A healthy snack

February 7, 2011 in Food Porn, recipe


On Monday, January 31, 2011, the feds made these recommendations PDF (per New York Times which paraphrases as follows):

As the nation’s obesity crisis continues unabated, federal regulators on Monday issued their bluntest nutrition advice to date: drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables and cut down on processed foods filled with sodium, fat or sugar.

More important, perhaps, the government told Americans, “Enjoy your food, but eat less.”

One day later, the enormous snack food industry announces that it has benighted February as “Snack Food Month”.

(rolling eyes)

As if they dont already spend vast quantities of money to sell enormous tonnage of snack foods into our children every day of the year.

As an antidote to this and a way to raise awareness of how toxic this non-food is, Roger Dorion and Kitchen Garden International has started a campaign called #20ate.

Here are some details from their site 20ate.org:

#20ate is a crowdsourced, open-source campaign to encourage people 1) to opt out of unhealthy, processed snack and junk foods for the #20ate days of February 2) opt in for real ones instead (which often cost less when made at home) and 3) to donate the money saved from #1 to a healthy food cause. Please see the oh-so-satisfying, meal-sized version (well-balanced, of course) for some ideas on how you can join the campaign and help our country’s good food movement to grow. Please use the #20ate hashtag and avatar/badge to show your support.

Here are 4 things you can do to help reclaim February for the good food cause:

1) Opt-out of Snack Food Month by not buying processed snack foods or junk foods for the month of February and opt-in for real foods which taste better, make you feel better and often cost less when you make them yourself. White bean hummus with home-made pita bread chips anyone? You say hummus, I say yummus!

Here are some links to some healthy snack resources that might inspire you:

9 healthy predinner snacks (Real Simple magazine)
Quick and healthy snack recipes (Eating Light magazine)
Healthy snacks 4 kids (Phy. Committee for Responsible Medicine)

2) Sing your participation in the 20ate campaign from the rooftops on twitter and facebook using the #20ate hashtag.

Here are some sample tweets or facebook statuses that might inspire some of your own:

  • Did you know that the big food companies are calling Feb “National Snack Food Month?” #20ate Bite back here: http://20ate.org
  • I’m opting out of National Snack Food Month and opting in for real food instead. How about you? #20ate http://20ate.org
  • February=National Snack Food Month? Not in my house! #20ate http://20ate.org
  • If February is National Snack Food Month, then March should be National (in the blank) Month! #20ate http://20ate.org
  • National Snack Food Month? What’s up with that? Help me reclaim February for the good food cause. #20ate http://20ate.org
  • I’m opting out of National Snack Food Month this February because I like my butt just the way it is. #20ate http://20ate.org

Be aware that your participation in the campaign may lead to snack food withdrawal symptoms such as the jerky jerk, twinkie twitch or oreoitis, but don’t fear: there’s a large twitter community on call to help.

Want to show the world you’re a #20ater (or is it #20eater?) in a more visual way? Grab the the #20ate badge/avatar here for use on your blog, twitter or facebook profile.

3) “Like” KGI’sFacebook fanpage to help us build our online presence. My pride is riding on this one: the freaking “cheese puff” fanpage has more fans than we do. That’s so wrong and in so many ways.

4) Donate some of your savings from #1 to a healthy & sustainable food cause you’ve always wanted to support. If you don’t have one, KGI would love to be your cause. We’re currently raising funds for coordination of “World Kitchen Garden Day” (August 28th), food gardeners’ answer to Snack Food Month.

Spouted Whole Wheat Crackers

My contribution to this will be today’s recipe for a very healthy snack indeed!

Spouted Whole Wheat Crackers

Sprouted Whole Wheat Crackers

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup dry corn masa
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • salt
  • rosemary
  • montreal steak salt

Directions:

Preheat to 375 F.

Mix the dry ingredients, add the softened butter and incorporate until butter is fully mixed into flour. Add the milk and mix dough until stiff and not sticky.

Take a portion of the dough and roll out to about 1/8th thickness. Cut into squares and poke with a fork. Add salt and herbs if desired.

Put on a baking sheet and bake some 15-20 minutes until the desired color.

Spouted Whole Wheat Crackers

Enjoy!

Spouted Whole Wheat Crackers

A snowy February and Valentine’s snacks!

February 1, 2011 in Food Porn, recipe


I think mother nature has decided that a new ice age is a good idea and that its all gonna start this last January. we have a good 3 to 3.5 feet of snow on the ground here. Today we have yet another storm that will yield 2 more feet of snow. Then this Saturday we get another Nor’easter. This pattern of multi-foot storms several times a WEEK is meant to last for weeks to come.

We are very weary of the snow and the loads of money flying out of our checking account to the plow guy.

Valentine's Day 2011

As you might imagine, holidays would be just grand during this time of misery but they all seem to have been used up last fall!

At this point the “Feast of the Echidna” sounds festive – too bad we dont observe it.

Valentine's Day 2011

I am not usually the romantic type, by a long shot, but I am feeling a powerful hankering for SOME holiday to break up the endless snow days.

For this reason, I am considering more of a production for this year’s Valentine’s Day. Around here it will be a celebration of the love between family and will be kid oriented.

I am still working on what sorts of foods might be cheerful for a Valentine’s Day afternoon meal. I know I want to do it before the sun goes down and be more like a picnic inside sort of concept.

