Sweet Potato “Macaroni” and Cheese

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So if you read my Adventures in Bread Making: Whole Wheat Oatmeal Sandwich Bread  you read my sad little story about how Justin and I only ate Pb+Js and cereal because we had no money.  Well cut to a year after that sad venture; we had a little bit more money and we upgraded to pasta.  Easy there big spenders.  I still hadn’t discovered the wonders of cooking most of your food from scratch so we were living off of Ragu (or when we wanted to spoil ourselves, Prego) and Kraft Dinner.  No, I’m not Canadian, I just like calling it Kraft Dinner.

When I would make the mac and cheese I wound up putting in so many veggies and other things that it finally dawned on me, why not just make it from scratch?  So, I did.  And as usual, it’s frickin’ delicious.  I like adding sweet potato to my mac and cheese because it gives it a creaminess allowing you to use less cheese and dairy (if you so desire, which I usually do).  Plus, sweet potatoes are packed with Vitamin A and have a decent amount of fiber.  Yeah, they’re carb heavy but I love carbs.  They’ve never done me wrong.  And last time I checked mac and cheese is pretty much all carbs, so if you’re reading this you should be okay with them too.

Recipe:

1 sweet potato (medium, chopped)
16 oz pasta (I like experimenting with all types of noodles, today is Brad’s Organic Medium Whole Wheat Shells)
8 oz cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
1/2 cup onion (chopped)
1/2 cup carrot (grated)
1/2 cup brocolli
4 bacon strips (I use turkey)
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp mustard powder
salt, pepper to taste

Baking time: 35 minutes

Preheat oven to 375°

Peel and cube your sweet potato and add it to a pot of boiling water.  You could also bake or steam your potato, this just seemed easier to me.  About 10 minutes for this way.  They’re done when they smoosh in between a pair of tongs or are fork tender.

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Strain your potatoes and add it to your food processor or blender with 1 cup of your milk.  You can get away with skim here, I did.  Blend until smooth, leave lid on and set aside until you’re ready for it.

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Bring a pot of water to boil for your noodles, cook them al dente.  Cook your bacon–pig, beef, chicken, turkey, veggie–whatever floats your bacon boat.  Set it aside on some paper towel when it’s done.

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While your bacon is cooking you can prepare your onion, broccoli,  carrot, and garlic and grate your cheese.  If you’re one of those organized home chefs you will have done this already.  Obviously, I am not.

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Soften your onions over medium low heat, about 10 minutes.  You can go all the way and caramelize them if you feel like devoting the time, I rarely do.  The sweetness of the onion pairs nicely with the sweetness of the carrots.

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Over low heat, melt your butter in your pan.  I use half real butter and half fake.  I know,  I have an aversion to fat or something.  I’m working on it.  Add your garlic too.

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Add the equal amount of flour.  This isn’t the greatest picture of the process, it’s a little pastier looking than this before you add the milk.  You try taking a picture and properly whisking something.  Cook for about 2 minutes over low heat.  We’re making a sort of blond roux here or at least attempting at one.

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Add your remaining cup of milk and mix together.

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Add your chopped broccoli and grated carrots, along with all your spices.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook over medium low heat until your veggies have softened and your roux has thickened.

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About 5 minutes.

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Your pasta is probably done now.  Drain and set aside.  In the same pot you made your noodles add your sweet potato puree mixture and grated cheese, reserve a couple ounces of cheese.

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Followed by your broccoli, carrot roux business.  Add more salt here if you need to.  The roux should be hot enough to melt your cheese, if it’s not put it back on the stove and heat until melted.

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Mix and add your noodles.  Now you can stop here.  It’s delicious.  But if you have time why not bake it?  The baking helps infuse some of the flavor into the noodles and also causes the sweet potato to get a light mashed potato consistency.  If neither of those things sound good to you then obviously, don’t bake it.

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Now add it to any lightly oiled oven safe dish you have on hand.  Top with remaining cheese and chopped bacon.  Don’t want bacon?  Don’t add it.  I find turkey bacon is a cheap, easy way to add protein to a meal.  To each their own though.

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Bake in a 375° oven for 35-45 minutes, until the cheese melts and browns slightly.

