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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bread and Other Obessions

I awoke today with bread on my brain. Actually, I take that back, I woke up because I heard my dog make a retching noise as she puked on my comforter. *sigh* But after that rude and slightly disgusting awakening I made my morning smoothie of banana, chocolate protein powder, white chocolate peanut butter, and matcha powder. Weird combo, I know, but it is one of my favorite breakfasts and it really gives me energy. Anyways, I wandered around the house wondering what to do with myself and that was when I remembered that I had eaten the last slice of my whole wheat sourdough bread yesterday. Which I have to say, it turned out to be the best sourdough bread I have made ever. So now I had my mission.  Bread is a staple that must constantly be in our house due to that fact that I eat peanut butter on toast religously. Seriously, literally, honestly....I eat it EVERY day. I get this weird craving that comes on where I just have to have what I call healthified peanut butter cup toast. I swear, Dark Chocolate Dreams chocolate peanut butter by Peanut Butter & Co. is a gift from the heavens that makes my mouth water everytime I think of it. I use this AND Jif peanut butter along with a  good sprinkling of milled golden flaxseed and chia seeds and I go to my happy place located in front of the computer stairing at foodgawker.com while I thank the inventor of the pb and chocolate combination while I eat it. Yes, I like to look at food while I eat food. Wow, I got way side tracked. This post was supposed to be about bread. Ok so I threw together another whole wheat sourdough bread with the same starter I used last time except I used rye flour to change things up because I rarely make the same bread twice. That went into my bread machine. Then I got the urge to make bread by hand too, so I began browsing foodgawker.com and I found a good looking yeasted pumpkin bread from meringuedesserts.com. The pumpkin bread is rising as I type this. As I was kneading the gorgeous orange dough, I started thinking and getting inspired (because this is what a good kneading does to me). I wanted to share a poem. I assume that most bloggers share the same love of writing that I do.

Bread
a poem by Hannah Turner

I open my eyes before the morning has dawned
It is early yet I am filled with energy
The urge to create has consumed me
I step dreamily into the heart of my house
The place where my inspiration takes a physical form
The place where love and warmth take over and worry and fear get lost in a sea of flour
I gather my arsenal of ingredients and watch starry-eyed as the yeast foams and mingles with honey
Alone they are mere ingredients, but together they create magic
My hands, which usually cramp with hours of long writing, are strong as they knead the dough with ease
I inhale the yeasty aroma and almost regret not waking earlier
Then I sit back and gather all of my patience to let the yeast take over on its own
you can do it little molecules of life, miniscule bacteria that hold so much power
When my dough has doubled and my oven has heated
In goes my flour child and all in a well-anticipated moment
My beautiful bread emerges

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Easy and Fast Protein Breakfast and the Benifits of Seasonings

After coming to the realization that my usual breakfast of a preservative-laden Pure Protien brand protien bar and half  a banana was not the healthiest thing to begin my day with, I woke one morning and stood in my kitchen pondering what I should eat instead. I needed something with staying power that was low in sugar and not too high on the carb and calorie scale either. I needed something that would hold me through school until I could get the chance to have my mid-morning snack. Which honestly, who knows when that will be, my classes this term are hectic. One of the most important factors though, was that this power breakfast had to be tasty, duh! I know, my standards are high, but I am a very picky person when it comes to the most nutrition for the least yucky-stuff in my food as possible. Enter: Lightning Scrambled Eggs. Why the lightning part? Well, they are prepared in the microwave. Yes, I too think it might be a sin to prepare eggs in the microwave but as a hungry student before school and on the run it is just flat out handy. As for the flavor, it's completely customizable but I really enjoy this combo of seasonings. Salt or no salt, either way it is flavorful. Make as many eggs as you want, make em' scrambled or sunny side up, leave em' plain or add cheese, the possibilities are endless. Below is my creation and the benifits of a few seasonings follow after. Enjoy!


Lightning Eggs
(serves as many as you'd like!)
(add the seasonings to your desired taste)

1 or more eggs
paprika
rosemary
dried minced onion
garlic powder
Nature's Seasonings or Lawry's (optional)
fresh cracked black pepper
sprinkle of your fave shredded cheese (optional)
dash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of crushed red pepper (optional)

1.) Retrieve one ramkin or small bowl for each single serving of eggs.
2.) Crack the desired number of eggs into each bowl.
3.) Sprinkle with seasonings to your heart's desire. Add a dash of hot sauce or crushed red pepper if you're feelin spicy.
4.) Decide if you would like it scrambled or not. To scramble, use a fork or whisk to quickly distribute the yolk. Leave as is if you like it sunny.
5.) Sprinkle with cheese if you're in a cheesy mood.
6.) Microwave on full power for about 30 seconds (note: microwaving times will vary)
7.) Remove carefully, it will be hot. Enjoy along with some fresh fruit and coffee and you have yourself a breakfast with some staying power!

