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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sprouted Spelt & Maple Shortbread

A delicious recipe from Jenny at The Nourished Kitchen. I've been wanting to make this since I first ordered my sprouted flours, but I am just getting around to it today.  We don't have access to some of the raw dairy items that Jenny talks about on her site, so I have to improvise a bit.  This turned out delicious and is a great clean substitute for your normal shortbread recipe.  It is really important that you use Grade B maple syrup.  It's a tad bit more expensive but is nutrient rich. Also, if you don't have sprouted spelt, you can use normal spelt flour (or any whole grain flour).  This is absolutely delicious, and would be perfect with a cup of tea!  The maple flavor is quite subtle and the typical shortbread consistency is maintained.  Enjoy!

2 Cups Organic, Sprouted Whole Grain Flour
¼ Real Salt or Celtic Sea Salt Omit this if you are using salted organic butter
1 Cup Organic Butter from Grass-fed Cows, Softened Subbed Organic Sweet Cream butter (salted)
¼ Cup Organic Grade-B Maple Syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
  2. Whip the maple syrup and butter together until the syrup is thoroughly incoroprated into the butter.  
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix thoroughly.
  4. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a disk and place it on a silicone backing mat lined cookie sheet  or preheated baking stone.  
  5. Prick the dough slightly with a fork and gently score the disk into 6-8 individual portions or as desired. 
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the shortbread is slightly golden.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lemon Artichoke Chicken

This recipe is from the Jan/Feb 2009 Clean Eating Magazine.  I have tons of fresh lemons that I need to use up before they spoil, so I went in search of a healthy chicken recipe that involved lemon. Boy is this one yummy! This was really lemon-y so you have to like lemon! I would probably tone down the lemon juice by subbing some additional chicken stock on the next go round. I paired it with whole wheat penne pasta (mainly  because I'm working on a sourdough starter and wanted the starchy water to "feed" my starter tomorrow.

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt or coarse kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning (to taste)
1 lb thin chicken cutlets
olive oil cooking spray
1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I used more like 1/2 cup, and would actually use more next time in place of some of the lemon juice)
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped into smaller pieces
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons) (I would actually use a bit less of this and more chicken stock)
1 tsp lemon zest ( I omitted this)

1.In a shallow bowl, thoroughly combine flour, oregano, pepper and 1/4 tsp salt.  Dredge each chicken cutlet in flour mixture, shake off excess and place on a plate. 
2. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium to medium high, so skillet is hot but not smoking.  Add  the chicken cutlets and cook 3-5 minutes per side, until lightly browned and cooked through.  Transfer to a clean serving plate . You may have to cook cutlets in shifts depending on the size of your skillet.  Cover your serving plate with foil to keep the chicken warm.  
3. Adjust temperature to medium-low and heat oil.  Place onion in pan and cook, stirring frequently until soft and golden, about 5-6 minutes.
4. Add garlic, cooking for 1 minute, stirring constantly
5. Add the chicken broth, bringing it to a simmer
6. Add the remaining ingredients: artichokes, lemon juice and zest, simmering for 2-3 minutes until heated through and slightly thickened.   Pour artichoke mixture over chicken cutlets and pasta.

Nutrients per serving (4 oz chicken, 1/2 cup artichoke mixture): Cals: 220, Total Fat: 4.5g, Sat Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Omega-3s: 90mg, Omega-6s: 700mg, Carbs: 20g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 2g, Protein: 27g, Sodium: 420 mg, Cholesterol: 65mg

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Whole Wheat Sourdough Crackers

Waste not, want not!  If you don't discard some of your sourdough starter, you are bound to have WAY more than you need before it's active enough to make bread.  Why throw it away?  There are lots of great foods you can make with your sourdough starter that don't require the leavening necessary for a good loaf of bread.  Since I'm pretty sure I have my starter going now, I decided to make this delicious cracker recipe posted by a guest blogger at Kitchen Stewardship.  I froze half my dough after soaking overnight so that I can make another batch of fresh crackers this weekend! These are DELICIOUS.  Tastier than wheat thins and totally clean and healthy! Oh and if my totally fussy 2 year old is screaming for more, you KNOW they are good!

The tangy taste of the sourdough combined with the salty topping would be perfect with hummus or fresh guacamole for a snack!

1 cup sourdough starter (whatever you were going to discard, use it here instead!)
1/4 cup organic butter (you can use coconut oil or lard here if you prefer)
1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour (I used a cup of my sprouted wheat flour)
1/2 tsp sea salt
** optional - I added 3 T of ground flax seeds to my crackers**
Olive oil to brush crackers
Sea salt or coarse kosher salt to sprinkle
You can also sprinkle with garlic powder, italian seasonings, or any seasonings  you like!

1.In a large mixing bowl with a lid combine sourdough starter and butter. Mix until fully combined.
2.  Mix the sea salt in with 1/4 cup of  flour.
3.  Add flour mixture to the sourdough mixture and mix thoroughly.
4.  Add remaining flour in small increments until the dough mixture is stiff.  Add as little or as much as you need.  This will depend on the consistency of your starter.  I added my 3T ground flax before adding additional flour.
5.  Roll dough into ball and cover bowl with lid or plastic wrap to keep dough from drying out.  Allow this to sit a minimum of 7 hours (I made my in the afternoon and then used the dough the following morning)
6.  7 hours or more later - preheat oven to 350.
7.  Take half the dough and roll it very thin (I didn't do this batch thin enough in the center - next time I need to roll thinner!) on a baking stone, silicone baking mat, or parchment paper (if you use parchment it is more difficult since the paper wants to shift as you are rolling)
8.  Spread a small amount of olive oil on the surface of your dough with a pastry brush. Be sure to get all the way to the edges.
9.  Sprinkle with course salt (I actually used finely ground sea salt)
10.  Cut into 1" sections vertically and horizontally.
11. Transfer mat with cut dough onto a baking sheet.
12. Bake 15-20 mins or until golden brown.  These will actually separate by themselves in the oven!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Homemade Sourdough Starter

