December 2, 2008

Creamy (or not) Vegetable Soup

This is one of our favorite soups, partly because it tastes so good and partly because it is so easy.
The recipe as is makes 4 servings, so I doubled it last time and then put a bag of soup in my freezer.

The Creamy Way (your veggies can be cubed pretty large)
1 Turnip, peeled and cubed
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 carrot, cut in chunks
1 celery stick, cut in pieces, leave the greens on
1 small onion, quartered
2 Tb tomato paste or 1 large tomato
2 tsp salt
5 Cups water
1 Tb vegetable bouillon
Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a pot, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until veggies are soft about 45 min. DO NOT drain. Blend in blender.

The Chunky Way (as the picture shows)
My husband much prefers chunky soup, so I cut my veggies smaller, then I cooked it the same. Instead of blenderizing all of the soup I only put about half in the blender, lightly pureed it then added it back in.

This was delicious with homemade rolls. My girls loved it!

Whole Wheat Rolls

So I have tried, rather unsuccessfully, in the past, to make some really good whole wheat rolls that do not have a lot of butter in them. I confess my favorite whole wheat recipe calls for 8 sticks of butter and yes they taste good, but I think you lose the 'healthy' part with all that butter.
So here goes our favorite healthy whole wheat rolls. To get it to fit in my KitchenAid I halve the recipe.
Note: These were quick to about an hour total.

Mix and rest 15 min:
3 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 c sucanat or 1/2 c honey
1 cup Olive oil
6 Tb Yeast

Then add:
1 Tb salt
10 1/2 c whole wheat flour
3 eggs (or energy egg replacer or 3 Tb ground flax mixed with 3/4 cup water)
3 Tb vital wheat gluten or you can use Dough Enhancer

Knead for about 5 minutes. Shape into rolls, cover and let rise until double (30min-1 hour). Bake 425' for 10-12 minutes.
One more thing- I used this recipe to make cinnamon rolls and they were good as well.

**** a few notes about eggs*** after reading books like 'The Omnivore's Dilemma" and then realizing there was no way we could raise our own healthy chickens, my husband an I did some research; This is where our opinion now stands... after doing some reading and then taste testing we have decided that buying Cage-free eggs really does make a difference. We are able to get a dozen cage-free brown eggs at Sam's club for about $2.20. We don't eat very many eggs maybe about 18 a month, but I do believe a small amount of eggs are good for us when used sparingly.

November 17, 2008

Magelby's Muffins

Anyone who has lived in Utah has probably eaten here and they have delectably good rolls and muffins. Here is a recipe for their muffins, healthified of course. I will write in the recipe as I have it, but in parenthesis I'll write in my variations.
I usually complain that whole wheat muffins are too dry, these are anything but. They are super moist.
Apparently the real secret to the muffins is the "secret caramel nut topping"; out of laziness I didn't do it and the muffins were still great!

Magelby's Muffins

Cream:
10 TB butter (I used some butter and some coconut oil- the coconut gives great flavor)
1 1/4 cup honey (I used about 3/4 C Sucanat and 1/2 c Honey)

Add in:
2 eggs
1 Tb Vanilla

Add and blend until creamy:
1 1/2 Tb Baking Powder
1/2 Tb Salt
1 1/3 C Whole Wheat Flour

Add and stir until lumpy:
2 cups each, rice milk and whole wheat flour

Fold in one of the variations below:
Blueberry or Raspberry: 1 cup fresh or frozen
Pumpkin Carob Chip: Substitute 1 cup pumpkin for 1/2 c milk; add 1/2 Tb cinnamon, 1 tsp cloves, and 1 cup carob chips
Lemon Poppy Seed: substitute 1/2 c lemon juice for 1/2 c milk, add 1 Tb poppy seeds
Carrot Raisin: substitute 1 c grated carrots for 1/2 milk, add 1/2 c raisins
Banana Nut: substitute 1 c mashed banana for 1/2 c milk, add 1/2 c chopped nuts
Zucchini: substitute 1 c grated zucchini for 1/2 c milk, add 1/2 c chopped nuts

Pour into greased muffin tins. (I filled them 2/3 thinking they would rise, but they didn't so go ahead and fill them) It makes about 2 dozen. Sprinkle warm "secret caramel nut topping" over each.
Bake 350' for 12 minutes, then turn down oven to 250' and bake 12-14 minutes more. When they are just firm to the touch they are done.

"Secret Caramel Nut Topping"
Saute until bubbly:
4 Tb butter
1/2 c honey
Add and simmer 1 minute:
1 cup chopped nuts
1 Tb cinnamon
Spoon warm nut topping over muffins before baking.

As I said, they didn't rise like I expected, but they were so moist and sweet, that I didn;t mind. Next time I am going to try the lemon poppy seed variation.

November 12, 2008

Pumpkin, Zucchini or Banana Bread

I have found this recipe to be very versatile and we just love it. The last batch I made I used the pumpkin recipe but added 3 cups of zucchini as well as the pumpkin- Super Yummy!
(I would also like to try adding some grated carrot or other squash)

Pumpkin Bread
1 cup honey
4 eggs
1/3 c oil + 1/3 c applesauce
1 (16 oz) can pureed pumpkin
2/3 c water
3 1/3 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each of cinnamon and ground cloves
Chopped nuts and chopped prunes (the prunes look and feel like chocolate chips)

Cream honey and eggs. Add other wet ingredients. Add dry stuff and mix well. Bake in 350 oven for 1 hour in greased bread pans. Small pans take about 45 minutes.

Zucchini Bread
Same as above, only substitute 3 cups of zucchini for pumpkin and add 2 tsp. vanilla.

Banana Bread

Same as above, only substitute 3-4 mashed bananas for pumpkin.

November 8, 2008

How do you afford to eat this way?

I get asked this question a lot. I have become more and more disenchanted with traditional grocery stores. So much of the food that they offer I don't want in my home, let alone my body. I have really started to look for alternative ways to buy food. I thought I would share a little of what I have found. I am sure some of you have some great tips as well, and I hope you will share them in the comments.

A garden is the best way to get fresh fruits and vegetables economically. Plus it allows you to know exactly how they were produced and the level of chemicals used. I recently discovered a great book called Four Seasons Harvest. The author, Eliot Coleman, lives in main so I know his tips should work in my cold climate. I hope to get someone to help me build some of the cold frames.... However, in all honesty I am not a very good Gardner. I am working on it and get a little better every year. This year I actually got at least one of everything that I planted (with the exception of Butternut squash, I just couldn't save them from the silly snails).

What is the alternative for those of us that aren't great gardners? A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which provides a mutually beneficial arrangement between farmers and consumers. People join by purchasing a "share" of produce pre-season, then pick up their weekly produce from a central drop point in their area during the harvest season.
CSA Benefits for the farmer? When signing up, you dedicate yourself to being a customer for the season, providing the farmer a secure market. CSAs enable farms to share the risk and abundance of producing food with the consumer, resulting in a more direct and rewarding link between farmer and community. (Payment in the Spring also provides cash to the farmer when it is needed most. )
CSA Benefits for the shareholder? No more guessing where your food comes from! Members receive a weekly supply of diverse produce with "the farmer’s face on it." You can talk with the farmer, and many offer opportunities to visit the farms. Your produce is harvested and delivered directly to you, generally via a drop–off point, ensuring the freshest produce with a high nutritional value. You also get the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a local farm. I found the ones in my area by going to http://www.slowfoodusa.org/ then clicking on my state and following the links. I found out about these too late to be able to join last year, but I am already working on which I will join for next year. The cost was a little daunting to me to start with, so I broke it down and started setting aside some money so this year I will have enough saved to be able to pay for my share up front. Then I can save what I would have spent on produce to be able to pay for next years share. Where I am, the CSA's generally go from June-October, some areas may be longer or shorter depending on the growing season.

Farmers Markets are another great alternative. I followed the same links to find out about the farmers markets in my area. However, the early bird gets the worm at most Farmers Markets. I am not an early bird so I didn't fare very well. Hopefully I will improve at that as well.

Food Co-ops are another great way to get your food. I have friends that have found amazing food co-ops in their areas, Here we only have one and it isn't as nice as the others I have heard about, but still better than nothings. Food co-ops work like this, a group of people get together to order in bulk and share the work and the benefits of bulk buying. You can find local co-ops through the same link above.

What if there aren't any co-ops in your area? See if you can start your own. Start talking to everyone you know. See if they would be interested in splitting large orders of things. You can buy a 50 pound bag of flax seed for much cheaper than buying it in single pound bags. Then divide it up. I have ordered from a few different companies locally, but I think my new favorite is Azure Standard. They have an amazing selection and really reasonable shipping if you are willing to meet the truck at their drop point. In my area, if our order is over $200 then shipping is only $5. I have had no problem finding $200 worth of food that I want, and it is even easier if you have a group that wants to split a few items. I am ordering bulk grains and beans, as well as seasonings this month. I hope to start ordering from them every other month or so. They have specials every month as well. Ordering is very simple, you can do it by phone or online. I personally hate using the phone so I use the online method. It was very simple and they also allow you to change your order up until a few days before it ships. They ship on a rotating schedule so that each delivery area gets one delivery a month. They deliver to the following states Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. I think they will ship UPS to areas they don't drive to.

There are several other companies you can order through. If you start asking around, you will be surprised how many people might be interested in sharing bulk items. As you start to ask around you will find others who are interested in the same type of orders. They will let you know about deals they have found and it will start to snowball. I started asking around in August, and I have already started to find a network of people who are interested in sharing bulk buys. We have bought Honey, Almonds, Agave nectar and several different grains and legumes to share this way.


Buying in bulk may be intimidating at first, but once you start it is a wonderful way to always have a wide variety of grains and other items on hand at a more affordable price. Sharing with others allows you to try new things and find out what your family loves, and what they don't love so much... Sharing also increases your resources for new recipes and tips from the people you share with.

I hope this helps someone. If you have any questions, be sure to ask and I will answer as best I can!

November 5, 2008

Veggie Lasagana!

I have tried many a veggie lasagna recipes and this one is far superior!. The consistency was good and it tasted delicious, all of us had seconds, even Afton and Madelyn.

(Makes on 9x13) (I actually halved the original recipe, so you could easily double it and freeze one for later.)

1 Pkg. whole wheat lasagna noodles

Mock Ricotta Filling:
1 (10 oz) box Firm Tofu
1 Tb olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tb. Parmesan Cheese (I like buying the grateable kind, it has much better flavor and you can use less)
1 Tb. Parsley Flakes

Veggie Filling:
1 cloves garlic, crushed (I actually just sprinkled in powder)
2 Tb. olive oil
2-3 cups grated Zucchini
1 cup fresh or frozen Spinach (if you use frozen, thaw a little)
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp. salt and pepper
2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes

1 (8oz) can tomato sauce

Cook only 1/3 of your noodles (so probably 4) for the top layer of lasagna, leave the rest uncooked. (Sounds weird but worked great). Layer ingredients in lasagna pan. First put about 1/4 cup of tomato paste on the bottom. Then place a layer of noodles (3), then veggie filling, then Ricotta filling and repeat.. Top with a layer of noodles (the ones that are already cooked), some tomato sauce sprinkled over with a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and Parsley flakes. Bake covered at 375' for 50-60 minutes, uncover and bake 5 more minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
SUPER YUMMY!

If you have never used Tofu, give it a try. It takes on the flavor of whatever you are making so it works well in a lot of things. It is a healthier alternative to cheese in this recipe.

October 24, 2008

Cafe Rio- Healthified!

This recipe is for the Cafe Rio salad or Burrito, even though it looks like a lot of work it isn't too bad and you end up with a ton of leftovers- so it's worth trying.

Salad:
Warm whole grain tortillas (just buy these, it took me a lot of practice to make them well)
Sweet Lime Cilantro Rice
Black Beans
1 head romaine lettuce or salad greens, shredded

Toppings:
Diced Tomatoes
Guacamole
Tortilla Strips
Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

THE RECIPE
Sweet Lime Cilantro Rice
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups brown rice
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tb. each of lime juice, Vegenaise and honey
1 Tb. Cilantro

Stir ingredients in rice cooker, press on. Or cook on stove for 45 minutes or until tender.

