Tasty Tuesday Series: Ragnar Recovery

So I’m back at home, rested and over the Cafe Rio fiasco. I’ve been drinking recovery green smoothies with maca like a fool and downing shots of wheat grass like it’s nobody’s business.

Erika and I at the finish line

Race Lowlights:

Using Honey Buckets for more than 30 hours straight

Getting the ‘runs’ during my 9 mile unsupported downhill mountain leg due to a questionable coconut water beverage I consumed at the first exchange. Let’s just say I was grateful for some bushes to offer cover and that what I used to ahem, clean myself, was NOT poison ivy

Having to have Steve take over for the last 3 miles of said above downhill leg because I couldn’t finish it

Telling Erika gleefully that we were having whole grain waffles for breakfast then remembering she is on a grain restricted diet for another week. Sorry!

Race Highlights:

Hanging out with some of my very best friends while running through some of the most beautiful terrain ever, what could be more fun than that?

Christina getting interviewed by local news while wearing her light up Medusa hairdo

The dude that kept flashing his nipple at us while running as Erika and I made catcalls out to him out of the back of the truck

Finishing with no black toenails and no vomiting

Eating Amanda’s giant homemade Larabar

Sleeping at Steve’s Cabin for a few hours and eating Sue’s spaghetti dinner she makes every year

Eating Oreo’s for the first time in months, because, hey they’re vegan and junk food at Ragnar once a year won’t kill me

Not being crazy sore or stiff after the race (thank’s plant-based diet!)

These Carb-Load Rolls I make every year for Ragnar (sorry, we ate them, no photos)

Ragnar Carb-Load Fruited Nut Rolls

Ingredients: 2 C. white whole wheat flour, 2 C. unbleached organic flour, 2 C. rolled oats, 1/4 C. vital wheat gluten, 2.5 c. warm soymilk, 1 T. coconut oil, 1/2 C. dried blueberries, 1/2 C. dried cranberries, 1/2 C. dried zante currants, 1 C. chopped pecans, 1/4 C. agave, 1 t. cinnamon, 1.5 T. heaped active dry yeast and 1 T. salt. Method: Combine all ingredients in kneading apparatus (I use my bread-maker) and let knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Remove dough, divide into 24 pieces. Place side by side on a large cookie sheet. Let rise until doubled in size in a warm place for about an hour. Rolls should be touching. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

More photos and details coming on Somer Saturday

A Week in the Raw

It’s Tasty Wednesday Tuesday and many of you all ready know that I live in Utah, what you may not know is that my particular city should be named “Kidville”. There are literally over a thousand children in my subdivision. It’s fabulous and all the kids are always out and about riding bikes, playing at the parks and sharing lots and lots of germsWe get sick more often since moving into this neighborhood than we ever have before. Vomiting, colds, flus, pink eye, rsv, Montezuma’s revenge, you name it, we get it. There are a few nasty bugs going around at the moment and we caught them too :/ so in an attempt to strengthen my immune system and help me heal faster, I have been eating entirely raw for the last few days. I’m planning on eating raw for the rest of the week. I have to say that I don’t think I would be surviving otherwise. Raw foods provide far more nutrients than cooked and give the body more energy. I wish I was cool enough to eat raw all the time, but I’m not, and frankly, I like cooked food, a lot. However, I think eating “high-raw” is sustainable and really good for our bodies.

It’s not really that hard and you don’t need a half-naked Juliano cookbook to do it either (I used to own that book, some of the photos are….well, Juliano nearly in the buff, shopping, playing in the ocean, but not cooking, because that would just be gross).

I’m juicing, eating lots of fruits on their own, making big ol’ salads with raw dressings I whiz up in my blendtec. I’m more than a little obsessed with chia seeds too at the moment, maybe it’s because I recommended Born to Run to a friend, then  I had to start re-reading it again myself because it’s awesome.

Here are a couple of raw chia recipes I’m LOVING right now:

Raw Overnight Neopolitan Oats

Holy Crap, it’s like the best dessert ever for breakfast, this is adapted from this much cuter than mine recipe here, but my adaptation is fully raw.

1 C. oat groats (use certified gluten free for gluten free option)

4 T. chia seeds

2 1/2 C. raw almond or raw cashew milk (I used cashew milk, drool)

2 T. raw cacao powder

2 t. raw agave (or to taste)

1 t. vanilla extract (oops, not raw)

2 sliced frozen bananas

4 sliced frozen strawberries

Method: BEFORE YOU GO TO BED: Blend oat groats in blender or grind in coffee grinder until fine. Get out two pint-sized mason jars. Put half  of the ground oat groats in each jar. Add 2 T. chia seeds to each jar, 1 1/4 C. nut milk to each jar and 1 t. raw agave to each jar. Add the raw cacao powder to one of the jars and the vanilla extract to the other. Now you have chocolate and vanilla. Put lids on and shake until well combined. Put in fridge. IN THE MORNING: get out your food processor and put your frozen bananas in it with a splash of nut milk. Process until creamy. Mmms. Remove half of the mixture and set aside. Add frozen strawberries to the food processor and process the same way. Now you have raw strawberry and banana ice creams FOR BREAKFAST. Layer and alternate ice creams, and chocolate and vanilla overnight oats in mason jars or fancy cups. Serve with fresh fruit. I didn’t because I hadn’t been to the store because we were sick and I only had frozen fruit. This should serve 2, but I stretched it to serve 3. I was sorry I didn’t have any leftovers at lunch time.

Raw Chocolate Chia Pudding

1 C. raw cashew milk (you could also use raw almond milk)

3 T. chia seeds

1 T. raw cacao powder

2 t. raw agave

Method: Combine all ingredients with a wire whisk until cacao is fully incorporated. Let sit on the counter top for an hour or so. I thought this would serve two, I also thought I would take a photo before eating it all. Wrong on both accounts.

I have also been growing my own wheat kamut grass, it’s not all that difficult, but since I’m a total novice and nearly killed it because I hadn’t watered it enough, I shall refer you to this post if you so desire to grow your own.  I’m  absolutely in love with it! The juice of the grass gives me instant energy and clarity and I even like it’s grassy taste. You can almost feel the cells inside your body healing when you drink it. Try it, you might like it.

Banana Bread Larabar DIY Recipe & Artisan Bread Pandemonium

It’s Tasty Tuesday where I bring you some of the awesome things we have freaked out over enjoyed in the last week. While I am typing this, I can’t stop thinking about Amanda and that she is very likely to have her baby today even though she would prefer he didn’t come til Wednesday. Sending her good vibes! Funny how in addition to your real sisters, you find soul sisters that you love the guts out of. I’m getting weepy or it’s raining outside or something (Flight of the Conchords silliness) and I’m digressing….

Three ingredients, that’s what I love about larabars! I buy them when they are on sale like hotcakes, they are so simple and pure: Dates, Bananas and Almonds! When they aren’t on sale or I’m feeling particularly crafty…. I make these. If you know anything about Mormons, you may or may not know that we really don’t have horns, but we do stockpile food storage like its going out of style, and that sometimes we end up with items we aren’t quite sure what to do with, enter – freeze-dried bananas, they have a 25 year shelf life and have been getting all lonely and dusty in my storage area, and strangely, they are considered a raw food.  If you don’t live in Utah and don’t have access to affordable freeze-dried bananas in ridiculous quantities, you can always buy them online  or use this recipe here instead. Although my banana ratio is higher and therefore, superior super tasty.

DIY Banana Bread Larabar

1 1/3 C. pitted dates, chopped (measure whole dates into measuring cups, then chop)

1 1/2 C. freeze-dried bananas

1 C. raw almonds

(ok, so there is really 4 ingredients in my recipe)


Method: Process dates and freeze-dried bananas in food processor until mixture is fairly fine and crumbly. Add almonds and process until all pieces are pea sized or smaller. Add water, a teaspoon at a time (no more than 6 teaspoons total) and pulse after each addition. The freeze-dried bananas need some re-hydration because they basically turn to powder when processed. How much water you need will also depend on how moist your dates are. Mixture is ready (may still seem a bit dry) when you can pull some of the mixture out and it will stick together when pressed into a ball.

