Monday, March 29, 2010

Vegan Cupcakes with fudge frosting

My Favorite Cupcakes- In Alicia Silverstone's -The Kind Diet book
(This is her title not mine :D-- you will have to read critique following recipe to see what I thought!)


2/3 cup hemp or soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup safflower oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of sea salt

Fudge frosting

1/2 cup earth balance butter
½ cup agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup soy milk powder

NOTE- soy milk powder is sold in large amounts, so if you have a bunch left over, you can add water and make soy milk. If you don’t have soy milk powder, the frosting will be fine—just a little runnier- let it set up in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Combine the milk and vinegar in a medium bowl, and set aside for at least 5 minutes or until it bubbles a little. If it doesn’t bubble, keep stirring the mixture until it does. Add the agave nectar, oil, and vanilla and stir.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until no lumps remain.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, and bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the center of one cupcake comes out clean and the tops are slightly springy when pressed. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then cool completely on a baking rack before frosting.

To make the fudge frosting, use a mixer to cream the butter together with the agave nectar in a mixing bowl until very smooth. Add the vanilla extract and about half the cocoa powder, mix on low speed to combine, then add the remaining cocoa powder. Add in the soy milk powder, and beat at medium high speed until fluffy. It is runny, refrigerate the frosting until it sets up a little.


I didn't use the soy milk powder as I couldn't locate it in any of the my stores locally. It was thinner icing so I put in fridge for a little bit, and it did firm up a lot more. I also decided to throw in a little cocoa powder into the batter, as I like chocolate. This would have been okay but I should have added a little more liquid to the batter.

I did not tell the kids this was a vegan recipe. My son knew as soon as he bit into the cupcake. He liked the icing but thought the cupcake was too weird and didn't like the texture. He is not fond of wheat to begin with and it has that whole wheat pastry flour in there. My 12 year old said disgusting and told everyone I was trying to poison them. She only took one bite and spit all of it out. My oldest wouldn't even try it, thanks to her siblings comments. It definitely wasn't my favorite cupcake, but it satisfied my chocolate craving. All together out of the 12, I ate 3- over a couple days. Scott said they were different, not horrible. My family has high expectations of my baking and these didn't pass their test. I tried to make them look pretty and fool them by putting some of their favorite toppings sprinkled on them- some toffee bits, chocolate chips and toasted coconut. Didn't fool them, but I tried!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan & "Regular" Chicken Parmesan for the kids

Well, BACK in the land of the living! YEAH!!! Took me long enough to get over that illness. Can't believe we got a big snow storm this weekend when everyone else I know has 70 degree Spring weather!! I am very happy to report that I have lost 6 pounds so far since I started eating vegan 2 weeks ago. My biggest problem is I don't drink enough water, and that was a problem even before doing this. For breakfast today I tried a cereal from Kashi, it was good-- with Rice Dream milk substitute. WAY better than soy in my opinion! First of all it is WHITE!! lol
Kids are ready for some new recipes from the cookbooks so now that I am feeling better, it's time to get busy!

Amazing Vegan Eggplant Parmesan -posted by Samantha Enochs on
(this is the title she gave it not necessarily me)

•Prep Time: 20 minutes
•Bake Time: 30 Minutes
•Serves: 6
You Will Need:

•1 Large Eggplant (Sliced medium thin- I’ll explain about the peel later)
•4 Cups your favorite bread crumbs (or homemade)
•3 Ener-G Eggs
•2 Cups your favorite tomato sauce (or homemade)
•1/2 Medium Red Onion (diced)
•Dried Mixed Italian herbs
•Oil (optional)
The “Parmesan” part:

•1 Block Extra Firm Tofu (Sunrise is a great brand)
•1 Tbs. Lemon Juice (for the cheesy tang)
•2 Tbs. Nutrition Yeast (for more cheesy taste)
•1 Tbs. Garlic Powder
•3 Tbs. Vegenaise
•1 Tsp. Each fresh (or dried) Parsley, Marjarom, Basil and Chives

1.First, make up the Parmesan part. It’s really more like a ricotta, but this is a very simple mix I use in many dishes, and it goes perfect with this. Crumble the tofu. Make sure it is very fine, like ricotta would be. Once you have it ultra fine, add the herbs. You could just shake in some Italian seasonings until you’re happy, but I prefer the mix listed above. Add the Vegenaise, it makes the mix a little more creamy. Then add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Mix it well.

