September 19, 2010

Fall Pinto Bean and Yam Soup

Welcome back fall soup! I love the peak of harvest and the joyous flavors of autumn.

Complements: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

2 cups dry pinto beans, soaked overnight (if you do not want to cook your own beans then use 3 cans of organic beans)
6-8 cups water
4 cloves garlic, peeled
one 2-inch piece kombu seaweed (optional)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 small yams, peeled and diced
3 carrots, cut into rounds
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
8 cups bean cooking liquid and/or water
1 28-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes (or plain diced tomatoes)
2 to 3 ears fresh corn, corn cut off cob
1 small bunch black kale, finely chopped
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced (optional)
2 to 3 teaspoons sea salt or Herbamare

Rinse and drain soaked beans, place into a 6-quart pot with the water, garlic, and kombu; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for approximately 1 hour, or until beans are soft. Remove pot from heat. Drain beans and reserve the cooking liquid. To make the soup, heat olive oil in a large 8-quart pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute for about 5 minutes. The add the garlic, jalapeno peppers, yams, carrots, cumin, paprika, and chipotle chili powder. Saute and sir for another 5 minutes then add water. Mix well to remove any spices that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the cooked beans, bean cooking liquid or water, tomatoes, and cut corn, mix well. If the soup needs more liquid, then add more water. Cover pot and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 - 25 minutes. Then add chopped kale, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and sea salt or Herbamare. Simmer for about 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice if needed. Enjoy!
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Gluten Free Honey Whole Grain Bread

If you are use to baking gluten free you will most likely have many of these "not so traditional" ingredients on hand. If you don't eat gluten free very often I encourage you to! Give your bodies what they crave...... a wide variety of whole grains. I will do my darnedest to post the best of the best recipes when it comes to gluten free breads, because believe me there are not too many great ones out there. This one tops my list. My husband, kids and I all agree it is a keeper!

Though the list of ingredients may seem daunting, making this recipe isn't - Complements: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
1 teaspoon whole cane sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and oil a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Place the warm water and teaspoon of sugar into a small bowl. Make sure the water is the right temperature. If the water is too cold the yeast will not become active and if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. Add the yeast and stir. Proof the yeast by allowing it to stand for 5-10 minutes. It should become bubble, if not start over with fresh yeas and water. Then add the honey, oil, and apple cider vinegar. Stir well with a fork or wire whisk. In a large bowl, add the arrowroot powder, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, teff flour, buckwheat flour, amaranth flour, xanthan gum, sea salt, and baking soda. Combine the flours with a wire whisk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk them together as you are pouring to avoid lumps. Continue to whisk for another 30 to 60 seconds or so, or until the batter thickens and becomes smooth. Transfer batter to an oiled loaf pan and gently spread out with the back of a spoon. Place pan, uncovered, into the 200 degree oven. Let rise for 35 minutes with the oven door cracked OPEN. After it has risen, close the oven door and turn the oven temperature up to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Brush loaf with a little butter and cover with a dish cloth. Let sit about 20 minutes. Remove from loaf pan and let rest on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Enjoy!
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September 17, 2010

Apricot-Brown Sugar Shortbread

You will need a plan of were you will be taking these heavenly bars or you will eat the entire unhealthy batch yourself. Yes, these innocent looking bars of shortbread are that good!

Commplements: My sister, Beth Contreras

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1 1/2 cup all purpose white flour
1 cup apricot preserves (or you could try other fruit preserves)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 7 by 11 inch baking dish. (I used the large Pampered Cheif bar pan and needed 1 1/2 of the recipe) Press a piece of plastic wrap over the bottom of the prepared dish, letting the ends hang over the sides; smooth out any wrinkles. Combine brown sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. On low speed, beat in flour until the mixture is well blended and holds together when pressed. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide the ball in half and press one half into an even layer over the bottom of the prepared dish. (Yes, it will be pressed thin) Lift the rectangle of dough out of the dish (this will become the top layer). Press the remaining half of the dough over the bottom of the dish. Spread the apricot preserves on top. Invert the first half of the dough directly onto the filling; peel away the plastic wrap. Bake the bars for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden. Transfer the dish to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 12 rectangles, then cut each rectangle into two triangles. Dust with confectioners' sugar (optional). Enjoy!
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September 16, 2010

Butter Horn Rolls

The eggs and butter in these rolls help bring up their protein and fat content. I always encourage a bread product with good sources of protein and fat to balance out the carbohydrates. You can make the dough in the morning and then have fresh rolls for dinner! Or you can make the dough in the evening and then make them into sweet rolls in the morning (see note below directions).

2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
3 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup barley flour
1/2 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cup unbleached all-propose flour

Dissolve yeast in water and add remaining ingredients in order, stirring well. I placed the ingredients in my mixer and mix for about 1 minute. The dough will be sticky. DON'T add any additional flour. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and refrigerate overnight or during the day. I only let the dough sit for four hours in the refrigerator (I didn't plan ahead too well) and they still turned out great. Turn the cold dough onto a floured board (the butter in the dough has hardened and the dough is no longer sticky, but you'll need to flour your working space well). Roll into a large circle 1/3-1/2 inch think. Butter dough, cut in about 40 narrow, pie shaped wedges and roll from wide end to the point. Place on a greased baking sheet, turning pieces into slight crescent shapes and let rise until light (20 - 30 minutes is fine). Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes (or until lightly browned). Enjoy!

Note: For a delicious sweet roll: After buttering circle, sprinkle lightly with cane sugar and dot with raisins (or Cinnamon). Roll and bake as directed above. You could even frost with powdered sugar frosting ;).
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September 10, 2010

Salted Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Salted Carmel seems to be the big thing right now. Salted chocolate anyone? These are truly a divine chocolate fix. They are soft and chocolate rich all the way through. The salt gives these cookies an extra bite. These are a "pure indulgence".


8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 1 cup of chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and heat until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. In another mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the melted chocolate mixture, blending until incorporated. Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in remaining chopped chocolate with a spatula. I let my batter set-up in the refrigerator for a half an hour. Otherwise, it was too soft and the cookies spread out too much. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets about 2-3 inches apart. Bake until the cookies are just slightly soft in the center and crackly on top, about 10 - 12 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with additional salt and let cool on the baking sheets a few minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
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