Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lean, Mean, Baking Machine

What did you do last weekend?

I was a single girl! My hubby took off for his monthly drill weekend and then my in-laws whisked my girls away after school on Friday.

What's a gal to do??


I had lots of new recipes to try and what better time to do it than when I can crank up the radio and dance around the kitchen at the same time.

I found a website that has become my Clean Eating Go-To Guide. She has every recipe you can ask for, and more, and the recipes I made Saturday were all from this website: The Gracious Pantry.

On the list for this particular Saturday was sandwich bread, pizza dough, and protein bars.

I've been trying to find a good bread alternative and also figure out what would be the most cost effective way to get bread, so I have been experimenting with baking my own bread. I haven't made up my mind on bread yet, but I'm having fun figuring it out!

We used to eat a lot of frozen pizza. It was the go-to dinner for either Friday or Saturday night. Not too expensive and easy to make. Well, on a clean diet frozen pizza is out. what? How about making our own pizza? I've made homemade pizza before, but I usually bought the pre-made crusts from the store. This time I wanted to try out a clean pizza dough recipe.

As I've stated before, I've been trying to find more snacks for all of us. My husband, Chad, drives a lot for work so he needs food that is portable. He has been so supportive of our eating clean, so I have been trying to support him as well by buying or making food that he can take to work. Protein bars seemed like a great portable snack. Less chance of pit-stopping for fast food!

I couldn't believe how well I timed all of the baking. It's amazing what you can accomplish when there is no one to take to the potty every five minutes or no arguing to break up. (It's also amazing how clean the house stays.) There was a lot of toast these while you mix that, knead this while that rises, bake this while that rises, eat this...and this...and this...

At one point I had this going on:

And then of course there was this:

  And last but not least, it all turned into this:

Here are the links for each of the recipes. They were all surprisingly easy to make, of course as long as you have the patience to wait for dough to rise. And most importantly, they were all delicious!

I followed this recipe exactly, the only thing I omitted was the 10 grain cereal. She recommends a cereal from Trader Joe's, but we don't have one where I live and I didn't find something comparable, so I just left it out. I still think it tasted good and we have been using it for sandwiches all week. 

This recipe was wonderful! I made it exactly and it tasted great, perfectly in-between thin and thick crust. I made my own pizza sauce using canned tomato sauce (no salt added) mixed with a sprinkle of onion powder, garlic powder, basil, and oregano. Then I dug out whatever veggies I had, in this case peppers, olives, and spinach and grated some cheese, and voila! Homemade clean pizza. I was extremely surprised when I ate this, it tasted really light and fresh! It is my new favorite! So long Red Baron, don't let the door hit ya...

Ok, these are where I tweaked a little. It was one of those, "oh crap, I don't have that ingredient" moments where you just make due. First off, the recipe calls for vanilla whey protein powder, but all I had was chocolate so I used that instead. It also called for grain-sweetened chocolate chips....honestly, I had never even heard of those, so I didn't bother. I left them out, figuring the chocolate powder would be enough chocolate (like you can ever have ENOUGH chocolate). And then it also calls for Chia Seeds. This also brought forth a "Huh?" from my lips...Although I did find these at the store, they were a little pricey for that shopping trip, so they are on the list for next time. So this time around I also left out the chia seeds. I thought the version I made turned out pretty good, at least we all like them. But I do want to make the original version sometime, to compare how they taste. All in all, they make a great snack!

I was lacking my regular taste-testers, but luckily my sister-in-law was coming over that night for one of our Sweatpants Parties. Yes, that's right. A party that you wear sweatpants to and have no expectations to meet. The best kind of party there is. Anyway, she graciously offered her services in the the taste-testing department and gave all of the recipes a thumbs-up.

So there you have it, a little bread, a little mess, and a whole lot of taste! 

Lean, Mean, Baking Machine? 

I don't know about the lean or mean part....but the baking machine is accurate!

Now time for a snack....where are those banana oatmeal muffins I just made....(coming soon!)

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