We here at Healthy Kitchens are concerned about today's food supply and how it affects our families' health. This blog will be devoted to increasing awareness to all our readers about how to increase the nutritional content of the food that we feed our families daily. We don't want to make it harder, so we have some great ideas on how to do this much easier with the use of some great tips and tricks. We hope to have some great suggestions, recipes, nutritional information etc. that you all can use. Please feel free to email us back with your comments and we will answer your questions and concerns or just add them to the posts.
People have differing ideas of what constitutes healthy eating. There are more studies, trends and ideas on this topic than a person could possibly keep track of. With the goal of promoting good health, we’ve compiled some suggestions for healthy snacks you can turn to when you are sitting at work and your stomach starts growling, after your daily workout, or anytime you or your family need an energy boost.
The best healthy snacks contain a mix of protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fiber. Rather than just snacking on a piece of fruit, why not add a protein to make a more well - rounded option? Remember, some of the things you already love can be upgraded to “healthy snack” status with some recipe modifications. We started out by asking some "professional healthy snackers" how to successfully snack healthy and reap the health benefits of their food choices. Their go-to suggestions are listed below. What could be better than some tried and tested options for nutritional snacking?
Apple Slices with Natural Peanut Butter
Slice one apple of choice and pair it with a natural nut butter. Natural nut butters typically do not have added sugar, hydrogenated oils or high levels of sodium. Their ingredient list is short and simple while packing 8g of protein in just one tablespoon. Medium Fuji apple = 80 calories 1 TBSP Natural peanut butter = 95 calories
Apple Slices with Sharp White Cheddar Cheese or Parmesan Shaves
The tart apple varieties tend to pair best with cheeses. This is another great option that combines carbs and protein for a quick, healthy snack. 1 oz sharp white cheddar = 110 calories, 7g of protein and is high in calcium, while 1 oz of parmesan cheese = 122 calories, 10.9g of protein and 31% of the daily requirement of calcium. I medium granny smith apple = 80 calories.
Cantaloupe Wedges Wrapped in Prosciutto
Slice ¼ of a medium cantaloupe into small wedges, then wrap each wedge with a small piece of prosciutto for a satisfying combination of sweet and savory flavors filled with vitamins, minerals and protein. ¼ medium cantaloupe = 38 calories, 84% of the daily requirement of vitamin c. 1 oz prosciutto (2 thin slices) = 70 calories, 8g of protein.
Oranges are packed with Vitamin C, dietary fiber and B vitamins such as: B1, pantothenic acid, and folate. Vitamin A, calcium and potassium are also contained in this healthy fruit. A medium orange contains an average of 45-60 calories. Pair it with a handful of almonds, and you have a complete, healthy snack. ¼ cup of almonds = 132 calories, 5g protein and many additional health-boosting benefits.
Grapes and Cheese
A classic pairing for healthy snacking. Layer ½ cup grapes on toothpicks with cubes of cheese for a portable, health conscious snack, or enjoy ½ cup grapes and one stick of light mozzarella string cheese = 102 calories, 1g of fiber and 7g of protein. More great ideas on snack pairings with cheese can be found at: http://mini-babybel.com/snacks
Cottage Cheese with Tomatoes, Mandarin Oranges, Peaches or Pineapple
cottage cheese and fruit complement one another very well and the options are endless. One friend says when she needs a sweet snack she mixes sugar-free jello into the cottage cheese and it satisfies her craving. 1C 1% milkfat cottage cheese = 163 calories, 2g fat, and 28g protein.
String Cheese and Pistachios
A protein-rich pairing with measurable health-boosting properties. Just a hand full of pistachios a day provides the daily recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins, and protein. For more information on the nutrition of pistachios visit http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pistachio.html
Whole-Grain Bread Slice with Natural Nut Butter
Choose whole grain breads to ensure you the most nutrients and health benefits in your snack. Natural nut butters are also preferred for healthy snacking. One slice of whole grain bread averages about 69 calories. If you want to go to the next healthy snack level, make your own whole grain bread.
Carrots and Celery with Hummus
Hummus has grown in popularity over the last 15 years, and has now become a staple in many diets. Actress Natalie Portman joked that she eats her weight in hummus every day. While we are not suggesting that, it is a perfect snack for anyone looking to fight hunger, balance blood sugar levels and boost energy due to the high content of protein and iron.
