Posts Tagged With: bread

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: March Edition

So I mentioned in this post that I was going to try a monthly meal plan for March, sticking within my budget of $25/week for food. How did it go?

  • Week 1: I spent $19.47 on groceries.
  • Week 2: I spent $24.09 on groceries. Cutting it close! All necessites for my week’s plan.
  • Week 3: I spent $20.30 on groceries. Roughly $10 0f that was absolute necessities for my planned menu, and I got some extra goodies! (okay, it was mostly bell peppers and avocados.) I ended up not doing all the planned meals because I had lots more leftovers than previous weeks, plus I was sick.
  • Week 4: I spent $26.60 on groceries. This included what I needed for the little bit of overlap for the last couple days of March.
  • But I did end up using the rest of my money buying a couple staple/pantry items that I’ll use next month too.

Keep in mind, we do have loads of bulk stuff stored in buckets from More Prosperous (or simply more reckless?) Times of the Past, and we have a separate line item for bulk food (and I spent all but pennies of that $50 this month aside from the above), so the above is strictly fresh veggies and staples like oil and sugar.

Speaking of oil and sugar, I bought a regular bottle of veggie oil and a 4lb bag of sugar for Week 1. As of the end of week 3, the oil had been long gone and another bottle half-used, and the sugar is all but gone. I find this disturbing.

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From More Peas, Thank You:

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1. Corn Chowda with Cornbread Croutons – GooGoo has been pestering me to make a potato soup for weeks now. I finally make one, and will she eat it? No. Sigh. She did like the cornbread croutons and the side of broccoli, though.

 From The Veg Feasting Cookbook:

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2. Carrots in the Raw – This salad was very easy, requiring few ingredients, and went great with the burgers we had for lunch. I left out the raisins and just added some extra pumpkin seeds instead, because fruit in a vegetable salad is just weird to me. The following day we had the leftovers on top of lettuce. Yum.

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3. Cumin Carrot Soup – This became steadily more disgusting the more of it that I ate. Mr Pine Nut thought it was good, but I heartily disagreed. I couldn’t taste cumin at all; even though I reduced the pepper it was way too peppery; worst of all the texture was just gross. Will never make again.

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4. Turkish Lentil Soup – SO good. I was a little concerned, because the cinnamon smelled really strong while it was cooking, but as far as taste went, I didn’t even notice it. The flavours were all blended perfectly with nothing overpowering anything else. I was pleased, and would definitely make this again. Way better than the vomitous carrot sludge.

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5. Spicy Yellow Dal – I didn’t have toor dal, but the book suggested subbing yellow split peas, so I used green split peas. It took a lot more than 2 cups of water to cook the peas, but this was overall quite a simple dish to assemble and it was very tasty. It was at the edge of my heat tolerance level, but very good. We ate it with rice and steamed broccoli.

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6. Mexican Black Bean Salad – This was fairly simple to throw together, and it was a meal for Mr Pine Nut and I (with the addition of lettuce, and some bread on the side). It had a good flavour, but the recipe called for no salt. I added a tiny bit, but more wouldn’t have hurt. I’m not sure I’ll make it again, but it was fine.

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7. Cabbage Curry – This was SO easy, and very tasty! I added the garbanzo beans to make it a meal, but the flavour was great and the heat level perfect (that is, not very hot. :-)) It’s a dry curry, and you could really use any veggie (or combination thereof) instead of the cabbage – cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, &c.

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8. Cream of Veg Soup – This was just okay. Mr Pine Nut and Lou Who loved it; GooGoo wouldn’t touch it, and I didn’t finish mine. It was better than cumin-carrot soup, but I found it just too salty even though I’d diluted it considerably.

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9. Chickpea Mash Stew – I really liked this, despite it being totally different from how I envisioned it would be. Lou Who loved it too!

10. Super Noodle Soup – Very basic. The special thing about it seemed to me just that all the veggies get cut up very tiny (1/8″ dice), and I had to add a lot of extra salt and some garlic powder because it just didn’t have much flavour without. It was good, but I don’t think I’ll rush to make it again.

11. Pulao Rice – This was pretty easy. I used brown rice so I changed the water proportion and cooking time, but it came out very nice and I liked it. I wasn’t super fond of the whole idea of having to pick out all the whole cloves, cardamom pods, and other such things though.

