Vegetable Pot Pie

I love Pot Pie and being vegetarian, I normally just pick out the chicken when I make this for my family, but this week we didn’t have chicken on hand and I thought I’d just add in some extra veggies and make a veggie pot pie. It was so yummy! My kids liked it too, though one mostly ate the potatoes and one mostly ate the crust…eh, it’s all good. I think this dish is more about the gravy, potatoes and the pie crust anyway! I even found a whole wheat pie crust at the store so this dish was pretty easy to put together.

This is what I put in my pot pie, but you can use a variety of veggies depending on what you have on hand. As you can see I used a little fresh and frozen. I think next time I’ll add in some cauliflower, too.

I made my homemade vegan gravy as the veggies boiled, and then I mixed veggies and gravy together and put them in the bottom of my mostly unbaked pie crust (You bake it for 5 minutes prior to adding in the veggies).

I placed another unbaked pie dough on top, pinched the edges, cut a few slits in the top to let the steam out and then placed it on a baking sheet (in case some gravy dripped out while cooking; I hate cleaning ovens) and put it in the oven.

Vegetable Pot Pie (vegan)
Serves 6-8

1 c diced carrots
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/3 c white or yellow onion, diced
1 c frozen green peas
optional: 1 c diced cauliflower, 1 c corn, etc
2 c gravy (CLICK HERE for my favorite gravy, and it’s vegan)
two 9-inch unbaked pie crusts (I used a whole wheat version but can use gluten-free or regular pie crust)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan or baking sheet with silicone or foil to keep any filling from dripping and burning in your oven. Place one 9-inch pie dough crust in a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes and then set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine carrots, potatoes, onions and celery(or whatever optional chopped veggies you choose). Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. During the last 3 minutes, add the frozen peas. Remove from heat, drain and set aside. While that’s cooking if you haven’t yet made gravy, do so now. Mix the gravy and cooked vegetables together and pour into the partially baked pie crust. Top with the second unbaked pie crust, pinch the edges together and cut a few slits in the top with a knife so the steam can release. Bake for about 25 minutes or until crust is golden. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into 6-8 slices and serve.

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Vegan Sweet Potato Enchiladas

While taking my whole foods plant based nutrition class( aka WFPB, which I recently finished!!! Woot, woot!!), I searched our library and checked out various “China Study Cookbooks” …a total of 5. All of these cookbooks are WFPB which basically means the recipes not only vegan with no animal products, but also no processed foods including oils, refined sugars, and flours. I’ve been experimenting with the recipes and so far we’ve found a few keepers, one of which, is this recipe for Sweet Potato Enchiladas, which I adjusted some. My husband wasn’t too excited about the idea of having enchiladas without cheese, but he gave them a try and during dinner he commented a couple of times on how good they were, and afterwards he suggested we hold on to this recipe :). So, into my blog it goes because this is where my collection of our favorites are and I love that anyone in my house, can look up the recipe and make it, without mom!

You’ll want to make sure you’ve baked your sweet potato ahead of time. I prick the potato before cooking, put it in a 9×13 pan lined with foil, and cook it in the peel, without washing for about an hour at 400 degrees. You’ll know when it’s done because some of the juice will start seeping out of the holes from where you pricked it. Allow it to cool before peeling the skin so you don’t burn yourself.

Start off by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, saute onions, garlic, cumin and coriander in vegetable broth over medium-high heat until the onions are light brown. Add the coconut aminos/soy sauce and spinach. Cook for a minute or two until spinach wilts. Remove from heat. Fold in sweet potatoes, black beans and salt.

Place a couple tablespoons of the mixture into the center of each tortilla and roll. Place the enchiladas, seam-side down, in a 9×13 baking dish.

Pour salsa on top and cover with aluminum foil. I like my food with a bit of spice so we used a Medium-heat salsa. I like this La Victoria Brand, and also Pace or Picante. Bake the covered enchiladas for 25 minutes.

Serve warm with sides. We love brown rice/quinoa, black beans, greens, corn and guacamole or chopped avocados.

