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Posts tagged “whole wheat

Fairy Tale Tomato, Corn & Bread Salad

with Great Northern Beans & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Fairy Tale Eggplant, Tomato  and Bread Salad: something's missing ...

Have you ever made something once and thought “it’s good, but it really ought to be better?” Yeah, that’s what happened here. The first time I made it I used a great big eggplant and I tried cooking it on the grill. Except my coals ran out of heat and the eggplant didn’t get properly cooked and it was this awful rubbery texture. I ended up picking all of the eggplant out of my salad that night and just eating the tomatoes with the corn and bread … not that that was a BAD thing, it was quite delightful that way. I just hated wasting the lovely eggplant …

So: take 2. This time I used a couple of my fairy tale eggplant. If you’ve not seen fairy tale eggplant, they are those tiny purple eggplant that look SO adorable because they are about finger sized or a little bigger, maybe half my hand size?  You never have to peel them or salt them because their skins are perfectly tender and they are never bitter. If you’re inexperienced with eggplant, fairy tale eggplant are a good place to start. This time was definitely better … but something was missing … oh my gosh! the corn! I totally forgot the corn. Okay, so I went and grabbed some corn from the freezer, cooked it up and added it … ah! much better!

Fairy Tale Eggplant, Tomato, Corn and Bread Salad

Fairy Tale Tomato, Corn & Bread Salad

Adapted from Williams Sonoma. For one hearty serving or two small “sides”:

  • 2-4 fairy tale eggplant (about 1/2 cup after roasting/chopping)
  • 1 cup fresh garden tomato, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • 1/2 cup cooked white beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn, drained
  • 2 slices of sweet onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups toasted whole wheat bread cubes (about 1 inch in size … or smaller … to your liking)
  • A few fresh basil & tarragon leaves
  • A few roasted sunflower seeds
  • Tahini yogurt ranch dressing (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Slice the fairy tale eggplant lengthwise in 1/2-inch slices. (You can use other eggplant in place of Fairy Tale, but you may need to peel them first.) Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set the eggplant on the baking sheet. Spray them with cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of salt or Red Robin Seasoning. Roast the eggplant in the oven or toaster oven at 400 for about 10 minutes or until they are tender.
  2. While the eggplant are cooking, chop the tomato and onion and heat the white beans and corn up. Also, set the bread cubes on another oiled baking sheet  and let them toast in the oven for the last few minutes of the eggplant roasting or until the cubes are lightly browned and toasted.
  3. Chop the eggplant into bite-size chunks. In your salad bowl, toss the eggplant, tomato, corn and onion till well mixed. Gently fold in the toasted bread cubes, drizzle with tahini ranch dressing and sprinkle with fresh herbs and sunflower seeds.

Fairy Tale Eggplant, Tomato, Corn and Bread Salad

Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (I used rosemary, basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, parsley … dill would be wonderful too, but my dill plant has died off)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste as needed) + freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a handi chopper or food processor, blend all ingredients till the herbs and garlic are well chopped and the mixture is fairly smooth. Taste the dressing and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Store any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayFriday Favorites and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


White Chocolate Rose Petal Scones

with a sweet rosewater glaze

White Chocolate Rose Petal Scones

I have been planning/dreaming of making these scones since June, when my friend Melissa posted her Rose Butter Tea Sandwiches. I saw the rose petal sugar she used on her pretty little tea sandwiches and thought: hey I could use that in SCONES!

So, when my most fragrant rose bush was covered with roses, I gathered some and made some rose sugar and set it in my cupboard to wait for a week. A week went by, and then a month, and then another. I told my daughter I was planning to make her rose scones and her face lit up. But life got crazy and the summer got SO hot and there never seemed to be a good time to bake rose petal scones.

Now it’s fall, the temperatures are dropping and my thoughts are turning to baking again. I woke up this morning, looked at the clock and decided today is the day I’m going to make those rose petal scones.

These scones have a soft, gentle rose flavor. It’s just a light hint of rose, like a passing floral scent on a breeze.

