The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin --

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Apple Cider Syrup

Just popping in to share a quick and easy syrup recipe.  WARNING:  Once you try it, you may never go back to regular pancake syrup again!

This syrup is sooooooooo easy and soooooooo delicious it’s well worth the extra few minutes it takes to make it!  Besides, if you’re short on time you can make it the night before and store it in the fridge.  Just pull it out and warm it up in the microwave when you’re ready to serve.  It’s also good on regular or whole grain pancakes.  Give it a try!!

1/4 cup Smart Sugar (the original recipe used regular sugar)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (the original recipe also called for 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, but I left it out)
2 cups apple cider (or apple juice)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Smart Balance Butter Blend sticks (or real butter, like the original recipe called for)

Stir together the sugar, cornstarch and spices in a saucepan.  Whisk in the apple cider and lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil; boil until the syrup thickens. (This will take a few minutes, but you need to stay with it, and continue whisking constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.)  Remove from heat and stir in the butter.  Serve warm.

Special thanks to my friend Diana for sharing this yummy recipe!!
Blessings,
--Faithy

Pumpkin Pancakes...a fall twist on an old standby...



On a recent mission trip with my church, I had some pumpkin pancakes with homemade apple cider syrup.  They were so good, I had to experiment and come up with a good recipe when I got home.  I found a recipe for pumpkin waffles on online, and adjusted it a bit, as always.  I decided to share the results.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  My friend Diana was sweet enough to share her syrup recipe with me too.  You can find my version of it here.

Pumpkin Pancakes


1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (the original recipe called for a full teaspoon, but I think ginger can be a bit overpowering, so I cut the amount in half – you can use as much or as little as suits your taste!)
1/4 teaspoon salt (the original recipe called for 1/2 tsp., but I always half the salt)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (or homemade pumpkin puree)
2 cups milk (since the original recipe was for waffles, which require a thicker batter, this will be a bit thick – just add additional milk or apple juice – like I did – to thin it to the consistency you like)
1 cup HEB Real Egg (or 4 eggs, lightly beaten) 
NOTE:  If you decide to make waffles, just separate your eggs, and whip your egg whites (to soft peak stage) before folding them into the batter.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Smart Balance Butter Blend sticks (or real butter), melted

Combine dry (first eight) ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix well with a wire whisk.  In a separate bowl (and with a clean whisk), whisk together the pumpkin, milk, eggs and butter (wet ingredients).

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just to combine.

Heat nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.  Lightly grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Pour approximately 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle (I use a large cookie scoop - but a 1/4 cup dry measure or an ice cream scoop would work too.)

Turn pancake when bubbles start to form and pop, and edges look cooked.  Cook second side; remove from griddle and serve immediately.  (I’m sure these would be good with any kind of syrup, or with a simple dusting of powdered sugar…however, I served them with the homemade apple cider syrup and they were delicious!!)

You REALLY should try these...you'll love 'em!!
Blessings,
--Faithy

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A taste of fall...Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls!

Howdy friends…just thought I’d pop in to share a delicious recipe I tried this past weekend.  I came across the base recipe several weeks ago on a great blogsite called Knead to Cook, and I decided I had to try it!!  Each year I make some kind of baked goods to share with my family as we watch our local parade, and since the parade was last weekend, I thought it would be a good time to experiment.

My husband mixed up the dough while I was at work on Friday, and I rolled it out and added the filling, etc. when I got home.  We put it in the fridge overnight and on Saturday morning it was ready to bake and take to the parade.  They were a hit with everyone except my sister, who I consider a “picky eater”.  (Silly girl…she would have preferred regular cinnamon rolls without the pumpkin & spiced glaze.)

