Sunday, December 21, 2008

new kitchen help

his name is remington
here is what was cooking that day

Cranberry Orange Muffins (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

Makes 12 muffins

1½ cups white whole wheat flour
¾ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
¼ cup buttermilk powder or nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon orange zest (finely grated orange peel)
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
2 large eggs
⅔ cup (4.67 ounces) sugar
¾ cup milk
⅓ cup sour cream

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.

2. Whisk flour, oats, milk powder, baking powder, and orange zest in a large mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk egg until broken up. Add sugar and whisk until combined. Whisk in sour cream and milk.

3. Add cranberries and nuts, if using, to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add milk mixture and fold with rubber spatula until batter comes together. Do not overmix.

4. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack.

Looking over this recipe, I am not remembering adding dry milk... O well.

Were they good? Eh. If you like cranberry-orange muffins, then I would say, yes (pretty enthusiastically too)! If you prefer a good banana nut or pumpkin muffin, like me, these aren't going to be top on your baking list. Anyway, if you want some, I have a dozen or two in my freezer.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Curiousity (trys to) help the budget

I wondered how people used coupons to save bundles and wanted to know how to too. So, I went to a CouponSense meeting. That night I signed up, subscribed to the paper (I try to get at least 2 each Sunday), went to Walmart to get an organizing system (actually Pete did almost all the organizing) and have been pretty hooked on great deals ever since.

A couple days ago on a grocery trip I did 2 transactions at Fry's (my new favorite) and 1 at Albertson's.

I ended up with this for... ...$9
(tax included)

We, the Jack's, are still watching to see if the CouponSense subscription is worth the dues money (about $15 a month) but, the more weeks I have been a member the more I see it paying off.

and it's fun getting smokin' deals

Saturday, October 18, 2008

pumpkin season here we come

Unbaked 100% whole grain pumpkin cornbread with pepitas

Here it is baked
Here we have an unbaked pumpkin scone "log"
Here it is cut...

...and baked!

One thing that makes cold(er) weather a little more bearable is people's tendency to break out the pumpkin recipes - here we have two

Pumpkin is not the only positive ingredient in these baked goods - both were made with 100% genuine whole grains (King Arthur's White Whole Wheat and Bob's Red Mill Cornmeal)

The cornbread has a really good taste. A little dry (all the "liquid" in it is pumpkin!), yes, but a really good taste. For those who enjoy putting butter on their cornbread anyways
(and who doesn't) this cornbread would be just the thing.
The consistency while making it was pretty weird - I pretty much ended up "kneading" it by hand to mix in the pepitas and never had a chance to follow the directions, "Pour into pan". My method was more like, "Pick up orange dough ball and smoosh into prepared pan" -
whatever works.

I only tasted a bit of the scone (these are for a pumpkin event in a few days) but the bit I did taste was really great (and they don't even have icing on them yet - not that they are at all lacking in another less-than-nutritionally-desirable substance: butter).

I found these recipes here (changed the recipe to white whole wheat flour and 100% whole grain cornmeal) and here (changed the recipe to white whole wheat flour)

Amazingly easy, uncommonly healthy (especially for scones)

that's pumpkin for you

Saturday, October 4, 2008

parting is such sorrow

An incident on our road-trip rendered a life ending injury to our dear camera.

Thus causing a long period of silence.

Monday, June 2, 2008

flba (feed the local bears, anonymous)

Camp(ing) - a time and place of relaxation - hunger is known to abound. Here are a couple of meals that are perfect for any camping trip. Quickly made, little cleanup, warm food. All you need is a heat source (be it a camp stove, fire, etc.), a skillet, and something to stir/roll with

Example one: canned chili skillet. best if eaten directly from skillet
(optional cheese added when removed from heat source)

Example two: skillet bratwursts (with mustard). best eaten with knife
(great breakfast food accompanied by raw oats/milk/honey)

next time you go camping, don't leave your skillet behind

chicken toes...