The Benifits of Seasonings

Rosemary~ Traditionally used in Medditeranean Cuisine, rosemary is an extremely fragrant herb that has been shown to reduce mentally degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, improve memory, reduces inflammation, has anti-fungal, anti-allergenic, anti-septic, and anti-cancer properties. It is also one of the herbs with the highest levels of folates and along with that it contains many minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. For more information on the benifits of rosemary: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/rosemary-herb.html

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 4 Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter

Today I am going to make a loaf with my first whole wheat sourdough starter ever. I have to admit, I'm a little nervous because the smell of it is getting very strong and I'm beggining to wonder if it has gone rancid. There is no mold or off-colored liquid, besides the hooch which I will be pouring off and discarding, so I feel that there isn't any harm in baking it. Has anyone out in the blogosphere gotten poisened from a "bad" starter? If so, please do not hesistate to share. Anyways here is the sourdough recipe I am using. Like my starter, it also comes from George Burnett's "The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book" and it is made for use in your bread machine. Although, it could easily be prepared by hand and baked in the oven.


Sourdough Wheat Bread
(from The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book by George Burnett)
(yields one 1 1/2 lb loaf)

1 cup whole wheat sourdough starter (this can be found on my blog also, Feb.23)
2/3 cup (5 1/2 ounces) warm water (100 degrees F)
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 tsp liquid lecithin (I used granular and the measurement would come out to 3 tbsp, or a tablespoon for each cup of whole wheat flour)
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons powdered whey
2 tablespoons gluten flour (aka vital wheat gluten)
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (I used bread machine yeast in the same amount and it rised up nicely)

1.) Put all the ingredients in the inner pan in order listed, or in the reverse order if the manual for your machine specifies dry ingredients first and liquids last.
2.) Select whole wheat cycle and 1 1/2 pound loaf setting and push start. This loaf also came out well for me when I used the "rapid" cycle, or the cycle that only takes about an hour.
3.) When the cycle ends remove your loaf from the machine and allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan. Then remove from pan and allow to cool completely before slicing. Please tell me how yours comes out! Thanks!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter Day 2

Today is the second day of life for my 100% whole wheat sourdough starter. I did not post a picture because there aren't yet any visual transformations yet but we are definitely getting the yeasty smell going. I think the whole wheat flour makes the smell even stronger. I have a little extra blog time today so the following is the recipe for this starter.



Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter
(from The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book by George Burnett)
(makes 2 cups of starter)

2 cups (1 pint) warm water (100 degrees F)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tablespon honey
2 cups whole wheat flour

1.) Put the water, yeast, and honey in  a medium mixing bowl and stir until the yeast dissolves. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes.
2.) Stir in the flour and beat until smooth.
3.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature for 2 to 5 days, stirring occasionally. The longer the starter stands, the stronger the flavor. The starter will bubble and a sour smelling liquid may form on top (this is a type of harmless bacteria known as "hooch"). This is normal for a healthy starter, so simply pour the liquid off and discard.
4.) To store the starter, pour it into a sterilized crock or jar. (To sterilize, pour boiling water into the container, let stand 5 minutes, drain, and dry well.) After you have left your starter out for the desired length of time (2-5 days) refridgerate until ready to use.
5.)To use starter, stir and pour off as much as required. To keep your starter going, feed it after each use. To feed, add equal amounts of (the same as what you used in your bread recipe) flour and warm  water. For example, if you used 1 cup of starter then replace it with 1 cup of the same flour and 1 cup of warm water (2 cups of new ingredients added total). Stir and let stand at room temperature until itbubbles again, then cover and refridgerate.

Tips
*VERY IMPORTANT!: Make sure the container you store your starter in is big enough. If there is barely any space between the starter and the head of the jar when you make it, you could find yourself with an overflowing mess the next time you check on it because it is very alive and it will expand. Also it can overflow if you put a tight lid on it, it needs room to breathe.

*To keep the starter from going rancid, use at least 1 cup of the starter every week. The starter may be frozen and thawed in the fridge 24 hours before using. After thawing, pour off as much as require and feed the remainder as described above

*If it begins to look dead and inactive (i.e. no bubbles) don't get discouraged. Be patient and wait another few days. Starters can be intimidating but what I have realized from making them is that you can never really mess it up that badly. The only problem I have ever encountered was that the loaf of bread it produced was not as sour as I would have liked. Just remember that it is your baby and it needs only a little daily attention to be happy. If it goes completely rancid or begins to grow mold then simply discard and start over, no biggy.