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12. Chickpea Curry – I was prepping my ingredients for this and it calls for a 4-oz piece of ginger, thinly sliced. I only have (frozen) grated ginger, so I got it out and the frozen glob I had weighed exactly four ounces. The problem is that four ounces of grated ginger is like… a CUP’S worth. So I called out into the twitterverse and got confirmation that for the amount of curry, that seemed like an awful lot. So I decided to do 2 ounces instead. The end result was a curry with a good flavour… under an intense heat. I burned my entire digestive tract raw and had steam coming out my ears from eating it. So yeah, I doubt I’ll be making this again.

13. Saffron Rice – I made this to go with the abovementioned curry as per the book’s suggestion. It was okay. I wasn’t overly thrilled with it.

From the interwebs:

14. Parmesan Muffins – A friend made these and raved about them, so I decided to try them, because I need to get more savoury muffins into my culinary repertoire. They were excellent! I used flax instead of eggs (so 2T ground flax and 6T warm water), and I was too tired/lazy to make my favourite almond parmesan so I just used some Daiya mozzarella shreds I had in my freezer. And I left out the sugar.

15. Brownie Coco-Nut-Butter Cups – !!!!!!! YUM !!!!!! So, I made these for a potluck and forgot to take them with me. Oops. What a tragedy. 😉

From Vegan Simplicity:

16. Vegan Red Beans and Rice – This was good, but not great, which seems to be (so far) my reaction to most of Mark Anthony’s recipes. I bought this cookbook when he came and did a presentation/cooking class at our church and really haven’t used it much yet, so I definitely want to give it more of a chance before passing judgement. At any rate, this called for 3/4 cup of vegan margarine. O_O It also didn’t *look* super appetising.

17. Sri Lankan Style Mixed-Bean Soup – No picture; it looked sludgy and not super appealing, kind of pooplike, so like the red beans above the visual appeal was nil. But it tasted pretty good.

From Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day:

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18. Green Monster Bread (made into bagels/rolls) – I used rye flour and caraway seeds in with this and like it a lot! It seems a tad on the sweet side, so I think I’d reduce the sugar next time, but aside from that this was a definite “something I’d make again”. Way to sneak some kale into my girls’ diets (and mine).

Ten Talents (1978 edition):

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19. Carrot Salad – I thought the combo of carrot/pecan/cocoanut seemed a bit odd, but decided to try it anyway, and it was really good! Also very simple. I served it on a bed of lettuce/cabbage just to give it more variety but I would totally make it again.

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

20. Cornmeal Poppyseed Biscotti – I hate lemon poppyseed bread. That being said, these were really good! I was surprised. I don’t know that they’ll be something I’ll make really often, but I brought some home from a potluck and know I’ll eat them. 🙂

21. Rocky Roads – I’ve had these before but haven’t made them before, and my suspicion that I’d like them better without the almond extract was completely correct. They are addictive, amazing, and I think the dough would be the perfect chocolate cookie base for a whole bunch of mix-ins. I’d like to try it plain too.

Everyday Vegan Eats:

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22. Chickpeas and Dumplings – A bit too salty but it was really yummy anyway!

23. Black Bean Feijoada – Really, really good!

[ETA: 24. Macaroni Salad – I made this on a whim the last day of March, and it was GOOD]

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in March: 8

Did I meet my goal? Barely! I was worried the last week or so that I wouldn’t hit 20, but I did.

See you next month, with April’s recipe report!

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Categories: bread, challenges, cookies, dairy-free, dessert, lunch, salads, side dish, soup, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Vegan Month of Food, Day 7: Almond Butter Sandwich

Here’s something insanely simple for Sandwich Tuesday.

I really miss peanut butter: its savoury, chunky awesomeness. Since not being able to have peanuts due to Lou Who’s intolerance, I’ve had to eat almond butter, which I’ve never liked all that much. It’s too much on the sweet side. I love almonds, but the butter just doesn’t appeal.

I get mine fresh-ground from the bulk section of Winco and I’ve taken to stirring a little salt in whenever I fill a new tub. The salt helps. Then I thought, “What if I added a little molasses and a little more salt?”

