Showing posts with label BloggerAid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BloggerAid. Show all posts

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving & Ways to Help Feed the World

I want to wish everyone Happy Thanksgiving! Whether or not you are officially celebrating the holiday, I hope your day is a healthy and happy one and that you have a chance to reflect on whatever you are thankful for. I know I have much to be grateful for--a loving and supportive family, wonderful friends--near, far, and virtual, ;-) and the ability to take the time to focus on growing myself, my education and my life over the past year. Finally, I am thankful today for something I often take for granted, the fact that I have more than enough good food to eat. Unfortunately that is not something everyone in the world has the advantage of--in fact, over a billion people will not get enough to eat this year which is more than the populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union. That total includes the 66 million children who go to school hungry everyday. It can be depressing to think about, but empowering too as there are some small, easy things we can all do to help. For me since money isn't coming in quite as much or regularly as when I was working full time, I look for little ways to help that I can spread out over the month.

A Few Ways I Have Found to Help:
  • Do a pantry sweep, putting together a bag of canned goods from your pantry to donate to your local food bank. (The top five things they need: canned meats or tuna, canned meals, canned soups, canned vegetables and canned fruits).
  • Keep a grocery bag in your car and buy a few cans of on-sale food or non-perishable items each time you go to the store. When the bag is full, take it to your local food bank.
  • Donate small amounts, like that spare change that collects in bags and pockets to charities that help provide food and shelter those in need. A few of the stores here have a tag at the register to donate a set amount to the local food bank--an easy way to give. Each time I go to the store I grab a $2.81 tag which feeds a child breakfast for a week, but is a small impact on my grocery bill.
  • Volunteer a few hours of your time to help out at the food bank or with local programs that feed the hungry.
  • If you know someone who needs help, cook a meal for them or buy them a bag of groceries.
These are things that I have found that don't cost a lot individually but added up, they go a long way and can have a big impact on helping feed those in need.

Another thing you can do to help feed and nourish children around the world--buy a copy (or copies) of "The BloggerAid Cook Book". This terrific cookbook, pulls together the delicious recipes of food bloggers from all over the world (it's about 224 pages with 140 recipes from 60 countries) and 100% of the proceeds target children and education through the World Food Programme: School Meals.

Click here for The BloggerAid Cook Book

The BloggerAid Changing the Face of Famine group that put this awesome book together did a lot of hard work compiling recipes, testing, editing and pulling it all together to offer the book for sale before the holidays which really shows how food and caring for others can unite the world. The book is full of delectable recipes such as Tomato-Cheese Ravioli with Eggplant Sauce, Spicy Serundeng Tuna and Peanuts, Serrano Ham Paella with Oyster Mushrooms, Raspberry Mascarpone Bites and Triple Layer Orange-Passion Fruit Tart, (As well as the recipe for a certain delicious, healthy Curried Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Toasted Almonds that I am pretty partial to and that wins raves and recipe requests wherever I take it!) ;-)

The cookbook is on sale through Create Space, an offshoot of follow the link below the picture of the cover to get there. (you won't be able to find it on itself as the royalties are lower at Create Space which means more money to feed the children). My books are on order and should be arriving soon--I can't wait!

So wherever this Thanksgiving Day finds you, I hope you enjoy it and enjoy the blessings of the season. Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) for the friendship, fellowship and fun you all give me--I am truly grateful!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

BloggerAid View and Review: "King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking"--A Cookbook Review

As I have mentioned before, I am a member of BloggerAid-Changing the Face of Famine, a group of food bloggers from across the globe, working to alleviate world hunger. As a member I was able to contribute an original recipe to "The BloggerAid Cookbook" which goes on sale very soon and most importantly, the profits from the sale of the book will be donated to the Friends of the World Food Program. 

A few months ago I signed up for BloggerAid's View and Review program. It is a fun program that pairs food bloggers with products and cookbooks to review, generously provided by the publishers and food companies. A couple weeks ago I got my first assignment, viewing and reviewing "King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking" from the talented people at King Arthur Flour. I am going to be honest here, my feelings were a bit mixed upon learning I was receiving this book. On the pro side, I am all about whole grains--they make up the bulk of my diet; on the con side, as I frequently (and quite loudly!) proclaim, I AM NOT A BAKER! I admire bakers, I often wish I was an accomplished baker, but I have a long-standing fear of yeast and especially of baking bread, so it is not something I have a lot of experience or skill at. Thus there was a certain level of intimidation in receiving a GIGANTIC book, (612 pages & over 400 recipes) all about baking. 

