread is so versatile, try adding some fresh chopped rosemary to the loaf. Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with salt before making - yummy! Be creative...add jalapenos and grated cheddar cheese to the batter. Good luck!
 From the
Crow's Nest

Friday, May 10, 2013

Crock pot BBQ Ribs

BBQ ribs in the Crockpot
Yeah...I know...I wondered too if they would be as good as those done on the grill, but the Mister and I LOVED them.  They are so easy to make and come out incredibly tender.
I tweaked a couple of the recipes I was looking at and here is my version.
Crock Pot BBQ Ribs
One rack of extra meaty pork ribs
One jar of Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory & Brown Sugar BBQ sauce (or your favorite sauce)
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T paprika
1/2 t. ground red pepper (or to taste-we like 'em spicy)
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper
1/2 T chili powder
Cut up your rib section into quarters.  You can leave the membrane on the back, as it helps to hold the ribs together during the long cooking process.  Place the ribs sections on a plate or waxed paper.
Mix the rub ingredients all together, then slather the ribs with mixture.  You can do this the night before, wrap them up and refrigerate, but I just did it right before I placed them in the slow cooker.
Place the rib sections so that they lean again the sides of the slow cooker.  Don't just lay them in the bottom on top of each other.
Pour 3/4 of the bottle of BBQ sauce over the ribs, making sure to drizzle as much as possible on the ribs themselves. Reserve the rest for extra dipping sauce at the table.  Set your slow cooker to High and cook for 5 hours or Low for 7 hours.  I used the high temp.
If you are home, baste the ribs occasionally with the BBQ sauce.
Several of the recipes I saw said to take the ribs out and broil them quickly before serving.  Mine looked fantastic as they were, so I did skip this step.  We used the additional sauce for dippin' at the table.
I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.  When I told our son, Scott (an avid griller), about them, he was very, very skeptical that they could turn out so well...I'm going to make them the next time they come over just to prove to him that you can make awesome ribs in a crockpot! 


The Crow's Nest

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brunswick Stew

Here is a tasty recipe that is sure to warm your gizzard on a cool and damp day.

Brunswick Stew
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
(you can also use one of those rotisserie chickens and take the chicken from there)
2 large cans of chicken broth
4 Large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 slices (or more) of bacon, uncooked and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 c of frozen lima beans
2 c of frozen corn
1- 8 oz can of tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 t paprika
4 dashes of ground red pepper (or to taste)

Put the chicken broth, chicken, bacon and onions into a large pot.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce, lima beans, corn and salt and pepper.  Simmer another 15 minutes.  Add the paprika and red pepper and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Serve with homemade bread or a crusty store-bought  bread.
This seems to be a somewhat strange combination, but give it a try, because it is so delicious!  ENJOY
The Crow's nest

Nana's old fashioned coffee cake

Nana's Coffee Cake

A family favorite in our home - now you can make it too.

Sift together
2 1/2 c flour, 1/2 t. salt and 2 1/2 t. baking powder
In separate bowl, mix
1/2 c shortening
1 c sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
Cream well, then add
2 eggs and mix just until blended - do not overbeat
Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with
1 c milk
Beat just until blended and spread into a 13 x 9 pan
In food processor, combine 1 c sugar, 1 c flour, one stick butter and 1 - 2 T cinnamon.  Blend until combine and butter is in small pieces.  Top batter with crumb mixture and place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Cool completely before serving.
The Crow's nest

Almond Joy Bars are a real joy!

Good morning everyone.
A couple weeks ago I made these luscious cookie bars for coffee hour at church....well the ladies LOVED them and several wanted the recipe.   I found the recipe on Pinterest and altered it a bit.  The results were amazing, so I thought I would pass it along to all of you.

Almond Joy Bars

Adapted from a recipe compliments of Glorious Treats


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1-14 oz bag sweetened, shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips


Toast the almonds by spreading them in a thin layer on a baking sheet and baking at 375*F for 5-7 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, so they don't over bake. They should be a light golden brown.

Line a 9"x13" baking pan with foil that hangs over the edge (for easy removal). Spray the foil with a light layer of cooking spray.

Make the crust-
With a mixer, or food processor, blend the butter and sugar until smooth and fully combined. Add flour and salt, and blend lightly until almost incorporated. Add 1 cup of cooled, toasted almonds, and blend until just combined.
Press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake 5-6 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 350*F.

Make the coconut filling-
In a bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk, coconut and vanilla. Spoon the mixture onto the crust, spreading gently, so you don't disturb the crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the coconut is a nice golden brown.
Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with bag of chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes.  The chips should be melted by now.
Spread the melted chocolate over the baked coconut bars.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup toasted almonds on top melted chocolate.

Place coconut bars in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, until chocolate has hardened.

