Fox and Broom

A mom's adventures in keeping healthy, keeping her sanity, and making stuff.

Archive for the category “Recipes”

Pea and Asparagus Saffron Risotto

Pea and Asparagus Saffron Risotto from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense Guide by Bay Books

Cooked on: May 26, 2011

Servings: 4 (according to the book – this recipe lasted a week for me)

Cost: Inexpensive – I already had saffron on hand, so this was super in expensive.

Skill level: Beginner. Be sure to follow instructions.

Ingredients

450 g (1 lb) fresh peas in the pod, or
235 g (8 1/2 oz/1 1/2 cups) frozen peas (I used frozen)
175 g (6 oz/1 bunch) asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3 cm (1 1/4  inch) lengths
a pinch of saffron threads
1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
440 g (15 1/2 oz/2 cups) risotto rice
30 g (1 oz/heaped 1/4 cup)finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Shell the peas into a heat-proof bowl and add the asparagus. Cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside until needed.

2.  Pour 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) boiling water into a small bowl. Add the saffron and leave to infuse.

3. Pour the stock into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and keep at a gentle simmer.

4. Het the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Sauté the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the rice and stir until translucent.

5. Add 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) hot stock, stirring constantly over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding more stock, 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) at a time, stirring constantly for 20 – 25 minutes, or until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender and creamy. Add the saffron water about halfway through, and stir in the peas and asparagus about 5 minutes before the rice is ready.

6. When the rice is tender, remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan. Serve sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper.

Final Verdict: Yummy, cheap, and fairly healthy. A great dish for vegetarians (or anyone who just wants a good dish) on a budget. If you can not afford the saffron, I would recommend adding in fresh basil.

Get Off Your Broom Week One Challenges

OK. Today was the first day of the fitness challenge. I feel like I did very well. Now to see if I can keep it up. I ate fairly healthy and logged everything in MyFitnessPal. My nutrition was mostly on target, except for sodium. I’m not too worried about the salt as I usually have very little salt. I also went jogging today.

Now for the challenges:

Challenge One

A Picture. Eek. I am going to have to post this later since my camera needs charging. I will do this tomorrow.

 

Challenge Two

Measurements:

Weight: 172
Hips: 43″
Waist: 39″
Chest: 42.5″
Thighs: 23″
Arms: 12″

 

Challenge 3

 Make a plan.

Exercise plan: I will jog 3 days a week, weights 1 – 2 times per week, and a class at the gym at least 1 day per week (yoga, pilates, BodyPump, BodyCombat, etc.).

Eating plan: I am still breastfeeding, so will need to be sure to keep up my calories, but not overdo the calories. So a healthy 1500 – 2000 calories per day. Stressing the healthy. I am totally cutting fast food out of my diet. I don’t like it anyway. Ice cream is also cut. I believe I posted about my reasons for that. Now, I do know myself and my addiction to sugar. I will allow myself 2 unhealthy dessert-like snacks per week. If I can keep up with that, I will lower that to 1 per week before the challenge is over.
This will also be a good way for me to try two new recipes per week. Yay!
Oh, I also wanted to mention the MyFitnessPal will also help me to keep track of my nutrition to make sure that I eat what I need to in order to keep a healthy diet.

Goal: My ultimate goal is to get down to 135. For this 3 month program, I will be happy to lose 10 lbs (162) and 1 – 2 dress sizes.

Hey! How’s that running thing goin’ fer ya?

Not so well at the moment. I will be going tomorrow morning. In fact, I will be heading to the animal shelter to pick up a running buddy for my 30 min jog. I’m looking forward to that. I have completed Week 1 of C25K (again) and will be starting in on Week 2 tomorrow. On Friday, I think I will do a BodyPump class. It’s been a while, so I will most likely be unable to move for the rest of the weekend hehe. Too bad for my body that I will be forcing myself to get out and run on Saturday as a way of celebrating Day 1 of the Get Off Your Broom Fitness Challenge.

