Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Health(ful) Nut (& Seed) Bread

Last fall, I took a loaf of bread to a dinner our small group was having. It was kind of liked. Especially by our pastor's wife. And she kind of told a couple of people about it. Several of whom asked me for the recipe.

Slight problem: previously, the bread had not turned out as well as it did that night. And I had trouble getting it to do so again. :-/

I tweaked and I tweaked, though, and I think I've finally come close to a recipe that will consistently yield stellar results. It will, at least, turn out decent bread. It's never inedible. It's always quite tasty, in fact. It just isn't always the incredible loaf I took that night.

You're forewarned.

And my apologies for my tardiness in getting this recipe to people. I feel guilty, I promise.

• 2 1/2 C milk
• 2 T sugar
• 1 t salt
• 1/2 t baking soda
• 2 C white flour
• 2 C whole wheat flour
• 2 1/2 t yeast
• 1/3 C raw sunflower seeds
• 1/3 C raw pumpkin seeds
• 1/3 C chopped raw pecans
• 1/4 C flax seed

1. Place the ingredients in the bread pan in the order listed.
2. Set machine for regular cycle, 2 lb/large loaf, medium or light crust.
3. Scrape sides of pan, as needed during first kneading to make sure all flour is incorporated.
4. Add flour or milk, if dough seems too wet or dry, respectively.

I want to try this recipe with honey, instead of sugar. I'll try to remember to report back, if I do. I think that it would complement the seeds/nuts well, in addition to being healthier.

Plus, I already know that the bread is heavenly with honey butter.

Oh, and, as you may have guessed, this bread was inspired by a certain commercially-marketed bread. I've cleverly disguised it, though.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reusable sandwich bags

I know I don't post pictures of my crafty stuff often. That's mainly because I either don't take pictures, or I take them, but I never get around to putting them up.

I'm playing with using the "email photo" option on my phone to be better about posting pics.

These are a reusable sandwich and snack bag I made for MS & JW. They both liked the pirate fabric and another flame fabric, so they're going to share. The pirate fabric is just a cotton print, and it's lined with PUL, so it's machine washable, but I can also just wipe it down.

Don't look too closely at the straightness of the lines. This was my first successful project on a sewing machine. Ever.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

A friend posted in her Facebook status about making Cheesecake Ice Cream. Since A. we have made it a tradition to make homemade ice cream on Fridays when we grill out on our roof with our neighbors, and B. we would have made up such a tradition if we hadn't already, just to try Cheesecake Ice Cream, we decided to make this our Flavor of the Week (I feel like I should write it on a chalkboard).

CS (aka "the neighbor") suggested we add strawberries, so it became Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. Oh yes, we did. Don't worry, I made it healthy by substituting plain yogurt for half of the sour cream, because we only had one cup of sour cream I'm concerned about the health of my family and neighbors.

CS also suggested adding the crackers (we use "petit buerre" tea crackers here). It was a yummy touch.

Suffice it to say, this flavor will be going into our repertoire to pull from for the future. It reminds me of Marble Slab Cheesecake Ice Cream with a strawberry mix-in.

Oh, and I just froze it in our freezer, rather than making it in the ice cream maker, as Julie had said it was too thick for theirs, and they ended up just freezing it, anyway. There were a few ice crystals, but it was still incredible. And ML was happy to have the week off from babysitting the ice cream maker.

12 oz cream cheese
1 C sour cream
1 C plain yogurt
2 C heavy whipping cream
1/2 C sugar
6 T lemon juice
2 T vanilla flavoring

3-4 C frozen strawberries, chopped

graham crackers (optional)

Beat cream cheese until smooth.
Slowly add sugar and then beat in sour cream, yogurt, and heavy cream.
Add vanilla and lemon juice and mix until thick and smooth.
Stir in strawberries.
Cover and freeze for 4-6 hours.
Serve garnished with 2-3 graham crackers per bowl to be crushed and eaten with the ice cream or for dipping.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Emjheddera is kind of like Arabic mac & cheese. Or maybe more like spaghetti and sauce. It's what you always keep ingredients on hand for and make when you run out of time or don't feel like making something complicated.

We love it, though, and I like to serve it (usually with a roasted chicken) when we have guests from the States (or other Western countries; not to be discriminatory). It's also my go-to recipe when people ask me for an Arabic recipe they can make, since it doesn't require an Arabic spice mix, just cummin. Don't know why I haven't posted it before.

This is the bare bones, basic Arabic kitchen recipe. I'm sure there are some cookbook versions out there with fancy twists. Feel free to elaborate.


serves 4-5
traditional Arabic gheda (lunch)
excellent source of protein when eaten with leban (plain yogurt)

1 C lentils, rinsed
2 C rice, rinsed
1/4 - 1/2 C olive oil
1 t salt
1 t cumin
1-2 med onions, chopped
1 T butter

Place rice in bowl with water to cover 1 - 1 1/2 inches. Soak 30 mins.

Meanwhile, place lentils in 2 qt. pan with water to cover 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes. Lentils should be cooked but not mushy. Drain.

Place 2 1/2 C water, oil, salt and cumin in 4 qt. sauce pot. Bring to a boil. Drain rice. Add rice and lentils to boiling, seasoned water. Simmer 8-10 mins.

Sauté onions in butter. Use to top lentils and rice.

Serve with Arabic Salad (diced tomatoes and cucumbers with a little vinegar, oil and some dried mint; minced onions are optional) and leban (plain yogurt, slightly runny and slightly tart).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vanilla Ice Cream

After ranting and raving about the family vanilla ice cream recipe, I thought I should probably post it.