2.Before you slice the eggplant, decide if you want the peel on or not. I know texturally it might be better for it to be off. But here’s the thing about the peel; The purple part of the eggplant is chalk full of antioxidants which, as we all know, are awesome for your body. So it comes down to this, if you don’t want the peel- take it off! But, if you want a little more of a nutritional bang, don’t peel your eggplant.

3.Once the big decision is made and the slices are sliced, get your breading ready. In two separate bowls, put the bread crumbs (also, herbs and salt and pepper) and Ener-G eggs and take each slice and coat in ‘egg’, then in crumbs.

4.There are two ways to cook the eggplant. You can either fry it (but that is the fatty way to do it) or you could broil it for 2 minutes on each side. This is effective, but the breading doesn’t always stick fantastically. Trial and error.

5.Get out your favorite glass baking dish and pour a little sauce in the bottom. Cover the bottom with layers of eggplant, onions, and finally the tofu ricotta. Pour on a little more sauce and a drizzle of olive oil (if desired) and repeat the process. When you have two layers, cover with tin foil (or a lid!) and bake for 25-30 minutes.

6.Dish is done when the sauce is a little bubbly and tofu on top has crisped up. Best served with spaghetti ala marinara, fresh baked french bread and a tossed sala

MY COOKS TIPS: I didn't realize I had soft tofu in fridge not the extra firm it called for, and I wasn't about to make another trip to store, so decided to use it. I put all the ingredients listed under "parmesan" part into my food processor along with the red onions. Resembled ricotta cheese with seasonings when I gave it a few whirls. Also, we decided to leave the eggplant peel on for more nutrients. My husband Scott cut them into circles. I think next time we will try cutting it the opposite way so they are longer pieces, as it would be if it had been chicken. I have never made eggplant parmesan ever before, vegan or otherwise. I baked my eggplant on parchment paper on my sheetpan, for 20 min. each side, as I saw on a few other recipes online. I drizzled a little olive oil on parchment first. Nicely golden brown and crispy. I also made some homemade bread crumbs quickly in my food processor, as wheat bread crumbs are crazy expensive. I simply toasted some bread in toaster then threw them in food processor with some italian seasonings. Fast and yummy.

FAMILY CRITIQUE: My husband and I were the only ones that would eat this, the kids wouldn't even try it. I had to make them regular chicken parm. as well as buffalo chicken wings for the 12 year old as she is spoiled rotten by her father and that's what she wanted. So it was quite challenging trying to get everything done at the same time with only one oven. But I did it! My husband Scott said it was quite good and I noticed he had two helpings. I just made a small dish of it (to make more room in the oven for everything else!)and put the rest of the eggplant in the fridge for later use. I didn't know what to expect, but I actually enjoyed it. It was amazing that it actually tasted cheesy to me. Weird, but true! I will have no problems eating these leftovers.

Chicken Parmigiana
- by Candy on

1 egg, beaten
2 ounces dry bread crumbs
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3/4 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking sheet.
2.Pour egg into a small shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in a separate shallow bowl. Dip chicken into egg, then into the bread crumbs. Place coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until no longer pink and juices run clear.
3.Pour 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce into a 7x11 inch baking dish. Place chicken over sauce, and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses on top and return to the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

MY COOKS TIPS: Well I have to be honest and really didn't measure any thing out. Don't tell the kids but I used egg beaters instead of "real" eggs. I had made homemade breadcrumbs for my other dish so just used the remainder of those and threw in a little parmesan cheese to that. The bread crumbs I had already put italian seasonings in. My husband pounded out the chicken breasts with a meat tenderizer. And I didn't have the oven space so I cooked them quickly in a very little canola oil mixed with a little olive oil, in a skillet on the stove. It didn't take very long as they were so thin. I then put in a small dish and finished off in oven.

