Friday, November 16, 2012

Rib Sticking Pancakes

As I posted in the Hummus Pizza post, we have begun the Advent Fast. Advent isn't as difficult as Lent. Partly because it's not been since August since we had our last fasting time and that was only a short 2 week fast. Also because there is a lot of fish allowed during this fast and that makes it much easier.

I love making soup when we're fasting because I can sneak in a lot of grains and legumes in with vegetables. As long as I add enough spices and salt, it always tastes fine. But we miss certain comfort foods and pancakes is definitely a comfort food. But what to do when you can't fry up some sausage patties to go with them and can't add eggs to the cakes? A not too impressive dinner. It might stick in our bellies for an hour or so but then hunger strikes again. I am not typically a fan of making 2 suppers.

Today I was determined to make a pancake recipe that was:
a) tastes good!
b) protein rich, and will last 'till bed time
c) vegan

When we're not fasting I have a killer sourdough recipe, and the sourdough is bonafide old crusty sourdough from 100+ years ago. Or so my mom always said. But it calls for quite a few eggs and I have substituted with apple sauce (my go-to substitute for eggs in baked goods while fasting) but it didn't have the same chemical properties with out the eggs and didn't have the texture I like in pancakes.

Today I studied about 5 recipes then made up my own. I took my sisters favorite pumpkin pancake recipe (that happens to be vegan), another vegan recipe, a high protein recipe and a very basic pancake recipe. When looking at multiple recipes you can see similarities in them and what the chemical make up usually is. Here's what I saw with pancakes today per cup of flour needs: one cup of liquid, 1tsp salt, 2 tsp bkg powder. So if you need to adjust your recipe, keep that in mind.

So here's what I made. Next time I'll make a larger batch and start with more whole grain soaked flour the day before, but what I did make today fed our family of 8 a decent meal.

I haven't made these enough to be an expert and haven't tried all the varieties that I will list, but next time I'm using pumpkin.

Rib Sticking Pancakes (Banana, Pumpkin or Apple)

2 cups whole grain flour (millet, spelt, soft wheat, hard wheat, brown rice, etc)
2 cups water
-soak the night before-
2T flax seeds ground
4 t salt
2 scoops protein powder (I have GenSoy, it's expensive and this is a GREAT way to use that stuff as you can't taste it in these and that's a good thing!)
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (next time I'm going to use a 15 oz can of pumpkin or you could try a cup or two of applesauce)
1 1/2 c water
1 1/2 c sweetened vanilla almond milk (if you don't have this use what ever milk and add a touch more sugar if it's not sweetened and 2 tsp of vanilla)
1/2 c olive oil
1/3 oats, ground
1/3 millet, ground
1/4 c sugar
2 1/2 c white flour (this is where I had to really stretch it and will use more wheat flour rather than white next time)

Before frying mix together then add to the batter:
1/2 c water
2 T baking powder
2 t baking soda

Fry up.

Add berries if you wish or if you're a nice mom like my sister is you can add chocolate chips. Those would be really good with the banana or pumpkin.

Note: I am really hoping that I took good notes while making this. The whole time I was focusing on trying to keep my balance of everything, write it down and add more stuff to the batter or we wouldn't have enough for dinner! Your batter should look like pancake batter! If it's too thick or too soupy, adjust by adding more flour or liquid. Apple sauce will usually have more water content than bananas or pumpkin.

Vegan, Whole Grain, High Protein, Banana, Fasting Pancakes

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hummus Pizza

Vegan meals are on my mind, so is loosing weight. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Except that hopefully I can loose some weight eating vegan for a month or so...

First: We began our Advent today, so that's why I'm thinking vegan. We'll go 40 days (sans Thanksgiving at the in-laws) eating no dairy or meat. Most of our kids observe this fast as well, except the littles.

Second: One of my very good friends is getting married! And wants me to be her matron of honor! I am, obviously, honored. But I also have been off the "pregnancy" diet, as I call it, for 4 years now, and can no longer rely on my sweet baby's gestation period helping me shed many, many pounds of unwanted fat. Alas, if I want to shed my fat, I'm on my own, no baby in the womb to help me these days. (Why do you think I have had so many kids? Very good pregnancies!)

So, here I am already somewhat entrenched in my second winter of gym membership. I go 1x per week lately, if I'm lucky. If I hope to loose just a couple inches before the wedding, still no date but maybe February, I'd better be getting my weight lifting on and re-vamping better food habits. Last winter I did great! That's because I was a new gym member and I had a great personal trainer I met with 2x per week. I also had a cool program to enter food data into so it made me aware of my eating habits. I know my very worst habit is eating after kids go to bed, and pizza is my very favorite midnight snack. That's TERRIBLE for someone watching the waist line, but never-the-less, when that time of night rolls around my will power is gone and munchies power takes over.
The other night the idea of hummus pizza struck me, it sounded delicious in my brain and sure enough there are many people who have made and blogged about the delicious treat. Mostly vegans. I did some scouring around and then made up my own.

I had soaked 4 cups of whole grain flour (including prairie gold wheat, spelt, millet, rye, hard wheat, etc) with 4 cups of water last night. The grain had been ground already and I have recently discovered how much better grains are for you if you can soak them overnight. Ground and soaked (to me) seems just as good, so I'm trying to do that before bread baking now. I knew that today I wanted to make either pancakes or pizza...I made both. We are really secret hobbits. We had first supper and second supper. Anyway, I soaked the flour then divided it evenly this morning when I couldn't decide on one and chose to make both. I won't go into the details of the pizza crust as there are hundreds out there and it's just a basic formula of oil, water, salt, sugar and flour. Don't forget the oil. I made our basic bread recipe but added more oil then normal and let it rise coated in oil rather than flour. Then divided into 5 pans.

