Baking Bread for the Impatient

This is the only real bread I have ever (and quite possibly, will ever) make.  It does not require yeast.  Yeast is dumb.  You have to wait for it to rise.  Unlike most things, the expiration date does actually matter.  Yeast can die.  Why?!?!  Things should not be allowed to expire…so inconvenient.

Cross country requires a lot of carbo-loading.  Not so much in advance as just on race day.  Stomachs are finicky.  Alas, I am forced to eat bagel after granola bar after apple after banana every. single. race.  Every single race, I always swear I’m done with carbs because I’m so bloated after force feeding myself simple sugars.  And after every race, the first thing I want to do is eat a sandwich.  An little anecdote regarding my will power.

So, here I am, the day after a race, baking bread.  The holy grail of all carbohydrates.  Haters, go ahead and hate.

This is oat soda bread.  It is fluffy.  It doesn’t have yeast, it has baking soda.  Eat this bread.

Thank you Heidi for this recipe.  It has allowed me the great pleasure of homemade bread without a bread-maker or dumb packets of yeast.  I am eternally grateful.

recipe from 101 cookbooks

2 cups oat flour

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat)

1 1/4 t salt

1 3/4 t baking soda

scant 1 3/4 cup buttermilk

oats/seeds/nuts for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well.  Pour in buttermilk in intervals (you don’t want dough to be too dry/too wet).  Mix until just combined.  On a well-floured surface, knead bread for 30ish seconds into a round dome.  Lightly coat the surface of the bread with remaining buttermilk and roll in sprinklings.  Put bread on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (or lightly floured).  Bake on middle rack for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, move rack to upper level and bake for 20 more minutes, or until the bread makes a “hollow” sound when knocked on (credits to Heidi).  Allow bread to cool on a wire rack and enjoy it fully.

A note: oat flour can be easily made by pulsing oats in a food processor for about 2 minutes.  2 cups of oats = scant 2 cups flour.

Buttermilk can be easily made by combining 1 T white vinegar with desired amount of milk.  Stir and let sit for a few minutes.

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Salty Oat Cookies

I’m sure you’ve heard of the whole salty/sweet combination thing that’s been really popular for the past year or so.  Salted caramel, anyone?  Yeah, thought so.

But have you tried salty cookies?  At first thought it sounds gross, I’ll admit.  But it’s not!  Especially not when salty is combined with sweet chocolate, crunchy oats, and savory coconut.  The yum never stops.

These cookies, in addition to being delicious, are very hearty.  As in, eat-a-cookie-for-breakfast hearty.  You can totally do that, especially if you substitute raisins instead of chocolate chips (but even if you don’t….I won’t tell).  Judgment-free zone right here.

Oats are healthy.  So these cookies are healthy.  Right?  Here’s the deal.  These cookies do have oil in them.  These cookies do have chocolate in them.  But oats, coconut, and whole-wheat flour take away some of the guilt.  And if you’re going to eat a cookie, why not eat one that has fiber and healthy fats and will load you up with energy?  Vote oats 2012! (Seriously, oats are looking like a much better candidate…)

Annnddddd, oats are a very versatile ingredient.  They are complemented by so many other things: chocolate, coconut, dried fruit, salt, cocoa powder, nuts, etc.  Which means that you can get creative with these cookies.  As in, you don’t have to do everything I tell you (shocking!  I know).

So even though mine are delicious, you have the freedom to make your cookies in whatever way you enjoy most.  Get baking!

recipe

makes ~22 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole-wheat, half regular)

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1 t salt

1 1/2 cups canola oil

a bit more than 1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips/chunks

good quality sea salt

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl of an electric mixer (with paddle attachment), beat oil and sugar until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Beat to combine.  Add oats and coconut and stir.  Add chocolate and stir some more.

Using an ice cream scooper, shape 22 cookies on baking pans.  Sprinkle generously with sea salt.  Bake at 350˚F for 13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

[Try to] allow the cookies to cool before enjoying 🙂

Banana-Coconut Skillet Pillows

I’m thankful that people in this world, people such as Joy the Baker, exist in this world.  Because of Joy, things like vegan chocolate cakes are an everyday occurrence, kale marries coconut, and toasted oats become part of a milkshake (that is totally healthy, by the way).