Baked Tortilla Chips with Salsa/Guacamole
Avocado has long been praised for it’s health-promoting benefits. Whether eaten plain, or as guacamole, it makes our healthy snack list. Partner with baked tortilla chips; 4 calories per 1oz serving, and salsa for a heart healthy treat.
Other honorable mentions by professional healthy-snackers include: 100% fruit leather and rice crackers withcheese.
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 11:02 am - 0 comments
I have been trying to diet but my big hurdle to overcome is later in the evening when I want to snack on something!!! I found these ideas for healthier snacks from one of our partner sites at DVO and I thank them for the great suggestions.
We all know we buy the pre-made trail mixes for the M&M's and that granola bars covered in chocolate really aren't a healthy snack. But they are oh so good, right! Well, there are tons of delicious and healthy snack foods that you can start munching on today and not waste calories or increase that waist line. Here is a great list to start from:
1. Greek Yogurt: Rich in protein, great for digestive health and deliciously creamy! Add in some dried berries or a simple granola and you've got a great snack.
2. Cottage Cheese: Chock full of lots of protein and great calcium for your bones. Can be combined with fruit, veggies, toast or mixed into your scrambled eggs.
3. Dried Fruit: Many types of dried fruits contain the same amount of nutrients as their hydrated counterparts. They are light, delicious and easy to fill up on!
4. Peanut Butter: High in protein and feels like a real indulgence, peanut butter is a great thing to couple with other snacks. Dip your apples, carrots or pretzels into some and you've got a great healthy snack.
5. Oven-Baked chips: Sometimes you just really need something crisp, salty and like a fattening potato chip. By baking slices of potato you cut down on the fat and cholesterol but still fulfill those needs.
6. Air-popped Popcorn: Full of fiber and naturally low in calories popcorn was born to be a healthy snack. Just don't load on the butter, add a dash of salt and pepper and you're set.
7. Berries: Little super food all-stars, berries can be eaten by the handful or with a dollop of yogurt or almonds.
8. Veggies: We all know these are a healthy snack.
9. Hard Boiled Egg: A hardboiled egg is a filling treat that will keep you energized for hours and are packed with great protein.
10. Smoothies: There are so many great green smoothies to help you sneak in more veggies, and even whipping up some great fruit and ice will make for a cold, tasty treat.
11. Apples: These are packed full of health benefits. The saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is fairly true. Apples fiber, antioxidants, cholesterol-fighting properties and benefits to your bone health are just a few of their charms. Eat them alone or dip them in peanut butter or add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
12. Rice Cakes: Crunchy and low in calories, rice cakes come in many varieties to keep it exciting to!
13. Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and zinc, and sunflower seeds are filled with protein and fiber. Sprinkle them into a granola or trail mix for a yummy snack or eat by the handful.
14. Hummus: This is a GREAT dip to use to help you eat more of those healthy veggies, cause sometimes you just need dip! It's also yummy to dip pretzels or rice crackers into.
15. You don't need to throw out chocolate! I am one who needs a little chocolate every so often (ok, like every day I want it), and so having a little something doesn't hurt just don't go overkill. A small amount of dark chocolate has less fat and calories then milk chocolate, and even contains antioxidants and has heart healthy properties. So, go ahead and mix some of that into your snack lists.
Having one of these snacks on hand at all times will greatly reduce your risk of running to your chocolate stash or convenience store for a quick fix. Plan ahead with healthy treats, and feel more energized and satisfied all day. Your healthy New Year Goals don't have to be doomed by the handfuls of goodies you might normally snack on during the day anymore! A great way to portion control and get a variety is having a fun way to contain your snackies. The Muffin tin is a great way to get a little of a lot. Fill each hole with a favorite snack and then you've got a whole variety of smackerals to fill your munchies craving. It is also a great way to help your children have fun with eating good snacks. Teach them young to enjoy small amounts of healthy foods will save them when they get older and just want to cheat and get the candy bar. These habits will be easier and more second nature if they are started young. So, get your cupboards filled with yummy healthy snacks you can grab when those tummy rumblings begin. What are some of your favorite healthy snacks to eat, share with us below!
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 1:11 pm - 0 comments
I love crackers! in my soup , under some spread, with a little cheese or by themselves, crackers can offer an alternative to bread and usually less calories. Homemade crackers are easy and fast to make and can be as healthy and nutritious as you want to make them. Here are some great ideas for homemade crackers.