Sweet Potato Enchiladas
*Serves 6

3/4 c diced onions
4 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 tsp minced garlic)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp vegetable broth
2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce or braggs liquid aminos)
1 c chopped spinach
1 c baked sweet potato, mashed
1 c cooked black beans (or canned black beans)
1/4 tsp sea salt
14 corn tortillas
2 c favorite salsa (I love the medium heat La Victoria or Pace)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, saute onions, garlic, cumin and coriander in vegetable broth over medium-high heat until onions are light brown. Add soy sauce and spinach. Cook for a minute or two until spinach wilts. Remove from heat. Fold in sweet potatoes, black beans and salt. Place a couple tablespoons of the mixture into the center of each tortilla and roll. Place the enchiladas, seam-side down, in a 9×13 baking dish. Pour salsa on top and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 25 minutes. Serve warm with a side of brown rice/quinoa, black beans, corn and guacamole.

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Muesli

While my husband and I were visiting Italy and Austria last year, we noticed that nearly every breakfast we were offered, in various cities, had Muesli. We ate it regularly. Then we came home and forgot all about it. That is, I forgot until I was reading through some recipes and watching videos from my Whole Foods Plant Based nutrition course and they had one that looked quick and easy so we gave it a try and loved it. Most everything I had on hand, though I did subsitute a couple of things: ground flax for wheat germ, and mixed rolled grains (like triticale, oats, barley etc) for regular rolled oats.

I added all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl, stirred it all together and then stored it in an airtight container. My husband and I have been eating it for breakfast or for a snack. He likes to put warm milk over his, and I’m sure I will too as the weather gets cooler, though for now I’ve been having it with cold milk.

If it’s not sweet enough for you, you can either add fresh fruit to your individual serving (like sliced strawberries, peaches or blueberries), or you can flavor your milk first by adding a couple of dates or some raisins and blending that together before pouring it over your Muesli. 

This will store well in your pantry for a couple of months. 

Muesli
*Makes about 8 cups

4 1/2 c rolled oats (or other rolled grains…I sometimes get a blend of rolled red and white wheat, oats, triticale, barley and rye)

1 c raisins

1 c chopped dried fruit (I like chopped dates and dried cherries…just make sure there is no added sugar)

1/4 c ground flax

1/2 c chopped walnuts

1/2 c chopped or sliced almonds

1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 c raw sunflower seeds

Optional: 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Muesli keeps for 2 months at room temperature. Serve with unsweetened almond milk (or milk if choice). Can have this cold or warm…if warm, place in microwave for a few seconds after adding milk. You can also top this with fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries or peaches.

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7 Tips for Eating Healthy Over the Holidays

We are nearing the end of October, which means we have multiple holidays coming up, all of which seem to revolve around food. It can be really hard to eat healthy during this time of year, and by eating ‘healthy’, I mean, eating real food. A lot of the ‘food’ we eat, especially during holidays is more “food-like-substances”. What do I mean by that? If you look up the word “food” in the dictionary, the first definition you’ll see will read something like this:

Food: “any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy and promote growth, etc.”

Food is nourishing. To provide nourishment means it will “supply what is necessary for life, health and growth.”

What kinds of “foods” come to mind when you’re thinking about Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas? Here are some ‘foods’ that quickly come to my mind surrounding those holidays:

Halloween: candy

Thanksgiving: turkey, white rolls, pies, potatoes, pumpkin rolls, cakes and breads

Christmas: cinnamon Rolls, sugar cookies, shortbread cookies in the metal tins, assorted cookies, candycanes, tamales (My dad was from Mexico), meat, oranges, chocolate oranges

Looking at this list, you can see why it would be hard to eat healthy, or eat real ‘food’ around the holidays. But it is very possible and I want to share some ideas with you that have helped me stay on track over the years.

