Posts made in November, 2017

The Beth Cato Kitchen Gift Guide

Posted by on Nov 20, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not | 2 comments

‘Tis the season to buy stuff. Permit me to help. Since you’re here, you probably know I have a lot of books out, including my brand new collection Red Dust and Dancing Horses and the 2nd book in my Blood of Earth trilogy, Call of Fire.

I also have a new cookbook, an Amazon exclusive for just $1.99: Sweet Maple!

I mention a lot of cooking ingredients and implements on Bready or Not. Today, I’m recommending my favorite stuff. Note that all of the links in the photographs are Amazon-affiliated, but this is all stuff I’ve bought with my own money. No corporate freebies involved (but if any corporation wants to reach out *coughs and points to Contact Me link above*).

My food blog is called Bready or Not, so let’s start with a necessary accessory for bready things: a breadbox. I bake my own loaf bread every week, and it doesn’t fit in standard gallon Ziploc bags. No, I rely on this expandable breadbox. It stretches out to accommodate a full loaf, and as the bread is cut down, you slide the box inward. It’s easy to clean with soap and water. It even has built-in vents to open if you have a still-warm loaf. (As an aside to certain friends: yes, this is a firm breadbox.)

I’ve been using Coombs Maple Sugar for a few years now. I LOVE this stuff. The sugar is a range of sizes, from fine to coarse, which adds wonderful texture to recipes; sprinkle this on top of a milk-brushed pie crust about to go in the oven! The container is large, but it’s narrow and stores easily. Which is good, because even if you bake a lot of maple goodies, this thing will probably last awhile.

On the subject of maple, I buy my maple flavor from Amazon as well. (I live in Arizona, people. I can’t find this on the shelf here.) I like this Frontier Co-op brand. The flavor is strong and the liquid provides a nice brown tint to baked goods.

Cookie scoops are important. I advise having at least teaspoon and tablespoon size around, and an even larger one is great to use if you’re doling our muffin batter. I’ve been using a tablespoon-sized Oxo scoop for over five years now, and it puts up with a lot of use and abuse.

I used to buy bulk quinoa and rice and try to drain it using cheese cloth. It was horrible, especially with the quinoa. I have no issues washing rice and grains now that I have this nifty rice washer. The holes are really tiny; quinoa can’t even escape through the bottom. Plus, it ends up being a handy extra colander for washing things like vegetables.

The $200+ price tag on this bread machine might make you blanch, but this is THE bread machine. I use this to make most of my bread dough in exactly 1 hour 50 minutes. I’ve now had this machine over 10 years, use it several times a week, and it continues to work like a champ. You can bake full loaves in it, too–and the shape is a nice horizontal loaf, unlike other bread machines–but I much prefer to use this for making dough and then bake the bread in my oven.

I loved my bread machine so much, I bought the Zojirushi rice cooker as well. Again, it’s pricey, but it is reliable and wow, the quality of rice it makes will spoil you quite quickly. Plus, the rice cooker SINGS. It does little songs when it begins and ends. When it’s done, the machine will keep the rice piping hot for a long time, too.  You can also make quinoa in this in 30 minutes.


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Sunday Quote cheers on NaNoWriMoers!

Posted by on Nov 19, 2017 in Blog, Quote | Comments Off on Sunday Quote cheers on NaNoWriMoers!

“If you have a story that seems worth telling, and you think you can tell it worthily, then the thing for you to do is to tell it, regardless of whether it has to do with sex, sailors or mounted policemen.”
~ Dashiell Hammett

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Bready or Not: Peppermint Biscotti

Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, chocolate, mint | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Peppermint Biscotti

In recent months, I have shared recipes for Snickerdoodle Biscotti and Maple Walnut White Chocolate Biscotti. Now we’re gearing up for the holidays with Peppermint Biscotti.

Bready or Not: Peppermint Biscotti

I found this recipe in a Food Network Magazine from December 2015. I made it following their instructions, wasn’t pleased with the results, and made it again with numerous changes. This one worked.

Bready or Not: Peppermint Biscotti

I love how white chocolate chips work in biscotti. Since they bake up to be extra crispy, the chips add just the right touch of sweetness to complement the crunchiness.

Bready or Not: Peppermint Biscotti

The topping is what makes these scream “Holiday season!” I love the goopy drizzles atop these sticks, with generous amounts of crushed peppermints on top.

