holiday-salad
Pomegranate, Pecan, & Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients: Serves 4-6

  • Large bag of mixed greens or spinach
  • ¼ cup of pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup of pecans
  • 3 ounces of plain goat cheese broken into small pieces
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the greens in a bowl and add the pomegranate seeds. Break the pecans and goat cheese into pieces and add them to the bowl.
  2. For the dressing, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the dressing to the salad.

 

kale-quinoa-salad
Kale, Almond, & Green Olive Quinoa

 Ingredients: Serves 4-6

  • 1 ½ cups of rinsed quinoa
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
    • 1 tablespoon of garlic infused oil
    • pinch of red pepper flakes
    • ½ bunch of chopped kale
    • ¾ cup of water
    • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
    • ¼ cup of toasted slivered almonds
    • 15 sliced green olives
    • ½ teaspoon of sesame oil
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix the quinoa, water, and salt into a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and lower to a simmer for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed.
  2. In the meantime, add the garlic infused oil and red pepper flakes to a pot over a high flame. Add the kale and water, cover the pot, and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. After 5 minutes, check that the water is absorbed and add red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Once the quinoa is done cooking, mix the quinoa, kale, almonds, green olives, sesame oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Broccoli Soup

broccoli-soup-photo

This soup was modified from a recipe I found in the Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker.

Ingredients: Serves 4-6

  • 1-2 tablespoons of garlic infused oil
  • 4 chopped scallions (green portion only)
  • 5 pounds of broccoli cut into small to medium pieces
  • 5 cups of vegetable broth or water
  • ½ cup of white wine (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup cream (substitute with lactose-free cream or omit if you cannot eat cream)

Directions:

  1. Heat garlic infused oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add green portion of the scallion for 1-2 minutes until the scallions are softened.
  2. Add broccoli, broth or water, and wine if using.
  3. Stir together and bring to a boil. Once soup has reached a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
  4. Once the soup cools, blend soup (I recommend using an insertion blender) until the broccoli is blended, 1-3 minutes depending on the blender you are using.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add cream and if bring to a simmer if eating it right away.

For Your Reading Pleasure

For Your Reading Pleasure

1. 10 easy ways to incorporate incidental exercise into your day

2. Prebiotic fibers – Good for us, or a hidden additive?

3. How to buy “real food” from a mainstream supermarket.

4. 9 benefits of warm water & lemon in the morning.

Making & Maintaining Sourdough Starter
Making & Maintaining Sourdough Starter

I have wanted to learn how to make my own sourdough starter and bread for a very long time. Probably since I learned that sourdough bread without added yeast is low FODMAP. In September, I finally decided to put my money where my mouth is and I bought a starter from King Arthur’s Flour located in Norwich Vermont. I heard great things about the company and particularly about their sourdough starter. Plus, the idea of making and maintaining sourdough starter seemed daunting to me so I thought buying it would increase my chances of success. I was able to get it going and baked a loaf of bread from it, which was incredibly exciting but then somehow I killed it and could not revive my starter. After reading and asking a lot of questions, I learned that I made a couple of missteps that probably led to the demise of my short-lived hearty sourdough starter. This included, using too much flour (weighing your flour and water is the best method), using cold water from the tap (filtered water at room temperature is better), and where I placed my culture (above the refrigerator is a good trick especially on cold New England days).

However, this experience gave me enough confidence to try and make sourdough starter culture from scratch, which was my real goal. After keeping the culture alive for a month and baking many delicious loaves, I can happily say, I finally did it. The starter recipe I found is very simple and easy and perfect for busy people who still want to make their own bread. Below is my condensed version but you can find the full recipe with pictures, details, and tips at kitchn.com.

Ingredients:
1. 4 ounces or 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons if you do not have a scale of all-purpose flour
– Optional: a mix of all-purpose and whole grain flour
2. 4 ounces or 1/2 cup if you do not have a scale of water, preferably filtered at room temp
– Tip: I keep a bottle of filtered water on top of my refrigerator next to my starter

Equipment:
– 2-quart glass or plastic container (not metal)
– Scale (highly recommended) or measuring cups (metal is fine)
– Mixing spoon (not metal)
– Clean kitchen towel. You can use plastic wrap but I aim to be zero waste when I can

Time:
About 5 minutes a day for 5 days. The first day it took me about 20 minutes to figure things out but I got the hang of it eventually, which made it go faster. On Day 5, you should be able to start baking bread.

Directions:
Each morning weigh the flour and water, and combine them in the container. Stir, making sure to scrape down the sides, and loosely cover the container with a clean kitchen towel secured with a rubber band or plastic wrap. Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.

How the batter will look each day (Descriptions from ktichn.com):

Day 2: You may see a few small bubbles here and there. At this point, the starter should smell fresh, mildly sweet, and yeasty. If you don’t see any bubbles yet, don’t panic — depending on the conditions in your kitchen, the average room temperature, and other factors, your starter might just be slow to get going.

Day 3: The surface of your starter should look dotted with bubbles and your starter should look visibly larger in volume. If you stir the starter, it will still feel thick and batter-like, but you’ll hear bubbles popping. It should also start smelling a little sour and musty. If your starter doesn’t look like this, give it a few more days.

Day 4: The starter should be looking very bubbly with large and small bubbles, and it will have doubled in volume. If you stir the starter, it will feel looser than yesterday and honeycombed with bubbles. It should also be smelling quite sour and pungent. You can taste a little too! It should taste sour and somewhat vinegary.

Day 5: It should have doubled in bulk since yesterday. By now, the starter should also be looking very bubbly — even frothy. If you stir the starter, it will feel looser than yesterday and be completely webbed with bubbles. It should also be smelling quite sour and pungent. You can taste a little too! It should taste even more sour and vinegary. If everything is looking, smelling, and tasting good, you can consider your starter ripe and ready to use.

Maintaining Your Starter (Taken from kitchn.com):

Once your starter is ripe (or even if it’s not quite ripe yet), you no longer need to bulk it up. To maintain the starter, discard (or use) about half of the starter and then “feed” it with new flour and water: weigh the flour and water, and combine them in the container with the starter. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter.

If you’re using the starter within the next few days, leave it out on the counter and continue discarding half and “feeding” it daily. If it will be longer before you use your starter, cover it tightly and place it in the fridge. Remember to take it out and feed it at least once a week — I also usually let the starter sit out overnight to give the yeast time to recuperate before putting it back in the fridge.

For Your Reading Pleasure
For Your Reading Pleasure

1. Hmm…Is this a good or bad path to go down? Can a spoonful from Pepsi help the medicine go down?

2. More evidence cranberries don’t prevent urinary tract infections.

3. Can ginger ale really soothe nausea?

4. I love this list! It has so many great points that make my life less stressful (when I remember to do them). 13 easy things you can do to reduce stress and lead a less hectic life.

5. 10 really important food documentaries every healthy eater should watch. I have seen five out of the ten and Fed Up also mentioned in the article. They were all great. I am looking forward to checking out the other five.

6. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Photo by Peter Wendt on Unsplash

For Your Reading Pleasure
For Your Reading Pleasure

1. How to decipher egg carton labels: The truth behind what “cage-free,” “free-range” and other common terms mean (and don’t mean) for animal welfare.

2. Six essential oils to calm your skin

3. Want to cut down or quit sugar but do not want to give up wine, pasta, or chocolate. Good news, you may not have to.

4. New study links protein in wheat to the inflammation of chronic health conditions

5. Eight signs of FODMAP intolerance.

6. What’s wrong with the American diet? More than half our calories come from ‘ultra-processed’ foods

7. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash