Monday, June 25, 2012

WOW your cooking with Garden Breadsticks!

 I recently went to a class where I learned how to better follow what us Mormons call the Word of Wisdom.  If you are unfamiliar with it you can read the scripture here.  
It's where we get the commandments not to drink or smoke.  For me that's the easy part.  Really no temptation there.  For most of us we just aren't that good at eating fruits and vegetables in season and lots of whole grains with only a little meat.

The lady who taught the class had a serious disease which led her to learn more of how to eat better and more closely follow the commandment.  Her solution was to create a veggie blend and then add that to whatever she was cooking.  I am seriously trying to incorporate more veggies into our diet and this is a relatively simple way to do it.  Usually it gets added to pasta sauce.  If your family is squeamish about new veggies, that is a great place to start.  Plus the breadstick recipe I'm going to share has 2 full cups of veggies!  I will be sharing more veggie blend recipes as the weeks go by.  I've definitely found some yummy ones.  But before we get to all that, here's what goes into the blend.

Buy one, or a small bunch of each of the following:
Beet (try to get a white beet, otherwise it will turn your meal a pinkish color)
Brussels Sprouts
Butternut Squash
Green Beans
Swiss Chard
Yellow Squash

A ton right?  I was amazed at how many of those I'd never bought before and now I eat them on a regular basis. Plus think of all the veggies you aren't adding.  She doesn't add onions, or peppers because they have a strong and overwhelming flavor.  I usually add the others in depending on the meal.
Bell Peppers

 Wash and cut off any stems or peels.  Next chop them fairly fine.  If you have a food processor, use that, a few veggies at a time.(this is important so you don't overwhelm your machine)  Don't worry about which ones because you will be mixing it all together.  I have a Vita-Mix so I put some water in the blender and a few veggies then chopped the veggies until I got the size I wanted, small but not pureed.  Drain and put them in a large bowl.
 It will look like something like this.  Since one batch will make a ton, put some in freezer bags to save for later.  One batch lasted me about 1 month using the blend 2-3 times a week.  It freezes well, just thaw and drain the veggies and they are ready to use.  Next time I will put the blend in my muffin tin to freeze 1 cup portions for easier use.
 Now that's done, lets get to the Garden Breadsticks.  I was so excited when I got my King Arthur Flour Baking Sheet in the mail with this recipe!  It's super yummy and has a ton of veggies in it!

Garden Breadsticks

You have some options with the veggies.  You will need a total of 2 cups of shredded vegetables.

The recipe says:
1/4 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup shredded yellow squash
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped scallions

I used 1 zucchini and 2 carrots shredded finely to make 1 cup shredded veggies.
 Add the shredded veggies and 1 cup of the veggie blend to a sauce pot and cook slightly to soften.  About 5 minutes on Medium high stirring regularly to prevent over browning.

Grind some grains to get 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour.  I usually do a blend of wheat, quinoa, and kamut.

When the veggies are done, measure 1 cup and add them to your mixing bowl.

Then add: 
1 large egg
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Pizza seasoning or chopped fresh herbs of your choice.  I added some Herbs de Provence.
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp instant yeast. 

The warm veggies take the place of the water in this recipe.

Mix for about 2-3 minutes until the dough comes together then add:
1 more cup of the warm veggies.

Knead for another 4-5 minutes.  The dough should relax more and become tender.  Add a little flour as needed to clean the sides of the bowl.
 Cover and let rise until double in bulk.
 Get out a sheet of parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.  Put olive oil on your hands and rolling pin.  This makes the rolling easier and the dough doesn't stick.

Roll dough out to a large rectangle filling the parchment.
 Using a pizza cutter, cut up the dough into breadsticks.
 Brush tops with olive oil or egg wash and sprinkle with 1/2 cup parmesan cheese or other grated cheese.  Let rest for another 20-25 minutes while the oven heats to 375 degrees.

Bake on pizza stone for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm.

Yummy and healthy! 
 It's a win-win!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Here's another super yummy Rhubarb recipe that has become my new favorite!  I made it for my family for Father's Day.  My family was a little hesitant because we are new to Rhubarb but it got rave reviews and I will definitely be making this one again and again!  I altered it just slightly from King Arthur Flour's Recipe.  Let's get baking!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

First Go Here to get the crust recipe and tutorial.  I modified the crust recipe just slightly by adding 1 cup of fresh ground flour that was a mix of Kamut and Hard White wheat, then added 1 1/2 cups white flour, to give a total of 2 1/2 cups flour.  My family couldn't tell the difference and I snuck in some whole grain.  Sa-weet!

Next wash and slice up the rhubarb into small pieces.  I sliced down the center and then cross-wise every 1/2 inch or so.You will need 3 1/2 cups diced Rhubarb.
Hull and quarter 3 cups of Strawberries.