Once I had the book in my hands however, I began to get excited--this isn't a book of just bread recipes, there are plenty of healthy whole grain recipes in a number of different areas. The book has chapters on Breakfasts, Quick Breads, Muffins, Coffecakes, Biscuits & Scones, Crisps, Cobblers and Puddings, Flatbreads & Crackers, Yeast Breads, Sourdough, Cookies and Bars, Cakes, Pies & Quiche and Pastry as well as a chapter detailing the different grain varieties: The Whole Grains and helpful sections on cooking grains, ingredient weights, resources to buy and a glossary of terms. This is one big whole grain resource and after reading through it, I can't imagine there could be any valuable information on the subject that didn't make it into this book! The fact that it comes from the experts at KIng Arthur Flour gives it instant street cred. I may not be a official baker but I know quality and if you look in my pantry you will find many of their fabulous products--for instance, I am never without their White Whole Wheat Flour or their Traditional Whole Wheat Flour for the things I do actually bake like muffins. Now, I just had to choose a recipe or two to make and post about.

Although my book ended up studded with many yellow post it notes, I finally settled on 3 recipes to try: Orange Cloud Pancakes, Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas and finally (because it is King Arthur Flour and I figured I should at least attempt a yeast bread), The Easiest 100% Whole Wheat Bread Ever. With the book, my trusty apron, whole grain King Arthur Flour and some mustered up courage, I set out to "road test" this book.

First up, the Orange Cloud Pancakes--how do you not want to try something with the words "Orange Cloud" in the title? I get cravings for pancakes approximately twice a year and then I usually end up making a batch of banana pancakes (this is Hawaii you know), but this recipe with its cottage cheese, whipped egg whites, white whole wheat flour and orange juice and zest really appealed to me. I also figured pancakes would be an easy way to get started. Yes, I know it is not truly baking but flipping pancakes requires some skills too. 

The recipe is easy and goes together fairly quickly even including a 10-minute resting of the batter before the egg whites are folded in. In no time at all, the scent of orange was wafting through the kitchen and I had a plate of fluffy, delicious pancakes ready for brunch. 

If you are trying to sneak some whole grains into your household's diet, these pancakes are a great way to do it--the texture is so light you would never know that they are better for you than the average pancake and the cottage cheese adds some extra protein. The maple syrup (Real Canadian maple syrup just in case you are wondering Natashya!) really compliments them and I served them with orange slices and a small scoop of cottage cheese. This is a definite make-again recipe.

Next I moved to the Whole Wheat Tortillas. I buy tortillas made from whole wheat all the time, but I wanted to try my hand at making them and wanted to use them for a burrito recipe I was trying for a weekly cooking event. The recipe only uses four ingredients: white whole wheat flour, salt, vegetable oil and water, and it went together very easily. I did a half batch, which gave me 6 tortillas. 

I struggled with my tortilla rolling but it was not the book's fault. It was muggy and hot in the kitchen and I am of little patience (read GRUMPY), when it is like that so my tortillas were a bit too small and thick for burritos, but the flavor was good and they worked well for tostadas. I will try building my rolling skills again when I am in better humor and our trade winds are back.

And finally...baking...and with yeast...YIKES! You would think I would feel confident with a recipe titled "The Easiest 100% Whole Wheat Bread Ever" but frankly that title is pretty intimidating. If I mess up a complicated recipe I can blame it on the level of difficulty or the recipe itself, but screw up a recipe that is "the easiest EVER!" and I end up looking like an idiot. Luckily, the recipe is REALLY easy and may just be idiot-proof. I did stress a bit, unsure if it was going to turn out, but turn out it did and I had a gorgeous, surprisingly soft, dark loaf of healthy and yummy bread to show for it. 

Spread with a layer of yogurt cheese and topped with some of my homemade passion fruit curd, it was darn near perfect. I just may be SORT OF A BAKER now! I would make this again and encourage you to try this easy recipe, especially if you too are intimidated with bread baking. 

