Rosemary and Garlic Butter Rolls

These are my new favorite dinner rolls.  Seriously, they're good. I found this recipe here.  She has great step-by-step pictures if its your first time making rolls.

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
1 stick butter (soft)
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 rosemary sprig
2 garlic cloves
coarse sea salt (I used Kosher)

Dump 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of warm water.  Stir and let the yeast sit there for 5 minutes. 

Mix 2/3 stick of butter with 1 cup of milk. In a separate container, lightly beat a large egg.  Pop the milk & butter mix in the microwave for a minute at full power. It doesn’t have to be hot, just warm. Transfer the yeast water to your mixer bowl. Add 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, pour in the egg and add 1 cup of flour.

Now pour in the milk with butter. Mix until the flour is incorporated before adding another cup of flour. Repeat this process until all the flour is incorporated. As soon as the wet and dry ingredients are combined, turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 5 minutes before starting the kneading process. (This is when I switch from using my paddle attachment to the dough hook.) Unless you’re doing this by hand, then you start kneading right away and only use extra flour if the dough starts sticking to your hands. The dough will look really sticky at first, but that will resolve itself during kneading as the gluten are developed.

Knead for 6 to 7 minutes, by the end of which the dough will have formed into a ball. If your dough looks impossibly sticky in the final few minutes, add a tbsp flour at a time.  But remember, it should still be sticky to the touch! (My dough always looked too sticky...I probably ended up adding about 4 extra Tbsp) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, apply some oil to the top of the dough to prevent it from drying out. Cover with a towel and let it rise for about an hour, until it doubled in size. 

Lightly butter a baking tray.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured cutting board (or clean granite counter top). It should be a really supple and slightly sticky dough.

Flatten it with your hand and using a sharp knife divide the dough into 12 pieces.

In stead of rolling the dough in your hand, you simply fold the sides to the bottom and shape them in the palm of your hand. Transfer them to the buttered baking tray but give them a little room to rise. Cover them with a towel and let them rise for an hour to an hour and a half. 

Until they doubled in size.

Break out the pestle and mortar.  In order to get the flavor inside the butter, you have to release some of the oils. Strip the rosemary sprig and add 2 garlic cloves. 

Now smash the whole thing, reallly bruise the rosemary. 

Add the remaining 1/3 stick of butter and lightly mix it. Leave it be for an hour or so, while the dough rises. 

Once dough is done rising, microwave the butter mixture. This will intensify the flavor and will make it easier to brush on top of the rolls. Give it 30 seconds at full power.

Brush it all over the dough and don’t be shy, they’re not called butter rolls for nothing! Be sure not to add too much of the rosemary...if it burns it won't taste very good. Last but not least, sprinkle a generous amount of coarse sea/kosher salt all over them.

Bake them in a preheated oven at 350F for 20 minutes. Until all puffy and golden brown.

I tripled this recipe for Thanksgiving.  Everyone seemed to love them.  I know I did!

Make these for Christmas!

The Crafty Nest

<3 Saleena 
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Savory Roasted Almonds

Here is my second nut recipe!  I found this one on Sprouted Kitchen blog.

3 Cups/16 oz. Raw Almonds
2 Small Egg Whites (OR 1 Extra Large Egg White)
1/3 Cup Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (I used one tsp)
1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
3 Tbsp. Lemon Zest
2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. Natural Cane Sugar
Sea Salt (I used Kosher Salt)
1/2 Cup Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese


Oven to 275′
 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. In a bowl, add the thyme, red pepper, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, lemon zest and sugar together.

 If you have a pestle and mortar, grind all of the spices together to break them up a bit. You won’t get much of a paste, but the thyme should break down a bit and the red peppers will get smaller. Otherwise, the back of a heavy spoon will suffice as well.

 Whisk the egg whites until frothy (about 2 minutes).

 Add the almonds, and fold them over to coat. 

Add the spices mixture and mix again until they seem evenly distributed.

 Spread the nuts out on the baking sheet and give them all a very generous grind of sea salt (or kosher salt). Sprinkle half of the parmesan evenly, and toss to coat. (I added the cheese before spreading them on a pan to make it easier).  Make sure the nuts are spread in a single layer, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the nuts. 
 Bake in the middle rack for 25 minutes. Remove to cool completely before serving. And a final little dusting of parmesan when they are hot out of the oven never hurt anyone either.

