Thursday, July 22, 2010

Herbed Flatbread

These are much more like crackers than bread. You could serve them plain, with cheese, or with a vegetable topping like pico de gallo. While these are made with white flour, they would be healthier if made with whole wheat flour.

1 c. warm water

Sprinkle on:
1 tsp. yeast

Stir in:
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 c. flour
2 tsp. coarse salt (less if you use table salt)
1 tsp. sugar

Stir until dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead with floured hands until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Trasnfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough stand in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1/4 c. fresh rosemary or thyme or a combination (or 1/8 c. dried)

Mix together:
1 large egg
1 tblsp water

Divide dough into 16 equal pieces and cover with the plastic wrap. Roll out 1 piece of dough to roughly 4" x 10" on a lightly floured surface. Trasnfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Waxed paper does not work!)

Brush with the egg/water wash.

Sprinkle with:
sea salt
rosemary and/or thyme

Repeat with remaining dough, arranging 4 pieces per baking sheet.

Bake, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until crisp and golden, 18-22 minutes. Let cool on sheets on a wire rack.

from Nancy M. who found it in Martha Stewart Living, June 2010, pp. 115, 172.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Mix together:
1/2 c. margarine
1/2 c. oil or shortening
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. wheat flour
1 1/2 c. white flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (or more if desired)

Spoon onto cookie sheet and make a criss cross pattern with a fork.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

from Lois M.

"Healthy Snacks from Your Food Storage"

We met for "Healthy Snacks from Your Food Storage" on Wednesday, July 21, and Thursday, July 22, 2010. If you wanted to come but weren't able, here's part of what you missed. (And we missed you!)

Chasten R. shared some ideas and tips about choosing and making healthy snacks for our families and ourselves. In her home their children choose what they want for breakfast and lunch (within reason), but eat what is served at dinner. The children can eat fruits and vegetables whenever and however much they want (but are still expected to eat a full meal). In their pantry they keep a snack basket with foods like popcorn, trail mix, fresh peanuts, raisins, etc. The children must ask permission before eating from the snack basket.

Read labels. She doesn't like to eat prepared foods when she doesn't know what the foods listed on the label are. When you read a label, the ingredient with the highest quantity is listed first, the least ingredient listed last.

Chasten had samples of and recipes for granola, graham crackers, granola bars, Hawaiian bread, and power bars. Chasten's daughter, Cora, demonstrated how to make peanut butter balls, which we sampled.

Resources for her presentation came from Wheat Cookin' Made Easy by Pam Crockett and from Super Healthy Kids. I think her sisters also offered some ideas and her children and some of their friends sampled, reviewed, and gave suggestions for changes to some of the snacks she tried.

Several other people brought snacks to share. You can find many of the recipes from this activity below this post.

BIG THANKS to Chasten and Cora for their time and effort in planning, preparing, and sharing their expertise.

If you came to one of the meetings, is there anything you remember that wasn't included in this post? Did you try any of the recipes?

Granola Bars Basic Recipe

2 c. oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. peanut butter
dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc., as desired

Press into greased 11" x 13" pan. Dough will be very dry and crumbly, but press until dough forms with pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are browned. Take out and let cool entirely. Cut into strips and store in snack size bags.

from Chasten R. who found it at Super Healthy Kids.


6 c. oats
1 c. chopped almonds
1/3 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1-2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. olive oil (or canola oil)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. honey
2 tblsp. vanilla

Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
Pour onto cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-27 minutes.

from Chasten R. who found it at Super Healthy Kids.

Whole Wheat Graham Crackers

While these crackers are not thin like store-bought graham crackers, they are healthy, pure, and delicious. Though graham flour is slightly different from regular whole wheat flour, regular whole wheat flour is a substitute for graham flour.

Graham flour is made from whole wheat flour but it is ground differently. The OSU Extension explains that the "germ, bran, and endosperm are separated and ground separately. The bran and germ are ground coarsely, the endosperm is ground finely, and then they are mixed together. Since graham flour and other whole-wheat flour contain the wheat germ, bran, and endosperm, they are higher in nutrient value than regular all-purpose flour and enriched or self-rising flour."

