homemade graham crackers

brooklyn and i made these all by ourselves and they're quite tasty!

i'll admit, they don't 'crack' like i love my graham crackers to 'crack' but, they're a nice light treat.   more like a soft cracker/cookie consistency.  you know what i mean?

so while these were yummy to eat and easy to make, i need to be honest, they're nothing like store bought graham crackers and i love store bought graham crackers.  what would be fun? why i will make these again, is to try them out with s'mores.  next time i make them, i'm going to spread marshmallow spread on them and let a piece of chocolate melt over the top of that while i sit by the fire in the mountains.  it sounds wonderful!  chewy, warm s'mores.  ... something to look forward to.

homemade graham crackers
{notes from my kitchen: i do not own a food processor big enough to handle the quantity of the ingredients listed so i used my kitchen aid mixer.  the dough was "dry," tough to roll without cracking but we figured it out.  i'm not sure if this had anything to do with the mixing process or not}

1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp molasses
1/4 cup water, plus a little more if it is too dry (i only used 1/4 cup, maybe that explains the dryness?)

combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.  cut in the butter until the texture is dry and crumbly.

in a small bowl, mix the honey, molasses, and water. mix with the dry ingredients until blended in the food processor.  pulse the dough until it forms a ball.  wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  roll the dough out onto a floured surface, i used whole wheat flour for this part.  roll the dough out thin and cut with cookie cutters.  or, you can do the traditional graham cracker shape poking with a fork.

bake for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp.  store in an air tight container.  they will keep for awhile.

yields 15 servings (2 crackers = serving)

Nutrition Facts
homemade graham crackers
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat6.4g
      Saturated Fat3.1g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber2g
Vitamin A 4%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium    7%Iron 4%


Favorite Whole Wheat Bread

last week my sweet friend kalisa had the kids and i over for lunch.  we were lucky enough to get there in time to enjoy a slice (okay, slices) of her homemade wheat bread fresh from the oven.  naturally, i requested a copy of the recipe and she was kind enough to share it with me.  she won't take credit for it though (she should), she just followed the instructions that came with her fancy bosch bread mixer (i covet).

now, i don't have a fancy bread mixer and i only own two bread pans so i had to 1/2 the recipe and knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand. it's okay though, it was well worth the effort and i am certain that i've found the recipe i'll be making on a weekly basis for my family.  i've tried three others already like this one, this one and this one.  it seems that in this case, four times is a charm.  this one is the keeper.

{freeze loaves in bread bags.  thaw overnight in fridge. store in fridge}

Whole Wheat Bread
(makes four large loaves - again, i made two 1/2 batches for four loaves.  the kitchen aid could not have handled any more)

7 cups whole wheat flour (+5 see below)
2/3 cup vital wheat gluten
2.5 Tbsp instant yeast
5 cups water (110 - 115 degrees {thing baby bottle warm})
2 Tbsp salt
2/3 cup oil (i used canola)
2/3 cup honey
3 Tbsp dough enhancer (purchased from this fun little store)
5 cups whole wheat flour

mix together first three ingredients in mixer with dough hook.  add water all at once and mix on speed 1 for one minute.  cover & let rest for 10 minutes (mixture will start to rise).  add salt, oil, honey & dough enhancer.  turn mixer on to speed 1 & add flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough starts to pull away from sides & bottom.  turn mixer up to speed 3 & mix for 10 minutes (bosch) OR, knead for by hand for 10 minutes on lightly floured surface.  dough should be soft & sticky.

preheat oven to 200 degrees.  divide & shape dough into loaves.  place loaves into oiled bread pan (i used spray oil).  push down around edges of pan to form a mound on top.  let dough rise in the warm oven for 30 minutes or until dough reaches over the top of the pan.  turn oven up to 350 degrees & bake for 25 minutes or until bread reaches internal temperature of 180 degrees.  remove from pan & cool on racks.

each loaf makes approximately 18 to 20 - 1/4" sandwich slices.  i used large loaf pans.  nutritional info is per slice.

Nutrition Facts
Favorite Recipe
Whole Wheat Bread
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat2.3g
      Saturated Fat0.1g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber2.7g
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 6%
Calcium    0%Iron 4%


pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

i'm most pleased when my children are enjoying a "treat" that they're excited about without realizing how good-for-them it actually is.

introducing my version of the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie.

gavin and i made these cookies together yesterday.  he was a great help and he was excited to share his creation with his siblings.

the kids had been asking for a treat and i had been craving pumpkin.  i also happened to have a can of real pumpkin puree that i was itching to use which is actually quite difficult to come across these days.  if i see it, i buy it.

jake said "these would be great if i liked pumpkin."  seriously.  he doesn't like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  to think we share the same bed ...

