Category Archives: Cooking

Cooking Personal

The Great Sourdough Adventure

I took a jump a few weeks ago & ordered a sourdough starter from King Arthur. The starter arrived in the mailroom the same day that we took in a stray who had been locked in our basement; together they added two more “mouths” to feed! Oy!

If you are a newbee like me, you may not know that you need to feed your starter each week a meal of flour and water. Since it arrived, our sourdough has been doubled twice to share with friends & once busted out of a container threatening to consume the fridge. It also made some pretty yummy rustic sourdough bread, recipe here. I’m going to try the more sour bread recipe & the sourdough pancakes this weekend.

Am I brave enough for Kombucha? Not sure yet…

Baby Cooking

Get Real 2012 Challenge


Just a bit late, I came across this “Get Real 2012″ challenge at Once a Month Mom Cooking. It is a year-long challenge to get yourself of a real food diet. Sign me up! I love that most of her cooking is done ahead of time & frozen. It is the perfect solution for a hungry toddler at 5.30PM.

Since I’m a little late, I need to jump quickly through January. Thankfully I’ve already been working on a bunch of these!

Week 1 – Inventory Your Pantry Need to replace pre made frozen food & snacks.
Week 2 – Hard Habits to Break Take a look at the ingredients in everything (strive for 5 or less).
Week 3 – Food, Inc. Watch the movie!
Week 4 – Sugars Switch to Organic Sucanat, Raw Honey & Pure Maple Syrup

She put together these AMAZING freeze ahead menus for January & February for 18 month olds. There is an adult whole foods version as well monthly. Cheddar Coins and Fish Stix are now in the freezer. I’m in love the printable freezer labels & grocery lists.

This might just be doable.

Cooking Personal

Writing it down

For me, writing it down often seems to have a way of making it happen. There is something in the mix over at our house.

To make a long story short, I’ve been coupon-ing in an effort to save money. That is what you do – right? As it turns out, I’ve started to feel silly. The endless printing ($) and sorting (time), plus the tolls to get to the store and I get the feeling I’m ending out where I started. Plus, we always seem to bring home things we were’t planning on buying.

Then I came across this post. I don’t think I’d EVER be able to get us down to $250 a month and even she normally is $450. How does she propose do it? Instead of couponing, she is cooking from whole foods! That resonates! During the summer, my daughter and I eat mostly from our CSA. All that goes out the window during the winter – even though I’m splitting a winter share for the first time this year. Here’s another whole foods blog a family of four for $500 a month.

There seems to be quite a bit of interest in a buying club for the community. Let’s make it happen! Get me out of the grocery store.

Sites like this local lady are SO inspirational. Check out their diet! So starting today, I’m taking little steps to cut out the processed food from our diet. Another round of yogurt is in the making, pizza dough is in the freezer, granola is in the oven, soup in the crockpot and pasta for dinner in the fridge. Not bad for nap time!

Cooking Personal

Updates from a Holiday Party

Just a note to myself to remember that a simple and relaxed party works great! Ask people to help & potluck is wonderful. Oh and folks like the dip (which rocks since it was easy).

spinach artichoke dip
2 cups parmesan cheese

10oz box frozen spinach, thawed

14oz can artichoke hearts, drained

2/3 cup sour cream

1 cup cream cheese

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tsp garlic, minced

1. Thaw the spinach in the microwave and mix with the drained artichoke hearts in a casserole dish. mix in the cheese.
2. Soften the cream cheese in the microwave and combine with the sour cream, mayo and garlic. stir the cream mixture into the spinach and artichokes until everything is coated.
3. bake at 375 F for 20-30 minutes.

Thanks to Pete Bakes via pinterest


From scratch

I am constantly amazed to find that many of the items I bought at the grocery store are easily made from scratch. I lived on frozen food for so many years that it just tickles me to find I can make something quickly that’s better.

This recipe for Curry Lentil Soup by Martha Stewart is a perfect example.

For the soup
1 teaspoon safflower oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
6 cups Vegetable Stock
1 1/2 cups yellow lentils (12 ounces), rinsed well
Coarse salt

For the chutney
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons safflower oil
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger

Make the soup: Heat oil and coriander seeds in a medium saucepan over high heat for 1 minute. Add stock and lentils. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and simmer gently, partially covered, until lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt.
Meanwhile, make the chutney: Pulse cilantro, lime juice, oil, and ginger in a food processor until cilantro is finely chopped. Serve soup topped with chutney.


Impressing your wife

There is a great section in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver about how to impress your wife using a breadmaker. It’s been in the back of my mind. The bread I’ve been making in my breadmaker is OK. Good but not great. I think the key is to use the breakmaker to make the dough and then cook it in the oven. This is my first try:

French Baguette recipe from Allrecipes. It is good but doesnt taste at all like a baguette since the crust is like a dinner roll.


Chai Concentrate

From PioneerWoman. Sounds AMAZING!

4-½ cups Water
1 stick Cinnamon
1 piece Fresh Ginger Chopped
7 whole Cardamom Pods
2 whole Star Anise Pods
10 whole Cloves
¼ teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
½ teaspoons Freshly-ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Orange Zest
10 teaspoons Green Or Black Tea Or 10 Tea Bags
⅔ cups Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
Preparation Instructions
Bring the water to a boil. Add the spices and tea, remove from heat and let steep 15-20 minutes, depending on how strong you want it. Strain and add the brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
Mix 1 part concentrate with 1 part milk, heat and enjoy or pour over ice.
For a stronger flavor, mix 2 parts concentrate with 1 part milk or half-and-half (if you’re like me).


Next years cookies!


Granola recipe

From SouleMama!

Nut & Seed Granola
from Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole Foods by Cynthia Lair (shared with permission)

3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch sea salt
1/3 cup cold-pressed vegetable oil (we like to use coconut, though all wet ingredients need to be at room temperature to do so)
1/3 cup brown rice syrup or maple syrup
1/4 cup apple or orange juice (in a pinch, most other juices have worked for us too)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 300degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, seeds, almonds, flour, cinnamon and salt; mix well. In a separate bowl, combine oil, syrup, juice and extracts. Slowly pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients, using a spatula to fold and evenly coat the dry mixture with the wet. Spread on a cookie sheet or in a shallow pan and bake. Turn granola every 15 or 20 minutes so that it toasts evenly. Bake until granola is dry and golden (45-60 minutes). Store in an air tight jar.


More cookies

Ok, the spice pumpkin cookies turned out more like cookie muffins. Good but strange. Next try Chocolate Buttons!