*Even though these specific directions do not require a daily feeding, I do it anyways because I have come across others that do, although I don't believe its necessary.  I think you can get away with feeding it once a week just make sure that when you feed it you discard (or use) an equal amount first or you could end up with enough starter for a New York Bakery. I got one of my first starters from someone who claimed they accidently forgot to feed it for 3 weeks and it still survived. I have also heard stories of starters lasting for years and becoming inactive then being revived from the dead and still creating a beautiful loaf.

*Remember to have fun! For me, I almost feel like my starter is a pet....that I eat? Ok thats kind of weird but I really do enjoy caring for it and having the yeasty aroma of baking sourdough wafting through my house.

I will most likely be posting the recipe for the loaf when I make that too, so keep reading!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Starter Has Been Started

I have always been a huge fan of sourdough bread. I think the best I have ever had came out of the breadbasket at California Pizza Kitchen. Souring dough does not sound appetizing, I know, but for those unconverted to this delicacy that have not tried it- you have to before you can judge the poor smelly stuff. I've actually grown to love the yeasty smell of my starters. This time I wanted to try something a little more wholesome and decided on a starter recipe from "The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book" by George Burnett. He has a simple recipe for a decent looking whole wheat sourdough. I just woke up and had my breakfast smoothie and threw it together in one of my old large ceramic flour jars. I love the recipes in this book because, as the name says, they are all good for you and the sweetener that every recipe uses, including the starter, is honey. Honey happens to be my favorite white sugar alternative because of it's minerals and rich flavor. Another cool bonus of using honey is that if you buy local it can help with allergies. Anyways back to the starter. I will be posting it throughout it's development and hopefully I will get the finished loaf put up here too...that is if I don't forget to take a picture before it ends up reduced to crumbs and in my tummy. No promises...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Excalibur!!

My mom bought me an Excalubur food dehydrator for Valentines day!! She is the coolest person ever. We weren't even sure if it would arrive on the holiday but it did and I started using t right away. I've never tried any other dehyrdators so I guess my opinion is a little biased but I have to say the Excalubur works really well. I do have to turn the trays around occasionally but that doesn't bother me at all. I'm so excited to start adding raw crackers and breads to my diet. Thanks again mom!!
Cheesey Kale Chips

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday is for Dinner with Family

This Sunday I gave my uncle a break from cooking and prepared our weekly family feast. They live about an hour away from me so it was a bake-and-take adventure that, with a little reheating in their oven, turned out marvelous.
I awoke Sunday morning "dark and early" (I was literally up before the sun came out) and began by making the French bread. I got that recipe from La Fuji Mama's blog: imperfections.blogspot.com. It baked up nicely with a chewy and browned crust.


This was a classic lasagna made with extra lean ground beef, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesean. Totally not the lasagna I would make if it was just for my mom and I -ours would probably be vegetarian and loaded with extra veggies that would be out-of-the-norm for traditional lasagna, but for "traditional" lasagna this was perfect. It was cheesey and herby and just look at that crisped cheese string pulling delicately from the edge there. My mouth is watering...too bad there are no left overs. Actually that's probably a good thing because besides the extra lean ground beef, this is not waist-line friendly. I got this recipe from the blog canelaycomino.blogspot.com.
Ah, and not the main dish but I belive it became the highlight of our meal, behold: Zucchini Ribbon and Olive Salad. I think the dressing is what really made this and I'm sad to say it was store-bought. I got the original recipe from Chef Louise Mellor at her blog louisemellor.com. Since I adapted the recipe so much I included it in this post. This salad is bright and healthy. It smells sweet from the dressing and the fresh squeezed lemon juice helps to really balance out the flavor. I made the salad several hours ahead of time and it helped the flavors really come together.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad
(adapted slightly from the original from Chef Louise Mellor)
(serves 8)
2 green zucchini
2 yellow zucchini squash
1 small can natural California black olives (whole)
1 large tomato
red onion, to taste (I used about 1/8 of a medium onion because it was very strong)
fresh squeezed juice of one lemon
half of a bottle of Braswell's Vidalia Onion and Summer Tomato all natural salad dressing (I found mine at Kroger next to the other salad dressings)
sea salt and fresh crack black pepper, to taste

1.) Using a vegetable peeler, or maybe one of those fancy-smanshy mandolins if you have one (I didn't), carefully shave the zucchini into ribbons. This can be tricky and I almost got frustrated when my ribbons didn't look pretty at all like Louise's but I just kept going and when I was finished I felt satisfied with the results, even though my slices weren't consistent or very "ribbony". I was serving this for my family, not Anthony Bourdain. Put the slices into a serving dish.
2.) Slice the red onion and the tomato thin. Cut the tomato slices in half. Arrange over top of zucchini ribbons.
3.) Arrange olives over salad.
4.) Drizzle the completed salad with Braswell's dressing and add the fresh squeezed lemon juice. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper if desired.
5.) Serve along side a hearty Italian meal or even add a protien source and make this salad dinner!



