Tag Archives: Healthy

Crispy Roasted Broccoflower

Yes.  Broccoflower.

I hadn’t heard of it either, but it’s basically cauliflower that is a strange, alien green color.  Not broccoli green, but if somewhere along the lines of lime and cream of pea soup.  Just as healthy and yummy as cauliflower–and much more like cauliflower in taste than broccoli.

Basically I just thought it would be fun to try something new–so I thought I’d go all out and cook it in a different way by roasting it instead of steaming or boiling it like I usually do for its achromatic cousin.

Crispy Roasted Broccoflower (adapted from my new cookbook You Can Trust a Skinny Cook by Allison Fishman)

  • 1 head cauliflower (or broccoflower, obviously.  Or broccoli.)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • sprinkle of coarsely ground salt (or just plain ol’ table salt)

Yep.  That’s it!  Three ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and chop the cauliflower into small florets (try to be relatively uniform in size).  Drizzle the olive oil over the top and season with salt.  Use your hands (this way you can feel when they are uniformly coated) to toss the florets and make sure the olive oil gets all over everything.

Bake in the oven on a middle rack for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

I actually might go a bit longer next time, because the browned parts were my favorite!  The cauliflower gets a natural sweet flavor from the baking, and even though crispy is not a texture I usually associate with this particular vegetable, I wish it had been!  So easy and quick–and better than boiling away all the nutrients (don’t you hate pouring off that gorgeous green water when you boil broccoli, just knowing that all the good stuff just went down the drain?)

Someone else wanted to be fed too:

 

When it’s nearing his dinner time, he just sits as close to us as possible making adorable faces, knowing we can’t resist him.  If we don’t leap into action quickly enough for his tastes, he starts purring frantically.  Then meowing like a banshee.

It gets less cute the longer it goes on, actually.

Also–I can’t wait ’til it’s not super dark all the time!  okay, April, we get the point.

We’re ready for our May flowers now. 

(Nerd joke–if April showers bring May flowers, then what do May flowers bring?)

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Filed under Side Dishes

Open-Faced Tacos

I have a fun dinner plan for you–open-faced tacos!

 

It was quite a hit at the homestead, I’ll tell you.

Well, it would have been, except that Fritz was a little crabby because it was 81 degrees inside (too hot) due to our temperature-unregulatable apartment, and I dropped a butter knife in between the wall and the floorboard heaters and I made Fritz try to extricate it (this is all underneath the table) while I was attempting to photograph dinner.  Without allowing him to move the said table.

So, needless to say, he was a bit of a downer during the actual consumption of dinner, but once he settled down and contemplated what he had actually eaten, he was pretty excited.  Especially because he gets to have it for lunch again tomorrow.

Now, I’m just going to give you the general idea, not really a recipe.  But here are the ingredients we used:

Open-Faced Tacos

  • 6 small corn tortillas
  • 3/4 lb ground turkey
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/4 t garlic, minced
  • 1 t dried cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Toppings:

  • Refried beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Avocado slices
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Spinach, thinly sliced

Bake the corn tortillas in an oven (350 degrees) until crisp. 

Meanwhile, cook the ground turkey over medium heat and add the spices–but feel free to deviate and use whatever floats your boat.  Add some salsa if you want!

To assemble the tacos the way we did, spread the refried beans over the tortilla and add the meat and a sprinkle of cheese over the top.  Broil in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is browned.

Now–go to town with your toppings.

Seriously.

Do whatever you want.

Enjoy!  These had a nice crunch and were fun to eat in an open-faced form.

I bought myself a present today!  I love cookbooks, but don’t have very many that are healthy, and lately I’ve been using the internet more and more to find recipes I want to try–that’s annoying because then my computer is in the middle of the table (and it has a very short battery life, so it needs to be plugged in) and plus..it’s just not as cute as a cookbook.  I leafed through this book in the store and saw so many recipes that I want to try so I just up and bought it!  Yay!

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Filed under Entrees

Chicken Breakfast Sausage

Guten Morgen!

My next door neighbor growing up was an older German lady, and she taught me and my sisters simple phrases that we could impress our friends and family with when we went over to her house.  I don’t remember much, since I was young, but I do remember how her house was hung all over with heavy braided ropes of garlic and she was always cooking.  And to my six year-old self, it smelled weird.