  1. Plan Ahead. Make a menu before hand that will contain plenty of healthy food items; if you’re not the host, bring healthy food to share, I’ll often bring a big salad with nuts and grains inside, plus another side dish (like my healthy sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving) and you can even bring a healthier dessert if you’d like.  You can also have the fun, traditional food items, but make sure you have some foods available that will fill and satisfy you, which will help you to not overdo it with the other items. Now this is a little trickier with Halloween because if you have children that want to trick-or-treat, even if you plan a healthy dinner and they all eat — which may prevent them from overeating candy that night — you’ll still have leftover candies for days, weeks or more. But here are some helpful ideas around Halloween, all of which we have personally used:  1) call around and find a dentist who will buy your candy. My kids dentist will weigh their candy and pay them accordingly. He then ships it overseas to troops. 2) You buy the candy from them. Give them $5 or $10, or have them exchange their bag of candy for a toy or something else they’ve been wanting and then toss the candy or bring it to work or some other function/gathering. 3)Don’t go trick-or-treating. Do another fun activity in it’s place. We talked with our kids before Halloween one year and just said, ‘is there another fun activity you’d like to do instead of trick-or-treating? You know we don’t let you keep much of the candy anyway, so if you’d rather do something else, we’re up for ideas.’ We ended up dressing up in costumes, going bowling and then out to dinner. It was a lovely evening, everyone had a ton of fun and then we didn’t have all the candy hanging around. 4) Let them each pick 5 items and then store the rest. You can bring it to an event, or save it for making Gingerbread houses. We’ve actually done this the past few years. I freeze chocolate bars in a large ziploc bag and keep them in my garage freezer, under other things so they’re not always being seen. The other candies I’ll sort through, some we toss, some we save in a ziploc and I store them way up high where they’re out of sight, and then come Christmas time, we invite friends over to make gingerbread houses, and we don’t have to buy any candies, and we have plenty to share. They do eat some while we make the gingerbread houses, and I’m okay with that, but again, plan ahead, make sure they have just eaten a good lunch or dinner before you’re planning to make the gingerbread houses, and they’ll eat a lot less; or tell them before hand they can each pick 2 to eat while working on their gingerbread house.
  2. Start your day off right. By this I mean that it’s much easier to eat well when you’ve gotten enough rest the night before, when you’ve exercised that morning and when you’ve eaten healthy foods leading up to this holiday feast, being sure to include foods with lots of fiber, like fruits and vegetables, as they’ll satisfy hunger and are lower in calories. When you ‘win’ those battles early on in the day, it boosts your confidence and makes you feel good and so you’re more willing to keep that going, and exercise self control.
  3. Drink a tall glass of water before you eat. This will help you feel a little less hungry and it will slow you down and give you time to think. Mindfulness is so important when it comes to eating, especially if you struggle with food, or if you love food the way I love food. While you’re drinking your water, look over the foods available, and decide what you’re going to start with, which healthy foods you’re going to fill your plate with and eat first, and then also choose which foods you want to idulge in, maybe there’s 5 pies and 3 other desserts, and you’re going to pick your one or two favorites, or a small sampling of a few.
  4. Load up on the healthy, real food items first. Fill up a plate with vegetables, salad, whole grains and eat all of that before going back for the other items.
  5. Have smaller dessert  portions (or other indulgence-foods). Once you decide which treats you want to indulge in, either cut the serving in half, and only eat that smaller portion, or have a sampling of bite-sized pieces if you want to try several things. If a smaller plate is available, use that for your dessert as it’ll make it seem like you have more.
  6. Sit and enjoy your food while you’re eating it. Really take the time to eat your food slow, and enjoy each bite noticing the taste and texture. Of course visit with loved ones, but stop eating for a moment while chatting, and then continue. Don’t multi-task, don’t eat while on your phone, and don’t eat while standing. You don’t want to end up next to the buffet table, snacking, and not really paying attention to what or how much you’re eating.  When you find that you’re no longer hungry, that you’re feeling content, or that you’re not really enjoying your food anymore, stop eating. Even if you have food left on your plate. And just know that when you’re hungry again, you can eat more.
  7. Don’t hang on to leftovers. One day of splurging is not going to make a huge difference, but when the foods are hanging around for days, it’ll start to add up.  If you’re hosting the party, send leftovers with friends/family. Don’t let tempting foods sit around for a week, calling to you every day, so create a good environment for yourself where you don’t have to continually deal with that struggle. If you don’t have guests to take leftovers, or lots of kids who will probably finish it the next day (my case), you can toss it, or just don’t make as much in the first place, only make what you think your family will really eat. If my husband likes to have leftovers, I might ask him to take it to work and keep it in the fridge there.  But I’ve found that my husband usually doesn’t want leftovers for more than a day, so I can just make him a plate and give away the rest, or freeze the leftover meat for another week. Same idea with Halloween candy. If you’re going to give it out, buy it the day of, if it’s hard for you to leave it alone, and then toward the end of the night, put whatever candy you have left in a bowl on your porch, and I think you’ll find that oftentimes, it’ll all get taken.

You can still enjoy your favorite occasional indulgences, but in moderation. Plan ahead and be mindful of what you eat, for holidays, and always.

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Vegan Tapioca Pudding

I love tapioca pudding! My husband and most of my kids do not; they don’t like the consistency of the tapioca pearls/balls, but I do! Unfortunately, I have a dairy sensitivity and tapioca is generally made with a lot of cows milk, so I rarely get to have this, and when I do, I either have a very small bowl, or I pay for it later. Which, lets be honest, I sometimes do. While visiting my sister this past Summer(who is vegan), I tried a tapioca pudding she makes with almond and coconut milk, and sweetens with pure maple syrup. It was delicious and I was so happy to have found a dairy-free, and refined-sugar-free recipe!