I was trying to prepare myself for the fitness challenge this week by getting back into the habit of eating healthier. I failed last night with ice cream and today with a candy bar. Ugh. However, I did discover that ice cream, while it is one of my weaknesses, really makes me feel like crap afterwards. I don’t mean that as in I am berating myself for losing willpower. I mean I really feel yucky. I get headaches, lose energy, and start to feel sluggish. So, I have told my family to not buy me anymore ice cream. I can control myself if the ice cream belongs to someone else, but once I am told that a pint (or 2) was purchased just for me… forget willpower.

The reactions to ice cream actually really bother me. If I could find my blood sugar testing kit, I would start testing myself regularly again. I am starting to suspect that I am type 2.

Oh! I have found my vegetarian cookbook! I can now finish posting the recipes I had made from it. I will also start making and posting recipes from another cookbook, Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking as soon as my oven is fixed. Or replaced. Whatever. The landlady needs to get on that. I keep having to remember that I can’t just pop things in the oven. It’s frustrating. Today was supposed to have been a bread baking day… Oh well. Patience is a virtue. Or so they say.

Rah Rah Sisk Boom Bah!

Ever have one of those days when you can’t seem to get something silly out of your head? I have cheerleaders in my head right now. I don’t know why.

On to other things. I’ve been doing better with my exercising this week. I forgot to post about it with the trauma of the dog incident. I’ve only run once, so far (on Monday), I did cardio and some weights on Wednesday. I am going to go running again tomorrow morning. I’m actually looking forward to it. I thought I did terrible the other day, but according to MapMyRun, I ran 1.8 miles. Not too shabby for having taken too long of a break. I don’t even have anything near a good excuse for a break. It just happened. I feel good about what I have done so far this week. I will probably do more next week if Nana B. can watch Sammi for me. I can’t seem to get many classes in at the gym. He starts crying and nothing the daycare ladies do will console him. Actually, I would be happy to get in just 30 minutes of cardio and weights.

With school starting up, new gym class schedules, and Sammi’s therapy on hold (insurance pending crap), I have revised my workout schedule. Here is a tentative list of my Fall exercises:

Sunday: Swimming
Monday: Run
Tuesday: 9:20 BodyVive class
Wednesday: Cardio + Weights
Thursday: Run + 10:30 Yoga class
Friday: 9:20 BodyPump class
Saturday: Run

I am taking it easy on the classes. I am such a wimp right now. Once I get in better shape, I will add in BodyCombat and maybe I will even brave my sister-in-law’s BodyStep class. BodyStep scares me more than any other class. Zumba comes in close, but at least I will not fall off of a step in Zumba. In fact, in October, I may start to take the Beginner Zumba class at 10:25 and take Power Yoga at 10:30 on Fridays (Power Yoga starts in October). Depending on how wimpy I still am, I may be switching my schedule up at that time, or I may just keep the BodyPump class on Friday and do the Power Yoga afterwards. We shall see.

To thank my neighbors for helping out with the dreaded dog incident mentioned above, I baked my famous Druid Bread as a “Thank You.” It went over very well.

Arancini

Arancini from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense Guide by Bay Books

I also call this recipe “Fried Cheesy Rice Balls,” which I know seems like a mouthful, but I could not for the life of me remember the actual name. A note before beginning: This recipe is time-consuming as the mix needs to be refrigerated. It actually worked out well as it complemented my leftover Chickpea Curry perfectly. I also discovered that it can be reheated in the oven and be even better than it was freshly fried. My cheese did not get very melty with the frying, but melted to perfect melty goodness after some time in the oven (approx 15 minutes at 425 F).

This would also be a very easy recipe to transform into a vegan dish. I think it would be super nommers if a garbanzo bean were in the center. Or garlic. Maybe both. Mmmm.

Cooked on: May 7, 2011

Servings: Makes 20

Cost: Inexpensive – I already had saffron on hand, so this was super in expensive.

Skill level: Intermediate. Be sure to follow instructions.

