Category Archives: Breads

Honey & Whole-Grain Quick Bread: A Stir-and-Dump Recipe

Full of a mixture of five grains and seeds, plus a touch of honey!

Today’s recipe? Honey & Whole-Grain Quick Bread! For long-time readers, you’ll know that in addition to my love affair with chocolate, I also love bread. But I also try to be healthy. So, I developed an easy recipe for a whole grain bread that will have you thanking the bread gods (and possibly me) for your free pass to eat copious amounts of carbs.

This is what I call a ‘Stir-and-Dump’ recipe, in that you basically stir all the ingredients together, dump it in a pan, and away you go! That’s right, it’s a one-bowl recipe! AND it’s a quick bread, so there’s no waiting for the bread to rise, then punching it down, then letting it rise again. As much as I love yeast breads (my Pesto Swirl Bread, for example), I also love having a loaf of bread ready for dinner in only 45 minutes.

And the short-cut to make this delicious bread? A hot-grain cereal! I used one that had three different types of whole grains in it: steel-cut wheat, rye, and whole flax. And because my bread recipe adds in oatmeal and cornmeal, it’s suddenly got a mixture of 5 whole grains and seeds! See? Healthy!

Let’s get our bread on!

HONEY AND WHOLE GRAIN QUICK BREAD

  • 1/2 c. hot grain cereal, uncooked
  • 1/4 c. cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. oats
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. yoghurt (I used my homemade yoghurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. oil
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Mix the cereal, cornmeal, and boiling water together. Let sit for 15 min. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Sprinkle a few oats on top of the loaves. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the top of the bread is nicely browned. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a cooling tray to cool fully before slicing. And then enjoy your freshly baked Honey and Whole Grain Bread!

By the way, if you use steel-cut oats instead of rolled oats, just be sure to add them in to the other whole grains in the beginning, so that they can soak for 15 min. as well.

Honey and whole grains, in muffin form!

This recipe will make two small loaves, or one small loaf and a half dozen muffins/buns. I think the buns are great when served warm and with maple syrup! They end up tasting a bit like oatmeal pancakes — yum! I also plan to use any leftover bread to make homemade French Toast with; with more maple syrup, because I’m Canadian, eh!

Next Post: Greens! All the greens. I’ve got some purple leafy kale in my fridge that I want to do something with. Or maybe I’ll mix up some Glazed Orange Scones with the candied orange peel I made last night. Or maybe share my 10-Minute Mesquite Sweet Potato Mash? Let me know your preference in the comments!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Foodie Friday, and Happiness is Homemade! Plus at Full Plate Thursday!

Pesto Swirl Bread aka How to Up Your Soup Game

Perfect with a hot bowl of soup, especially on a cold winter’s night!

Last week I wrote about how to make Super-Easy Pesto Focaccia; this week, it’s time to step up our bread-baking game and make some Pesto Swirl Bread! Delicious, freshly-baked bread, swirled throughout with some hearty pesto…there’s nothing quite like it to make Soup Night something to look forward to!

Plus, Pesto Swirl Bread looks fantastic, and it really isn’t as hard as you might think. I love it fresh out of the oven, when it’s still hot and has puffs of steam escaping, but the DH prefers Pesto Swirl Bread toasted and crunchy, with some butter melting on top. Either way, it’s delish!

Let’s get to making some!

PESTO SWIRL BREAD

  • 2-3 tbsp. pesto
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 c. warm water (110 degrees is perfect — too hot or too cold will affect the yeast, fyi)
  • 3/4 tbsp. yeast 
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 c. oil
  • 3 c. flour 

Mix the water and yeast together and let sit until foamy. Stir in sugar, salt, and oil. Add in flour, a cup at a time. Knead dough (I use a mixer) until everything is incorporated, and then for an additional 5-10 minutes (this stretches the gluten in the dough). Once the dough is no longer super-sticky (just tacky), place it in an oiled bowl, cover it with a damp-ish cloth, and put in a warm place until it has doubled in size. (I usually turn the oven on for a minute or two and then turn it off, and place the bowl with the dough inside. It warms up the space enough to help the dough rise, but not enough to start cooking the dough.) This rising of the dough takes about an hour. 

Spreading the pesto on the dough. (I doubled the recipe, to make two loaves.)

Once the dough has risen, punch it down (pow! pow! pow!) and, on a floured surface, roll it into a rough rectangle. Spread the pesto on top of the rectangle, and roll the dough up tightly. Place the rolled dough in a greased loaf pan, and put it back into a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size. Remove the pan from the oven, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and then put the pan back into the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is golden brown. Take the pan out and let it cool for a few minutes before removing it from the pan, and let it cool on a cookie rack (if you don’t remove it from the pan, the trapped moist heat can make the bread bottom a tad soggy. And no one wants a soggy bottom). Slice, and enjoy your freshly baked Pesto Swirl Bread!