Now I’d probably be there all the time, eating authentic German meals and trying to beg any recipes out of her that I could.  And I’d like to think that my nose has grown more sophisticated–what smelled weird would now smell absolutely delicious.

Anyway, this post has nothing to do with Deutschland.  Just a nice memory I thought I’d share.

This morning I woke up early (which is now weirdly normal for this previously late sleeper) and thought to myself, “I would like…some sausage.”  Not something I usually think upon opening my eyes at 7:00 in the morning–but with some free time and a meat grinder available, my next thought was “why not?”.  So this chicken breakfast sausage came to be.

Chicken Breakfast Sausage (original recipe here)

  • 1 lb ground chicken (I used one pound of chicken breast, still slightly frozen, to grind)
  • 1 t ground dried sage
  • 1/2 t ground dried thyme
  • 1/4 t ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4-1/2 t dried garlic (or one garlic clove, minced)
  • 1/2 T maple syrup
  • 2 T olive oil

First, grind the meat–if you have that option.  One nice thing about grinding your own meat is that you know exactly what’s in it.  You can buy ground chicken at the grocery store, but you have no idea how much skin or fat is in it.  Another reason to grind meat is the price–I bought frozen chicken breasts at $1.88/lb, which costs less than buying ground chicken.  Lastly, it’s not as inconvenient as you think–it’s quicker than running out to the store, and it’s best to grind meat that is cold or partially frozen, so having to defrost the meat first before you grind it is not a big deal–just go halfway!

But if all that doesn’t convince you, then it’s okay to just buy already ground meat at the store.  I’ll still like you.

Grind the meat according to the instructions of your meat grinder (mine’s a KitchenAid attachment, thanks to Mom and Dad).

Put it in a small bowl and add all the spices, syrup, and oil.  Mix, but don’t go too hard or your ground meat will turn into mush.  Just combine everything evenly.

Depending on what you are using it for, you can form the meat into patties or just use it as is.  I was making a recipe (you’ll see it later) that calls for only 1/2 lb of sausage, so I shaped the remainder into patties on wax paper, wrapped it in a big ziploc, and froze it for later. 

I’m really into the freezing extra for later thing right now–it’s so exciting later in the week when you remember you have it and all you have to do is defrost.  It doesn’t take any more time or effort to make extra in the first place, but it does make life so much easier when it’s time for dinner and you don’t feel like cooking.

To cook the sausage, spray a little oil into the pan first, either canola or olive oil.  The sausage itself is so low-fat that you need a little extra to keep it from sticking (this is more true for the patties than for the ground sausage).  For patties, cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes on either side, and try to only flip it once to prevent breaking.  For the ground sausage, just cook until the pink is gone.

We were so thrilled with this recipe.  Sometimes the “at-home” and healthy version doesn’t satisfy food cravings, but this really tasted just like a savory chicken breakfast sausage you’d buy at the store.  Perfect for having with eggs, and I’m looking forward to grinding up a giant batch and taking it camping with us this summer.

Plus, do-it-yourself food is so satisfying!  Why buy it when you can make it at home just as easily?

Here’s a little preview of what I used the sausage for:

Henry has been using the cloud cover today to do some serious bird scouting.  He hasn’t left his post in over an hour, and he hasn’t become any less diligent–he does this adorable mumbly mew in the back of his throat when he gets excited a bird is coming near his window.  Quite entertaining.

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Filed under Breakfast

Fig and Walnut Bars

I’m watching The Reader as I write this.  If you haven’t seen this movie yet (or read the book), I strongly suggest that you do so, even though it is a bit, ahem–uncomfortable at times.

Yesterday I went to a rehab hospital with my class and met several patients with different life-altering diagnoses such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and other neurological disorders.  What really struck me is that every patient that we were introduced to were working at their therapy with positive, if not downright upbeat, attitudes.

These are patients with fairly new injuries that had a significant effect on their physical and mental functioning.  Even though the hospital was a really great one, I’m sure they’d rather be home or in their jobs like they were a few months ago than struggling to do basic tasks that only recently were so easy they were automatic.  I just can’t imagine the immense willpower it must take every day to pick oneself out of the deep sea of “why mes” and “what ifs” and just start focusing on needs to be done.

So kudos to the people who can do that–you are amazing and inspiring,

I brought some leftover fig and walnut bars for my friends and I to snack on while we were driving to and from the hospital.  They were definitely a welcome bite, since we were starving.

