Hard Boil Eggs in the Oven — A Whole 30 Must!

hard boiled eggs in the oven | Bacon is the Way to Happiness

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A month ago, I saw a video of a Food Network cook pulling a dozen hard-boiled eggs out of the oven. I am glad that I saw this! Since I have been on the Whole30, I have used this method many times for cooking my eggs. (You can see the original video here)

I’ve been able to grab one of these eggs in a pinch. But, really.. all the guys of my house (yes, even the baby) live for hard-boiled eggs… so we go through them pretty quickly. I have found that this is a great way to hard-boil eggs in bulk. I don’t have many pots that make sense to cook more than 6 eggs at a time. For some reason, hard-boiled eggs are like cookies in my house… they disappear very quickly.

What I like most about this method is that there is less clean up. The muffin tins come out clean. And less worrying about the timer. I place one egg in each muffin tin compartment. Put it in myoven… and then I have 30 minutes to take care of whatever business that needs tending… like my two crazy active boys.

Any steps to making healthy food easier to create is always okay in my book. I think this one is a winner, for sure.

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Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven
From: the Food Network
Servings: 12
Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients
1 dozen large eggs
For cold water bath: about 1 quart of ice water

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one whole egg (uncracked) into each section of the muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes.
2. Remove from oven and place into ice water bath for at least 5 minutes. Peel, eat, and enjoy!

How to Froth Milk at Home

frothed milk via bacon is the way to happiness

Shaken, not stirred. 

I am in a constant pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee. I have tried so many various methods of coffee creating: drip, French press, Keurig, and so on… The best method of coffee creating– in my opinion– is the pour-over method. It is more hands-on than the typical Mr. Coffee drip, but the result is amazing. And, the quality of coffee the Chemex produces cannot be surpassed. It is my far my most used kitchen item and my most beloved kitchen item. If you were marooned on an island… yep.. Chemex. Hands down, every time.

chemex via bacon is the way to happiness

Each morning after I awaken, I have grand dreams. I sip on my habitual cup of java and I lose myself to my imagination. One day, I will have perfected my homemade cup of Joe. One day, I will buy a steamer for my milk to make a perfect cappuccino… One day, I will have an awesome coffee bar in the corner of my kitchen…

And then I wake up to reality. I am unable to justify spending over $1,000 on a tool that takes up counter space and furthermore, means I’ve spent $1,000 that I am not spending on truly needed items, or putting away in my piggy bank. And, really, the same mentality goes into going out for coffee every day. Each $5.00 cappuccino really adds up over the course of a week… a month… a year…

As a result of these realities, my quest for creating the perfect cup continues. Even though nothing compares to perfectly steamed milk created using a fancy machine with an Italian name I can barely pronounce, this method to creating frothed milk is a really great alternative. I have used handheld whisk frothers and, although they are effective, I have found that it’s very difficult to lighten my beloved whole milk.

Now, shaking up milk in jelly jars (or mason jars… or pasta sauce jars) is really able to give the lift needed to whole milk that my handheld frother can’t. If only a little bit of shaking here and there did the bit of lifting here and there that my mom-bod needs. 

 

how to froth milk at home via bacon is the way to happiness

This method is easy. It takes less than 3 minutes and you have a deliciously homemade cappuccino that costs pennies on the dollar. So, this weekend, skip the lines at the cafe and stay home and do laundry. Or, really, don’t… just make a second cappuccino and eat Nutella from a spoon. Because weekend.