I adapted the recipe a bit (as always) to fit my preferences, so here it is.  Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Glazed Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls:
2-1/4 teaspoons active-dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (not hot or boiling - I recommend about 110°F - use a candy thermometer to test it)
2 cups bread flour, divided (all-purpose flour would work fine as well)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon Smart Sugar (you can also use Whey Low, or regular sugar if you prefer)
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree
1/2 cup warm skim milk (feel free to substitute whole, 1% or 2% according to preference - warmed to 110°F like the water)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Smart Balance Butter Blend sticks (or real butter), melted

Filling:
3 Tablespoons of Smart Sugar (again, feel free to use Whey Low, or regular sugar if you prefer)
3 Tablespoon brown sugar (or Whey Low Gold for a lower calorie option)
2 Tablespoons flour (any kind except “self-rising” will work)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons chilled Smart Balance Butter Blend sticks  (or real butter), cut into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Glaze:
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1-1/12 Tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preparation:
Dissolve yeast in warm water, in a small bowl covered with waxed paper, then let it sit for about 5 minutes to “proof”.  (The yeast should get foamy, so if it doesn’t, you’ll need to dump it and start over.)

Whisk together bread flour, whole wheat flour, sugar and salt.  Measure wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, milk and melted butter) into a separate bowl and whisk that together as well.

Layer ingredients into the bowl/pan of your bread machine in the following order:
        1.    yeast mixture
        2.    flour mixture (dry ingredients)
        3.    pumpkin mixture (wet ingredients)

Set bread machine on dough setting and let it mix everything for you.  (You can do this by hand if you want a workout!)  Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (by machine or by hand).  This dough may be a bit sticky.  If it is too difficult to work with, just add a little flour until it “feels right”.

Place the dough into a large greased bowl (you can use cooking spray if you want), and turn it to coat the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm draft-free area for approximately 45 minutes.  (You can let it finish the first rise in the bread machine if you want…I just like doing it in a bowl so it seems more like I’m doing it the old-fashioned way…LOL!)  Test the dough by gently pressing your finger into it.  If it bounces back, it’s ready.

Combine all filling ingredients, except pecans, in your food processor and pulse a few times until it is the texture of coarse sand.  (If you don’t have a food processor, just mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, and cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives.)  Remove from food processor and stir in chopped pecans, then set aside until your dough is ready.

This is the fun part!!

On a floured surface, punch down the dough and roll it into a large rectangle (approx. 12” x 10”).  Sprinkle with the filling mixture to cover.  (The recipe didn’t seem to have quite enough filling for my preference, so I just added additional brown sugar until the dough was evenly covered.)  Be sure to sprinkle the filling all the way to the edges so that no surface is left uncovered.

Ready to cover and refrigerate or leave out to rise...

Starting with a long edge, roll the dough up tightly, pressing firmly as you roll to eliminate air pockets.  Pinch seam and ends to seal, then using a serrated bread knife, cut the roll into 1-inch slices.  Place slices on a greased jelly-roll pan.  (Be sure to use a baking pan with sides - not a cookie sheet - because some of the filling may leak out during baking.)  At this point you can refrigerate overnight or set aside to rise again until approximately doubled in size.

Can you see how much they've grown?

(If you refrigerate them, be sure to set them out early the next morning so they will have time to rise before you want to bake them.  If you want to speed up the process, you can set your baking pan on top of a large pot of boiling water while they rise.  Just be sure to keep an eye on them so they just rise and don’t start cooking.  They will rise pretty fast this way.  Once they have doubled in size, they are ready to bake!)

While the cinnamon rolls are rising, you can mix up your glaze.  Just whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup.  (I mixed mine up the night before and set it in the fridge with the cinnamon rolls until morning.)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Bake the rolls at 375° for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow the rolls to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then drizzle with glaze and serve warm.  YUM!!!


Boy do these smell GOOD!!!


Please DO try this recipe…it’s got a great fall flavor, and the dough is REALLY easy to work with.  If you’ve never made homemade cinnamon rolls before, give it a try.  It’s really not that hard, and the results are soooooo worth it!

Be sure to stop by and thank Robin at Knead to Cook for the great recipe, and don’t forget to spend some time with those you love.  Until next time…
Blessings,
--Faithy

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yummy Soft Polenta!!

HOWDY friends…I’m back again, much sooner than usual I know, but I just had to pass this along before I forget.  We had 1/2 pound of polenta leftover from the other night, and wanted to use it up, so my husband decided to experiment.  What he came up with was delicious, so I decided to share it with you as well.

