Monday, August 31, 2009

Rye Bread

For those who do not eat carbs, I will keep you in my thoughts. But for those who do, please read on.

My husband loves rye/pumpernickel bread. And some women find it difficult to find and make a good rye/pumpernickel bread. that is how I feel about sour dough bread. That is my next flavor to attempt. One bread at a time.

Ingredients: Makes 2 loaves
2 packages active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups of warm water (just barely warm to the touch)
2/3 cup molasses
5 cups bread flour (We used unbleached white flour and for me at least, the bread was too fluffy. I was looking for a heartier bread. But the taste value was grand all the same)
2 cups rye flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp caraway seeds (optional)

1 Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the molasses. Put yeast mixture into a large metal bowl.

2 Add caraway seeds, salt, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, 2 cups of rye flour and then 2 cups of baking flour, mixing into the yeast mixture after each addition with a wooden spoon
3 Add more bread flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is not so sticky and it is too hard to mix it with the wooden spoon. At that point, spread a half cupful of flour onto a large, clean, flat surface and put the dough onto the surface.

4 Knead the dough by pressing down with the heel of your hand, stretching it, turning the dough a quarter-turn, pulling the dough back toward you and then pressing and stretching again. Knead additional bread flour into the dough until it reaches the right consistency. Knead for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

5 Spread some vegetable oil around a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning it so it gets coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

6 Gently press down on the dough so some of its air is released.

7 Knead the dough a few turns and then divide it by cutting it in half with a sharp knife.

8 Shape each half into loaf. Place dough loafs into either oiled bread loaf pans, or onto a flat baking sheet or peel that has been sprinkled with corn meal, depending if you want to cook the loaves in pans or directly on a baking stone. Cover with plastic or a damp cloth.

This, bar none, was thee best bread my family has ever tasted. Be it alone or as a sandwich bread. There is nothing more satisfying that a good rustic bread. And that is where my heart lies...making old style breads. Those that do not fit in a loaf pan. Hand shaped and baked to perfection. (Pardon me while I get a rag to wipe the drool away).

I hope you try this bread and enjoy it a smuch as we did.

Here is the original recipe at George's Place

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Paula Deen's Potato Salad

This was refreshing if you are tired of the tried and true as well as heavy mayonnaise potato salad. Not to take away from mayo, for I could swim in it, use it as a body lotion and just eat it right out of the jar. With the said, you should try this lighter version form Paula Deen. We found this on Food Network and will make it again for sure.

12 cups cubed red potatoes
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook potatoes, covered in boiling water, 10 minutes, or until tender; drain well and cool.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, bell pepper and onion.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate.

We even at this while it was warm and it was still delicious. Paula Deen rocks. And yes she is loaded with fat, and meat, but every once and a while she comes up with something I can make as a veggie meal. Hey y'all, it's worth the try.

I Have Discovered Gazpacho

I went last Friday to a raw food inner and loved it tremendously. I have wanted to head in the direction of raw food, but due to financial constraints, that will be on a back burner for a little while longer. However, I add raw food whenever possible and love it every time.

Delightful Gazpacho

Here is where I got the recipe. Granted I altered mine to fit our ingredients, but it sailed gloriously all the same.


-3 medium tomatoes quartered
-2 green onions
-1 small clove garlic minced
-2 fresh basil leaves torn into pieces
-1 rib celery
-2 green and 1 red MINI bell peppers - remove top and seeds (if you don't have access to mini peppers, use approx. 3/4 cup green bell pepper)
-1 teaspoon sea salt
-1 medium sized cucumber- save 1/3

Yummy use of those fresh garden veggies. This is a great mid-summer meal when veggies are plentiful! Cut off 1/3 of the cucumber and dice, set aside. Place all other ingredients into a food processor and puree approx. 1 minute until well blended. Add diced cucumber and serve cold. ENJOY!Serves: 1-2 depends on how hungry you are!

