Food and Recipes

 

My grandmother always used to say, “If we didn’t need food, we’d all be rich!” This may be true. But then life would be a little less pleasurable. Still, there are ample ways to make great food cheap, make perishable food last and make the grocery budget stretch like nobody’s business.

Plus the tips in these articles are filled with practiced wisdom for practical solutions, novel ideas, and inspiring concepts like The Ultimate Restaurant Cheat Sheet to and awesome recipes like Muffins So Amazing They’re Insane and how to make homemade coffee cream better yourself to save a bundle, that make cooking fun and rewarding for you and your family. Bon appetit!

 

 

Salad: Summer’s Star

Salad is often categorized as a side dish. Especially September through May. But come Summer, salad becomes the headliner; the star of the show. And it’s a well-earned designation, too. Add a little protein and you’ve got a full meal. Toss in some fruit and you’ve dialed things up on the nutrition scale.
Salad
As I write, it’s a very cool day in Southern California where I live. But I know this will not last. I love a big salad in the summer that combines grains, fruits, vegetables and even meats in one dish. It’s the perfect way to use up chicken or steak left from last night’s barbecue, or even that piece of grilled salmon or seafood. Add whole grain rolls or breadsticks on the side, and dinner’s on the table. Read more

Great Recipes Know No Season

My sweet mother-in-law, Gwen Hunt, was a very organized woman. She had file folders for everything you can imagine including one containing lists of her most valued assets along with the name of the person who would fall heir to that item upon her passing.

Among the items I received are two three-ring binders, filled with “magnetic” scrapbook pages into which she had carefully placed hundreds of handwritten and newspaper-clipped recipes. Next to each one are little handwritten notes about the recipes. She includes each recipe’s origin along with other tidbits of information she undoubtedly believed I would want to know, such as how many cookies she baked for her parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration on April 27, 1950 (10 dozen each of six different recipes, neatly arranged on facing pages). Many of the recipes are dated 1942 and, she notes, were in her original trousseau collection. Read more

Finish Off a Great Meal With Cake

There’s nothing like following a great dinner with cake. It’s like the exclamation mark on a meal. I love to bake cakes and today I have three very different recipes to share: one from scratch, one that starts with a cake mix, and the third — it really isn’t cake, but once a year my family pretends it is.

Read more

A 2nd Helping of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

 

It’s been more than a year since I began baking bread. I don’t bake just once in a while. I’m talking almost every day. I know what you’re thinking: “Did she retire? Has she lost her mind?”

I understand your confusion because, quite frankly, a year ago I would have thought the same thing. But that was before I became such a big fan of the method described in the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” In a nutshell, I make a big batch of bread dough once a week using the master recipe. I’m not kidding when I say it takes all of about five minutes to measure, dump and mix. Then I park the dough in the refrigerator.

Each morning, I turn on the oven, grab a wad of dough from the fridge, form it on a cutting board and allow it to rise while I get ready for the day. Then, in the oven it goes. Twenty-five minutes later, voilà! I’ve got bakery-quality, hot, rustic artisan bread.

That book has really changed my life because now instead of paying $4 for a loaf of bread, I can make it for about 40 cents a loaf! Besides the cost savings, there’s just something soul-satisfying about making bread even when you have a very busy life outside the kitchen.

You have to know how excited I was to get my hands on Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois’ second helping of fabulous bread recipes, “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients.”

Oh, my.

I feel as if I’m in the advanced baking class now. Talk about healthy! Using the same method and dough I’ve been making every week over the past year, I now can kick it up a notch with Turkish-style pita bread with black sesame seeds, cherry tomato baguettes, rosemary Parmesan breadsticks and pain au potiron (peppery pumpkin and olive oil loaf). I tell you, this new book offers heaven in the oven for health-conscious bread lovers.

I love the chapter on sneaky breads. Jeff and Zoë give clever tips and tricks for how to incorporate fruits and vegetables into dough, resulting in tasty and healthy creations that kids will love. They just won’t know about the brown rice, parsley, garlic and bulgur wheat that go into their favorite bread. For those of you with family members who must eat gluten-free, there are recipes for you, too.

The best part about my favorite artisan bread books is that I have two new friends. Even though we never have met in person, I feel as if I know Jeff and Zoë. That’s because they’ve spoken to me on every page. They have taught me how to be a better baker — and now a much healthier baker, too!

Join the bread-baking conversation at my blog, http://www.MoneyRulesDebtStinks.com. I’ll try to answer your questions, and I want to know how you’re doing with baking your own artisan bread!