Who out there loves ALDI? I know I sure do! But shopping there means you have to be a little prepared before you shop there. And I am speaking about bags. Sure, you can buy them at the register in a pinch but those bags start to pile up. I had a drawer bursting of them! I wanted to find a way to fold and store them but most tutorials I found online were for small plastic bags and it just didn’t work. Aldi’s bags are thicker plastic and with a large handle on the top that just doesn’t like to fold up well.
So, I just incorporated a few tutorials I read into this one specifically for ALDI bags. They fold into flat rectangles and are super east to just have a few your purse or to grab when you are headed to do some ALDI shopping. ENJOY!
- What you want to do first is take your bag and square it out. Everything should naturally fall into place. Take it from this mess…
to this. All squared out and smooth. Try to get as much air out as possible.
2. Now you will fold up the bottom of the bag. It will fold naturally where the bottom of the bag meets the sides. On the style of bag it is the green part. Again, just try and smooth as much air out as you can. It will make a smaller folded bag.
3.Flip this all the way over so the edge folded up is to the back. Then fold either the right or left side to the middle. It should be folded to the width of the handles. Then do the same with the other side. It doesn’t matter if you start with the left or right side.
4. Now you will take whichever side was folded second and fold it in so its behind the green folded edge from the first fold. It should form pockets on both the front and the back.
5. Fold back the top flap and tuck in the handles. Press out the air.
6. Flip bag so that the edge with the handles are facing you. Fold down the top of the bag about 2-3 inches. There is a seam so it will fold naturally.
7. Fold down one edge, either left or right side, to meet the opposite side and make a triangle.
8. Now fold it again. The triangle with half in size and make a triangle with a point in the middle.
9. Take the point and tuck it into the pocket.
And there you have it! A nice, organized collection of bags ready to be filled with groceries!
In my last post I mentioned how I am making a sour dough starter. I really want to put it to good use. I still have it on the counter right now. I really want to see some good activity before it goes in the fridge. I have even thought about keeping it on my counter for an extended period since it is pretty cool in the house right now. I will have to see how that goes. This is all a little new to me but so fun to play with.
I thought it was about time for me to try a basic loaf of sour dough bread. This recipe uses a cast iron dutch oven and came out wonderfully! It took quite some time to raise since it is quite chilly in my house right now but that just helps the flavors develop. It was super easy to make. I would love a reason to make this more.
This is a very basic recipe for a French-style Sourdough boule. I used the recipe from a Bake from Scratch magazine. If you are looking for a good baking magazine, this is it!
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 TB salt
- Semolina flour for finishing
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the
dough hook attachment, combine starter
with warm water. Beat at medium speed until
combined, about 3 minutes. Add remaining
ingredients, beating at medium speed until a soft
dough forms. (If the dough appears too dry and
crumbly, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.)
The dough should come together as one mass
and should appear shaggy and feel sticky.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place
dough in bowl. Cover and let stand in a warm,
draft-free place (75°) for 1 to 2 hours, or
until doubled in size.
- Pull the four corners of the dough into the
center, pinching with your fingertips to create
a seal. Flip the dough over and begin to tighten
the round by cupping your palms around the
dough while rotating it.
- Line a bowl (approximately 6 to 8 inches in
diameter) with a clean kitchen towel, dusted
generously with fl our. Place the loaf, seam-side
up, in the bowl. Cover and proof in a warm,
draft-free place (75°) for 1 to 2 hours, or until
doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 4500. Turn the dough
out into a cast-iron vessel with a lid, such as
a Dutch oven. Dust the boule with semolina
flour and score, using a sharp knife (or a lame)
to make 3 or 4, ¼-inch-deep cuts across
- Cover and bake for 35 minutes. Increase the
temperature to 4750, remove the lid, and
continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until
loaf is deeply browned. Turn out onto a rack
and let cool completely before slicing.
One thing that I have always wanted to have and maintain is a good sourdough. I just admire the people that can have a 20 year old starter! I want to be one of those crazy people. 🙂
I started a batch 2 weeks ago now almost and she is coming along well. *yes, my sourdough is a she* I would like to see a little more activity but it is bit cold in the house so its understandable that she isn’t getting the rise and fall I want to see. There are still lots of bubbles and a nice ripe smell. I am just going to stick with it a little longer before I start keeping it in the fridge and feeding it weekly.
If you have ever started and fed a sourdough you will know that lots of it gets discarded. When you do this you can make bread with it, give it to friends or a variety of other things. Those other things are what I want to search out. This is the first trial recipe from my sourdough starter. Waffles!! And they were delicious and a great way to use up discarded starter if you don’t just want to toss it. 🙂
Most of the recipes I looked up has you make the batter up the night before, which I will be trying in the future, but I wanted waffles immediately so I made this one with a few changes.