You’ll need these ingredients. The only thing I didn’t have on hand was the Tapioca, and I found this on the baking aisle in our local grocery store. I’ve made this recipe several times and I still have a lot left, so they go a long way. Also, since the real vanilla is currently $35 for this size container, I have been using the imitation vanilla, and I’m totally okay with doing that until the prices aren’t exorbitant! 

Start off by soaking the tapioca pearls in almond milk for one hour. I just do this in the liquid glass measuring dish I used to measure my milk…I’m all about finding ways to use less dishes. 

Once finished soaking, transfer the tapioca and milk mixture to a medium saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Over medium heat bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill for at least two hours or overnight; it thickens as it chills. Or if you like it a little runnier, and warmer, dig in after it’s cooled enough that it won’t burn your tongue! 

Vegan Tapioca Pudding
*serves 6-8

1/3 c Tapioca pearls

1 c unsweetened almond milk

1 can full fat coconut milk (I like Thai kitchen brand)

1/3 c pure maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch of sea salt

Soak tapioca pearls in almond milk for one hour. Transfer tapioca to a medium saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Over medium heat bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chill for at least two hours or overnight.

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Vegan Gravy

I have this recipe posted at the bottom of a couple of other recipes that call for gravy, but I didn’t have it on it’s own…until now. This makes about 2 cups and is great in Chicken Broccoli Casserole, with Hawaiin Haystacks, and many other things.

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In a medium saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat(You can olive or avocado oil, or butter). Stir in garlic and saute one minute. Add the flour and whisk. Whisk in broth, milk, dried onion and salt. Stir over medium to medium-hi heat for about 5 minutes until thickened. img_5367This recipe makes a little over 2 cups of gravy.
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Gravy (vegan)
*makes 2 cups

4 Tbsp avocado oil (butter or olive oil work too)
2 tsp minced garlic
5 T whole white wheat flour (or any flour including gluten-free)
2 c vegetable broth
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

In a saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic and saute one minute. Add the flour and whisk. Whisk in broth, milk, dried onion and salt. Stir over medium to medium-hi heat for about 5 minutes until thickened. Makes about 2 cups.

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Baked Scones

I love scones, though we tend to make these only a few times a year, for special occasions like birthdays and other holidays, not because they’re difficult, because they’re not, they’re quite simple to make. But more because they use all white flour and have a little sugar so they’re not on our regular menu. But they are delicious and if you’re going to have a scone, it’s better to make them as is true with anything you’re going to eat that maybe shouldn’t be eaten regularly…at least make yourself go through the work, mess and time of putting them all together so it feels like a special treat, rather than effortlessly buying a premade baked good from a bakery just because.

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I like to use an unbromated all purpose flour when I am using white flour. Potassium bromate helps with elasticity and rising, but it also has been found to cause cancer in mice and rats so it’s banned in places like China, the European Union, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and more. Anyhow, it’s a small amount, but still, I figure, why not just use unbromated?  So here are all your ingredients. Very simple and basic ingredients you all should have on hand. The milk can be any milk, we have milk sensitivities around here so we usually use lactose free or unsweetened almond milk. And I use a dried cane sugar, but any granulated sugar will work. Only 2 teaspoons go into these 8 scones, plus a little sprinkled on top.

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In a mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or forks until it makes fine crumbs.

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Combine egg and 5 tablespoons milk. Slowly pour milk mixture into dry mix while mixing with a fork. If you need additional 1 tablespoon of milk to bring dough together, add it. On your prepared silicone baking mat and cookie sheet, gently pat dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Brush the top with a little bit of milk or beaten egg and sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of sugar.

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Cut into 6 to 8 wedges, img_5525

and separate on the cookie sheet.

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Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are set and the bottoms are golden brown. Do not overbake.img_2095

Baked Scones

Makes 6-8

1 3/4 c all purpose flour (I like Wheat Montana’s white unbromated flour)

2 tsp granulated Sugar (I use dried cane sugar)

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt (or any sea salt)

1 egg, beaten

5-6 Tbsp milk

*will need a little extra milk and sugar to spread/sprinkle over top of scones just prior to baking.

Heat oven to 400°. Place a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper) on a cookie sheet and set aside.