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies  the ooey gooey kind
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup apple sauce
2 eggs
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.  line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  spray each sheet lightly with oil.

sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium sized bowl.

in a large bowl, beat remaining ingredients (less chocolate chips) on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until well blended.  mix in the dry ingredients until incorporated.  fold in chocolate chips.

drop 1/4 cup of batter on sheet approx. 2" apart (8 cookies per sheet).  bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one cookie comes out dry.  let cool for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely or eat right away if you must! (i must)

store in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

yields 16 large cookies

Nutrition Facts
pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat2.7g
      Saturated Fat1.4g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber2g
Vitamin A 48%Vitamin C 1%
Calcium    4%Iron 6%

now i just need to think of some way to use the other 1/2 of the pumpkin puree sitting in my fridge.  hmmm. ... that won't be too difficult.


recipe overload

i've been too busy to post but i've still been cooking.  finally!  i share.

scroll down for banana bread, wheat bread, orange honey chicken, lemon chicken with orzo pasta, chicken parmesan and whatever else i'm too tired to remember posting.

let me know if anything excites you!!

whole wheat banana bread

the kids consider this dessert and for that, i am very happy.


banana bread

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (i used white whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
dash of ground cloves
5 oz nonfat vanilla yogurt
2 very ripe banana's
1/2 cup walnuts (i forgot to add these. next time.)

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.  in a small bowl, mash the banana's then add the brown sugar, yogurt and egg.  mix well
2. in a larger bowl, SIFT the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves.  add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold together.  do not over mix!
3. pour batter into a prepared non-stick (or lightly greased) loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes (i baked for 45).
4. let cool for 5 minutes in the loaf pan then release and cool for 10 more minutes before slicing.

yields one loaf; 10 slices.
Each slice equals 118 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 26 grams of carbs and 3 grams of protein

chicken parmesan

dinner tonight; chicken parmesan.  i've never had chicken parmesan so obviously i've never tried to make it but right now, i'm making do with whatever ingredients i have on hand to avoid a trip to the store for at least a few more days and as a result, this is what i came up with.  i must say, it was actually really good and another success as far as the little mouths at the table were concerned.

i don't have exact measurements for anything so i apologize in advance.

chicken parmesan
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/5 cup italian bread crumbs
1 egg white, beaten
1/5 cup part skim mozzarella (i used shredded)
2 Tbsp parmesan (shredded)
2 cups roasted tomatoes (i used canned)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil, separated
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp granulated sugar
whole wheat spaghetti noodles

preheat broiler (low heat).

heat 1/2 the olive oil in one skillet over medium high heat.  add the garlic and saute for about 15 seconds.  add the tomatoes, basil, parsley and sugar. let simmer over low heat for approx. 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

cook noodles according to package directions eliminating salt and oil.

heat other 1/2 of oil in another skillet over medium-high heat.  dip each chicken breast in egg and again in bread crumbs.  place in pan with heated oil.  cook 6-8 minutes per side.

drain noodles and rinse with hot water.

move cooked chicken to broiler pan.  top with tbsp of tomato mixture.  divide cheese among all three breasts.  broil for 3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

serve chicken atop noodles (i put another dollop of the tomato mixture on top of the noodles before adding the chicken).

this yielded 3 servings (noodles were leftover).  kids split one breast.

i'm too lazy to put together the nutritional info.  okay?

whole wheat bread

i really want to be able to make yummy wheat bread for my family every week but my first attempt was a bust.  i didn't give up though and when i found this recipe, i felt like it looked like a promising one to try so try i did.

it was super easy to make and i have to thank my friend kalisa for letting me borrow some of her dough enhancer.  that stuff is tough to find.  thankfully she pointed me in the right direction for my next batch (thanks kalisa!).

anyway, this bread is super delicious.  the only thing about it that makes me want to continue to try different recipes is it's a little sweet for my taste. especially for sandwich bread.  i'm also not crazy over the fact that it calls for a small amount of all purpose flour.  can it be considered "whole wheat" when you use all purpose flour?  i don't know.

send me your wheat bread recipes people.  please?

the original recipe makes five medium loaves so i cut it in half and made two large loaves instead.  thank goodness i did because my kitchen aid couldn't have handled any more ingredients.

here is the recipe for five loaves.  if you really can't do the math yourself and want my calculations for two loaves, just say the word.  i will be happy to spend time sharing that information.

