Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pizza Pockets

When in need of a fast lunch, I have enjoyed Amy's Kitchen Organic Pizza Snacks. Of course, I wanted to find a way to make them from scratch and was very glad to find a recipe at Heavenly Homemakers! This went together very quickly. Changes to the recipe include:
- I had to use 1/2 organic whole wheat bread flour because I ran out of regular organic whole wheat flour (hmmm, must be due to all of the recent baking!)
- I had some homemade sauce that I used so I did not use her recipe.
- In my pizza pockets I put sauce, parmesan cheese, mozarella cheese, onion and garlic powders.
- I did not use a fork to seal them, my hands were already messy in the dough so I just sealed with my fingers :)
- Before baking I brushed olive oil on the dough and sprinkled parsley and oregano.
- Next time I want to try using olive oil to make the dough instead of butter.
Yum! We are going to freeze what we didn't eat (the recipe made 10 and 1 1/2 was plenty with a salad for a meal).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This recipe uses a variation of my Cottage Cheese Herb Rolls for a stromboli crust. I have another crust recipe I will use and post with pics the next time I use it. Of course try to make as many ingredients organic as possible!

For the crust:
1 pk yeast
1/2 c warm water
2 1/2 c flour (I used organic whole wheat bread flour)
1/4 c sugar (I used Sun Crystals and cut to 1/8 cup)
1 tsp oregano (I probably used more, I don't like to measure spices)
1/3 c flaxmeal
1 c sour cream
1 egg
olive oil (as needed)

Dissolve the yeast in water and set aside as you prep other ingredients. Turn on oven to 200 degrees. Once it is done heating, turn off. In large bowl mix flour, sugar, oregano, flax, sour cream and egg. Add yeast/water mixture. If consistency seems a little dry, add a small amount of olive oil. Knead on floured surface until smooth (about 5 minutes). Place in bowl sprayed with nonstick spray, set in dough and cover with tea towel dampened with hot water and set in oven 30-40 minutes.

Stuffing Ingredients:
parmesan cheese
swiss cheese
mozarella cheese
deli ham (I use Nature's Promise and rip into smaller pieces)
onion, garlic powders
olive oil

Punch down the dough when done rising and lightly knead. Roll into a rectangle (I usually roll it out on a greased piece of foil to make it easier to move to the baking sheet). Layer ingredients on half the dough leaving a small edge to seal the two layers. I would like to try with green peppers and onions in as well, so feel free to add whatever you like! I also like to put the onion and garlic powder inside. Then fold the top half of dough over the stuffing (this is where the foil comes in handy to help keep it together) and seal by pressing the two layers together. Then lightly brush with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and parsley. Bake at 350 for about 15-25 minutes until lightly browned and smelling delicious! This will vary depending on the amount of stuffing ingredients and the thickness of the dough. Enjoy! I like to dip in spaghetti/pizza sauce.


Peanut Butter Crispies

Yum! Another winning dessert! I made this one to take to dinner at my dad's (he has to eat a gluten free diet). I followed this recipe. I used a brown puffed rice and added mini organic chocolate chips to the top. These were so good and very filling!

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Mock" Tarts

*Update* I have found that the empanada maker from Tupperware makes the best poptarts! The dough has also been the flakiest when using my homemade yogurt. Yum! They freeze/refrigerate well, then just pop in the toaster (on defrost if frozen) and they are as good as fresh out of the oven!

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I usually use Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour or King Arthur All-Purpose flour- both organic)
1 teaspoon sea salt (I don't measure this exactly)
1 cup melted butter (I use 2 Earth Balance sticks)
1 cup plain yogurt (I use my homemade vanilla yogurt)
1 jar organic jam (I found strawberry/blueberry/raspberry work best, grape tends to soak into the dough)

Combine all ingredients. Roll out about 1/4 of dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. If using the empanada maker, just cut circle using the bottom of it, or cut into desired shape. Place about a tsp of jam in the middle and cover with another piece of dough of similar size and seal with fork. Bake at 350 degreees for about 10-15 minutes. If you want to make an icing, combine 1 c powedered sugar with 2 tbsp milk and a little vanilla.