Fig and Walnut Bars (adapted from this recipe)

for the filling:

  • 8 oz dried figs, stems removed and cut into quarters
  • 1 T Lyle’s golden syrup (or honey)
  • 2 T water
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground ginger

for the crust:

  • 1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 6 T apple butter (or applesauce)
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flaxseed in 3 T warm water)
  • 2 T Lyle’s golden syrup (or honey)
  • 1 C toasted walnuts, for the top

To make the filling, combine all the ingredients (figs, syrup, water, lemon juice, and spices) into a food processor and combine until roughly smooth.  If a dash more water is necessary for it to form a paste, add it.

Set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a square 9″ pan with canola oil.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, leaving out the toasted walnuts (to toast them, simply place them in the hot oven on a metal pan for five-eight minutes until browned).  Stir until a thick dough is formed.  You may need to add a bit more applesauce or water if it is too thick–it should be like a drop cookie dough.

Spread about three-quarters of the dough into the bottom of the pan and press it even.  Layer the fig filling on top (it should be a thin but even layer), and drop spoonfuls of the remaining oatmeal dough on top of the fig layer.  Spread the dough thinly and press the toasted walnuts into the mixture.

Bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes, until the dough is browned.  It’s a bit difficult to tell with all the walnuts and layers, but it should be relatively firm to the touch.  Allow it to cool completely before slicing.

These are amazing–the fig center is sweet enough to make it taste like a dessert, even though the ingredients say otherwise.  With whole walnuts on top and a soft oatmeal “crust”, there are enough textures and flavors to make this a seriously satisfying snack.

A fig newton on (healthy) steroids.

I cut them into bars first, and then in half again into bites–mini snacks are just that much more appealing, don’t you think?

I’ve got a lot of school work to do this weekend, but never fear: the spring break countdown has finally begun!  On Friday, Fritz and I are headed to my parents’ house for an entire week, and I can. not. wait!

Kinda weird that I have to bring my baby tomato plants on a 6 1/2 hour drive, but a you gotta do what you gotta do.

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Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl

We are out of steel-cut oats.

It’s a horrible, awful, no good, very bad breakfast situation!  No creamy yet crunchy warm bowl of oat-y and banana-y goodness to fill me up every morning.

Luckily, it is spring break soon and I know my mom is just dying to take me to a bulk health food store she’s discovered–and their steel-cut oats are only $1/pound!  So I’m holding out.

That means I’ve had to start playing around with other breakfast grains.  And that’s where buckwheat comes in.

Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl

  • 1/2 C raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 C water
  • toppings: I used frozen strawberries and pure creamed coconut, but you could do anything–let your imagination run wild!

Using the standard 2:1 ratio of water to grains, I brought the buckwheat to a boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so until the water had been fully absorbed.

I chopped up three or four frozen strawberries and tossed them in, and then grated some pure creamed coconut over the top.

The smell instantly reminded me of our honeymoon in Antigua, where everything was coconut and strawberry and tropical and warm…

I want to go back.

Mix it all up:

Let it sit for a second and watch something magical happen.  As the strawberries defrost and release liquid, the shaved creamed coconut soaks it up and transforms before your very eyes:

So creamy!  I did not expect that to happen, but it makes sort of obvious sense and I was very pleased with the results.  Oh so very pleased.

Who needs steel-cut oats, anyway?

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Year of the Vegetable (and Pasta Puttanesca)

I have very exciting news.

News that involves vegetables.  Many vegetables, coming to me once a week in a box from a farm just a little further east on Long Island.  A CSA box.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s a system where the consumer (that’s me) buys directly from a farmer (that’s them).  It’s a bit expensive for our budget, but I talked Fritz into letting us try it this year.  It averages out to about $21 a week (our grocery budget is around $50 a week).

From June 1st ’till the end of November we will be picking up a box of CSA veggies from a drop-off point close by our apartment.  I’m really excited because I can’t wait to have fresh-picked local vegetables at my disposal for 26 weeks.  I’m also looking forward to learning how to use some new vegetables that I’ve never had the opportunity to use–the farm grows over 100 varieties of vegetables, and they promise 6-10 different types of vegetables in each box.  Of course, I am a little nervous about getting stuck with a giant pile of kale every week for 26 weeks–but their list of last year’s boxes has a lot of variety, so I remain hopeful.  I also have wanted to really dive into making us eat a lot more fresh and green vegetables this year, so with this system I’m stuck finding a way to use what I’ve been given (plus I hate wasting food and I love a challenge so…).

