Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Whole Grain Sugar Cookies

We are now going on day fourteen million of rain. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but it feels that way.  The dudes and I were feeling a little cooped in today so we brought the party home......cookie time. Big, messy, doughy, flour on the floor, sticky fingers everywhere, pour some cold milk to dunk cookie party! The rain stayed, we opened the windows, and ate until the rain seemed a little less dreary.

Barley Sugar Cookies 

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup coconut oil 
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
3/4 cup sugar (rapadura)
1/2 tsp salt
1tbs vanilla 
1 tbs fresh squeeze lemon juice 
1 egg 
1 1/2 cups fresh barley flour 
1/2 cup kamut, whole wheat, or white whole wheat
1/3 cup thick yogurt or sour cream 

In a mixing bowl cream butter, coconut oil, baking powder, soda, sugar, salt and vanilla together.
Add the lemon juice and the egg, beat together.
Add the flours and stir. The dough will begin to get thicker.
Add the sour cream or yogurt. We used homemade greek style yogurt today with great results.

The dough may need a little extra flour. I ended up adding a dash here and there to give it the correct consistency.

Cover the bowl and let this dough rest overnight in the refrigerator , or for at least seven hours. Once the dough has had a good rest, thickened up, and chilled really nicely you can roll it out and use cookie cutters to bring delight and joy to your kiddos.

Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. 

I do not have much luck making really good sugar cookies. They either taste great, but the shapes do not come out right or the shapes come out and they taste terrible. This recipe has worked for me every time. The cookies are soft, more cake like, and perfectly rich. The original recipe comes from one of my favorite recipe books, King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. I did some minor "tweeking" such as adding coconut oil, using rapadura rather than sugar, omitting the nutmeg which the recipe calls for, and using yogurt rather than sour cream only because that is what I had on hand. I bet the sour cream would be amazing too.

The cookie cutters we used, cars and trains, came from Ann Clark Cookie Cutters. They did a give away with us a while back and a guest post. I adore their cookie cutters!

Embrace the mess. Make some cookies!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sausage "Gravy" and Biscuits: A Healthy Twist

My boys love sausage gravy and biscuits. And, when I say love I mean my four year makes sure to mark on his calendar the days we are going to Grandma's so that he can look forward to his favorite breakfast meal! I have struggled making this dish since we switched over to whole foods as we do not use basic white flour anymore. The gravy that I have tried to make with whole grain is well, yuck. By accident I created a gravy the other day and served it over sourdough toast. I have since made it again and my family inhales it happily.

The gravy is flourless!

And, this is not a specific recipe, like gravy, you add a little here and a little there to make it the consistency that your family enjoys.

2-4 potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft 
Chicken stock, 1/2 cup (give or take) 
Whole milk, 1/2 cup (give or take) 
Ground sausage 
A really good blender

What to do:
1. Boil your potatoes until soft and smooshable.....
2. In a really good blender put your drained potatoes and add just a bit of the broth and milk.
Go ahead and blend. Add more chicken broth and milk as you see fit to give this the consistency you like.
3. Meanwhile, cook your sausage in a skillet. Drain if you like.
4. Add the "gravy" to the sausage, heat together, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over what your family likes. We have enjoyed this over spelt biscuits  and sourdough toast. Pretty darn good for a grain free gravy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Guest Post: The Mommy Teacher

Hi Meal Planning Mommies!  My name is Jessica also known as The Mommy Teacher.  The Mommy Teacher is a blog that teaches parents about their child's development, one activity at a time. It is a free, online resource for moms and dads of young children to work with their kids each day in a FUN and meaningful way. 
I love to cook and keep a meal plan too, but my area of expertise is teaching parents of young kids how to extend their little one’s learning.  Cooking with children is one way to do that; it can be extremely beneficial in so many areas:  teaching measurement concepts, allowing for science exploration, reading & writing recipes, developing life skills, and more.

Maybe you already cook with your children, but I have a couple suggestions to pack this experience full of learning opportunities.
Before starting, read a book like “The Little Red Hen” “Pete’s a Pizza” or another book that prepares your little one for the process and purpose of cooking or baking in a fun and meaningful way.
First, write out the recipe WITH your little one on a large piece of paper, and then read each ingredient as you pull it out.  Ask them questions and give them clues “What ingredient do you think starts with the sound /m/?” (milk!) This will give you a chance to model reading and writing for your little one.

Next, measure each ingredient WITH your little one so that they have the chance to experience measuring for accuracy and to observe large and small amounts and they will naturally observe science in action as dough rises and ingredients mix together, etc.
Finally, let your little one take on as much ownership as you are willing to share: stirring, spreading, sprinkling, watching the timer, or whatever your recipe calls for.

Jessica Cook, The Mommy Teacher