Last Week In Food

This has been a busy week in the kitchen. To continue my effort to make more foods from scratch, therefore eating fewer processed foods, I kept the oven busy this week. Here's what we've been eating.

Homemade Hamburger Buns. This is a good recipe. I'm not going to call it my favorite yet since I'm looking for a softer, almost potato bread type bun. That might be hard to attain though since I want to use mostly whole wheat flour. I skipped the onion powder and bagel seasoning since I didn't have either.

The buns spread outward as well and upward while rising so I had to make our local ground beef into very thin, wide burgers. They were delicious!

These bagels were a bust. I was so excited to make homemade bagels but I think between not letting them rise quite enough and by using only whole wheat flour, they turned out more like chewy hockey pucks. I tossed these and I'll experiment with other recipes and post the keeper recipe. Feel free to suggest a recipe if you know of one that is a winner.

Mmmmm... more graham crackers. I cut them out using spring inspired cookie cutters.

These graham crackers never last long around here.

We eat breakfast for dinner about once a week around here. This was a busy weeknight dinner of local eggs, homemade bread toasted with homemade jam, and homemade strawberry applesauce. It took me about 10 minutes to make dinner and it's a whole lot healthier and cheaper then fast food or ordering take out.

Charlotte helped me make pudding popsicles this weekend. We made vanilla ....

and chocolate using the pudding recipes found here. I make up a bag of mix and keep it in the pantry so I can make pudding whenever we get a craving. It's not as rich as an custard based pudding but it's still delicious. The kids love it. I need to pick up more popsicle molds at the store this summer. (pouring the cooked pudding into a spouted measuring cup makes it much easier to pour into the mold)

I was looking up local food co-ops and buying clubs after reading about how much money they can save you on The Inadvertent Farmer blog. The Deep Roots Market was the only thing I came up with in my search. It's about 25 minutes away so the kids and I headed there on Saturday morning while Jon with with his high school band kids at All State try-outs.
I was hoping to find bulk grains, nuts, flours, etc. at a great price to be able to stock up. Unfortunately, I found a very small, jam-pack store that in many ways was just like Whole Foods in price. Everything was MUCH more expensive then I could afford. The boxed cereal was at least $2.00 more per box then I can find at a regular grocery store. The flours and grains were no bargain. I'm fully willing to pay a bit more for healthy food but I'd go broke buying from stores like this.

We left Deep Roots and headed to the farmer's market. They have an indoor space where vendors set up year round. I have a favorite shop at the farmer's market, J & S Farms, that is struggling to make ends meet right now. He usually carries every kind of flour and grain you can imagine, mostly local and all milled locally, but he can't put in a grain order because he's only making enough to pay the rent on the space. He carries local meats, cheeses, eggs, milk, and a little bit of anything you could imagine. If you're local, please consider shopping at the farmer's market to help keep these small family farms/businesses afloat.
I did end up picking up some organic sugar, semolina flour, roasted peanuts, local honey, and a butternut squash.

It was so beautiful on Saturday that we got to eat our lunches outside. The pudding (leftover from making popsicles) was the first thing to be eaten.

I made eight loaves of bread. I'm using 100% whole wheat flour now (mostly white whole wheat
) and I need to learn to let it rise a bit longer since the loaves came out a bit shorter then they usually do. I put it in the freezer to be taken out as we need them.

I made pizza the other day with more of the local sausage. I made small pizzas for the kids and a larger one for Jon. When I got to making mine, I decided to make it into a calzone of sorts. I rolled out the dough, spread out pizza sauce on half and sprinkled it with sausage, sealed up the little pocket, and baked it at 400* until it looked done. It was AMAZING! I can't wait to make more!

These are supposed to be homemade crunchy pretzels. I say "supposed to be" because they didn't work. I think I had the same problems that I had with the bagels. I used White Whole Wheat flour and didn't let them rise enough to combat the density that can happen with whole grains. I also didn't bake them long enough so they came out dense and slightly chewy/crunchy. The flavor was really good though so I'll give these another shot soon with using a little All Purpose flour mixed with my Whole Wheat and let it rise more before boiling them.

These are Pumpkin Gingerbread muffins. YUM!!!! These are now my second favorite muffin after my apple butter muffins.
Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins (adapted from a King Arthur's Flour recipe)
3/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey
3 Tbsp. molasses
2 cups pumpkin puree (or a 15oz. can)
3 eggs
2 3/4 C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (you could use A.P. if you want)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350*
Spray about 20 muffin cups with Pam or line them with muffin cups.
In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. In a small bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir ONLY until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way to the top. Bake until toothpick comes out clean (~20 minutes).

And finally, last night I put chili in the crock pot to cook all day since I used dried beans. I used a combination of kidney and black beans that I had soaked overnight. I added corn at the last minute. I used my cast iron skillet to bake/fry some corn cakes using my cornbread recipe. I made sure to put plenty of butter in the skillet before adding the batter. They were delicious!! I'll definitely be making them that way more often. Charlotte has requested the leftover corn cakes for dinner again tonight.

I have loved the added baking and cooking that I've been doing lately. I've found the challenge of making more from scratch to be very therapeutic for me. It gives me a creative outlet and I find it a lot of fun to search for recipes. I wonder what I'll make this week....