Ingredients

a large pinch of saffron threads
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) dry white wine
750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) vegetable stock
100 g (3 1/2 oz) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp thyme
220 g (7 3/4 oz/1 cup) risotto rice
50 g (1 3/4 oz/1/2 cup)grated parmesan cheese
100 g (3 1/2 oz/2/3 cup diced mozzarella or fontina cheese (I think a stronger cheese would be better – feta or some sort of goat cheese)
70 g (2 1/2 oz/3/4) dry breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for deep-frying

1. Soak the saffron in the wine and leave to infuse. Pour the stock into a saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and keep at a gentle simmer.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Saute the onion and garlic over low heat for 3 – 4 minutes, or until softened. Add the thyme and rice and stir until the rice is translucent. Add the saffron wine and stir until all the wine is absorbed. Add 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) hot stock and stir constantly over medium heat until absorbed. Continue adding more stock, 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) at a time, stirring constantly for 20 – 25 minutes, or until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender and creamy. (It doesn’t matter if the rice becomes a little glutinous – it will actually stick together better.)

3. Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesan, then spread out on a tray covered with plastic wrap. Leave to cool, the refrigerate overnight to firm up.

4. Roll a small amount of the rice mixture into a walnut-sized ball. Press a hole in the middle with your thumb, push a cube of mozzarella inside and press the rice around it to enclose it in a ball. Repeat with the remaining rice and cheese, then roll each ball in the breadcrumbs, pressing down to coat well.

5. Heat enough oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan to fully cover the rice balls. Heat the oil to 180 C (350 F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds. Cook the rice balls in batches, without crowding, for 3 – 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and leave for a few minutes before eating.
(3 – 4 minutes seemed too long to me as they started to blacken if left in that long. This is why my inner cheese did not melt, but I wanted them to look appetizing as well as taste appetizing. It is possible my oil was too hot. I did not have a thermometer that went up that high.)

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Final verdict: This is a delicious recipe. It takes patience and time, but is great if you have both. I reheated these for a Mother’s Day brunch and they went over extremely well.

King Arthur Flour Company Super Bread

This has been one of my favorite bread recipes. I’ve tried it a few times and only had it fail once due to old flour. This comes from the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook:

Super Bread

When days have begun to shrink and you’re up and off before the dark and chill have really let go, you begin to think of how to pack some warmth into breakfast and lunch, some that will fire your engines and keep them running all day.  Here’s how to pack all this into a loaf of Super Bread.  (This recipe was developed by Brinna Sands when she was in her “bread as the ONLY staff of life” phase.)

When you make bread with milk as the liquid, you will create something that gives you two kinds of energy.  The first is protein.  Whole proteins are divided up into lots of little parts.  Wheat has some of those parts and milk has others.  When you put them together, you make a protein as complete as any you find in meat but with vegetable fiber replacing the fat.  Everybody needs some protein.  If you are growing you need a lot.  Protein helps you develop a healthy body as you grow and it also provides a form of energy that burns long and slow.

The second kind of energy comes from carbohydrates in the wheat itself.  Carbohydrates burn hotter and faster than protein and provide you with a “jump start” and the “overdrive” you need to breeze through a busy day.  We all need more of this second kind of energy, especially when we’re very active.

What else can you add to make this a really SUPER bread?  An egg or two will boost the protein.  Stone ground wheat flour substituted for some unbleached white adds extra vitamins, fiber, and heartiness.  Soy flour, oatmeal, cornmeal, wheat germ and bran, available at your local market or health food store, create variety and extra nutritional wallop.  Dark, unsulfured or blackstrap molasses as the sweetener adds iron and an irresistible flavor, and helps the bread retain moisture or freshness.

Because the bread contains essentially no fat, you will find that it gives you a maximum amount of energy with a minimum number of calories; it will satisfy your hunger, provide excellent nutrition, plus, if you’ve ever made a loaf of bread, you know what that will do for you.  No wonder bread is called the staff of life.  The flavor of this bread is developed by making a sponge, so read through the recipe first to plan your timing.

2 cups liquid (this can include 2 eggs which count as a liquid)

1 to 4 tablespoons sugar (white or brown), honey, or molasses

1 tablespoon or packet dry active yeast

¾ cup nonfat dry milk (optional, but increases the protein)

1 to 1 ½ cups of the following, your choice: cracked wheat; oatmeal, steel-cut oats, triticale; wheat, barley, rye or other flakes; cornmeal; wheat germ; wheat or oat bran, soy flour, etc.  You can also use a blend of these,  (If you’re using soy flour, start with ½ cup and increase the amount next time if you like the flavor.)