FAMILY CRITIQUE: Well, even tho my 12 year old wouldn't eat it this way-- she did steal a cooked chicken breast off the plate as I had a couple extras that wouldn't fit in the pan. She LOVED it! Said it was cooked perfectly and seasoned perfectly. I was so happy to hear that so I will use that in future for next chicken tender night and do the same thing. She was happy there was one more in the fridge for tomorrow. (she is on a current NO tomato SAUCE kick)My teens devoured it and said it was great. My son ate two huge pieces. The only complaint is that I cooked rigatoni intstead of spaghetti noodles. The only spaghetti noodles I had in cupboard were whole wheat and they wouldn't eat those. They ate the rigatoni and didn't complain further. I also made them vegan garlic bread. I didn't tell them it was the vegan earth balance spread. Just called it garlic bread. They ate it all. :)
Scott tried a bite of Ashley's chicken and said it was perfectly cooked and fabulous.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

nothing new this week, sorry

I have been SICK this week. Pretty much surviving on crackers, toast, water, tea and peanut butter. Back to the land of the living and recipe cooking soon!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes
Source: Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer by Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.; recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.

Makes 16 3-inch pancakes

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup fortified soy- or rice milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 vegetable oil spray

Mix buckwheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate large bowl, combine mashed banana, maple syrup, vinegar, and non-dairy milk. Add flour mixture, stirring just enough to remove any lumps and make a pourable batter. Stir in blueberries and add a bit more milk if the batter seems too thick.

Preheat a non-stick skillet or griddle, then spray lightly with vegetable oil. Pour small amounts of batter onto the heated surface and cook until tops bubble. Turn carefully with a spatula and cook the second sides until browned, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.

COOKS TIPS: I made as is. Took me about 5 stores til I found buckwheat flour tho!

FAMILY CRITIQUE:: Well, perhaps you will recall that my family is great about trying new recipes. I think that is the norm when they aren't termed "healthy". The kids wouldn't try these pancakes. I made them buttermilk plain and with chocolate chips. Scott ate 3 of the buckwheat ones. He said he appreciates the opportunity to try something new but he has no need to eat these again in future. He said in the postive that at least they looked like pancakes. haha very funny. He also mentioned that he was excited about trying them as buckwheat sounded so fancy; and in hindsight they are simply too fancy for him. After his 3 he switched to the other ones I made. What did I think? Well, I liked them. I recall my Mom making buckwheat pancakes sometimes growing up, so buckwheat wasn't new nor foreign to me. I have 4 left in the fridge that I will eat for breakfast this week. :) Yes, they are different than regular or buttermilk pancakes, not as fluffy as "normal" pancakes would be but fine by me.

Per pancake

■Calories: 55
■Fat: 0.5 g
■Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
■Calories from Fat: 8.1%
■Cholesterol: 0 mg
■Protein: 1.5 g
■Carbohydrates: 11.8 g
■Sugar: 3.8 g
■Fiber: 1.1 g
■Sodium: 81 mg
■Calcium: 32 mg
■Iron: 0.6 mg
■Vitamin C: 1.6 mg
■Beta Carotene: 9 mcg
■Vitamin E: 0.3 mg

Saturday, March 13, 2010

no cooking today- tofu product review

The whole family is under the weather tonight, so no experiment going on.

