Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Copycat Bisquick Baking Mix

If there is one thing that I hate as far as grocery shopping, it would be spending extra money on products that I could already have made with the ingrefdients that I already had in my house—such as Bisquick and many spice blends.

 

There are a ton of recipes out there that require this Bisquick or Jiffy Baking Mix, but I am slowly becoming a minimalist…and that’s just one more thing that I will have to buy at the grocery store nnd store in my pantry.

And making your own  baking mix means one less processed food with  chemical stabilizers added so that the products stays safe while being stored in your pantry for who knows how long.

 

 

The perfect copycat Bisquick mix is simple to make…and in fact only contains four ingredient s….and actually comes together in less than five minutes….and is the perfect shortcut for making such awesome breakfasts as pancakes, biscuits, and so forth….and will stay good for up to three months as long as you refrigerate it.

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The Ingredients

  • 6C flour
  • 3Tbesp baking powder
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1C vegetable shortening

 

 

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The Process

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

Cut the shortening into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender until combined. The mixture should resemble fine crumbs and no large pieces of shortening should remain.Bits of shortening should still be visible within the baking mix…but should be about the size of a pea.

Store in a a covered glass or plastic container in the refrigerator for up to three months.

 

 

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Uses

For ideas on how to use your homemade copycat Bisquick  baking mix, check out the following websites…

 

Getting Healthy

Making the Perfect Protein Bites

 

Getting adequate amounts of protein is important for all women, not only die-hard athletes.

Adequate protein is important for both appearance and long-term health, especially among active women….(okay, now find me one woman who is not active…usually we have more on our plate than one person could possibly handle, right)…

So why is protein so important…and why should we find ways to eat more protein at breakfast…and how…

  1. Protein can keep us, or help us get, skinny. Replacing calories consumed in carbs with calories containing protein contributes to a decrease in fat tissue.
  2. Protein can prevent damage to our cells caused by stress.
  3. Protein controls hunger all day. Eating a high-protein meal, such as Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, early in the day triggers a hormonal response that helps keep hunger at bay all day.
  4. Protein is good for your bones, especially important given the high risk of osteoperosis in women. Protein is vital to proper calcium absorption and bone growth.
  5. Protein is good for your hair. A well-balanced diet is important to keep your hair growing to its fullest. Protein deficiency can cause your hair to grow slowly or not at all.
  6. Protein is good for your muscles. Protein can help our bodies maintain and build muscle mass, important to women as we age. Drinking a protein shake or eating a high-protein snack after working out also helps promote muscle repair.
  7. Protein is good for your skin. Protein can help reduce aging and skin damage caused by the sun.
  8. Protein triggers thermogenesis, also known as a “faster metabolism,” and signals the body to burn more calories before, during, and after meals.
  9. Protein will keep you fuller longer. Eating foods high in protein makes you feel fuller sooner than foods classified as carbs or fat and helps controls appetite later on.

 

“Protein bites” are a great way to boost your energy levels and “recharge” your batteries throughout the day…plus they are super-easy to make…

 

(Simply combine the ingredients, chill for thirty minutes, and roll into 1″ balls, Store in airtight container in fridge, unless indicated otherwise…so this is why I’ve simply listed ingredients, instead of directions with each of the following “recipes.”)

 

 

 

 

1. Peanut Butter No-Bake Energy Bites

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

 

 

2.  Chocolate Protein Bite…(roll in cocoa after shaped)

  • 1 1/2C pitted dates
  • 1/2C rolled oats
  • 1/4C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4C flaxseed meal
  • 1/4C chocolate protein powder
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1Tbsp espresso powder

 

 

 

3. Coconut Peanut Butter Bites

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

 

 

4. Nutella Energy Bites

  • 1C old fashioned, rolled oats
  • ½C crispy rice cereal (or shredded coconut)
  • ½C Nutella
  • ¼C peanut butter
  • ½C ground flaxseed
  • ⅓C honey
  • 1Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • ½C chocolate chips

 

 

5. Pumpkin Energy Bites

  • 1C old fashioned oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1/4C pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2C wheat germ
  • 1/3C honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate morsels

 

 

6. Raw Cookie Dough Bites

  • 2C blanched almond flour
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 1/4tsp sea salt
  • 1/4C coconut oil (solid but soft)
  • 1Tbsp honey
  • 2Tbsp almond butter
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • mini dark chocolate chips
  • stevia to taste, if additional sweetener is needed
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Baking from Scratch 101

The first breading that we are going to look at is for…

Baking Soda Batter…

Why?

Because most of us have had it sitting in our pantry or fridge for how long without knowing what to do with it?

There is sits, day after day, week after week…sad and lonely.