Black Beans
2 cups dry black beans
5 cups water
1/2 Tb salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 onion diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 Tb Cumin

Pre- soak black beans according to package, then rinse them, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer 3-4 hours until tender.

Black Beans (QUICK)
2 cans black beans, drained
1 cup tomato salsa or stewed tomatoes
1 Tb Cumin

Warm and serve.

Guacamole (our favorite way)
1-2 ripe avocados, mashed
salt, pepper to taste
1-2 Tb. lemon juice or lime juice

Mix and enjoy.

Tortilla Strips
Slice corn tortillas in 1/3" strips and cut in half lengthwise. Spread thinly on cookie sheet and toast in 350 degree oven 10-12 minutes. Serve (they keep well in Ziploc for a few weeks)

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
If you really like this dressing, make the whole batch and use it on other salads and in Shrimp Tacos.
1 cup ranch dressing (3 cups Vegenaise, 1 lemon squeezed, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tb parsley)
1 (12 ounce) can Tomatillos drained, then pureed (found with Mexican food, look like green tomatoes)
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne or hot pepper sauce

Measure ingredients into a large liquid measuring cup. Blend with hand blender and enjoy.
I use this dressing for a lot of things as well as the extra Ranch, so it's worth making the 3 cups of Ranch first.

Vegenaise- this is also referred to as healthy mayo, it looks and tastes a lot like mayo, but way healthier. It is found in the health food section in the cooler, by like the Tofu and soy cheeses and comes in a jar. The jars are great for storing the extra dressing in.



September 30, 2008

Wheat Thins



I made these with friend. I was surprised how easy they were to make.


Ingredients

1 1/4 c whole wheat flour

1 1/2 T sugar

1/2 t salt (+ more for dusting the top if desired)

1/4 t paprika

4 T butter

1/4 c water


Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in the butter until it is pea sized. Add the water and knead until smooth (like play dough)
Preheat oven to 400

Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Keep the other pieces covered while you work with one.

Dust work surface with flour and roll into a square (I am not talented enough to make a square) Roll to about 1/16 of an inch thick. Cut into strips using a pizza or rotary cutter (a knife will work too)
Place on a lined baking tray and bake 7 minutes or until starting to brown. Mine took 10 minutes, but watch closely. They are so thin they can burn quickly.
I sprinkled salt only over half of the crackers. The salt is only necessary if you are going to eat them plain. If you add a topping I don't think you need to add salt.

Butternut Squash Soup


This was so yummy! I ate all of the leftovers by myself. Just thinking about it makes me want to make it again.
Ingredients:
1 butternut squash
1/2 c chopped onion (I used 2 T dried minced onion)
2 cans chicken stock (4 cups)
1/2 t marjoram
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/8 t cayenne pepper
8 oz cream cheese.
Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Brush with olive oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast in oven 30 minutes at 350. Once roasted, remove from skin. You can do this several days in advance it that is easier.
Blend squash and cream cheese in blender or food processor until smooth.
Place in large pot and use whisk to combine with remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, not a full boil and serve.
If you want this soup to be truly smooth, I would also blend the onions with the squash. You could even blend the whole lot up in your blender if you wanted!
Delicious! We served it with fresh bread and it was an awesome meal. I totally loved it. I think you could leave the cream cheese out, it just wouldn't be as rich.

September 25, 2008

Calzones

Super yummy! I made both sauces (the white and red), because I wanted white and Rich wanted a red sauce. This was easy and good.

Bread Recipe:

2 c warm water
3 tb. dry yeast
1/2 tb. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
4-5 c whole wheat flour
(I actually halved this and made 5 Calzones instead of 8-10)
Combine water, yeast and honey and let sit for 5-10 min. (it will bubble up) Add salt and flour and knead for 5 minutes. Divide into 8 balls and roll out onto floured surface into individual pizza size crusts, fill, fold over and let rise 15 minutes. Bake 475 for 12 minutes.


Filling:
Chop veggies for filling:
1 onion
2 cups mushrooms
1 (6oz) can olives
1 green pepper, finely diced
1 tomato
optional: chunks of ham or chicken
optional: grated parmesan

Saute veggies all together in a little olive oil, I then added some chopped fresh roma tomatoes.

Sauces:
Red Pizza Sauce
(we actually used leftover canned spaghetti sauce)
1 (4oz) can tomato paste
1 (6oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt to taste

Creamy White Pizza Sauce
(I halved it and it was enough for 3 Calzones)
3 cups water
1/2 c wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb Vegenaise
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Whisk together on stove over medium heat.

September 13, 2008

Chocolate Cake

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too!!!


I first made a pan of chocolate cake. Then after it cooled we cut it into squares and layered it with coconut whipped creme and raspberries then a layer of cake and then berries and creme. It was amazingly good!

Chocolate Cake (taken from Tam's blog)

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
3 T. sifted carob powder (I used cocoa powder)
1 t. baking soda
1 c. Sucanat
1/2 t. sea salt
5 T. coconut oil
1 T. white vinegar
1 T. vanilla
1 cup cold water

Put your flour into mixing bowl, add carob, baking soda, sugar and salt and mix well.Make three deep holes in the dry mixture. Into one, pour the oil, into the next, pour the vinegar, into the next, pour the vanilla.Pour the water into the bowl, over all of this.Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until there aren't any more lumps and pour into a 9x9 inch baking pan.Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, test with fork.Can also be made into cupcakes, bake for 15 minutes.

Whipped Creme
Take a can of coconut milk (not light kind) and get cold in fridge or freezer (don’t let freeze though) Then open the can and with a spoon, spoon out only the thick stuff. Put into a small food processor or blender add about 3-4 Tablespoons raw or organic sugar more if you like it sweeter and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Blend until smooth and creamy use like whipped creme.

September 2, 2008

Hamburger Buns

I am so sick of not being able to find good buns at the store, or having them cost more than the meat. So I started making my own in June. I tried a half dozen recipes with some success, but the ones I made this weekend were fabulous. Even my husband said they were great. He hasn't been a fan of my other tries, asking why we couldn't just buy hamburger buns...





