Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blue cheese Carrot Slaw

This carrot slaw just came together with pantry items, and it's pretty darn tasty! 

Blue Cheese Carrot Slaw

7 medium sized carrots, stem end cut off, grated 
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
1 green onion, chopped
Salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and add salt to taste. Allow to sit at least half an hot for flavors to really meld. Enjoy! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Spaghetti Squash with Brown Butter Vinnaigrette

My husband loved this.  Truly loved it.  I have never seen the man do anything more than tolerate squash, so this is a keeper!

One spaghetti squash

One cube butter (mine was unsalted)
One bunch green onions
White vinegar
Lemon juice
White sugar
Parmesan cheese

Pierce the squash and roast on a cookie sheet, 350 degrees, for about an hour and a half.  

Brown the butter- melt in a 12" skillet over medium heat.  It will melt, foam, stop foaming, and finally small particles will sink to the bottom and begin to brown.  Slowly cook until particles are medium brown, stirring occasionally.

Chop bottom half of onions, discarding the roots.  Reserve leafy tops for another recipe.  Should be about 3/4 cup.  You could also use leeks.

Sauté onions in browned butter until soft,about five minutes.  Whisk in white vinegar, about 1/4 cup, and a few splashes of lemon juice.  Add about 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp sugar, and a few grinds of pepper.  Seasonings are to taste.  It should be balanced- the sugar is just enough to balance the vinegar, not enough to make it sweet.

Halve the squash and scoop into a bowl. Stir in hot vinaigrette and 1/2-3/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  (I used Ball cheese)

We served this with meatballs and a salad.

Monday, October 20, 2014

"Cheezy" Garlic Popcorn

This is one of our favorite popcorn topping mixes- small flake nutritional yeast tastes startlingly like Parmesan cheese but is dairy free and high in B vitamins.  My preschooler is currently on his fourth bowl of popcorn- a clear winner!

We get our nutritional yeast in the bulk "natural foods" section of the grocery store.

Big batch of topping:
1/2 cup small flake nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

I like to pop a big batch of corn, maybe 1/4 cup, in my stirring popcorn popper with a spoonful of coconut oil, then drizzle with olive or avocado oil and sprinkle with about two tablespoons of topping mix.  Mix it up good and scoop into bowls.  It's delicious and savory!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Aunt LoLo's Grain Free Molasses Cookies

This morning, I wanted a cookie. BADLY. However, I know that eating a normal white flour/white sugar cookie will not lead to good things for me. (Not that I haven't tested the theory multiple times!
I had seen a recipe recently for The Perfect Molasses cookie, and even better, the recipe was grain free! Don't ask me why this makes it better....it just does.

Anyhow, the original recipe called for an entire stick of butter. Seeing as how I was trying to give these cookies at least a few redeeming qualities, I opted to replace half of the butter with applesauce. The resulting dough was so sweet, I was also able to forgo the honey entirely (the original recipe called for honey and molasses).

My second sheet cooked a bit longer than my first, and I preferred the dryer cookies. The first sheet has slowly turned back into dough over the course of the day. They didn't quite dry out enough.


Aunt LoLo's Grain-Free Molasses Cookies
(Adapted from Deliciously Organic)
Makes 2 dozen+ cookies
(ie - my batch made 29 cookies)

2 cups almond meal
1/4 cup corn starch
6 Tbsp. coconut flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp baking soda (I would decrease this to maybe 1 tsp)
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough out onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. The outside of the cookie should be dry and start to crack.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Eggplant with Marinara and Mozarella

I'm really not sure what to call this, other than delicious. It is warm, comforting, low-carb, and completely more-ish. Make sure to find (or make) a marinara sauce that you love, since it will be a major player in this dish!

I came up with this one afternoon when I wanted something hot and yummy for lunch. I set this up on the stove to bubble away. It simmered, covered, while I made some lunch for the kids. Once they were set up, my lunch was good to go! You can cook this either on the stove, covered, over medium low heat, or in the oven, at 300. Be careful in the oven, as the cheese can burn!

Slice yer eggplant. 

Smother yer eggplant.

Cover yer eggplant. 

Cheese yer eggplant. 

Cook yer eggplant.

Devour yer eggplant. 

Yer welcome. 

Eggplant with Marinara and Mozzarella
Serves 4

2 eggplant (Chinese, or American)
Marinara sauce (enough to cover the eggplant)
2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese

Slice eggplant, and layer in a cast-iron skillet. Cover with marinara sauce, and top with cheese. Simmer over medium low heat, or bake in 300 degree oven, until cheese is warm and melted, and the eggplant is cooked through - about 20 minutes.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Meatloaf (aka Turkey Fatty)

When I first started researching kamado grills, a few recipes came up over and over. Boston butt. Ribs. Atomic buffalo turds. Fatties. 

Some were more obvious than others. (i.e.- ribs!) Some, less so. (ATB's are bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeños.)

Tonight, I attempted my first fatty! A fatty is, at its most basic, a weave of bacon wrapped around a log of sausage, filled with onions, peppers, and plenty of cheese. They are called FATtie for a reason! 

