Saturday, January 31, 2009

Whey? Yes, Whey!

I used the leftover whey from making mozzarella cheese in place of the 3 cups water. Actually I used 3.5 cups whey because I find if I don't my light wheat dough is too dry since I like to use 2.5 whole wheat instead of the 1 cup suggested. I started the dough late in the evening so I put it in the fridge to rise.

It rose in the fridge just fine.

Voila! Light Wheat Whey Bread with some Homemade Mozzarella Cheese. Yum!
You can make your very own homemade cheese too just go here and order one of the kits. You know you want to. I splurged and bought the dvd/book/mozzarella kit but kind of wish I hadn't.

But then again the book does have some recipes for making ricotta and cream cheese which I do think I will make. I'm in no hurry to make cheddar cheese which is a bit time intensive, especially when I can get some really good locally made cheese.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Very Creamy Potato Cheese Soup

(adapted from New Recipes from Moosewood)

Lunch 18, 2009

Makes one dinners worth and depending on the size of you family several bowls for lunch. In my family the first time I make this in the winter it disappears that evening. The secret ingredient for this is the cream cheese.

6 or more T butter
3 onions chopped
3-4 or more! garlic cloves minced or pressed
6-8 large potatoes coarsely chopped
2 large carrots peeled a coarsely chopped
5-6 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
(I use better than bullion veggie or chicken bullion but I also make my own stock in the morning if I have the veggies on hand to do it)*
2 ts dried dill (4 T of fresh dill)
8 ounce cream cheese
3 cups milk give or take
1 cup grate sharp cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot sauté the onions in butter until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and sauté for a bit more then add the potatoes and carrots and sauté for 5-10 minutes. Add the dill and sauté. Then add the stock water. Simmer until all the veggies are tender.

Puree the veggies with the cream cheese and milk. I use a hand blender right in the pot. You can use a food processor or a blender. Return the soup to heat and add the cheddar cheese.

Sometimes I cook up some bacon or ham to sprinkle on top. Topping it with fresh steamed veggies is probably healthier but not always as tasty. Serve it up with some yummy bread and dig into a carborific meal!

*Check back later for how I make my own stock. When I use the Better than Bullion I don't use the proportions suggested on the jar. I do about 3t to the 5-6 cups of water suggested. Overall I like the chicken bullion better for this than the veggie bullion. If I want a veggie base I prefer to use my own stock.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chick Pea Potato Salad

I made Chick Pea Potato Salad for dinner tonight but instead of using a basic potato I used purple potatoes and sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes gave the salad more flavor and made it purdy too especially topped with some local greens and green onions. The original recipe called for red peppers too but alas I did not have any.


Cooked Chick Peas- you can use canned but I used some I cooked in my pressure cooker - you'll want 1/4 or so per serving (If you are interested in cooking your beans in a pressure cooker: Check out this link here and this one here for cooking times for various beans. )

2-3 medium size sweet potatoes cubed
3-4 small purple potatoes cubed
handful of ground cumin and a few pinches of salt
3-4 T olive oil

Optional toppings
green onions
red peppers
salad greens

Tamari Mustard Dressing - I usually double this when I make it:
3T Olive Oil
2T rice vinegar (I like using red wine vinegar too)
1t mustard (I use dijon)
1t tamari
1/2t sugar ( I like to use honey and use more than this recipe recommneds)

Preheat oven 400 deg F

Heat a skillet then add olive oil. Add the potatoes both sweet and purple. Saute then add the cumin and mix, sprinkle with salt. Cook a for another minute stirring to mix the cumin on the potatoes. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Place some of the potatoes on the bottom of a bowl, top with 1/4 cup or so of chick peas, chopped green onions, red peppers, salad greens, crushed corn chips, and dressing.

Pour a nice glass of red wine if you want. I had some Yellow Tail Shiraz from down under. Then sit down for a lovely treat if I do say so myself.

Edited to add some info about pressure cooking beans see above.

Arugula Pesto

At first it doesn't sound very appealing since I don't care for fresh arugula in my salad bowl. I really like Arugula pesto. I had it for the first time with some butternut squash ravioli at Free State. Since I can't afforest to eat out at Free State all the time, I made some at home last week.

I found my Arugula Pesto Recipe here and followed it for the most part but ended up using more raw garlic than roasted. 1/2 the bunch of arugula was enough to make the recipe then I steamed the rest to eat with another meal later in the week.

I found the pesto on the tangy side the first day but the flavor mellowed after a few days. If you wanted to try this on picky kids or adults I suggest making it a day ahead of time then it might be more of a crowd pleaser.