whole wheat bread
3 1/2 cups hot tap water
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
3 Tbsp instant yeast
2/3 cup oil
1 cup honey
1 cup white flour
3 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
2 Tbsp dough enhancer
12 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp salt

combine ingredients in the order given in a heavy duty mixer.  mix well after half the flour then add the other half of the flour and the salt.  add a little extra white flour as needed if the dough is too sticky (i didn't have to).  knead in mixer for 8 minutes.  dump dough onto prepared surface and spread with hand (prepared for me was simply my wooden cutting board.  i didn't need extra flour or oil).  form into a long log, then, divide into 5 loaves.  form each loaf into a log shape and place in a medium sized non-stick bread pan leaving the top round and smooth.   let rise in a warm spot until almost desired size (about 1 hour).  bake in preheated oven (350 degrees) for 25-20 minutes.  remove from oven to wire racks and brush tops with small amount of butter if desired.  let cool about 10 minutes then remove from pans and let cool completely before slicing.

yields 5 loaves (15 slices per loaf).  nutritional data for one slice:

Nutrition Facts
sisters cafe
wheat bread

Serving Size: 1 serving

Amount Per Serving


Total Fat2.6g

Saturated Fat 0.4g

Trans Fat0g

Dietary Fiber2.1g


Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium    1%Iron 4%

orange honey grilled chicken strips

recipe from here.

know this; i try a lot of recipes but i only post the ones that i think are worthy (you're welcome).  on this particular day i ran across this wonderful blog of an old friend from high school.  it looks like she and her sisters spend a lot of time in the kitchen and i plan on trying several of their recipes.  so far, this chicken was a keeper.   the quinoa however was not a keeper but it was from a different source.  it wasn't good at all ... we were grateful to have some leftover wheat rolls from the night before to fill it's place.  i have yet to master the quinoa dishes ... sight.

orange honey grilled chicken
1 to 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (i used frozen tenders)
2 Tbsp soft butter (weird ingredient but, it was a nice touch.  i only used 1 tbsp and added 1 tbsp of olive oil)
2 Tbsp finely chopped scallions
2 Tbsp orange juice (i used fresh)
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp honey (i used 1.5)
2 Tbsp grated orange zest

the source used skewers and actually basted the chicken while it grilled. i  had skewers but i didn't want to hassle with it and i wanted to try marinating the meat for a few hours which i thought turned out quite nice.  i liked the flavors a lot and so did the kids.   add it to the list!

nutritional info is for the marinade only:

Nutrition Facts
honey orange marinade
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat6.4g
      Saturated Fat1.7g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber0.2g
Vitamin A 8%Vitamin C 11%
Calcium    1%Iron 1%

carrot pineapple muffins

so yummy.  naturally sweetened, no added fat.  what more could you ask for?

i found this recipe here.  i wanted to try it right away! luckily, i happened to have everything on hand so i gave it a whirl and was pleased with the result.  one thing though, these either need to be eaten within 24 hours or individually wrapped and frozen or they start to taste weird after a couple of days.

carrot pineapple muffins

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 Tbsp oat bran (i used whole oats and ground them in my food processor .. worked fine)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup light agave nectar
1/2 cup skim milk
1 1/3 cups grated carrots
3/4 cups diced pineapple (i used fresh)
12 pineapple chunks for tops

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. lightly spray a standard 12 cup muffin pan with vegetable oil spray.
2. sift together flour, bran, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt into a medium bowl and make a well in the center
3. in another medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at high speed, beat the egg whites with all the agave nectar until soft peaks form (see photo below).  {next time, i'll add a tbsp or two of the fresh pineapple juice to the nectar/egg mixture}. reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the milk.  pour into the flour well and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined.  stir in the carrots and the diced pineapple.
4. spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 3/4 of the way full. top each muffin with a pineapple chunk.  bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when pressed with a finger, 20-25 minutes.  cool for 2 minutes, run a knife around the inside of the cups to release the muffins and remove the cups. serve the muffins warm or at room temperature.

yields 12 muffins

Nutrition Facts
pineapple carrot muffins

Serving Size: 1 serving

Amount Per Serving


Total Fat0.6g

      Saturated Fat0.1g

      Trans Fat0g




      Dietary Fiber3.3g



vitamin A 40%Vitamin C 7%
Calcium    1%Iron 4%

lemon chicken and orzo pasta salad

this was lunch for several days last week.  it was wonderful and even more exciting, i made it up myself!  rare, i know.

first, a while back this man knocked on my door trying to sell me some meat.  he was really pushing the beef and wouldn't believe me when i told him we really don't eat that much red meat.  finally, after i pushed back, he showed me what he had to offer for chicken.  i ended up purchasing a case of this chicken and have been very pleased with it so far.  in fact, we're almost out and i'm ready to order some more.  there are several different flavors, already marinated and then a box of chicken tenders (the kids LOVED).

i looked the company up online and noticed they sell the same case i bought for $279 ... i paid $110!  looks like i need to track down the phone number of the guy who visited our house.  i feel like this is a great price for the quantity and especially for the quality.  we went through this case very quickly.

back to the orzo.  so, i had grilled some of the lemon pepper chicken up the night before and had few cutlets left over waiting to be eaten for lunch.  obviously if you don't have the chicken waiting patiently in your fridge, you'll need to grill up a couple of breasts seasoned with lemon pepper or, eliminate it all together for nice vegetarian friendly dish.