The farm we are using is called the Golden Earthworm Organic Farm, and here’s their website if you want to learn more about CSA or their farm: thegoldenearthworm.com

In other exciting vegetable news, our baby tomato plants are growing like wildfire.  On some advice from Mom, I knew I needed to thin them out ASAP since a lot more of them were growing than I anticipated.  I bought some peat pots for $1.50 and got to work.

To prepare the pots, poke a hole in the bottom, fill with potting soil, and drench with water until the pots are saturated.  Transplant the babies, and voila!

Obviously I would rather not be transplanting baby plants when they are this small, but the pots got overcrowded really fast and I didn’t have much of a choice.  Hopefully now with more room these 14 plants will prove their worth (’cause I’m dreaming about fresh salsa and canning tomato sauce already).

I think that Henry also considers himself their watchdog/mother/guardian angel.  He’s constantly watching over them, sniffing them, and not yet eating them.

Not yet.

Lastly, here’s a recipe for a fresh  new pasta sauce I tried for the first time ever tonight: pasta puttanesca.  It’s quick and simple (and I left out the anchovies, so it’s not fishy), and I absolutely loved it.  I normally don’t even like olives, but between the brine and the bright bites of parsley that I harvested from our herb garden (already!? I know!!), it was my favorite pasta sauce ever.

Pasta Puttanesca (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

  • 1 box whole-wheat angel hair pasta, cooked according to directions
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (I only had dried garlic so I did my best)
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 C black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 C minced fresh parsley
  • 1 T capers (optional–I didn’t have them)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to directions on box.

Over medium heat, saute the garlic in the olive oil.  Before it starts to brown, add the olives, red pepper flakes, and tomatoes.  Let the sauce simmer until it begins to thicken, then add the parsley.  Flavor with salt and pepper to taste.

Dinner was conceptualized and on the table in less than 20 minutes, including picture time.  Love when that happens.

Light and fresh is really the best way to describe this meal.  Sprinkle some fresh parsley on top for a springtime finish.  We also added a dash of grated parmesan cheese–serious yum.  Fritz did wish that he had some chicken in there.  Sometimes I forget that there are other people in this household who crave meat in their meals–sorry Fritz.  It’s an easy addition for next time, though.

Fritz and I are watching a movie called Creation about Charles Darwin’s life.  I strongly recommend it, even to those of you out there who aren’t giant nerds.  And especially those of you who are (Mom!).

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Brown Rice and Lentil Pilaf

We have officially entered the phase of eating from the bottom shelf of the cabinet–that’d be the dry goods shelf.  The non-perishable (for a really long time) food shelf.  It’s where I turn when everything else in the house is long gone, but I still want a healthy meal.

And when I want that meal to be done cooking before I graduate from PT school, I turn to lentils.

Sometimes I just don’t have the patience for dried beans.

To kick it up a notch, I decided to transform this into a pilaf with a Middle Eastern flair.  With a healthy dose of garam masala (recipe here) and some canned tomatoes, this recipe went from lackluster side dish to spicy and exciting main entree.

Well, I find it exciting.  I am aware that not everyone feels as passionate about ground coriander and brown rice as I do.

Brown Rice and Lentil Pilaf

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 C dried red or green lentils (I used red)
  • 1 C uncooked brown rice
  • 2 C broth (I used beef, but you could use chicken or veggie)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 1/2 t dried garlic (or 1 clove fresh), minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat, sauté the onions in olive oil until browned.  Once they are ready, add the spices (garam masala, garlic, and cinnamon stick) and toast for a minute or two until fragrant. 

In a separate pot, bring two cups of water to boil and add the brown rice.  Cook until just about tender–a little al dente is best.

Add the lentils and broth to the spices and onion.  Stir and cover, allowing it to simmer on low until the broth is absorbed and the lentils are cooked (this will go faster with red lentils than green).

When the lentil mixture is ready (and the rice cooked), combine the two and stir.  Add the can of tomatoes and stir in.  If you want, you can add a sprinkle of sugar but it’s not necessary.  Cover for a few minutes until the remaining liquid is absorbed and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

My favorite way to eat lentils is to broil a green bell pepper cut in half vertically, and fill with the rice and lentil mixture.

