Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Daily Bread

Sliced, fresh Daily Bread

Time for a new recipe! I make this bread at least twice weekly, and thought it would be a good idea to post it before I forget how to use the blog. ;-)

This truly is my "Daily Bread", which I eat almost every morning for breakfast. It's MUCH better toasted. I usually have it with avocado and a light sprinkling of my homemade seasoned salt, but another favorite is with ricotta cheese and a tiny dab of all-fruit or low-sugar preserves. Sometimes I have it for lunch or a snack as well, with a smear of hummus, a nice piece of soft cheese, a dab of aioli with some turkey or sliced tomato, or back to the avocado or ricotta. It's that good, and i just don't get tired of it. Four small slices usually last me through the morning.

This is a derivative of the "The Life Changing Loaf of Bread" posted in 2013 by Sarah Britton on her blog, My New Roots. Sarah got her recipe from a friend, adapted it and it became a big hit, justly so. There are over 1800 (!) comments on that blog post, and probably 1800 people have made it in 1800 different ways. I have used Sarah's basic recipe, but have changed some of the dry ingredients to create a lower-carbohydrate bread. I try to follow the basic principles of separating fat and carb fuels as much as possible, and on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, this recipe is an "S", for Satisfying, or higher-fat and lower-carb food.

I also have tweaked the baking of the bread — instead of using a regular loaf-sized pan, I use three mini-loaf pans (the disposable aluminum pans work great). The small slices are easier to freeze and I guess I just like the small bites approach to meals. 

Three mini-loaf pans = one regular loaf pan

There are a lot of ingredients here, yes there are. But the recipe is SO SIMPLE. I keep my seeds and nuts in the freezer, and the other ingredients together in the pantry. Since we eat this almost daily, I have to make at least two batches weekly. Sometimes I make both at once, and sometimes I will put the dry ingredients into a large zippy bag for another batch later in the week. Then I just have to dump the contents of the bag in a mixing bowl, add the liquid ingredients, stir and on we go. 

Dry ingredients mixed together
After liquid ingredients are added, but not absorbed.

Did I mention this freezes beautifully? In fact I freeze the bread soon after it has cooled and I have sliced it. There is a corner of my freezer reserved for the stack of Daily Bread containers, and when I see we are down to the last container, it's baking day. I can mix up the batch in 5 minutes or so, and finish the baking/cooling/slicing process during the day as I have time. 

I have successfully traveled with the Daily Bread, by packing slices into a freezer-weight quart zippy bag (yes in a suitcase). I carried a few slices in a napkin into the hotel's breakfast room, toasted it in their toaster, and enjoyed it with cream cheese and a touch of jam. Certainly better for me than the bread and waffles usually available at the hotel!

Here is the recipe I have developed as my favorite version of the Daily Bread. This is how I make it most frequently. 

Cindy's Daily Bread

1 cup sunflower seeds, raw, shelled
1/2 cup walnuts or almonds, chopped
1/2 cup flax meal (or half seeds, half meal)
1/2 cup hemp seeds (or hearts, shelled, raw)
1/2 cup oat fiber (oat bran or rolled oats work too)
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
4 tbsp psyllium seed husks (available at Trader Joe's, a health food store or online)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil
1-1/2 cups water

Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, until well blended. Heat water with coconut oil and maple syrup until oil is melted. Stir the water/syrup/oil mixture and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir well. It may be very wet, but the dry ingredients will absorb the liquid as it sets.

Spoon into three mini-loaf pans, which have been sprayed with olive or coconut oil spray. Pat into the pans with the back of a spoon. The liquid should be absorbing and you will see the mixture holds together. Set the pans out of the way for an hour or so (up to 24 hours if you need to). Heat your oven to 350 degrees F, and bake the three loaves for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 300 degrees F, and remove the bread from the pans, turn the loaves upside down directly on the racks, and let bake another 30 minutes. There should be a somewhat hollow sound when you tap on the loaves. Sometimes I turn the heat off after 20 minutes and let the loaves set in the oven another 20-30 minutes to cool. 

