Tag Archives: Recipe

Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies

Welcome to the 12 weeks of Christmas Cookies! I know, it’s not even October yet. But it’s just about 12 weeks until Christmas, can you believe it?

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The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies is an annual blog hop series hosted by (this year) by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic, and at last count about 25 other bloggers are participating this this year’s series!

Every Thursday for the next twelve weeks, all we bloggers who have thrown our hats into the ring will share a new cookie/bar/brownie recipe for the quickly approaching holiday season! I understand today’s Friday and not Thursday, but better late than never, right? Winking smile

 

For this week’s installment, I’ve built upon the apple theme for this week and made Oatmeal-Apple Cookies!

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These cookies are granola bar meets apple pie meets cookie! And they’re vegan and gluten-free to boot! A tasty treat you can feel good about! And this recipe is perfect for the entire fall+Christmas season, so don’t feel like you have to wait!

 

Oatmeal-Apple Cookies (Vegan + Gluten Free!)

Adapted from Food.com

3/4 cup coconut oil (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 “flax egg” (1 tbsp flaxseeds, ground, mixed with 3 tbsp hot water, and set aside)
1/4 cup rice milk (or whatever milk-type drink you prefer)
1.5 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste!)
100 g (roughly 1 cup) oat flour (I use an old coffee grinder to grind organic oats because I tolerate them better than gluten-free oats, but non-GF oats are heavily contaminated with gluten, so if you’re on a strict GF diet, use the certified gluten-free oats)
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg (the pre-ground nutmeg tastes and smells NOTHING like actual nutmeg! If you don’t want to use a whole nutmeg and grate it yourself, use pre-ground mace. It smells and tastes exactly like fresh nutmeg)
3 cups oats (I used organic rolled oats, but if you are on a strict GF diet, go for certified gluten-free)
1 cup finely diced apple

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, beat the coconut oil (which is more like a soft butter at room temperature) for about 10 seconds. Then add the sugar and mix that for about 10 seconds. Then add the “flax egg,” rice milk, and vanilla. Mix for an additional 20-30 seconds.

In a separate, medium-sized bowl, combine the oat flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mix until well incorporated. You will probably need to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl on occasion.

Using a spoon or spatula, fold in the oats and finely diced apple into the batter.

Spoon roughly two-tablespoon-sized mounds onto a cookie sheet, leaving about two inches between mounds. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and the cookies are moderately firm.

Enjoy!

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

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Have you ever made your own sausage?

I consider sausage to be one of those real comfort foods—perfect for fall. But I also prefer to get my purchase my meat from quality sources (grass-fed, preferably local). This creates a problem in our area if we have a hankerin’ for some sausage, since once cannot and will not find pastured pork, turkey, chicken, or any other variety of sausage within a one-hour radius of my house. Sure, I could go to Sprouts in Lubbock and spend $8 on a package of six bison sausages, but why would I when I can make my own sausage in very little time at all, using quality ingredients of my own compilation and leaving out the stuff I just don’t need (nitrates/nitrites, excess salt, excess fat, etc.), and save so much money while I’m at it? Plus, when you have fresh flavors such as apple, sage, and fennel, who needs the store-bought stuff??

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Am I alone in that I tend to feel sick if I eat sausages in the morning? I used to love eating breakfast sausage until I realized that I felt sick every morning after I ate it. I realize now it was the excess grease. But since my pork was rather lean, I didn’t get that sickly feeling with this sausage! Another win!

 

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Apple-Sage Breakfast Sausage
Adapted from FineCooking.com

1 apple, diced finely (I used a jazz apple)
1/2 small onion (or one very tiny onion), diced fine
1 lb ground pork
1 small bunch (about 1/4 cup) fresh sage, minced fine
3/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed (I used an old coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp whole allspice, crushed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well distributed. Cover the bowl well with plastic wrap and park the bowl in the fridge for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

In the morning (or afternoon or evening…), set a cast iron skillet to medium-high. Once heated, take about a 2-ounce portion of the pork mixture and form it into a patty. Cook on the cast iron skillet, flipping occasionally, so that the outside gets a slight crust and the inside is cooked thoroughly. No, you do not need to use additional oil. There is plenty of fat in the pork itself.

