Tag: Cooking

The quest for easy, fresh-baked bread…Mission accomplished? (Updated)


The other day, I tried this recipe from Natalie Oldfield’s Gran’s Kitchen cookbook (via 101 Cookbooks).

Why should you even click on the above link to the recipe?

  • No kneading
  • yeasty bread
  • Start to finish (including the time it takes for the bread to rise) in under 2 hours
  • Oatmeal, whole wheat, versatile wholesome-y, tweak-able goodness.

Do it.

I spritzed the loaf with olive oil and sprinkled whole wheat flakes on top before popping it into the oven. Nutty goodness ensued.

Mine was a little bit on the crumbly side after a few hours and a few slices, but I threw the remaining slices into the oven under the broiler (ever-so-quickly), and they made for great toast (with great peanut butter) the next morning.

Mostly, I like this recipe because I can time things so My Man comes home at about the same time I’m taking fresh bread out of the oven. Clever girl. (Yeah, that’s right…my house smells like fresh-baked bread. Hah!)

So, why does the title of this post end with a question mark?

I’ve got a bold tweak in the oven at the moment. I had some bread-machine mix (no bread machine, mind you) for 7 grain bread in the cupboard, so I used it in place of the flours/oats in the original recipe. But then I added salt. And yeast, like the recipe calls for. I suspect that was a bad move, since the mix had these things already. However, the mix had been opened, so I thought some of the yeast might be bust by now. To compensate (really, just because it’s what I do), I threw in a handful of whole wheat flakes and a handful of wheat germ.

I tasted the batter after scooping it into the loaf pan, and it was salty. I might be able to boot and rally, but I’m not sure.

So, we’ll see if I screwed the pooch on this one. It won’t be a reflection on the recipe if I did, so I still encourage you to try it.

The original bread has a whiff of sweetness to it (because of the oatmeal and the whisper of honey), but I think you could easily throw in dried herbs, or conversely add some cinnamon or nutmeg to sex it up according to your needs.

I’m off to check on the bread…and then to contemplate why bending, squatting, putting on and taking off shoes, etc. got so difficult all of a sudden. A couple of weeks ago, my little dude still gave me room. Now he’s hogging up my uterus. Naughty muppet. I’m grounding him until birth.

Post Script

Holy crap, I can’t believe I got away with that bread.

I expected a hard (or alien-like poofiness of a blob) brick of salty nastiness.

As it turned out, I have a slightly salty, very whole grain, high fiber, hearty  yet moist and soft (on the inside) bread.

Awesome.

My standards are pretty flex when it comes to eating my own food… but here’s the thing: my Portuguese man likes the bread.

Success, friends, by the skin of my teeth.

And now I’m more confident about baking.

Boa.

Early Afternoon Delight- Smoothie Lovin’


Our immersion blender died some months ago, and it was mourned. However, when we moved into our new/old apartment (we’d been subletting), we rediscovered another immersion blender we own.

I mention this because it coincides with a plethora of fresh fruit from the farmers’ market (now conveniently located across the street) and my increased calcium consumption in the form of yoghurt.

That’s right. Smoothies.

And the smoothie I just made (and am still drinking) is noteworthy in its delicious simplicity.

-1 peach

-1 banana

-a few cacao beans (I still have those? Apparently so!)

-a handful of almonds (thanks Mom and Dad!)

-1 small container of fat-free yoghurt

🙂

Protein, calcium, fresh fruits…happy snack. Yum.

Healthy-ish delights…(Cinnamon Rolls and Pancakes!)


What’s better than taking something indulgent and changing it so you can rationalize less guilt?

Ok. Don’t answer that.

Whatever. The important thing is that I made Cinnamon Rolls in a quick, easy, less-fat-bastard way, and they totally hit the spot. The important thing is that I’m going to tell you my recipe 🙂

(There’s another important thing, too– recently, the culinary rockstars at Chow.com have had the same mindset….so I’ll link to their recipe for healthy-ish pancakes in a moment 🙂 )

(There will be no photos involved. The Cinnamon Rolls à la Gradissima were not long for this world, and the camera was not quick enough to record their fleeting, beautiful existence.)