When fully chilled, remove entire dessert from the pan by pulling up on the foil liner. Slice into small bars, using a sharp knife, cleaning the knife (with warm water) between cuts if you want nice, sharp bars.

Bars may be served at room temperature, or directly from the fridge. Store remaining bars in the refrigerator, wrapped well. Can be made 2-3 days in advance.

The Crow's nest

Monday, January 21, 2013

Easy Bacon/Egg Cups for a Crowd

Easy Bacon/Egg Cups for a Crowd 
When all the kids were over or we have guests, preparing this yummy and simple recipe for breakfast is a must!  We have an abundance of farm fresh eggs, so I like to use some of them up while everyone was here.  The recipe uses a muffin tin,  so in no time at all, we had breakfast for us all!  Yumm....give them a try.

12 slices of wheat bread, crusts cut off (or bread of your choice)
12 eggs
6 strips of bacon, pre-cooked and crumbled
Lightly spray your muffin tin with cooking spray.
After cutting the crusts from your bread, push each slice into a muffin tin cup, making sure to not rip or tear the bread, and working it up around the sides of the tin.
Next, crack an egg into each bread cup (I used smaller eggs because my tin is a bit on the small side, and the regular eggs were overflowing).
Top the egg with crumbled bacon pieces (I cooked mine the day before so it was all ready, but you can easily 'zap' some in the microwave the day you are preparing these).
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes - you will want to check occasionally so they are cooked they way you like them.
Other options you could try is sprinkling with cheese or using ham instead of the bacon.

Hope you get a chance to try these!
The Crow's Nest

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Craw-fish & Sausage Gumbo

Here is a great meal to warm you up during the winter months.  Or, serve this to add a New Orleans flair to your Super Bowl party!

Ingredients List :

1 lb Craw-fish (ours came seasoned & gave the dish a spicy kick.)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 lb Andouille Sausage, cut into half coins
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 Celery Stalk, chopped
1 clove of Garlic, diced
3 tbs Vegetable Oil
4 tbs Flour
1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Cajun Seasoning
1 C Okra, cut in coins


- Boil whole craw-fish in 3 C of water with bouillon cubes for half an hour.
- Remove craw-fish with slotted spoon, remove tails and extract tail-meat and set aside.  Keep head and tail shells and return to broth kept on low until later use.
- Saute onions, celery, and garlic until onions are translucent.  Remove from pan and set aside.
- Put oil and flour in pan and whisk until dark brown to make a roux on medium-high heat do not let it burn.
- Add onions, celery, and garlic previously set aside to the roux and saute for a minute.
- Add can of diced tomatoes to roux mixture.  Do not drain.
- Strain craw-fish broth into roux and tomatoes.  Save the heads for garnish.  (No this is not morbid, they have great flavor!)
- Add sausage, okra, worcestershire sauce, cajun seasoning, and salt to taste.  Allow to simmer for 30 minutes while making white rice.

Serve over rice and garnish with craw-fish heads.  (Suck on the ends of the heads for additional flavor.)


~ The Moose Lodge

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bev's Zucchini Bread

My lovely friend, Bev, gave me this recipe years ago and it's still the BEST zucchini bread I have tasted.  She has since passed away from leukemia, but each time I make it I am reminded of all the wonderful times we had.

Bev's Zucchini Bread
Makes two loaves
2   2/3    c. sugar
2/3 c. shortening
2/3 c. water
4 eggs
3 c grated zucchini, seeds removed before grating
3  1/3 c flour
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
2 t. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped walnuts
Cream sugar and shortening.  Add eggs and beat just until blended.  Add the water and grated zucchini and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients together, and then add gradually to the wet mixture, just until blended.  Stir in walnuts.
Divide batter between two well-greased loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes.  Use a toothpick to test for doneness in the center of each loaf.  It should come out clean.  Set on wire rack and cool for 8-10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan and remove bread from pan.  Continue cooling on the racks.  Store in baggie or air-tight container.....refrigerate if not eaten within a day.
I made four loaves yummy.  I even added some ground flax and chia seed this time.
The Crow's Nest

Coffee Hour Pumpkin Bars

Here's a great Fall recipe!
I got this recipe from a lady at church, who used to make them every Fall for our Sunday coffee hours.
Serve with hot coffee, hot chocolate, mulled or cold cider or just a big glass of cold milk!

Coffee Hour Pumpkin Bars
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.  Spread the batter into a greased sided cookie sheet pan (jelly roll pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make the icing:
Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl and beat until smooth. Add the sugar slowly until combined.  Mix in the vanilla and spread on cooled pumpkin bars.  Store them in the fridge.
The Crow's Nest

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Triple Surprise Cookie Bars

Triple Surprise Cookie Bars

You'll want to keep this recipe!  It's one of our family favorites!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
(please don't use margarine-butter is best for flavor and texture)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 c flour

2 t. baking powder

1 1/2 c quick cooking oats

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped pecan or walnuts

Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  I have found this to be an important step in making delicious, puffy cookies, so do beat it for a couple of minutes at least.  Add eggs and beat just until combined.  Blend in the flour, and then add the remaining ingredients, beating just until combined. The batter will be very stiff.