Serve with roasted sweet potatoes and poached eggs. Winking smile

 

 

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Mmmm. Tastes a little like Christmas.

Here Comes Johnny Appleseed

 

September makes me think of Johnny Appleseed. Every year.

image (source)

It’s the kid in me.

While I typically don’t much care for apples, the grade school legend of ye olde John Chapman and his bohemian, apple-sharing, philanthropic ways always brings enough nostalgia to make me crave them.

Nostalgia, not hunger, is the best seasoning.

When my sisters and I were younger we would make apple butter+peanut butter sandwiches. Who needs jam when you have this smooth, silky, spicy spread?

But have you seen the ingredients list on a container of store-bought apple butter recently??

Evaporated Apples, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Spice And Natural Flavoring

WHY two different kinds of corn syrup?! Why have any corn syrup at all?! Apples are sweet enough on their own! And when you have a crockpot, you can toss together the ingredients in less time than it takes to drive to the store. And I live in a small town. The store is eight minutes away. I mean what I say.

 

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Start with about five apples. I used three fuji apples and two jazz apples. I don’t understand the obsession with using only granny smith apples in cooking. I eat granny smiths straight. I cook with whatever I have on hand (which will never, ever be red or golden ‘delicious.’ Them things are nasty!)

 

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Chop ‘em into wedges. I have an apple core-er and slicer, but I totally forgot about it until after I’d already dirtied up my knife. Ah well. Goes to show how often I eat apples!

 

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Put the apples in a crockpot with one cup of 100% apple juice (I used Simply Apple kind), two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or your preferred combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and/or allspice), 1/2 tsp vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Set on low heat for about 18 hours, or until thick and saucy.

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Blend using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender or food processor.

 

Spread on bread. Peanut butter and pots-for-hats optional.

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(makes about two cups of finished apple butter)

 

Recipe lightly adapted from Eating Bird Food

Buckwheat Crepes

 

Ever since my 3-week elimination diet, I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with various flours. Gluten-free cooking can seem intimidating to many, especially considering the abundance of overly-complicated gluten-free recipes floating around on the interweb. Tapioca starch? Xanthan gum? Gelatin? Sure, all these ingredient can have their place, but is it really necessary in recipes that never require gluten in the first place?

One of these grain-based dishes that requires no gluten is crepes.

Basically they’re really thin pancakes with a greater ratio of liquid to dry ingredients. Ever recall being told not to over-stir your pancakes? That’s because you don’t want to activate the gluten. For pancakes (and crepes), gluten=bad.

Which makes gluten-free crepe-making a cinch.

Did you know most baking recipes can be broken down into ratios? I’ve been experimenting with Michael Rulhman’s ratios for baking, substituting different flours and liquids in my recipes. And every recipe I’ve developed based on these ratios has turned out far better than the original, individual recipes I’ve found! The basic ratio for a crepe is 2 parts liquid, 2 parts egg, and 1 part flour (ALL BY WEIGHT. DO NOT NEGLECT THIS OR YOUR RECIPES WILL SUFFER A HORRIFIC AND GROTESQUE DEATH). Additional stuff (vanilla, salt, etc.) added at whim over and above the initial ratio.

I decided to experiment with buckwheat crepes.

I started off by grinding (in a coffee grinder) 2 ounces of raw buckwheat groats into flour. Do not use pre-ground buckwheat flour. Usually that stuff is pre-toasted and has this really intense earthy (read: dirt) taste that overwhelms the palette. I usually find recipes that include it cut the total flour with regular wheat flour. We aren’t using wheat because we don’t need it. Right? RIGHT!?

 

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I then mixed in two eggs (eggs are about two ounces each), 4 ounces of rice milk, and a sprinkle of kosher salt.

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Mix until smooth. You don’t have to worry about over-mixing since it’s gluten free!

Now here’s the trick for crepes. You need to allow the flours to soak. Let the batter sit for a good 30 minutes. Your patience will be rewarded with a silky batter.

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Rub a non-stick skillet with oil and heat to about medium-heat.

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Ladle about 3-4 oz of batter into the middle of the pan and QUICKLY tilt the pan all around so the batter spreads to the edges of the pan. It will set quickly, so this must be done with haste.