White Chocolate Rose Petal Scones

White Chocolate Rose Petal Scones

Inspired by Melissa at ChinDeep, who makes the most beautiful things with edible flowers. Plan ahead if you want to make these because it takes a week to make the rose petal sugar.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup rose petal sugar (recipe below)
  • 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into little pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vanilla low fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon culinary rosewater (my recipe for rosewater is here)
  • about 3/4 cup good quality white chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • Rosewater glaze (recipe below) and fresh clean organic rose petals (if desired, for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the rose petal sugar, crushing any lumps with your fingers.
  3. Add the little pieces of butter and work it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the butter chunks are all broken down and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (I use my fingers–it’s messy, but fun!)
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the egg, yogurt and extracts. Mix until just blended (dough will be soft and wet).
  5. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly 3-4 times. Pat or roll the dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into wedges and place on your prepared cookie sheet.
  6. Bake scones for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle with rosewater glaze and let the glaze set. At serving time, garnish with fresh organic roses or rose petals (if you like).

White Chocolate Rose Petal Scones

Sweet Rosewater Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons culinary rosewater

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the powdered sugar with the rosewater till smooth.

Rose Petal Sugar

Recipe from ChinDeep

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups very fragrant, unsprayed rose petals, washed and dryed completely

In a food processor or handi chopper, pulse the sugar and rose petals until the rose petals are tiny little confetti-like pieces. Put the sugar in a covered jar and wait for a week before you use it.

This post is an Eating the Alphabet post.

Eating the Alphabet Challenge

This month we’re cooking things that begin with the letters P, Q or R. R is for ROSES!

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Click here to see the other great Eating the Alphabet Challenge recipes this month …

This recipe was also shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Thursday’s Treasures, Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.


Zucchini Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

Zucchini Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

After the Zucchini Lime Cake went over so well and I came home from Mom and Dad’s house with a zucchini the size of a baseball bat (only fatter), I thought I might try a lemon version of that cake … but with poppy seeds because lemon and poppy seeds are just sooo yummy togehter. I also wanted to make it in cupcake form because my daughter really really loves cupcakes.

Anyway, I decided to take a short break from work and whip up some cupcakes right before my girl came home from school. And she just happened to come home that day with this book about cupcakes that she checked out from the library. So it was quite serendipitous that I happened to be baking cupcakes. She really wants to try some of these cupcake recipes out of the book. I am supposed to choose which one we will make. Maybe I need to just buy her that book so we can try them all. The cupcakes finished up just as we were supposed to head out the door for dance, so I grabbed one of the smaller cupcake pans and brought it along and she ate two of them on the way. The rest of the six I fed to my yoga friends, right out of the cupcake pan, at the bar we go to after yoga for a glass of wine.

Most of these cupcakes we ate unfrosted, but I did make a lemon cream cheese frosting to go on some of them. Do you want the recipe for the frosting? It’s just light cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice. You can add lemon zest if you like to intensify the lemon taste.

Zucchini Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Zucchini Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

You could also bake these as a cake in a 13x9x2 inch pan or two rounds or … well, whatever you like. Just add more cooking time for a cake.

  • 2 cups finely shredded zucchini
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup lowfat or nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon + juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 – 4 teaspoons poppy seeds (I used two and my daughter and I both agreed they could use more poppy seeds)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients, then stir in the dry ingredients.
  2. Spray your cupcake pans with cooking spray or use cupcake liners and fill each cupcake about 2/3 full.
  3. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Frost them if you like with lemon cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with poppy seeds (and lemon slices if you want to be extra fancy).

Zucchini Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s TreasuresFit & Fabulous FridayWeekend Potluck and Foodie Friends Friday, Lunch Box Linky and Share it Saturday.


Zucchini Lime Cake with Pistachios

Zucchini Lime Cake with Pistachios

The great thing about being a food blogger is sometimes you get to have cake for breakfast. Which is a very good thing when you stayed up too late baking zucchini cakes to take along to your parents’ house for the 50th wedding anniversary party and didn’t have dinner and woke up STARVING.