So I've been researching the health benefits of cultured foods. I decided that I wanted to make sourdough noodles, breads, and crackers - but all required a sourdough starter. (For more info on the health benefits of Sourdough read here  I did some researching and decided to order a San Francisco Sourdough live culture starter  from Cultures for Health.  Of course, if you know me, you realize I am NOT patient. Internet shopping is difficult for me - I LOVE buying but totally hate waiting for my purchases to arrive.  As you might imagine, waiting for my live starter and then waiting while I feed and grow the starter for a week is a real test of my patience.

In the wait time, I stumbled up on the Kitchen Stewardship where there happened to be a really informative post on starting your own Sourdough starter capturing wild yeast.  Perfect timing.  I decided to try it!   My husband has been fondly referring to my starter as my "little science project" (of course he was quick to point out that I was terrible at science!)  Judging form the sour smell, I think I have successfully captured yeast! I'm ready to try baking some crackers (incase I didn't get the yeast and there is no rise!)

Here is the original post on creating a Sourdough starter from Kitchen Stewardship.  Here are my directions:

What you need:
Glass Jar
Wooden Spoon
Boiled water cooled (pasta water or potato water will ensure a healthy starter, but are not necessary)
Flour (I used whole wheat flour)
Coffee filter

1.  Save water from boiling pasta or potatoes.  If this is inconvenient it is not necessary.  If you have tap water (city) boil a large batch and store in a separate airtight container for feedings.  Allow this water to cool to room temperature.

2.  Boil to sterilize your glass jar and wooden spoon. You can also run through the dishwasher and then use immediately afterwards.

3.  Add 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup flour to your jar. Stir vigorously with wooden spoon until completely combined.

4.  Cover with coffee filter and use rubberband to secure edges.

5.  Turn on oven light and place jar close to the light.  If you have a cooler and a heating pad you can use this also.  We live in Florida, so over the summer I'll probably just leave mine out on the counter.  Cooler climates will require the warmth of a light or heating pad on low to get an active starter.

6.  Every 12 hours stir in 1/4 cup tepid water (boil ahead of time if necessary, do not add hot water to starter) and mix vigorously.  Then add 1/4 cup flour and mix vigorously.  Be sure to combine air into the mixture as you stir.

I did this for about 6 days - and today my starter is bubbly and sour smelling.  I have used one cup of the starter to make a cracker dough (more on this tomorrow!) and have fed my starter as mentioned in step 6 again.  Once I have tried a few recipes I am going to dry some of my starter by spreading it on a piece of plastic wrap and letting it dry.  That way, next time I can start with some dried active starter.  Once you see bubbles consistently in your starter (my photos don't really show this, but I will try to capture better photos) it's active.  If you aren't going to use it regularily (every day or two days) you can store it in the fridge and feed it every couple of days (straight flour to thicken it and flour and water as mentioned above to maintain the pancake batter consistency).  Just remember that when you need active starter you'll need to take it out and allow it to warm to room temperature, and feed it. 

I was nervous, but so far, it's turned out ok! Sourdough is very healthy, and by capturing wild yeast from the air this is a relatively inexpensive way to try your hand at creating a cultured food starter!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Product Review: Green Cleaning - Seventh Generation Products

So I'm a total laundry detergent junkie. I love that my clothes smell fresh (i.e. perfumed) after being washed and dried.  Naturally I was a little skeptical to try a supposedly natural detergent.  Here are the ingredients:

Laundry Liquid Concentrate, Blue Eucalyptus & Lavender
Aqua (water), sodium lauryl sulfate, coceth-7 and glycerin (plant-derived cleaning agents), sodium citrate (water softener), oleic acid (plant-derived anti-foaming agent), sodium hydroxide (alkalinity builder), sodium chloride (thickener), boric acid and calcium chloride (enzyme stabilizers), protease and amylase (enzyme soil removers), essential oils and botanical extracts* (lavendula angustifolia (lavender), lavendula hybrid (lavandin), eucalyptus dives, eucalyptus radiata, eucalyptus ploybractea, pinus sylvestris (pine)), methylisothiazolinone and benzisothiazolinone (preservatives). *linalool is a naturally occurring component of these ingredients.

So is "sodium lauryl sulfate" good for you? I don't really know .  I can say that while my clothes do not smell all Tide-erific like they normally would, it did do a good job of removing stains from my kids clothing and left a neutral if only slightly pleasant lavender scent.  Overall I am pleased, and it isn't really any more expensive than the Tide I have been buying.

I also tried the all purpose cleaner and the disinfecting wipes (those of you who know me know how obsessed I am with my clorox wipes!). View ingredients for both here.  I can say that at first I kind of missed the harsh bleach smell that immediately tells me that an area is clean and disinfected, but I've grown to appreciate the Lemongrass & Thyme scent these offer.  And, they do an equally great job of cleaning up messes and leaving a streak free shiny surface.  So, I can't complain.  The spray is comparable in price to the regular disinfectant spray and I think the wipes were less than a dollar more for around the same quantity.  

Next week I'll be testing another line of totally organic cleaning and household products called Baby Girl.
You can check out the website here if you want a sneak peek!  These were developed locally and I'm so excited to try them and compare to my experience with Seventh Generation products.