Category Archives: baking

Beet Muffins

My CSA is getting out of control.

Well, to be fair, I also haven’t spent a weekend in Bloomington in a long time, which isn’t helping me to use up the excess veggies.

(I never have the pretty box pictures where everything is laid out neatly inside)

From left, I have 3 kohlrabi, 4 turnips, 5 huge beets, a bag of mizuna, and a bag of pak choi.  Leftover from last week, I STILL had 10 beets left.

Tonight Becca and I somehow perfectly orchestrated using the oven for 3 separate dishes.  We combined our collective forces to make roasted vegetables (carrots, beet stems, tofu, and broccoli seasoned with olive oil, sesame seeds, paprika, crushed red pepper, and zahtar).  I also got a chance to use my birthday present from my old roommate, Jayne!


This makes clean-up so easy!

The baking sheet underneath the veggies is PERFECT.  It molds to any shape and nothing seems to stick to it.  One drawback is that you dont’ seem to get the crispy veggies stuck to the bottom, but honestly, you also don’t have to clean that up, either, haha.

Keep in mind, today is also the hottest day of the year so far.  Why Becca and I decided to roast/bake when it was 92 degrees at 7:30 PM is beyond me.  (It’s 85 right now at 10:12 PM).

Besides putting together the veggies, Becca suggested I make beet muffins with all the beets I have.  She made a chocolate cake.  How we choreographed this is beyond me, but it was pretty awesome 🙂

Anyway, back to the beet muffins.  They’re pretty good.  I only used 2/3 of the sugar, and I think I should have used all of it because they definitely came out very beet-y (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).  To sweeten them up a bit we used some of Becca’s silken tofu frosting she made for the cake.  verrryyyy good.

such a great color

Beet Muffins

pureed beets

-Combine 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup raw sugar (should have used 1.5 cups), 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
-add 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups pureed beets (roast 5 large beets first at 400 degrees for 25 minutes), 2/3 cup applesauce
-mix together until just combined

combined ingredients

-distribute batter into muffin tin

I think these are good on their own, or could honestly be good with a cream cheese frosting.

Total Price: $4.47 ($0.37/muffin)

-1 1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour- $0.39
-1 cup organic raw sugar: $1.26
-baking powder/baking soda/cinnamon/ground ginger: $0.15
-1 organic egg: $0.17
-5 large organic beets: $2.00 (?)
-2/3 cup applesauce: $0.50




Bread Fix!

I had no time this weekend to even think.

I literally did nothing besides work, run, clean the house, sleep (barely), and eat.

Unfortunately, I totally forgot to feed my sourdough starter to make bread for the week.  I’m not sure I really would have had the time to, though.

Realizing I have no food in the house, I decided bread was probably necessary.  I opted for a quick bread I used to make all the time in undergrad- beer bread!!

This bread is so ridiculously easy and delicious (if you like beer) (which I do) (a lot).

The recipe calls for a lager, but I have used it all.  PBR is one of my favorites to make this bread with.  My ex boyfriend (who hated to drink and also hated beer) loved making this with Sam Adams Cherry Wheat.  I don’t like it so much because it comes out a little bit too sweet.  Today I made this with Upland Wheat.  I also made a couple other changes from the original recipe.  Instead of 3 tablespoons white sugar, I used 3 tablespoons brown sugar.  I also used all wheat flour instead of white.

I’ve had mixed results, texture wise, with this bread in the past.  It has come out with a very hard crust, it has come out dense, and it has also come out undercooked.  I have no idea if that is a fault on my part (quite possible) or differences in the beer used.  For instance, PBR always seems to make a denser bread with a harder crust.

Tonight’s bread turned out amazing fluffly and moist on the inside with a crispy crust on the outside.  I think the moistness has a lot to do with the wheat flour and brown sugar.  Interestingly, I don’t think this bread has as much of a beer flavor as previous loaves I’ve made.  It’s still delicious and I think it will be good for lunch, possibly with my almond butter.

Beer Bread

-preheat oven to 400 degrees C
-combine 2-1/4 cups wheat flour, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablesppoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients to pour the liquid ingredients into.

Beer Well..what could be better?

-pour 12 ounces of beer and 2 tablespoons olive oil into the well
-mix until just blended (this always reminds me of my mom because she is a stickler on making sure baked goods aren’t over mixed)

no over blending here!

-pour into an 8 inch bread pan and bake for 45 minutes
-remove to cooling rack and let cool

I don't think I have an 8 inch bread pan..


Total Cost: $3.93

-organic wheat flour: $2.23
-1 beer: $1.20
-brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, olive oil: no more than $0.50

This was definitely more expensive than other breads I have made, but it’s great in a pinch when you don’t necessarily have the money to go and buy bread, but have a lot of random ingredients and not a lot of time.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Cornmeal Squash Seed Bread

Yeah, that’s a lot of adjectives.


However, don’t be fooled by the number of ingredients.  This bread is simple and amazing.  The cornmeal and squash seeds impart a really satisfying crunch into the bread.  As an aside:  I never understood using the word “satisfying” to describe something like “crunch” until I tried this bread.  It was definitely an “Aha!” moment.  The loaf itself came out smaller than the sourdough.  I don’t know if that’s the nature of the bread, with the cornmeal, or if it had something to do with the rising process.  I think my second rise may have been a bit short.  Either way, I’m not too worried about it.  The process for making the bread is the exact same as I already described here.  The ingredients, however, have changed a bit:

Sourdough Cornmeal Squash Seed Bread Ingredients

2/3 cup sourdough starter
1-1/3 cups warm water
1-3/4 cups whole wheat bread flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (I used (surprise) butternut squash seeds)

The only difficult thing about making this bread was that the dough was much stickier.  This is apparently due to the replacement of wheat flour with cornmeal.  It did make it a little bit difficult to work with, so I would suggest using one of those bread scrapers, if you have one.

Other lesson learned:  when you create a steam bath in the oven, don’t use a porcelin baking pan.  Being chemists you would think we would have realized this, but we cracked our nice porcelin pan when we added cold water.

Other than that, this bread has a very artisan taste, which is a nice change of pace, especially given the ridiculous price tag “artisan” usually carries.

Total Cost: $1.50

starter (fed twice): $0.10 (here’s my rationalization:  $0.40 worth of flour was added, but about 1/4 of the starter was used)
bread flour: $0.77
corn meal: $0.37 (complete estimate.  don’t remember how much I paid, so assuming $4/5 lbs)
wheat flour: $0.21
seeds: $0.05 (again, estimate.  I paid $1.00 for two squashes and this is really just a by product)

My last loaf of bread lasted me 5 days, so, $0.30/day?


1.  Sahara Mart fail – I stopped here on my way back from errands this morning to buy some organic wheat flour since I noticed they had it in bulk for $1.79.  That sounded cheap, except that I failed to really do the math.  5 lbs cost me $8.91, when a 5 lb bag of the same thing cost me $6.99 last month.

2.  Squash Part 4 – The squash has been great as mix in for oatmeal.  I’ve been doing 2 heaping spoonfuls of squash with brown sugar and honey.

3.  Squash Part 5 – I roasted the seeds and am using it in a recipe for sour dough – cornmeal – pumpkin seed bread.  More to come on that later.

Squash Part 2

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures for this one.  We’ve been making a habit out of Friday night dinners with friends, and I was so excited to try my potato-squash-onion-ground beef pizza that I forgot to take a picture of it.  Actually, my roommate reminded me that I should have as I was taking my first big bite.  That’s okay, though, this post can be an exercise in imaginatory brain power.