I just wanted to use up the last of my zucchini before I visit my parents’ garden again. It is always overflowing with good vegetables this time of year. Besides, we are going to have lots of extra mouths to feed this weekend and it will be good to have something relatively healthy and totally delicious to snack on. The last big zucchini was big enough to make two cakes, so I made a chocolate one and this beautiful zucchini lime cake that my sweet friend Dor from La Difference Catering made when her house was overflowing with courgettes. She calls them courgettes. I think that’s a marvelously elegant word! Still I refer to them as zucchini. That’s just what we call those big green squash things here in the midwest US.

By the way, today we are on the letter Z in the A-Z Health Challenge on facebook! We made it! I have to thank all the wonderful bloggers who contributed their recipes, tips and knowledge along the way. That’s what made it so very fun. I will do a wrapup post with all the letters and their health benefits once this anniversary party is over.

For today, Z is for Zucchini! Let’s eat cake!

Zucchini Lime Cake with Pistachios

Zucchini Lime Cake with Pistachios

Slightly adapted from La Difference Catering. I made just a small amount of frosting because I like it light on the frosting, so if you want a heavily frosted cake, you will need to make extra frosting.

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons golden rum
  • 1 3/4 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup lowfat or nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 oz. light cream cheese
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • Topping: a few Tablespoons of chopped roasted pistachios

Directions:

  1. Set the raisins in the small bowl, pour the rum over and let them soak for a good while (an hour or so) until they plump up good.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir it all together. Stir in the raisins and rum.
  4. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray, pour in the batter and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Mix up the powdered sugar with the cream cheese till smooth, then add the lime zest and juice. Once the cake is cool, frost it. Just before serving, sprinkle with a few tablespoons of chopped pistachios.

Zucchini Lime Cake with Pistachios

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckTalent Show TuesdayTrick or Treat Tuesday1 Month of Fun, Cast Party Wednesday, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

Last weekend it finally RAINED here … and with the rain came a refreshing chill in the air that to me meant one thing … time to BAKE! I thought it would be fun to bake up something special for the kids for breakfast … I started the dough for cinnamon rolls and then the peaches in my big wooden bowl in my kitchen started calling to me. How could I ignore them? I started peeling and chopping peaches, made up some caramel sauce and created this wonderful new thing.

My picky kids didn’t like the idea of peaches in their caramel rolls, so I did one pan with peaches, one without. They don’t know what they’re missing! These peachy little wonders take a while to make, but they are the perfect treat for brunch on a cool rainy day.

Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

In addition to the caramel sauce and the dough, you’ll need about 10 medium ripe peaches.

Sweet Roll Dough

  • 1 1/3 cups cold water
  • 4 t. yeast (or about 2 packets)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. vanilla

Put all the ingredients in  the bread machine and start it up on the dough setting. Now get to work on the peaches and prepare the caramel.

Peel, pit and chop about 10 medium peaches into small pieces (or just 5 if you have picky kids like me and you’re doing one pan with peaches, one without).

Simple Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 6 T. butter
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1-2 T. water
  • 1 t. vanilla

Put the brown sugar, cinnamon and butter into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50% power until the butter is melted. Stir together to mix, then add 1 T. water and vanilla. If the caramel sauce looks too thick, add a bit more water.

Preparing the Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

To see step-by-step photos for making rolls like this (along with some cute little helper hands!), see my Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls recipe.

(This is a really fun project for kids, by the way. If you have little ones, they can help sprinkle and cut the rolls. If you have teenagers like me, they’ll probably sleep in till mid-afternoon and roll out of bed long after the rolls are done.)