Preparation time: 5 minutes

I ate a huge bowl of it and then again today for lunch. Great stuff when it is hot outside. Oh yeah, I live in Florida it's always hot here. I love raw food and as long as it can fit into my budget, I will be all over it like white on rice. Try this and what you don't eat as soup you can use as salsa!

I'm Packin'

And I ain't talkin' about a 6-shooter.

For those who may not know or remember, I started back to work lat week. I am a demonstration lady for Boars Head Deli Meats. I know, thee irony. Anyhow, I am having a great time. Not because people are buying my product, (which is a good thing, because if they did not buy it, I would not have a job) but because I am where I do my best work, dealing with the people. Everyone has a calling and this is mine. Stick me in a cubicle and I would wither away.

With that said, I had a little epiphany/revaluation, if you will. My husband had a bit of extra cash so he gave it to me, being the woman on the road now. And I felt a bit special and bought lunch out on three different occasions while working. I do get a 30 minute lunch break.

On two occasions I ordered vegetarian sushi and it was wonderful, but the packaging made my skin crawl. And I had no where to store it so I may recycle the containers. So the guilt factor was way high. Then on the last day I purchased lunch I went to my favorite sub shop and ordered a veggie delight and splurged on my favorite junk food...potato chips, BBQ flavored. I decided on no soda and opted for water. As I was sitting there, I turned the chips over and read their ingredient label. And what do I find? MSG! Yep. So guess what item I won't be purchasing there any longer?

But in a nutshell I did not like how I felt after having eaten out. I felt heavy, bloated and as if I was cheating on myself. I told a dear friend of mine that if I had only a slice of homemade bread and a half a banana to eat, I would no longer buy my lunches out.

And lest we forget the expense. I ate out 3 days only and probably dropped $21 in total. That is gas in my tank. I don't know how folks afford to do it on a daily basis. I would much rather put my money and health to better use.

So for this puppy, I will be brown bagging it in a manner of speaking. And look forward to some recipes here shortly, for I have been cooking and learning to adjust to my new working schedule.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Taco Seasoning

Denise Punger threatened me to post this today...or else. What is, 'or else'. I would really like to know. But this is a mixture we have had for so long, that I have no clue where I got it from. And if you have been reading my blog long enough, you know that I like to give credit where credit is due. With that said, please make this, enjoy it, but do not be put off by the amount of different spices it contains. If you take a look at the spices, they are very common spices that if you are a cook, then you will have no problem with this recipe.

1 T chilli powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t oregano
1/2 t paprika
1&1/2 t cumin
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
Ina small bowl, mix together all ingredients, and slowly stir/whisk until completely blended. Store in an airtight container. Use as needed.

See how simple that is. If you are one that enjoys Mexican flavor, you may want to double this recipe for it does not go bad.

Taco Veggie Meat

I did this all by myself and on a whim. Well, not really a whim, Savanah and I had planned the meal, but we then realized we were out of store bought veggie crumbles and had to improvise... and quickly. Enter bulgar wheat. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, that is the sound of relief and knowing we can finally let go of ground beef veggie crumbles. Who knew?

So there we are trying to put dinner on the table and all went well. We made our own tortillas, cut up a tomato, shredded some cheese, diced a red onion, thee only thing left is the 'meat'. Have no fear, wanna be wing-it-er is here. So try this and adjust it to your own tastes and home. this recipe serves four with a wee bit left over for the next day.

2 cups bulgar wheat
3-4 cups boiling water
Olive oil
1/2-1 onion, chopped small
1 small can tomato sauce
3/4-1 cup water (more or less if needed)
1-2 T taco seasoning (post to follow)
Put the bulgar wheat in a glass bowl and add boiling water (about 1 inch to cover). While wheat is soaking up water heat up large skillet and oil to cover in a thin layer in bottom of pan. Add chopped onion and cook on low until soft and translucent.

Once wheat has soaked up enough water (15-20 minutes) transfer to a mesh strainer and squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Pour wheat into skillet with oil and onions. Stir to combine. Add tomato sauce, water and taco seasoning and stir until completely mixed together and heated through.

