Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Granola/Energy Bars - Take 2

The first set of energy bars I made were very cakey so I looked around to find ones that were more chewy. I found this one on and altered it to fit what we had in the pantry. I'm going to keep looking around and experimenting, though, until I find one that is like the chewy granola bars you buy in the store. Enjoy!

Granola Energy Bars
These bars are a foundation to create your own granola bars to your liking. The original recipe called for raisins, toasted sesame seeds & sunflower seeds, but my kids don't like those things, so I substituted some less healthy things in small quantity to make them seem more like a cookie. I'm going to try to slip in some grains, seeds and dried fruit that I've run through the blender next time. Chocolate chips may be mixed in or sprinkled on top of bars, melted and spread over bars in last 10 minutes of cooking.

3 C oats
1/2 C wheat or oat bran
1/2 C Wheat germ
1/2 C flax seed meal
1 C Chocolate chips
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 C honey
1 C Peanut butter
1/2 C apple sauce

Mix Oats, bran, wheat germ, flax seed, salt, cinnamon, chocolate chips (if mixing in) and any other nuts, seeds, or dried fruit you are adding together in a large bowl. mix honey, peanut butter and applesauce in a separate bowl. Add wet to dry and mix. Press dough into a 1/2 sheet pan covered in parchment paper or well greased. If putting chocolate on top, sprinkle chips onto bars in last 10 minutes of cooking and spread on top when chips are melted. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kid Friendly Energy bars and Cheese Souffle

I saw a friend's post the other day about making your own energy bars and wanted to give it a try. The original recipe can be found here, but I made a couple of changes. I was hoping they would be granola bar chewy but they really turned out more cakey. Hubby toasted one and said it made the outside crispy but the inside was still moist.

Homemade Healthy Energy Bars
•1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour
•3⁄4 cup flaxseed meal
•3⁄4 cup wheat bran
•2 tsp. baking soda
•1 tsp. baking powder
•1⁄2 tsp. salt
•2 tsp. cinnamon
•1⁄2 tsp. allspice
•1 Tbs. cocoa powder
•1 1⁄2 cups carrots, shredded
•1 1⁄2 cups apples, cored and shredded
•1 cup mixed nuts finely chopped
•3 eggs, slightly beaten
•1 cup applesauce
•1⁄4 cup honey
•1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir together dry ingredients.
Add carrots, apples, nuts, and stir well.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs , applesauce, honey and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and stir just until ingredients are moistened.
Spray a half sheet pan with cooking spray then add batter spreading evenly over entire pan.
Bake in a 350-degree F oven for 25-40 minutes. cut into squares. Makes 32 2-inch squares.

The same night I made the energy bars I didn't really want to make a big dinner so I found a recipe for a healthy cheese souffle that included veggie puree. We called these cheese puffs and both kids ate them! With a serving of veggies, protein from the eggs and whole wheat flour, each serving of these cheesy puffs is a meal for a child.

Healthy Cheesey Puffs
3 eggs
3 egg whites
1/2 C veggie puree (I used sweet potato puree - don't peel the sweet potatoes.)
2 T shredded cheese (I used a blend, but cheddar would be great.)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and coat 4 ramekins or small glass bowls with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients and pour into ramekins. Put ramekins on baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until the puffs are puffed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sourdough bread

After I started making some of my family's bread, I wanted to try making sourdough. I looked up some recipes on and found that most recipes required Sourdough starter. I had no idea what that was so I looked that up as well. Turns out that Sourdough starter is simply a mixture of flour water and yeast that you let sit in a warm place until it "sours". As I kept reading I found that you really don't need the yeast in the mixture at all, and can "collect" natural yeasts from the air to inoculate your mixture. In earlier times when yeast in a bottle or packet wasn't available, people would make this starter to allow them to make yeast bread. I didn't really want to wait to collect natural yeast so I added my own. I put a cup of flour, a cup of warm water and 1.5 tsp of yeast into a glass jar, mixed it up then put it on a plate in the oven with just the oven light on. The light warmed the oven enough to keep the whole mixture at a good temperature for the 5 days it needed to sour. After a few days the mixture smelled a lot like sourdough so I thought I'd give bread a try. I found a recipe for a simple sourdough bread for a bread machine and modified it to use an oven.

