Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Baking

It's my favorite season - Advent, or as renamed at our house Christmas Baking Time! That's my house there, with the snow man out front.

Money's tight this year (isn't it for everyone?), so instead of giving gifts that add to the clutter, I'm giving out some baked goods. Once they are gone, there is not more clutter (except maybe on the body if you eat too much ;-). So, it has started.

Now, being Catholic and really, for the first time just a few years ago, understanding what Advent was all about, my baking doesn't start until sometime after Gaudete' Sunday. I usually wait until the 4th Sunday, unless Christmas falls directly after that.

So, what are we giving this year? Well, I'm only doing a few gifts for folks outside the family. I really haven't had the energy (6 kids, remember?) or the time (6 kids, remember?) to make something for everyone I would love to gift. Here's our list:

Our "grandparent" neighbors across the street and next door and the one homeschooling family down the street and the girlie's Choir teachers:
My nieces and nephews:
For Christmas here and a 2nd day of Christmas party:

*These will create an edible Christmas village. The kids do ALL of it themselves. I pitch in if asked.

I will try to get back here and post some pictures, but I'm sure you can click on the links and see MOST of the pictures.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Allergy Factor

This morning I got the news...

Tinkerdoodle is allergic to Eggs, Milk and Peanuts. Now, this is not a big deal here, really. I have many allergies, including Eggs. My oldest two are allergic to Peanuts. But all of them? Together? Yuck.

In the last month I have totally slacked. I have been letting milk slip through on everything. I even, gasp, made blueberry muffins with milk in them, even though I haven't done that in YEARS. You see, I had decided that since he didn't seem to be anaphylactic to dairy, a little would be fine, right? Not so. His eczema has been flaring badly on his legs. The prescription eczema medicine was not ridding him of it, so we had him tested for food allergies. For me, the biggest marker is his weight (or lack thereof).

We have a history already of failure to thrive due to food allergies. Little Man was all of 35 lbs at 5 years of age, the same weight he was at 3 years of age, because of a soy protein allergy we found through an IgE/IgG blood test. Once we dropped soy protein, he gained 10 lbs in about 3-5 months. It was an amazing transformation. I can only hope that the same thing will happen with Tinkerdoodle. He is 25 lbs at 2. My Dr. encouraged me, saying that he had just had a patient diagnosed with Celiacs (at 3). After one month on a wheat-free diet, she came back 10lbs heavier. My Dr. is hoping for 35lbs at 3 and I would be thrilled with that.

Ten pounds seems like a lot to gain in three months. But with the Allergy Factor identified, it should be much more attainable now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Schmarren or Scrambled Pancakes

This is for Julie...Enjoy!

Kaisers Schmarren tanslates loosely to "Emperors Pain". Its name comes from the stories of how Franz Joseph, the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, would emit groans of pleasure when he ate this pancake like dish. Oooooooo, Ummmmmmmm, Ahhhhhhh! At any rate, it is a very good dish for a meatless Fridays. It is usually served with a side dish of fresh fruit or cooked fruit like plums, cherries or peaches. Apple sauce is great, too!


  1. Whisk together ingredients.
  2. Pour into a greased non-stick pan.
  3. Cook on stove top on medium heat.
  4. Stir periodically like you are scrambling eggs.
  5. Cook until cooked through and/or lightly browned.
  6. Serve with favorite syrup or honey.

For Today...

Outside my window... Christmas lights on the pine in the back yard...that pine has doubled in size since we moved here in 2001.

I am thinking... I need to find a better way to manage sock matching and folding in my house.

I am thankful for... 3 sleeping babies.

I am wearing... a jean skirt, a white tee and a hand-me-down sweater from my dear sister when she lost 70 lbs.

I am remembering... singing the song "Sisters" from White Christmas at the 1984 Chi-Hi Super Show.

I am going... to drive around with the family in the BIG SILVER van tonight to look at Christmas lights.

I am currently reading... _Hornblower During the Crisis_. I have read all the other 10 books in the series. I read the rest in order, but somehow missed this one. It was C. S. Forester's last (he died while writing it), so it's probably a good one to read last.

I am hoping... I can figure out something easy for dinner that EVERYONE will eat.

On my mind... wrapping presents...need to find time to do it!

Noticing that... I should be cleaning instead of blogging.

Pondering these words... "as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior." from Mass today.

From the kitchen... tomorrow we will be making panettone for our friends for Christmas based on this recipe.

Around the house... not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

One of my favorite things~ Diet Coke.

From my picture journal... a picture from 1984, the year I sang with my sister (see above).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Questions about wheat and mills...

A friend emailed me about what kind of mill I use and types of wheat to buy when making 100 % Whole Wheat Bread. Here is what I had to say on the matter:

With regard to mills and wheat berries? I have a Nutrimill. It’s loud (they all are) and dusty. I got my last batch of wheat berries from my local whole food co-op. Unless you want to buy LOTS or go in on a group buy, it can be expensive to buy it mail order (because it is so heavy to ship or you have to go help unload the semi truck).

Wheat comes in a couple of varieties:
White and red
Hard and Soft
White is milder
Spring and Winter

White is milder tasting wheat
Red is stronger tasting wheat
Hard has more protein and is suitable for breads
Soft has less protein and is better for baking pastries, cookies, pies, etc
Winter wheat is harvested as a second crop and has slightly less protein than Spring wheat

My favorite for bread is:
Winter Hard White Wheat

Healthy Artisan Bread, Oh My!

Healthy Breads in 5 Minutes a Day, the healthier, younger sister to Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day is now available. Check out their website here and feast your eyes on the whole grain and healthy options! I can't wait to try the whole wheat brioche (egg free, of course).

Also, Erin is making sourdough bagels over at bearing blog that looked so good I could have eaten the screen! (I'm craving carbs, can you tell?)

I'll be reorganizing the blog later this week so you can find the recipes more easily (ht to my dad).

Until then, bon appetit!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In persona Christi

We recently switched parishes for a WIDE variety of reasons, but mostly convenience. I have been so tired with a new little one in the house, I'm finding I can't get everyone ready for Mass on time, let alone do it cheerfully. We have a lovely Catholic church 5 minutes from our house. We prayed and searched our souls and finally decided to switch from our beloved Orthodox Catholic Parish to the more convenient, modern Parish down the street. This was a tough decision for us, one that comes up often as a point of conversation between my husband and me.

Last Wednesday we began a journey. We will be taking the next 9 months to study the bible using the Jeff Cavin's Timeline series at our new parish. Are we excited about this? Well, YES! I'm excited because both Kevin and I can study something we both feel our Post Vatican II Catechesis lacked - a study of the Bible.

What is even more exciting is that our new parish is offering this on Wednesday nights and the children are learning the same materials, but on their level. They will enjoy using the Timeline for Kids and the Teens will be using the T3 Timeline. They are also offering child care for the 1yr old to 5 yr old crowd, so parents can actually attend without distraction. Our Wednesday night adventure begins with dinner at 6:00pm. We were excited to go and my Testy Tiger was indeed wound up and ready to go (but isn't he always?)

Let me tell you about Testy Tiger. He doesn't do anything small. He does everything big. He eats big, naps big (3 hrs at a pop), yells big, hits big, screams big, he even argues big...well you get the idea. He's a very, in-your-face kind of 4 year old. He needs lots of guidance and I pray he will get much from his guardian angel when I'm not available to provide it. Well, Testy Tiger will greet you big, too! He loves to say, "Hi" to anyone. Never mind the whole "don't talk to stranger's thing." He doesn't care. He's also quick to tell everyone about his new adorable sister.

Last Wednesday, when we arrived, our priest was greeting folks as they came in for dinner. He saw Father and RAN to him. I caught up, blushing. I said, "Do you know who this is?"
Testy tiger smiled the biggest smile and said, "Yes, that's Jesus." Father was ear-to-ear smiles. I blushed again and said, "You know, Father, in persona Christi?" and hauled him to our table. It was so sweet and I don't know why I was embarrassed. The whole room heard, because, well, Testy Tiger does everything BIG.

