Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Visions of Veganism Danced Through Her Head

I know…I know…I know…

This is supposed to be a  blog about eating healthy and creating a more “politically ` correct” home and lifestyle…and here this Southern belle sits writing about cookies…

How dare she?…

But old habits die hard…

And rhe topic of cooking methods led to a discussion of boiling which let to the discussion of grains which led to the discussion of amaranth…eventually leading up somehow to making cookies.

So how do I make these cookie and cake and other baked goods healthier and avoid such “taboo” ingredients as eggs, milk, butter, and so forth.

And why substitute these products if you are not becoming a vegan…simply someone looking for a good cookie recipe, for example?

Because such basic ingredients as milk and cream can clog your arteries and raise your cholesterol levels.

So let’s look at how to convert any recipe to a vegan recipe by subbing ingredients…starting with butter…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Amaranth Crackers

We have now only been talking about amaranth for how long?!

So by now we should have more than an inkling as to what amaranth is, why we should add amaranth to our diets, and how to use it.

So let’s go back over what we’ve learned so far…

 

 

 

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Review

The Whatamaranth is a tiny seed that comes from the flowers of the Amaranthus.

The Why…

  • Carbohydrates…contains less carbohydrates compared to grains like wheat
  • Gluten Free
  • Protein…contains more protein than any other gluten-free grain…In fact, one cup of raw amaranth contains 28.1 grams of protein, the equivalent of a chicken breast…the proteins found in amaranth are also easily digestible compared to other grain based proteins
  • Vitamins/Minerals…amaranth is rich in calcium, magnesium, and iron
  • Aramanth crackers are a great snack or appetizer, served with a perfect dip or hummus….as well as a great accompaniment for soups and salads.

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The Perfect Aramanth Crackers

The perfect amaranth crackers are crumbly and crunchy, not like cardboard like many whole grain crackers out there….light and crisp…have an awesome nutty flavor.……and contain the perfect amount of herbs and garlic, not to mention an awesome aroma.

Note that the following cracker recipe does not contain salt, nuts, eggs, or sugar…simply basics such as aramanth, spices, and basic baking ingredients.

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Basic Ingredients

  • 2C amaranth flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1Tbsp pepitas
  • 1Tbsp sunflower kernels
  • 2Tbsp olive oil
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup water
Optional Toppings…your choice…but use 1Tbsp…

  • chia seeds
  • cumin
  • garlic
  • pepitas
  • rosemary
  • sesame seeds
  • sea salt
  • thyme

 

 

 

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Making the Dough

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Amaranth “Granola Bars”

 

Melt the honey and almond butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Stir to combine.

Stir in the vanilla.

Remove from heat.

Let cool 5min.

Place all of the remaining ingredients…except for the chocolate…in a large bowl.

Pour the honey mixture over the ingredients.

Stir to combine.

Add the cold, chopped chocolate.

Stir together.

Press the mixture in a square baking dish lined with parchment paper. You want your mixture to be about 1/2″ thick.

Refrigerate for about four hours.

Lift the bars from the pan by using the parchment paper to lift it out of the baking dish.

Use a large, sharp knife to cut the bars into twelve separate bars.

You can store these by place them in an airtight container and refrigerating for up to five days.

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Muesli Bread

In the last post, we learned how to “make the perfect muesli”…but let’s bump it up a notch by using our muesli to “make the perfect muesli bread.”

The perfect muesli bread is a fragrant loaf chock full of all sorts of dried fruit and whole nuts….crunchy and crusty on the outside …warm, soft, and chewy on the inside.

The perfect muesli bread is eaten right out of the oven…toasted…mothered with butter, jelly, honey, and perhaps a soft cheese—such as Havarti, blue cheese, cream cheese or mascarpone.

Because of the combination of grains, nuts and fruits found in the muesli by itself, obviously muesli bread is healthy and filling at the same time. In fact, muesli bread is one of the items that Starbucks uses in its proteinlet box—along with a boiled egg, cheese, apples and grapes.

