We know you've been wondering what's been happening with our experiments in the kitchen, so as a follow-up to our previous post we thought we'd share some photos of our baking adventures. It's almost become a tertiary project at this point, we have been baking all sorts of treats to have healthy snacks, breads, and save money since these things are pretty expensive 'round here.
The bread trials turned out well, Ginnie did make nice moist loaves and learned the trick to staying soft is to freeze any slices not being used right away - just thaw them the day you need them and they are ready to go. Despite getting the bread just the way we like it, we had been working on alternatives in the meantime, and due to their ease, we have stuck with them! So, Anthony makes up some fabulous pita bread each week and we use it for lunches - it's the perfect size and because he uses wheat flour, they are healthy, too. Plus, they are perfect for making homemade pita chips. He has also been making his own Indian Naan bread, and though he does not have the special oven, it still comes out pretty delicious and is perfect with stir fries and curries.
Gettin' fancy with bread making
Pita to go along with Ant's minestrone soup
Anthony's Garlic Parmesan Pita Chips
Naan bread with an eggplant stir-fry
We made English Muffins, too!
The Fabulous Rolled Oat!
We were buying granola, but it's pricey and sometimes a little soggy, so Ginnie started making her own granola each week with old fashioned rolled oats. It's so delicious and easy to make, saves us tons of money and is a perfect after school snack with yogurt or just some milk.
The next step from homemade granola is, naturally, granola bars. Despite not being labeled for individual sale, single servings of granola bars are sold for anywhere between $1.10 and $1.75, so it's costly to have them as a regular healthier snack option. Ginnie did her research once again and put together a really simple and yummy granola bar recipe. They are so good and versatile - we can add penaut butter, dried fruits, nuts, as desired. Since we control the ingredients, we don't have to watch the sodium content and we know exactly what we are getting and that they are healthy!
These are cinnamon-raisin granola bars - delish!
Another step from the granola bar is a granola-based jam snack that has a little softer consistency and reminds us of nutri-grain bars, so they are our own version and definitely healthier. Really, those bars may taste great, but looking at the ingredients list shows it's just a cookie with some oats and maybe a few other grains in there. Our homemade bars have much less sugar and are really soft and have the perfect amount of jam for flavoring. So yummy and a perfect little morning treat!
Tropical fruit jam oat grain bars
We had the best banana muffin in Antigua, so when we came home, Ginnie was back to work looking for a banana muffin recipe. She found some and came up with a banana oat muffin that she bakes as muffin tops since we do not have a muffin tray and it would really be silly to buy one since the point of all this homemade goodness is to save money (and to be sure we are eating healthy things). The muffin tops are so good, they go nicely with a bowl of cereal!
Perfect banana-oat muffin tops
There's Always Room for Pizza!
We cannot give up our pizza and Anthony's dough is the best! His mixture of whole wheat flour and honey makes the dough perfect and it cooks up great with any toppings we come up with. We had to share a new favorite - cheeseburger pizza! Inspired by a pizza made at the White House, Anthony put together a pizza with ground soy meat, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, pickles, and ketchup! It tastes just like a cheddar burger and is a major favorite. It may sound strange, but when you consider that ketchup is a tomato sauce, it's really not that different - and the nice thing is that the local ketchup is not loaded with corn syrup like those at home, so it's not so sweet and sugary.
You just have to try it!
Other Random Good Eats
Recently we have discovered a pop tart shortage in these parts. Not that we ate them frequently, but now and then a pop tart is nice, expecially on longer bus rides for some reason. This was probably a good thing so we weren't eating the sugars and things, but one day we were inspired! We adapted the recipe to use whole wheat flour and Ginnie created her own brown sugar cinnamon mixture and we have our own homemade pop tarts! The way they cook makes them perfect for eating cool or after toasting. They brown a little once they are toasted, just like pop tarts, and we can put any of our own fillings we want in them so we are not limited.
We also had to start making our own pasta considering the high cost of good-tasting pasta (Ronzoni is over $6!). Plus, the less expensive okay-tasting brand we found had some bug infestation problems. Homemade pasta dough is so easy to make and Anthony is getting pretty good at cutting it thin since we don't have a pasta maker. It tastes so good with our homemade tofu no-meat balls and with other spaghetti creations.
Pasta drying before being cooked
Just the ideal treat for a Sunday morning
As you can see, we keep pretty busy with this baking project, but it's well worth it when we can enjoy our own homemade treats. The question is, will we keep this up when we return to life in the states?