Cinnamon Raisin Bread

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Is there anything better than the smell of fresh bread baking in your kitchen?  Yes, fresh bread with cinnamon!  I can’t stress enough how amazing our kitchen smelled on this cold, snowy weekend with this cinnamon raisin bread baking in the oven.  I really need to bake more with cinnamon.  It is such a warm, sweet smell – I absolutely love it!

This cinnamon raisin bread brings back memories of my childhood and the loaf of Sunmaid raisin bread that was a breakfast favorite in my household.  It is a nice soft loaf studded with plump raisins and a hint of sweet cinnamon in every bite.  A piece of this bread toasted with butter and cinnamon sugar is really helping me get through this Monday morning! … 

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Irish Brown Bread (with Guinness!)

This no knead Irish Brown Bread has the most amazing flavor thanks to Guinness and buttermilk. A delicious brown bread that is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

No Knead Irish Brown Bread made with Guinness | chezcateylou.com

The Better Half and I are Irish through and through. We both have Irish mothers (his Duffy, mine Murphy) and we both went to Notre Dame.  So we get a little excited when St. Patrick’s day rolls around!

I wanted to bake something festive, but I draw the line at putting green food coloring in my beautiful bread. It just seems too artificial. So I thought this recipe for Irish Brown Bread from my no-knead cookbook
would be the perfect festive recipe to try out. It is a play on Irish Soda bread, but it uses yeast for the rising, rather than using baking soda. And, it has Guinness in it.  Can’t get much more Irish than that!  
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookie Bars

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When I stumbled upon this recipe on King Arthur’s website I knew I had to make it.  (As a side note, I love using King Arthur flour in my baking, and their site has some great recipes!)  The salty-sweet combo of the pretzels and chocolate are enough to win me over, but then add in peanut butter?  I’m in heaven.  And to top it all off, it is so easy!  Plus you can make it on a whim because you don’t need to have room temperature ingredients.  I knew this would be the perfect recipe to make for my friend’s St. Patrick’s day party.

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Barcelona, Spain

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Last month CateyLou and I traveled to Barcelona, Spain.  It was our first trip to Spain and we had an amazing time; great food (including Cal Pep and Tickets) and great wine (La Vinya Del Senyor) in a beautiful city on the Mediterranean.  What could be better? After the jump is a recap of our trip, complete with pictures and travel tips for visiting Barcelona.

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Country Bread

Country Bread

I am not an expert on bread baking in the slightest.  I have only been doing it for a year, so I am trying to learn as much as I can and try as many recipes as I can.  I love cookbooks and bought a bunch of bread baking ones, but I found myself scouring the cookbooks for recipes that do not use a starter.  Who has time for a starter?  Feeding it and waiting around?  Plus, they sound kind of scary – Biga?  Poolish?  What do those words even mean?

Then this past weekend I decided it was time to get over my fear and make bread with a starter.  And boy am I glad I did.  It brings the bread to a whole new level.  The flavor is more complex and the texture is just perfect.  I guess there is a reason that over half the recipes in my cookbooks use a starter.

There are various types of starters, but I used a very basic method from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook.  The only hard part about using a starter is timing.  But on a cold winter weekend, I have nothing but time for baking!  … 

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