In a mixing bowl combine the following:
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 Tbsp instant ClearJel (you can find it here, or at your local food storage store)
1/4 tsp salt
Whisk together, then add in
3 1/2 cups diced Rhubarb
3 cups quartered Stawberries
(frozen for either or both is OK)
Cover and let sit in the fridge while you finish getting the crust ready.
After making the crust recipe, let sit in fridge for about 20-30 min.  Lay out plastic wrap and sandwich the dough in between to roll it out.
I love this method because it prevents you from touching or adding more flour to the crust, plus clean up is a snap!

Put your dough in a 9 inch pan and flute the edges.  Cover the pan with plastic and put in the fridge until the oven is ready.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
When the oven is ready, pull out the crust and filling.  Put the filling in the crust, dot the top with about 1 Tbsp butter and using the left over dough cut out shapes and place on top of pie.  Brush dough with water.

Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until filling is bubbling and crust is lightly browned.
You might want to add a cookie sheet on the rack below the pies to catch any drips.  I forgot that step and got to clean my oven the next day.  No worries.  Now I have a clean oven and pie.  Yessss!

Remove from oven and let cool for about an hour before serving to allow the fruit filling to set.

 Strawberries and Rhubarb!
The rhubarb holds its shape well and isn't mushy.

It was a super yummy sweet/tart perfect combination!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beadboard and Pennies

I needed a way to display my Father's Day Present.  Here's what I came up with.  The best part is I only had to pay for the pictures.  

Let's get started.  First I taped off the sections of the beadboard.  Be sure the edges are secure.

 My tape was a little wider than the section of beadboard so I used one side of my scissors to trim the excess off.
 Press firmly with your fingernail or bone folder.  Paint each section.  I alternated black and white with 2 coats each.

I found pennies that were the same year of each of my kids birthdays, along with my anniversary.  Then I drilled a hole in each of the pennies.

 Next, I stamped each kid's inital on their penny using my stamping set I got from Harbor Freight.  For our anniversary penny I did our initials and an Ampersand.  ie. n&s.

 Next get about 6 inches beading wire.
Start a loop and hold with beading pliers.
 Hold loop flat and wrap the wire around clockwise turning the loop as you go.
 Keep turning until you get the coil you want.
 Thread wire through penny holding coil on front of penny.
 Wrap wire once through the hole on the penny.
 Wrap wire around bottom of frame pressing wire into grooves of the frame so the glass will fit.  Twist wire around first strand and coil again as on the front.  Use a hammer to lightly tap the coils to set them.

 I used my staple gun to staple the ribbon to the back of the frame.

 I heavily sanded the beadboard after the paint dried then added a wooden knob near the top which I also painted black and distressed.
 Here's the top with the ribbon.

I love how they turned out!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Quick Up-cycled Skirt

Here's a super quick and cute project and all you need is an old t-shirt, thread and elastic.  And about 20 minutes.  
How's that  for quick!

Determine the length you want and cut the shirt. It's OK if the sleeves are in there.  If there's sleeves in the way, trim them out and seam up the sides.  It will make it more A-line.

Next I cut several circles of 2 sizes and used some white fabric I had left over.

 Pin them in place and stitch down.  I did X's and one line straight through the center but get creative.
 Add elastic to the waist and you're done.  I kept the band hem at the bottom of the shirt so I didn't even have to hem the skirt.

Super quick and cute.
It was so easy, 
I think I'll do one for me too!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rhubarb Crumble

I am a Rhubarb newbie.

If you would have asked me to pick out some Rhubarb at the Farmers Market 2 months ago, I couldn't have done it to save my life.  I've heard the word before, but that's as far as it went.

I can't believe I've lived this long and have missed out on Rhubarb the whole time!

 It's that weird Red Celery looking stuff, and it is SOOO Yummy!

I found this easy Rhubarb Crumble recipe that uses whole wheat and oats.  What a tasty way to incorporate whole grains!  Let's get to it!

Rhubarb Crumble

 Wash and cut up the rhubarb into small pieces.  I sliced down the center, then cut the other way about every 1/2 inch.
 You will need 4 cups of diced rhubarb.

Grind some hard white wheat.  I threw in some quinoa too.  You'll need just under 1 cup of fresh ground grains.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4 cups diced rhubarb
3/4 cup - 1 cup sugar depending on how sweet you want it.  I felt like 1 cup was a little too much.
4 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp orange or lemon zest.  I used lemon.
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

 Mix together thoroughly and pour into greased 8 inch square pan or a 9 inch pie pan.  Spread evenly.

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp molasses
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
 Mix topping together and spread over Rhubarb mixture.
 Bake for about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
Serve hot or cold, topped with Whipped Cream or Ice Cream, or just by itself.  You could even eat it for breakfast, or a special brunch.

Seriously!  It's that good!
Oh Rhubarb, now that I've found you, I'll never forget you! I promise!

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