It’s that time of year again—cold and flu season is upon us, and let’s not even talk about COVID—so here’s my annual PSA about how you can increase your chances of staying healthy by eating right.Continue reading “Time to Supercharge Your Body”
how do I top thee?
I made bread today. Well, my bread maker did while I was viewing online lectures for my summer class.
I chose whole wheat cinnamon bread with apples and raisins, a combo I’ve been thinking about for awhile now. To heck with the fact that it’s not ideal meat-and-cheese sandwich bread! Or is it? (I’m betting it’s fantastic, but then, I’m an adventurous eater surrounded by wimps. Humph.)
Andrew’s out biking in the sunshine, so I was in my own for dinner tonight. This is what happened:
My textbook (I couldn’t run the risk of cracking the third Hunger Games book open; I’m too close to the end to stop!), two slices of bread (I couldn’t bear to waste the heel after I cut myself a piece, so I decided I’d just eat it, too), and fruit and veggies with homemade ranch dip. I use ‘homemade’ loosely, since it’s just the last of the cream cheese and the last of the ranch dressing mixing together, but whatever.
My quandary? What do I put atop my bread? Will plain butter allow the bread’s own taste to shine best? What about the classic strawberry jam? Or my usual, a nut butter? And what about this craving for honey, I’m having…?
Here they are people, in order or appearance:
Strawberry jam, blueberry nut-flavored honey, crunchy almond butter, and plain butter.
The verdict? On toasted bread, I’m going to go with plain butter, and a pb&j sandwich would be excellent as well. The flavored honey was way too sweet, but the jam was nice.
Can’t wait for toast tomorrow!
Happy Saturday morning, all! How I wanted to sleep-in, Hadrian nudged me awake at 5 (at least he made it that long!) and despite having Andrew take him out, I couldn’t really fall back asleep. Knowing I have to fit a run in before I leave for my haircut a 9 (just a trim!) makes my brain start working…
Baklava Butter and Bran! I’ve been meaning to get these photos and recipes out since I made them LAST weekend, and since it’s now the beginning of a new weekend…well, I did my best.
I’d purchased the ingredients for Good to the Grain’s Molasses Bran Muffins awhile ago, but never got around to actually making them.
In terms of actual product, they turned out quite well. The texture was great and they were very moist. However, they are featured in the Amaranth flour chapter, and Amaranth has a bit of a, well, “dirt-like” taste to it. I mean, it’s not like you’re eating dirt or anything, but you definitely get a hint of the flavor of the flour, which is very earthy. Quinoa flour is a lot like Amaranth.
While I think of Good to the Grain (GG) as one of my very favorite cookbook (reserved for the likes of Barefoot Contessa, Foster’s Market and King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking), I have to offer this HUGE disclaimer: Unless you are prepared to buy a gazillion small bags of different, hard-to-find types of flour, do not buy this book. I’m definitely having a blast baking my way through it, (my goal is to make EVERYTHING) and a couple of the chapters are dedicated to widely available varieties, like whole wheat, buckwheat, spelt and rye. However, the rest of the chapters cover kamut, millet, quinoa, teff, etc… I ended up placing a huge Bob’s Red Mill order awhile back and all my small bags of flour take up the entire door of my freezer.
Anyway, I love the book but it’s definitely not for everyone. I’ve really enjoyed reading it and getting to taste the nuances of the different flours and some of the recipes are absolutely fantastic. This one, however, wasn’t all that great. It’s not that there was anything wrong with it; I just don’t know how often I’ll be making bran muffins with Amaranth flour.
Back to the goodies…
The Molasses Bran Muffins called for homemade prune butter, which couldn’t be simpler.
1 C orange juice
1.5 C prunes
Warm juice, pour over prunes to soften (about 15-20 minutes), then puree in a blender or small chopper.
The recipe made about 3x what the muffins needed, so I (happily) ended up with some leftover to put in a jar. I mixed a little with some goat cheese on a homemade bagel here. If you’re afraid of prunes, don’t be. They’re just dried plums (who doesn’t love plums?!) and they are awesome. I think Sunkist (or Sunsweet?) makes a version that has “cherry essence” in them or something. Not sure how natural those are, but they are like candy, let me tell you.
OK, this one takes the cake for being the most awesome recipe EVER. If you’re a nut butter lover (ahem, Emily and Susy, this is for both of you!), make this IMMEDIATELY. You will not regret it. It’s such a snazzed-up version of regular peanut or almond butter, and (surprisingly) has fewer calories!
2/3 C almonds, roasted
1/3 C pistachios, shelled
1/3 C cashews, roasted
1/4 C honey
1/4 C water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Just throw them all in the blender and pulse away! Mine came out a bit “chunky” but they were tiny pieces and I kinda liked the texture.
The Baklava Butter was featured in the most recent issue of Cuisine at Home, and since some of you are into these, here are the stats:
Serving size: 2 Tbsp, 145 cal, 9g total fat (1g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 28mg sodium, 14g carb, 2g fiber, 4g protein
I love it on toast with some orange marmalade (or a little more honey–it’s a little dry) or with a banana. Seriously incredible, people. I WILL be making this a staple in the nut butter rotation.
While I’d LOVE to do more baking this weekend, I don’t know if our tummies can take it! I just made a loaf of bread (it didn’t fall!) and I still have some muffins left over in the freezer, as well as a bunch of slices of the Honey Polenta Cornbread (from GG) that I made with beef stew last night. Andrew wasn’t a huge fan (apparently he doesn’t really care for honey, who knew??), but it was basically like a brown cornbread with a thick, gummy honey layer mixed into the top. Wonderful warm. I had a piece for breakfast and it (along with some plain yogurt) kept me full til AFTER running an errand after school–WOW!
Anyway, with all of our leftovers (and a hubby who doesn’t like to “finish things off” so as not to waste food–so unlike the father of my childhood), I don’t know that I can justify another batch of anything for at least a few days. My recipe-finding is exponentially faster than my recipe-making…sigh.