Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I think this bread would have risen a bit higher if I had cut a slash in the top of the loaf before baking as the recipe suggests (oops). I haven't found anything this bread doesn't taste great as - garlic bread, breakfast toast, sandwiches...

Recipe and some other great artisan bread ideas here:

Spicy Veggie Soup

I served this soup with quinoa cooked in coconut milk and slices of wheat bread brushed with olive oil, minced garlic, and lemon juice warmed in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Olive oil
2 jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and chopped
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
6 cups peeled and chopped winter squash
(Hubbard, Kabocha, butternut, etc.)
.75 pound fresh or frozen, thawed okra,
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Juice of one lemon

Heat a large soup pot and coat lightly with oil. Cut a small slit in the peppers and sauté with the onions and garlic for about 12 minutes, until soft.

Add the spinach, coconut milk, squash, okra, thyme, green onions, cilantro, half the lemon juice, and water. Bring to a boil on high. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, covered, until all ingredients are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat and add pepper and remaining lemon juice. I puree the whole mixture into soup, but you could also leave it as is.

Total calories per serving: 142 Fat: 9 grams
Carbohydrates: 13 grams Protein: 6 grams
Sodium: 86 Fiber: 6 grams
Good source of iron

Planning Meals

This week I thought I would give an example of how I plan my meals, and add pictures of each meal as I cook it. I plan meals based on simple guidelines - usually the goverment's "mypyramid" food guidelines.

For us, that would be...

2 cups fruit
6 oz. meat, beans, or nuts
3 cups vegetables
3 cups dairy
7 oz. whole grains

2 cups fruit
5.5 oz meat, beans, or nuts
2.5 cups vegetables
3 cups dairy
6 oz. whole grains

...and here are the meals I planned for this week:

Meals (lunch and Dinner)
Quinoa chicken (4 servings)
Red cabbage
Grilled corn on the cob

Moroccan Eggplant with Garbanzo beans (4 servings)
Grilled pineapple

Lentil Hazelnut Patties (6 servings, freeze 10 patties for later)
Cabbage Salad

Spicy Veggie Soup (6 servings)
Toasted garlic bread or naan
Coconut quinoa

Herbed Leg of Lamb (8 servings)
Cold Curried Apple Soup (4 servings)
Baked Yams

Meals (Breakfast)
Banana/strawberry/hemp/yogurt smoothie
Banana/blueberry/almond butter/yogurt smoothie
Toasted bread with raw almond butter + strawberries w/glass of milk
Pineapple/orange/banana/hemp/milk smoothie

So as you can see, most of our daily fruit and dairy portions come from breakfast. For the rest of the meals, they will probably end up lasting us closer to two weeks. The serving sizes shown are the serving sizes in the recipe, and for us those servings often end up too big and we have more leftovers than planned.

When planning vegetable servings, I try to get as many different colors of vegetables in the mix as I can. Dark green, light green, purple, orange, yellow, and red. All the grains in our diet are whole whenever possible. Sometimes that means planning ahead to soak the beans or grains for 24 hours before cooking.

For our bread this week I used the artisan bread instructions in the Dec/Jan issue of Mother Earth News. Basically, you create a starter, and use the dough one loaf at a time straight out of the fridge. The longer the starter sits, the more sourdough notes you get in the flavor of the bread. I made a whole wheat sandwich bread this week, pictures + recipe to be posted later this week.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Whole Grain Bread

This bread has three steps: The starter, the rise, and the actual baking. It takes about 2 days of inactive time to make - but it doesn't take a lot of work. I like to make this bread every week using whatever leftover cooked grains I have from meals in the past week.


2 cups cooked whole grains (my favorites are quinoa, amaranth, wheat, and brown rice)

2 cups vegetable stock

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Himalayan sea salt

1 tablespoon dry yeast

1 cup whole wheat flour

puree grains and stock in a blender or food processor until creamy. Pour into a large mixing bowl; mix in oil, salt, and yeast. Add enough flour to make the mixture the consistency of cooked . Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and leave for 12-24 hours at room temperature. Once the dough is fermented, it can be refrigerated for up to a week before using to make bread.

To make a bread

1/4 cup barley malt syrup, dark honey, or maple syrup

2 cups whole wheat flour

3-4 cups whole grain flours (you can go with just whole wheat here, but I like a combination of buckwheat, amaranth, chickpea, and spelt flours)

After the starter ferments, add the syrup to the starter and stir. Add whole wheat flour, stirring it in. Add the rest of the flour gradually, the mixture will be too difficult to stir. Knead it by hand in the bowl and continue to add flour. When dough is less sticky, transfer it to a floured surface and knead 10-15 minutes or until dough is soft and springy, but not too sticky. Wash and dry mixing bowl and oil it. Place dough in bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

To bake the bread

1 teaspoon water

1 teaspoon barley malt syrup, honey, or maple syrup

1 teaspoon extra virgin olice oil

course sea salt

chia or flax seeds (optional)

Divide the bread into two loaves, and put into oiled pans. Mix water, syrup, oil, and salt in a small cup or bowl and coat the top of each loaf with this mixture. Sprinkle the top of the loaves with seeds (optional). Cover and let rise in pans for 45-60 minutes until doubled in size. If you press the dough and the indentation stays, but the dough still has a little spring, it’s ready to bake. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake 50-55 minutes. Bread will come out of pans after 5 minutes of cooling. Let it cool 30 minutes before slicing or it will be doughy in the middle. This bread is great spread with some raw honey...mmmmm.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Raw Yam Chips

This meal has three components: the yam chips, the guacamole, and the spinach dip. The fat in the avocado helps to transport the nutrients from the yams and spinach, so the whole meal works together to give you lots of vitamins and minerals.

For the yam chips:

For this recipe, make sure you buy yams and not sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes will not taste very good prepared this way. I used garnet yams here.

These chips can be eaten like potato chips or dipped into guacamole, salsa, or queso. They have a little kick to them but it won't light your mouth on fire.

The most important part of this process is to get the yam slices as thin as possible - otherwise they won't be crunchy like potato chips. I used a mandolin and cut them to 1/32" each. Having them all the same thickness really helps to get even drying in the dehydrator as well.

4 yams

3/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp cayenne

1 Tbsp himalayan sea salt

2 tsp. ground cumin seeds

1. Cut all the yams and lay them out on dehydrator trays
2. Mix together all other ingredients
3. Brush all over the yams, making sure to get some spice on each one
4. Dry at 125 degrees for 14-24 hours, depending on the thickness of the slices. For 1/32" slices, it takes my Excalibur dehydrator about 12 hours to try 9 trays. For 1/8" slices, it takes about 24 hours and they aren't quite as crispy.

For the guacamole:

This is not a traditional guacamole, but it is my favorite. Making your own recipe would be fine too, just make sure all the ingredients you use are raw.

1 avocado
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
himalayan sea salt, to taste

cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the insides with a spoon. Mash the avocado to the desired consistency with a fork, then mix in the garlic and salt, to taste.

For the spinach dip:

This is an indian spinach dip, so it doesn't have any of the fatty cheese or sour cream you might find in the traditional variety.

10 oz. spinach, washed and chopped

1/4 cup of red bell peppers, chopped

1 1/2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. vegetable stock

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. of Garam Masala

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 cup cooked lentils or chickpeas

squeeze of lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup green onions, chopped


Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor.