Claudia and Hans Make Stuff

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Dutch oven risotto

So far…after checking numerous dutch oven recipe books…I have been rather disappointed by the lack of variety in vegetarian dishes for the dutch oven. However, there seems to be an abundance of meat dishes. In a dutch oven cook book from the 1950ties, one can even find a recipe for “oven-fried squirrel”–a recipe that reminded me of the “Hunger Games.”

In an attempt to introduce more variety to vegetarian/vegan dutch oven cooking, I was determined to use the recipe as a start.

Hans and I tried it with a little backyard fire and during our recent trip to Canyonlands. Two of our friends totally approved of this recipe.

Ingredients (Makes 2 servings):
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup uncooked Arborio (short grain) rice
¼ cup sliced green onions, or regular white onion
1 vegetable bullion and 2 cups of water, another cup of water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium (½ cup) Roma tomatoes, chopped
Grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste

1. Coat Dutch oven (8-inch for two servings) with 1 table spoon of butter. (This may be easiest after warming Dutch oven briefly in camp fire. Make sure that the lid is closed. After warming Dutch oven, remove from fire and spread butter.)

2. Place Dutch oven over camp fire. Melt 2 tablespoons butter; add rice and green onions. While stirring, cook onion and rice briefly. Add beans, water, vegetable bullion, and basil. Cook for approximately 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. If mixture becomes too dry, add a little bit more water (approximately 3/4 cup of water).

3. Stir in tomatoes and continue cooking until rice is done. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.  (Note: vegan option possible, just use vegan butter and do not sprinkle with cheese.)

Dutch oven risotto

Dutch oven risotto

Health benefits:
* This recipe is low in fat, but bursts with flavor.
* In addition the beans are rich in vitamin C. (Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron and to maintain healthy skin, teeth, and bones. It is also an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and helps fight infection.)
* The beans also have potassium and magnesium, which help regulate body fluids and maintaining muscle, bone, and teeth health, respectively.
* Compared to white long-grain rice, Arborio rice has more dietary fiber. Fiber can help with hunger control and may also lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
* Tomatoes are rich in vitamins C and E. They also contain beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Cooking enhances some of the health-giving qualities of tomatoes, particulary the effectiveness of lycopene (a bright red carotene).

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Delicious pumpkin bread

I love baking moist breads and vary the recipes so that they remain super-delicious but without all of the added calories these bread recipes commonly have.
So below you will find our version of delicious and moist pumpkin bread that is both low-fat as well low-sugar.

1 3/4 cups sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup natural apple sauce
3 organic eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin
2/3 cup water (depending on consistency)

1. Grease the bottom and ½ inch up sides of two 9 x 5 x 3-inch, three 8 x4 x2-inch, or four 7.5x 3.5 x 2-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a very large mixing bowl beat sugar, oil, and apple sauce with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs and beat well; set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add flour mixture slowly to sugar mixture. Beat in pumpkin. The dough should be a creamy batter that is slightly thicker than pancake batter, if necessary carefully add a little bit of water to reach desired consistency. Spoon batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake in a 350° F oven for 55 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 2 loaves (32 servings).

Note: For vegan option replace eggs. Reduce water. 1 egg = 1 tablespoon flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water (well-mixed and heated)

Pumpkin bread

Pumpkin bread

Notes about healthiness of recipe:
* In our recipe, we replaced half of the normally requested amount of oil with apple sauce. Additionally, we reduced the number of eggs and the amount of sugar.
* Pumpkin (even from the can) provides various healthy benefits. Pumpkin is rich in dietary fiber and also is a great source for vitamin A, iron, and vitamin E.

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Just like grandma’s banana bread

I love bananas, but I am very picky about when to eat them. I prefer them when the banana peel is yellow with just a bit of green on it. Once the banana peel starts showing spots, I will not eat the bananas.

And it happens occasionally, that the bananas turned brown before I could eat them. It turns out that very ripe bananas are best for banana bread. The riper the banana is, the higher the glycemic index and the sweeter the banana is. You can even freeze your ripe bananas to be used for banana bread later, just make sure to remove the banana peel before freezing the banana.

1 cup raw organic sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1½ cups mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup water
1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Grease bottom of loaf pan.
2. Mix sugar and butter. Stir in eggs until blended. Add bananas and water; beat 30 seconds.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into pan. Bake until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean,
55 to 60 min., cool 5 min.

Note: For vegan option replace butter with vegan butter and replace eggs. Reduce water. 1 egg = 1 tablespoon flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water (well-mixed and heated)

Banana bread

Banana bread

Health benefits of the recipe:
* Raw sugar contains molasses and therefore contains small amounts of calcium, iron, and potassium. On the contrary, white sugar does not contain molasses, thus it lack these minerals. In addition, raw sugar is richer in flavor, which allows one to use less raw sugar. Overall, the presence of minerals and the ability to use less raw sugar in place of white sugar makes raw sugar a better alternative to white sugar.
* The glycemic index (GI) of bananas varies depending on the fruit’s ripeness. A banana with some green still left on the yellow peel has a lower GI than a banana with brown spots. The GI refers to the ranking system comparing how fast carbohydrates from a given food are released into the body. You can find more about the GI on this website
* Bananas are rich in potassium, fiber, zinc, iron, folate, and vitamin B6. This superfruit is known to lift the spirit, aid in sleep, eases high blood pressure, soothes the stomach and digestive system, boosts energy levels, and can help the body to eliminate toxins.

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Scrumptious apple walnut bread

Nothing has been posted in over 1 month…how dreadful!!!
We have been baking and cooking, I just have not had the time to actually upload any recipes. So in an effort to at least get some of the recipes posted, I will post a few of them now…but will make changes/additions to them later.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup natural apple sauce
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups raw, organic sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups peeled, cored and cubed apples (we prefer to use apples, such as Fuji, that are a bit sour)
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, stir together oil and apple sauce. Add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
4. Gradually stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, mixing just until combined. Fold in apples and walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pans. The dough will have a thick pancake-like batter consistency.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 70 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.

Note: Make sure to cube the apples, so that the pieces are approximately the same size.
It is best to combine all the ingredients by hand, especially when mixing in the apples and walnuts.

Apple walnut bread

Apple walnut bread

Notes about healthiness:
* Compared to similar recipes, we reduced the amount of oil and substituted with additional apple sauce. We reduced the amount of sugar and replaced white sugar with organic raw sugar. The bread also contains whole wheat flour.
* Baking with apples does reduce the amount of vitamin C in the apples significantly. However, apples, even after baking, are a great source of dietary fiber and potassium.