And ya know… this was just about ALMOST as good as peanut butter.

almondbuttersandwich

Here are the proportions I used:
1 T almond butter
1/4 tsp molasses
Pinch salt (if you use already-salted almond butter, you may want to omit adding extra salt. Your call.)

Mix almond butter, molasses, and salt thoroughly and spread on a slice of bread or half a bun. Top with sliced apples. Or really whatever you want. But I used sliced apples.

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Categories: challenges, lunch, recipes, sandwich, snacks, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2013 | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Postpartum Freezer Food Project of Doom: Pizza Crusts

For my first freezer project, I chose to do my pizza crusts, because bread keeps so well in the freezer. I need 4 but only had enough oil for 2, so I’ll have to make the others later.

Pizza Crust

Single Basic Pizza Dough Crust recipe (adapted from an old Betty Crocker cookbook)

1 T yeast
1 T sugar
1 c warm water
1 tsp salt
2 T veggie oil
2.5 cups flour (I use varying combinations of white/whole wheat)

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Add in salt, oil, and flour. Knead until incorporated, adding flour if necessary. I don’t usually knead it for more than a minute. Let it sit there for 5 or so minutes before rolling out to fit your pan.

In this particular batch of 2 crusts, I added in with the salt/oil:
1 T sesame seeds
1 T pizza seasoning

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.* Let cool completely. Freeze on trays before wrapping/bagging.

This recipe will do a variety of sizes, depending on thickness. I have stretched it over an 18″ circular pan (thinner crust) and these ones I did a bit thicker in an 15×9-ish rectangular pan (the biggest that fits in my trailer oven). You can also do small rounds for mini pizzas.

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*If I’m making this to eat right away, I bake it at 425 for about 5 minutes, add my sauce and toppings, and return it to the oven for 8 minutes or so. Since I’m going to be thawing and reheating this time, my theory is that baking it a little less will keep it from being too dry. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Categories: bread, freezer meals, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Playing With Bread

The bread recipe in my previous post is a blank slate on which you can write a myriad of bready flavours.

Let’s start with talking about flours. What kinds of flours besides (or in conjunction with) wheat work well? Below are some ideas of kinds you can try (or not!) and approximately how much you should use. Whatever flours you try, always start with just a cup or so. If the gluten content doesn’t seem drastically affected, try adding some more!

  • Spelt flour can be used interchangeably with wheat. I have frequently done this.
  • Soft white wheat flour is also a great idea, especially if you have children who aren’t sure about the idea of brown bread, because it makes a very light-coloured but no less healthy wheat bread.
  • Rye flour has a very low gluten content. If you want rye bread, I would not recommend using more than 2-3 cups for two loaves. The bread will get more dense the more you add, and will not rise very well. I personally like the hint of rye flavour but not a heavy bread. (Some day I’ll do a post specifically about making rye bread because, uh, I’m still working on perfecting that one.)
  • Millet flour gives bread a soft, delightful texture and a hint of nutty flavour. For a two-loaf batch, I recommend 1-1.5 cups.
  • Corn flour is zero gluten. I’ve yet to have good luck using it and don’t recommend it for a yeast bread – yet. 🙂

Then there are the oils. Olive oil is my favourite to use in almost everything. However, because I’m out of olive oil currently, I’ve been using a lot of plain old veggie or corn oils. For something more exotic, you can try peanut or sesame oil. (I haven’t ever used either of those last two in bread. Yet.)

What about add-ins? In my template recipe, it calls for flaxseed (ground). I usually do a mixture and usually about 1/2 cup of each add-in. Start with only 2 or at most 3 add-ins until you get a feel for how each one affects your bread. Other things you can use instead of or along with the flaxseed:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Rolled oats or other rolled grains
  • Ground or finely chopped nuts
  • Dehydrated minced onions
  • Caraway seed (use 1-2 tablespoons)
  • Rosemary or other herbs (use 1-2 tablespoons)

Do you have favourite flours besides wheat flour or favourite add-ins that I don’t have listed? If so, I would love to hear what they are!

Categories: substitutions, vegan | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Delicious Homemade Bread Anyone Can Bake

Someone once said:

If girls were taught how to cook, especially how to make good bread, their education would be of far greater value.

(Boys can benefit too!)

Now, how about a recipe using delicious grainy goodness?

I’ve had a lot of issues making bread. Most people have. But because I usually can’t bring myself to shell out $4 or more for a loaf of bread that’s actually reasonably healthy, I’ve made it myself. With endless issues. It sank. Or it was gooey. Or it felt like I should sell it to the third little pig for his house. You name it, it’s happened to me. I tried all the recipes friends and family would throw at me and checked out book after book from the library, and while I’d occasionally get a freak good result, the frustration and failure was monumental. I gave up for a long time and my husband took over the breadmaking for several months.

UNTIL I BEGAN USING THIS RECIPE, and I have never had a failed loaf of bread since (even though I continued on to modify it slightly, because that’s how I roll).

The measurements in black text make 1 loaf. The numbers in red are a double recipe for 2 loaves. I recommend making just one loaf for starters.

Ingredients:
1.5 (3) c warm water (if you’re going by a thermometer, 105-115 degrees; I just stick my finger in it)
1.5 (3) Tbsp sweetener of choice – agave, honey, or sugar
1.5 (3) Tbsp yeast
1/4 c (3/4c) ground flaxseed (optional)
1.5 (3) Tbsp olive oil
1.5 (3) tsp salt
1.5 (3) c white flour or (3/4 c) gluten flour
3-4.5 (6-9) c whole wheat flour

Instructions:
Place warm water in a large bowl. Add yeast and sweetener and whisk to dissolve yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until you see the yeast bubbling and frothing rabidly on top of the water. (This is called proofing the yeast, to make sure it’s alive and functional.)

Yeast and sugar

Here is my yeast with three blops of brown sugar.

Whisked Up

Now I’ve added the 3 cups of warm water and whisked it up.

Frothing Yeastiness

IT’S ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE

Add flaxseed, oil, and salt. Add the white flour and stir 1-2 minutes. This will help develop the gluten to make a light loaf of bread.

Flaxseed, oil, and salt

Adding in my ground flaxseed, oil (corn oil in this case), and salt.

Add remaining whole wheat flour about a cup at a time until you can handle the dough without it sticking to your hands. [I don’t really count the cups I put in; I just add until it feels right, because it seems to vary depending on weather and temperature and other factors.]

Knead the dough in the bowl or on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes. Add flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to your hands. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp towel, and let rise in a warm place approximately an hour until doubled. [Just keep an eye on it, because I find it often will double long before an hour hits, and you want to not let the yeast die out. 30-45 minutes is usually what I do.]

Stirring

Stirring in my flour

Kneaded lump

It’s all kneaded and ready to rise. (Yes, the picture is blurry. I have lousy lighting conditions in my current place of abode.)

Punch down the risen dough and knead a little to work out air bubbles. Shape into a loaf (or two loaves) (or divide dough into 12-16 equal blobs and shape into buns!) and place in oiled bread pan (or cookie sheets for buns). Cover with towel again and let rise 30 minutes approximately, until nearly doubled. Preheat the oven to 350 during this time. [It will continue to rise the first minute or so in the hot oven, sometimes quite dramatically!]

First Rising

After rising for a while, it’s ready to punch down and shape into loaves!

Division

Here I’ve cut the blob of dough in two equal parts.

Rolling out the air bubbles

You can squish the bubbles out by hand if you like; I usually roll it out and then roll it up tightly.

Second rise

In the loaf pans ready to rise the second time.

After rising

Ready to go into the oven to bake!

Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped on the bottom. [After about 30 minutes, I take the loaf out of the pan and just put it right on the oven rack for another 10 minutes or so. This gets a good crust on the bottom and seems to help keep the bread from being soggy.] (Buns usually go 20-25 minutes, and you can just turn them upside down on the cookie sheets to crisp up the bottom.) Cool on a cooling rack.

All done!

Out of the oven, cooling on a cooling rack!

I also let the bread sit out at least overnight before putting it away. 24 hours would be ideal. It really cures it nicely.

In my next post, I’ll share some substitutionary ideas you can try out once you’ve mastered the plain template above!

Categories: around the kitchen, bread, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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