Fast forward to Mass today. I'm sitting in the cry room at the new parish with Little Woman (my faithful helper), Testy Tiger, Tinkerdoodle and the Wee One. Father started his homily about how he received two special graces last Wednesday. He proceeded to tell the story of how Testy Tiger came and called him Jesus. First, he was so thankful for that reminder. Second, he was touched by his enthusiasm and it also reminded him that in the development of a child, they perceive things differently. To Testy Tiger, who sees Father twice a week, Father is Jesus. Father was humbled and thankful for the reminder.

And Me? I was proud and no longer embarrassed. Testy Tiger is called to be BIG. Why? Because he's four.

p.s. My husband and I think Testy Tiger is destined to be a priest. When he get's control of all that energy, I think he will have "what it takes" to defend our faith.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I'm at only 1/2 pound less than I was two weeks ago. This is frustrating. I do know I feel better and the scale says my percentage of body fat is going down - 3% from when I started. I feel like I'm eating much better, however, and isn't that a start in the right direction?

Yesterday, as I was making lunch, I got a call from my medical insurance company. They have a new program where, free of charge, they coach you through lifestyle changes. I signed up. I don't get any "counseling" until next week. My coach will call me to establish goals and then give me some help with ways to achieve them. My goals have already been set:
1) continue to lose weight
2) reach a BMI of below 30 ( not obese ) by Christmas
3) reach my goal weight by my husband's birthday in April
4) keep the weight off
5) Don't believe I'm actually going to publish this, but I would like to try to run a 5k before I turn 45.

I also want to get my family back on a better track. Pregnancy fatigue and postpartum weakness have led to bad eating habits here. Since I've been pregnant or post partum for much of the last 12 years, that's lead to bad eating habits for ALL of my children's lives. So, I'll add that as a goal:
6) provide better food choices for EVERYONE

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pizza Bianca

I'm a big fan of ATK (America's Test Kitchen) and I love their philosophy of trying to find the BEST of a recipe or kitchen tool. This is a recipe I loved, but needed to make faster. Really, I can't wait 2 1/2 hours anymore for pizza dough to rise. I usually have 1/2 hour, tops. So this works with the modifications I've made and many a family friend have asked for the recipe. Well, here it is. It's so not good for you (read fattening), but oh so delicious. Focus on portion control here, folks. I had 1/6 of a pizza today and stopped (that's two pieces).

Pizza Bianca with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

AKA Company Pizza at our house
modified from the America's Test Kitchen Recipe

Serves 6 to 8

(14-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
teaspoon table salt
teaspoon sugar
cloves of garlic, minced
ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
leaves of fresh basil, chiffinade
ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups water, warm
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
2 1/2
teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2
teaspoons sugar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Place the two cans of crushed tomatoes in fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Let sit 30 minutes, stirring 3 times to allow juices to drain.

2. Mix flour, yeast, sugar, water, and table salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until no patches of dry flour remain, 6 to 10 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position, place pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees.

4. Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl and pour 1 tablespoon oil over top. Flip dough over once so it is well coated with oil; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until nearly tripled in volume and large bubbles have formed, 1/2 hour.

5. Combine 3/4 cup tomato solids, olive oil, sugar and salt. (Save remaining solids and juice for another use.)

6. Coat rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto baking sheet along with any oil in bowl. Using fingertips, press dough out toward edges of pan, taking care not to tear it. (Dough will not fit snugly into corners. If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 5 to 10 minutes before trying to stretch again.) Let dough rest in pan until slightly bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.

7. Bake until lightly browned around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Take out of oven and top with tomato mixture, garlic, basil and cheese. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes more or until cheese is melted to your desired level of browning. Using metal spatula, remove pizza from pan and serve on cutting board or pizza peel.

The crust is crisp and sturdy. Like the ABI5MAD, the process uses high hydration for gluten development, so it is VERY sticky. It also uses a long kneading cycle to reduce the wait time. The result is a shattering crust that holds LOTS of toppings. Oh, and if you are going to add pepperoni, first microwave it between paper towel in a single layer for 30 to reduce the grease. ENJOY!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weight Loss and Exercise

I was directed to a new study written up in Time Magazine from "and sometimes tea" blog. This is interesting because the weight loss approach I took to lose 70+ pounds 9 years ago did not include exercise. In fact, the creator of the weight loss program said you don't need exercise to lose weight.

The Compensation Problem
Earlier this year, the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE — PLoS is the nonprofit Public Library of Science — published a remarkable study supervised by a colleague of Ravussin's, Dr. Timothy Church, who holds the rather grand title of chair in health wisdom at LSU. Church's team randomly assigned into four groups 464 overweight women who didn't regularly exercise. Women in three of the groups were asked to work out with a personal trainer for 72 min., 136 min., and 194 min. per week, respectively, for six months. Women in the fourth cluster, the control group, were told to maintain their usual physical-activity routines. All the women were asked not to change their dietary habits and to fill out monthly medical-symptom questionnaires.
The findings were surprising. On average, the women in all the groups, even the control group, lost weight, but the women who exercised — sweating it out with a trainer several days a week for six months — did not lose significantly more weight than the control subjects did. (The control-group women may have lost weight because they were filling out those regular health forms, which may have prompted them to consume fewer doughnuts.) Some of the women in each of the four groups actually gained weight, some more than 10 lb. each.

What's going on here? Church calls it compensation, but you and I might know it as the lip-licking anticipation of perfectly salted, golden-brown French fries after a hard trip to the gym. Whether because exercise made them hungry or because they wanted to reward themselves (or both), most of the women who exercised ate more than they did before they started the experiment. Or they compensated in another way, by moving around a lot less than usual after they got home.
The findings are important because the government and various medical organizations routinely prescribe more and more exercise for those who want to lose weight. In 2007 the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association issued new guidelines stating that "to lose weight ... 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary." That's 60 to 90 minutes on most days of the week, a level that not only is unrealistic for those of us trying to keep or find a job but also could easily produce, on the basis of Church's data, ravenous compensatory eating.

It's true that after six months of working out, most of the exercisers in Church's study were able to trim their waistlines slightly — by about an inch. Even so, they lost no more overall body fat than the control group did. Why not?

Church, who is 41 and has lived in Baton Rouge for nearly three years, has a theory. "I see this anecdotally amongst, like, my wife's friends," he says. "They're like, 'Ah, I'm running an hour a day, and I'm not losing any weight.'" He asks them, "What are you doing after you run?" It turns out one group of friends was stopping at Starbucks for muffins afterward. Says Church: "I don't think most people would appreciate that, wow, you only burned 200 or 300 calories, which you're going to neutralize with just half that muffin."

Working out is hard to do with 6 kids under 12, including a newborn. I expect I will exercise, but it won't be hard core. It will probably a DVD or brisk walk. I understand the need to be healthy and that is reason to exercise. Exercising to lose weight, well, you just read it. It doesn't necessarily help.

By the way, I lost 4.5 lbs last week. That would be 12 lbs lost in 9 weeks. I need to slow down the weigh loss to 2 lbs a week. Losing more than 2 lbs a week can lead to toxins being released into breast milk and I don't want my desire to lose weight effect the Wee One.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The coolest Pro Life invention EVER!!!

God bless this doctor!

Pregnant mothers can now hold models of their newborn babies!

Thanks to my hubby for finding this!

Speaking of weight loss...

Are you wondering what I'm talking about? Erin over at Bearing Blog has a REALLY great series on weight loss that I've followed for the last year. After a visit to the doctor yesterday with my beloved Dr. Ade and seeing my OB's GREAT nurse, Barb, I found out that nursing moms can eat as little as 1200 calories a day.

One of the things Dr. Ade suggested was NOT drinking milk, but water, instead. I'm not much of a water drinker or milk drinker. Sadly, I was drinking 3 cans of DIET COKE a day! Bad, bad, bad. I have been reading a ton about how bad DC is for you, including exacerbating ADD (a problem I've had all my life) and affecting bone density. So, I'm cutting back. Here's what I'm trying to do. I am trying to wean myself, which is hard when you have a newborn. Coffee doesn't do much for me anymore. I need caffeine. I'm looking for some alternative.