In a mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or forks until it makes fine crumbs. Combine egg and 5 tablespoons milk. Slowly pour milk mixture into dry mix while mixing with a fork. If you need additional 1 tablespoon of milk to bring dough together, add it. On your prepared silicone baking mat and cookie sheet, gently pat dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Brush the top with a little bit of milk or beaten egg and sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of sugar. Cut into 6 to 8 wedges and separate on the cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are set and the bottoms are golden brown. Do not overbake. You can eat these whole or you can split them in half and spread with butter or jam.

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Vegan and GF Banana Muffins

That’s right my friends! These deliciously soft banana muffins are gluten-free AND vegan! And they don’t crumble to pieces or cave in! But the trick is using the RIGHT gluten-free flour blend. (for those of you who do not care if they’re gluten-free or not, you can definitely use a whole white wheat flour in place, I’ve tried it both ways, always using the same amount of flour and it works perfectly). 

I’ve tried using almond flour with tapioca starch and they totally caved! If you have another flour blend you know works well with baked goods, please feel free to experiment! As for me, I’m sticking with my Costco flour blend, that or whole white wheat flour like I mentioned above.img_5842

 

You can also add some chocolate chips if you’d like. I threw some dark chocolate Stevia sweetened chips on the tops of half of this batch which my kids enjoyed. 

Vegan and GF Banana Muffins 
makes about 18 muffins

2 ripe bananas
*1/2 cup olive oil (or half coconut oil and half olive…but if do half coconut, warm the coconut oil first so it doesn’t get clumpy, and you’ll want to warm the milk as well)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c maple syrup
1/2 c raw honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole white wheat flour (or gluten-free flour blend)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
optional: chocolate chips…I do half plain and half with chocolate

Preheat the oven to 400F.  In a large mixing bowl (I do this in my Bosch) add your bananas and beat until they’re mushy.  Add in the oil, milk, sweeteners and vanilla and mix together. Add in the dry ingredients and mix. Line muffin tins with  liners, or you can just put the batter right into the pan(I’ve greased and not greased and both turn out fine..liners are nice because you don’t have to wash the pans :)).  Using an ice cream scoop and  a spoon, scoop batter into each muffin cup; I like to use a scoop so they’re all even. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool before serving. Store in an airtight container for 5 days, or freeze in freezer-ziploc bags or tupperware for a couple of weeks…I like to make extra to freeze and then kids can pull one out of the freezer in the morning, throw it in a baggie or lunch container and it’s all thawed out and ready to eat for lunch.

If you liked these muffins, try my sweet potato muffins, which follow this recipe, but we use a sweet potatoe in place of the bananas.

*I’ve also subbed half the oil with unsweetened applesauce and had great success!

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Biscuits

My husband grew up in the south which means he loves biscuits! I grew up in the Seattle area and I honestly don’t remember eating bisuits so when we were married, I never thought to make them. We’ve been married 15 years now and several years back Scott started making them occasionally, usually on a Sunday when he had a little extra time. And they were SO good! We loved them! We loved pairing them with eggs and cheese (they would’ve loved having ham with it too but we don’t ever have that on hand), or with some jam.

Father’s Day this year seemed to arrive suddenly and I had not planned a single thing for Father’s Day breakfast. Lame! I woke up at my normal weekday time, not normal Sunday time, because usually we’ll sleep in an extra 30-60 minutes on Sunday, so I was up around 530am and read for a bit like I always do, and then I went down to the kitchen and looked through our pantry and fridge, trying to figure out what in the heck I could make so that Scott would know I loved and appreciated him on this Father’s Day (couldn’t go to the store because it’s Sunday; we don’t shop on the Sabbath), because that’s how I show my love, through service and food and a little bit of thoughtfulness…sometimes…if I remember to make the time :). Anywho, as I was racking my brain for things he liked and ingredients we had on hand (which wasn’t much because I should’ve gone to the store Saturday but ran out of time…lame, again!), I realized that we always have ingredients for biscuits because they’re so basic! Yes! It was an inspired thought!  So I made biscuits, scrambled some eggs, sliced some cheese and set jam on the table and in 30 minutes or so, breakfast was hot and ready! He loved them, of course! In the picture below is Scott with Jane, our 8-year-old daughter, on Father’s Day morning. Don’t you just love home-made art projects from your kids?! I love them so much that I quickly snap a picture and then they go into the recycling :). And that’s not to be mean, I’ll have you know that I put some of those digital pictures on my family blog which I print yearly, and then we don’t have a million papers everywhere since we have 5 thoughtful children that regularly make us wonderful notes/pictures. Love them! 