5-6 cups of whole wheat flour
2 T yeast (I used regular old fashioned active dry yeast, but I'm sure any would do)
1/3 cup powdered milk
2 cups warm water (or substitute 2c. rice milk, soy milk or whatever for the water and pwd milk)
1/4 c oil
2 T honey
2 eggs
2 t salt
2 T dough enhancer

Mix the yeast, liquid and 3 cups of flour together. Dump everything else in and knead 10 minutes, or until gluten is well developed. The dough should just clean the sides of the bowl, but still be a little tacky to the touch. Let rise until double.

Form into buns. I made balls and flattened them. Preheat oven to 350. Let dough rise about 20 minutes then place in hot oven and bake 18-20 minutes.

This recipe made 13 good size buns. They held together beautifully and we nice and soft.

August 20, 2008

Granola Bars-Success

Wahoo!
I came up with a recipe that meets our criteria.
They are made from whole foods.
They stick together and can be eaten on the go.
They taste great! In fact your kids will probably just call them cookies.
And they are simple to make. Really, they are.


Cinnamon Raisin Granola Bars


1/3c brown sugar
1/4 c room temp. butter, unsalted
1 medium egg
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 c old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c bran (wheat or oat, whatever you have on hand)
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 c flax seed, ground
3/4 c raisins
1 T boiling water

Place raisins in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover and let steam.
Preheat oven to 350
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and cream until light and fluffy.
Combine dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients and raisins, including any water left in the bowl, to wet ingredients. Stir until blended.
Form into balls, press together firmly. Place on lined baking sheet. Flatten balls slightly with wet fingers (it will help to keep it from stinking to your fingers)
Bake 14 minutes. Let cool on sheet. Transfer to airtight container, if there are any left.

The first night they were a little crumbly and crisp, the next day they were soft and moist and held together perfectly. These are more on the chewy side, I am not a huge fan of super crispy granola bars and neither are my kids but these are great. So much healthier than the granola bars from the store, cheaper, and tastier too.



I had so much success with the first batch I decided to try another flavor



Apricot Almond Granola Bars
Just a few changes:
Omit the water and raisins. Cut up 1/2 c dried apricots in small chunks.
Omit the Bran instead pulverize 1/4 c almonds into flour like consistency.
Add 1/4 t almond extract (more to taste)
Add 1/4 c toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
Then proceed with the recipe above.
I am sure you can think of endless varieties. I can't wait to try them with some sesame seeds, dried cranberries, etc.
Enjoy!

August 17, 2008

Peak Times- Fruits and Veggies

I found this listing of peak times for fruits and vegetables and thought it would be useful for us all as a reference. This is for Nebraska, but I don't think other states will be too far off (other than CA and FL).

January



February



March



April

Asparagus

May

Apricots
Asparagus
Blueberries
Cherries
Mango
Nectarines
Peaches
Plums

Leaf Lettuce (Romaine, Green)
Radishes
Spinach
Turnips

June

Apricots
Beets
Blueberries
Cherries
Mango
Nectarines
Peaches
Plums
Strawberries
Sweet Potato

Broccoli
Bell Peppers
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Eggplant
Green Beans
Leaf Lettuce
Onions
Peas
Potato
Radishes
Snow Peas
Spinach
Squash
Tomatoes
Turnips
Zucchini

July

Apricots
Beets
Blueberries
Cantaloupe
Cherries
Honeydew
Mango
Nectarines
Peaches
Plums
Strawberries
Sweet Potato

Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Green Beans
Leaf Lettuce
Onions
Peas
Potato
Snow Peas
Squash
Tomatoes
Zucchini

August

Apples
Apricots
Blueberries
Cantaloupe
Cherries
Grapes
Honeydew
Mango
Nectarines
Peaches
Plums
Strawberries
Sweet Potato
Watermelon

Cabbage
Carrots
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Green Beans
Leaf Lettuce
Onions
Peas
Potato
Snow Peas
Squash
Tomatoes
Zucchini

September

Apples
Blueberries
Cantaloupe
Grapes
Honeydew
Mango
Nectarines
Plums
Peaches
Strawberries
Sweet Potato
Watermelon

Cabbage
Carrots
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Green Beans
Leaf Lettuce
Onions
Peas
Potato
Snow Peas
Squash
Tomatoes
Zucchini

October

Apples
Plums
Sweet Potato

Cabbage
Corn
Green Beans
Leaf Lettuce
Onions
Peas
Potato
Snow Peas
Squash
Tomatoes
Zucchini

November

Pomegranate


December

Pomegranate


All year: (These are mainly imported so we can get them all year)

Avocado
Banana
Grapefruit
Kiwifruit
Oranges
Papaya
Pears
Pineapple
Artichokes
Bean Sprouts
Black-eyed Peas
Celery
Leeks
Mushrooms

Granola Bars - Take One

Granola bars seem like a healthy food. But most of what you find at the store, really isn't that good for you - and if it is, it is so expensive you wouldn't give it to your kids.
So, is it possible to make you own? We tried, and well, we are going to try it again.

Granola Bar Recipe #1 - Kind of like a sweet bread but a bar. It was dense but yummy because we added chocolate chips. It fell apart when we cut it into bars the first day we made it, it was easier to cut the second day, but we still wouldn't give it to our kids inside the house or car.
Granola Bar Recipe #2 This one was lighter than #1, but fell apart just the same. With fruit inside it would have been just like a nutrigrain bar (w/out the nasty aftertaste). But the not staying together part was not working for us.
Granola Bar Recipe #3 Recipe adapted from Alton Brown's Granola Bars. This was more traditional granola made into a bar. This one stuck together better, still not what we would expect of a treat that is supposed to be portable. It had fruit and nuts and oats and a carmel type sauce that helped it stick together. Cutting it proved to be difficult because it had a mind of its own.
Granola Bar Recipe #4 Honey Almond Granola Bars. This recipe tasted really good. It had no sugar - just honey and was not too sweet. Broke apart though when we tried to cut it into bars.
Granola Bar Recipe #5 Oatmeal Cookie Granola Bars. This was a recipe for regular granola that said to press it into a pan before baking to make it into granola bars. It turned back into granola after I tried to cut it. It tasted just like an oatmeal cookie.

So every recipe had the same basic problem: Falls apart too easily. Could never feed it to the kids because of the mess it would make.