The flax seed crackers are a recipe from a dear friend of mine and the fish crackers are from the website I shared. I think I will keep both of these recipes in my recipe file under "snacks." The flax seed crackers are perfect for my health conscious family and friends. The fish crackers are just what I need for when the little guys come to grandma's house! Cha-ching!!
Almond Flax Seed Crackers
Ingredients: 2 cups flaxseeds (golden or brown) 1/2 cuphoney 1/2 cupcoconut flakes 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup chopped almonds Directions:
Soak the flax seed overnight. Mix remaining ingredients with seeds and honey. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and dehydrate in oven at 170 degrees for 4 hours. Cut into squares; return to oven and continue dehydrating until crisp.
Since we are always interested in ways we can use our whole grain flours so I thought about making some great crackers and so I started searching the web. I found a site that has all kinds of cracker recipes. This site, http://dinnersdishesanddesserts.com/homemade-goldfish-crackers/, has several cracker recipes. I was impressed and thought it would put a big smile on some children's faces and save some money by making some homemade "Goldfish"-type crackers. They are easy to make and the taste is addictive! I made a pattern for the fish cracker out of a throw away aluminum pie tin. It was fun but the cutter didn't hold up well. After I made several little fishy crackers, I got out my very small square cookie cutters and went to work finishing up the dough. Children not only love the taste of these crackers but have so much fun helping you make them too.
1 cup whole wheat flour (I like the soft wheat for this) 4 tablespoonsbutter, (cold, cut into small pieces) 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese (grated) 3/4 teaspoonsalt 2 tablespoons cold water
Using a food processor, pulse together the flour, butter, cheese and salt until it resembles coarse sand. Pulse in water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Place dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Roll the dough out 1/8 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Whole Wheat Crackers (fromEat More Whole Grains Cookbook)- Usually all crackers will have some baking soda in them which is what helps them to rise a little while baking. In this recipe following we put the baking soda in some warm water first so soften it and get its bubbling action going.
2 Tbsp. warm water
1 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 cups warm water
2/3 cup oil
1 Tbsp. salt
4 cups of whole wheat flour ( we freshly mill ours with the Nutrimill)
4 cups all purpose flour. ( you could substitute barley flour or oat flour or corn flour or even rye and triticale flour for any of the flours in this recipe)
Directions : Put the baking soda into the 2 Tbsp. of warm water and set aside. Put the remaining water into the Bosch bowl equipped with the dough hook. Add oil, salt, and whole wheat flour and finally the soda water. Mix on speed one until smooth. Sprinkle with the yeast and mix again. Add remaining flour and let knead for 5 min on speed one. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Oil the counter and place some foil or parchment paper on the counter so it sticks down onto it. Oil the surface of the foil and roll out each part of the dough until 1/8" thick (we use our pizza rollers to do this right on the cookie sheets) By pulling on the foil, transfer the the rolled out dough to a flat cookie sheet. Cuts into squares ( a pizza cutter works great) and prick with a fork. Sprinkle lightly with salt or garlic or cheese powder (or even a herb or spice if you wish) and bake at 350 degrees until lightly brown about 10 min. Cool and store in a can with a tight lid.
For variety you could add 1 cup of crushed flax (in the blender) or corn meal, or sesame seeds. For a real twang you can mix a little barbecue sauce into the dough. Cheese powder or bacon bits can be sprinkled on top or my favorite personally is to mixed some grated sharp cheddar right into the dough. Triticale grain milled into the flour makes a wonderful flavoured cracker so try that if you have some to use up.
Making Christmas Holiday Breads From Around the World
There are perhaps as many traditional recipes for Christmas breads as there are bakers of it. Nothing can match the smell of sweet bread baking, to bring back the good memories of love and warmth and enjoyment of family and friends around you at this time of year. Breads like these tend to be more hearty, with lots of fruits, nuts, spices and a little sweeter to eat, generally served with hot chocolate and cut super thin. They also make great gifts for friends, neighbours and anyone who just enjoy good eating. Of course, with your Bosch Universal Plus Mixeryou can make all these recipes without a lot of trouble and almost no work! The majority of these recipes are also made with whole wheat flour that we have milled fresh in our outstanding grain mill, the NutriMill Plus Grain Mill.
We are going to start with Holiday Orange Loaves from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. This recipe is chewy and dark with exceptional flavour, and has no dairy products--unusual for holiday baking. It keeps very well, retaining its goodness as long as a week under good storage conditions. The biggest problem people have making this is altering the order of the ingredients. Yeast does not like to be mixed with acidic liquids so we keep them apart until the very last moment.
