Michelle's Blog

My life as a wife, homemaker, friend, Christian

Tangy Shrimp with Summer Veggies – in a Pita! June 25, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — mrswade @ 9:40 pm
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This is originally intended to be a salad but makes a great dinner when stuffed in a whole-wheat pita.  Fresh, filling and healthy!

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Tangy Shrimp with Summer Veggies Salad

  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup parsley sprigs
  • 4 scallions/green onions
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (or more!) lemon juice

Directions

In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, parsley, scallions, jalapeno, garlic, oil, lemon juice, cooked shrimp, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Let marinate for 5 minutes before serving

You can buy pre-cooked frozen shrimp for easiest prep, or raw shrimp.  To cook shrimp: bring large saucepan of water to boil.  Add the shrimp and 1 Tbs salt and cook until the shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain and run under cold water to cool

 

Pita

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions

In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water; stir to blend. Let the yeast stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the salt. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated and the dough gathers into a ball; this should take about 4 minutes.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it’s smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn it over to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Place a large pizza stone on the lower oven rack, preheat the oven (and stone) to 500 degrees F.

Punch the dough down, divide it into 8 pieces, and gather each piece into a ball; keeping all of them lightly floured and covered while you work. Allow the balls of dough to rest, covered, for 15 minutes so they will be easier to roll out.

Using a rolling pin, roll each dough ball into a circle that is about 8-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Make sure the circle is totally smooth, with no creases or seams in the dough, which can prevent the pitas from puffing up properly. Cover the disks as you roll them out, but do not stack them up. Put 2 pita rounds at a time on the hot pizza stone and bake for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the bread puffs up like a balloon and is pale golden. Watch closely; they bake fast. Remove the bread from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 5 minutes; they will naturally deflate, leaving a pocket in the center. Wrap the pitas in a large kitchen towel to keep them soft.

ENJOY!

 

 

Homemade Crackers! YES! April 3, 2009

Filed under: frugal,Recipes — mrswade @ 10:32 am
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While attempting to buy nothing in a box and make everything I can in my own kitchen, I find a lack of snack foods.  Planning meals is one thing, but what happens if you get a little munchy before or after?!  I made biscotti, which was REALLY good but not something you can sit there an munch, it’s a one-time-snack. 🙂  Mikaela did these first and recommended them to me.  The recipe came from one of our favorite food blogs, 101cookbooks.  They were UBER good! yay 🙂

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If you have trouble tracking down semolina flour, just substitute white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour), it will be make a slightly different cracker but should still work. To get creative with your crackers you can top them with lots of things before baking: freshly grated cheese, artisan salts, cornmeal, a dusting of your favorite spice blend, seeds, or a wash of your favorite flavored or infused oil. You can simply cut the unbaked cracker dough into various shapes using one of those pizza cutting wheels.

1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

special equipment: pasta machine (optional)

Whisk together the flours and salt. Add the water and olive oil. Using a mixer with a dough hook attachment mix the dough at medium speed for about 5 – 7 minutes. Alternately, feel free to mix and then knead by hand on a floured counter-top. The dough should be just a bit tacky – not too dry, not too sticky to work with. If you need to add a bit more water (or flour) do so.

When you are done mixing, shape the dough into a large ball. Now cut into twelve equal-sized pieces. Gently rub each piece with a bit of olive oil, shape into a small ball and place on a plate. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 450F degrees. Insert a pizza stone if you have one.

When the dough is done resting, flatten one dough ball. Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, shape into a flat strip of dough – I can usually get down to the 4 setting on my pasta machine w/o trouble. Pull the dough out a bit thinner by hand (the way you might pull pizza dough). You can also cut the dough into whatever shape you like at this point. Set dough on a floured (or cornmeal dusted) baking sheet, poke each cracker with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing, add any extra toppings, and slide into the oven (onto the pizza stone). Repeat the process for the remaining dough balls, baking in small batches. If you don’t have a pizza stone, bake crackers a few at a time on baking sheets. Bake until deeply golden, and let cool before eating – you will get more crackery snap.