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When the bottom is set (you should be able to lift the crepe off the bottom of the pan with a spatula), carefully flip with a spatula, taking care not to tear the crepe. Let it cook on the other side for about a minute.

 

I filled my crepe with Nutella, sprinkled it with powdered sugar, and called it good. But I imagine these would taste pretty awesome filled with herbed goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.

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Ooh la la…

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Have you ever eaten a crepe? I had a banana-Nutella crepe in Prague. OMG.

Vegan Baking Adventures

Next week my office is hosting a going-away brunch for a fellow coworker who is leaving to go work in the Metroplex, and we’ve all been asked to bring a dish to share. I love baking quick-breads, and I recently found out that another coworker is vegan. I love vegan baking! I consider it some sort of challenge and an art form in itself. It defies conventional logic and pushes my thinking out of the box.

I decided to test out a muffin to share.

I started out with the idea of almond butter muffins. Then I found a recipe that included bananas. What a great idea! I have overripe bananas, and they contribute a good amount of moisture and natural sweetness while cutting down on excessive fat! Plus that gives it an upscale Elvis feel, y’know. Almond butter and bananas?

Anyway. I knew that I was entirely out of sucanat and had no desire to run to the store, so I figured a liquid sweetener would suffice. I got half-way through decrystallizing my honey when I realized—duh—honey isn’t vegan. I’m all out of agave (figures), so the next best option was grade B maple syrup. Yes, I knew almond butter and maple syrup go together beautifully. I’m sure most foodies have discovered Justin’s maple almond butter packets in the grocery store, but grade B maple doesn’t normally have a very subtle flavor! But it totally worked in these and did not overpower at all.

 

Here’s what you need!

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Whole wheat pastry flour is the secret to successful 100% whole wheat muffins that everyone will love. The texture is very, very close to that of regular white flour. I use it in practically everything. In fact, I’ve only found two recipes where it didn’t really work out as well as white flour. But that’s another post.

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Conventional baking recipes use milk/yogurt and eggs. I used soy milk (but I plan on using rice milk next week) and a “flax egg.” I love using flax eggs because it’s cheaper than actual eggs, plus it keeps me from using my expensive local, pastured eggs in recipes I can’t even taste them in.

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The beauty of quickbread recipes is that the instructions are simple. Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl, all the wet ingredients in another bowl, and then combine the contents of both bowls until gently combined (but don’t over-stir!). Sometimes you can get away with using just one bowl—combining all your dry, then adding your wet ingredients individually and then mixing, but since this recipe involves some chunky and sticky wet ingredients in all different textures and viscosities, I don’t recommend the one-bowl route.

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And if you’re feelin’ frisky, you can add some non-dairy chocolate chips!

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Has anyone else used these chlorine-free baking liners? I had some issues with my foil liners back in January with them pulling apart from my cupcakes. I never have that issue with muffins, so I don’t know if it’s the quality of the tin or the recipes themselves. I decided to pick these up when I saw them at Sun Harvest Sprouts last week. Any ideas on how to keep my liners from pulling apart from my cupcakes?!

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Anyway.

If there’s one baking supply you absolutely MUST HAVE in your kitchen, it’s this rounded bowl scraper. I got this as a graduation gift from my aunt. It came from the Container Store and it’s pretty nifty with conversion charts on both sides of it. I know Walmart sells cheaper, simpler varieties. But like I said, it’s an absolute must. If you don’t have one, I beseech you to go out and get one now! There’s a whole world of raw batter to be discovered! And whether that batter ends up in your muffin tins or in your mouth is entirely not my business.

But even if you did eat this batter raw, it’s okay! No eggs! Winking smile

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Where was I? Oh yeah!

 

Fill your muffins with about 2 ounces of batter. I used a nifty one-ounce disher, but most-the-way full is about right.

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Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until edges brown, clean toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, gentle tap on the top shows muffin to be reasonably firm, the weather radar in your trick knee goes off, or the cows come home. Whatever works for you.

Allow muffins to cool entirely on a cooling rack before consuming.

