Friday, January 17, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Bread you can eat every week!

My dear friend Sara introduced me to this recipe, and our family LOVES it so much, that I had to alter it just a bit - I started making it with part whole wheat flour so I could justify serving it all the time!

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white flour (add extra as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar with the warm water in a very large bowl. Add the yeast without stirring and let it sit until creamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour into the breadmaker. Add the flour on top of the liquid, and then add the olive oil  and salt. Set the cycle for "Dough" and walk away!
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll each half into a large rectangle. For more tight rolls in the bread, roll the dough thinner. For thicker softer rolls in the bread, roll thicker. It’s up to you and it tastes great either way. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over each loaf. Be generous. Roll up the loaves tightly and let rest for a few minutes before putting in the oven.
  4. Bake on a cookie sheet or baking stone for 30 minutes, or until it sounds hollow. When in doubt, overbake this one. It might look brown on the outside, but that’s okay because the inside really needs to bake all the way to get the layers filled out. And it’s really really helpful to let the bread cool before cutting into it, otherwise it has a tendency to sink down where you cut it.
  5. OUR FAVORITE WAY TO EAT this is toasting it in the toaster, and putting a bit of vegan butter on it. This recipe also freezes well - meaning you can cut a few slices and put in the freezer for another day when you need a quick bite of cinnamon sweetness!

If you don't have a breadmaker, you can still easily make this bread... this recipe was adapted from:

I have a breadmaker by Rosewill, which I primarily use only for the dough setting, and then prefer to bake all bread in a real oven.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Winter Warm-Up Almond Drink! Try this instead of coffee and see how you feel!

 Recently the Midwest went through an intense cold snap.  You know, the kind that makes you run to the store for ingredients to stock your fridge and cupboards, and then makes you bake and eat nuts and carbs incessantly...  or is that just me? But before all the trips to the store- we have to wake up and get moving, right? Even when the temperature is dropping fast...  everyone was posting all over Facebook about how they were preparing, and a friend of mine mentioned that she might have to leave the house to get strong coffee. 

Someone suggested to her:

"homemade almond milk with date, black or cayenne pepper to get the blood flowing -- no jitters with this and it is so yummy...."

First I should say I LOVE everything almond...  almond wedding cookies, chocolate covered almonds,  almonds in savory rice dishes, in rice pudding, in the crowning glory recipe for almonds - marzipan, and even in my favorite almond body cream and almond hand cream!  I keep a big glass jar of almonds on my counter and my four children are always snacking on them.   So her comment sent me right to my kitchen!

In less than 3 minutes I had made my own almond milk (1 cup of raw almonds in the vitamix blender with a couple of cups of water, then squeezed through a "nut bag" and stirred with a pinch of salt and a bit of coconut sugar.  I tasted it and I really liked it. I hadn't made my own almond milk since summer and I realized how much I missed it. 

So for the hot drink, I simply heated up a cup of it on my stove - I made it with cayenne first - since I am in love with cayenne.  Tasty and intense heat, yet creamy!  Then I tried another cup, this time with black pepper.  I cannot say that it woke me up like coffee, but it was yummy! And it was so filling and truly nourishing too!  Later that afternoon I also made a cup of it with chai spices in it and loved that too!

P.S. Thank you Anne Hirsch for your wonderful drink suggestion!