Homemade Frothed Milk
Yields: 1 serving
Time: Less than 3 minutes

homemade frothed milk via bacon is the way to happiness

 

Ingredients & Tools:
1/2 cup of milk
Large jelly jar

Directions: 
1. Pour the milk into the jelly jar and make sure it does not pass too far beyond halfway, screw lid on tightly. Vigorously shake the jar for about 30 seconds… it should appear to fill the entire jar.
2. Remove the lid of the jar and place immediately into the microwave for 30 seconds. Keep an eye to make sure that foam doesn’t overflow!
3. Immediately add to coffee and enjoy!

frothed milk via bacon is the way to happiness

 

Croissants

Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness

Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness

I did it! I did it! I did itttttttttttt!!!!!!!! For years, it has been on my bucket list to tackle croissants. And I did ittttttttttttt. I have had failed attempts in the past, but this time, this time, it worked out! I think I am now going to rename the blog to “Bakin’ is the Way to Happiness,” or well, at least for today. Bacon has taken second, at least for today.

What is it about croissants? Is it the flakiness? The butteriness? The flaky butteriness? The buttery, flaky, butteriness? Yep, it’s most likely that. 

And, what is it about MAKING croissants that enables one to feel like… just… wow. It’s most likely the amount of time that goes into the process, coupled with the success that comes with the fruits (or breads) of your labor. After these beauties turned out, I felt like I could do anything. Like run for office. Or do a jig. Or even just eat them. And eat them I did.

And they were terrific. So terrific that I am unable to write about them in anything other than fragmented sentences.

I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to try making croissants at least once in your lifetime… and I really encourage you to make them several times, too!

On a scale of difficulty, I’d rate this around medium. I’d say some scratch baking experience is very helpful in this process, but the three trickiest steps in this process involve: proofing the yeast, having patience during the process, and having more patience during the process. You see, it takes several steps of rolling, folding, and re-rolling to create the various flaky layers. Proofing yeast is not all that difficult, but should your yeast be kaputz, well, that would ruin the whole process at the beginning.

Making croissants were, altogether, not terribly difficult, in my opinion. My failed past attempts were a result of a lack of patience, and I ended up with nothing other than buttery biscuits that, although delicious, were decidedly NOT flaky croissants.

In creating this recipe, I was hoping to find a middle ground between several recipes I had encountered over my past attempts- some were 12 hour recipes, some were 3 day recipes. I thought it had to be possible to find the middle ground: an afternoon of rolling and a night of resting. And the result was perfection!

Next challenge for this recipe: incorporating chocolate pieces before rolling up to bake! NOMMMMM.

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Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness

 

Croissants
Yields: 1 1/2 dozen (2 1/2″ sized)
Time: 24 hours
Ingredients:
1 TBS active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup whole milk, warm
1/4 cup heavy cream, warm
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for sprinkling work surface)
2 1/2 sticks sweet cream butter
1 egg (for egg wash)

Other items:
Plastic wrap
Parchment paper
Silpat (if you have one!)
Rolling pin

Directions: 

Day One:
1. Proofing your yeast: In a large bowl, combine yeast, salt, sugar, milk and heavy cream. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes to make sure that it begins to bubble.
2. Add flour, 1 cup at a time. Depending on the humidity outside, you’ll reach the desired tacky, but smooth consistency somewhere in between 3 1/2 and 4 cups (key: the more humid it is outside, the more flour it may require).
3. Lightly flour your work surface. Knead the dough until it becomes an elastic ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
4. While the dough is still in the refrigerator, Cut the butter in half lengthwise as well as width-wise (about 1/2″ wide). Form these butter pieces into a rectangle in between parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll out the butter and flatten it until it becomes one consistent, cohesive piece, about 7 to 8″ square. (To get to this size, you may need to cut some off to create a square, which is good– just make sure you place it in the middle and roll it back into the square).
5. Remove the dough from the fridge, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is approximately 10″ x 16″.
6. In the center of the rolled dough, place the butter square, but with the pointed edges facing the flat edges of the dough, so that it looks like a diamond within a rectangle (see the photo above for reference).
7. Fold the longest ends of the dough over the butter, so that they meet in the middle. Then, stretch the shorter edges of the dough to also meet in the center of the dough, pressing out any air. The butter should be fully covered.
8. Roll out the dough, elongating it to almost 2 feet, but not widening it much more.
9. Fold the dough into a trifold (think of how business letters are folded, but also reference the photos above). Make sure to dust off any excess flour during the process.
10. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 15 minutes.
11. Remove the dough from the freezer, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 10″ x 16″ again. Once again do the trifold, dusting off any excess flour. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for an additional 15 minutes.
12. One last time, remove the dough from the freezer, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 10″ x 16″ again. Once again do the trifold, dusting off any excess flour. Refrigerate overnight.

