Tag Archives: recipe

my first loaf of bread from scratch

One thing that’s been on my bucket list for years is to make bread from scratch. I remember having a conversation with a hippy named Seamus in a dark D.C. bar more than four years ago who said that making bread, building furniture and skiing where the three things that made him feel connected to the earth. I wasn’t interested in the guy, but those comments stayed with me.

One of the reasons we moved to the California desert nearly six months ago was to have time, space and money to do things we’ve always wanted to do. Here, the rents are cheap, the skies are blue and we have zero distractions, including obligations or places to go in town. That gives us energy to create.

Last week, I received an email from our farm box supplier Abundant Harvest Organics: “Our baker is going on a well-deserved two-week vacation.”

“Noooooooo!” I thought to myself.

And then I looked at the sky. Overcast. Actual clouds in our desert skies. I took that as a sign.

breadingredients

So I bought some yeast and whole wheat flour and started the process while C. was napping. I halved the recipe because we have only one bread pan. And maybe I chose the right recipe on Epicurious, but the oatmeal wheat bread was easy. I kneaded it for about 10 minutes: the majority of the process was to let the bread rise.

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my seasonal treat: strawberry smoothies

strawberries

I have an unhealthy addiction to sugar. Luckily, I married a man who doesn’t care for it the way I do. He makes a disgusted face when I put a spoonful of sugar on my Cheerios (for a while I sneaked it, then I stopped buying Cheerios altogether.) And he eats plain Greek yogurt, which is what we give C., so now, at the grocery store, I walk past those cartons of yogurt filled with 22 grams of sugar.

Anyway, I probably get my max daily amount of refined sugar in my espresso I make myself every morning. And then, of course, I put brown sugar on my oatmeal. And we usually have dessert after dinner — a scoop of ice cream from Baskin Robbins, dark chocolate with almonds. Needless to say, I’m maxed out.

So I’m looking for ways to eat natural sugar. And I need look no further than strawberry season. That’s right, folks, we’ve been buying a big box of strawberries from a Mexican man with a cane who drives them up every weekend from Oxnard and sits on the corner under a green tent. I love this man, and I kind of freaked out on Saturday morning when he wasn’t there at 9:30 a.m. I went back at noon and when the green tent came into view from the car, I relaxed my grip on the steering wheel. I got out of the car and said: “I’m so happy to see you!”

strawberries2

I don’t even like strawberries very much, but I found (and adapted) a recipe for a strawberry smoothie and I’ve been making it nearly every afternoon while C. naps. I sit on our patio, listen to the birds sing, and read or write. I save some for C., who sucks it down through his “taw.” And then I’m not hungry till dinner time and not snippy if A. is home late.

Yes, I’m loving this thick, delicious treat. I hope you do, too.

Strawberry Smoothie

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

smoothie

A 12-oz. glass of frozen strawberries, plus one or two
A banana (a big one — if they’re small, I put in two)
Half a glass (same glass I used for the strawberries) of whole milk
A spoonful of plain Greek yogurt
A spoonful of honey
A generous handful of rolled oats (not instant)
A generous handful of sliced almonds
A splash of vanilla extract
A few shakes of ground cinnamon

Put it all in the blender and mix away.

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magic muffins: third time’s a charm

When A. and I went to stay with my aunt in Atascadero on the California coast for New Years, she offered us delicious magic muffins. Why are they magic? Because her friend, who’s a nutritionist, gave her the recipe and they’re not only addictive, but also full of good-for-you ingredients.

The first time I made them I cut my hand on the food processor and had to get five stitches (ow). The second time I made them, they were a little undercooked. I was beginning to think these muffins were cursed. Well, I made them yesterday, and I have to say that I nailed it.

I’ll admit, the recipe calls for skim milk and I pilfered from C.’s stash and used whole milk. I also didn’t fill the muffin tin to the top so that they cooked perfectly. Now, C. keeps asking for “muh-muh”s. They’re delicious and filling and perfect for travel and breakfast.

Blueberry Oat-Flax Muffins

(This recipe was in an old-fashioned binder. Now it’s digitized. Thanks Aunt. J.!)

muffins

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup flaxseed meal
3/4 cup rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 cup shredded carrots (peel on)
2 cups shredded apples (peel on) (I used Macintosh)
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub a bit of butter in the muffin tin.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, flax, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix in shredded carrots, apples and walnuts.

In a small bowl, mix together milk, beaten eggs and vanilla.

Gently add liquid mixture to dry ingredients. Don’t over mix. Fold in fresh blueberries.

Fill muffin tin almost to the top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

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these cookies may break my marriage

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Last Thursday evening, after dinner, A. and I had an argument that went something like this:

Me: “OK, we each get one cookie.”

A. takes two.

Me: “What are you doing?”

A.: “You’re not the boss of me.”

Me: “Um, I made those cookies.”

He pops both in his mouth.

A., with a full mouth: “Don’t be an a-hole.” (This made me laugh.)

I was trying to save the cookies for poker night the next evening. I had taken several cookies to the pottery party on Tuesday. And I was working on controlling my impulse to eat all of them during the day while I’m home with C.

So as A. and I played chess on the rug in our living room, I did some arithmetic in my head: “If there are five of us playing poker, and each of us has two cookies — and they won’t — that’s 10. We have 12. That means I can eat two more. One tonight and one tomorrow during the day.”

So, while it was A.’s turn, I went to the kitchen and returned with a cookie. Just one. For me. And a grin on my face.

“Mmmmm,” I said.

A. shook his head. “Unbelievable. You probably hid them, too.”

I had. I put them in a different cupboard, hoping he wouldn’t see them.

You see, I’m pretty good at turning down desserts. Or, at least, controlling how much of them I eat. But these cookies are my weakness. I made them the night before I went into labor for the labor-and-delivery nurses, and it was the first thing I ate after C. was born and I was in heaven.

Now they may break up my marriage, and yet, like an addict, I keep making more. I made another batch on Sunday for a barbeque and they’re currently taunting me on the counter. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to eat them before A. gets home.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Warning: These cookies are dangerous.

Image

Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Add the quick oats — spreading them out evenly if possible — and then the chocolate┬áchips. Put in the refrigerator for an hour or more.

Preheat the oven to 335 degrees F.

Drop heaping spoonfuls onto un-greased baking sheets.

Bake for 14 minutes. Let them cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack or wax paper to cool completely. Indulge.

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