Archive for February, 2010

Valentine’s Chocolate Cake, Cold & Rest


We are still covered in snow but still had a nice Valentine’s Day. We went to a great Indian Restaurant my hubby has been wanting to take us to, got my traditional roses (organic at that) and organic soy-free chocolate bars. My gift to the family was simple but delicious, a Decadent Chocolate Cake, and boy was it decadent. Having trouble keeping myself from running upstairs to make another one. I guess what’s really stopping me is this nasty cold I’ve been dealing with all week. Not much cooking or baking has taken place this week as a result.

In my search for a whole wheat chocolate bundt cake I discovered, The Whole Grain Gourmet webpage. I made her Decadent Chocolate Cake with just a few modifications. Particularly, the recipe called for far more sugar than I like (I prefer the slightly sweet french type dessert to the “you might as well eat a tablespoon of sugar” American type). I used 1/2 cup of Rapadura sugar rather than 1 1/4 c brown sugar. Healthier sugar and less sugar for a dark chocolate flavor appeal. I also used a different chocolate. I couldn’t find unsweetened soy-free chocolate so we used 3.5 oz. 75% sweetened dark chocolate. We added chocolate syrup/topping as well. In addition, I was thrilled to use this recipe for my first bundt cake in my new Pampered Chef Stoneware Fluted Pan. It made a small bundt and I had to cook it about 10 minutes longer. The whole family loved this cake and couldn’t get enough of it. Don’t let whole wheat fool you. The dark chocolate completely dominated over any “whole grain” flavor and this recipe had a great texture.

The Beauty of Motherhood


A friend of mine posted this video on her facebook page and I had to share it. A poignant and touching video essay on motherhood.


Snowed-In, Shoveling, & Baking



We went out for the first time in a week today and the neighborhood roads are horrible but the main roads were cleared. So, once we made it out we went to the library and grocery store. It was nice to see the outside world.

With over 30 inches of snow, we’ve spent the rest of the week at home shoveling out. I’ve also taken this opportunity craft with my boy and cook. Crafts included my son painting one of his wooden cars and the both of us working together to make a portable farm theme felt board. He did his first sewing connecting the grass piece to the sky piece. I used the machine to add a back with pocket to store all the pieces and ribbon to close it (a button or snap would have been better and still may be added).

Cooking included curry chicken in the crockpot using the Trader Joe’s Curry Sauce, lots of flat bread (using a recipe from my neighbor that I still need to get permission to post), chicken pot pie (used the left over chicken with whatever veggies I had in a gravy made from the left over curry chicken broth and arrowroot powder), bean chili (I wasn’t very impressed), Mexican Rice Cereal like my mom use to make, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Snickerdoodles and Teff Applesauce Bread.

For the highlights. My Mom’s Rice Cereal is easy to make in the pressure cooker (she always did it just on the stove top).

4 c water
1.5 c brown rice (my mom always used white rice)
3 cinnamon sticks
piloncillo to taste
raisins (optional)

Follow pressure cooker instructions but add the cinnamon sticks and piloncillo at the beginning. I add maybe an equivalent of 2 T of the piloncillo grated with cheese grater. When you add rice, add raisins too so they get plump. Use same cooking time as you would regular brown rice. If it comes out too watery, add flaxseed or almond meal. If it comes out too dry, add milk. An old favorite of mine.

I made Mexican Wedding Cookies with Whole Wheat Pastry Flour using the recipe from 101 Cookbooks. I didn’t add bourbon, used Rapadura sugar, didn’t roast the peanuts and just ground quick oats for the oat flour. We really enjoyed these. Because we used whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular whole wheat, you really didn’t get a strong wheat flavor. Not super sweet but tasty and just the right level of moist for a cookie. My son and his neighbor friend really enjoyed cutting these out in different shapes.

I made Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles from one of my recent favorite recipe sources, the Hillbilly Housewife. I used White Whole Wheat (mild flavor and good rise), 3/4 butter plus 1/4 olive oil instead of margarine (we strictly stay away from hydrogenated oils at our house and like to use olive oil where we can), Rapadura for the added sugar, and Turbinado for the sprinkling sugar with cinnamon. These were our favorite of all the sweets I’ve made this week. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Yum!

This morning we enjoyed Teff Applesauce Muffins modified from a recipe I got off of Gluten Free Bread World. Unfortunately, I can’t provide a link because there seems to be a problem with the page so I’ll paste the recipe as I made them:

Applesauce Teff Bread (Gluten-Free)

2 1/2 cups teff (can substitute Sorghum flour or 1/2 c with brown rice flour)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup grade B maple syrup (or honey)
1 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs dry goat milk powder (or buttermilk powder)
1 Tbs baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/2 cup raisins (or coconut)
2 ripe bananas, mashed (I always have frozen one that got over ripe)
1 1/2 cups natural, no sugar added applesauce
3 Tbs coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
up to 1/2 cup water (or buttermilk) to get the proper consistency in the

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients except water or buttermilk. Add enough water to make a moist yet firm batter . Spoon into a greased 9 x 9 square baking dish, or into greased muffin tins if you want cupcakes (we did muffins). Bake for 20-35 minutes for cupcakes, 50-75 minutes for cake, until the center is firm to the touch. Can serve with jam, cream cheese frosting or topping but we didn’t use topping. To make this cake more of a cake consistency use all teff or Sorghum flour (3 cups) .

