Friday, November 23, 2012

Weekly Ritual

We like bread.  We like really good bread.  Really good bread is really expensive around here. I go through fits and spurts where I like to bake bread from scratch when we get tired of the 10 loaves for 12 Dollars rack at the bread store.  I recently found a really great bread recipe that I keep going back to every week.  It makes 5-6 loaves, freezes well and has extra ingredients that help maintain freshness for longer than a day. You can find the recipe here, at the Home Joys blog.  I change it slightly by adding about a cup of Red River Cereal to each batch to add some texture and crunch to my loaves.  This bread rises beautifully despite my addition of extra whole grains.

EDITED TO ADD: If you click over to the recipe above you will find the dough is mixed and proofed in a giant stand mixer.  I do not own a mixer large enough to do that so I use the ingredients in the above recipe and follow the instructions below to mix and proof the dough by hand.

The following is another favourite bread recipe of mine. It makes around four loaves. This recipe has been in my binder for at least 10 years. I have no idea which website I got this from and Google was no help. 

 Christine's Multi-Grain Bread
3 cups water
6 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup sesame seeds*
1/4 cup millet seeds*
1/4 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds*
1/4 cup flax*
6 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Measure 1 cup of warm water into a very large bowl.  Stir in 1 tsp of sugar and the yeast.  Let stand for 10 minutes, until frothy.
  2. While yeast mixture is standing, combine three cups water, butter or margarine, salt and honey in a saucepan. Heat until the liquids are warm and the margarine has melted (make it about the temperature of a hot bath.)  Add to yeast .
  3. Add seeds to bowl, then flour, one cup at a time, starting with the whole wheat flour. Stir after each addition of flour. Begin kneading when dough becomes impossible to stir. (This is a messy step! Stick with it! It gets better!)
  4. Continue kneading dough on a floured surface, adding small amounts of white flour until the dough is smooth and not sticky.  This could take up to 10 minutes. Your triceps will thank you.
  5. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in bulk.  If it is cold where you are, turn your oven on to about 200F for one minute, then turn it off and then put your bread in there to rise. This could take an hour or so, depending on how warm it is.
  6. If you have no five year old boy handy to do this step, go ahead and punch down the dough yourself.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into loaves.   Place dough into greased pans and let rise again until doubled. 45 minutes to an hour. While the dough is rising this time, preheat your oven to 350F.
  7. Place loaves in the oven (unless they are already in there rising, then just leave them!) Bake for 30-35 minutes, until nicely browned and if tapped, make a hollow sound.
  8. Remove from pans and allow to cool on wire racks.
*If you don't want to stock up on seeds, 1 cup of Red River cereal is a good substitution for the seeds and grains in the recipe. 3/4 cup of Red River cereal + 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds would be really good too. If you are American Cooks info dot com says a good substitute for Red River Cereal is as follows:  1 cup steel cut oats, 1 cup bulghur wheat and 4 tablespoons flax seeds

1 cup steel cut oats, 1 cup bulghur wheat, 4 tablespoons flax seed.

Read more:

  Mixing up a batch of Homemade Dough Enhancer will make any of your favourite bread recipes last longer and taste a bit better. It works in your bread machine too.

Have you never stuck your hands into a gorgeous mound of bread dough? Here is a video that shows proper kneading technique and how to tell when your workout is finished.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Menu Plan Monday--Forgotten Pin Edition

We are still on the 5:2 plan.  It is working well for us and my body is adjusting to being a bit hungry on fast days.  You will notice on Fast Days dinner will either be a soup or something with lots of lean protein and vegetables.

Four of this week's meals comes from my Pinterest board Recipes to Try.  If they work and everyone likes them, they will get moved to my Proven Winners board.  The Recipes to Try board is getting rather unruly.  Time to test some of these dishes out!

One thing we have started doing recently that is helping IMMENSELY with menu planning is ordering our meat from a proper butcher.  Once a month I order one of their freezer packs with a mixture of different kinds of meats.  I then have a freezer full of good, local protein that I can grab at a moment's notice.  At the moment I am down to the dregs, so this menu plan also reflects what I have left in the bottom of my freezer with one little cheat: I bought ground beef when I made my new meat order this morning. 

Monday (Fast Day): Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef and rice
Wednesday: White Trash Casserole
Thursday (Fast Day): Salmon Squares  with steamed carrots and broccoli
Friday:  Saucy Italian Pork Chops (with noodles, maybe?)
Saturday: Pot roast with all the fixings.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 5:2 Eating, Week 2

We are in to our second week of 5:2 eating and so far, so good. 