Wanted to share that I had a product called Tofurky Italian Sausage last night since the rest of the family was eating Brats. I cooked up some onions and peppers in some Earth Balance and I was all prepared to enjoy it. I forced down two bites and just ate some vegetarian baked beans instead. It just wasn't palatable to me; I guess the texure is the most difficult for me! I think my exact quote was something like-- whoever decided to take tofu and form it into a shape of an Italian Sausage was playing some kind of sick joke. Scott enjoyed it and ate the rest. I said he is more than welcome to the rest of the package as I won't be eating them! He would do much better on this meal plan than me. Then again when you add a half bottle of hot sauce or other condiment to something, it probably changes flavor completely anyway. Maybe I should have dunked it in chocolate first. Just kidding, sounds disgusting! lol

I really enjoy food. I like reading about it, looking at, thinking about what to do with it, washing it, the preparation, tasting and giving to others.. and this tofu thing is not working for me. I have to say the scale is starting to move downwards tho on my 10 pound goal, so not giving up yet. My metabolism has been on a halt for years, so happy to see something happening.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Egg Salad Sandwiches(kinda)

Okay, this is my first experience with tofu. I have always been scared of it. haha It just look so weird! (no offense to all those tofu eaters out there!)
I figured I just better DO it, if I am going to really give this my full effort. Obviously need to continue eating protein so I don't lose weight from my current muscle! For dinner Scott is making Brats. Aww man, I love brats-- some mustard, onions and peppers--- mmmmm. So, while at the store I found some Tofurky Italian Sausage with sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Everyone on Alicia Silverstone's vegan forum raves about Tofurky products so I thought I will give it a try. I will grill that up and put my onions and peppers on top. I think the family is shocked I have made it this long without meat and my beloved cheese. As I said, not sure if it will be a forever thing or not. Entirely too soon to know! Dreaming of cows now- what would freud say?! Either I am seriously missing red meat or cows are visiting me in my sleep to thank me for saving a couple of them from the slaughter house! haha

Egg Salad Sandwich- from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet book

(makes 4 sandwiches)

2 (12 oz. cakes firm tofu)
2 small onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tablespoons Shoyu
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Vegenaise, or more to taste
4-8 thin slices whole wheat bread
Paprika (optional)

Mash the tofu in a mixing bowl until chunky but not completely smooth. Add the onions, celery, shoyu, oil, turmeric, and salt and mix well. Stir in the Veganaise and refrigerate until ready to use.

Divide the egg salad among four slices of bread, as you prefer. If serving open-faced, sprinkle with a bit of paprika.

I just used one 16 oz. block of firm tofu. I was a little nervous opening that package up, have to tell ya! No turning back, I was going to make and consume this sandwich! Shoyu is simply an organic soy sauce, in case you don't know. I didn't have safflower oil or turmeric so looked online for a substitution- I used canola oil and curry powder.

Scott said it wasn't bad, different but not too bad. Feels like egg texture in mouth, which I think is a good thing if it's supposed to be a mock egg salad. He had just consumed a big piece of pizza so didn't want a sandwich, just had a couple spoonfuls. I think I put entirely too much on my bread and will go less next time, and cut sandwich into 4 small squares instead of diagonal as it kept falling apart. It definitely is different but does remind me of egg salad and I can see if you have sworn off eggs and can never eat it again that this would grow on you. The onions definitely help in my opinion, and tho I have never had celery in my regular egg salad, it's okay. Wasn't sure what I was expecting-- I thought it was odd to put a soy sauce product in here, but it works somehow! It kinda looks like a chicken salad to me, and it reminds of something I would put on a savory creme puff. I have seen a couple other recipes online using mustard and think I will try that again next time, but that will be quite a while as I have a huge bowl in the fridge and my children will NOT touch it. The girls made gagging noises every time they came by me and saw me eating it, and well said a few pretty gross things too, that you don't want to hear when you are eating food!! lol One good thing, my son just FINALLY woke up (there is no school today) and said he will try some of it later for sure. He would have preferred to NOT know that tofu was in it. Must be the name scares him for some reason too! lol Wonder where meat eaters got that fear from?!?!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

pizza crust/sauce experiments

WOW! What a day! 15 hour work day yesterday tough! It made my work day today really tough too since I was so tired. Did great on my making my water drinking goal yesterday, still haven't had time to get my digital pedometer configured, plan to do it this evening- or tomorrow at the latest! ;-) Today didn't do as well with water consumption, I was too tired to drink or eat anything. Tonight going to the Whole Foods market with a list in hand, so I will have some things that I am allowed to eat. Don't plan to lose 10 pounds by simply starving myself.