A long time ago my family ate Poptarts frequently. I was able to switch them to a "healthier" version but knew deep down that they were still unhealthy. So, thanks to Heavenly Homemakers again (do you get the idea that I love this site???), I have a delicious homemade version! I have not tried soaking my grains yet, but might do that overnight so I can make some more tomorrow, they are so good! I made half a batch since this was a trial run. I made some with organic strawberry jam and some with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and honey. The strawberry ones are delicious and I can't wait to try with other jam flavors. The brown sugar and cinnamon taste good but the filling is a little dry, so I'm on the search for how to make the middle more "gooey" like the original. I think this would make a great apple or cherry turnover crust as well. I followed the crust recipe exactly except I added a drop of vanilla...just seemed like it was needed!

Fresh out of the oven!

Inside the strawberry deliciousness:

 Inside the brown sugar cinnamon:

Update: I made another batch soaking the grains overnight in plain yogurt. I do not prefer that method as it makes the crust heavier and less flaky. I do want to try soaking grains for other baked goods but probably won't for ones that I want to have a lighter feel to them. I also made some with raspberry jam and grape jam- yum! I even think you could make one with peanut butter and jelly, bake and eat for lunch and it would be MUCH healthier than some other "crustless" sandwiches!(Oh yeah, these did not seal as well as the unsoaked version, thus more oozing of the jams!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Donuts

I have been working my way through as many recipes from the Heavenly Homemakers site and decided that Christmas morning would be a great time to try the whole wheat donuts recipe. I followed it exactly as listed except I only did half a batch and definitely added more cinnamon than called for, and will probably add even more next time :) I also used organic sucancat for the first time in my baking. I used coconut oil to fry and loved it! I will definitely use it more often. I'm thinking about coming up with a coconut shrimp recipe... Anyway, here's a few pictures of the donuts and holes, minus the organic powdered sugar we added before munching down! Half a batch made 6 full size donuts and about 15 or so holes. This will definitely be a treat to make again!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Gluten-Free Crust

I have been bugging my sister, April, for a while to be a guest blogger on here. And today is the day! She posted this recipe on FB and is allowing me to post here. Yay! I have to say I haven't tried this recipe yet but fully take her word on it and hope to try it out over the Christmas break! Thanks, April, for sharing with us!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Gluten-Free Crust

The Crust:
1.5 cups of Bean and Rice Flour (mostly Bean)
1/4 cup Cornstarch (I use organic non-GMO)
1/4 teaspoon Salt (optional)
1/4 cup Sugar (optional)
1/2 cup Butter (I use Earth Balance brand to make the crust vegan as well)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flours, cornstarch, butter, salt & sugar until it's a pebble crumb consistency. If you use a pastry cutter for this it makes it a lot easier, otherwise you can "cut" the butter into the flour by using two butter knives and slicing them together in the opposite direction.
3. Next press mixture into 9x9 pie pan, I use a glass cup at first since the mixture is quite crumbly and then finish by using my hands.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until light brown.
*This crust is amazing, I LOVE it, so light and crumbly goodness:)!

The Pie Filling:
2 cups Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Soy, Rice or Coconut Milk (I used the coconut milk you drink, not out of the can, though it would prob work too:)
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar Cane Syrup (if you don't have this I'll tell you an easy way to make it below)
1/4 cup Cornstarch (again, organic & non-GMO)
1/2 Tablespoon Molasses
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Allspice