Sorry, but I didn’t think to get a picture before I gobbled it all up!  LOL!!  Oh well, I really think we’ll be doing a lot more experimenting with polenta in the days to come, so I’ll probably get another chance.

Scooter’s Soft Polenta
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 Tbsp. chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound polenta, coarsely chopped (as I mentioned before, I used Food Merchant Organic Polenta - Traditional Italian flavor)
1/2 to 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth (use as much or as little as you want, to make it the consistency you like)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or whatever seasonings you like)
1/8 tsp. sea salt (remember, the polenta already has some salt in it so you don’t want to use too much!  If you try my hubby’s diced sausage idea - see below - I’d probably leave it out altogether)
2 Campari tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp. fresh chives

Microwave the polenta in a small bowl for about 30 seconds (just to warm it up a little so it will be easier to mash) then mash well.  Meanwhile, sauté your onions and bell pepper in olive oil.  Add the mashed polenta to the hot pan and mix well.  Add the chicken broth and stir over medium heat until fully incorporated.  Add garlic powder & salt.  Once the liquid has absorbed a bit, stir in the diced tomatoes and cook just until they are fully warmed.  Stir in the chives (at the last minute) and serve immediately.

This made just enough for the two of us to have a nice dinner.  If you want more, feel free to use a whole pound of polenta, and just adjust amount of broth to get the consistency you want.  Adjust the other ingredients to suit your taste.

My husband served this with some sliced smoked sausage that he had sliced and browned in a skillet, then drained on paper towel to remove most of the grease.  He had planned to serve steamed broccoli with it as well, but forgot.  J  (I think he’s been around his wife too long!)  He said that next time he’ll probably dice the sausage and just stir it in with the onions and bell pepper in the beginning, and he’ll be sure to remember the broccoli.  Sounds good to me!

Really, if you haven’t tried polenta, YOU NEED TO!!  When you do, let me know what other interesting variations you come up with.  I’m in the mood to experiment!!

Happy Wednesday!
Blessings,
--Faithy

Monday, September 24, 2012

Polenta With Zucchini & Tomatoes

I found this recipe while thumbing through my October/November 2012 issue of Healthy Cooking Magazine.  It was listed as “Veggie-Topped Polenta Slices” on page 26.  I was looking for something simple after busy day of working in the yard, and this recipe fit the bill.

I actually had some polenta that I had been wanting to use, so I adapted the original recipe a bit (as always) to fit the other ingredients I had on hand.  My husband & I both gave it a thumbs up!  I hope you’ll give it a try as well, and let me know what you think.



Polenta With Zucchini & Tomatoes
1/2 tube polenta (1 pound tube), cut into 6 slices (I used Food Merchant’s Organic Polenta - Traditional Italian flavor - the original recipe called for 1 pound - a whole tube, cut into 12 slices - but I was cooking for 2 and figured this would be plenty)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided (a little less than 1 Tbsp. would be fine for cooking the polenta - I think next time I’ll just spray the slices with some EVOO rather than putting the oil directly in the pan - I may even try baking the polenta rather than pan-frying it)
1 medium tatuma squash, chopped (the original recipe called for zucchini, but I just used what I had - I think yellow squash - or a mix of squash - or even some white beans - would be good too)
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped (the original recipe called for 2 shallots, but I didn’t have any)
4 garlic cloves, minced (the original recipe called for 2 cloves, but I LOVE garlic!)
4 Tbsp. reduced-sodium chicken broth (the original recipe called for 3 Tbsp, but I used a little extra - why not?)
1/2 tsp. pepper (I really don’t know how much I used…I didn’t measure it, but this is how much the recipe called for)
1/8 tsp. salt (the polenta already has some salt in it, so don’t use too much!)
5 Campari tomatoes, chopped (the original recipe called for 4 plum tomatoes, seeded & chopped - again, I used what I had, and I NEVER seed them, too much trouble!)
4 slices Canadian bacon, diced (this was NOT in the original recipe…I just threw it in for fun...next time I think I might toss in a few mushrooms here too, just for good measure!  J)
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil (or 2 tsp. dried basil)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes)
shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese - to taste (The original recipe called for ½ cup, but I didn’t think we needed that much for the two of us!  I think grated Parmesan would be a good alternative too!)