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Best Bread Machine Loaf!

This is the best loaf of bread my bread machine has ever concieved! I've always liked all the bread that came out of it although, sometimes short and dense and very unlike how bread should be, it still tasted amazing. I just could never seem to get it to rise the way I wanted to. Usually the tops would always fall in even if I were to measure the yeast with a micrscope for an eye and count every last organism. Behold Light Oat Bread. I got this recipe from allrecipes.com and only slightly adapted it. I was skeptical about its simplicity but after checking on the dough mid-knead I knew it would work out. The dough was just the right consistency with no adjustments on my part- a slightly tacky ball that circled around the pan and stuck lightly to the sides for a brief second then pulled away. This is what you are looking for so check on it after the first five or ten minutes of kneading and if it's too wet (soupy, liquidy, not forming into a ball) or too dry (crumbly, powdery, not sticking together) then simply adjust accordingly. Too wet? Add 1 tablespoon of flour and allow to need for a minute or two and continue to add until it's just right, don't go crazy. Too dry? Add warm water (80-110 degrees no higher or lower) one teaspoon at a time, just until everything is nicely sticking together. There shouldn't be any little crumbles, if so, just carefully remove the dough from pan while in kneading cycle and press them back into the dough ball, if they crumble out again this is another indicator that it's too dry.

Light Oat Bread
(slightly adapted from allrecipes.com)
(yields one 1 1/2 lb loaf or 12 servings, 150 calories per slice)

1 1/4 cups warm water (80-110 degrees F)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

1.) Add ingredients to your bread machine pan in the order suggested by your machine's manual. For my machine the order would be water first followed by oil, salt, sugar, flour, oats, and yeast last.
2.) Select the basic white setting and the 1 /12 lb loaf size with a light crust, if possible or the equivalent for your machine. Start the magic! *Remember to check the consistency
3.) When your loaf has baked up remove the pan from the machine and let it rest in the pan 10 minutes. Then move to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing. Resist the urge to cut into it before it cools, this will cause the center to get gummy.



Sweet, light, and lovely!
Perfect for my favorite sandwiches- peanut butter and honey with flax and chia seeds, mmm!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fiber One Blueberry Banana Nut Muffins

 
This is a simple recipe I tweaked using a Fiber One Muffin mix. Ok so I cheated a little but it was about 5 am on a school day and I was getting that baking plague again (didn't I just bake bread yesterday?). I made it low fat and cholsterol free using applesauce and egg whites as opposed to oil and whole eggs. I also added dried blueberries because they are my favorite dried fruit and I really wanted to make this recipe my own as much as possible. Throw in some chia seeds and you've got your omega-3's. I have to warn you though, since I used a box mix the ingredient list was less than healthy, as in sugar was the first ingredient. They are about 12 grams of sugar per large muffin so I reduced this by making minis. When I have a longer amount of time to cure my baking plague I will make some muffins from scratch and throw in some healthier ingredients and less sugar. Maybe even raw agave or honey to sweeten. All things said these muffins are delicously loaded with blueberries and fiber that tastes cake-y with a soft crumb. I'm eating one as I write this along with a cup of green tea with honey and might I add, it's a beautiful combination.

Fiber One Blueberry Banana Nut Muffins
(slightly adapted from Fiber One)
*makes about 36 minis as the box says but I only had one mini muffin tin so I got about 12 minis and 6 big muffins
Allergy info: contains wheat, walnut, and milk ingredients

1 box Fiber One Banana Nut Muffin mix
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup applesauce
2 egg whites
2/4 cup dried blueberries (or your fave dried fruit)
1/4 cup chia seeds (optional but adds a bit of crunch and lot's of nutrtion)

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

1.) Grease or line a mini (or large) muffin tin (preferably paper cups if using muffin liners).
2.) Stir Muffin Mix, water, applesauce, and egg whites in a medium bowl just until blended (lumps are expected, do not overmix or your muffins will be too dense). Gently fold in blueberries and chia seeds (if using).
3.) Bake about 9 minutes for minis and about 15 for regular sized muffins. The tops of the muffins should spring back, this is a good reference as to when they are done. Remove muffins from oven.
4.) Cool 5 minutes, carefully remove from pan (if not using liners, run a knife around the edges of the muffins before removing). Cool completely before storing loosely covered at room temp, or refridgerate up to a week, or freeze up to 3 months. To rewarm, microwave 1 muffin uncovered on paper towel on 50% power 10-15 seconds,20-25 seconds if in the fridge, or 30-35 seconds if frozen.