1. If you are using fresh pumpkin (can is fine but I prefer fresh:), you have to first cut & clean out the inside of the pumpkin, then either in the oven or on the stove top, place the pumpkin (meat side down) in water and cook for maybe 10mins, until pumpkin meat is soft. I like to place it in a large pot with a lid and maybe 3 cups of water. Once soft, remove pumpkin from pan and let cool so you can remove the meat from the skin. Next I used a hand mixer to smooth it out.
*You also eat the yummy pumpkin seeds, just rinse & eat, or place on a baking sheet with salt & bake for 5-10mins.
2. In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients and mix together with hand mixer until smooth (a large bowl is important since the pumpkin mixture will literally go everywhere:).
*If you do not have the cane sugar syrup, bring to boil a 1/2 cup of sugar(I use brown sugar) with a 1/4 cup of water. Once sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let cool, then add it to the mixture. Easy as pie;).
3. Pour mixture into pie pan with already prepped crust. If you are use to making a traditional pumpkin pie you'll notice that this mixture is a lot more firm. You can also have fun making a cool design after it's in the pan (can't do that with traditional pumpkin pie:).
4. Bake for 30-40mins, until light brown on the edges. Note: This pie won't rise like a tradition pie made with eggs.
5. Once done, cool and serve, or cover and place in the fridge to serve later.

This pie is GREAT, soo much healthier and lighter. I honestly prefer it over traditional pumpkin pie! I do have a confession though, I have been using organic heavy whipping cream that I whip up and use as a topping (I know, NOT vegan, but I haven't searched for a substitute yet, baby steps in the vegan world for me:).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bagels Part 2

Wow! So I tried a new honey whole wheat bagel recipe from Heavenly Homemakers. I was pleased with my first attempt but for some reason I always like trying 2 recipes before settling on one. This one seemed a little easier and the dough just had a better texture. I will not repost the recipe as I followed it exactly as it is on the other site. Mine aren't as pretty, but as I said, tasty! Here's a few pics taken by my daughter, Leah.

 Resting before baking

                                                 Boiling after broiling.

After boiling and ready to bake!

All done!

Yum! This is my favorite pic of them! It was so good toasted with an egg and spinach omelet!

Since we loved this recipe so much, we decided to try it again but this time making some various flavors. Here's what we did:
Cinnamon Sugar- rolled out the dough into a long flat snake, put a mixture of sucanat and cinnamon in the middle and then rolled it up and into a bagel shape (see pic below). This was delish!
Blueberry- rolled out the dough into a long flat snake, put blueberries in the middle and then rolled it up and into a bagel shape. I loved the way the blueberries popped into my mouth!
Garlic- kneaded in some Garlic Garlic dip mix from Tastefully Simple. This bagel turned out delicious but gave me garlic breath all day!
Sun Dried Tomato- kneaded in some sun dried tomato veggie dip mix from Tastefully Simple (I think this was only a summer item). This bagel turned out well.
We also made a few plain.

Oats and Granola

I have been trying ways to incorporate more oats into my diet. I have a hard time handling the texture of rolled oatmeal as a hot breakfast food. I tried one version of steel cut oats (much different texture than the rolled) with peanut butter and a little cocoa powder but I wasn't impressed. Thankfully, this morning I was able to come up with a winning recipe (not noted in the ingredients, but make as many ingredients organic! Especially the vanilla as it often contains HFCS. I want to try making my own vanilla using this recipe from Heavenly Homemakers, one of new fave sites!)!

Cranberry Almond Oatmeal (makes 2 servings)
1/2 c steel cut oatmeal
1 c water
1 tsp vanilla
2 T sliced almonds
1 T honey
1 T dried cranberries

Cook oatmeal according to directions. Mine said to boil water, add oatmeal, boil for 5 minutes then simmer for 30. This was for making a whole cup of oatmeal, but it didn't take nearly that long with only 1/2 cup. Add in the other ingredients and enjoy!

The next recipe I've made my own recently is the Chewy Granola Bar recipe from Heavenly Homemakers. I've tried 2 variations, the first with all steel cut oats which was alright, but the one below is GREAT! I realized that I needed to start making my own after becoming addicted to the Nature's Promise choco chip chewy granola bars. I knew that even though they were "natural" there were still ingredients in them that I didn't want in my body.

