Need To Get Bikini Ready? You Should Probably Subsist on Bread For Two Weeks Prior.

Maybe you would diet considering you were just five months out from having a baby,  you would at least cut down on bread and butter a little bit.  Know what I’ve done?  The opposite.  Sure, we have been juicing some rather intense juices (ever juiced an onion?…oh my goodness I was nauseous from detoxing all day.  I won’t be doing that again while nursing an infant) almost every day, but also I seem to have whittled the remainder of my diet down to lots of sprouted toast and even more butter.  Also, when I cut out all refined sugar (which was not much, but still…) I started craving sugar like mad so of course I made whole wheat (not acceptable, I cheated) shortbread cookies with coconut sugar and grass-fed butter and then ate them all in one day.  What is going on with me?  I don’t know.

But there is an upside to my failures!!!

I noticed some bananas had spots this morning so instead of considering a smoothie guess what I made?  Banana bread.  Duh.

I even documented it for you so we can all take some pleasure in my diving head-first into failure.

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(Yes, that is a book called Good Morning Holy Spirit that a friend just gave me.  I was going to move it out of the picture and then I was like “Nope, not ashamed.”)

Oh but it was so fun.  And funny.  I don’t know if baking with a little girl will be different, but boy I was not expecting such boyishness from Dub.  I was like:

“Hey Dub, wanna make banana bread with me?”

He nods a yes.

I say “Okay c’mon!”

“Here is how we crack an egg…wait, no wait okay…let me help you…oh wow!  Oh baby baby….ahhh….ooooooooookaaaaaay, well, I bet that feels fun but actually the point is to get JUST the inside of the egg into the cup but that works too.  Okay let’s clean up.”

He smashed the egg and immediately started smashing the shell up between his hands and saying “Ooooooh!  Ahhhhh!”

I looked away for a second before mixing the wet ingredients and he was already dumping in the dry.  He also couldn’t not try to dump the three small molds of batter out onto the table.  It was kind of chaotic but I loved every minute of it.

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Also, I realized half-way into mixing ingredients that I don’t have a loaf pan anymore!  Apparently one of those random things you don’t think to buy until you need it.

So, this banana bread took basically no time, is super easy, and incorporates a 1/2cup of flaxseed meal which is good for the digestion I totally need after the last two weeks of bread-binging.

Fix a problem with more of the problem, and a little of the answer sprinkled on top.  GOSH I’m good.

Speaking of cussing (or not, as it were), I’ve mentioned here before how I have loved the language of cuss.  A couple of years ago when I started this blog I had quit cussing.  I never told you, but I started again shortly after that.  I have been happily sporting the mouth of a sailor, since.  Until recently.  Something has caused me to have a bad taste in my mouth every time I cuss.  It’s strange.  It’s cool, actually.  I do have one question though:

I know they say ‘ass’ on the radio (as I have addressed in a prior post), and ass is a donkey, so don’t you think it’s okay to say ass?  I don’t feel like it’s bad, and quite honestly, when something happens and I want to cuss it feels good to say “OH ASS.”  Ya know?  Just me?

Anyway, banana bread.

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Bam.  I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen because she rules.  I changed things, as I do, so it is much less unhealthy but still kind of naughty.

Banana Bread (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter (or some butter and some oil…I used sunflower oil because I’ve used so much butter this week I’m going to get in trouble if I already need to buy more:)
3/4c coconut sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2c flour (I used 1/2c all purpose 1/2c whole wheat, and 1/2c flaxseed meal)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix wet, then mix dry, then add dry to wet.  If you are me you will just do it all at once since my little helper knows nothing of order and just dumped it all in.  The dough is wet enough to where it doesn’t make much difference.

In one loaf pan bake 50 minutes to an hour.  In three it took 36 minutes.  She split hers in half and she said it took 45 minutes.  My oven is gas so if you do 3 small loaves check around 30 minutes and see how they are doing.

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It’s simple.  It’s delish.  It’s fast.  That’s what a mama wants these days.

I couldn’t interest Dub in any “banana bread” once it had baked because he had been slightly nonplussed at tasting the batter.  Know what I did?  I started calling it “banana cake with butter frosting.”

I don’t even care.  I care not.  Sorry not sorry.  I manipulated my child into eating something that really shouldn’t even be called “healthy.”

Oh, here is dream baby.

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And here is Dub having his third huge bite of what he indicated he had NO interest in just moments before.

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Thank you.  Enjoy.  Peace out.

-Bee

Spaghetti And Meatballs.

