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6-Minute Soft-Boiled Eggs

30 Oct

6 minute Soft-Boiled Egg

I absolutely love poached eggs.  But I just do not have the time to stand over the stove and watch them simmer.  I even tried buying some of the cute little metal poaching bowls, but I still had to be careful not to overcook them.  That’s where the 6 minute soft-boiled egg comes in.  While you do not have the same presentation value of a poached egg, you certainly get the taste and texture.  These eggs taste excellent on my Sprouted Wheat Bread, and make a fast breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Ingredients

Eggs!

Method

1.  Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.

2.  Gently add Eggs to the water with a slotted spoon.

3.  Make sure none have busted, or are completely floating on the top (the floaters are rotten eggs).

4.  Set your timer for 6 minutes.

5.  Pour some coffee.

6.  Look out the window.

7.  When the Eggs are done, hold the Eggs in place with the slotted spoon while you drain the hot water out.

8.  Run cool water over the eggs, then pour it out.  Repeat two more times.

9.  If you plan to eat immediately, you may leave some cool water in the pot with the Eggs to cool them rapidly.  I usually leave no water on the Eggs since I can’t get to peeling them right away.

10.  When you’re ready to serve, carefully peel the Eggs (wetting your fingers in cool water sometimes makes the peeling easier).

11.  Serve!

Sprouted Wheat Bread (Essene Bread)

18 Oct
Serve with your favorite dipping oil!

Serve with your favorite dipping oil!

Sprouting grains is economical, ecological, simple, and tasty!  There is very little hands-on time, and the result is a highly nutritious, “living” food.  Sprouting, or germinating, allows enzymes in the grains to become active and create a host of nutritional changes:

  • Proteins are converted into free amino acids
  • Starches change into simple plant sugars
  • Minerals combine in a way that increases their assimilation
  • Vitamin content increases from 3 to 12 times

Wheat sprouts, in particular, contain four times more folic acid and six times more vitamin C than unsprouted wheat.

I will be specifically concentrating on wheat sprouts in this post in order to use them for Essene Bread.  Red Winter Wheat Berries are the best choice for sprouting.  Be sure that your grains are not sprayed with chemicals or dyed.  Use only grains that are certified to be edible.  Also, make sure your grains have no traces of mold, as this will get out of control during the sprouting process, and will make you sick.  Always be sure your sprouting container is clean (I always wash mine with hot soapy water when I’m finished sprouting grains in it) to prevent any carryover of molds that may have started to grow from the previous sprouting.

Essene Bread is so easy and nutritious that it’s the only kind I make.  It has a wonderful sweet, nutty flavor, and it’s chewy texture is reminiscent of an english muffin.  In fact, I use these for everything an english muffin can be used for…which is pretty much anything!

To sprout the Wheat Berries:

Ingredients

2 c. Hard Red Winter Wheat Berries

Large glass jar (I use a 2 quart Ball jar)

Cheesecloth or plastic lid with holes in it

Method

1. Soaking:

Add 2 c. Wheat Berries to the glass jar and cover with two layers of cheesecloth, or a plastic lid with holes in it.

Add warm water, swirl it around to clean the seeds, then pour it out.

Refill with double the amount of warm water as there are seeds.

Place in a dark cabinet, or cover with a towel, and let it soak overnight.

Soaking2.  Sprouting

Pour off the soak water.

Turn the jar to spread out the seed.

Place drained jar in a dark place at an angle to allow any extra water to drain out.

Sprouting

Leave for 12 hours, then rinse the sprouts with cool water, and drain again.

Repeat until the sprouts have “tails” that are twice as long as the berries and have a sweet taste (taste them!).  It usually takes 2-3 days to accomplish this.

Wheat Berry "Tails"

The sprouts should be ready in the evening, so complete the final rinsing and let them dry overnight.  The jar will be packed full of sprouts!

Fully Sprouted Wheat Berries

3.  Grinding

Now that the berries are sprouted and drained (there will still be some moisture, which is needed to keep the dough moist), grind them to make the dough.  You may use a meat grinder, food processor, or hand-cranked grain mill.  I use my meat grinder attachment on my KitchenAid stand mixer.

The resulting dough will be juicy, sticky, mottled light and dark, and have the consistency of raw hamburger.

Ground Sprouts

4.  Kneading

Lightly oil your hands, or wet them with water, and knead the dough within the bowl for about one minute.  Keep repeatedly folding it over on itself, wetting your hands if the dough gets too sticky.

5.  Shaping

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using wet hands, take a small amount of dough and place it on the parchment paper.

Flatten to to approximately 1 1/2 inches.

Shaped Dough

6.  Baking

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours until the outside is firm, not hard (the low temperature, long term baking preserves most of the nutrients from heat).  The bread will spring back slightly after gently touching.  The bottom of the bread will seem a bit sticky, but that’s fine.

