Monthly Archives: October 2012

Date Walnut Pecan Bread

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Really? I had over 35 views yesterday and only one person commented? It only takes a minute! Please please comment on the previous blog “Naughty or Artistic?”! What do you see when you look at the pic?

Anyways, does anyone remember that big box of dates I picked up a month ago? And how I mentioned I’d bake something with them? Well, instead of just eating them straight or cooking them in my oatmeal with the crockpot (which is extremely tasty where the dates just melt like sugar in your oatmeal! Pics don’t do them justice so didn’t blog about it) I finally baked with them! I wanted to make something like I devoured in the Coachella Valley but these were nothing like them but still tasted good. Will enjoy with a nice cup of tea, coffee or glass of milk tomorrow!

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Lightly adapted recipe from http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2011/05/whole-grain-date-walnut-bread/.

1 1/2 cup chopped dates
1 1/2 cup boiling water
1 egg
3 Tbsp applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats, ground
2 Tbsp flax seed
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and pecans

Healthier Zucchini Bread

For today’s lunch I also made some zucchini bread, some with chocolate chips and some without. For this recipe I substituted nonfat yogurt for the oil, honey for the sugar and added in oatmeal. It was definitely healthy since the few I talked to said “These ARE healthy!” Oh, and I should add I always try to cut the amount of sugar by 1/2. So the ones without chocolate chips were great with sweetened coffee and the ones with chocolate chips were great with unsweetened coffee. Well, at least for those who don’t desire the double sugar high in your snack and coffee.

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Here’s the recipe I used with substitutions, deletion and addition. You can find the original recipe here.

3 eggs
1 cup honey
1/3 cup nonfat yogurt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon baking powder

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

So today we were having a lunch at our place and I needed to make some dessert so decided I’ll make them on the healthier side. I used the recipe behind the Nestle chocolate chips bag and made some substitutions. I knew I could replace oil with applesauce but didn’t know how much. In previous recipes I just substituted half and they still tasted good. I went searching online again and found I could fully substitute the oil but it would change the consistency of the cookie. I wanted to fully get rid of the oil so gave it a shot! And instead of using white and brown sugar I used honey although I heard it all ends up the same in your system. If you have any know how about that please enlighten me! Send me a comment! So the cookie came out not bad if you’re ok with a more cake-like, moist cookie.

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Here’s what I did. You can find the original recipe here.

1 cup ground oatmeal

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white whole wheat

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup honey

1 cup applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 cups chocolate chips

Breakfast!

It’s been a looooong time since our family has gone out on a Saturday morning for breakfast. We were actually thinking of going for a hike but was so tired when we woke we decided to go out for breakfast instead. We’ll have to do that another week! I love trying new breakfast places! We headed over to Madison Square & Garden Cafe to try out what they had to offer.

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We tried the German apple pancake and Veggie frittata!

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Not bad! We were very pleased the pancake was not overly sweet and the frittata not extremely salty.

The atmosphere was very nice! It’s a house turned store and cafe. The seating is all outside nestled among trinkets, fountains, and random stuff for sale. You’re just hidden away. Hmmm…I didn’t take any pictures of the seating area…

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Homemade Chicken Pho!

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Hello everyone! Sorry it’s been awhile…

So now that the weather is getting cool again AND I saw chicken on sale I decided it’s time to make Chicken Pho again! The key to good Chicken Pho is good broth. The key to good broth is good chicken. Now how can we ensure we get good chicken? WE CAN’T! The only thing you can do is try to buy it as fresh as possible and that’s why I like Foster Farms chicken. They are not frozen or pumped with salt, at least that’s what the commercials say! 😛 Or of course you can go buy a freshly killed chicken if you have the means to. 😛 After you hopefully get some good, fresh chicken the key is to simmer the broth for as long as you can to get the flavor out of the bones. And voila, you have tasty chicken broth that can now be turned into Pho! So, here’s the way I’ve learned from my mom. The somewhat easy way to do it I think. Here goes!

If I’m going through the trouble of making broth I just make a HUGE pot of it all at once since I don’t like to deal with raw meat that much. So you fill your pot a little under two thirds full.

