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Archive for September, 2013

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I bought some bananas this week and they definitely ended up on the way to mush a little faster than I expected. So instead of throwing away 4 bananas I decided to freeze them and wait a few days to gather some supplies to make some banana muffins. It just so happened that someone was talking to me about reces pieces the day before which gave me the idea to combine the two.

 

The idea in place I then looked up a recipe for whole wheat chocolate chip muffins where I would just sub in reces pieces instead. First hit turned out to be a good choice!

 

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup butter – Its not a bad idea to soften it in the microwave for 15 seconds or so first.
  •  1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda – woops, turns out I actually skipped over this one by accident.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (I did not really measure I just threw all 4 in. The recipe says roughly 3 should do the trick)
  • 1/4 cup honey – I had exactly this amount left! It took a little patience to let it collect and drip out.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup Reces Pieces

 

Directions :

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Mix together your butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
  3. Beat in the bananas, eggs and honey.
  4.  Add in the Flour, roughly 1/4 cup at a time until your batter is all well mixed.
  5.  Using a spoon you can then mix in your reces pieces until they are evenly mixed into the batter.
  6.  Spoon your batter into your muffin pan filling each spot up to the top (This recipe does not really rise too much so you don’t have to worry about it rising over the sides). Now I was a bonehead and thought I had the muffin liners but I didn’t. And then I was even more of a bonehead because I forgot to spray the pan with cooking spray before I started filling up the cups. However, it turns out I didn’t need either, the muffins came out very easily.
  7.  You will want to bake these for 23 to 28 minutes (or until you can poke a toothpic into them and it comes out clean). I put a timer on for 24 minutes, poked into a few and then left them in for an additional 2 minutes while I prepared my cooling rack.
  8.  Let them sit for a minute or two in the pan then remove them and let them cool on a cooling rack / plate.

Verdict :

I have only had one so far but I was very happy with the result. The peanut butter in the reces pieces had melted a little bit which gave the nice whole wheat texture of the banana muffin a sweet edge. Very tasty!

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I was tired of buying cookies from the grocery store this summer so I decided to bake some cookies of my own to satisfying my sweet tooth. Note that 95 percent of my ingredients are organic.

 

Ingredients :

 

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • a dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup uncooked quick rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts – I negelected these as I didn’t think I needed any and I was all out.

 

Instructions :

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine the sugars in a large bowl.
  3. Cream the sugars with the softened butter.
  4. Add in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Cream until smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if using). Add slowly to the wet mixture until incorporated.
  6. Once smooth, stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and walnuts.
  7. Using a teaspoon or a small ice cream/cookie scoop, drop rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges.

Note : The whole wheat colour makes it a little difficult to judge if the edges are golden brown or not. It’s best to put your timer at 12 minutes and check at that point.

 

Verdict :

These cookies were pretty good. I ended up cooking them a few minutes too long to make sure the edges were golden brown. In retrospect I should have just taken them out at the 12 minute mark instead of leaving them in for another 2 or 3 minutes. The end result was a very good tasting cookie that was just a little hard bite into. I think if I had not left them in for longer they would have turned out perfect. If you do leave them in too long all you have to do is pop them into the microwave for 20 seconds or so before you eat them and it should soften them up a bit.

I am hoping to make these again sometime soon and test out my theory of taking them out at 12 minutes.

 

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I decided for once that I was going to try to make an entire pizza from scratch. That means the dough and the sauce. This was an interesting challenge but I was certainly up to the task.

Home made pizza sauce –

 I found this recipe online and it seemed to get some ok reviews so I tried it out. I did my first major cooking blunder with this recipe as I ended up getting a large can of Tomato sauce and not tomato paste . I just assumed they were of the same consistency and boy oh boy was I wrong. The result was that I had to reduce the sauce for 45 minutes to get it down to the proper consistency. Lesson learned.

 Ingredients :

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Directions :

  1. In a small bowl combine all your ingredients together until well mixed.

  2. Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired.

 

The Dough –

This recipe I used my Joy of Cooking book. It turned out pretty good.

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/3 cups of warm water (105 F to 115 F)
  • 1 package of active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil / Safflower Oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • optional 1 tbsp of sugar – I neglected this one.

Instructions :

  1. In a large bowl mix ingredients together by hand or with a mixer on low speed for a minute or two.
  2. Knead dough for 10 minutes by hand. You can add a little flour to your hands to prevent sticking if needed.
  3. Coat a second bowl with olive oil and be sure to flip the ball of dough in the bowl until it is completely coated in a thin coat of oil.
  4. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth or plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in a warm area. Should take 1 to 2 hours or so.
  5. Punch the dough into two separate balls and cover loosely with wrap / cloth for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Lightly dust your pizza pan / plate with flour before spreading your dough onto each pan. Remember this makes roughly 2 12 inch pizzas. A rolling pin is pretty handy to start off the dough, then you can use your hands to finish spreading it, making sure you leave enough around the edge to make a crust.
  7. You can brush olive oil over your dough at this point if you want. This is apparently supposed to stop the crust from getting soggy.
  8. Set your oven to Preheat at 475 F

 

Final steps :

I feel the next steps are somewhat easy but just for completeness I shall list them off anyway.

Once you have your pizzas rolled out you can spread your sauce evenly over both pies and add you toppings.

In my case I decided to go with just veggies this time around but in reality you can put whatever you want on there.

Top the toppings with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven at 475 F. I generally cook the pizza until the crust is nice and risen and the cheese is melted and on the verge of browning. I think this generally takes 15 to 20 minutes. I generally put a timer on for 10 minutes so that I can open the oven and rotate the pies to ensure an even cooking.

 

Verdict :

These pizzas turns out pretty good for a first try. I had been making my pizzas with pre-packaged pizza dough kits and I found it turned out quite similar to that. Of course the whole wheat crust has a slightly different texture and taste, but as a whole these recipes produced two really good pizzas. It is a little more work than usual but I found I was able to get the dough to rise a lot more than the kits, and therefore I was actually able to get two pizzas out of it instead of just one. More time… more food.

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A calm in the storm

Ok so I’ve had a bit of an issue with my macbook that stalled the production of any posting that I was going to to for April, May and June for that matter. The main issue was that the photos I took of my dishes were on my laptop hardrive and it crashed rather horribly. I was seeing if I could replace it before I started over but it appears I was plum out of luck on that front.

 

I’ve finally decided that I would post the recipes anyway and just not have the photos to go along with them.

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