Yet this big yellow box contains hidden secrets lurking beyond its cardboard…

  • Beauty uses—such as cleaning your face…
  • Health uses—such as calming indigestion, treating heartburn, soothing canker sores, and whitening your teeth.
  • Household uses—such as neutralizing odors, cleaning, and removing tough stains,

And of course the obvious…Baking.

But baking soda can also make a great batter for frying seafood, chicken, meat and vegetables.

 

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Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents primarily used in baking. This means that whenever they reacts with an acidic compound—such as molasses, cream of tartarlemon juiceyogurtbuttermilkcocoa, and vinegar—.carbon dioxide is released.

This carbon dioxide being released serves many purposes, such as…

  • causes the batter to expand
  • adding a lightness to the final fried product
  • enhancing crispness
  • allowing passages for steam to escape
  • keeping the breading from being blown off during cooking.

 

 

 

But what IS the difference between the two…and which should you be using?

Baking powder is actually baking soda…but combined with cream of tartar and about one-third as strong as baking soda.

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How Do I Use Baking Soda?

Being the minimalist that I am…and given the fact that baking soda can last quite a long time whereas baking powder can ruin within three month.

So throw away, or don’t buy baking powder…just substitute baking soda for baking powder whenever called for in a recipe.

 

 

 

In order to substitute baking soda for baking powder, you must use more of your acidic ingredients and less of your baking soda that you would have used in baking powder because baking soda is about three times as powerful.

Plan on using 1tsp vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/2tsp baking soda. For example, if your recipe calls 1Tbsp baking powder, use 1tsp baking soda instead.

 

 

 

Another choice is to make your own baking powder ahead of time and store it.

To do this, you will need to first buy “cream of tartar” from the spice section of your grocery store…(or, if you’re like me, find the canister that has been sitting in your spice cabinet unused for how long now…

Mix one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar.

If you will be storing your homemade baking powder instead of using it right away, add 1tsp cornstarch.

Finally, to test your baking soda and makre sure that it is still good, put some in a small bowl and add a little vinegar. If it bubbles up, it’s still good.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The What Else—Star Anise

Star anise is another spice to look for on your journey through an Asian market or website.

Star anise comes from the seed pod from the fruit of the Illicium verum plant, a small evergreen shrub which is native to Southwest China and northeast Vietnam.

As far as shape, the star anise that comes from this tree has a unique dark brown star shape with six to eight points, each of the points containing a single pea-sized seed.

As far as taste, star anise has a very strong, distinct licorice-like flavor that is both sweet and spicy.

 

Star Anise—The Why

Star anise is an awesome addition to not only your adventures in Asian cooking, but also for your health.

Star anise provides powerful antioxidants that can prevent cell death and DNA damage.

Star anise can be steam-distilled to produce a pale yellow essential oil with a highly fragrant, licorice-like aroma that is often added to such products as soaps,  perfumes, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and skin creams.

Star anise can be beneficial to your body by helping with…

  • abdominal cramps
  • arthritis
  • bronchitis
  • calming nerves
  • colds
  • colic
  • cough
  • digestion
  • digestive problems and complaints—such as gas, indigestion, bloating, constipation
  • immune system function
  • influenza
  • painful muscles
  • sleep disorders
  • sore throat

 

Buying/Storing                      

Star anise can be found either whole or ground into a powder…and of course you could also make ground star anise by grinding whole star anise with your coffee mill.

Whole star anise will maintain its flavor for about a year.

Ground star anise powder will maintain its flavor for about six months.

Regardless, all spices that you buy should be stored in an airtight container in a cool and dark place that isn’t exposed to heat, moisture or sunlight.

 

Tips for Using Star Anise

  • Grund star anise is much easier to work with, but the flavor diminishes faster.
  • Toasting the ground spice sometimes heightens the flavor.
  • Use it sparingly…a little goes a long way.
  • Whole pods are best for simmering—such as in sauces, marinades, and soups—and then removing before serving.

 

Recipes for Using Star Anise

Baking…Star anise is often seen in recipes also calling for cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Beverages…Bring water to a boil in a stove-top pan.Add 2 whole star anise pods per cup of water, along with any additional other spices—such as cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, ginger root, solomon seal root, and cloves—that you like. Steep for 15 minutes.Strain away any large chunks.

Eggs…Star anise is commonly incorporated in egg recipes. I particularly liked this recie for Star Anise Tea Eggs from Nest Fresh.

Fruits and Vegetables…Stay on the lookout for star anise to be used in recipes that also contain citrus, leeks, onions, pears, and pumpkin.

Garam masala...Star anise is used to make this Indian spice blend that can be then used to make countless traditional Indian dishes.

Meats…Star anise is used to add a licorice flavor to beef, shrimp, duck, fish, pork, and poultry.

Soup…Star anise is commonly used in soup, such as this recipe from Martha Stewart.