I formed the recipe into balls instead of bars because it’s simpler, cuter and enables me to control my portions a little better so I don’t eat the whole batch. The recipe made 25 balls. Each has 46 calories, 2 grams healthy fats, 6 grams carbs and 1 grams protein. Store them in the fridge and they should stay fresh for up to two weeks. Pack them in your lunches, have them for an afternoon snack, take them for running fuel, love them.

Have you heard about the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day revolution? Seriously out of control. This bread practically makes itself: you don’t knead it, you don’t double-rise it, you don’t even add any sugar or oil! you make one big batch of dough, put it in your fridge and can use it for 2 weeks for seriously less hands on time then 5 minutes a day!?! I feel like a fake french bakery chef in my kitchen whipping out amazing loaves of bread that are crazy delicious with a lovely crispy crust and amazing large holed crumb interiors. I learned about it from Amanda and Jen’s earlier posts on this blog. Why haven’t I known about this until now?

Here is the master recipe (white) with video demo (must watch to get technique)

Here is the wheat version recipe with video demo

I ended up buying both the books because I have never made such incredible bread in my whole life (and I really make a lot of bread).

The only thing I do different from the recipes above is use this dutch oven method here to bake instead of their traditional stone and steam method. It gave my bread a much better rise then their recommended method and made it even more amazing than before. For troubleshooting visit their FAQ’s page. And buy the dang books! You won’t be sorry! So in love with this bread!

Why you must make this now

I have been told many a time that I am nuts for “preserving” so much. It’s true. I probably am nuts. But if, after 30 different attempts to make the perfect jam, I come up with this, all the other attempts were worth the effort. And the most beautiful part about this one (except that I don’t have pictures) is that it is a freezer jam recipe and shouldn’t take more than 20-30 minutes to prepare.

I have virtually no pictures because I still have not yet realized that I should document everything I ever make, even if it tastes like garbage, because on occasion, I will have these breakthrough moments that if documented, will make all the difference. The pictures were taken ex poste facto, I’m sorry to say.
This is a recipe for pineapple orange rosemary jam. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but that is only because it has rosemary in it. I wouldn’t have thought twice if it was just pineapple orange jam, so then I wouldn’t have made it, and this post wouldn’t exist, and I would not have had my most delicious bowl of yogurt in my life tied only with yesterday’s identical bowl of yogurt.

Pineapple Orange Rosemary Jam

3 1/2 cups sugar
1 sweet orange (I used a cara cara navel because that’s what I had)
1 1/4 cups finely chopped fresh pineapple (thank heaven for food processors)
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin
4 sprigs fresh rosemary (and no, I have no idea how much a sprig is)

1. Place sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan and warm in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes. (Apparently warm sugar dissolves better, which is especially good when using the organic evaporated cane juice that rebels against dissolving)

2. Remove thin outer rind from orange with vegetable peeler and cut into fine strips with scissors or sharp knife; OR zest it how ever you want. Squeeze juice from orange. Place orange rind and juice in a large bowl. Stir in pineapple and sugar and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in pectin, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.

4. Insert sprig of rosemary into each jar or plastic container. (And if you’re putting it all into one container, you might not need the full 4 sprigs, but don’t skimp either. The rosemary imparts this gorgeous subtle flavor that improves the whole jam.) Ladle jam into jars or plastic containers to within 1/2 inch of rim. Cover with tight fitting lids. Label jars and let stand at room temperature until set, up to 24 hours.

5. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freezer for longer storage.

Makes 4 cups.

When the family gets together, it’s like lightning.

