theCOZYgreenCOCOON

Headed towards back to the basics living.


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Baking Bread | Week Two

Bread + Berries + Honey Butter = good for you yumminess!

Do I really need to say more?

Do you think I could actually resist? No? Okay I admit it: When it comes to blogging I can usually produce an eye-ful of words! I just love to write and this healthy breakfast type bread full of anti-oxidants makes it easy. The recipe comes from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes, again. I’m just loving their variety of recipes and the simplicity of them! I do plan on trying out other sources for bread recipes btw.  I just happen to have this book on hand. I’ve also only tried out a few recipes from there so it makes for lots of new recipes to try! (i.e. I’m all about new!)  So if you have a great bread recipe or even one you’ve never actually had I’m willing to be the guinea pig for you. Just email me.

So on to this week’s trial, Whole Wheat Berry Bread (or muffins). Now, I must advise you in advance that this isn’t going to make a very sweet bread. Don’t expect muffins that taste like the ones that come from a box. We did, and we we’re disappointed. Not because the bread wasn’t good, actually it was quite good with a smear of honey butter, but this is the grown-up version of breakfast breads/muffins. If you’re still addicted to sugar like we are then you should definitely plan on making the honey butter to go with this. It makes me think of how people add icing to cinnamon rolls. The great part about the butter and bread both is that neither calls for actual sugar. Honey is used as a sugar substitute. Agave nectar can be used also, but just keep in  mind it might alter the flavor a bit. Tequila anyone?

So, here’s the recipe.

The Goods

-The Bread

  • 4 C. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 4 C. Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 Tbs. granulated yeast
  • 1 Tbs. Kosher Salt (or decrease to taste)
  • 1/4 C. Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 2 1/4 C. Lukewarm Water
  • 1.4 C. Honey
  • 3 C. Mixed Frozen Berries and their juices, defrosted
  • Egg Wash (1 beaten egg with 1 Tbs. water) for brushing on top crust
  • Raw sugar for sprinkling on top

-Honey Butter

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. Honey
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

The Grind

(These are just the very basic steps. If you want lots of detail and hints/tips you should check out the book. It’s very inspiring!)

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Combine the water,honey and berries, then add to the dry ingredients without kneading.
  3. Cover, not airtight and allow to rest at room temp for approx. 2 hours.
  4. You can use dough immed. or refrigerate in a lidded, not airtight container and use for the next 5 days.
  5. Whenever you decide to bake the dough, grease a bread loaf pan.
  6. Cut off a 2 pound piece of dough.  Enough to fill the pan about 3/4 full. Shape into an oval.
  7. Place in pan. Allow it to rest loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or one hour if you’re using fresh unrefrigerated dough.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If you have a baking stone you can use it, but its not necessary.
  9. Paint the top with the egg wash.l
  10. Place near the center of the oven.
  11. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

It makes for a very pink flavored dough. Reminds me of Berry Cap’n Crunch cereal and the way the milk gets tinted by the time your done eating breakfast. Except this is flavored from actual berries! What a concept (hargh, hargh).

Add some protein and maybe some coffee or milk if you can digest it and your breakfast is set for the week.

**Please forgive the lack of a picture of the finished product. It’s night time and I had to decide between a horrible unappetizing nightime picture and not getting this posted for another couple of days while waiting for a great daytime pic.  My baby is not feeling well and not sure what kind of night and day we have coming up. Hope you are all surving the coming storm in the southwest/midwest area! Brrr, stay warm out there!

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Pop, pop, pop….Homemade Popcorn

Not too bad after a little sea salt and some melted unsalted butter.

Okay, I know for some people they are probably thinking: “You’re writing a post on homemade Popcorn? That’s easy to do! Why write about that?”

But as someone trying to go from mainstream junk food happy america to real food I’ve never made homemade popcorn. Unless you count the popcorn we made when I was little with the popcorn machine we had. That was years ago. I’ve always found the idea so intimidating for some reason. It seemed hard because  DH and I have eaten microwave popcorn for years. So easy. Unwrap the plastic, unfold the bag, and pop it in the microwave. And besides, what could the harm be with a bunch of corn kernels? (Ha! I forgot I live in America. We even know how to make fruits and vegetables unhealthy. How sad. )

Well, I recently read an article in a newspaper

that I found outside our local Whole Foods Market called Natural Awakenings, that had me thinking I would give HM popcorn a go. To put it simply, some microwave popcorn bags contain a coating called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This is a substance known to cause cancer/and or lung disease in laboratory animals. There is also some controversy on the “butter” used in many microwave popcorns. It is thought that some of these “butters” contain diacetyl, a common food flavoring agent  that can cause lung disease. Scary!

So…..bring on the organic homemade popcorn. I just used the general directions in the article I read about microwave popcorn.

Oh boy!

I’m more of a recipe kind of gal.

Getting ready to heat up my Canola Oil. I used 4 Tbs. of oil and heated on medium heat in a medium size sauce pan.

I know the lids not the right size. I grabbed it in a panic because I forgot to add a lid to start with. Uh oh!

But in the end, it was pretty tasty and pretty inexpensive. A quarter cup of seeds yielded a HUGE bowl or popcorn. And did I mention how easy it was?

 


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Baking Bread | Week One

So this I week officially began my self-imposed bread challenge which is to make some sort of bread product every week. The end goal is to be able to make all our bread and not have to buy any. I’ve heard that when you make your bread at home you can save so much money! Just buying the ingredients  and making it from scratch will save you money. Take it a step further and buy the ingredients in bulk, you save more money. Then take it one step further and….grind you’re own wheat that you bought in bulk (or your brother bought for you) and you’ve just saved even more money and upped the nutrition as well as flavor. Thanks to my big brother I now have enough wheat to bake bread to my heart’s content and use freshly ground flour. He drew my name for Christmas this year so of course we had to set up my new grinder and try it out while all the family was there.

Here’s me giving it a go. Let me tell you, grinding your own wheat really gives you a work out!

Here’s my niece grinding away! She wasn’t even tired afterwards. Oh, to be young and energetic again!

Here’s the end result:

And there’s my brother holding Teddi while we continue working on the flour later that evening. He look’s a LITTLE scared! Hehe!

This week I started with an olive oil recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. One recipe makes about 4 pounds of dough and keeps in the fridge for about a week.   I made breadsticks (not pictured because we ate them all before I had a chance to photograph them. They we’re that good!

I’ve also made pizza crust…

and a smaller loaf of bread that we used to make patty melts with green chile on ground elk meat

and some regular sandwiches too.

We supplemented some ham & cheese sandwiches of days later with whole wheat store-bought bread after that was gone. That’s okay with me at this point.  In the past I probably would have just put a frozen pizza in the oven and eaten butter bread with our spaghetti-good but not as tasty as the breadsticks. Just one step at a time,right?


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I’m so excited…..I just had to share.

(Squeal) I’m so excited…and motivated…and pumped! I don’t know if you remember what my new year’s resolutions were, but one of them was to eat healthier and also another was to make bread once a week. Well…it looks like I am going to be able to head in that direction thanks to an awesome gift from my brother, a great bread book, and a link from a great friend which has lead me to another link and then another link and another and another….! Need I go on?

Any guesses what this is???

Up until about a week ago I had really been struggling trying to accomplish anything other than taking care of T. And I refuse to drop breastfeeding if its in my control. (That’s a whole different post and I will go there someday, but not now.) Now don’t get me wrong I think its a super important job and I love it with all my heart but I’ve really felt like other things, important things, have just been neglected. I’ve just been overwhelmed to be honest. How in the world can I keep my kitchen clean? How can I get all the laundry done and put away? Things like that. I’ve just felt such a strong pull to get my household in order in terms of food and health and cleanliness and yet not forget to enjoy and celebrate the special moments that are oc

curing before my eyes. I know these moments will go by so fast and I can’t get them back.

