Monday, July 28, 2014

Five Traditional Breads to Make Without an Oven

In the Summer, I like to keep the oven turned off, that keeps the house cooler - which is more comfortable. And, that's better for the environment - and for my budget - since I'm not using fossil fuels to both heat and cool my house at the same time! 

There was a long period of time in my life during which I lived without an oven. I searched for oven-free breads and couldn't find any (this was pre-internet). If you're in the same situation, you might like these recipes any time - not just in Summer. 

And, most of these recipes (with the exception of the slow cooker bread) will make a couple of servings of bread much more quickly than the oven ever could - that can be a huge advantage on a busy night ANY time of year!

On top of all that, if you're on a budget, homemade bread can save as much as 90% off of store bought (assuming $4. for a loaf of Artisan bread from the store, or .40 cents for a similar - but tastier - bread made at home) 

Best of all, these recipes are easy and delicious! All of the breads are freezer-friendly IF you have leftovers - but I'll bet you won't ; )

This is being shared on:
What'd You Do This Weekend 
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
Inspire Me Mondays  
Motivation Mondays
Modest Monday  
Try a New Recipe Tuesday 
In & Out of the Kitchen
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural 
Anti-Procrastination Tuesday 
Fabulously Frugal Thursday
Inspire Us Thursday 
Plant Based Potluck Party  
Home Acre Hop
Thrive at Home Thursday
Real Food Fridays



















 



Monday, July 21, 2014

Vacation Soup

Vacation Soup
I call this soup "Vacation Soup" for a few reasons:
1) It's easy to make when you're on vacation.
2) It's a good vacation from heavy, rich food, but still substantial.
3) It's a great vacation for a cook who doesn't feel like cooking.

It's super easy and super quick to make, only requires 3 ingredients - including water- and can be made in a hot pot type appliance in a college dorm, military barracks, or hotel room (fire code permitting, of course!)

We eat this soup a lot when we are on vacation - it's easy to make in a kitchenette, and doesn't require a stocked pantry. At the end of a long day of visiting or sight-seeing, it's easy & fast & satisfying. And, we all like it. A lot. We serve a plate of  fresh veggies & olives alongside to make a complete meal.

I was inspired to make this when I visited a family member in a nursing home, and saw that the residents were routinely passing up the regular fare (which looked quite good) to order a soup like this one. It made me think of one of my Mom's old standbys. The first time I served it, my little daughter asked if I might schedule it into our menu for every Monday from now on!

Here's the recipe:

Vacation Soup
1 liter (or one quart) of boiling water
2 large cubes of Vegetable Bouillon (such as Maggi or Knorr)
1/2 pound (1/4 Kilo) of Fideo type Pasta (if Fideo is unavailable, break Angel Hair into 1" pieces)
Simmer for about 7 minutes, or till pasta is done the way you like it .

Serve. (Some like to add a dash of lemon juice to taste at the table)

Variations: Add your favorite frozen vegetables or dried mushrooms to the boiling water before adding the pasta. The pictured soup includes Broccoli & dried Shiitake Mushrooms - I cut the Mushrooms into bite-sized pieces with kitchen shears just before serving. (But, we most commonly eat just the noodles and broth without the veggie additions.)

Tip for dining with Omnivores: Add diced cooked chicken before serving, or serve a cold cheese, salami & cracker tray alongside.

This is being shared at:
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
 What'd You Do This Weekend
Penny Pinching Party
Motivation Mondays 
Simple Saturdays 
Kid-Friendly Recipes

Monday, July 14, 2014

Easy Yeast Bread in the Slow Cooker

 Artisan Bread from the Slow Cooker
In the Summer, I don't like to turn on the oven, but I do like fresh yeast bread that I can slice. It's wonderful to make a loaf of fresh bread in the slow cooker, and it only takes a tiny bit of hands-on time. If no rain is expected, I cook this out on the balcony, so that it doesn't heat up my house at all!

Slow Cooker Yeast Bread
First, prepare dough according to this recipe
Or, if you prefer Whole Wheat, use this one
Easy Artisan Whole Wheat Bread Dough
(Don't be intimidated! This recipe is so easy, simply measure, stir, and wait!)

