Chorizo Wild Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

Looking for a super easy weeknight recipe? I’ve got your back. Although, I am going to make you run to the grocery store first. Unless you’ve already got some fresh chorizo on your hands? And you happened to pick up a zucchini last time? In that case, you’re probably covered because everything else in these is pretty standard. And actually the zucchini probably isn’t 100% necessary, but unless you’re vegetarian or something, you’re gonna want to add that chorizo.

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Stuffed peppers are one of those things that seem a little fancy, but are actually like the easiest thing ever. Throw some rice and fillings together, stuff said peppers, top with cheese (another optional, but obviously amazing addition) and bake for a bit. Done. I really appreciate dishes that are a complete meal in one item (protein, vegetables, grains), so even though a side salad might be nice with these, it’s totally not necessary.

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Honestly, I made these a while ago, and I think I just convinced myself to make them again. Like tomorrow, perhaps.

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Chorizo Wild Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers 

Adapted from Thug Kitchen 

Makes 8 stuffed peppers

1 1/2 cups Wild Rice

1 large Tomato

1 large Carrot

1 Zucchini

1/2 a Yellow Onion

4 cloves Garlic

1 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tsp Dried Oregano

1 tsp Dried Thyme

1 tsp Paprika

2 cups Water

1 tbsp Sherry or Red Wine Vinegar

Juice of 1 Lemon

4 fresh Chorizo Sausages

Salt & Pepper, to taste

4 large Bell Peppers (red, yellow, or orange)

1/2 – 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese (optional)

1. Rinse the rice in a mesh strainer. Put tomato in a food processor or blender and puree until completely liquid. Chop carrot, zucchini, and onion into small pieces.

2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Add carrot, zucchini, garlic, oregano, thyme, and paprika and cook for another minute. Add the rice, pureed tomato, and water. Add in a pinch of salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked and liquid is absorbed.

3. Meanwhile, remove chorizo from the casings and fry in a medium pan over medium heat (like ground beef) until cooked. Set aside.

4. When the rice is done, add the sherry/red wine vinegar and the lemon juice, plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir and taste, adding more seasoning as needed.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

6. Chop bell peppers in half and remove stems/seeds. Spoon mixture into pepper halves, filling a little over the top. Sprinkle mozzarella on top. Place stuffed peppers in a greased baking dish, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes until cheese is golden brown and peppers are starting to soften. Serve warm.

Kale and Pomegranate Salad with Apple Cinnamon Vinaigrette

I’m usually one of those people who struggles to actually like eating salad. Or maybe it’s not that I don’t like salad, it’s just that I would rather be eating something else. In order to overcome this slight issue, I am constantly looking for salads that are easy, but also different and exciting. This salad is the  perfect example.

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I love kale, but it can be a little hard to base a whole salad on it, because it’s kind of on the bitter side. This sweeter dressing, along with the added fruit, balance out the bitterness and it’s perfect. This salad would be amazing for a festive meal, but it’s also a good one if you just want to switch up your daily lunch routine. Also, the pecan parmesan is kind of brilliant if you’re vegan, but it’s a yummy, salty, extra even if you’re not.

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Kale and Pomegranate Salad with Apple Cinnamon Vinaigrette 

Serves 4 to 6

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook 

For the Pecan Parmesan:

1/2 cup Pecans, toasted

1 1/2 tsp Nutritional Yeast

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

For the Dressing:

3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tbsp + 1 tsp Lemon Juice

2 tbsp Pure Maple Syrup

1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tbsp Unsweetened Applesauce

1/2 tsp Fresh Ginger, peeled & minced

To Assemble:

1 bunch Kale, destemmed & leaves torn to bite size pieces

1 Apple, Cored & finely chopped

1/4 cup Dried Cranberries

1/2 cup Pomegranate Arils (about 1/2 a pomegranate)

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread pecans out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine the toasted pecans, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and salt and work into a crumble. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl or dressing container, whisk (or shake the container) the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, olive oil, applesauce, and ginger until well combined.

