Soft Sprouted Spelt Dinner Rolls

It was a different type of Thanksgiving for us this year as some unforeseen events led to our local family leaving town for an emergency leaving us unable to travel because it was too close to the date to take leave from work. We had a special day nonetheless and for the first time ever, I was responsible for 100% of the cooking. This was both terrifying and freeing. When, while shopping, my husband held up a package of those soft pull apart dinner rolls, I immediately thought of the sprouted spelt flour I had in the pantry and said “I’ll make some”.

I assumed it would be easy to find a recipe, but my searching came to naught amd I was ready to give up when I remembered this recipe from Jenny at Nourished Kitchen. (Jenny’s blog is an amazing resource with lovely photos!) I had made it two years ago and had forgotten about it since. I wasn’t sure that it would translate well into a roll recipe and I prefer spelt to wheat, so I made some ingredient changes and voila! My husband said they were the best I’ve ever made.

Ingredients
3 cups sprouted spelt flour
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon melted butter

Warm milk slightly, whisk in honey and yeast and set aside until frothy, to indicate that the yeast is working.

Combine the flour and sea salt in a large bowl, reserving a tablespoon or two for kneading. When milk mixture is ready, add to the flour and mix until combined and then let it rest for 10 minutes before kneading.

Sprinkle the remaining flour over the dough and knead for seven or eight minutes until the dough develops some spring. (This is a sticky dough, but don’t add too much flour.) Allow the dough to rest another 10 minutes.

Knead another seven or eight minutes; the dough will feel much smoother now. Cover with a slightly damp cotton cloth and allow to rise about 2 hours.

when dough has doubled, punch down and divide into eight rolls by creating a circle with your thumb and pointer finger and forcing dough through so that it forms a ball. I arranged my rolls on a circular stoneware baking dish. Cover again and allow to rise to double (it will be much quicker this time).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, melt butter and whisk with cream. Brush gently over the tops of the rolls before baking. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown and an instant read thermometer reads at least 190 degrees.

Serve warm with good butter!

*I made eight medium sized rolls, but it would easily make a dozen smaller rolls

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Pumpkin Raisin Pudding Bread

I shared a picture of this super delicious Pumpkin Raisin Pudding Bread in my previous post, but not the recipe, so I am sharing it here! This is really good – spicy, a little sweet, pumpkin-y and perfect alone pr to complement a savory stew or soup

For a gluten-free version use gluten free oat flour and for a nourished version, use sprouted spelt flour. I have found them to behave very similarly in muffins and quick breads!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups oat flour or sprouted spelt flour
1 cup organic roasted pumpkin puree
1/4 maple syrup
1/4 cup turbinado or other raw sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/3 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup thompson raisins

Mix together wet ingredients and add raisins to the mixture to soak (5-10 minutes) while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees and mix the dry ingredients. Mix the ingredients together until combined and pour into a buttered loaf pan (I used glass) and bake for 45 minutes to one hour until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.

Sweet Potato Lentils with Bacon and Tarragon

One of my all time favorite Fall meals is Lentil Stew. I have two go to recipes with very different flavor profiles. This one with bacon, sweet potatoes and tarragon is my favorite. I love these flavors together and it doesn’t hurt that my two year will eat three bowls full without picking out a single veggie.

This pudding bread is so moist that my son called is squish bread. Sweet and spicy with a whole cup of roasted pureed pumpkin, this is healthy and delicious! Great alongside a savory stew or with a mug of tea for breakfast! I will share the recipe in the next post.

Lentils Ingredients
1 1/2 cups green lentils
1 medium sweet potato
1 small sweet onion
3 small carrots (2 large is fine, but I like the flavor of smaller carrots)
2 inner stalks of celery
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 thick slices uncured bacon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

4 hours before you begin cooking, rinse your lentils and place in a large dish. Cover with water by 1 inch and add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Soak.

Begin by chopping your bacon, onion, carrot and celery in a small uniform dice. Add the bacon to a medium sized stock pot and begin cooking over medium high heat. When the bacon starts to become crispy and the fat has rendered, add the onion, carrot and celery and reduce heat to medium low. Stir the vegetables and season with a 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (if necessary add olive oil or butter to keep veg from sticking) before covering and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, crush the garlic and add it to the pot, cook for 1 minute and then add the tomato paste stirring it while it cooks for another 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Next, add the lentils in their soaking water along with another 2 1/2 cups of water. Peel and dice your sweet potato and add that to the pot and cover allowing everything to cook for about 15 minutes. Uncover the pot and stir in the tarragon and then allow the lentils to cook uncovered for another 15 minutes until everything is cooked through and much of the liquid has been absorbed. Serve in large bowls for a cozy and delicious meal!