Nutrition (per 1 regular sized muffin as prepared): 140 calories (30 calories from fat), 3 grams total fat (1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 1.5 grams polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams monousaturated fat), 0 milligrams cholsterol, 230 milligrams sodium or 10%, 70 milligrams potassium or 2%, 5 grams dietary fiber or 20%, 27 grams total carbohydrate or 20%, 12 grams sugar, 2 grams protien


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wholesome Sesame Quinoa Bread

Do you ever get the urge to just bake? Well unfortunately I get that feeling a little too often therefore, I end up getting my fair share of carbs. Even so, I can't avoid it. I can't let the feeling pass. When I get this so-called baking plague, I simply must cure it. I feel that baking is  such a great therapy and most heartfelt bakers would agree with me. I use a bread machine for most of my baking which can always cure me quickly, but a good kneading after a stressful day does wonders for the soul. I also enjoy the setting up of ingredients in my beautiful Paula Dean prep bowls that my mom gave me for christmas. She knows me all too well...Anyways, onto the bread. This bread is hearty and fiber-filled. As the kneading process begins you will be entranced by the smell of dark Asian sesame oil. Truely there is nothing better than the smell of baking bread.

        Wholesome Sesame Quinoa Bread
(from The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book by George Burnett)
                         (1 1/2 lb loaf)
Note: All ingredients must be at room temp (80-100 degrees F)

1 cup lus 2 tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark Oriental sesame oil
2 tablespoons barley malt syrup (I didn't have this so I used molasses instead, if you do this decrease to 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon liquid lecithin* (I used granular, if you use this then use 2 1/2 tablespoons, yes tablespoons not teaspoons)
1/3 cup unhulled sesame seeds (mine were hulled and toasted and it turned out fine)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat and 1/2 cup coconut flour for added fiber and protien)
3 tablespoons quinoa grain
3 tablespoons powdered whey (plain)
2 tablespoons gluten flour (aka vital wheat gluten)
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Note*: You can find lecithin at most health stores, I got a big jar of it for $11 and it will last a long time. Plus, it's very nutrtious and you can add it to any baked goods or drinks. I always put it in my protien smoothies.

1.) Put all ingredients in the inner pan of your Breadman bread machine in order listed (or the opposite if you are using a different machine that calls for dry ingredienta first and liquids last, just follow your manual).
2.) Select: basic wheat cycle-1 1/2 pound loaf-light crust.
3.) Push start and let your mouth water and your stomach grumble from the smell of sesame oil.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hide Your Carrots Smoothie

My mom told me she once used to hide her carrots underneath her dinner plate when she was little. Didn't she know her parents would see them when they cleaned the table? Anyways, whether you like carrots or not, this smoothie will help you love them a little more. It's simple really, you see the sweetness from the strawberries and bananas really brings out the sweet flavors in the carrot and the three all make really great friends in your blender. It's a party, won't you join me?

Hide Your Carrots Smoothie
(serves 1)

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into sizes your blender can handle
1 large banana, free of skin (duh) and cut into slices
3 large strawberries, sliced
1 cup almond milk
1 scoop 100% Vegan chocolate protein powder (optional but it makes it more filling, and um chocolatey)

1.) Blend and whip everything into your heart's desired consistancy, adding ice cubes if your feelin cool.
2.)Pour into a nice tall glass. Take a sip and think "why didn't I try this earlier?"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Loaded Spinach Salad For One

I've been strength training and doing cardio at least 5 times a week for a while and my weight has decreased to a less than healthy level so right now I'm working towards gaining about 5 pounds. For this I have to up my calorie intake slightly to adjust according to my new formed muscle mass and metabolism. But I don't just want to gain them in a throw-caution-to-calories-and-health-food kind of way. I want to make sure the weight I gain is healthy and lean. This spinach salad is super filling and packed with all sorts of good nourishment for your body- protien, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It's just what my body needs for some healthy fuel. I like my salads with lot's of extra add-ins so if you like your salads a little lighter just adjust the amounts to suit your taste.





