In my quest for eating better it’s hard to abstain from certain favorite foods.
A staple in my diet has always been bread. I love german bread, the crunchy crusts and the rich taste (seriously, you have to try german bread!).
As a result of my changed diet however I’m trying to stay away from gluten, lactose (often added to bread) and empty carbs as much as possible.
I had already switched to grain/seed bread but I wanted to try and see if I could find a recipe for baking a nice grain bread at home. I love baking at home and it would give me full control over the ingredients. I looked up some recipes and found a winner quickly!
I deviated very little from the original recipe but since the source is in German, here’s my translation:
500ml lukewarm water
600g flour ( I used half whole spelt flour, half normal spelt flour)
200g seed of your choice (I use a mix of oats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and flax seeds / linseed)
1 teaspoon sugar (can be substituted with honey or other sweeteners)
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages dry yeast (in german packages that would be enough for 1000g flour)
Dissolve yeast in the warm water with the sugar. Add the flour, seeds and salt. Mix throroughly (the dough is quite wet) and let rise for 30 minutes. Form into a bread shape or fill a loaf pan with the dough and bake at 200°C (ca. 400°F) for 45-60 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Yes, it really is that easy!
Let the bread cool before cutting and enjoy a filling homemade bread!
So why is this better than storebought bread?
a. The taste of freshly baked bread is divine
b. I used spelt flour instead of wheat flour. Spelt flour is not gluten free but it is much easier to digest than wheat for most people. I also like the taste better.
c. No additives, no added lactose
d. You get to choose the seeds you like best in your bread
The recipe resulted in quite a large bread, so I froze half of it and ate the other half within 6 days. I don’t know how long it keeps but it was fine for the week.
Ultimately I want to try making my own sourdough starter but right now this recipe feels like a great start!
What to snack on when you want to eat healthy? Quitting snacks (which used to be chocolate and pastries in my case) has been one of the hardest parts of eating better.
Until I discovered oat cakes! After a bit of experimenting I found the perfect recipe for me that is both healthy and super tasty.
Using this recipe as a base I first tried a batch with dark chocolate mixed in. It was ok, but rather bitter. For the next batch I just started adding things I thought would taste nice.
Here’s my recipe:
ca. 200g chopped almonds
ca. 150g raisins
60g whole grain spelt flour (can be substituted by wholewheat flour if you have no spelt flour on hand)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
60g butter (melted)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp honey (can be substituted with agave nectar if you want no sugar at all)
60-80ml hot water
between 1/2 and 1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of cardamom
Mix together all dry ingredients, then add the honey, melted butter and hot water. Mix with a spoon until it has formed a dough, then roll out on a floured surface (I roll it out between a piece of saran wrap so it doesn’t stick).
I used glasses to cut the cakes (some of these photos are from my chocolate batch, hence the dark color)
Bake at 190°C for about 20-30 minutes, until the cakes are starting to brown.
The cakes are very filling due to the oats and the whole grain flour. The spices and almonds add a nice taste and the raisins add sweetness. I think I’ll substitute the honey with agave nectar the next time and see how that turns out.
PS: If you have some tried and true healthy snack recipes do share in the comments!
It’s that time of the year again where there are elderberry bushes in bloom at every corner. These bushes (or sometimes trees) grow wild pretty much everywhere around here and it always amazes me that hardly anyone knows what they are or “uses” them.
I made elderberry syrup two years ago but found that we didn’t use the rich syrup very often. So this year I wanted to try the lighter version – syrup from the flowers to add to cold drinks.
Making elderflower syrup is very easy, as attested by the fact that I made it between working late and hurrying off to yoga class on a monday evening.
You’ll need a couple (maybe 20-30 at max) elderflower heads, lemons (I used three), sugar and plain water.
I think everyone makes their syrup differently, but here’s how I did it: I stripped the flowers off the plant as well as I could, placed them in a pot and covered them with water. It’s important not to wash the flowers before or you’ll lose the pollen that makes the syrup so yummy.
I left the flowers to soak in the water overnight (this also gives the creepy crawlies time to escape) and then strained the now bright-yellow water through a coarse sieve first and through cheesecloth afterwards. Somewhere in between I added the juice from the three lemons
Now you could use that water to make the syrup right away but I didn’t want to boil it long in case it lost flavour. So instead I boiled down 1 litre of plain water with about 1.5-2kg sugar until it thickened into a nice sticky syrup, then added the elderflower water and brought the mixture back to the boil for a short time.
Now all that’s left is fill the hot syrup into canning jars and bottles (I usually give them a spin in the dishwasher first or, as in this case, sterilize them in boiling water). And you’re done!
