Friday, February 26, 2010

Adventures in Noodle Making

Well, as promised, homemade low-carb noodles! These were so easy, it was ridiculous.

  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Low-Carb Baking Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • some water

On a clean cutting board or counter, pile baking mix and make a well in the middle. Add egg and cream to well and beat. Gradually mix in baking mix to wet mixture. Mix into a workable dough (add extra water if necessary, you don't want it quite as well as a bread dough).

Now, I wish I had a pasta maker, but I don't. So I just rolled them out and cut with a pizza cutter. If you remember correctly, I made these while I was sick, so I didn't try very hard. They are a little on the thick side. Normally I would have separated the dough into three or so batches, but this was all I could muster. And they were perfect for what I needed.

I dried them for about an hour before I added some into chicken stock with chicken, a few herbs and some green beans from the pantry, canned last summer :) The perfect meal for a sick day.

The rest of the noodles I let dry for the rest of the day. I am storing them in the fridge though, since the baking mix has flax seed and some other things that don't always store well at room temp., like almond meal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Artisan Bread Giveaway

Visit the Kitchen Stewardship blog today to enter win your own copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day or Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Separate winners will be drawn for each book. I'm really hoping for the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

I have toyed with the Artisan Bread recipe myself. I like it, but I hate the room it takes up in my fridge! And especially since I'm not really eating bread at the moment. But, I've thought about it a little more and realized that I should still be using it. I can make the dough and freeze it in small portions to use for my pizza dough or to make just a few buns for Hubby. That way I can just pull them out to thaw in the morning and bake fresh for dinner.

The Artisan dough also lends itself to soaking overnight very easily. Katie at Kitchen Stewardship also addressed this issue in her post that says:
Can You Soak Artisan Bread?

You knew I’d ask that question, right? I think that was my initial hang-up with the method; I was just getting into soaking and sourdough, and I didn’t want to take a potential step backward in nutrition, even if it was easier. (If you haven’t been around KS lately, catch up on the soaking grains research.)

Jen at the Leftover Queen mentioned that she successfully soaked the olive oil bread recipe, so I jumped in to try to soak the master whole wheat recipe. The results were a bit sticky and an expected *fail*, but the reviews at the table last night included, “Mmmm, this is really good bread!” from the in-laws, so I guess it worked out alright!

Go sign up now for your own copy of the book!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Menu Monday - late again

I haven't done much in the way of menu planning this week because I really won't be home!

Monday - cauliflower soup
Tuesday - taking my sister out for a quick dinner (she's in college and I'll be in town :)
Wednesday - crockpot pulled chicken & mashed rutabaga (Hubby has practice and I have volleyball, so this will just sit and we'll eat it when we can!)
Thursday - I have an event to go to, so Hubby will have to fend for himself. There will probably be leftover soup. I put 2-1/2 quarts in the fridge last night!
Friday - Dinner at our house! Beef and broccoli stirfy (I think I may actually try and pin down a recipe for you guys this time!)
Saturday - homemade pizza
Sunday - dinner out for Mom's birthday

I'm not quite sure when we are going this weekend for my Mom's birthday, so that may be a little messed up in the end, but oh well!

And I know I still owe the noodle recipe, I have to find my camera cord!! I know it's not gone...I just can't find it right now :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Menu Monday...really late!

My menu so far this week has been spotty at best, and that is why I'm just posting now. I managed to get off the couch yesterday and actually made it back to work today!

  • Monday - I stayed home and felt miserable, so I made spaghetti. Easy, simple spaghetti. Only three more jars of sauce left...eek!!
  • Tuesday - Hubby was hungry at 4:30 and decided he wanted tomato soup and grilled cheese. Good for him, he made it himself (but left a big mess in the kitchen!) I made some yummy beef and broccoli thing. Lots of garlic and ginger to clear up whatever evil is lurking in my respiratory system. I also used about half of the beef stock I made. The stock is wonderfully delicious, and so rich in gelatin that it gelled at room temp! I've got about a pint left. And it still didn't get very dark...oh well. Better than my first attempts!
  • Wednesday - I still haven't decided whether I'm venturing out to volleyball tonight or not, but either way, I have to make dinner because nothing made it to the crockpot this morning as I usually try to do. I'm think chicken nuggets and a nice big salad are in order for tonight!
  • Thursday - Pork chops with broccoli and cheese sauce
  • Friday - Dinner at our friends' house
  • Saturday - Dinner out for a friend's birthday
  • Sunday - Pizza
I just realized looking back at my calendar that I have had pork chops for the last three Thursdays! Oh well, they're in the freezer and I need to use them!

The entire menu is contingent upon my feeling better. I feel somewhat better now, but I'm not convinced it's going to last. Soup may be in order. There is shredded chicken in freezer, as well as some smoked sausage. Both make a delicious soup :) And I made some low-carb egg noodles. More about that coming up!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Real Food Challenge: Week 2 Wrap-up

Today, I am home sick. Not how I wanted to spend my President's Day. Yes, I'm jealous of my teacher-friends who get the day off when there's a national holiday. But this isn't how I wanted my own day off. (I also discovered this past week that I have a lot of teacher-friends! Most of my facebook friends had time off due to all the snow we've had lately, I wish I had the patience to be a teacher :)

I've got some beef stock going on the stove and it's making me hungry. I think a good, nourishing soup may be in the works for dinner tonight.