Loaded Spinach Salad for One

1 cup fresh baby spinach
half a block of extra firm tofu, sliced into strips
1 small red apple, cut into small chunks
a few slices of red onion, to suit your taste
about 1/8 of a carrot, washed, peeled, and made into small curls using a vegetable peeler
4 cherry tomatoes, each sliced in half
2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tablespoons dried blueberries or cranberries (sometimes I use a mixture and it's always delicous)
1 large strawberry, cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons light honey mustard
1 tablespoon nutrtional yeast (optional)
salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

1.) In a large bowl combine the spinach, veggies, apple, and berries. Toss lightly. Then if you like place it on your plate or another personal sized bowl (or eat it out of the large bowl, go ahead with your bad self!)
3.) Lightly grease a medium skillet with extra-virgin olive oil or your fave oil ( If I'm in a hurry I use a wok, if you do this you must use a high heat oil like safflower to keep the tofu from burning). Fry the tofu over medium heat until lightly brown and crisp, flipping over half way to brown both sides and being careful not to break it apart too much. Another way I like to do this is to cut the tofu in thin strips and grill it on my counter top George Foreman, they are so handy.
4.) When tofu is done, remove from skillet and arrange slices over your salad, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
5.) In a small prep bowl whisk together the salt, pepper, and nutrtional yeast with the honey mustard. If you didn't add anything to the honey mustard then just drizzle over the top.
6.) There you have it! A belly-filling and delicous loaded salad to fuel your rockin body. Eat up and feel satisfied!

Vegan Double Chocolate Spoon Protein Smoothie

This smoothie is so thick and lucious you can eat it with a spoon. Seriously, you will find a hard time tipping the glass back and trying to pour it into your mouth. Isn't that amazing? It really makes it super filling and really indulgent tasting. It's double chocolatey and did I mention it has peanut butter too? Are you drooling yet?

Vegan Double Chocolate Spoon Protein Smoothie
1 Cup water
1 Cup almond milk
half of a banana
1 Tablespoon Dark Chocolate Dreams vegan pb
2 scoops 100% vegan chocolate protein powder
1 Tablespoon Lecithin (This is optional, it just ups the nurtrion content and helps burn fat. It can be found at GNC)

1.) Place all ingredients into your blender in order listed
2.) Then blend away using the "blend" and then "whip" settings, if you have them.
3.) Drink Spoon smoothie into your mouth and enter bliss-mode.

-Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Broccoli Is Bearable Salad

I could never stomach raw broccoli until I tried this salad. It's pretty low fat if you use light mayo and hey, the broccoli cancels that out right? Besides broccoli, this salad has all sorts of goodies to hand out- apples, pumpkin seeds, berries, and whatever else your little heart desires. This salad makes two decent sized portions.

Broccoli is Bearable Salad:
half a head of broccoli, cut into florets
half a head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 small red apple (or whatever you have on hand, I used washington), cut into chunks
2 slices of your fave lunch meat, torn into small pieces (I like black pepper turkey)
1/4 cup dried mixed berries (I had a blend of dried raisins, cranberries,cherries, and blueberries)
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
3 tbsp light mayo (olive oil mayo or even veganese would go nicely with this too)
1 tsp raw honey (if you buy your honey local it can help with allergies!)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt, to taste
1.) Combine the liquids (mayo, vinegar, and honey) in a medium bowl, mix well.
2.)Then add the rest of the ingredients (unless you like your seeds super crunchy, if you do leave them out). Toss and stir to coat every piece in delicous mayo goodness.
3.) Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors really develop.
4.) If you left the pumpkin seeds out then sprinkle them over the top at this point, then serve, and remind people to eat their broccoli more often! :) Maybe they will now?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A word on My Pictures....

Cooking and food blogging is real art that takes some talent and skills, many of which I do not posess. I don't think I'm really what you would call a starving artist because my pantry is always well stocked and stapled; but maybe I'm starving for a better food blog. Maybe I'm starving for a wonderful Nikon so my pictures could actually be blog quality. Alas, I am left to my own devices and that is my iphone 4 camera. Therefore, I apologize for the lame pictures!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Some of my favorite ingredients

These are some of my favorite ingredients and supplements that I use almost daily to up the nutritional content of everything I use to fuel my body and get me through the day. I threw in some ideas on just how you can make these part of your diet too. The ingredients are listed in order from top left to right then bottom left to right.

Coconut Flour: This flour is high in fiber and an excellent source of protein. It has a great coconut-y flavor that really goes well in baked goods and breads.

Milled Flax Seed: Flax seeds are one of the most versatile ingredients around and they are chocked full of good for you fats and fiber and are a low carb addition. You can blend them into smoothies, add them to an array of baked goods such as breads, cookies, homemade granola bars etc., yogurt, pancake or waffle batter. The possibilites are endless. If you add them to batters and baked goods you may need to up the water content slightly. I always use milled flax seed, as the whole seed itself is not easily digestable by the body and you will absorb very little nutrients from them. Remember to always drink plenty of fluids when eating high quantities of flax. Source: http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/cooking/a/flaxseedrecipes.htm

