Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Bread Fun

Happy Easter friends! Today I thought I'd share a special family recipe for our Greek celebration bread. We make this bread every year for both New Year's Day and Easter. 

On New Year's, a tin foil wrapped dime is placed in the bread before baking. Luck for the year is promised to the happy recipient of the slice with the dime. For Easter, red eggs are placed in the bread symbolizing the blood shed by Christ on the cross. 

We made this bread on Friday and I will say it does take a significant amount of time to do, it's fairly easy work and fun for the kids to help with. Plus, it's DELICIOUS! you can make this anytime and freeze extra loaves for later. We eat this bread with holiday dinners, but it also makes a tasty breakfast treat when toasted and topped with butter and honey.

Greek Sweet Bread
Makes 3-4 Loaves
Organic Ingredients

5 lbs Flour
3 Packs of Yeast
½ T Salt
1 ½ Cups Sugar
3 Cups warm milk…  about 125°
1 Cup warm Water… about 110°
1 ¼ (5 sticks) Butter- melted
4 Eggs
1 T Almond Extract

In a large bowl melt the yeast and water.  Add the warm milk and salt.  Stir in 6 cups of the flour (batter will be lumpy).  Cover and set aside in a warm spot for about 1- 2 hours until doubled in size.

Stir with a wooden spoon and add sugar, the eggs, & the butter (mix almond flavoring in butter first).  Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Place the dough on a floured surface and knead thoroughly (your arms will be tired!).  Return to bowl and brush surface with butter.  Cover and let rise again.

Lightly knead again and let rest for 10 minutes.  Divide dough into 3 or 4 parts (depending on the size of your loaves).  Divide each of those in three and roll each section into long strips.  Braid and make into a circle to fit into the greased pan (approx 8- 10 inches round).  Let rise again in pan until double in size. 

Braided Dough
In Pan
After Rising Again
Red Eggs
Ready to Bake!
Brush the tops with a mixture of egg yolk and water ( 1 yolk to 1 T water).  You call also sprinkle with sesame seeds, almonds or add a few walnuts to the top. Bake at 350° for about 40-60 minutes or until done.

Baked to Perfection


Monday, April 18, 2011

Friday Night Kale Pizza, Wait, What?!?

Yep, that's right. I fed my kids pizza with kale in it last Friday. And they ate it (evidence below). 

Its super easy and actually really delicious!

I use the wheat Trader Joe's pizza dough (in the refrigerator case) and their pizza sauce (right next to the dough). Follow the dough directions for rolling and baking. Mix about 1 cup of kale (frozen... from whole Foods) right into the sauce and spread on the dough. Top with organic mozzarella and parmesan and bake to perfection! 

Its delicious, healthy and easy!

The "secret" ingredient

Monday, April 4, 2011

Red Beans and Rice

I have to admit, I love beans and rice. I'm always looking for new combos to enjoy this delicious duo. Not only are they easy to prepare, they are really good for you. Beans are FULL of antioxidants, fiber and protein. Plus, they keep you feeling full longer. Who doesn't need that??

Here's a fairly simple recipe I made the other night... the kids liked it (notice I didn't say loved it). I believe it's important to keep exposing them to a variety of heathy options and new foods.

Red Beans and Rice with Chorizo and Apples


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 apples peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 links of chorizo sausage (pork or turkey like in picture below)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and picked of debris
  • Cooked brown rice (follow package directions)

Place the vegetable oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, apples, salt and pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and are semi-translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the sausage, thyme, water and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high (mixture will be very soupy, see picture below). Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened to your liking. If you prefer an even creamier texture, mash some of the beans with a potato masher. 

Serve the beans over the rice.

Max enjoying the meal. 

Annie's plate... she ate about half!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why We LOVE Trader Joe's Broccoli Slaw!

1. It's fun to eat right out of the bag!
2. It's organic.
3. It's broccoli and carrots. Period. 
4. It's great in hot recipes, like sauteed with a little olive oil, garlic, white wine and tossed with whole wheat pasta.
5. It also makes a great slaw! I mix up mayo (1/4 cup), buttermilk (1/4 cup), a splash of white wine vinegar, 2 tsp of honey, salt and pepper.  Toss with broccoli slaw, dried cranberries, diced apples and walnuts. Its awesome!!!