Allow the bread to cool on wire racks and then store in sealed plastic bags.  The bread will become softer and sweeter with time.

The bread can be kept at room temperature for three to four days, or refrigerated for up to four weeks!

I have a continual batch of wheat berries sprouting so that I don’t run out of bread.  I can’t get enough of it!

Tomato Pesto Mozzarella on Sprouted Bread

Tomato Pesto Mozzarella on Sprouted Bread

Summer Squash Pasta with Pesto

16 Oct

Zucchini Pasta with Pesto

 

If you’re going grain free or just want to add more veggies to your diet, this is the way to go.  All you need is a julienne attachment for your mandoline slicer.  If you don’t have a mandoline slicer, go get one!  Mine is a cheap slicer from Aldi, but it works wonders.

The Pesto can be used on pasta, corn on the cob, as a dressing for caprese salad, or even as an accompaniment to fish and meat.  The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

For Summer Squash Pasta:

Summer Squash, washed and dried

Salt

For Pesto:

2 c. packed fresh Basil leaves, washed and dried

4 cloves Garlic, peeled

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 c. Pine Nuts

1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 – 1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

For Summer Squash Pasta:

Slice both ends off of each Squash.

Using the julienne attachment on the mandoline slicer, slice Squash until you get to the center where the seeds are.  Discard the center.

Place julienned Squash in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt.

Soaked Squash

Set in the sink and let rest for 20 minutes.

Rinse with cold water, and squeeze out as much water as possible.

For Pesto:

Place Basil in a food processor or blender.

Pulse until well chopped.

Add Garlic, Salt, Pine Nuts, and Parmesan and blend until mixed.

With the motor running, slowly add Olive Oil until a thick paste is formed.

To prepare Summer Squash Pasta with Pesto:

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.

Add desired amount of Pesto to pan, stirring until fragrant (approximately 30 seconds).

Add Summer Squash Pasta and briefly sauté until warmed through and well coated with Pesto (keep the sauté time short, in order to retain a bit of “crunch” to the Squash).

Serve warm.

The Pesto can be kept refrigerated for several days, or frozen for up to 3 months.  I usually make a large batch in the Summer and freeze it to keep me going through the winter.

Lacto-fermented Salsa

12 Oct

Lactofermented Salsa

Lacto-fermentation is a traditional preservation method that has been used for thousands of years.  It relies on the activity of lactobacilli, bacteria that are present on the surface of all living things.  The lactobacilli convert the starches and sugars in fruits and vegetables to lactic acid, thereby preserving the food.  Lacto-fermentation is a process that is ongoing, so once you have the flavor you want, refrigeration is required to slow the fermentation.  A root cellar (or any space that stays around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) will do as well.  For more information on Lacto-fermentation, I highly suggest reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.

This Lacto-fermented Salsa will blow your mind!  I have kept jars in the fridge for months, and the flavor is still as amazing as the day I made it.  The Onions and Peppers keep their “crunchiness” too, which is really what makes this recipe a winner in my book!

Adapted from Nourishing Traditions:

Makes approximately 1 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

 4 medium Tomatoes, cut in half and seeded

2 small Onions, coarsely chopped

3/4 c. Chile Peppers, coarsely chopped (hot or mild)

1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded

8 cloves of Garlic, peeled

1 bunch Cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 tsp.  dried Oregano

juice of 2 Lemons

1 Tb. Sea Salt

1/4 c. Whey (from strained yogurt) or an additional 1 Tb. Sea Salt

1/4 c. Filtered Water

Method

Add Tomatoes to a blender or food processor and pulse until chopped.

Add Onions, and pulse again.

Add Peppers, Garlic, Cilantro, and Lemon Juice and pulse until well mixed.

Add remaining ingredients and continue to pulse until well mixed.

Place salsa in two 1 quart canning jars, mashing vegetables down to ensure they are covered by the liquid.

Make sure the vegetables are at least one inch below the top of the jar to prevent leaking.

Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for approximately 2 days.

Be sure to loosen the lids and “burp” the jars periodically during fermentation to prevent leaking (tighten lid back when you’re finished).

Transfer the Salsa to cold storage.

Taco Seasoning

11 Oct

Taco Seasoning

This is so easy to make, and it keeps well too.  I use this seasoning not only on ground beef, but on beans as well.  I mix beans with the ground beef to make the meal “go a bit farther” and to save money (meat is SO expensive!).

Ingredients

6 Tb. Chili Powder

3 Tb. Cumin

1 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder

3/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1 1/2 tsp. Oregano

1 Tb. Paprika

2 Tb. Salt

1 Tb. Black Pepper

Method

Place all the ingredients in a jar and SHAKE!

Use approximately 2 Tb. of seasoning per pound of meat.