When I made mine, I attempted to slim it down a touch. I used ground turkey instead of sausage, for starters. I also chose to simply mix in chopped onion and spices, rather than do a cheesy filling. I used regular bacon instead of turkey bacon, as I didn't want the loaf to come out too dry or crumbly. 

The resulting loaf got thumbs up from 6/7 diners. (SJ didn't like the flavor, but choked it down, slathered with ketchup.) 

This loaf fed four adults and three children, with about half the loaf left over. We had this with a generous portion of salad, some cubed melon, and Mai fun chow mein. 


Aunt LoLo's Turkey Fatty 
Serves 8-10 

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 pound bacon (not thick cut)
1/4 cup steel cut oats
1 yellow onion, diced 
2 tsp garlic salt 
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp ground black pepper 
1 tsp ground dried cumin 

Preheat kamado grill (or oven) to about 375. Set it up for indirect heat, with a large drip pan. 

While that is heating up, make your bacon weave. Lay out 8 strips of bacon horizontally, sides touching. Starting at one side, lay strips of bacon vertically across your horizontal strips, lifting alternate slices to allow the vertical pieces to go over/under alternating slices to make a solid mat of woven bacon. 

In a large mixing bowl, use a spoon to combine remaining ingredients. Carefully from the ground meat mixture into a log in the middle of your bacon mat. Gently use the mat to wrap the log, tucking in all ends. Sprinkle with ground black pepper. 

Use a large spatula (or a surgeon-steady hand) to move the wrapped load to the grate of your grill. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 (about 1.5-2.5 hours). Serve sliced, with ketchup. 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuna salad salad

I was looking for a salad that would appeal to both my tastes and those of my 7 year old. I assumed she wouldn't love tuna with blue cheese.....but I thought she would enjoy the classic combo of canned tuna and sweet relish. I was right! 

If I am only eating salad for lunch, I can eat an entire head of romaine on my own. If your appetite for salad is less robust, or if you are presenting this as a side dish, this can serve a few more people. 

Tuna Salad Salad 
Serves 1-4

1 head romaine, chopped, washed, and dried 
1 can tuna, drained
2-3 tbsp sweet pickle relish (or to taste)
2-3 tbsp blue cheese dressing (or to taste) (optional- substitute mayonnaise or any other dressing of your choice)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix well. Top with cashews and crumbled cheese if desires. Serve immediately. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Crispy Pork Belly (Siu Yuk) on a Kamado grill

Guys, sometimes a recipe is just whatever I jot down after I'm done cooking...and sometimes, that has to be good enough, for now. Otherwise, I will lose the recipe, and all that hard work is wasted! So - Siu Yuk on a Kamado Joe. Enjoy.

Kamado-cooked Siu Yuk (Crispy Pork Belly)

Pork belly, skin on
Powdered ginger
5 Spice powder
White pepper

Score the skin, or poke it several times with a knife. Rub the meat with seasonings, in order listed (ginger, 5 spice, white pepper, salt). Be generous!

Cook on a kamado grill over indirect heat at 250 for 1 hour. Move to direct heat and increase heat to 350. Watch carefully, cooking just until the skin is crispy.

Next time:
Rub the night before, and allow the meat to soak in the flavors.
Cook for at least 2 hours, until the meat is very tender.
Make sure the grill is set up for direct AND indirect grilling - I destroyed an oven kit moving my diffuser stone out of the way.

Guilt free Double Chocolate Cookies

Guilt Free Double Chocolate Cookies
Makes 16 cookies

2 cups old fashioned oats
2 medium bananas
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips 

1. Blend the oats in a blender or food processor until ground to a course flour. 

2. Mash the bananas with the cocoa and vanilla until only a few small lumps remain. 

3. Combine oat flour with banana mixture and stir until just moistened. Add chocolate chips and fold to combine. 

4. Portion out onto a greased cookie sheet.  Cook at 350 for 9-12 minutes, or until just set. Enjoy warm or cold. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Breakfast "pizza"

This came together quickly and made a really satisfying lunch! 

Aunt LoLo's Breakfast "pizza"

1 cup (100 g.) cauliflower, diced or grated (2 greens)
1 egg (1/3 lean)
2 oz. low fat mozarella, shredded (1/3 lean)
2 oz ham, chopped (1/3 lean)

In a cast iron skillet, stir fry the diced cauliflower until dry and just golden. Dump into a heat-resistant mixing bowl. Add 1 egg and stir to combine.  

Spray pan with Pam and dump your batter in. Spread it around until it is approximately 9" across. Cook over medium heat until cooked through, flipping it once. 

Remove to a plate, top with cheese and ham, and microwave 30-60 seconds, until cheese is melted. 

Enjoy! Serve with 1 cup of romaine lettuce to round out a balanced lean and green meal. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

MaMa's Garlic Sauce

My mother in law made this sauce the other night for a large family dinner as a second option for dipping boiled shrimp. It was marvelous, and a big hit! I sent the leftovers home with my sister, which (by Murphy's Law) meant my husband of course desperately needed Garlic Sauce for his lunch the next day. 