They came out beautifully! Crispy and flavorful. My husband and I both really loved them. It is defiantly added to my list of sourdough wins.
Quick Sour Dough Starter Waffles
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 TB sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 8 oz sourdough starter, unfed
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 3 TB butter, melted
- Add flour, baking powder, sugar and salt to a bowl and mix lightly to mix together.
- Separate eggs (you can put the egg yolks in the bowl with the flour and the whites in a separate bowl). Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form and set aside.
- Melt butter and set aside. Also, turn on waffle maker to preheat.
- Add almond milk, sourdough starter and vanilla to flour and mix until lightly combined. It does not need to be 100% smooth.
- Fold in the egg whites as gently as possible. Then fold in the butter.
- Once your waffle maker is preheated, measure enough batter to fill the waffle iron and cook as directed.
- Keep waffles warm in oven on the lowest temperature that it will go. You don’t want to cook them anymore, just keep them warm and crisp.
I love soup. I could have it almost every day! And what I love even more about soup is being able to make it in a new way. Two appliances that have allowed me to do that are my Vitamix Blender and Pressure cooker. My husband and I really splurged this past year and bought a Vitamix. I have always had a blender but the difference in having a Vitamix….well it’s night and day. Not only does it make the best smoothies I have ever had (no seeds to be found!!!) but it makes the most amazing, smoothest sauces I have ever had! Packed full of flavor and eliminating dairy almost entirely. It’s a true marvel.
It is a cold and gloomy fall day here and on top of it my poor husband has been sick for going on 3 weeks. I call that the perfect day for soup. Most of my soups not start with a cycle in the pressure cooker and today was no exception. I picked up 2 bone in chicken breasts, onions, carrots, celery and topped it off with some basic spices and 8 cups of water. I pressure cooked that for 35 minutes. I would normal toss most of the veggies just because they get so mushy and I like more texture in my soup….but today I thought maybe I would try something new. I left all the veggies whole and on top of the chicken breasts. After they were cooked I just popped them all in the vita mix with about a cup of liquid and set it to the soup setting. I then went ahead like normal and strained the stock into a pot and diced in some fresh veggies, cleaned the meat off the bone and added that, lightly browned some store bough Gnocchi and by that time, the soup setting was done. I then added that to the pot. I let this simmer for a bit and added a little more salt and pepper, some cornstarch to thicken it up a bit and a spoonful of goats cheese.
I tell you what, this soup is packed with flavor and veggies! And it is so creamy. Its just so much fun to try and make something new out of an old recipe.
I am going to add the recipe down below but please note that I only made this once so it may need some adjustments. I cant wait to try this again and peg down the recipe. If you try it, let me know what you think! 🙂
Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup with Gnocchi
- 2 bone-in Chicken Breasts
- 12 carrots (8 for the stock, 4 for the soup)
- 2 large onions with ends and outside skin off
- 6 stalks celery (4 for the stock, 2 for the soup)
- 8 cups water
- 1 package Gnocchi
- 1-2 TB cornstarch in 1-2 TB COLD water
- 1-2 oz Goat Cheese
- 1 Chicken Stock cube
- salt, pepper and any other seasonings for stock that are desired
- Add to a pressure cooker pot 2 bone-in chicken breasts, 8 washed carrots with the ends trimmed off, 2 onions with ends trimmed off and outside skin removed, 4 stalks of celery, 8 cups of water as well as salt, pepper and spice to your taste.
- Set your pressure cooker to high pressure for about 35 minutes and let it do its thing.
- Clean and chop the carrots, celery and any other desired vegetable and set aside.
- Lightly brown the gnocchi and set aside.
- Once the pressure cooker goes off, release the pressure with quick release. Spoon vegetables into the Vitamix/blender. (try not to get any of the chicken gunk with the vegetables.)
- Strain remaining broth into a large pot. Pour about 1 cup of the broth over vegetables and process until smooth.
- Turn stock on medium high heat and add raw vegetables and gnocchi. Allow this to simmer until vegetables are soft.
- Rinse the chicken breast and remove meat from bones. Roughly chop and add to soup. Add pureed vegetables.
- Mix together the cornstarch and cold water and add to the soup while stirring.
- Add Goat cheese and season soup to taste.
Has it really been over 2 months since I wrote on here!? Time just flies…
I do have a few new things in my life. Number 1 amazing thing is that I found a new job. This is really a dream job for me and I am so excited to be there. I am the Pastry Chef for 3 restaurants and a food truck! It is just part time but I am ok with that. I get 2 full days of making Crème Brulee, Ice Creams and a huge list of other fancy things. I am still a little timid in bringing in new recipes but I know that will come. Right now I am just so thankful to be so excited to be a Pastry Chef.
