Category Archives: Baking and Cooking

My New Roots – A Cookbook Review

my new roots cookbook review

I haven’t been so excited about a cookbook in a long, long time. I am a huge fan of Sarah Britton’s blog, My New Roots. For those unfamiliar, she is a nutritionist who cooks up stunningly beautiful plant based meals, with charm, wit, and loads of information or nutrition, and her recipes are good to boot.

I waited anxiously for this book, with both excitement and the smallest bit of concern. Excitement because, I love Sarah’s blog and was excited to have her recipes on my counter, and concern because I was worried that like many other healthy plant based cookbooks I have been through, the recipes would be filled with hard to find ingredients or entirely too time consuming of processes for a mama of two small children.

When the book arrived I was happy to find that not only were the recipes incredible sounding and creative, but the majority of them are, dare I say, doable. I was so excited I made up two recipes the first day (the lentil salad and the blueberry coconut chia pudding). Today I made up the recipe featured on the cover of the cookbook, spicy cabbage wraps with  couscous, za’atar, and spicy tahini sauce. I had no pea shoots (I need to get back to my micro greens gardening!), so I left them out, but these were amazing. It came together quickly, the flavors where complex, yet it wasn’t in the least bit fussy. Fussy just doesn’t work for me these days.

This book, while it has only been in my possession for a few days is already a classic. I started bookmarking the recipes I wanted to try, but gave up because I realized there were more recipes marked than were left unmarked. If you are interested in incorporating more plant based meals into your life I highly recommend you pick up a copy.

 

my new roots cookbook review

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Egg Bhurji and The Perfect Egg

egg bhurji the perfect egg

When I went into labor with June, Lucy stayed under the care of my aunt during the days (then went to grandma and grandpa’s to stay the night). Not knowing that Lucy absolutely hates eggs, my aunt Kate fixed a lunch of egg salad sandwiches. Upon trying a bite and having no clue what it was, Lucy, with a look of disgust, commented, “what kind of cheese is this?”. She then proceeded to eat the bread all the way around the egg salad.

So, she isn’t an egg eater, but Russ and I are. I hope to get chickens down the road when we have a little bit of outdoor space to house them. Just thinking of home raised chicken eggs on a regular basis makes me giddy!

I got this book because of my love for the mighty egg. We eat them most mornings of the week, but admittedly I have very few egg recipes in my repertoire. We make omelets, fried eggs, scrambled in burritos, eggs on toast, and the list ends there.

I am so excited to have this book in my collection. The pictures are absolutely beautiful and the recipes are all mouth watering. The first recipe I decided to try was an obvious choice for this spice lover, egg bhurji. While the list of ingredients may be a bit daunting, if you have everything prepared in advance it comes together very quickly. I decided to make it for a quick lunch with a side of naan bread. It was perfect, and is going to be made many times in the future.

The recipes covered include breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, and dessert. There are many traditional recipes and a great selection of recipes from around the world. I am looking forward to diving deeper into this book and trying the havarti-dill popovers, corn and green onions fritters with a bacon-honey drizzle, spaetzle with Swedish meatballs, and the grapefruit-poppy seed pound cake, just to name a few.

Egg Bhurji

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 7 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Melt the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the tomato, garlic, chile, and ginger and saute for 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomato paste, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, paprika, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cilantro, and then lower the heat to medium. Gradually add the eggs while stirring to mix with the seasoning; and then cook, stirring gently, until the eggs are cooked hard.

Divide the eggs among four plates, season lightly with salt and pepper, and top with the remaining cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

the perfect egg cookbook review

egg bhurji recipe

egg bhurji recipe the perfect egg

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Bread Revolution – A Book Review

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

I started baking my own bread about a year before Lucy was born. Back then it was strictly white bread, which I rarely do anymore because I have become more health conscious over the years and try to work more whole grains into my family’s diet. While it may not be as nutritious as loaves made entirely of whole wheat, white bread is probably the perfect start for someone wanting to start baking their own bread at home. White bread is easy and delicious. I have tried many, many whole wheat recipes over the years, some entirely whole wheat flour and some with a combination of flours. While most have been good (and a few which were destined to become a giant bag of bread crumbs in my freezer), I still haven’t found ‘the recipe’. You know, the one you make so many times that you can no longer read the directions because it is stained and warped from use–but it doesn’t matter because it is burned into your brain.