I enjoyed on it pasta with other veggies. It's been an extra condiment on top of local mesclun mix as well. So all in all a success for me so I'm getting more greens in my diet. I found out arugula ain't so bad after all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Whole Wheat (almost) Artisan Bread

I'm giving the Whole Wheat recipe a try but I did tweak it a bit.

Only 6.5 cups total flour 2 of which are unbleached white flour and I only used 1 table spoon of yeast. Since I used less yeast I'll need to let it rise longer.

After 4 plus hours the dough had barely doubled. So I did a trick my daughter shared which she learned from Alton Brown. I boiled some water in my tea kettle then poured the hot water in a pan and put it in the oven. Then placed the rising dough in the oven. In an hour the dough had risen even more but not quite as much as I'd like. So I will add vital wheat gluten to the recipe next time. Use the same measurements for everything else.

I cut off about 1/3 of the dough to make a small round loaf. I don't have a picture to share because the bread was gone before I had a chance. I used the same dough to make cinnamon rolls and they were delish.

I did get a photo of the light wheat bread I baked up last night that was done in time to have a bit of bread and jam and an attitude adjustment before bead.


I made some pita bread with the same light wheat dough. I was so fun to watch them puff up on the pizza stone. It was like magic. I made pita bread!

Just to remind you that I was originally the fiber star related to yarnish fiber that is. I leave you with Sarah the Sleepy Ninja:


My son embroidered the eyes then went off to play with her. When I found her to take the picture she was holding a sword which explain how Sleepy Sarah (free pattern is on Ravelry if you are not a member you should be!) became a Ninja.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Attitude Adjustment Mug

This lovely mug sold through Ravelry is a bit magical.


At first it seems I might be most disagree(able)

Then pour in a nice cup of hot tea or coffee and look what happens:

Friday, January 23, 2009

What's for Breakfast

So I guess a little break from all the healthy eating I've been doing. These started with a chunk of Artisan Bread 5 minutes a day dough that was already in the fridge. I highly recommend you use cold dough for this as it's easier to handle. With lots of flour and some patience you can use fresh dough. I find I need lots of lour even if the dough is cold so it doesn't stick to the table. Just go here for the basic recipe. This bread recipe is awesome because you don't have to knead it. Really!

Cinnamon Rolls - Sans Icing
Sans Icing

It took off a fairly big chunk about 1/3 of the recipe. I rolled out the dough so it was less than 1/2 thick. Then spread soften butter over it about 4 tablespoons. Then sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar, about 1/4 cup sugar to one teaspoon or so of cinnamon. I used organic sugar rather than brown sugar because I really like how it tastes. Then roll it up and pinch it closed. You can put it back in the fridge for about 10 minutes so it would be easier to cut but I don't always do this. I put a piece of parchment paper on my peel then places the cut rolls not quite touching on the parchment and covered them to rest for about 30 minutes. Then I put them in a 350 deg oven for 20 minutes or so.

I make the icing while they are cooking. When they come out of them they get iced immeduialtey so it melts and they rolls are super gooey.

Icing Recipe, just cream together the following then ice the rolls when they are hot
2T butter
2T cream cheese
1t vanilla
1t milk
1/2 cup or so powdered sugar

Cinnamon Rolls with icing
Iced and Super Yummy!

I made these yesterday and since dh didn't get any I made more for breakfast this morning. It was pretty hard not to eat them all but we manage to save back a few for the kids who are not up yet.

So have a yummy, virtual, cinnamon roll. The good thing is there are no calories so you can have as many as you want.

4 cups of veggies a day! Really?

Apparently with with the new guidelines we should eat a certain amount of cups of fruits and veggies. I should eat 4 cups of fruits and veggies a day, ideally 1.5 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of veggies. If want you want to see what your recommended amount it check out this link here. I'm averaging about 3 cups a day and honestly don't see how I could have more.

Unless I start adding veggies or some fruit at breakfast there is no way I can get that much in my diet. The only possible way to do so would be to completely leave out breads, grains, and meat. I'm not ready or really willing to do that because a bit of animal protein keeps me on an even keel. The grains add nice texture to the meal as well as some quick energy.

As it is I am pleasantly full after lunch and dinner so adding more veggies to the meal doesn't seem doable. I rarely want dessert which is very good but neither do I want any extra food at all.

I personally don't like to eat a large a breakfast. Sometimes after a breakfast of oatmeal or other grains I am hungry a bit later. So I could fix myself a small fruit cup, smoothie or a salad to add a cup of veggies. I really think if I did that I wouldn't be as hungry at lunch so my veggie intake would go down a bit. So it would only add 1/2 increase total.