This bread freezes well and, like most of my recipes, is easy to customize. You could add in some fresh chopped garlic, or cheese, or both! You could turn these into buns too; they’d be great with burgers, I think! If you make the bread, let me know if you make any additions — let’s learn from each other!

Next Post: I’m working on a recipe for Tutti-Frutti Candied Popcorn. This is one recipe that won’t make it to the DH’s office; I’ll be eating it all myself! Bonus: there’s a vegan version of it too! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday as well as at Happiness is Homemade! And at Full Plate Thursday! And, at Foodie Friday!

Super-Easy Pesto Focaccia and Why I Currently Have 50 lbs of Flour

Pesto-topped focaccia — what could be better?

I love fresh bread, but I also love easy meals that come together in a jiffy. When I was given a jar of fancy pesto recently, I knew I had to put it to good use, and I did; I made Pesto Focaccia! So, so easy, and so, so good, whether fresh out of the oven with dinner, or heated up in the microwave for lunch the next day.

Why is this such an easy focaccia to make? Because I use my Easiest-Pizza-Dough-In-The-History-Of-Ever as the base! Some dough, some pesto, some salt…et voila, fresh focaccia for dinner! You could make this from start to finish in 45 minutes, and that includes the baking!

Seriously, it’s that easy. Let’s get to making some!

SUPER-EASY PESTO FOCACCIA

  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) quick active dry yeast
  • 1 c warm water
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (or vegetable oil is fine too)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. pesto
  • large grain salt (if you have it)

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add rest of ingredients, except for pesto and large grain salt. Mix it up in a mixer (or hand mix. I’ve done both). Let sit for 10 minutes. Flatten it onto an oiled cookie sheet, and let it rest for another 10 minutes. Spread the pesto over the surface, and press your fingertips into the surface all over for that class focaccia look. Sprinkle the large grain salt on the top. Bake in a 425 degree oven until the crust is puffy and golden. Serve, and enjoy! 

Oh, and I did mention in the title that I have 50 lbs of flour in my kitchen. Much to the chagrin of my DH, I must say. He’s not fond of opening the fridge and being faced with containers of flour, and then opening the freezer and being faced with the same. He wanted to order out the other day; I said, we have plenty of food in the fridge! He said, we have plenty of flour! (Incidentally, we didn’t order out. I just made this easy pesto focaccia and served it with some soup!)

But why so much flour? Because a few weeks ago there was a great deal on flour so I bought a large bag, only to find out when I got home that it was bread flour. Now, bread flour is very different from all-purpose flour, in that it in higher in gluten, and gluten content affects your baking. You can bake bread with all-purpose flour, but I don’t recommend making cupcakes with bread flour. Anyway, so I had all this bread flour, but I needed all-purpose. So I bought a bag of all-purpose flour. And then today I came across a suuuper good deal on all-purpose flour, and I just couldn’t resist…so I bought another 25 lbs. Poor DH. The look on his face when I walked in the door with a 25 lb bag of flour and not much else!

But why do I keep flour in the fridge and freezer? That, dear reader, is a story for another day!

Next Post: I’m thinking Pesto Swirl Bread. Or…maybe veggies. Mmm…veggies. I do love them!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, and Happiness is Homemade! As well as at Full Plate Thursday! And…at Foodie Friday!

Short-Cut Cinnamon Buns, Because Yummy Shouldn’t Be Laborious

Too good to eat only one. And made so quickly, too!

Cinnamon Buns! I love them. I eat them. I used to hate making them, because of the long process: make the dough, let the dough rise, punch it down, let it rise again, roll it out, roll it up, cut it and let it rise, and fiiiiiiinallly bake it and eat it. And that’s not including all the steps for the filling. Ugh. Am tired just thinking about it. Generally, if I wanted cinnamon buns, I had to make them in the morning for dessert in the evening, or at the very least, make them the night before.

But no more!

I came up with a super-easy short-cut version! In my version, there’s only one rising of the cinnamon buns before baking, and frankly, you *could* skip that too (the buns would just be much more dense and not as fluffy).

The secret?

Start with my Easiest Pizza Dough in the History of Ever! Then you spread cinnamon butter all over it, roll it up, pop it in a pan to rise (only 1x!), and bake it. I can start these before dinner and have them for dessert! 

Short-Cut Cinnamon Buns

  • 1 batch pizza dough
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened to just beyond room temperature

Make the dough. Let it rest at least 10 minutes before rolling it out into a lasagna pan sized rectangle.

Mix softened butter with sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until it is properly mixed and essentially a cinnamon spread. Spread butter on rolled out dough.

Roll up dough, length-wise. Use dental floss to cut roll into two inch slices (see technique below).

Place in a lasagna pan and let rise in a warm place until the dough has expanded and the side of the buns are sticking together.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Let sit until cool. If you like icing, mix up some icing (icing sugar, milk, vanilla extract, cream cheese is optional) and drizzle on top. Eat and enjoy the sticky, yummy, cinnamon buns!