I purchased Alicia Silverstone's new book The Kind Diet book-- I never realized she was vegan. Have learned a wealth of information already- some I probably wish I hadn't learned! (like what they really do at slaughter houses and on some farms! yikes!)

Plan to go to the YMCA finally tomorrow- will be first time all week! No school tomorrow so I have NO excuse!

I want to catch you up on some more of the recipes I've been practicing for my upcoming kids classes at the Culinary Center-

Bill’s Neapolitan Sauce- who's Bill? I have no idea but I found the recipe here-

1 large can Furmano’s tomato puree (28 oz.)
1 T Sugar
1 ½ t Salt
1 t Basil
1 t Oregano
¾ t Black pepper
¾ t Garlic Powder
1 ½ T Olive Oil
½ t Dried Minced Onions

In a small saucepan, heat tomato puree over medium heat. After 5 minutes, the puree should darken. Add other ingredients and reduce heat to low. Simmer and stir for 5-10 minutes. Makes sauce for 2 12 inch pizzas or one large pan pizza.

MY COOKS TIPS:- My store didn't have this brand of tomato puree- I found the company online and they don't carry it out here- but hey if you are in Pennyslvania you are in luck and can try it! haha I just bought the brand that was stamped voted #1- yep, marketing sucked me in- that and it cost the most too. ha!
I would like to try it with San Marzano Tomato Paste as that is the brand The Exec. Chef at Lidia's in KC swears by. I know Costco sells it so I need to get a membership or find someone to take me one day for a little shopping!

FAMILY CRITIQUE- I made everyone taste it by spoon first before it was on the pizza and also on the pizza of course. Everyone except my 12 year old McKenzie enjoyed it alot. I must say however that she is on a NO sauce kick- none on pizza or pasta so I couldn't have pleased her anyway. I thought it was quite tasty for my first pizza sauce experience that wasn't pizza quick sauce out of the jar! :D
This sauce would be good with breadsticks too!

I don't have a picture of this except for it's on the pizza pictures- sorry- I was a slacker and forgot!

Thin Pizza Crust-
Crust will be firm and crispy

.25 oz pkt. active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
3/4 cup 110 degree water
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
pizza sauce - of your choice, as needed
shredded cheese - of your choice, as needed
toppings - of your choice, as needed

-Dissolve yeast and sugar in water; allow to rest for 8 minutes.
-In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt.
-Pour yeast mixture over flour mixture and mix well with a heavy spoon.
-Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes.
-Working from the edges to the center, press dough into a 12" circle. We've also found that holding the dough up, off the counter and stretching it works well, too (keep rotating the dough circle as you stretch to keep an even circle forming).
-Place dough on a lightly greased pizza pan and stretch dough to edges.
-Spread sauce over crust and top with cheese and desired toppings.
-Bake in a 500 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, or until edges are golden.

Notes: No, the dough does not have to rise - if it did, it wouldn't produce a thin crust. If you'd like to freeze the dough for later use, roll the dough into a ball, place in a sealable plastic bag (allow extra room, as the dough will rise a bit before it freezes completely), then thaw in the refrigerator completely before pressing out into a circle.

MY COOKS TIPS:- I always add a little fresh garlic and italian seasonings in our crust so feel free to throw a little in for extra flavor too. You could even do a little parmesan cheese.

