Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spaghetti/Bruschetta/Ciabatta Bread

This..was dinner tonight. And it was an explosion of flavor!!
Recipes Below!!

Ciabatta Bread

1/2 tsp yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
2/3 cups warm water
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup flour

Put yeast, warm water, and milk in a bowl and leave for 5 minutes. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Mix in flour to form a loose batter. Cover and rise on counter 12 hours.

1/2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon oil
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

To make dough: Sprinkle yeast in water and leave 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve. Add yeast mix and oil to starter and stir to mix well. Mix in flour and salt to form a wet, sticky dough. Mix for 5 minutes by hand using wooden spoon or whisk.  Let rise until triple and full of bubbles, about 3 hours. Do not punch down.

Flour two baking sheets generously and have extra flower nearby for your hands. (I think oiling your hands would work way better then flour.) Divide dough in half anf form into a 12 inch long loaf on pan. PLump up dough and tuck in the edges. This is called chafing the dough. Repeat with other half of dough. Let sit 20 minutes and bake on 425 for 30 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

To make Bruschetta

Cut cooled ciabatta into slices, 1/2 inch thick. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with chopped plum (roma) tomatoes. Cut up small fresh mozzarella balls and put on tomatoe. Drizzle with more olive oil and bake on 350 until cheese is slightly melted. Top with fresh basil leaves.

Spaghetti Sauce
(There isn't really a recipe for this, so I'll do my best!)

Finely chop 20-25 roma tomatoes. Put in large saucepan and simmer with 10 basil leaves, chopped and about 4-5 tsp oregano, chopped. Add a chopped onion and 2-3 cloves minced garlic. Drizzle with a dash of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tsp chopped parsley and 1/2 tsp rosemary. Simmer until thickened and add 1lb ground beef. You can use 1 tablespoon cornstarch to help with the thickening.

Boil box of noodles until al dente. Drain and pour both sauce and noodles into large pot. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and bake on 350 until cheese is melted.


Pita Pockets

I was at my sister in laws yesterday and she showed me a book she got from the library. It was a book all about the art of bread making. Upon opening it, I knew I was sunk. I was going to be sitting there for an hour or more writing recipes..I just knew it! And, was I ever right. She got me paper and a pencil and copy away I did!
This may not be the quickest or easiest recipe but it's worth it!
I'm sure my second time around it will be more streamlined, but regardless, the end product was delicious and a family pleaser.

Wheat Pita Bread

2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water

3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons wheat flour
2 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 425.
Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let rest 5 minutes. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the flour/salt and dump in yeast and remaining warm water. Stir to combine and hand knead for 15 minutes, gradually working in the olive oil. Put into oiled bowl, cover, and raise 1 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rest 10 minutes. Divide into 8 equal portions and shape into smooth balls. Roll into 9 inch oval, 1/4 inch thick. Cover on table with a towel and rest 20 minutes. Dust 3 pants with flour and heat pans in the oven for 5 minutes in oven. Put rolled out pitas on hot pans and bake 6-10 minutes or until puffy. Don't let overbrown. Place baked pitas on towel and cover with another towel until fully cooled. Cut in half and split.  Store in refrigerator.

This is my best friend. It's my Bosch Stone wheat grinder. It hooks right on top my Bosch mixer and grinds 1 cup a minute. Wooo!

 Add some wheat berries to the top...
 And after a bit of get flour! No lie. It's that easy.

Here's the nappy barely combined dough..
 After 15 minutes of hand kneading, look how beautiful!
 Formed into 8 (not very symmetrical) balls
 Baked and cooled Pitas!

Chicken-Rice-Bean Burritos

One of my staple bulk meals that I always have in my freezer, these are super easy to make and they freeze/re-heat very well! Like usual, I don't really have a recipe. I just throw into a bowl whatever I think will taste good but here's a rough estimate of what's in them!

Chicken Burritos

4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 cups prepared mexican rice
3 cups prepared brown rice
1 cup prepared black beans
1 cup prepared white beans
1 cup frozen corn
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper (or more)
1 tsp salt (or more)
1 quart (4 cups) salsa
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Mix everything very well in a large bowl. Depending on the moisture in the rice, you may need to add more salsa.

This recipe makes me almost 30 burritos, depending on how much filling.

Put 1/2 cup or tad more on each tortilla.

