Category Archives: Popular

Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Beef

Shredded beef is a favorite in my household.  My husband loves to eat it (and, I admit I am a fan, too)… But, I especially love how easy it is to make. And, it’s pretty versatile, too!

I know I’ve shared recipes for shredded beef here in the past, so you may be wondering why I’m revisiting the subject. The thing is, over the years, I’ve changed my method a bit. It was never really that difficult, but I’ve recently cut out a few steps that I’ve found don’t seem to make that big of a difference in the way the meat turns out.  It’s always juicy and flavorful!

I think this recipe is a good standard recipe to have on hand… The cider vinegar and molasses lend a nice BBQ sauce flavor to the meat, but it’s not too saucy. You can, of course, substitute other flavors for the sauce… Just stick to about one cup of liquid (which may not seem like a lot, but a little goes a long way). Beef stock works as a great  base, and then you can add any spices and flavorings that you like!

I used this shredded beef to make wraps with lettuce, carrots, and some shredded cheese.  But, it’s also great served on hamburger buns with cole slaw.  The leftovers can be used in casseroles or even on top of pizza.  Be creative! Continue Reading

Homemade Oreos

Lately, my husband has been getting me into a bit of trouble.

You see, he’s my taste tester. He’s not afraid to tell me when something I make is awful (it has happened before… believe me!), so I know he’ll give me an honest opinion.  So, when I’m baking and working on a new recipe, I often take him a plate of samples.

A few times lately (including yesterday when I was working on this particular recipe), he has raved on Facebook about what I made for him. I’m thrilled when my recipes turn out well, and I’m always glad that he’s happy with his afternoon snack.  But, I wind up with a whole group of jealous friends, neighbors, and relatives who want to know why I didn’t make homemade oreos (or cinnamon rolls, brownies, muffins… ) for them. It’s a bit of a dilemma!

In this case, the homemade oreos that my hubby was taunting his friends with on Facebook were already spoken for… Most of the cookies were destined for the cafe at our church. But, of course, I had set aside a few extras for my hubby. Then it hit me… I had a solution to my problem! I just reminded him that if anyone wanted samples of the treats, they would have to come out of his snacking stash. My guess is he won’t be sharing my baking secrets on Facebook anymore! Continue Reading

San Francisco Sourdough Bread

As I’ve been catching up on my blog reading over the past week or so, I’ve noticed that a lot of people are interested in learning to bake bread this year. I love it! I plan to continue baking homemade bread this year, and I’m thrilled to see that so many others are excited about it, as well.

This year, I’m really excited to experiment more with sourdough.  I’ve played around with it a bit in the past, and it’s a favorite of mine. Sourdough bread is really quite simple to make, and you can’t beat the amazing flavor that comes from the sourdough starter.  While many people seem to be a bit afraid of it, I would argue that sourdough bread can be one of the easiest breads to make, and I think it’s a great place to start!

So, today I’m teaming up with Red Star Yeast to bring you a great recipe for sourdough bread.  It’s a pretty basic recipe, and I’d really encourage you to give it a try.  Baking sourdough bread does require a sourdough starter, but you can easily make your own sourdough starter at home… You’ll just have to wait a few days before you give this recipe a try.  But, I promise you that it will be worth the effort.

I’ve made this sourdough bread myself a few times, and I have photos to help you through each step of the process. And, if you still have questions or need some encouragement,  I’m here to help!  You can certainly leave a question in the comments here, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Twitter is also a great place to get help as you’re baking, and you can always chat with me (@JenSchall) or the great folks at Red Star Yeast (@RedStarYeast), as well! We’re happy to answer your questions. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with posting a photo of your finished loaf and bragging a bit amongst friends… We’d love to know how it turns out! Continue Reading

Jalapeño Pepper Jam

In my canning fury a few weeks ago, one of the new recipes I tried was a recipe for hot pepper jam. I wasn’t entirely sure what to think… Jalapeño peppers in a sweet jam? I was skeptical. But, I had tasted a few similar recipes at the farmers market a few weeks earlier, so I figured it couldn’t go all wrong. After all, what did I have to lose? Only a few of the jalapeño peppers I seem to be so good at growing in the garden.

It’s true… I am great at growing jalapeño peppers. Actually, I am great at growing just about any form of hot peppers, but I digress. Almost everything else in my garden typically dries up, but I have a knack for spicy produce. That probably says something about my personality, but I will just move on. The point is, I had about 30 jalapeños to work with when I made this jam.

In case you think this blog post is going nowhere, I will just get straight to the point.  I was pleasantly surprised by the jalapeño jam. It is sweet, spicy, tangy, and wonderful. It’s a pretty simple recipe, so I hope you’ll give it a try. The canning really isn’t that bad!

Continue Reading

S’mores Cookie Sandwiches

No campfire? No problem! You can still enjoy s’mores this Fourth of July!

You know I couldn’t just make the soft and chewy graham cookies that I shared a few days ago and leave it at that, right? Of course not!

Instead, I decided to take the cookies and turn them into s’mores cookie sandwiches (or “s’mookies” as my friends named them)… I knew it would either be fabulous or a huge sticky mess. And, while they were a bit sticky, they turned out to be great.  I took them to a get together with some friends, and everyone really loved them!  In fact, some of them told me that I shouldn’t be giving away the recipe for free… But, when I find a good thing, I like to share… So, here it goes!

You could certainly make these cookie sandwiches with storebought marshmallow fluff… And, they would probably taste fine. But, I decided to try my hand at homemade marshmallow fluff, and I’m really glad I did.  I found a great recipe from Smitten Kitchen (via Mardi from eat. live. travel. write), which turned out to be pretty easy to make… Easier than getting in the car and driving to the store for marshmallow fluff, if you ask me!

After tackling both the graham cracker and marshmallow elements of s’mores, it was time to tackle the chocolate.  Since I was really going for that traditional s’mores flavor, I opted to coat the cookie sandwiches with Hershey’s milk chocolate. After all, that’s what I grew up with… And, when I think s’mores, I instantly think Hershey’s.  However, after trying these sandwiches (which were great… and the milk chocolate does work!), I think I would prefer them better with some good quality dark chocolate.  Scharffen Berger s’mores anyone?  Also, I do think that the dark chocolate would have melted a bit better… The milk chocolate wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked when it came to melting and dipping the cookies.

Overall, though, I do have to agree with my friends that this is one of my better creations… And, I can assure you that I’ll be making them again (and again!). Continue Reading