I have made this crust a couple times in the past as my son Michael really likes the thin crispy crust. This is the first time I have made it when Scott was home tho. Scott ate it and said it was good for a "cracker crust" whatever that was supposed to mean. This crust is also good with making a dessert pizza, which I have done and will post today too. I just don't roll as thin for that. There are never any complaints when I make this crust, and I like it as it doesn't have to rise so it's a good basic easy crust I can use for teaching a kids class at the Culinary Center where we only have a couple hours for the entire class or when Michael says Mom make people and I want it NOW and not in an hour and a half!
speaking of which- here are two pics- these were made QUICKLY one of those nights recently,the circles aren't even circular all the way! haha One was a requested pepperoni and carmelized onion and the other is the ever popular BBQ chicken with carmelized onions and pineapple.

My family’s current favorite pizza crust dough:
actual title is
Jay's Signature Pizza Crust-

• 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
• 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
3. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza sauce and toppings.
4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F .If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone or pan; you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan to make a thick crust lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
5. Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

MY COOKS TIPS- My family also likes it when we add about 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasonings, 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder OR 2 or 3 minced cloves of fresh garlic into the mixture with the oil and salt) I also like to bake my crust on a preheated Pampered Chef stone (of course) for about 7 minutes and then add the toppings on top, as my family likes the crust a little crisper. I also slide the pizza right onto the rack and cook for a few minutes that way as well.

FAMILY CRITIQUE: I added the seasonings I mentioned in the cooks tips as I knew my family would say it would be boring if I didn't. I also used bread flour as I ran out of all purpose in the other pizza I made-- they preferred the bread flour, said it was better texture and fluffier which they liked alot. Made another BBQ chicken pizza (different day) for this crust too as that's what my two main pizza eaters love. On half I did sprinkle some hot sauce and red pepper flakes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Couscous Confetti Salad

It's going to be a long day! After subbing for Spec. Ed. at the Elementary School all day, I head over this evening to the Culinary Center to help Chef Matt with his Knife Skills Class. He is a great cook and I am wondering what tempatations I will be forced to contend with. Afterall they will be using those knives on something to practice! Hopefully just vegetables! haha not with my luck!

Note to self- if all of a sudden you decide to eat vegan-- purchase and prepare ahead of time- items you can eat for lunch when you are not at home. I did make a Couscous Confetti Salad yesterday that was quite good. I will take some of that today for lunch. And my husband made a salsa the other day with all veggies and black beans so that will give a little protein.

Goal today- to program my new digital pedometer today so I can be sure I am getting a minimum of 10,000 steps per day and to drink at least 4 bottles of water. I am always really bad about drinking the water I need.

Have a great day... won't get a chance to post those other pizza and chicken finger recipes I made til tomorrow.

Couscous Confetti Salad- off the meal plan- looks like they got it from Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Diabetes by Patricia Bertron R.D., recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.
Makes about 8 1-cup servings

Couscous is pasta from northern Africa that cooks almost instantly and makes a beautiful and flavorful salad. Whole-wheat couscous is sold in natural food stores and some supermarkets.

1 1/2 cups dry whole-wheat couscous
2 cups boiling water
3 - 4 green onions, finely chopped, including tops
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 carrot, grated
1 - 2 cup finely shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup golden raisins or chopped dried apricots
1 juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

In a large bowl, combine couscous and boiling water. Stir to mix, then cover and let stand until all the water has been absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Add green onions, bell pepper, carrot, cabbage, parsley, and raisins or apricots.

In a small bowl mix lemon juice, vinegar, oil, curry powder, and salt. Add to salad and toss to mix. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Per 1-cup serving

■Calories: 194
■Fat: 2.1 g
■Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
■Calories from Fat: 9.8%
■Cholesterol: 0 mg
■Protein: 5.2 g
■Carbohydrates: 40.2 g
■Sugar: 10 g
■Fiber: 4.2 g
■Sodium: 283 mg
■Calcium: 33 mg
■Iron: 1.1 mg
■Vitamin C: 40.9 mg
■Beta Carotene: 1157 mcg
■Vitamin E: 0.7 mg

MY COOKS TIPS: I forgot I used the red pepper in something else the other day so didn't add that to this recipe. I used my awesome cuisinart to make this very quickly. It was hard for me to find the wheat couscous, most stores have the golden- I am sure Whole Foods has it, hopefully in bulk so it is a little cheaper. I found a small box at The Hen House for a little over $3.00.