In a large nonstick skillet, cook polenta in 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes per side, or until golden brown.  Remove from skillet and drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Meanwhile, in another large skillet, sauté onion in remaining oil until almost translucent, then add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute or two.  Stir in squash and cook until tender.  Add chicken broth, pepper & salt.  Bring to a boil, and cook until liquid is almost evaporated.

Stir in the Canadian bacon (this is where I’d add the mushrooms next time), and cook until just warm.  Add tomatoes, basil & parsley; heat through.

Serve over the polenta (3 slices per person) and sprinkle with as much cheese as you like.

With the 1/2 pound of polenta, this made just enough for the two of us, but you could use the full amount of polenta and stretch it to serve 4.  I would probably use 2 squash and another tomato or two to make 4 servings.

Praying that each person reading this will have a wonderful week!  Don’t forget to spend time with the ones you love.

Blessings,
--Faithy

Monday, September 3, 2012

Blackberry-Fig Baked Oatmeal - It’s What’s For Breakfast

Good morning friends!  Had to pop in and wish you all a wonderful Labor Day holiday.  I’m enjoying my day off at home, and wanted to share my latest recipe treasure with you.

If you haven’t “met” Ann Fulton over at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen, you really need to.  She’s got a great blog filled with all kinds of yummy recipes.  I came across her Peach Swirl Baked Oatmeal one day, and decided to give it a try.  Of course I was out of peaches, so I decided to improvise.  Both my husband and I loved it, so it’s become a “regular” menu item at our house.

I vary the fruit according to what I have on hand, and we’ve had nothing but success so far!  I made it once with blueberries, and another time with blueberries and peaches combined.  I normally use a total of 2 cups of fruit, but in this case, I used the full amount of blackberries, and just threw in some figs for good measure.  J  I think I’m going to try apples (my husband’s favorite) next time.

The neufchâtel cheese lends a decadent creaminess, and the broiled topping adds a wonderful crunchy sweetness, so don’t forget to add that part at the end!

Be sure to check out Ann’s original recipe posting at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen for lots of other variations on this yummy recipe, and be sure to tell her that Faithy sent you!  Check out her Facebook page when you get a chance too.

Blackberry-Fig Baked Oatmeal
2 cups skim milk (some places call it fat free now)
1 cup HEB Real Egg (or 4 eggs, lightly beaten)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh (or frozen) blackberries (I’m sure raspberries would be delicious too)
3/4 cup chopped fresh (or frozen) figs (I had some in the freezer from this year’s bumper crop!  If you don’t have any, just leave them out.)
3 cups old-fashioned oats
about 3 oz. (3 or 4 Tbsp.) softened neufchâtel  cheese (reduced fat cream cheese) - optional

TOPPING:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans (or almonds) - optional

Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet and preheat your oven to 375°F.  First, combine the brown sugar & pecans in a small bowl, and set aside for later.  Then combine everything else except the oats, & neufchâtel cheese in a large bowl.  Once everything is mixed well, stir in the oats.

Pour the mixture to your prepared skillet and distribute evenly (make sure the fruit doesn’t all end up lumped in one spot!).  Using your fingers or a small spoon, dot with the neufchâtel cheese (use as much or as little as looks good to you), then poke the cheese down into the batter so that it isn’t dry on top.
 
(At this point you can cover the whole thing with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight if your mornings are too hectic to put it together then.  Just be sure to take it out of the fridge and let it return to room temperature before you bake it.)


Bake for about 35 minutes or until just firm and set in the middle.  Then remove from the oven and switch your oven setting to broil.  Sprinkle the brown sugar & nut mixture over the top, and broil oatmeal until the sugar is melted and top is golden.

Watch it carefully…it will brown quickly and you don’t want to burn it!
 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes, then serve warm.  It’s delicious!!  The hardest part is waiting for it to cool before taking that first bite!


