Thursday, January 31, 2013

Health-i-fied Granola. Yes it is possible!

I love granola.  
Although I wouldn't necessarily call myself a 'Granola' which brings images of Birkenstocks and Hippie Drum Circles to mind.  But I am a whole grain, working towards all natural foods kinda girl.  

I'm not quite ready to give up white sugar completely just yet, but in this recipe, I have.

I also have a friend that is a vegan.  This recipe would totally work for her.  
No butter, no eggs.

I kind of came up with this recipe as a hybrid of my previous Granola recipe
and one I learned at Shar's.  
I wanted to try a dairy free version that packed in some wholesome goodness, 
and still not turn out tasting like cardboard.  Yuck!  
I'm really pleased with the result and it has become my breakfast of choice lately.  
Although I did go to a Shar's class again today and they made some heavenly cream of wheat.  

Did I just type that?  Heavenly...Cream of Wheat?  Yep. 

It was the class favorite and it will certainly be breakfast for the fam tomorrow. 
 I will share.  I promise!

OK.  Back to the granola.

Health-i-fied Granola

First get 1 cup of Raisins.  Put them in a little bowl and cover them with water.  Let soak while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.

In another small bowl combine 3 Tbsp Chia Seeds and 6 Tbsp water.  Stir slightly and let sit.

Get out the following:
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 apple
1 ripe banana

Let's assemble the dry ingredients while the raisins and chia seeds soak up the water.

You will need the following, although it's completely flexible.  I'll just share what I used.

7 cups Rolled oats. (again, my favorite is Honeyville rolled 6 grain cereal)

2 cups coconut
2 cups chopped nuts of your choice.  (I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chopped walnuts and almonds)
1/4 cup popped amaranth
1/4 cup ground flax

Now let's put the wet ingredients together.

Put the soaked and drained raisins, chia seeds, peeled banana, cored apple, maple syurp, honey, and coconut oil in the blender and blend until smooth.  It kind of looks like peanut butter to me.

Now add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir thoroughly.

Lastly, I put the granola on my dehydrator trays and let dry for about 4-6 hours.
I did try baking it as described in my previous recipe and it was still to wet.  I like it more crunchy.
The dehydrator was perfect!

You could easily add some craisins or dried cherries or blueberries at this point. 
Although this time I didn't.  I probably will next time, or go throw some in now.  Maybe.
I do have some craisins. Mmmm...

 Store in an airtight container.

Here's my breakfast of choice... well and champions!  
At least in my own mind. ;)

Equal amounts of granola and homemade applesauce.
No white sugar anywhere to be found.
Yeah me!

I hope you like it as much as I do!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread

 I'm kind of a sprouting newbie.  I do mung beans regularly, along with other things, but I've  never tried sprouting wheat for my bread.  I always thought, "How do I get the watery sprouts to grind up for flour, or how do I add sprouts to my bread and not feel like I through in a handful of grass?"  Not to appetizing.  I do know that sprouting exponentially increases the nutritional value of a seed or grain.  Soaking it in water tells the kernal that it's time to grow so it releases all the good stuff that's dormant inside.  The vitamins and minerals and protein content goes up dramatically.  Plus it just makes the bread taste that much better!  I promise!
It does take some time, about 36 hours.  

But sprouted wheat bread is Oh, So worth it!

So let's start at the beginning.  Get a large jar.  I'm recycling a large Pickle jar that has been washed.
The ratio of wheat to water is 1 part wheat to 2 parts water.  So fill your jar or other containter up with the appropriate amounts.
Set the jar aside and let sit.

After 12 hours change the water in the jar.
This is what it looks like at 24 hours.  
The wheat kernals have swelled considerably.
You can now see the tiny tails that are just starting to poke through. 
This is as far as you need them to sprout. 
Don't leave the wheat in longer than 36 hours as they will start to grow undesirable bacteria.

Drain water and spread the wheat onto a dehydrator drying tray.

Turn the dial down on your dehydrator to no higher than 148 degrees.
This keeps the newly emerged vitamins and minerals still viable.
If you go too hot, you just killed the vitamins and they won't do you any good.

Here's a close up of the kernals.  
You can kind of see the little tails on each berry.
I let my dry overnight, or about 10-12 hours.

Here's the berrys dried.  
They are still slightly swollen from a normal wheat berry, plus the little tails.

Grind the wheat as normal.  
Just make sure they are completely dry.  
You don't want to put wet grain into your grain grinder.  
For this batch of bread, I didn't sprout enough wheat, so I added a 1 cup soft white wheat, and 2 cups hard red wheat to my grinder and blended it all up together.

Now to make bread.

Sprouted Maple Apple Oatmeal Bread
(a mouthful I know, but oh so yummy!)