Taste to see if more spice is needed. If ready then serve with your meal. Good times.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Even Way Back When

I was up early this morning with my husband as he got ready for work and I sat on the sofa and picked up my The New Laurel's Kitchen (which my husband got for me back in 1992) which this edition was from 1986, so it tells you how old this book is. As much as I am in love with Sarah Kramer's How it all Vegan, this book is more like a well worn sweater, like something you would save if you could only save one thing from a fire. It is comforting to hold it, read eat and cook from it. That is not to say that other cookbooks do have love poured into them. But I guess you would have to see it to understand what I am talking about.

But in browsing around the book for thee umpteenth time I came across some tid-bits that are strewn in the borders of the pages throughout the book. This is from the Food Guide Section.

The Top 10 Sources Of Calories In The U.S. Diet:
1. White bread, rolls, crackers
2. Doughnuts, cookies, cakes
3. Alcoholic beverages
4. Whole milk (cows)
5. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, etc.
6. Beef steaks, roasts
7. Soft drinks
8. Hotdogs, ham, lunchmeat
9. Eggs
10 French fries, potato chips
**Taken from G. Block et al. 1985 American Journal of Epidemiology 122:13-40**

Another little tidbit I knew of but did not have the numbers to support my knowledge.

Vitamins Lost When Whole Wheat Is Refined
86% Vitamin E lost
81 Niacin*
80 Riboflavin*
77 Thiaman*
70 Vitamin B-6
67 Folic acid
50 Panothenic acid
*Replaced commercially after refinement.
Source: H.A. Schroder 1973, The Trace Elements and Man (Old Greenwich, Conn.: Devin-Adair), p. 57

There is tons of this information scattered throughout the book. So I will be looking through it, shaking my head and then posting about these things. And guess what, most of this stuff was being put out over 25 years ago. I guess some folks were already clued in, to bad so many of us took so long to catch up with them.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where Does It Go?

So Hector comes home from work last night with his eco bag filled with middle of the week produce. Yep, you heard correctly folks. I do my weekly dry good shopping, and then I hit the produce stand and purchase my veggies and fruit there. So I had estimated that we spend approximately $100 on dry goods and around $40 on fresh produce.

Then it hit my husband last night that we spend WWWAAAYYY more on produce than just $40. Then he commenced to remind me of how much he had spent on the two nights he had worked. For he closes at a grocery the produce department, so it is easy for him to set things aside and then bring them home to consume.

He tallied it up in his head and he calculated the $40 I spend, plus the $20 something he spent last Sunday and the $30 something he had just brought home. Gee Whiz, we spend nearly $100 dollars a week in produce. Most of that being in fruit, but who cares how you get your raw fruits or veggies, right?

Dang, $100 on fruits and veggies. I never thought we laid down that much money on produce, but the numbers support his findings. That sounded way too much like a study. And you know what? I am thrilled we spend that much on produce. So many people spend it on processed foods, fast food, cigarettes, booze, and a bunch of other crap, but we choose not to throw our money away like that.

So the next time I am in a conversation with anyone about how much we spend on groceries, I will proudly and with a smile say we spend $100 on dry goods, and another $100 on fresh produce. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

You can all start thanking Sarah Kramer for this recipe. Once again she has pulled through and given us a wonderful, yet simple recipe to make and then eat. My daughter makes her chocolate chip cookies all the time, but you can only eat chocolate cookies so much. I have been telling her it was time to cook outside her box, but she dragged her feet on this. And I was out of commission due to 2 days of migraines. But I came back with a vengeance. I was all over these oatmeal cookies at 7:30 AM. Yep, no moss grows under these feet chickies. So saddle up and break out your spices for you will be needin' them in this here recipe.

2 cups rolled oat flakes
1 cup flour (we used our own ground whole wheat)
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t ground ginger
1 t cumin
1/2 t dried cardamon (we did not have this spice)
1/2 t pepper
dash of Cayenne
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup dry sweetener
2 T oil (we used coconut)
1 cup sour soy milk (we used almond) milk + 1 t vinegar)
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips or carob chips (we did not use these and they are optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl stir together the oat flakes, flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cinnamon, cardamon, pepper, and Cayenne. Add the mashed banana, sweetener, oil, sour milk, raisins and chocolate chips to the oat mixture and mix together gently until 'just mixed.' Scoop spoon-sized portions onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes 6 large or 12 small.