I requested this book knowing it might be a book that sits on the shelf for a year or two before I can fully dive into it. I have baked from Peter Reinhart’s recipes before, and while they do make delicious loaves of bread, it is always a process. The majority of the recipes in this book are quite elaborately layed out, and while I am sure they become easier with practice, this mama just doesn’t have the time or the brain power currently to start a loaf of bread the evening before I want to bake it or religiously follow along with two pages worth of instructions.

I was very pleased to find out that there were a handful of recipes that I could look at and understand immediately, these sprouted wheat pancakes being one of them. This was my first time using sprouted wheat flour and I was very pleased with the results. The sprouted wheat flour seemed so dense compared to what I am used to working with, but the pancakes turned out light and fluffy. I am pretty sure this is going to become my new go to pancake recipe.

I look forward to getting deeper into this book as the girls grow older, there is a wealth of knowledge on bread baking and I pretty sure with a little practice and a lot of patience this book might just have that perfect loaf recipe I am after.

Here is my simplified interpretation of the recipe.

Sprouted Wheat Pancakes

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sprouted wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. In a medium bowl stir together flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. In a small bowl combine buttermilk, egg, and melted butter. Pour wet mix into dry, stirring just until thoroughly hydrated, but do not over mix.
  2. Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add butter and a ladel-full of batter. Cook until you start to see “bubble” or holes appear and flip (about two minutes). Cook for another minute or two.

 

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Quilting and Weather

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Well, I wrote a very long, and somewhat rambly post to go along with this picture-dump post, and then accidentally deleted the text. So, this is take two, the abridged version of my original post.

I started a log cabin quilt (inspired by Alicia, following this tutorial) for June last weekend when I had some friends over for crafting and mimosas. I finished two squares while my friends were over and then, realizing how much fun it was, couldn’t seem to stop and made another eleven squares over the next two days. I need seven more before I can piece the top all together. I wouldn’t have stopped, but I ran out of strips and need to cut more before going any further. What a fun project it is turning out to be!

It has warmed up here, it seems so early in the year, but we are in short sleeves and sandals during the day. I am trying to enjoy it– it is nice to be out in the sunshine, but deep down I am quite a bit envious of those on the east coast who are covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. If you are in the snow, please send some my way, or even just a little rain. I don’t know if I will ever be able to accept what seasons are like in a desert climate.

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log cabin quilt

log cabin quilt squares

butter maker

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Everything Bagels and a Cookbook Review

everything bagels sunday suppers

everything bagels sunday suppers

everything bagels sunday suppers

We are bagel eaters. Growing up my family always had bagels on the counter and backups in the freezer for when we ran out. They were nothing special, just some bagged variety that my mom purchased at Costco. As a family of five almost-daily bagel eaters, Costco was the only place that made sense to purchase bagels. Over the summer I started a tradition of stopping for bagels every Sunday morning after we would finish walking around the swap meet as a family. It began as an incentive (ahem, bribe), to get the little one to stay put instead of running all over the place while I was haggling for vintage treasures. It stuck and became something we looked forward to after an early morning of walking and looking at junk.

Now, as an adult, they are more of a treat than an every day food. Bread baking is something I have grown to be quite passionate about over the past five years, and while I don’t have as much time for such activities as I used to, I still try to find a little time each week to fill pull together a loaf of something or other. Bagels were the perfect activity for Lucy and I to work on together on a Saturday morning while dad held June and got to sit back and relax.

This recipe came from the book, Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai, which I was graciously given a copy of in exchange for a short review. Since this was my first time making bagels I followed the recipe exactly, and was very pleased with the results. These bagels were delicious. I really look forward to making these again with different toppings and flavors (and some with cranberries as Lucy requested!).

  • 3½ cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (about 105°F)
  • Vegetable oil, for the bowl
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon rock salt or coarse sea salt

