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>Homemade crackers

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My kids and I have been loving Katie’s recipe for homemade crackers.
The first time I made them, we ate them all that day 🙂
The next time I made a double batch and they are lasting longer!
Click this link for the detailed directions – below is the recipe and simplified direction!

Homemade “Wheat Thins” Style Crackers
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook
From Kitchenstewardship.com
Ingredients
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ Tbs sugar (or honey)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp paprika
4 Tbs butter
¼ cup water
¼ tsp vanilla
salt for topping
Method:
Mix ‘em: Combine the flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it in thoroughly, using your fingers, a pastry blender, a mixer or a food processor. Combine the water and vanilla, and add to the flour mixture, mixing until smooth.
(Note: If you use honey, just mix it in with the water.)
Prep ‘em: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper. For crackers, I would HIGHLY recommend using a baking stone , or at least parchment paper. I roll the dough right out on the stone or mat and bake them. Yep, right on the stone. That way I don’t have to worry about rumpled crackers as I move the fragile dough. People say, “Those are homeMADE?” because most of my crackers have perfect shape and are sooooo delectably thin.
Roll ‘em: Divide the dough into 4 pieces; keep the other pieces covered while you work with one at a time. Lightly flour your work surface and your rolling pin and roll the piece of dough into a large rectangle, which should be at least 12 inches square when trimmed. Keep your pin and the surface of your dough evenly floured. Flip the dough frequently to keep it from sticking, but too much flour will make it difficult to roll. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as you can get it without tearing, at least 1/16 inch thick. Trim the dough to even the edges and use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the piece into squares approximately 1 1/2 inches wide. I skip the trimming and just deal with weird shaped crackers. Those go to the toddler right away!
Bake ‘em: Transfer the squares to a prepared baking sheet; you can crowd them together, as they don’t expand while baking. See, I get to skip this step, which seriously cuts down the time and failure stress of making homemade crackers! Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt, if desired. Oh, yes – do it! Just use real sea salt with all its minerals intact! Sometimes I also poke the crackers with a fork to make them look even more like the “real” thing. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Save the scraps under plastic wrap and reroll them all at once just one time.
Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. If some of the thinner crackers on the edges brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking. These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely – even 30 seconds can turn them from golden brown to toast!
Are they done? You want them to be almost crispy, but not totally breakable to deem them “done”, because they will crisp up a bit as they cool. You’ll learn after a tray or two the difference between “too soft” “done” and “oops”. They’re still tasty when they’re soft, just not so cracker-y. Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan or on a plate; they cool quickly. These crackers will stay crisp for many days, but are best stored in airtight containers.

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>Soaked Granola Bars

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Here’s this great recipe from Katie’s new Heathy Snacks to Go e-book.

4 1/2 cups soaked and dried oats (Directions for soaking and drying HERE)
1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 or 3/4 cup butter*
2/3 or 1 cup honey*
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup add-ins (mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, coconut, etc)
In a small saucepan, melt butter, honey and vanilla over low heat. Once butter is melted and bubbly, cook and stir for 5 minutes. (DO this! Don’t cheat and just get the butter melted, it does actually need to COOK- not that I figured this out from experience or anything….!)
In a separate bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Mix the liquid with the oats. Incorporate add-ins at this point (mini chocolate chips melt, so you may want to cool first!)
* The difference in the quanities are in whether you want to make baked or unbaked granola bars……
For Unbaked- (Use the 2/3 cup honey and 3/4 cup butter)
Line a container of any kind with waxed paper. Press bar mixture in, well, with waxed paper. Allow to harden up (the refrigerator speeds it up but isn’t necessary) and then cut into bars.
For Baked- (Use the 1 cup honey and 1/2 cup butter AND ADD 1 tsp baking soda to your dry ingredients and mix in throughly)
Press mixture into a greased 9×13 pan; use wax paper on your fingers to apply pressure. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Allow to sit in pan until completely cool and then cute into bars.
Taste difference? Believe it or not, the 10 minutes in the oven does something considerable. The baked bars have a mouthfeel related to a cookie, but not quite and are less sweet. Unbaked bars are more like a sticky Quaker chewy bar but with 1 cup honey are much too sweet and more expensive anyway. You could make a half a batch of both and see what you prefer!
Makes about 20 bars.
My note….. I “think” I like the baked best. Not sure, both are good and are really pretty different. Your add-ins make a difference too. My unbaked ones tend to be really sticky, so they aren’t great for the little kids when we are out and sometimes my baked ones turn out a little crumbly. BUT, I find if I refrigerate the baked ones they old together better when we are out!
I am going to play with a little more honey in mine next time- I am wondering if altitude makes a difference in them?

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>Dutch Baby

>This is the Dutch Baby recipe my mom made for us growing up, I love it still.

Dutch Baby
1/4 cup butter
Place in a pie plate or 8″ baking dish and put in oven to melt while preheating oven to 350 degrees.
In a blender mix:
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour (wheat works, but unbleached white is nicer!)
Blend well and pour into heated dish with melted butter.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes till puffed and lightly browned.
Serve immediately, it will “puff down” quickly, so this is one to get right on the table 🙂
Serves 4
For a little variation, you can add 1/2 cup cooked apples and a tsp of cinnamon to the baking dish before pouring egg mixture on top. Very yummy!