4. Place the kale, chopped apples, dried cranberries, and pomegranate arils in a large salad bowl and top with dressing. Alternatively, you can portion out the ingredients to make smaller salads. Sprinkle pecan parmesan over salad before serving.

Gift Guide: Valentine’s Gifts for Him

Gift Guide: Valentine's Gifts for Him
As a follow up to my post on Valentine’s Gifts for Her, I decided to put together a little gift guide for the men in our lives. While I admittedly did not consult any men in the making of this, for whatever reason I feel like I have a good idea of the things they like to receive. Most guys that I know don’t tend to treat themselves very often, so Valentine’s Day is a good time to do it for them. You want to make them feel stylish, pampered, and loved.
You can’t go wrong with a comfy flannel, and if your guy has a record player, a record can be a really thoughtful gift that he’ll appreciate. This body wash smells amazing – I bought it once at a local beauty boutique, but it keeps selling out!
ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR / FIVE / SIX / SEVEN / EIGHT / NINE

Gift Guide: Valentine’s Gifts for Her

Valentine's Gifts: For Her
Do you feel like you either have to love or hate Valentine’s Day? I have a date this year, but I’ve been single for a few years before this one and I’ve honestly never disliked the holiday. It’s a good excuse to eat food in the shape of hearts and wear pink and to treat your loved ones (or yourself!) Valentine’s Day gifts are usually pretty cheesy (maybe even kind of lame) so I rounded up a few cute things that girls would actually like.
This Chloe perfume is my ultimate favourite – it’s a light and feminine, but the scent lasts, and the bottle is just so pretty. I’ve been thinking about buying a few lacy things, and this Free People bralette looks comfortable and sexy. I’m obsessed with David’s Tea, and this blend of Earl Grey Tea with chocolate and rose petal sounds perfect for Valentine’s Day and I’m going to go and buy it for myself immediately.
ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR / FIVE / SIX / SEVEN / EIGHT / NINE

Sweet Corn and Green Chile Baked Flautas

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I keep craving Mexican lately! Seriously, I’ve been eating an avocado a day for like two weeks,  I’m always in the mood for tacos, and I found myself daydreaming about a margarita today. Maybe I’m subconsciously needing a vacation? I don’t have any plans to head to Mexico any time soon, but I am going to Hawaii (to visit family) in a few weeks, and I honestly can barely wait. I know I was on vacation for like two months in the summer, but I really feel in need of a beach to sit on, ya know?

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Have you ever heard of a flauta? I hadn’t, before these, but they’re basically the same thing as a taquito. My mom used to buy boxes of taquitos in high school, which were delicious, but also probably terrible for me. These guys are much more healthy, but equally yummy. They would be a perfect appetizer if you’re having some friends over, or you could have them as an entree, perhaps with a little salad.

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Sweet Corn and Green Chile Baked Flautas

Makes 12 Flautas, using Standard Flour Tortillas

Adapted from Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give A F*ck

1 tsp Olive Oil

1 cup Yellow Onion, diced (about 1/2 an onion)

2 tsp Chili Powder

3/4 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Salt

4 – 5 cloves Garlic, minced

3 cups Pinto Beans, canned or cooked

1 4 oz can Mild Green Chiles

Juice of 1/2 a Lime

1 cup Sweet Corn Kernels

1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated

12 Flour Tortillas (I used whole wheat)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a large cooking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Add in the chili powder, cumin, salt, and garlic, stir to combine, and cook for about another minute. Remove from heat.

3. Throw the beans, green chiles, and lime juice into a large mixing bowl. Mash together using a potato masher of the back of a fork. It’s okay if there are some whole beans left – texture is good! Fold in the sautéed onion mixture, the corn, and the grated cheese, combining well.

4. Warm the tortillas in your microwave. Spoon about 2 heaping tbsp of the bean filling and spread in a nice line on the left side of the tortilla from top to bottom. Roll the tortilla up from left to right, then place seam-side-down on the baking sheet, keeping about an inch between each flauta. Repeat with remaining tortillas and beans.

5. Lightly coat flautas with some cooking spray (or brush with a little olive oil) and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the flautas over, then return to oven and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes under both sides are crispy and golden brown. Serve warm, preferably with some delicious homemade guac.