Personally I think I'm doing really good getting 3 cups of veggies and some fruit a day. So I'm going to focus on that. The Harvard School of Public Health says not to focus on the numbers because it's different for each person. Yet they sort of contradict themselves here, saying we should aim for 4.5 cups each day. Maybe I'm too hard on myself , and I probably am, but 3 cups seems 1.5 cups short of 4.5 which in my half empty mine seem I'm running short.

In reality 3 cups is twice as much veggies I'm getting a day than I was eating and that is a good thing. When the fresh veggies start coming early this summer I might try a few days only eating veggies and fruits and see how I feel. I don't see that as completely doable everyday but might be nice for change.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Artisan Bread in 5 minutes!

Really it's more than five minutes but can you be against bread that you DO NOT need to knead! It's true, no knead artisan bread. I tell you it works and it tastes goooood and it's not just wine I drank with dinner either.

This is the dough just after mixing

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day If you can't find the book give the basic loaf recipe a try. You won't be sorry you did. I promise. Just go here. The book which I bought with 30% off coupon from borders has many more recipes, several which are whole grain or multi-grain and other yummy treats. If you follow the other link above it takes to the books blog which has other ideas.

After 60 minutes of rising

hour and half of rising

The loaf resting for about 20 minutes before I put it in the oven.

This loaf that is rest is only about fourth to a third of the dough. The rest is now in the fridge to make other yummy breads.

The loaf fresh from the oven

We had this with dinner tonight:


This is what my dinner looked like. The kids was not quite as veggie intensive.
Pasta, homemade tomato sauce, locally made Italian sausage, steamed broccoli and carrots topped with arugula pesto, local mesclun greens, and fresh bread. Oh yeah a glass of Gnarly Head Old vine Zinn , very, very good! Shhhh! Don't tell the kids but for dessert was another glass of wine and some Green & Black Chocolate with Cherries, also very good.

Today was a bit more intenseive of the wheat that I'd like but I want to get better at making this kind of bread. We had pasta that needed eatin', you see. I am trying to eat a great variety of grains which is why I had quinoa and rice with meals yestarday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What's Cooking

Breakfast yesterday leftover oatmeal topped with toasted walnut, flax seed, some dried cranberries, and a bit of half-n-half.

I was a bit hungry later and had a slice of homemade bread topped with cheese.


Lunch was pinto beans, quinoa, sauteed then baked squash and red peppers from last nights dinner, succotash, local mesclun greens, and leftovers of the steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes from yesterdays lunch topped with some cheese and a bit of salsa.

Dinner was 5 Things inspired from Let's Cook Japanese. The recipe did not call for not garlic or onions (it did call for green onions but I didn't have any) so I was skeptical that this would taste very good. The only flavoring was the sugar, soy sauce you add at the end and the veggies of course. I might add a bit more flavor but not much more using more suace or some ginger but then maybe it's not 5 things anymore?


There's maybe 1.5 cups of food there.

My 5 things included the following:
Burdock root

Obviously had more than five things! I'm not sure which five things should be counted? You can find the recipe I used here. Served on some short grained brown rice.

Served on top of the 5 things was some steamed arugula topped with a toasted sesame soy sauce dressing that is just yum!

At 11 pm I still felt nicely full. So I'm not starving reducing the carbs in my diet. Almost the exact opposite. I can't see how in the heck I'm supposed to eat 4.5 cups of fruits and veggies each day. Maybe if I only ate veggies I could do it. As it is I feel like I have drastically reduced my grain intake.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yum! Food

After reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan I'm making an effort to eat better this year. His guidelines to eat better has given me the kick in the pants I needed. He reminded me that if you want good food (and I mean food not processed food.) it takes time. So I've been spending more time in the kitchen and hitting the cookbooks too.

So my biggest goal is eating lots more veggies. Right now I'm not eating very locally or always in season but I'm eating better. When spring and the growing season here in Kansas returns I will make a concerted effort to buy lots at the farmers market and freeze much to eat more locally through the year.

Here's what I had for lunch yesterday:

1/2 Cup leftover Very Creamy Potato Soup topped with succotash, steamed broccoli and sweat potato. All in all about 1 cup of veggies if you count the soup. Some say you can't count the potatoes since it's more of starch. It was delicious and I'd do it again. I'm not going to eat potatoes everyday so I'd do this meal again. I love my potato soup.

Breakfast that morning was Oatmeal with, chopped apples, topped with toasted walnuts, flax seed and raisins. I had the same this morning but topped with dried cranberries and a bit of half-n-half.

So far this is really working for me. I am not hungry at all except after breakfast. I'll get into that in another post. After eating lunches and dinners with more veggies than I usually put on a plate. I feel much more satisfied. I think this is working so much better to eat more veggies than to tell myself to eat less carbs or meats.

Want to join me?