Once dough is ready, tear off a piece of parchment paper about 1 1/2 feet long (1/2 Meter) . Shape bread as for Boule, and place on the center of the paper. Slash if desired (this isn't strictly necessary in slow cooker bread). Lower the paper, dough and all, into the crock. Press Paper away from the dough and against the edges of the crock (so the bread has a little room to expand in the crock).

Dough Positioned in Crock with Parchment


Sprinkle dough with sesame seeds or other topping if desired. Cover with the crock lid, with 2 paper towels snugly lining the lid. The paper towels absorb the moisture as it evaporates during bread baking, and keeps it from "raining" on the bread while it bakes.

Crock Lid lined with Paper Towels


Place  Slow Cooker with Bread in a warm place to rise for 30 to 60 minutes without turning it on. Then, without opening, turn Slow Cooker on High, and cook for 2 hours. At the end of the two hours, check to see if bread looks done (the top should look barely done, and spring back from the touch - it will not be quite as golden brown like bread from an oven). If it's not quite done, let it cook for 15 or so minutes more (the second time you make it, you should know precisely how long it will take in your machine).

The Crispy Bottom Crust of Bread from the Slow Cooker
Carefully lift finished bread out of crock using parchment paper. Remove from paper, and cool on wire rack or other place where air can circulate to cool the bread without it becoming soggy. The Bread will be darker on the bottom than it is on the top, and crunchy. The bottom can become tough if allowed to cook too long.

And, in response to the request for a "crumb" picture - here ya go! : )


This bread has a delightful texture inside - very similar to the bread I make in the oven from the same recipe.

Slice & Enjoy!

This Post was featured at

The Yuck Stops Here

Hot Momma's Kitchen Chaos


In & Out of the Kitchen

In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party

This is being shared at:
In & Out of the Kitchen 
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural 
The Yuck Stops Here
Try a New Recipe Tuesday
Penny Pinching Party 
Fabulously Frugal Thursday 
Inspire Us Thursday
Home Acre Hop
Motivation Monday
Simply Sundays 




Monday, July 7, 2014

Easy, Cool & Creamy Summer Oats ( Muesli )

Easy, Cool & Creamy Summer Oats ( Muesli )
I always loved Oats when I was a kid. I have always had a major sweet tooth, so I liked either "Instant Oatmeal" (which should be called Instant-Sugar-Rush), or if homemade, I had a little Oatmeal with my sugar. ; )

As I became more health conscious, I sought to reduce my excessive sugar intake some, and I found this way to prepare Oats that is sweetened with naturally occurring sugars rather than processed ones, but still as tasty as that stuff I ate when I was a kid. Even better, it's cool & creamy instead of warm and, um, sticky. But wait, there's more! You can throw this together in the evening, and the next morning, you or your kids can pull a ready-made breakfast from the fridge : ) But, if you really crave the hot stuff, you can warm this up in the microwave before eating it.

This is a standby summer breakfast for me. I've been making it for about 20 years now. I cannot recall for sure, but I think I started out with a recipe from Burgers 'n Fries 'n Cinnamon Buns by Bobbie Hinman, and over the years adapted & simplified it.

Here's the Recipe

Cool & Creamy Summer Oats ( Muesli )



1 ½ Cups Oats ( Old Fashioned or Quick )
1 Cup Non Dairy Milk
1 Cup Apple Juice
Cinnamon (about ½ tsp)
Raisins (lots)
Leave in fridge overnight, eat cold in the morning (or, make at least 15 minutes before eating )

Yield: about 3 cups 

This recipe is infinitely variable. You can substitute Cardamom for the Cinnamon. Dried Figs or Dates or Apricots instead of - or in addition to - the Raisins. Top with your favorite fresh, seasonal Berries or Fruit just before serving. Add nuts if you like. If you like your Raisins chewy, rather than plump, add them just before eating.

If you want a fancier presentation (or want to delight your kids) you can put out several topping bowls and let each Breakfast-er top his or her own.

This is being shared at:
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...