Friday, March 31, 2006

For the love of mango...

My Mango Salsa (link to recipe)...
Mangoes are 2 / $1 at our grocery store, I couldn't resist. I've tried them plain before but wanted to do more today. I was looking up the recipe for pickled ginger on the food network and then did a search to get some ideas for making something with the mango I bought. I am SO glad I did, the mango salsa and the coconut cilantro rice pilaf was pleasing. I served this with some pan cooked marinated brest of tofu. I will not fear this type of food combination again.
My whole meal...

My rice maker Coconut Cilantro Rice (link to recipe)
and side of brest of tofu, veggie, and salsa.
NOTES: The original recipes I based this meal on contained red onion. All I had was yellow, so I subbed but noticed that I needed the color contrast. I used currants to give that contrast with very flavorful and aesthetic results. I enjoyed this meal. I also sweetened the mango salsa more than food networks original recipe.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Quick Chili B**f Pie

It is a somewhat "blustery" day here, as Winnie the Pooh would call it (windy, gray, and a light rain drizzle). Since I am on a clean out the freezer/ basement shelves kick I saw that I had prepared red beans (from February, froze them in 1 1/2 cup serving size bags) in the freezer, I had a large onion beginning to grow and some bottem of the jar TVP strips (mostly crumbs) that I wanted to use up. Blustery, red beans, onions, b**fy strips .... this all adds up to chili. However, I have been drooling over tamale pies and savory corn muffins with dallops of chili in them.... which I would have tried today except I had a busy schedule out of the house this afternoon. I needed something that doesn't require so much care and I wanted it warm and ready when I get home!

This recipe comes straight out of Bryanna Clark Grogan's The Fiber For Life Cook Book (link), page 124. Although this might be considered a heartier winter meal, the chilliness of spring makes it a good choice for me today. I doubled the recipe to get 12 servings and discovered a time saving method that I'd like to share.

Picture: B**fy Mix with onions, green pepper, and garlic made with bottem of the jar soy strip crumbs. I get my soy strips from Country Life (link). Their online catalog does not list them, but if you call them they still have them.

TIME SAVING TIP: I have a cooktop that has a slow cook feature. I put together the chili base ingredients and allowed it to cook while I was gone for six hours this morning. When I came back in at lunch time my chili was at a good boil. I made up the corn dumpling batter, dalloped it on the mux, covered (while the chili mixture was at a good boil) and let cook for 12 minutes. I dished it up with a romaine salad and thinly sliced red peppers at lunch for me and my son. Then I turned the heat down to keep warm and left it covered. When I got back from my afternoon running, supper for the family was completed.

Picture of the cooked chili pie with dumpling - minus the small sample ;-) 12 servings for my family fed 4 people, including 2 men 6' and 6'4", and had leftovers for two lunches. Also a serving (a filling size) is only 6 weight watchers turnabout plan flex points or 312 calories, very little fat (I don't add oil to saute veggies) and 11.9 grams fiber.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ginger Healing Properties

I didn't know that ginger had so many healing properties associated with it. I mostly like the smell of it, but when I find some california sushi rolls a little pickled ginger on the side is a yummy treat. Since baking the muffins yesterday I wondered why anyone would really want to use it. I discovered that when I was eating ginger I benefited in the following ways:
- stimulating my digestive juices which helps reduce flatulence or nausea related to motion sickness
- reducing symptoms of allergies due to it's natural anti-histamines and decongestant preperties (maybe this is why my nose always gets runny when I am eating at my favorite mongolian grill - I use ginger!)
- allieviating muscle soreness and pain due to swelling because of it's anti-inflammatory properties (can also be massage on skin in oil form). Nice to know for a beginning exerciser who feels the muscles working.

Picture of candied ginger slices:
A couple of these a day may help keep the bad effects of beans away, maybe... if not they are a sweet treat for the end of a meal. Although it has many good properties, moderation is key because it may interfere with blood clotting ability or cause heartburn if taken in excess quantities.

