Monthly Archives: April 2015

Orange Scones

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Well friends, we are moving out of state around Memorial weekend, back to our home in Utah, so I hope you will bear with me and my blog here, over the next month or two, as our family of 7 is living in a transitory state dealing with packing and unpacking, and with my Hubby flying back and forth and being gone a lot. I will do my best to keep the posts coming weekly, but if I miss one, or if I’m a little late, please know that I will be back soon because I love having this one spot online where I can store all my family’s favorite whole foods recipes. Alright, so this recipe is mostly whole foods, and I don’t do this very often, but I think it’s fine every once in a while, for a birthday or holiday or special occasion, to break some of your typical rules and use a little sugar or white flour. We’re still using mostly whole grains and overall the recipe is still way better than buying a pre-made dessert from the store that’s full of preservatives, dyes, high fructose corn syrup, etc.

After eating a yummy scone at Panera bread, I experimented with several scone recipes, trying different flavors, to figure out which one my family liked the best. It was a tie between the lemon and the orange scone, and actually, you can use this recipe for both, just sub out the orange essential oils or juice, with lemon essential oils or juice. I experimented with several different flours and I decided I liked it best when the recipe had at least 1/2 c of white flour. I liked multiple combinations: 1 c brown rice flour with 1/2 c wheat and 1/2 c white flours, or 1 c wheat and 1 c white flour.

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees with the rack on lower middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix dry ingredients. Add sugar and orange essential oil or zest. In separate bowl whisk egg and sour cream and set aside. Grate frozen butter into flour/sugar mixture.

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Combine with fork or dough pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal.

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Stir in sour cream mixture until just combined.

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Place dough on the prepared parchment and pat into an 8 inch circle. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 8 triangles.

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Alternately, you can roll the dough into a rectangle and cut into 18 triangles.

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Pull the dough apart so that the scones each have about an inch in between each other.

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Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops are golden.

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While baking, mix together your glaze in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Once the scones are done baking allow them to sit and cool for 5 minutes and then drizzle the glaze over top or dip each scone into the glaze. Even though in the picture below I’ve drizzled my glaze, I actually prefer to dip the entire top of the scone into the glaze(I make the glaze in a shallow and small bowl that’s big enough to fit one scone)…when the glaze dries it gives it a slightly crispy texture on top like the ones at Panera Bread :). Yum!  Definitely a family favorite!

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THE RECIPE:

Orange Scones
Makes 8 large or 18 mini scones

2 c flour (I use a combo of: 1 c brown rice flour, 1/2 c wheat and 1/2 c white. 1 c wheat and 1 white works great too)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c evaporated cane juice (or other granulated sugar)
5 drops wild orange essential oil or zest from 1 large orange
1/2 c butter, frozen
1/2 c sour cream (or can sub 1/2 c plain yogurt with 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice)
1 large egg

Glaze:
3/4 c powdered sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
2-4 Tbsp orange juice (or 2 Tbsp water with 5 drops wild orange essential oil)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack on lower middle position. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix dry ingredients. Add sugar and orange. In separate bowl whisk egg and sour cream and set aside. Grate frozen butter into flour/sugar mixture. Combine with fork or dough pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in sour cream mixture until just combined. Place dough on parchment and pat into 8 inch circle. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 8 triangles (alternately, you can roll the dough into a rectangle and cut into 18 triangles). Pull the dough apart so that the scones each have about an inch in between each other. Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops are golden. While baking, mix together your glaze in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Once the scones are done baking allow them to sit and cool for 5 minutes and then drizzle the glaze over top or dip each scone into the glaze.

*You can alternately, make a healthier glaze made from 2 Tbsp orange juice and 1/3 c agave, but it won’t harden like the one above with the powdered sugar. This is still yummy, but is less sweet, has a different, runnier consistency and it will soak into the top of the bread some.

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Desserts

Homemade Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

I like to buy the Costco Rotisserie chickens on occasion (which are hormone free). When I do, rather than throwing the carcass away once we’ve pulled off all the meat, just before bed I’ll stick the carcass in our slow cooker, add in some veggies, spices and water, and cook it on low, overnight. When we wake up in the morning, the house smells amazing and now we have several quarts of home made chicken stock!