I added some of my fresh herbs – thyme and rosemary, garlic salt, parmesan, seasoning salt and sage.  They were all VERY good and very easy!

 

Tomato Mozzarella Casserole

Filed under: frugal,Recipes — mrswade @ 10:12 am
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This one’s from my very dear friend Mikaela.  🙂  I was a little nervous about it at first because I’m really not a casserole fan, and I thought it would be really heavy because of the cheese.  NOT SO! It was AAAAAmazing! 🙂 yum!  

We took her suggestion to add some meat (but I accidentally added too much, so it didn’t all fit in the pan.  It’s ok though, because I had a make-shift spaghetti for lunch the next day with the noodles that didn’t fit. 🙂 

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dry pasta (recipe calls for Ziti, but I used rotini… really, any short, sturdy pasta will work)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1- 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbls. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbls. Fresh chopped basil (or 2 tsp. dried – I used Italian Herb Seasoning instead)
  • 1/2 tsp. (or more) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 8 oz (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup. grated parmesan cheese
Directions
Cook pasta according to package in a large pot.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Put back in pot and set aside.  In a 12″ skillet, cook ground beef.  When done, drain off fat and rinse in a colander and add minced garlic cook until until tender, but do not brown.  Add tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Stir in basil, sugar, and salt.  Add sauce to the pasta and toss, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen sauce.  
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spread 1/2 of the pasta mixture into an oiled 9 x 13 baking pan.  Sprinkle 1/2 of each type of cheese over the top.  Spread the rest of the pasta mixture, then the rest of the cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Thanks Mikaela!
 

Dressings

Filed under: frugal,Recipes — mrswade @ 9:52 am
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Again, I’m stealing these recipes from Lindsay over at Passionate Homemaking.  I love salads, but usually the only dressing Jake and I ever had on hand was ranch, it seemed way too expensive to get a bunch of other kinds of dressings, especially since they all had high fructose corn syrup in them.  I knew you could make salad dressing but pretty much thought that consisted of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Not so!  I made Italian, Caesar, Ranch and Creamy Lemon Poppyseed.  yuuuum! 

 

In front: Ranch in an old grated parmesan tub. In back from left to right: Caesar in an old olive oil bottle, Creamy Lemon Poppyseed in an old honey bottle and Italian in an old vanilla syrup bottle.

In front: Ranch in an old grated parmesan tub. In back from left to right: Caesar in an old olive oil bottle, Creamy Lemon Poppyseed in an old honey bottle and Italian in an old vanilla syrup bottle.

Ranch

Jake and I normally only like Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch and really don’t like the kind you find at parties that is really thick.  This stuff is in consistency more like the party dip ranch, but I like it just as much as the Hidden Valley.  Jake still prefers Hidden Valley but likes this stuff as well.  It’s very thick, but you could probably thin it out with some milk.

  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp dried chives (I never have used these, as I don’t keep them on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Caesar

This recipe doesn’t have a raw egg in it, which I’ve heard that the majority of caesar dressings have, I may try a different one after this one is gone, but this one is really good.

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbls. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbls. anchovy paste (did not add, I am not a fan!)
  • 1/2 tsp dijon style mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbls. sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper

Creamy Lemon Poppyseed

I wanted to try a poppyseed dressing, this one is really good but I have found two others that I really want to try.  This amount fit perfectly in my honey bottle, so if you use yours up, put it right back in. 🙂  Yummy with fruit, nuts and cheese on the salad.

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Dijo-style mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbls. poppy seeds

Italian 

I haven’t had this one more than once, but it was really good when I had it and Italian is Jakes favorite.  This one is easy to make and is a good staple salad dressing.

  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoon of whole grain mustard or dijion type mustard
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of Stevia, or 2-4 teaspoons of sugar or natural sweeter

Combine all ingredients and mix well before using.

 

Also,  note on making dressings.  If the dressings call for oil, add it last.  Combine all the herbs, spices, salts, sugar, etc in the vinegar first because they dissolve better in vinegar, the oil keeps things more separated.  Once everything is dissolved, then add the oil and shake! 🙂  

ENJOY!