Get out your large mixer, I'm using a Bosch.  
You'll have to half the recipe if you're using a Kitchen-aid.

Layer the following:
4 cups warm tap water
1/2 cup applesauce or oil (I prefer to use applesauce)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp maple extract
2 eggs
3 Tbsp dough enhancer
3 Tbsp vital gluten
2 cups rolled oats (my favorite is Honeyville's 6 grain rolled cereal)
2-3 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp yeast

Mix for about 1 minute.  Let rest 10 minutes.

Add the whole wheat flour one cup at a time until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.
I added about 1-2 cups of white flour, but you can stay with the whole wheat if desired.
Knead for 6 minutes.

While the dough is kneading, in another container you will need 4 cups coarsely chopped apples.
Since it's not really apple season right now, and I had some canned apples in water that I decided to use.
You could also grate a few fresh apples with the same fabulous results.

I measured out what I needed and cut the pieces up with my pastry blender.

After 6 minutes of kneading, add the apples and 2 Tbsp sea salt.
I learned this trick recently and I will use it forever after.
Salt kills the yeast and when you add it towards the end of the kneading cycle, the
bread raises higher and better.
I also added about 1-2 cups white flour here because adding the apples greatly increased the moisture
and the dough got too sticky.  You don't want to add wheat flour at this point because there won't be time to develop the gluten in the newly added flour.
Knead for another 3 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a well oiled surface.
Shape into loaves and place in bread pans sprayed with cooking spray.
Slash the tops with a serrated knife or kitchen lame.(that's a special bread knife just for slashing dough)
Sprinkle the tops with oats, cover with plastic and let rise until about 1 inch above the rim of the pan.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
When the oven is ready, place loaves in oven and drop temperature to 350 degrees.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature is 210 degrees.

Remove and place on wire racks to cool.
I brushed the tops with shortening.

This bread is light, fluffy, and super yummy!  
Plus you packed in a whole lot of sprouted whole grain goodness!

Mmmm... sprouted whole grain bread.  
It's an amazing thing!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Super Easy Valentines Baskets

This is a super easy and cute way to gather all those goodies for the kiddos' for Valentines.
All you need is one of those flimsy paper plates.  You know the kind you never pick to use at a picnic?  They are super cheap for a reason.  About $1.50 for 100 at Walmart.  I saw these baskets somewhere and thought they were super cute so I decided to but a pack of plates and now I'm good for all the holidays... for the next 50 years or so, or until the kids move out, which ever comes first. ;)
Plus since there are plain white, you can embellish them any way you want for what every holiday it is.
They would also be cute for a baby shower, backyard picnic, or birthday party.
They only take minutes to make and all you need are scissors and glue.

Let's get to it.

First separate the plates.
 Cut into the plate in four places to make a sort of X.
The depth of your cut determines how big the bottom will be.
About 1 1/2 to 2 inches is good.
If you want to be precise, you could use a ruler to make sure
the cuts were square to each other.
I kind of eyeballed it.

Next, fold in each section and the corners like shown.

Get out the glue stick and put glue on the inside of one flap and the outside of the flap next to it.
I tried to keep the flaps going the same direction as you can see on the inside of the finished basket.
It doesn't really matter, the kids will never notice, but I like things to be semi-uniform if possible.

Decorate with strips of patterned paper,
fill with your goodies,
and DONE!

5 little baskets all in a row for my 5 munchkins.

Here's the free printable for the cards I put in each basket.
I glued a Dove heart chocolate on the 'O' of each card.
It is formatted to an 8 1/2 by 11 inch size.
Feel free to use as many as you need!

I love Re-pins, so please share this with others!

On the schedule coming soon,
Maxi dresses.  Yes dress 'es'.
I went back to SAS on Saturday and scored some
great fabric.  My next project is to play with
different Maxi patterns, and I may even come up with
some of my own designs.
I'm also working on getting my Urban Farm up and running.
I already have several fruit trees planted and the garden ready to plant.
I will share as soon as it's ready to go!
And finally I'm learning more about sprouting and more whole grain,
low to no sugar recipes.
New year.  More healthy menus.
Be sure to check back often!
Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Valentines Cards

This is a fun way to make photo valentines cards with your kids. 
Thanks to my friend {S} we put these together pretty simply.
We took the pictures inside with a long black backdrop. 
The white sticks they are using came from my Q-Snap Quilting frame. 
But really any piece of white pvc or dowel would work.

Stand on a ladder or chair so that you are above them looking down. 
Take several practice shots.
I shared a few of mine that were cute.

Choose the best one and add words in Photoshop.

I doubt this one would work.  But he's so darn cute!

Print your pictures and mount on cardstock.
Punch a hole at the top of the stick.
Poke a sucker through the hole.
I taped the back of the card to keep the stick in place.

Simple.  Cute.  And personalized!

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