Sadly, we had no green bell peppers.

I ran out of grocery money for the month, remember?

Don’t be like me.

We had to eat it plain–but luckily, it was still delicious (not to mention full of essential amino acids).

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Filed under Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Whole-Wheat Banana Marble Cake

There comes a time in every woman’s life when her grocery budget for the month runs out.

For me, that time was two weeks ago.  There’s still a ton of food in the pantry (whole-wheat pasta, beans, lentils, canned tomatoes, almonds) and the freezer (frozen pesto, pork chops, strawberries and mangos, and a loaf of whole-wheat bread), but we are seriously lacking in fresh veggies.  I made myself promise this time that I wouldn’t cheat and use next month’s cash because that’s what I usually do…and that’s why I’m stuck in a cycle of always running low at the end of the month.

But we do need vegetables. 

But I also can’t be trusted in a fresh produce section without going way overboard (so many exciting possibilities!), so after discussing the issue at length with my friend Lola, we decided it would be best for me to grab a few cheap packages of frozen vegetables and just make it work until April finally rolls around.

Nicely enough, Waldbaum’s had a 10 for $10 sale on frozen vegetables, but it even happened to be the good kind.  The steam-in-its-own-bag kind.  And they had some great mixes (such as Asian veggie mix) that were actually included for once.  So only $10 into next month’s budget, I’m a pretty happy camper.

And luckily I always have baking supplies in stock, so as per Fritz’s request for a sweet snack, I decided to bake a cake.  One that’s as healthy as you can get while still remaining cake-like.

Whole-Wheat Banana Marble Cake (adapted from Blue Ribbon USA)

  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 C mashed ripe bananas (I used three bananas)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting the top (optional)

Tharrie (Fritz’s mom) gave me this cookbook a year or so ago and until now I hadn’t made anything from it.  It’s a book containing State Fair blue-ribbon winning recipes from  the 50 states.  Since my first try of a recipe from this book came out so well, I’ve got my eye on a few more I’d like to try.  This cake came from good ol’ West Virginia.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9″ square pan (you could use a round one too, if you like).

Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer for two minutes or until fluffy.  Add the vanilla, egg, and banana and mix until well combined.  While the mixer is running, slowly add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour and mix until no lumps remain–scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice to make sure you have everything in there.

Take out half of the batter and set aside.  To the remaining half, add the cocoa powder and mix again until combined.  Scrape the sides down once more to make sure all of the chocolate half is, well…chocolate.

Drop spoonfuls of the plain banana half into the greased pan, leaving spaces between for the chocolate batter.  Add the chocolate batter in spoonfuls, then swirl the two colors together using a knife.  Be careful not to overswirl, or instead of marbled you’ll just have a mess.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, though.

Bake on the middle rack in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it (when baking a cake, by the time a toothpick comes out dry, so will your cake!).  Cool on a baking rack and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you like.

I did.

Enjoy!  The sweetness of the bananas come through nice and strong, and despite the whole-wheat flour it still tastes like cake and not banana bread.  The cocoa swirled through and the sugar on top really make this a perfect dessert that’s not too decadent.

Not that I’m against decadence by any means.  Sometimes I just like to have my cake and eat it too, without feeling guilty or weighed down by frosting.

I’m sure you can guess that Fritz was a fan.  He had his with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream he has squirreled away in the freezer (I hate nut-flavored ice cream, so it’s safe from me), and proclaimed the cake, “really flavorful–banana bread and sweet cake combined.” 

And Henry?

Well, he was busy catching up on the season finale of Jersey Shore. 

I think we were all ready for Sammi and Ronnie to just break up already.

Jeez!

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Irish Apple Barley Pudding Parfait

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I wanted to make something to celebrate the holiday, but didn’t want to make Irish soda bread since I have two loaves of multigrain bread in the freezer, and I wanted it to be quicker than corned beef.  So what’s a girl to do?

I looked up some more traditional Irish recipes, and found a winner–apple barley pudding.  To make it a little less traditional, I added green whipped cream and voila! a pudding parfait!

It’s a traditional pudding made by hungry Irish farmers to use up old apples and barley during the winter months.  Luckily for the Irish, it’s very healthy.

Luckily for us, it’s also delicious (and you don’t have to add as much whipped cream as I did).

