And…I’m Back

 

It has been about 1 year since my last post.  What kept me away? Pregnancy and the extreme sickness that came with it (http://www.helpher.org/). Now that I am free from being sick 24/7 and actually able to eat again, I want to share a new journey we are on.

We’re going primal!

What does that mean exactly?

We are cutting the junk out of our eating- sleeping more, or trying to anyway, and adding a whole lot of play.

Why are we going primal?

I am tired of being sick, bloated, obese, and having no energy. I want to be strong and healthy. I am not sure I have ever been completely healthy and I’m ready to give it a try.

SO courtesy of marksdailyapple.com here is The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid to give you an idea of how we are eating…

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-succeed-with-the-primal-blueprint/

Each week I will be posting a new recipe.

To learn more about this awesome way of living you can check out these sites:

www.marksdailyapple.com

www.everydaypaleo.com

www.robbwolf.com

 

 

 

Eight O’Clock Coffee

 

This is me with my favorite afternoon treat, whole bean Eight O’Clock Coffee in my favorite coffee mug.

Every coffee drinker has their favorite coffee.  As of right now this is my favorite brand.  Not only is it good, it’s affordable.  I like my coffee with a little creamer, sometimes a little sugar but always strong and very hot.  I would much rather brew a fresh cup of this than leave my house and pay Starbucks $4 to make me a cup of so so coffee- no stone throwing please.

Please share with me your favorite coffee brand and how you like it.

Whole Grain Herb Bread

 

I must say that I am feeling rather English these days with my tea and slices of warm home baked bread. When I was in college my roomy, Lori, would bake bread that always smelled amazing and tasted delicious.  Making my own bread had crossed my mind but I just hadn’t mustered up the courage to do it.

So the next week we ran out of bread and I thought to myself you can do it- you can make the best bread you have ever had. With that I got a hold of Lori and she sent me the bread recipe I am sharing with you.

I will say that there is something quite rustic, homey even, about kneading the bread yourself instead of using a bread machine.

It’s pretty wonderful! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 1/4 cups warm water

1 tbs pure maple syrup

2 tbs olive oil

1 tbs salt

4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for kneading

2tbs minced fresh parsley

1 tsp minced fresh chives

1 tsp dried marjoram

1/2 tsp dried thyme

** your herbs can vary…use whatever you have on hand

Method:

1. In a large bowl, combine yeast and 1/4cup of the water. Add the maple syrup and stir to dissolve. Let the mixture stand for 10 min then stir in the remaining 2 cups of water, the olive oil, and salt.

2. In a separate large bowl, combine the flours and stir until well mixed.  Add about half of the flour mixture to the liquid mixture, stirring to blend, then work in the remaining flour mixture to form a stiff dough.  Transfer to a lightly floured board.

3.  Add the herbs and, with lightly floured hands, knead briefly to incorporate them.  Dust your work surface with whole wheat flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking and continue to knead well until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.

4.  Place in a lightly oiled large bowl and turn over once to coat with oil.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel or a piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

5. Meanwhile lightly oil 2 small baking sheets and set aside. punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. divide the dough in half, shape into 2 round or long loaves, and place on the prepared baking sheets.  Flatten the loaves slightly and cover with clean damp  towels or lightly oiled plastic wrap.  Set aside in a warm place and let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees f. Use a sharp knife to cut one to 3 1/4 inch deep diagonal slashes in each loaf. bake on the center oven rack for 10 min then reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees f and continue to bake until brown about 30 min more. Tap bottom of loaves, if they sounds hollow bread is done, remove from sheets and let cool on a wire rack.

From Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson.  Visit http://veganplanet.blogspot.com/ to learn more.

*** I used whole wheat flour for this bread instead of mixing white and wheat simply because I like the density of wheat flour.

I hope to soon conquer the world of sourdough and pumpernickel.  I’ll let you know how that goes!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

My husband had a meeting after work today, so the little warrior and I decided to make the man of the year his favorite treat- Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I have experimented with so many cookie recipes but today was a Nestle Toll House kind of day- simple and easy.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  • Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  • Stir in morsels and nuts.
  • Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

**I didn’t use nuts because I didn’t have any on hand.

Ezekiel helping mommy make cookies…and eating cookies

Blueberry Muffins!!!!!!!!!

 

I LOVE blueberries- well all summer fruit for that matter.  Our friend Matt was coming over for dinner who also loves blueberries so I thought I would make these muffins for dessert.  They were delicious- even better with coffee the next morning.

Ingredients for Streusel Top:

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter

Ingredients for Muffins:

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Method:

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Stir streusel ingredients until blended and cut in butter with a knife, then set aside.
  • In a large bowl beat milk, oil, vanilla, and egg until blended.
  • Add 2 cups of flour, sugar and baking powder all at once.
  • Stir until just moist.
  • Gently add blueberries.
  • Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
  • Sprinkle each with 1 tbsp of streusel.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove muffin cups immediately from pan and place on cooling rack.
  • Eat and enjoy!!!

Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake – By way of Southern Living

Three layers of heaven.

I have always been somewhat intimidated by the cheesecake.  New York style cheesecake with nothing on it remains my favorite.  For Christmas my dad bought me the book Incredible Chocolate Recipes by Southern Living.  I decided since my husband and dad are both chocolate lovers, I would make one of the recipes from my book for father’s day.  I sat down at the table, opened up my book and there it was….the chocolate fudge cheesecake.

I almost made the mistake of not making the cheesecake pictured above.  This is a great way to begin learning how to make cheesecakes.  It is incredibly simple and the preparation took about 30 minutes.  Trust me it’s worth the try.

Ingredients for for brownie batter and cheesecake:

2 (1oz) unsweetened chocolate baking squares
1/2 c butter, softened
1 3/4 c  sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 c  all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened

Ingredients for chocolate ganache:

1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1 (12oz) package semisweet chocolate morsels

Top with sliced strawberries.

** I used the remaining whipping cream to make whipped cream. I added a tsp. vanilla extract and a little powdered sugar to top the cheesecake**

Method:

  • Microwave chocolate squares at high 1 minute and 15 seconds, stirring once, or until melted. Stir until smooth.
  • Better butter and 1 cup sugar at medium speed with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.
  • Add flour, beating at low speed, just until blended.  Stir in 1/2 tsp. vanilla and chocolate morsels.
  • Sprinkle toasted pecans evenly over bottom of a greased and floured 9-inch spring form pan.  Spoon batter over pecans.
  • In a clean bowl beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smoothe; add 3/4 cup sugar beating until blended.  Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla. Pour cream cheese mixture over brownie batter.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until set.  Remove from oven, immediately running a knife around edge of pan, releasing sides.  Let cool on wire rack.
  • Melt chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a double boiler on stove.
  • Whisk until chocolate mixture is smooth.
  • Spread warm chocolate ganache over top of cooled cheesecake.
  • Cover and let chill for 8 hours.
  • Garnish with fresh sliced strawberries.

**I used a 9.5 inch glass pie pan**

This desert is truly incredible.  It is deliciously rich and sweet. A chocolate lover’s dream come true!

For more information about Southern Living visit www.southernlivingathome.com

Tuscaloosa Farmer’s Market

 

This is my table.  I spent $11 on everything you see and I got it all at our local farmer’s market….

Going to the farmer’s market has become a part of our Saturday  morning routine.  We get up, make coffee, eat a quick breakfast and head downtown.  I enjoy going to the farmer’s market for so many reasons.  It is local food, affordable, seasonal, nutritious and there is an underlying community spirit there.  The cost of produce at the grocery store is continuing to rise.  Since I am the one that mostly handles our food and budget I hate buying a PINT of blueberries for $4 or squash at $2.50 per lb.  I mean something is wrong with that.  It’s satisfying to know that I am feeding my family good food at low cost when we go to the farmer’s market every week.  I love knowing that those tomatoes in the picture above actually ripened on the vine and not in a truck carrying them thousands of miles.  Let’s support the local farmers and eat fresh food!

Visit  http://www.tuscaloosafarmersmarket.com/ for info about the Tuscaloosa Farmers Market.

Food Pyramid

I love food remedy books.  I am constantly amazed by what I find in these books. This morning I was thumbing through The Doctor’s Book of Food Remedies when I found the Asian Food Pyramid.

I should stop here and say that Asian (mainly chinese and japanese) food is one of my favorites and I am terrible at cooking it.  One of my favorite books is Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat by Naomi Moriyama and William Doyle.  A great read!

O.k now back to the subject.  The Asian food pyramid is different from the US pyramid in a couple of ways.  Below are both the US and Asian food pyramid….I find it very interesting and I am curious how much healthier we would be in general if we watched not only our portions but the amount of hormone induced meat we consume.

Asian Food Pyramid

US Food Pyramid


Chocolate Ganache- Simple and Delicious!

Ezekiel licking the bowl.

I love to bake!  A couple of weeks ago my dad retired from his job and we celebrated with a chocolate almond fudge cake- SO SO good.  To make it even better I topped it with the most amazingly simple chocolate ganache.

Ingredients:

1/2 C heavy cream
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

Method:

  • Cook the heavy cream and chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler over simmering water
  • Stir occasionally until smooth
  • Remove from heat
  • Allow to set when you spread it over what it is you are using it for

The thing I love about this ganache is that you can add so many things to it- instant coffee, extracts, etc.-  and you can put it on anything- cakes, cupcakes, cookies…you can let your imagination take it away.  It is so good!