Choco Chewy Granola Bars
1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 1/2 cup oats (1/2 rolled, 1/2 steel cut) if the batter is too gooey you can add more
2/3 c each slivered almonds, unsweetened dried coconut, pumpkin seeds
1/4 organic semi-sweet chocolate chips
Melt PB, honey and oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add oats, combine and then add seeds/chips. Add more oats if too sticky. Pour into 9x13" greased pan and place in refrigerator. Cut into bars when cool and hard. They pack well but should be kept cool or they will turn mushy. Delish!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Six-Seed Soda Bread (don't worry- no soft drinks here!)

Wow! I found and AWESOME bread recipe at a new-to-me blog, 101 Cookbooks. I love seeds and the prospect of a non-rising bread with lots of them intrigued me! I am not going to repost the recipe here, because I only made a few changes. I did not have spelt flour (thought I did, but I guess that was one of the few odd types that I haven't bought yet) so I use some organic whole wheat sprouted flour. Sprouted flour is thought to be more nutritious and is in the Ezekiel brand bread products. I bought mine at Sonnewald Natural Foods. I also did not have pumpkin or sesame seeds so I just used more of each of the other kinds. For buttermilk I made my own with low fat milk and lemon juice. This was also my first time using fennel seeds in a recipe, and I could definitely taste their flavor and while not totally objectionable, I would personally leave them out next time. I love that this bread is fast and got done a few minutes ahead of schedule. I'll be honest, I ate two pieces and could have easily eaten more! I will be looking to try other variations on this bread as well, since the abundance of seeds scared some members of the family away from even trying it! Oh well, more for me!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chocolate Fix

Well, tonight I NEEDED chocolate, so much so that I ALMOST dug into some mini chocolate bars, but thankfully I was also in the mood to bake (imagine that?) so I decided to give myself a healthier, fair trade, organic chocolate fix. This recipe is altered from one I used to make years ago, and I cut it in half since it was still an experiment, so feel free to double! I think I could alter it a little more to make it even more healthy, and I'll note that in the recipe. I could barely wait for the cookie to cool, it smelled so good, and it was one of the most delicious! Calorie-counters beware, this is not really a low-cal dessert, although it does have LOTS of fiber and good for you stuff in it, and keep in mind that a big chunk of the calories come from the olive oil, so it's not all bad!

Choc-Oat Bars (aka chocolate heaven!)

1 egg
1/4 c Sun Crystals
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c olive oil
vanilla (a splash, as noted before, I never measure vanilla)
1/4 c each whole wheat pastry flour, barley flour, raw wheat germ, whole wheat flour (after comparing calories, the barley flour has 15-35 LESS calories per 1/3 cup than the others, so I will try to incorporate more next time, perhaps in place of the whole wheat flour)
1/2 c steel cut oats (This was the best surprise! They are a much different texture than rolled oats and add a great texture and nutty flavor. I can't wait to try them as a warm breakfast cereal!)
baking powder, soda (I really didn't measure, just dumped a little of each in)
cinnamon (to taste, I put more in than most people would, but I like the flavor it adds)
dash salt
1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (organic, fair trade- there are less chips in these bags than in a "traditional" chocolate chip package, so if you use traditional chips you may only need 1/3 of a bag)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 8x8 glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Cream together the first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add rest of the ingredients except for the chips and combine, then stir in the chips. Place in baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes. Cool, cut, enjoy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pinch-Me-Bread: The Sequel

Well, ever since making my recent dinner rolls, I knew I wanted to try an incarnation of this recipe as Pinch-Me-Bread since the dinner rolls turned out so light and fluffy. So, here is my cottage cheese herb roll recipe tweaked into yummy, cinnamon-y goodness!