I’m thankful for Joy always.  But especially lately.  Because she has brought breakfast dumplings into the world, using the ever-versatile banana.  Oh, and did I mention these dumplings were originally gluten-free?

Choosing between waffles and pancakes is tough.  I know it is; I’ve been there, I’ve felt your pain.  That’s why we have dumplings.  Or skillet pillows, if you will.  Thankfully, you don’t have to choose between the two classics.  They’re not a waffle and not quite a pancake, but whatever they are, they’re delicious.

Joy serves these beauties with vanilla bean maple butter.  That sounds glorious, and this may come as a shock to you, but I really don’t do butter straight up like that.  I’d rather have it whipped with some flour and sugar and then possibly fried in a skillet (like these dumplings, for instance).  It also could have something to do with the fact that I have yet to purchase a vanilla bean.

I figured since I’d already used some coconut milk, why not go all the way with this dairy-free kick?  I topped these with sliced banana, shredded coconut, and a just drizzle of plain maple syrup (these are quite sweet already).

Treat yourself to these clouds of comfort and Joy.

recipe for 16 dumplings

NOTE: This dumpling recipe is (nearly) identical to Joy’s.  Modifications include using all-purpose flour where she used gluten-free; abstaining from butter; etc.

1 1/2 cup flour

2 T granulated sugar

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1/2 t cinnamon

1 egg

1 T canola oil

1 t vanilla extract

1 cup coconut milk

1 ripe banana, mashed

toppings:

maple syrup

shredded coconut

banana

cinnamon {to serve}

Whisk together dry ingredients in bowl.  Beat together wet ingredients in other bowl.  Pour wet into dry and stir until the mixture just comes together.  Add banana.

Heat a nonstick skillet; add your grease of choice (butter, canola oil, ghee, coconut oil, etc.).

Add 2 T batter into skillet and cook until “golden brown” on bottom.  Let pillows be fluffy–don’t smash them.  Flip and repeat.

Serve pillows immediately with desired amount of toppings and enjoy! 🙂

The So-Many-Regrets Smoothie

This smoothie is here to cure your problems, erase your faults, and cleanse you of your sins.  Yes, this smoothie works miracles.  Just call me a genius.

Perhaps you had one to many doughnuts.  Drink this!  Perhaps you said something you shouldn’t have.  Drink this (and an apology wouldn’t hurt either)!  Perhaps you stayed up too late at a party…or in your bed watching Netflix.   Perhaps you didn’t.  This smoothie doesn’t judge, it heals. So you should drink this!

Kale is full of calcium to make you strong.  Wheatgrass is full of chlorophyll to make you…clean.  Yeah.  Add some banana…mmmmmm potassium.  No dehydration here.

We love what you do, kale, but sometimes you come on a little too strong.  That’s why we tone you down with peanut butter and almond milk.

If you’re nervous because you’ve already got the Sad-Sunday feeling on the first Sunday after summer, don’t be.  I’m right there with you.  So let’s get energized with this smoothie.

This smoothie makes us better.  Let’s feel better, be better, and do better.  I know we can.

recipe

[serves 1]

1 banana, broken into pieces and frozen

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, chilled

1 heaping cup chopped kale, no stems

a bit less than 1 T powdered wheat grass (depends on how much you can handle)

1 T peanut butter

1/2 t almond or vanilla extract

1 t honey or agave, if desired

Process frozen banana and almond milk in blender.  Add kale and blend until smooth.  Add peanut butter, almond extract, and wheatgrass powder.  Blend and serve immediately.  🙂

Swiss Summer Oats

I have no idea what makes these oats Swiss; they probably aren’t.  But a friend passed on a recipe for Swiss oats and this is what I came up with.

During the winter I eat oatmeal almost every day.  Sometimes for lunch.  Sometimes for dinner.  Most of the time for breakfast.

When it’s hot outside, though, I take a hiatus from oatmeal.  Needless to say, I haven’t had oatmeal in quite some time.  In fact, I didn’t even have oatmeal in my house until I was inspired by this recipe.

These oats have become a quick favorite of mine.  They are cool and refreshing but still hearty and filling.  Often times when I enjoy a bowl of granola, I let the cereal sit for a while and absorb some of the milk.  These oats are similar to the soft and creamy texture that ensues.

Lots of oat-loving folk rave about overnight oatmeal.  This is kind of like that, but better.

