Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Overnight Oats, Breakfast in a jar:

    So I just attended my first all organic vegan/vegetarian cooking class this evening, and I LOVED it. It's a great way to get introduced to some delicious new recipes, see them made, and actually get to taste them before putting the time into making them for yourself.
   This evening Andrea (cooking class instructor) made 4 different vegan recipes for hot summer days when a good, healthy, but quick and cool meal is perfect when you'd rather be out doors the in a hot kitchen. All of them were made with whole grains, and it was nice to see that some whole grain breakfast foods can be pretty quick (when your not using things like instant oats).
   I enjoyed all of them but surprisingly my favorite was the "Overnight Oats" I say surprisingly because when it comes to cereals oatmeal, or anything like it has never been high on my list of foods I like. (Just ask my mom!) But after this class I bought everything I needed to be able to put it together tonight for breakfast in the morning.
  The class was in our organic vegetarian store, Down to Earth just down the road from me. So that also makes it easy to buy anything I need for the recipes that I like. And this meal, which feeds 2 only cost me about 6$ and everything in it is totally organic.
 So here is the recipe, keep in mind it needs made the night before, but only takes about 5 minutes to throw together.

     Overnight Oats:
Serves 2

 2/3 cup  Whole Oats
 1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
 Pinch of Sea Salt
 2/3 cup Almond Milk
 2/3 (5oz) Yogurt of your choice (soy, almond, coconut, dairy)
 1/2 Cup Banana

1. Stir all the ingredients together in a large bowl or a big jar. Gently fold in the banana last to keep it from bruising. Cover and let sit over night in the fridge. (I mixed mine in my 8 cup measuring and then spooned it into a quart sized mason jar with a lid to keep in the fridge)

2. To serve, remove desired amount of oatmeal. (Warm in a sauce pan or microwave if you don't want it cold) But it is best cold! So cool and creamy and sweet.

3. Top with your favorite nut butter, fruit, jam, or cereal if you like.

   I used coconut almond milk, soy vanilla yogurt, and apple bananas in mine. It smells amazing and I am looking forward to digging into in the morning. The recipe says you can warm it up if you like, but I think that kind of defeats the purpose of a cool breakfast and it's so good as a cold cereal. You can add pretty much any yogurt flavor you like, and could try mix and matching with more or different fruits other then bananas if you want. So this cereal can be something new every time you make it, if it turns out to be a hit for you and your family.

I know G and I will. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Papayas should never be refrigerated." -Alice Walters

  Papayas, once you slice them open there a beautiful brilliant orange with hints of pink near the rind. Their little dark seeds make them look so exotic, and they smell so warm and sweet. The sweet smell of papaya is noticeable even before you slice into one. And even with all these positive attributes I still can't convince myself to eat much of them raw, and never warm. But I had been given about 1/2 a dozen of them and just hated to let them go to waste sitting in my kitchen.
  So after some thinking and online browsing I decided on Papaya Jam! It seemed like a perfect idea, and I have yet to meet a jam I didn't like. And the recipe I used is so simple and calls for no pectin so it has a softer jam/fruit preserve feel to it, which I like.

Here is what I used:
 6 cups  mashed Papaya
 6 cups  Sugar 
 8 Tbsp. Butter
 4 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Mix the sugar and mashed papaya together in a large sauce pan. Put over low heat and cook down until sticky. This part will take the longest. So set aside a couple hours and don't rush it. You'll want to stir it often so the sugar doesn't burn.

This is how it will look after being added to the sauce pan. Mostly just like smashed up papaya.

Then it will cook down and get nice and sticky. And turn to a richer orange color.

After it's been all cooked down add in the butter and lemon juice and stir for about a minute until it is all mixed together well.
I then carefully spooned the jam into 3 self sealing pint sized jars. It might not always come out exactly 3, it depends on just how much it's been cooked down. You can put it into smaller 1/2 pint jam jars, or really any size you'd like. But once you pop the seal to use the jam it wont stay good as long as the sealed jars. So since I don't go through jam super fast (except pineapple jam!) I like to use the smaller size. Once the jars are filled and lids are on, flip them upside down for an hour or two until they have sealed. The little hollow spot in the center of the lid should be down.