When cool enough to touch, slice the loaves carefully with a very sharp large chef's knife (you will be slicing through seeds and nuts). I slice each loaf into 10 small slices. Pack the slices into a freezer container, and store in freezer.

When ready to use the bread, remove the number of slices you want and toast them from the frozen state. We use a toaster oven, but I have used a regular toaster and used wooden tongs to remove the toast. Top with your choice of favorite toppings, savory or sweet.

Approximate nutrition facts: I do not have an "official" nutrition list for this recipe. I did some research however, and as written above and sliced into 30 small slices, each slice has approximately 85 calories, 7 grams fat, 2.3 grams net carbs (carbs less fiber), 3 grams protein, and .7 gram sugars. It's gluten-free (if made with GF oats), and dairy-free. 

NOTE: The psyllium seed husks are a great source of fiber (and are sold for that purpose), so be aware that your digestive system will have more fiber going through. Be sure you drink plenty of water! The psyllium (along with the chia) also does a great job of holding the bread ingredients together without the need for egg or other binder.

Two batches resting before baking

And fresh from the oven

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Simple and Delicious - Pork Roast and Veggies

This is one of our favorite dinners and so easy....

I roast a pork sirloin roast (I cut the large "tip" roasts in half when I roast them and save one for a second meal), with a couple of small sweet potatoes alongside. The onions? Cut a large onion in half, season as desired (I put a bit of worcestershire sauce, butter, salt and pepper) and cover with a heat-proof plastic wrap, allowing a vent hole. Microwave until soft. Or add to the roast and sweet potatoes (without the plastic of course).

And of course One-Minute Broccoli. Bring broccoli and water to a rolling boil, let boil about one minute and turn off heat. In another 2-3 minutes, drain. It shouldn't be crispy, but firm. Yum.

I like to have homemade Aioli to spoon over the broccoli of course.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Clean-Out Chicken Curry

After over 30 years of cooking almost daily for 2-5 people, I should have this under control by now. But I am still wondering what to cook for dinner nearly every day.

I use various Thai chili pastes quite often, along with coconut cream and other Asian spices. One of our oft-repeated meals is a Thai chicken curry, made with whatever is in the refrigerator. They are almost always delicious, and never repeated. What makes this work is that I always have boneless chicken breasts in the freezer, pre-cut and packaged in freezer zip bags. Here is what we had tonight.

Clean-Out Thai Curry

(amounts are approximate...)

1 lb boneless chicken breast, cubed
half large onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, shredded
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large stalk kale, massaged and chopped
handful of fresh peas
1 zucchini, sliced
**Trader Joe's Thai Dry Chili Paste, about 2 tablespoons
olive or coconut oil
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut cream (I use Trader Joe's, in the brown can)

Saute the chicken breast and Thai chili paste in hot olive or coconut oil in a large dutch oven or wok. While it is cooking, prepare vegetables. (Quantity depends on what's in the house....) When chicken is about half-cooked, remove to a bowl, add a bit more oil and heat. Add onion, celery, pepper, carrot, and kale, and saute over fairly high heat, stirring frequently. When softened, add pre-cooked chicken, peas and zucchini and mix well. Add chicken stock and coconut cream, mix and let cook until veggies are desired doneness. I usually pop the wok lid on for a few minutes.

Serve in bowls, or if you eat grains, over brown rice.

This can be turned into a delicious soup by adding more chicken stock and coconut cream. Fresh garlic is a great addition of course, but I forgot tonight. Lemongrass or sliced fresh basil is also good. I always use onion, usually have celery and carrot as well. Green beans or asparagus would be delicious.

**I like Mae Ploy chili pastes, but they are pretty spicy for most tastes. (It doesn't take much.) The Thai Kitchen brand is available widely and is good too and milder. This TJ's dry paste is very different, with a bit of a kick but certainly tolerable for everyone. I suggest you taste a bit before adding it to the pot, or start small (1 tbsp) and add more if desired. The Mae Ploy pastes can "put hair on your chest" as my father used to tell me.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Is this the Ultimate Flatbread?