My hubby drinks Awake , which he swears by for both morning and after lunch grogginess. I, alas, cannot use awake because it has fish byproducts in it. Oh, I guess I could try. The EPI PEN shot would really help keep me awake, wouldn't it? HAHA...okay, not so funny. But, the key to Awake is the ingredients. No caffeine, just vitamins and amino acids. Interestingly enough, B12 is one of those vitamins. My beloved Dr. Ade thinks that I might be deficient. If a shot of B12 will help, bring it on.

Anyway, I'm down 9lbs from 6 weeks ago and I am going to work VERY hard at changing my habits (another thing Erin and I have talked much about). I have a BMI of 34, folks. That puts me at OBESE. I have 25 lbs to go just to not be OBESE. Now before everyone starts the, "Oh, but you just had a baby..." stuff, please keep in mind I lost 72 lbs post partum with Little Woman. She was a crazy nurser, every 2 hours 'til she was 2. Maybe that's how I lost 72 lbs! But, don't worry. I will not let the Wee One suffer. I monitor output almost as religiously as they do with newborns, so I won't let her be effected. Anyway, she sleeps through the night already (good from a rest perspective, bad from a fertility perspective) and nurses hourly during the day. I don't follow a schedule, but feed on demand. She has rolls and a double chin, so, trust me, I will not lose weight at her expense.

So, I'm sorry, but I will probably bore you with posts about weight loss. When I lost 72 pounds previously, it was using Gwen Shamblin's Weighdown Workshop. I liked the program, but didn't like her very much. Her religious beliefs, while Christian, did not include belief in the Holy Spirit. My faith firmly believes in the Trinity. But, that doesn't dismiss how good her program was. It was faith based and sound. She is a registered dietitian. Her program did not include exercise. I liked that part of it because, Little Woman was a needy baby. It wasn't easy finding time when she needed to nurse every 2 hours and Little Man was not even 2 yet. So, this fit. Wee One does need to nurse regularly and Tinkerdoodle still needs me much, being a little over two, so I'm going her route this time. I will exercise WHEN I CAN, but, it won't be as much a part of my weight loss as it was Erin's.

Oh, and the excessive posting today is again in thanks to Dr. Ade. I now have a nifty new wrist brace to help with my CTS (Carpel Tunnel Syndrome) and typing is possible now without pain or problems!

Stay tuned for more...

Just like them...

I will be 90 when we are married 62 years. This is just lovely!

I wonder what our "thing" will be!

Thanks, Julie, for the smile this morning! I needed it!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Awesome Peach Salsa

I made a great meal Monday night. For me it was the peach salsa that made the meal. Now, I don't normally call condiments part of the meal, but it was the sauce for the chicken.

We weren't going to have marinated chicken breasts with peach salsa because I had planned on making high roasted chicken with lemon and garlic. Alas, I pulled the whole chicken out of the freezer at 10pm and when I went to bake it the next morning (so as not to heat up the house in the warm part of the day), it was still frozen. SOLID. So, I opted for chicken breasts, marinated in this quick marinate.

Quick Chicken Marinate
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. vegetable oil

Marinade chicken in this for 30 minutes.

The Peach Salsa was easy, too!

Peach Salsa
4 peaches, diced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. grated ginger
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cilantro

Mix together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

We had the Marinated Chicken Breasts with Peach Salsa along with roasted garlic bread, Caprese salad, fresh fruit, blanched sugar snap peas and for dessert, Strawberry Dream Torte. I had a run as a Pampered Chef consultant from 1999 to 2001. I got lots of great cookware and tools at a discount, but didn't make very much money because I had a new baby at home. Here's the delicious dessert recipe.

Strawberry Dream Torte
1 Devil's Food Cake, prepared according to directions (either in a 9x13 or in 8 or 9" round pans)
1 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
1 tub of cool whip
1/2 c. sugar
Strawberry Syrup or Strawberry Jam
fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half (the amount depends on you!)

Whip the softened cream cheese with the sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Fold in the Cool Whip. Level cakes if using layers and feed the cake humps to the kids (or eat them yourself, if you want.) If using a 9x13 pan, poke the top with a fork for strawberry jam or syrup to penetrate. Spread strawberry jam on top of the bottom layer of the cake (layered version) or top of cake (if 9x13)or drizzle with strawberry syrup. For layered cake, spread 1/2 of the topping on top, not on sides. Top with next layer. Spread jam or drizzle syrup on top layer. Spread remaining frosting on cake. For 9x13, spread all the frosting on the cake. Top with strawberries sliced in half. I like putting them on the entire cake. You can just make a circle on the top with the strawberries.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peasant Bread

I have been working on my own combination of ingredients that work well using the ABI5MAD. Here's a new favorite. It's a combination of the Olive Oil Bread and European Peasant Bread, with more whole grains.

Peasant Bread
1/4 c. olive oil
2 3/4 c. warm water
1 1/2 TBSP yeast
1 TBSP salt
1 1/2 c. freshly milled whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. freshly milled rye flour
3 c. bread flour (or 3 1/2 c. all purpose flour)

You mix this like all ABI5MAD breads:
Combine oil, water, yeast and salt. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Rise on counter, covered for 2 hours. Then, prep in the ABI5MAD method.

I served this for dinner when we had weekend company along with a "lighter" version (read more white flour) and it turned out very well. I made another batch to serve at a mom's night out last night with spinach dip on the side. Here's the dip recipe:

Spinach Dip
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed of excess water
1 can water chestnuts, diced
16 oz. sour cream
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix

Combine and allow to refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with bread or crackers.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blueberry Boy Bait

In 1954, a 15-year-old girl won second prize in the junior division of a Pillsbury baking contest with a moist and tender blueberry cake that was named after the effect it had on teenage boys--one bite and they were hooked. The boys (and girls) at my house are hooked now, too!

Blueberry Boy Bait
Adapted to be ALMOST dairy free (except the butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9"x13" pan. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add:
2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. cold butter, cut into 1 tbsp. pats
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Pulse in 10 1 second pulses until butter is the size of small peas. (Alternatively, you could use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter.) Open processor and reserve 3/4 c. of the flour mixture for topping. Close top again. To the remaining mixture add through the feed tube:
2 egg yolks
1 c. coconut milk (yes, you can use real milk)

Run for approximately 30-60 seconds or until well beaten.
(Alternatively, you could mix with a hand mixer for 3 minutes - until smooth and silky looking.)

In a glass mixing bowl, add:
2 egg whites

Beat until stiff peaks form. Pour batter from food processor bowl into egg whites. GENTLY fold until egg whites are incorporated. Pour batter into pan. Sprinkle on top:
1 cup fresh blueberries
Reserved flour mixture

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes (until center springs back when gently touched). Serve warm or cold. Makes a great desert and even better coffee cake for breakfast!

Chili Lime Chicken

Mom - this is what you asked me for on the phone yesterday.

We needed something quick for dinner on Sunday night. We were tired and hungry. This is a REALLY quick, zippy and delicious meal.

Chili Lime Chicken (adapted from a Cook's Country Recipe)

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 can Rotel Tomatoes with Green Chilis (You can sub 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 diced jalapeno pepper -seeds and ribs removed)
3 Tbsp. lime juice
3 Tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat pan over medium high heat with 1 Tbsp Olive Oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken breasts. Cook 3-4 minutes or until browned. Turn and cook other sides for 3 minutes. Remove from pan to plate. Cover chicken breasts with foil. Add the other tablespoon of oil. Saute' garlic about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and scrape brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the Rotel tomatoes. Simmer on Medium until reduced (about 10 minutes). Take pan off heat. Add any juices from the chicken plate. Stir in lime juice. Whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time so the sauce doesn't break. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice, quinoa or couscous.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Erin's Soaking Wheat in the Breadmaker Experiment

Erin's experiment ended with a lovely looking wheat loaf that should be very digestible for those with difficulty eating whole grains. She did a fabulous job of experimenting where I couldn't go as I do not have a bread machine. Kudos go out to her! She's one of the folks that tipped me off on soaking the grains. She's done it for a long time with her pancakes, waffles and muffins, but not with bread.

As for me, with a new baby in the house, we're eating ABI5MAD (light wheat or European peasant loaf - which has rye and whole wheat) regularly and my honey oatmeal bread which I made ahead of the baby and froze in the new deep freeze. I also milled about 10 lbs of berries while Mom was here and that is in the deep freeze as well. I'm waiting because my dad is coming from Montana in a couple of weeks. He just started making bread (Wonder Bread) and has been pretty pleased with his results. I'm proud of him for trying as he had never had success with bread in the past. I hope to enlighten him to the ABI5MAD method while he's here visiting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ellie's Debut

I know I've been MIA, but life is busy (but wonderful) here. I will be next linking you to Erin's Wheat Soaking in the Bread Machine Experiments. You won't be disappointed. She's a chemist and she knows how to run an experiment! You might like her weight loss blogging, too!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

She's here!

Eleanor (Ellie) Margaret made her debut today at 3:18pm. She weighed 8lb 11.8oz and was 21.5" long. She's beautiful with long dark hair and very sweet face. I will post pictures later!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thinking out loud...

As I plan to fill the new freezer, I'm faced with actually having to organize because I will have 3 freezers and without some "plan", I will be sending children to three different freezers looking for things. I have the freezer on the side-by-side in the kitchen and another 5 cu. ft. freezer in the garage (right off the kitchen).

Right now, my thoughts are to keep frozen veggies and other foods for the "week" in the kitchen fridge. In the 5 cu. ft., I'll keep prepared items (meals, baked goods, etc.) and in the new freezer I will keep bulk items like meats, milled wheat, frozen veggies that I buy in bulk or frozen from fresh.

So far, the things I'm planning to make ahead are:
Spaghetti Sauce
Marinated Flank Steak
Honey Oatmeal Break
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Mini-pizza crusts made from ABI5MAD Olive Oil Dough
Lactation Cookies
Beef Stew less veggies
Beef Stroganoff
Marinated Chicken breasts
Cooked chicken (for other recipes)

I'll be updating this as I think of more...

Chicken with Coconut Milk Soup

This is a great use for left over rotisserie chicken. Little Man asked for rotisserie chicken for his birthday meal (God bless him!) and we had lots leftover. Mom is visiting so I'm happy to have someone to share REAL food with at lunch (not pasta and chicken nuggets). This is what we made today.

Chicken with Coconut Milk Soup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, julienned
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp. lemon grass (dried)
1 c. mushrooms
1 Tbsp. ginger paste (from a tube or just minced ginger)
1 sm. can bamboo shoots
1 sm. can sliced water chestnuts
2 cans chicken broth (or 3 c. home made stock)
1 - 1 1/2 c. cooked chicken
1 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. chili sauce
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice or 4 pkts. TRUE LIME

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a soup kettle over medium high heat. When it is shimmering, add onion. Saute' for just a few minutes until soft. Add garlic, lemon grass and mushrooms. Saute' another minute. Then add ginger, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. Saute' another few minutes until the mushrooms soften a bit. Add broth, chicken and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and boil just a few minutes to finish cooking veggies. Remove from heat and add chili (to taste) and lime juice.

Serve with rice or ramen noodles.
Makes approximately 4 - 1 c. servings

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Getting ready for baby

I'm not only lucky because I'm being given the opportunity to hold one of God's greatest blessings VERY SOON, my mom is here...

What does that mean? I have help and so does the rest of the family. She moved to Tucson in September and I have missed her! She's like me. She doesn't sit down, unless it's with a good book ;-). So, she's helping to do laundry, cook, clean. You know, the stuff I get behind on when I'm trying to get school done and kids occupied (and, honestly, get distracted)...

Speaking of which, I'm distracted. How could I not be with this huge weight stuck on my front! The little girl I'm carrying is big. VERY big and I can't wait to meet her, which is distracting. So, I'm glad my mom is here...she keeps me focused, actually.

So, I'm getting ready. Today I will make a list or two of meals I want to prepare ahead. Mom and the boss will be going to pick up an additional freezer for us so I have someplace to put things.

So, based on what my OB said last week, I will probably be induced next Tuesday or Wednesday. So, that gives me one week...to get ready.

I'll share what I'm making tomorrow (OR later today if I have the time.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Crock pot Bulgogi

This is Little Princesses' favorite:

Bulgogi (crockpot)

Category: Beef|Korean|World Cuisine
Yield: 4 servings

4tbs. soy sauce
2tsp. sesame oil
2tbs. sugar
1/2tsp. black pepper
1clove garlic-chopped
1 1/2 pounds sirloin tips or strips


Mix the marinade ingredients (all but the beef) and add to the meat. Cover & marinade at least 2 hours. I recommend overnight. Pour mixture in crock pot, make extra batch of marinade & add extra marinade in crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I find some meats cook up rubbery in the crock pot....sirloin strip have worked well in the crock pot. For large group I buy a roast & have it shaved...they hate doing it at the grocery store, but will if you give them notice. I have used eye of the round roasts & bottom of the round roasts...if it's shaved it comes out great in the crock pot. I pretty much experiment with different cuts of meat, to see what works best I hope this helps.


Counting down...

So, I'm sure you've probably lost interest in this blog by now, when the author goes MIA for more than a month.

I've had a good excuse, or should I say good excuses? Pregnant with my 6th (not without a few complications), home schooling, Spring...Those three together make for one busy mom.

So, really now, I'm counting down AND finding recipes to prepare for the freezer.

My first staple for the freezer are the marinated Flank Steak and Spaghetti Sauce for a Crowd along with a loaf of ABI5MAD, salad and veggie. But I will be adding a few more here. This post is really a reminder tag, like my friend Erin did for Chicken with 40 Cloves of garlic at her blog. And, that does look soooo good, by the way.

So, things I'll be making ahead? Some marinates to be mixed with meat already frozen, some crock pot meals and a few more baked goods. Unfortunately, my freezer is struggling to stay closed right now, so I'm not sure where I'll put everything, but we've been working through other things in the freezer to make room.

I'm so very thankful that I will have lots of help, this time. I'm 95% certain I will be having a c-section, a reality I've come to grips with, so I will need help with feeding the hungry mouths here. As I mentioned before, I have a great home school support group that helps with providing meals, my mom is coming for two weeks and my step mom has graciously offered to come and help, too! I might have help for the entire 6 weeks of recommended recovery time.

So, there's a quick note of thanks to those that have and will help and here's offering a prayer of thanksgiving for all those wonderful souls that have prayed and helped so far and will help again.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We interrupt this blog for something more important...

Prayers for Stellan

Please pray for this little guy and his family. My heart and prayers go out to them.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No Foolin'!

Subtitled: How to get Daddy to eat meatloaf
First, you start off by making grape jello in a drinking glass the night before and hand it to Dad in the morning saying it's juice with which he can take his morning medicine. This throws him off because he thinks your tricks are over for the day.
Next, you spend most of the day cooking and having fun with the kids. The menu?

Steak fries (sugar cookies, sprinkled well with sugar to look like salt)

Mixed veggies (peas=Skittles with the s carefully washed off, carrot slices=Starbursts warmed in the microwave then smooshed on the diagonal and corn=Starbursts warmed in the microwave that have been cut and shaped by hand)

Hamburgers on buns (the buns are yellow cake made in tuna fish sized cans and the burgers were actually brownies baked flat, then cut out with the same sized can) Don't forget the condiments (kiwi for pickles and strawberry jam/syrup mix for ketchup)

And finally, frosted brownies for dessert (mashed potatoes colored with gravy and meatloaf).

We don't know what we'll do this year, but beware Daddy!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Things Promised...

As promised last week:

Here's my FAVORITE 100% Whole Wheat Bread dough recipe that is NOT 5 minutes a day, but well worth the effort:
Softest Whole Wheat Bread (adapted to soak the grains)

Enough to make 3 9”x5” loaves

9 ½ cups freshly milled flour from hard spring wheat berries (8 cups of berries is enough for 10 cups of flour)

3 ½ cups 110-120 degree water

¼ cup cider vinegar

Mix until combined. Cover mixture directly with plastic wrap. Place a wet towel directly over plastic wrap. Allow to sit 7-24 hours (I wait 24 hours).

After the wait, proof the yeast:

½ cup 110-120 degree water

3 Tbsp instant yeast (or rapid rise yeast)

Mix until combined (will take quite a bit of mixing). Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, until very foamy.

Remove the towel and plastic wrap from the flour mixture. Pour the yeast mixture on top. Then add:

1/2 cup butter (melted)

2/3 cup honey

3 tsp salt

¼ c. vital Wheat Gluten

1 tsp ascorbic acid

Allow that to sit for a few minutes. The flour mixture will be VERY thick and kludge-y. Using a stand mixer and a bread hook, slowly incorporate the ingredients. You will need to run the mixer slowly until all is incorporated. If it is very sticky, add ½-2 cups more flour (white is okay).

Knead for 15 -20 minutes if kneading by hand and about 10 minutes by mixer. Place in oiled bowl, cover and let rise again until double. (About 60 minutes) Punch down and shape in pans. Cover with a towel and let rise again until double. (30 minutes). Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Nutritional facts per serving (1/16 of a loaf) (daily value): Calories 135kcal; Protein 4.5g Total Fat 2.5g (Sat. 1g ); Chol. 5mg ; Carb. 26g; Fiber 4g Sugars 4g; Calcium 12mg Iron 1.5mg

Birthday Cake
I can't take credit for coming up with this one, but I did make it and it was a hit. I made two, in fact. I made one in a 6" pan for Tinkerdoodle and another in a 10" pan for Little Princess (each turning a new year this weekend. Subtract four from each of the pan sizes and you will know their new ages.) We had the family party last weekend and next weekend, Little Princess has her first friend birthday. We're a big family, so each kid gets a friend birthday only when they turn 6 and 10. These cakes were made with a Crazy Cake recipe, which is egg-free (from the Depression when eggs were scarce) and uses vinegar and baking soda for it's leavening. Next weekend, I will use a Devil's Food cake.

Yummy Dinner Recipes
Need a new idea for dinner? Here are some of my favorite QUICK dinners. Just a note that we do mostly meals consisting of:
Bread or Pasta

Because of our many allergies, this is a better guarantee that all can eat what is served. Very seldom do we serve foods "mixed together."

Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin (great with Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Bread)

Category: Main dishes|Meat
Yield: 8 servings

2 pork tenderloins - about 2 to 3 pounds
1 clove garlic - halved
1 teaspoons herb seasoning blend or Cajun
-seasoning blend
pepper, to taste
salt - if seasoning blend is salt-free
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
salt and pepper - optional

Trim pork of any visible fat and membrane.

Rub pork tenderloins with garlic halves, then rub all over with the seasoning blend, and pepper. If seasoning is salt-free, sprinkle with a little salt.

In a small bowl, combine 6 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, and the Dijon or brown mustard. Stir to blend thoroughly. Set aside. Melt butter with oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot and foamy. Add pork tenderloins and cook, turning, until brown on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until thermometer inserted into pork registers 150 degrees, turning occasionally. This should take 10 to 15 minutes longer, depending on thickness of tenderloins. Transfer pork to platter; cover to keep warm. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar to skillet and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Return pork to skillet; add maple syrup mixture and turn pork in glaze to coat well, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer pork to cutting board. Cut pork into 1/2-inch slices. Stir 1 tablespoon maple syrup into the glaze. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Arrange sliced pork on plates or platter. Spoon glaze over pork and serve. This is wonderful with rice and Cranberry Chutney.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 68kcal; Protein 0g (0%); Total Fat 2g (3%)(Sat. 1g (4%)); Chol. 3mg (1%); Carb. 12g (4%); Fiber 0g (0%); Sugars 11g; Calcium 15mg (1%); Iron 0mg (2%)

Skillet Chicken with Chile and Lime (great with rice or couscous, corn and beans)

Category: Poultry|Main dishes|Meat
Yield: 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - (about 1
-1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 jalapeño chile , seeded and chopped fine
4 garlic cloves - minced
1 (10-ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes - (see note)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon grated lime zest from 2 limes
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice from 2 limes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.

2. Add jalapeño and garlic to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and broth and bring to boil. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet and simmer, covered, over medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer chicken to serving platter and tent with foil. Simmer sauce, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining butter, lime zest and juice, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 441kcal; Protein 56g (112%); Total Fat 21g (32%)(Sat. 12g (59%)); Chol. 184mg (61%); Carb. 5g (2%); Fiber 1g (3%); Sugars 3g; Calcium 61mg (6%); Iron 3mg (14%)

Korean Flank Steak (great with rice or ramen noodles, stirfried veggies and my sunflower slaw - next recipe) Also - Little Princess says this tastes like Bulgogi

Category: Korean|Meat
Yield: 8 servings

2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons toasted - (dark) sesame oil
2 scallions, finely chopped
Vegetable oil - for drizzling plus, 2
-tablespoons, twice around the pan
2 pounds flank steak

In a shallow dish, combine grill seasoning, dark soy, honey, hot pepper flakes, garlic, sesame oil, scallions and a drizzle of vegetable oil. Coat the flank steak in the mixture and let it stand 10 minutes. [I find 10 minutes is perfect for the flank steak. If it sits much longer than that, you don't taste steak anymore, you only taste the marinade.]

Preheat indoor electric grill, stove top grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. When the grill pan or grill is screaming hot, add meat and cook 5 minutes on each side for medium rare, 7 to 8 minutes on each side for medium well doneness.

To serve, let meat rest 5 minutes for juices to redistribute. Thinly slice the meat on a heavy angle against the grain (the lines in the meat).

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 193kcal; Protein 25g (49%); Total Fat 8g (13%)(Sat. 3g (17%)); Chol. 39mg (13%); Carb. 4g (1%); Fiber 0g (2%); Sugars 2g; Calcium 35mg (4%); Iron 2mg (11%)

Sunflower Slaw

Category: Salad
Yield: 6 servings of 3/4 cup

1/2 package ramen noodles
2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. salt
1 bag of shredded cabbage for coleslaw

Break noodles into small pieces. Combine oil, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and salt. Toss with cabbage. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Stir in ramen noodles and sunflower seeds.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 164kcal; Protein 2g (4%); Total Fat 13g (21%)(Sat. 1g (5%)); Chol. 0mg (0%); Carb. 11g (4%); Fiber 2g (8%); Sugars 9g; Calcium 36mg (4%); Iron 1mg (4%)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quick apology

Sorry for the delay in writing...March is a very busy month for us. I will be posting new recipes and pictures this weekend! Stay tuned for my favorite 100% whole wheat bread (soaking instructions included), some fun birthday cake pictures and a few new yummy dinner recipes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Project Fair

The Little Woman, Little Princess and I are all abuzz making bread for our home school project fair. Most notably, we'll be bringing samples. Most desired bread, we bet, will be the chocolate bread. Little Woman gave up chocolate for lent, so she's talked me into saving one of the three loaves for us for breakfast tomorrow.

I must admit, I tasted the dough and it's not super sweet - just 2/3 c. honey for 3 1-lb loaves. But the amount of chocolate is INCREDIBLE!!!! It took 4 oz. of melted chocolate, 1 c. of cocoa and 5 oz. of chocolate finely chopped for 3 loaves. Oh, and we used Ghiradelli brand bittersweet chocolate. We've opted to shape them as couronnes (crowns) as this is truly the king or queen of breads. I will post pictures later.

We're also going to make samples of the basic white and light wheat. We'll make 2 loaves of several shapes to serve as samples. We're even bringing a toaster oven to warm the bread before we serve it.

The girlies are having fun. Little Princess really only wants to mix the dough, taste the dough and be the hostess with the mostest serving it tomorrow. Little Woman was in olfactory heaven smelling the chocolate dough. She almost dove into it. She loves the texture of dough (I do not). She made some beautiful loaves. They are at various stages of rising and resting and I will be doing the baking. I still think 9 is too young to be putting dough into a 450 degree oven.

Pictures for you later...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monkey Bread and Eggless Challah dough a la ABI5MAD

One of the biggest disappointments on the egg allergy front was thinking I couldn't pull off the enriched doughs using the ABI5MAD method. Both the brioche and challah doughs are my favorite for special breakfasts. After doing a ton of research and even writing to one of the authors of ABI5MAD, I found I was just going to have to experiment! So I did and it turned out great!

First the dough recipe, then the experiments:
Eggless Challah Dough a la ABI5MAD
Makes 4 1-pound loaves.

This recipe is easily doubled or halved.

2 1/4 c. warm water

1 1/
2 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
(Here's where I'll replace the 4 beaten eggs)
1 1/2 tsp. gelatin bloomed in 2 Tbsp. cold water, then 3 Tbsp. boiling water added, then cooled (to replace the binding properties of the egg whites)
1/4 c. coconut milk (to replace the fat in the egg yolks)

1/4 c. vital wheat gluten (to replace the leavening properties of the egg whites)
1/4 tsp. guar gum (to replace the emulsifying properties of egg yolks)

1/2 c. honey

1/2 c. melted butter

6 1/2 c. bread flour

Mix the wet ingredients together first with the yeast and salt. Add the flour, guar gum and vital wheat gluten until completely incorporated. You may need to use your hands.

Here's a handy trick: I hold the ice cream bucket up underneath my kitchenaid fitted with my dough hook and let it mix the ingredients for me. Then I don't have to dirty the mixer bowl. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (approximately 2 hours).

Refrigerate. Take out what you need as you need it. Remember to sprinkle the dough before taking it out. Then, take out a grapefruit sized piece for 1 pound loaves. Cut with a serrated knife. Cloak the dough with flour as you shape it into a ball. Shape into desired loaf type and allow to rise for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Remember the enriched doughs DO NOT need steam as the fat in the dough inhibits the crispy crust AND the honey in the dough makes it prone to burning, so cook at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Now here's what I did with it. First I made doughnuts. They were delicious. A 1 1/2 lb amount of dough yielded approximately 18 3" doughnuts and 18 doughnut holes. They were delicious and didn't last more than a day (can you believe that????) The next experiment was using my dear friend Margaret's Monkey Bread recipe that you can find her version of here.

So, I took the remaining 2 1/2 pounds of dough and turned it into 3-9x5" pans of monkey bread that I served to company that came to visit last weekend.

You thought I was sloughing off, didn't you? No, I was just busy. My best friend from high school came to visit with her family. Her girls EXPECT monkey bread, but my other recipe requires instant vanilla pudding mix, which I didn't have. I remembered Margaret's post about making monkey bread for birthday breakfasts, so I went there for help. Thank you Margaret dear!

Anyway, here's what I did - multiplied the recipe by 1 1/2 times to make enough caramel to cover the rolls. I took the dough, cloaking it as usual into a ball. Then, I divided the dough into 36 pieces. Each piece was shaken in the cinnamon sugar, then I put 12 pieces in each of the greased bread pans. I allowed the dough to rise for about 1 hour, then I baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. It was delish (as little woman likes to say). It was ALL GONE in no time at all!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our Ash Wednesday Dinner

Ash Wednesday is a day of Fast and Abstinence for us Catholics. What are you making for dinner? My husband and I agreed to light breakfast (for him that was a vitamin drink, for me a high protein Greek yogurt and a banana) and light lunch followed by this meal for dinner AFTER Ash Wednesday Mass.

Toasted Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Basil Soup
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches:
Good quality bread (white or wheat your pick)...I will use batard made from ABI5MAD white
Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using a large cookie sheet or stoneware sheet (I use a 10x14 Stoneware Bar Pan), butter the outsides of the bread. Load as much cheese as you like into the bread. Bake until golden brown. If you are using a metal cookie sheet, you will need to check on the bottoms and flip the sandwiches half way through. This works well with gluten free bread, too. You can make many sandwiches at a time this way.

Tomato Basil Soup
4 C. (8 to 10) tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped, or 4 C. canned whole tomatoes, crushed
4 C. tomato juice and part vegetable stock or chicken stock
12 to 14 washed fresh basil leaves
1 C. heavy cream
1/4 pound sweet, unsalted butter
salt to taste
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

Combine tomatoes, juice/and or stock in saucepan. Simmer 30 minutes. Puree, along with the basil leaves, in small batches, in blender, food processor (or better yet, one of those handy hand-held food blenders, right in the cooking pan).

Return to saucepan and add cream and butter, while stirring over low heat. Garnish with basil leaves.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Egg Allergy and all it's woes...

The egg allergy belongs to me. Luckily for my kids, I'm not the kind of person that says, "That's it! No more eggs in the house! No more cooking with eggs!"
Now, I would love to switch everyone over to some alternative, but frankly it's just not worth it.

I figure this is God's plan for weight loss for me (although I don't think he intends for me to lose weight while I'm still pregnant.) It's funny. I'm such a snitcher that I.JUST.DON'T.THINK before I put food in my mouth. I need to do that now. Yesterday, I snitched 1/2 of a chocolate chip cookie brought home from a restaurant the night before that a kid didn't finish (as part of their kid's meal.) After nibbling away that 1/2 a cookie, I was itchy and my chest got tight. This morning, I was scrounging the freezer for something to serve with scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast (we're out of bread, can you believe it? Just too busy the last couple of days.) I found banana bread I had frozen a couple of months back. I defrosted it. Then I thought...wait a minute. I can't have that. It's still defrosted on the counter, but I opted for turning a tube of crescent rolls into mini-cinnamon rolls instead. They were good ;-) and they had no eggs. It makes 8 mini rolls...just right with breakfast. Not too sweet and not too big...just right for me!

So, I won't disclude recipes with egg here, but I will have more without. AND, I can still make bread. Toast for breakfast with cottage cheese or sun butter (sunflower seed butter) will probably have to be my new breakfast. I miss eggs already, but I'm offering up this sacrifice for another cause. I will live...now I just have to hit the priest up for ideas on what to do on Non-Lent Fridays when we normally give up meat. In Lent, it's a given. I WILL GO WITHOUT MEAT ON FRIDAYS. The rest of the year? All I have left for protein on my list of okay foods is beans and dairy. Thank God for protein shakes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Needing help if anyone has it to offer...

I have a variety of allergies for which I need to accommodate. Eggs and pomegranate have now been added to the list. Anyone having experience with the egg allergy in particular, please comment and let me know how you survive eating out...I'll give the details later when I'm not so exhausted.

Marybeth's Rye

Isn't it lovely? She's been using the ABI5MAD since the summer. This is lovely!

Sorry for the shortage of postings...medical issues here to deal with and will return when life gets back to normal (HAHA).

Friday, February 6, 2009

My classic new mom meal

In August of 2005, I was blessed beyond belief. After the birth of my 4th child, I ended up in the ICU with post-partum pre-eclampsia. After the 3 day stay, I was told to go home and "put my feet up", with 30 people coming for a baptism reception that weekend. Besides the fact that my sister had already pitched in by taking our kids for a couple of days, she and her 5 beautiful children came and cleaned my house. To say she blesses me is an understatement. She's always doing great stuff like this.

We ordered out for the baptism reception food and I survived. The weeks that followed, I was blessed by meals from other moms in my home school co-op. Those meals really saved me and my sanity. These corporal works of Mercy were humbling for me as a cook and baker. God really provides our daily bread in many ways, doesn't he?

I asked one of the moms how I could possibly repay those who brought me meals, as many of them were done having kids. She said, "Pay it forward." I am now a staunch advocate of bringing ANY new mom I know a meal if I can. And, when I bake my big batch of bread, I aways bake 3 loaves. Two for the family, and one to give away.

Eight months later, my best friend was diagnosed with colon cancer. Normally, she was the meal organizer. This time, I got to help by organizing and bringing meals and food for her family.

This is something our previous generations did without thinking twice. My now 90 year old grandmother couldn't possibly go to the eye doctor without taking him some jam. Come to visit and she'll break out cookies. I learned from the finest cooks, bakers and hostesses - my grandma, Evelyn and my mom, Barb. My mom, a working woman, often brought treats into work because few women of her generation that worked actually baked or cooked. She did. Many of my recipes have been passed down. That's part of the reason for this blog. To pass along recipes worthy of SHARING.

So, here's one of my standard New Mom Meals:
Spaghetti and Sauce (this sauce makes 12 cups, so if there are two new moms that need meals, I can kill two birds with one stone)
A frozen veggie (I do this to avoid the problem WE have in that my kids don't like any "stuff" on their food)
A home made loaf of bread (The Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Baguette or Ciabatta)
Either Lactation Cookies or Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Also, when I have the resources, I also include plates, cups, utensils, napkins and juice. I'm low on those supplies, so my last couple of meals went out the door without, unfortunately.
Here are the recipes:

From _Once a Month Cooking_ by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagorborg
Spaghetti Sauce
Note for my dear friend Gary - This is wheat free and you can sub Agave Nectar for the sugar. It freezes well. We had this when we had B's Open House here.

Category: Main dishes

1 pound Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups onion - finely chopped
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
3 28 oz. cans Italian style crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
4 teaspoons garlic - minced
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 tablespoons fresh parsley - chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 16 oz. pack spaghetti

In a large pot, cook and stir the Italian Sausage with onions until the meat
is brown (I remove the skin from the sausage and cook like browning
hamburger); drain fat. Add remaining ingredients, except the spaghetti.
Bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat. Partly cover, and simmer for 2 hours,
stirring occasionally. (If desired, simmer in a crockpot instead of a pot.
Lessen the amount of water to 1 or 1 1/2 cups if using the crockpot method).
Makes 12 cups of sauce.

After sauce has cooled, freeze in 4 cup containers for spaghetti. This can also be used for French Bread Pizza and Calzone.

To prepare for serving SPAGHETTI, thaw sauce and heat in medium saucepan.
Cook pasta according to package directions and pour sauce over pasta.

You can also cook pasta and serve right away for spaghetti.

Nutritional facts (daily value): Calories 234kcal; Protein 4g (8%); Total Fat 1g (1%)(Sat. 0g (1%)); Chol. 0mg (0%); Carb. 57g (19%); Fiber 6g (24%); Sugars 36g; Calcium 197mg (20%); Iron 4mg (20%)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies
For those of you that are gluten free, these can be made with a GF flour blend like Bob's Red Mill and you can use McCann's Steel Cut Oats (which tend to not carry any gluten). You can also get gluten-free oats at: www.glutenfreeoats.com, Gifts of Nature www.giftsofnature.net, and Bob's Red Mill www.bobsredmill.com

Category: Breakfast|Cookies and Bars
Yield: 54 servings of 1

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2-4 tablespoons brewer's yeast

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
3. Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
4. Add eggs and mix well.
5. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
6. Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
7. Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
8. Stir in oats and chips.
9. Scoop onto baking sheet.
10. Bake for 12 minutes.
11. Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 133kcal; Protein 2g (4%); Total Fat 6g (10%)(Sat. 3g (16%)); Chol. 17mg (6%); Carb. 17g (6%); Fiber 1g (4%); Sugars 10g; Calcium 11mg (1%); Iron 1mg (4%)

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
Same is true here for gluten free - use a GF flour blend and gluten free oats.
Category: Cookies and Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional facts (daily value): Calories 6091kcal; Protein 94g (189%); Total Fat 338g (519%)(Sat. 160g (798%)); Chol. 911mg (304%); Carb. 721g (240%); Fiber 46g (183%); Sugars 413g; Calcium 616mg (62%); Iron 32mg (179%)

Next, I'll post my beef stew and chicken parmesan recipes that are my other "stand by" recipes for new moms.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Molten Chocolate Cookies

This was our Superbowl Sunday treat. We don't watch the Superbowl or even record it. We're just not sports fans here and really, you just can't trust anything, especially the commercials when viewing with children. Still, I'll use any excuse to bake, I mean celebrate.

From Guittard Chocolate
These rich cookies are best eaten warm, while the crust is crispy and the centers are gooey. They can be reheated in the microwave to soften the centers. Yields 16-3" cookies.

2 c. Semisweet Chocolate Chips (we used bittersweet)
3 Tbsp. butter
2 lg eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Melt chips and butter in double boiler or in microwave on 50% power until smooth but thick. Set aside to cool.

In large bowl of mixer, beat eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla on high speed for about 2-3 minutes until pale yellow and slightly thickened. Mix in chocolate on low speed. Stop mixer and scrape bowl. Add flour and baking powder on low speed just until incorporated, stopping once to scrape the bowl. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Scoop 8-2" mounds of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet leaving about 2" between cookies. Bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes or until crusty on the outside but soft in the center. Cool on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes. Serve warm.
In the unlikely event you have any left, they can be reheated in the microwave for about 10 seconds each.

I don't have any pictures for you because the first pan disappeared and didn't even get to a serving plate. They were eaten warm off the cookie sheet. The second pan was cooled and saved for later. Too much chocolate before bed means little people can't get to sleep and drive their parents nuts (1 cookie was unfortunately enough to do that). However, Little Princess decided that the piano teacher deserved them (and he does) and gave them away the next morning before anyone else could have seconds.

My new favorite NO KNEAD Wheat Bread

H/T to Margaret, my favorite blogger, ever, (aka Minnesota Mom) for recommending the book _Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry_ by Katrina Kenison. Anyone who knows me, knows this book was written for me. I book way too much into my calendar. I tend to do TOO MUCH. I have taken much advice from this book since dear Margaret recommended it here. My dear husband bought it for me for Christmas last year.

There is a recipe in there that I've been meaning to try called "Wonder Bread". It's not called that because it's like the trademarked bread of the same name, but because it always works. We tried it today (and yes, I did soak the whole wheat flour). It is not 100% whole wheat and that is okay with me.

So, if you are thinking, I can't make bread. Especially, I can't make wheat bread because I don't have a bread machine or a Kitchenaid or a Bosch Universal mixer. You are WRONG. My 9 year old Little Woman did it - herself (except the soaking the flour and oats part - I did that yesterday).

It's delicious. Here's the recipe:
Wonderbread from _Mitten Strings for God_

In a large bowl combine:
4 Tbsp. oil
4 Tbps. honey
3 Tbsp. salt

8 cups warm water
2 Tbsp instant yeast

Sit for 5 minutes.

7 c. white flour
7 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. oatmeal

Mix with a spoon or hands (as Little Woman did both). When done, split dough into two batches, moving one batch to an oiled bowl. Cover both and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled. Punch down dough and place in oiled pans (we halved the recipe and it made 3 - 9"x5" loaves). Rise again. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Again, I halved the recipe, soaking the oats and whole wheat flour beforehand using this modified version of the recipe:

Half batch of Wonderbread from _Mitten Strings for God_ using soaked whole wheat flour and oats

In a large bowl, combine:
3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. oatmeal
3 c. warm water
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar or lemon juice

Allow to sit, covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel for 12-24 hours. Then, in a large bowl combine:
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbps. honey
1 Tbsp. salt

1 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast

Sit for 5 minutes.

3 1/2 c. white flour
The messy blob of whole wheat, oatmeal and water that sat overnight.

Mix with a spoon or hands (as Little Woman did both). When done, split dough into two batches, moving one batch to an oiled bowl. Cover both and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled. Punch down dough and place in oiled pans (we halved the recipe and it made 3 - 9"x5" loaves). Rise again. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

One last note (added later)...The book says this could be refrigerated. Sounds like ABI5MAD to me! Oh, and Little Woman reminded me to tell you this is VERY sticky dough!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Quick Crepes for Breakfast

My dear husband did my Sam's Club run again yesterday while I napped. He came home with 2 huge containers of strawberries ($3.88 EACH!!!!), raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. To say we are berry fanatics would be an understatement. I love my husband...he knows what I love.