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Healthy Coconut Curry Savory Granola

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Sometimes you look at your sad granola and you can’t even think of eating another bite.  You’re tired of eating beautifully toasted morsels of sweet oaty goodness.  I know, me neither.  I’m just talking craziness.  But sometimes you want a change.  Once again, I know, me neither.  Who can get sick of homemade sweet granola?  The answer is no one.  And if the answer is you, then check yourself because you don’t exist, because I just said no one can get sick of homemade granola.

So if you aren’t a figment of somebody’s imagination then take a gander at this savory granola recipe.  When Justin came in the kitchen he was like, “I smell curry!”  Then seeing the oats, “You’re making curry granola, that’s weird!”  He’s right, it is weird.  But it’s also frickin’ delicious.  So delicious that it is now my third favorite granola.  That might not sound that impressive, but it is because I make fucking awesome granola.   And I swore right there because my granola is in fact that amazing.

If the idea of a savory granola as a snack is still not appealing to you (jeez, just give it a chance) then think about using it in place of croutons on a salad or cream soups.  Creamy Tomato Curry Soup topped with Coconut Curry Granola?  Um…yum.

Recipe:

3 cups old fashion oats
1/4 cup almonds (raw, chopped)
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup coconut (raw, unsweetened)
1/2 cup coconut milk (light or regular)
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 egg white
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne
1-2 tsp olive oil

Baking time: 1 hour

Preheat oven 300°

Add your oats, flour, pepitas, almonds, and coconut in a large mixing bowl.  If you have it in your budget this would taste great with other nuts traditionally used in Indian cooking such as pistachios or cashews.

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Add your milk to a bowl.  Normally I heat my liquid granola mixture, but since we’re adding egg to this I’m skipping it.

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Add your salt, 1 tsp.

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Add your curry powder, 1 tbsp.

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Cayenne, 1/4 tsp.

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Paprika, 1/4 tsp.

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Ginger, 1/4 tsp.

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1 egg white, I use my hand–you get an easier separation that way.  Whisk until the egg is well integrated.

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Mix your dry ingredients together.

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Add your wet mixture and mix until there are no dry oats, mixture should clump in your hand.

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Spread granola on a lightly oiled baking sheet and flatten.  Because I had less wet mixture to work with than my other granola recipes I took 1-2 tsp of oil in my hands and patted the top of the granola.

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Bake in a 300° oven for 1 hour.  I usually break it apart at 40 minutes to encourage even baking.

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Orange Pomegranate Banana Bread

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Like I’ve said before, I make a loaf of banana bread every week for Justin to eat for breakfast (Tropical Mango Banana Bread, Lemon Poppy Seed Banana Bread) .  So he’s well studied on banana bread consumption.  This is his favorite banana bread recipe.

Edit: As he’s reading this he says, “This isn’t my favorite,” and I reply, “Oh so you lied?”  “No, this was my favorite and then you made the lemon poppy seed one, so that became my new favorite.”  So I will correct myself, this is Justin’s old favorite banana bread recipe.

Unlike my other banana bread recipes, I added yogurt to this because yogurt and pomegranate go well together.  If you don’t have yogurt or have an aversion to it or something (freak) just omit it and cut the baking soda by 1/4 tsp and the all purpose flour by 1/4 cup.

Recipe:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1 orange (medium, zest and juice)
2 bananas (medium, mashed)
1 egg
1/4 greek yogurt (0%)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pomegranate arils

Baking time: 1 hour

Preheat oven 350°

Cut your pomegranate (try and buy a nicer one than Justin and I managed to).

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There’s a lot of nonsense on the internet about how to cut a pomegranate and what a messy endeavor it is.  I have never stained an article of clothing or broken any of the arils opening a pomegranate this way so I recommend it.   Cut the tip of your pomegranate off, kind of like you would a pumpkin except you barely need to push your knife through.  I’m sure you’ll do a nicer job than I did.

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Score the pomegranate  just going through the red part of the skin.

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Holding the pomegranate in both hands and with your thumps on the top part start to pull the pomegranate apart gently–it should come apart pretty easily.

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Break the sections off completely and gently remove the arils as you remove more sections of the outer skin.