So we are still looking for the perfect granola bar recipe. These are our rules:
1. It has to be made from whole foods - no over processed fake food or trans fat.
2. It has to stick together(not fall apart) and be easy to eat on the go.
3. It has to actually taste good.

August 16, 2008

Homemade Babyfood

Our ward just had an enrichment all about babies. We had classes on breastfeeding, scheduling and one on homemade baby food. I taught the baby food class and thought I would just pass along the information that I taught the ladies and the handout I made.

Homemade Baby Food

1st Foods

Start with single pureed fruits and vegetables

Raw Foods

Buy Frozen, then thaw, then blend with a little liquid (formula, water or breast milk)

Buy Fresh, Steam or Boil, then Blend with a little liquid

Other

Banana

Avocado

Peaches (peel first)

Nectarines

Plums

Strawberries

Apricot

Pears

* Sometimes can be runny so mix in cereal when serving to baby

* Wouldn’t recommend Citrus, Grapes or Melons

Frozen bagged veggies-

peas, carrots, green beans

*I have found my kids don’t like broccoli or corn and it doesn’t puree or digest well at first

Squash

Sweet Potatoes/Yams

Zucchini

Canned Pumpkin

Applesauce (natural, unsweetened)

* Note if you buy canned fruit make sure it is canned in it’s own juice, not in syrup.

2nd Foods- These are much like the 1st purees , but you can start mixing flavors and add some finger foods

Fruit Combinations

Vegetable Combinations

Strawberry and Banana

Strawberry and Peach

Banana and Applesauce

Strawberry and Applesauce

*Fruits are easy to mix and most fruits go well together

Peas and Carrots

Bag of Mixed Veggies

Squash and Sweet Potatoes

3rd Foods- They are almost ready for table food, so pretty much anything unprocessed

Some Examples to chop in blender

- Whole Wheat Spaghetti and some Sauce

- Broccoli and Chicken and Brown Rice

How- To Prepare and Store your Purees

Puree:
Frozen Veggies: Microwave or cook on stove until no longer frozen with a few tablespoons of water (doesn’t need to be hot). When veggies are cool put them in the blender until pureed
Fruits: Many of these need to be peeled first. For things like peaches and nectarines the easiest way to get the skin off is to blanch them (dip them in boiling water for 20 sec, then cold water) then peel the skin right off. Then you cut it into chunks, add a few tablespoons of water and puree as usual.
Fresh vegetables: Cut up the vegetable into 1 inch cubes then in a small pan boil an inch or two of water. Turn stove down to a 3 or 4, then add in your vegetables and steam then. Put the lid on, but do stir every minute or so. After about 5 minutes it should be soft enough to mush with a fork. Dump water and vegetable into blender and puree.
Storing:

Once your puree is made you are ready to freeze it for later use. I like to use an ice cube tray that has a slide on lid. Pour your puree into the ice cube trays and freeze until hard (4-6 hours?). When your puree is frozen you dump your ice cubes into a ziplock bag. Use a separate bag for each kind and be sure to write the flavor on the outside and the date. These can be frozen for 3 months or so.

Using:
When ready to use the puree- you just pull out the bag that has the flavor you want out of the freezer. Remove about 2 ice cubes (depends on how hungry your baby is). Then put them in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds, until it is thawed. If your puree is too runny then add some rice cereal and it will thicken right up.

Baby teething sticks:

Ingredients:

2/3 cup milk
4 Tbsp butter, melted & cooled
1 cup whole wheat flour, approx.
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup plain un-toasted wheat germ

Directions :
Beat together the milk, butter & sugar.
Stir in the wheat germ and enough flour to make a dough.
Knead until smooth & satiny for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Pinch off balls of dough & roll them into sticks about 1 / 2 inches thick and 4 inches long (1.25 cm x 10 cm).
Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350° F (175°C) for about 35 minutes or until browned and hard.
Yield : 20 sticks

August 10, 2008

Meal Planning

I have found that for me to keep my family eating healthy I have to plan ahead. Which means each week I spend about 15 minutes and write out a menu for the week and a shopping list.
Recently I acquired a laminated weekly meal planner and it has been great. I am usually good about planning out dinner, but I am really bad at getting a variety when it comes to snacks and breakfast (we eat way too much cold cereal). This planner has really helped.
I use a Vis-a-Vis pen, so it wipes clean with water. I generally plan out breakfast, dinner and a snack for each day and I try to vary the food groups. If we have fruit with breakfast then the snack is typically a vegetable. The dinner days often get switched around, because I don't always like what I picked for dinner, but the general calendaring helps.
Here is a sample of our week:
The second thing I made on our computer and it is a weekly food planner on one side and shopping list on the other. It is very good for keeping your shopping list organized and I like having the menu on the other side as a reference.
I keep it posted on the fridge and add to it during the week.

August 1, 2008

Ezekiel Bread




Ezekiel 4:9 "Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and afitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof..."

This was really good and easy if you do some prep ahead of time. I halved the recipe and got two large loaves, if I had a bigger mixer I would have made all of it. Note: You need a wheat grinder or find the mixture pre-ground.

In the grinder put in:
7 cups hard white or red wheat
1/4 c pinto beans
1/4 c soy beans
1 c barley
1/4 c lentils
1/3 c millet
1 c Rye ( we didn't have this so we used brown rice)
Mill at a medium flour.
Other Ingredients:
5 C hot tap water
1/2 c honey
1/2 c oil
1 1/2 T. real salt
3 T. SAF instant Yeast
1/2 vital wheat gluten
2 T. dough enhancer


After you have made your flour, in your mixer combine the hot water and 7 cups flour. Add oil, honey, yeast, salt and gluten and mix together. With the mixer running add flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 8 minutes. Add dough enhancer and knead until mixed through. Shape into 4 loaves and let rise until double. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

* This recipe was designed for a Bosch but I used my KitchenAid. My husband made all the flour, but I only used half once I realized there way no way it would all fit.

* A few things about DOUGH ENHANCER; this is the first time I have bought it and it was great. Someone once told me that it was just vital wheat gluten, that is false. Dough Enhancer has soy lecithin, pectin and acidic acid among other things in addition to the wheat gluten. My husband would like us to try making it ourselves.