Take 1 cup walnuts, chopped and toast lightly in the oven. Place 1 cup raisins and 1 cup boiling water in a saucepan and simmer for 5 min. Drain immediately and set aside adding enough water to make up to 1 cup raisin water.
Dissolve 1 Tbsp. Saf yeast, in 1/2 cup warm water. Separately mix 1/4 cup of honey or Xagave, 1 cup orange juice, 2 Tbsp. oil, and the raisin water in the Bosch Universal bowl equipped with the dough hook. (this recipe could also be made in the Slicer/Shredder bowl with the new mini-dough hook) Add 2 cups freshly ground hard wheat flour ( we use the NutriMill grain mill to mill our flour) , 2 1/2 tsp. of salt and 2 Tbsp. orange zest. Turn on speed one and let mix for 30 sec. and then add remaining 2 more cups of wheat flour and then the yeast mixture. Continue to add 1 -2 more cups of whole wheat flour until the bowl begins to clean around the sides. This is a small recipe so be light with the flour as it will be fairly sticky but as it continues to knead will get drier. Let knead 5 to 6 min. until gluten is developed. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 15 min. and then add raisins and walnuts and let knead another 5 min. Divide into 2 and shape them into rounds and let them rest covered until relaxed. Make pretty round hearth loaves or two 8"x4'" pan loaves. Set them in their own warm place to rise and then bake at 375 degrees F. for 55 min. until done.
Pannetone Bread- Here is a great recipe for the Italian Christmas favorite also done with fresh ground whole wheat from the NutriMill Plus grain mill. Pannetone is a traditional Italian Christmas bread that originates from Milan and is popular throughout the world at this season. Here is our recipe for this great Whole Wheat Pannetone that has a wonderful cake-like texture and a great fruity taste. Click here for a printable copy.
Finally we couldn't leave out a North American favorite, Eggnog Bread, which actually isn't a yeast bread but a quick bread instead. The eggnog gives it a wonderful smell, with a hint of cinnamon, and a sweetness that we wouldn't achieve from using just milk or buttermilk. Again it makes a great gift and because it a quick bread it is fast to make. Click here for a printable recipe for Eggnog Bread
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 5:37 am - 0 comments
Start with our recipe for 2 single-crust pies (or 1 double-crust pie) and scale it up as desired to make extra pie crusts for the freezer.
1 cup butter, well chilled
2 1/2 cups flour
6-8 Tbsp cold water
1-2 Tbsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
To mix the dough, follow the steps below for each attachment. Chill the dough, roll, and bake as directed in your favorite pie recipes.
1. Large Slicer Shredder Attachment (Item #MUZ6LS1)This attachment allows you to make the most crusts in a single batch, thanks to the 6.5 quart capacity of the mixing bowl. You can also use the slicing disc to make perfectly uniform slices of thick or thin apples for apple pie.
Place the Large Slicer Shredder on the mixer with the shredding disc. The large holes should be facing up.
Make sure the butter is very cold and firm. Place butter in the chute and turn on mixer to speed 1. Gradually increase to speed 4 as you gently push the butter down with the pusher. Do not press hard; allow the machine to do the work. Repeat until all butter is shredded. Remove the Slicer Shredder attachment and set aside. Attach the wire whips to the center column, then add the flour, salt, and sugar.
Pulse the mixer briefly a few times until the flour is mixed with the butter. Don't overmix. You should be able to see large pieces of butter coated with flour.
Add about half the cold water and pulse the mixer a few times to combine. Continue adding water and pulsing, just until the dough begins to come together but is still very lumpy. Use the pulse switch only; do not mix the dough by turning it on full speed. (The wire whips are only designed for very light or pourable mixtures. They could bend when turning through a large mass of dough.)
Carefully scrape the dough out of the bowl. Our Easy Scraper fits the exact contour of the Bosch bowl to make cleanup fast and easy!
Gently pat the dough into a disc. Divide the dough as needed (our recipe makes one double-crust pie) and seal it in plastic wrap or foil. Allow it to chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
The process is nearly identical for this attachment, but the mixing step can either be completed in the slicer-shredder bowl, or in the Bosch mixing bowl.
Place cold butter in the chute and turn on mixer to speed 1. Gradually increase to speed 4 as you gently push the butter down with the pusher. Do not press hard; allow the machine to do the work. Repeat until all butter is shredded.
