Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Granola Cereal

*Update 12/20/08-I don't make granola anymore. I tried making it with soaked oat groats and we did not like it*

Umm... homemade granola. There is nothing quite like the smell and taste of the stuff in your kitchen. I've actually been making this recipe for about 3 years now, obviously it's a favorite for us. I'm not convinced it's cheaper to make my own, but it's the only way I like the stuff. And the kids will eat nothing but this for breakfast (and lunch and supper if I let them).

Homemade Granola Cereal

4 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup chopped walnuts (or any other nuts-optional)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey
2 tbls cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla

I put the oil, honey, cinnamon and vanilla in my mixer and mix until well blended. Then I add the other ingredients and mix until just blended.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put onto two cookie sheets, spread out well. Bake for 15 minutes, stir and bake another 15 minutes. Let it cool on the pan and store in airtight container.

I make it once a week usually. We eat it with raisins and milk every morning. But the kids also enjoy it mixed into their yogurt.

Pizza Dough Recipes

* Update 12/20/o8-I have not made this in awhile, as it does not used soaked grains. I need to try my hand at it again though. I'd love to do sourdough breads and pizza doughs, but I have not tried it yet. I've been using Pita bread in it's place, but even that is not a great option (it just does not have yeast in it, but still uses unsoaked grains).

My husband loves pizza, I'm not so crazy about the stuff-until I started making my own. Now poor Drew never gets any leftovers-I eat them all myself. There are two doughs that I make, one is 100% whole wheat and thin crust, and the other is a basic, thicker crust.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough


2 cups whole wheat flour (did I mention I love King Arthur Flour?)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1/8 cup olive oil
1 cup water, ice cold
a few tablespoons chopped herbs (optional)

Stir together the flour, wheat germ, flaxseed, salt and instant yeast in the mixer. Stir in the oil and cold water until the flour is all absorbed. Add herbs. Switch to dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. Add a touch of water or flour to reach the desired effect. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky.
Transfer the dough to a floured countertop. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces and mold each into a ball. Rub each ball with olive oil and slip into plastic sandwich bags. Refrigerate overnight.

Giving them an hour to come to room temperature makes it much easier to roll out.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I like to pre-bake mine for 7 minutes to make the crust crunchy. After that, add some sauce (see my recipe), pepperoni, cut veggies and mozzarella and you're set!


Basic Bread Machine Pizza Dough

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup warm water (between 95 and 115 degrees)
1 packet yeast
2 Tbls honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (optional)

I dissolve the yeast in a small amount of the water in a separate bowl, and then I put the rest of the water, honey, oil and salt into my bread machine. I mix it up, add the wheat flour, flaxseed and wheat germ and let it mix for about 5 minutes, then I add the yeast and let it mix another 10 minutes. I shut the machine off, add the all purpose flour and seasoning and set the machine to dough setting. It makes two pizza crusts.

This is a great website for learning to make pizza:
http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/breads/yeast/pizzadough.html

See allrecipies.com for a ton of great topping ideas.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Chicken Nuggets and French Fries

When Myia was 2, she would go days without eating more then a few bites, but every time she went to Wendy's, she would devour the chicken nuggets and french fries. So I set out to find a recipe that I could make at home that we all would like. And I was successful. To this day, that is the only way she will eat chicken of any kind. But she does like my homemade almost as much as Wendy's-and it's so much healthier.

Chicken Nugget Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbls Dijon mustard
1 Tbls lemon juice
2 tsps olive oil
2 tsps honey
2 tsp minced garlic

3/4 cup breadcrumbs (see my recipe for wheat bread that makes great crumbs)
1/2 Tbls ground flax seed
1 1/2 Tbls cornmeal (optional)

Directions:

Mix mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, honey and garlic in a bowl. Cut up chicken in large chunks and put in bowl. Make sure they are all well coated. (You can make them ahead and store in the refrigerator at this point over night for a quick meal the next day)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Take one piece at a time and coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Spray with Pam for extra crispiness and bake for 25 minutes.


French Fries Ingredients:


Potatoes
Pam
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder

Optional:
shredded cheddar cheese
bacon bits
parmesan cheese

Directions:

Slice potatoes into thin strips
Spray Pam on cookie sheet and place potatoes on sheet, spray potatoes again.
Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic salt on potatoes

Cook for 30 minutes on 450-stir once.