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Bring the water to a boil and then put in salt and sugar…

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Put in the onion…

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Put in the meat. I use 2 trays for a huge pot. Most of you will have a pot half the size and you just need one tray. Usually I like to use chicken breasts since it’s the healthiest but you get sweeter broth with dark meat and this time it was on sale so I went with thighs and drumsticks. If you have the time and patience to remove the skin from the chicken when it’s raw then it will make your broth less fatty. If you’d rather do it after it’s cooked you can do that also. You can then skim the fat off or leave it if you like it that way. This time around my water was boiling and I had a daughter who needed to get down for a nap so I removed half of the skin and threw in the rest.

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Bring the water back to a boil and boil for 30 minutes.

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Turn off heat, skim fat and let sit without heat for at least another 30 minutes. This will help cook the chicken through but not overcook it because you don’t want to serve mushy chicken with your Pho. If chicken is not cooked through then boil some more. Remove chicken and remove skin and meat and set aside. Taste the broth to see if it is good enough. If not add more salt and sugar to taste.

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Place bones back in broth and bring to boil. Then simmer for as long as you have time for. The longer the broth simmers the more flavor you get. (Sorry, I took this pic after I had taken at least 6 cups of broth out to make chicken soup. So, no, that much broth did not evaporate in the simmering process!)

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Now you can throw in the herbs that make the broth Pho. Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact things in the package I use but I think they are star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, coriander seed, and fennel seed. The ingredients on the back don’t help because they only list 3 ingredients but there are at least 5 in the package!

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Skim the broth as much as you can if you want to remove the fat. And, now the broth is ready to go! (If I had not taken out broth to make chicken soup there would have been half a pot of Pho broth.) The spices are in the white bag that came with the package. You can throw the spices directly into the broth but then you’d have to remove it all so the bag comes in handy!

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I live in good ole So. Cal. where a large population of Vietnamese live so we have access to fresh Pho noodles so I always use that since they taste much better. But if you don’t, you can use the dry Pho noodles.

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To cook the fresh noodles you just need to bring a pot of water to a boil and then stir in the noodles for less than 10 seconds so they don’t get too soggy. If you use the dry noodles you’ll need to soak them a good half hour and then cook them which may take a little longer to get soft. I’ve only done it once so am not an expert on the dry noodles.

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If you decide to give it a try let me know how it worked for you!

Here’s the recipe for a pot half the size of mine…

Chicken Pho (North Vietnamese Style)

1 tray of chicken

3 tablespoons of salt

3 tablespoons of sugar

1 large onion

Pho herbs

Garnish with thinly sliced red onions, cilantro, bean sprouts, chopped green onions and fresh lime juice.

Yarn Bottles

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Needed a fun, simple craft for the children for Sunday and we were talking about how God is kind so made these “friends” out of plastic water bottles and yarn. Got the idea from Spoonful.

I was just struck in preparing for the lesson that many people think God is out to get us and that He is mean but when you read through the Bible you see how much He was kind to man and so compassionate. “Give thanks to Jehovah, for He is good, / For His lovingkindness is forever” (1
Chronicles 16:34). “But love your enemies, and do good and lend, expecting nothing in return… and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the unthankful and evil” (Luke 6:35). Within most of mankind is a desire to do good because we were created in God’s image and after His likeness (Genesis 1:26) but due to the fall of man because of sin in Genesis we hate and are unkind. He is so kind that He causes rain to fall on the just and unjust. What kind of God is that? If I were God I surely would not give to those who are unjust, but it shows what kind of God He is. He loves all man whether good or evil because His desire is to save us all, good or evil, from the sin that was injected into us and haunts us to wash us of that which we cannot rid of ourselves so that He can then put Himself as life into us. “But when the kindness and the love to man of our Savior God appeared” (Titus 3:4).

I just saw afresh in the book of Jonah how much God wanted to rescue the Ninevites. Jonah was told to go preach to them because they were wicked. God could have just destroyed them but instead chose to send Jonah to save them! I don’t think we can even comprehend how wicked they were and yet God desired that they repent not perish. Are we like Jonah who care for ourselves or like God who is kind and desires to save? Only the life of God in us growing and increasing can cause us to be ones who desire men to be saved and not to perish.