Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hulls in rolled oats

I finally figured out how to get rid of all the hulls that were in my local rolled oats. I put the oats and water into the pot and stirred them up so the oats would absorb the water. Then I let it all settle. The hulls rose to the top and I skimmed them off. Then cook as usual. Voila! Perfect oatmeal without any hulls.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Review: Bean Appetit

Bean Appétit is packed with creative ways to make healthy foods not only delicious but fun. The dishes are so bright, colorful, and creative, they’re more like art than meals. Like the “High Note Nibbles” sandwiches, for example, that look like a piano keyboard. Or the “Bug Bites”—dragonfly-shaped pitas sandwiches made with fruit, turkey, and a pickle. The almost florescent-purple “Starry Night Bites” are made from berries and sticky rice and adorned with cheese stars. But my favorite was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” which looks like the character from the book by Eric Carle. Chicken-and-vegetable-stuffed spring rolls form the body with a big tomato as a head and pretzel sticks as legs. It’s so cute and sounds really tasty. There are many more fun creations for parents and children to make together—with lots that don’t even require any cooking.

The recipes and language in Bean Appétit are appropriate for the preschool crowd. Directions to “Shake your hips and get ready to mix:” or “Roll around on the floor while chanting ‘Go bananas’ will be fun for young children, but may turn off older kids. Interspersed between the recipes are silly conversation starters, such as “Who do you know has the silliest singing voice?” or “Would you rather share your sleeping bag with a bat or a bear?” There are games like “Flash Dance” (a flashlight dancing game) and food related trivia like “Table Manners from Other Countries.” The book is bright and appealing with whimsical illustrations and colorful photographs. This would be great for parents of preschoolers and preschool or kindergarten teachers.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quick bread made with rye flour

I got a couple of pounds of rye flour in my local grain CSA box this week. Of course, my first thought was to make a few loaves of yeasted rye bread but the day turned out so warm and sunny that I didn't want to spend my day kneading and rising dough. I paged through my Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book and found a couple of recipes for rye quick breads. Based on their method, my daughter Aimie and I came up with this one . . . and boy was it good--moist with hints of orange and spices--and vegan as well. Perfect with a tall glass of rice milk after a walk on the beach.

Orange-Spiced Rye Quick Bread
This is wonderfully moist and flavorful. Great for breakfast, tea, or with a soup or salad.

1 cup whole rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/3 cups water
3 tablespoons oil
grated rind of 1 orange
juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a loaf pan. Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spice together. In a separate bowl, whisk maple syrup, water, oil, orange rind and juice until combined. Stir in flour mixture. Reserving 2 tablespoons chopped nuts, gently fold in the almonds. Pour the batter into to the prepared pan and sprinkle reserved almonds over the top. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in center comes out dry. Remove bread from pan and let cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

More body care safety news

I posted a while back about the deception of so-called organic body care products that were using non-organic and even in some cases toxic ingredients. Well, I hope you haven't been using Herbal Essences shampoos because this Friday, details of an agreement from Procter and Gamble to reformulate 18 products from its top-selling Herbal Essences brand to reduce levels of the carcinogenic petrochemical 1,4-Dioxane will be announced by the Organic Consumer's Association and other groups. In addition, OCA and allies will announce new results from a continuing study that has tested over 150 consumer products for the toxic chemical. This year, 20 laundry detergents were tested, including major "natural" and conventional brands. The seven laundry detergent brands from Procter and Gamble had by far the highest levels of 1,4-dioxane overall.

Check out this link for a list of safe body and personal care products.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

More goodies with local grains

Rolled oats from my local grain box, made a delicious breakfast. These need to cook a little longer than the rolled oats I get at the store, but my kids like them because they come out firmer and chewier. We did find quite a few hulls in them however which I found annoying to keep spitting out . . . not sure if I soak or rinse them if it would help this problem. I'll have to experiment (but please comment if you have a tip). It didn't bother the girls though--they had two servings each.

We also made a batch of our favorite cookies from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook.

Everything Cookies

These easy cookies are bursting with different tastes, textures, and flavors.

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter or coconut oil

1/2 cup evaporated cane juice

1 egg or egg replacer

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup brown rice flour, barley flour, or whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup rolled oats (or other rolled grain)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup chocolate chips or unsweetened carob chips

1/3 cup sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil cookie sheet. Beat together butter and evaporated cane juice until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sea salt, and baking powder. Mix flour mixture into liquid ingredients until combined. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by tablespoonfuls on prepared baking sheet leaving space between cookies for slight spreading. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until bottoms are golden. Let sit one minute before removing to wire rack to cool.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen