Flaxseed, Millet, and Black Pepper Crackers

How does time go so fast?  I can’t believe it is almost November already.  When I was a young child I remember things taking so long to occur.  All I wanted was for the day to be over so that I could put my halloween costume on and go fill my pillow case up with candy.  Hours passed slowly.  Days passed slower.  Weeks felt like years… especially when Christmas was involved.  Couldn’t we just make it so that everyday in December gave birth to baby Jesus?  And therefore presents… my little brain didn’t quite understand.

Now time seems to flash by, each year leaving me feeling a little bit farther behind in the things I’d like to do, make, see, and read.  There is balance that I’m slowly learning year by year.  Each season offers different adventures, and of course, we want to do them all.  But sometimes that gets overwhelming.  Sometimes that take the joy out of the experience because the doing becomes more important than the being.

All week long I’ve been thinking that I need to make doughnuts for this post.  That was my plan!  I had to get it done.  (And I really wanted a doughnut.. duh).  But as life was happening I began to slowly come to the reality that my time table was not going to work out.  There were old friends to be around and new friends to make.  There was work and workouts.  There was sleeping in a little bit later because its too dark in the morning to actually want to get out of bed.  Doing was not going to happen.  Being was a better idea.  Engaged in the life that was actually swirling around me as opposed to planning for the things that I need to get done.

 Can I real talk you for a second?  I actually made these crackers several months ago and have yet to share them with you all.  Thats real life.  I sort of got excited about other things and these took to the back burner.  Does that mean that weren’t that good?  Absolutely not!  They are full of flavor and texture, perfect on there own or accompanied with a creamy, salty cheese.

These crackers are relatively easy.  Butter gets cut into the dry ingredients which includes two types of flour, flaxseed meal, salt, pepper, baking soda, and millet seeds for an added crunch.

Buttermilk gives this flour/butter mixture a big drink and hydrates them all up!

After a few turns on the table and rest in the fridge, the dough is all set to be rolled out and cut into perfect circles.

A prick of the fork ends the process before the oven takes over, browning these crackers to oblivion.

As far as crackers go, I suppose these could be considered “healthy.”  Whole grains and millet seeds provide lots of fiber and flaxseed have the benefit of omega 3s.

I would mostly just consider them tasty.  The black pepper adds a great savory quality that I think would be offset perfectly with a creamy cows milk cheese and blackberry jam.

Thats just my imagination talking though.

Flaxseed and Black Pepper Crackers

Recipe slightly adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup millet seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.  Set aside
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flaxseed, flaxseed meal, flours, baking soda, salt and pepper.  Add the butter and work the butter into the flour using your fingers.
  3. Make a well in the center of the butter flour mixture.  Pour the buttermilk into the well and use a fork to bring the ingredients together.  All the dry ingredients should be moistened by the buttermilk.  The dough will be shaggy
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead together about 10 times to bring dough together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  5. When chilled, cut dough in half.  Working with one half at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick.  Use a 1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out crackers.  Prick each cracker with a fork and place on prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake crackers for about 15-18 minutes, until slightly browned on the edges.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before placing in an airtight container.  Crackers will last for about 4 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.  Makes about 4 dozen.

Squash, Pancetta, and Kale Stuffed Rolls

Notes to self:

1.  When you have hard a day eat grilled cheese and hang out with your bf and an old friend.  Laughter and full tummies are inevitable.

2.  Annie’s bunnies are dangerous.  Just because the box says “made with organic wheat” does not mean that they are calorie free.  Drop that second handful and let those bunnies live another day.

3.  Your Iphone is not essential for living.  You don’t have to check it every five minutes and its okay to just to sit (sometimes awkwardly) at a table by yourself without reaching for your phone.  No one posted a new picture on instagram.

4.  Remember this… “Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself … true gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation with myself.  In fact, I stop thinking about myself.  The freedom of self-forgetfulness. … The truly gospel-humble person is a self-forgetful person whose ego is just like his or her toes.  It just works.  It does not draw attention to itself.”  (The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller)

5.  When you are questioning what you are doing in life, job, relationships, etc. keep asking questions and keep seeking answers.

6. Stuffing delicious things inside of another delicious thing is always a good idea.

 Lets begin with something that makes everything better… carbs.

The roll part of this recipe is super simple.  Flour and salt make a small “well” in which the water, yeast, and sugar to mingle in.   Oil is added just before the ingredients are combined together.

  This is the dough after about 7 minutes of kneading.  It comes together nicely, although it will be a bit sticky.. thats normal though!  The dough gets placed in a well oiled bowl and covered with plastic wrap.  It sits for about an hour so that it can double in size.
 Acorn squash was cut in half, de-seeded, and roasted with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.  After is comes out of the oven use a spoon to scoop out the filling.

Let if cool first.  Or if your impatient you can burn your fingers like I did.
Other filling ingredients are onion, garlic, pancetta, kale, and ricotta cheese.

Its a good balance of good for your guts and good for your (taste) buds.    This all started with the pancetta.  Pancetta is basically the Italian form of bacon.  Its not as smoky as bacon so if you like that smoky get your bacon on.

The rest of the ingredients are sauteed in the pancetta grease.  Recycling at it finest.

 Here is the dough post.

I hadn’t made bread in a while so I forgot the dreamy, silky texture of risen dough… so fantastic

I bet this is what Jesus’ skin felt like after he came out of the tomb… you know, bread of life and all.
  This is the semi-tricky part.  A dollop of filling goes onto eat square of dough.  Then you take opposite corners of the dough and pinch them together, making sure there are no holes in the dough.

Pro-tip:  To get the rolls round, make a C around the ball of dough while its sitting on the counter.  Make a circular motion with your hand, while spinning the roll within that C shape part of your hand.  This should help make the roll round and seal seams in the bottom.
Each roll takes its place in line all bunched up next to the other.  Egg wash is a must if you want that deep golden brown color after the rolls are baked.

Just whisk an egg with a fork and use a pastry brush, or even your fingers, to paint the top of the rolls with a coat of egg wash.

Next, these beauties are baked and eaten.  An unsuspecting dinner roll surprises the unknowing when they bite into bread and find nutty acorn squash, salty pancetta, savory onion, flecks of green kale.

My boyfriend intended to eat 1 then had 3 and finished with 5… I’ll take that as a good sign.

Squash, Pancetta, and Kale Stuffed Rolls

Inspired by Baker and Spice Bakery; dough recipe from Girl versus Dough

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (~115 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Filling

  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half and deseeded
  • 4 oz pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 11/2 cups dino kale, chopped or torn into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Dash of thyme and rosemary

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silpat silicone liner.
  2. Brush both halves of the acorn squash with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for about 30 minutes, until squash is tender when poked with a fork.  Let cool for about 10 minutes.  Use a spoon to remove the meat of the squash from the skin.  Cut squash meat into small cubes and set aside.
  3. Dough:  In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Pour water, yeast, and sugar into the flour well.  Let stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.  Add olive oil and mix until just combined.
  4. On a lightly floured surface knead dough, adding flour when necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  Alternatively, place dough into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  5. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and coat with a bit of olive oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm room for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  6. Meanwhile make the filling:  Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add pancetta and cook until just starting to brown.  Add onion and continue to cook until onion is translucent.  Add kale and garlic and cook until kale has wilted down.  Add cubed squash and stir to combine ingredients.  Using the back of a fork, smash some of the squash while leaving other pieces whole.  Stir in the ricotta until combined.  Add thyme and rosemary.  Salt and pepper filling to taste.
  7. Prepare a baking 9×13 in baking dish by lightly greasing it.  When dough has doubled in size, punch down, remove from bowl and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12×15 inches.
  8. Cut the rectangle of dough into 15 squares.  Spoon filling onto the center of each square.  Make sure to use up all the filling.  Lift up the four corners of the dough and pinch to seal.  Seal any remaining openings.  Place roll seam side down in prepared baking dish.  Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
  9. Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake rolls until they are a deep golden brown about 15-20 minutes.  Remove rolls from oven and let cool slightly.  Serve warm.

Pumpkin Smoothie

What. is. up?

I was just about to tell you all about the person I’m mad at, the situations I’m frustrated with, and things I’m worried over.  Thats lame though, and really, I don’t think you wanna hear about it.

Instead, I’ll tell you this…

Love well today.  Be grateful for the sunshine.  Delight in the clouds.  Rest in the truth that you are loved.  Share your heart with the people around you.  Be vulnerable enough to real talk a couple of conversations.  Walk into your fear.  Confront what challenges you.  Tell five people you appreciate them.  Find meaning in the silence.
Go for a walk.  Crunch fallen leaves under your feet.  Drink water.  Don’t beat yourself up.  And make a smoothie.

A pumpkin smoothie, of course.  Super simple and full of good for you ingredients.

Literally, it takes less than five minutes to make this smoothie.  All the ingredients blend perfectly into a cold, fall beverage without the guilt (or cost) of a pumpkin frappe.  Winning.

Happy Friday!

Don’t forget to give the next person you see a high five/fist bump… whichever you prefer.

Pumpkin Smoothie

Adapted from Lululemon Blog

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (you can also use vanilla)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • Toasted pecans, optional

Directions

  1. Place pumpkin, banana, protein powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and almond milk in a blender with a few ice cubes.  Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour smoothie into a glass.  Top with cinnamon and toast pecans.
  3. Now drink it like nobody’s business.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brother:  Hey Kayla do you think we could make chocolate chip cookies and put bacon in them?

Me: Uhhh, yeah.  Definitely.

Brother:  Cool. 

Yep, that simple convo is how it started.  A little flicker of an idea in that big guy’s head and our baking adventure began.  I think this was the first time I’ve ever baked with my brother.  Sure we’d made dinner together a time or two when we both lived in California.  I’d come over to his house and we would work our way through our mom’s green chile chicken enchilada recipe, but baking?  Nope… that has always been my job.

His number one request is always chocolate chip cookies.  Always, always, and always.  I bet he could eat an entire batch in one sitting… but I think I could too so I’m not that impressed.

Of course, I have baked for him many, many times.  But he never makes much more than burnt popcorn for me.  Wah wahhh.   So naturally I figured his spark of bacon genius would leave me to do the “work” and he would be left with a very tasty reward.  Not that I mind making the cookies it’s just the fairness factor between siblings that is stuck in the back of my mind.  Example:

Brother: Hey Kayla can you get me some water?

Me:  Yeah, next time I get up from the same couch you are on and go to the kitchen I’ll get you one.

…. the next day

Me: Nick can you grab me a kleenex… they’re right there next to you.

Brother: (walks over to the couch) Did you want me to get you something?

This is just one example of a give and take imbalance in this relationship.

To my surprise he helped me out in the end.  I watched, very carefully and slightly controllingly (is that a word? Nope.), as he measured the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  I may have hovered over his shoulder a little bit as he creamed the butter and sugar.  I definitely had to help him put the food processor on the right way.

But really, he helped a lot.  And I really enjoyed it.

Especially when he did the dishes. (what?!)

When the timer went off we were both anticipating what was to come.  Would they taste good?  Would it just be weird?  Too much bacon?  Or worse, not enough?

In the end, and after several taster cookies, I decided that they were perfect for my mouth buds.  I like the subtle salty, smoky flavor that sneaks up on your taste buds.  Since the bacon is ground into small pieces each bite is flecked with a few bacon-y gems.  Not overwhelming but noticeable.  I still feel like I’m eating a choco chip cookie, which was important to me.

I give a high five to the man with idea… Nick, you did well.

Now go to the gym…

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe adapted from nestle tollhouse

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner.
  2. In a food processor, grind bacon into small pieces about the size of a pebble.  Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. One at a time add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture until fully incorporated, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Pour flour mixture into butter mixture and stir until combined.
  7. Add chocolate chips and bacon stirring until fully incorporated.
  8. Using a small ice cream scoop or a large spoon drop about a tablespoon of dough onto the baking sheet.
  9. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 9-10 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.  Or eat one right away when its still warm!

*Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  Have leftovers?  Freeze them!

Arugula Walnut Pesto

Lets start the week out with something green.  Lets start the week out with vegetables and healthy fats.  Lets start the week with a pop of flavor.

They (whoever “they” are) say you eat with your eyes first.  Green as grass arugula pesto is not only appealing to eye, but easy to make and incredibly versatile.  Arugula’s natural peppery flavor and a salty bite from the parmigiano reggiano lends itself well to a multitude of dishes.  This pesto can be used up right away or frozen for the future.

I’ve collected a few recipes from around the web that utilize arugula pesto in tasty ways.  Try one of them out or make up your own combination.  Let me know what you do!

I love the colors of this mac and cheese.  It almost makes it feel healthy with all that green… almost

This would be a great salad to make for lunch.  Wheat berries have a slightly chewy texture with a nutty finish.  Perfect with a peppery pesto.

Pesto on your pizza?  Its a great way to switch up your pizza toppings and add new flavors in the mix.  I’ll take two slices right now.. thank you

If you’re looking for an easy week night dinner just grill up some chicken and top it with pesto.  Simple and delicious!

This is a great dish for when company comes over.  It looks impressive and you won’t have to spend hours in the kitchen.  Look at those colors!

Arugula Walnut Pesto

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces or 2/3 cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 1- 10 oz bag of arugula
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Place olive oil, parmigiano reggiano, walnuts, arugula, salt, and pepper in a food processor.  Process until all ingredients are ground into a thick, smooth paste.  Thats it.. you’re done!
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze to use later.