100 Posts + Some Questions.

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Did you guys see this NY Times Article? I read a lot of random articles online and get pretty much nothing from them, but I was really intrigued by this one. While I was obviously tempted to force my boyfriend into a super long, awkward, lets-tell-eachother-everything conversation, I decided it was probably best to let things play out naturally.

A few of my favourite bloggers decided to answer some of the questions themselves, though, and I thought I would do the same. It just so happened that this is officially the 100th post on Sweet Mayberry (and more than 100 of you are now following along), so sharing a little more about myself here seemed appropriate. If you have your own blog, I’d love to see you answer these questions too – comment with a link!

Would you like to be famous? In what way?

It would be cool to be mildly recognizable, I think. There would definitely be perks, but I’m not the type of person who enjoys being the centre of attention, and I don’t think I would like going out in public and having people watching what I do/say/wear 100% of the time.

Before making a telephone call, do you rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

No… Most people who I talk to on the phone, I know pretty well (family or good friends) so I would really have no reason to.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

Okay, I’m going to get a little cheesy here… The thing is I could probably think of 100 examples of different perfect days in as many different countries doing crazy, fun things – but I’m also ridiculously happy with where I am in life right now, so this is the perfect kind of day that isn’t actually that unrealistic. It would include cuddling with my boyfriend, brunch with the girls, playing with my nieces and nephews, and maybe getting a pedicure or something. I would get to spend time with everyone I love, I would eat delicious food, and it would be un-rushed and lovely.

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or the body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want??

I think this question is weird, and maybe I’m reading into it too much, but I’m not under the impression that all 90 year olds have lost their minds. I mean, they’re probably all a bit forgetful, but I know plenty of old people who are perfectly sane. So assuming that I’ll be (mostly) sane at 90, I’ll take the body. And not just for looks – a 30 year old body is a lot less painful and much more mobile than a 90 year old one. Plus, if I get to keep all my organs the same too, I would be 100% healthy at 90. Okay, I’m probably thinking about this too much.

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful?

I feel pretty lucky in all areas of my life, honestly. I have a supportive family, siblings that I can call friends, the best girlfriends I could possibly imagine, a boyfriend who I adore, a dream job that I love, and a nice apartment in a great city. I’m young, and I kind of feel like life is an open road and I can take it wherever I want. It’s a pretty good feeling.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

A natural athletic ability. I’m embarrassingly awkward and uncoordinated, and it would be so nice to be able to just be good at whatever sport/activity I tried to do.

Is there something you have dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

So many things… I want to backpack around India and Nepal. I want to go scuba diving. I want to volunteer my nursing skills to help babies in a third world country. I want to own a dog. I want to learn to make pottery. I want to ride a hot air balloon. I want to learn a second language (and a third/fourth). I want to hike the Inca trail. I want to get married and buy a house and have a bunch of babies. The timing just hasn’t been right yet – but it will be.

What does friendship mean to you?

Friendship means a lot of things… but the biggest one for me is loyalty. It’s having someone there who you can call/text about anything, who you can be both 100% ridiculous with and 100% serious with, depending on the situation, someone who understands you and accepts your flaws. It’s also being honest with each-other (even if it’s not what the other person wants to hear).

Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

Funny, intelligent, kind, trust-worthy, and tall.

How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

We’re pretty close. My family had it’s issues while I was growing up, but I had a very happy childhood. Now, I wish I saw my parents and siblings more often, but I talk to most of them very often and holidays are always warm and lovely.

Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

This question makes me realize how few things I own with actual value… Assuming my vehicle doesn’t count (even though it would, because it’s parked under my building), probably my laptop. It would be a serious pain to lose, and it’s the most expensive thing I could grab… (my poor new couch).

 

Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Caramelized Onions

Okay… if the name of this post didn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will. Butternut Squash, Ricotta Cheese, and the most perfect Caramelized Onions piled into some nice, thick toast. Oh, and there’s maple syrup. And a bit of spice, too. This is seriously the most brilliant combination of some of my favourite ingredients – completely unexpected, but so amazing. Easy enough for a weekday lunch, but fancy enough to serve guests.