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I know in the picture below, I’ve chopped up the celery pretty fine, but I never do that any more. There’s no need. It’s just for the flavor and you end up dumping the cooked veggies. So instead, using my end, I break the celery stalks into thirds and toss them in.

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These are the spices I use, but feel free to take some liberties here and add spices you love that would go well with the others, or you can leave some out that you don’t have on hand.

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Once the veggies and spices are in, I fill up the slow cooker with cool water, leaving about 1/2-1 inch headspace at the top. Put the lid on and let it cook on low overnight or 8-10 hours.

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Once it’s done, turn off the heat and use a soup ladle to pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove all the solids. You can put the sieve right over your jars and ladle it straight in there or you can ladle it into a larger container first, like my large glass measuring dish, and then pour it into the jars. Either way it gets pretty messy so I usually do my ladling work over a rimmed baking sheet.

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The stock is amazingly flavorful and will go well in all your soups. I also use it in my enchilada sauce and when I’m making brown rice. It will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or you can freeze it for several months.

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THE RECIPE:

Homemade Slow Cooker Chicken Stock-
*makes about 16 c

Carcass from a small chicken (I use the Costco Rotisserie chicken carcass)
1 white or yellow onion, peeled and thickly sliced
2 celery stalks, cut in thirds
10 baby carrots
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp dried bay leaves
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp apple cider vinegar or vinegar
1/4 tsp turmeric

Place chicken carcass in large slow cooker. Add all other ingredients. Fill the slow cooker with water, leaving about a 1/2 inch head space at top. Cover and cook on low overnight or start in the morning on low and cook for 8-10 hours. When done, turn off heat and ladle the stock through a fine sieve to remove all the solids. Store in glass quart/pint jars. Refrigerate for two weeks or freeze for several months(I like to freeze mine in quart freezer bags because my glass jars always break in the freezer). Can dilute stock with water when using in recipes or use as is.

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No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I have a sweet tooth. I always have. Over the years I’ve come up with some very tasty, healthy alternatives to the traditional sugary baked goods. This no-bake peanut butter cookie is so good, and it’s so good for you! 2015-04-10 17.47.19

These are the ingredients: coconut oil, natural peanut butter, butter (though if you’re vegan I’m sure you could sub butter for more coconut oil or use a vegan butter; I’ve got vegan on my mind because my sister and her family were just visiting from Seattle and they are gluten-free and vegan), honey, oats, vanilla and whole milk (or you could sub with another milk).

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Place the butter, oil, honey and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter has melted and the mixture begins to boil, whisking occasionally. Boil for one minute then remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla.

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Place oats and optional cacao powder in a large mixing bowl. Pour peanut butter mixture over and stir until combined.

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Using a cookie scoop, scoop cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours, until firm. I decided to make half of mine using carob powder, and the other half I made as plain peanut butter no-bakes. Both were amazing! Once they’re firm, I store them in an airtight container in the fridge, and separate stacked rows with parchment paper.

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Enjoy!

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THE RECIPE:

No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
*makes about 35 cookies

1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 c coconut oil
3/4 c honey
1/2 c whole milk
1/2 c natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 c oats
optional: 3 Tbsp cacao or carob powder

Place the butter, oil, honey and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil, whisking occasionally. Boil for one minute then remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Place oats and optional cacao powder in a large mixing bowl. Pour peanut butter mixture over and stir until combined. Using a cookie scoop, scoop cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours, until firm.

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Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs

I have a couple of family favorite recipes that call for bread crumbs. Have you ever looked at the ingredient label for bread crumbs? There’s a whole bunch of extra added things that we really shouldn’t be putting into our bodies, and I always prefer whole wheat to white, so we like to make our own. This has become a staple in our house. You can make bread crumbs using your favorite whole wheat bread and I love that it uses up my end pieces!

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You don’t have to use end pieces, but I always do because my family doesn’t enjoy eating the end pieces in sandwiches and I don’t want them to go to waste. So I save my end pieces by freezing them either in their bag or a freezer ziploc bag, or if I already have some frozen end pieces in the freezer, I’ll just add more to it.