Irish Apple Barley Pudding Parfait (original recipe here)

  • 1 1/2 lbs tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
  • 4 heaping T barley
  • 1 liter water
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream (with 1 T sugar, if desired)

Add the water and barley together in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, peel, core, and slice the apples.

Add the sliced apple to the pot with the barley and simmer until the barley and apples are softened, at least half an hour.  It’s okay if the apples fall apart.

While that’s cooking, make your whipped cream.  Beat the cream in the mixer with the whisk attachment for a few minutes, until it stands in peaks.  Add some sugar if you want (I added a T) and a bit of green food coloring.

You can’t see how green the whipped cream is in all the pictures, but in real life it is pretty green.  Refrigerate until you are ready for it!

Anyway, once the barley is softened, add the lemon juice and put the entire mixture into a blender and puree until smooth.  Pour back into the bowl and boil for a few minutes, then refrigerate until cool.

To build your parfait, just layer in a glass and enjoy!

These came out to be so much more delicious than I anticipated.  I’ll even admit to you that I ate two of them immediately.  The apple layer is tangy and sweet and contrasts perfectly with the cool whipped cream.

Since today’s theme was stripes (is that a far leap from layers?), Henry decided to play along:

World’s stripey-est cat.

Now go have a Guinness!

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Multigrain Bread

Seeing the footage from Japan really puts our lives in perspective, doesn’t it?

Suddenly studying doesn’t seem so bad anymore.  Even better that I have an apartment to do it in, and I know where all my family members are–and there is fresh bread to eat.

I baked this bread over the weekend, and it has held me over for the last few days when I need a quick carb pick-me-up (and it tastes amazing, really amazing with a rooibos tea spread that I bought at Wegman’s a while ago).  Between that and the sun finally coming out, I might be able to muster up enough energy to get going on the last few midterms I need to study for.

This recipe is from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads, and I chose it simply because I was impressed by the sheer amount of whole grain he managed to cram into it.  It makes three loaves, and it is absolutely perfect to toast and eat with peanut butter, rooibos tea spread, butter, bananas, honey, mint jelly, eggs, and blackberry jam.  I know because I’ve tried it all.

Multigrain Bread (three loaves)

  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 1 C barley flour (you can grind your own)
  • 1 C millet
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 C hot water (120-130 degrees)
  • 1/3 C canola oil
  • 3 packages dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 C mashed potatoes (yes, really)
  • 2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 C rye flour
  • 2 C all-purpose flour

Line three (or two if you want really tall loaves) loaf pans with wax paper, and grease them.  Make the mashed potatoes or better yet use up leftovers (plain–no butter or sour cream, please).

In the mixer bowl, measure the oats, barley flour, millet, brown sugar, and salt.  Pour in the hot water and canola oil and mix.  Add the yeast and allow it to dissolve in the liquid before adding the mashed potatoes.

Next, add the whole-wheat and rye flours, and mix for two minutes with the flat beater.  Change over to the dough hook.  While the mixer is running, add the all-purpose flour 1/2 C at a time until the dough forms a “shaggy mass”, pulling away from the sides of the bowl.  Once it is all added, if the dough remains sticky you can add sprinkles of flour, but don’t go overboard.  Knead the dough (using the dough hook) for eight minutes.

Place the dough into a large, greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature until it has doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).

A seriously large bowl.  I had to switch to a bigger one because I didn’t anticipate the dough rising this much.

Turn the dough onto a floured table and shape it into three loaves.  Place into the pans, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let it rise again (another hour).  When you have twenty minutes left to rise, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bake on the middle rack until browned, about 45 minutes.  Turn out one of the loaves and tap on the bottom–if it sounds hollow, then they’re done.

Allow them to cool before slicing.  If you can.

The absolute best part about this bread (other than the yeasty fresh-bread taste, obviously) is that the millet gives each slice an amazing crunch.  Totally unexpected.

Best thing since…well.

I kept one loaf out and froze the others.  Just wrap in plastic wrap and/or freezer bags first.  When you take them out, make sure you allow the bread to reabsorb any water that forms inside the bag before you start slicing it and toasting it, otherwise you’ll have a really dry sandwich.

Fritz is presenting his research today in San Diego–I wish I was there too, but at least the sun managed to break out from the clouds here so I’m not missing out on all the fun.

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