Anyway, back to week 2 of Nourished Kitchen's Real Food Challenge.

Day 8: Fats for High Heat
  • Wholesome Fats for High-heat Cooking: Tallow, suet, ghee or clarified butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter, Tallow, suet, ghee or clarified butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter - check! I have coconut oil and tallow for use in my kitchen. However, I do use regular butter for cooking, not clarified butter. I need to work on that.

Day 9: Fight Against GMOs
Canola, soy, corn and growing number of other crops have been genetically engineered, and, for this reason it's critical to purchase your food from organic sources and avoid processed foods - many of which contain GMO-deriviative ingredients. For more information on this, read the info from Nourished Kitchen.

Day 10: Fats to Eat Raw
  • Fish Oil - I take a fish oil supplement. I tried taking cod liver oil once, but it really made me gag. I will try again soon.
  • Flax Seed Oil - I'm looking for some for salad dressings.
  • Unrefined Olive Oil - check! I love olive oil on a salad or over roasted veggies (after roasting now, not before :)
  • Butter - I love butter. I haven't been eating as much because I haven't been eating bread and that is my favorite way to have it. It's good on veggies too though. I have learned to appreciate broccoli with butter. I need to work on not cooking with it until it's clarified though. I'd like to find a source for grassfed butter, but for now it's just regular butter from the store. One step at a time i guess.
Day 11: Bake Some Sourdough
  • Since I didn't get my started started on time (and unfortunately still haven't), I couldn't bake a true sourdough loaf. I did however make a no-knead bread that at least allows the whole wheat flour to soak all day long. I used regular yeast, but it's a start. I didn't get a starter going yet, but hope to tonight. I definitely don't want to start it and then sneeze in it or something!

Day 12: Finding Real Milk
  • This is another fail on my end. I'm still trying to find a dairy near here that we can get raw milk and cream from. We don't really drink milk by itself, so buying a $6-$8 gallon of organic milk isn't going to happen. I use cream, but haven't been able to find a good organic source. I'm still trying though!

Day 13: Get Your (good) Bacteria
  • Check! I started rehydrating our kefir grains, so I should have some yummy water kefir in about 5 more days. I also want to try some of the fermented condiments from Nourishing Traditions, but I don't know when.

Day 14: Check In
  • I've been following along and doing what I can. I still don't think I have a passing grade, but it's not about passing or failing. It's about learning, and I am learning.

More information on this past week, the upcoming week and others who are taking up the Challenge can be found at the Nourished Kitchen.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Adventures with Kefir

Today's Real Food Challenge was "Get your bacteria". What better reason is there for me to jump headfirst into water kefir? I can't think of one, though I've been thinking up enough excuses to put it off this long. I still haven't resolved the issue of sugar content in the final product, but I think I'm okay with that now. I know that the good in this product will outweigh the bad. I'm off to let my water sit to get the chlorine out, and then I'll wake up the little guys!

Between the water kefir and the SodaStream I just ordered (yeah!) I'm hoping to kick the store-bought soda out the door! Wish me luck :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Great Simple Giveaway

No, not me, I'm not doing a giveaway. But, a group of blogs I just found are doing a bunch of super ones to celebrate the launch of their new format!

Go check them all out.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Real Food Challenge: Update

So after a not-so-good first day, the others haven't been much better, I hate to say.

Day 2: Choose Wholesome Foods.
  • natural sweeteners - I'm halfway there. If I use actual sweeteners, I do use natural ones, like honey and molasses. I've also got about two pounds of organic cane sugar to go through.
  • wholesome fats - I am good here! I still have a jug of canola oil I'm using to fry, but once it's gone, I won't be replacing it. But other than that, I use butter, coconut oil, olive oil and bacon grease/lard.
  • whole meal flours - I'm pretty good here too. Once again, I'm using up the whole wheat and bread flour that I have and hope to move to milling my own and sprouting grains.
  • unrefined sea salt - check!
  • meat (grass fed, organic) - check! Though I need some work on the organic pastured part.
  • fresh fruit & veg - check!
  • full fat dairy - check!
  • naturally fermented foods - I'm going to be starting my water kefir this weekend. I WILL do it!
Day 3: Improve your grains.
  • White flour is bad, very, very bad - check!
  • Whole wheat flour isn't much better. I loses a lot of it's goodness and contains phytic acid which prevents digestion. - I'm working on it. I'm using up what I have, and then I'll get better, I promise! I just can't throw away a 2 5 gallon buckets of flour (I have one wheat and one bread). But I will start soaking my dough to help.
  • Start sourdough, soaking grains and sprouted flour. - on my list for the future.
Day 4: Start Sourdough
  • I missed that one...oops! I'll get on that hopefully in the morning.
Day 5: Sprouting grains
  • Activates enzymes
  • increases vitamin content
  • neutralizes anti-nutrients.
  • I haven't yet, but I'll explain why in the next day's info
Day 6: Mill Your Own
  • I have neither a dehydrator or a grain mill, so I will be waiting to do this until I can get these things :)

Day 7: Relax and evaluate
  • Check! I don't think I did a very good job, but I'm working on it, and that's what this is all about for me. Learning!
So I have a lot to work on, but I am learning a lot. You can view all of the info on the archives at the Nourished Kitchen.