The dried fruit found in the muesli gives the bread a slightly sweet taste. The combination of oats, fruit and nuts makes the bread very filling.

Muesli bread can also be used to make French toast;…to replace any other starch that you normally serve at dinner…to serve as a healthy snack anytime of day. 

Making perfect muesli bread bread is simple…and involves simply combining 1-1/2 of muesli with  basic bread-making ingredients—such as flour, water, yeast, salt, and sugar…taking time for the bread dough to rise…and baking.

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Muesli…The What

Breakfast of Champions?!

Yeah right…

It’s gonna take way more than a bowl or two of cereal to make anyone a “champion”—things such as self-discipline, determination, and experience…

But this is not a motivational blohg…and I am by no means a motivational speaker…

I am simply a wife and mother is who is trying to make better choices and learn as much as she can in order to take care of her type 2 diabetic husband and ADHD/ODD grandson.

So let’s look at how grains can play an important role in breakfast…how breakfast itself can contribute to the self-discipline, determination, and experience that we are all trying to gather during the course of the day ahead.

First of all, let’s look at meusli…later we will look at granola and oatmeal and see how they differ from each other…and look at a few recipes that caan help us make our mornings more perfect.

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Muesli—The Story Behind It

But in this post…I am gonna talk about what meusie ls…and where it originated.

People have realized two things that anyone striving to live a healthier lifestyle eventually learn…

  1. Food is medicine.
  2. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
  3. Mornings totally suck.

In fact someone back around the year 1900 realized these facts so much that he created muesli as a way to control the madness.

This someone was a Swiss physician named Maximilian Bircher-Benner as a dietary supplement for his patients. His was already feeding his hospital patient—long-term patients who were chronically ill—s a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables as part of their treatment, but he created

After creating the following recipes, he began prescribing this mixture as if were medicine.

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The Recipe

The original Bircher-Benner recipe consisted of the following ingredients:…

  • Apples…two or three small apples or one large one….the whole apple…including skin, core, and pits
  • Nuts…more specifically 1Tbsp walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts
  • Rolled oats…1Tbsp…that have been soaked in 3Tbsp  water for 12 hours
  • Lemon juice from half a lemon
  • Cream or honey or sweetened condensed milk…1Tbsp
  • Intructions…Mix the cream with the soaked oats and lemon juice. Grate the apple and then stir it into the mixture.

But there are many ways that you can make your morning muesli more exciting—by making things such as bread and cookies….But let’s next learn the difference between muesli and granola…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Quick Bread—(Any Flavor You Can Imagine)

To freeze...Wrap in plastic and aluminum foil..can be frozen for up to three months.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Coffee Cake

Coffee cake is great for breakfast…or lunch…or dinner…or any time in between…along with a perfect cup of coffee…(next post—Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee…go figure(?!))…

 

 

The perfect coffee cake is moist and tender…with a perfect gooey middle layer of dark cinnamon filling…and a crumbly streusel topping.….with lots and lots of crumbs.

 

This is a simple and quick recipe for a delicious, homemade coffee cake made from scratch…and best of all, you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry or fridge…that will be great for making ahead of time and serving for a special brunch or holiday breakfast.

By the way, I used to hate it when I was growing up and my mom would make a cake…saying that it would taste better tomorrow…dang it..I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow…I wanted a piece right then and there…

Same with this coffee cake…I want it as hot as my coffee…straight out of the oven.

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Prep Work

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease and flour 9″ springform or Bundt pan.

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Making the Streusel

  • 1/2C flour
  • 1/4C brown sugar
  • 1-1/2tsp cinnamon
  • 3Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4C chopped walnuts, optional

Combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Note that making your streusel by hand will help make the streusel crunchier.

Cut in butter with a whisk.

Pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble.

