The iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte has been resurrected early this season. What better time for me to resurrect my own recipe which, by the way, includes real pumpkin and fabulous spices and you make it at home for a fraction of the price of the big name AND you get to drink it from your favorite “Grandma” coffee mug. You don’t even need an espresso machine to make this. Just brew a good strong cuppa. If you’ve got a machine? Yay!
In case you didn’t know, I’m kind of, sort of, in love with pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie blizzards (oh my heaven do I love pumpkin pie blizzards) and yes, Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I celebrate these seasonal treats and indulge in them as long as they are available. Imagine my joy to find a recipe on line and I could make Lattes at home! I made adaptations and adjustments in the Lah-BOR-atory and the Mad Scientist had her own recipe.
I originally posted the recipe on my writing blog and since I made the decision to start a blog dedicated to The Mad Scientists adventures in the kitchen, I figured now was a great time to bring this recipe home to where it belongs.
Mad Scientist Spiced PUMPKIN Latte
- 8 oz strong brewed coffee – a small cup on a Keurig
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup whole milk (depends on how strong you like your drink)
- 1 “cube” frozen pumpkin
- 1/8 tsp all spice *
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon *
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- REAL whipped cream
So today my daughters friend threw her a surprise Birthday party and it was a carry in picnic. I was tasked with bringing buns for sloppy joes and a side dish. I decided I was going to make an old standby, broccoli salad. You know; the one with bacon and raisins? Of course, I was two ingredient shy and had to make a grocery store run. While grabbing a red onion, I see the pile of avocados and my Mad Scientist brain starts running so I grab the avocado, and a few more ingredients and head back
to the laboratory home.
My Favorite Things Salad
- 1 package frozen Broccoli florets thawed and drained then cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup frozen new peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 ripe avocado peeled, deseeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower nuts
- 4.5 oz package REAL bacon bits (or make your own)
- chow mein noodles
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup sweet & sour salad dressing (mine is Kroger brand)
- 2 T rice vinegar
- Half & Half (or whatever type of milk you use)
- 1 T dijon
In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients except for the chow mein noodles. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Drizzle in half and half (milk) to thin the dressing to pouring consistency. Pour dressing over salad and combine to evenly coat all ingredients.Stir in about 1/2 cup of noodles. Top salad with additional noodles. (don’t be shy – the crunch is wonderful)
Chill before serving.
I love iced coffee and it took me years and many different tries to find out, it is not complicated and you don’t need a specific “iced coffeemaker” to make it.
So, take a deep breath and relax; let’s make some iced coffee.
1. Many coffee drinkers already own a french press coffee pot and after much trial and error, I’ve found this to be the easiest, least complicated, and not messy way to make it. Mine is a 34 oz or you may find the size called an 8-cup.
2. My favorite coffee to use is coarse ground bold coffee, but I’ve had success using Foldgers Black Silk or Yuban Bold. I like to grind it myself because it has less silt, but if you don’t have a coffee grinder and don’t want to get one, it’s not a necessary part. For me, it’s personal preference and I already have the grinder.
3. Cold water. That’s it. Plain jane cold tap water or filtered from your fridge. You choose.
Here’s the specifics.
1/2 cup of ground coffee
Place the coffee in the bottom of the press pot. Slowly pour cold water over grounds and gently stir to wet all of the grounds. Fill to 3/4 ” from the top. Pull the press all the way to the top (plunger UP) and lid the press. Do NOT press yet! Brew the coffee cold on your kitchen counter for one day. Then, press the grounds to the bottom of the pot and pour slowly into a decanter of your choice and store in the fridge.
To make a creamy delicious iced coffee, fill glass 3/4 full with ice, add coffee and cold water to the strength you like. Some like it strong and go full strength. I use a 1/3 water to 2/3 coffee ratio. Add milk, half & half (my fav), soy, almond or coconut milk. If you like it sweet or flavored do that too. I like mine simply sweetened and keep a container of homemade simple syrup (recipe below) in the fridge for iced tea and coffee. Give it a stir and enjoy.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
Splash of lemon juice (this keeps the syrup from crystalizing after it’s cooled)
Place ingredients in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cool completely, pour into decanter and refrigerate.
I’m never satisfied. I want my Mad Scientist creations to truly be scratch made. No prepared ingredients as ingredients. I’ve been wanting to adapt my BBQ sauce recipe to eliminate catsup as an ingredient so I started scouring the internet, reviewing nearly a dozen recipes to get a jumping off point.
Today was the day. The Captain put a brisket on the smoker and I wanted my Super Mad BBQ sauce as THE condiment and not a bottle a grabbed off the grocery shelf. So, the counter became extremely cluttered with an array of ingredients and cupboards left open for easy access to even more ingredients to begin the lab experiment.