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(This recipe contains dairy that can easily be omitted.  The meat however, cannot.  I’m joking, but you should totally make these meatballs.)

Last night I was standing in front of my pantry trying to decide how much energy I had to make dinner.  Do I make something involved or do I try to expend as little energy as possible (this usually involves grilling veggies in butter and garlic and adding meat of some kind)?  Spaghetti is always easy, but I didn’t have spaghetti sauce, and Mr. H. prefers meatballs with his spaghetti so there was a bit more work than I wanted to do in that dish.  It was 5:30pm.  The husband arrives home from work at 6:00pm.  But yesterday was Friday, and why not celebrate?  Spaghetti it is.

There were a few things I needed to get started, but once they were going it was just a matter of waiting.  First, I just used what I had on hand, so this may not be the most conventional recipe, but oh heavens it was delightful.

I had some Udi’s gluten-free bread in the fridge so I pulled out three pieces and ground them finely in my vitamix, spread them on a baking sheet, and baked them at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.

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I had a couple of cans of tomatoes in liquid so I gave those a quick spin in the food processor and poured them in a pan to simmer on low with garlic and spices.

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Once the sauce was simmering I could make the meatballs.  A really good meatball has an egg, breadcrumbs, and spices for days.  A little parmesan never hurt either.

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If you have cast iron, use it.  It imparts wonderful flavor, and of course iron, into your foods.

For the noodles we usually use quinoa noodles, but I didn’t have that so I used non-gmo corn noodles. In the past I haven’t been as pleased with the corn noodles, but last night they were perfection, and I’m sure it is because I really monitored them to ensure they were al dente.  After I drain and rinse noodles I always add them back into the pot on low with about 1/4c grass-fed butter.  This is a necessary step, but of course I, the butter queen, would say that.

Brown the meatballs on all sides, add in the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes or so.  (I always pull out a meatball and cut it open to make sure I’m not overdoing it, and of course to ensure that it is done.)

Serve with or without freshly grated parmesan.  We had Parmesano Romano from Trader Joes.

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Spaghetti And Meatballs

For the sauce:

1 24oz can of organic tomatoes in sauce

1 12oz can of organic tomatoes in sauce

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1/4c parmesan cheese

1Tbsp oregano

1/4tsp fennel seeds

1tsp rosemary

1tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp cayenne

1tsp sea salt

pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a large pan and simmer for the entire time you make the other steps of the meal.

For the meatballs:

3 pieces gluten-free bread, ground and lightly toasted

1 egg

1lb grass-fed ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced

1Tbsp oregano

1/2tsp rosemary

dash cayenne

1tsp 21 season salute, optional (from trader joes)

parmesan if desired

Mix all ingredients with your hands and form into desired meatball size.  Get a cast iron skillet nice and hot (I let mine sit at 6 for 5 minutes or so) and brown meatballs on all sides.  This goes fast so make sure to watch carefully here.  Once they are nicely browned, lower heat to 4(ish) and pour sauce over meatballs.  Let simmer here while you prepare the noodles.

For the Noodles:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add your gluten-free spaghetti.  Cook until al dente.  Drain, rinse,  and add back to pot on low with 1/4c butter and thoroughly coat.

Serve immediately, garnished with freshly grated parmesan, or the parmesan we used, or don’t use cheese at all.  You can substitute a good oil to coat the noodles too, like a little olive oil since you won’t be heating it very high, or maybe sunflower oil.  Never use canola, ever, ever, ever.

This meal took me under one hour from the decision to make it to sitting at the table.  And you have to take into account frequent breaks to chase a very mobile baby around.  Make this.  So good.

Happy summer!

Next, I have found a gluten-free, grain-free, xanthan-free, and vegan bread recipe that is ACTUALLY LIKE BREAD.  Holy holy hold on to your panties.

-Bee

Any Night Quinoa Stir Fry.

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You know why I mostly post dessert recipes?  Because when it comes to dinner I am always just on auto pilot.  I look at what I have in the pantry and refrigerator and I make whatever comes to mind.  It never occurred to me that it would be worth sharing until having a conversation with a friend who requested I put together some of my everyday recipes for her.  Oh right, people like simple meals made with items that are generally on hand.  I do too.  Duh.

I am not fancy, I just found red quinoa at Trader Joes and decided we needed some.  For those of you who are confused by the use of a grain on this blog (although Mr. H. and I have yet to discover what foods are truly a problem since everything seems problematic lately) quinoa is actually the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant.