Chia Seeds: These seeds are amazing little lovelies, they truely are. They promote cardiovascular health with their omega-3's. With six times more calcium than milk, they support joint function and mobility. They have higher quantities of satiating protein than soy. They easily absorb 12 times their weight in water and help to remove toxins in the intestines. Also, if your looking to watch your weight, Chia has a filling high fiber content and an ability to lower blood sugar levels when eaten along with meals thus making it an ideal and super healthy weight loss apprentice. They have a neutral nutty flavor that makes them great to add to anything. My favorite ways to use these ebony beauties is to add them to my fave granola bar recipes or sprinkle them over pb or raw almond butter on some homemade black bread. Source: http://www.getchia.com/nutritional/chia-seeds-health-benefits.aspx?gclid=CJjygp6J5K0CFW5ntgodBAPYiQ

Nutritional Yeast: This is a deactiviated yeast (it won't make baked goods rise) that has an interesting cheesy flavor that can be added to pretty much everything savory. In fact there isn't really anything you can't add it to. I made this addition to my diet to easily up the nutritional content of all of my foods and not to mention it's tasty and even cheese-like therefore making it great for vegans and vegetarians. It's also great for my partially raw diet because of its versatility. Source: http://happyherbivore.com/2011/08/what-is-nutritional-yeast/


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vanilla Protien Shake

Have you ever gotten hooked on a certain food and then you just keep eating it everyday until you get burnt out and never want to look at it again? Well I have with just about everything edible... besides vanilla. I've been on a bit of a vanilla kick lately- I put it in literally all sweet foods. This is a simple protien shake thats cheap, low in sugar, and you can make with only three ingredients.:

1 carton Atkins Vanilla flavored protien drink (or even vanilla protien powder mixed in almond milk)
1 tablespoon Better n' Peanut Butter
half of a large banana
ice cubes to add thickness

1.) Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend away!

Tip: This makes a good pre-workout snack because it has the right balance of protiens and sugars to fuel your body.

What is your favorite snack to power you through your excersise?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vegan Slow Cooker Red Thai Curry

This is a comforting and hearty curry that's healthy to boot! It involves two of my favorite things- vegan cooking and my Hamilton beach slow cooker. The tofu makes it filling, the veggies make you feel healthful, and the light coconut milk makes it still feel rich. This is a great cookbook by the way, it has recipes for every occasion and taste. Even carnivores would love this food.

Health Tip of the Day:

Listen to your body! As you start off on the road to a healthy diet you should notice the changes in how you feel , not just how you look. After I tossed out the junk food ,which really wasn't so difficult, I never missed it. How and why do you ask? Well after you get started eating the real food your body craves you just plain feel better. You'll find yourself having more energy, sleeping better, feeling happier , and even living your life in a better body. After you eat something greasy and fried, ask yourself, "how do I feel now?'. For me, that is not just yucky and gross, but it also leaves me with stomach aches and sometimes guilt. If we take the time to listen you can find out what your body really needs and I wants, speaking from my own experiences. By healthy food I'm referring to raw fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protien sources like chicken or tofu, and healthy fats found in fish, nuts, and olive oils. But remember, have some fun once in a while too! If your really having a pop tart withdrawl (am I the only person that gets these?) that you've been suffering through for a month, then jesus have one. I know moderation is hard but its a key to eating healthy and staying fit without having to count calories and go on crazy diets.

Vanilla Jello Dream

I had to have a surgical procedure done and was required to fast recently. Post surgery I felt like having something a little sweet so I made this up with some items I had on hand.

Vanilla Jello Dream (serves one)
1 serving vanilla jello
2 sliced strawberries
light whipped cream for topping

1.) Make the jello if it's not already prepared.
2.) Simply top with whipped cream and strawberries
3.) Eat up and dream away!

Ok so this isn't really a real recipe but I'm new to making up my own material and it's good practice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dessert Protien Shake

I'm about to have a medical procedure done and requires me to fast the day prior. I wanted my last good meal to be filling, but indulgent at the same time. Enter: Berry Banana Split Protien Shake. I created this recipe myself after throwing it together off the top of my head. This makes one serving.

You Require:
1 decent sized strawberry
half of a large banana
1 cup almond milk
1 cup water (this is optional but I added it to make it bigger)
1 scoop Jillian Micheal's Protien Powder, chocolate shake flavored
1-2 tablespoons vanilla flavored coffee creamer or to taste
1-2 tablespoons hershey's chcolate syrup (I bet the strawberry flavor would be yummy too), to taste
ice (optional but this makes it thicker)

1. Place all ingreadients in a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Play around with the flavors and enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Breadman Coconut Ginger Quick Bread

This was a recipe from my Breadman bread machine cookbook. It came out beautful golden and crumbly. Made with toasted coconut and candied ginger, it really made our afternoon.