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Out of curiosity… Are any of you guys preparing for this blizzard that is hitting the Northeastern US? I mentioned last week that it’s been an uncharacteristically warm January in Calgary, but on Saturday I was walking to go for lunch, and even I was shocked to see multiple patios full. We’re pretty used to freezing temperatures and crazy amounts of snow, but we certainly know how to take advantage of warmer weather. Anyway, stay safe, if you’re in the blizzard zone – if I were you, I would probably spend my day making soup, but these winter-y squash toasts could be a perfect choice too.

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Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Caramelized Onions

Adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen, via NYTimes Cooking

Serves 4 as a Main, 8 as an Appetizer

1 2 1/2 – 3 lb Butternut Squash (or other yellow squash), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Dried Chile Flakes

3 tsp Kosher Salt

1 Yellow Onion, peeled & thinly sliced

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 Maple Syrup

4 Slices Whole Wheat Country Bread, sliced 1-inch thick

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese

Coarse Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1. Heat oven to 450. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare butternut squash, then toss in a bowl with 3 tbsp olive oil, chile flakes, and 2 tsp salt. Transfer squash to prepared baking sheet, then roast in oven until soft – about 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add vinegar and syrup and reduce heat slightly. Cook, stirring, until mixture is very soft and jammy.

3. Remove the squash from the oven, and pile the onion mixture on top of the squash, still on the baking sheet. Smash squash and onions together with the back of a fork and roughly combine.

4. Toast your bread – if it’s too thick for the toaster, put it in the oven on broil for a couple minutes.

5. Spread ricotta on toasts in a thick layer, then pile on the squash/onion mixture. Sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot.

Apple Walnut Baked Oatmeal

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Random fact about me: I eat oatmeal, in some variation, almost every day. It’s just so filling, healthy, and delicious. Seriously, sitting on the couch eating a bowl of oatmeal and drinking some coffee with almond milk is the most ideal start to my day. Can you believe I didn’t have a single oatmeal post up until now? (Neither can I.)

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Most mornings, I’ll just microwave some oats with almond milk and whatever fruit/nuts I feel like, but sometimes I like to switch it up with something like overnight oats, or a different grain (like quinoa or buckwheat porridge), or steel cut oats. Or a baked oatmeal like this one, which is especially ideal because I can make it at the beginning of the week, and reheat some every morning – super easy and quick which is essential if you’re in a rush or just super slow to wake up, like I am.

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PS – If you haven’t been following me/you don’t know about The Oh She Glows Cookbook, you seriously need to go buy it. So much healthy recipe inspiration! You can thank me later. Also! Did you know that it’s apparently National Breakfast Week? It’s almost like I planned that… (I didn’t.)

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Apple Walnut Baked Oatmeal

Serves 6

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook 

2 1/4 cup Rolled Oats

2 tbsp Coconut Sugar

2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ginger

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

1/2 tsp Ground Sea Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce

1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 or 3 Apples, peeled, cored, & diced

1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, sea salt, and baking powder.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.

4. Pour the liquid mixture into the oats and stir to combine, then fold in the chopped apples.

5. Pour the oatmeal into your prepared casserole dish, using a spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts, gently pressing them into the oatmeal.

6. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, under the mixture is getting bubbly around the edges and the apples are tender. Serve warm, scooped into dishes and topped with almond milk and maple syrup. Oatmeal will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 5 or 6 days or in the freezer for 2 – 3 weeks.

Chalkboard Spice Jars

Hi, friends! I thought I’d shared a quick little project with you today… I say quick, because in reality it took less than a few hours to complete, but would you believe me if I told you that I’ve been living with spices in unlabelled jars for the last six months?

See, I had good intentions. When I moved into my new apartment, I was aware that I had to do something about the giant bag of spices in a million different containers. So I went to ikea, and I bought some jars, and I put all the little bags of spices into their own pretty, matching jars. I was supposed to go out and buy chalkboard paint and a pen and label them way back in September. Then somehow, I got busy and forgot/got lazy and there were multiple times that I looked at the cayenne, paprika, and chili powder and had absolutely NO IDEA which one was which. Surprisingly, I did not have any cooking disasters as a result of this (thank you, good sense of smell). All of a sudden it was January and I was driving by the craft store and I this big wave of productivity hit me and I finally bought the supplies and went home and labelled those silly jars. And they turned out so lovely – why on earth did it take me so long to do it?!