I tried some on toast before sealing my last jar and I must say I will now eat way more papaya! This jam is so delicious! And after reading more about Papaya and all the good things it does for the body. Well it makes me want to eat even more. :)
And tell me what you think of your own jam turn out. Or what are some of your favorite jam recipes? I am always looking for more!

"How can a nation be great if it's bread tastes like Kleenex?" J.C.

    Bread baking day! So yesterday I decided it was high time for some fresh bread in the house. So I called up my mother for my favorite bread recipe, the one she had been baking for us every month for years while I was growing up. And I decided to add some little touches of my own to it.
 Her recipe is a wonderful rich whole wheat bread with a just hint of molasses. And I decided to take this rich sweet recipe and make it super nutty. Since nutty whole wheat bread is my absolute favorite sandwich bread. And it is super easy to make it organically and even vegetarian friendly by substituting the butter for sunflower, or safflower oil.
 Here is the recipe. It makes 4 loaves of bread, or you can cut it in half to make 2. Usually 1 will last us long enough that with such warm Hawaiian weather here I wrap up the 2nd loaf in Seran wrap and slip it into a gallon & 1/2 size ziplock to keep in the freezer. It'll last for weeks if you make sure it's sealed up enough not to get freezer burnt.
 In a small bowl, mix:
 1 cup room temperature Water   
 2 Tbsp. Dried baker's Yeast 
 1 tsp. Molasses
Allow this to sit for 10 minutes, until foamy. (This shows that your yeast is still alive and will make the bread rise properly.)
 Then pour it into a large bowl, along with:
  3 1/2 cups of tepid Water 
 2 cups of Milk 
 1/2 cup of Molasses (sweet or blackstrap is fine) 
 1/2 cup of melted Butter 
 1 Tbsp salt
Then beat in 1 cup of Wheat Glutton. (If you don't have this on hand you can leave it out, it only makes the bread a little springier but wont ruin your end result if you don't have it.)
 Here is where I add a touch of my own.
Before adding the flour I mix in:
  4 Tbsp. Wheat Berries 
 4 Tbsp. Chopped raw Sunflower Seeds 
 4 Tbsp. Flax Seeds 
 4 Tbsp. Oats 
 4 Tbsp. Wheat Germ 
This really gives the bread a nuttier taste that I just love! And you can adjust the amounts of each that you use, or leave out some and double up on others. I find all my grains and seeds at a local organic vegetarian store here, so try looking at a place like that if you have a hard time finding them at your local grocery.
 Add 9 cups of Whole Wheat Flour Cover and set to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Then then beat down and one at a time mixing after each addition add
4-5 cups of Whole Wheat, or Unbleached White Flour. (These flours make for a healthier bread, but you can use white flour as well. Or mix and match the flours you use. Sometimes I use half unbleached and half whole wheat, and sometimes I just use all whole wheat.) Knead in and add flour as needed until the dough becomes smooth and workable. Knead an extra 10 minutes. Cover and let rise again, for one hour.


 Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Grease 4 loaf pans. Shape loaves into the pans and let rise for about 30minutes or until doubled in size. *(Optional: I brush the tops of mine with some beaten egg and sprinkle on some of the seeds and grains I used inside the dough for a nice nutty crunchy crust.)*


 Preheat the oven to 400*F, but turn the oven down to 350*F as soon as you have put the loaves in to bake. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool for about 2 hours before storing. (I brush mine lightly with some milk, once there right out of the pans, top sides and bottom to help keep the moist) Even though this recipe seems to have a lot of steps. It's really not hard at all, just a little time consuming. But the end result is wonderful and well worth it. For taste and health!


 Slice and enjoy! I just love the smell and taste of home baked bread. And everyone just eats this recipe up!