And Mad Scientist Crazy Catsup was born.
Mad Scientist Crazy Catsup
12 oz. can tomato paste
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
A pinch each of: Cinnamon, All Spice and Cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients into a saucepan over medium/low heat and whisk until smooth. Heat until the catsup starts to bubble, then remove from heat and pour into bottles. Store in the refrigerator or if you’re have the equipment for canning do that thing and then you can store it in your pantry.
A friend asked me if I had a bread recipe similar to the bread served at a large chain restaurant. Having only eaten at the restaurant two or three times and it’s been quite a while since the last time. I researched copycat recipes to see what the possible ingredients were and determined it is a whole wheat bread. I had a great starting place with my whole wheat bread recipe, and with a couple of tweaks, I came up with,
Honey Wheat Bread
1-1/2 cups very warm water
4 Tablespoons rapid rise dry yeast (I use Saf-instant brand)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup molasses
3 eggs (room temp and beaten)
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup gluten
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3 cups whole wheat flour
6-8 cups whole wheat flour (in addition to the three)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoon cider vinegar
Honey Butter Egg wash ingredients:
1 large ROOM TEMPERATURE egg white
1 Tablespoon of honey
2 Tablespoons melted butter cooled (don’t want to cook the egg white)
In your mixer bowl (or a large mixing bowl) combine first nine ingredients It’s OK, really. Just throw the yeast and everything right into the bowl. Now run the mixer (Paddle attachment) just until the ingredients come together. Then let it stand until it’s bubbly and double in size. (This takes approximately 30 minutes)
After the mixture has doubled, in a small bowl combine the baking powder, salt and vinegar. This gets good and foamy. Immediately add it to the yeast starter mixture and start your mixer.
Add 7 to 8 cups of whole wheat flour one cup at a time. Don’t add more than a cup at a time, otherwise you will have flour EVERYWHERE. Take it slow and don’t add too much. You want the dough to still be slightly sticky.
Once the dough has formed a ball in the bowl, you can either run the dough hook for 3 minutes to knead, or go all pioneer and turn it out on a floured surface an knead for 4 minutes. Add additional flour sparingly because you still want a slight tack when you make your loaves or dinner rolls. It forms easier and smoother when the dough is slightly sticky.
Place dough into a large greased bowl and cover. Let it rise aproximately 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch it down, cover and rise a second time. Start your oven (see last line) now to be sure it’s heated. The warm stove top helps the bread rise after you cut into loaves.
Punch down after second rise, then cut into 4 loaves. I go all kitchen nerd here and use a kitchen scale so the loaves are uniform in size. Place the loaves in greased loaf pans. You can also make pull apart dinner rolls. Probably use two 9×13 cake pans.
Whisk together the honey butter egg wash ingredients and brush the tops of the loaves or rolls with with the mixture.
Bake 30 minutes at 370 degrees in glass pans or 375 degrees in metal pans or until loaves or rolls are deep brown.
Turn the loaves out onto a clean dish towel and allow to cool completely before bagging up for storage. You don’t want your loaves to sweat which makes your bread soggy.
What people ask about the most:
I’m famous! Well, almost famous. Maybe. Our local newspaper ran an article in this Sunday’s paper about local bloggers who blog about cooking. The reporter who wrote the article is also a friend of my daughter’s from High School and I appreciate her including me and my little blog in the article. Pretty cool seeing my name and picture in the paper even if it’s just a wee paper from the NE Corner of Wyoming.
If you are visiting for the first time and have found my blog from the NewsRecord article, Welcome! Browse about. The recipes talked about in the article were my Green Chili, which is a favorite with my grown kids, and Sweet Potato Casserole, a mandatory Holiday side dish.
Please take some time and browse through the recipes I’ve got posted and come back and share your results.
“Mom, can you send me your Green Chili recipe?”
This request is what birthed the idea of keeping my recipes on line. At first, I kept it as a note attached to my e-mail account where it could be accessed at any time.
Facebook came along, and I had friends there ask for the recipe after I posted about cooking it for dinner. I posted a note there in December 2010.
I began a personal blog where I privately journaling and later began publishing publicly for my creative writing side. A year later after I posted the Facebook note, I made the decision to start a new cooking blog where I could share the many recipes family and friends were asking for and “Cooking: The Mad Scientist Way” was born.
I’m not sure why I have never moved Green Chili to the blog until now, but now it’s here ready for all to find, and cook. It took an article in the newspaper for me to determine it was not here.
Sadly, I do not have a photo of the deliciousness, but the next time I make a batch, I will photograph and add a picture.
