Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chewy Granola Bars

In honor of the 200th post on this blog, I wanted to publish this delicious, healthy snack that I just made for my family. I've been tired of sending my first grader with PB & J, a cup of water, and a small tub of applesauce for lunch. He needed an extra snack so tonight I tried this.

1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup corn syrup or honey
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats (I used whole oats)
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup raisins
6 tablespoons toasted wheat germ (or raw)
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or raisins)
1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir in the oats, sunflower kernels, raisins, wheat germ and sesame seeds. Fold in chocolate chips. (I thought they would have been just as delicious w/o the chocolate chips, and I am a HUGE chocolate fan).
2. Press into an jelly roll pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until set and edges are browned. Cool completely on a wire rack (overnight, if possible). Cut into bars.

Other options include adding 1/4 C egg whites for more protein, adding nuts instead of seeds, and replacing the chocolate chips with other dried fruit, like craisins. You could also use flax seed instead of wheat germ. Some have used light olive oil instead of butter. There are a lot of combinations, but this recipe is so good I couldn't stop eating the mix raw as I was making it. Delicious!

Credits, although I doubled the recipe. Who only wants an 8 x 8 pan? Crazy, I say!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vanilla Oatmeal with Pan-Fried Cinnamon Apples

Finally, I have made a delicious soaked oatmeal. I have to give a major H/T to my friend G for it though. My problem with soaked oatmeal has been how much honey and maple syrup it took to make the oatmeal good. It never occurred to me that pan-fried apples would sweeten it up without massive amounts of sweetener. Now I can add this to the breakfast staples. The ratio is all you need to know to soak oatmeal: for each cup of oatmeal use one cup of water, one Tablespoon of acidic medium, and one or two dashes of salt. The next morning, cook in another one cup of water for each cup of oatmeal you started with.

Vanilla Oatmeal with Pan-Fried Cinnamon Apples

The night before, in a glass bowl:
3 cups of oatmeal
3 cups of filtered water
3 T. whey, lemon juice, whole yogurt, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, or other acid (I use whey, but Kimi Harris over at The Nourishing Gourmet says lemon juice gives the best flavor)
1 teaspoon sea salt

Cover with a towel and let soak between 12-24 hours.

In the morning, in a cast iron skillet:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or coconut oil (I do a little of both!)
3-4 peeled apples, cut into bite-sized pieces
sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg

Saute over medium heat until apples are browned and softened, stirring occasionally, and the sauce reduces down to a glaze. In the meantime, start oatmeal:

In a saucepan:
3 cups of water
all the contents of your glass bowl from overnight soaking

Bring oatmeal to a gentle bubble and stir constantly. It should only take 3-5 minutes to cook your oatmeal because of the soaking process.

Towards the end of cooking, add:
2 tsp. vanilla
sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg (yes, in addition to the sprinkles on the apples)
up to 1/4 C. honey

Your apples and oatmeal should finish close to each other. Add the apples from the skillet to the saucepan. Stir all together and serve hot. If you like, add some yogurt on top of each bowl of oatmeal, perhaps with a sprinkling of nuts or dried fruit.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream

This is very similar to my other recipe for Vanilla-Maple Ice Cream, but in this one I used rapadura for sweetener and added cinnamon. Lovely spicy ice cream, the boys have enjoyed it today.

Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups cream (I used raw)
1 1/2 cups milk (I used raw, whole)
3/4 cup rapadura
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1. Whisk together and set in fridge for 2 hours or so to let flavors mingle and sugar dissolve.
2. Whisk once more, turn on ice cream maker, and pour in. After ice cream sets up, put into a container and freeze overnight to get firm ice cream. Otherwise it will be like soft-serve.

Grilled Turkey and Cheddar

I made this sandwich today and it was so simple and herbaceous that I had to share.

Grilled Turkey and Cheddar
(Wednesday April 14th version :D)

sliced spelt sourdough bread
butter (I used grass-fed)
sea salt
dried rosemary
sliced turkey (I used organic)
mild cheddar (I used raw, and wish I would have had sharp)
yellow mustard
mayonnaise (I used lacto-fermented)
dried thyme

1. Butter two slices of bread, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
2. Build sandwich by placing one piece of bread butter side down in a cast iron skillet and layering on turkey, cheese and then the other piece of bread with the side spread with mustard and mayonnaise and rosemary face down and the buttered/salted/peppered/roasemaryed side up. After it browns on one side, flip and brown the other. Cut in half and chomp. Perhaps with soup? I didn't have soup, but that sounds amaaaazingggg.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mini-egg Brownies (Sophia Gathering Version)

Mini-egg Brownies

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ¼-inch pieces
4 large eggs
2 cups rapadura
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sprouted flour
one bag Cadbury mini-eggs

Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes, and then whisk smooth. If all the chocolate has not melted, return to very low heat and stir constantly until the chocolate melts.
In a large bowl, use a rubber spatula to stir one egg into one cup of the rapadura. Make sure any lumps in the sugar are dissolved. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, stirring each in with the rubber spatula in the same way. Stir in the other cup of rapadura, then the vanilla and salt. Stir in the chocolate mixture.
Finally, fold in the flour, then 2 cups of the mini-eggs.
Prepare a 9x13x2 pan by buttering it and then lining it with parchment paper and buttering the parchment paper at the very last. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Scatter the remaining mini-eggs over the top of the batter.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick or a small knife inserted into the center emerges clean. Cool completely on a rack.
Wrap and refrigerate the pan so that the cake solidifies completely, at least 4 hours but overnight is best. This also makes the cake easier to cut.
Transfer the whole cake to a cutting board and slide a long knife or spatula under it to loosen the paper, and then pull it away. Use a ruler to mark, and then cut the cake into 2-inch squares.
For up to several days, store the brownies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover. Freeze for longer storage. If you plan to keep the brownies for any length of time, it is better to wrap them individually.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyere

Lots of steps, but well-worth it!

Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyère
from Cook’s Illustrated via Kate H.
Makes one 8 by 8-inch strata, serving 6

To weigh down the assembled strata, use two 1-pound boxes of brown or powdered sugar, laid side by side over the plastic-covered surface. To double this recipe or those that follow, use a 9 by 13-inch baking dish greased with only 11/2 tablespoons butter and increase baking times as suggested in each recipe.

8–10 (1/2-inch thick) slices supermarket French or Italian bread (6–7 ounces)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup medium-dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 large eggs
1 3/4 cups half-and-half

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. Arrange bread in single layer on large baking sheet and bake until dry and crisp, about 40 minutes, turning slices over halfway through drying time. (Alternatively, leave slices out overnight to dry.) When cooled, butter slices on one side with 2 tablespoons butter; set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté shallots until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes; add spinach and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, until combined, about 2 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl; set aside. Add wine to skillet, increase heat to medium-high, and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup, 2 to 3 minutes; set aside.
3. Butter 8-inch square baking dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter; arrange half of buttered bread slices, buttered-side up, in single layer in dish. Sprinkle half of spinach mixture, then 1/2 cup grated cheese evenly over bread slices. Arrange remaining bread slices in single layer over cheese; sprinkle remaining spinach mixture and another 1/2 cup cheese evenly over bread. Whisk eggs in medium bowl until combined; whisk in reduced wine, half-and-half, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread layers; cover surface flush with plastic wrap, weigh down (see note, above), and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
4. Remove dish from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Uncover strata and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over surface; bake until both edges and center are puffed and edges have pulled away slightly from sides of dish, 50 to 55 minutes (or about 60 minutes for doubled recipe). Cool on wire rack 5 minutes; serve.