So, to celebrate the berry wonderful occasion, we had crepes for breakfast this morning. My crepes are not the super thin, see through, fall apart crepes. Those are for big people and I have little people here who cry when their crepes fall apart, so we adapted. These are very easy folks, so don't be intimidated! Oh and we don't need whipped cream around here to enjoy crepes, although they are very good when we do have it.

Here's the recipe:

Crepes for Kids HUGE BATCH SIZE feeds 5 kids and 2 adults
3 eggs
3 c. milk (substitute, in our case)
3 Tbsp melted butter
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
dash of vanilla
2 1/2 c. Bisquick

Heat a griddle or electric fry pan on medium high heat. Whisk eggs, milk, butter, sugar and oil with vanilla. Add Bisquick and whisk until smooth. Butter the skillet generously. The butter should melt immediately or it is not hot enough.

Pour 1/4 c. measure of batter and spread with the bottom of the cup. They should bubble on top right away.

As soon the edges are set or brown, slide a rubber spatula under the middle, lift and flip. Really, they shouldn't tear if they are cooked to a medium brown. Cook on the other side until just golden.

My skillet is big enough to do two at a time. Your mileage may vary. This goes really quick, so have someone else getting the inside ingredients ready or have them done beforehand. Don't take your toddler to the potty. Don't decide to make a cup of coffee. Stay there so they don't burn. IF by chance the first two aren't perfect. Eat them as a test case (that's what always happens here even when they are perfect). My kids hover, asking to test them, too. Most of the time I share :-).

Friday, January 30, 2009

Soaking Whole Wheat Flour and 100% Whole Wheat Bread

From www.thenourishinggourmet.com:

Why I soak my whole grains

Most all of us know the nutritional advantages of whole grain food verses refined flours. Whole grains retain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are vital to our well being. But what if I were to tell you that in all whole grains there are enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion and other natural substances that blocks you from absorbing all of those great minerals and vitamins?

Grains, that are not soaked, equal poor digestive worth, and blocked vitamins and minerals

Unfortunately, it’s true. But there is a solution!

It’s only been in more recent years that we have disregarded traditional methods of sprouting, soaking, and fermenting grains. Not understanding the importance, we slowly forgot these methods of preparation. But we now know better …

Phosphorus in the bran of whole grains is tied up in a substance called phytic acid. Phytic acid combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. Whole grains also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion. Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, overnight soaking, and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important predigestive process in our own kitchens. Many people who are allergic to grains will tolerate them well when they are prepared according to these procedures. Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, Pg 25

Soaked grains equal better digestive worth and make vitamins and minerals available to absorb

For those who have had digestive trouble when eating whole grains, this could be part of the answer for you. For the rest of us, it will help make sure we don’t develop digestive issues and insure that we are able to fully utilize all of those vitamins and minerals we eat whole grains to get!

How do you do it?

It’s quite simple. You can soak grains like rice, millet, quinoa, wheat, 12 to 24 hours at room temperature in some water with 1-2 tablespoons of whey, lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir (this gives it an acidic medium which helps neutralize anti-nutrients). You can then rinse the grains to remove any acidic taste to them, and then cook in fresh water.

Back to me now...here's why I soak my grains. I got the mill for my 40th birthday. Many of my friends had been touting the great results and health benefits of freshly milled flour. However, my little boys would have diarrhea as well as chaff in their diapers after eating the bread. I was perplexed. Did my kids have a wheat allergy? I did a TON of research. My friends Erin and Julie turned me on to a book called _Nourishing Traditions_ , which I read while doing more research. It was this website that had really caught my attention. Then I found more and more about this and am really wondering why it is our society buys the "whole grain" hype when the "whole grain" hype is bad for you.

Ignorance is bliss, as Joseph Campbell says. Lest you think I only looked at one side of the phytic acid debate, I didn't. There is some good in phytic acid in that it can lower cholesterol levels and add in moderating depression because it myo0 Inositol, a B vitamin. Inositol is also available in MANY other foods and can be taken as a supplement. Note to those with depression - if you also suffer from ADD/ADHD, just know that high levels of Inositol can exacerbate your ADD/ADHD symptoms. However, I went to the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition to find that phytic acid does indeed inhibit mineral absoption. There are articles on both sides of the debate of soaking versus not soaking. All I can tell you is that my littlest started gaining weight AND the diarrhea went away for both boys after I started soaking.

On top of the problem with the wheat, my husband was reacting to the large quantities of yeast I needed to give proper rise to the loaves of bread. When I made bread from white flour and 1/2 a package of yeast or less, he didn't react. When I needed a package of yeast per loaf, it put him over the edge. So, it was my search for bread recipes requiring less yeast the led me to _Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day_.

So - here is my dilemma. I am having a hard time getting the hydration right when I try to soak my bread AND use the ABI5MAD method. I get great tasting bread that somewhat resembles a horta (sorry for the Star Trek reference).

This is James T. Kirk confronting the mother horta....

So, first the whole wheat recipe from ABI5MAD. Then, my pictures of my soaking process and the changes I've made to the recipe.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

From _Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day_

Makes three 1 1/2 lb loaves.

1 1/2 c. lukewarm water

1 1/2 c. lukewarm milk

1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast

1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 c. honey

5 Tbsp. neutral tasting oil

6 2/3 c. whole wheat flour

  1. Mix the yeast, salt, honey and oil with milk and water in a 5 qt. bowl.
  2. Mix in remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon or a stand mixer with a dough hook.
  3. Cover, not airtight and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough collapses; approximately 2-3 hours.
  4. The dough can be used after initial rise, although it is easier to handle when it is cold. Refrigerate in a lidded, not airtight container and use over the next 5 days.
  5. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3" non-stick loaf pan. Using wet hands, scoop out a cantaloupe sized handful of dough. Quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.
  6. Drop the loaf into the prepared pan. It should be slightly more than 1/2 full.
  7. Allow the dough to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes. Flour the top of the loaf and slash.
  8. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a broiler pan on the bottom rack. IF you aren't using a stone, just preheat 5 minutes.
  9. Place the loaf on the rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the door. Bake 50-60 minutes or until deeply browned and firm.
  10. Allow to cook before slicing.

Soaking Whole Wheat Flour

Here are my pictures. I used 6 2/3 cups of freshly milled whole wheat flour, 3 cups warm water with an added 3 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (to make acidulated water - needed to break down the phytic acid). When mixed, it resembles play dough in consistency. I cover it with plastic wrap, then the lid and allow it to sit 20-24 hours on the counter. You can go as little as 7, but I still see problems in the little boys' diapers with 7 hours. I go at least 20 hours.


From _Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day_

Makes three 1 1/2 lb loaves.


3 c. lukewarm water

3 Tbsp. cider vinegar

6 2/3 c. whole wheat flour

Stir until completely mixed. Cover with plastic wrap then a wet towel or air tight lid. Allow to sit in warm place for 7-24 hours. Then add:

1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

1/4 c. lukewarm water

1/2 c. honey

5 Tbsp. melted butter

1/4 c. vital wheat gluten

  1. You will need to mix this with your hands or a dough hook on a stand mixer.
  2. Cover, not airtight and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough collapses; approximately 2-3 hours.
  3. The dough can be used after initial rise, although it is easier to handle when it is cold. Refrigerate in a lidded, not airtight container and use over the next 5 days.
  4. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3" non-stick loaf pan. Using wet hands, scoop out a cantaloupe sized handful of dough. Quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.
  5. Drop the loaf into the prepared pan. It should be slightly more than 1/2 full.
  6. Allow the dough to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes. Flour the top of the loaf and slash.
  7. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a broiler pan on the bottom rack. IF you aren't using a stone, just preheat 5 minutes.
  8. Place the loaf on the rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the door. Bake 50-60 minutes or until deeply browned and firm.
  9. Allow to cook before slicing.
ED. NOTE: You should really still soak commercially purchased whole wheat flour to increase it's digestibility.