Sourdough Bread

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Sourdough bread is great tasting homemade bread. There is a lot of initial effort with the sourdough starter, but if you love homemade bread then you will probably find that it is worth the while!  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sourdough-starter/ is the recipe I used for my sourdough starters. There are many different ways to make it, but this will work well for this kind of loaf.

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Ingredients:

– 2 1/3 cup flour (white or whole wheat both work)

– 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar

– 1 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast (or half a package)

– 1/2 cup warm milk

– 1 tablespoon margarine or butter

– 3/4 cup sourdough starter

Directions:

– Combine 1/3 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add warm milk and margarine (I melt the margarine with the milk in the microwave for about 25 seconds. If it’s too hot to touch wait for it to cool down as it will kill the yeast).

– Next stir in the starter and start adding the rest of the flour slowly. When it comes together easily flour your surface and start kneading together. You may have to add more flour if it gets too sticky to handle. However, the dough should still be a little sticky at the end. You may need more flour than required, or less. This depends on the humidity in the room.

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– Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes until it is soft and elastic (If you stretch it out it should spring back easily).

– Spray bowl with nonstick spray (or butter or grease it). Put dough into bowl and cover with towel for about one hour or until doubled in size (If the room is cold it might take longer).

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– Now punch out the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.

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– Roll into log shape and pinch the edges  and sides together and place in pan. Press down so it it evenly spread out.

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– Let it rise for another hour, until doubled. Close to the end of the rise start preheating oven to 375. When dough is risen bake for 30 minutes. If you want to give the crust a darker colour you can make an egg wash with egg and a  tablespoon of water and brush it along the top before baking.

Wait until it is completely cooled before cutting into it.

Use for sandwiches, toast or eat on its own with butter.

Time to make: 2.5 hours

Servings: 8 (two slices per serving)

Nutrition (per slice): 94 calories, 19g carbs, 1g fat

Broccoli, Red Pepper and Mushroom Rice

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I like using different vegetables for my rice all the time. It keeps you from getting bored of eating the same things all the time. Different vegetables make a big difference in flavour. Also as I’ve said before I like adding vegetables into my side dishes, then adding more vegetables on the side to ensure I’m getting a lot of vegetables in my meal.

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Ingredients:

– 1 carrot

– 2 broccoli stalks

– 1/2 red bell pepper

– 3 mushrooms

– 1 medium onion

-1/2 cup rice (or whatever is 2 servings depending on what rice you use)

– 2 cups chicken broth

– 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cut up all vegetables into bite size pieces. With a medium size pot on medium heat add onions and mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients (except for Parmesan cheese). It won’t look like there’s any rice there, but when it cooks it’ll look like a rice dish.ImagePlace lid on pot and turn to high until boiling. Then bring temperature down to low for 30 minutes (or according to the directions depending on what type of rice is used)

Serve as a side with any meat dishes (or add meat directly to the rice once cooked)

Time to make: 35 minutes

Servings: 2-3

Nutrition (based on 3 servings): 166 calories, 31g carbs, 2g fat

Tender Sage Pork Chops

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I wanted to try a pork chop recipe that didn’t make the pork chops so chewy and hard to cut. I picked this recipe because it has a sage rub on it, but it is then simmered in a broth which makes the meat moist. This recipe is also perfect for a childless couple (or when the kids are out with friends). It can easily be doubled or tripled as well.

Ingredients:

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– 200g boneless pork chops

– 1/4 teaspoon dried sage

– 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

– 2 teaspoons margarine or butter

– 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 teaspoon condensed chicken bouillon or 1/3 cup chicken broth

Directions:

In a small bowl add pepper and sage, mix together.Image

Rub on both sides of pork chops. Next melt margarine in a frying pan on medium high. Cook pork chops in butter about 7 minutes each side (so that it is crispy. It does not need to cook it the middle, it will cook during the next time).

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Next, drain out excess margarine and add chicken broth. Turn temperature to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Serve with rice and veggies.

Servings: 2

Time to make: 35-50 minutes (depending on how long you simmer for)

Nutrition: 178 calories, 1g carbs, 8g fat

Mushroom Soup

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I grew up eating canned Campbell’s mushroom soup whenever I wanted a quick meal. I love the taste of it, but one day I took a look at the ingredients and was shocked to find out it’s not really as healthy as I’d lead myself to believe.

This is my version of homemade cream of mushroom soup. I use milk in this instead of cream, because I’m not a huge fan of adding cream (mostly for health reasons) and milk will still give it a bit of a creamy taste (you do need to add flour to give it a creamier texture though, but this part is really optional).

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Ingredients:

– 6 cups sliced mushrooms

– 3 cups chicken broth

– 1 medium onion

– 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

– 3 tablespoons butter (or margarine)

– 3 tablespoons flour

– 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

– 1.5 cups milk

Directions:

Put onions and mushrooms in a large soup pot and cook until tender. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Next add chicken broth and seasoning.