So I’ve been asking God to help me to find a way to accomplish the things that need to be done and just let the other stuff go when needed, and also wisdom to know the difference.It wasn’t long before I found Flylady and then a very good friend sent me the link to Kitchen Stewardship (I will be featuring somethings I try out from over there soon. Can you say homemade yogurt or whole wheat tortillas  and yummy warm soups?!?) Although they might seem insignificant sometimes, I do believe God cares about even the little things in our lives. The sudden influx of inspiration and links and connections has convinced me of this.  I hope you’ll join me as I explore them all here on my little blog. We’re going cozy and self sustainable and efficient!


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One Word Wednesday: Still

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

(So I missed posting this yesterday, such is life with a baby I’m learning, but this still resonated with me so I thought I would go ahead and share with you.)

The older I get the more I see tragedy and loss and pain. Sometimes, it can begin to get a little overwhelming. And while I appreciate the movement God has been bringing into my life in so many ways lately, I felt that still small voice speaking to me about stillness last night.

Last night we we’re on our way home after a four day trip to Tucson, AZ to mourn the loss of a wonderful family member. My heart has been so heavy for those closest to him. While in Tucson, we also heard about the shooting that happened there a couple of days before. We actually unintentionally drove right by the place where it happened. There was a stillness there… still. It was such a stark contrast to the busy street we were driving on.

But the drive to Tucson and the drive home were not very still for us. Miles and miles of scenery flashed by, my 3 month old daughter grew weary and sore from her uncomfortable (yet super safe) carseat. To be honest my tushy was sore too. My mind grew weary just thinking about  hurt and loss and I was worn down by the drive. And then when we were almost home, and my daughter needed that one last nursing before our final push to get home, I looked down at her, and  I was reminded of this passage in Psalm 46. “Be still, and know that I am God…” “Okay God, I can do that,” I thought.  I can take this moment and breathe and appreciate it for what it is: Calm, beautiful, and still.

***P.S I just found this website: myoneword.org It’s all about finding your word for 2011 and using that to focus on to make change happen in your life.


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One Word Wednesdays

The power of words has really been hitting home to me lately. I believe I have already found a theme bound to reoccur in my life around the word “movement.”  Then as I was reading a new to me blog, AlieEdwards.com, I noticed that she posted her word for 2011,”light”. I got a little excited. Lots of  people think there are words that fit their lives for a period of time? Wow! Actually, I know Joyce Meyer would agree with me too. She stresses the power of words in her sermons. “And God said…” and that’s when things really began to happen at the beginning of time.

And so I’m going to start doing One Word Wednesday posts. Maybe just a quote, a definition or a picture. Something simple to just remind me about how big of an impact one little word can have on our lives and on others and share it with you. I hope you will share any that you come across that have meaning or impact on you. (=

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This week I’ve been thinking about resolutions. There were 12 different definitions listed on dictionary.com, but four of them seemed the most relevant for what’s been on my mind:

Resolution (noun)

1.a formal expression of opinion or intention made
2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.+

+Could that last one explain why so many people don’t keep their New Year resolutions? Do we lack firmness of purpose in our mind from the outset????
Here are the resolutions I’m considering for 2011. Notice I said considering not resolving. Not sure I can take these all out at once (hey I’m just being honest with myself, I know I don’t have mental resolve right now),but they are definitely on my “let’s try this out list”:
  1. Bake bread every week. (More details on this later).
  2. Craft time every day-even if its just for 15 minutes. I love to craft and I’ll take what I can get.
  3. Develop a household routine. I’ve been reading flylady.net and I’m trying out some of her baby steps.
  4. Exercise  regularly/ eat healthy. (I need to get down to details on this one still. I’m starting out with just drinking more water and trying to eat at least 1 vegetable or fruit at each meal.  Yep that’s how far off I’ve gotten over the holidays. Eating 1 vegetable or fruit is an improvement. Sad I know.

Oh, and if you’re really feelin’ the power or words too, you might want to check out this workshop that Alie Edwards is doing too, called One Little Word. I’m thinkin’ I just might have to sign up for it. I’ve been so wanting to get back into my scrapbooking….