We have less than a week until Big Brother.

Who else is excited?!

I wait all year for Big Brother. All year. I bought the live feeds weeks ago and plan on staying up 24 hours a day, reading all the forums, and basically being a psycho. So if you don’t hear from me for the rest of the summer, you know why.

Also, if you want me to respond to an email/tweet/text/whatever, you  may want to mention the show. I’m telling you, for the next 3 months, my life is Big Brother.

It’s such a weird thing to be obsessed with, right? Like, a bunch of strangers move into a house with cameras on them 24/7. And they’re always boring 23 hours of the day. But that one hour of fighting or crazy drunken antics…

I can’t explain my own obsession.

But today I bring you bread! Really, really easy bread made from Bisquick (or whatever baking mix you use) and cheese sticks. They aren’t the prettiest breadsticks but my kids ate the entire batch the night I made them and them begged me to make them the next day.

Easy Cheese-Stuffed Breadsticks

8 breadsticks

Ingredients

2 1/4 cup Bisquick, plus more for dusting
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 string cheeses
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together Biscuick, Italian seasoning, and salt, removing any large lumps. Add milk, and stir to combine.
  3. Generously dust work surface with baking mix. Turn out dough, and knead about 15 times. Shape into a ball, then roll into a 1/4" thick rectangle.
  4. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 8 strips. Place a string cheese in the center of each piece of dough, and fold the dough around the cheese. Stretch the dough as needed to entirely cover the cheese, and seal edges.
  5. Place stuffed breadsticks on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with melted butter.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until brown.
  7. Serve warm!
http://fakeginger.com/2014/06/19/easy-cheese-stuffed-breadsticks/

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My husband’s been on a major sandwich kick lately. He’s been doing the Paleo thing for most of the year he’s been back from Afghanistan so it was pretty shocking when all of the sudden he started going through a loaf of bread a day again. Not even exciting sandwiches either – PB & honey or his new favorite, bacon bologna. And no, that’s not bacon AND bologna, that’s bacon-flavored bologna.

I know.

I made this Braided Sandwich Ring for him in an effort to wean him off the Oscar Meyer and I’d say it worked pretty well. You start with a homemade braided ring of bread and then fill it with whatever your preferred filling are. I used turkey, ham, cheddar, swiss, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, mayo, and mustard.

The bread is pretty simple to make and it baked up beautifully. I just love how the braided top looks with all the sandwich fixins in! This would be great to take to a holiday party since all you have to do is slice it up and you’ll have plenty to go around!

If you are like me and have trouble with braiding, check out the Red Star Yeast guide to punching down and shaping. There are tons of great tips on their website if you are a bread newbie or just looking to expand your knowledge. Check out their Pinterest board for lots of great baking ideas as well!

One year ago: Peppermint White Hot Chocolate
Two years ago: Potato Chip Tortilla
Four years ago: Snickerdoodles

Braided Sandwich Ring

Ingredients

3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star active Active Dry Yeast
For the glaze:
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoons sesame seeds or poppy seeds
For the filling (suggestions):
Mayo
Mustard
Thinly sliced deli meats
Cheese
Lettuce
Tomato
Olives

Instructions

  1. Combine yeast, 2 cups flour, salt and sugar. Heat buttermilk to 120-130F.
  2. Hand-Held Mixer Method
  3. Combine flour mixture, buttermilk, 2 eggs and oil in mixing bowl on low speed. Beat 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. By hand, stir in enough remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic. Place in lightly oiled bowl; turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough tests ripe.
  4. Stand Mixer Method:
  5. Combine flour mixture, buttermilk, 2 eggs and oil in mixer bowl with paddle or beater 4 minutes on medium speed with paddle or beaters. Gradually add remaining flour and knead with dough hook(s) 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use additional flour if necessary. Place in lightly oiled bowl; turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough tests ripe.
  6. Shaping, Rising, and Baking:
  7. Punch down dough. Divide into three parts. On lightly floured surface, roll each third to a 24-inch rope. On greased cookie sheet lightly sprinkled with cornmeal, loosely braid ropes from center to ends. Shape into a circle; fasten ends by pinching dough together. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after touching. Make Egg Wash/Topping while dough is rising - combine egg and milk. Gently brush risen dough with wash. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake in preheated 375F oven for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown; cool.
  8. To make sandwich ring: Using a serrated knife, slice ring crosswise to create a large sandwich. Spread bottom section with mayonnaise; arrange filling ingredients on top of mayonnaise. Spread top section with Dijon mustard; place on top of Filling. Slice into serving portions. Makes 1 ring.
http://fakeginger.com/2013/12/16/braided-sandwich-ring/

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I realize it’s so un-festive of me to post a banana bread when I should be posting Christmas cookies but… my kids won’t eat bananas anymore! And it’s driving me insane because I am in the habit of buying bananas every time I go to the store. And then they sit on the counter and turn brown and eventually I cut them up and toss them in the freezer. My freezer is overflowing with banana slices!