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“The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Some types of wheat come close to matching quinoa’s protein content, but grains such as barley, corn, and rice generally have less than half the protein of quinoa. Quinoa is 12% to 18% protein and four ounces a day, about 1/2-cup, will provide a childs protein needs for one day. The 6-7% fat of quinoa is relatively high when compared to other grains, but it boasts a low sodium content and also provides valuable starch and fiber. Quinoa also contains albumen, a protein that is found in egg whites, blood serum, and many plant and animal tissues. The seeds are gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. Quinoa would be a worthy addition to anyone’s diet, supplying variety as well as good nutrition. The seed is also excellent feed for birds and poultry and the plant itself is good forage for cattle.”

Reference

Just so ya know.

You can use any color quinoa here.  The red is just pretty and different so I used that.  As with many recipes I post, you can substitute your favorite oil, vegetables, and spices.  It is fun because once I learned a little bit about cooking and baking I could take a standard recipe that we all would consider quite unhealthy, and adjust things here and there to create something that is delicious and nutritious!  Once you understand what it is that a food does in a recipe, you can mix and match to your heart’s desire.

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Now for the recipe.

(If you are vegan or vegetarian this dish is just as delicious sans meat, butter, and cheese.  Just use oil in place of the butter, and leave out the cheese and meat.)

Also, this recipe makes enough food for four people for dinner, or for two with leftovers.  If you don’t need that much food, just 1/2 the quinoa portion and use only one steak.  The rest can remain the same.

Any Night Quinoa Stir Fry

For the quinoa:

2c quinoa

4c water

2Tbsp grass-fed butter

pinch salt

1/3c chèvre (or soft mild cheese)

Begin by making your quinoa.  Most packaged quinoa (like the kind from Trader Joes) doesn’t need to be rinsed prior to cooking since that is done before it is packaged, but you may do that if you would like.

Bring 4 cups of water, 2Tbsp butter and a pinch of salt to a boil.  Add in 2 cups quinoa and bring to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat to med-high (I use the number 8) and set a timer for 12 minutes.  After the timer goes off, leave lid on and remove from heat and set timer for another 10 minutes.  After the second timer goes off your quinoa should have absorbed all the water.  If that is not the case return to heat and simmer another few minutes.  Also, you can use chicken stock for this which adds a nice flavor.  Once your quinoa is cooked, transfer to a large bowl.  Add in a few tablespoons of butter and 1/3c chèvre and mix until combined.  Salt to taste.  (Cooking the quinoa is a great time to chop your veggies in any way you wish.)

For the rest:

1 clove garlic, minced

1 large shallot sliced (or 1/2 onion of your choice)

4 small sweet peppers  (or any bell pepper)

1 large carrot sliced lengthwise

1 celery stalk

2 handfuls fresh young kale (or any kale or hearty green of your choice)

butter (lots, do you know me at all?) OR oil of your choice

1Tbsp oil (I used toasted sesame from Trader Joes)

2 grass-fed steaks (I used NY steak)

parmesan for garnish (or if you are like me, for a heavy dusting)

Garlic powder or your favorite meat seasonings

salt and pepper to taste

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I like to change up how I chop my vegetables so each meal feels fresh.  Get your veggie pan nice and hot.  Add in your oil, then about a tablespoon of the butter (I like to use both in a recipe like this because Sally Fallon does, and we are friends).  Add in the onions, carrots, and celery.  Watch the onions until they are slightly translucent and then clear a space in your pan and add the minced garlic and stir.  The moment you smell the garlic add your peppers.  Let those feel the heat for a few minutes and then toss in the kale and remove pan from heat.  Stir the kale around for a moment and transfer vegetables to the bowl of waiting quinoa.

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Since the meat is generally the fastest part of the cooking I wait until the end to cook it.  Mostly that is because I have been trained (by Mr. H.) to be vigilant when it comes to not overcooking such incredible cuts of meat.

To cook the meat I like to use cast iron since it imparts such wonderful flavor.  I get my pan really hot and then throw the meat on.  When you hear it hit the pan and it sizzles, you know you’re good.  Maybe your husband doesn’t watch you like a hawk during this portion and you can relax and trust your instincts.  I, on the other hand, just stand there and nervously poke at the meat until it is done.

Slice your steaks along the grain into thin pieces.

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Add the meat to the bowl of quinoa and vegetables.

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Mix everything together and top with parmesan.  This is one of those dishes you will want to make again and again, and depending on what you have on hand, it can become something new every time.

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Now, go get cooking.

