Recently I bought a new flour to try baking bread with. I have been using a pretty good all purpose for a whole lot of things, from pizza, to pie dough to bread making, but I wanted to try something heartier and richer for my breads. I decided to try some whole wheat flour.
At first I could only afford a cheaper brand of whole wheat flour. Adding even a small amount even like 1/3 of a cup to my bread ratio significantly changed the consistency of my breads to be more grainy. I did not like that at all. A few breads that I made tasted like I used corn meal. The cheap whole wheat flour was so NOT ground to the fine consistency that the regular all purpose flour that I use was. I was getting pretty mad about using grainy corn meal whole wheat flour, until I read and learned about an alternative whole wheat flour. I was even recommended by my landlord who also bakes bread to try King Arthur Whole Wheat flour and its like night and day vrs the cheaper kinds of whole wheat.
I finally saw it on sale this month and was able to buy it, and have now used it twice in baking breads. I am so happy with the fine feel of this flour, its so NOT GRAINY. I love that. I was able to make a Graham flour whole wheat sweet loaf last week for my “feed my starter” bread making Saturday baking adventures, that was really super hearty and flavorful and sweet.
Today I made a 100% KAF whole wheat bread and its FLUFFY! But still hearty and so full of great flavor that I am super happy with the results. I would NEVER be able to make a 100% whole wheat loaf with the dense heavy Whole wheat flour that I used to buy.
I did not measure anything but the flour in making this whole wheat loaf, I used 3 ½ cups of the new flour. I have been making bread for a few months now, and even have my own sourdough starter maintained that I used tonight for both the loaves that I made. I feel fairly confident without measuring much.
I really loved the KAF blog on how to maintain your starter too, it helped me in the first week starting the ‘sourdough starter’. I have been experimenting in my boho kitchen with bread ratios for a while, so recipes are not rules of the game for me they are more like guidelines, and I have made some pretty good breads with knowing the general guidelines and not having to have recipes in front of me each time. My husband was pretty impressed also because I baked each bread under 250 degrees because our oven is broken and doesn’t go any higher until we get a new part on Monday.
Here is a picture of my first 100% whole wheat loaf! With my new-found favorite whole wheat flour king arthur flour.
Yesterday I processed my first live crabs. My husband went single kayak crab fishing in the harbor late at night. We live on the coast and to even have the privilege to get a license and go out on the water is mind blowing to us. He came home with 2 live crabs from the trip. I knew he was going all day so I looked up how to process crab on the internet. We took some pictures with the bounty.
I turned to one of my favorite step by step picture blogs Instructables.com. , and found a blog on how to cook crab..
My husband knew that we had to boil it for exactly 10 minutes to cook it. So we set the live crab aside and boiled a large pot of water. After it got to a rolling boil, we added the live crab and set the timer. After 10 minutes we took it out and set it to cool. I had a whole side of the sink clean so I placed them in my dish tub in the sink.
Omg live crab, that is now dead in my sink. What the heck do I do with it? I was flabbergasted for a second. I had to talk myself into cleaning it.
Saying things in my head like,
“Well, if no one guts it, no one gets the meat; and if no one else wants to do it, I guess I have to.”
With the phone at my side and instructions at the ready, I went for it.
Holy messy green gut mess. I had a very messy learning experience.
First you remove parts of the crab, then the shell, and you have to rinse as you go. I had to remove gills and eyes and pinchers. I made a mess of guts and parts and then finally I had a plate of crab that was clean full of meat ready to be extracted.. I had did it. Here is the proof.
Its quite amazing to be able to have looked at my meal in the eyes, live and dead, before I ate it. I removed the eyes with respect for the creature that gave up its life for my meal. Its a humbling experience and I hope I get to experience it more often.
You should always be able to do that, to look your meat in the eyes, alive, before you kill it. It brings you closer to nature and realizing what the animal gave up to feed you. It gave me a respect for killing. I plan on trying to meet some chickens and turkeys in my near future too. I heard of a farm on t.v one time that you could BYOC, bring your own chicken and they would teach you how to slaughter it properly. I think I would love an experience like that.
After crab, I think I am ready to filet also. Normally when my husband comes home with fish from fishing, he guts and filets the fish, but I am going to ask him to teach me next time. I feel like after seeing those guts I could handle more…lol
If there is any food I have exhausted all creative efforts for its butternut squash. Even with my new found creativity with cauliflower, I still have actually had more experience cooking with versatile butternut squash. Surprisingly enough there is even some sweet ways to use it.
