About Me

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What We Really Eat, Part 2

What do we eat? Carbs mostly. It's true. I'm not proud of it, but we eat a ton of bread, pasta, and sugar. I rationalize it by saying at least it's whole wheat, but really we probably should cut back. We all love breads (and as I've mentioned before, crackers) and have some type of bread at every meal and snack. The babies have also all inherited my sweet tooth, I'm afraid. 

Submitted for your approval - some random recipes from the Dolbi Collection:

Paige made these amazing chocolate chunk cookie ice cream sandwiches

These are our go-to cookies but we usually don't put chocolate in them. We call them Kara cookies after my sister who likes the last cookies made from chocolate chip dough that don't have any chips in them. At least, that's the story I remember, it was a long time ago, who knows if it's true. LOL Doug's mom sent us Easter baskets (yea!) so Paige chopped up some of the bunnies to add, she's a genius.

Kara Cookies

1 C oats
1 1/4 C ww flour
1 t soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon

1/2 C shortening
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

optional: 1 C chocolate or other chips or chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350*. Cream wet ingredients, add to dry ingredients, then add chips or nuts. Place about 1-2 T balls onto cookie sheets, bake 8-10 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

I usually make double or triple batches and shape it into logs and put it in the freezer so I can make a few cookies whenever the mood strikes (or, let's be honest, to just eat frozen).

What about that bread?
baked goodness

Today I used my basic recipe bread dough to make cinnamon rolls and hummus rolls. The cinnamon rolls are old news - wonderful, gooey, sugary, old news, but the hummus rolls, now that was a new idea; and a delicious new idea, if I do say so myself! That, my friends, is a terrifically awful run-on sentence with horrible punctuation, you're welcome!

So, rolls:
Basic yeast bread

8 oz soy (or regular) milk plus 8 oz water at 110* (just barely warm to the touch)
4t yeast
1/3 C sugar or 2T honey

mix above and let sit 5ish minutes (until the top is foamy), then add the following and stir.

2 egg yolks
2 oz oil
2 t salt
4C ww flour plus 2C ww flour

It is hard to say how much flour exactly, you are looking for a slightly sticky dough, but the exact amount changes with the temperature and humidity of the room and the attitude of the ingredients and the alignment of the stars and... and... I add 4 cups then dump onto a cup of flour on the counter and start kneading, adding more flour as I go, usually 6ish cups total. The dough is done when it can be kneaded without sticking to your hands too badly and the skin of it breaks and pocks when you push on it. That is a really poor description and I'm pretty sure that you shouldn't use the same words in a recipe as you might to describe disease, but there ya go; I did. 

Put the dough ball in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and put on top of the refrigerator (that's what the old women do and they know stuff) or in an oven with a proof setting (what the young, hip women, like myself use). Let it rise until it basically doubles in size (30-60 minutes) then dump it onto a floured counter. Now your dough is ready to become about 15 dinner rolls, two loaves, or 20 cinnamon rolls. Shape the dough for your desired application and let rise another 30-60 minutes. Why such a large time frame? Remember the stars and attitude and humidity and all that jazz? It messes with the rise just like it messes with how much flour the liquid will soak up. Come on over anytime and I'll happily show you how, it really is easier than it seems!

Now, the creative part:

For cinnamon rolls: 
Gently roll out the dough into a large rectangle (roughly 16"x20") and slather it in softened butter or margarine. I mean, really slather, like twice as much as you think is enough. At least 1/2 cup, probably more, just don't tell your nutritionist. Then add about 1/2 pound (1/4 bag) of dark brown sugar (I'm sure brown sugar is healthy...) and a big time amount of cinnamon. We are cinnamon lovers here and use a lot, probably at least 2T, just sprinkle it all over. Go all the way to the edges! Then carefully roll up the dough, slice into about 1" slices and put in greased pans. I use a 9"x13" pan and put 15 in it and then put the rest in a loaf pan.

For hummus rolls:
I invented these today and I loved them. Paige hated them, Levi accepted them, Doug liked them. 

I rolled out the dough, but divided it - half for cinnamon, half for hummus. 

I sprinkled Colton's seasoning, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper over the dough, then layered hummus, spinach leaves, fresh cilantro, onions, and avocado chunks. If I had remembered that I had roasted tomatoes in the freezer, I would have added those. After I rolled and sliced, I topped them with chopped kalamata olives and italian dressing.


post-rise, pre-bake
There you have it, what we eat. :-)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What We Really Eat, Part 1

I thought it might be fun to have a record of what we actually eat.

Every once in a while it is said or implied that we are somehow missing out because we don't buy any processed foods and eat very little meat at home. We also eat a lot of leftovers! I feel like our diet isn't terribly varied, but is pretty tasty, although, to be completely honest, the more I think about it, the more boring it seems. I thought this would be a good time to start recording since I have already done all my shopping for the next week so I won't be tempted to buy something "fancy" to plump up the record.

I'm listing everything we ate for a week, but it will certainly not seem like enough food, remember how we eat lots of leftovers? I purposely make double batches so nearly every day we eat something I made previously, usually lunch is last night's dinner, so I only really cook one meal a day and sometimes not even that much. I will include some recipes, but mostly just an overview. If you are interested in specifics, I will be happy to provide.

Are you ready to see if your meals are better than mine? Here goes...