Debbie’s Green Chili
- 1 cup dried baby navy beans + 4 Cups of water
or 2- 3 cups cooked baby navy beans
or 2 cans baby navy beans drained and rinsed
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 – Tablespoon minced garlic or 2 garlic cloves
- ½ lb Fresh pork sausage
- 2 – 4 oz cans diced green chilies
- 1 – 7 oz can “Herdez” Salsa Verde (Mexican Picante)
- 1 – Box Chicken stock or 2-cans chicken broth
(I like stock better – more intense flavor)
- 1 – Tablespoon cumin
- Salt to taste
- White pepper to taste
Sliced jalapeno peppers (optional)
- Flour Tortillas
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheddar or jack cheese
- Sliced Jalapenos for the spice loving crowd
DIRECTIONS FOR DRIED BEANS:
Put dried beans, onion, garlic & water in crock pot. Cook on low 4-6 hours, or until beans cooked. Draw off majority of cooking water (water below beans in pot).
Cook sausage in microwave in 3 minute cycles, chopping sausage in between cycles until sausage completely cooked. Drain in colander & rinse under hot water. Add to beans in crock pot.
Add remaining ingredients & cook on low for at least another hour. Taste test after chili heated up for additional salt and pepper and jalapenos.
DIRECTIONS FOR CANNED OR COOKED BEANS:
Cook sausage in microwave in 3 minute cycles, chopping sausage in between cycles until sausage completely cooked. Drain in colander & rinse under hot water.
Place all ingredients into crock pot. Add additional chicken broth if needed and cook on low for 2-4 hours.
Sprinkle cheese over chili
Spread sour cream on flour tortillas, roll up and serve with chili.
Keep a jar of jalapeno’s on the side for those who like their chili a little spicier.
Before Thanksgiving in 2011 I wrote this post on my creative writing blog. Sweet Potato Casserole is one of my families favorite Holiday dishes and a definite must cook.
My unfocused, scatter blogging is taking another turn into the world of cooking. A fellow blogger, A Bloggy Mom asked followers and friends what they are doing for Thanksgiving and I responded,
“turkey purchased so dinner at my house. Wanna come? I make an awesome gravy and my sweet tater casserole is heaven!”
To which she responded,
“how do you make your sweet potato casserole?”
So, I promised to whip up a new blog post with the recipe included because I’m all about sharing. Especially delicious recipes because what’s the point in being selfish? I’m pretty sure the majority of the people who read my blog can’t come over for Thanksgiving dinner and how else would they get to experience the deliciousness of something I love?
This recipe has it’s roots in one that was gleaned from a newspaper by my Mom years ago. It fast became a family favorite and, thank goodness, because one Thanksgiving tradition I always took a pass on was sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows on top. Gaaag! Oh how I hate that dish. My family really didn’t have a choice since I’m the cook and they don’t get a vote. I made minor changes to make it work better for me and my need to make things my own.
OK time to shut up and put up…. the recipe.
Sweet Dreams Sweet Potato Casserole
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- 3 medium fresh yams or sweet potatoes cooked
(boil in 2 quarts water with half cup of brown sugar until fork tender & drain)
or 29 oz can of sweet potatoes drained
- 1 Cup brown sugar
- ½ Stick butter or margarine cut into chunks (works best with cold butter)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon all spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Drain sweet potatoes and cut into *bite size pieces. Put potatoes in bottom of greased casserole dish. (A square glass cake pan or a2-1/2 qt. round French White Corning Ware casserole dish.)
Mix all other ingredients and pour over sweet potatoes.
“Shred” frozen margarine/butter into flour and sugar mixture. ( use large holes on cheese shredder-hat tip to Alton Brown of Good Eats for this tip) Mix with a fork until like coarse crumbs. Add nuts. Then top the casserole with the crumb topping mix. You can get fancy here and arrange some 1/2 pecans on the top to make it pretty. Or not. It still tastes the same.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425 then lower temp to 350 degrees and bake an additional 30-40 minutes, then let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
* - Some sweet potato casserole recipes mash the potatoes. I loath mashed potatoes so this option of bite size pieces creates a palatable dish for me. If you want one of those recipes, forget about it! Try this one and you will be a conver
For those of you paying attention, I have been in pursuit of the perfect sourdough bread recipe. A weekend stuck inside due to an early huge snowstorm had my mind back on sourdough. My sourdough starter was to the point it needed to be reduced so rather than toss it, I decided to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new sourdough recipe.