Line a  rectangle cookie sheet (with sides)(jelly roll pan) with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the batter on the foil and spread evenly with a spatula...sometimes I have even used my hands to spread it, as the batter is very stiff. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Don't overcook.  Cool and then lift foil and bars from pan, place on cutting board and cut into squares.  Serve with plenty of ice cold milk!  Store in airtight container to keep them moist and chewy.


Hope you enjoy these wonderful cookie bars.

The Crow's Nest

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Chicken Salad

This chicken salad is a great summer meal for lunch or dinner.  It's easy to make and oh so good.  Give it a try.

Summer Chicken Salad

Two cans of canned chicken breast
 (you could also use cooked chicken breast, cut and shredded into small pieces)

2 T lemon juice

1/4 cup GOLDEN raisins (don't use regular ones)

1 t fresh chopped tarragon (or 1/2 t dried)


salt and pepper to taste

Combine the chicken, lemon juice, raisins and tarragon.  Add just enough mayo to hold everything together and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on whole wheat or white bread with fancy lettuce and you have a tasty meal. The sweetness of the golden raisins and the tarragon make this dish delicious.  I have used this recipe for tea sandwiches at bridal showers and it is always a hit.


The Crow's Nest

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Yummy Chinese Sweet & Sour Chicken - EASY

If you love Chinese food, but hate the price of take HAVE to try this recipe.  We at the Crow's Nest made it first, then our son and daughter-in-law at the Moose's Lodge made it after I recommended the recipe.  We served ours alongside some homemade pork fried rice...the Moose's den made a stir-fry of veggies and lo-mein, then placed the chicken on top. You can also make addition sauce in a pan, and simmer it to reduce to a thick sauce while the chicken is baking in the oven.  No matter what you decide to will LOVE this recipe.

Chinese Sweet & Sour Chicken

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1/4 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
red pepper flakes, to taste(optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

 Rinse your chicken breasts well and then cut into bite size chunks.   Season with salt and pepper.
 Dip the chicken pieces into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs.

 Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken, a few pieces at a time, until browned but not cooked through.

 Place the chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish and set aside for a few minutes.
Whisk all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl and then pour evenly over the chicken. Toss to coat each piece thoroughly.  

Bake for one hour total, but during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes. 

Serve as desired with rice, lo-mein, etc.  

Hope you enjoy this great recipe.  We'd love to hear your feedback.

The Crow's Nest

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Homemade Pizza Rolls (great for superbowl parties!)

It's that time of the year again!  Superbowl Sunday is coming up in a week and it's time to prepare party food!  My family got this recipe from a cooking magazine some years ago and we love it--The Foxes' Den made some recently for dinner as well.  It takes a bit of time to make but the value of this recipe is it freezes well and just tastes so good! :)

You will need:

4 Cups (16 oz.) shredded pizza cheese blend or mozzarella cheese 
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage, cooked and drained
2 packages (3 oz. each) sliced pepperoni, chopped
1 medium green pepper finely chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper chopped
1 medium onion chopped
2 jars (14 oz. each) pizza sauce
32 egg roll wrappers
vegetable oil OR shortening for frying (we use shortening as it seems to be a tad cheaper)
additional pizza sauce for dipping--warmed, optional

In a large bowl combine cheese, sausage, pepperoni, peppers and onion.  Stir in pizza sauce until combined.  Place about 1/4 cup filling in center of each egg roll wrapper.  Fold bottom corner over filling; fold sides over center filling.  Moisten remaining corner with water (not too much) and roll up tightly to seal. 

In an electric skillet heat 1 inch of oil to 325 degrees.  Fry pizza rolls 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  (I find sometimes I need to hold the pizza roll in the oil with some tongs to keep it sealed for a few seconds).  Drain on papers towels.  Serve with additional pizza sauce if desired.  It yields 32 pizza rolls.

The Foxes' Den

Family Favorite Apple Salad

This recipe is an old family favorite and makes a great dish to pass...full of fruit and nuts, it is also a healthier alternative to all the fat party foods.

Apple Salad

for a crowd, use the following portions:

10 medium apples, cored (not peeled) and cut into cubes

3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced

1 cup or more of partially chopped walnuts (you want nice pieces in the salad)

2 cups raisins

1 cup mayo

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 c or more of milk

Chop all of your apples, celery and nuts. Add to LARGE bowl and toss with the sugar, mayo and milk.  You may have to add more of the last three ingredients, to your taste.  Stir until well coated and refrigerate, covered for at least 2 hours before serving.

Yummm - The Crow's Nest