Attach the Mini Dough Hook to the drive shaft, then add the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse the mixer briefly a few times until the flour is mixed with the butter. Don't overmix. You should be able to see large pieces of butter coated with flour. Add water and pulse a few times, just until the dough begins to come together but is still very lumpy. Use the pulse switch only; do not mix the dough by turning it on full speed.
Carefully scrape out the dough and gently pat it together into a disc shape. Divide as needed, seal in plastic, and let chill at least 30 minutes before rolling.
The simplest way to use the food processor for dough is with the S-blade, because you can use it from start to finish without switching to a different accessory. However, you could also use the shredding disc, as in the examples above.
Cut the cold butter into cubes with a knife. Place the cubed butter, flour, salt, and sugar in the food processor. Attach the lid and lock it securely before placing it on the mixer. (See tips for attaching the food processor.)
Once the processor is attached, turn to speed 1 and mix for 10-20 seconds, until you can no longer see large pieces of butter moving around. Remove the Food Processor and open the lid. There should be pea-sized pieces of butter coated in flour.
Replace the lid and put the processor back on the mixer. Pour about half the water into the chute as you pulse the mixer several times. Continue drizzling water and pulsing the mixer, just until the dough begins to come together but is still lumpy. Be careful not to overmix.
Remove the processor and turn it upside down on the counter. Carefully remove the blade. The dough should still be a little crumbly.
Gently pat the dough together, wrap, and chill.
Voila! Perfect Pastry for those perfect holiday pies!
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 6:53 am - 0 comments
WE LOVE PUMPKIN PIE, and missed it on our sojourn in Europe a couple of years ago. We finally found a few small ones at the market one Saturday in Slovakia, and we made some great pumpkin pies for the locals, They had no idea how good a pumpkin pie tastes. Where there's a will there's a way! But pumpkin isn't only for pies, so I thought I would give you some other ideas on how to use raw pumpkin and process it for baking as well as some great recipes for pumpkin.
All About Pumpkins - Pumpkins are versatile. You can use it in many different ways. You can bake a pumpkin, steam a pumpkin, sauté a pumpkin, make puree out of a pumpkin, and more. But where a pumpkin really comes into its own is in your kitchen. Pumpkins make favorite pies, moist cakes, interesting breads, and delightful cookies. The flavour is mild, maybe a little earthy. Typically, pumpkin is the canvas for an array of spices. When we think of pumpkin, we think of mixtures of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves found in pumpkin pie.
There are two types of pumpkins—the decorative pumpkins intended for jack-o-lanterns and sweet, pie, or eating pumpkins. The larger decorative pumpkins used for jack-o-lanterns tend to be watery and stringy and are not very good for baking. Pie pumpkins are much better—meatier, smoother, and sweeter. When choosing pumpkins, select those that are firm and heavy for their size. Avoid those with soft spots or any signs of decay. Inspect carefully any areas that may be soiled with dirt from the field. The rind should be hard. Choose one that is small enough to use at one time since cut pumpkins will not keep as well. In the right conditions, your pumpkins will keep for two or three months. Store them in a cool, dry location. Space them so that the air can circulate around them. Ideal temperatures are 50-55 degrees.
Once you cut into a pumpkin, it should be refrigerated. Chunks can be kept in your crisper where the atmosphere is moist or in perforated plastic bags for a week or more. For longer storage, cook your pumpkin, puree it, and freeze the puree. Properly frozen, your puree will keep in the freezer for six months. Raw pumpkin can also be frozen. Clean and peel the pumpkin. Cut the flesh into one-inch cubes. Place the cubes in freezer-type bags and freeze. Measure out what you need for your favorite recipes. Use within two months.
How to Puree Fresh Pumpkin
Can you use fresh pumpkin instead of canned? Yes, in fact I think it tastes better although canned pumpkin is convenient.
Cut a sugar or pie pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds.
Place the halves in a baking pan, flesh side down with 3/4-inch of water in the pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees or until the flesh is tender. (For small quantities, you can cook the pumpkin in the microwave.)
Let the pumpkin cool until you can handle it without burning. Scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and place it in a blender, foodmill, or food processor. Process until smooth. If you have a Victorio-type strainer, you can process the cooked pumpkin with the skin. The strainer will separate the skin from the pulp.
Often, especially from smaller or immature pumpkins, the puree will not be thick enough—a spoon should stand upright in the puree. To thicken, place the puree in a saucepan and cook, stirring often, until the puree becomes thicker, or you can just stir in a few spoonfuls of Ultragel until the desired thickness is achieved.