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Once I have 8+ pieces, I’ll pull them out of the freezer, put them on a cookie sheet and bake them in an oven preheated to 300 degrees for about 30-40 minutes until they’re dry and crispy but not burnt.

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Once they’re ready, I break them apart into fourths or smaller and stick them in my blender. I pulse the blender until they break up into smaller pieces.

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Sometimes a big piece will get in the way and trap the others from falling down toward the blade. When that happens, I just open up the lid, break some of the larger pieces down to smaller pieces, replace the lid and pulse again.

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After you pulse it multiple times and the bread is no longer getting trapped, hold down the pulse button and allow it to blend until you have crumbs, about 20 seconds.

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8-10 slices will make about 2 cups of whole wheat bread crumbs.

Whatever you don’t use within in the next several days, feel free to freeze them in a tupperware to be used another day. And you don’t need to let them thaw, just pull them out of the freezer and use.

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THE RECIPE:

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
*makes about 2 cups

8-10 slices whole wheat bread ends, frozen

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place bread ends on a baking sheet, not overlapping, and bake for 30-40 minutes until the bread looks toasted (dry and browning). Break bread into fourths and place in high power blender or food processor and pulse about 10 times, until the bread has begun to break up and then hold down the pulse button until it’s all crumbs, and there aren’t any more chunks, about 20 seconds. Ready to use immediately in recipes, or you can store in pantry for several weeks or in freezer for up to a couple of months. We love to use bread crumbs on our chicken fingers (chicken nuggets/strips).

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Granola Bars

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 It’s hard to find a store bought granola bar that is made with all real foods. There are a few out there like Lara Bars, which are an all fruit and nut bar. But not many. And, they’re expensive. And they’re really not that great, taste-wise. I mean, I like them, but none of my kids will eat them beyond their baby years, and Scott doesn’t care for them either(my hubby) :). I like the convenience of granola bars and I like that some are quite filling. This recipe fits that bill. With oats, ground flax or protein powder, whole wheat flour, quinoa, and chopped nuts (optional), these are filling, nutritious, and so good! The main sweetener is honey, and I also use a little bit of coconut sugar, but you could substitute brown sugar for coconut sugar if you don’t have it on hand.

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together your dry ingredients, nuts and quinoa in a large mixing bowl.  The nuts and uncooked quinoa are optional, but I like them because they add a nice crunch. I made mine with sliced almonds and red quinoa, but any color quinoa would work. I also sometimes use ground flax, and sometimes I’ll substitute a vanilla protein powder for the flax. Both taste amazing!

Melt your coconut oil and add in the honey, vanilla  and egg and stir together. Pour this over your dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in your add-ins(chocolate chips, carob chips, raisins, shredded coconut etc. I like to do 1/4 c carob or chocolate chips and 1/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut).

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 Dump mix onto a greased or parchment-lined 9×13 pan. Press into pan with a large mixing spoon or with the palm of your hand (or both). Bake in your oven for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

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While still warm, cut the baked granola mix into 15 rectangular bars. They harden and stick together better as they cool, so that’s why we cut them while they’re still warm. Once they’re all cut, leave them alone and let them sit in the pan until they’ve cooled completely, about an hour. If you don’t wait, they’ll still taste good, but they’ll fall apart.

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 Store them in an airtight container on your counter, or you can individually wrap them in saran wrap or  sandwich bags to grab and go.

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THE RECIPE:

Granola Bars
*Makes about 15 bars

2 c oats
1/4 c coconut sugar (can sub brown sugar)
1/2 c ground flax  (or vanilla protein powder)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla
Add-ins:  1/2 c , any variation, of chocolate chips, raisins, carob chips, coconut flakes (I like to do a 1/4 c coconut and 1/4 c carob chips)
Optional: 1/4 c sliced almonds (or other chopped nut)
Optional: 2 Tbsp uncooked quinoa (any color)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Pat mix into prepared pan. Bake about 25 minutes until bars turn golden at edges. Cut while still warm, then allow to cool completely, about an hour, before serving so they can harden and hold together.

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