...or fingers, whichever sounds more appetizing to you.
let's be frank - these are tasty, though rather low on the food quality chart.

making these yummy formerly-feathered-food-items is a good option because:
#1 the lack of a deep fryer breaks the temptation to plunge the breaded bird in oil before consumption (if in possession a deep fryer, beware of the lure of grease)
#2 the ability to make them out of:
a. chicken breast that not only looks and tastes like, but is, a real piece of meat
b. breading of your choosing

Start off with basic breadcrumb recipe:
pulverize bread to crumbs by whatever means possible.
My possible means involves one, handy vita-mix.
If not able to pulverize bread, purchase breadcrumbs.

the ingredients

the process

the raw

Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders

Serves 4

1 egg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 pound chicken breast tenders
4 slices of any Mrs Baird's wheat bread
Vegetable oil spray

the baked

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray; reserve. In a shallow bowl, whisk together egg, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and chili powder; reserve. Rinse chicken tenders under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. In a food processor or blender, process the bread into soft bread crumbs and place in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken tenders in egg mixture to coat both sides. Dip chicken pieces in bread crumbs and place in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray tops of chicken tenders with vegetable oil spray. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center

the eaten

Monday, April 28, 2008

all tied up in knots

"Guest baker Jill" and Jenni's project...
Soft Pretzels!You might wonder (as "Guest Baker Jill" demonstrates)...

...why one pretzel appears to be a (healthy) brown color while the other two look pasty white. Here is the reason:

(As stated before) I like my flour brown and whole so most things I make (that I plan on eating, at least) I attempt to make brown and um, whole (sorry for the repetition).

After rolling the pretzels into "logs" and shaping them into pretzels (with some rise/relax time mixed in), we decided to boil them before baking (like bagels!) which gave them a nice chewy "crust"

after baking we cooled them and... partook

Jill's report on the white flour version was, "These are amazing".

My report on the brown flour was that they reminded me of Trader Joe's (100%) Whole Wheat Pretzels (everyone's tried those right? Umm, no) but in a softer, chewier way.

Pete liked them too!!

I got a pretty good burn from the baking sheet while making these but failed to take a picture while my arm was at the height of it's crispiness. The scorch was worth it, they were good.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cafe Sahara

Eating at Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, Chili's, and the like can make going out to dinner a monotonous experience. Here is our first documented excursion in what we hope is a series of "Mom and Pop", or at least non-chain, restaurants.

Cafe Sahara
3641 East Baseline Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85234

Mediterranean & Indian

Atmosphere: Pleasantly dark with Hindi Music in background

Customers Present Upon Arriving: Zero (2 came in while we were there)

Nice bendy straws. Table setting lacked spoons wherewith to stir sugar in iced tea - the knife worked well though

Arrived 3 minutes after placing order. Delicious dressing on the side

Main Course:
Arrived 13 minutes after placing order. Came with toasted pita bread

Jenni ordered Vegetarian Combination (labeled a Mediterranean dish)
The dish included Falafel, stuffed grape leaves, baba ghannouj, hummus & tabouli

This was the best tabouli I ever tasted. The falafel was very nicely spiced. The hummus was good, and the grape leaves were alright, but I don't know that I would have enjoyed any other grape leaves more.

Peter ordered Chicken in Peanut Sauce (labeled an Indian dish)

This dish came with rice.

The Chicken was a little greasy but thoroughly enjoyed by Peter who said he'd order it again. The rice was tender and all around good

The waitress was nice and very attentive

$9.95 each for our meals plus a $2.25 drink brought us to $23.88

Nutrition Thoughts:
The salad greens were suspiciously iceberg-ish but had the bonus of extra veggies. The dressing seemed homemade and was not very heavy (possible tzatiki). The vegetarian* combo was nice with beans, olive oil, fresh (tasting) herbs, and veggies (in the tabouli) although I do believe the falafel was deep fried. The chicken dish, well, it sure had a lot of protein. The pita bread was unmistakenly made of refined flour but, was very good. All the food we ate seemed to be made at the restaurant (not shipped in bags to be reheated... with the exception (guessing) of the pita bread). Everything seemed very fresh. *No, Neither Peter nor Jenni Jacks are vegetarians

Sunday, April 13, 2008

half-whole pizza

(At Least) One of us is a big fan of Whole Grains.
This Pizza dough recipe was made (and eaten) with 50% Whole Wheat flour... the other unfortunate flour being of the refined variety. But, having made this recipe with both 100% and 50% Whole Wheat Flour, the 50%50% variety is rather tastier (although, taste isn't always everything : ).

"This tastes like real pizza".

Unfortunately the crust was rather tasteless (crust referred to here as area without toppings) because the salt was mistaking omitted.

Don't forget the salt.


¾ cup white flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour

½ tsp. salt

1 T. olive oil

1 T. sugar

½ package (¼ ounce) yeast

½ cup water

  1. Combine sugar, water and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl.

  2. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

  3. Pour yeast mixture and oil in well and stir into dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.

  4. If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

  5. Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface.

  6. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled.

  7. Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes.

  8. Makes 1- deep dish or 2- 12-inch pizza crusts.

  9. To bake, top with your favorite sauce, cheese, etc., and bake at 450°F for about 15 minutes or until crispy and cheese is bubbling.