If you want to make the 'souped up version', you can add the optional ingredients for the last 15 minutes of bake time.


Dry Seasoning Mixes

The store bought packages are expensive, a pain to find and full of sodium and preservatives. Here is what I have found and liked so far-and you can change them to suit your families tastes-hotter, more garlic, etc.

Taco Seasoning Mix

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dried onion flakes
  • 4 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  • 1 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons teaspoons salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine ingredients. Close lid securely, and shake well to mix contents. One half cup is equivalent to 1 (1.25 ounce) package of taco seasoning.

Perfect Pizza Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 6 ounces warm water
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
Dry ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 8 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a container. Cover and store.
  2. When you are ready to make the sauce, combine the tomato paste, water, honey, Parmesan and anchovy paste (I've never used it) and 1/4 cup of the dry ingredient mixture.
  3. Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired-good stuff!

Spaghetti Sauce Mix

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup dried minced onion
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons sweet pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced garlic
  • ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the first eight ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.

To prepare spaghetti sauce: In a skillet, brown beef; drain. Stir in 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce mix, water and tomato paste. Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Yield: about 3 cups sauce per batch.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Everyday Wheat Bread

This is a recipe I've been using for awhile now. We love it. It's not 100% whole wheat like I wish, but we just are not up for that (yet). This, I think, is still a lot better then the 100% whole wheats out on the market that have 10 preservatives and additives in them.

You will need:
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbls butter
1 1/4 cup hot water (I mic it for 50 seconds)
1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 cups wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/8 cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast

I use my bread machine at first and then transfer it over and it's the perfect combination of convenience and yumminess.

I combine the first 4 ingredients in my bread machine and turn it on.
I combine the last two in a seperate bowl and let them sit for at least 5 minutes.
After the 'wet' ingredients are combined (as soon as the butter is melted), I add the wheat germ, flax seed and wheat flour and let it mix for about 5 minutes.
Then I add the yeast/water mixture and let it mix another 10 minutes or so.
Then I turn off the machine, add the all purpose flour and turn it to 'dough' setting and leave it alone until it beeps. Mine takes an hour and a half.
When it's done, I punch it down, spray a loaf pan, put it in there and shape it and spray the top with Pam, and let it rise another hour on the stove (until it doubles, sometimes more or less time).
I preheat the oven to 350 and bake it for 30-35 minutes. Let it cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then take it out and let it finish cooling on a rack, so the crust does not get soggy.

Yummy....I just took one out of the oven, and it's half gone already! :)

p.s. don't throw uneaten end pieces or not so perfect breads away. I put them all in a baggie in the refrigerator, and when it's full, I cube them and bake them at 200 degrees for a couple of hours until they're dry (I cubed them and dried them for a few hours in my dehydrator and they turned out perfectly-I will do that from now on). Put them in a food chopper until they are crumbly. They make great breadcrumbs for homemade chicken nuggets.
Also, you can season them before you bake them and make croutons.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Healthy, homemade Facials

Facials are a lot of fun, as you can use a number of simple things from your kitchen. I will post them here as I use them. So far I've only used two:

Honey
---That's it. I rub it on my face and let it dry and then rinse it off in the shower. Your skin feels so fresh and clean. It's amazing for such a simple product.


Ground Oatmeal
---I take oatmeal and grind it in the food processor, add a little bit of warm water and rub it into my face. This is my favorite as I have terrible acne and pick at my face a lot. This takes the dry skin off and feels so good afterwards. I just rinse it off in the shower. Myia rubbed it on her face and thought it was great, while Sam ate the stuff and kept saying 'yum'. I love all-natural! It's safe and fun for the kids to! I ground up a bunch and put it in a baggie and just pull out a handful when I'm ready to use it. I just pour the water right onto my hand, squeeze it to make sure all the oatmeal is wet and scrub away. Make sure you let it dry completely, otherwise it loses it's effectiveness.