A great resource for the info about the benefits of GINGER (link)
from Whole Health MD

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Lemon Coconut Ginger Bran Muffins

These are fat free, tender, very low in sugar, full of fiber and about 175 calories for a handful. If that hasn't scared you away yet, then let me add they are full of fresh chopped ginger, coconut, and lemon juice. Still there?

Good! I'd like to share my new muffin flavor today. I am into bran muffins for breakfast lately. I have made the basic, changed it and added pumpkin, and today I wanted to try something unique for me. It was inspired by a carrot ginger breakfast cookie recipe I saw, but was out of carrots. I did have large ginger root though and I wanted to find a way to use this up.

Seeing all the Thai flavorings in various food blogs I have been reading, especially the GINGER LEMON COCONUT FLAVOR . . . I decided that is what this weeks muffins would be, only I added a small amount of mini vegan chocolate baking chips. I like to stay away from meals that just give me alot of unrefined starches, so my morning muffin must be bran. These turned out well. I think I need to work on the flavoring a little to become a favorite. I'd love ideas on what other spices readers of my page today might use.
My recipe makes up a very large amount, 2 dozen large bakery style muffins. I use a Tupperware Thats-a-Bowl (12" wide and 8 " deep) to mix the batter.

The Recipe:

I mound the batter into the muffin liner, remember these are fat free and will stick horribly to paper liners. I use the "If you care" unbleached baking cups pictured above. They really are non-stick, really.

This is the end product. See the picture above, they made the perfect bakery style crown. I lightly oil my muffin pan (for ease of cleaning), but not the baking liners. The liners just fall off if they are oiled, but come off easily when you want them to without it. I picked up my commercial muffin pan at a commercial restaurant store for $24. I really like it and use it in my home oven all the time. I like the way my pan gives the BIG bakery feel to my muffin.

I take them out of the pan almost immediatey to cool on a wire rack. Well, all but one and that is what I eat immediately... after I track the points in my food log (weight conscious here). I also freeze them what I cannot eat within three days and always keep what is not frozen in the refrigerator. ENJOY!!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Beets Me!

Picture: Combination of caraway pickled beets and onion slices
Beets (link for nutritional info)

I am working on clearing off my canned good shelves and freezer. Today I happened upon a quart of my home canned pickled beets, canned in 2004 - my notes say I did 12 quarts of them that year .... I have three quarts left and now I remember why I didn't plant beets last year. I must use these up by July or dump them, I consider two years safe and beyond that if I didn't eat it in that amount of time, I don't think I will. I have made an Iraqi sweet tart soup that I enjoy using these in. I'll be digging that soon and adding a few beets to my sandwiches and salads and if I make a beet chooclate cake, dumping will not be a problem and I can enjoy a fresh crop this year.

Of course the first choice of a fresh crop of beets is to roast them in a high temperature oven with a little oil and salt, but when I'm in a "pickle" with too many veggies I do just that. I have always been a pickled beet lover, but I don't like the amount of sugar they are usually made with. By now, if you've read my recipes for long you will see that I am a stevia user. ... not just any stevia - KAL stevia extract powder. I've learned that 1 tsp of this is about the same sweetness as 1 cup sweetening power, plus I've never had anyone complain about any off taste when I use this brand. Last season when I had a nice beet crop I saw a recipe for pickled beets that included a generous addition of caraway seed. I was a little leary at first unsure if I would like a heavy caraway, but when tasted them I decided I would never make a "normal" pickled beet again.

This recipe makes 1 Quart jar or two pints, whichever you prefer:
I steam (or waterbath) process these for 10 minutes. I think they have the best flavor after setting for 6 weeks. When the seal is broken they keep ( in the refrigerator for a good long time because of the vinegar. There are link below that discuss the canning process in more detail than what I provide in the recipe.