 

Breadman Orange Date Nut Bread


I got a shiny new bread machine from my mom's bf for christmas! Boy has it gotten well broken in, I can't even tell you how many loaves I've made since I got it. Carb load up! This is a quick bread recipe that is from the recipe book that comes with the machine. It's sweet orange-yness is refreshing and it makes a good breakfast/tea bread. My grandma always requests it for her bridge club. This can most likely be adapted for any machine, just follow the directions for putiing ingredients in the pan specified in your machine's manual.
Orange Date Nut Bread:
(makes one 2 lb loaf in Breadman model No. BK1050S)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup dates, chopped
1 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs, room temp
1 and 3/4 cup AP flour
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1.) Pour boiling water over dates in a small bowl. Add baking soda. Let stand at room temp for twenty minutes.
2.) Transfer date mixture to bread pan. Measure remaining ingredients, except walnuts, into your bread pan in order suggested specifically by your machine's manual.
3.) Insert bread pan securely into baking chamber; close lid. Plug unit into wall outlet.
4.) Select Quick Bread cycle for my model, or the equivalent for yours. Press Start.
5.) At the "add ingredient beep", add walnuts.
6.) The complete signal will sound when the bread is done.
7.) Using potholders remove bread pan from baking chamber and place on wire rack. Allow bread to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Carefully turn bread out of bread pan, turn right side up. (If kneading paddle remains in bread, remove paddle once bread has cooled. You should probably do this before you forget and serve anyways lol.)
8.) Allow bread to cool on wire rack until ready to serve (at least 20 minutes)

Enjoy!


Salmon and Veggie Couscous


This was our comforting Sunday night dinner. An oven baked salmon made with just a little random olive oil mixture I used off the top of my head. As for the couscous, I adapted it from a recipe from smithfield.com
Salmon:
1 full salmon (it doesn't matter the size as you will adjust seasonings to your taste)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lawry's seasoning salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Garlic Powder
Dill (we used freeze dried but I bet fresh would be even better)
Lemon Juice
Chives
1.) This is simple, just whisk the all of the ingredients together and either drizzle over salmon on both sides or do like I did and use a pastry brush (or cheap clean acrylic paint brush like I use lol) to "paint" on the mixture.
Couscous
(makes 6 servings)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper
half of a whole carrot, cut into 1 inch thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler
1 roma tomato
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup almonds
3 cups chicken broth
seasoned salt, to taste (or fresh cracked pepper and sea salt)
1 1/2 cups couscous ( I used Rice Select Original Brand)
1.)Cook onions, bell pepper, carrots, tomato and almonds in butter over medium heat in a medium sized saucepan until onions are soft and translucent.
2.) Add chicken broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil.
3.) Stir in cousous and peas.
4.) Cover and let sit 10 minutes or until all water is absorbed. (Mine only took about five minutes to absorb but make sure you taste test for doneness)
5.) Stir to combine and serve along with any main dish, as this has a mild flavor that goes well with almost anything.



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Raw Lemon Poppy Seed Energy Balls

I got the recipe for these healthy and scrumptious little delights from Sondi Bruner. Great for pre workout fuel and very filling and nutritious. Go check her out @ thecopycatcook.wordpress.com. She has tons of healthy and raw recipes that anyone would love.

Recipe from:
thecopycatcook.wordpress.com
1 cup sunflower seeds
                                                        1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (I didnt have these, I used cocoa nibs instead which can be found at most health food stores)
1/4 cup sesame seeds (I used a mixture of sesame & chia seeds)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
4 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 tsp allspice or cinnamon (I like the allspice)
2/3 cup raisins (I used dates)
3 tbsp lemon juice
grated zest from half a lemon
(I also added 1/4 tsp of lemon extract because I'm a lemon addict)

1.) Process all seeds ( also cocoa nibs if you use them) , spices, and coconut until the seeds are well ground. Set aside two tablespoons of this mixture for coating the formed balls.
2.) Add raisins (or dates), lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract to the food processor and process until all of the raisins are small and the mixture starts to clump together.
3.) Squeeze and roll the mixture into balls. Coat with the mixture set aside and put the little lovelies in the fridge to keep them happy.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Caramelizing Almonds

Look at those sugar coated jewels frying away in a buttery lake of syrup...gorgeous!

Homemade croutons are better than store bought



A great way to use up stale bread is to make your own croutons. Its so easy and they taste way better than the preservative filled ones in the stores. Its even better if you make them with homemade bread!
To make croutons:
cube stale bread and toss with olive oil and desired spices and seasonings
(I like Italian seasoning with parmesan cheese) then bake in preheated 350 degree oven 5-10 minutes. Watch to make sure they don't burn.
There you have it! Yummy 