No-Knead Country Bread

I made this bread last week for School of Christian Living.  It turned out so well I think I’ll be making it again for communion on Sunday.

While this did take a long time to rise, I think the biggest problem is that my house is pretty chilly in the winter and I don’t have a nice warm spot for the dough to sit.  Maybe I’ll make a fire for my dough to sit by next time.

This bread has an excellent crumb and makes great toast.  It was convenient that one recipe can make two loaves, or as I’ll try next time, you can make one loaf in a large pot.

No-Knead Country Bread

Makes 1 large, or 2 smaller loaves

Adapted from  Apple A Day

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ (or flax meal)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant yeast

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together stirring until all the flour has been incorporated.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm, dry place overnight or for about 8 hours, until doubled in size.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a loaf.  Place in a large greased Dutch oven, or shape into two loaves and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Cover and let rise for about an hour.

With a sharp pairing knife cut an ‘X’ or three diagonal slashes across the dough just before baking.

If baking in a covered Dutch oven then place in a cold oven and set for 450°F and bake 40-50 minutes.  Remove lid and bake an additional 5-15 minutes until golden brown.

For two loaves, preheat the oven to 400°F and bake for 25-30 minutes, until bread is golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing.

 

Turkey and Dumpling Soup

Unfortunately the chest cold that hit my parents over Thanksgiving weekend has now come to me.  The only good thing about being sick is that it gives you an excuse to have your favorite comfort foods.  One of my favorites is Chicken and Dumpling Soup–way better than Chicken Noodle in my opinion.  I even convinced a soup-hating friend that soup is actually delicious with this soup.  Since we have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, this is the perfect time to whip up a batch of Turkey and Dumpling soup.  This is delicious, full of veggies, turkey and dumpling clouds.  And even better, we had all the ingredients on hand.

If you make this with chicken instead of turkey you can get one of those pre-made rotisserie chickens from the grocery store or you can cook some chicken breasts in the oven/stove.

Turkey and Dumpling Soup

Serves 4-6

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4-5 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4-5 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen peas

Dumplings:

  • 2/3 cup bisquick
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp chopped herb, like basil or parsley (optional)

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and thyme.  Saute until vegetables are soft.  Add butter and flour and mix for about 1-2 minutes.  Add chicken broth and mix well, bring to a boil.  Adjust seasoning as needed.  In a separate bowl use a fork to mix bisquick, milk and herbs together.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add peas.  Then spoon dumpling batter into the soup, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, until dumplings have fluffed up.  Spoon into bowls and enjoy!

Cabbage and Lime Slaw with Toasted Peanuts

I’m a big fan of cabbage and love finding new ways to eat it.  Cabbage is wonderfully inexpensive and goes a long way.  I made this for Tuesday and have already made it again to go with our Thanksgiving leftovers.  The lime is refreshing and tart, the peanuts add a sweet crunch, and the edamame and some extra protein.  This slaw also incorporates spinach which is a lovely addition adding not only color but vitamins, iron and calcium.

This recipe mixes salt with the cabbage and rests for one to two hours, which was a new-to-me technique to help soften the cabbage so it’s not quite so crunchy.  If you don’t have time you can skip this step or just do it for as long as you have time for.

Cabbage and Lime Slaw with Toasted Peanuts

Serves 10

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1/4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1 1/2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts, toasted and chopped

In a large colander, mix sliced cabbage with kosher salt.  Let sit 1 to 2 hours.

In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, spinach and edamame.  Whisk together lime juice, mustard, cumin and oil.  Pour dressing over slaw just before serving and toss to mix.  Top with toasted peanuts.

Broccoli and Leek Soup

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We had a great celebration and while we’re still in the throws of Thanksgiving leftovers, if you’re looking for something different this is a great flavorful but light soup.  This also freezes great, so you can make a lot and save the rest for a rainy day.

I made this for Tuesday’s School of Christian Living class and it was a big hit.  This a great alternative to potato and leek soup full of delicious (vitamin C rich) broccoli.  I had to do a lot of this in batches because I didn’t have a skillet large enough, but it worked out just fine to sauté part of the leeks and garlic and then transfer them to the soup pot while I sautéed the rest.  I topped the soup with toasted pumpkin seeds which added a nice chewy crunch to the creamy soup.  I served this with a Cabbage and Lime Slaw, No-Knead Country Bread and a Pear and Cranberry Crumble (recipes coming soon).  It was quite the delicious meal!