These aren't your typical roasted almonds.  These little guys had SO much flavor. A touch of lemon and spice, mixed with a cheesy, herby flavor. Perfect if you have already over indulged on sweet things...cause let's be honest.  Holiday season = justifying giving in to all food temptations. This recipe is a little time consuming, (mostly getting that 1/3 cup of thyme) but its worth it. :]

<3 Saleena

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Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pecans

When contemplating what to contribute to the Thanksgiving feast at the in-laws, I thought about bringing a dessert, (hence the Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Whip Cream and Oreo Cookie Crust), but typically, that's what most people bring.  I wanted to do something different, so I decided to prepare something for an appetizer.  Just a little something for guests to nibble on before the great feast.  I found two great nut recipes that are sure to be a hit.  The first I found here

1/4 cup butter
2 egg whites
1 lb. of pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Melt butter and spread on a cookie sheet. Then pour the pecans into a large bowl.

 Mix in all of the other ingredients, then spread in the pan making sure that the pecans are spread out flat. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour or until dry. 

  Stir the pecans every 10 minutes during cooking so that the sugar mixture coats the pecans well. (I only stirred them once...10 minutes before they were done, but they still turned out great!) Be sure not to overcook them or they will taste burned.As soon as they look dry, remove from oven. Cool and store in an air tight container.

And don't they look delicious?  I had Matt try one, and he didn't want to stop!  I almost had to use force.

These are SO simple, and SO tasty.  Perfect for the busy holiday season!

<3 Saleena 
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Spicy Hummus

  • I love love love this hummus.  Its great as an appetizer, a snack, or an addition to lettuce wraps.  It is so easy to make, and not very expensive.  The can of Tahini will be the most, but it will last you.  I have been able to make at least 6 batches, and I still have a little left.  I got this recipe from Rachael Ray, but I omit the coriander, and instead of a drizzle of olive oil, I add a quarter cup.  That's what makes it so creamy. :]  

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 rounded tablespoons tahini sesame paste
  • 1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon (1/3 palm full) ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • Combine beans, tahini, oil, pepper flakes, cumin, garlic, salt, and lemon juice in food processor bowl and grind into a smooth paste. 

And that's it! Simple, huh?  If you are entertaining or bringing this to an event, be sure to make a double batch. ;]

<3 Saleena
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Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps and Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Ok, I'll be honest.  I tried making sweet potato fries four times before I got it right. Every time they came out limp...and who likes limp fries?  So, I began searching for any tips I could find...and I found the solution!


But be careful to only use a little bit.  On my third attempt at these suckers, I poured some cornstarch in a bag, and put in the fries.  After shaking the bag to coat the fries, I realized the fries absorbed way more cornstarch than I had anticipated...and it didn't come off.  Needless to say, we had cornstarch-flavored fries that night. 

So for this recipe, I used a little over a teaspoon of cornstarch for a single sweet potato.

(I didn't follow a recipe for this meal, so I don't know exact measurements)

Sweet Potato, sliced
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Soy Sauce
Tomato, diced


Coat the fries in cornstarch, then drizzle a little oil over them and toss to coat evenly.

 Add salt and pepper.  I used a lot of pepper...feel free to use less.

 Make sure to space out the fries.  If they are touching, the air won't be able to circulate to make them crispy.   Bake at 425 degrees for 15-25 minutes.

Add butter to a pan. (I used about 1.5 TBSP)  Once melted, add onion. After a couple minutes, add mushrooms and garlic.  Add little soy sauce once the mushrooms start to brown.  Once the mushrooms absorb most of the soy sauce, add your Zucchini. Cook until Zucchini is tender. 

Here are the tomatoes, sprouts, and bacon crumbles. Feel free to use more bacon, since it is the only meat in the dish.  (I used 4 pieces)

 I spread my spicy hummus on the bottom, then topped with lettuce and the other goodies pictured above.  They were delicious! And the fries were crispy :]

<3 Saleena

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Tutorial: Photo Canvas

I love the look of canvas prints.  The only downfall is the price.  So I began looking for an alternative way to get the same look for a lot less.  I came across The Sassy Pepper blog, and loved what she came up with!