While mushrooms and onions are cooking, melt butter is a pan and add flour and let cook for 3 minutes (This will thicken the soup, but cooking it will take out the raw flour taste).

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Add in to pot and bring to a boil and stir until all the flour in incorporated. Reduce temperature to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Next put soup into a blender (or use immersion blender) and blend until there’s only little chunks of mushrooms left (This is more of a personal preference. If you prefer bigger chunks leave them bigger. If you don’t want full slices in the soup, don’t blend it at all). Place the soup back into the medium pot and turn heat to medium, then add the milk.

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Serve with crackers or bread.

Time to make: 60 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Nutrition (based on 6 servings): 178 calories, 17g carbs, 10g fat

Homemade Almond Milk

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Homemade almond milk is ridiculously easy to make. If you can buy your almonds bulk for a good price it’s also MUCH cheaper than buying almond milk in stores. Not to mention you can customize the milk to however you want it. It’s also much healthier and you know all the ingredients in the milk.

I started making almond milk for the simple reason that I like making homemade versions of things. Much like how I make my own breads. The one main thing though is that you do need to prepare in advance. It’s very easy to make, but it takes a lot of time.

The best part is at the end you also end up with almond meal. It’s wetter than normal almond meal so you can either dry it out (which I do not do) or find a recipe that won’t mind the “wetness” of it. I personally make this Chocolate Almond Torte from it: http://www.joyofbaking.com/ChocolateAlmondTorte.html. It can also be used to replace some or all of the flour in many muffins.

Ingredients:

– 2 cup raw almonds (soaking in water)

– 5 cups water

– 2 tablespoons vanilla (Optional, or could be reduced, I really like my vanilla)

Directions:

– Let almonds soak in water overnight. The almonds do need to soak, but the length of time is not overly important. I would say 4 hours minimum. When they are done soaking the water will be very cloudy.

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Next drain all the water out and rinse off almonds. Transfer almonds to a blender and add the water and vanilla (if you’re sweetening the milk this is the time to add it. You can add cocoa powder as well to make chocolate almond milk). Blend until liquid is white with only little spots of brown in them.

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Next wrap a cheesecloth (or use a nut bag) around some kind of container (big enough to hold the liquid). I also wrap an elastic around it so the cheesecloth won’t move.

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Now pour the almonds milk onto the cheesecloth and wait until it’s all strained. What’s in the container is the milk and what’s left on top of the cheesecloth is the almond meal. The milk will separate a bit in the fridge, so just remember to shake it or stir it before using.

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Add to cereal or drink as a side!

Time to make: 8+ hours (about 5 minutes of actual effort)

Makes: Approx 5 cups

Slowcooker Pot Roast

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I have not posted a recipe that involved beef yet, because I don’t eat it that much. Usually when I do eat red meat it’s pot roast or hamburgers. I’ve added brussel sprouts to get a wider variety of vegetables in this meal, as well they can be difficult to cook properly to taste great, but in this roast they do.

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Ingredients:

– 500g beef roast

– 5 medium red potatoes

– 1 medium onion

– 3 medium carrots

– 15 brussel sprouts

– 1 cup water and 1 tsp better than bouillon (or 1 cup chicken stock)

1/4 cup red cooking wine

– 2 teaspoons oregano and basil

– 1 teaspoon pepper

– 1 teaspoon thyme

– 3 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:

Cut up all vegetables in bite sized pieces, then add all ingredients to a crock pot (or roasting pan)Image

Cook on high (on crockpot) for 5-8 hours. If cooking in the oven cook at 250°F for two hours.

Servings: 4

Time to prepare: 10-15 minutes

Cooking time: Slow cooker 6-8 hours, oven 2 hours

Nutrition: 440 calories, 42g carbs, 12g fat

Homemade Ketchup

Ketchup is not something that people generally make at home. I really like making all sorts of things homemade. If they end up being difficult I usually switch back to store bought versions. Homemade ketchup however is incredibly easy to make. It’s as simple as measuring, heating and stirring.

I’ve made this recipe before, and although it doesn’t taste exactly like the store bought brands, it tastes very similar to Heinz ketchup, and I prefer the taste to store bought ketchups.

Ketchup doesn’t have very many ingredients and most, if not all you will find in your cupboard. As well once this ketchup is made it can be stored in the fridge for months!

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Ingredients:

– 2 cans tomato paste

– 3/4 cup corn syrup

– 2 tablespoon white sugar

– 1 cup white vinegar

– 1/2 cup water

– 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

– 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Turn stove on to medium and in a medium saucepan whisk all ingredients together.

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Heat until boiling and simmer on low for 20 minutes.

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When cooled to room temperature transfer to fridge in an airtight container.

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Makes: About 3 cups

Time to make: 25 minutes

Nutrition (per tablespoons): 23 calories, 6g carbs, 3g sugar