Broccoli and Leek Soup

Serves 20

Adapted from Voracious Vander

  • 5 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1 head of garlic (about 10 cloves), peeled and minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 5 Idaho potatoes, chopped in 1/2″ pieces
  • 4 heads broccoli, cut in florets
  • 16 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, saute leeks until soft (I had to do this in batches), add the garlic and saute for another couple of minutes.  In a large soup pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil.  Add in the sauteed leeks, garlic, thyme and potatoes.  After a couple minutes add in the broccoli florets and simmer for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender and the broccoli is bright green.  Use an immersion blender and blend until soup is smooth (or do this in batches in a blender).  Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thanksgiving Planning

It’s time for my favorite holiday!  (Is anyone surprised that the day comprised of eating good food is my favorite holiday??)  Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time to appreciate how much we have, to spend time with people that are important to us, and to not have to stress about finding the perfect present for someone (Does anyone else find gift-giving a little stressful?)!

So I thought I’d share a bit about my family’s Thanksgiving traditions.  We’re really traditional…at least when it comes to our Thanksgiving foods.  Here’s our menu:

  • Turkey
  • Vegetarian main dish
  • Stuffing (veggie & turkey broth kinds)
  • Mushroom gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Barbecue Green Beans (veggie & bacon versions)
  • Corn Casserole
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Japanese Sweet Potatoes
  • American Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Ambrosia (Sweet potato and carrot puree)
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Broccoli Salad
  • Orange Jello Salad (there’s nothing salad-like about this dish…)
  • Rolls
  • Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie Bars
  • Apple Crisp Bars
  •  Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

 

A feast indeed!  Most of these dishes have been part of our yearly feast menu for at least my whole life.  Since my grandparents lived in Japan, Thanksgiving usually occurred at my parents’ house.  So my tradition was really the combination of my parents’ traditional foods.  So it’s a pretty big deal if we try to change the menu.  A couple years ago my dad switched from the traditional American sweet potatoes with the marshmallow topping to the new family favorite which has a pecan topping, but we had a couple years with 3 kinds of sweet potatoes…this year we seem to be going through a similar theme by adding the Ambrosia.  Fortunately we’re fans of leftovers!

We’re having a large gathering this year!  There will be 16 of us–12 adults, 4 kids.  Mom’s sister is bringing the cold salads.  She can make them ahead and they’re not as difficult as hot dishes to travel with when trying to get kiddos out the door as well.  Dad’s sister-in-law is bringing the ice cream and rolls.  Sister’s friend is bringing this deeelicious ambrosia dish that she made last year, it has now been added to the list of dishes that must be had for a true Thanksgiving feast.  Chris’s parents are bringing a vegetarian main dish.  And the rest was up to Mom and me!  We got a lot of the prep work done ahead of time.  So today will be about spending time with family, cooking the turkey and the last minute things right before dinner.

I hope you all have a very special Thanksgiving and are able to enjoy your time with family and  friends!

What are your favorite must-haves for Thanksgiving?  Any tips that help you get it all together on the big day?

Asian Sesame Salad Dressing

This is a great recipe to keep in your back pocket.  It’s really simple to throw together and makes for a great, fuss-free salad dressing.  I love the salty-sweet-sesame flavor.  Definitely a keeper!

Asian Sesame Salad Dressing

Makes about 1 cup (serves 15)

Adapted from MyRecipes.com

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 6 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until sugar has dissolved.

Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

This might be my new favorite breakfast!  It’s nice and chewy, the toasted nuts are delicious, the apples stay firm, the spices are subtle but warm.  This didn’t really hold its shape, but I’m not concerned with looks as long as it tastes good!  Next time I’ll probably just make this in a 9×9″ baking dish instead of a pie pan…or maybe double it and make it in a 9×13.  Will definitely be making this again!  It came together quickly and while it takes a while to cook it just encouraged me to get my workout in early in the day–it’s a win-win!

Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

Serves 6

Adapted from Nutritious Eats

  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped (I used granny smith)
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease a 9 1/2″ pie dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together apples, oats, baking powder, pecans, spices and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, oil, maple syrup and vanilla.  Stir wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.  Carefully pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.  Cover with foil during the last 5 minutes if the top gets brown quickly.  Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Banana Leaf Vegetable Curry

I made this dish for Tuesday’s School of Christian Living.  It was a big hit.  This comes by way of another church lady, but she got it from Sheila Lukins’ All Around the World Cookbook.  There are no bananas, leaves or banana leaves in this curry, so I’m not sure where the name comes from…might have to find a copy of the book to figure it out.  Despite the lack of banana leaves this is one tasty meal!