  1. When the dough is ready, dust a large clean surface with flour and roll it out into a long rectangular shape. The dough will resist getting any bigger after a while and will want to spring back into a smaller shape.
  2. Now spray the dough with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar so you get it all covered with the cinnamon sugary goodness.
  3. Now sprinkle on a layer of chopped peaches all over the dough.
  4. Prepare your pan(s). I had to use two pans to hold all the rolls: one was a glass pie pan  and the other was a round inch baking dish. Spray them with cooking spray, then pour in the caramel sauce and sprinkle with peaches. I sprinkled some pecans on one, and left the other one without nuts.
  5. Now take the dough and roll it into a long log-shape. You can pinch the edges to “seal” if you like, but I usually don’t bother.
  6. Get some dental floss and pull out a long string. This is what you’re going to use to cut the dough. About 1 1/2 – 2 inches from the end of the roll, wrap the floss around the roll so it crosses on top, then pull on the strings to cut the dough.Cutting the caramel rolls
  7. Take the roll and place it in the pan with the loose edge up against the side of the pan. Then cut the rest of the log into rolls about 1 1/2 – 2 inches long and place them in the prepared pan(s) leaving some space between them to allow them room to rise. Try to place the loose edges of each roll either up against the edge of the pan or next to another roll.
  8. Now spray the tops of the dough with cooking spray and set them somewhere to rise. Cover them with a towel and put them somewhere warm. If you have an over-the-oven microwave, you can put them the microwave with the stove light on. The stove light just under the microwave makes it a nice place for the dough to rise. (You don’t need to cover them if you rise them in the microwave.) … Another great place for rising dough is in the oven. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting (usually 170 degrees F.) and then turn the oven off. Place the rolls in the warm oven covered with a towel. … It takes a while for the dough to rise. At least an hour, sometimes two. Once the rolls are big and poofy and they have filled up all the empty spaces in the pan, they are ready to bake.
  9. Put the caramel rolls in an oven at 325 degrees F.  for about 40- 50 minutes. I like to cover them with aluminum foil for about the first 20 minutes to keep them from getting too brown. You want the dough to be cooked through and the tops to be a lovely golden brown. If you press on one of the middle rolls lightly, it should be firm, not gooey.
  10. Immediately place another pan or serving tray on top of the rolls and turn them upside down to invert them. It’s important to invert them right away to allow the caramel sauce to drip down over the rolls and to keep them from getting stuck in the pan you baked them in. These rolls are best eaten fresh  and hot from the oven, but they can be covered, saved and reheated briefly in the microwave.

Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

This is a #peachlove post.

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Click here to see all the other lovely #peachlove recipes …

This recipe was also shared at Tastetastic ThursdayThursday’s Treasures, Foodie Friends Friday, Scrumptious Sunday and Weekend Potluck.


Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

It’s finally cooled off enough here to BAKE (yay! happy dance!) and I decided I needed to make some flatbread. My son loves flatbread … he came upstairs just after I took these flatbreads out of the oven and decided he was going to have flatbread and a fruit smoothie for dinner. I panicked a little because that boy has a BIG appetite and he could easily polish off just about all the flatbread in one sitting, but he only ate 3 of them! Whew! There were still plenty left for the photo shoot.

I’m participating in an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page and today is the letter I. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. G was Garlic. I was scratching my head for the letter I … how many healthy things can you think of that start with the letter I? All I could think of was Ice Cream, and even though I have several healthy ice cream recipes, it didn’t seem like a very good choice, so I asked my kids who are both wonderful at brainstorming. My daughter suggested Italian Seasoning and that led me to think: Italian food! There are lots of health benefits to eating Italian food. You should see all the wonderful Italian recipes on my facebook page today! (If you happen to miss it or want to see some of the other recipes that were shared, I’m pinning all of the recipes to my A-Z Health Challenge Pinterest Board.)

This flatbread might not be “traditional” Italian cuisine, but it does have lots of the wonderful healthy things that Italians use in their cooking: whole grains, olive oil, lots of herbs (via the Italian Seasoning!) and the wonderful flavor of Asiago cheese. And hey, what’s a good Italian meal without bread? This flatbread is a wonderful base for a pizza, or serve it as the bread with your meal with some olive oil for dipping. Oh they go wonderfully with hummus too! … or you can just eat them plain, hot out of the oven, like my son. If you have any leftover flatbreads, put them in a bag and freeze them for quick meals (add sauce, cheese, and toppings and you have instant pizza!)