This week's meals are inspired by two magazines I had laying around my house:
Everyday with Rachel Ray, October 2011 and Food Network Magazine, October 2012

Monday: (fast day) Hungry Girl Chicken Fajita Lettuce Cups (the kids get their filling in home made corn tortillas)
Tuesday: Corn Chowder Mac and Cheese --Rachel Ray magazine
Wednesday: Pot Roast with Yorkshire puddings
Thursday: (fast day) Broccoli and Mushroom Quiche--Eat, Shrink and Be Merry Cookbook
Friday: Bratwurst with Potato cakes--Food Network Magazine

For lunch this week: Tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons--Food Network Magazine

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Menu Plan Saturday 5:2 Diet Week 1

Richard and I have recently started following the 5:2 Diet plan.  This means that two days of the week I will live on 500 calories in a day and Richard will live on 600.  The rest of the week we will eat normal, healthy meals.  My menu is going to stay family-friendly, but I will make sure that I have something very low-cal to go with whatever the kids are eating on fast days.

Sunday: Smothered Pork Chops and mashed potatoes
Monday (Fast Day): Sausages and Tomato Chickpea Spinach simmer
Tuesday: Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken and Fried Rice
Wednesday:Pasta Fagioli Soup and Cheese toast or this one
Thursday:  (Fast Day): Beef and Broccoli stir fry with noodles
Friday: Pizza rolls
Saturday: Buffet

Breakfast treat this week: Crock pot apple cinnamon oatmeal
Special treat this week:  Anniversary cake

On fast days I won't be eating the sides with dinner (so no sausages or noodles for me on those days).

Once I am a couple of weeks in to my new diet plan I will blog some more about it and the results I am seeing.  Until then, if you have any questions, leave a comment!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Pulled Pork Pot Pie

Today is Wednesday. It is going to be this year's Hell Day.  Why? I lead a playgroup in the morning, have kids come home for lunch, and then have to take a little girl to her violin lesson after school.  This means I am going to aim to do my lunch prep after breakfast and my dinner prep after lunch.  This will mean the crock pot gets called in to action on many Wednesdays.

Today I was chatting online with my friend Ashlee and between the two of us we came up with a way to use up some leftover pork roast  I had in my fridge.  This pie looks so good I am jotting some notes down here so I can remember what I did.

This is a "by the seat of your pants" casserole so the measurements here are very big guesses--eyeball it. It's casserole, not souffle!

Pulled Pork Pot Pie

Peel and cube 4-5 potatoes.  Simmer on the stove or microwave until tender. Mash with buttermilk, some grated cheddar cheese and some no-salt garlic herb mix.  Set aside.

While potatoes are cooking, in a large skillet fry 1/2 of a large onion in a couple of tablespoons of butter.  When golden, sprinkle over a couple of big spoonfuls of flour.  Add in a couple of cups of chicken broth (or do what I did and add in a couple of spoonfuls of vegetable bouillon and pour water over from the kettle to cover the bottom of the skillet) Add in one grated carrot, the kernels of one ear of leftover corn, 1/4 red pepper diced and about 1 pound of leftover cooked roast pork.  Simmer, stirring constantly, until gravy thickens.  Add in a big squirt of your favourite barbecue sauce (I love President's Choice Beer and Chipotle flavour).  Pour filling into a large casserole dish.  Top with mashed potatoes. 

Heat in a 375 degree oven until filling is bubbly and topping is browned a bit.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012


This is my friend Christiane's recipe for pancakes.  They are delicious.  They taste like an eggier version of a crepe.  I love mine with butter and jam, but applesauce is good too.
German Pancakes (Pfannenkuchen):
200g flour
5 eggs
400ml milk (or 200ml sparkling water like Perrier and 200ml milk)
a pinch of salt
a bit of sugar if you like (depends if you eat sweet or salty things with it)
Sift flour into a bowl and mix with the milk (or milk and water mixture) until smooth. Beat eggs with an whisk and add with salt and sugar to the four/milk mixture. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Depending what kind of flour you use you might have to add some more liquids to the dough. The dough should be really runny so you get nice and thin pancakes. Bake pancakes in a pan with a little bit of butter. Stack the pancakes and keep warm in the oven.
Most people eat the pancakes with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and applesauce (unsweetened or else it will be too sweet). Jam or maple syrup is also nice. If you like salty, try a hamburger sauce, ham and cheese.....or anything that you can think of. If you have pancakes left over, you can cut them up in very thin strips and put them into a broth the next day...hmmmmm....

Monday, June 04, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I love Pinterest.  My boards are all pretty reality-based (except for the Covet board) and I love being able to sort and store recipes for  menu planning there.  I have several food boards and divided my main courses into "Recipes to try" and "Proven Winners".  These ones are all out of my "To Try" board.  Let's see if they make the cut!

Here is what I am cooking this week:
Hamburgers and Oven-fried Pickles
Chicken curry (no one will eat this, but I love curry and it has been too long since I have had some)
Garlic-herb dijon salmon with cauli-tato mash
Quick Lasagna casserole

What have you tried lately and liked?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Another Monday, another Menu.  This week seems to have a Takeout at Home Theme.