Cottage Cheese Pinch-Me-Bread

1 pk yeast
1/2 c warm water (I used water as hot as it would get from the tap)
1 1/2 c organic whole wheat bread flour
1/2 c each oat flour, barley flour
1/8 c Sun Crystals (oops, as I was typing the recipe up I realized I forgot to add sugar to the dough- but it wasn't needed :)
organic REAL vanilla (I tend to not measure vanilla, but all I know is I will add more next time!)
1/3 c organic raw wheat germ
1 c organic cottage cheese (I was so excited to find this at Sonnewald's, along with organic sour cream!)
1 egg
olive oil
cinnamon, brown sugar, Sun Crystals amounts up to you, but I use more than 1/2 cinnamon

Dissolve the yeast in water and set aside as you prep other ingredients. Turn on oven to 200 degrees. Once it is done heating, turn off.
In large bowl mix egg and cottage cheese. Add flours, sugar (if you remember it!), vanilla, wheat germ, and cottage cheese. Add yeast/water mixture. Knead on floured surface until smooth (about 5 minutes). Place in bowl sprayed with nonstick spray, set in dough and cover with tea towel dampened with hot water and set in oven 40 minutes. Wait patiently (or not so much like me!)

I did not roll out the dough once it was done rising, just use my handy Autie Anne's pretzel dough cutter and cut off small amounts of dough at a time while it was in the bowl.Then lightly roll each into a small ball, about the size of a large marble. Dip lightly in olive oil and then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture and place in angel food or bunt pan, or you can use another cake/bread pan if you don't have the others. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Enjoy! I don't know if our batch is going to see tomorrow!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Pumpkin Time!

Well, I have definitely been in the mood for some yummy pumpkin treats! Some of my favorites are pumpkin dip and pumpkin bread. The bread was not too difficult to modify. Basically just altered my banana bread recipe by swapping 1 c pumpkin for 1 c banana, adding more cinnamon and some nutmeg. Since I have been craving chocolate, but don't eat conventional candy anymore, I added some organic semi-sweet chips. Here's how it turned out:

I tried a piece while it was still very warm, and wished I had added even more cinnamon. I also cut back on the agave nectar and only used 1/4 c and it probably could have used the 1/2 c instead. Live and learn!

The pumpkin dip was a bit more tricky, as it usually included fat free sugar free vanilla pudding and fat free whipped cream (yeah, not exactly clean, whole foods!). Thankfully I found this vegan pudding at Sonnewald Natural Foods:
 It is typically mixed with tofu and water to make into pudding. I decided that what was left in my large can of pumpkin after removing the cup for the bread would take the place of the tofu (besides, I have a chocolate pudding pack I want to use with the tofu!). I also added a small amount of water, cinnamon and nutmeg. I have to admit it is not as tasty, but when I think about what I am eating, it makes up for it!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dinner Rolls and Salsa

Was able to make 2 of my favorite recipes this week, and thought I would share!

The first is my all-time favorite dinner rolls, based on 2 different recipes from my mom. I was excited to find (for the first time) organic whole wheat bread flour at Giant last weekend. I have never used bread flour but hoped that it might counteract some of the "heaviness" of using whole wheat flour. And bonus that it was organic! (Wheat is one of the most highly used genetically modified crops, along with soy and corn, so try to buy those organic if at all possible!) My next task will be to try my Pinch Me Bread recipe but with using this basic dough recipe, but using yogurt instead of cottage cheese/sour cream and leaving out the oregano! I might even add a dash of vanilla for good measure, or use vanilla yogurt. I'll be sure to post how it turns out!

Cottage Herb Rolls

1 pk yeast
1/2 c warm water (I used water as hot as it would get from the tap)
2 1/2 c organic whole wheat bread flour
1/8 c Sun Crystals
oregano (didn't really measure for this one- if you want a stronger herb flavor, use more, if less or no herb flavor desired, use less!)
1/3 c organic raw wheat germ
1 c sour cream (or you can use cottage cheese, but I didn't have any so I used sour cream)
1 egg
Small amount of olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in water and set aside as you prep other ingredients. Turn on oven to 200 degrees. Once it is done heating, turn off.
In large bowl mix flour, sugar, oregano, wheat germ, sour cream and egg. Add yeast/water mixture. If consistency seems a little dry, add a small amount of olive oil. Knead on floured surface until smooth (about 5 minutes). Place in bowl sprayed with nonstick spray, set in dough and cover with tea towel dampened with hot water and set in oven 30-40 minutes. Wait patiently (or not so much like me!)