Happy Labor Day friends!  I hope you’ll get a chance to rest a bit from your normal daily labors, and spend some quality time with your family today.  That’s what I plan to do!

Prayer for the Day:  Lord, let me be a woman who counts her blessings, and let me serve you faithfully as I give You praise as the Giver of all good things.  You have richly blessed my life, and I am eternally grateful.  Let me, in turn be a blessing to all those who cross my path, and may I always remember to give all the glory to You!

Blessings,
--Faithy


Monday, May 28, 2012

Mmmmm...Carrot Cake Waffles...what a GREAT idea!

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. -- John 15:13 --

Good afternoon my friends...feeling extremely grateful this Memorial Day for the many freedoms I've been afforded through the blood and sacrifice of others...first and foremost, my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ...then the many men & women who have served so gallantly in our nation's military to protect those freedoms that most of us tend to take for granted each day.  THANK YOU will never be enough…


Thanks to Facebook, I recently came across a blog, called Willow Bird Baking:  Lessons in Life & Kitchen Confidence  by Julie Ruble.  I found this delicious-sounding recipe there (and you should see the mouth-watering pictures that go with it!), and since I had a day at home today (VERY unusual on a weekday), I decided to give it a try.  I’m posting the link to the recipe on Julie’s blog here.  However, as most of you know, I can never quite make a recipe exactly “as is”, sooooo...  J

For those of you who are interested, here are the changes I made…

Waffle Ingredients:
1.   I used 3 parts all-purpose flour to 1 part whole wheat flour.
2.   I halved the amount of salt.
3.   I used 1 part regular sugar and 1 part Smart Sugar.
4.   I reduced the nutmeg to by 25%.
5.   I was out of buttermilk, so I used fat free (skim) milk with vinegar.
6.   I used HEB Real Egg instead of the egg yolks.
7.    I omitted the raisins.
8.    As a TEXAS girl…I proudly used pecans in place of the walnuts.

Maple Nut Cream Cheese Spread Ingredients:
1.    I used fat free cream cheese.
2.    I used REAL maple syrup as called for and then added 1 Tbsp. pancake syrup for flavoring.
3.    Once again I substituted pecans for the walnuts.
4.    I added 3 Tbsp. powdered (confectioner’s) sugar.

Some of my family was out working on fences here in Zig Zag this morning (while I played in the kitchen), so I got a batch ready for them as a mid-morning snack.  Once the tasting began, I got “thumbs up” all around.

I didn’t serve them quite the way Julie did (no layered waffle “cakes” here)…just individual waffles with the spread on the side for folks to spread as little or as much as they wanted.  NOTE:  I halved the waffle recipe, but used the full recipe for the spread.  (I wanted to have some left to try on a bagel later!)  It’s a good thing…no one even wanted the syrup I offered with it…the spread was plenty good on it’s own!

Folks…you really should try these…they are SOOOOO GOOD!!!  I hadn’t ever actually taken the time to “bloom” my spices before, but I did that today.  What wonderful smells poured forth from my kitchen!!  It’s easy, and doesn’t take too much longer.  Try it!

I hope you are spending today with your family, and taking a minute to reflect on the high cost of the freedom we enjoy here in the United States of America…both our spiritual freedom, and our national freedom.


In the words of Ronald Reagan (from his 1986 Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery):  “Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again.  It’s a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others.  It’s a day to be with the family and remember…”
Remembering…
--Faithy

Friday, April 6, 2012

What's Cookin' for Easter

Good morning friends!  My heart is a bit heavy this morning as I ponder the crucifixion of my precious Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, but one thing is certain...Easter morning is coming, and death is overcome!  So grateful that He was willing to make such an amazing sacrifice for ME!  May I never forget, and may I always strive to honor Him in all that I say and do.

 
Those of you who know me personally, probably know that our family hosts a large Easter BBQ out in Zig Zag every year.  Up to 200 or so of our various family members and close friends come out to spend the day getting caught up, eating my brother's infamous ribs and more delicious potluck food than you can imagine.  This is all followed by rides for the kids on my brother's antique (1929 model) fire truck and an all out WAR with confetti eggs (known as cascaronés here in South Texas)
It's an all day affair, exhausting but wonderful.  I'm so blessed to have the treasure of a large, close-knit family!

