Peach Butter (Delicious!)

Summer might be gone officially, but unofficially its fruit still remains 🙂 Watermelons, green grapes, red grapes, nectarines, oranges, apples, and PEACHES!!! A ripe, naturally sweet peach can do wonders for you – it can change your mood, it can give you a much needed pick-me-up, and it can bring back memories of previous summers that you spent as a child running naked through the sprinkler in your backyard! Come on, I know I am not the only one 🙂 Right? Right? 

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

First of all, I would like to WELCOME the many newcomers to my blog! Thanks to the wonderful Pioneer Woman, I have quite a few lot more visitors and followers (Hooray)! I appreciate and look forward to hearing from each one of you, I always enjoy reading your comments and feedback about who you are, where you are from, and what you liked and didn’t like . . .  really though, anything you want to share! I am encouraged to take my blog to a new, better level and I hope you will all join me! Thanks again so very much for stopping by 🙂 

Doesn’t everyone love biscuits? This is a very simple, quick recipe to make biscuits any day of the week. The flour/butter mixture can be measured out and put together the night before so all you have to do in the morning is add the milk and bake! 
This may be slightly confusing for my Greek (or other European) friends, including my sweet husband, because biscuits here are actually what we Americans call cookies! Confusing? Yes, all the time. For example, the morning that I made these, went something like this: 
“Hey my love, I made some biscuits for breakfast” 
“All right! I love biscuits for breakfast” (eagerly expecting my more popular chocolate chip cookies)
“I added some strawberry marmalade on them for you” 
“Huh, biscuits and marmelade?” (Really confused at this point)
“We didn’t have the stuff to make gravy, sorry”  (Totally thinking like a typical Texan)
“What? What is gravy and this sure doesn’t look like any biscuit I am used to” (said with a cute, still confused look)

“Oh, I guess I should explain these are American biscuits… a totally different thing, and, uh, gravy, well, that is something for another day to explain!” 
Upon tasting his first American biscuit, he loved it. Probably we should think of another name, as to not evoke anymore confusion, but overall a huge success! Welcome to cross-culture misunderstandings of marriage that are our life together! 
A couple of quick tips when making biscuits is to (1) use fresh and chilled ingredients (baking powder lasts about 6 months if stored properly)*  (2) freeze your butter or shortening and then grate it for a shortcut to “cutting” in the fat (3) do not over stir, biscuits need only to be lightly stirred and then gently kneaded a few times (4) make sure to press the biscuit cutter straight down so they rise evenly and not lopsided (5) bake in the middle so not to burn the tops or bottoms (6) bake as soon as you have mixed and cut the biscuits for best results (7) brush with a little butter once hot out of the oven!
*To test your baking powder, add 1/2 tsp. powder to 1/4 cup warm water; if it bubbles, it is ready for action! Fresh baking powder really makes a big difference in rising your biscuits!
Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits RecipeMakes 18 tall or 36 regular biscuits
2 cups AP flour*
1 heaping spoon baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold butter or shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk**
Preheat oven to 230°C/450°F. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Either grate your frozen fat or chop into pieces and use a pastry cutter to incorporate until mixes with the flour and forms a “pea sized” crumb consistency. At this point, you can cover and keep in the fridge for the morning. Slowly add milk and stir until dough begins to form and pulls away from the sides. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 6-8 times, just until smooth. With a rolling pin, roll dough into 1/2″ – for tall, fluffy biscuits or 1/4″ – for regular, crusty biscuits. Arrange 1″ apart for crunchier or slightly touching for softer biscuits. Repeat process until you have no more dough. 
Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Serve warm with your favorite jelly or homemade gravy! 
* I always use part whole wheat flour. Substitute 1/2-3/4 cup if you’d like a more whole grain biscuit. 

**Buttermilk can be substituted by using 1/2 plain yogurt + 1/2 whole milk; adding 1 T. of either lemon juice or white vinegar to a glass measuring cup and then adding the remaining in milk, stir and let rest 5 minutes to “spoil”. 

Biscuits are not only great for a quick breakfast, but also make wonderful little sandwiches for on-the-go too! I hope you have a wonderful weekend and thanks again for joining me on this adventure that is called, life 🙂
Kali Orexi (Greek for “Bon Appetite”)

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

I love the added taste of whole wheat flour. I add it to just about anything I am able to, including cinnamon rolls. Although, there is probably only the minimal fiber benefit by adding whole wheat flour, I think it gives a more dense and almost nutty flavor! This is the same wonderful Ooey-Gooey Cinnamon Roll recipe from a long time ago, but I substituted wheat flour and a simple powdered sugar glaze instead! 

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls
1 cup warm milk (110° F/45° C)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup butter or oil, softened
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour (*use All Purpose if that is all you have on hand)
1 T. sugar or honey, optional
1 tsp. salt
1 packet or 2 tsp. instant dry yeast 
First, add all of the dry ingredients (minus 3/4 – 1 cup of your flour, keeping aside for kneading) to your bowl and stir. Warm the milk to 110-115° or to where it is very warm to the touch, but not burning. Slowly add the oil and eggs and give a couple of turns with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the milk and stir into a dough until it becomes too difficult to keep using a spoon.
Flour your hands and begin to shape the dough, adding the remaining flour by the tablespoon to keep the dough from sticking when needed. You can knead the dough inside your bowl or onto a floured counter; I usually knead inside the bowl for a few minutes, and when it stops being sticky I turn it out onto the counter. To form or shape the dough, you want to push the heel of your dominant hand (just above your wrist, not your foot) into the dough while turning the dough over with your other hand, repeat for 8-10 minutes until the dough is not sticky and it feels very pliable!
Spray the (now) cleaned big bowl with oil and turn to coat your dough ball, cover tightly with kitchen plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour! I turn on my oven to low for a few minutes and then leave on the light while the dough rises, this works like a charm for rising anytime of the year!
1 – 1 1/2 cups sugar (white and/or light brown)
2-3 T. cinnamon
1/3 – 2/3 cup butter, melted slightly

Optional Additional Fillings – 
1-2 T. crushed, toasted walnuts (optional)
1 T. coconut shredded (optional)
1/2 – 1 T. lemon zest (optional)
Any other ingredients you want to try, I have even spread on peanut butter once and nutella another time. Get creative with your favorite ingredients!

Remove your dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into as uniform of a rectangle as you can 🙂 Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, spread the butter all over your dough and then top generously with the sugar mix and any other ingredients you want. The key here is to not be stingy. I actually don’t even measure this part of the recipe, I usually wing it and am quite liberal. Let’s face it, can a cinnamon roll really ever be healthy? I think that if you do get it “healthy” it will always be sub-par to every other cinnamon roll out there, and that is at the sacrifice of a few calories that you will probably just eat somewhere else anyway! My philosophy when making these, GO BIG OR GO HOME!!!

Roll up length-wise and cut into about 1″ rolls with either kitchen scissors or dental floss (works well if you make a loop and pull both ends in the opposite direction). Arrange in a lightly buttered pan of your choice, I used a spring form round and it works great. Bake in a preheated oven of 400 F./200 C. for around 12-15 minutes, checking for them to be golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and add a simple glaze of powdered sugar and a few drops of milk and vanilla. 
Serve with a good ole cup of joe or an ice cold mug of milk! 

I love saving the middle for the last indulgent bite….

Kali Orexi my friends!