1 quart beets (about 2 Lbs) , sliced or whole if the are very small
1 small onion thinly sliced
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Cup white vinegar
1/2 C water
1/2 C unrefined sugar (NO SUGAR RECIPE: I substitute with 1/2 tsp Kal stevia and they keep the same, you may even like a little sprinkle more for a sweeter beet)

Sterilize the canning jars and Ball canning lids. Scrub the beets well. Remove the greens, leave about 2" stems. Do not trim the long tap root in order to prevent excess bleeding. Cook the beets in boiling water to cover for 20 - 40 minutes or until the beets test tender to the fork. This will take 20-40 min. Cool the beet, slip off the skin, then slice or dice them. Combine with the onion, caraway, and salt. For each quart of beets, heat the vinegar, water, and sweetener together. While thebrine heats, pack the beets into one quart of two pint jars. Pour hot brine over beets, but leave 1/2 " space at the top of the jar. Seal in hot water bath or steam canner for 10 minutes. Check out a great canning link below. Store in a cool dry place.

My favorite canning site, it's gives me the feel of learning from my grandma.
The steam canner link above is the best price I have found, even with shipping costs! I love my steam canner, it's a big time saver (compared to the water bath canner I used to use) . . . but you must use it with a gas stove or traditional electric stovetop (not ceramic top), which I have at the bakehouse. I also found that as long as boiling water covers the jar for 10 - 15 minutes, the canning lid seals and it's good for storage and with smaller jars I can do this using a big pan and my ceramic stovetop.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

FIGS Do A Body Good

These are dried adriatic figs, the kind most often used to make fig bars. I picked up a bag of these dried fruits Wednesday at my favorite little Amish store. I was a little shocked that they cost $6.38 / lb, but after trying one I realized eating the while fig was just like having a fig newton cookie - yummy! I'm all for eating the whole food when I can.

When I searched to find the nutritional information I discovered that the chances of me getting to fresh fruit is slim because they only are good for about 1 week, so 90% of he fig crop is dried and are available year round. Things to consider when buying dried figs:

  • Check for unbroken wrapping; the figs should give slightly when gently squeezed through the package. Watch out for moldy or sour-smelling dried figs

  • Dried figs can be stored at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator and will keep for several months; just be sure that they are well wrapped after opening so that they do not become too dry and hard.

  • They can also be frozen, then thawed at room temperature.

Here's some facts about the fig:

Dried Figs/4 medium

Calories 194, Total fat (g) 0.9, Dietary fiber (g) 9.3, Protein (g) 2, Carbohydrate (g) 50

I got my information from the website of Whole Health MD,1523,51,00.html

BEFORE YOU GO FIG WILD realize that a little of a good thing is often the best. Figs are among a small number of foods that contain any measurable amount of oxalates, when concentrated in the body they can cause health problems or may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body.

This info came from the webpage of The World's Healthiest Foods

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sweet Potato Fries and Homemade Ketchup

What's a nutrition conscious mom to do when she's in a hurry and craving crispy, salty potatoes? She makes sweet potato fries! Considering the closest fast food restaurant is a 25 minutes drive away from us – these fries take us less time to prepare than getting fast food? These are ordinary sweet potatoes, sprinkled with Morton's Nature's Seasoning and baked on an old dark cookie sheet at 450 degrees for 20 minutes (no turning) in the convection oven. The coolest part I'm sharing about this typical vegan delight is the ketchup, it is preservative and corn starch free. I found this nugget on the Daily Menu of An Aspiring Vegan.
Ketchup...Preservative and corn-syrup free!
Aspiring Vegan said she got it from someone else (to give credit where credit is due), but the family will thank YOU for this one.
1 6oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple or brown rice syrup
(S)**1/4 C water, ¼ tsp KAL brand stevia w/ one drop of maple extract
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Will keep for about 1 month in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. ** (substitution) if you prefer to avoid the syrup completely

Friday, March 24, 2006

Rice Maker Barley Risotto

I have never eaten risotto before. Yes, I have enjoyed a variety of grians made into tabouli, pilafs of rice or pastas, but never the creamy blend I've seen pictures of in many cookbooks. In my search to use up a large bag of pearled barley I found a recipe for barley risotto and decided to look up what the name risotto refers to. : A dish of rice cooked in broth, usually with saffron, and served with grated cheese. [Italian, from riso, rice, from Old Italian. : Risotto is a creamy rice dish made with short-grain or Arborio Italian rice. The rice is gently cooked in butter or olive oil. Liquid, usually broth, is then added a small amount at a time until the rice is cooked and bathed in creamy liquid. Risotto must be stirred almost constantly to release the starch from the rice so the starch thickens the broth, giving the dish its characteristic creamy consistency.