Don’t they look yummy! (Spoiler alert: they ARE yummy!)

KITCHEN HACK

How to cut delicate doughs (or soft cheeses)? With dental floss! Yup, you read that right! You slide the thread underneath the dough/cheese and cross the end of the string overtop, and then pull. It slices easily and without compressing the dough or cheese all flat. I first did this when I made swiss rolls as a teenager, and it is such an easy technique to get perfect slices! Obviously, you don’t use flavoured floss, and the thinner the floss, the better. Try it out yourself!

KITCHEN HACK #2

Want to make fluffier cinnamon buns? Add in a tablespoon of corn starch to the dough when you’re making it, as in this recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns. The corn starch takes up space without sticking to itself as flour does, which makes the dough that much more tender. This technique is good for all sorts of baked goods!

But back to my cinnamon buns. You could make these cinnamon buns taller and more like commercial buns if you make them in a 9×9 pan as opposed to a lasagna pan, and cut them in 4 inch buns (i.e. taller). Personally, I’m happy with the small buns, because…portion control. Of course, that just means that I need to eat two servings, amirite?

Next Post: A Memories of Meals Past post, combined with a Salads I Have Known and Loved post. That’s right, we’re about to get all ancient grains up in this blog!

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday, Nifty Thrifty SundayClever Chicks Blog Hop, The Art of Homemaking, and Happiness is Homemade!

Fake-It-Til-You-Make-It Fattoush Salad, & Boosting Nutrition Profiles

Salad looking lovely! (Was promptly eaten, fyi)

Salad looking lovely! (Was promptly eaten, fyi)

The days after Christmas are always filled with delicious foods, and oftentimes, with self-recriminations over eating all those delicious foods (not that I speak from personal experience or anything). So I developed this recipe to be a) delicious and b) healthy! And I made it using only what I had in the house, hence the name: Fake-It-Til-You-Make-It Fattoush Salad!

Fattoush is a Mediterranean salad, made with crunchy bits of pita. I suspect that it originated as a way to use up stale pita — toss it with olive oil, vinegar, a few herbs, and some veggies! These days it’s made with fresh pita, usually dabbed with oil and baked until crispy. I didn’t have any pita in the house, but whipped some up myself using this recipe. (Who knew it was so easy?)

My dad, who is of Mediterranean origin, will shake his head if he reads this post, because fattoush usually contains some dried sumac as a seasoning. Do I have it in the house? No! Am I the Queen of Substitutions? Yes! So I just mixed up a dressing that seemed vaguely Mediterranean-ish (heavy on the olive oil and garlic), sprinkled on some pomegranate seeds, and called it good. The DH called it delicious!

Make some fattoush yourself, and modify the ingredients to match what you have in the house! Then feel virtuously healthy and enjoy another Christmas sweet! (Hey, it’s all about the balance, is it not?)

Fake-It-Til-You-Make-It Fattoush Salad

Serves 2

  • 8 baby tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 head Romaine lettuce, sliced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, cubed
  • 1 pita
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. pomegranate seeds

Dressing

  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp. blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. high quality olive oil, plus extra to drizzle over the finished salad
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • dash of dried thyme
  • pinch of dried tarragon
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar

Split pita in half, spread 1 tbsp. oil on each half, and toast in oven on high heat until it starts to get crispy. Let cool, and break into bite-sized pieces.

Mix dressing ingredients together and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the vegetables together, add in the pita pieces, pour the dressing over it all, and toss to mix. Plate immediately, and drizzle with more olive oil.

Enjoy!

Pita from scratch! (So cool to see it puff up in the oven when baking!)

Pita from scratch! (So cool to see it puff up in the oven when baking!)

But…didn’t I write something about a nutrition profile in the title of this post? Indeed I did! While salad for a meal is in and of itself healthy, why not bump up the nutrition level? Which is exactly what I did! I used blackstrap molasses in the dressing instead of regular molasses, because it’s higher in iron and lower in sugar.

Plus, when I was making the pita breads, I sprinkled either side of the pita with freshly ground flax seeds (omega fatty acids, baby!) as well as ground psyllium husk (up with fibre!). Ideally, the pita would have been whole wheat, but again, I was working with what I had in the house.

Had I had more time, I probably would have made some lentil sprinkles to add to the salad as well, just to make sure there was some protein in the dish, but hey, one does one’s best. When I make this dish again though, those lentil sprinkles are IN! (Totally picturing my culinary purist father throwing his hands in the air at the addition of lentils to fattoush. Tee hee hee!)

Next Post: Those peppermint chocolate candy cane cupcakes that I mentioned last time! Probably. Unless I make some chocolate whoopie pies with peppermint buttercream. Hmm. Any strong feelings either way? Let me know in the comments!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Clever Chicks Blog Hop!