July 2, 2008

English Muffins




Since it's too hot to bake, I need to get my bread fix in other ways. These were surprisingly easy to make. I have wanted to make them for a long time, but I thought they would be too hard. I was wrong. I will be making these a lot from here on out. My kids loved them, and so did I.
Ingredients:
1/2 c Yogurt
1 c warm water
1T yeast (I used regular active dry yeast)
2 c whole wheat flour.
Mix these together and leave to rise until doubled, or overnight.
The longer you leave them, the more sour flavor will develop. I used cold water and left mine overnight, I didn't think they were at all sour.
Add to this mixture:
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/3/4 cup whole wheat flour.
Knead for twice as long as you would usually knead bread dough for. The dough should be sticky.
Let rise until doubled.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2" thick. Cut into rounds.
Dust both sides with cornmeal. Let rise until double. If you let the dough sit overnight it might take up to 2 hours.*
Cook on a 400 degree griddle for 5-8 minutes per side.
*This is where I messed up. I put them on the hot griddle as soon as I rolled them out. I realized my mistake about a minute later and pulled them off to rise for a little bit. Even though I can't follow directions they still turned out great.
These are easier than making bread. They take a little planning, but not much actual time. Next time I will try using warmer water to see if I can create more of a sour flavor.

June 23, 2008

Rhubarb Pineapple Jam


This is not the healthiest thing I have made this year (But still healthier than others...) But it is delicious. I thought I would share as I found it easy to make. I happily had all of the ingredients on hand and liked that it didn't require pectin, which I didn't have, and did call for some things that desperately needed to be used from my food storage. (Jello??? Why did I buy so much Jello? My tastes sure have changed over the last few years.) It has a lot less sugar than most other jams I have seen recipes for, so if you have a Rhubarb plant and want to try a new recipe, this one is great.

Ingredients:
5 cups chopped Rhubarb
Zest from 1 Orange
8 oz can crushed Pineapple, undrained (I used chunks as that was what I had on hand, it worked fine)
2 1/2 c Sugar
1 3-oz package of Strawberry Jello (I used all no-name brands with great success)
  1. In large Sauce pan combine Rhubarb, pineapple, zest and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes stirring constantly. You want to use a big pot so that as it boils it doesn't pop all over you and everything else making a sticky mess. I also found that if I chopped the rhubarb coarse or fine it didn't matter at all, because you stir it for 30 minutes it pretty much breaks down. The finer you chop it the smoother the final product is, but even with 2 inch long pieces no one would call my final product lumpy.


  2. Cool 30 Minutes
  3. Add Jello to cooled mixture until dissolved.
  4. Put into 5 clean hot 8-oz jars and store in fridge for up to 1 month or in freezer for several months, or as long as it lasts.












June 4, 2008

Beans and Legumes - Basics


Beans and Legumes are a food bargain. They are a good source of protein (combined with rice, wheat or corn, they are a complete protein) as well as calcium, vitamins A and C, Thiamine, potassium, iron and fiber.
There are many varieties of beans and legumes. Lentils, soybeans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, Lima beans, black eye beans, black turtle beans, red beans, small white beans, navy beans, pink beans, dry split peas, and dry whole peas.

There are four ways to cook dry beans:
Overnight soak: Sort through and remove any discolored legumes and rocks; rinse well and drain. Cover with water at least 1 inch above the legumes and soak overnight. Cook the next morning by discarding the soaking water and adding beans to fresh water. For each pound of dried beans, add 6 cups of hot water. (1 c beans to 3 c water) Boil the water and then add the beans, boil gently uncovered (adding water if necessary) until tender. (1-2 hours) Yield 6-7 cups of cooked beans per pound of dried beans.
Quick Soak: Bring cleaned beans and water to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from pan from the stove and allow beans to stand for 1 hour in the covered saucepan. Rinse beans and discard the water. Cook the same as the overnight soak method.
Crock Pot: Add unsoaked, clean beans and water to crock Pot. Place on High setting for 3-4 hours or low overnight. (smaller beans cook faster)
Pressure Cooker: Follow the directions that came with the pressure cooker; generally 3 c of water to 1 c beans, bring to full steam, cook for 30 minutes.
Beans can be ground into flour. This is a very good way to use very old beans. Add the flour in small amounts to any recipe. Can be used to thicken gravies, soups and sauces. Beans in this form are easier to digest

Sprouting Beans: Sprouting beans before they are cooked will give you much more nutrition and less gas. After the sprouts are 1 inch long, they must be refrigerated or they will spoil.
Helpful Hints: 1. Add salt if needed the last 10 minutes of cooking never before. 2. Add a tablespoon of butter to prevent foam from forming. 3. Acids slow down cooking time for beans, add tomatoes, vinegar, etc when beans are tender. 4. Lentils and split peas do not need to be soaked. 5. Beans can cause gas. To cut down on this problem, add 1 teaspoon of meat tenderizer into cooked pot of beans. Or try Beano. (they aren't called a magical fruit for nothing)

Dried Beans are 1/2 the cost (or less) of Canned Beans:
Canned: One 15 oz can prepared beans costs around $1.00 or around $0.50 if you shop sales.
Dried:
1 lb (2 cups) of dry beans will make 6 to 7 cups of cooked beans (equivalent to
four 15oz cans of beans.)
1 lb (2 cups) of dry beans is about $1.60 or $.75 cents if you buy in bulk.
equal to $.20 to $.40 cents per can - compare to $1.00 per can already prepared!

Storing Beans:
Beans store well in 5 gallon buckets, #10 cans, or Mylar bags. Pick what works best for your food storage situation.
Kept air tight and bug free in a cool dark place, dried beans will last a long time. Canned beans will last about 2 years.

How to make your bean storage accessible (so you can use it!):
1. Do not expect to go through the whole cooking dried beans process every time you need a cup of beans. It will take too long, and you will never do it.
2. Be efficient - cook up a bunch of beans (1 or 2 lbs) and divide them into quart freezer bags (1 ½ to 2 cups ea) and put them in the freezer. (1 lb dried = 4 quart bags frozen)
3. Lay them flat to freeze, then when frozen they can be stood on end to save room.
4. To use, just run under cool water.
5. Add to recipes just like you would use canned beans.