 I wrap all mine individually in foil and then freeze.

You can leave in the foil and reheat on 350 for 15 mins or until center is warm.
Craig re-wraps them in wax paper and microwaves them a couple minutes.

So awesome to have these on hand!!

English Muffin Bread

I really like English muffins. Like...really like them. I go to the Farmer's Market every single Friday to get my favorite English muffins from my favorite seller who's name I don't even know. And then, it dawned on me. What if...just what if I made my very own?? So recipe hunting began. And...this is the one that won out. By far. It's bread! BUT....tastes just like an English muffin. It is absolutely divine toasted with some strawberry jam and a coffee. Wow! And SUPER...super...easy. Try it! You won't regret it.

English Muffin Bread

2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cornmeal
6 cups bread flour
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Warm the milk and water in a small saucepan until very warm. Lightly grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans; sprinkle cornmeal inside pans.

In a large bowl, mix together 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and soda. Stir milk into the flour mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until a stiff batter is formed. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place for until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Raw Granola Bars

Raw. So healthy for your body. It takes such little energy to digest so all that "extra" energy goes to, well, you!

My amazing cousin Glenda gave me this recipe. Don't bother making one batch. You might at well quadruple it like I do! I like to store snack size bags with a couple bars in each in my freezer. Quick grab on the way out the door!

Raw Granola Bars

4 cups oats (1/2 regular 1/2 quick)
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped dried fruit
1/2 tsp salt

-Binding stuff-
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup or maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond butter
2 tsp vanilla or maple flavoring
Grease 15x11 pan.

Combine oats, oat bran, flaxseed meal, sunflower seeds, almonds, dried fruit and salt.
Melt coconut oil on low heat. Add syrup, honey and sugar. Heat and stir one minute. Add almond butter and extract. Pour over dry ingredients stirring well to combine.
Spread into pan, pushing down firmly with wax paper. Let cool completely. Refrigerate or freeze.

I ground the sunflower seeds and almonds so they wouldn't be a choking hazard.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I love yogurt. My kids love yogurt. Craig loves yogurt. And it gets spendy to buy!
Especially when it's a main ingredient in our morning smoothies.
So, I figured, why not make it myself? If some factory can make it, then so can I!
This is my favorite recipe because you do it in the crock pot and it's never ever failed me.


Crock Pot Yogurt

8 cups good quality milk (fresh cow milk is best =) )
1/2 cup plain yogurt with live and active cultures
1 packet gelatin if you want thick yogurt (I prefer thinner beings we blend it)

Turn your crock on low and add the milk. Cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours. Unplug, do not remove lid, and let sit 3 hours.
After three hours have passed, scoop out 2 cups of the warm milk and whisk with the 1/2 c plain yogurt. If you want thicker yogurt, now is the time to fully whisk in the gelatin.

Put the lid back on the crock, wrap in a heavy, thick bath towel or blanket to insulate, and let sit 8 hours or overnight.

After the 8 hours, you'll have yogurt.

I start this process at 3:30 and by 9, it's ready to be "tucked in" for the night. In the morning, I wake to fresh yogurt!

Now. On to the fun part.

Begin with 4 cups of  your fresh, home-made yogurt.

Add 1/2 cup blueberries (or more!) and a whole banana (or two)

Blend all together and add a dash of vanilla. If you want to sweeten it, use agave, maple syrup, evaporated cane juice, etc. I used Stevia.

Pour into a loaf pan and freeze, stirring every hour or so until it resembles frozen yogurt.

And, once it's all frozen, look at what amazingness you get to enjoy!

Seriously. Divine.

Our favorite blend in's are
Raspberry+Orange Concentrate

Granola, Crock Style

The crock pot is my best friend, kitchen gadget wise. Aside from my wheat grinder, of course.
So, I use it whenever I can. I stumbled across a granola recipe for the crock, but wasn't satisfied with the results. After some tweaking, I now have this recipe. It's not very clumpy, so if you like big clumps, I suggest making an oven recipe or adding more honey. I prefer my granola more cereal like.
This stuff has so much flavor and is so versatile as you can mix in whatever you want to change flavor!