In a small bowl mix:
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. water
2 tblsp. lemon juice

In a large bowl beat well:
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla
2 beaten eggs

Add the following and mix well:
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
8-10 c. whole wheat pastry flour

When well mixed, divide into four equal portions. The dough will be the consistency of thick cookie dough.

Place each portion on a greased and floured cookie sheet and roll out to 1/8 inch thick. (It's important to roll it out ON the pan, not before and try to transfer.)

Prick with a fork and bake in 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Immediately cut into squares and remove to cooling rack.

from Chasten R. who modified the recipe found in Wheat Cookin' Made Easy.

Did you try them? What did you think?

Snack Ideas

These are some ideas for healthy snacks that Chasten shared with us

whole wheat pretzels
whole wheat graham crackers
granola -- mix in yogurt, eat plain, as cereal
peanut butter balls
power bars
Hawaiian bread
granola bars
dried fruit
trail mix
scoop of peanut butter
coconut milk smoothies

These ideas came from Wheat Cookin' Made Easy and Super Healthy Kids.

What other ideas for healthy snacks can you share with us? What do you and family like to eat?

Fruit Pops

Fruit Pops #1
Pour canned fruit cocktail with juice into small paper dixie cups. Freeze overnight. Peel off paper and enjoy.

Fruit Pops #2
Mix powdered milk, add frozen or canned fruit and 1/4 c. sugar. Blend in blender. Enjoy the smoothie. Freeze for 3 hours for a thick slushie. Pour into popsicle mold and freeze overnight for popsicles.

from Chasten R.

Cereal Power Bars

The directions say to cool before eating. Chasten wrote, "We didn't cool... We ate, and ate them pretty hot and pretty fast." I guess that tells you something about how good this recipe is. If you buy these ingredients in bulk or stock up on them when you find them on sale and keep them in your food storage, it will be an easy choice to make this healthy recipe.

Line a 13" x 9" pan with foil and spray.

Mix together:
1 2/3 c. cereal (any bran flake type should work)
8 dates, chopped and pitted
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 can white beans (white kidney or Great Northern) pureed or chopped

Mix in:
1/3 c. honey
3 tblsp. melted butter
2 tblsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
1 c. cinnamon chips (This was the best part!!)

Spread in lined pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until edges are browned. Cool completely.

From Chasten R. who found it at Super Healthy Kids.

What did you think? Did you finish off the pan before the bars had cooled?

Whole Grain Breakfast Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine and cream till fluffy:
5 tblsp. butter, softened
3 tblsp. canola or vegetable oil
1/2 c. brown sugar

Add and mix in:
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

Stir in:
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Stir in individually and mix after each:
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1/2 c. wheat germ

Stir in:
1 c. combination cranberries and raisins, minced

Roll into 1" balls and place on cookie sheets with at least 2" between them.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Don't let them get too brown unless you like them crunchy. Cool on cookie sheets for a few mintues before transferring to a cooling rack.

Notes from the baker: When I baked these, I check them halfway through the baking time and they were still round balls with no indication of flattening. I removed the cookie sheet from the oven, flattened the balls with the bottom of a glass, and returned them to the over until finished. Yours may flatten just fine.

Other dried fruit would work, too.

I think these would work well pressed into a jelly roll or cake pan, scored into granola bar shapes, baked, then broken apart or cut while warm.

I didn't have wheat germ on hand so substituted whole wheat flour.

from Nancy M. who found it at Prudence Pennywise.

Hawaiian Bread

This is a very moist cake which keeps for several days.

Mix together:
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
2 eggs
1 can crushed pineapple with juice (12-20 ounces)
1/2 c. grated coconut
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tblsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Put in a bread pan. Sprinkle the top with extra coconut, a little brown sugar, and some nuts.

Bake in oven set at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until cooked all the way through. (Test by poking a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it's finished. If not, let bake a little longer.)