FAMILY CRITIQUE Scott loved it and said it was great! I really enjoyed it myself, very tasty! I am sure it will even have more flavor today after sitting in fridge all night. The kids wouldn't touch it. Ewww gross... that's pretty much what they said when they looked in the fridge. Too healthy for 'em I guess!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Irish Soda Bread and Breadsticks

I simply have no idea what I am doing, this will truly be a work in progress! I am not as computer literate as I would like to be-- for instance I can't figure out how on earth to get the title on my blog to be centered! It's driving me nuts! lol And I am not sure about the format and all,so things may change as I learn!

I never thought of myself doing a blog; perhaps a little inspired by the recent Julie and Julia movie that I loved! Everyone that knows me is aware that I enjoy cooking and have a definite passion for baking; trust me it wasn't always that way!!

Recently, I have decided to try the vegan lifestyle in order to jumpstart my metabolism that doesn't seem to want to budge and get these 10 pounds off that have been around since my last child was born. Hello--- that has been almost 13 years! My personal goal is to get these 10 pounds off and be back at my college weight by my oldest daughters highschool graduation May 16th. I'm hoping that cutting out my beloved meat and dairy will help be healthier as well. Not sure if I will make it a week or not but I am going to try.

Tonight, I practiced cooking recipes for some upcoming kids classes I am teaching at the Culinary Center. I practiced a couple chicken finger recipes, pizza recipes, breadsticks using one of the pizza doughs, and Irish Soda bread as one of my classes is on St. Patty's Day and I want the kids to make a mini loaf to take home. I was a good girl and didn't try any of the things I made and let the family be the test testers. Wow it was tough-- especially when I made them dark chocolate fudgey brownies for dessert. For myself I made a Couscous Confetti Salad- yummy!! And my husband Scott really enjoyed it too;the kids said gross and wouldn't try it. Now, onto the recipes I made! Well, I will post a couple tonight-

Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread - from

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2.In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
3.Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

MY COOKS TIPS: I want the kids to take home a small one for St.Patty's Day- so I made them in the small disposable foil pans. The dough divided into 5 of those. Also, no buttermilk in the house- so I used my standard substitution for that- 1 cup buttermilk w/ 1 Tablespoon vinegar. Let it sit a few minutes and it thickens up.

Family Critique- Scott loved it, said it was GREAT! The kids wouldn't try it as they said their stomachs were going to blow up from everything else they tried tonight. Maybe they will try it tomorrow.

Soft Garlic Breadsticks - from
1 1/8 cups water (70 to 80 degrees F)
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh basil
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, melted

1.In bread machine pan, place the first nine ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 20 portions. Shape each into a ball; roll each into a 9-in. rope. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Brush warm breadsticks with butter.

I did this the old fashioned way. Mixed the water, sugar and yeast and let stand for 10 min. I used one entire package of active dry yeast. I then put the oil, garlic, cheese, dry basil into the flour and salt mixture. I then added the yeast mixture. I think I made them entirely too big. I was tired at this point and just trying to get them done before Ashley went to work. I cut the dough in half to use half for breadsticks and half for a pizza to see what that tasted like as crust. Forgot to add the butter after it came out of oven. Oops!

Well, they didn't love them. They said it needed way more garlic and butter. Keep in mind we LOVE garlic at our house. They said it mostly tasted like bread, good bread but not a nice soft fluffy breadstick. Next time I will try fresh garlic instead of the powder the recipe called for. (If I try this breadstick recipe again) And I will make some garlic butter to put over them when I get out of the oven. I made homemade pizza sauce and they dunked the breadsticks into that. Out of the 6 I made, there are 3 1/2 left. I wasn't able to try it as it had the parmesan cheese in there! I do like that it is a simple dough kids can make and use for breadsticks or pizza.