Another change is that I left my other job. I was a cook at an assisted living home. There were a few things I really liked about the job but the things I didn’t like outweighed them all. Last week was my last day and it feels really good to be going in a new direction.
So, what am I going to be doing with myself, you may ask. Well….I am wanting to really throw myself into my flipping for a few days a week and the rest of my time I want to put into my new job and baking. I have been doing some thinking about even getting some certifications or classes to really advance my baking skills. I am not sure where that is going to lead but its exciting to think about.
One more quick thing to share with you. Last month at my new job I needed to create my first dessert for a special dinner. This is what I made.
It is a Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread “Tostada”, Mascarpone Cream, Grilled Cyan Pepper Peaches and a Candied Pecan Crumble. It came together splendidly! I also introduced myself and my dessert to the crowd. It was quite a night for me and really felt like I was on track to doing what I was meant to do all along. Isn’t that what we all look for?
It has been far too long in-between posts. I am so sorry for that. I hope to improve that in the future because……I GOT A NEW JOB! I will be a pastry chef at 3 of the best restaurants in the area! I will be trying out all kinds of new recipes and techniques. I am so excited about it. Last weekend I did 2 different kinds of Crème Brule and this weekend, as you can see, I made Angel Food. Kevin and I tried a dessert while staying in Madison that I need to try and recreate. It was slices of cake soaked in a run cream sauce with pears. It was incredible and I have some idea of how to really amplify it.
I found just a simple, basic Angel Food recipe from one of my many cookbooks. This recipe is from Chez Panisse Café Cookbook. I had to change it a bit to fit what I had in the house but it baked up beautifully and tastes like Heaven. 😀 Don’t use a mix unless you have too. I promise….you can make it from scratch.
Angel Food (No Cream of tartar)
Credit: Chez Panisse Café Cookbook by Alice Waters (page 224)
- 1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 12 eggs)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp lemon juice (you can also add rose or orange blossom water)
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cream of tartar* I didn’t have any in the house so a little hint is: you can replace will either lemon juice or vinegar. 1/8 tsp per egg in recipe. Your cake will not get quite as high (the cream of tartar is a stabilizer and helps give it height) but it will still come out wonderfully with a little extra flavor on the end.
- Preheat oven to 325. If egg whites are cold carefully warm them in a large stainless steel bowl over barely simmering water, stirring constantly until they are body temperature. (You will get more volume from warm egg whites)
- Measure 1 TB water, vanilla & lemon juice and set aside. (also any other liquids you are using in recipe) Sift the cake flour. 1/2 cup sugar and salt together. Set both aside.
- Begin whipping the egg whites at a medium speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and the measured liquids. Continue whipping until the whites hold a loose peak. At this point begin to very slowly add in the remaining 1 cup of sugar. (I do this while the machine is running and make a very slow stream into the mixer.) Continue beating the whites until they hold a softly stiffed peak when the whisk is lifted from them. They should not pour but hold soft mounds when scooped and appear glossy and meringue like but not dry. *see photo below recipe*
- Pour half of the dry ingredients over the egg whites and fold in white a rubber spatula. Continue with the rest until mixed in well.
- Scoop the batter into 10×4-inch tube pan and make sure the top is smooth. DO NOT GREASE PAN
- Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and the edges have begun to pull away from pan, 40-45 minutes. The cake should spring back when gently touched. Invert the pan onto a cooking rack while still in the pan. If the cake has risen to the very to go the pan, hang the pan by the center over a large bottle. inverting the pan helps prevent it from sticking or deflating. Cool completely before removing from pan. Run a knife around all edges and then gently tap it out of the pan.
- To cut cake, use a sharp serrated knife dipped in water, dipping after each cut. This helps prevent the cake from sticking to the knife.
I don’t know what it is about snowy weather but on those days all I can think about is baking and cooking. I didn’t make this recipe today but I saw a bag of apples on my counter and REALLY thought about it! I worked on this recipes a few months ago and it really is quite amazing. I will be making it again in the future and I hope that you do too!
Caramel Apple Upside-down Cake
- 1 stick Butter
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 3-4 Apples, peeled and cut into thin wedges
- 2 cups Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 cups Sugar
- 3/4 cup Butter, softened
- 3 Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- 1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
- 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 325. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and spray well.
- Melt butter for base over medium hear. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to a boil and stir in cinnamon. Pour into bottom of the cake pan and spread evenly. Arrange apples over bottom of pan evenly.
- Mix together dry ingredients for cake and set aside. Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Mix in dry ingredients and wet ingredients alternately until smooth and mixed well. Spread over apples.
- Bake 55-65 minutes until cake is baked through. Cool on cooking rack for 5-10 minutes but no longer. Invert cake onto a serving platter or cutting board.
- Beat whipping cream until it starts to thicken and then slowly add powdered sugar and cinnamon. Adjust to taste.
- Serve cake warm.