Remaining seasoning can be kept in an airtight container in the pantry.

Lemon Rosemary Cookies (Sugar Free, Low Carbohydrate, Grain Free)

1 Oct

These tasty little morsels got out of my dreams and into my oven.  Really.  They will blow your mind.  And would you believe that they’re sugar free, low carbohydrate, and grain free?  Using simple, easy to find ingredients puts them at the top of my list for quick and healthy treats!  

Lemon Rosemary Deliciousness!

Lemon Rosemary Deliciousness!

Ingredients

2 c. Almond Meal

1/2 c. (1 stick) Butter, softened

3 Tb. Powdered Stevia

1 tsp. Grated Lemon Peel

2 Tb. Lemon Juice

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Egg

1/2 Tb. Fresh Rosemary, minced and crushed in pestle and mortar

Method

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.   In a large bowl, cream butter and stevia with a hand mixer until mixed well (stand back while you do it, or you will inhale powdered stevia!).

3.  Beat in the lemon juice, grated lemon peel, and vanilla.

4.  Beat in the egg and mix well.

5.  In a medium bowl, mix the almond flour and rosemary.

6.  Gradually add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well.

7.  Drop dough by the tablespoonful on a cookie sheet lined with foil.

8.  Flatten to a thickness of about 3/4 of an inch.

9.  Bake in the top third of the oven for 10-12 minutes, until brown on the top and bottom.

10.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Yields approximately 22 cookies.

Sugar Free Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

27 Apr
Don't forget the milk!

Don’t forget the milk!

This is a wonderful recipe for a healthy “treat” that my children absolutely love!  Most of the time I hide some so that I can get some too (just don’t tell the kids!).

Ingredients:

3/4 c. Unsalted Butter, Softened

1 c. Unsweetened Peanut Butter

3 Tb. Powdered Stevia

2 Eggs

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 c. Almond Meal

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Baking Soda

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, mix Almond Meal, Baking Soda, and Salt.

In a large mixing bowl, mix Butter and Peanut Butter until smooth.

Add Powdered Stevia and mix just until combined.

Add Eggs one at a time while mixing.

Add Vanilla and continue to mix.

Last add the Almond Flour mixture, and mix until combined.

Scoop approximately 1 Tb. of dough at a time and roll into balls.

Lightly press each ball down on cookie sheet with a fork.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden.

Yields 3 1/2 dozen cookies

Chocolate Cake with a Secret

18 Mar

 Sugar Free.  Grain Free.  Chocolate.  Low Glycemic.  Beans.  What!?  Yes.  Beans.  There are beans in this recipe.  A chocolate cake recipe with beans.  It is the most awesome piece of cake I’ve ever had, and I think you’ll agree.  

Chocolate Bean Cake

Ingredients (For one 9 inch Round Cake)

1 15.5 oz. can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

4 Large Eggs, at room temp.

1 Tb. Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp. Salt

6 Tb. Butter, softened

2 Tb. Powdered Stevia

6 Tb. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 tsp. Aluminum-free Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

Method (Cake)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease a 9 inch cake pan, and lightly dust with Cocoa Powder, tapping off excess.

Place the Beans, 3 of the Eggs, Vanilla, and Salt in a food processor.

Blend until the Beans are liquefied, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda, and Baking Powder.

In a large bowl, beat the softened Butter with the Powdered Stevia, until light and fluffy.

Add the remaining Egg to the Butter mixture, and beat another minute more.

Pour the Bean batter into the Butter mixture, and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients from the medium bowl to the wet ingredients in the large bowl, and mix for 1 minute, until smooth.

Pour batter into the cake pan.

Grab pan by the sides and tap on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top is rounded and firm to the touch.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out cake onto a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.

Cover (if needed) until ready to frost cake (right before serving is best).

Ingredients (For the Icing)

1 Stick (1/2 c.) Butter, softened

2 Tb. Powdered Stevia

6 Tb. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 Tb. Milk of your choice (I used Goat Milk)

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Method (Icing)

Cream the butter in a medium bowl until fluffy.

Add the Powdered Stevia and beat until smooth.

Slowly blend in the Cocoa Powder and Vanilla.

Slowly beat in the Milk.

This icing is light, fluffy, and very easy to spread.  There will be plenty of icing if you wish to make a layer cake.

Double Layer Chocolate Bean Cake

Double Layer Chocolate Bean Cake

Updated 11-11-13

100% Barley Sourdough Bread

24 Jan

Barley Sourdough Bread

Chewy, dense, full of sourdough flavor.  A pure Barley Bread that is naturally risen?  Impossible, you might say, especially since Barley Flour has virtually no gluten, the main element of flour that helps the bread rise.  Well, I’ve found a method that involves using pure Barley Flour that is fermented in order to bring out a delicious sourdough flavor and give the bread a little bit of rise (you essentially end up with a flattened bread).  The Barley Flour is not so overwhelming that you lose the sourdough taste, and it is low glycemic, which means that it will not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels like most white or whole wheat flours may do.