This is a great pumpkin bread recipe! It has an attractive orange color, it’s moist, and it’s packed with nutrition and flavor. We usually make it with white bread flour but you can substitute whole wheat flour. (If you use all whole wheat, add several tablespoons of wheat gluten.) The recipe calls for raisins but walnuts make it a great pumpkin bread also.
This bread is not sweet like a dessert bread. You can add more sugar if you like. If you choose, add one cup of chopped walnuts. Incidentally, try this bread toasted with Saskatoon jelly. It is terrific!
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups white bread flour (you can substitute up to 3 cups fresh milled whole wheat flour)
1/4 cup brown sugar or 1/8 cup Xagave
1 Tbsp. Saf Yeast
1 Tbsp. dough enhancer
1 1/3 cup warm water, 110 degrees
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup puréed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1/2 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups raisins, golden raisins, or currents
1. Place the water, sugar or Xagave, and dough enhancer and half of the flour and the yeast on top in your Bosch Universal Plus Bowl equipped with the dough hook and mix for 30 sec. on speed one.
2. Add the rest of the spices, the pumpkin, the salt, and the butter and turn on speed one again, and begin adding the remaining flour until the bowl has cleaned the sides with the dough. Knead with the dough hook at speed two for 6 minutes. When the dough comes together, add the raisins and continue beating for the remainder of the 2 minutes or until the gluten is developed. You will likely need to adjust the moisture level either by adding flour or water. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn once, and cover. Set the bowl in a warm place and allow it to double in size.
3. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Form two loaves, cover them, and let them rise until doubled and puffy.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until done. The internal temperature should be at 190 to 200 degrees F. Remove the loaves from the pans and let the bread cool on a wire rack.
More Pumpkin Baking - When we were first married I started to make these wonderful pumpkin pie squares. Over the years we have changed the recipes and the size of the pans to fit our changing family sizes. It tastes like pumpkin pie without having to making the pastry and the family love them. I also now make them using fresh milled barley flour from ourNutrimill Plus Flour Mill.
I think most people have the same thought as I do about leftovers from the big holiday dinner. Leftovers are common in my household, but you won't find me shouting "hooray" when it's leftover night. As much as I want to save money and not waste food, it can be hard to eat soggy, dried up and sometimes tasteless leftovers. Is it possible to recook or reheat leftovers ina way that tricks us into thinking were eating a freshly, cooked meal? Well friends-the answer is, YES.
So, before tossing away those amazing family favorites this holiday season, take a look at these tips I researched on how to give more life to your leftovers.
1. You can't go wrong with "Leftover Casserole"
Find a way to combine your leftover meat, rice and veggies together to create your very own casserole dish! For a wonderful, thanksgiving leftover casserole, visit: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/thanksgiving-leftovers-casserole-150207.aspx
2. Go Stir-fry crazy
Cut pieces of leftover meat into thin slices and freeze in freezer. If your meat is too tender and difficult to cut into thin slices, then partially freeze first before cutting. Freeze your leftover vegetables as well and combine into skillet and cook. Great Leftover Stir-fry recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/leftover-pork-chop-stir-fry-342728
3. We're bringin' moisture back
Reheating in the microwave can cause many foods to dry out. To add more moisture to those dry baked goods, place a cup of water in the microwave while reheating on a low setting. This creates a steaming effect. You can also place a damp paper towel on top of your leftovers and microwave (this works well for that dry, leftover turkey!)
Lastly, to keep those amazing desserts from turning into stone, grab some slices of bread and place them overtop of your cookies or around your cakes.
4. Sautee this, steam that!
Who says you have to reheat in the microwave? If you have more time on your hands try sautéing your leftover pasta and rice. Grab a skillet, some cooking oil and place over medium-high heat. Toss and reheat your cooked grains to give them a firmer texture. A steamer basket is a great way to reheat your meats without drying them out. Place pieces of meat in basket and place basket in a pot with boiling water (while making sure the meat is not touching the water).
Here are some other ideas on how to steam your leftovers if you do not own a steamer basket- http://noshon.it/tips/how-to-steam-without-a-steamer-basket/
Also, Just a reminder: be cautious about eating leftovers that have sat in your fridge for a while. If you label and date your leftovers you won't wonder how old they are (because if you're anything like me, it is easy to forget!) This website is as great resource in knowing when certain foods will rot. - http://www.eatbydate.com.