Anyway, I'm not actually making this recipe this year, but for many years it has been one of my traditional offerings for the event.  Not sure when I started making it, but judging by the pictures I have, I’m guessing somewhere around 2002.
Mr. Bunny - 2002

We call it "Bunny Bread", and it's always a hit (if I have time to get it made!).  The first year I made it, I only made one, and the various kids ATTACKED it before any of the adults even had time to see it.  LOL!  It was G-O-N-E in a matter of seconds!  After that, I always make two loaves.  One for the kids, and one for the adults.  The children now have strict orders not to touch the adult one.  J
I came across the bread recipe many years ago in a Taste of Home magazine.  I added the spinach dip myself, using the old standby recipe on the back of the Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix packet.  You can leave yours as just plain bread, or fill it with any dip you want!  Be creative and make it your own, like I did.
Mr. & Mrs Bunny 2004
Faithy's Infamous Easter Bunny Bread
Adult's Bunny - 2003

2 loaves (1 pound each) frozen bread dough, thawed
2 raisins (I sometimes used dried cranberries to give that red-eyed rabbit look)
2 sliced almonds
1 egg, lightly beaten
lettuce leaves & various veggies for garnish
spinach dip (or dip recipe of your choice)

Cut a fourth off of one loaf of dough; shape into a pear to form the head.  For the body, flatten the remaining portion into a 7” x 6” oval; place on a greased baking sheet.  Place head above body.  Make narrow cuts, about ¾” deep, on each side of the head for whiskers.
Kids' Bunny - 2003
Cut the second loaf into four equal portions.  For ears, shape two portions into 16” ropes; fold ropes in half.  Arrange ears with open ends touching the head.  (Sometimes I make the ears floppy, sometimes standing tall…usually it’s based on whatever fits on my pan best!)  Cut a third portion of dough in half; shape each piece into a 3-1/2” oval for back paws.  Cut two 1” slits on the top edge for toes.  Position these pieces on each side, at the bottom of the body.

Divide the fourth portion of dough into three pieces.  Shape two pieces into 2-1/2” balls for the front paws; shape the remaining piece into two 1” balls for the cheeks and one ½” ball for the nose.  Place paws on each side of the body; cut two 1” slits for the toes.  Place cheeks and nose on face.

Add raisins for eyes and almonds for teeth.  (It’s funny, sometime as the bread bakes, it makes the “teeth” really crooked - sometimes the eyes come out a bit strange too - I think it gives each bunny it’s own personality!)
Brush dough with egg.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.  Bake at 350º F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Place bread on a lettuce-lined 16” x 13” serving tray (I just use the cookie sheet I bake it on).  Cut a 5” x 4” oval (or whatever size your bowl is) in the center of the body.  Hollow out the bread, leaving a ½-in. shell (discard removed bread or save for another use - I usually just cube it and set it out with everything else).  Line with lettuce and fill with dip.  (I generally just settle a bowl full of dip into it, so the bread doesn't get soggy.)
Bunny - in process 2005
(This one looked a bit surprised I think!)
Garnish the entire thing with additional lettuce and veggies (I use whatever veggies I have on hand - grape or cherry tomatoes and baby carrots work well.  I've also used sliced cucumbers or yellow & zucchini squash.)

It sounds complicated, but it’s really not.  With the store-bought bread dough, it’s amazingly simple.  I keep saying I’m going to try it with homemade dough one of these years, but I’m always short on time, so that hasn’t happened yet.  J

Anyway…gotta run, preparations for tomorrow’s big day are in full swing, and I’ve got lots to do!  I pray that each of you will be abundantly blessed this Easter weekend, and that you’ll be able to spend at least part of it with your family, like I do.  May we never forget all that Christ has done for us!

Wishing you a “Hoppy Easter”…and as always many blessings,
--Faithy

(NOTE:  Please excuse the photo quality…hope you can get the basic idea though.  Having a picture to work from really helps make sense of it all.)