Feel free to play around with combinations you like.  I used fruits that I had on hand, but use whatever combination you prefer/have.  I used agave and added some cinnamon, but brown sugar might be a more traditional sweetener.  And I could totally see some sort of nutbutter coming onto the scene here.  Next time 😉

Recipe

(serves 1)

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats

milk (any kind)

1/2 banana, diced

small handful of fresh cherries, pitted and quartered

1/8 cup plain Greek yogurt

toasted slivered almonds

1 T agave nectar

cinnamon, if desired

Put oats in a bowl and pour in enough milk to just barely cover the oats.  Cover and refrigerate overnight, at least 8 hours.

In the morning (or whenever you happen to be eating these), drain out leftover liquid.  Top oats with remaining ingredients.  Enjoy 🙂

 

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Am I the only person who doesn’t know what a chia pet is?

Well, now I do.  But honestly, when I first heard about chia seeds, “ch-ch-ch-CHIA” did not blare through my brain the way it seems to for some people.

I first used chia seeds by adding them straight into my water-bottle and sipping them throughout the course of the day.  Sometimes I stir them into my morning yogurt too.  The seeds absorb liquid and turn gelatinous.

Chia seed pudding is a sweet and creamy breakfast, snack, or dessert, yet it is loaded with health benefits.  Chia seeds boast fiber, protein, and healthy omega fats.  Their ability to absorb water allows for continuous hydration.

If you’ve never tried chia seeds, I encourage you to jump on board.  Flax seeds have a somewhat nutty taste, but chia seeds literally taste like nothing.

This easy pudding is a great place to start.

Recipe

Yields 3-4 servings

2 cups almond milk

2/3 cup chia seeds

3/4 t vanilla extract

2-3 t sweetener (I used agave nectar)

fruit, nuts, spices, or other garnishes

Combine almond milk, vanilla extract, and chia seeds in a large bowl and stir.  Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.  Once mixture has taken on gelatinous/tapioca-like texture, add sweetener and refrigerate.  Serve chilled, topped with fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and more sweetener, if desired.

Sweet Sunflower Seed Butter

I found this recipe on Heidi’s blog (101cookbooks.com).

And now here it is on my blog.

To say I love cinnamon would be an understatement.  I add it to my food whenever possible.

Heidi uses vanilla bean paste, but I made this with good old vanilla extract.

The only downside to this treat is the loud sound of your food processor 🙂

Recipe Adapted from 101 Cookbooks:

Ingredients:

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

2-3 T canola oil (sunflower oil might be better)

3 t vanilla extract

2 t ground cinnamon

1-2 T cane sugar

Toast sunflower seeds on a rimmed baking sheet in an oven at 325˚F until “golden and fragrant,” about 7 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

In food processor, pulse seeds with 1 T oil.  Continue to pulse, drizzling in remaining oil.  Add in vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar.  Pulse until desired consistency, scraping down sides of blender as needed.

Delicious as a spread on a crisp apple 🙂

Dessert for Breakfast

Rainy days always make me crave warm food.  And rain or shine, I always want pancakes.

These are a real indulgence.  Bananas and Nutella mixed are into the batter; pancakes are topped with more Nutella and carmelized bananas.

Carmelizing the bananas eliminates the need for maple syrup.  Bananas are rolled in sugar and then skillet fried to create an unmatched sweetness.

I adapted my pancake recipe from the Joy of Cooking’s recipe for Whole Grain Pancakes.

 

To carmelize bananas:

Cut 2 bananas into thick strips or rounds.  Roll in granulated sugar until coated.

On well oiled skillet over medium heat, fry for 3-4 minutes, or until underside is golden brown.  Flip and fry other side for 1 minute.  Transfer to oiled plate.

Pancake Recipe

(adapted from Joy of Cooking)

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl:

1/4 t salt

1/4 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

3/4 cup white flour

3/4 cup whole wheat/whole grain flour

In  another bowl, combine:

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 T honey

1 T canola oil

Mix wet ingredients into dry.  Add:

1-2 overripe banana (mashed)

1 T Nutella (or other chocolate-nut spread)

On oiled skillet, drop desired amount of batter.  Flip once when bubbles have risen to the surface of the pancake.

Serve warm, topped with carmelized bananas and more Nutella, if desired.  Enjoy 🙂