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These muffins are subtle in flavor and in sweetness with a mild and slightly complexed banana flavor, like somewhere between banana bread and the feeling you get after eating an almond-butter-banana sandwich. And another thing, they’re not too sweet! One of my biggest pet peeves is muffins that taste like frosting-less cupcakes. Called me old-fashioned but I don’t think cake is an appropriate breakfast food.

So enjoy!

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Vegan Almond Butter-Banana Muffins

Adapted from CC Recipe
Makes 6-8 muffins

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup natural almond butter
1 large overripe banana, mashed
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
~1/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (optional)

First, in a small bowl, combine ground flax with 3 tbsp hot water. Stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes so it can congeal.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, almon butter, banana, “flax egg”, vanilla, and non-dairy milk togther and stir until well-combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix!

Fold in chocolate chips.

Dish out about 2 oz of batter per muffin into a muffin pan filled with liners.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean.

Burrito Salad

This past weekend for our Saturday night dinner event, I served build-your-own burritos, in the style of places like Chipotle and Freebirds. Basically I was craving a burrito and didn’t want to travel an hour away to get one.

Inevitably I made WAY too much food for our dwindling number of summer participants (FOUR), so that ultimately meant LEFTOVERS. Edgar and I have had some combination of our leftover dishes in practically every lunch and dinner since Sunday night, but I’m not complaining. Sure could do worse!

Normally when I go to Chipotle/Freebirds, I order a veggie burrito with cilantro-lime rice, fajita veg, corn salsa, black beans, guacamole, and queso fresco. But sometimes I like to mix things up and get it in the form of a salad! And that’s what inspired this lunch I had Monday afternoon.

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  • Spinach/arugula blend
  • Raw kale
  • Cilantro-lime brown rice
  • Sauteed peppers and onions
  • Barracho black beans
  • Roasted Corn Salsa
  • Queso Fresco

I’d add some avocado, but there weren’t any perfectly ripe ones at United that day. Sad day.

 

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I’ll leave you with a quick recipe!

Roasted Corn Salsa

2 ears of corn
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 jalapeno, seeded, and diced small
1 large shallot, diced small
1 small tomato, diced small, rinsed of excess moisture and seeds
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Peel off husks and cornsilk from the corn cobs. Brush 1 tsp of olive oil on the corn cobs and roast on a grill (or on a cast iron pan on the stove set over medium-high), rotating every few minutes until evenly speckled with roasted bits of corn.

Cut corn off cobs and place in a medium bowl. Mix in the jalapeno, shallot, tomato, and cilantro.

In a separate small bowl, mix remaining 2 tsp of olive oil, lime juice, sugar, and salt. Then mix into the corn.

Serve immediately at room temp-ish, or chill.

 

Have you ever been to a burrito bar? What do you normally order?

Quinoa-Lentil-Kale Soup

During my visit to Sun Harvest this past weekend, I picked up a can of black lentils. I wanted to do something simple with them, so I thought up a soup using the quinoa and red kale I had also just bought. I scoured the internet for a recipe to work from. This recipe is light on the calories and heavy-handed with the nutrients. Plus, it’s FILLING!

While I enjoyed the recipe I used, I do suggest using cumin, curry powder, and cinnamon as the spices to warm up the dish, since the basil and oregano sort of hid in the background. And now that I think about it, I forgot the tomato paste. Ah well. 

Enjoy!

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Quinoa, Black Lentil, and Kale Soup
(Adapted from this recipe)
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, unpeeled, chopped
1 large stalk (or two small stalks) celery, chopped
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can black lentils
3/4 cup dry quinoa
1-2 cup kale, chopped or torn into small pieces
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil ( again, I suggest subbing the oregano and basil out with 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp curry powder, and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering, then stir in the onion, carrots, and celery. Sprinkle with some salt and allow to cook until onions art translucent.

Raise heat to high and add the broth. Bring to a boil, then drop the heat to simmer (at about medium head). Add the quinoa. Cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy. Stir in lentils, kale, the 1/2 tsp of sea salt, and the herbs/spices. Cook for another 15 minutes or until kale is tender.

Check out the nutrition facts!!!:

Calories: 326
Total Fat: 6g
Saturated fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Total Carbohydrates: 52g
Dietary Fiber: 13g
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 18g

 

This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Iron and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese.