Simple Sourdough Bread
3/4 Warm water
1.5 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 C sourdough starter
1.5 tsp salt
2.5 C Whole Wheat flour
1. Add sugar and yeast to warm water and let bloom for about 10 minutes
2. Add yeast mixture to starter then add Flour and salt to wet ingredients.
3. knead for about 5-10 minutes until dough is elastic. form into a ball and put into a greased bowl. cover with towel and let sit for an hour or 2 until dough has doubled.
4. punch dough down, form into loaves, rolls or other shapes and put onto greased pizza stone or cookie sheet.
5. bake for about 30-45 minutes in 350 degree oven.
To go with our sourdough bread we had some of the miner's lettuce from the garden, which was very yummy. This lettuce is very tender and has a mild flavor. According to the seed packet it also contains a lot of Vitamin C.
And to top that off we had Linkshire sausage from Yum!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pictures of Flowers and plants around the yard

Bees love Chive flowers!

My HUGE strawberries! I moved the strawberries from pots to the garden last spring. They Love the garden apparently. They are sending out baby runners all over the place making new plants and producing the biggest strawberries I've ever had. Now they just need to get enough sun to turn red...

Red Beets. I planted golden ones as well, but they aren't as far along as the red ones. Beet greens are yummy, too.


Soybean sprout in the corn rows. Soybeans add nitrogen to the soil and the corn needs extra nitrogen.

Corn sprouts!

The Rhubarb has perked up a lot! I think in about a week I'll have enough for a pie or crisp.

Row of potatoes. I planted baking potatoes and fingerling. The fingerlings are yellow, red and purple.

Miner's lettuce! We ate some for dinner last night and it's really yummy. Turns out that each plant grew a ton of these little flower/leaves. so 2 plants worth of leaves were more than enough for a dinner salad. I've heard that they self propogate if you let them, so I guess I'll have a miner's lettuce corner to my garden next year.

Hens and chicks along the front rock wall.

Pansy in a planter.

I got some Columbine babies last year from a friend. This year they are blooming like crazy.

My first Iris! I planted these about 2 years ago and have never had a flower, but this year the
waiting paid off.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Canning Jam, Jelly, Salsa and Chutney

Canning is something that I've wanted to try for quite a while. For the past several years I've pickled cukes and beets and had them taking up space in my fridge for most of a year. That worked ok, but being able to put them in the pantry would be much nicer. So when I saw that House Party was looking for hosts for a Ball Canning Party, I applied and was chosen. They sent me a water bath canner, a canning discovery kit, about 20 boxes of pectin, canning tools like a lid lifter and bottle tongs and coupons for 4 cases of canning jars. With all that I had more than enough supplies to make a lot of canned food. To learn to use the canner, I made pepper jelly the weekend ahead. The coordination of washing jars, cooking food, simmering lids and processing the cans was a bit of a chaotic dance, but hubby and I got it made.

For the Canning Party I invited some friends over to help with with the chopping and processing... and chatting and laughing. My only issue with the House Party is their invite tool, which seemed to send a lot of invites either into people's spam folders or into never never land. (so if you didn't get an email invite and you live close by it probably went into your spam folder, but we'll do it again in summer and anyone who's interested is invited. ) But even with half of the invites getting lost we had enough people to make Salsa, Strawberry jam and apple chutney. The apple chutney was made ahead and brought by a friend, then we canned it at the party. The Salsa and jam were both made start to finish at the party.

Water bath canning can be used to preserve any high-acid food like pickles, tomato sauces, fruit jams and jellies and the like. Anything that's not high acid must be processed in a pressure canner. That always sounded really intimidating to me. Although water bath canning seemed intimidating as well, and it was a timing challenge but not really hard.