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 5:50 am - 0 comments
Wouldn't it be great to have fresh baked dinner rolls or buns for that special dinner or when friends drop by or just for an everyday dinner, without having to spend the time that day preparing them? Well the answer is simple. Prepare ahead and freeze. For the perfect holiday dinner rolls, look no further than your favorite bread recipe. With a few quick adjustments, you can make your everyday bread look and taste just a little more special than usual, and you can freeze them ahead of time to save time on the big cooking day. You could use your everyday Whole Wheat Bread recipe or if you prefer this great Fluffy White Bread recipe or even a combination of the two.
Prepare the Dough
We use our standardBosch Kitchen Mixer bread recipe, but you can apply any of these tips to your own recipe as well.
1. Replace the oil with melted butter for richer flavour.
2. Increase the honey or sugar to make the dough a little sweeter. Add up to 50% more honey or sugar.
3. Switch the type of flour or use a combination of flours for a lighter texture.
Replace up to half of the hard wheat flour with soft wheat flour (aka pastry flour)
Replace up to 1/4 of the hard wheat flour with oat flour. To make oat flour, grind whole oat groats (NOT rolled oats) in your NutriMill grain mill. Or, use a blender to pulse rolled oats into flour.
Use kamut or spelt instead of wheat flour. These flours both make a very soft dough, but their different protein structure tends not to hold fancy shapes as well as wheat rolls do. They’re wonderful for basic round rolls or bread sticks.
4. Use an egg wash for a shiny, golden brown crust. Beat one egg with 1 tablespoon of water, milk, or cream. Brush shaped rolls just before baking. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds if desired.
Crescent Rolls - Roll dough into a circle, like a thin pizza crust. Cut dough into wedges; brush with melted butter. Roll up each wedge from the widest end to the point, forming a crescent.
Divide the dough and roll into ropes. Many shapes can be made using these ropes.
Snails – Coil each rope into a circle.
S-Shapes – Roll dough into ropes. Curl each end in opposite directions toward the center.
Butterflies – Roll dough into ropes. Curl each end toward the center.
Knots – Divide dough into equal pieces, about 2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a rope. Tie into a knot.
Rosettes – After making knots, tuck one loose end of the knot under the roll. Bring the other end up and push it through the center of the knot.
To freeze rolls ahead of time:
Shape the dough as directed above. Work as quickly as you can so the dough does not have time to raise very much. Place shaped rolls onto parchment lined baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until the dough is hardened enough to hold its shape. Place frozen rolls in freezer bags, removing as much air from the bag as possible. Freeze until ready to use.
On baking day, remove as many frozen rolls as needed and place on lined baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to thaw and rise. The time will depend on the size of rolls and the temperature of your kitchen. When rolls are risen, brush with egg wash, if desired. Bake as usual. Brush baked rolls with melted butter for a soft crust.
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posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 7:06 am - 0 comments
September is Whole Grains Month and we thought we would talk about the whole grain concept in our everyday diets. Grains are an essential component of a balanced diet. They have many proven health benefits when consumed in their whole form, and freshly milled flour has the greatest nutrient value. NutriMill Grain Mills provide the necessary tools to have fresh, whole grain flour at home.
The Whole grain is usually made up of 3 major components, the endosperm (which most of us consume as white flour) , the bran and the germ.Basically, whole grains are nutritionally worthless unless they have their three key components. Most of the major nutrients are found in the bran and germ, which are commonly removed during grain processing.
The bran is the outer casing of the kernel containing multiple layers. The bran is extremely high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. In fact, a one cup serving of bran includes a little less than 25 g of fiber. This is close to 100 percent of your daily fiber intake. In fact, a one cup serving of bran includes a little less than 25 g of fiber. This is close to 100 percent of your daily fiber intake. Also, the bran provides large amounts of the vital minerals manganese, iron, potassium,phosphorus, zinc, copper, and selenium. The bran contains significant levels of quality proteins. In order to be a complete protein there has to be 9 essential amino acids. However, combining the bran with another food source, such as dairy, will make a complete protein.
The germ is the innermost portion of the grain. It istechnically an embryo because it has the ability to sprout into a new plant. The germ contains B vitamins, protein, minerals, and the germ oil which has extremely high vitamin E content. The grain germ is an excellent supply of multiple B vitamins. It is particularly high in thiamin (B1), which helps the cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It also aids in muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Germ is also a good source of quality protein but must be combined with other food sources to be complete. The germ contains significant quantities of the minerals manganese and selenium providing more than the daily recommended amount in a one cup serving. In the germ is the germ oil which contains the largest amount of vitamin E than any other unfortified food. In fact, one ounce of germ oil contains over 40g of vitamin E. (information on the bran and germ from our parent website research)
How Do We Get More Whole Grains into Our Diets?