My sister and her family came to visit last week and we had a family get together that required food. You need to understand that my sister and I, as women in this family, are in a very slim minority. My dad was one of seven boys, and it seemed the boys were always everywhere. My sister and my cousin Heather were the oldest cousins and after them was a pretty long string of boys. Family reunions have often consisted of four-wheeling, snowmobiling, shooting things, and a lot of sitting around outside. Power tools were usually required.
With my sister in town, we realized we had a surprising number of cousins around that are from my dad’s side, so we made as much contact through facebook as possible. Funny thing, though, only the girls and their familial appendages came. Also in town were at least 3 boy cousins and attending families (probably more) and my own brother. I guess they missed out.

That said, we still ate like we do with all the boys and there was a lot of sausage and hot dogs on the grill out bag, lovingly grilled by cousin Heather. I brought cake, and because of how the day had gone, it needed to be quick. And I ask you, what is quicker than LIGHTNING CAKE? Nothing. At least insofar as cake is involved and you don’t want my chocolate emergency cake, which I didn’t.
So, Heather, per your family’s request, here is the recipe from the Joy of Cooking. Now go buy some eggs, because you’ll need them. And yes, Brooke, you could probably handle this one. I’m not sure about the soup yet – can you cook bacon? I’m sorry to admit but this sank. Welcome to high altitudes, which I still have not completely figured out yet. Everyone still ate it, so I’m pretty sure it didn’t hurt it. It just wasn’t as pretty or fluffy, but with six eggs and a cup of butter, what do you expect!

Lightning Cake (aka German Blitztorte)

Note: Have all ingredients at room temperature, it helps. That’s the slow part. I’ve included the measurement for doubling in [brackets].

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour one 8×2-inch round cake pan, 8×8 square pan, or if doubling, a 9×13 pan.
Whisk together thoroughly:
1 c. [2 c.] all-purpose flour
1 t. [2 t.] baking powder (or less, theoretically at high altitudes, but I don’t know how much)
1/4 t. [1/2 t.] salt
In a large bowl, beat until creamy, about 30 seconds:
8 T. (1 stick or 1/2 c.) [16 T, 2 sticks or 1 c.] unsalted butter (preferably, but if you have regular butter it won’t be that different)
Gradually add and beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 3 to 5 minutes:
1 c. [2 c.] sugar
Beat in 1 at a time:
3 [6] large eggs
Beat in:
1 t. [2 t.] grated lemon zest
2 T. [1/4 c. or 4 T.] fresh lemon juice
Stir in the flour mixture just until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. If desired, (and I did not) sprinkle the top with a mixture of:
1/2 c. [1 c.] chopped or sliced natural almonds or other nuts (unblanched or roasted)
1 heaping tablespoon [2 heaping T.] of sugar.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes, a little longer if doubling. let cool in the pan on the rack for 10 minutes, and then slide a knife around the edge, flip the cake out. I’m never that ambitions. Besides, I glazed my afterward, so I would have lost some of the glaze had I done that and I need all the glaze. ALL of it.

Quick Lemon Icing
Note: It is best to pre-measure everything before you start. I did not double this for the doubled cake recipe, just one recipe was enough.

Melt, or heat, the top of a double boiler over low heat: (A double boiler is essentially a heat-proof bowl or pan placed on top of a pan with water on the stove, usually at medium heat or less, so the bowl is still above the water, but is indirectly heated by the steam rather than by the direct heat of the burner.)
4 T. unsalted butter or 3 T. heavy cream
Remove from the heat and stir in:
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
1 T. milk
2 T. fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon grated directly over the pan
1/8 t. salt
Cook, stirring occasionally, over barely simmering water (in the double boiler) for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add:
1 t. vanilla
Beat until cool and the desired consistency. (You can place the pan in a larger pan of ice water to quicken the process.) Pour over Lightning Cake. If you really want it to seep in, poke holes in the cake, but I didn’t.

