You’ll love your bread machine for producing this moist, fairly dense and delicious old-fashioned style loaf.

1 to 1-1/8 cups water, lukewarm
3 tablespoons canola, vegetable or peanut oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 cups bread flour
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Before beginning, check the date on your yeast. Yeast that is out-of-date will fail every time.

Lukewarm water should feel a little warm to the touch but not hot. Yeast blooms best at temperatures between 105° and 115°. Water that is too cool will not bring the yeast to life. Water that is too hot will kill the yeast.

Warm the bucket of your bread machine by filling with 6 – 8 inches of hot water and allowing to stand for a couple of minutes. This step helps maintain the warmth of the water for your recipe.

Pour the standing water out of the bread bucket and seat the bucket in the machine. Add 1 cup of lukewarm water followed in order by the oil, salt, sugar, flour and yeast.

My machine needs almost 2 additional tablespoons of water (hence the 1-1/8 measure) or it seems to struggle a bit during the kneading process. If the dough looks dry or your machine sounds as if it’s working too hard, add a tablespoon more of lukewarm water, and another half or so if needed.

Set your machine for a standard loaf with a medium crust. Alternately, Rapid Bake or Sweet Bread settings can be successfully used.

When the bread machine cycle has stopped, promptly remove the bread and allow to stand for 5 – 10 minutes and then shake the loaf loose to a rack. Allow the bread to cool for at least 45 minutes before cutting. If you cut this bread sooner, the center will compact and become too dense to enjoy.

I’m making a loaf of this bread right now to have with (add “Old Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe Link) this evening. I’ll add a picture of the bread so you can see how nicely the recipe turns out :-) .

Yield: 1 loaf

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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Whipped sweet potatoes is a perfect side dish for a baked ham holiday meal. If you lighten up the butter and cream you can enjoy this dish throughout the year to perk up a simple pork chop dinner or add a little flour and egg to turn out potato pancakes for a nice snack.

10 medium sweet potatoes
3/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper, freshly cracked and finely ground
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Scrub the potatoes and place them in a lidded Dutch oven. Fill the Dutch oven with cold water, 1-inch above the potatoes. Place the Dutch oven over high heat and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to maintain a low boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Begin checking for doneness at about 25 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return to the still-warm Dutch oven. If you prefer peeled potatoes, cool briefly and remove the peels while the potatoes are still warm. Mash the potatoes by hand or use a mixer to whip the potatoes until they’re fluffy. Do not add the butter and cream at this stage. Whip the potatoes alone. If the butter and cream are added before the potatoes are whipped there’s a very good chance the potatoes will become stringy before they become fluffy. This applies to white potatoes as well.

Add the salt, pepper, 1/2 cup of the butter and heavy cream to the hot potatoes and blend by hand until thoroughly combined.

Turn the potatoes into a warmed serving bowl and push the remaining 1/4 cup butter into the center.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Tip: I measure the cream and 1/2 cup of the butter into a large coffee mug and park it near the Dutch oven while the potatoes boil. By the time the potatoes are finished, the butter is melted and the cream is warmed, which helps keep the potatoes piping hot through processing.

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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Lightly sweet and tangy, lemon flavored cream cheese stuffed grapes are a welcome refreshment amongst the dips, cheese, meats and breads served at many holiday parties.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 lemon
1 pound large red or green seedless grapes

Rinse and dry the lemon. Rinse the grapes.

Place the cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the cream cheese. Zest 1 teaspoon of the lemon peel into the bowl. Juice the lemon for 1 tablespoon of juice and add to the bowl. Beat the cream cheese until smooth and all ingredients are well blended.

Fit a pastry bag with a star tip and transfer the cream cheese mixture from the bowl to the bag.

With a sharp knife cut an “X” into each grape about 2/3 of the way toward the bottom, taking care not to cut completely through the bottom.

Gently push the tip of the pastry bag pipe into each grape and push a bit of the cream cheese mixture into the gap, pulling back slightly as you push. Put a tiny dab of the cream cheese mixture on your serving tray and perch the stuffed grape on the dab. Continue until all grapes are filled.

The stuffed grapes can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours before serving. If you plan to hold the grapes in the refrigerator, decide how you will cover them. I’ve placed them on small plates and placed the plates in baking pans, which are easy to cover. Alternately, I’ve carefully inverted a bowl over a single large platter.

Yield: 40 – 50 grapes

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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Whether you use fresh or frozen broccoli, this is a quick and delicious side dish that compliments simply roasted meat very well.

2 bunches of broccoli
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 – 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup water
Salt
Pepper

Wash the broccoli and cut the flowerets off and into 1-1/2 inch pieces. Slice the stems into 1/4-inch slices, discarding any tough or discolored pieces.

If you’re using frozen broccoli, there is no need to thaw before cooking. Whether using fresh or frozen broccoli, steam the broccoli for 5 minutes. Remove the broccoli from the steamer and refresh under cold water. Drain the broccoli very well.

Peel and finely chop the garlic. Place the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Stirring frequently, cook the garlic until it is golden and fragrant. Add the broccoli and water. Season with pepper to taste.

Increase the heat to medium/medium-high and cook the broccoli for approximately 5 minutes, until it is tender. Remove the broccoli from the heat and add the butter. Gently toss the broccoli to distribute the butter. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the broccoli before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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This is a good quick bread with a nice texture. Many years ago, I was preparing biscuits and didn’t have quite enough flour. It was chilly and I didn’t want to dash to the store or bother a neighbor, so I added cornmeal in a pinch and still enjoy the modification. A food processor makes quick work of this recipe.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon yellow cornmeal
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
6 tablespoons half-and-half

Position your oven rack in the center of your oven. Preheat oven to 400°.

You’ll briefly knead this dough, so prepare a surface by dusting lightly with flour. Set aside a small dish of flour with a 2-1/2 inch biscuit cutter.

Cut the butter into small pieces and place in the refrigerator to keep chilled while you measure and prepare other ingredients.

Use either a large bowl or fit your food processor with a blade and combine the flour, 1/4 cup of the cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir or pulse to mix. Sprinkle the chilled butter pieces into the mixture. Either blend by hand or pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. If you’ve used a food processor, place the mixture in a large bowl. By hand, stir in the half-and-half just until a sticky dough forms. Turn the dough onto your prepared surface and gently knead 6 – 8 times. Pat the dough out into a 1/2-inch thick round.

Dip the biscuit cutter in the dish of flour and cut out six rounds. Avoid twisting the cutter. Plunge it straight down and back up. Twisting the cutter toughens the sides of your biscuits. Continue until you have cut out six rounds.

Transfer your biscuits to an un-greased backing sheet. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cornmeal. Bake until golden, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 biscuits.

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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