Monday, October 18, 2010

YummyOatmeal cookies and wheat intro

I would like to talk about 2 things...1)enjoying sweets and 2)baking with whole wheat flour.

We have conditioned ourselves to think that because we eat something we enjoy it must be bad for us in some way. We need to feel guilt over it or shame. This shouldn't be that case for several reasons:
1)it's unproductive
2) it makes us upset and then we crave sweets more
3) life is meant to be enjoyed.

I can name many more reasons but we'll stick with those.

My kids love cookies. Why are cookies bad for us? First, they are made with white flour. Second, they are made with lots of bad fats. Third, the sugar in them is astounding. Would you eat a cookie if it was made with whole wheat if it didn't taste like cardboard?...good fats, and agave, molasses and stevia as sweeteners? I hope you will because I have a HEALTHY cookie for you (there is DARK chocolate but most of us recognize chocolate as an important part of life)

Now, about flour. For years I tried to make whole wheat...anything really, breads, cookies, pancakes, etc. I found that I was rather unsuccessful. There are 2 reasons I have found for this dilemma.
1) I bough flour at the grocery store without checking to see if it was fresh. Flour is alive when it's ground and becomes rancid quickly if it isn't refrigerated. You can tell if its rancid by taking a little taste of the flour. If its tart or leaves a bad aftertaste it's bad and you can return it to the store. I suggest fresh ground. I grind my own and know that's not something all of us can do but you can find a friend or a bakery that grinds flour and buy it from them. Either way the fresher the better.

2. I don't care for cooking with Red Hard winter wheat which is most common. Sheryl (the co-author of the book we are writing) disagrees and loves it. I prefer Hard white winter wheat. There is a difference (though some sites will tell you differently) in baking and you might have to find which works best for you and tastes best. As to the nutritional content BOTH are equal. Hard White winter wheat, I have found, cooks lighter loaves and cookies...more like white flour.

When cooking with wheat flour you'll find that you have to use a lot more patience. For example, when I make wheat bread I have to put the amount of flour the recipe calls for and then let it knead for 5 minutes before I add more because it takes a while to absorb. Before I realized this I would keep adding flour because it looked really wet. Then my dough would be thick and heavy. I'd let it rise what I thought wan an appropriate amount of time and baked it. It came out a dense brick!!! Now when I am patient and allow the flour to develop I have bread that is so light and fluffy and tastes HEAVENLY! If there's an interest I'll post my bread recipe but for now...

Well, here is my most recent cookie recipe:

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Makes 2 ½ dozen
Dry ingredients:
1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups regular oats
½ TSP baking soda
1 TSP baking powder
½ TSP salt
2 TBSP cinnamon
½ TSP nutmeg
¾ TSP kelp (opt)

Wet ingredients:
1/3 Cup agave*
1 ½ TSP stevia*
¼ Cup olive oil plus ¼ cup applesauce (or ½ cup grapeseed or coconut oil)
1 TBSP molasses
2 eggs
1 TBSP water
1 TSP vanilla
½ cup dark chocolate chips (or raisons or craisons)
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together. Slowly stir in wet ingredients in the order listed saving the chocolate chips for last. Bake 10 min on un-greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.

* If you don't have agave and stevia substitute with 1/2 cup honey and cook at 335 degrees until golden brown.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Some of the most common forms of fermentation are:

soy (miso, tamari/soy sauce)

Why do we ferment food?
3 major reasons I ferment food. One reason is that it preserves food. Second reason is that it makes the food more digestible, healthy and tasty. The third reason is that it is inexpensive. This just takes time, oxygen and a food source.

Why on earth should we eat fermented foods?
There are pro biotics and pre biotics. Fermented foods aid the BENEFICIAL bacteria in the gut. It is said that 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Therefore we want to really make sure that we are getting enough of these little guys to keep us healthy especially during the winter.

Where can we buy fermented food that has these beneficial bacteria?
I think its best that we do it ourselves. It may seem scary in the beginning but after you get the hang of it it is quite fun. The foods that I enjoy fermenting are yogurt (sour cream and yogurt cheese), sauerkraut, and sourdough bread. Once making fermentation a regular part of your routine it comes easy.

I thought I didn't like sauerkraut at all until I made my own. YUM! Yogurt cheese has a deep rich flavor and is great seasoned with herbs. We love fresh baked homemade sourdough bread.

My next venture is Apple Cider vinegar. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. As for a recipe for the winter here goes. Fire Cider. It's a s easy as this....

Fire cider
2 QTS. Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1 head of garlic
7 in. of ginger

In a food processor chop garlic and ginger until fine. Combine, in a glass jar, vinegar, garlic and ginger. Cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Place in a cool dark corner 4-6 weeks. Every couple of days agitate the vinegar. After this time strain, place back in Bragg's bottle and place in the fridge.

To use:
Dressing: It can be used on salads or in anything that would require apple cider vinegar.

When sick: When you feel a cold or sickness coming on take 1 TBSP in a warm cup of water 3-4 times a day until you are well again.

Chill in winter: Take 1TBSP in warm water whenever you feel chilled.

In my new cookbook there is a more detailed recipe that I use. The above recipe is more of a simple version but just as effective.

Also, in my cookbook there are detailed instructions on yogurt, sauerkraut and sourdoughs.

Again, I'll post information on the release of the book as soon as it's printed and a price attached. Keep posted.