This makes a great substitution for the Bran muffins.

The flavor was good. For me, the consistency will take a little getting use to as is expected with using gluten-free grains (my son made no complaints). We are all use to the constancy and behavior of wheat flour but it still held together well and was better than rice flour based breads in my opinion. I was excited to find a recipe that was gluten-free (we aren’t gluten-free but like to diversify our grains), relatively easy, nutritious, satisfied our sweet tooth and gave me a first use for the teff flour I got at the Ethiopian store. I plan to make this again and again.

Left Over Rice & Pancakes for Dinner


The snow and cold weather have continued me down my path of baking. Yesterday I made “Spinach Rice Pot” after finding the recipe handwritten inside an old cookbook I got at the library (although I did some modifications). Today, since we are snowed in, it some how seemed like a good excuse to have breakfast for dinner and I made “Cottage Cheese Apple Pancakes.” Yumm…

Spinach Rice Pot

2 c cooked leftover brown rice
3/4 c grated cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 T chopped fresh oregano (from my garden)
1 clove chopped garlic
1/2 lb fresh kale, chopped (any green could be substituted)
4T oat bran
2T olive oil

Combine rice and cheese. Add eggs, oragano, garlic, and salt. Add to kale. Add all to oiled pan. Mix bran and oil then spread on top. Bake at 350o, 35 minutes.

All three of us really enjoyed this (although I did have to pick out most the kale for the little man). The original recipe called for fresh parsley instead of oragano and no garlic as well as spinach instead of kale but I was very happy with my modifications and think it was more flavorful than it would have been.

Cottage Cheese & Apple Pancakes
modified from the Moosewood Cookbook

4 eggs, separated
1 c cottage cheese
1 c grated tart apple
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c minus 1 T almond meal
1T ground flax seed
1 t lemon juice
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
real maple syrup

Beat egg white until foamy and stiff. Add all other ingredients. Mix well. Heat well oiled cast iron skillet. When hot enough to sizzle with added water, add spoon fulls of batter and spread out a little if needed. Cook to firm and brown on each side.

Add maple syrup or preferred topping such as yogurt or sour cream. Also good with no topping at all. Made slightly sweet fluffy pancakes with a little cinnamon zing.

Bread, Pizza, Soup and Snow


We were blessed with more snow on Saturday. It foiled our plans to go to a Violin Recital, Dog Obedience Class and Tu B’Shevat Seder at a friends this weekend but allowed my son to have a little snow time fun and me some time for baking. First, I made homemade bread. I haven’t made bread in awhile. It came out great but doing it all by hand made me wish I could find a bread machine that doesn’t have an unhealthy teflon coated pan. Yesterday night, I also made pizza with a homemade crust. Then today I made a great vegetable creams soup with lamb chops.

100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
adapted from a bag of The Old Mill Whole Wheat Bread Flour

2 c warm water
1/4 c molasses
1/4 c honey
2 pkgs dry yeast
2 1/2 t salt
1/2 c oil (I used olive oil)
5 1/2 c whole wheat flour

In large bowl mixed water, molasses, honey and yeast. Let stand until top looks foaming (~5 min). Add salt, oil and 2 1/2 c water. Blend for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining flour. Turn onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes. Knead in enough flour so dough won’t be sticky. Place in greased bowl and cover with damp cloth. Let rise in warm place until dough doubles in size. Punch down. Divide and shape into 2 loaves. Put into greased pan. Let sit until doubles in size again. Bake at 350o for 30 minutes or until loaves test done.

Followed the above directions but after dividing into 2 loaves I put the loaves in the fridge. The next morning, I took them out and let them warm and rise for 1 to 2 hours then baked for 30 minutes. Came out great but a little bitter when hot. After cooling all day the bitter and yeasty flavor went away.

I wasn’t too happy with my pizza dough. Back to the drawing board on that.

Now for the soup, I created the recipe myself based on some ideas I got from my dad and what I had available.

Cream of Winter Vegetable Soup with Lamp Chops

1 lb Lamb Chops, thawed
32 fl oz MimiCCreame Cream Substitute
1.5 c goat milk (can use fresh for previously frozen)
1 c turnip, cubed
1 1/2 c potato, cubed
4 carrots
1 lg parsnip
6 baby bella mushrooms
1/2 lg purple onion
2 Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon
5 cloves garlic
Rosemary Infused Olive Oil (for cooking lamb chops)
White Wine
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add chopped veggies, MimiCCreame goat milk and bouillon to large pot. Brown lamb chops in olive oil and a dash of white wine on iron skillet. Saute mushrooms and onions in same skillet, add oil and wine as needed. Add lamb chops, mushrooms and onions to soup. Simmer 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The lamb was tender and flavorful. The soup base was flavorful, a little sweet (from the parsnips I got from my garden) and quite rich. For soup, would add some broth in the future. However, it worked out. We used the left over cream sauce over mulit-grain pasta to make a sort of Pasta Alfredo the next evening for a quick and easy dinner. Yummy. Later this week, I will use the left over veggies as a side.

A Wake Up Story


A Wake-Up Story from Healthy Child Healthy World on Vimeo.

Was checking out my favorite pages on Facebook this morning and my gem of the day was by “Healthy Child Healthy World”. They created a little film (designed to encourage you to donate) called A Wake Up Story. A great reminder of the world we live in and the importance of doing what we can as parents to protect our children from the many chemicals they encounter each day.