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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Homemade Burger Bun Recipe

We love living in Slovenia! However, one of the things that we haven't been able to find are good store-bought burger buns.  Dan really enjoys grilling, and of course burgers are a classic - so he asked me if I thought I'd be able to come up with a bun recipe. I basically used my Texas Roadhouse Copycat Rolls recipe, and they were perfect. 

So, here you have it! Just in time for your Memorial Day cookout!

Here's what you'll need:
- standing mixer with a dough hook attachment
- whisk
- rolling pin
- large biscuit cutter or circle cookie cutter
- plastic wrap, or bees wrap


  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (FYI, the ones in Slovenia have the same amount)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm (Do this first.)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided into 2 and 3 tbs
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups (437.5 grams) all-purpose flour


1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together (by hand) yeast, water, milk, sugar, 2 tbs of the melted butter, egg, and salt until well combined. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer.

2. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  You may need to stop the mixer and help the flour off the sides and bottom a couple times.  

3. Turn off the mixer, and let the dough rise for 3-5 minutes.

4. Knead on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes, until dough is shiny and soft. 

5. Transfer dough to a large greased bowl, then flip it upside down, so butter/oil gets on both sides. (I used butter.)  

6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or bees wrap (making sure it is sealed), and allow to sit and rise for about 45 minutes to an hour, until dough has doubled in size.

7. Punch down dough (I always wanted to do that!), and roll out onto a lightly floured work space or silicone mat.

8. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out, until you have about an inch thick rectangle(ish).

9. Using the biscuit cutter, cut out your buns. Depending on the shape you rolled it out to, you should be able to get 6-8 buns. You might be able to re-knead any leftover pieces of dough, but they won't turn out as nice and smooth on top. I used the leftover to make ugly-cute dinner rolls.

10. Line baking sheets with baking paper.  Place buns on sheets, about 3-4 inches apart, and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise again for 45 minutes to an hour.

11. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C (325F or 170C for convection oven).

12. Take plastic wrap off buns, and place in oven.  Bake for 18 minutes (or 13 in convection oven).

13.  Take them out of the oven, and brush them with leftover melted butter.

Makes about 6-8 rolls.

Ta-da!! These rolls were soft, but didn't fall apart while being eaten. I would make them right before serving the burgers, or make them that day and keep them in an airtight container so they don't dry out. Wrap them in tin foil and heat them up in the oven slightly just before using.

Serve with your favorite sides (we opted for bacon mac and cheese and watermelon) and prepare to wow your family and friends. My boys new BIG fans!!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Saturn Peach Upside Down Mini Cakes

Honestly, my last few baking attempts have been a bust.  There were fallen and burnt meringues - in the same batch, too much of a new kind of flour and therefore unusable cookie dough... and I'd been feeling a little deflated about my baking efforts. But then I saw this recipe, and  decided to give it a try - I'm so glad I did!

Here's what you'll need:
- muffin pan
- standing mixer
- measuring cups and/or kitchen scale
- some bowls (for measured ingredients and mixing)


- 1/3 cup room temperature butter, plus 1 tbs separately (90 gr)
- 6 tsp brown sugar (the original called for light, I only had dark - I say baker's choice!)
- 4 Saturn peaches (also known as donut peaches)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (190 gr)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup sugar (130 gr)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (120 ml) (Pinjenec, for any Slovene readers, író for any Hungarian readers)


1. Spray nonstick cooking spray in your muffin tin. (I didn't have any, so I used butter - it was fine, but I'll be picking up some nonstick spray for next time.)

2. Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C).

3. Measure out ingredients.

4. Cut 2 1/2 peaches into thinnish slices (you'll need 48 slices), and 1 1/2 peaches into small cubes. 

5. Divide the 1 tbs of butter into 12 pieces, then put one in the bottom of each muffin hole.

6. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of brown sugar on top of that.

7. Place 4 peach slices in the bottom of each muffin hole.  I put them in kind of a clover shape, but you could change it to 5 slices and make it a flower, or fan them out - however you like.

8. In a bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

9. Using the paddle attachment on your standing mixer, cream together your sugar and (remaining 1/3 cup) butter.

10. While the mixer is going on a medium low speed, add the vanilla extract and egg.  Beat for 2-3 minutes. Your mixture will become fluffy and lighter in color.