First thing you should know is your going to have to prepare it. Obviously it has a very tough outer shell and we want to get to the golden inside. You can make it semi soft by throwing it into a microwave before cutting, but radiating your food for convenience is never a good idea, so just get a really sharp knife and cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds, save them if you want to roast them separate, and clean them good if you are saving them. You can roast your halves as is in the oven with some butter and garlic, they are super good roasted.
But my favorite way to use butternut squash would be steamed. I steam chopped up butternut and skin it after steaming, scooping out the yummy insides and pureeing it up and save the puree in jars for lots of creative recipes. I have to hid the jars though, or my son will eat it out like its a jar of applesauce. He loves butternut!
Here are some of my favorite butternut recipes and more to try:
Butternut Squash Spaetzle: (noodles) this is by far my most creative use of butternut. I used butternut puree to make a noodle dough which you push through a colander into boiling water to create noodles.
Butternut Crackers: Amazingly you can make yummy crackers out of butternut squash. You can puree it and turn it into about anything, just like cauliflower. Butternut is not as bland as cauliflower and it has its own distinct sweet flavor, so be sure to remember that. If you want to disguise the taste use more cheese or seasonings in any kind of homemade crackers. http://www.veganricha.com/2013/03/butternut–squash-rosemary-onion.html
Butternut Squash Ice Cream: As any educated paleo eater knows, anything blended with coconut milk and a sweetener can be frozen into an ice cream. So it makes perfect sense to me to make butternut squash ice cream. This is very similar to the dairy free banana ice cream I make and have for my son in the freezer. http://paleoparents.com/featured/the-healthiest-ice-cream-ever/
I love turmeric. When I saw Vandana Shiva growing it in a recent food documentary and talking about the benefits of it, I had to learn more. I have been learning ever since. Cooking with turmeric has been an adventure, taking turmeric supplements have been a blessing and knowledge of its amazing health benefits have been a godsend.
I have been searching for the best turmeric supplement, for about 3 years. I finally found a high potency supplement that uses the isolated active part of turmeric called curcumin and mixes it with more turmeric and other amino acids to create a high potency pain relieving inflammation formula.
According to natural health magazines, this supplement ranks highest for inflammation control and pain management. Their is a few other supplements to compare, but none stand up to the formula of Curamin.
I will include a link about It. I do know its pricey, but if you can afford it, you will feel better. I have fibromalgia and this significantly contributes to me being more active during the day and having to never take Big Pharma pills such as ibuprofen and narcotics.
I love cooking with turmeric. I love adding it as a spice to savory recipes and sneaking it into things that you wouldn’t expect. My family doesn’t like curry, so I am not including curry recipes in this. You can find that all over the internet by yourself. We don’t like and or our sensitive stomachs cannot take too many spices so I never over spice anything. Curry is too spicy for us. For this list I will include some mild turmeric recipes that can help you ease into using the spice more often.
Turmeric spiced fried Chicken or Pork:
This is my families favorite way to eat turmeric and they don’t even know its there. I mix a spice blend of paprika and turmeric and salt and pepper and flour and breadcrumbs and dip the meat into it. You can tempura this and get an extra crunchy result by dipping it into beaten egg once after the seasonings and then dipping back into the breadcrumbs, sort of a double dip. The eggs help the breadcrumbs and the seasonings to stick better. Once thoroughly coated in breadcrumb mix, fry until golden brown. The turmeric will change the color of the meat, if you use too much, so start slow.
Turmeric Mustard Honey chicken:
This can be made with or without veggies, you sprinkle turmeric salt and pepper on your chicken and coat in a mustard honey mix in the wok. Goes well with the next recipe or by itself.
Turmeric Mustard Honey stir fry: You can make this with or without the above chicken, I prefer with. You use red bell pepper, onion, turmeric, chicken breasts and dried prunes and thyme. I will try and include a recipe. But its similar to the above chicken recipe. Mixing the honey with the mustard and the turmeric creates a wonderful stir fry sauce.
Turmeric Heirloom Tomato soup: I have made heirloom tomato soup with a yummy spice blend of turmeric and other spices, I will post a pic of how it was made.
Turmeric Cauliflower Fried Rice: I just made this for the first time yesterday. I made cauliflower snow-rice and then fried it like fried rice, spicing it with turmeric and paprika and a dash of cayenne pepper. You add a fried egg and steamed veggies to the rice and use a blend of turmeric and salt and pepper and paprika to season after cooking.