Here are the ingredients….and you can use all white flour, but I like to add a little wheat whenever it will work out and still taste great for the added health benefits(I use all wheat in some recipes, but not this one because they won’t be as light and fluffy). And as for milk, I used this 2% lactose free milk because that’s what we had(my son and I have dairy sensitivities…we also keep unsweetened almond milk on hand)  and added a little lemon juice so that it is more like buttermilk…as it sits for a few minutes you’ll see it curdle. So fun! Oh, and don’t forget that cold butter, like I forgot in this picture! 

You’ll preheat your oven and then mix your ingredients together, dry ingredients, then add cold butter (that you’ve cut into small pieces) and your milk. You’ll pat this dough together into a ball and lay it out on a lightly floured counter. From here you’re going to gently pat it into a 1/2-inch thick circle, then fold it in half, and half again; then you’ll pat that out into a circle, and fold again like you did before and you’ll repeat this about 4 times. This, combined with the cold butter will help  you get flaky biscuits.

Notice when I put my biscuits on my cookie sheet, I have them very close together so they’re touching or nearly touching. I do this so that they’ll rise up, rather than out, creating a taller biscuit.

You’ll want to bake them until they turn golden brown on top. OH YUM!

Biscuits
*makes about a dozen

3 c flour (I use 2 white and 1 whole white wheat)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

9 Tbsp very cold butter, cut in slices

1 1/2 c buttermilk (you can make your own with milk and lemon juice…pour 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice into your liquid measuring cup and then add enough milk til you get to 1 1/2 c.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl or food processor. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resemebles coarse meal. If you’re doing this in the food processor, it’ll take a few short pulses; if by hand, use a pie pastry cutter or a couple of forks. Pour the buttermilk into the flour mixture and mix or pulse until just combined. Don’t overmix. If it’s too dry, you can add more buttermilk, about a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Gently pat the dough into a 1/2 inch thick circle. Fold the dough in half and then quarters , then repeat the patting into a circle and folding 4 more times. These folds, along with the cold butter, help create the flaky layers in the biscuits. Pat dough into a 1-inch thick circle and using a round cup or cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles; I use the top of a glass cup that’s about 3 1/4 inches across.

Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner, and place the biscuits on the pan, with the sides barely touhing each other, which will help the biscuits to rise up rather than out. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden on top. Serve immediately. We love to cut these in half and fill them with something sweet or savory. I love eggs, cheese, tomato and avocado. Many people like them with ham, cheese and eggs. Biscuits are also great with a little jam in the middle.

You can save leftovers in a tupperware container or ziploc bag for a few days, but they’re best warm and fresh like most baked goods. You could also freeze leftovers in freezer gallon bags for another day.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most of the recipes on this blog are pretty healthy and made from scratch rather than using cans and boxes and packages of things to put a meal together, and though these cookies aren’t healthy, they are made from scratch and I’d be lying if I said we never made cookies. We sometimes hold cookie socials at our home and invite neighbors over, and this summer my kids held two bake sales where they sold cookies, and these are one of our favorites! I love that we make them monster sized! They really are the size of an adults palm. This recipe came from the Lion House Cookbook recipe, and we didn’t really change much of anything besides increasing the size, using our evaporated cane juice which is a lot like granulated sugar, and our unbromated white flour rather than your typical all-purpose flour. And they use all butter which not only tastes better, but is better for you than the canned crisco and vegetable oils etc. Give it a try!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Lion House Cookbook)
*makes 5-6 dozen, 3 1/2 inch cookies, or about 15 giant cookies

1 3/4 c (3 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 1/4 c evaporated cane juice or any granulated sugar
4 eggs (cage free if possible)
5 1/2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
6 c all-purpose flour (I like to use unbromated white flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 c chocolate chips (or M&M’s, or whatever chip you like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with silicone mat, parchment paper or lightly grease sheets and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, water, and vanilla and mix until creamy. Add flour, salt, and baking soda and mix well. Gently fold in chocolate chips, mixing only until chips are evenly distributed. (overmixing results in broken chips and discolored dough). Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. *If doing giant cookies, use about 3x the dough for individual cookies, and they will bake a couple of minutes longer; start watching around 10 minutes, but most likely they’ll go til 12 minutes, depending on your oven; they’re ready when they’re lightly golden around edges.

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