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This whole process took less than 5 minutes with all the picture taking and I only dropped like 2 arils, so that seems a lot less messy than those whacking methods.  But that’s just me.

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Sift your flour, baking powder/soda, and salt together.

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Whisk your sugars and applesauce together.  Yes, I add applesauce to everything, get past it.

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Followed by your egg.

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Mash your bananas and zest/juice your orange.  I like to mash by bananas with my whisk because it gets rid of the large chunks better than a fork.

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Add your orange zest/juice along with the yogurt and cinnamon to your bananas.

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Add half of your flour to your sugar/applesauce mixture.  Don’t mix completely until the last addition to prevent over mixing.

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Followed by half of your banana mixture.

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Followed by the other halves.

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Now you can mix all the way.

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Add your 1/2 cup pomegranate arils saving a couple tbsp worth.

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Add your batter to a lightly greased pan, sprinkle your remaining arils on top.  If you felt so inclined you could turn some of your pomegranate arils into a syrup and swirl it on top before baking, but even typing that sentence out was more effort than I wanted to put into this banana bread.  The choice is yours, I went the lazier and less sugary route.

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Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.

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Healthy Peanut Butter and Jelly Chunky Granola

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I have a vagina so I, of course, love peanut butter.  That’s the way it works right?  I’m pretty sure that’s what every Rom Com and sitcom has taught me.  I don’t really have much more to say about that. This is my favorite out of all the other granolas I make.  So far I’ve posted Tropical, Apple Blueberry, and Orange Chocolate, with others to come.

Recipe:

3 cups old fashion oats
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tbsp flax seed
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (raw)
1/2 cup peanuts (raw, chopped)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/2 cup cranberry juice (light)
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp jelly (optional, no sugar added)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins

Baking time: 1 hour

Preheat oven 300°

Add oats to a large mixing bowl.

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Followed by your flour.

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Flax seed.

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Salt.

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Nuts.

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Now add your liquid ingredients to a pan over low heat.  In other granola recipes I say this part is “kind of” optional (just to get all the flavors melded), this time you actually need to to melt the peanut butter.

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Use any kind of berry juice you feel like.

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While I prefer all natural peanut butter in my everyday life I use this Jif Natural Peanut Butter for my granola.  It’s got a little sugar in it, which allows me to not add as much myself, but the choice is yours.

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Mix all your ingredients over low heat until the peanut melts, remove from heat and add your vanilla.  If you want it a little more sugary add the tbsp of jelly.  I wasn’t really feeling it this time.

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Mix your dry ingredients in your mixing bowl.

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And add your wet mixture.

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Mix until no dry oats can be seen.  Mixture should clump in your hand.

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Flatten evenly to about a 1/4 inch thick on a lightly oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with the 1 tbsp of white sugar.  If you need to use two sheets, use two.  Bake for 1 hour.  I check on it at about 40 minutes, if the edges are starting to brown faster I break the sheet apart in large chunks and redisperse over the sheet.

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Granola is done when it is almost completely hard.  Pull granola out and let it cool slightly, break apart and add raisins.  Once it’s completely cool add to air tight container.

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Adventures in Bread Making: Whole Wheat Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

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When Justin and I first moved to New York City we had no money, I mean no money.  What with the move and owing first and last month’s rent on top of a security deposit, we were hurting.  So much so for the first year we didn’t eat that well.  I ate nothing but boxes of cereal and he, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  We both lost about 10 lbs that we still haven’t managed to find, ah city living.  The first and only job I found was at a temp agency (that Psych/Pre Med degree really showing its worth) and everyday I brought a Tupperware container filled with cereal to eat for lunch.  Those that noticed always thought it was so endearing that I loved cereal that much that it was all I ever wanted to eat.  Sometimes it was hard not to break down and cry right there.  But that’s a story for another day.  We’re in better times.  Back to why I’m doing this post.  Justin ate nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every time he went to work and you would think the boy would get sick of them, but to this day he still loves himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Every time we’re at the store in the bread aisle I look at those sad looking loaves and think, “I could make something cheaper and more delicious.”  But I never do.  So this post is my promise to myself and my adventure in sandwich bread making.