Masa Pizza Dough with Turmeric: Making Masa tortillas and Masa pizza dough is really easy to make. You can lightly season it up with some turmeric and no one will taste the difference. Use the above dashing blend of turmeric, paprika and salt and pepper to season Masa dough. You can even throw in some cayenne if you like the spice.
Turmeric spiced Cauliflower Tortillas: you can make grain free tortillas with cauliflower and eggs and spice it with a turmeric blend for a better color. The egg already makes them yellow, but you can bring out the color with turmeric and add some flavor to it.
Turmeric Sweet Recipes:
Turmeric Smoothie: Try combining a dash of turmeric with your fruit smoothie. You can add some Maca or Camu Camu to really get some health benefits also.
Turmeric Hot chocolate: Try making your own “inflammation hot chocolate” combine raw cocoa with some turmeric and some white willow bark powder and a little bit of honey and you have a pain fighting chocolate drink. Add a dash of pepper and cinnamon to make it spicy. Pepper makes turmeric work better, it increases the bio-availability of the active part of the herb.
Turmeric Baked Goods: You can Change the color of your baked goods with a dash of turmeric into the batter and even make a yummy turmeric middle eastern cake, I’ll include some recipes for that.
Turmeric Salve: I have made some beautiful turmeric beeswax salve. You can use this for transdermal medicine and ease inflammation this way.
Turmeric Poultice-Paste: You can make a high potency paste by mixing turmeric with water or honey until it makes a poultice, you can use this poultice in the same way as you would a salve, for a inflamed area on your body. Be aware that any turmeric salve and or poultice will stain the skin yellow.
Here are a few more lists of things to do with Turmeric
If there is one responsibility that I have as a mom, its a duty to my son to help him eat good, and learn what food is good for him and not. As he is dairy free and barely eats any dairy products, I tell him God made him special and he can only eat the best foods in the world, so dairy and gluten are unnecessary.
Eating fruits and veggies are his favorite. Ever since he was a baby, he has had the most open mind when it comes to how we eat our veggies. We have tried the most unlikely things together and ended up both loving them; Avocado brownies and Popsicles, butternut squash noodles, black bean noodles, beet cake and even squash muffins, have been a few of my favorites.
I have come up with some creative ways to incorporate more nutrition into our diets. Greens are snuck into every meal, (shhh!) sugar is replaced with natural fruit sugars and more importantly I have figured out the best dairy free replacements any mom can ask for. Cooking dairy free for me is a breeze.
I have figured out the best dairy free substitutes for cooking as follows.
Cheese- Cashew cheese, almond cheese and Cauliflower.
Buttermilk,Sour cream and yogurt,Mayo; Cauliflower puree, almond milk and lemon juice-
Once I discovered Cauliflower was so unique I had to learn more about it. I came to figure out that cauliflower is more versatile then you would expect. With recipes in both the savory and sweet side, there is more to cauliflower then you may have realized.
When you steam cauliflower, and puree it, It magically transforms into a dairy free butter mix for baking, an unlikely addition to mashed potato and even can be pureed into a dairy free frosting. Another one of my favorites is blending it up as a pasta sauce.
Here are a few different recipes proving that the king of the veggies, has to be the cauliflower. And best of all most of the recipes are dairy free~~!!
Cauliflower Coffee Cake: Replace a traditional dairy-full dessert with cauliflower. For the coffee cakes that call for sour cream or yogurt inside, you can replace that with some cauliflower puree (steamed blended cauliflower), with a slight zest of lemon juice and a dash of dairy free milk inside of it, you can even achieve a bit of the dairy ‘sour’ taste. http://84thand3rd.com/2012/11/19/cinnamon-cauliflower-coffee-cake-caramel-sauce/
Feta/Cheese replacement: When making a yummy artisan pizza at home and you have a dairy free eater, try using cauliflower Alfredo instead of pizza sauce, and or using steamed individual cauliflower flowerettes and smashing them on top of the pizza for a “false” feta.
I feel so forgetful, I made a whole blog post on how to sweeten things naturally and I forgot some of the major players in fruits and veggies. I mentioned dried fruit and bananas and date paste but you’ll be super surprised that the following fruits and vegetables can be helpful in baking also.
I just love hiding things like beans, veggies and even special flavors into my cooking. Even if not all of these things may be sweet, they are nutritious and good to eat, so why not add them to your dessert.
Beet– how can I forget beet! I made the most amazing red velvet cake batter and used beet to color it. recipe I used for it below:
Berries fruit and or natural flavors: blackberries and rosehips shown below both provide a naturally sweet taste to baking, and are great to find locally if you have some. Bake berries into baked goods folding in after mixing your dry and wet together. For rosehips dry powder use in the dry mix, for natural flavors such as lemon or vanilla use in the wet mix.