If you don’t have experience in bread baking, I find this to be relatively simple.  The first step is making your sourdough starter.  Once you have an active starter going, it’s time to convert it over to a Barley Flour starter.  

I tried various methods in converting my white flour starter to a whole grain one, and found the Detmolder Process gave the best results.  The process is for Rye Flour, yet Barley Flour may be easily substituted.  You need to make sure that you have an open schedule during the Detmolder Process, since there are specific times in which you add more flour and water to the starter.  You do not need to be precise on your ferment stages, but do not wait longer than one hour before adding the flour and water, or you will start to get a rancid starter.

I got a lot of help with my Sourdough bread making strategy from Sourdough Home, including the ratios of Starter/Flour/Water used in this recipe.  This is an amazing web site, so if you have a particular interest in Sourdough bread making, I highly recommend you spend your time browsing this very informative website.

*This recipe will make 4 small loaves of Barley Sourdough bread.  They may be frozen for up to three months.*

Day One

6:00 am-“Freshening”

Stage 1: Freshening

Stage 1: Freshening

I recommend you start as early as possible.  Even starting at 6:00 am, the bread usually isn’t done until around 9:00 or 10:00 the next evening.

Mix:

 

1/2 tsp. Starter

1 Tb. Water

4 tsp. Barley Flour

Set in a warm place and let ferment for 6 hours.

12:00 pm- “Basic Sour”

Stage Two: Basic Sour

Stage Two: Basic Sour

To the previous mixture, add:

1/2 c. + 1 Tb. Water

1 c. + 1 Tb. Barley Flour

Mix well, and return to the warm place for 24 hours.

Day Two

12:00 pm-“Full Sour”

Stage Three: Full Sour

Stage Three: Full Sour

To the previous mixture, add:

1 1/3 c. Water

2 1/2 c. + 1 Tb. Barley Flour

Mix well, and return to the warm place to ferment for 5 hours.

You now have your fermented Barley Flour Starter that is ready to use.  Do not refrigerate the starter, or ferment longer than mentioned, or it will become rancid and not have any active yeast.  

The Barley Bread Sourdough Recipe:

Ingredients

All of the active Barley Flour Starter from above

1 3/4 c. Water

3 Tb. Butter, softened and broken into small pieces

5 c. Barley Flour

2 3/4 tsp. Salt

4 Tb. Honey

Method

It is strongly suggested to use a stand mixer for this bread (i.e. KitchenAid), since this is a very sticky dough.  If you do not have access to one, you may attempt to use a sturdy bowl and a wooden spoon.

In a mixer:

Add all ingredients to the mixer bowl.  Knead for 5 minutes.

Turn off and let rest for 5 minutes.  This will allow the liquid to be fully absorbed into the flour.

Scrape the sides of the bowl.  Knead for 5 minutes more.

Scrape the dough into a large oiled glass bowl for rising.

Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes (you will not see much rise since Barley Flour has such a small amount of gluten).

Using wet hands (this is the best way to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers), remove 1/4 of the dough from the bowl.

On a greased and floured cookie sheet, loosely shape into a loaf.

Formed Loaves

Formed Loaves

Repeat with the remaining 3/4 of the dough until you have 4 small loaves.  Lightly dust the loaves with flour and cover loosely.

Let the dough rest for approximately 1 1/2 hours.  Again, there will be little rise.  You will, however, notice that the dough has a “cracked” appearance.  This means it is ready for baking.

"Cracked"

“Cracked”

Place an empty pan on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

When preheated, place the bread in the oven and pour 1 c. water into the empty pan to achieve a “steamy” environment.

Bake 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes longer.

Let cool, then tear off a hunk and dip in your favorite dipping oil!

Dipped

Kale Chips

23 Jan

Kale Chips

I’ve been meaning to make these for quite some time.  I enjoy Kale every once in awhile, but I find it too chewy to eat raw, and I’m too lazy to saute it.  This is the perfect solution.  It is so simple and fast, and good for you as well (which, of course, means Leo does not like it)!  

Ingredients

Bunch of Kale leaves

Salt

Olive Oil

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rinse and dry the Kale leaves.

Cut out the fibrous stem, and tear or cut the leaves into bite size pieces.

Drizzle Olive Oil over the leaves, and toss to coat evenly.

Add desired amount of salt and toss again.

Evenly spread Kale leaves on parchment paper.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until leaves turn slightly brown and are crisp.  After 10 minutes, check every minute or so to make sure they are not overdone.

Let cool.  Eat.  Make more.

Make sure they are fully cooled before storing.  

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