I consider myself a modern woman.... sure I homeschool my children, grow my own vegetables, make my own meet roasts (seitan) and soymilk, BUT I run around sporting a bright colored pair of croc's, drive a small SUV, and use a fully loaded convection oven almost daily. I cannot fathom the idea of standing at my stovetop stirring a pot of rice consistently for 20 or more minutes. So when I saw the recipe for risotto made from barley I knew I had to try it - - - - - in my rice maker. Brown rice takes 45 minutes in the rice maker and this stovetop recipe I found took 45 minutes also, a match made in heaven or so I hoped! I considered the fact that the rice maker would loose liquid during the cooking process, so I added more. I think my risotto needs green to become beautiful (maybe broccoli or celery would work here), other wise you see the barley in creamy sauce with mushrooms, red pepper, pinto beans, and onion. DH added soy bacon flavored bits to his (I don't care for that flavor) before eating it. He also threw on a dallop of sour cream... not me. I threw a side of seitan roast and some green beans.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pumpkin Mousse

This recipe was originally written down on the back of an old grocery list and came from Molly Katzen's Vegetable Heaven. I adapted it from there. While Molly used gingerbread crumb cookies, I discovered teddy grahms (cinnamon flavored) were vegan and make a really fun topping for this delightful dish.
Image hosting by Photobucket Pumpkin Mousse - serves 4-6
1 - 14.5 oz can pumpkin puree
1 - 12.3 oz box of tofu
1/8 tsp maple extract flavoring
1/2 tsp KAL stevia extract
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp gingerpinch of allspice
pinch of salt
1 individual serving cinnamon teddy grahms
A dallop of your favorite soy whipped cream

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Rueben and Fruited Caraway Slaw

Image hosting by Photobucket
Today's Recipe Additions : Spelt Pumpernickel Bread in the Bread Machine
Fat free Russian Dressing and Caraway fruited salad dressing

Today I am out shopping with a gal that just moved to my town a few months ago. She wants to know good places to shop, so I am going to show her my weekly haunts. We'll start with a traditional Amish store where I get all my grains, dried fruits, and nuts. Next stop is a Chinese store where English is not well spoken and the sales ads have only native language. I have been split about lunch... my dilemna is between Panera Bread, Pita Pit, and a mongolian grill buffet. She seems like more the buffet type and it will probably be friendly to her high protein diet... yeah, I frown on that too, but she is fun to converse with.

What am I eating today? I have been digging through my cookbooks looking for inspiration...sushi rolls, hmmmm.... I have never made these before yet have all the equipment to do it. Since noticing them on the fatfree vegan kitchen blog I think I can do it! I will not have the prep time today though. So instead, I lean towards German cuisine to use up the last of my corned seitan roast on Rueben's: rye bread, sauerkraut, my trial of homemade fat free Russian dressing, and a suisse-style cheese from Bryanna's Almost No Fat Cookbook. I will serve this with a caraway apple/pear slaw salad on the side (Dressing recipe link above).


I did enjoy this meal, for a change of pace.... but no part of it is something that I would add to my list of favorites, except the pumpernickel rye (spelt) bread that I made. I am posting a picture of it used for my reuben sandwich and will place the bread machine recipe for my unique loaf at the top of this post. I will be making this lovely very dark brown bread more in the future! The dressings... The russian dressing turned out acceptably well, I've never tried this kind of dressing before ... ever (more due to the fact I love balsamic vinegar dressings) and the slaw definitely needs time to sit and marinate in the dressing to pick up the flavor better. Once it marinates it is good.