 

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30 Day Challenge
Day 6: 30 Facts about yourself

1. I strongly dislike roller coasters. I hate them. No, I abhor them. I vehemently abhor them. I’m such a buzz kill at amusement parks.

2. It’s February and I’m already in the mood for fall.

3. I don’t like bananas when they’re under ripe, which means I don’t like them until they’re speckled with brown.

4. I’m not the biggest fan of hot oatmeal. It’s the texture.

5. I honk for minor chords. Or something…

6. I’m a mezzo-soprano. I sing alto (A1) in choir because I can sing the entire alto range and entire mezzo-range, but not the entire soprano range, which stinks when there isn’t an S2 part written in the music.

7. I’ve been with Edgar for over four years and he has yet to hear me sing all by myself.

8. All I know about reading music has come from seven semesters’ worth of choir experience plus a vague memory of elementary school music class and a year of recorder class in 5th grade. I’m basically learning very slowly over many years what most music majors learn their first semester.

9. I have the most random taste in music. It makes absolutely no sense. There’s no rhyme (pun not intended) or reason. I currently have six songs playing on repeat on my iTunes right now, and they consist of: one bluegrass song, one rock-song-turned-acoustic-and-bluegrassy, “Love the Way you Lie” by Eminem, “Samson” by Regina Spektor, “Sally’s Song” sung by Fiona Apple, and “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry.

10. I do not enjoy country music, but I love bluegrass a great deal. It also reminds me of fall and road trips.

11. I have a condition called uterine didelphys. Wait what?? Long story short, I have two uteri. And to answer your question, double-pregnancy at two different gestational periods is technically possible but extremely unlikely.

12. I’m allergic to cats. My mom is also allergic and I became so half-way through high school. Both my sisters became allergic to cats during high school as well.

13. I have carpal tunnel syndrome.

14. I love climbing trees

15. I love hiking. It’s cardio and strength training in one! If I had my way, I’d hike every weekend.

16. I love pilates/power yoga. It reminds me of ballet!

17. I was homeschooled from 5th grade through graduation and my social life didn’t suffer even the slightest. In fact, it greatly improved once I started homeschooling.

18. A lot of people are scared of hospitals. I’m not. Some of my earliest memories were of visiting the hospital when my mom was working there as a medical transcriptionist. It also helps that my grandfather was a doctor and my aunt is a nurse.  Medicine is a familiar field in my family.

19.  5 years of Spanish and all I got was this rusty Spanglish. Actually, when I hear people speak Spanish (and here in Texas, it’s almost more common than English), I can always understand some of what they’re saying, and I can usually read what’s written in Spanish. I’m not that confident in my ability to speak it, though.

20. I graduated Magna Cum Laude. I decide to take first semester Old Testament History with the hardest religion professor on campus, but I didn’t pick up on her teaching and testing style until half-way through second semester New Testament History. I got a C in Old Testament as a result, and if I had actually gotten an A in that one class, I would have graduated Summa Cum Laude. Humbug.

21. My minor was in psychology, I have 12 graduate level hours in counseling, and I’m a member of the Psi Chi National Honors Society for psychology.

22. I think my body requires 9-10 hours of sleep every night to feel rested. This means I never feel rested.

23. I have been blogging regularly since 2003. I was 14 and a sophomore in high school when I started my first blog.

24. I don’t swear. And as far as I can remember, I’ve never knowingly cussed. It’s not a habit I ever picked up, nor one I desire to have. I like to think I have a more creative vocabulary.

25. I eat hamburgers upside down. The burger, not myself. This is probably why my burger innards are all assembled backwards.

26. Those Larabars I was saving for my trip…I just ate ‘em. Both of them. Meh, I’ll buy more later.

27. I’ve been able to do a back-bend from a standing position since I was a single-digit age.

28. I’m currently reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. I just finished the Sorcerers Stone.

29. I’m a bit of a bread snob!

30. Tamales are my very favorite Mexican food!

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

I was right! I said in my previous post that perhaps the reason why my pizza crust was too crunchy for my liking was the fact that I left it in the oven too long. I decided to use some leftover dough for dinner and this time it was only in the oven for about 5-8 minutes. Perfect chew! Many people like thin crust for the crunch. Honestly, I prefer a chewy crust. I go for thin crust because it means fewer calories. So if I can get my chewy crust in thin form, all is good in the world! And that seems to be the case in my kitchen right now.