Seedy flatbread hidden by slices of Manchego cheese,
tomatoes, cucumber and a plop of aioli. I forgot to take a picture
before I decorated it. Yum.
First off, this recipe originated over at Oh She Glows, and I am so glad to find it! Please visit the original recipe here. I'm going to share my version.

Ultimate Seedy Flatbread

(Savory Italian version)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (the shelled pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup organic buckwheat flour (or other friendly gluten-free flour) seeds
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
Mix dry ingredients together (including seasonings if desired), add water and stir until moistened. Spread into either a 9x9" square baking pan, or another similar sized pan, that has been sprayed with either olive oil or coconut oil spray. I used a smallish 9x13" pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until it is firm. Cool slightly and cut into squares.

The Italian seasoned version is delicious with a bit of melted pecorino romano and a slice of fresh tomato. How about pesto? Some goat cheese?

I'm looking forward to trying other versions - this is great for a quick lunch or snack.

Monday, November 11, 2013

What's for Dessert? or, Another Pumpkin Bar Recipe!

Has anyone noticed that this blog has been suspiciously quiet? I didn't think so.

S and I have been eating by "The Plan" for several months now - more or less. We were pretty strict in the beginning, but once we started to "test" different foods, things got hard. Short story is that it is a great protocol for testing for food sensitivities or allergies — but not a lose-weight-fast plan. If you have a social life and eat outside of your own kitchen even occasionally, it can be a challenge. HOWEVER. I have learned a great deal about how my body works, what foods work better for me, and how to decrease inflammation in my body. And that has totally been worth it. I now avoid all corn and cow-dairy products as much as possible, and feel so much better for it. I drink more water, take my probiotics, and pay attention to how my body likes the foods I feed it. (It likes goat cheese.)

Now, for dessert. I wanted to come up with a quick fall dessert last night, and did a fast internet search for a "paleo pumpkin cake" since I had basic ingredients around and wanted to use up some almond butter. I found this one by Erica at the, and it was a hit. I'm retyping it since I made some minor changes. I used a larger pan, and made Pumpkin Bars, and our brownie-loving friends devoured them.

Paleo Pumpkin Bars

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup almond butter (I used creamy)
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips (organic are better)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice blend (that's what I had; you could also use pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg or just use the cinnamon)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat eggs and honey together; beat in pumpkin puree and almond butter. Add remaining ingredients, and pour into a 9x13" pan. Bake 20-25 minutes, until they test done. Allow to cool and cut into squares. To be fancy, you could frost with some coconut cream or "cheat" with some real whipped cream, but they are excellent plain. 

Please note that these are quite different from Hilary's Pumpkin Bars, which are made with coconut flour. Those are yummy too! Try both and have a Pumpkin-Bar-Off. Sounds like a good party idea.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Finally Figured Out What's for Breakfast

Eating Paleo/primal/low-carb/gluten-free/whatever has been a revelation in many ways. I feel so much better, have lost a bit of weight and generally have more energy. But breakfast? You can only eat so many eggs, even with a bit of bacon or spinach or sriracha. Or all three. I save wheat and rice for special occasions, and usually only eat a small amount with no negative effects. Cornbread, on the other hand, generally means an instant headache.

I found a recipe for a "Skinny Muffin" in Jorge Cruise's book "The 100" and it looked interesting. Flax meal, eggs, healthy oil; all ingredients I regularly use. I tried it, once, as written, and then immediately took off and developed my own Breakfast Muffin. 

The real clincher for this recipe? Three small muffins, usually eaten with a bit of butter/olive oil spread, regularly keep me satisfied for three-five hours. And that's impressive.

First, the basic muffin recipe.