He survived without his Garlic Sauce, barely, and I celebrated by begging his mother to teach me how to make it that night. We now have a small jar of this on the counter, and life is good again. 

This would be excellent drizzled on tofu, cooked veggies, mashed potatoes, rice, chicken....you get the idea. 

MaMa's Garlic Soy Sauce 

1/8 cup oil
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup soy sauce 
3-4 teaspoons sugar (or to taste) 

In a small frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. It is ready when a wooden chopstick or spoon stuck into the oil puts it bubbles. 

Remove from heat to let cool slightly. Test the oil by dropping a piece of the minced garlic in- if it sizzles and gently starts to cook, your oil is ready. (If it sizzles violently and immediately turns dark brown, your oil is too hot.) 

Add your chopped garlic to the oil in the pan, and put it back over medium-low heat until the garlic is fragrant and cooked through. Test it by fishing a piece out and trying it. It should be nutty, slightly sweet, and not bitter or overly spicy. 

Remove from heat, allow to cool, and pour your garlic oil into a glass container. When completely cool, add soy sauce. Finish the sauce by stirring in sugar, to taste, about 3-4 teaspoons. 


Turkey "Pasta" Casserole

This meal was what happened when I wanted to do a simple pasta bake for the family...while still being able to stick to my low-carb meal plans. Turns out, cauliflower is an incredible substitute for most starches - noodles, breads, rice, mashed potatoes, etc. There are a lot of ways to prepare it, and each more delicious than the last!

To chop the cauliflower quickly, with zero mess, I used my Vitamix blender. I filled the canister half full of cauliflower, topped it off with water, pushed it to medium speed, and turned it off nearly immediately. The result was finely diced cauliflower that cooked quickly in my sauce.


Aunt LoLo's Turkey "Pasta" Casserole
Serves 6
(Each serving equals 1 Lean, 3 Green, .33 Condiments)

24 oz. ground turkey (measured AFTER cooking and draining) (4 Lean)
29 oz. canned tomatoes with their juice, pureed (6.5 Green)
8 oz. low-fat mozzarella cheese (2 lean)
20.25 oz. cauliflower, finely chopped (11.5 green)
4 wedges Lite Laughing Cow Cheese (4 healthy fats)
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1 tsp. smoked paprika (1 condiment)
1 tsp. granulated garlic (1 condiment)

1. In a skillet, brown your turkey. Drain and measure out what you need for your casserole. Set any extra aside for another meal.

2. Return meat to the pan, add your pureed tomatoes, cauliflower, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and granulated garlic.

3. Cook over low heat until the flavors are well blended, about 20-30 minutes.

4. Add your Laughing Cow cheese and stir to combine.

5. Sprinkle with mozzarella, cover, and cook on low until the cheese is melted. (Optional - stir the cheese in, if you like.)


PS - I told my kids this was Pizza Soup, and they enjoyed it quite a bit. *Grin*

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chinese five spice pulled pork

Inspired by a recent obsession into all things kamado (a type of ceramic charcoal grill), I put together an Asian-fusion pulled pork tonight in the crockpot. The results were delicious- moist, flavorful, and delicious. Enjoy! 
(This recipe works as a lean in a low-carb diet. I added no sugar to the rub. I added a large Caesar salad on the side to make it a complete Lean and Green meal.) 

I used a "Crock-Pot Pork Roast." Not entirely sure what made it different, other than some slow cooker-specific directions on the back. 

Aunt LoLo's Chinese Five Spice Pulled Pork

1 medium sized pork roast
1/4 cup Chinese five spice powder (mine was a blend of orange, clove, cinnamon, anise, and ginger)
Salt, to taste

Place your roast in the cooker and dump your seasoning on. Use your hands to pat the rub into the meat, covering all sides. If you have a rack for your cooker, put the meat on a rack. Add 1" of water to the pot and cook on high 4-6 hours (6 if frozen), until it is fall-apart tender. 

Remove to large bowl and shred with two fork. Season to taste with salt. 

Serve with rice and/or veggies. 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summer squash with cottage cheese tomato sauce

I am not sure really what to call this. Hearty, toothsome, savory, cheesy, healthy, comfort food. All of the above? 

If you are doing a Medifast program, this counts as a complete lean and green meal. 

1 cup diced summer squash (2 greens)
1/2 cup diced tomato (1 green)
1 cup low fat cottage cheese (2/3 lean)
1 egg (1/3 lean)
Salt and pepper

Spray a large nonstick skillet with Pam, and sautée your squash with a little salt and pepper. Remove to a bowl when done. 

In the same pan, combine your tomatoes, cottage cheese, and egg. Stir to combine. Continue to stir occasionally, until the cheese is melted, then continue to cook until the sauce has thickened to the consistency you want. 

Pour your sauce over your squash, and enjoy! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Faux "Lo Mein" with Mushrooms and Pork

In an effort to be a little healthier, I am embarking on a 6 week weight loss challenge. Cash prizes for everyone who meets their goal...well, that's more than a little bit of incentive for me to really be good for a few weeks! My goal isn't huge, and I'm feeling really good about this!