I recently made a rosehip and hibiscus flavored lemon meringue pie and it was really different and tasted extra fruity from the extra flavor, and even added some color. For berries and natural flavors do note that the color and taste of your baked goods will significantly change, the more you add.
here are some tips and recipes on rosehips if your interested.
Rhubarb and cranberries are both naturally very sour, so you will have to cook them. cranberries are excellent in baking, but do remember to sweeten them up. Rhubarb is excellent to bake with check out my favorite step by step recipe for rhubarb cobbler here.
Carrots– we all know about carrot cake of course. But what could be better than a carrot pancake and carrot muffin. Carrot juice is amazingly sweet, try juicing your carrots and adding the pulp to your baking. Enjoy the sweetest of carrots steamed then mashed into baked goods like beets and squash.
Sweet potato and or plantain. I have found some very interesting recipes for desserts with them. Check them out. I have not baked with either but I plan to one day. here are a few lists that are great to check out for sweet potato and plantain recipes.
If you didn’t already know, refined sugars are not that good for you. Even consuming syrups like maple, agave or simple sweeteners can take a toll when your trying to go sugar free. Most vegans rely on fruit sweeteners to keep things sweet and I am going to share my baking experience with dried fruit paste as a filling and a sweetener.
You can make your own date paste by blending dates up in a blender or food processor and adding things such as water or milk a dash of salt and maybe some vanilla or lemon juice to make it to your taste. I personally like to make my date paste stretched by also adding raisins, cut up prunes and prune juice instead of water or milk. Some people cook the dates down, like a dried fruit compote, or simply just jar it up after blending it. Date paste can last up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
Dates raisins and prunes are excellent for bowels and elimination. We use our date paste at least once a week in cooking to ensure elimination for everyone in the family. We like to change up our recipes for how we use it and I like to have a jar in the fridge always.
If you don’t have sugar and or don’t want to use sugar in baking, you can eliminate the wet parts of the paste and grind up dried dates until you have a sugar like consistency and you can replace regular white sugar or even brown sugar with date sugar instead.
I like to bake. I mean I like to bake a whole hell of a lot,… you start to realize after a whole lot of baking that creaming that butter and sugar…well it adds up the calories, and well,..really we shouldn’t consume processed sugar. So after all the perfectly gluten and sugary chocolate chip cookies were made and I started to even buy those awesomely sweet organic frozen cookies at whole foods,.. I really got some weight to prove that I was eating all that butter and sugar. Oh no.. =( And even after trying all the best cookies that I could make or buy with sugar, I still never wanted to give my son even more than a bite..who wants just a bite..that’s cruelty, I mean I know I want to eat the whole cookie bag of Newman O’s sometimes and I felt the kids pain. So I did what I thought a regular Bakaholic would do, get the research done. I found that the following sugar-butter replacements are ideal when cooking for a toddler, young child, or even adult,..cause ya know, you always want more than one cookie,.. this way you wont get too fat.. I hope. And you don’t have to feel guilty about eating sugar and butter because you will not be. The first alternative to sugar would be the obvious..
Syrups. But I personally think that some syrups like agave, maple and simple sweeteners do not cream like sugar and butter do and some have more sugar content than sugar,.. so no thanks.
Honey is great for sugar alternative, but you need to be careful how much you put, or it gets a little overwhelming like maple.
But if you are making sugar free granola bars nothing works better then honey or maple and some peanut butter but that’s another post.
Date sugar and Date Syrup are my first choice. Its consistency is perfect, date syrup for more brown sugar and butter. Date sugar creams relatively well with shortening or coconut butter.
Bananas. Bananas replace sugar and oil. Mash them up and use them like you would creamed sugar and butter.
Applesauce is normally already sweetened. You can use applesauce to replace butter and sugar in some recipes. If you are using unsweetened applesauce for butter replacement, be sure to use something else with it for sugar like some date syrup or mashed banana.
Dried Fruit is sweeter when cooked or soaked, and mixed into baking batter.
To achieve the sweetest baking try combining banana, raisin, and date paste…different amounts of each will achieve different results.
Coconut sugar is used by some bakers as alternative sugar, but I have personally not used this yet.
Here are some examples of naturally sweetened baked goods I have tried. Some are even gluten free.
If you have any questions feel free to email me. Or ask my best cooking friend “google” for help. Always can find some interesting SF DF GF results there (that’s sugar free dairy free, gluten free..b.t.w).