The Easiest 100% Whole Wheat Bread Ever
"King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking"
Yield: One 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf, 16 servings
Baking Temperature: 350 Degrees F
Baking Time: 45 minutes

"If you've never baked yeast bread, but want go dip your toe into the (lukewarm) water, this is the loaf to start with. Unlike most yeast breads, this one isn't kneaded; instead, the very fluid dough is simply beaten in a bowl for several minutes, then spooned into a bread pan. An hour later, it's ready to pop into the oven. The result is a coarse-grained, moist, easy-to-slice loaf a lot like a quick bread. Spread thin slices with flavored cream cheese; the extra fiber in the bread will assuage any guilt you feel about the richness of the cheese!"

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) lukewarm water
1/4 cup (2 ounces) orange juice
3 Tbsp (2 1/4 ounces) molasses
3 cups (12 ounces) traditional whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) non-fat dry milk
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast

Thoroughly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch pan. It's important to grease the pan well, as this bread tends to stick if you don't. 

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the mixture vigorously for about 3 minutes: an electric mixer on medium-high speed works well here. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan.

Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and let the dough rise for 1 hour; it won't fill up the pan. It also won't dome as it rises, but will remain flat across the top. While the batter is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Uncover and bake the bread for about 45 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 minutes. The bread is done when it's golden brown on top and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 190 degrees F. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes use a table knife to loosen the edges, then turn it out onto a rack. Brush with melted butter, if desired; this will keep the crust soft. Cool the bread for 30 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1 slice 49g): 21g whole grains, 95 cal, 4g protein, 17g complex carbohydrates, 3g sugar, 3g dietary fiber, 183mg sodium, 154mg potassium, 2mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 35mg calcium, 100mg phosphorus.

"Whole Grain Baking" is one wonderful book for inexperienced bakers like myself, or experienced bakers who want to increase their whole grain baking knowledge and skills and really anyone who is interested in healthier baking. If you don't already have it, it would be a great addition to your wish list or a great gift for your favorite foodie. It is detailed--lots of hows and whys and interesting information, but it reads really well. I am very happy to have it in my collection, and successfully making my first yeast bread has given me a dash more confidence and made me want to try some more. I will be working my way through this book and trying more recipes--it will take me awhile to even get through all the recipes I placed sticky notes on. A big thank you to King Arthur Flour and to the View and Review program at BloggerAid for giving me the opportunity to try such a great book! 

Speaking of BloggerAid and the Cookbook, here is a sneak peak at the cover.

Pretty cool to think my Curried Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Toasted Almonds is in it! Guess what I'll be getting everyone for Christmas this year?! ;-) (BTW--Please ignore that last comment if you are on my Christmas List, I want you to be surprised!) 


Monday, March 30, 2009

The BloggerAid Cookbook--Coming Soon!

I joined BloggerAid back in January but I just finally got it together to get a recipe into BloggerAid's cookbook project (better late than never since the second deadline is tomorrow!). This is such an important project as the cookbook will feature recipes from bloggers all over the world and 100% of the proceeds will go to feed children through School Meals, a program of The World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations frontline agency. School Meals provides meals to schoolchildren in developing countries which not only provides vital nourishment to the kids, it helps encourage their families to keep them in school.

BloggerAid's goal is to bring food bloggers together from all across the globe to aid in the alleviation of hunger.

"We are a growing group of international food bloggers determined to make a difference in aid of world famine. The love of food and community that brings us together drives the compassion of its members to reach out to our world to help those less fortunate than we are. Banded by a mission of helping to make a change in a world where starvation affects such a profound number of people, we will raise money and awareness for the hungry in communities both at home and abroad."

So here is a quick peek at my entry, one of my favorite side dish salads:

Curried Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Toasted Almonds

It is colorful, flavorful and healthy; perfect for potlucks, parties, lunches, etc. Much as I would love to share the recipe with you now, you will just have to wait and buy the book! The cookbook is targeted to be sold on in December 2009, with once again 100% of the proceeds going to School Meals. A great opportunity to buy a new cookbook and do some good in the world at the same time!

You can read more about the cookbook and the other fabulous programs and events that BloggerAid has to offer at the site here.