Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bountiful Baskets - a Food Co-op

A bountiful spread of fruits and vegetables was my gathering last Saturday at our Bountiful Baskets pick up. Look at all the goodies in this "basket"! From sweet juicy strawberries to fresh green spinach and a new one for me, sunchokes, we've been enjoying a bountiful feast each day since then. The bonus has been that I've lost a pound this week, and had tasty fruits and vegetables each day. The cost for all of this? Since it was our first time participating it came to 19.50 with tax, but when you figure we got over 30 lbs of produce then hey, what a bargain! I've shared some with my in-laws as they can't get out to shop, and they sure enjoyed the fresh berries and mangoes in our fruit salads. Tonight we will be having a Cornish game hen with roasted yellow squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and a spinach salad on the side. If you happen to live in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington or Wyoming you are in luck. Drop offs are every 2 weeks, and if you are a volunteer there's a little extra for you. Stop by the Bountiful Baskets website and get in on the good life!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Warm fragrant bread, fresh from the oven, it's comfort food for the gods. I have a dear friend that shared her way of making whole wheat bread just a bit lighter on the fat without losing flavor and consistency. She uses all applesauce for her bread, which is great the first day or two, but if you don't eat it quickly it can dry out. So I use half applesauce and half oil. We now have the best of both worlds, bread that stays soft and yummy a bit longer, and if you use olive oil or canola oil, you get the benefits associated with them. We also save the potato water from boiling potatoes as it helps with the soft nature of the bread.
I'm participating in a weight loss challenge, to jump start my previous attempts. Right now I'm hanging out at 167, which is much better than I was, but I still have a ways to go. I thought I would share this recipe as it is a family and friends favorite.

2 1/2 c. very warm potato or regular water
1 cup rolled oats
2-4 T. flaxseed powder
2 scant T. yeast
1/3 c. honey
2 T. molasses
1 1/2 t. salt
3 T. applesauce
3 T. olive or canola oil
3-4 c. whole wheat flour, 3 c. white flour
Pour warm water into a mixing bowl and add yeast, oats, honey and molasses. Let sit for 5 minutes for yeast to start to work.  Add applesauce, salt and oil, plus all the whole wheat flour. Mix for 10 minutes to help get the gluten working in the flour. Start adding the white flour a half a cup at a time until you get a nice smooth dough. If you have a heavy duty mixer such as a Kitchenaide let it do the kneading for you, which takes about 5 minutes by mixer. If not, then as soon as the dough starts to pull away from the bowl, through a handful of flour on a counter top or table and start kneading your dough. Keep adding white flour until it no longer sticks to the counter and you have a nice smooth ball, about 10 minutes. Place the dough ball back in the bowl, and no, you don't have to oil it. Cover and let rise for about 30-45 minutes. It rises pretty fast. punch down and knead all the bubbles out. Divide in half, form loaves and place in oiled pans. Brush with a little oil and let rise until double or more in bulk. You don't need to cover the dough this time. Set your oven rack to one from the bottom and turn on to 375 degrees. When ready bake your bread for 35 minutes. Take out and immediately turn out onto cooling rack. This makes two nice large loaves.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Foodie Friday - Spicy Ginger Pork with veggies

 Blogger won't let me start with a clever paragraph above so let's get going on this recipe. Marinade ingredients - 1 tablespoon each peach or blueberry jam, honey, soy sauce, Tiparos fish sauce, and seasoned rice vinegar.  2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, 4 cloves of garlic, crushed. 1" of fresh ginger, peeled and grated. Combine and place in a bowl. After you're done admiring the colorful vegetables.....
of which you will need 4 stalks of bok choy, 2 peeled and thinly sliced carrots, 1 medium onion, chopped, 4 green onions sliced, 8 oz cup of sliced mushrooms, 1 red bell pepper chopped......
 Take two beautiful thick pork chops  and thinly slice them. Add to marinade and coat.
 Heat a wok or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons peanut oil or sesame, or canola oil, depending on your preference. I used peanut oil as I didn't have sesame oil. After oil starts to smoke scoop out and slightly drain pork and add to hot pan. Stir occasionally and cook meat until done and starting to carmelize. Scoop out and add 2 more tablespoons oil and then toss in the vegetables.
Cook until crisp tender and add back the meat. While the veggies are cooking take the leftover marinade and add 1/4 cup of water, 1 tablespoon each honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, and corn starch and 2 tablespoons of the jam. Combine well and stir into pan with veggies and meat. Cook until sauce is thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Whaalaa! Serve over rice or noodles. Yield 4-6 servings
Spicy Ginger Pork
1 tablespoon each blueberry, or peach jam, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, seasoned rice vinegar
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 inch fresh peeled ginger, grated
the rest of the ingredients
1 lb. lean pork or two thick boneless pork chops, thinly sliced
4 bok choy stalks, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped,
1 medium onion, chopped
1 - 8 oz. cup sliced mushrooms
2 peeled carrots, thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon each honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, and corn starch, left over marinade, 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons jam
This recipe would also be great using chicken. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Kent says this is one of the better Asian style dinners I've fixed, he loved it! Here's to a great weekend! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts - Cellphone Etiquette

When I was growing up and then went on to raise my own children we had rules for phone use. The one I remember most prominently and taught my children was that you don't call people before 9 AM or after 9PM. We also had certain rules for answering the phone such as saying something like, "Belcourt residence, Sheryl speaking". With the advent of the cell phone there's a needed change to the way we use phones or when. We've all been annoyed by someone say in a mall or restaurant who thinks that everyone wants to hear their cell phone conversation. Especially when it goes on and on over nothing so you feel like turning around with a plate of food and dumping it over their head. Or better yet, answer their questions for
What about when we are visiting friends or family though? Is it polite to answer the phone, or call someone back when we are visiting other people? For instance, last night as I was sitting and chatting with my in-laws someone came to visit. Mom and Dad were happy, even though it was almost their bed time, but 3 minutes into the visit this person got a phone call. They called the number back and sat there for 10 minutes chatting with some one not in the room with us. Mom and Dad sat there with their heads hung down, looking a bit dejected and rightly so. Mom finally got up and went to take her medicine and start getting ready for bed. When the visitor got off the phone they said, "This gal just likes to call and let me know how her day is going." Really? I was a bit flabbergasted at the idea that they knew that it wasn't a critical call, but felt the need to call them back right away, knowing the conversation was going to be long. So we got a total of 7 minutes with this person and the caller got more time. Sure there are going to be times when you just have to answer the phone regardless of where you are. Some people don't seem to know where the line is though. My husband told me that he was interviewing someone once, and they kept glancing at their phone to see the text messages coming in. I guess you know that they didn't get the job.
We think that there's a time and a place to answer a call, and also to have the phone on or off. Church meetings are not a place where everyone should have their phones set the ringtone, neither is any meeting. Visiting friends and family is another one, unless you are staying over. Even then, limiting all but the most critical calls is just being polite and courteous. What are your rules for the cell phone? When do you feel phones should be set to vibrate or shut off?