I did not roll out the dough once it was done rising, just use my handy Autie Anne's pretzel dough cutter and cut off small amounts of dough at a time while it was in the bowl. Form the dough into an oval shape, lightly coat with olive oil and fold over like a clam and place in a glass baking dish coated with nonstick spray like
this one:
Continue until all the dough has been used, it was a tight squeeze for the 8x8 pan, but a 9x13 would probable have been too large. Besides, they look cute once they bake and get all puffed up in the pan. I meant to take a picture of that, but, well, let's just say these rolls don't last too long around here! Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until starting to lightly brown on top. They also reheat well wrapped in foil in the oven or wrapped in a damp paper towel in the microwave.

Update: Here are the rolls but made with cottage cheese instead of sour cream (and still in the pan :)

Sweet Veggie Dip (based on a recipe from my friend Danette. When I first saw it, I thought it looked disgusting but completely fell in love with the recipe, and it also opened my taste buds up to the joys of green peppers!)

2 cans organic black eyed peas (drained)
2 cans organic corn (drained)(the original recipe calls for shoe peg corn but I have not been able to find that organic and it tasted fine with sweet corn)
1 large organic green pepper (chopped)
1/2-1 large organic purple onion (chopped)
1 jar pimentos (drained) (I have not been able to find organic pimentos yet)

Mix all ingredients and set aside

Combine the following ingredients for marinade:
1/4 c Sun Crystals
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
1 tbsp Tiger Sauce (This is tricky to find, it is in a glass bottle usually with the hot sauces or steak sauces. It is not organic, but with such a small amount used for the batch, I let it slide.)

Pour marinade over veggies and mix well. Best if chilled overnight. The excess marinade can be drained. This is great on salad instead of dressing or with organic tortilla chips. It makes a meal all by itself!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pinch Me Bread

One of my favorite homemade breads is Pinch Me Bread. Many of you may know it as Monkey Bread, although I hadn't heard of that name until I was an adult! In my mind, Monkey Bread is stickier than the Pinch Me Bread I grew up with. And for me, when cinnamon is involved, I don't need the extra calories and sugar of the caramel on it, cinnamon is enough! You can imagine my dismay when I went to make this yummy bread today with my daughter and couldn't find my recipe. So, I had to turn to google and was dismayed to find that almost all of the recipes include using frozen bread dough. Fortunately, I did find this one, from Not Quite Nigella, that is different than I remembered but similar enough, and most importantly, from scratch! Here's my version of the recipe:
For dough:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup milk, warm (around 110 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup water, warm (also around 110 degrees
  • 1/8 cup Sun Crystals
  • 1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise, instant or bread machine yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for work surface (in order to make this a clean food, I used a bevy of organic flours to give it as much nutritional value as possible. I used 1 c whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 c each of whole wheat, barley, oat flours and 1/4 c raw wheat germ)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
1. Get oven and pan ready: Adjust oven rack to medium-low position and heat oven to 200F. When oven reaches temperature, turn it off.
2. Make dough: In small bowl, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Make well in flour, then add milk mixture to well. Using wooden spoon, stir until dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out onto lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating shaggy scraps back into dough. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into taut ball.
3. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking sprayl. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with more cooking spray or oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.
4. Make brown sugar coating. Mix together first 3 ingredients in a bowl, I'll let the proportions up to you, but I went heavy on the cinnamon and lighter on the sugars. Also place olive oil in its own bowl.
Brown Sugar Coating:
  • light brown sugar
  • Sun Crystals
  • lots of ground cinnamon
  • olive oil
5. Once the dough risen, remove from bowl and shape into a large 8 inch square. Cut into 64 pieces using a dough scraper or knife. Or, you can be more free and just cut off a small amount at a time (I use a soft pretzel dough cutter that I got in an Auntie Ann's mix a few years ago) and roll into a ball. Really, in my mind, the balls do not have to be uniformly shaped, but if you are anal like that, go ahead and make them uniform :)
6.  With a fork, roll each dough ball in the olive oil and drain well. Roll in the sugar and cinnamon mix and then place in the bundt or angel food cake pan (spray with cooking oil first). You can use a conventional pan as well. Stack each ball in the pan so that they fill in the gaps of the previous layer. Place in the warmed oven (you may need to reheat a little depending on how long it has taken you to make the balls) for 50-60 minutes until they expand a bit (I could only wait about 30 :). Remove from the oven.
7. Preheat oven to 350F and bake the bread for 30-35 minutes. Cool only for 5 minutes (not longer or it will get stuck) and turn out onto a serving platter. Tastes best fresh but still delicious once cooled, or you can reheat in microwave.