Part of my plan is to limit my carbohydrate intake. (Meaning - where I used to eat homemade bread with Nutella three times a day, I will now replace some of those meals with loads of veggies and some lean protein. See? I'm an adult!)

Tonight's recipe was inspired by this one, at Sandy's Kitchen. I thought the results were really tasty (and so did the baby! The cheeky little beggar wouldn't leave my side and begged bite after bite of my "noodles").

Faux "Lo Mein" with Mushrooms and Pork
(Medifast Green & Lean Friendly)

1 cup shredded cooked spaghetti squash 
1/2 cup diced fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 tsp. soy sauce
5 oz. pork loin, fat trimmed, and sliced
1 tsp. oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a non-stick, heat your oil over medium-high heat until hot, then add your garlic. Stirfry for just a moment, then throw in your spaghetti squash and mushrooms. Continue to cook and stir constantly until the mushrooms are starting to get soft and the squash is heated through, about 5 minutes. Add your soy sauce and stir to combine. 

Remove your veggie mixture to a bowl, then cook your pork loin, sprinkled with salt and pepper, until cooked through. 

Top your veggie mixture with your cooked pork loin, and enjoy! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Strawberry Lime Confetti Bundt Cake

Today, I had some of my family over to celebrate my father's birthday. While preparing a dessert, I knew I had to keep it simple - the kids were underfoot, there were other things to be seen to, and multi-tasking doesn't usually lead to tastier desserts, if you know what I mean. So, I took a shortcut and pulled out a box of cake mix. I keep them on hand for days like today - when you need a little something, but just don't have the mental capacity to measure out cups and teaspoons, no matter how simple or delicious the recipe. I doctored the mix up, and the results were pretty tasty! 

(Special thanks to my little brother Ted for the photos - he grabbed my camera and snapped these shots while I was serving cake and ice cream to the hungry masses.) 

Strawberry Lime Confetti Bundt Cake

1 box white cake mix
3 1/2 Tbsp. strawberry gelatin
5 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
10 drops lime essential oil (I use doTERRA brand)
1/3 cup large sprinkles

Preheat your oven to 350. Spray a 9-cup Bundt cake pan with cooking spray, sprinkle with flour, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, gelatin, eggs, oil and water. Mix together on low until combined, then on medium for 2 minutes. Reduce speed and add essential oil and sprinkles. Mix until combined. Pour your cake batter into your prepared Bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, or both! (A lime glaze would also be nice.)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pineapple Tarts

Pineapple Jam (filling)

2 cans crushed pineapple
1 1/2 cup white sugar

Blend pineapple, with juice, then put it in the widest pot you have, with the sugar. Cook, stirring nearly constantly, until most of the liquid has evaporated and you are left with a "jam" that can be rolled into balls. (The jam will harden a bit more once it is cool, and you can always cook it again if it is still too wet. It is better to undercook than overcook.) You can tell it is nearly there when there are no more puddles in the pan and the pineapple goes from pale buttery yellow to a darker color as the sugars caramelize. 

Tart Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature

1. Sift together the four dry ingredients. 
2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is fluffy, then add the egg yolks one at a time. 
3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. If the dough is crumbly, you can add a little more butter to make it malleable. 

Forming the tarts: 
Divide your dough into 24 equal balls. One by one, carefully flatten a ball of dough, put a spoonful of jam into the middle, then gather up the edges and form your dough/jam parcel into a ball. Use your fingers to gentle form it into a rectangle shape, and place it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. 

Once all of your tarts are formed, use a small paring knife to carefully put cross-hatches in the surface to resemble pineapples. Brush with an egg wash if desired, and bake 20-25 minutes at 350. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014



1 loaf stale sourdough bread, cut into 1" cubes
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 carton tiny pear tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, sliced
1/3 cup chopped basil

1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large non-stick skillet, toss together the bread and avocado oil. Cook over medium heat, tossing often, until the bread is slightly golden, about 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine your tomatoes, cucumber, basil and toasted bread. Toss with the dressing*. Enjoy!

* To make the dressing:
In the cup for an immersion blender, combine your olive oil, garlic, red wine vinegar and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Season to taste.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Steamed Mussels with Garlic and Lemon (Non-Alcoholic)

I threw together a massive pot of these for a potluck, and changed a few minds about the scrumptiousness of frozen mussels.  We get most of our seafood straight off the boat in a dock sale- one of the perks of living in a port town in the Northwest!

One pound frozen, pre-cooked mussels
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup water
1/4 of a large lemon
Pinch of salt (I used a locally-smoked sea salt.  Very fun $3 splurge at our store's deli!)

Bring to a boil in a pot and let simmer for about six minutes to steam. I made four pounds of mussels, so at this point I gave it a good stir and let them steam a bit longer.

You can use any kind of vinegar, but I chose white vinegar for its clean flavor profile.

The cooking juice (pot likker?) is delicious- dip a crusty bread in, make it into soup the next day, thicken some with roux to make a sauce to pour over rice with your dinner....but don't waste it! 