-Bee

Sprouted Grass-Fed Butter Shortbread Cookies. Happiness Is A Warm Cookie…

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…or a room temperature cookie.  Honestly, if I don’t overdo it on these cookies (not possible) I might just want to have something about them on my gravestone.  Better yet, my last meal.  Maybe I don’t know when my last meal will BE my last meal, so I should just name one of my children after them.  Too much?  I think not.  I also think not that butter is fattening.  What I’m saying is, grass-fed butter is something I eat so stinkin’ much that according to the diet dictocrats I should be a lard ass but I’m not.  I certainly. am. not.  So where is the disconnect here?  I’ve actually taken to telling people that grass-fed butter makes you lose weight.  No, I don’t know if it’s true, but I think it is.  Before Mexico my mom and sis and I were shopping for bathing suits at Nordstrom (side note: I normally buy my swimwear from TJ Maxx and Forever 21 because I’m not exactly flush with scrilla, but holy COW the difference in quality was astounding), and I told the girl helping us that grass-fed butter makes you lose weight with such authority that I’m sure she ran out and ate a cube of it for lunch.

That’s what you should do too.  Just sayin’.  Mr. H. actually has put me on a butter budget.  Not kidding. He has had me break down exactly the number of desserts I need each week to keep me out of the loony bin, and then figure out exactly how much money I can spend on butter each month based on that number.  No more.  I don’t put refined sugar in my stuff so if you are thinking “Well, if she isn’t fat and she eats that many sweets then maybe she is just one of those skinny-fat people” then you are wrong because refined sugar is bad bad so I don’t mess with it.  Sally says (Sally Fallon, we are on a first name basis) that one must, of course, be balanced here.  Limit it to one dessert a week or so.  I feel that just doubling that number fits for me.  Not too much more, just double.

So, in the previous recipe we sprouted wheat berries.  Or you just have a bag of sprouted flour because you are one of the lucky ones who’s store carries such a gem.  Now, with the addition of real mineral sea salt, grass-fed butter, and a natural sugar of your choice you have all you need to make these amazing, FREAKING AMAZING cookies.

Here we go.  What you will need:

(I found this recipe on Cheeseslaveand normally I change a few things in a recipe, but this one didn’t need it.  I love that she uses real ingredients, and that finally, I knew exactly how thick to make shortbread because this recipe uses a springform pan.  I only changed the flour, and chose coconut sugar.)

-1.5c sprouted wheat flour

-1/2c all purpose flour (I use organic that I keep in the fridge.  I find that just that small amount of all purpose flour helps these cookies to hold their shape)

-2/3c unrefined sugar (I use coconut sugar, but I have used rapadura in shortbread a lot and love the way it mixes with recipes that contain a lot of butter)

-8oz grass-fed butter, very cold (I single-handedly keep Trader Joes open with my alloted monthly allowance for butter)

-1/4 tsp real salt

-1 springform pan

-a shot glass, or other small round glass or cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 425.  In a food processor combine the flours, salt, and sugar.  Cut butter into small-ish cubes (I cut a one lb block of butter into 5 or so chunks).  Add butter one piece at a time and process until your flour has the ability to stick together when pinched.  This won’t take long.  I even leave some larger chunks of butter for extra flakiness.

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Here is the all purpose flour I use.

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Dump into your springform pan and press with your fingers until it is spread out.  I then take the bottom of a bucket glass and smooth it out.  Reduce oven temperature to 300 and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes.  Now remove the ring from the pan and press your small glass or cookie cutter into the center to create a ring.

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Score your masterpiece into 16 wedges but don’t cut all the way through yet.

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Now, pretty much all shortbread calls for docking, or poking holes in the cookie but I don’t find that the butter needs this vehicle by which to release it’s steam.  I’ve never ended up with a puffy cookie due to the lack of docking, which leads me to believe it is more of a tradition than a necessity.  I don’t do it.  Rebel.

Pop your cookies back in the oven for another 40 minutes.

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I would definately put a cookie sheet underneath to catch butter drippings.  It happens.  Then you eat them of course.  Wait for them to cool for about five minutes and then complete the cuts you started earlier.  It’s best to let these cool for about one hour, but let’s be honest, it’s hard not to damn the torpedoes and just burn your mouth on them.

Once your cookies are finished you take a million pictures of them, but it takes so long that somehow 16 wedges plus a round becomes 9.  It’s not embarrassing.  I’m serious, I’m proud.

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If you are lucky, you can share these cookies with people so they will think you are a master in the kitchen.  I’ve never done that but plan to when I make a triple batch.  I just can’t stand the thought of letting any go just yet.  I may or may not have called Mr. H. at work, crying, asking him if he took the last cookie in his lunch.  Maybe that happened.  Enjoy.

-Bee