All about Yeast

I am going to attempt to explain some of the differences in yeast. It used to be yeast was yeast. You went to the store, bought what was on the shelf and used it in your recipe. That has changed. Now there are several different types of yeast out there, and the way you use them varies slightly. If a recipe calls for a specific type, and you make a substitution sometimes you get a very different result. I hope to explain what the difference is, and what changes you need to make when substituting different yeasts in recipes.
Compressed Yeast: Often called cake yeast. It only lasts about 2 weeks and must be refrigerated. I actually haven't seen it in the US, but I used it in Europe. It is basically a soft block of yeast that needs to be placed in water to break it up. It is equal to 1T of regular yeast.

Active Dry Yeast: When a recipe calls for yeast, this is mostly likely what they are talking about. It is sometimes abbreviated ADY. This yeast need to be rehydrated in liquid at temperatures between 105 and 115` F (If your pinky is comfy, your yeast probably is too!). If you use hotter liquid, you risk killing the yeast, cooler and the yeast membrane gets too porous and can allow the cell contents to leak out and become ineffective. If your dough is sticky and inelastic, that is a probable cause. Active dry yeast has the largest cell size of the yeasts. To see if your yeast is still good and active, rehydrate in a 1c water with 1/4t sugar per tablespoon of yeast. If you see yeast bubbles coming to the surface after 5-10 minutes, you have healthy active yeast and you can proceed with your recipe. If you don't you need to buy fresh yeast, or adjust the temperature of the water.

Rapid Rise Yeast and Instant dry yeasts (IDY) were developed to overcome several of the problems with Active Dry yeast. They can both be added directly to recipes without rehydrating first. They tolerate higher temperatures of water and are harder to kill. They both have shorter fermentation periods. This means you don't have to let your dough rise for as long to achieve the same results. Instant dry yeast works even faster than rapid Rise yeast. The cells of instant dry yeast are skinnier and longer. Instant dry yeast can cut the rising time even further.

To substitute Instant Dry yeast or Rapid Rise yeast for a recipe calling for regular yeast, you can skip the step of rehydrating in the water, to keep things simple I add things in the order called for in the recipe, but I don't let the yeast and water sit together for 5-10 minutes. I add all of the liquid, the yeast, sugar, flour and start mixing, adding the remaining ingredients and then slowly adding the rest of the flour. Just watch the rising times as they may be faster than what you are used to, or called for in the recipe.
To substitutre active dry yeast in a recipe calling for SAF yeast, Instant dry yeast, or rapid rise yeast make sure to mix the liquids, some of the sugar and the yeast together first. Allow it to sit until it starts to bubble and you can tell the yeast is alive and working. Then continue with the recipe. Adjust your rising time by adding extra time, I usually find it takes up to twice as long to achieve the same amount of rise with active dry yeast.
I definitely prefer Instant dry yeast (SAF is a common brand of IDY) for my whole grain bread making. My bread rises at least 10% better with IDY yeast versus rapid rise yeast and a good 25% higher than with active dry yeast. I use regular yeast and rapid rise yeast in my pita breads,flat breads and rolls that I am not in a hurry with.


Instant Dry Yeast (I buy it at Sam's Club, it comes with 2 1pound packages, they feel like bricks) Make sure it says IDY or SAF yeast


Rapid Rise yeast You can find it like this at almost any grocery store, it also comes in little jars. Sometimes called Bread Machine Yeast


Active Dry Yeast. Available at most grocery stores. Also available in 4 oz jars.

I took some close ups to try and demonstrate the differences in the types of yeast. My IDY yeast has some rapid rise and active dry yeast mixed in, that is why there are different sizes.
If you look closely, the rapid rise and active dry yeast are both slightly lighter in color than the IDY. The active dry yeast has the largest cells, then the rapid rise, and Instant dry yeast has the smallest. The IDY yeast cells are narrower, but slightly longer than the Rapid rise yeast.

Top: Rapid Rise Yeast, Instant Dry Yeast

Bottom: Active Dry Yeast

May 30, 2008

Easy, Versatile Whole Wheat Bread

This is by far the easiest whole wheat bread recipe I have ever found. I loved it so much I went through my cook book and threw out all my other bread recipes. The next night we used this recipe for pizza dough and it was excellent. I look forward to trying it for rolls, bread sticks and cinnamon rolls. (With Pizza dough I recommend that after you roll out your dough that you place it in your pizza pan and bake it a few minutes before you add toppings.) Picture

Best Yet Whole Wheat Bread

Hand Method: Yep I still don't have a mixer ;) (yields 2 loaves)
1/3 Cup honey
1/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 Cup Warm Water
1 1/2 Tablespoons Yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons Real Salt
6-7 Cups Fresh Ground Whole Wheat Flour (I used hard white wheat)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Vital Wheat Gluten

Combine the warm water, yeast, and 2 Cups of fresh whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Allow to sponge for 15 minutes. Add the honey, oil, dough enhancer, salt and 4-5 Cups additional flour until the dough begins to clean the sides of the mixing bowl. Do not allow the dough to get too stiff (too dry). Dough should be smooth and elastic. It is a common mistake for the beginning bakers to add too much flour.

Knead the bread by hand 7-10 minutes or until it is very smooth, elastic, and small bubbles or blisters appear beneath the surface of the dough. If you are kneading by hand, be sure to add the minimum amount of flour to keep the dough soft and pliable by using a tsp of oil on your hands and kneading surface.

Form the dough into 2 loaves and put in greased loaf pans or 5-6 loaves balls if making bread bowls and place on cookie sheet. Allow to rise in a slightly warmed oven or other warm place until doubled in size (about 30-60 minutes).

Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Bread is cooked through when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, and when the top and sides are a golden brown color.

This Bread Recipe is VERSATILE! Use it to make cinnamon rolls, pizza, bread sticks, and more.
(This is where I found the recipe- this woman's website is fun to look at for food ideas.)

Easy, Healthy Family Meal #2- Pita Pockets



We loved this, even my picky two year old ate most of hers. To get her to eat one bit is a challenge so 4 bites means she loved it. My husband said this was the best Pita Bread he's ever had. I had to agree with him.
It took a few hours to make, rising and that, however you could put it in the bread maker. I am going to try that next time. You would put it on the dough setting and the ingredients in this order; water, sweetener, oil, salt, flour, yeast.
As quoted from the site I found the recipe on:
"Why make your own pita when it's readily available at supermarkets? One bite of these, fresh and warm from the oven, will tell you exactly why. The dough is simple to make, and because the dough rounds are thin, they bake in less than 5 minutes. But if you don't have time to make your own, store-bought pita can be warmed, wrapped in foil, in a preheated 350°F oven."

Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 3 hr

Servings: Makes 8 (6-inch) pita loaves.

1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/4 cups warm water (105–115°F)
3 cups whole wheat flour (can use a mixture of milled flax, bran)
3 Tb vital wheat Gluten
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Could add thyme, or sesame to dough
Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheetStir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

While yeast mixture stands, stir together flours in another bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup flour mixture into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until a dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round to 1 of 2 baking sheets lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with 2 clean kitchen towels (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Set oven rack in lower third of oven and remove other racks. Preheat oven to 500°F.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto oven rack. Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining 4 pitas in same manner. Serve warm.


FILLING: So Delicious!
2 1/2 cups, cubed, cooked chicken breast (about 1 lb)
1 c matchstick cut carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dill
1 8oz can crushed pineapple draine
8 romaine lettuce leaves

Cook chicken. Combine all ingredients, except lettuce. Fill a half Pita with mixture add lettuce and enjoy. So easy and we loved it.



Easy, Healthy Family Meals- Chicken Pot Pie

We made this the other night and added enough extra vegetables that I got two pans out of it.
Chicken Pot Pie (a hodge podge of other recipes). Picture

Crust: (Biscuit like topping on the top) ( This is for 2 tops)
4c Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp salt
8 tsp baking soda
6 Tb butter
2 c milk

Filling:
2lbs chicken, cubed and cooked, (I used boneless skinless chicken breasts that I grilled int he dutch oven)
6 small potatoes, cubed and cooked, (I boiled them until soft but not mushy, then drained that water)
2 c Chicken broth
2 c Milk
Salt, Pepper
2 med bags of frozen mixed Veggies, peas, carrots, beans, peas
Cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350. Cook Chicken, set aside. Cook potatoes, set aside. In dutch oven or large pot combine chicken, potatoes, broth and milk, simmer then add vegetables, bring to simmer again. Boil until it thickens, with the FF milk it might need some cornstarch whisked in.

When mixture has thicken pour into two baking dishes. I used a dutch oven and an oval dish I had. It doesn't really matter.

Make your biscuit dough. Divide it in half. With your fingers you will just kind of spread the dough on top of the mixture to make the top.

Bake in oven at 350 fo 30 min until browned on top. (If freezing one of them, don't bake it wait until you are ready to use it. Then thaw it before trying to cook it, otherwise you'll be cooking if for 2 hours like I was and it was still cold in the middle)

Makes about 12 huge servings.

May 21, 2008

Cowboy Caviar

Sorry, no picture, we ate it all. This is a great way to keep eating those beans all summer long. This was so yummy. My mom got the recipe from a friend and it is so easy and good for you.
Mix the following in a large bowl:

4 cups of beans (canned, drained or I make my own, I like to use Kidney, black and pinto, but I think most any would work)
4 roma tomatoes, chopped up
1 can corn, drained
2-3 avacados , chopped
1 bunch cilantro, finely chop up the leaves
1 buch of green onion, finely chopped
1 packet of dry Italian seasoning

Mix this all together in a bowl and put it in the fridge to get cool. You can serve it with Tortilla chips are just eat it with a spoon. The flavor is mild enough that kids will eat it too.

A few notes on beans:
Dry beans contain no cholesterol. They're low in sodium, full of complex carbohydrates, contains lot's of dietary fiber and have good vitamins in them like folacin. Along with that they also have iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. 1/2 cup of cooked beans is equal to one vegetable serving and 1 cup is equal to a meat/protein serving. So the moral is... eat your beans they're good for you.
(It is really easy to soak and cook your own beans, and cheaper too! Just follow the directions on the package, but remember you have to soak and cook them, I made the mistake of thinking all you had to do was soak them. Needless to say dinner that night was not the best.)

May 20, 2008

Wheat Bread -that does not resemble a brick

Today it was so much fun to have Christy and Kim came over to make bread with me. (Sorry no picture again, we ate all the bread.)
Here is the recipe that we made:
Put in your mixer:
4 cups of water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup oats or 6 grain
3 cups whole wheat flour
mix until smooth and bubbly, then add:
2 Tablespoons Saf yeast
2 Tablespoons Dough Enhancer
1/2 c gluten flour - if your flour is wimpy and doesn't rise
mix again until smooth, then add
2 Tablespoons salt
4-5 more cups flour depending on what you need
Add flour last, a little at a time. Stop adding flour when the dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl, and you can start to see the bottom of the bowl as the attachment goes around.
Then let it mix for 10-12 minutes. The dough will be soft and smooth and the bowl will be clean.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees - then turn it off.
Divide dough into three, and shape with hands into loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and set in oven to rise for about 30 minutes. After it has doubled in size, turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 35-45 minutes until it is golden brown. Turn out of pans, brush top with butter and let cool on a rack. Yummy!

May 14, 2008

Homemade Yogurt

Homemade yogurt is easy, I promise! Better for you - because you control the ingredients, and cheaper than what you can get at the store. I found the recipe here and I followed it exactly. This is a website I found earlier this week, and I love it! She has some great ideas about food storage and healthy eating. There is a video of how to make yogurt. So it is super easy.
I will say one thing about the cooler she has. I didn't want to buy another cooler so I used one of my smaller coolers for this. It only fit 3 jars. So I put the three in and wrapped them up with a fleece blanket just like she showed. I wrapped the other one up in warm towels and put it on my counter in a warm spot. The yogurt in the cooler was really thick and creamy and still warm when I pulled it out 9 hours later. The one on the counter, was not very thick, and not very creamy, and cold when it was all over. So I am probably going to look for one of the styrofoam coolers that will fit all four jars - so all my yogurt turns out right.

It was cheap too, it cost me less than half for more than double the amount of yogurt that I ususally buy. - less than $1.50 for 4 pints (8 cups) of yogurt. (because milk was on sale - if you were paying $3/gallon, it would still cost less than $2)