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>Granola

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I have several recipes for granola floating around. Depending on what else is going on I might choose one over the other. I really like Katie’s recipe, soaked and unsoaked in her new book Healthy Snacks to Go. I think her granola recipe that is posted is slightly different from the one in the book……… so if you want a really good recipe, get her book 🙂
Below is my recipe, it’s not a soaked version, but makes a nice granola for gift giving, need a more traditional version or when you are ready to make granola and forgot about soaking…… no, I’ve never done THAT!
We enjoy granola with a little milk or almond milk on it…….. Or sprinkled liberally over yogurt……. Or a handful tossed onto the baby’s tray to nibble on while I am making dinner………..

Granola
Mix together:
6 c. oats
2 c. bran cereal
¾ c. slivered almonds
¾ c. sunflower seeds
1 c. flaxseed meal
Heat in saucepan till blended:
1 c. honey
½ c. maple syrup
1/3 c. coconut oil
Pour over dry mixture and blend thoroughly
Pour into a shallow baking pan and cook at 250 for 2? hours, stirring every 30-40 minutes – (I forgot to time how long I actually cooked it!)
Cool completely
Add:
1 c. assorted nuts, chopped
1 c. coconut flakes
½ c. raisins
1 c. dried fruit
½ c. dark chocolate chips (if you like chocolate in your granola, my husband didn’t care for the chocolate, but liked the rest!)
Store in an airtight container. Serve with milk or over yogurt.

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>Waffles

>This is a basic waffle recipe and my classic standby. It’s fromallrecipes.com, I just modify it all little bit. To make a soaked version, mix the flour and milk and add a teaspoon of vinegar the night before and add everything else in the morning. You can leave on the counter if you use raw milk, if you use regular milk I would refrigerate.

Waffles
2 cups flour (any mix will work, I usually use 1/2 unbleached white and 1/2 wheat or all wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
2 TB sweetener (depends on the moment, any version of sugar or honey works)
1 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 TB oil (I use coconut or olive)
Mix well and cook on hot waffle iron.
Serves 4-6

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>Pancakes

>This is my favorite pancake recipe.

I thought it came from Katie, but I can’t find it on her site, so maybe I am
remembering wrong 🙂 If it is your recipe, let me know and I can link properly to give you credit!
The Best Pancakes Ever
3 cups whole wheat flour*
1 cup buttermilk or milk or yogurt **
1 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Combine ingredients and leave on the counter, covered, to soak 12-24 hours.
(I usually leave overnight and I find I often need to add an additional 1/4-1/2 cup of water to the recipe, otherwise my batter is too thick, sometimes I add it in water with the above and sometimes I add it in milk with the ingredients added in the morning)
Just before cooking, add:
4 lightly beaten eggs
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil or butter or spray oil in your pan and heat. Cook on a med/high temperature.
For us, a HALF batch makes enough to easily feed me and the 3 kids. If there is anyone else eating with us I make a full batch. OR I make a full batch and freeze the remainder for a quick breakfast later!
*This recipe works with all regular whole wheat flour, it is much better with half whole wheat and half pastry/white flour and is best with all pastry flour.
I use 1/2 and 1/2 almost all the time.
** Because you are adding vinegar to the milk, it’s a “fake” buttermilk of sorts and hasn’t had a problem sitting on my counter overnight. Raw milk would be safest for this though if you choose to use milk. You can also use the dairy choice in place of the water for richer pancakes.
I usually use yogurt and water with the added vinegar and have no issues leaving it sit out. If I am going to add milk rather then water for any additional liquid, I usually add it in the morning and let it sit with the water overnight.
I also often add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter in the morning, I think it adds nice flavor and some added nutrition.

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>Meal-planning

>Menu’s and meal planning really help me out…… alot. It is so helpful to know what direction I need to head each day and thru the week. However, my menus are never “set in stone”. I usually make a list for the week of the meals I am planning to make. If I know how my week is going to go, what my husband’s work schedule is like, what we have plans to do, I will try and assign days for the meals. Some weeks, I put meals with days and though we eat many of the meals planned, they don’t end up on the day planned. That’s okay. It used to bother me. I got over it. Some weeks I just list meals I have everything for and go from there. But, it is helpful to know where I am heading in the week. For example: if I have planned to make White Chicken Chili, I need to start soaking the beans ahead of time, unless I have some in the freezer I want to use. And since I often try to have dinner well under way before late afternoon, it is helpful to get my meats or beans out of the freezer a day before rather then the morning of, sometimes frozen ground beef is hard to work with 🙂 I use my crockpot often. And I usually plan for at least one leftover meals day a week. Oftentimes Sunday so I don’t have to cook.

For breakfast and lunch, I usually just have a list – in my head or sometimes written out – of ideas to work off of. Breakfast usually rotates thru a variety of egg dishes (especially if my husband is eating with us), french toast, oatmeal, yogurt or muffins. Lunches are usually pretty random. Leftovers, sandwiches or pasta are typical. Though I am working on expanding my ideas here and making some “real” lunches for the kids instead of just tossing something together at noon 🙂

So, as I post various meal menus, know that as pretty as a planned list looks, it probably won’t happen like I have planned. Life happens, being self-employed and having 4 young children my life is busy and unexpected things are expected and I often decide for sure what’s for dinner each day anticipating what that day will be like.

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