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If you are like I was, and your spice drawer/cupboard is a mess, or your spice rack is 10 years old and could use some refreshing, then I would really recommend you set aside a night in the next week or so and tackle this one.

Right now I have this little rolling kitchen cart, and the spices occupy their own little shelf, but I have visions of making wall rack/shelf for them in the future, when I have a bit more wall space in my kitchen. They’re seriously pretty enough to be displayed! You could use any little jar that you like, but I’m a fan of the ikea ones because they’ve got an opening that is wide enough for a teaspoon, and because they’ve got two flat surfaces so that I can display them in different ways. I used black chalkboard paint, but you could really buy any colour that you like – I was thinking white paint with some sort of pastel chalk would be really cute!

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Supplies:

Spice Jars (I used these ones, from Ikea)*

Chalkboard Paint

Paint Brush

Chalk Pen, or thin Chalk

1. Paint a thin coat of chalkboard paint over the lid of your spice jar. Let dry for one hour, and then paint over with a second coat. Let dry overnight.

2. Use a chalkboard pen or chalk to label each spice jar.

3. Using a small funnel, pour each spice into it’s own labelled jar. Seal and display.

*I’m using about 25 jars right now, but I think you should individually determine what spices you use/need, and figure out how much you have room for. I bought some extra jars for when I have more space!

Chili Lime Chicken Burgers & Homemade Buns

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Burgers always remind me of summer. Barbecue season, camping, etc. And even though it’s the middle of January, it’s been uncharacteristically warm in Calgary, so burgers (and even barbecuing, if I had one) are actually super reasonable. Even when they’re flavoured with lime and spices, making them even more summer-y. I think I need to buy a barbecue soon here, now that I think about it.

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These burgers are ridiculously easy, super light and healthy, and so, so flavourful. The buns, of course, take a little more work, but sometimes I just find myself in the mood to knead dough, you know? It’s actually kind of therapeutic (I can’t be the only one who feels this way…) If you’re not crazy , though, you could definitely just buy buns at the store, or even wrap these in some lettuce for an even lighter option.

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Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

Makes Four Burgers 

Adapted from Against All Grain

1 lb Ground Chicken

1/4 cup Red Onions, diced

1/4 cup Red Bell Peppers, diced

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tbsp Fresh Cilantro, minced

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 cup Lime Juice

1/4 tsp Red Chile Flakes

For serving: homemade buns, sliced avocado or guacamole, sliced tomato, mayonnaise, romaine lettuce, pepper jack cheese

1. Saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft.

2. Place all of the ingredients, including the cooked onion mix, in a medium bowl and use your hands to combine well. Divide and shape the meat into four patties.

3. On a barbecue or grill pan, cook for 6 minutes on each side, over medium heat, or until internal temperature registers 175 degrees.

4. Serve, and top with anything you like (but the avocado is super necessary!!)

Homemade Burger Buns

Makes 8 Burger Buns

Adapted from The Kitchn

1 tbsp Active-Dry Yeast

1/2 cup Warm Water

1/2 cup 2% Milk

1 large Egg

2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 tbsp White Sugar

1 tsp Salt

3 cups All Purpose Flour

1 tbsp Unsalted Butter

1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast dissolves.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture, and whisk to combine. Add all of the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until it is roughly combined.  Take out the dough, and knead for 10 minutes, flouring your hands/working surface as necessary. The finished dough should be smooth, slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.

3. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm spot for about an hour until doubled in size.

4. Place the dough back on your floured work surface and divide the dough into 8 pieces, shaping each into a tight ball. Transfer the dough balls to a baking sheet and let rise until puffy and hamburger-sized, about 30 – 45 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns. Bake the buns until nice and golden, about 15 – 18 minutes. Allow buns to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving. Buns will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for a month or two.