So the basic process for water bath canning is this:

1. run your jars - not lids and bands - through the dishwasher sanitize cycle.
2. hand wash lids and rings in warm soapy water
3. simmer lids but not rings in near boiling water - about 180 degrees while doing everything else.
4. fill your canner or big pot with water half way to the top (make sure that jars submerged in water are covered by water by 1 to 2 inches) and bring to a boil.
5. prepare your recipe. Core, peal, chop veggies and fruits and cook according to recipe directions until mixture is at a boil.
6. When jars are washed and still hot, canner water is boiling, lids are at a simmer and recipe is boiling ladle recipe into warm jars.
7. after filling jars wipe rims with a wet towel then put lids and rings on jars.
8. put sealed jars into boiling canner water and submerge
9. boil for 15 minutes or whatever your canning recipe tells you. The smaller the jar the less time you need to process. 15 minutes was the recommended time for an 8 oz jar.
10. Remove jars from water and sit upright on the counter. When you hear the POP of each lid and can not push lids down with your finger they are sealed.

The recipe for the strawberry jam came from the inside of the pectin box. It was basically 6 Cups of hulled and crushed strawberries, 4 Cups of sugar and a box of pectin. The pepper jelly recipe and the salsa recipe came from the House Party - Ball Taste of Summer site, but I'm sure finding recipes for these would be easy online.
Now I'm just looking around for things to can. I know I'll make all kinds of pickles this summer, and from the look of the strawberry plants in my garden, maybe I'll make some jam from my own garden fruit! Happy Canning!

Homemade Bread

Keeping with my "make your own food" theme I've made a couple of loaves of homemade bread lately. I wanted to make bread that was as healthy as possible but light enough that the kids would like it. I got my first recipe from my cousin. This one was originally Molasses Oat bread but I substituted Honey for the Molasses and substituted 2/3 Whole Wheat flour for the AP flour.
Yesterday morning we ate the Honey Oat Bread with Strawberry/Blackberry jam that I canned on Friday with some friends (pics and recipes on canning to follow in another blog entry). It was the best breakfast I've had in a while!

Honey Oat BreadIngredients
2 cups boiling water
1 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 cups Bread flour

Pour boiling water over oats and let stand about 1/2 hour.
Sprinkle yeast and 1 tsp sugar into warm water. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir.
Add honey, sugar, salt and butter to the cooled oatmeal; blend well.
Stir in dissolved yeast.
Add enough flour to make a soft dough.
Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl; turn to grease top.
Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until double -- about 1 hour.
Punch down and knead lightly for 2 minutes.
Divide dough in half and shape into loaves. Place in greased pans.
Cover and let rise until double.
Bake at 400 degrees 45 -55 minutes.
Note* If bread darkens too much for your liking while baking -- cover with a piece of tin foil -- shiny side up. This will help it from darkening any further.

This is a sweet bread and the kids loved it! I wanted to try another variation of Whole Wheat bread that wasn't quite so sweet so I took a recipe I found online and modified it to be more healthy. This one was also a hit with the kids and the adults and was much less sweet...more of a standard whole wheat bread recipe. Yum!

Standard Whole Wheat Bread
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 Tbs sugar
1 C rolled oats
1 C boiling water
2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp salt
2 C bread flour
2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 C Flax seed meal
1/3 C Wheat Germ

Pour boiling water over oats and let stand about 15 min.
Sprinkle yeast and sugar into warm water. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir.
Add honey and butter to the cooled oatmeal; blend well.
Stir in dissolved yeast.
Mix flours, Wheat Germ, Flax seed meal and salt.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix to make a soft dough.
Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl; turn to grease top.
Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until double -- about 1 hour.
Punch down and knead lightly for 2 minutes.
Divide dough in half and shape into loaves. Place in greased pans.
Cover and let rise until double.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...