Archive | April, 2011

Fun Healthy Eats

27 Apr

Though I love me some rich, sweet, chocolate-induced, food, I try my hardest to treat myself to that kind of stuff once a week or sometimes, when I’m really good, once a month (very rare, this). So for the rest of the week, I try to calorie count and eat as healthy as possible so I dont feel so bad when I gorge on cream cheese brownies with full fat ice cream on Sunday. 🙂

As a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer and someone who really hates medicine, I’ve done a whole lot of research on what foods to avoid that cause inflammation, and what to eat which helps ease some of the pains. The verdict is still out on whether or not my findings have had a truly significant influence on my condition, but maybe that’s because I nullify these efforts every weekend. Oops.

So much of the information I found on preventing or reducing inflammation of the joints mentioned that all things with wheat and/or gluten are not good for arthritis sufferers (as well as dairy products, red meat, eggs, and anything overly acidic). If you know anything about food and food allergies, you’ll know that gluten is basically in E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. So so annoying! And all gluten-free products are unreasonably expensive and majority of them, you have to make from scratch (i.e. bread, tortillas, cakes, muffins) … Well, on this side of the world at least.

Anyhow, I decided one sunday to try and make some gluten-free pizza when I stumbled upon a ready-made gluten free pizza base mix at one of those “Natural” pharmacies around town. Instead of cheddar or cow’s milk cheese, I decided to go for an apparently, healthier version of cheese, goat’s milk cheese. Don’t frown, it’s actually SO delicious. It has a very tangy, awkward taste, and at first you may even think it’s a bit off, but trust me, mix it with the right things and it is heaven on earth. Instead of regular tomato base I used organic products to make a tomato, olive and capers pizza sauce, and topped it with Woolworth’s organic basil pesto. Topped off with some fresh green and red peppers and a little garlic & herb spice, and voila!!!! A healthy, yet surprisingly tasty pizza! And the calories, don’t even worry about it!

The important thing to remember when making gluten free anything, it is crucial to ensure your measurements are EXACT. Which is always something I struggle with. But one wrong teaspoon and the whole thing is gone to the dogs 🙂

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Take That Cinnabon

25 Apr

So I’m like terribly obsessed with Cinnabon. Beyond any kind of understanding. When I left NY in 2003 I had a REALLY hard time coping without it because I used to have Cinnabon ALL the time growing up (BAD, I know). Anywhooooo, so you can imagine how delighted I was when Cinnabon opened up in Jo’Burg!!! Everytime I’d go for a weekend (or anyone that I knew would go), I’d buy/request one of those 9 pack frozen ones that you warm up in the oven. YUM to the O.

So recently I decided, bump this, I need to learn how to make these babies on my own. I found an amazing recipe on a great website called Fifteen Spatulas.

Let me tell you, making these was not fun. Firstly kneading and rolling dough is a problem for someone like me who only has partial usage in one hand, not fun, and then I didn’t read the recipe instructions in totality (which is rather silly of me since the recipe is titled “Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting , and thought I could bake them in one day, which was my intention, for Easter Sunday. Much to mine and my sisters’ disappointment, the damn things needed to sleep in the fridge overnight. Mxem.

Anyway, when they were finally ready in the morning I realized it was SO worth it. They are by far the most amazing little delights ever. Perfectly gooey, perfectly sweet, perfectly warm and moist. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!!

So for anyone with the love of cinnamon, creamy, sweet, gooey gorgeousness (and anyone with patience), here’s a copy of the recipe that brought me much happiness this Easter weekend. I’ve adapted it to suit the way I made it. Not every one has those big table mixer things. Mm mm. A hand mixer (and a strong sister/friend) will do. LOL.

Dough Ingredients:

4 egg yolks, room temperature
1 whole egg, room temperature
2 oz sugar (about 1/4 cup)
3 oz unsalted butter, melted (about 6 tbsp)
6 oz buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
20 oz all purpose flour (about 4 cups)
2¼ tsp active dry yeast
1¼ tsp sea or kosher salt
vegetable oil for greasing the rising bowl

Filling Ingredients:

8 oz light brown sugar (about 1 cup packed)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
¾ oz unsalted butter, melted (about 1½ tbsp)

Icing Ingredients:

2½ oz cream cheese, softened (about 1/4 cup)
3 tbsp milk
5½ oz powdered sugar, (about 1½ cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

In a fairly large bowl, using a hand mixer, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until blended together. Add about 2 cups of the flour as well as the yeast and salt, and whisk until moistened and consistently combined.

Add all but 3/4 of the remaining flour and knead at low speed for 5 minutes (if the hand mixer struggles to handle the consistency, use your hands to knead the dough … hectic, I know).  Touch the dough with your fingertips, and if the dough feels sticky instead of soft and moist, add more flour.  Continue to knead until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.  Turn the dough out onto your lightly floured countertop, and knead by hand for 30 seconds until it’s a nice smooth ball. I found that because I didnt use one of those huge machine whiskers (can you tell I’m bitter that I don’t have one), I had to add a little bit of water at this stage in order to get the mixture into a real proper ball.

Oil up a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Oil the top of the dough, and cover with plastic wrap. Let it double in volume, which should take about 3 hours.

Whisk the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together until combined. You will be sprinkling this on the dough later.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll the dough into an 18 by 12 inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the ¾ oz melted butter, and leave a ½ border along the top edge. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough, and press it in with your fingertips. Starting with the long 18 inch edge (it should be closest to you), roll the dough tightly

When you get to the end, make sure the seam is on the bottom, and squeeze the roll so that the roll has an even thickness. With a serrated knife, slice the roll into 1½ inch pieces, so you get 12 rolls.

You’ll notice there are two missing in my dish. Yes, they didn’t look pretty and round like these, so I dared not include them in this picture.

Cover with plastic wrap and prepare yourself for an annoying night of not having yummy cinnamon rolls. Mxem!

In the morning transfer the cinnamon rolls to the oven, but make sure the oven is turned off. Fill a sheet pan with some boiling water, and set it on the bottom rack of the oven (don’t put the cinnamon rolls in the sheet pan with the boiling water. I got confused here at first. The sheet pan should be on a lower rack and the cinnamon rolls in another baking dish above). Close the oven door, and let the rolls rise until slightly puffed and steamed, for about 30 minutes.

While the rolls bake, work on the icing.  Whisk the cream cheese in a bowl with a hand mixer (it doesn’t work as well with the stand mixer) until there are no lumps.  Add the milk and mix until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and mix until well incorporated

This is ironically the same exact frosting I usually use for some of my cupcakes. Delightful.

Spread this frosting on the rolls when they come out of the oven so it melts and drips down into the crevices. Say whaaat!

Doesn’t look so yummy at this stage, but it’s important to get it all nice and messy, so the frosting really gets its way around the cinnamon rolls and when you cut to serve, this is what you’ll get:

Also known as …. Heaven and Love.

Enjoy foodies 🙂