Day Two:
13. The next morning: remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap it. Divide the dough in half. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to about 10″ x 24″. The dough should be no more than 1/4″ thick.
14. When it comes time to cut the dough, there are several ways in which to do it. I like to eyeball things, personally. If you don’t like to eyeball things, I would recommend finding a yardstick and make vertical cuts using a knife or pizza wheel at about 5″ apart along the length of the dough. You should have many smaller rectangles.
15. Make diagonal cuts on each of the smaller rectangles to create triangles.
16. To shape the croissants, roll the widest ends of the dough toward the pointed edge, stretching a little as you roll. Shape all the croissants. Placing onto a prepped baking sheet (or two, if needed) as you go.
17. Make your egg wash: In a small ramekin, beat one egg with about 1 tsp of water.
18. Brush the egg wash over top of each croissant. Let the dough rest for 1 hour.
19. Preheat the oven to 400*.
20. Bake the croissants for 8 to 12 minutes. Rotate and swap the baking sheets to ensure an even bake. Bake for an additional 8 to 12 minutes, until the croissants are lightly browning.
21. Cool on baking racks for 15 minutes.
22. ENJOYYYYY.

Hazelnut & Maple Granola Bars

hazelnut and maple granola bars via bacon is the way to happiness

Nom. Yum. Delish. Rrrrrrawr. I’m not sure what else to say about these granola bars. They are just so good. I made them to serve more as a fun treat with a little punch of goodness– that way you can spoil yourself with something deliciously sweet without feeling totally awful about it.

At one point during this recipe, you combine dates, hazelnut butter spread, and maple syrup together in a food processor. I was very half tempted… really 3/4 tempted to just simply end it there and ignore there was a granola/nut mixture, sit on the couch, and just go to town until I went into a coma. But, my conscience got the better of me. I told my son we were going to make yummy granola bars, so yummy granola bars we were going to make. I’ll save that date-hazelnut-maple mixture for when I have a bad day…. or a really good day…. or just a day… or am breathing, or something…

I like to make snacks like these and also those energy bites, if you remember, instead of buying them already made. There’s just something about doing the process yourself that feels a little more guilt-free.. and, not to mention, you’re less likely to eat it all in one sitting, since you’d have to go through the whole gotta-make-it-process to consume it again… I have found it enables more self control! And, these kinds of recipes are easy enough for you to include your progeny in the process, entertain them, and allow them to feel a sense of accomplishment… Win-win.

So go on and get your sweet-fix on without all the guilt.

 

Hazelnut & Maple Granola Bars
Yields: 12 servings
Time: Approximately 1 hour

hazelnut and maple granola bars

 

Ingredients
2 cups granola (I used Ezekiel Almond Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal)
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 TBS wheat germ
1 cup dates, pitted & chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup hazelnut butter spread
1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine the granola, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, and salt.
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the hazelnut butter and maple syrup, stirring frequently.
3. In a food processor, grind the dates until it forms a ball, add the hazelnut/maple mixture and process until smooth.
4. Add the date mixture to the granola mixture and stir to combine. You may need to get down and dirty and use your hands to mix it.
5. In an 8×8 baking pan lined with parchment paper, pour in the granola mixture. Using a spoon, push down the granola until it is compact and evenly spread.
6. Cover lightly and place into the freezer for about 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and baking pan and cut into 12 squares. Store in refrigerator and eat within a week!