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quick Pickled Daikon Salad

The other day, my mother in law picked out some beautiful daikon for me at the Asian market, and put them in my cart. They were young, and tender, so full of promise. I love daikon, but have no idea how to cook it so it doesn't come out bitter and nasty. I planned on having her cook them for me, but then...Life. My kids got sick, which got her sick, which meant we didn't see her for a few days, and before I knew it I was in danger of losing my daikon and PANIC! Google to the rescue - since daikon are simply really big white radishes, as far as I can tell, they can easily translate to other cuisines. I found a recipe that made a salad from daikon and carrots. Well, it sounded tasty enough, so I tweaked it for what I had on hand...and it was delicious. I mean, it was tasty the day I made it, but when we finally finished it off today (three days later), it was divine. Kids? Go find some daikon. You will thank me.

Daikon come in varying sizes, depending on how old they are. The daikon I used were on the skinny side, meaning they were younger. They were so sweet you could eat them raw and plain. Older, fatter, daikon isn't tasty raw, or plain. It is spicy and a tad bitter. Those daikon are delicious stewed, which is another recipe for another day. 


Quick-Pickled Daikon Salad

3 young daikon (about 2" across and 18" long)
1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger (grate on a microplane, if possible)
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
1 green onion, chopped

Peel the skin off the daikon with a vegetable peeler, and then slice them into 1/4" thick rounds. (Taste the daikon first - if it is sweet, go 1/4" thick. If it is extra spicy or bitter, go thinner. You can also choose to shave the daikon with a food processor or your vegetable peeler.) 

Put the sliced daikon into a colander, toss it with 2 pinches of salt, and set it aside to drain. It won't lose a lot of water, but set it in the sink to be safe.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your grated ginger, rice vinegar, and line juice. While whisking, slowly drizzle in your olive oil, then your toasted sesame oil. Add your daikon rounds, and stir to coat. Add sugar, to taste. Add the green onions and stir to combine. 

Can be served immediately, or left in the refrigerator to further blend the flavors. Eat within 3-4 days. Stir well before serving. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Honey Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

Mmmm. Fresh bread, warm from the oven. There is no better smell, right? I've been making bread for my family for about 5 years, but it was my sister who showed me a way to really kick it up a notch. Whenever we have leftover oatmeal after breakfast...it's bread day! 

The oatmeal holds a lot of water, without actually watering down your dough. Once you mix up the loaf and bake it, you cannot find a single oat, so nobody will ever know your secret. 

The result, though, is a chewy, moist loaf that is absolutely delicious. It makes great sandwiches, and is fantastic toasted with jelly, peanut butter, or (my favorite) Nutella!

LoLo's Honey Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread
4 Loaves (recipe can easily be scaled back)

4 cups warm water
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp. yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tsp. salt
2 cups prepared oatmeal
7-10 cups whole wheat flour

In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine your water, honey and yeast. Allow to proof for several minutes, until foamy, then add your oil, salt, prepared oatmeal and 7 cups of whole wheat flour. Stir to combine, then set aside to rest for 20-30 minutes. 

After the resting period, begin mixing with your dough hook. Add flour as needed, until the dough can just clear the sides of your bowl, and allow to knead for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about one hour. 

After an hour, dump the dough onto a floured surface. Divide into four portions, roll each portion into a loaf shape, and place (seam side down) into a greased 9x5 loaf pan. Allow to rise again until the loaves are even with the top of the pan, almost another hour. 

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until the bottom of the loaves sound hollow when tapped with your fingernail. 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Soy Milk / Tofu Fa (Tofu Pudding) (Vegan)

Sometime last year, I heard about a book called Asian Tofu, by Amy Nguyen. I wouldn't usually be excited about a book on tofu, but this book had something different - tofu fa. Since living in Hong Kong over a decade ago, I have been looking for a way to make this treat at home. Sure, it is available at stores, but I could always find something to complain about. It had a weird odor. The syrup was mouth-numbingly ginger-y. It was only available at a tiny tofu shop on Mott Street, in NYC Chinatown. (*drool*)

So. This book was praised by someone I trust, AND it had a recipe for my elusive Tofu Fa! I was sold. Onto the Christmas Wishlist it went, and (lo and behold), there it was on Christmas morning. (Thanks, Aunt Winnie!!)

It still took me a few weeks to get my act together and gather the perfect trifecta of time, inclination, and ingredients. I followed Amy's recipe for soy milk, with one small change, but when it came time to make the actual tofu, I realized I had picked up the wrong solidifying agent. Oh well - it worked out in the end. 

Amy suggests using gypsum, a food-grade plaster of paris. I have never been able to find that in stores, so I grabbed agar-agar instead (a gelatin made from seaweed). I looked online, and found that the general consensus was to use a ratio of 1/2 tsp. of agar agar to 3 cups of soy milk. The resulting tofu was a bit firmer than the traditional tofu fa, and didn't weep at all. (Usually, water will seep out of tofu as it slowly becomes firmer. This tofu was...well, it was more like very tender jello. I didn't mind at all, but a purist might turn their nose up.) 