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

Inspired by this recipe from Red Star Yeast. I just saw that recipe and thought it was such a cool idea to put zucchini in a yeast bread!

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons shredded asiago cheese
  • 2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 – 2/3 cup water (or other liquid)

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in the bread machine (or the bread attachment to a KitchenAid … that works too!), using 1/3 cup of water to start. Set the machine on the dough setting and watch it as it starts mixing: add water as needed until it forms a nice ball of dough. I had to use the full 2/3 cup on mine.
  2. When the dough is done, take it out and cut the dough into equal-sized pieces for the desired number of flatbreads. I made 12 mini-flatbreads, but you can make 2 large rounds for pizza or 6 for individual pizzas if you prefer.
  3. Dusting the dough with cornmeal to keep it from sticking, shape the dough into discs with your hands, cover and let rest for 5 minutes or so, then stretch the dough further with your hands or use a rolling pin to roll the flatbreads to about 1/4 inch thick (adding more cornmeal as needed to keep it from sticking).
  4. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place till your breads are the desired thickness, then bake at 425 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. I like to cook my flatbreads on a pizza stone to get them nice and crisp on the bottom, but you can bake them on a cookie sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone.

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursday, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Weekend Potluck.


1,2,3 Chocolate Zucchini Cake {Lowfat}

123 Chocolate Zucchini Cake {Lowfat}

This is a luscious, moist and healthy chocolatey cake that takes only takes a few minutes to put together (most of that time is grating the zucchini) and it’s so yummy! I made it years ago when my daughter-in-law first came to visit and we topped it with strawberries (or was it raspberries?) and whipped light cream and reveled in it. She mentioned to me not long ago how good it was and I had completely forgotten that I’d made this cake for her. I’m so glad she mentioned it because this cake is way too good to be forgotten! I got up this morning eager to look up the recipe and make it again since my sis brought me some gorgeous zucchini.

My sweet daughter just had some of this for breakfast, so I asked her if she would take the photos for me. I think I might let her do the photography more often. She has a good eye and a different style and perspective and it makes me so happy when she helps me with my cooking and blogging projects.

A little note about fat: it is true that the low-fat diet led to a lot of health problems. I don’t advocate cutting fat out of your diet (especially not if you’re going to replace it with sugar!) Include healthy fats like olive oil, cheese, nuts and avocados, but also include lots of fiber and grains, fruits and vegies and watch your total calorie intake. I like to reduce fats and sugar in baked goods and desserts because it reduces the calories, but then I also try to add whole grains and fiber to make treats that are truly health conscious, but still satisfy my desires for a decadent dessert.

123 Chocolate Zucchini Cake {Lowfat}

1,2,3 Chocolate Zucchini Cake {Lowfat}

Adapted from Food.com. I cut down the sugar, replaced some of the oil with yogurt and replaced some of the flour with whole wheat flour and flaxmeal.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour + 1/4 cup flaxmeal (or 1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup lowfat or nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

Directions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients and stir it all together.
  3. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray, pour in the batter and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

123 Chocolate Zucchini Cake {Lowfat}

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckScrumptious SundaysFamily Fresh MealsManic Monday, Cast Party Wednesday, Thursday’s TreasuresTastetastic Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Foodie Friends Friday.


Italian Garlic Pizza Crusts

Boboli Style Pizza Crust

This is another one of those recipes I’ve been making for years. It’s a Boboli-style pizza crust that is delicious plain … or topped with just about anything you like to put on a pizza. My son loves to eat this garlicky Italian “flatbread” plain, with no toppings. Sometimes my daughter and I will slice one into wedges and dip it in olive oil. I like to have a few in the freezer ready to top whenever we need a quick meal. This time I made them for my daughter’s birthday party. We thought the girls would enjoy making their own pizzas. It was a great hit, and so fun to see what each girl put on her pizza. One girl took a big sniff of the crust, exclaimed she could eat a whole one just like this, and took a few bites out of it before she put the toppings on her pizza. It was really cute.