Savory Pocket and Split Pea Soup

I still have leftover St Patty's Day (corned style seitan) roast in the frig. Some went into family member lunch boxes for sandwiches, but I am home for the day and I still have a few sheets of the phyllo dough in the frig to use up. I am getting visions of some savory roast filled phyllo pockets... hot and crispy from the oven along side of soup. Split pea soup to be more specific would seem like a great March meal.

I browsed through my cookbooks and found Bryanna's Sicilian Style Split Pea Soup (Fiber For Life cookbook). I made this last May and commented that I really enjoyed it. This soup has tomatoes in it and a little tiny bite from red cayenne pepper flakes. Perfect to go with my savory pockets. Of course I make my adaption of this soup and that is what I will post to "thebakehouse-recipes" blog page.

This Sicilean Style Split Pea Soup is appealing in the variety of colors: greens, red, orange . You can also see the whole baby carrots. I wanted alot of texture and the large onion dice along with the baby carrots achieved that goal.

AFTER THOUGHTS: I ate the savory pastry over my soup bowl because the phyllo crust flakes easily, the little flakes in my soup gave me the impression of a cracker. I did have to use 2 sheets of phyllo to offer the support each pastry needed to look appealing, one phyllo sheet was to thin for the amount of roast I used.

Monday, March 20, 2006

What is the Bakehouse?

A little bit about THE BAKEHOUSE:

In 2001, my family purchased a small commercially zoned house and a commercial, full-size oven. This was the beginning of "THE BAKEHOUSE" as a business. I mill grains, bake, and sell country style loaves of bread, cookies, and muffins at a local farmer's market. I also make cinnamon and maple nut rolls, ugly muffs (bran muffins), vegan comfort cookies, raw bars, mustard, and instant soup mixes ('tater mushroom, chik'n noodle, minestrone, etc) , and have experience with allergy free or gluten free baked goods.

This all started as a homeschool project. Early into our homeschooling venture I needed to buy some curriculum. Money was tight as we gave up my income to starte this venture. A friend loaned me an audio tape from a conference she had attended about bread baking and the speaker earned money selling bread from a market in Omaha. I was interested, didn't know how to bake bread, but very interested. I learned... and did I ever learn and the family, our church family and every friend who dared to bear with us heard about bread, ate bread with us, and was given bread (mostly the not "perfect" loaves). Eventually I went off to market with a 100% whole grain organic bread before the local stores were able to have it shipped in and right at the time the low carb diet was a craze I came out with a flax and soy bread... for a time it was my signature bread. I happenend into this at a perfect time, because my product was a hit and sold well.

The kids and I purchased the Bakehouse with sales from the market. A family member gave us a generous loan for the oven and baking supplies. We mortgaged our home for everything else. One year I baked over $26,000 worth of baked goods .... we were hot! (and tired). After going through this year I realized that the year had been exciting and were we debt free with our business, but it was no longer satisfying. I also discovered I was operating a little factory and was looking at the need to hire employees to eventually give myself an office job. This is far from the love of a mom and her two kids learning something together. We made the decision not to expand and hire, cut back on market sales and become an exclusive by order specialty bakeshop and this we maintain.

Now that my children are growing and all of us are transitioning into new stages of life I am obtaining a grade 7-12 teaching certification in Family and Consumer Science. I desire to dedicate my Bakehouse and Garden for helping other families learn how to garden and cook there own natural foods. My oven will be used for community fundraisers and church events as well as family style cooking/ baking classes. I'm not sure about how all this will take place yet (it is June and I will finish the teaching certification in December 2006), but this is where my heart is leading me.
And, maybe,
We have a little dream of building our little bakehouse property into a wonderful "serenity garden" where a person can also came get a cup of herbal tea, browse through our unique kitchen products shop, and pick up their baked good order. It will take a few years though.
We'll see where God leads us from here.