The other change I made was to remove the bean skins, after soaking the soy beans overnight. It only took a few minutes. I used my hands to crush the beans up a bit, and then scooped the skins out. If you do this under water, the skins will naturally settle to the top of the pile. If you agitate the water, it is pretty easy to pull out the skins. You don't need to get them all, but you want to get the majority out as they are pretty bitter. 

The night before you want to make your soy milk or tofu, put a scant cup dry soy beans into a large pot, and cover with water by about 3-4". The beans are ready when they split in half easily. Crush the beans lightly with your hands, and remove the bean skins from the mix. If you swirl the beans around with your hands, the skins will rise to the top of the beans and you can scoop them out and throw them away. 

When you are ready to make your soy milk and/or tofu fa, you need to get set up. Get out your blender, a large pot (non-stick is awesome here),  a colander, a bowl just smaller than your colander, a cotton towel, a potato masher, and a wooden spoon. Once you get started, you don't want to be wandering all over the kitchen looking for stuff! 

Put the colander over the top of the bowl, line it with a cotton towel, put the potato masher nearby, and set the whole thing aside. 

Drain your beans and put them in the blender with 2 cups of water. Meanwhile, put 3 cups of water in the large pot and put it on the stove to boil. Blend your beans until they are completely smooth and creamy, then add them to your pot of water. Bring the whole thing JUST to a boil. Be VERY careful. What you are looking for is for the whole pot to foam up. It will look like a root beer float, and you have about 5 seconds to kill the heat and do your best to beat back the foam if your pot isn't tall enough to contain it. Good luck. Don't blink! 

Once the foam has subsided, carefully pour the whole pot into the towel-lined colander set up. While that drains, immediately rinse your pot out in the sink. Once these beans get dried onto a pot, it's really, really, REALLY hard to get them off. Really hard. (That's a pun. Get it? It's hard? Whatever.) 

This was my Draining Set-Up. I lined the colander with a cotton towel (in the first picture), and poured my boiled "bean smoothie" into it. After it had drained for about 5 minutes, I gathered up the edges of the towel and twisted them together with one hand, compacting the okara into one glob. Then I kept twisting, and pressing on the bundle with my potato masher, until all the liquid had been extracted. 

(okara, after pressing out the soy milk)

(It is very important to rinse everything immediately. Otherwise, the leftover bean residue is pretty stubborn!)

My strained soy milk. Obviously, I used a pot to catch the milk, instead of a bowl. My second time, I used a huge 10 qt. non-stick dutch oven for all the stove-top bits, and it was a DREAM to clean up. I highly recommend it. Not as pretty as a lime-green Le Creuset pot, though. So, there ya go. Get your strained "milk" onto the stove, in something you don't mind cleaning afterward, and bring it to a low boil. Simmer it for 5 minutes to finish cooking the raw beans, and...congratulations! You have soy milk! It is delicious hot, it is delicious plain, it is delicious sweetened, and it is delicious cold. 

However, if you are like me and prefer to eat your soy milk in a semi-gelatinous state...keep going! Ladle half of your soy milk into a container. I like to use the container I am going to pour my finished tofu fa into, so I have one less dish to wash. So. Find a container that will hold at least 3 cups, and has a lid. Ladle about half of your soy milk into that container, and whisk in 1/2 tsp. of Agar-Agar. Bring your remaining soy milk back to a low boil, and pour your Agar-Agar/soy mil mixture back into the pot. Really stir this well - the Agar-Agar will want to settle to the bottom, and that won't give you nice tofu fa. Whisk it up, stir it violently...whatever floats your boat. Just get it back up to a boil, boil it for about a minute or so, and then kill the heat. 

You might want to put your container in the sink for this next step. You're going to pour the tofu fa mixture into the container, from at least 12" above the container. Putting it in the sink makes sure you don't need a step stool for this. Pouring it from high up makes sure that the whole mixture has one last time to really churn up and get that coagulant mixed through out the whole batch. Now cover the container with a towel, then the lid, and put it somewhere for at least 15 minutes. Don't touch it! After 15 minutes, you can carefully transfer it to the refrigerator. After an hour or so, your soy milk has magically transformed into tender, melt in your mouth...tofu fa! 

Serve topped with syrup. Plain old maple syrup will certainly work, and I think my tofu-loving 5 year old prefers Mrs. Butterworth's. The more traditional route would be to simmer 1 brick of Chinese brown sugar (pin tong) on the stove with about 1 cup of water to make a sweet syrup. A slice of ginger can be added as well. 

Divide the tofu fa between four bowls, and top with a few spoonfuls of the syrup. Enjoy warm or cold! 

Soy Milk / Tofu Fa (Tofu Pudding)
Serves 4

1 scant cup dry soy beans
Water, divided
1/2 tsp. Agar-Agar

Syrup (optional)
1 brick pin tong (Chinese brown sugar)
1 cup water

The night before: 
Soak your soy beans in enough water to cover them by about 3-4 inches. The beans will swell. 

