Saturday, January 30, 2010


I had planned on making pizza for Ellie's birthday earlier this month. With everything else I had going on that day, I didn't get around to making it homemade, so we had Papa Murphy's pizza instead. (Hey... at least it was home cooked ;-) ) Hubby was REALLY craving homemade pizza since I had mentioned making it for the birthday. I might have gotten myself in over my head now... after hubby had taken a few bites, he said he was NEVER gonna buy a Little Caesar's pizza again. I think that is maybe taking it a tad to far... after all, mine takes a few hours, not very feasible for a spur of the moment lunch! I do see this in a regular rotation!
I adapted the dough recipe from Culinary in the Country. I love the different topping ideas they come up with. I doubled this recipe and made a Canadian bacon/ pineapple pizza and a "supreme" with sausage, olives, mushrooms, Canadian bacon, pepperoni and pineapple. The crust is not too heavy with the half and half use of flour. Of course I had to add some flax seed to up the nutrition. If you haven't gotten around to using flax yet... it IS optional. I add it to all my dough recipes to boost the Omega 3's my family gets. The sauce is QUICK and EASY! I swiped this from Coleen's Recipes I will never buy pizza sauce again!
We found that if you cook the pizza for 15 minutes adding the cheese after the pizza has baked for 10 minutes, the crust doesn't get soggy and the cheese doesn't get burned! These pictures didn't come out too well (I can't wait until we have daylight at suppertime again!), but someone has been muttering about me making pizza tomorrow, so I will get some new ones with better light!

Pizza Sauce

1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
1 (6 oz) can of water
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp fennel seed(do not leave out)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp dry crushed red pepper flakes

Saute the onion and celery in the olive oil until soft. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Sauce will become very thick. Makes enough sauce to top one pizza.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 T olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 T flax seed, ground

Combine flours, salt and ground flax seeds. In mixer bowl, combine yeast, sugar and water. Let sit for 5 minutes or until frothy. Add oil and dry ingredients. Knead for 5 minutes. Turn out into a greased bowl and flip dough to oil top of dough. Let rise until doubled. Roll dough out and spread with sauce and desired toppings (excluding cheese). Bake at 450* for 10 minutes. Add cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes. This recipe makes enough for a 1 lb dough (1 pizza)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cinni Thins cookies

I was in the mood to make some cookies today! I thought it would be a nice surprise for the littles when they come home from school. These cookies come out wafer thin so you don't have to feel guilty by having more than one... or two... or..... ;-) I used soft white wheat in these cookies and they turned out fine. Make sure you use an ungreased (and unlined) baking sheet for these otherwise you won't be able to press them out with a glass. (They will want to stick to the bottom of the glass instead!) You will want to press the bottom of your glass into cookie dough before pressing it into the cinnamon sugar mixture the first time. The cinnamon sugar mix won't stick to your clean base. I used my smallest scoop (#60) to make these cookies. Don't try to put more than a dozen on a jelly roll pan. These cookies spread out while cooking.

Cinni Thins cookies

3/4 C butter, softened
1 1/4 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 C whole wheat pastry flour (soft white wheat)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

In mixing bowl beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl if necessary. In a separate bowl, combine flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Pour all at once into butter mixture and stir to combine. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Flatten cookies with a glass dipped in sugar mixture. Bake at 375* for 7 minutes. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Whole Wheat Tortillas

I HAD to do it! I couldn't get last night's dinner out of my mind, so I made more this morning! I have a dear friend that I see once a week for cleaning. We take turns cleaning at each others house. Who wouldn't rather clean at someone elses house than your own, and isn't it more fun to clean with someone else anyway! The person coming to the other person's house brings something for lunch. This gives us a chance to catch up on the most recent goings on and gives us energy for whatever project we are tackling that week. Both of us love to try new dishes and we are both notorious for tweaking recipes... were always on the search for a healthier way to make something. Unfortunately my friend has been dealing with gastric problems. She had some allergy testing done and has found out she is allergic to wheat, milk, soy, eggs, and CHOCOLATE! Unfortunately she heard from her Dr. after eating these burritos. Hopefully she won't have a problem with Kamut or Spelt. I can sub that for wheat, but no chocolate makes me so sad for her! Carob just isn't as good! ANYWAY... I'm rambling. I made a double batch of the Brown Rice and Black Beans this morning, because I couldn't wait to share my newest yummy recipe! I decided to make some tortillas to go with them. Just as I suspected, these make a divine burrito. We came to the conclusion these would probably freeze well also, so I may try that with any leftovers after tonight. The tortillas are fairly simple, just don't cook them too long or you will get brittle tortillas. I am the Queen of Kitchen Gadgets. I have a tortilla maker that flattens and cooks the tortillas. I tried to use the tortilla maker. It was only the second time I have used it, and I would NOT recommend anyone buy this. If you press too hard, the steam blows apart your tortilla, but if you don't press hard enough, you get a pita thick tortilla. I tried pressing the tortillas without any heat thinking I could get it thin enough.... no go. The best route for making tortillas is your good ole, handy dandy, rolling pin. Roll them out as thin as you can. They do puff a tiny bit while cooking, so you want them thin to start with. Let me repeat.... do not overcook these tortillas. Since they are so thin, it doesn't take more than 20-30 seconds per side to cook. I use soft white wheat in this recipe. Soon I will do a little tutorial about the differences between the types of wheat. Once again my kitchen scale came in handy to divide dough. My dough balls came out to be 60 g each.