I thought for sure I'd already posted it or at least had it saved on my computer when I went to mix it up last week, but I couldn't find it. I knew I'd seen the actual recipe card (you remember those old fashioned things, don't you?) somewhere in my kitchen recently, so I looked in all of the usual places: the clip where I used to hang cards back when I used them, the miscellaneous basket, I even resorted to looking through the actual recipe card box. The entire thing (which is a mess, because Z dumped it out one time, and I haven't put it back together since, so I had to look through every.single.card). Couldn't find the recipe. I was about to call Mom and have her read it to me or e-mail it to me when I looked one last place: it was magneted to the refrigerator. In plain sight the whole time. Fortunately, I had a friend to chat with on the phone while I was looking, so it wasn't too much of a pain.

Recipe found, I proceeded to mix it up, stick it in the freezer and go directly to the computer to type it in. An hour later (because you don't go "directly" to do anything in this house), it was safely saved in my recipe file. And, just for safe keeping, and because you all really have to try this, here it is for the www, too.

• 4 eggs
• 2 C sugar
• 3-4 C 1/2 & 1/2 or light cream
• 2 T vanilla, preferably Mexican
• 1/2 t salt
• 5-6 C milk (enough to raise mixture level to “fill line” of cylinder)

1. Beat eggs until light.
2. Add sugar gradually, beating until mixture thickens.
3. Add salt and vanilla and some 1/2 & 1/2. Mix
4. Pour into cylinder.
5. Add remaining 1/2 & 1/2 and milk to “fill line.”
6. Chill in fridge.
7. Freeze according to ice cream freezer instructions.

Yes, it has raw eggs in it. And my mother, who has had salmonella and strongly discourages me from eating raw cookie dough as a result (so I don't; nope; not ever), still makes it. It's that good. Live dangerously.

Oh, and when it says "preferably" on the vanilla, referring to Mexican vanilla, that means "only if you want it to be the best homemade vanilla ice cream you've ever tasted." If not, feel free to use regular vanilla flavoring.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

We had been looking for a while for a grill to go halvsies on with the other family in our building, and since we finally found one, we've been grilling at least once/week. After a couple of times getting started after the guys got home from work (7:30ish) and not having food to feed the kids until way past their bedtime, we decided that Friday (our Saturday) would be the best day to grill. And, since family tradition is *so* important, I proposed reinstituting my mom's family's tradition of making homemade ice cream when grilling. I mean, family traditions are important, right?

So, the first week, we made the traditional family recipe of vanilla. With Mexican vanilla. Because it is just wrong to make homemade vanilla ice cream with anything besides Mexican vanilla. Really, really wrong.

But I digress.

This week, we decided to break with tradition, I mean, make our own traditions by trying a new flavor. Polls were taken. Votes were cast, and allrecipes was searched. We ended up with Mint Chocolate Chip. Because, since I'm making the mix, my vote trumps. And there were a few other people that wanted it, too. (I think CS, the wife of the downstairs family, was a tad disappointed, so look for a chocolate ice cream recipe next week.)

I found this recipe but, of course, had to make some modifications, not the least of which being to adjust it to the amount required for a *real* ice cream freezer, not one of those mamby pamby countertop versions (do I sound a little bitter, because we have a 110 countertop ice cream maker that we got as a wedding present sitting in our attic in TX? well, I'm not). Plus, there will be none of this "fat free" business. This is ice cream. And that stuff's not good for you, either.

So, without further ado (because there's been enough ado already), here's the recipe we ended up with.

• 3 C half and half
o or 3 C water + 2 C full cream powdered milk
• 2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
• 2 envelopes powdered whipped topping mix
• 1/4 t peppermint extract
• 4 drops green food coloring (optional)

• 3-4 C whole milk (to “fill line” of freezer)

• 2-4 (1 oz.) squares semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
o or 1-2 C mini semisweet chocolate chips

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix half and half, condensed milk, whipped topping mix, extract and food coloring on high speed for 3 minutes.
a. Or use stick blender to mix directly in ice cream freezer canister.
2. Pour into canister.
3. Add whole milk to “fill line.”
4. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours (or overnight).
5. Freeze according to freezer directions.
6. Pour into container and allow to firm up 24 hours in refrigerator freezer.

Caveat: when it says "allow to firm up 24 hours in refrigerator freezer," it means it. The stuff never "set" like ice cream normally would in the ice cream maker itself (could have been one of the ingredients we used being different, since they're local). But it had enough crystals in it to set up fine once we poured it into containers and put it in the freezer overnight. Good things come to those who wait, I guess.

Caveat #2: you will want to eat *way* too much of this stuff. Even if you don't like mint.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Peanut Butter Frosting

Back in December, I went to open my traditional Buttercream Icing recipe when I noticed an intriguing file name: Peanut Butter Frosting. Hmmm . . .

I was making a chocolate chunk cookie cake, and it sounded like a match made in heaven. It was.

I made the icing again for the chocolate/white chocolate swirl cake for MA's birthday. Again, it was a hit. Today, it's topping a dark chocolate mocha chocolate chunk cake. Oh yes, I did. And I mentioned it in my FB status. So I had to post the recipe to link it. Plus, it really should be shared.

courtesy of Ruth fr SL

• 1 stick butter
• 1 C peanut butter
• 1-2 T milk
• 1/2 t vanilla
• 2-4 C powdered sugar

1. Cream butter and peanut butter.
2. Add milk and vanilla and mix.
3. Add powdered sugar gradually until desired consistency.