August 12, 2010

flawless french bread

so, i've made neither french bread, nor sourdough, but i tried my hand at both today. while the bread tasted in no way sour, it produced some rather flawless french bread. i'll keep trying on the sour part...

i found the recipe at

Active Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 109 Hours 50 Minutes
Yield: Makes 2 loaves (15 servings each)
Sourdough gets its tangy flavor from a slightly fermented starter. It's the namesake ingredient in the famous bread from San Francisco and can also be used in pancakes, muffins, and other yeast breads. To prepare the starter, you'll need to begin 5-10 days in advance of baking.
For the Sourdough Starter:
1 package active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105-115 degrees F)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
For the Bread:
1 cup sourdough starter, above
5 1/2-6 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (120-130 degrees F)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Sourdough French Bread Recipe at


In a large mixing bowl soften yeast in 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water. Stir in the remaining water, flour, and sugar or honey. Stir till smooth. Cover the bowl with 100 percent cotton cheesecloth. Let stand at room temperature (75-85 degrees) for 5-10 days, stirring 2-3 times each day, or till the mixture has a sour, fermented aroma. (Fermentation time depends upon the room temperature. A warmer room hastens fermentation.) When fermented, transfer sourdough starter to a 1-quart jar or plastic container. Loosely cover and refrigerate. If starter isn’t used within 10 days, stir in 1 teaspoon sugar or honey. Repeat every 10 days till used (the starter can be kept indefinitely). To use starter, bring desired amount to room temperature. For every cup used, stir 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon sugar or honey into the remaining amount. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 day, or till bubbly. Then refrigerate for later use.

Bring 1 cup sourdough starter to room temperature (about 1 hour). In a large mixing bowl combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and salt. Add the 1 1/2 cups warm water and the sourdough starter. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (about 1 hour).

Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll each half of dough into a 15x10-inch rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends. Place, seam-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place till nearly double (35-45 minutes).

Place an ovenproof ceramic or heavy-duty glass baking dish filled with 1 inch of water on the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Let the water steam the oven while the bread rises.

Combine egg yolk and water. Brush dough with egg wash. With a very sharp knife or single-edge razor blade, make 4-5 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Place baking sheet with bread on rack above pan of water. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees; bake for 30-35 minutes, or till bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. (If necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning.) Remove bread from baking sheet; cool on a rack.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

August 11, 2010

thermos-ready smoothie

found it at i threw in some handfuls of spinach and a few tablespoons of flaxseed meal for good measure. also, i used cran-apple since i didn't have just plain apple juice. my kids loved it and it was hardy enough with a piece of toast to keep 'em full til lunch.

  • 1 cup(s) frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup(s) apple juice
  • 1/4 cup(s) silken tofu


  1. Combine berries, banana, apple juice and tofu in a blender; blend until smooth.

almond-honey power bar

for a while i've been looking for a granola bar that's jam-packed, but that also doesn't have any oil or butter....that also holds its shape. i found a recipe that has a really great flavor, but the bars just crumble into your hands.

i found this recipe at the bars stay together and the flavor is good. the turbinado sugar, though...i'm not sure if it melted properly or what, but there's a little bit of a crunch from that. anyway, for right now it's a keeper. i'll probably tweak it with a few different dried fruits and things next time i make them.

  • 1 cup(s) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup(s) slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup(s) sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon(s) flaxseeds, preferably golden
  • 1 tablespoon(s) sesame seeds
  • 1 cup(s) unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (see Tips & Techniques)
  • 1/3 cup(s) currants
  • 1/3 cup(s) chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup(s) chopped golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup(s) creamy almond butter (see Tips)
  • 1/4 cup(s) turbinado sugar (see Tips)
  • 1/4 cup(s) honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.
  2. Spread oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the oats are lightly toasted and the nuts are fragrant, shaking the pan halfway through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add cereal, currants, apricots, and raisins; toss to combine.
  3. Combine almond butter, sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles lightly, 2 to 5 minutes.
  4. Immediately pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or spatula until no dry spots remain. Transfer to the prepared pan. Lightly coat your hands with cooking spray and press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer (wait until the mixture cools slightly if necessary). Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes; cut into 8 bars.

Tips & Techniques

Ingredient notes: For this recipe, we like unsweetened puffed multigrain cereal, such as Kashi's 7 Whole Grain Puffs. Almond butter can be found at natural-foods stores and large supermarkets, near the peanut butter. Turbinado sugar is steam-cleaned raw cane sugar. It's coarse-grained and light brown in color, with a slight molasses flavor. Find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets or at natural-foods stores.

August 08, 2010

asian salad dressing

i wanted to throw an asian salad together today and really liked the dressing i found on i mixed it with about a half a head of green cabbage, a fourth a head of red cabbage, a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds and a couple handfuls of ginger-spiced wonton strips.

i didn't have any almonds, but i would have added toasted almonds if i had them. i guess you could add chicken and even mandrain oranges if you wanted.


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)--i don't think it's optional, actually
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

August 05, 2010

chicken nuggets--more like tender chicken

i try a homemade chicken nuggets recipe every once a while because i like the idea of making a more healthy version of them at home since my kiddos like them so much. so far i haven't really found one...and this isn't really a chicken nugget recipe, but it made some super yummy and tender chicken. i found it on i flipped them over after they had cooked about half the time.

Baked Chicken Nuggets


  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Cut chicken breasts into 1 1/2 inch size pieces. In a medium bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, salt, thyme and basil. Mix well. Put melted butter/margarine in a bowl or dish for dipping.
  3. Dip chicken pieces into the melted butter/margarine first, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place well coated chicken pieces on a lightly greased cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

chicken (either canned or frozen) cook & dice/shred
celery- dice/chop
basil- several good shakes
rosemary- 1/2 tsp
pepper- dash
salt- 1/2 tsp
grapes- seedless, cut in half, optional

Ok, so I basically eyeball this recipe. I usually do 1/2-1 chicken breast per adult. And then I usually do 1 stalk of celery for every 3 breasts used. I use a spatula to add the mayo and start small and keep adding until I like the consistency. I add the spices at the beginning so that they get blended well....and I add the grapes last. So if I make this the day before I put the grapes in a sandwich bag and then add them when I'm ready to start putting the mixture on bread or croissants. Also, if you're going to do croissants, only slice them 2/3 of the way through---if you completely slice them in half then the chicken and grapes fall out too easily when you're trying to eat it. I learned that the hard way!