I am a novice bread maker.  Originally I was going to wait until I had gained a little bit more experience in this area before I made a post about it, but then  I realized that’s not what this blog is about.  It’s a personal reflection on my journey in the kitchen.  So, I figured it would help me if I did in fact post my breads, starting with my initial creations, be they successes or failures.  However, I made this decision after I had made my first one.  It was delicious by the way.  Today is my second loaf, which is the recipe you’ll see below.

I managed to take cell phone pictures of my first loaf, which is similar to the second loaf.

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Why did I score a sandwich loaf?  Because I had a razor and I felt cool doing it.  Yes, I realize it was completely unnecessary.

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I suck at following a recipe, like really suck.  I can never really get myself to do it.  I had every intention of following a recipe for my first sandwich loaf since I had never actually made one and had only ever made a couple of other breads before that.  Oh, well.

This is the recipe used for the above loaf:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 all purpose flour
1/2 cups old fashion oats
1 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp applesauce
1 tbsp milk powder
1 1/2 cups H2O

350° 40 minutes

And here is the recipe for my most recent loaf

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp applesauce
1 1/2 cup H20

350° 55 minutes

And people with a stick up their butt about always having to scale your ingredients or your recipe is going to suck, baking is a science, blah blah blah.  It’s also…whatever.  There are a million ways to make a single recipe so even if you’re off in your ingredients by a few ounces here and there the odds are in your favor that things are going to work out.  You just need to be open to the interpretation of your final product.  And be positive, recipes can sense negativity.

Proof your yeast.  I heat up all my water and then pour 1/4 cup into a dish that has my yeast and sugar.  Make sure you take the temperature of your water before you try and proof your yeast with it.  A couple times you’ll get lucky without doing this and then the next 5 you won’t and it can be terribly frustrating.  And then you feel like a dumb ass because you remember that yes you do have a thermometer in the drawer and even though it’s a candy thermometer it can also take the temperature of, wait for it…water!

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This is how I proof my yeast and it works well for me.  Add yeast and sugar to a bowl.

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Add your water and stir gently.  Nothing has happened yet, these are just chunks of yeast.

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2 min: the yeast has begun munching on the sugar and releasing CO2.  You should start smelling that “bread” smell.

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3 min: yeast has made a creamy mixture and is activated.  If I don’t see anymore activity after this point I add it now.

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Add your flour to your mixer.  You can absolutely make bread by hand.  The first couple loaves I started with I did without a mixer because I wanted to see how the dough changed in my hands.  I’m making this in the Kitchen Aid because my ultimate goal is to whip one of these up every week so I want to be able to do it fast.

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AND I feel guilty that I don’t use this ridiculously large mixer my daddy bought me nearly enough.  He dreams of me having my own restaurant one day, he’ll just have to live with a silly food blog.

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Add your oats.  A lot of recipes cook the oats before hand and then add the flour and everything else.  I thought “Why?” and then didn’t do it.  I figure it’s the logic of oats being coarse and interfering with gluten formation but then I was like, “it’s a whole wheat bread, we’ve already got that problem why not just add to it?”  So, I did and if you saw the first picture, the bread forgave me for it.

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Why did I add applesauce?  Because I felt like it.

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I added the honey not so much to make a honey oatmeal bread but to enhance the wheat flavor.  It seemed to work out alright.

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I read somewhere at some point you should add 1 tsp of salt per 20 oz of flour.  Well since this is a new recipe I erred on the side of caution and only put 1 tsp per my 28 oz of “flour.”  I’ll probably do 1 1/4 next time.

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Add your yeast and water.  Mix on lowest speed until everything is incorporated.

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Once it starts removing itself from the edges increase the speed to 2-3 (listen to your machine, it will tell you if you’ve got it too high) and knead for 5-10 minutes.

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I like to finish my dough by hand.  This is what mine looked like after about 6 minutes in the mixer.

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I kneaded for another 5 or so minutes after it coming out of the mixer.  After reading so many articles on the internet about the ever dreaded ‘over-kneaded’ dough I got the impression that if you just looked at dough wrong the poor thing would over-knead itself.  If anything I under-knead dough because of this fear that’s being perpetuated and I believe the case is probably true with a lot of home bakers.