11. While your mixer is going, add half of the flour mixture. Beat for 1 minute.

12. Pour in buttermilk, and beat for another minute. (You may need to pause mixing and scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl.)

13. Add the second half of your flour mixture, and beat until just combined.

14. Remove mixing bowl from mixer. Fold in the peach chunks. 

15. Fill each muffin hole with equal amounts of batter. The original poster used an ice cream scoop, I used the small ladle from my son's kitchen set, haha! 

16. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

17. Remove from oven, allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes, then flip out onto cooling rack. (If yours get a little stuck like mine, gently use a knife to detach them from the side of the muffin tin.)

18. Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream, or allow to cool and serve with peaches, powdered sugar, whipped cream... these little cakes are perfect on their own, but also pair well with a "friend".

And there you have it! A peachy-keen Spring or Summer treat!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Good Liberal

I've been sitting on this idea for some time now.  Please read this post all the way through once you start, I really hope you hear my heart. I've been doing some soul searching and study into what "loving your enemy" really means, and whether or not we're living up to that mandate.

I think part of the message of the "Good Samaritan" has gotten lost in translation and glossed over in the past 2000 years. We see the term "Samaritan" and think it's synonymous with "person" or maybe "someone different than Jesus' audience". It is so much more than that. Because Jesus knew his audience, and was one of them, he knew how to get a reaction from them. He intentionally triggered them to get a rise out of them. He used someone that in their context would NEVER be the hero of the story. He wasn't making the Jews the bad guys and the Samaritans the good guys. He was dredging up all kinds of emotions to get the religious people of the time uncomfortable and hopefully convict their hearts. (I think, that had Jesus been preaching to Samaritans, the roles would be reversed, to prove his point, but of course, that's speculation.)

There is a serious culture war going on right now, and because the majority of Christians identify as conservative, in many circles the term "liberal" is a word used to describe things and people who go against anything moral or Christian. It is a decidedly negative and even pejorative adjective - much like Samaritan would've been 2000 years ago. There is shared bad history, the people on each side have hate and disdain for one another, and feel that there is no overlap.

So, as Jesus preached to those who he was a part of, I'm attempting to do the same. To show you more of my intent to open dialogue, versus cause dissension, I'll write myself into the story, and not in a positive role.  Please, bear with me.

The Good Liberal 
(The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35) Reimagined)

A man was walking down the streets of New York, when he was attacked and mugged. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A pastor happened to be going down the road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a missionary, when she came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a liberal, as he was driving, stopped, parked and came to where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him, bound up his wounds, and placed him in his car. He took him to a hotel and took care of him. He called for a concierge doctor. He paid for the room and medical care, and said to the manager "Look after him. Here is my credit card number, charge anything he needs onto it. When I return, we can settle any other outstanding costs."

(Obviously, in today's context, he should've called an ambulance, but stick with me.)

Points to ponder:

1. In both the original and this story it says he "came" to the injured man, showing that he went out of his way.

2. In both stories he gave up the comfort of his mode of transportation - a donkey in the original, which means he walked, and in this one, putting a bloody and dirty man in his car.

3. I chose a concierge doctor, because in the passage in Luke it says he used oil and wine - which would've been expensive and extravagant, especially for someone you don't know.

4. In neither story does he say to cap off care after a certain cost or amount, but rather says the equivalent of "money is no issue".

If something like this were to happen today, it would go viral. Everyone would be talking about the selfless acts of the "Samaritan" or "liberal", because it is so contrary to how most people would react. And YET it's the level of generosity we're called to! It's how we are called to love our neighbors, and enemies even. How are we going to make a difference if we treat people the same or worse than everyone else? Why then, would anyone want what we have - a relationship with Jesus? It's not supposed to be easy or convenient. It's supposed to hurt and cost us (time, money, effort) more than it would in the natural. We are to love others, because Jesus is love.

I am not saying conservatives are bad and liberals are good, or the reverse. These adjectives are man-made and arbitrary, anyway.
I am simply attempting to use the same tool Jesus used to yes, offend his listeners, in the hope that they would see something in a light they never would've otherwise. 

So, how will we respond?

Brothers and sisters, you are loved. Thank you for reading this all the way through. I hope my heart has shone through, as I am "preaching" to myself just as much as anyone else. I welcome differing ideas and conversation, but please do so in love, and openness to others' thoughts as well.