Here’s the party setup with all the toppings set out. There’s just one problem with this setup: not enough meat. I use so many vegies on my pizzas and just a tiny bit of meat, I forget how much meat other people like on their pizza. We ran out of sausage and pepperoni. (Luckily I had some more in the freezer!)

Pizza Party

Italian Garlic (Boboli-Style) Pizza Crust

Adapted from Food.com. Makes 3 normal-size crusts or 6 individual-size crusts.

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water (plus extra if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Put the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. (It doesn’t have to be in exact order, just make sure to bury the garlic under the flour.)
  2. Put the bread machine on the dough setting and press start. A few minutes after starting, check the dough. If it’s not sticking together properly, add a little extra water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to form into a ball.
  3. When the dough cycle is complete, divide the dough into several equal parts. I’m making individual crusts for a teenage birthday party, so I divided mine into 6 parts. This makes a pretty good-sized individual crust. For smaller ones, divide into 8 pieces. For normal-sized pizza, divide into 3 parts.
  4. Shape each piece of dough into a disc shape, cover and let rest for a few minutes.
  5. One at a time (keeping the rest of the pieces covered) on a clean surface dusted with cornmeal, with a rolling pin, roll each piece of the dough into a circle. Mine turned out to be about 8 inches in diameter.
  6. If you have a pizza stone, set each round on a flat surface dusted with cornmeal that will allow you to easily slide the crust onto the stone. I used the back of my cookie sheets and a couple cutting boards. If not, put the pizza crusts on cookie sheets or pizza pans. Spray the crusts with cooking spray, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until the crusts are as thick as you want them. I wasn’t sure how thick the girls would want their crusts so I went for a medium rise; I think it took about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425, prick the crusts with a fork to keep them from puffing up in awkward spots, and bake until the crusts are golden brown. You can put these crusts in a bag and freeze them for future meals. They will keep well for a month or two.

Boboli Style Pizza Crust

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Thursday’s Treasures, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bread Bloghop.


Elvis’ Favorite Muffins

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Banana Muffins … with a Peanut Butter Filling

Elvis' Favorite Muffins (Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana with a Peanut Butter filling)

Okay, Elvis never really tried these muffins. But he should have! He would have loved them.

But then again, who wouldn’t love chocolate banana muffins with a peanut butter filling? Maybe my mother. She’s not into chocolate. I will never ever in a million years understand that. (But I still love you, Mom!)

Elvis' Favorite Muffins (Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Banana, with a PB filling)

Elvis’ Favorite Muffins

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Banana … with a Peanut Butter Filling

Makes 18 muffins

  • 3 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (add more or less, depending on how chocolatey you want your muffins)
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Filling:
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the bananas, sugar, yogurt, canola oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is thoroughly mixed.
  4. Mix the filling ingredients together. Add a little more PB or sugar according to your taste.
  5. Spray your muffin pans with cooking spray. Spoon a spoonful of batter into the bottom of each muffin pan to cover the bottom of the muffin. Top with a small spoonful (about a teaspoon) of the peanut butter filling, then cover the filling up with another spoonful of the chocolate batter.
  6. Bake at 325° for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the muffins spring back when touched.

Elvis' Favorite Muffins ... Chocolate & Banana Muffins with a Peanut Butter Filling

Now … what should I do with these other three bananas? Hmm …

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdaysFull Plate Thursdays and Weekend Potluck.


Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

There’s something so comforting and homey about baking bread. Every once in a while I like to make an old-fashioned bread, something like my grandmother might have made when I was a little girl. Memories of her house are so full of the scent of homemade bread. Gram (as we called her) was always baking bread, buns, or pie. Of course she did it all by hand. This little wooden cutting board is one of the things I was lucky enough to inherit from Gram, along with a LOT of bread pans, including a bunch of adorable mini-bread pans that my daughter and I both love, and some regular-sized loaf pans too. In fact, I think it was one of her loaf pans that I used for baking this bread.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal (the recipe calls for the old-fashioned rolled oats, but I used the quick-cooking oatmeal and it worked fine)
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk + a little extra

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program machine for the dough cycle, and press Start. About 10 minutes into the cycle, check the dough and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or milk–I had to add a little more milk. It should be holding together well and forming a nice ball of supple dough.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it’s crested 1″ to 2″ over the rim of the pan.
  3. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F or the dough sounds “hollow” when you thump the top of it. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking. I didn’t need to tent it. The color came out a beautiful golden brown.

If you don’t have a bread machine, see King Arthur’s site for traditional instructions.

I used one of my new favorite bread spreads on my first slice of honey oatmeal bread … a mixture of light cream cheese and a bit of kumquat syrup. My son came home from his dad’s house today and the first thing he wanted was two slices of bread, toasted, with peanut butter and grape jelly. And a big glass of milk. He was happy I had some bread made when he got home. I’m happy he’s decided it’s okay to eat mom’s homemade bread.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Full Plate Thursdays,  Tastetastic Thursdays, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Some days I feel overwhelmed … and I wonder why. I mean, things are so much easier now than they were just a couple years ago. I listen to my friends’ problems and I feel like I have it so easy. I’m really okay. There aren’t any big tragedies in my life. My kids and I are healthy, I have a good job, a good home, good food, great friends and family.

But still some days everything in my life feels like just too much. I don’t know what it is. There just is too much to be done, too many things pulling at me, and I get to the point where I just don’t know how to respond, how to deal with anything. I can’t make a decision, I can’t even answer my kids’ questions. I just have to tell them to wait a bit. It’s times like this when I turn to the kitchen … the preparation of food soothes me, comforts me, makes things feel a little better.

And then I get a big hug from my daughter for making banana bread and everything is all right again. Is life really that simple? Can everything be turned around in an instant with one little hug?

Amazingly, yes.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Adapted from Taste & Tell. This is a soft, moist banana bread with a subtle hint of peanut butter. For more peanut flavor, add some chopped peanuts. If you toast the nuts before adding them, it will bring out the peanut flavor even more.

  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • For the top: a couple tablespoons of raw sugar (turbinado sugar)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan or mini loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Mash the bananas in a large bowl, then add the milk, peanut butter, vanilla, yogurt and egg and mix well.
  3. Stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into one 4x5x9 inch bread pan or a few smaller loaf pans (I used 3 smaller ones.)
  5. Sprinkle the tops of the batter with raw sugar and place in the oven to bake.
  6. Bake smaller loaves for 30 – 45 minutes or larger loaf for 50 – 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread rest in the pan for a few minutes before removing.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s TreasuresFull Plate ThursdayFit & Fabulous Fridays, and Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.


Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

The magic of this bread is it has these teeny tiny little speckles of pepperoni and an underlying hint of cheesiness to it, but the flavors are very subtle, so you have this soft savory bread with just a hint of this extra flavor and (if you don’t tell them ahead of time) people can’t quite identify what it is. It’s a perfect bread for that grilled cheese sandwich … or an egg in a hole … or toasted alongside your favorite soup or pasta dish or a big cheesy omelet. You can use it to make cheesy garlic toast or even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

The bread machine does pretty much all of the work here, so it’s a cinch to make too.

Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

Adapted from Food.com. (If you don’t have a bread machine, consult the original recipe for instructions. )

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sliced and finely chopped pepperoni (in about 1/4 inch pieces … the bread machine will “cut” it into speckles for you)
  • ½ cup finely grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups water

Directions:

  1. Toss all the ingredients in a bread machine and set it on the dough cycle. You can bake it in the bread machine if you want, but I like the shape of the loaf better when it’s baked in a loaf pan.
  2. When the dough is done, take it out and shape it into an oval shape. Set it in a standard bread pan that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  4. Bake at 375 for about 35 – 40 minutes or until the top is a deep golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.
  5. Remove the bread from the pan, spray it with cooking spray (softens the crust and makes it all pretty and shiny) and place the bread on a rack to rest for 5 to 10 minutes (if you can stand to wait that long). That’s the hardest part … the waiting … when your house is full of that delicious fresh bread aroma and your mouth is watering …

Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdaysThursday’s Treasures, It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, and Weekend Potluck.