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and kosher salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm water. Continue to mix until the dough comes together, 4 to 6 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. Oil a large bowl, add the dough, and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Gently punch down the dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Press each piece to get rid of any air bubbles. Form them into smooth balls by rolling and rotating each one between your palms. Coat a finger with flour and press it through each ball to form a ring, stretching the dough and widening the hole to about one-third of the bagel’s diameter. Place the bagels on the prepared baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let rest for 10 minutes. (If the bagels begin to dry out, spray them with a bit of water.)
  3. Bring the water back to a full boil and gently lower the bagels, 2 or 3 at a time, into the water. Boil uncovered for about 1 minute. Flip and boil for another minute. Remove the bagels, drain, and return to the baking sheet.
  4. Whisk the egg yolk with the 1 teaspoon water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, coat the tops of the bagels with the egg wash. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, chia seeds, and rock salt. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
  5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

sunday suppers book review

Sunday Suppers is stunning. Before receiving this cookbook I had read a few reviews about it, all mentioning how beautiful this book is. I couldn’t agree more, but I was also weary that this may be just a book I look through and put aside, as so many of the most beautiful cookbooks don’t have realistic recipes for a busy family with little ones. I was so wrong! While I have only tried the bagel recipe so far, I have a long list of recipes and even better–ideas, that I feel inspired to make. The recipes are down to earth (think granola, biscuits, rice and beans), not at all fussy, and the book is filled with recipes using easy to find ingredients.

This book is categorized into different occasions and with each occasion it’s own menu. While I am not one to really follow menus and quite often stray a fair amount from the original recipe, I can tell that I am going to get a lot of use out of this one on the inspiration alone. A few of the recipes I am looking forward to trying are the potato tart with black olives, beef and green olive empenadas, mixed root vegetable chips (brilliant, I can’t wait to make these for Lucy!), and chocolate bread pudding with homemade challah–yum!

This is a gorgeous cookbook with stunning photography printed on beautiful matte paper. Sunday Suppers would make the perfect Christmas gift if you know anyone who likes hosting parties or planning meals special for ordinary occasions–dinners, weekend brunches, children’s parties, picnics, and even good old breakfast in bed.

sunday suppers book review

sunday suppers book review

sunday suppers book review

sunday suppers book review

everything bagels sunday suppers

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

In the Kitchen

sweet potato hash

rainbow carrots grated

red lentil coconut curry

dessert

I love how monochromatic our eating has been lately. Almost all of our meals have this beautiful harvest orange hue–it’s wonderful!

Throughout most of my pregnancy I found cooking to be too tiring, I was uninspired, and for the life of me, I could never decide what I was in the mood for (though I definitely knew what I didn’t want!). Now though, I am cooking up a storm. There are not enough nights in the week for as many dinners as I want to make. Most of our meals lately have been made in the morning. The big kid is chipper and up for playing alone, the little kid is usually asleep in the carrier or the swing, and I am not yet cranky from a long day of explaining every action I take to a three year old.

I think my eagerness to get back in the kitchen (while partly to make up for lost time while I was pregnant) has a lot to do with the time of year and the shift to move indoors. Even though we have the luxury of being able to play outdoors year round (and often without a sweater), I do so miss the cozy warmth of a fire in the fireplace after coming in from a brisk late fall/early winter day. For that reason I have been spending a lot of time with my oven, multiple cups of tea, and books aplenty (though mostly just to browse, I wish I had time to get more involved with ANY book outside of the children’s section!).

Anyhow, onto the food that has been coming out of my kitchen.

1. Sweet potato hash with an egg.

2. Grated rainbow carrots. Whenever they are available I buy them, purple carrots are still such a novel thing to me, I may have eaten more of them as a child if my mom bought them in this lovely hue. I must admit though, they certainly lose their charm once cooked, more often than not turning a rather drab shade of grey.

3. Red lentil coconut curry with cauliflower and sweet potatoes. So good.

4. My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner. An apple tart and sweet potato pie.

This Week in My Kitchen

avocado on toast

breakfast burrito

cutting up a butternut squash

chai spice apple pie

chai spice apple pie

What a fast week this has been, I can’t believe it is Thursday already. From here until baby time we are laying low, not making any plans until each day arrives. Today it is the library for story time and a quick stop by the grocery store to stock up on fruit to carry us through the weekend.

On the home front I am trying to quickly sew up Lucy’s Halloween costume and get a few more dishes stashed away in the freezer for our busier (and sleepier) days to come. Cooking picked up a bit in my kitchen this week, and the amount of runs to the taco shop for dinner have been minimal. Soups and stews and beans and pies. All sorts of things off of the stove (or crockpot) and into our bellies and freezer. I think this has been a really good habit for me to pick up, and I plan to continue to double many of our meals and freeze them even after baby is born and the excitement and stress of a new family member has subsided.

Here are a few of the things that came out of my kitchen this past week. Once again I am joining Beauty that Moves in posting some of the highlights.