 

Sour Cream Cookies March 19, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — mrswade @ 11:48 am
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again…no picture, imagine a snickerdoodle but fluffier, smaller and not perfectly round…

This is another recipe from the lovely Allissa Alvord

Ingredients

  • 1 c Shortening (I used butter, which I think made them spread out wider than Allissa’s)
  • 2 c Sugar
  • 1 t Vanilla (I always use more vanilla than called for 🙂 )
  • 1 c Sour Cream
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 5 c Flour

Mix it all together (flour last of course).  I used 2 spoons to spoon mine onto the baking sheet.  When they are on the sheet, dip the bottom of a cup in cinnamon-sugar and lightly press the ball of dough to make it flat on top (but don’t squish it!)  Bake at 350 for 12 mins.  They are done even if they are the same color and haven’t browned at all.

I love these cookies, Allissa always has them when I go over to babysit and was so glad she gave me the recipe!  They really remind me of snickerdoodles! mmmmmm 🙂 

ENJOY

 

Hummus March 12, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — mrswade @ 7:19 pm
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So, I have no picture, which is sad, but doesn’t make the recipe any less delicious 🙂  Now I just need to perfect my pita bread!

I halved this recipe and had plenty, I didn’t want to make a ton and then end up wasting it!

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced and then mashed
  • 2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup of tahini (roasted, not raw) (I’m not sure if mine was roasted or not, but it worked just fine)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Directions

In a food processor, combine the mashed garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.  Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley.

Serve with crackers, raw dip vegetables such as carrots or celery, or with pita bread. 

Full recipe makes about 3 cups.

 

Spelt Issues

Filed under: home,Recipes — mrswade @ 7:09 pm
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So I made the simple whole wheat bread again, except this time I used whole grain spelt flour and coconut oil (instead of butter).  I bought spelt because I had heard very good things about its nutritional quality and am trying to make my homemade bread as nutritious as possible.  Well, they didn’t turn out nearly as well as they did last time…check it out…

img_3027This poor bread is pathetically the size of half a normal slice!

So I started some spelt research and found some very interesting things…

First, a bit about Spelt.  I found here that: Spelt is an ancient grain that traces its heritage back long before many wheat hybrids. Many of its benefits come from this fact: it offers a broader spectrum of nutrients compared to many of its more inbred cousins in the Triticum (wheat) family. Spelt features a host of different nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin B2, a very good source of manganse, and a good source of niacin, thiamin, and copper. This particular combination of nutrients provided by spelt may make it a particularly helpful food for persons with migraine headache, atherosclerosis, or diabetes.  Nutrition.about.com says: Spelt contains more protein than wheat, and the protein in spelt is easier to digest.

I found here that spelt flour has an “extremely fragile” gluten content, which is much different from bread flour, because if I understand it correctly, what makes Bread Flour, Bread Flour, is the larger amount of gluten in it than flours such as All Purpose, or Pastry.  Also, Spelt does not rise quite as high as wheat flour.  “If you look in a mainstream bread book, such as Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible, you’ll find references that allow you to substitute spelt for the whole-wheat flour portion of a bread recipe (meaning that you can use a cup of spelt instead of a cup of whole-wheat flour in a recipe that also includes 5 cups of all-purpose or bread flour). But there are no all-spelt bread recipes.”  I thought this was interesting that there is no all-spelt recipes, and because of the gluten, it makes sense that it needs to be combined with all-purpose.  The site says that many problems can occur every step of the way when using spelt flour.  “You must use the correct amount of water. Too much, and the dough is sticky and weak and will not be able to hold the gasses that are produced during the fermentation process.”  This is what happened to me!  I thought that my dough was not nearly as tough as it was the first time I made it.  It fell apart quite easily and was extra sticky…I also noticed problems with it not rising as much (though I think it rose about as much as you can get spelt to rise).  

I think I also may need to find a better place for my dough to rise, a warm and draft free place.  I found another spelt bread recipe here that I may try out.  Otherwise, if I add spelt, I may just add 1 cup to replace my whole wheat, or I may just not use it all together.

If anyone has any other spelt tips let me know, for now…I’ll use up what I have left, and stick to whole wheat. 🙂