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I do the window-pane test.  I don’t really understand the poke test, what if I poke it and it just barely springs back is it still ready? The window pane seems more obvious to me and look!  No large oat chunks ripping my pane!  I told you the bread would forgive you.  Bread is like that.

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I oil my dough instead of oiling my bowl.  I don’t know, it seems to make more sense then oiling the bowl and then lightly oiling the top of your dough.

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Put in your initial mixing bowl, or a new one if the idea of washing another dish makes you tingly inside.  Cover with a towel and rest for 1 hour.  This is 15 minutes in because I forgot to take a picture and I was like, “Oh shoot, I forgot to take a picture.”

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1 hour.

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Gently flatten the dough out into about an 8×10 rectangle.  I use my knuckles.

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Roll the rectangle, like you would wrapping paper making sure it’s taut.

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Pinch the seam together.  There are multiple ways to prepare your sandwich loaf for the pan.  I’m still experimenting, finding the way I prefer.  I’m going to go ahead and bet right now that it doesn’t make much of a difference.  But it makes people feel better to say their way is superior.

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Lightly oil your loaf and place seam side down in your pan.  Let rise for another hour or until it’s risen about an inch above the rim.

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Near end of rising time turn oven on to 350°.  Make a wash out of honey and water.  Brush loaf with mixture and sprinkle with oats, lightly tap oats with brush.

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Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it.  I don’t have a skewer thermometer so I couldn’t check the internal temperature but the GBD and hollow tests have worked so far.

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If you didn’t get anything out of this post then good for you, you know more about bread than I do.  But if you did, I hope it’s that bread making is a lot easier than you think.  This was my second sandwich loaf and I think my fifth loaf of all time ever.  Bread is easy, bread is your friend.

Tomato Cabbage Lentil Soup

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I can’t get over how convenient lentils are.  I only recently discovered them, but I have not made a bad dish with them yet.  They taste great with a wide variety of ingredients and cook easily so it really is hard to truly ruin a lentil dish.  That being said, I’m sure Justin could find a way.  Just kidding.

No I’m not.

This is Tomato Cabbage Lentil Soup, so those are your three main ingredients.  I swear to you it doesn’t matter how much you put in of each it will still taste good.  Only have a 1/4 head of cabbage?  Awesome, put that in.  Oh, you have a whole head and want to use it all?  Still awesome.  What, you don’t have cabbage?  Well now it’s not going to be Tomato Cabbage Lentil Soup, it’s going to be Tomato Lentil Soup.  But it’s okay, that’s still a thing and it’s delicious.  After that throw in whatever you think sounds good, it probably won’t suck.

Recipe:

1 onion (small-medium size)
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
28 ounce can whole tomatoes (you can use diced, I just prefer whole)
8 cups liquid (tomato liquid + water or broth)
1/2 small head green cabbage (shredded, 2-3 cups)
1/2 tsp cumin (ground)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp basil (dried)
1/2 tsp paprika
3-4 cloves garlic (chopped)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup brown lentils
1 tsp oil

Prepare you garlic, onion, cabbage, celery, carrot, and tomatoes.  Reserve your tomato liquid (tomato chunks can be as large or small as you want).

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Heat oil in your soup pot and add you garlic/onions.  Heat over medium/medium low heat until onion starts to become translucent.

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Add your carrot/celery.  Cook for a couple minutes, just to get them started.

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Add your cabbage and lightly salt.  Cook until it starts to reduce in size.

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Add your tomatoes.

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Immediately followed by your liquid.  Add water to your reserved tomato liquid to equal 8 cups.  You can use vegetable broth if you want.  I hate buying broth and I never have extra vegetables lying around that I’m willing to use for a broth–so I use water.

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Heat until a simmer and add your paste and spices.  I add half of my basil now and half of it at the end because apparently cooking herbs for too long kills their flavor, so you’re supposed to add them near the end of your cooking.  Personally, from experience, I’m inclined to think not but experts say so.  So whatever, I just split the difference.  One day I’ll make an actual decision.

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Heat until a boil and add your lentils.  Then reduce heat and cover.  Cook for 20-30 minutes or until cabbage and lentils are done.