Whole Wheat Tortillas

6 C whole wheat pastry flour (soft white wheat)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C olive oil
2 C cold water

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in mixer. With mixer running, slowly drizzle in oil. Then slowly drizzle water just until a ball forms. You may have some water left over. Knead at least two minutes. Divide dough into 24 even portions. Roll into balls and roll out with a rolling pin into paper thin rounds. Cook on a hot (350*) dry griddle for 20-30 seconds per side. Keep covered to avoid drying out.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brown Rice and Black Beans

I LOVE Cooks Illustrated magazines. They really put a lot of time and research into their recipes to get them right. Sometimes the recipes they come up with have too many steps to make the recipe feasible for everyday dishes, but this method of cooking brown rice made me a believer in brown rice. I have wanted to incorporate more brown rice in my diet for the health benefits over white rice, but have never been happy with the end results. It seems like I never got it cooked enough. It always had too much bite in it. Kind of takes away from the pleasure of eating rice! This recipe starts on the stove and finishes in the oven. So make sure you start it in an ovenproof pan. My stainless steel cook set has no rubber or plastic handles on it, so I cooked it in my stockpot. I must say, I wish I had doubled this recipe. There was enough for my family of 5 to get stuffed off of it, but I want leftovers! I'm already envisioning homemade wheat tortillas filled with this.... hmmmm might have to make a batch of it again in the morning! When I told hubby I was making beans and rice for dinner, he was a tad disappointed. He is NOT a great fan of rice. He wanted to know what the meat was going to be. (Doesn't matter to him that a combination of beans and rice make a complete protein!) I cooked up some mozzarella chicken sausages and he (and the littles) had that sliced over their portions. Hubby was picturing in his head rice you would get at a Mexican restaurant (you know the instant rice with a hint of tomato flavor.... blah!... but that is one of his favorite parts of eating at Mexican restaurants), so he might have been a touch unsatisfied with this dinner (although it didn't stop him from having two heaping portions) Me... I can see this becoming a regular meal for us... doubled of course ;-) This is my slightly tweaked version from Cooks Illustrated. I stirred in the still frozen corn with the beans and it turned out fine! Don't pass up on the lime wedges.... mmmm fresh lime!

Brown Rice and Black Beans

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 3/4 C water
1 1/2 c long grain brown rice
1 tsp salt
2 (15.5 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 C frozen corn
1/2 C cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp black pepper
lime wedges and avocado to garnish

Saute onion and pepper in olive oil in an ovenproof pot until tender and onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook stirring for about 30 seconds. Pour in water and broth and bring to a boil. Stir in salt and rice and cover with a tight fitting lid and place in a 375* oven. Bake for 65 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from oven and stir in black beans and corn. Place lid back on pot and let sit on counter for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and pepper. Serve with lime wedges and avocado.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Buttermilk Waffles

One of my pantry staples is buttermilk powder. I don't always have fresh buttermilk on hand, but if you have the powder, you don't have to make an unexpected trip to the store when the urge hits you to make something that calls for buttermilk. We had one of those nights recently where breakfast for dinner sounded good. With my buttermilk powder, I was able to whip these up in no time. I of course had to top them off with the leftovers of my buttermilk syrup. Hubby had his topped with fried eggs and syrup. This recipe made enough batter for 9 Belgian waffles (perfect for our dinner and leftovers for the littles before school the next day!) I used ground soft white wheat and they weren't too heavy. Of course if you'd rather, use all purpose flour. The flax seed is optional, but adds extra nutrition!

Buttermilk Waffles

4 eggs
4 C buttermilk (I used 58 g (1/2 C) buttermilk powder and 3 1/2 C water)
2/3 C vegetable oil
4 C (1 lb 3 oz) soft white wheat flour
4 T (40 g) flax seeds, ground
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Beat eggs and combine with buttermilk and oil. Combine remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour liquid ingredients in the dry and stir just until blended. Pour about 3/4 cup into a hot Belgian waffle iron and bake according to manufacturers instructions.