Hard Cider Pulled Pork

We didn’t eat pork in my home when I was growing up, but I have special memories of my Nan making roast pork when we would visit and I have developed a soft spot for it.  I created this recipe because I love the tenderness of pulled pork, but didn’t want barbeque.  It is a new Autumnal spin on my favorite grilled tenderloin recipe that I make in Summer.

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Ingredients

2 lbs pork loin or tenderloin

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 bottle hard cider (I used Woodchuck)

Add all ingredients (except pork) to a crock pot and mix well.  Add pork and coat in the mixture.  Cook on low for 8 to 12 hours, shred and enjoy!

P.S.  I made white rice because of concerns about arsenic levels being highest in brown rice.  Has anyone else heard this?  Even the organic varieties are at risk!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

These delicious chocolate cupcakes are made with gluten free coconut flour, but unlike many recipes that use coconut flour, the taste is not prominent. While I love coconut and appreciate the many benefits of coconut flour, it can be discouraging to have the tropical taste come through in a spice bread.

Maple syrup adds sweetness and depth of flavor and the olive oil adds richness, there is a slight kick from the cayenne pepper and chili powder and the warming backdrop of cinnamon and cocoa. Everything about these cupcakes shouts “eat me” and the good news is, you can!

Ingredients
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (a generous 1/8)
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup maple syrup (grade b)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 eggs
2 tablespoons brewed coffee (organic, fair trade, decaf)*
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (soy free)*
*optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry and wet ingredients seperately, being sure to beat eggs well and then combine. Mix thoroughly! Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon evenly into 8 paper lined cupcake tins. Bake for 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Delicious slightly warm!

Adapted from The Healthy Chef here!

Easy Bolognese

Hurricane Sandy is quickly moving in on the East Coast and I wanted to prepare one hearty meal before the probable loss of power, knowing the outages will likely last a few days.

Being a NJ native this tomato sauce is a favorite and was a no brainer for this chilly day. While pasta is an obvious choice, this is wonderful over roast cauliflower, rice, or with a slice of hearty sourdough. Top with pecorino romano and fresh basil or add a quart of beef stock and some red chard and serve as a soup!

Ingredients
28oz jarred or canned tomato (check to be sure they are BPA free)
1 lb. ground grass fed beef
1/2 sweet red or yellow onion
2 small carrots
2 cloves garlic smashed
3 talespoons butter

In a large pot, brown the beef, breaking it into bite sized pieces. Finely dice the carrots, smash the garlic and remove the outer skins of the onion. Add the carrots to the beef and cook until soft. Drain most of the remaining fat from the beef and add the tomatoes and butter. Submerge the onion half and the garlic in the sauce and simmer for one hour. Remove garlic and onion before serving.

Bircher Muesli

I love hot breakfasts! Eggs with spinach or soaked oat porridge are our favorite daily recipes. Then for more special days, blueberry pancakes with sprouted flour and the amazing holiday strata I have been making for years tops the list. Sometimes though, I want a cold breakfast that is ready when I wake up and this is my go to recipe. Only three ingredients and very easy to make your own by playing with various fruit combinations.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole rolled oats
3/4 cup filtered water
The Juice of 1 Lemon

Mix the ingredients together and allow to soak for 12 hours at room temperature. When ready to eat, serve with a variety of toppings. Some favorites are:
– finely chopped green apple, raisins, plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey
– blueberries, walnuts, yogurt and maple syrup.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (Gluten Free)

For the time being, I am on a gluten-free diet. While it is (hopefully) not permanent, it has been 6 weeks and that is certainly enough time to really feel the loss of certain foods. Knowing that there is no great substitute for real artisan bread, I turned my cravings toward something I could recreate in my kitchen. I was thrilled with this recipe, as were my husband and son.
These pumpkin cream cheese muffins are not overly sweet, but carry all the flavors of Autumn beautifully. It just makes life a little easier when you no longer have to deal with big orange muffins at Whole Foods, Starbucks and on Pinterest taunting you – you can just make these instead. While definitely a treat and not an everyday food, these are a treat you can feel pretty good about.

Ingredients (Muffin)
1 1/2 cups oat flour
2/3 cup organic pumpkin puree
1/4 maple syrup
1/4 cup turbinado or other raw sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Ingredients (Filling)*
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk

(These directions are for quick muffins. While it is possible to soak them by combining the oat flour with the milk and yogurt and allowing to sit overnight before proceeding, it doesn’t work perfectly with this recipe and you must use a food processor for the rest of the recipe in order to achieve the proper texture. For a ‘nourished’ option, sprouted spelt should work well!)

For the filling: Simply combine the room temperature cream cheese with the powdered sugar and milk, stirring until smooth and set aside.

For the batter: In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a seperate bowl whisk the eggs until light and frothy before combining with maple syrup, milk, yogurt, vanilla and pureed pumpkin.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Melt the butter and aft allowing it to cool slightly add to the batter.

Line a muffin pan with paper cups and cover the bottoms with the batter (about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons). Place a dollop of the filling in each cup and cover with remaining batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. The filling will be hot, so allow to cool completely before enjoying.

*For another great muffin, omit the cream cheese filling and add 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips!

Simple Popcorn

Inspired by the bag of beautiful, multicolor, organic popcorn kernels I purchased at Whole Foods this week, I did a quick internet search for the best way to pop it.  I love stovepop popcorn for its nostalgia and for the ridiculous feeling of accomplishment I feel when I take the lid off the pot to reveal those gorgeous puffs of deliciousness.  🙂

This recipe blew my old method of a wish and a prayer out of the water.  I made two batches and had one unpopped kernel total.  The coconut oil I used added a touch of unexpected sweetness that mixed well with the butter and sea salt rather than being overpowering.

Ingredients

1/3 cup unpopped popcorn

2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste

1 tablespoon of butter (optional, but recommended)

 

Add the coconut oil and sea salt to a heavy bottom saucepan (I used a stainless steel, 7 cup pan and it was perfect), along with 4 popcorn kernels.  Cover and place over medium high heat until all 4 kernels have popped.  Remove from heat and add the rest of the kernels.   Cover the pot quickly and wait 30 seconds before returning to heat shaking occasionally.  Return pot to heat and shake occasionally until popping slows to a few seconds between pops.  If possible, vent your lid slightly during this process to release steam.  When popping stops, remove the lid and revel in a sense of accomplishment.  Top with melted butter and more sea salt.

Perfect Popcorn recipe is here.

Quinoa and Black Beans

This is a great dish to feed a crowd. I created it when we had old friends visiting who had just begun a Vegan diet. I needed something tasty, easy and not too time-consuming (I wanted to sit and talk). While we topped it with plain Greek yogurt, our friends enjoyed it plain alongside Vegan Apple Butternut Muffins with Sprouted Spelt.
Quinoa is very high in protein and with black beans (a superfood), this dish is perfectly nutritious and filling for a meatless supper. Of course, if you are so inclined it would be easy to top this with leftover roast chicken or to modify the recipe to include meat. No matter your preference, this dish is worth a try!

Ingredients
2 cups quinoa
2 15 oz. cans black beans*
2 15 oz.cans chopped tomatoes*
1 yellow bell pepper
1 small red onion
1 stalk celery with leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce (I prefer Cholula)
2 tàblespoons chili seasoning**
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste
*check to make sure that your cans are BPA Free before purchasing, Eden Organics and Trader Joes are both recommended
**I have used Trader Joe’s taco seasoning for this recipe, as it contains only real spices with no msg or fillers. Alternatively, you could use 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.

Place quinoa in a bowl and cover with 3 1/2 cups filtered water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or plain yogurt if non-vegan). Allow to sit for 4 hours. (This step is for the health benefits of soaking and can be skipped if pressed for time.)

After the quinoa has soaked, chop the onion, celery, and bell pepper in a small uniform dice and add to a large stock pot with the olive oil, salt liberally. Cover vegetables and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until tender. When vegetables have cooked add the black beans (drained and rinsed), tomatoes (with juice), the hot sauce and the quinoa with the soaking liquid (if you skipped the soaking step, add the quinoa with 3 1/2 cups water). Stir well and allow to simmer covered for ten minutes. Finally, add your chili seasoning and brown sugar and allow to continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed (about 15 more minutes). Quinoa is cooked when it is slightly translucent and a small “tail” is visible. Top with yogurt and enjoy!