5 c oats
2/3c honey
1/2c melted butter
2 tablespoons flax seed
1/4c slivered almonds
1/4c raw pumpkin seed
1/4c raw sunflower seeds
3/4c dried fruit (blueberries, cranberries, and golden raisins are my fav.)

Place all dry ingredients in your crock pot. Melt butter and add with honey to dry mix. Toss well. Cover but vent with a chop stick (very important part). Cook on high 3-4 hours., stirring often. Be careful to not burn. Pour onto parchment paper to cool. Store in airtight containers or bags in fridge or freezer.

A Perfect Breakfast

I usually don't like to make a big mess with breakfast. Something quick and easy is right up my alley. That's probably why most mornings, we have a smoothie and a muffin of one sort or another. The kids love that they each get their own cup with a straw(!) and don't have to share. I like that it's almost mess free! It provides a dairy, fruit, veggie, and omega 3's. The muffins supply a good dose of whole grain and another fruit. Usually I'll put peanut butter on top for protein, too. The kids love taking part in making this, too. Aerro does the banana, Avoni the blueberries. Unless, of course, I'm in a rush. Wholesome Breakfast!

Aerro's Smoothie

1 c yogurt (I make my own, recipe to follow)
1 cup milk or 1/2 milk 1/2 juice
1 c dark berries (blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, marionberry, etc.)
1 banana
1 c fresh spinach, rinsed and dried (this is where most people go *huh?*)
3 tablespoons flax meal (or seeds, ground)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp Herba-Smoothie Blend

Blend and enjoy! Most people think the spinach part is just nasty but as long as the kids don't see it go in, they'll never know it's there. The banana neutralizes the taste of the spinach. No lie! Now, if you want a thicker shake, add more banana. Thinner, more milk.

Banana Muffins

5 eggs
1 c sugar or sweetener
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 c wheat flour (or grind your own from wheatberries...don't seperate the bran from the flour)
2 tablespoons flax meal
1/2 c apple sauce
1/2 c olive oil (I use light)
2 c banana, mashed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pkg instant pudding (vanilla or banana-optional)

Mix all until combined. Bake in lined muffin tins on 350 for 10-12 minutes or until done.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I don't like candy. I limit my kids' refined sugar intake as much as possible. (Unless, of course, they're at some random youth weekend that has a buffet of suckers, licorice, etc..but that's a different story..)

One thing about this family is both Craig and Aerro are prone to strep. Strep=bacteria. Bacteria loves sugar. Therefore, by cutting out almost all refined sugars, you starve the strep bacteria making it less likely to take over.

Now. My kids, like most, enjoy sweets. Once upon a time I came across a youtube video on how to make healthy vitamin candies. I usually blend up smoothies for my kids and add their powdered vitamins to that, but this way, if they didn't want a smoothie, they got their vitamins in a "candy".

Bulk Herb Store sells this daily herba-smoothie blend. I recommend it to seriously everyone! Like I said, we use it in our morning smoothies as a vitamin supplement and also, now, in these little candy balls. It doesn't have an offensive flavor and the little's don't need much of it in a day, anyway.

So. On to the "recipe".
This is another non-measured one. What you need, though, is...

Raw Honey (I get mine from Azure Standard)
Or Raw Agave if the child is under a year
Almond or Peanut butter (or a mix of both)
Flaked Coconut
Cocoa powder
Bee pollen ( can get at most health food stores)
Flax Meal
Sesame Seed, finely ground
Herbal Powder (optional, of course)

I start with a big glob of the honey (agave), and butters and start to sprinkle in spoonfuls of everything else. Limit the cocoa powder, though, as it's potent. Same for the herbal powder. No more then 2 tbsp per cup of honey/butter. If your mix is too sticky, add dry ingredients. Too dry, add some more honey/agave.

Form into teaspoon size balls and roll in powdered sugar just to coat.
These keep in the refrigerator indefinitely. I let the kids have no more then 2 a day.
Sure, they're no snickers or anything, but they're also a whole ton better for you! And no, they aren't even disgusting, either. =)

Chicken Soup

Some days, when the air holds a crisp feel to it (unlike today), the only proper thing to make for dinner is a soup.
I don't generally have a recipe for soup..I mostly just pour, chop, and season until I think it looks cool and seems to smell the house up right nice.