Menu Monday

Yeah! I got it up on a Monday again :) I spent a total of about $15 at the grocery this weekend, eggs, rutabagas, cauliflower and pop. That evil beverage my husband and I seem to still be addicted to!

I'm hoping to get a soda machine in March when I get my bonus this year. In the mean time, I want to start water kefir, but I'm still trying to figure out what the final sugar content would be on that. The jury still seems to be out. I think I'm just gonna jump in and try!

Anyway, back to the menu.
Monday - Oven-fried chicken with baked asparagus and mashed rutabagas
Tuesday - Beef/broccoli stirfy
Wednesday - Roasted cauliflower soup
Thursday - Pork chops with roasted asparagus
Friday - Dinner at our place with the neighbors! I'll be putting a pork butt in the crockpot in the morning and we'll be having pulled pork sandwiches with homemade wheat bread (I didn't get a sourdough starter started yet...and I don't think I can get one ready to make bread on Friday!), corn from the freezer, applesauce and probably something else that I can eat...maybe leftover soup
Saturday - We'll be traveling out of town for a birthday, so we'll probably end up eating out as I'm not sure when we'll be getting home. If we are home in time, we'll eat up some leftovers!
Sunday - Homemade pizza.

For more Monday Menus, check out The Organizing Junkie.

Life continues to be crazy and my blogging time is minimal, but I do hope to get a Challenge update put together soon!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day #1: 28-Day Real Food Challenge

Day #1 Check List:
For today's assignment make sure to clear your cupboards of the following processed foods as well as anything containing these ingredients:
  • Vegetable Oils: Soybean, Cottonseed, Canola, Corn
  • Sugar: White Sugar, Brown Sugar, Turbinado, Agave Nectar (including "raw"), Sugar in the raw
  • Stevia: white stevia powder, stevia liquid
  • Margarine
  • Shortening (excluding palm shortening)
  • White flour: all-purpose flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, white rice flour,
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy foods: soy sauce, soy flour, soy milk, soy lecithin, isoflavone-enriched foods and supplements
  • Dried Pastas and Noodles
  • Iodized Salt
  • Refined Sea Salt
  • Meat & Dairy Replacements: TVP, veggie burgers, vegan cheeses, sour creams, rice and nut milks, vegan sausages
  • Processed cheeses
  • Skim and Low-fat Dairy: cheese, milk, yogurts etc.
  • Boxed cereals, crackers and cookies
So far, if I had to give myself a grade, it would probably be D-. Worst grade I have ever gotten! I have to admit, it's been a little more intense at the beginning than I anticipated. My main hang-ups so far are my husband, the low-carb thing and our budget! We are really trying to work on our mountain of debt and get it paid off so we are in a better position all around for the future. And right now, getting rid of food that is already in my pantry is really hard to do! I am working on my own version of using them up and not replacing unless it's been in the pantry a while and not used.

As for the low-carb part, it's the stevia and artificial sugar that I'm hung up on. I have green leaf stevia I can use, but I also have a large quantity of splenda and a box of stevia packets that I completely rely on for condiments and sweets! I just don't think I could handle green-colored vanilla ice cream!

And my husband, well, dry noodles and processed cheeses will be a hard sell!

I will try to keep updating for days 2-3 later tonight :)

Menu Monday - really, really late!

I've had my menu planned, I just could get it posted! Life's been busy and a little hectic lately, and blogging is unfortunately not at the top of my priority list. I need to move it up though, I have GOT to get back into writing if I ever want to make it as a freelancer in the future. And establishing the routine and discipline to do it won't hurt either :)

Okay, here's my menu:
Monday - Chicken Nuggets & butternut squash fries. I am now in love with the nuggets I made!
Tuesday - spaghetti with meat sauce. I'm running out of my home-canned tomato sauce, I definitely won't make it through the end of the summer. I'm going to have to buy canned tomatoes and make more or break down and by canned sauce. Booh. I'm trying to stretch it out some more.
Wednesday - crockpot chicken thighs with broccoli (not really a recipe, I just through stuff together!) Hubby will be eating with egg noodles. If it's good, I'll try to remember what it was and post a recipe:)
Thursday - Shredded chicken (leftover from Shower on Sunday) with broccoli
Friday - dinner at neighbors
Saturday - creamy dijon pork chops with asparagus. I'll make Hubby a baked potato too.
Sunday - Chili (want to make some bread with this too)

Additional goals for the week include:
  • make breakfast sandwiches for Hubby
  • bread
  • cookies
  • low-carb crepes
  • low-carb hazelnut spread!! :)
For more menus, visit The Organizing Junkie!