Well we don't start to graze on whole grains exactly but we start adding them into our diets in small increments. Sometimes introducing all the fibre the whole grain will give you is a shock to our systems (it may go straight through you) so it is better to add it a little at time. We started with milling our own flour in the Nutrimill Grain Mill and making Half and Half Bread or pancakes with it. (1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat). We gradually started using less white flour and more of the whole grain flour, be it rye, or triticale, or spelt or just plain wheat. For breakfast we could roll our own whole Oats in our Family Grain Mill flaker and add water and cook really quickly. With the addition of some fresh fruit, this made a wholesolme and very tasty breakfast. When we were making a dish that had a meat base like chili for example, we would cook up some wheat (1 part grain to 2 parts water) like you cook rice, and add that into the stew or chili or soup. We eventually were getting a whole grain at least once or twice daily into the diets of the family. By the way, we found the children to be more alert, with more energy, producing better grades and were not getting sick very often as a result of the change in our diets. Can we suggest a challenge for the month of September for you to try and add a whole grain at least once a day to yours or your family's diet and let us know any results. we would love to hear from you.
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 5:01 am - 0 comments
I am not complaining but we have had a bumper crop of vegetables and fruit this year especially from our own garden. The question though remains- What do you do with all the extra produce. One cucumber plant keeps on producing a big cucumber 2 or 3 times a week.. We have a tomato jungle with both cherry tomatoes and larger beef steak tomatoes. We dry many of our vegetables in the dehydrators we sell, I have made catsup, salsa, and even pickles and canned tomatoes but I have more than I will use all years. I have checked out a partner site and the post on it by Brenda Lower has given some imaginative and interesting suggestions on using up the food without having to process it either by freezing, drying or canning. This is what I need. Here is what she suggested.
Salads! Vegetable salads are great, but fruit salads are fantastic! I toss together fresh berries, apples, pears, peaches, watermelon, pineapple, and oranges together. For a light dressing, blend a couple tablespoons of honey with some fresh lemon or lime juice. Drizzle this on the fruit salad, and gently stir it together. The sweet and tart flavors of the dressing really bring out the flavors of the various fruits. I have a really good marinated Cucumber salad here. Marinated Cucumbers. I have been making a Tomato and Bread Salad (Panzella) which is really goodand uses lots of tomatoes. Click here to see recipe.
Grilled fruits and veggies. Most fruits and vegetables are great hot off the grill! Lightly brush them with oil to keep them from sticking, and then grill! Peaches and pineapples are especially good fruits to try. I love grilled pineapple on either a hamburger or a grilled chicken sandwich! Stab onions, peppers, pineapple and meat together for great shish-kabobs to add variety to your BBQ.
Smoothies are fantastic. So are homemade popsicles. Take your choice of fruits, add a little milk or yogurt, and you’ve got flavorful, healthy popsicles! And almost anything can be run through a juicer. Fruit and veggie blends are fantastic for flavor and nutrition.
Zucchini, (the unwanted vegetable) I have come to believe, is one of the most versatile and delicious vegetables. Whether grilled, sautéed, fresh or shredded, it is fantastic. Use a spiralizer to create noodles to replace spaghetti. Shred it to use in breads and muffins. Grill it on your BBQ. The possibilities are endless!
-Roasted vegetables are quite delicious. Chop onions, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, beets, yams, sweet potatoes, and squash of any variety into one inch pieces. Toss them with a little olive oil and a few seasonings like salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, or whatever you like. Roast in the oven until tender-crisp. Voila! Great side dish for any meal. For a complete meal in itself: wash and cut an acorn squash in half. Clean out the seeds, and add a little butter to the hollow. Roast in the oven until nice and tender. Fill the hollow with taco meat, sloppy joe meat, or some other meat. Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven until warm through and cheese is melted. Excellent way to get your veggies in! One of my personal favorite dishes.
Another family favorite is homemade fries or potato wedges. All variety of potato works, they just have slightly different flavors. I love to take a sweet potato, peel and chop into fry-like shape. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Spread on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes at 400 F. Stir them about half-way through. Great side dish to have with hamburgers or anything else!
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 5:38 am - 0 comments