2 cups King Arthur Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour

1 tablespoon salt (or less if desired)

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

The total amount of flour you need will vary.  To produce a loaf with good volume, use at least 4 ½ to 5 cups of wheat flour, either unbleached or stone ground whole wheat.  Wheat is the only grain that contains gluten, the amazing protein that causes a dough to capture carbon dioxide bubble produced by the yeast, which creates the “rise.”  The other 1 to 1 ½ cups can be a combination of any of the dry ingredients mentioned.

Making the Sponge:  Dissolve the sweetener and yeast in your liquid.  (When measuring your liquid, keep in mind that if you’re planning on adding eggs, each one counts as about ¼ cup, so subtract that amount from the total liquid.  Don’t add the eggs to the sponge.)  Stir in the dry milk, any whole grains, and the whole wheat flour.

Cover your sponge with plastic wrap and let it sit in a cool place for anywhere from 1 to 12 hours.

Making the Dough:  Stir down the sponge, add the salt and beat in the eggs (if you choose to add them).

Stir in the remainder of your flour, except for ½ cup, which you’ll sprinkle on your kneading board.  (If you use a liquid sweetener, such as honey or molasses, you will need to use a slightly smaller percentage of liquid or a bit more flour.)

When your dough begins to hold together and pull away from the sides of the bowl, turn the dough out onto the floured kneading board.

Kneading:  Turn the dough out onto the floured board, and knead until it begins to feel as if it belongs together, about 3 or 4 minutes, adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking to the board or you.  Let it rest while you clean and grease your bowl.  Continue kneading the relaxed dough until it feels smooth and springy, another 3 or 4 minutes.

Rising:  Form the dough into a nice ball; place it in the greased bowl, turning it so the top is lightly greased also.  Cover it and put it where it will be warm and cozy (no drafts).  Let this rise until it has doubled (when you can poke your finger in it and the dough doesn’t spring back at you).

Shaping:  Punch or knock the dough down, turn it out onto you floured board and knead out any stray bubbles.

Cut it in half, form 2 loaves, and place them in two lightly greased bread pans (4 ½ x 8 ½-inch pans make high, well-rounded loaves; 5 x 9-inch pans will make shorter, wider loaves)

Baking:  With either of the following methods, the longer baking time produces crustier bread with a slightly drier interior.

  • Full Rise.  Let the loaves rise until they are doubled (about an hour).  About 15 minutes before you want to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Place the loaves in the preheated oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes.  This method makes the lightest loaves.
  • Partial Rise.  Let the loaves rise for only 30 to 40 minutes.  Place them in a cold oven, set the temperature to 400˚F for 15 minutes and lower it to 350˚ for a further 20 to 25 minutes.  This method takes a little less time from beginning to end and avoids the possibility of the bread dough rising too far and then collapsing.  The bread itself won’t be quite as light, but it will still be very good.

 Storing:  Once the bread is out of the oven and cool, wrap it in an airtight plastic bag.  You can freeze it at this point and it will be “oven fresh” when you thaw it to fire up another day.

There isn’t much you can buy commercially that can compare with a loaf of the Super Bread you make at home.  Once you’ve experimented a dew times, you’ll find combinations that you or your family particularly like and maybe some they don’t.  (The rather large amount of brewer’s yeast added to one batch several years ago didn’t get past the kids.)  You will discover that you can get an amazing amount of nutrition into an amazingly tasty loaf of bread.

Chickpea Curry

Chickpea Curry from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense Guide by Bay Books

Cooked on: May 6, 2011

Serves: 4 (I think it would serve more than 4)

Cost: Inexpensive.

Skill level: Novice. Be sure to follow instructions.

Ingredients

1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 onions, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 cans (15 oz/425 g each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
400 g/14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp garam masala (this took me a little while to find, but definitely add this to your spice rack!)

  1. Heat the ghee in a saucepan. Saute the onion and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.
  2. Add the chili powder, salt, turmeric, paprika, cumin, and coriander, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the chickpeas and tomato, then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the garam masala. Cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Serve hot.