When I was moaning and groaning about the latest batch of brown bananas yesterday, I mentioned banana bread and my husband was all “YES! NOW!”

I really love sour cream (or Greek yogurt – feel free to use plain Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream) does for quick breads. It just keeps the so moist and makes them even harder to resist. I’m not proud of this but I definitely had multiple slices of microwaved banana bread smeared with butter for dinner last night. So good.

I think I say this every time I try a new banana bread recipe but I’m pretty sure this one is the best one I’ve tried.

One year ago: Frozen Hot Chocolate
Two years ago: Swiss-Chard Stuffed Pork Roast
Three years ago: Brie-Stuffed Apples and Holiday Morning Strata
Four years ago: Peppermint Ice Cream

Sour Cream Banana Bread

adapted from Kraft

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, sour cream, bananas, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl. sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the walnuts.
  4. Pour batter in the prepared pan.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool 5 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack.
http://fakeginger.com/2013/12/09/sour-cream-banana-bread/

 

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Have I told you guys that I’m on a diet?

No, I don’t think I have. Because I am a diet failure. Every night I lie in bed and think “Tomorrow! Tomorrow I’m getting back to working out! And eating salads! And egg whites!”

And every morning I keep up my motivation until about 11 am.  Because that’s about the time I pull out whatever goodie I’m making for the blog.

I blame these rolls from Red Star Yeast for yesterday’s failure.

And y’all, I thought for sure I could look a roll in the eye and stay strong but these smelled so good. Some of them were so fluffy that they popped open! I don’t think anyone is strong enough to resist that.

Like the name suggests, these rolls are made from a batter instead of a dough. That means no kneading! And the total rise time is only 30 minutes!

I ended up brushing them with honey butter (just honey mixed into some melted butter) right after they came out of the oven – so good!

I think these rolls are pretty fool-proof but if you happen to have issues with rising, check out this Red Star Yeast page for instructions on how to test your yeast for freshness. I find that most of the time I have rising issues, it’s because the yeast just isn’t fresh. And be sure to check out the Red Star Yeast Pinterest page for lots of baking inspiration!

One year ago: Chocolate Chip Muffins
Two years ago: Apple-Sage Brined Turkey Breast
Three years ago: Spicy Tofu Stir-Fry
Four years ago: French Bread

Batterway White Rolls

18 rolls

Ingredients

3 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening, soft
1 1/2 cups water
4 1/2 teaspoons Red Star Yeast Active-Dry Yeast
1 egg, room temperature

Instructions

  1. In large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well.
  2. In saucepan, heat water and shortening until warm (120-130F; shortening does not need to melt).
  3. Add to flour mixture. Add egg. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand gradually stir in remaining flour to make a stiff batter.
  4. Cover; let rise warm place until double, about 30 minutes.
  5. Stir down batter. Spoon into greased muffin pan cups. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 20-30 minutes. Bake at 400F for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pans; brush with butter. Cool.
http://fakeginger.com/2013/11/14/batterway-white-rolls/

This post is sponsored by Red Star Yeast.

2

I meant to have an apple pie for you today. Alas, it did not work out as planned. It was one of those with a crumb topping but it had SO MUCH butter in it that it all kind of melted and got gross looking AND created quite a mess in the oven. Then I read the reviews afterward and, of course, they all warned to cut down on butter in the topping.

So yeah.

I have cornbread for you instead.

It’s the good, sweet kind so don’t be too upset with me.

I was feeling extra lazy the day I made this and kicked myself for not having a box of my favorite Jiffy mix but I threw this together in less than 5 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever met a cornbread that I didn’t enjoy but this one was pretty awesome.

One year ago: Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak
Two years ago: Maple Pecan Fudge

Maple Cornbread

Ingredients

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
3/4 cup pure maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the milk, eggs, ½ cup of the maple syrup, and ½ cup of the butter; whisk together the wet ingredients, then incorporate the dry ingredients until just combined (do not overmix).
  3. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup of butter and ¼ cup of maple syrup. After removing the corn bread from oven, brush with the butter mixture. Cool completely in the pan, then cut into pieces.
http://fakeginger.com/2013/11/06/maple-cornbread/

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