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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