April 22, 2012


i haven't bought rice-o-roni since college, but if i had had a box in my pantry today, i would have used it.  what i improvised turned out to be quite good and the whole family gobbled it up.  this would be a good base for pilaf and one could have fun experimenting with whatever other add-ins.


2T margarine
3/4 C jasmine rice
1/2 C orzo pasta
2 C chicken stock
a few shakes garlic salt
a few shakes oregano
a few shakes basil


melt margarine over med-high.  saute rice and orzo til browning.  add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  reduce heat to simmer, add garlic and herbs, cover and cook til soft, about 10-15 min.

multigrain bread

i had been looking for a good multigrain bread recipe and decided to look up ourbestbites.com because so many of my friends rave about the recipes there.  this recipe didn't disappoint.  i feel like all good bread has a few tricks, so go to the website here before you make it the first time.  the first time i made this recipe it seemed like there were a few extra steps and that it was complicated, but after making it a second time, i feel like it's a recipe i could get used to and actually make several times a month.  the basic recipe is below.


1 1/4 cup (6 1/4 ounces) seven-grain hot cereal mix
2 1/2 cups boiling water
3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour (not bread flour)
1 1/2 cups (8 1/4 oz) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
2 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon salt
Optional (I omitted): 3/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats

*If you’re using salted butter, just decrease the additional salt by just a bit.


Place cereal mix in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook and pour boiling water over it; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools to 100 degrees and resembles thick porridge, about 1 hour.  Whisk flours together in separate bowl.

Once grain mixture has cooled, add honey, butter, and yeast and mix on low speed until combined.  Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until cohesive mass starts to form (*note: some at high altitudes have noted they have not needed all of the flour, go by look and feel and stop adding flour if you need to!) 1 1/2-2 minutes; cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 20 minutes.  Add salt and knead on medium-low speed until dough clears sides of bowl, 3-4 minutes (if it does not clear sides, add 2-3 tablespoons additional all-purpose flour and knead until it does.  Don’t add more!) continue to knead dough for 5 more minutes.  Add seeds (if using) and knead for another 15 seconds.  Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand until seeds are dispersed evenly and dough forms smooth, round ball.  Place dough in large, lightly greased bowl; cover tightly with plastic and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.

Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.  Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and divide in half.  Press 1 piece of dough into 9×6 inch rectangle, with short side facing you.  Roll dough toward you into firm cylinder, keeping roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go.  Turn loaf seam side up and pinch it closed.  Repeat with second piece of dough.  Spray loaves lightly with water or vegetable oil spray.  Roll each loaf in oats to coat evenly and place seam side down in prepared pans, pressing gently into corners.  Cover loaves loosely with greased plastic and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size 30-40 minutes.  Dough should barely spring back when poked with knuckle.

Thirty minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake until loaves register 200 degrees, 35-40 minutes.  Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.  Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.

healthy banana muffins

i found the recipe here and then tweaked it a bit.  these are super moist and super tasty.  i didn't add the chocolate chips or pecans, but i'm open to adding them a different time for a treat.

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 C whole wheat flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 egg
1/4 C oil
3/4 C applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I use at least 60% cacao)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

bake @ 350 for 20 minutes.

April 17, 2012

yummy yams

i love yams and could eat them as-is, but my family members...not so much. so i thought i'd try out a recipe from my fun friends over at little birdie secrets. if you're not familiar with their blog, you really should check them out here.

the yams were delicious, but a little too sweet for me and i even halved the amount of sugar. and then because i reduced the sugar, i think the nutmeg needs to be reduced, too. the original recipe is here.

ingredients and directions

4 c. mashed yams (about 4-5 large yams, peeled, quartered, and boiled until tender)
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. nutmeg

Put ingredients in a large bowl. Blend together with a mixer or beaters and put in a greased casserole dish (approx. 9" x 13").

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. chopped pecans--almonds would work, too.

Mix and drop spoonfuls on top of yams. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.