This recipe is something of a combination of Roni’s Thin Crust Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, Jenna’s Best Pizza Crust, and a little know-how as learned from Mr. Alton Brown. I wanted to create a “’high-protein” whole wheat pizza crust for Weight Watcher Points Plus’ sake, and so I incorporated soy flour. And because I love a great deal of chew, I used bread flour, a higher-gluten wheat flour, in place of all-purpose, and opted for an addition of vital wheat gluten to ensure a nice rise and chewy texture, which can be difficult to achieve when using whole wheat flour and the completely gluten-less soy flour.

Michelle’s Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
makes 2 large pizza crusts (can easily make 24 slices of pizza, total)

2 1/2 tsp (or 1 packet) of active dry or quick-rise yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water (preferably about 120 degrees)
1/2 cup soy flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 tbsp ground flax
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil + more for rubbing

Combine water and yeast together in a small bowl (I used a measuring glass) and allow the yeast to “bloom” for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all the flours, the flax, the gluten, and the salt together thoroughly. Stir in the olive oil. Once the yeast has bloomed (it will look foamy), stir into the dry mix until you get a sloppy ball.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead the ball for about 10 minutes, or until the whole ball is smooth and evenly moistened without being sticky or dry to the touch. Add more flour or water in the kneading process, as needed. Sometimes it’s needed. Sometimes it isn’t. Ball will be done “kneading” when it becomes sort of elastic. It shouldn’t tear easily when you fold it over on itself, and you should be able to poke it gently with your fingertip and have the dough bounce back fairly easily.

Lightly oil the ball on all sides and place in a large bowl and cover tightly. Place in a warm place for several hours at minimum (until the ball doubles in size), or up to a day. I prefer to leave mine out for, at minimum, overnight, since that gives the gluten time to relax and make the dough easy to roll out without pulling back into a smaller round.

Once you’ve allowed the dough to rise for the amount of time you wish, cut the dough in half (for two large pizzas. I wrap up the second and stick it in the freezer for a quick pizza night at a later date) and with one ball, press out into a small round starting with the center of the ball. Use a rolling pin if you wish to roll out the dough, starting the pin from the center of the dough and rolling outward, turning the dough after each roll so you get whatever shape you wish (round, oval, amoeba… whatever).

Top with whatever ingredients you wish (pre-cooked where applicable. Don’t try to “cook” ingredients that require more than a few minutes in the oven, because you don’t want to overcook your crust), and place in a 400 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes, or until the crust firm at the bottom and a bit puffy on top. Or, if you’re using cheese as a topping, when the cheese is sufficiently melted to your liking is a good gauge.

Serving size: 2 slices (1/12th of the recipe or 1/6 of a whole pizza crust)
Calories: 154
Fat: 2.7 grams
Carbohydrates: 24.88 grams
Fiber: 4.32 grams
Sugars: .06 grams
Protein: 8.98 grams
Points Plus: 4

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Don’t forget about my Lea & Perrins Giveaway! Winking smile

Inching Closer

First things first.

Wendie Plan? Not so much for me. Basically eating up the majority of my weekly points the first part of the week has never worked for me, because I can’t live off the very little of the remainder during the second half of the week. So after a week of eating and counting tons the first half of the week and “intuitively eating” for the second half (because there wasn’t enough points left to really sustain me, so I decided to just listen to my body’s signals and feed it nutritious food when I got hungry), I gave up on that idea. However, the next week (last week) wasn’t much different because I had special events (and an out-of-the-bleu blue, trance-induced frying episode) the first half of the week and practically nothing leftover for Sunday and Monday.

But that’s a-okay, because…

I lost 1.4 lbs this week and now find myself in the 130’s!! I’m just OUNCES away from my Weight Watchers goal!! It’s pretty exciting!