This curry has a great blend of flavors.  I was surprised to see cinnamon in the mix, but it was a nice touch–adds some warmth but isn’t overwhelming.  I made this the day before, and realized I should have waited to add the raisins until just before serving it.  They added a little too much sweetness since I added them early, but they’re a really nice touch.  Served with brown rice, this is a flavorful, unique (vegan) dish!

Banana Leaf Vegetable Curry

Serves 20

Adapted from Sheila Lukins’ All Around the World Cookbook

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 Tbsp good curry powder
  • 7 carrots, peeled and chopped in 1/2″ pieces
  • 5 Idaho potatoes, washed and chopped in 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-size florets
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp agave
  • 1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 (28oz) large can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 2 cups toasted coconut, for garnish

Heat oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot.  Add onion and cook until softened.  Add garlic and cook an additional minute.  Add curry powder and stir for another minute.

Add carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broth, agave, and cinnamon sticks.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  15-20 minutes before serving, add garbanzo beans, raisins, and tomatoes.  Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro and toasted coconut.

Lemon Creme with Sweet Thyme & Oat Granola

So last night was the start of the new School of Christian Living classes.  This term one of the classes is focused on animal rights, so I’m rising to the challenge to make 6 weeks of vegan meals.  I’m going to try to stick to cooking with regular ingredients and limit the use of any vegan replacement products.  I’m hoping these recipes will just be a tasty, easy addition that you can incorporate in your meal planning regardless of your carnivore, omnivore, herbivore status.

Let’s start with dessert first.  This was very popular and I had several people double check that I’d be posting it on here.  This is a great combination of smooth creme with crunchy topping.  The lemon is tart and bright, cleansing the palate.  It’s refreshing and light.  I was a little skeptical, but the combination of lemon and thyme is delicious and works great as a sophisticated dessert.  I kept the lemon creme on the tart side, but the topping is very sweet (I’ll decrease the sugar by a 1/4 cup as reflected below) so the combination works well.  If you like it sweeter feel free to add more agave (or honey if you’re not keeping vegan).  This is also dairy-free, so great for all sorts of dietary restrictions!

I wasn’t aware there was such a thing as extra-firm silken tofu, but I happened to find it at my local Asian market (it was not in the chilled section though, so look on the shelves).

Lemon Creme with Sweet Thyme and Oat Granola

Serves 10-15

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Lemon Creme:

  • 2 (12.3oz) pkgs extra-firm silken tofu
  • 4 Tbsp finely ground cornmeal
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced

Wrap tofu in paper towels and press with a skillet (or something moderately heavy) for about 10 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor (or whisk really vigorously–arm workout for the day!), blend until smooth, about 1 minute.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  Can be made ahead of time.  If separation occurs just stir.

Sweet Thyme and Oat Granola:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan with cooking spray.

Combine oats, sugar, salt, coconut, and thyme.  Stir together melted coconut oil and vanilla extract.  Mix together wet and dry ingredients until everything’s well mixed.  Place in oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Savory Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Dinner last night was a bit of a cleaning out of the fridge.  We had some veggies that needed to be eaten, some ground turkey that needed to be used or frozen, and a bunch of bell peppers.  Naturally stuffed peppers came to mind.  Figuring out what to stuff in a pepper takes a little creativity.  I knew I wanted a whole grain involved, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time cooking up barley or something.  I like having something kind of creamy/cheesy in my peppers.  I knew I had the protein covered with the ground turkey.  And I always like to have as many veggies as possible in any meal.  So those were my guidelines.  I did a little bit of recipe searching and found a basic recipe to follow for quantities/timing, and lo and behold, dinner was born.  This turned out really well!  I used goat cheese which melted into creamy decadence.  I used quinoa as the grain which adds a lovely nutty flavor and absorbs the creamy melted cheese and the juice from the tomatoes.  I like to cut the peppers in half before filling them so that your pepper is overflowing with filling, but if you prefer the look of a whole pepper being filled that works too.  All and all this turned out perfectly for a use-what-you’ve-got recipe.

Savory Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 6 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz goat cheese (I had tomato and herb on hand)
  • 6 bell peppers, seeded and cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp julienned basil, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a small sauce pan, toast your quinoa over medium-high heat until it starts to pop and smells fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Add water and salt.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Sauté onion, celery and mushrooms until tender.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Add turkey, breaking it up with your spatula as it cooks.

Mix in tomato paste and salt.  Stir in tomatoes and goat cheese.  By this time your quinoa should be done, so stir that in as well and remove skillet from heat.  In a nonstick pan, line up your pepper halves, scoop filling into each half.  Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove pan from oven, carefully take off the foil and garnish the peppers with fresh basil.  Serve and enjoy!