High and dry

Jen here.  I got a new gadget this week that led me to join two new Yahoo groups, which is my solution to any time I have community-answerable questions.  I am now a proud member of FoodPreservationDryingCanningAndMore and preserving-food.  I was given a 3rd-hand (at least) Waring Dehydrator for the original purpose of making apple chips.  I haven’t found an owner’s manual yet, but I now have a contact with somebody who owns the same model and does have the manual.  I’ve received answers to my questions already, and have successfully dried a can of pineapple (recommended as a good starter because you don’t need to do any prep-work besides draining), two cans of peaches (inhaled by my 2-year old) and several Clementines just because they were there.

I love it!  I now have a use for the cases of peaches in my garage.  Dehydration is an imprecise science lending itself to busy folk everywhere.  Prepare your product (some things need or want pre-treatment . . . I’m still learning but there are ample resources available through both of the above Yahoo groups), put it on the racks, turn it on and check it every couple of hours, length of time to be determined by product, thickness, humidity, phases of the moon, toddler mental states and more).  It is extremely versatile too.  You can prepare your own trail food, food for long-term storage, seasonings, jerky, fruits, vegetables, meats, soup mixes, flavorings, powders and more.  I’m considering making fruit leathers, yogurt leathers, tomato powder and candied orange peels (a treat I remember my mom making and enjoying).

It seems, though, that if I were to get into this in greater detail, I would want to get some sort of vacuum food saving device with a jar sealing attachment because one of the best ways to preserve these preserved items is in vacuum sealed jars.  Well, one semi-necessary appliance at a time.   We’re not even going to talk about upgrading dehydrators . . . the Excalibur is the product to own if you’re really serious about dehydration.  It’s larger, has an adjustable thermostat and really cool kinds of sheets and racks. I do have to remember that storing things that require rehydration isn’t always the best way to store when living through a drought, even if it takes up less space.  I’d hate to have shelves full of “hamburger rocks” and dried spaghetti sauce, and still be starving because I don’t have water at hand.

I’ll keep you updated on what comes out of my kitchen.

Breakfast for a month

We doubled our batch of Alton Brown’s protein bars yesterday, in addition to making a double batch of our granola, some cookies, and a mess of pasta for lunches.

We like alton’s recipe – well, Matt does especially, and I like that Matt has a breakfast full of goodness rather than the old standby of hot chocolate or toaster pastries (read: pop-tarts or costco’s organic version of the same). It’s full of dried fruit, tofu, protein powder, and peanut butter. Well, see below for the full details. We doubled the batch, cooled them overnight, cut them into 24 squares each, and popped the whole lot in the freezer. If you don’t end up with silken tofu, like we did, toss the firm stuff in the food processor (which will already be out because that’s what you roughly chopped your fruit in) and whiz it up until smooth. Sorry no photo, but that’s way on the back burner for now. Oh, and get yourself a cheap kitchen scale, use your Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% off coupon (that never expires) and do yourself a favor. I use it ALL the time.

Protein Bars
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005
4 ounces soy protein powder, approximately 1 cup
2 1/4 ounces oat bran, approximately 1/2 cup
2 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour, approximately 1/2 cup
3/4-ounce wheat germ, approximately 1/4 cup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces raisins, approximately 1/2 cup
2 1/2 ounces dried cherries, approximately 1/2 cup
3 ounces dried blueberries, approximately 1/2 cup
2 1/2 ounces dried apricots, approximately 1/2 cup
1 (12.3-ounce) package soft silken tofu
1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice
4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/2 cup packed
2 large whole eggs, beaten
2/3 cup natural peanut butter
Canola oil, for pan

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper and lightly coat with canola oil. [super important, because this stuff is sticky] Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the protein powder, oat bran, wheat flour, wheat germ, and salt. Set aside.

Coarsely chop the raisins, dried cherries, blueberries and apricots and place in a small bowl and set aside.

In a third mixing bowl, whisk the tofu until smooth. Add the apple juice, brown sugar, eggs, and peanut butter, 1 at a time, and whisk to combine after each addition. Add this to the protein powder mixture and stir well to combine. Fold in the dried fruit. Spread evenly in the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees F. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.