I was a little bit nervous about my pizza because I have never had most of the ingredients I used on a pizza before.  I don’t mind making something and having it be bad if it’s just for me, but when other people are involved, I tend to care a little bit more 🙂

The pizza turned out fantastically, though.  If I were to change anything, I would utilize some advice that was given in a comment on a previous post and roast the potatoes a bit before putting them on the pizza.  I thought the garlic olive oil sauce was a great complement to the toppings.  I would maybe use a little bit less next time, though.  Here is what I did:

Potato-Squash-Onion-Ground Beef Pizza with Garlic-infused Olive Oil Sauce
-at least 3 hours ahead of time, make the pizza crust (mix 1-1/2 cups wheat flour, 1/4 tsp yeast, 3/8 cup warm water (I probably ended up using closer to 3/4 cups) in a food processor until a ball of dough forms, let rest for 3+ hours)
-prebake crust at 410 degrees C for 10 minutes
-while the crust is baking, put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauce pan and crush or finely chop a clove of garlic into the oil.  Set stove-top to low and let sit while crust bakes, stirring occasionally.
-thinly slice 2 potatoes and 1/4 onion
-brown 1/4 lb ground beef, add salt/pepper
-pull pre-roasted butternut squash out of the fridge
-after crust is done baking, brush olive oil/garlic mixture over the crust.
-add fennel and italian seasoning
-add desired amount of cheese
-add potato slices, onions, ground beef, and squash on top.  I would suggest salting the potato slices
-pop in the oven for another 8-10 minutes

Total Price: $3.79

crust: $0.61
garlic: $0.10
cheese (not organic): $1.00 (old cheese from before this project began)
squash: $0.13
potatoes: $0.60
onion: $0.20
ground beef: $0.75

Rhubarb Apple Crisp

There are very few things in the world that I still use a recipe for.  Any time I try to replicate one of my mom’s recipes, though, I ALWAYS consult her recipe first.

It helps that a few years ago for my birthday my mom gave me the best present ever- a binder full of her best recipes.  Her fruit crisp was one of them, which seems to always become a favorite amongst my various roommates.

Rewind to 6 months ago when I introduced my newest roommate, Becca, to rhubarb.  I was beyond excited when she loved it – sans sugar – as much as I do.  I bought a ton of rhubarb at the end of the season and have been keeping it in the freezer ever since.

Periodically throughout the semester we have talked about making crisp, but we’re always missing the most crucial ingredient, margarine.  This is where the problem arises.  My worst habit is oleo.  I think it’s because that’s what I grew up with and it’s always super cheap.  Every time I go to the grocery store I stand in the butter/margarine section and try to go for butter but am always stopped by an invisible force field of hydrogenated oil.  Becca, on the other hand, has a staunch aversion to hydrogenated oils and trans fat.  Butter is also out of the question because of her extreme lactose intolerance.  In most baking, we substitute vegetable oil for the butter/margarine, but that doesn’t work very well when making a crsip.  So, when I came home today and she said she had a surprise for me, I was pretty excited when she pulled out Becca-friendly margarine!  AND she got it 50% off on a manager’s special!  We’ve been rubbing off on each other all semester 🙂

So, fast forward about an hour and here we are, watching tv and relishing in our tart rhubarb apple crisp.  Here’s the recipe:

-fill a 9 x 9 baking pan half full with your fruit of choice (in our case we did ~2 cups rhubarb and 1 large apple
-in another bowl, mix 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 4 tablespoons softened margarine, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg.
-pour the mixture over the fruit and divide a 1 tablespoon pat of margarine over the mixture
-bake at 375 degrees F for 30-45 minutes

I noticed that the Earth Balance margarine Becca bought didn’t make the crisp very crispy, but honestly it tasted exactly the same.

I used my Saigon cinnamon for this recipe (I only bust it out on special occasions), and it made a difference to me.

I also think that because we used the apple it made the crips much more able to hold its own without any added white sugar. (EDIT: I realize the mistake but am keeping it there because it makes me giggle)

This crisp was definitely the highlight of my night and I am soooooo happy Becca made it possible  🙂