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Salt and pepper to taste.  I think I added 3/4 tsp salt total and I forgot to add pepper.  I love this soup because it’s awesome how much soup you can get from so little ingredients.  Plus it’s stupid easy.

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Healthy Tropical Chunky Granola

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I don’t prefer this granola as much as my others: Healthy Orange Chocolate Chunky Granola, Health Apple Blueberry Chunky Granola, and others I haven’t made/posted yet.  But Justin really enjoys it and it’s good to get some variety.  I think my only reason for putting it on the bottom of my granola list is I broke down and bought packages of sweetened dried fruit (papaya and pineapple) because I could not find the unsweetened versions–once again upper Manhattan, stop sucking.  Boy howdy, I do not recommend the sweetened versions.  They’re just nasty.  They don’t even taste like candy, they taste like dried up gobs of sugarized sadness.

Recipe:

3 cups rolled oats (no, you can’t use instant)
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tbsp flax seed
1/2 cup coconut (raw, unsweetened)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (raw)
1/4 cup almonds (raw)
1/4 cup papaya chunks (dried)
1/4 cup pineapple chunks (dried)
1 banana (mashed)
1/2 cup applesauce (I use unsweetened)
1/2 cup orange juice (I use Trop50)
1 tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice

Bake time: 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours

Preheat oven 300°

Add your oats to a large mixing bowl.

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Followed by your whole wheat.  This lets the granola get chunky, you can skip this step if you want that cereal granola.

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Yeah flax seed is a little on the expensive side but it’s ridiculously good for you.  A serving is only 2 tbsp.

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Some people roast their coconut before they add it to their granola mix, arguing it brings out the flavor.  But then they don’t roast their nuts, so I don’t understand the logic.  I don’t roast anything before hand because we’re putting the granola in the oven and essentially roasting it anyway.

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Add your sunflower seeds and chopped almonds.

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Add your salt and mix.  Now prepare your liquid mixture.

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Add your applesauce to a small/medium sized saucepan.  If you haven’t noticed I use unsweetened applesauce in pretty much all of my baking recipes.  I use it in place of oil.  I’m starting to go through the stuff like water…or oil, would be the more correct comparison.

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Add your banana, anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 (which is what one banana should give you) will do you just fine.

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Add your spices and orange juice and mix.  Pan should be on low heat, the point is not to boil or simmer, just get everything mixed well.  In my other recipes I usually add 1 tbsp of sugar here, but because of the addition of banana I decided it was unnecessary.

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Mix, making sure you don’t have any large lumps of banana.  If you do, I don’t know use a whisk or something–you should have done a better job mashing your banana in the first place.   Take off heat and add your vanilla.

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Add your liquid mixture all at once and combine.  Oops, someone forgot to listen to her own advice and mix her dry ingredients…drats.

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Mix until you have no dry oats visible.  I do a soufflé stirring action, you know, like a folding method…I don’t know, google it.

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Mixture should clump in your hand.

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Empty onto lightly oiled (or Pam, I’m sick of dealing with that nasty build up on all my bake ware so I just use oil) baking sheet and flatten with spoon or spatula.

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Mixture should be flat and uniform as possible.

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This is how flat mine is.  If you can’t get it that flat on one sheet, I suggest you even it out over two.  Or else you’re going to have to bake it for a crap load longer.

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Sprinkle with your white sugar.

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My other granola recipes are done in an hour, pretty much without fail.  This one however can take a little longer because of the introduction of banana.  If mine is not done at the 1 hour mark, I pull it out and break it apart in medium chunks (bigger than the finished product) and even it out again on the baking sheet.  Checking it every 5-10 minutes.  The granola should be pretty hard when you take it out of the oven, it’s not like it going to magically harden from soft oats.  If you prematurely cool your granola, finding it didn’t harden like you hoped, no worries.  Stick it back in the oven and your granola will never know you expected too much, too soon out of it.

When your granola is actually ready to come out of the oven, for reals this time, break it apart, add your fruit, and let it cool.  Or you can add your fruit when you put it in your vessel, I just know I’ll forget to if I don’t add it now.

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Make sure your granola is all the way cooled before you put it in your container.  No one likes soggy granola, except those that do.

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