I think a curry recipe is a must in any diet. They are usually very easy and require cheap and simple ingredients. This particular recipe is absolutely delicious. It was perfectly spicy in the sense that while you could taste some slight heat, it was not overpowering. It was really very easy to make and probably cost under $15. The recipe claims it has 4 servings, but this fed my husband and me for a week.

Chickpea Curry with a side of Arancini:

Annnd she’s off!

I started up on the C25K program again today. It felt great. It also hurt lol. I am terribly out-of-shape. I am working on it. I will be doing the machine thingies and yoga at the gym tomorrow (er I guess today since I have once again stayed up too late). I have subscribed to Tight Bod With A Pod and Run Like A Mother on Facebook. One of them said that a goal for today would be to push harder for a portion of my run. So I did. Since I started over on the C25K program, I pushed harder on one of my 60 second runs. And I could feel it immediately. I think I need to do that every time I run. I am so slow… maybe it will help to up my speed.

Today I ran 1 2/3 miles. Not the greatest, but not terrible either.

I will be making two more new vegetarian recipes tomorrow for dinner. I still have to post two others that I made two weeks ago. I slacked last week on that. I don’t know what happened to last week. I pretty much got absolutely nothing accomplished. My oldest had a fever early in the week, maybe it was a slight bug that pulled me down a bit or something. I know that we have eaten out way more than we should lately. I will be going grocery shopping tomorrow, so maybe I can put a stop to that.

Therapy

I feel like I might need some soon. Of course, I have felt like that ever since my first son came into my life. I think Sam is getting more teeth in and I really wish they would hurry it up. He has started to freak out if I am more than 5 feet away from him. I am pretty sure this is not good. I am hoping this will stop when these next teeth finally make an appearance.

I have also had the fun of feeling like I am running in circles trying to hunt down an infant physical therapist. Seriously. WTF. One place has one, but they need to refer me to another place that had already told me they could not help me, but now that Seattle Children’s Hospital has tested him, they might. They are also referring me to another place…. grrr.

Maybe I will get my therapy with running, which I will be starting up again tomorrow. Yay! Sam fits into the jogging stroller comfortably and really seems to like it on the walks I have taken with him. Although, I will be jogging at the gym, if we are able to go there tomorrow to sign up. Also yay! I am looking forward to taking the classes and taking Sol swimming.

I have 2 new recipes that I will be adding later. I still need to decide on 2 recipes to make for this week. I think I will do that now.

Mixed Berry Couscous

Mixed Berry Couscous from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense Guide by Bay Books

Cooked on April 27, 2011

Serves: 4 (I think it would serve more than 4)

Cost: Inexpensive.

Skill level: Novice. Be sure to follow instructions.

Ingredients

185 g (6 1/2 ox/1 cup) plain couscous
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) apple and cranberry juice {I used Treetop Apple Berry juice}
1 cinnamon stick
2 tspn orange zest
250 g (9 oz/2 cups) raspberries {I used 1 small plastic container which I think is 1 pint}
250 g (9 oz/1 2/3 cups) blueberries {I used strawberries}
250 g (9 oz/ 1 2/3 cups) strawberries, halved
200 g (7 oz) Greek-style yoghurt {I just used plain yogurt}
Golden syrup or maple syrup, for drizzling {I omitted this}
4 mint leaves {I omitted this}

  1. Put the couscous in a bowl. Pour the apple and cranberry juice into a saucepan and add the cinnamon stick. Cover and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and pour over the couscous. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 5 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  2. Separate the couscous grains with a fork, then gently fold the orange zest and most of the berries through. Spoon the mixture into four serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining berries.
  3. Top each bowl with a dollop of yoghurt, then drizzle with golden or maple syrup. Garnish with a mint leaf and serve.
Final Verdict: The yogurt really adds an interesting flavor to the sweetness of the berries. I can’t eat blueberries, so I made up for the lack by adding in more strawberries. Next time I think I will put in blackberries. Or maybe more raspberries. This was a really delicious and different kind of breakfast. I had never thought of using pasta as a breakfast item, but this works.

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