Whole wheat!

So, I’m a big believer in whole wheat, but my regular bread recipe wasn’t very good with all wheat flour, and it certainly didn’t hold up to sandwiches. Poor bread didn’t stand a chance.

Luckily, I pin, (Yay, pinterest!) and I found this lovely recipe from “two of a kind and working on a full house”.

Now, I just don’t have the equipment for grinding my own wheat. I have no actual grinder, and I would never subject my secondhand blender to such an ordeal. I also didn’t use dough enhancer, though I did use vital wheat gluten. One day, I might do it all the way she does it, because this recipe really is great. But today is not that day.

This stuff is so great for sandwiches!
This stuff is so great for sandwiches!

I do it all by hand, and it consistently makes 2 sizeable loaves. Not big, but good-sized. Maybe with dough enhancer, they’d be bigger. We’ll see, someday. 🙂

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Avocado Cookies and “Olive Garden” Breadsticks

So, I was on Pinterest the other day, (don’t you love conversations that begin this way?) and I found two intriguing things:

1) Copy Cat Olive Garden Breadsticks. 

How could I not? We were joining some friends for lasagna, and so I volunteered to bring these. They were a HIT. I don’t have a breadmaker, so I used the link she has on there for if you do it by hand. Also, instead of melting a whole stick of butter for the topping, we just rubbed the tops of the breadsticks with a stick of butter while they were still hot, and topped them with a mixture of garlic powder and parmesan.  Extremely good, and just too beautiful to live. I have no pictures of my own, but they were absolutely perfect.

2) Substituting 1/2 the butter in a cookie recipe for avocado.

I know what you’re thinking: “Hmm. That could be good… maybe… if it isn’t weird.”Well, here’s my take on this one:

I didn't use a cookie scoop, so excuse the delicious mess.
I didn’t use a cookie scoop, so excuse the delicious mess.

These cookies are seriously earth-shaking, in my opinion. They’re amazing! Who knew all it takes to make an airy-yet-decadent chocolate cookie was a little avocado? I must say, I’m hooked. This may have launched me (and my husband) on a quest for the ultimate “healthy cookie”.  I have a feeling there are many more avocado cookies in our future, and I’m sure the future changes will also be delectable.

As for how these delicious little nuggets came into being…

You know how every single bag of chocolate chips on the planet has a chocolate chip cookie recipe? (Well, they do.) One of my favorite kinds of cookies are chocolate chocolate chip cookies, which is to say, chocolate chip cookies with cocoa added to the cookie dough. Thus, chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

All you have to do is this: using your chocolate chip cookie recipe of choice, substitute 1/4 cup of your flour measurement with cocoa, and half of the total butter with mushed avocado. (I like to buy a bunch of avocados when they’re on sale, and then take the pits out and freeze the pitted halves. They thaw out at the perfect mushing consistency, so if your avocados are firm and you just can’t wait for them to ripen, you might freeze and thaw them. …Or put them through a food processor. Whichever.)

The result is a lightly chocolate cookie with chocolate chips. They don’t really flatten out, so if you want them to be pretty, use a cookie scoop.

Oh, yes. Lots more of these ahead!
Oh, yes. Lots more of these ahead!
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Yum, Chicken Pot Pie!

My husband adores anything like pot pie, or shepherds’ pie. Any sort of warm, meat casserole, and he’s just happy as can be. (And why not? The man has good taste.)

I had a little bit of extra pie crust, so I made a heart!

Looks good enough to eat, am I right? 😀

So, here’s what you do:

  • Thaw some chicken, at least halfway, and then just put the pieces in a pot, and fill it up with enough water to barely cover them. Then add an onion, cut into at least quarters, 3-4 stalks of celery in about finger-width pieces. Make sure to occasionally stir the stock, so that the chicken doesn’t stick. (A wooden spoon is perfect for this) *Be sure to not be too far away from the stove, so it doesn’t boil over and make a nasty mess.Yes, I’m speaking from experience. 😛
  • Next, you get a 9″x13″ baking dish, and put veggies in it. In my opinion, a chicken pot pie always needs on the inside (besides chicken and gravy) is peas, carrots, and potato chunks. You want to make sure that the veggies are all about the same shape and size, just so that you can have more than one veggie in each bite. I also put green beans in mine. *Something that makes this super easy is just using a bag of mixed frozen veggies.*
  • Once the stock is done, (and a good way to tell is just to grab a piece of the chicken with a pair of tongs and see if it’s separating from the bone) carefully cut the chicken off the bone, and into chunks. Put the chicken pieces into the pan, and thicken the stock into gravy, then pour the gravy on top of everything else in the pan.
  • Make pie crust (or use biscuits),

Never-fail pie crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup shortening

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup ice water (just make yourself a glass while you cook, very nice!)

Mix flour& salt together. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add water, and mix only until mixture is moistened.

Makes 1 double crust, or 2 single crusts (or 1 9×13 crust)

  • roll it out, and lay it over the contents of the 9×13, poking a few vents in the crust before putting it into the oven at 450* for about 10 minutes or so, or until the crust is firm and golden.
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