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Posts tagged ‘whole wheat flour’

Educational Food Websites!

So, even though I’m off on summer vacation as of last week I won’t have access to an oven until May 24th at the earliest. This means that I’m still living in my dorm room, currently surviving on peanut butter sandwiches, oatmeal and frozen vegetables. This is what happens when the most technological piece of kitchen equipment in your dorm is a microwave.

like this only a lot less high tech

So, in short I’m rapidly running out of bread because the most I can do to spice up a meal is put it in the microwave.

Right now I’m on a hunt for the healthiest whole wheat bread I can find (and hopefully something reasonably cheap as well). Although my main grocery options are Kroger or CVS, the internet helped me find a fantastic website that will help me significantly in my search for a peanut butter sandwich.

If you haven’t heard of it before, check out fooducate.com.

This website rates products based on their overall nutritional value going beyond the standard nutrition label of calories, fat content and sugars. For people who really want to know what’s up with their food, fooducate will you tell you that

Great Grains Bakery 100% Whole Wheat & Honey Bread:

  1. has 120 calories per serving (per slice)
  2. has caramel coloring

The caramel coloring fooducate goes into detail on as a point in this product to watch out for. As fooducate explains:

Homemade caramel is made by melting sugar in a saucepan.

Brown coloring in sodas and some other products is not the same thing.

Industrial caramel coloring is made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures. The chemical reactions create 4-methylimidazole, which in government-conducted studies caused lung, liver, or thyroid cancer or leukemia in laboratory mice or rats. This is why California recently required foods containing caramel color to be labeled as potential cancer-causing agents.

But you won’t see this warning label any time soon – manufacturers simply reduced the use of caramel color enough that the labeling requirements no longer applied.

Caramel color varies slightly between products – when in beer, sauces or baked goods it has just ammonia and when used in soft drinks, it has both sulfites and ammonia. Neither one is a “good” option.

Although the bread has an A- rating and is by most reviews a high quality product, fooducate wants its readers to be as healthy as possible and know what they’re eating beyond the basic nutritional information.

I’m still on the look out for the perfect bread, but now I have a few ideas of what to look for in my bread choices beyond the obvious avoidance of high fructose corn syrup. While I would much rather make my own bread, that won’t be an option for another 9 days.

If you have a bread you’re interested in highlighting or recommending me to try, please suggest it! I’m looking forward to starting up my Product Placement line again.

 

 

Chocolate Chip Trail-Mix Cookies

I went home for spring break and had a fantastic vacation, not just spending time with family, but spending time in my family’s kitchen.  After three months of not baking, I needed to get back in the swing of things. But there were so many things I wanted to make and experiment with! I had so many ideas for muffins and breads, that cookies just seemed so bland.

But I was flipping through my book of recipes for Cheryl’s Confections and remembered that over the winter break I made a chocolate chip cookie that had bittersweet chocolate in it, peanuts, and pistachios. Unfortunately this was out because I didn’t have pistachios or bittersweet chocolate. But I did have peanuts, and I had all the ingredients to make a twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie.

My additions to my classic gooey chocolate filled cookie includes dried craisins, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and raisins. The salty peanuts complements the rich chocolate, and every time you feel the additional crunch of a sunflower or pumpkin seed, or the sweet tartness of a craisin, your taste buds with thank you for the experience. If there has ever been flavor explosions in a cookie, this is it.

I am proud to also announce that this cookie is made with whole wheat flour, and organic cane sugar and organic brown sugar.

Apple Cinnamon Wheat Biscuits

So in my ongoing battle to produce healthy food, still be a foodie, and run a confections business I decided to spice up the basic biscuit recipe I use by chopping up some apples and making the dough half whole wheat.

The idea behind these biscuits came about from more than idea about being healthy though, as it is difficult to make biscuits healthy. After trying Yoga Bread, I wanted to experiment with using fruit in my baking and after successfully making apple oat muffins (more to come on this later) I knew I wanted to try a similar combination with a biscuit.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup shortening*

1 1/2 tbs baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

2 apples, chopped finely (I used McIntosh)

1 cup milk

*was butter in the original biscuit recipe, recipe works with either

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 6 large muffin tins.

2. Combine dry ingredients. Add shortening with two knives or with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Pulse apples through a food processor until chopped finely (skin them if you wish, it’s not necessary).

4. Add milk and apples to the mixture, stirring just until combined.  Spoon into muffin tins.

5. Bake for 15 minutes.

Try this variation on the biscuit recipe from Favorite Brand Name  books.

 

Experimentation or My Grandfather Hates Sugar

I’ve recently been doing a lot of experimenting, not just on creating my own recipes, but branching out and using ingredients  I would not have used under normal circumstances. I’ve made rice flour muffins (let’s just say not my greatest success), whole wheat pastry flour cupcakes (more on this for a future post), and upon the request of my grandfather, have been looking into alternatives for sugar.

Now, I’ve yet to come to any conclusive ways to perfect sugar free food, but I’m trying out a lot of options. Splenda and other artificial sweeteners are just that: artificial. I’ve used agave nectar before it’s pretty expensive and the same goes for honey and maple syrup. Molasses works for certain specific tastes, but not for everything.

After giving my grandfather a chocolate chip cookie to try he told me it was so sweet he lost his appetite. I don’t really eat my own food, but I’ve taste tested my chocolate chip cookies and I don’t think they’re too sweet. His opinion is that chocolate chips are sweet enough, there’s no need to add any sugar. He’s not diabetic, he just has the opposite of a sweet tooth. Let’s say my grandfather has a salty tooth.

I’m fine with constructive criticism, but I’ve never gotten that comment from anyone but my grandfather. Although I am looking for alternative sweeteners I will not, as my grandfather advised, let my mother take the sugar away from me. I’m in the process of experimentation which can be slow and arduous but generally generates results.

As it stands I was making biscuits at my grandfather’s house and couldn’t remember my standard biscuit recipe, not that it would have mattered because my aunt only had whole wheat flour. So I had been meaning to experiment with whole wheat biscuits for a while and figured then was as good a time as any. I decided to take some blueberries and turn my biscuits from plain to lemon blueberry fantastic. I threw together what I remembered from my standard recipe, added a handful or two of blueberries and a few long squeezes of lemon juice, substituted maple syrup for sugar, and mixed it up.

They came out like muffins. Not bad, just flavorless. The lemon taste was nonexistent and the dough had no flavor save for biting directly into a blueberry. I ate one, but smothered it in blackberry jam.

My grandfather asked me to give him one and I was expecting a dreary report of how bland it was and how I had missed the mark again, this time in the opposite direction. No, he loves it! He tells me it’s perfect and that it’s not too sweet (it’s not sweet at all). He suggests toasting it with butter.

One of these days I’ll create something we can both enjoy. But hey, if you have any sugar free baking tips I’d love to hear from you. I’ll be coming back to perfecting blueberry biscuits.