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Thursday, January 24, 2013

*Weekly Meal Planning*

I'm getting back on track this week, we really did eat last week, but we had snow days so our meal plan was all over the place! 

This week I'm going with an easier menu, I'm getting a little burnt out with cooking for what feels like hours every afternoon. I think a week or two of easier but healthy meals will take a load off of me, and we can all use that sometimes, right?

{ Roasted chicken with herbed quinoa and green beans. }

{ Spelt pasta with garlic marinara and chicken meatballs, with a salad. }

{ Quinoa with black beans, corn , onion, avocado and salsa.  }

{ Black bean and sweet potato chili over quinoa. (We will probably have leftovers on a night that is rushed.) }

{ Salad with grilled chicken, avocado, cucumber, tossed with some of the black bean and corn quinoa. }

{ Vegetarian hot dogs with broccoli. }

{ Ground chicken burgers on homemade buns with baked sweet potato fries. }

    For breakfasts we will be having oatmeal, cereal, and Greek yogurt pancakes.  Check out this recipe for the pancakes, they are GREAT!  ( Thin the batter out a little with some almond milk, milk, water, what have you...)

For lunches, the kids will eat PB sandwiches of various sorts (jelly, banana, honey..) Mac and cheese, fruit, crackers, etc.   We aren't very creative for lunch.

I will have curry chicken salad on flax crackers or a protein shake.   Check out the curry chicken salad recipe here :

And that is that! 

On a separate note ,  my almost 4 year old has been enrolled for pre K this fall!  How time flies!  When he was born it seemed like an eternity before we would be thinking about school, and now it's right around the corner.   Thankfully, of my two boys, he will be the easiest when it comes to starting school.  He begs to go all the time!   And I'm getting excited, looking at little backpacks, lunch boxes, snack bags, lunch ideas..
It's going to be a whole new world for both of us!
Look at that cute face... 

Monday, January 7, 2013

** White Whole Wheat Bread - THE BEST! **

I have been trying to bake most of our bread lately, as we've been trying to eat more natural foods, and that adds up to more $$.  Though reducing the cost of breads isn't a lot, it's something.

I have tried several whole wheat bread recipes, and some have been okay, but just okay.  They always end up too crumbly , dry or dense.  I've tried using my bread machine for the kneading. I've tried kneading by hand.  The only thing I've found that helped was using a recipe that added white flour to the whole wheat, and I'm trying to stay away from that. 

Until this recipe.  I've made two batches, two different ways, and both were amazing.  And yes ,  it's a recipe for 100%whole wheat! And yes again, it involves NO kneading!

To rise , I turn my oven light on  then turn the oven to WARM / 170F , for about 10 seconds, just until the coils start to get warm, then I turn it off.  It creates a cozy, warm environment for the bread to proof, and the oven keeps the warmth in.

Make sure you are using newer yeast as this recipe doesn't call for it to be proofed before mixing it in.

This recipe makes two loaves, but it's easily halved. 

If you aren't sure of the difference between sticky and tacky, look here first :
You do not want your whole wheat dough to be as dry as a dough with white flour would be.

I highly recommend using King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour.  I much prefer the texture over regular whole wheat.

I have incorporated up to half white flour , half white whole wheat in this recipe when I ran out of white whole wheat. It yielded a lovely , old country style bread.


2 3/4 cups hot water

1/3 cup olive oil, any oil is fine

1/3 cup honey (I've used white sugar)

2 tablespoons molasses (use pancake syrup if you don't have molasses)

1 tablespoon salt

7 1/2 cups of 100% whole grain wheat flour

2 tablespoons dry active yeast

1         Place the first five ingredients in the bowl and mix.

2          Add: 2 Cups 100% White Whole Wheat Flour. (to cool the water and end up with warm dough) Mix then add 2 Tbs of Dry Active Yeast.

3          Add: 4 Cups of 100% White Whole Wheat Flour.

4          Mix until the consistency is some what even. Then continue to slowly add flour 1/2 Cup at a time until the dough quits sticking to the sides of the bowl. It should be tacky to the touch. The trick is to have enough consistency to stand up with the least amount of flour so the bread will be fluffy. Do not exceed 7 1/2 cups of wheat flour. You can trade one cup of wheat flour for one cup of all purpose white if you wish. Don't over mix or the bread will be tough.

5        When your dough is finished, leave it in the mixer, cover the bowl and let it rise for about 30-45 minutes. The dough will be larger but it doesn't need to double.

6         Grease two bread pans with Crisco. You can also flour the pans to reduce sticking.

7         Mix the dough again just enough to knock it down at least close to the original size.

8          Drop the dough on a floured surface so you can work the dough and shape it. Shape it with your hands to make a nice ball getting enough flour on it so it isn't sticky. Divide the ball in half and do it again. Shape the loaves by turning the dough under it's self over and over. When the dough is shaped the sides and ends will be sealed and all you will see is a nice oblong shaped loaf with smooth sides and top. Drop the loaves in your bread pans and let them rise until almost doubled. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 36 minutes. If you forgot to preheat 41 minutes. (gas oven).

9        When done turn the bread out of the pan to a rack to cool. You can eat it right away (a great time for real butter) don't wrap it until completely cooled. (Condensation will make it soggy) Put in tinfoil to store on the counter. If you put it in the refrigerator it will turn into a rock.

Original recipe Here :

Thursday, January 3, 2013

* Weekly Menu Plan *

I want feeling too creative today, so here it goes.. 

*Tofu curry with whole grain brown rice, salad  and steamed broccoli. *

*Veggie Dogs (trader joes) on homemade buns with baked beans and homemade slaw. *

*Buffalo chicken (mock Mac n cheese) quinoa with salad.*

*Chicken ranchero taco soup with corn muffins.*
Chicken , cooked
2 cans organic black beans, rinsed and drained.
1 can chili ready diced tomatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small can enchilada sauce
1 can corn (or heated frozen/fresh)
1 can chicken broth
1 packet of ranch dressing mix
Throw together in the crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours.  Garnish with Cheese and Cilantro if desired.

*Chicken burgers with sweet potato fries and organic mixed steamed veggies. *

For lunch the kids have PBJs (we bake the bread) , Mac and cheese, leftovers, etc
For my lunches , I have salads with grilled sweet apple chicken sausages , and protein shakes.

Right now I'm working on cooking the Tofitas (tofu fajitas) with onions, peppers and mushrooms. And a side of black beans and corn.  From last weeks menu.
And I'm starving!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Whole Wheat Pancakes

This is my go to pancake recipe.  The use of White whole wheat makes it a healthier alternative, but you can also use white four for one of the best pancakes you've ever eaten!

1c Flour (White Whole Wheat)
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 T sugar
1 c buttermilk
1 egg
2 T melted butter

Wisk the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl 
Beat the milk and egg together.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, when partly mixed add the melted butter.
Then add 1/4 c or so of water , till your mix is a thinner pancake batter with no lumps.  Cook on a griddle. 
We love to mix chopped banana or frozen blueberries into the batter.

These are delicious!