Cooking time: 
Drain the beans and place in the blender. Line a colander with a tea towel, place it over a bowl, and set aside. Put a non-stick pot on the stove with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Put 2 cups of water into the blender and blend the beans until they are smooth and creamy. 

Pour your pulverized beans into the pot of boiling water, and bring back to a boil. Be very careful - it will foam up quickly and will overflow the pot if you are not careful. As soon as it foams up, turn off the heat and carefully blow and stir the bubbles back into submission. Pour the mixture into your lined colander and let it drain into the bowl. 

Immediately rinse out your pot, and put it back on the stove to use again. Gather the edges of your tea towel and press the bean pulp (okara/ dau ja) into a ball. Use a potato masher to press the remaining liquid out. (The okara can be discarded, or saved for eating in other recipes. I feed it to my chickens.) 

Pour the drained milk back into your pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent it from scorching. If you see a skin form on the top, you can pull it off and eat it. It is called tofu stick, and can be dried and saved. I prefer to call it a mid-chore snack, though. 

Stop here for soy milk. Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

To make tofu fa: 

Ladle half of the soy milk into a container that has a lid. Bring the remaining soy milk back to a boil. Whisk the Agar-Agar into the soy milk you ladled out, then carefully pour that mixture back into the pot. Bring the whole thing back to a boil for about 1 minute, then carefully pour it back into your container. Loosely cover with a towel, then put the lid on the container. Do not disturb the container for at least 15 minutes. After that, it can be moved to the refrigerator. Once the tofu fa has solidified, it can be served warm or cold, with syrup.* 

In a small sauce pan, combine 1 cup of water and 1 brick of Chinese brown sugar (pin tong). Simmer until the sugar has dissolved. 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Traffic Light"

No recipe here, just a fun picture of dinner.

My mother in law made this for dinner the other night - a stir fry of onions, green bell pepper, dried daikon radish (choi po lup), and sweet chinese sausage (laap cheong). She finished it with a soy sauce/sugar/oyster sauce/cornstarch slurry. It was absolutely delicious! What made it even more fun was when my husband told me the nickname for this dish - it's called Traffic Light. Red sausage, green peppers and yellow onions and dried daikon. Cute, right? 

So, there you go. Enjoy! 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chocolate Cranberry Refrigerator Oatmeal

I cannot take credit for this idea - this recipe is adapted from The Yummy Life. If you love easy, healthy, make-ahead breakfast ideas, please head over and check her out! She has 16 recipes for refrigerator oatmeal that are really tasty!

My husband ran across her recipe a few weeks ago, and shared it on his Facebook page. It's taken me this long to remember to grab the ingredients at the grocery store! He and I have kind of a standing deal - I fix oatmeal for him to eat every morning, and he exercises and eats healthy, and we get to skip  cholesterol medication. It's a win-win situation, right? Before the baby was born, it was no big deal for me to get up and cook some oatmeal while he took a shower. I had to be up anyhow, and I liked the bit of quiet before the kids came downstairs. Post-baby, though, has been a different story! When he gets up in the morning, I am so groggy, I usually sleep through his shower, my alarm, and most of our before-school prep time completely. Ouch. Sometimes we do steel cut oats in the slow cooker, but he likes to schedule early morning tennis court times and doesn't eat breakfast before he plays. And we never remember to coordinate our schedules to that degree, so if I DO remember to make him oatmeal, it's a morning when he won't be at home to eat it.


Enter, refrigerator oatmeal! I can pre-make a few jars, and he can either eat at home or take it with him for a post-workout meal. The oatmeal is served cold, so it just couldn't be simpler. Greek yogurt and skim milk are mixed with regular (raw) oatmeal and chia seeds. To that base, you can add any mixture of sweeteners and flavors you like!

Today, I made three versions, from The Yummy Life: Maple Blueberry, Cinnamon Apple, and Chocolate Banana. Or, I meant to. At the last minute, I decided to make a change to the banana pots. I just couldn't see day old, chopped bananas, soaked in yogurt, as being too appetizing. I subbed in dried cranberries (Craisins), because who doesn't like chocolate and cranberries, right? Getting these going assembly line style was really slick - I can definitely see myself doing this twice a week. Hopefully the kids will enjoy them, too!

Chocolate Cranberry Refrigerator Oatmeal
(Adapted from Yummy Life)

Serves 1

In a half-pint sized jar (or similar 8 oz. lidded container), layer: 
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup milk (skim, soy, almond, etc.)
1/4 cup regular oats
1 1/2 tsp. chia seeds
2 tsp. sweetener (agave or honey)
2 Tbsp. cocoa

Put the lid on the container and shake vigorously to combine. Open it back up and fill up the rest of the space with dried cranberries, about 1/4 cup. Put the lid back on and turn it back and forth a few times to distribute the cranberries. Stick your jar in the refrigerator, and in the morning you can enjoy the fruits of your labors! 

One last note. I made up one jar of Maple Blueberry Oatmeal on Saturday night, to test the waters. It was tasty, but it never made it to the thick consistency I was looking for. The other versions I made today set up quite quickly. Just FYI. 

