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I made bread – you can too!!

26 Oct

Ok, so. Those of you who know me know that I’ve been wanting – nay, yearning – to learn how to make bread. My relationship with yeast has been tepid, at best. I’m not talking about tepid as in the lukewarm water you’re supposed to use to activate the yeast. I mean every time I’ve ever tried using yeast, I’ve somehow killed it (the time I thought I was supposed to use 100 degree CELSIUS water, not 100 degree FAHRENHEIT – whoops), or it’s only partially risen (not enough rising time??), or it’s risen and then baked into a brick (no idea)!

I got The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Artisan Bread from the library, without even knowing it was a collection of no-knead bread recipes. I’ve seen Michael Smith’s Chef at Home episode where he makes no-knead bread as per the technique developed by Jim Lahey and outlined in the New York Times piece by Mark Bittman. So I thought, how hard can it be? It’ll perfect for my computer weary arms.

The first try I did everything the book told me, including mixing the yeast in with the dry ingredients and then adding the liquid. Two hours of rising time went by and…nothing happened. My hopes dashed, I asked around and was told that I had to activate the yeast (I totally knew that…but I was following the book directions!)

Anyway, I made the recipe again, with already activated yeast, and viola – bread was made. Calgary is SUPER dry, so I ended up adding a full 1/2 to 1 cup more water than the recipe called for.

Classic French Boule – from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Artisan Bread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
1 1/4 – 2 1/4 cups lukewarm water (I activated the yeast in about 1/4 cup lukewarm water with 1 tsp sugar)
2 tbsp cornmeal

Stir everything but the cornmeal together in a large bowl, until it comes into a ball. Loosely cover with plastic wrap (and a damp tea towel) and let rise on the counter in a draft-free place for 2-3 hours. Place in the fridge and let sit overnight up to 48 hours.

Preheat a Dutch Oven (enameled pot) in a 425 F oven for 45 minutes. With floured hands on a well-floured surface, draw the dough together into a 6″ ball. Let rise, seam side up in a bowl (covered again with plastic wrap or a damp, floured towel) for 30 minutes – 1 hour.

Once the Dutch Oven is heated, sprinkle the cornmeal on the bottom and turn the dough into it (seam side down). Cover it and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for 20 minutes more or until an internal temperature of 210 F is reached.

Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Enjoy!

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A Red Green Smoothie

21 Oct

Green drinks/smoothies are one of my favourite breakfast meals or snacks. There are so many combinations of fruits and vegetables to use, usually whatever you have in your fridge! I add protein powder in to make them a full meal that will keep me satiated for around 3 hours. The trick is to use a very good blender. Otherwise, you’ll end up with pulpy slush that isn’t very appetizing. In this version, I added a beet, which not only lends its beautiful colour to the drink, but also its vitamins and nutrients!


Red Green Smoothie

1 small beet, peeled and cut into wedges
3 cups greens (kale, swiss chard, lettuce, mesclun)
1 stalk celery
1 small carrot, peeled
1/2″ fresh ginger
1 apple (or pear, nectarine, peach, whatever’s in season)
1 banana
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh juice (cranberry is my fav)
1 serving’s worth of protein powder
water

Place everything in a blender and add enough water to almost cover. Blend until super smooth. You can stop and start the blender to let the larger pieces settle to the bottom. Pour into your favourite smoothie glass and enjoy! Keeps in the fridge for about 2 days.

Happy Cooking!
Jacinthe

Apricot Jam

4 Oct

On my cabin getaway in mid-August I came home with A LOT of fruit. This is my attempt at making Apricot Jam.

Continue reading

Baked Oatmeal

27 Apr

Here’s the original article from Bodhi Tree’s April 2011 newsletter.

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One cannot think well,
love well, sleep well,
if one has not dined well.
~Virginia Woolf.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” You may have found that if you come to yoga on an empty stomach, you get dizzy and have very little energy, especially first thing in the morning. Your body is a complex machine that needs fuel to function properly. Nourishing the body with good food at regular intervals maintains your blood sugar levels, allowing you to think clearly and use your energy efficiently to remain active throughout the day. Continue reading

The Best Muffins

10 Apr

Here’s the original article from the Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre’s December 2010 Newsletter.

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The draw to pick up a muffin with your coffee on the way to work can be hard to resist. But what’s really in that muffin?

Baking at home allows you to choose your ingredients, avoid allergens and incorporate your ethical choices about food. I know it can seem overwhelming, time consuming and sometimes tedious, but I have a simple fix for you: a good base recipe!

Just like setting the foundation – hands and feet – in yoga allows you to build from the primary poses into more advanced variations, having a good base muffin recipe allows for a reliable quick cake that can handle varying flavours and textures. You can ensure you always have the ingredients you need on hand, so when the urge to bake arises, you’re ready to go.

To save time, make a double or triple batch every few weeks, then freeze them. Take a few out of the freezer whenever you want and pop into the toaster oven. You’ll pull out perfectly baked muffins every time!

Here’s my favourite base muffin recipe. I’ve included variations I like to do in brackets and flavour combinations at the end. This recipe can easily be made wheat-free, dairy free, or vegan. Continue reading