Okay, I have some goals this week. First of all, I am going to experiment with photographing everything I eat and posting them on here every day. A day in the “life of [michelle’s] pi[e-hole]” if you will. I want to get more involved in my blog and share more about my daily eating habits, but I’m not sure how much time it’s going to consume since I’m already a full-time office worker and a full-time wife. But we’ll certainly see!

Starting….. NOW!

Breakfast was fantastic! I always look forward to reaching the bottom scrapings of my nut butter jars so I can do THIS!

Overnight Oats in a Jar!

In this mix…

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use Oikos)
  • 1/3 cup 1% milk
  • 1 average (4 oz) banana, chopped up
  • ~2 tsp of Dark Chocolate Dreams scrapings
  • ~1 tsp of some almond granola stuff I’ve had in my pantry for ages. The stuff expired years ago, but it’s apparently still good!

And with a side glass of no-sugar-added cranberry juice blend. I don’t typically drink juice, and certainly not cranberry juice, but I’ve heard that it helps… well… certain discomforts. And we’ll leave it at that. This a food blog and I’m eating!

I packed some dates for my morning snack.


I knew better. I knew that it’d do nothing for mid-morning hunger. But did I listen? Noooo. By 11:00 I was STARVING.

So I was all about volume come lunchtime.

Ain’t it pretty?!?

  • A bunch of romaine and arugula as a base
  • 1 oz of bell pepper
  • 1 oz of avocado, sliced
  • 1 slice uncured bacon, crumbled
  • 1 medium-boiled egg
  • a grating of parmesan
  • drizzling of lime juice

And the mini-sandwich was a slice of Ezekiel 4:9 Low Sodium bread with some fig preserves and 1/2 oz of Organic Valley Extra Sharp Raw Cheddar. Yum!

And two glasses of cranberry juice….

I finally got something right with my afternoon snack.

I’ve been on the search for a good all-natural pudding cup. This one is all-natural and has a bunch of good stats, but the texture is more gelatinous than creamy. And frankly, Jello Sugar Free Dark Chocolate scores much better in the “chocolate-y decadence” flavor category. So the search continues…

(Oh, and insert 6 oz of Dr Pepper in here, because I poured myself a small cup at work, but obviously didn’t photograph it. Oops!)

After Zumba I wasn’t all that hungry, but when I finally did eat, it was leftover Chicken Tortilla Soup from several nights ago. Topped it with some sliced up asadero cheese and a few tortilla strips I fried up last Wednesday.

I’m not going to share the recipe for it yet because, while it was good, it could really be improved upon. I’ll share the recipe when I tweak it a bit. 🙂

So there you have it! Day one of my one-week food-journal-blogging challenge. Stay tuned for more interesting eats!

Mexican Black Bean Lasagna

I conjured this up last night and oooooohhh myyyyy gossssh. It’s good. High in sodium for a single dish, but like anything else, everything in moderation, right?

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • ~4 cups spinach leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 cup black beans, DRAINED AND RINSED
  • 1 tbsp dried (Mexican!) oregano
  • 6 oz whole wheat ready-to-use lasagna noodles (or tortillas. I had both, but chose to use the last of my lasagna noodles, which definitely made it lean more toward lasagna in flavor. I’m sure the tortillas would make it taste more like enchiladas)
  • 2 cups prepared enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups reduced fat Mexican-style cheese blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-large nonstick pan set over medium heat, sweat onions and garlic until mostly translucent. Sprinkle with salt if needed to draw out moisture. Then add corn, bell peppers, black beans, spinach leaves, and oregano. Saute until everything is heated through.

In a medium casserole dish, spoon a few tablespoons of the enchilada sauce into the bottom just to cover the bottom. Layer like so:

1. 1/3 of noodles
2. 1/3 of remaining sauce
3. 1/3 of veggies mixture
4. 1/3 of cheese
5. 1/3 of noodles
6. 1/3 of sauce
7. 1/3 of veggies
8. 1/3 of cheese
9. 1/3 of noodles
10. 1/3 of sauce
11. 1/3 of veggies
12. 1/3 of cheese

Cover and place in oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until pasta is cooked through and cheese and sauce are bubbly.

Serves 4-6

(Nutrition based on recipe divided four ways)

10 WW points/463 calories, 15 grams fat, 1077 mg sodium, 56 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 23 grams protein

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