Vegetarian Quesadillas with home made tortillas and guacamole
Hamburgers with crudite and dip
Corned Beef and Cabbage (for St. Patrick's Day, of course!)
Breaded Shrimp with roasted potatoes
Chicken lettuce wraps with brown rice on the side.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Meatloaf with Awesome Sauce
Three Vegetable Bake
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
 Baked Ham and Scalloped Potatoes
Hamburger soup

This week's menu comes from Pinterest and a couple of cookbooks that called out to me from my collection.  The meatloaf recipe comes from a cookbook I got for my birthday last week.

Lately, I have gotten into the habit of having at least one ground beef recipe per week (to keep the grocery bill and Hubby happy), one soup per week (because I LOVE home made soup and want my family to as well) and to have one vegetarian dish per week (also to help with the grocery bills)

Do you menu plan?  Do you have a plan when you make your plans?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

It's that time again!  Here's what's going to be on our table this week:

Broccoli and Cheese Pinwheels
Brown Sugar Chicken with rice
Manhattan Clam Chowder with Pastor Ryan's Blooming Bread
Hamburger Slop
Honey Garlic Pork Chops with cauliflower and potato mash

Friday, February 17, 2012

Easiest Soup Ever

Today is Friday.  It is a day that a lot of people save for ordering Takeout.  In my house, since at least two of the kids have dinner with Grandma, it is a day I usually use for consuming leftovers in the fridge (I like to call it Buffet)  Today I made a very easy soup from a couple of odds and ends lurking in my fridge.  In fact, I think I spent less time tossing ingredients in my Slow-Cooker than I did typing up this post.

It started earlier in the week when I made a double batch of the sausage filling I posted in the previous week's menu plan.  I put the leftover half batch of sausage and tomato sauce into my 2-quart slow cooker with a can of beef broth plus a can of water, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a few handfuls of bagged coleslaw mix that was going South in my crisper.  I simmered it on LOW for the afternoon, and while it was cooking I set up my bread machine to make a lovely Italian loaf to serve alongside.  Easiest dinner ever.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

It's Monday.  It's time for another menu plan.  Three of the recipes are coming from this blogger.  I love using my crock pot to cook dinner in the afternoon so I can clean up and then only have a few plates to toss in the dishwasher after we eat.

Today:  Balsamic Beef Pot Roast with potato and cauliflower mash.  (YUM!  The onions that cook with this roast are fantastic)
Teriyaki Chicken and brown rice  (this is prepped and in the freezer now)
Beef Vegetable soup (from the above site)
Sausage-Stuffed bread (see recipe below)
Tuna patties   (an old standby)
Chicken fingers (probably for the kids when Richard and I go out for dinner on Respite Night)

Sausage-Stuffed Loaf
I have no idea where this recipe came from as it is hand-written in one of my binders full of clippings. I am probably going to add more vegetables to this--some chopped carrots, celery and some spinach going South in my crisper and leave out the tomato.
2 Italian Sausages
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 med tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp anise seed
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1-15 oz (440 ml) can chunky style tomato sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 loaf of French Bread (I am using panini rolls)
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Remove sausages from casings.  Crumble sausage meat together with the beef and cook with onion, and pepper, drain.  Stir in tomato, tomato sauce and seasonings.  Cut top of of bread and pick out crumbs to create a shell.  Fill shell with meat sauce, top with grated cheese.  Wrap loaf in foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until heated through.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Menu Planning again

Happy February!  A couple of weeks ago I learned the value of inventorying my freezer.  Today I am sucking it up and planning a menu based around that sheet so I can economize and decrease food waste.  This is here more for me, than it is for you, but if you find a new recipe in my list, then I am happy for you too!  Let me know what you think.

Taco Pasta salad and mozza flatbread (home made bread dough pressed out onto a pizza pan, drizzled with olive oil, garlic sprinkles and mozza cheese) 
Chicken and Spinach Casserole  (prepped and baked in cast iron skillet for one-pot cooking)
This was SO good and now I am officially in love with creamed spinach
Cumin and Lime Roasted Pork Tenderloin with creamed corn
Asian Beef Stir fry (Eat, Shrink and Be Merry cookbook)
Split pea soup with Sausage and Pastor Ryan's Blooming Bread 
the bread was a big win, the soup was a major fail.  Part of the problem was a poorly sealing crockpot lid that allowed the soup to dry out into paste.  Even if it had worked the kids still would have soundly rejected it.
Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole
Richard said that next time this recipe needs to be doubled

These recipes are in no particular order as I will slot in the slow cooker meals on days when I need to plan ahead and I like to pick and choose based on the mood of the house on any given day.