Cindy's Breakfast Muffins

5 eggs
2 tbsp melted coconut oil or mild olive oil
1/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup flaxseed meal
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1 packet (or 1-2 teaspoons) stevia (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Beat eggs, oil and almond milk together; add dry ingredients and stir to blend. Lightly grease (I use Trader Joe's coconut oil spray) a muffin tin, and divide the batter for 12 muffins. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

These muffins are small, and not anything like those giant pieces of cake that Costco calls a muffin. Split, and enjoy with a bit of butter, yogurt, ricotta or cream cheese or whatever makes you happy.

Now for Weekend Muffins.

Do you have one of these in your cupboard?
I used the same batter and cooked the muffins in my old grilled-cheese-sandwich maker. I'm sure it made more than 12, but we ate them so fast I didn't have time to count.
Weekend Muffins!

Somehow the new shape made the difference. We split these, spread with greek yogurt and added fresh raspberries. My husband drizzled some maple syrup over his, and I found a jar of homemade plum jam in the refrigerator and added a tiny smidge. Delicious! Who needs waffles?

Well, I bet you could cook the batter in a waffle iron, or even as pancakes in a cast iron skillet. Enjoy!

Monday, April 8, 2013

What Would Hil Eat: Dinner + Mug Cake

After a weekend of not-much-cooking, I had a cooking marathon yesterday. I made Paleo Mayo, roasted some sweet potatoes, browned ground pork, made pumpkin bars, then made dinner. Sauteed kale, roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots, and chicken with leeks.

Starting with kale, wash the leaves and cut off the big stems, then roughly chop the leaves (not your fingers...I've learned the hard way).

In a large skillet on medium high, melt some coconut oil, then pile in your kale. It might look like it won't fit, but trust me, it will cook way down.

Here is where you can get creative: add some garlic, seasonings, a little balsamic (if that floats your boat), maybe a little chicken broth or water to help the kale soften. Don't add too much liquid or it will get soggy. My favorite lately has been a little garlic, some chicken broth and a splash of balsamic, salt and pepper, then some honey (good idea, Mel!) toward the end to make a bit of a glaze. Let it simmer for a while, using tongs to flip and stir occasionally. At this point, I usually test a piece of kale to see if it's cooked--I like it a little crunchy. Turn the heat off.

My mom has recently recommended leeks (who knew?) sauteed with chicken, so I decided to try it. I used chicken tenders (aka chicken breasts cut into smaller pieces, thank you Sprouts).

Leeks can be misleading. They're huge when you buy them, but you only end up using maybe half of the whole stalk. But fear not, there are so many layers in a leek, you'll still end up with plenty. I only used one medium/large leek for this and it was enough.

Cut off the root and the top (the thick green leaves won't be good to eat), leaving the white/lighter green part. Cut it in half lengthwise and slice pretty thin. It's easiest to wash them now because there are so many layers...rinse in a colander and let dry a bit.

We'll pretend I remembered to wash them...
In a large skillet over medium high, melt coconut oil, then toss in the leeks. I think I added a little bit of water here to help them cook. Let them simmer and soften for a while, then add your chicken. As the chicken is cooking, season the pieces, then flip and repeat. The leeks will keep cooking with the chicken, and the whole pan will brown, so have some oil/broth ready to keep it from burning or drying out. Cook time will depend on the size of your chicken, so use your best judgement and don't overcook it!

Peel and chop some whole carrots. Rinse and chop Brussels sprouts (halves or quarters depending on the size).  Toss in olive oil and salt/pepper/whatever you want.  Put in the oven at 425 for approximately 15-20 minutes, but keep an eye on it, they might cook faster, or might take longer than that.

The way I cook, nothing is ready at the same time, so I just plate it then microwave the whole thing.

2 eggs
1/2 ripe banana
1 tbsp warmed coconut oil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp cocoa
dash of cinnamon
dash of salt
Get creative, add what you want!

Either in a bowl or the food processor, mix eggs and banana until combined, add coconut oil, then the dry ingredients and keep mixing. Pour into a mug and microwave for 2.5 to 3 minutes or until cooked through. I only ate half, topped with chocolate chips and a little almond butter.