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I LOVE sourdough bread! I could eat it all day, toasted with a good lick of salted butter** Yum! Today on the drive home, I wondered to myself why I’ve never tried baking it since I love it so much, and plus it’s so hard to find in my food store…

mouth watering...

So, as I always do when I have a question, I googled that shit (!!) and found this extremely informative and useful article. (Thanks S. John Ross!)

Apparently, what makes sourdough bread so special (and delicious!) is that it is made without added yeast. Instead, you basically breed your own wild yeast! This process is supposedly very simple. All you do to get your “starter” going, is combine a cup of flour with a cup of warm water in a glass jar, and let it do it’s thing for a few days. The naturally existing bacteria in the flour and air will begin to breed and eventually you will have your own personal colony of pet yeasties!! Seriously though, you even need to “feed” them a steady diet of flour & water!!

this is what I imagine my pet yeasties look like

Thusly, I broke out an old glass container, mixed up my flour & water and crossed my fingers!

I’m not going to get into the whole process of “proofing” or even baking the sourdough bread yet, cuz who knows if my starter will be successful, but if so, you can expect some more posts on that!

**speaking of butter: did you know it was THIS easy to make your OWN butter?! I’m doing it. Soon. Updates to follow!

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For some reason, this evening, I had the urge to bake, but only on 2 conditions:

  1. whatever I bake can’t be too unhealthy
  2. I have to have all the ingredients on hand (I hate going to the food store)

So I looked around in my fridge and pantry for inspiration, and came up with carrots & oatmeal and instantly thought muffins! Muffins can be (relatively) healthy & yummy, and so I googled, as usual, and found quite a number of recipes, each a bit different. I like to read over several and then come up with my own variation, using their measurements and cooking times as a guide.

MY recipe for Oatmeal Carrot Muffins is (more or less) as follows:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I didn’t have any so I omitted it, but I’m sure it would have been good! Vanilla is in all baked goods!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all the dry ingredients together (first 9 ingredients) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients. Add the chopped walnuts & grated carrots to the wet mixture, and finally, add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Mix until everything is incorporated, and spoon into muffin cups. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 mins or until a toothpick (or similar) inserted into the centre of the muffin, comes out clean.

all mixed up

This recipe made pretty much exactly 12 muffins (filled quite high) so probably could have been stretched to make more like 15-ish, but my muffin tray (and most trays I’m guessing) only holds a dozen, so why dirty another tray?

ready to pop in the oven

And the finished product:

all done!

That muffin in the far left, centre row looks a little crazy cuz he has a glob of brown sugar that I obviously didn’t mix properly…oh well!

Benji is eating one now, hot out the oven, and he says they’re an A+! :) Even though they’re not sweet, they have great flavour, a nice chewy outside and soft, moist centre. I can’t wait to try one myself!

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Last night, thinking that I was going to be starting the Master Cleanse today, I wanted to use up a bunch of veggies in my fridge that were on their way out. I had a big bunch of asparagus and a pack of tarragon, as well as a giant zucchini (seriously, it was like 14 inches long and 2 inches in girth…ew…girth…) So, I googled “asparagus tarragon” (I love you, google) and found this recipe!

That recipe served as the inspiration for my soup. I added the zucchini, and also shallots and garlic (I can’t cook without garlic). I loved the idea of browning all the veggies really well to develop that nice flavour before blending it down into a nice smooth soup. Once they’re all golden and delicious, add some stock (I used veggie) and bring it to a boil. Then let it cool down, pop it in the blender and blend til smooth. Finally, warm it back up to serve & eat! It really couldn’t be easier!!

tarragon

I thought this soup was delicious, and better yet, so did Benji! :) Tarragon is a new frontier for me; I’ve never cooked with it, or really experienced its flavour. It really reminded me of licorice while it was raw, but once cooked down, it had a totally different flavour (which was a good thing if you ask me, cuz I’m not a big fan of licorice).

All in all, a successful dinner! Easy, yummy, healthy and resourceful! No veggies went to waste and all bellies were filled! :)

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This is a soup I make once or twice a month when I want to use up the last few veggies and whatnot that are kicking around in my fridge on their way out (cuz I hate to be wasteful). It’s a little different every time depending on what I have, but it’s always pretty durn tasty! The ingredients are more or less as follows:

  • 2-ish cups cubed ham steak. really depends how meaty you like your soup…
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • handful or 2 of baby carrots, sliced into discs
  • 2 portabella caps, large dice
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can white northern beans
  • good slosh of liquid smoke
  • good squirt of ketchup
  • a can of broth, or water: enough to make it soupy
  • thyme (this time fresh from my herb garden!)
  • rosemary (also fresh, woo!)
  • salt & pepper

Today I also added about a cup of red wine that was on its way out. The best thing about this soup is its flexibility. Put what you like (or have), in whatever quantities you like, and done! Instant dinner! :)

I usually brown down the ham in some olive oil. Once it’s nice and brown, I add the onions and garlic and cook just until the onions begin to sweat and turn translucent. Then I add the zucchini and mushrooms and carrots and cook that down for a while. Then pretty much just add everything else and let it simmer away til you’re ready to eat!

Ta Daaaaa!

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I meant to share the recipe for this salad dressing I invented (muaha, I’m an inventor…sigh) It came to me one day when I was trying to be healthy, and I went and made this fancy salad, and then realised I didn’t have any damn vinegar! (wtf laura?)

So I’m scouring my fridge trying to think what I could use instead of vinegar, or instead of salad dressing or maybe I should just make a grilled cheese. And then it hits me! Mint sauce! That has vinegar in it! And bonus, it’s super delicious!

instant salad dressing

Now. I know this is an English product, but I’m pretty sure if you wanted to, you could find it in America. I mean, America has everything! Duh! And unlike the gross, sweet American impostor “Mint Jelly”, mint sauce is effin’ incredible on lamb! mmmmm! My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Aaaaand, back to the…salad…So it’s the typical ratio 1:3 parts of vinegar (or similar) to olive oil. And I threw in a some honey for sweetness, and a lil quirt of French’s yellow mustard (not really sure why, but whatever) et voila! So simple. So yummy. Makes me actually eat salad…You’re most welcome! :)

(Info on Baxters Mint Sauce…in case you were wondering: Water, Vinegar, Sugar, White Wine Vinegar, Mint (9%), Dried Mint (5%), Salt, Stabiliser (Xanthan Gum), Flavouring, Colours (Quinoline Yellow, Green S). Suitable for Vegetarians, Suitable for Vegans. Gluten Free.)

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