Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pizza Sauce

When you have a completely lovely pizza crust, the toppings can be so simple. Just a nice sauce and a good cheese. This is my favorite recipe for a quick tasty pizza sauce. I like the sauce to be a little chunky, but you can use what ever you like. I have said it before, Muir Glen makes an awesome canned tomatoes. I am disappointed that they haven’t done away with the bpa, really counting on being able to can my own tomatoes this year.

Frontier Pizza seasoning makes the sauce, you gotta have it. Sub Italian seasoning if you’d like, but you will have a mediocre sauce. Places that carry anything in Fronteir brand should be able to order it. Check out Whole Foods. If you are local, The Good Apple carries it in their bulk section.

Let’s talk cheese…skim milk is terrible for you. It falls in the group of hydrogenated oils, soy and high fructose corn syrup. The cheap mozzarella cheeses are made with “part skim” which many take as a health claim. There are many problems that the processing of milk causes and like any other food, the further it gets away from its original state, the worse it is…that is where skim milk is in the realm of all things dairy. At least go for the whole milk mozzarella and it is great to do a blend. Trader Joe’s has a great selection of full fat, raw, even pastured cheeses. My next big project is to learn how to make mozzarella cheese. Any help??

16 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Frontier Pizza Seasoning
2 tablespoons sucanat
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Stir to combine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sourdough Spelt Pizza

My new go-to recipe for pizza dough, the flavor and texture are both amazing. I don’t know why I can’t get my bread to turn out like this, but this dough turns into a soft, stretchy, bubbly piece of art that yields the prefect crispy, chewy crust. Seriously, I used to not be a crust eater, now I am…unless it is burnt.

One thing that helps a lot is having a freshly fed starter to work with. This means, the night before, feed your starter and it will be ready to use in the morning. I use 1/2 cup starter and feed it 1 cup spelt flour, and 1 cup water. See how incredibly bubbly it is!

If you don’t have sourdough starter you can still do this recipe with just adding a pinch of yeast (less than ¼ teaspoon) when you mix the dough, then still let it rise all day. It will develop good flavor and improve digestibility, however, sourdough is even better on both accounts.

1 cup water
2 cups freshly fed sour dough starter
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups spelt flour
2 cup white flour

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl, reserving 1 cup white flour. Knead 5 minutes, while kneading, add more white flour to achieve a smooth dough that sticks to itself more than to the bowl. Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover. Let dough rise for 6-8 hours on counter. Heat oven with pizza stone for 30 minutes at the highest heat (mine is 550 convection if you have it). Divide dough in fourths, roll out on a floured surface, transfer to parchment paper. Top and bake on a preheated pizza stone for 6 minutes or until crust is crisp. Let cool 5 minutes for cheese to set before cutting.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Method for Homemade Mayo

You have got to try this. I am so excited to find a faster more consistent way to make mayonnaise. My friend Sonya was getting frustrated with her mayonnaise making endeavors when she decided to try a new method by using her kitchen aid mixer. She did it twice and had excellent results which she promptly shared with me and I am so glad she did!

After I tried it and was totally wow-ed, I edited my original post here.

I have been making homemade mayonnaise for a year and when I run out and don't have time to make up more, I use that despicable stuff from the store and it tastes horrible to me now. It seems like this happens frequently where I will ban something for it's ingredients, even though I like how it tastes, then after an extended hiatus, I can't stand the stuff anymore.

This post was shared on GNOWFGLINS Tuesday Twister.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Excitement is mounting. I am about to enjoy my first summer fruits. Looks like the grey squash will be the first harvest of the season, with green beans not far behind. Gardening is such a mix of pleasure and pain, I tell ya.

My latest nemesis are the aphids. They destroyed my potatoes. So I pulled them out and now have a bunch of bite-sized and two-bite-sized spuds that will be fun to roast with a little garlic oil and salt. They have layed eggs all over my kale, so I scrub each leaf individually, but am surely getting a little extra protein with my salads.
I am quite concerned with my green bean and tomato plants because the aphids are all over them. I have washed them off with soapy water a few times and it helps, but they come right back. I am thinking about buying a package of lady bugs, it is worth a try I suppose. They are very healthy plants for now, but I will be so sad if the aphids win. Any tips would be much appreciated.

I struck out with my carrots this year too. They are all a bunch of nubs despite the super loose dirt I have them in. I am hoping it was just because the soil was depleted and I can fix that next time.

And there is a new squirrel on the block. Even though he ate a lot of my lettuce, I still have a lot left, so I kept my cool about it. The problem is, now I have to get rid of it because it won’t be so cool when it happens again.
Hopefully next gardening post I will be taking pictures of full baskets of fresh picked produce.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Healthy *BANG* for Your Buck

Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody could afford to buy the very best foods for their family everyday? Changing your diet to include more healthful ingredients like organic produce, pastured meats, unrefined oils, natural sweeteners and raw dairy is a big slam on your grocery bill. This obstacle can deter the frugal minded and stand in the way of those whose budget has little play.