Oh, the other thing about this recipe. My hubby doesn't love hummus. If I eat it he usually avoids it unless he has to eat it for some reason (like it's on his pizza) but I didn't really want him knowing what it was. So I only did a thin layer. If you love it, add more! Also that's the reason I pre-spread the crust with garlic oil and also why I added the nutritional yeast flakes, though it did taste very good.

Vegan Hummus Pizza

-Pizza crust, what ever kind you like. I used dough I had made today.
-Smart Balance or Earth Balance, a tablespoon or so per pizza, melt add garlic powder, parsley and oregano.
-Spread the "butter" (if you eat butter, for Pete sake, use butter!) onto crusts, go onto the edges with it.
-Take hummus (I had some homemade, cheapest!) and be sure it's smooth and spreadable. Mine needed a bit of olive oil added to it and mine wasn't garlic-y enough so I added more garlic powder.
-Roast your peppers: This was my first time roasting peppers...I have seriously been missing out! Slice up, throw on a pan, douse in olive oil, sprinkle salt, roast at 400-450 for 15-30 min. Yum! I only used about 1 pepper per 1/2 of each pizza.
-Mushrooms: hubby loves mushrooms and I the peppers, each pizza is 1/2 and 1/2. Slice and place mushrooms.
-Onion (RED!): it doesn't matter what color, red is pretty. I used one onion for 5 pizzas but I only barley "decorated" husband's side with them, he's not a big onion fan.
-Kalamata olives: Be sure you have these! I didn't . I will be buying some and adding them to the pizzas in the future. You really don't need them, I just had a piece with out and it was sooooo good.

Since I wanted to freeze these pizzas and didn't really know how with raw dough, I pre-baked them. Then I'll freeze them on the pan, then I'll pop them off and wrap them in saran wrap. Thanks Laura for the tip on that.

3 pizzas ready to bake, could have used more mushrooms.

4 in the oven. These smelled soooo good.
I had made 5 pizzas and the kids had helped me assemble them. I couldn't very well tell them they couldn't have any, they are our midnight snacks, so I cut up one and the big kids and I and hubby enjoyed a piece or two. I asked hubby what he thought (hoping the hummus wasn't too obvious.) He claimed that his friend had used this recipe once. "What recipe?" I asked. "Making the fake cheese stuff as the base of the pizza." He said. Well, that was good enough for me, it was his way of saying he approved and it wasn't terrible and possibly even good. He is NOT a fan of my experimenting, in fact tonight he was quite skeptical of my pancakes I had made when I told them they had protein in them. (I'll post that recipe later.) He doesn't like it when I do silly things like add cabbage to a giant pot of chili and burn the giant said pot of chili then call it, "smoked chili". What's funny is that a friend thought I was serious and loved the chili. It wasn't over burned and I did NOT scrape the burned parts into the rest of the pot, I learned that lesson a long time ago.

The pizza we "tested". Not too bad for no cheese or peperoni!

So, we're set with 4 midnight snacks with a few less grams of fat than our standard frozen pizza from the grocery store. Now to drag myself to the gym more than once per week...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Greens Gratin with eggs and bacon

Today I discovered a new French dish called Gratin.

New you say? Well, to me, yes. I am somewhat hanging my head in shame not knowing about this sooner. I do remember having Potatoes Au Gratin as a kid, but I remember not being impressed. I was a kid, potatoes should be mashed.

Why I should like gratin? Well, basically it's the French version of a casserole. And I love the ease and simplicity of casseroles!

So today I was actually looking for a good frittata recipe when I came across this Spinach Gratin with Hard Boiled Eggs recipe and it struck my fancy. Then below that recipe I saw the Zucchini and Spinach Gratin recipe and saw that it had BACON in it and I had to try it.

I ended up with: Turnip & Beet Greens with Spinach, Zucchini, Bacon Gratin with Hard Boiled Eggs recipe.

It went something like this:

Begin hard boiling 6 eggs, let them cool.
Thaw a large amount of greens from your freezer, any combo will do. I think I ended up using about 3 lbs of frozen greens total (this was a lot even for us). Let them drain. Use fresh if you got it.

1 lb bacon chopped into about 1" sections then fried. Keep bacon grease. Add to that:
2 diced onions
 -cook to caramel perfection-
3 cloves of garlic
Generous sprinkling of dry parsley
 -cook a bit longer-
 -Move bacon out of the way around edges and to the grease add:
2T flour, fry it up then gradually add:
2c milk
 -cook slowly and let it thicken-
 -let cool a bit then add to the pan or mix in a separate bowl:
Thawed greens, mix well with the bacon sauce and add:
3 raw eggs and
1 tsp or so of pepper or to taste. I didn't add extra salt as the bacon is salty.

Spread mixture into your gratin or casserole or as I used your cast iron skillet I used to cook the bacon in.

Peel and split your eggs in half and mush them into the top of your greens. I would have used hard goat cheese beneath the eggs if I had it, but I didn't.

Over the top I sprinkled a generous layer of Parmesan cheese. You could use bread crumbs or something else that will turn golden brown while baking.

Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes or so. Then if more brown is needed put under the broiler for 2 more minutes with an extra coating of Parmesan cheese if needed.

I'll only post this recipe until after I have tasted it to be sure it's not horrid...............

When it went into the oven.

After 2 min under the broiler, it's a mess of bubbly goodness.
 So the only criticism I would give myself is that a tsp of kosher or sea salt would have made a nice addition. I added a bit to my serving and more Parmesan cheese.

But, wow, turnip and beet greens never tasted so good!