2 chicken breasts, seasoned with lemon pepper, grilled and cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cups orzo pasta (pref. wheat), cook according to package directions eliminating salt and oil
1 cup fresh spinach
2 Tbsp green onions, minced
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp orange juice (i used fresh)
2 Tbsp lemon juice (i used fresh)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

using a wire whisk, mix together onions, parsley, oj, lemon juice, mustard and oil.  set aside.  once pasta is cooked, drain and return to saucepan.  turn heat off.  mix in warm chicken and fresh spinach.  toss until spinach is wilted.  move to serving dish and drizzle dressing mixture over top.  toss to mix.  serve warm, at room temperature or cold.  i ate this for days and loved it every way!

yields 4 - 1 cup servings (nutritional data includes chicken)

Nutrition Facts
orzo pasta salad
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat7.8g
      Saturated Fat1.1g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber2.7g
Vitamin A 20%Vitamin C 11%
Calcium    2%Iron 9%


caramelized pear, sweet onion and gorgonzola pizza

there are not any decent restaurants where we live.  it's not surprising considering the fact that we didn't even have a grocery store or gas station in our city until we'd lived here for three years.  needless to say, we don't eat out a lot.  not that this would change even if there were restaurants.   it's too expensive.  however, on a few occasions jake and i get to date eachother and we'll often drive the long distance into salt lake and eat at one of our favorite joints.  for him, this would include the california pizza kitchen.  he loves pizza!  me? not so much.  i like the weird stuff though like their pear and gorgonzola pizza so i thought i'd try to recreate it myself.

the thought came to me after i decided to quit buying frozen pizza's for the kids and the hub.  they eat them like crazy, they're expensive and obviously, not all that nutritious.  instead, i've been buying whole wheat pocketless pita bread, decent pizza sauce, part skim mozzarella and browning ground italian turkey sausage ahead of time.  when they want a pizza, it takes 5 minutes to throw it together and another 3 to broil.  way healthier, way faster and way less expensive.  even better?  according to jake, they taste more delicious than the frozen stuff anyway.  score!  another plus, the kids can make their own and they think it's *fun.*

i'm rambling (surprise).  anyway, like i said, i don't love pizza but i LOVED this little creation.

i caramelized some pears and sweet onions and made a gorgonzola dressing to put over the spring mix on top.  it was amazing.  jake tasted it and agreed.  i feel like i need to tell you this because i consider his taste buds to be more "normal" than my own.

give it try.

caramelized pear, sweet onion and gorgonzola pizza
1 whole wheat pocketless pita
1 slice deli provolone
1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese (divided)
1/2 cup (approx) sweet onion (sliced)
one pear (sliced)
tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tbsp butter (divided, 1/2 for onions, 1/2 for pears)
1/2 tbsp water
cooking spray
spring mix or arugula (however much you want)
tbsp apple cider vinegar
tsp canola oil (or less, depending on preference, i like less oil)


pre-heat oven - low broil.

first, i caramelized the onions and pears in separate pans at the same time.  i do not know how to caramelize pears or onions so i just gave it a whirl.  it seemed to work.  you do what you want but in case you don't know how either, follow my lead.

melt 1/8 tbsp butter over medium heat.  add brown sugar and water.  bring to boil.  add sliced pears, turn heat down and cover.  let simmer for 5 minutes.  uncover, flip pears and let cook for another 3 minutes.  done!

melt 1/8 tbsp butter over medium heat.  cook onions over med/low heat until very soft and brown.  (it took about the same amount of time as the pears ... convenient).

spray pita with cooking spray.  place onions on pita first.  break up provolone over onions.  sprinkle about 2/3 gorgonzola over provolone (use the rest for the dressing).  place pears on cheese.

broil 3 - 5 minutes until cheese is melted and sides are light brown.

while pita is in oven, mix vinegar, oil and remaining gorgonzola in a small bowl.  toss with spring mix (or arugula).

once pita is broiled, slice into four wedges and serve with spring mix on top.  YUM!

here's a secret; this really isn't all that nutritious or low in calories/fat but, it was a nice version of pizza for me to enjoy with the family and it was perfectly delicious.  something i'll definitely make again, just not too often!
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