Recipe: Cinnamon Rolls à la Gradissima

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup regular self-rising flour
  • 1 cup superfine self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal/wheatgerm blend (I did a 3:1 proportion of oatmeal flakes and wheatgerm and threw it into the food processor to make a coarse powder)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (go raw, if you have it!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fat free yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk or light soymilk

Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat milk or light soymilk
  • 1 cup raw or brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon

Icing:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat milk or light soymilk (add more for a thinner icing/glaze)

Make the filling first-

  1. Combine hazelnuts, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add olive oil and milk and mix until damp and crumbly. Set aside.

Make the dough-

  1. Mix together the flour, oat/wheatgerm blend, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in yogurt and milk to make a soft dough.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough (or use your hands) to make a large rectangle, about a quarter of an inch thick.
  4. Here, you have two options. Option 1: spread half the filling on the bottom of a 8×8 pyrex and half the filling on the rolled-out-dough OR Option 2: spread all of the filling on the rolled-out-dough. Option 1 gives you a crispy, gooey surprise on the bottom of your rolls, but there’s no wrong way to spread the love here 😉
  5. Roll up your rectangle of dough and goodness.
  6. Slice into rolls. (About an inch thick is a safe bet, but if you want to make fewer thick rolls or more thin rolls, by all means, do it!)
  7. Put your rolls into your 8×8 pyrex. I did 9 rolls and spaced them evenly. They grew to squish into each other in the oven quite nicely 🙂

The baking situation-

As you well know by now, I rock a gas oven with no temperature settings. It’s how I roll. I preheated the oven on medium/high and baked the rolls until they seemed done… not too dark, but just starting to get golden on top.

The icing-

  1. Throw your sugar into a food processor and powder it. Throw the milk in and blend it. If it is too thick, add more milk. I like lots of thick icing, so this worked for me 😉

After the rolls are done, put healthy schmear of icing on each one. The heat will soften the icing and you can spread it more evenly.

Eat these babies hot.

AND THEN….

Here’s the Chow.com goodness I was talking about 🙂

Whole Wheat–Oat Pancakes Recipe

Difficulty: Easy

TIME/SERVINGS

Total: 45 mins

Makes: 5 large or 10 smaller pancakes

Whole Wheat–Oat Pancakes See More in the Gallery

  By Aida Mollenkamp

Just because you’re trying to be healthy doesn’t mean you should have to abandon all of your favorite foods, right? Here we doctor up pancakes by using whole-wheat flour and oats, for cakes that are still fluffy yet have a satisfying chewiness that’s actually good for you—sort of.

Read on and get the recipe at Chow.com: http://www.chow.com/recipes/14108-whole-wheatoat-pancakes

Enjoy your healthy-ish delights 😉

Grilled portobello mushroom burgers – MayoClinic.com


Recipe: Grilled portobello mushroom burgers

via Grilled portobello mushroom burgers – MayoClinic.com.

I would cut-and-paste (with full credit, of course!) as usual, but I’m fairly sure the  Mayo Clinic requests written permission for reprints and sharing… so I’ll leave you with the link. They have tons of healthy recipes with easy instructions and nutritional breakdown.

This is the recipe upon which yesterday’s awesome lunch was loosely based. Huzzah for a bad-ass burger 😉

I didn’t take any photos of mine because we ate them too quickly 🙂

Enjoy!

(My Man loved it, btw, so this is Portuguese-approved 🙂 )

Rapid Update


What a beginning of spring! It’s been a sequence of great weather, great friends, great food, great babysitting, and Spring Cleaning… I love it!

Some recent, easy food hits:

1. The Sandwich- Billion-Grain/Seed bread (fresh, of course, from our local bakery) with Flamengo and Emmental cheeses, some chopped fresh leeks, oregano, salt, and pepper, toasted. YUM.

 

2. The Soup– a base soup comprised of a head of cauliflower, a medium zucchini (about 2 cups, chopped), and about 1 3/4 c chopped leeks. Cook and blend into a lighter, happier, healthier potato soup replacement. Save and freeze some for later use. Season according to your mood. Today I added salt and pepper and some fresh chopped leeks. Perfect.

 

3. The Sugar Spiral- Yes, it is nefarious. It strikes suddenly, usually in the form of My Man Sweetness… He’s been plying me with a variety of pastries, cookies, and almond tarts. We’re ending it after today. It’s been fun, but that much sugar just isn’t good for anyone! 🙂 Back to whole grains, veggies, and feel-good foods for the spring and summer 🙂

 

I’m also trying to finish knitting a market bag from plastic bags for a friend’s birthday…nearly finished! (I’ll try to remember to post a link on how to do this later!)

 

xx