Recipe shared by Chasten R. who found it at Super Healthy Kids.

Did you try this recipe? What did you think? Did you make any substitutions and if so, how did they work?

Peanut Butter Balls

This is a super easy recipe that children may enjoy making. Though you freeze the balls for a brief time, store in the refrigerator (if they last that long) and allow to stand at room temperature a few minutes before serving. The added bonus of this recipe is that every ingredient is probably part of your food storage. If you run out of everything else, you and your family can still have a healthy, slightly sweet snack.

Mix together:
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 c. powdered milk
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. honey

Form into 1" balls and place on a plate. Freeze for 10-30 minutes.

From Chasten R.

Did you try these? Did your family like them? How long did they last?

Molasses Coconut Lunch Box Bars

Beat together until well mixed:
3 eggs
1/2 c. honey

Gradually beat in:
1/2 c. light molasses
1/2 c. butter, melted

Mix and sift together:
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. mace

Blend the flour/spice mixture into the molasses mixture.

Stir in:
4 oz. flaked coconut
1 c. raisins

Turn into greased 15" x 10" jelly roll pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Spread with powdered sugar glaze if desired. Cut into bars.

from Chasten R.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

While yogurt is not exactly quick to make, it is very easy and requires very little hands-on time. And by making it yourself you can control the ingredients.

It's best to use a stainless steel pan to make yogurt but enamel or glass will also work. Glass can go into the microwave and the oven.

You do not have to sterilize your equipment but it helps to make sure all cookware is really clean and rinsed well. (The extension service suggested that you wash everything in bleach water using 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water.) If foreign "things" get into the yogurt, the quality will not be what you would like it to be. (If you have "redippers" (people who eat out of the container) in your family they can spoil your yogurt with one dip of a spoon with saliva on it. )

1 gallon whole milk (2% will also work but the yogurt will be thinner)
1 cup start (unflavored yogurt with live and active cultures or reserved from a previous batch or yogurt)

Put the stainless steel pan on the stove and add water to cover the bottom.
Put the lid on and bring water to a rolling boil. This helps prevent the milk from scorching and film does not form on the bottom of the pan, which makes cleaning easier. When cleaning this pan later, use cold water to clean it first. (You can use a double boiler to heat the milk if you prefer.)

When the water boils, pour in the milk. Bring milk to a temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) over low/medium heat. You can cover the pot with a lid. If a skin forms on the milk, remove it.

When temperature reaches 185 degrees F., remove the milk from the heat and let it cool to 120-110 degrees F. You can let it cool naturally for best results or if you're in a hurry, you can place it over a pan of cold water, in which case the texture may change a little.

When cooled, add a little of the milk into the yogurt start, then stir that mixture into the larger batch of milk.

Incubate the yogurt by putting it in a jar or other large, lidded container. Put this in a draft-free place to incubate. The environment for incubation should be fairly warm. You can 1) heat your oven to 170 degrees F. then turn it off and keep the pilot light on with the yogurt inside; 2) pour hot tap water into a cooler to 3-4" deep, then place the jar/container into the cooler; or 3) pour the yogurt into a large thermos.

Incubate the yogurt for about 3 hours. The longer you leave it, the more "bright" the flavor will be - not ruined, just more "bright."

After incubation put the yogurt in a lined colander and let sit until it drains to the consistency you like. I drain mine in the refrigerator but it drains faster at room temperature. The longer you drain it, the firmer it becomes until you get a soft cheese.

This yogurt keeps in the refrigerator about a week.

The liquid that drains from the yogurt is whey and can be stored for about a week. It can be used in baking to replace the liquid. It's excellent for use in bread.

Instant Powdered Milk Yogurt

Mix together:
2 1/2 cups powdered milk or 4 1/2 cups instant powdered milk
3 cups tepid water

1 quart tepid water

Incubate and check after 3 hours. (This took longer to ripen than fresh, whole-milk yogurt.)

Here is a link to another yogurt recipe and suggestions for ways to use it.