For this soup, I started with my biggest pot and dumped in 2 containers of organic chicken stock. Then I shredded some leftover chicken into the pot, peeled a handful of carrots that have stored quite well so far ( I picked them out of our garden months ago!), added around 4 washed but not peeled potatoes cubed pretty small, and some good old fashioned celery.

After all that started to simmer, it needed a bit of salt and a healthy portion of pepper. I had some fresh parsley in my fridge so I chopped some of that up for the soup, too.
Be creative and use what you have on hand. Some bell peppers would have been amazing had I some!

Simmer everything until the potatoes and carrots are nice and soft. Taste it and see if it's needing any extra seasoning and serve with Glenda's Brown Bread.

Pepper Jack Mac

Macaroni and Cheese.
The kids love it. The husband...not so much.
Now, granted, it would probably be easier to buy a box if it for 49c at the local grocer, but have you read those ingredients? I'll stick to what I can pronounce, thank you!

So the task was set before me. Find a mac and cheese everyone could agree on that was relatively easy to make. That's where this recipe came in to play.. A friend gave me the base recipe and I went from there!
I don't like dry macaroni and it seems most baked recipes are just that...dry, bland, flavorless. Not this recipe!

Craig is a diehard pepper jack fan and my children don't mind the bite it has.
Find some funky noodles to use and you have an easy, yummy dish that refrigerates and reheats very well!

Pepper Jack Mac

16 oz small type pasta
1 lb. pepper jack cheese
2 cups sour cream
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. whole milk
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.
Olive oil up a 9 by 13.
Cook macaroni as directed on package (or a minute less) and drain.
Cut pepper jack into cubes and melt on low.
Add all remaining ingredients together.
Spoon into casserole dish and just to be cool, sprinkle Italian seasoned bread crumbs on top and bake for 20 minutes.

10 Grain Muffins

My kids would eat muffins all day if I let them..and some days I do. Craig loves having them in the freezer as a quick snack to grab, too. I wanted to find a really healthy version I knew I could feel good giving them and when I found Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal, I knew it would do the trick. I'll use the entire bag, making a triple batch when I do. Add any kind of berries, dried or frozen, to make this recipe your own!
I make mini ones for the kids.
The 10 grain cereal should be available at most any store, Wal*Mart included. Image below.

Ten Grain Muffins (with raspberry, blueberry, and marionberry added) 

1 egg
1/2 c evaporated cane juice (or raw honey, pure maple syrup, raw agave, etc.)
1/3 c butter
1 c flour (I do half whole wheat, half unbleached white)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup ten grain cereal
1 1/4c buttermilk
1 cup frozen berries

Mix 10 Grain Cereal and milk; allow to stand for 10 minutes while preheating oven and assembling other ingredients; cream sweetener, butter, and egg together. Add dry ingredients and milk mixture. Stir only until mixed. Spoon into greased or lined muffin pan. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Makes 12 regular sized muffins.

In this batch, I added cranberries and white chocolate chips. A delicious combination!!

Meat and Potatoes

A true man's meal, this is among Craig's favorites.

Meat Squares
I love to make this large batch and freeze at least half individually for later meals.

2 eggs, beat
1 can evaporated milk
2c oats
1c chopped onion
2tsp salt
2tsp chili powder
1/2tsp garlic powder
1/2tsp pepper
3lbs ground beef
2c ketchup (HFCS free)
1c brown sugar
2tbsp mustard
1/2c onion, chopped

Mix all meat ingredients in large bowl. Put into greased 9 by 13 and 8 by 8 square pan. Mix sauce ingredients and pour over top. Bake 1 hour, uncovered, at 325.
Cool slightly and cut into small squares.

Glenda's Brown Bread
Craig's favorite meal bread, and so easy to make! It has a slightly sweet undertone.

2/3c sugar
3T shortening
1/2c molasses
3c whole wheat flour
1c white flour
1tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2c buttermilk
Mix all ingredients. Bake in two greased loaf pans, 45 minutes on 325

Fresh Butter
The cow milk I buy is not homogenized, so the cream is always at the top, and the milk at the bottom. I like to scoop this cream off and make butter. It really is super easy, and you can use just regular cream from the store, too.
Place cream in blender and mix until it separates, butter from buttermilk. Scoop out butter, save buttermilk for bread. Squeeze butter dry by pressing against a sieve or using a cheesecloth. Mix honey or salt into butter. Use that day.