Pre-stretched canvas
Paper cutter or scissors
Decorative paper 
Two Paint Brushes 
Acrylic/Craft Paint

Step 1:  Measure the sides of your canvas, and cut your paper to fit.

Step 2:  Cover your canvas with Mod Podge and allow to dry.  This will take about 20 minutes.

Step 3:  Apply Mod Podge to the sides of the canvas, and the backs of your pre-cut paper

Step 4: Put your paper on your canvas, making sure to smooth out any bubbles.  It is okay to leave some space on the corners, tops, and bottoms because you will be painting over this section.  When I did this process again with my other photos, I decided to overlap the paper, so the corners were covered.  I liked this better :]

Step 5: Apply Mod Podge to the back of your photo, and use a towel to press it on the canvas so you won't get finger prints on it. 

Step 6:  Cover the photo with Mod Podge for added protection.  

***Even though it dries clear, keep in mind that in certain light you will be able to see the brush strokes.

Step 7: Once the Mod Podge is dry, use a brush or sponge to apply the paint.

And the end result?  A great DIY alternative to the pricey canvas print photos. 

These will make great gifts as well!

<3 Saleena
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Sorry to brag...

...but I have the most incredible husband. Ever.  When I stop and think about him, his character, and how he treats others, I become in awe of the man I married. If you know Matthew, you know he has a servant's heart.  He loves people and goes out of his way to bless them.  He does this at work when caring for patients, he does this in public when he is out running errands, and his does this daily, for his undeserving wife.  Sometimes I will come home to find the floors vacuumed, the dishes done, and the bed made.  Other times I will find all of this, plus a delicious dinner waiting for me!

Oh, and did you know he is an incredible carpenter? Oh, yes. Check out the bookshelf he made. 

Can't wait to see all of the projects we will do in our first house!
Okay, I am done ranting.  But he really is amazing :]

<3 Saleena 

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Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Whip Cream and Oreo Cookie Crust

With the holiday season comes many hours in the kitchen, cooking and baking away.  For some of you, its because a congregation of family and friends are flocking to your home.  For others, its due to your desire to try many of the irresistible seasonal recipes out there.  When I first saw this recipe on Recipe Girl's blog, I wanted to give it a try! 

 25 Oreos (creme included), crushed into crumbs (about 2 cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
2 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided
One 15-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
25 caramels, unwrapped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir the Oreo crumbs and butter until combined. Press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan; freeze until set (15 minutes). Bake for 10 minutes; let cool.

2. Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk together the 3 eggs, 1 cup cream, pumpkin, brown sugar, spice and salt until just combined. (With the stand mixer, its easy to let it do its thing, but I think I mixed it too long.  My pie took over an hour to cook before it wasn't jiggly anymore). 

3. Pour into the cooled pie shell and bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. When you shake the pan, the filling should no longer be jiggly. Let the pie cool at room temperature slightly, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

4. In a bowl, microwave the caramels with 1/2 cup cream until melted, 2 to 3 minutes- adding 1 minute increments, if needed, if they are still not completely melted. Stir until smooth, then let cool to room temperature.

5. Using an electric mixer, whip the remaining 1 1/4 cups cream until soft peaks form. 

6. Drizzle in the cooled caramel and beat until well blended. Spoon the caramel whipped cream on top of the pumpkin filling and refrigerate until completely chilled. (Make sure your caramel is room temperature.  I think mine was too warm, and my whip cream lost its fluffiness as I put the caramel in .)  Oh and don't worry, that is the oreo crust you're seeing.  I didn't char my pie.

So how did it turn out?  The Oreo crust was de-li-cious! The flavor of the whip cream was so yummy!  I was a little disappointed in the taste of the pumpkin though. :/  It was not very sweet at all.  Maybe this was to balance the rage of sweetness from the other ingredients?  It may just be me, but the pumpkin is the star attraction! My advice?  Follow this recipe to make the pumpkin pie, and incorporate the oreo crust and caramel whip cream.  It is sure to be a success! :]

<3  Saleena

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