Monday, January 13, 2014


This dish was first served to me on a campout, when I was 14. Now, when I say campout, I mean that a few leaders agreed to take a group of about twenty 14 year olds camping, to pass off some merit badge requirements for our summer camp. As we sat in a planning meeting, trying to hammer out the details, one of the leaders off-handedly mentioned that his family owned two condos near the area we were talking about camping in. All the eyes in the room were suddenly on him...and that, kids, is how my Great 4th Year Camp Out happened in a condo near the shores of Lake Chelan.

The strange digs didn't deter the more rugged of the leaders from feeding us true camping fare, though! Brother Potter pulled out a huge dutch oven in the morning and proceeded to cook us a one-pot camping feast. He called it, simply, Catastrophe.

The recipe is incredibly forgiving, and fairly adaptable. Basically, this is a mixture of breakfast meat, potatoes, onions, eggs,  and (if you like), cheese. Breakfast meat can be sausage or bacon, the potatoes can be hash browns, canned potatoes, or cubed potatoes. Some recipes call for cheddar, some call for Velveeta, and I leave it out entirely.

So. That's clear as mud, eh? I'll give you what I do for my family of 4. With a side of fresh fruit, this is a great breakfast for a lazy Saturday morning, or a fun dinner for a busy weeknight!

Serves 4-6

1/2 pound of bacon, raw, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups of hash browns (I use the cartons of dried hash browns, and use 1 carton)
6 eggs, scrambled

Toppings: (Take your pick)
Hot Sauce

In a large dutch oven, cook your bacon until it starts to lose its fat and is sizzling. Add your chopped onions and continue to cook until the bacon and onions are cooked to your liking.

Drain off the fat (or leave it in, if you're feeling feisty), and add your hash browns. Don't stir too much at this point - you want the hash browns to get a little crispy, instead of just steaming them. Let them cook in the remaining bacon grease for a few minutes, then use a spatula to sort of turn the potatoes over, in clumps. Let them brown again. Repeat the process, stirring to break up the browned potatoes, until everything is looking nice.

Finally, add your beaten eggs and continue to cook (gently folding the mixture), until the eggs are completely cooked.

Scoop into bowls and serve with your choice of toppings. My kids prefer ketchup!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Aunt LoLo's Apple Blackberry Pie

The other day, I decided that what my family needed was an apple pie. Ever have one of those days? When you just really, really need a pie, to make everything right in the world?

I only had 4 apples left from the crate of apples I bought in the fall, so I dug through the freezer and grabbed a bag of blackberries I picked last summer to make sure I had enough filling. A search online gave me a pie crust recipe that didn't involve digging my food processor out of the back of the cupboard, and I got to work.

The pie was, unexpectedly, delicious. Probably the yummiest pie I've ever made! The real star of the show, though, was the crust. As my husband dug into his piece, he asked, "Where did you get the crust?" "Oh, I made it." "No, I know you made the pie, but where did you get the crust??" He thought I bought it. The crust is tender and flaky, and just a bit salty, to counteract the sweetness of the filling. This is a keeper!

Aunt LoLo's Apple Blackberry Pie
Makes one 9" pie

Crust: (recipe adapted from here)

Fill a measuring cup with ice and water. Set aside.

In a high powered blender, or food processor*, combine:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt

Turn the blender on at the lowest speed (variable 1) and slowly increase to medium speed (variable 5). Blend for 10 seconds, then remove the plug from the middle of the lid.

With the blender running, drop in:
3/4 cup Crisco

Blend for 5 seconds.

5 Tbsp. ice water

Blend until just combined. This should not form a ball. You just want it all equally damp.

*If you are using a food processor, you should be pulsing at each step to combine. 

Prepare your counter with two largish pieces of plastic wrap. Dump your damp dough onto one of the pieces and carefully knead it a few times until it makes a ball. Divide the ball in half, shape each half into a disc, and wrap them up their own pieces of plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Assembling the pie:

Preheat the oven to 425 and set aside a 9" pie dish.

Peel, core, and chop :
4 medium sized apples

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

Chopped apples
1 lb. frozen blackberries, thawed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup corn starch

Stir to combine, and set aside.

Remove your wrapped pie crusts from the refrigerator. Flour your countertop, and unwrap one pie crust disc. Roll it out until it is 12" across, and carefully move into your pan. The easiest way is to carefully fold it in half over your hand, and then unfold it into the pan. Settle your crust into the pan, making sure you aren't stretching it at all. Trim it so that the top of the crust is about even with the edge of the pan. Fill the crust with your prepared fruit mixture, stirring it first in the bowl to make sure the corn starch is evenly distributed.

Unwrap the second crust and roll it out so it is approximately 10"-11" across. Drape it across your filled pie crust. Go around the edges of the pan, rolling the excess crust under and using your fingers to press it into a pretty shape. Use a sharp paring knife to poke about a dozen holes in the top crust. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired, or brush with milk or egg wash.

Place the pie on a cookie sheet, just in case it boils over, and bake it until the top is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.