 

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Making the Cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 1C sour cream
  • 1-1/4C milk
  • 1C sugar
  • 2C flour
  • 1-1/4tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

     

Mix together your wet ingredients—eggs, vanilla, sour cream, and milk.

 

Mix together your dry ingredients—the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.

Combine the two mixtures. Mix until the batter is smooth, fluffy, and resembles frosting, about two minutes.

Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle half of the streusel mixture…about three cups… evenly over batter.

Top with remaining batter.

Spread evenly using a spatula.

Sprinkle the rest of the streusel evenly over the top of the cake..

 

 

 

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Baking Your Coffee Cake

Bake at 350 for about an hour…or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for at least thirty minutes before carefully transferring the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

A Watched Pot Never Boils

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

I Don’t Even Know How to Boil Water

You probably alreadty know how to do this cooking method called boiling…most of us have been boiling stuff since we were making our own macaroni and cheese out of a box when we were teenagers…assuming that you were borb before they started making macaroni and cheese is single-serving microwavable cups.

Yet boiling is a cooking method…and our goal at this point is to learn about all of the most commonly used cooking methods…

So let’s talk about boiling for a while.

 

 

 

What is boiling?

Boiling is a moist-heat cooking method that involves immersing food in a liquid that has been heated to 212 degrees F. This hot liquid then transmits its heat to the food being cooked.

This temperature is called the boiling point…the point where the pressure of the liquid equals the pressure exerted on the liquid by the surrounding atmosphere.

As liquids boil, you will see bubbles forming and then exploding on the surface of the liquid.  These bubbles are caused by water vapor rushing to the surface.

The food that you boil should be sturdy enough to withstand the aggressive water without being damaged…because the rough agitation of the water can actually damage the food.

 

Commonly  boiled ingredients include pasta, grains, green vegetables. dried pasta, dried legumes, rice, noodles, potatoes, and eggs.

 

How long you boil the ingredient depends on several facttos—such as what the ingredient is, your personal preference,  how you were brought up….(for example, back in Mississippi we cook our peas along with some bacon practially all day before serving)…how important maintaining the food’s original color, texture, and flavor…whether or not you care if you deplete the nutrients of the ingredient…and so forth…

Ingredients an either be added to cold water and heated along with the water…ior added to the water once the water has already started boilling…depending on the characteristics, of what it is that you are cooking…(more on this later)…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Beignets

My husband and I were stationed about ten years ago at Fort Polk, Louisiana. This was interesting. Being from Mississippi, you would think that I would be right at home in the Deep South…

But…

 

Louisiana is a whole different world…

And Louisiana has some of the best food in the country…

Especially the beignets…

 

 

 

Beignets, the official state doughnut of Louisiana since 1986, have been popular within New Orleans Creole cuisine ever since being brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists.

These “fritters”are made from deep-fried choux pastry are traditionally prepared right before consumption, doused in powdered sugar, and eaten fresh and hot.

Today beignets from the Café du Monde, along with their coffee with chicory and café au lait, are quite famous…

So here’s a recipe for making the perfect beignets…

 

 

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The Ingredients

  • .1-1/2C lukewarm water
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 egg, s,slightly beaten
  • 1-1/4tsp salt
  • 1C evaporated milk
  • 7Clour
  • 1/4C shortening
  • Nonstick spray
  • Oil, for deep-frying
  • 3C powdered sugar

 

 

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The Dough

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Beat eggs, salt and evaporated milk together.

Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture.

Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture.

Add the shortening.

Continue to stir while adding the remaining flour.

Remove dough from the bowl.

Place onto a lightly floured surface.

Knead until smooth.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray.

Put dough into the bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap or a towel.

Let rise in a warm place for at least two hours.

 

 

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Frying 

Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees

Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thickness.

Cut into 1″ squares.

Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color.

Drain your beignets as they finish cooking.them for a few seconds on paper towels,

Toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar….then holding the bag closed and shakong to coat evenly.