Bready or Not: Peppermint Biscotti

As these are biscotti, they keep well for days and weeks. If you’re mailing these, of course, be wary of the temperatures the package may encounter in transit. That’s something I always must consider here in Arizona!

Bready or Not: Peppermint Biscotti

Eat these biscotti on their own, or totally bliss-out and dip them in coffee or tea.

Bready or Not: Peppermint Biscotti

Bready or Not: Peppermint Biscotti

These Peppermint Biscotti are infused with peppermint flavor from the flecked drizzle on through the cookies themselves. They look and taste like the holiday season!

  • biscotti
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • topping
  • 4 oz white chocolate
  • drizzle of oil, if needed
  • 2 candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In medium bowl, measure out the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a big bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and peppermint extract. Slowly stir in the dry mix until just incorporated, then add the white chocolate chips.

Divide the dough in half on the prepared baking sheet. Form each into a log about 4 inches wide and 10 inches long; make sure there is space between the two logs, as they'll grow in the oven.

Bake about 25 minutes, until the biscotti is lightly browned. Remove the baking sheet, but be sure to leave the oven on.

Let the biscotti cool for 10 minutes. Use a large knife, such as a bread knife, to diagonally slice the logs 1/2-inch apart. Use a straight-down motion to cut; don't saw.

Arrange the biscotti spaced out on the baking sheet. Stand them up if possible, or lay them on their sides. Bake for another 25 minutes, flipping them over halfway if necessary, to equally crisp both sides.

Cool completely on the baking sheet. Crush the candy canes.

Melt the white chocolate on the stovetop or in the microwave; if necessary, stir in a drizzle of coconut oil or vegetable oil to make the chocolate loose enough to dribble.

Drizzle the chocolate all over the biscotti, then immediately sprinkle peppermint chunks over them. Let them set for a few hours at room temperature or in the fridge.

Store in an airtight container as long as a few weeks.




Bready or Not: Peppermint Biscotti

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Sunday Quote is proud of her veteran husband

Posted by on Nov 12, 2017 in Blog, Quote | Comments Off on Sunday Quote is proud of her veteran husband

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
~ Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Bready or Not: No-Bake Maple Pecan Pie

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, maple, no-bake dessert, pie | 2 comments

I am never baking a pecan pie again. This will be my go-to recipe forever more: No-Bake Maple Pecan Pie.

Bready or Not: No-Bake Maple Pecan Pie

Depending on how fast your stovetop heats up, you may have your pie assembled in 15 to 20 minutes without ever having to heat up the oven.

Bready or Not: No-Bake Maple Pecan Pie

No worries about making a crust or pre-baking a crust or any of that. Every time I’ve made this, I’ve used a graham cracker crust from Wal-mart. You could make a from-scratch graham crust if you want, but I’m all about making this pie as quickly and conveniently as possible.

The way the filling solidifies once chilled is kind of amazing. It’s easy to cut but stays intact, with the exception of some graham cracker crumbles. My husband was able to cut slices and wrap them in plastic wrap to take with his lunch to work, then eat the pieces right out of hand. No need for a fork.

Bready or Not: No-Bake Maple Pecan Pie

This is the perfect holiday pie, to my way of thinking. It dirties almost no dishes. It doesn’t use the oven. It keeps perfectly well, tucked in the fridge.

Oh yeah, and it’s DELICIOUS. Sweet, slightly-crunchy, and decadent, just as a pecan pie should be.

Bready or Not: No-Bake Maple Pecan Pie

Modified from Southern Plate.

Bready or Not: No-Bake Maple Pecan Pie

Bready or Not: No-Bake Maple Pecan Pie

This recipe makes a no-hassle pecan pie with only 15 to 20 minutes of stovetop time, plus a few hours for the pie to chill. Use a store-bought graham cracker crust, and it’s all the more convenient. This is the perfect holiday pie–it’s fast to make, and absolutely delicious. Modified from Southern Plate.

  • 3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tablespoons milk, cream, or half & half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups whole pecans
  • 9-inch graham cracker crust, homemade or store-bought

Place the brown sugar, butter, maple syrup, and honey in a medium-sized pot. Set the heat to medium high and stir constantly as it comes to a boil.

Once it's boiling, add the pecans and milk/cream. Reduce to a low boil and keep it there for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Pour everything into the graham cracker crust. Let cool on counter to set. Cover and place in fridge to completely chill for several hours before cutting.

Keep pie stored in fridge. Pie keeps well for at least a week.


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