I think it will involve chocolate, red, maybe some cinnamon, maybe strawberries.

Stay tuned to see what we come up with and please leave a comment telling us what you do for Valentine’s Day!!

Valentine's Day 2011

Whole Wheat Cheddar Cheese Kefir Irish Soda Bread

March 13, 2010 in baking, Food Porn, recipe

kefirsodabread-450

I am part Irish so I have always felt an affinity to St Patricks day. I like it as a mom because its a holiday in early cold spring when you really need it BUT its not all about candy!!

I adapted a traditional recipe from this European Cuisines site, it is quite delicious. This site will give you some background on this traditional bread!

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Cheddar Cheese Kefir Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-3 cups medium thickness kefir (amount depends on how dry your flour is!)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

Put all dry ingredients in large bowl and mix completely. Add 2 cups kefir and then mix with your hands. If it seems really dry add enough kefir (or milk if you run out of kefir) to make a wet “loose” dough.

Shape into mound on a baking sheet (I spray parchment with olive oil first.

Indent a line or an X on it to help with portions later.

Whole Wheat Cheddar Cheese Kefir Irish Soda Bread

Bake at 400 F for 45 minutes, until a tap on the bottom sounds hollow and it is lightly golden/tan on the top.

Whole Wheat Cheddar Cheese Kefir Irish Soda Bread

Take it out, let it cool a bit, enjoy!

Whole wheat kefir cheddar cheese sage Irish soda bread

I used ours with our Sous Vide Corned Beef as blogged here: St. Patricks day brisket – sous vide style.

Sous Vide Supreme: corned beef - melting!

Here is a shot of the bread, under some corned beef.

Have a lovely St Patrick’s day!

Organic Buckwheat Kefir pancakes with unsulfered molasses

February 28, 2010 in Food Porn, Kefir, recipe

buckwheat-2

In an effort to increase the usage of less traditional ingredients in our house, to broaden the kid’s palates, I have been experimenting with buckwheat.

Common buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculentum, isnt actually a wheat, its a pseudocereal and is a non-grass broadleaf plant. Other pseudocereals that you may know are amaranth and quinoa.

Buckwheat originated in Southeast Asia around 6,000 BCE, it had spread to Europe in the middle neolithic era (4,000 BCE). It was and is still used a important component of some of the most beloved noodles and pasta throughout the ages, eg: soba (Japan), naengmyeon, makguksu and memil guksu (Korea), and pizzoccheri (Italy), a type of tagliatelli.

Europeans used buckwheat as a base “grain” for porridges and also as kasha by itself or used to stuff knishes and as the base batter for blintzes (blini).

IMPORTANT NUTRITIONAL ASPECTS OF BUCKWHEAT

Buckwheat is not a mono-purpose crop and has been used for medicinal purposes for a very long time (no surprise, something used this long and not adapted to making twinkies is bound to have some goodness).

Buckwheat contains a compound called D-chiro-inositol (DCI) which plays a role in what we call second messenger pathways in our metabolism relating to insulin and sugar metabolism. A deficiency in DCI has been implicated in insulin resistance (one of the pernicious aspects of Diabetes Type II). (See this reference Larner J., D-chiro-inositol–its functional role in insulin action and its deficit in insulin resistance, Int J Exp Diabetes Res. 2002;3(1):47-60).

The take away message here is: buckwheat, with it’s DCI, will mediate healthy sugar metabolism so that you do not become diabetic and possibly facilitate the reversal of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

When PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) patients were treated with DCI they found:

DCI can be found as a supplement but you should ALWAYS get your vitamins and minerals in foods because there are many co-factors and other functional molecules we havent the slightest clue about that will only be found in whole foods and not in purified fractions.

DCI sources are buckwheat (very high), carob, and fig leaf melons. I think buckwheat might be the easiest to slip into your diet!

I use gluten free Arrowhead Mills Organic Buckwheat flour although I doubt there is even GMO Buckwheat made yet. I dont know what sort of pesticide situation there is with buckwheat but as I have zero tolerance for farmers who use any pesticides I choose to vote for organic farmers and producers every time.

Again, I am using kefir in this recipe. For one, kefir is a demanding mistress! My grains convert milk into frothy kefir very quickly and, for the time being, I am using it for cooking to ease the family into exposure to these organisms. Another, I love experimenting and pushing recipes into new shapes, with kefir that is pretty easy to do.

I adapted the following recipe from the buckwheat pancake recipe in The Joy Of Cooking.

Organic Buckwheat Kefir pancakes with unsulfured molasses

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 c organic buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon double acting baking powder (I use Bob’s Red Mill aluminum free powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (Again, I use Bob’s Red Mill aluminum free soda)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (I recommend leaving this out or adding honey to the liquid portion
  • 3 1/4 cups medium thickness kefir
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:

Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Add the kefir and melted butter and mix until JUST incorporated. It will then begin to slightly bubble as the kefir outgasses and the baking soda and baking powder begin to do their carbon dioxide chemistry.

Cook in a pan with medium low heat (change as per your preference) and serve.

I served it to the kids with honey and I used molasses on mine (seen here) because I always need iron.

Organic Buckwheat Kefir pancakes with unsulfered molasses