Here are 3 great websites for homemade facials-they give a ton of ideas and even tell you what to use for different skin types. The first is the most simple and my favorite:
http://www.stretcher.com/stories/980423b.cfm
http://kpatra.com/homemadefacialrecipes.htm
http://www.makeyourcosmetics.com/

Friday, March 16, 2007

Household Cleaners




Household Cleaners


Mr. Clean and AJAX were my main cleaning supplies. Yet I wasn't comfortable using them around the kids. And Myia desperately wanted to help me clean. So I began researching the Internet and books for natural cleaning recipes. I found out that most of the things that I needed were already in my house. There is a book that I got from the library and ended up buying because it was indispensable-it's called 'The Queen of Clean' by Linda Cobb.

After trying various things this is the all-purpose cleaner I made up and love. I use it on the table and chairs, vinyl and tile floors, toilet, sinks, counters-pretty much everywhere. And the ingredients are ones most people have on hand anyway. I store it in two 8 oz spray bottles and Myia loves it because now I give her a bottle and a rag and she 'helps' me clean. I keep one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen for easy, quick clean up. I can honestly say that I keep a much cleaner house now that it's so convenient and safe.


All Purpose Household Cleaner

Ingredients:

Dish soap (I don't think dish soap is all-natural, but it's non-toxic, or you can use all natural Castile liquid soap also, which I have yet to find)
White distilled vinegar
Lemon juice
Water
Tea Tree Oil/melaleuca oil (optional-it's a natural antiseptic/antifungal-found in health food stores)
2 8 oz. trigger spray bottles

Put 1 TBLS of vinegar in a spray bottle, and then fill the bottle half way with very hot water. Add the 1/8 cup of liquid soap and 1/2 tbsp. of lemon juice. Add approx. 8 drops of tea tree oil and you're ready to clean.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I love making my own laundry detergent! The cheap stuff gave Sammy a rash and smelled awful, and Tide is just so expensive! Esp the 'free' stuff if you happen to have any sensitivities. I found all the ingredients at the grocery store, but they may be a little hard to find. The Borax should be everywhere, the washing soda can be found at a pool supply store, although I've never looked, and the Fels Naptha is a bit harder to come by sometimes, but you can use any bar of soap you have on hand. I like Fels Naptha, as it's 100% natural-see picture.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1/4 Bar of soap ($1.39)
1/4 cup Borax ($4.99)
1/4 cup Washing Soda ($4.99)
Essential Oil (optional)
Heavy one gallon container
funnel

Grate the 1/4 bar of soap, put it in a pan with 3 cups of water and heat on medium, stirring constantly until all the soap melts. It bubbles up and is hard to see if the soap is melting sometimes. It takes about 5 minutes and if you lift it out with a spoon and pour it back in, you can usually see if there are flecks of soap that have not yet melted. Don't leave it alone-it will bubble over! It's a clean mess, but still a pain to get off the oven. After the soap has melted, pour in the borax and washing soda. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the essential oils if you choose.
Pour into the container. Fill it halfway with hot water and shake vigorously. Fill it the rest of the way up with water and shake again.
Let sit for 24 hours before using. It will gel up and look like egg yolks. I put in about 1/2 a cup, and I also put 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar in one of the fabric softener balls. That is my all-natural fabric softener

Monday, February 12, 2007

Play-dough

I have been making this recipe for about 2 years. It's safe to eat (which Sam does every time he touches it), and I find with Myia, it's better for her to have one color, as she is not old enough to appreciate multiple colors yet and always just mixed hers together. They turned nasty shades of gray. This way she has enough to really make whatever she wants and it stays a nice color (pink is the color she mostly chooses, although I have managed to talk her into blue and green a few times). My Kitchen Aid makes the job so simple, and Myia loves to watch it turn into workable dough. And of course, she always gets to squeeze in the food coloring.

Play-dough

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cream of tartar
scant 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups hot water
food coloring

Mix three cups of flour together with the salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of your stand-type mixer. Add the oil and water and knead with a dough hook in your electric stand-type mixer for five to six minutes. (If you are kneading by hand, knead for eight to ten minutes.) Add more flour to get a soft, workable dough.

Store the dough in a sealed container to keep it from becoming dry. If it becomes too dry, place it back in the mixer bowl and knead in a dribble of water.

Throw a rolling pin (Pampered Chef pin is perfect for the little hands), some cookie cutters and plastic plates on the table and the kids have a blast. It looks like they're just playing, but they're actually learning motor skills and coordination and all kinds of other good stuff.

http://www.preparedpantry.com/playdough.htm