Mushroom Asparagus Strudel

I purchased 2 lbs of asparagus at Sam's club this past weekend. I planted asparagus within our garden area in two spots, but one is only two years old and the other was planted last year. It takes three years before we can have a harvest of this. The first harvest year must be light because after the roots are planted it has to go to seed. I steamed the asparagus a couple of days ago and saved it for this yummy feast.

The crust is made from phyllo dough. There is a seasoned tofu filling in the inside along with the asparagus and mushrooms, the strudel is rolled up like a cinnamon roll. I sliced it for 6 servings at 2 slices each which calculates to 2.5 points, including. I served it with veggie combo (mushroom, green beans, and cauliflower) and sliced strawberries which I sweeten with stevia. The green beans and cauliflower were grown in my garden, blanched and frozen. With so many affordable fresh veggies now coming to market in March, I try to empty out my freezer and clean off the pantry shelves to prepare for the upcoming garden season.

A link to the recipe:

Sunday, March 19, 2006

St Patty's Day Roast

My plate of Irish (seitan) corned roast, cabbage, and rosemary red potaotes.

Saint Patty's day should be a month long celebration as March is becoming my favorite month to cook! Strawberries are showing up in the grocery store, cabbage is very cheap, it is still cold enough to want to bake and warm soups are still desireable. Thursday I made Irish stew (turnipes, mushrooms, carrots, in a brown sherry flavored stew base) and apple scones. Since we have been studying Europe during the middle ages in our home school, I tied our supper to the life of a medieval peasant in March. "I have been in the forest (cold and dampness from rain) foraging for mushrooms and root veggies all morning long to be able to prepare this humble (and tastey) supper for my family", so I told them. They enjoyed the stew and apple scones anyways.

I made corned roast in the crockpot last night. - - - - - >

I thank Bryanna Clark Grogan (click and link to her page) for the recipe. The dough was easily made in the bread machine, however I had to take about 1 1/2 Cup of the cooking liquid because as the roast expanded cooking juice was coming out of the pot and onto my kitchen counter. There was still plenty of juice. I love this roast!

You can see in top picture that I served this along side new red potatoes (rosemary seasoned from Bryanna's Italian Nonna's Cookbook) and stamed cabbage sprinkled with Nature's Seasoning form Morton. My tummy is satisfied!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Onion Curry Relish

Today I have been busy in the kitchen canning onion curry relish, a recipe I got from the book SUMMER IN A JAR: MAKING PICKLES, JAMS, & MORE by Andrea Chesman (p. 76). Last month I was at Sam's Club and purchased a 50 lb bag of huge sweet onions at an excellent price. I couldn't resist the deal and came home looking for numerous ways to use them. This relish is one of the ways. I made some in August 2004 and used the last jar today.

This onion curry relish is beautiful as well as tastey, as you can see from the picture above. I ate this with tofu feta cheese (homemade from a Bryanna clark Grogan cookbook) on triscuit whole grain crackers. I was thinking that it would be nice served on the side of a dish of brown rice with seitan or tofu chik'n brests, we also enjoy it on sandwiches. I doubled the recipe and replaced the sugar in the recipe with KAL brand stevia extract powder. Becuase my onions and red/green peppers were so juicy I dissolved 1/4 C cornstarch to 1/3 C cold water and cooked it into my relish until thickened (like a syrup). I made a note in my cookbook that I also did this in 2004.

I really like this book because the recipes allow me to make a pint or quart of something to try instead of huge batches. All the recipes are for use with a steamer canner or hotwater bath.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Big Beautiful Bran Muffins

Top O' the Morning to all who read this!

This post is the beginning of my very own blog. I love to cook and am especially interested in low fat vegan cooking. I wanted to give all who are wondering what is up with the "bread lady" an opportunity to see what's cooking at Dori's place.

The picture here is my breakfast this morning. It is a vegan, fat free bran muffin (click for recipe). Not only is it fat free (but moist with applesauce), it is reduced sugar but sweet with stevia herb as well as whole grain and 175 calories (2.5 weight watchers points). I ate mine with low sugar orange marmalade that I made after happening upon a great orange sale last year and coffee.