Hot Homemade Ciabatta Bread

Hot Homemade Ciabatta Bread (made with bread machine)

(… made with a little help from the Bread Machine)

Ciabatta is that beautiful Italian bread that everyone is using for sandwiches now … it has just the right chewy texture to hold up to a hearty sandwich filling. It’s a sort of flat shaped bread, so if you cut it horizontally, you can get a nice sturdy base for your sandwich. It’s also great with soups or just for dunking in olive oil with dinner.

If you’ve never made it before, I have to warn you, it takes 2 days to make. It doesn’t take much effort … just a lot of waiting. But it’s SO worth it! This is my third attempt at ciabatta and I think I’ve finally mastered it. I’m sure somebody will say I didn’t do it the right way, but the result in my opinion was perfect, so that is all that matters. Well, that and my daughter’s take on it. I’m waiting to hear her verdict. She fell asleep early tonight … first day of school was tough on her!

Yeast bread can be a little testy sometimes and it varies a bit with the weather, so the same recipe you use today might not work quite right tomorrow. Don’t worry about it too much. It’s ok if it doesn’t turn out perfect. It’s probably still pretty dang yummy.

I started with a recipe from Allrecipes … but had to revise it a bit. I found the directions kind of confusing and needed to simplify it a LOT to be able to fit it in with work and back to school and, well, all the busy family things we have going on. If you don’t have a bread machine, you can do this the old-fashioned way.

Ciabatta Bread with some help from the Bread Machine

Ingredients

For the Sponge:

  • 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
For the Bread:
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon gluten (optional … depends on how the gluten is in your whole wheat flour … don’t use it if you’re not doing whole wheat flour!)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions

  1. First, make the sponge: In a small mixing bowl, stir together 1/8 teaspoon of the yeast and the warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. What does creamy mean? I’m not really sure, but I guess it looks kind of white-ish and milky after you let it sit a bit … don’t worry about it too much. I really over-worried this step on my first two times, but I really don’t think I needed to bother.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of the water, and 1 cup of whole wheat flour. You can use bread flour here if you prefer an all-white ciabatta, but I encourage you to try the white whole wheat.
  3. Stir it a while till it’s mixed, then cover the bowl and let it sit for at least 12 hours and up to a day. I didn’t use plastic wrap–I think that’s a waste and bad for the environment. Just set a plate over it that covers the bowl tightly. That works just as well and you can wash the plate afterwards if the sponge happens to rise high enough to touch the plate. (Mine did, surprisingly!)
  4. Toss the sponge into your bread machine along with the rest of the ingredients and put it on the “dough” setting and set your bread machine to take care of the hard part. (Start with 1/2 cup of water and add a little more if the dough isn’t turning into a nice ball of dough like it should.)
  5. When the dough is done, dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and cut it in half. Shape each half into an irregular oblong oval shape about 9-11 inches long.
  6. Spray the loaves with cooking spray, cover with a towel, and let the loaves rise for a couple hours.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees, preferably on a cooking stone, for about 20 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown. Probably is best to bake them one at a time.
  8. Now here is the controversial step: I like to spray the loaves with cooking spray right away when they come out of the oven. It makes the loaf look more brown and shiny and tenderizes the crust a little. If you want a chewier crust, skip this step!
  9. And now you finally get to enjoy your ciabatta.  My daughter’s favorite way to eat this is just to dip it in olive oil, but I love to make a good sandwich with it.

Hot Homemade Ciabatta Bread

What’s your favorite use for ciabatta?

Please leave me a comment and let me know. I’m on the lookout for some creative sandwich recipes!

So far I’ve found this lovely Eggplant Sandwich Recipe from Chef in Disguise.


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