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IMG_9853Because I have been trying several variations and this is the best so far, and because store-bought veggie burgers have all kinds of ingredients, but no actual vegetables. Enough said. Straight for the recipe.

1 1/2 dried mushrooms (soaked in warm water for about 1/2 h and squeezed to remove as much water as possible)

1 15 oz. can black beans (or 2 cups cooked from scratch)

1 garlic clove

1 small onion

2 eggs

2 TBS olive oil

1-2 tsp spices (eg. 1/2 tsp each of cumin, paprika, lemon pepper, mustard powder, turmeric etc. your choice)

1/3 cup wheat germ

1/3 cup ground flaxseed

2 TBS ground parmesan

  1. Preheat oven at 375 F.
  2. Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well mixed.
  3. Add spices, wheat germ, flaxseed and parmesan and pulse one more time to combine.
  4. Make patties and place on baking sheet (greased or on whichever surface preferred for baking.)
  5. Bake at 375 F for 20 min.

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yogurtbreadsliced

Yesterday’s bread experiment was a great success! Yogurt bread, from The bread lover’s bread machine cookbook was dense, heavy, and had a nice, mature taste. The crust is very thin (which I like), but still nicely crunchy, and the bread tastes just as well toasted as not. And with just 4 ingredients, which I always have at hand, I would say we have a keeper!

For the 1.5 lb loaf, the recipe is as follows:

3/4 cup water

1 cup whole milk yogurt

3 1/2 cup bread flour

2 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp yeast

Put all ingredients in bread maker bowl, keeping aside about 1/4 of the flour. This will be added, if necessary, while the dough is made, to accommodate for the different consistencies of yogurt. Bake on Basic setting in the electric bread maker, with Medium crust.

The only modification I made is that I didn’t have whole milk yogurt, so I took out 2 tbs of the water and replaced it with canola oil, to make sure there is enough fat in the bread.

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Saturday was a good day for baking. I dug out the bread maker, the bread machine cook book a friend gave me as a gift a couple of years ago, and we started looking through recipes. we have been wanting to make our own bread regularly for a long time now, and perhaps this time we will stick with it. Our plan is to try as many as we can of the recipes in the book, and find those we ‘d like to make our staple.

The book is The bread lover’s bread machine book, a very thorough and easy to read / follow recipes book. My only deviation from the recipes is that it suggests you add baker’s gluten in pretty much every recipe, which makes the bread rise etc. better. In the beginning I used to add it, but after I stopped I can’t say I have seen much difference, so I just stopped. Neither of us is allergic to gluten, but why add more if you don’t need it? I am not sure how ethical / legal it is to post recipes from a published book, even though it may count as advertising. So, lets say that as I go through the various recipes, I will reproduce only the ones I really really like, or ones that I will modify considerably.
We started our exploration through the book with a whole wheat flaxseed bread, which I would rate as a 3 out of 5 for my personal liking. It came out dense and moist, the flaxseed gave it a nice texture, but the honey made it a little too sweet for my taste. Would I make it again? Probably not – too sweet.

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Apart from the bread, I also made some tilapia filets, which came out very good. Since I made this from memory, and it is a classic where I come from, I can share without reservations:

  • Slice 1 onion in thin rings or sticks, and a lemon in thin slices
  • Lay the fish filets on a baking dish of your choice, and spread the onion and lemon over them
  • Sprinkle with olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, fresh dill, salt & pepper, and dried oregano
  • Bake for 20 min. on 400F

Serve with mashed potatoes, steamed or baked vegetables, and use any left overs for fish sandwiches the next day.

Enjoy!

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Every now and then as a kid I used to pay attention.  Not often, I admit, as I had more important adventures and thoughts in my mind to pay attention to adults. But when I did, I listened and thought about things I heard. One of those things I remember being impressed by was that breakfast is the most important meal of your day. I kind of liked the idea, and began to appreciate the breakfast that miraculously appeared on the kitchen table every morning on school days.  Everyone’s favorite drink (mine was milk with HEMO, a chocolatey powder with vitamins), heaps of toasted bread, pita bread, or sandwiches, sometimes τσουρέκι (a yummy sweet bread). It must have taken my dad (the cook in the family) a good half hour to prepare all that, as the rest of the family stumbled in, gobbled everything down, sometimes ungratefully, and rushed all together to catch the school bus (my mother taught at the same school us children went). My dad got up first and left the house last, after taking care of everyone. In this, I notice the love for us, and the benefits of being an archivist with a somewhat flexible schedule 🙂

Breakfast nowadays is somewhat of a challenge for me. I like to start the day with savory tastes, but to achieve that and avoid high cholesterol foods is a puzzle. I have asked my friends from other cultures about breakfast foods, and I am amazed at the variety of what is considered breakfast. Still, I can’t eat idli, rice, soups, salad, breakfast cereals, or even eggs for an extended period of time. I always have to go back to my sandwiches, like the ones I grew up with.

Nevertheless, I am now on a high calorie diet (courtesy of 2 hungry boys), which means I get to eat a couple of breakfasts! Yay for nursing! In my effort to have something I don’t easily run out of, I thought of granola as a backup for when bread is not around. I made some using this great lady’s fool-proof recipe, and made a mix of raisins, dried cranberries, flaked almonds and chia seeds for topping, which I embellish with whatever fresh fruit there is around at a given day. So far, I am on my second batch and haven’t grown tired of it, which is an absolute first for me!

Next, a cup of milky tea (no HEMO for me any more, I am a big girl) and a biscotti. I love my multiple breakfasts!

Yum!

Yum!

A tentative return to blogging, as an attempt to keep track of what I do, but mostly to prove to myself that I actually DO create, do make things, do think of creating. In fact, I have made several things in the recent weeks, but since I wasn’t planning on blogging about them I didn’t even bother taking photographs of them. And that bothers me even more, as I often return to photos to refresh my memory of how I made something.

Lately, aside from goofing around with the boys (who are addictive and I give them willingly all the free time they would otherwise allow me to have to myself), and enjoying the cooler weather that brought back the kitties to snuggling with us as soon as they see us at a safe distance from little grabby paws, I have been doing quite some cooking, sewing, and embroidering.

Embroidery in particular seems to help me a lot when I need to slow down my mind, create something fast and get a quick fix of creativity without having to sit down at my sewing machine. It is mostly clumsy stitching and freehand designs, and they fill the bill perfectly.

In an effort to allow more free time for crafting, I have been looking around for recipes of “grab and eat” foods that are still healthy and nutritious. Recently I came up with a couple of interesting savoury muffin recipes, which are a perfect example of this. So yesterday I made these zucchini and cheese muffins (original recipe in Greek, sorry non-Greek readers!) Here, they are sitting next to another quick meal, broccoli & pepper quiche.

In fact, I am so obsessed with this type of food, that it is taking a life of its own (i.e. I just added a new category in my list, as I plan to return to the subject often.) Perhaps a list, next time? What “grab and eat” foods do you go for?

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