Cooking from scratch always works out best for me. I use less packaging and spend less money. I do find I spend a little bit more time in the kitchen but when I have the time to spare it is so enjoyable. I have been loving recipes from the site Cookie and Kate. This lentil soup is a favorite and I make it pretty much every other week. When looking for a good recipe for quinoa I found one on Cookie and Kate that looked perfect. The quinoa black bean mixture is so delicious (and healthy). I made the tortillas as well and we ate this quinoa with avocado and olives for dinner last night! It was a win for sure. It makes great leftovers too.
I recently read the book Ten Things That You Need to Eat and since have been trying to incorporate more cabbage, kale and green vegetables to my meal planning. We already eat well but I want to make dinners more vegetable filled for growing my seven-year-old. One night we had “green soup” with leeks, spinach and cabbage. Emma actually really liked it and could not pick out the green parts since it was mostly blended and thickened with potato.
Still making muffins, tortillas and pizza dough weekly but I have been lax on bread baking. I want to get back into it and am thinking about trying a focaccia recipe next. I have been buying rosemary focaccia from local Semifreddi’s bakery and its not too expensive but I know that I could make it in my kitchen. I make a yummy olive bread with rosemary that we love but I want to try this pan variation that does not need eggs. Also I think I am ready to make challah too! My last school made a dough without eggs and it was still really good. Emma and maiki love when I get excited about bread baking because they get to be my taste testers.
I have been making a new bread recipe that I found on 101 Cookbooks. It is an easy recipe to put together and only rises for thirty minutes. It uses one cup each of white flour, wheat flour and oats. I make it with a little goat butter and since it contains honey it is even better with a bit on top when you eat it. I am so glad to have found this recipe and make a couple times a week now.
Making all the bread that we eat came about when we decided to stop buying foods in non-recyclable plastic packaging. Bread was one of the items that I decided I had to start making at home. This recipe really is all that we want from our bread. It tastes better, feels more substantial and costs so little in time and money. So happy that we have continued on with this journey!
Part of our ongoing plan to reduce plastic is to make more food at home. Over the past month I have been pretty successful at making most of our bread, muffins, tortillas and pizza dough although we do occasionally buy bread and rolls from the bakery as well. It is a nice treat, especially when it is challah, bagels, or tasty gourmet bread like olive that is not yet part of my repertoire.
For bread I have been making a (new to me) recipe that cooks two loaves in bread pans and they most resemble the sliced bread we would buy. It uses six cups of flour and two cups of milk so I make them when the ingredients are plentiful. It seems the first loaf out of the oven is devoured straight away with goat butter and jam. The next goes into a bag for slicing and eating for the next couple of days. I found the recipe documented by Rachael Ringenberg posted on Hither and Tither’s blog here. Another recipe that I like and have posted about before is the no knead bread recipe by Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery. It is his pizza dough recipe that I turned to because it is a similar process that has a lower yeast and a longer ferment time.
We chose a tortilla maker from Amazon after researching tortilla presses. The electric cast iron model seemed like the one that would best fit our needs. It is heavy duty and makes great tortillas. The recipe that we use is basic and came with the press. We like using olive oil instead of shortening or lard and the tortillas have a buttery flavor from the California olive oil.
Not having as much bread around has inspired me to bake more muffins. They usually come about after we have made oatmeal and turn the leftover cooked oats into these muffins. I came across the recipe first at the Coffee in the Woodshed blog and then read pretty much the same version at Orangette. I have modified the recipe a bit, using less flour and sugar and adding all kinds of fruit and spices. This muffin tin below has quinoa muffins made with the same principles. I added cherries and mini chocolate chips. ^_^
Traditional springerle cookies have been made in these decorative molds for hundreds of years and they so very lovely. I learned about them from the House on the Hill site. They have a huge collection of molds as well as videos on how to use them. The basics are to brush the molds with a bit flour so they don’t stick and then let the cookies set before baking them so they don’t spread. There is also a wonderful article on the Wall Street Journal Food and Drink site that is super informative and contains great recipes in which to make springerle cookies. I would love to try my hand baking them someday. Thinking back, the reason I fell in love with these cookies is because the iced springerle cookies reminded me so much of the big cookie I got at Oktoberfest when I was young (looks like this).
I have been thinking a lot about family traditions and which ones are precious to me. I have fond memories of baking with my mother around the holidays and it was something that I always looked forward to. I felt that I learned a lot because I was so interested and having fun in the kitchen. I would love to bake with Emma but not just around holidays. We talk a lot about making our days special and not placing all of the importance on a birthday or traditional holiday. Taking the emphasis off of the day and associating it with the experience and the people we share it with. I like to celebrate the everyday.