I don't know what portions that girlie is using, but I measure mine out with a tablespoon measure, and we get almost double thee amount she has suggested. These were to die for and what a great blend of spices. Wowzer! Simple, easy and vegan...who knew!?

Vanilla Pudding

I love banana pudding. It is such a comfort food for me. I can remember my Nanny making it whenever we would visit. I would lick the bowl like any child would, as long as we were allowed. With that in mind, I had had a hankering for some banana pudding, but did not want to use boxed pudding. So I looked for a recipe from scratch, and what do you know, it is not that difficult to make. Simple ingredients and I was able to veganize it, so heads up ya'll, time to throw your boxed puddings away, there's a new recipe in town. I found this from Allrecipes and again it was easy schmeazy to make. So give it a try and be taken back to your childhood.

2 cups milk (we used rice, but it was too thin, next time I will use soy or almond)
1/2 cup sugar (we used raw (it turned the pudding a nice carmel color)
3T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1t vanilla extract
1T butter (we used dairy butter)
In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until bubbles form at edges. In a bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Pour into hot milk, a little at a time, stirring to dissolve. (Very Important) Continue to cook and stir until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. (It is so cool when this happens) do not boil. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into serving dishes. (I poured my into a big serving dish for I knew I would put it in another dish before I was done) Chill before serving.

I then went about putting together my banana pudding. I layered vanilla wafers (note to self, find a healthier version of these cookies) along with the pudding and bananas. you layer it the way you want, but let me tell you this. Everyone in the house went bonkers for this recipe. This will definitely be made again, for sure.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm Not Dieting

These were the words that came out of my husbands mouth about a week ago. I was in the kitchen...DUH!, and we were chatting back and forth about some thing or other and he said, "You know what I just realized?" and I asked him to go on. "I am not dieting. I'm just eating foods and not portioning out my food, or weighing it, or anything like I have done all my life when trying to lose weight." My inner revenge person wanted to say, "SEE I TOLD YOU SO!"

But I stayed cool and said the same thing but with a bit more diplomacy. And then commenced to tell my husband that I was hoping his lightbulb would eventually go on the way mine had years ago. I have never dieted in my entire life. Does that mean I am a skinny minny? By no stretch of the means. Does that mean I weigh what the those stupid charts say I should weigh? Absolutely not. Those charts are stupid and unrealistic. You'd have to live on air and twigs to be that weight, and I'm sorry, but I love eating, that's all I got to say about that.

But I think he was genuinely delighted in the fact that he finally got it. We all know it, but so few of us implement it into our daily lives and then if folks hear of our 'weird' eating habits, we get all the odd looks and the questions of, "What do you eat?" And my tried and true answer is, "Everything you don't." And that isn't far from the truth.

People still look at me weird when I tell them I had a salad for breakfast. Who said, and in what rule book does it say that you have to eat pancakes, cereal, home fries, eggs and the such for breakfast. You guys eat breakfast for dinner don't you? Then why not reverse that. Have dinner for breakfast. There is nothing like left over eggplant parm for breakfast. MmmMmm Good.

But in a nutshell, my husband has finally put two & two together in the food world. He has stuck to his guns about losing red meat and pork and doesn't miss it. He still eats chicken and fish and that is his thing. He becomes a veggie man when he is with Savanah and I, so that is a plus. Thee amount of processed foods in our lives is practically zilch. He was having difficulty letting go of bottled dressings, but after reading Green Smoothie Girls introduction to her 12 step program, one of her steps was letting go of bottled dressing. I myself had done it months ago, but he kept holding on. Not any more. I just need to make sure there is plenty made up in advance, for he eats at least one if not two salads a day.

Guess I better check out my own side bar and get to making some homemade dressings. And look for my next post, I made homemade vanilla pudding to go into some banana pudding. Yummo!