*A few notes. This recipe did not make as much, nor rise as much as my regular recipe. Taste is still delicious, though!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Of Croutons and Banana Bread

My newest homemade creation is croutons. I had some boxed organic french onion soup, but couldn't bare the thought of putting commercial croutons on it. And, after making croutons, I can not imagine ever buying them again! So easy, and so delish! Here's the quick (and variable if you don't like one of the ingredients, feel free to change) recipe:
Bread (any will work, although thicker, heartier breads are better for soups so they don't soften up too fast)
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Onion powder

Cube the bread. Toss in a bowl with olive oil until lightly coated. Sprinkle with garlic, onion and parsley and toss to coat. Put on baking sheet at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool, enjoy!

Since we had some very ripe bananas, and my friend Susan just gave me a new banana bread recipe (and since it was a cold, rainy day), I decided it had to be banana bread time! Here's the recipe, it turned out fabulously!
* Nonstick cooking spray
* 1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
* 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
* 1/2 tsp. baking soda
* 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (I used a lot more than this, because I love cinnamon!)
* 2 slightly beaten egg whites
* 1 c. mashed ripe bananas (3 medium or 2 large)
* 1/2 c. honey
* 1/4 c. coconut oil
* A pinch of sea salt (1/16 tsp.)

1. Coat an 8×4x2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Mash bananas and set aside. In a medium bowl combine whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine egg whites, banana, agave nectar, and oil. Once mixed well, add flour mixture all at one time to banana mixture. Stir until moistened. The batter should be lumpy. Spoon mixture into pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 50 minutes. Test doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick near the center of the bread. The toothpick should come out clean.
4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for approximately 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

Soap Update

Thanks to my sis for offering some advice in a comment regarding shampoo soaps. Yes, your hair will be more oily because it is accustomed to making MORE to make up for the oils that the traditional shampoos were stripping from your hair. I have noticed that mine is more oily, but I am able to get away with little (or in today's case no) gel, and your hair will end up making less oils once it adjusts. Also, a friend let me know about another site she uses frequently for homemade safe products, Lush. I haven't tried any of their products yet, but it looks like they have quite a varied selection to choose from!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Well, I decided that it was time to take some further steps in my path of eating and living cleanly. I have been reading more and more about the chemicals in our soaps and shampoos and knew something needed to change. This site is an amazing database that will help you determine the safety of your current cosmetics. Thankfully, my wonderful sister told me about "hair soaps". They are bars of soap that you use to clean your hair. She bought some from Sweet Creek Herbs and mailed them to me (the lady that makes them threw in a free face/body bar as well for free!). I started with the Rosemary and Honey bar and I love it! There is definitely a different feel to my skin and hair, but I feel clean and my hair definitely has more body and lift (which doesn't happen too easily for my fine hair) and is allowing me to use less hair gel (bonus!). 
I have been able to gradually switch over our dish soaps, laundry detergent, dryer sheets and general household cleaners to a green/all natural alternative. As my face wash and make-ups wear out, I will be replacing with chemical-free versions! One thing I have found key is to not beat myself up for those things that I have not yet changed, but be happy with the changes I have made and strive to keep adding new changes regularly!

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