Coffee - If you were to bet that every day I had water, coffee, and beer, you would be pretty darn sure of winning. That is about all I drink, throw in some jasmine green tea and pinot noir and you would win every time.
Banana - I try to have at least one fruit a day, I know more would be better, but one is where I am. It is usually a banana, apple, or orange.
Frosted shredded wheat cereal - We eat this as breakfast and snack
Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Oatmeal - I make single-serve packets of oatmeal and keep them in a canister.  It couldn't be easier and is so much better and much cheaper than the instant packets you can buy; those are all mushy and sickeningly sweet - blech.

Put the following ingredients in a ziplock:
1/2 c old fashioned oats
1T brown sugar
sprinkle of cinnamon (to taste, maybe 1/8t at most)
pinch of salt

When you are ready to eat, all you have to do is put the bag contents in a bowl, add 1 cup of water (or milk) and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring frequently during the last minute to avoid an oatmeal volcano. Sometimes I add apple chunks, dried fruit, or nuts, but usually (like today) just eat it as is.

Garlic pita chipsWe are snackers -sometimes healthier than others, today was just plain pita chips, often I will make some hummus or black bean dip, but not today.
We are a cracker loving family! It is the only thing I never make from scratch, not sure why...hmm, maybe my next quest - we spend way too much money on them and they are the only pure white flour we eat. Levi, especially has a serious addiction. He would live on saltines if I would let him LOL

I love beer, it's a fact. My favorite are the slightly bitter IPA's, specifically Boulevard Single Wide IPA. Doug brought this Shiner Ruby Redbird home to try and I have to say, it is surprisingly delicious, not overly fruity, just enough bite

Ooey gooey, but yummy. This goes under the skin of the chicken. It is olive oil, chicken base, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and pressed garlic

All ready for my trip in the pressure cooker - 4 lb chicken - 35 minutes to tender, juicy goodness. Notice I threw the extra bits (neck and giblets and such) around the edge. I made stock with all the juice, bones, and extras when it was done cooking. I nibbled on a little of the chicken as I picked it from the bones, but didn't use it the day I made it, but rather made it for future use. This chicken was portioned into four 12 oz containers that will make at least 6 servings each if I put it in pasta. The stock was portioned into three 24 oz containers and all of it was put into the freezer.

Cinnamon Rolls - Rationalize these - whole wheat flour, so totally good for you (forget about the nearly half a bag of brown sugar). The secret? Take them out when they are still a bit squishy in the middle. Recipe to follow in another post. We ate these for breakfast, snack, and dessert several days and took some to church.

Quick and easy tomato pasta. Saute a small handful of onions and red and green peppers in olive oil for about 5-7 minutes, add a large can of diced tomatoes and two cans of water and about 1/3 pound of dried elbow pasta. Add about 1T italian seasoning, 2 cloves pressed garlic, and s&p. Let simmer until the pasta has soaked up all the water and is done (about 10 minutes). If the pasta isn't done, then add a little more water. At the very end, add a handful of chopped, fresh basil. Today I didn't feel like adding beans, but a can of drained kidney, white, or red beans would be great in this.

I also used this same technique for a lemon pepper pasta that I forgot to take a picture of. I started with the onion and peppers, but used campanelle pasta, water with veggie bouillon, then added frozen broccoli, lemon juice, and pepper about two minutes before the pasta was done. 

Slightly cooked spinach with a scrambled egg, some bacon, sauteed onions,  mandarin oranges, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Crisp the bacon, then add everything else, including some of the juice from the can of oranges and reduce a bit before you add the spinach.
Some days I like the house to smell yummy. If I happen to eat an orange on those days, I am set! A couple of cinnamon sticks and the peel of an orange in a pot of simmering water will make the house smell good all day, just bring the water to a boil, then back down to a very slow simmer. remember to check it every so often and add some more water as it evaporates.

More crackers. This time with tuna salad.

Salsa Chicken with Potatoes - Paige said she didn't want any until I made her try it and then she asked if we could have it more often. Score mom! I fried some thinly sliced potatoes in olive oil, added some of the chicken from earlier in the week (that I had in the freezer) and salsa. And that is it! So easy. I topped mine with sour cream (non dairy) but the kids ate it without.

Salmon nuggets with spicy aioli (fancy way to say mayo with Colton's seasoning and cayenne) and cold pasta salad with tomatoes, peppers, onions, basil, and mayo. No picture because I forgot and we gobbled it all up in one sitting! Levi claimed the salmon tasted like his childhood (in a good way) because I started making them after the house fire when we lived next to a great Cajun restaurant that sold this for a whole lot more than it cost to make it at home, but it was his absolute favorite thing on the menu! I take boneless, skinless salmon cut into bite-sized pieces and dredge it in flour seasoned with Colton's seasoning (before I had that I used creole seasoning) and pan fry them in half olive, half canola oil.

So, there you have it. Our very exciting (ha!) menu plan. There were probably a few snacks that I'm not admitting to (Easter candy is in the house) and I seem to remember a pb&j somewhere in there. Fine, I had Peeps with peanut butter! Happy now, sheesh, yes, a whole package. Fine, a whole three pack of packages. Twice. Aaaccckk, quit hounding me!

Part two will be more of what we eat, but with more details. :-)