Monthly Archives: April 2013

garlic bread

Easy Garlic Bread

This garlic bread is something I’ve made for years, and is something always received with much rejoicing in our household. Behold! Mother has made garlic bread! Huzzah, huzzah! (Or something like that.)

My homemade garlic bread is – if I may boast – really good. Everyone scarfs it down when I make it. And it’s so simple, but people just don’t realize they can do it themselves! Sometimes people try to make garlic bread with garlic salt or powder, but that’s icky, if you ask me. The key to really good garlic bread is (quite obviously, really) using REAL GARLIC.

The only hard thing about this (now), is finding bread to use.

Continue reading

dates

Ingredient Spotlight: Medjool Dates

I’ve been using dates as a sweetener ever since I had that delicious raw apple pie at our CSA potluck. They’ve totally transformed the way I bake. I almost always use some amount of dates to substitute for sweeteners in recipes that call for sugar now, and dates enabled me to create a completely sugar-free browned butter banana bread!

When I first started, I just used “regular” dates. I don’t know what kind they are…just that they’re not Medjool. I’d heard that Medjool dates were, like, THE dates to get, but they were so much more expensive. 

dates

These were $4-something for 10 oz., while the Medjools were $7 for 8 oz.! I couldn’t justify that much of a difference (especially to my husband, who is already pretty much freaking out about how much I’m spending on milk and eggs these days.)You have to pick and choose where your money goes, you know? And dates are pretty low on that list, so regular dates it was. 

But THEN I was at Trader Joe’s one day, and I saw these.

dates

And then I saw that the price was $4.50 for 16 whole ounces!! They’re actually cheaper than the “regular” kind from the grocery store, and there’s more of them! So I snatched them up, of course. I had no idea why they were supposed to be so much better than other kinds of dates, just that I’d heard that they were, so I was eager to give them a try.

They really are different! The first thing I immediately noticed is that the Medjools are WAAAYYY softer than the other kind. The others were always pretty hard, which is why I had to soak them for so long to soften them up. These are really soft – almost creamy in texture. And the flavor! They’re described as being “caramelly” in flavor with a hint of honey. They’re also somewhat sweeter than the others. I was never crazy about eating those other dates by themselves, but when I’m cutting into these I can’t resist nibbling on them. Really good. And eating one of these guys does a great job at neutralizing any munchies I have for sweets!

Medjool dates are fairly high in natural fruit sugars, but are also a good source of the essential minerals copper, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. This is why they’re a better choice for a sweetener, because there’s a lot of good nutrition there too! They have a lot of fiber, as well, and are digested slower than typical sugars, making them easier on your blood sugar.

The one thing about these compared to the others I used to get is that they don’t come pitted – at least not the ones at Trader Joe’s. (And, at that price, that’s the only place I’m getting them!) Pitting them yourself isn’t a big deal though.

Just get a paring knife and make a slit down the middle. They’re so soft that this will be really easy.

medjool dates

Then pull out the seed. It’s tucked inside the large inner cavity and is loose – it comes right out.

medjool dates

Collect them all in a bowl or something as you go. You’ll still want to soak these if you’re going to puree them for a recipe, but it won’t take long at all. Probably 10 minutes, if that.

medjool dates

The seeds are funny. They look like little bugs. They remind me of the Cicada shells I used to see when I lived in Arkansas. Super creepy when you think of it that way.

IMG_2790

But, hey, don’t let a creepy-looking seed stop you! It’s just a SEED after all. Not, like, some mutant bug that’s going to kill you in your sleep or anything. Right? (Please…tell me I’m right.)

So, these are now my dates of choice. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, this is a great source! I’m steadily getting a whole list of “good quality ingredients that are stupidly cheaper at Trader Joe’s than anywhere else.” I think they’re starting to recognize me there.

If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, and the only Medjool dates you can find are ridiculously expensive, then just get the regular ones. These aren’t essential or anything. They’re absolutely better, but not enough better to justify a huge expense when other things are more important money-wise. But if you can find them at an affordable price, they’re definitely better and definitely worth it!

 

spelt pancakes

Spelt Buttermilk Pancakes

My kids are crazy about pancakes. I can whisper the word “pancakes” quietly in my bedroom and my kids would hear it in the basement and come running like they have banshees at their heels. Well, maybe not quite, but you get the idea. So, last week when I made Breakfast for Dinner – with pancakes, of course – you’d have thought I was a rock star. “Mom! You are awesome! Thank you thank you thank you!” It’s nice to feel like a rock star. (A pancake star?)

The pancakes I make now – with half spelt and half almond flour – are, surprisingly, actually preferred by my family over the ones I used to make with white flour. They love the flavor, and the texture, and I have to say I do too! The buttermilk makes them really light and fluffy, not heavy at all. We’ve all noticed that with these pancakes, you just feel…good when you eat them. The white flour pancakes could get to be a bit too much sometimes…make us feel heavy and a little blah by the end of the meal. That was probably from the shock our bodies went into from all the white flour combined with the syrup wrecking havoc on our blood sugar! We can eat two or three or even four (if we’re particularly hungry) of these and just feel like we’ve had a good meal, not like we’re about to descend into a sugar coma. Which is always a good thing.

If you’ve tried pancakes with whole wheat and didn’t like them, give these a try. I promise you – really and truly PROMISE – that whole spelt tastes so much better than whole wheat. Much lighter and tastier. The use of the almond meal also gives it great flavor and softness.

And if you’re one of those people who think there’s no way to make pancakes without Bisquick, I urge – nay, I BESEECH you! – to give these a try. It is seriously no harder to add wet ingredients to flour and baking soda than it is to add them to Bisquick.

Continue reading

Buckwheat PB Krispies

Buckwheat Peanut Butter Krispies

Way back in the beginning of this whole thing, back when I was just starting to try to figure out how to live this diet and was flirting with lots of different flours and grains, I got a huge bag of buckwheat groats from the bulk bins at Whole foods. I think I had some sort of idea of putting the groats in my blender and turning it into flour. Because a $30 Oster blender can TOTALLY do that. Yeah.

So, this huge bag of groats has been sitting in my freezer for months, just waiting for me to figure out what to do with them.

Well…I figured it out.

These babies are so good. They are – as the name says – perfectly crispy and crunchy. It’s the first thing everyone says when they have one, and I think it’s what makes them so good. There’s this creamy, sweet peanut butter surrounding all that crispy goodness, and then – as though that wasn’t enough – they’re topped with a thin layer of dark chocolate.

Oh, yeah.

Continue reading