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

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

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)

The 411 on Powdered Milk

Why Store Milk?
#1 - you use it a lot and your kids like it. Can't really live without it now, you wouldn't want to live without it in an emergency. Powdered milk contains all the nutrients found in fresh milk except the fat. It is also easy to cook with. You could also make yogurt and cheese with powered milk if you wanted to.

How Much to Store?
The LDS Church’s Home Production and Storage Manual suggests that you store 60 lbs of dry milk for an adult and 30 lbs for a child for your one year supply. This is based on 3 cups of milk per day for adults and 1.5 cups of milk per day for children. For a 3 month supply you would need 4 #10 cans per adult and 2 #10 cans per child if you use this much milk on a regular basis. That being said, you should store what is best for your family based on what your family normally uses.
When calculating how much to store, be aware of different concentrations of milk powder. Western Family powdered milk is the least concentrated; using 1/3 c powder to 1 cup of water. Milk from the cannery and the Provident Pantry brand are both 2/3 c powder to 1 quart of water.

What to Store?
Powdered milk comes in instant or regular, real milk or milk substitute. There is no nutrient difference between instant and regular. Instant milk mixes easier with water and is more expensive. Real powdered non-fat milk will have only one ingredient: Pasteurized skim milk. Milk “Drinks” are not the same as real dried milk - do not buy it. Morning Moos is a milk drink, made mostly of whey (a byproduct of making cheese.) Milk substitute drinks do not contain the milk solids that are necessary in making yogurt or cheese but they may taste better. Real non-fat dry milk can cost twice as much as does a substitute.
You can also store evaporated milk, cream substitutes, powdered cheese or butter, and don’t forget baby formula if you have a baby.

How long does it last?
The church says its #10 can of non-fat dried milk will last 20 years. This is not optimal, you can imagine the effects of time on the nutritional value and taste. Milk is extremely sensitive to temperature. At 50˚F it will store for 48 months, at 90˚F just 3 months. The #10 cans store longer because it is not exposed to the air.

How to use it:
Substitute powdered milk for milk in all your cooking to rotate your supply. You can also use reconstituted powdered milk with a little vanilla extract on your cereal in the morning. If you want to drink powdered milk expect that it will taste different from regular milk. And it has to be really, really cold! And it is so easy to use it to make this yogurt!

May 10, 2008

The Fluffiest Whole Wheat Pancakes Ever

This is my other favorite pancake recipe. And if you can't imagine anything made with whole wheat being fluffy, you have to try these.

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
4 egg yolks
3 cups milk
1/3 cup oil
4 egg whites

Mix the four, baking powder, salt and sugar together. In a seperate bowl, mix the egg yolks, milk and oil together. In yet another bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together. Then gently fold in the egg whites. Cook on a hot griddle. Serve with syrup or jam.

These pancakes are so so so yummy. It is a lot of work not to mention 3 bowls to make them. So, sometimes I cheat and I don't beat the egg whites. And I usually have a freezer bag of this mix in my freezer with powdered eggs and dried instant milk so all I have to add is water and oil. Either way, they still taste good, but the egg whites make these pancakes unbelieveably fluffy and soft.

May 7, 2008

My New Favorite Peanut Butter

Have you seen this at your local Wally's?
I found this little gem when I was in Montanna last month, at Walmart of all places. It is so very good for you, and your kids. Most peanut butter is made with hydrogenated oil, which we compare to dog poo around here. (If there is a little dog poo in your food would you still eat it?) I usually try to buy the Adam's brand natural peanut butter which is just peanuts and salt. But this Naturally More doesn't have any hydrogenated oils, or preservatives, AND it has less fat, more fiber, more protein, folic acid, and omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. If your kids don't like salmon, this is an easy way to get them to eat the omega fatty acids. They really couldn't have packed any more nutrition in there. It's so worth paying a little more for! But, they don't have it here in Utah!! Check their website to see if it is available in your area. Sorry this sounds like an advertisement, but I just get really excited when I find something commercially prepared that I feel good/excited about feeding to my kids!

May 5, 2008

All About Buckwheat

  • The protein found in buckwheat contains the eight essential amino acids -making it a complete protein.
  • Buckwheat is rich in B vitamins as well as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.
  • Buckwheat is a good oil source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid, which is one of the two essential fatty acids we must have to be healthy.
  • Buckwheat is high in fiber. A single cup of cooked buckwheat groats contains over 4 grams of dietary fiber.
  • Buckwheat contains a rich supply of flavonoids.
  • Buckwheat lowers glucose levels and is beneficial for managing diabetes.
  • Buckwheat has been found to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
  • Buckwheat is a fruit seed and is a gluten-free alternative to grains. Buckwheat is not wheat at all.
Although buckwheat has many grain-like characteristics, it is from an entirely different botanical family, and is actually a fruit. Since buckwheat is unrelated to the classic cereal grains, those who are allergic to wheat can usually tolerate buckwheat.
Make these pancakes and try it today!

Multigrain Pancake Mix

I have two favorite pancake recipes, this is one. I found it here.

This is my version:
10 cups of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour (find this at the health food store - make sure you get the flour, the actual buckwheat is like putting little rocks in your pancakes - don't ask how I know this)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups oatmeal (put it in a blender or food processor until it is powder)
2 cups buttermilk powder
5 TBL baking Powder
2 TBL baking Soda
1 cup sugar
2 TBL salt
1 cup whole powdered eggs

Don't be afraid of the buckwheat! It is so good for you - see here. Mix it up all ingredients in a big bowl with whisk. Put it in a container or ziploc freezer bag, store in the freezer. No need to ever buy bisquik again. - and this is so much healthier and doesn't have that nasty aftertaste! Write the instructions below on the outside of the bag so they are handy.

To make pancakes:
1 cup pancake mix
2 TBL vegetable oil
Enough water to get the consistancy you want (around 2/3 cup)
Cook on a hot griddle as usual.

May 3, 2008

Refrigerator Bran Muffins

1 c hot water
3 cups bran cereal (I use raisin bran or what ever I have on hand. I have even used mini-wheats...)
1 c chopped dates or raisins (I have used craisins on occasion)
Pour hot water over cereal and raisins. Let stand while you prepare the remaining ingredients

Mix together (Blender is suggested, I'm too lazy and I dont want to clean it so I just wisk everything together):
1/3-1/2 c oil
2 c Buttermilk or Yogurt
2 eggs
1/3-3/4 c sugar or honey

2 1/2 c Whole wheat flour
2 t soda
3/4 t salt

Now combine all three sets of ingredients, just until mixed. Then don't stir it again
Bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes
The batter can be stored in the fridge, for up to a month, for fresh muffins anytime .
If you are super lazy like my I skip the first step and mix everything together the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight and then bake. Works great.