1. Avocado on toast, possibly my favorite breakfast ever.

2. Breakfast burrito.

3. Cutting up butternut squash for white bean and butternut squash soup from the Art of Simple Food.

4. First pie.

5. Second pie. We made a second one, because I am pregnant and hungry. Chai spice apple pie from A Year of Pies.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothies

pumpkin pie smoothie recipe

Smoothies are life savers in my house, honestly. Taking only a few minutes to throw together and full of delicious and healthy ingredients, I have been known to bribe my three year old into the car with the promise of smoothies once we return home. Yesterday, after a fun filled day at the pumpkin patch, the mention of getting in the car to go home nearly set off our second tantrum of the day. Thinking quick, I threw out the word smoothie and she was racing to the car. I had to speed my pregnancy waddle up to grab her hand before she raced into the parking lot.

Having seen a few different pumpkin smoothies floating around Pinterest, they were on my mind–though none were quite what I was looking for, so I improvised and came up with this delicious recipe. To me it tastes just like pumpkin pie and the entire time Lucy was drinking it she was repeating “mmm, I like pumpkin smoothies”. We will be making these many times this fall.

  • 5-6 pitted dates
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (I refrigerated mine in advance)
  • 2 bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. In a blender add the dates and about 1/4-1/3 cup milk. Puree until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients (more milk if you like a thinner smoothie) and puree. Serve with fresh grated nutmeg or a sprinkling of cinnamon over the top. Makes enough for two large servings.

pumpkin pie smoothie recipe

This Week in My Kitchen

one pot pumpkin pasta

chickpeas

vegetable lentil soup

pumpkin pie oatmeal

Another week in the kitchen. As we get nearer to my due date I am feeling less and less frantic. I tend to worry a bit about unimportant things, like will we have enough food in the freezer? Will my house be clean enough? Will I have enough time to at least tame my hair, so I look okay in photos (seriously)? I know, I know. Silly things have been occupying my mind in these past few weeks, but I am coming out of it and am starting to feel a calm about the whole thing. Our meals lately have been simple and many leftovers have been eaten. I am focusing my energy on wrapping up a few little projects around the house, but I am really hoping to do a little baking after our current heat wave ends early next week. Nothing gets me more in the mood for the fall season than a house filled with smells of freshly baked bread.

I am joining Beauty that Moves in posting highlights from my kitchen over the past week.

1. One pot pumpkin and goat cheese pasta (from this recipe). I have been trying out a bunch of these one pot pasta dishes and this one is a favorite. I did find there was a bit too much sauce and too few noodles, so the second time I made it I used an entire bag of pasta and added enough water to be level with the pasta. It is delicious!

2. Slow cooked a huge batch of chickpeas to put in the freezer, they turned out better than when I make them on the stove. I followed Alton Brown’s directions. I used the remainder (that didn’t make it into the freezer) to roast for a snack.

3. Simple lentil and vegetable soup, the kind that is thrown together with whatever vegetables need to be used up.

4. Pumpkin oatmeal. Rolled oats, apple juice, water, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, dried cranberries, and topped with chopped pecans. Delicious.

Also, I had a request for a recipe last week, I haven’t forgotten, just been very busy, I will get it to you as soon as possible!

This Week in My Kitchen

crock pot steal cut oatmeal with raisins and milk

freezer meals for after baby is born

homemade organic yogurt in the slow cooker

mashed sweet potatoes with butter

Is it really Thursday already? I can’t believe how quickly the weeks are going by. The days are getting shorter and shorter, which I love, but it does make it difficult to photograph our evening meals. I expect that these posts will start to fill with lots of pictures of our breakfasts as well as leftovers when we have enough for lunch the next day.

I am joining Beauty that Moves in posting highlights from my kitchen over the past week.

1. Slow cooker oatmeal. I think this is my new favorite thing. It takes about thirty seconds right before bed to throw it all in the pot, and when we wake the house smells delicious and we can leisurely eat breakfast whenever each of us is ready.

2. Indian food (kidney beans in a creamy tomato sauce) for the freezer. I have started doubling (and tripling!) some of our meals to stash away in the freezer for after the baby is born. Indian food, in it’s nice saucy gravy, is the perfect freezer meal.

3. My first batch of homemade yogurt. I also utilized the slow cooker for this one (I followed this recipe). I thickened mine up by putting it into a strainer lined with cheesecloth–it turned out delicious and I am so happy to have learned this new (and very simple!) skill.

4. Mashed sweet potatoes for breakfast, because sometimes that is all that sounds good!