Here are some things I have learned that can help you out;

1. Know Your Organics

Some varieties of conventional produce receive/absorb more pesticides than others. When shopping for organic fruits and vegetables it is good to have a list of the “dirty dozen” with you. These have been tested and show the greatest amounts of toxic residue:

Sweet bell peppers
Imported Grapes

On the flip side there is also a list of the lowest levels of contamination;


While all the toxins from pesticides cannot be washed off because they have leached into the produce, washing conventional produce thoroughly is always a smart choice. Most pesticides are not water soluble, so when washing conventional produce, use a vinegar soak (equal parts water and vinegar) to remove chemicals from the surface.

2. Stick To What Is In Season

You are going to pay much more for a much lesser quality product when you buy in the off season. Don’t demand strawberries year round when they are a spring/summer crop. Instead of going with a list, go with some ideas and be flexible depending on what is looking at it’s peak, which is often the produce with the biggest bins and on sale.

3. Buy Less Meat

Good quality pastured meats are costly. It is not necessary, or even healthful to have large portions of meat at every meal. Learn to make a little go a long way and make the most of it by using the bones for stock.

4. Get Friendly With Grains and Beans

These are super nutritious, filling and have a great shelf life naturally, no harmful processing required. Items that are able to be stored for months at a time allow you to cost-effectively buy in bulk while on sale.

5. Stay Out Of Grocery Stores

This sounds absurd to many people, but it is amazing the deals you can finds through co-ops, farmer’s markets, friends/neighbors, online and special buying programs. Grocery stores tempt customers to buy processed foods with deceptive ads, prices and attractive displays. These processed foods are the opposite of a good deal; paying even a small price for something that is devoid in nutrition and increase health risks is a joke on us.

Health food/organics in grocery stores are usually quite pricey. Seek out what is available in your area, talk to others of like mind, buy in bulk and split between a few families.
links; Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday

Monday, April 5, 2010


A special event favorite of ours are these delicious puffs of heaven called beignets.  They are essentially the French version of donuts.  My recipe has evolved considerably over the years…starting with white flour, white sugar and evaporated milk and ending up here with a lot more nourishing whole foods. I have not been brave enough to try these whole grain, but have increase the amount I have used over time.  Still with more than half whole grain, they are nice and light because the dough puffs as they fry leaving a pocket of air in the middle.

This was the first time I tried powdered sucanat on them and the flavor was different for sure, but just as good.  I am thinking I might try infusing the sugar with a vanilla bean next time.  I also realized Sunday morning I didn’t have any cheap oil in the house, so I had to use my $10 bottle of extra light olive oil. I would love to fry these in coconut oil, but the oil gets grimy from the flour that comes off the dough, so it isn’t really reusable.  I am going to look for a refined coconut oil that is less expensive for next time, any suggestions?

2 cups warm milk
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup teff
2 cups white flour
1 tablespoon yeast

1 quart oil for frying
1 cup sucanat, powdered.

Place milk, butter, eggs, vanilla, honey, nutmeg, salt, teff and flours with yeast on top in mixing bowl and knead with dough hook for 4 minutes.  Transfer dough to large bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.  Roll dough out on flour to ¼ inch in thickness, cut into 2-3 inch squares (or what ever size and shape you want) with pizza cutter.  Heat oil to 400 degrees in a 5 quart, wide bottom pan (or fryer.)  Place 5 to 6 pieces in oil at a time, once they start to puff turn promptly with tongs. Let brown slightly and turn back onto first side to brown.  Remove from oil and place on paper towels to cool slightly.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Toss in a bag 10 at a time with powdered sucanat, shake and transfer to a serving dish.  Repeat with remaining beignets. Enjoy!

This post is shared with whole food for the holiday'stempt my tummy tuesday, tasty tuesday and gnowfglins tuesday twister.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli is a tricky plant to grow. It take like 75 days to mature, lots of rodents find it tasty, it goes to seed quickly (don't wait for it to look like the huge crowns at the grocery store) and it can't take the heat (which means it's time to harvest what is left soon because the temperatures are rising around here). I haven't had much success, but will try again next year. For those of you that are at harvest time, or are finding it for a good price this time of year, you gotta try my version of broccoli salad.

I like a bit of interest in my broccoli salad opposed to the common super sweet mayonnaise and bacon salad with a few pieces of broccoli. Also, a quick blanch brings out the color and softens the texture slightly. Make sure you dry it thoroughly though, otherwise it will get quite soupy. Pomegranates are a pain, but worth it here for the tart crunch. If you must, sub quartered grapes or dried cranberries. And as always, homemade mayonnaise is required.

6 cups fresh broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup soaked and dehydrated pecans, chopped
1/4 cup sliced and cooked pancetta or bacon
1/4 cup chopped red onion
seeds of 1 medium pomegranate
2/3 cup homemade mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon salt

Blanche broccoli by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets for 15 seconds, then remove from boiling water. Pour ice water over broccoli to stop the cooking. Spin dry in salad spinner or on paper towels. Combine broccoli, pecans, pancetta, onions and pomegranate, toss with dressing and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

links; Whole Foods for the Holiday's
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