The sourdough recipe I have is really tasty. It has the perfect tang, but it takes ALL DAY from the drop of the first ingredient until the loaves are out of the oven. It relies exclusively on the sourdough starter to raise the dough and that takes a long time. My Mom’s bread recipe is the absolute best homemade white bread ever. It’s soft, it rises to heights previously unknown to homemade bread, and it is delicious. The task became, how do I hybrid these two recipes into a fast, delicious sourdough bread recipe.
I’m sure you’ve guessed, since this posts exists, I accomplished this feat. The bread is so tasty, crustier than Mom’s bread (as sourdough should be), and softer, lighter than the sourdough recipe and the most important? It’s a tall, beautiful loaf.
I made my loaves in glass loaf pans, so at this point I’m not sure how free form traditional style loaves will turn out. I’m thinking they should be just fine. I also didn’t score my loaves, but this can be done as well to create your own unique loaves either in pans or free form.
Now, I’m going to get on my soapbox. To achieve a good rise and quality dough and bread, always use good quality flour. In my opinion store brand and Gold Medal flours are subpar. Mad Scientist uses Dakota Mills, Wheat Montana or King Arthur flour.
Simply Scrumptious Sourdough
- 1 Cup of sourdough starter
- 1 Lightly beaten egg
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Cup very warm water
- 1-1/2 Cups AP flour
- 2 Tablespoons gluten
- 2 Tablespoons yeast
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 5/8 teaspoon sour salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
- 3-4 cups AP flour
Combine the first SEVEN ingredients (starter through yeast) into your mixer bowl, and mix using paddle attachment just until the ingredients come together. It should be a shaggy mixture. Let this starter dough rest for 30 minutes or until the mixture rises approximately double.
After the starter dough has raised, in a small bowl stir together the next FOUR ingredients (salt through vinegar) and add immediately to the starter dough and start your mixer on low-medium speed.
Add flour 1/2 to 1 cup at a time and switch to the dough hook when the dough becomes extra thick and sticky. Continue to slowly add flour until dough is slightly sticky. Knead using your mixer with the dough hook for 5 minutes. Then turn onto a floured surface and knead by hand for another 2 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375° and place a baking pan with 1/2” of water added on the bottom rack.
Move dough to a clean, oiled bowl and cover. Allow the dough to rise 30 minutes, or until doubled. Punch down, cover and rise another 30 minutes, or until doubled.
Divide the dough into two loaves and place into oiled loaf pans. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Bake for 15 minutes then remove the pan of water. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown.
For those interested in homemade sourdough, this is the process I used to get mine going. I used pineapple juice to start mine and the resultant starter is wonderfully tangy. I recommend not using the starter for two weeks after starting. The longer it is fed, the better the quality of taste. I made a batch of bread 8 days after I began. It was good, but the bread I made a month after was even better.
Once I got my starter going, I let it grow in quantity until I have 3-4 cups in my canister. I either bake, give away, or discard 1 cup when it gets to be over this amount. The giveaway option is a wonderful gift to friends who love sourdough because they won’t have to go through the time it takes to get their own batch going. They will simply need to feed one day, 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water to have enough to make a batch of bread the next day.
To maintain my starter, I feed daily, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour and 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup of water. Honestly, I don’t measure either the flour or the water. I “eyeball” the amounts.
Many of the sourdough people only keep a cup or less on hand. I like to have the larger amount because it’s easier to measure out what I need to use, and I have plenty leftover to keep the starter going.
I found this recipe on “The Fresh Loaf” from Debra Wink’s Sourdough starter. It is below, as I found it on the site.
Basic Procedure for Making Sourdough Starter
If you are the curious, investigative type (or a sourdough purist :-), this can be done with just water in place of the juice throughout. But for many (not all), a vigorous gas-producing bacterium will grow on day 2 and quit growing on day 3 or 4, followed by a few days or more of agonizing stillness. The fruit juice or cider should keep this bacteria (and a few others that are smelly) from growing and delaying the process. Either way, the end result will be the same sourdough starter.
* Mad Scientist note: use good quality flour for your starter and your bread. In my opinion store brand and Gold Medal flours are subpar and your resultant starter and bread do not perform as good. Mad Scientist uses Dakota Mills, Wheat Montana or King Arthur flour
Day 1: mix . . .
2 T. whole grain flour* (rye or wheat)
2 T. unsweetened pineapple juice, apple cider or orange juice
Day 2: add . . .
2 T. whole grain flour*
2 T. juice or cider
Day 3: add . . .
2 T. whole grain flour*
2 T. juice or cider
Day 4: (and once daily until it starts to expand and smell yeasty), mix . . .
2 oz. of the starter (1/4 c. after stirring down–discard the rest)
1 oz. flour** (scant 1/4 cup)
1 oz. water (2 tablespoons)