The syrup is very sweet and the flavour is heavenly. Add to ice water on a hot day and enjoy.
When the weather gets cooler my mind turns not only to knitting but also to making body products. I made chapstick already last year, but wasn’t overly happy with the recipe, so I tried a different one this year.
25% coconut oil
15% cocoa butter
40% olive oil
No coloring, no scent, no smell. I actually like the faint smell of beeswax 🙂 I was aiming for three or four tubes worth of chapstick and eyeballed the quantity. Now I’m not that good with numbers, so eyeballing was probably not the best idea in the first place. I made 50grams total, which turned out way too much (mental note: make only 25grams next year!) and ended up giving away the extra tubes to my work colleagues.
The process is very simple: 1. Melt the beeswax and cocoa butter in a boiling water bath.
2. Add the coconut oil and the olive oil (return to double boiler briefly if the beeswax solidifies again).
3. Pour it into the empty chapstick tubes and let it cool down.
Done! A great and simple chapstick to protect your lips from the cold in the coming months, without artificial flavorings, colorings, preservatives etc. Since you’re only dealing with oil there is no need for preservatives. I only use my chapstick for a couple of months before making new one though.
Our unusually hot spring has been followed by a cold, rainy summer. For days we’ve had fog and drizzle and heavy rains with only few bits of sunshine in between. And the forecast says much of the same is to follow in the next days and weeks.
I’m not complaining.
Living in a top floor apartment, hot summers can be hell. We had some unbearably hot weeks last year . I actually like a fresh wind and though I could do without constant rain, I don’t really mind that much. I have a good rain coat and on barn days both the pony and I are much more eager to work when it’s cool.
Other than that we’ve been lying low at the weekends, sleeping a lot and trying to catch up on emails and friends and ideas (oh, the ideas…). By the way, I got on Pinterest and now I’m hooked. And so inspired. More and more ideas.
This is the best tea I’ve had in years: Fresh peppermint leaves, fresh ginger or ginger syrup, limes, honey and candy sugar. Heaven.
I couldn’t resist another photo of the kitties. So sweet those two.
I keep forgetting to post these, but here’s catching up now. I posted one of these vintage bedsheets before but there’s more:
The one on the right turned into a quilt back and a table cloth, but I’m not sure what the other two will be used for yet. I really love the orange one though.
I loved finding these vintage storing jars for tea. We bought new loose tea this weekend and filled these up.
And finally, jackpot: I found a beautiful china set from the 1950’s/1960’s and I love the simple, scandinavian design. They had set of about 6 small, 6 large and 6 deep plates along with a bowl and some other stuff. At 30€ for the whole set I didn’t have to think about it long. It is now replacing our chipped Ikea dishes and is just soo much nicer and prettier.
I am slowly replacing all of our old kitchen stuff with new, nice things to help us keep our resolution of cooking more food from scratch and eating healthier. It’s working a treat I have to say!
Cookie recipe here (used chopped dark chocolate instead of cocoa and only 1 1/2 cups of sugar and added 1/2 cups of oats).
Last Saturday we had this delicious pie at my friend’s mom’s house and she kindly gave me the recipe. It was so yummy that I had to share it.
A note on quark: Quark is a german specialty dairy product (it also translates as curd cheese). It is like cream cheese, just fluffier and tastes a bit sour. If you can’t buy it where you live you could use any other cream cheese, though the pie’s texture might be a little stiffer then and I would recommend using less sugar. It is also pretty easy to make at home I’ve read.
Lu’s Quark Cherry Pie
1 Packet (ca. 50g) Instant Pudding Mix (or Custard Powder)
1 tsp baking powder
3 tblsp cream of wheat
juice of one lemon
Stir together the eggs, sugar and butter and add the custard powder and baking powder. Then stir in the cream of wheat, lemon juice and quark.
Pour off the juice from the cherries and place cherries in a casserole dish. Spoon the quark mix on top and bake at 170°C for about 70 min. (until golden brown on top).
The pie will be very soft and has to be spooned out of the dish. Enjoy!
A special treat: freshly pressed orange juice.
The beginnings of a new quilt (I’ve missed my treadle).
The first christmas cookies.
These are wonderful and very simple: Whisk two egg whites and 125g white sugar until very stiff and set aside two tablespoons for later. Fold in 125g ground hazelnuts and form little balls on a baking sheet using two teaspoons. With a wet wooden spoon, make a dent in each ball, fill with the mix you set aside and place a whole hazelnut on top. Bake at 140-160°C for 20-25 minutes.