A few weeks ago my BFF Jill asked if I had any good no-knead bread recipes.
There is nothing I hate more than being stumped by a seemingly easy question.
I should have been able to rattle off a 1/2 dozen of my favorites, along with tips and techniques to making the perfect loaf. I’m rarely speechless, especially when it comes to food.
Six attempts later, I can now say that I have better than a good no-knead bread recipe. I have the perfect no-knead bread recipe that will make you reconsider ever trying another recipe again.
Well, unless you want some whole-wheat or nutrient dense bread. This bread definitely isn’t that. But it is the perfect bread to eat with egg-less salad, slather with strawberry jam, or use in french toast.
Remember when bread machines where all the rage? I remember my mom making bread almost daily, and her english muffin bread was my most requested pick. I loved it right out of the machine with my favorite toppings: butter and fresh jam.
Those were also the days when we all thought that bread was the healthiest food- low fat!- and could find a reason to eat almost an entire loaf of warm bread in a sitting.
But I digress.
Just look at that crumb. It’s beyond perfect. Nooks and Crannies just begging to be filled with some fancy spread or dipped into whatever is simmering on the stove.
The beauty of a no-knead recipe is you almost forget that you spent anytime actually making it. A few moments with your stand mixer, an hour in a warm spot and wa-la! Breakfast is served.
For a fancy treat, make this the night before and enjoy Blueberry French Toast the next morning.
No-Knead English Muffin Bread
1 packet active dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. natural cane sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 & 1/4 cups warm water
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the yeast, whole wheat flour, and sugar. Add the warm water and stir together. Let sit for 5 minutes. It should smell slightly yeasty and have small bubbles at the top.
On low speed, mix together for 3 minutes. Add the salt & all-purpose flour and switch to a dough hook. Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes more. The dough will be dense.
Lightly oil a casserole dish or bread baker, the Superstone Bread Dome makes a fantastic crust. Lightly sprinkle with fine cornmeal. Add the dough and form to fit the baker. If the dough is too sticky, lightly wet your hands to move the dough. Sprinkle with more cornmeal.
Cover with a clean dish towel. Place somewhere warm (I put it in front of my space heater or next to the oven while I make dinner) and let rise until double in size, ~50 minutes.
Bake at 400ºF for 40 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Remove and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on counter or cooling rack and let sit until it’s cool enough to slice. I know it’s tempting but try not to slice warm!
What’s your favorite bread topping?
For a few years my office was located in the center of the weight section of the gym.
I’m not kidding.
It’s hard enough to stay focused with the regular distractions of life: text messages, daydreams, bag of trail mix under my desk. Now imagine being surrounded by lots of co-workers and students, mostly men, pumping iron all day long.
Did I mention my office had floor to ceiling windows?
Luckily, I moved into a more professional setting but I occasionally miss the days of staring out into the weight room. Mostly, to spy on what people were chowing down on after a workout.
I saw, and heard, the craziest things. Enough to remind myself that no, most people don’t have a clue about what types of foods are best post workout. They do have lots of thoughts on the subject though.
Whether your a weekend warrior or weeknight gym-goer, you’ve probably heard a lot on the importance of eating before exercise. It’s equally important to discuss what to eat after a workout, perhaps even more so than the pre-exercise meal. After workout nourishment is critical to recovery and improves your ability to train consistently.
First up: Hydration.
A basic rule of thumb to ensure that you are consuming enough fluids: weigh yourself before and after exercise, drink 16-20 fl oz water for every 1 lb lost.
Sounds great in theory, but is it practical for most of us? I don’t own a scale. I don’t really see the point and I am not about to start weighing myself multiple times a day to make sure I am drinking enough water down to the exact ounce. I do offer this suggestion for the athletes that I coach, but not all of them are on board.
An easier option? For starters, stay hydrated all the time. Keep a water bottle with you to drink from throughout the entire day, not just immediately before and after exercise. If you’re consistently drinking before, during and after exercise, you should be ok. The best way to measure hydration levels is to monitor the color of your urine. Lemonade is preferable over iced tea.
Dehydration CAN happen, especially when running for over two hours or in the heat. In that case, I recommend drinking a beverage that contains sodium. Sodium increases fluid retention, facilitates thirst, and helps to maintain proper electrolyte status, all which are essential for optimal sports performance.
Second: Recovery nutrition.
You have two main goals after you exercise: restore glycogen loss and repair muscle tissue.
Carbohydrates are essential in restoring carbohydrate stores, which were likely depleted after your workout. If you want to get fancy, consuming 0.3-0.6 grams of carbohydrate for each pound of body weight is recommended to build glycogen stores.
Protein is the other essential component of the post-workout meal. Amino acids are necessary to rebuild damaged muscle tissue, among other things in the body.
For optimal results, enjoy both of these macronutrients- not one over the other. I’m looking at you protein-powder fanatic guy who only mixes his with water.
Combining protein with carbohydrate nearly doubles the insulin response, which means you store more glycogen. Refueling with carbs and proteins provides greater muscle glycogen stores than either carbs or protein alone.
My go-to meals and snacks:
Chocolate Protein Bites
Banana with 1 tbsp. nut butter
Tofu scramble (tofu, lots of veggies), whole wheat tortilla
A greek style yogurt with oatmeal & fruit
Post workout shake: spinach, protein powder, almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana, 1-2 dates, 1 tsp. chia seeds, 1-2 tsp. cocoa powder
Creamy Protein Kale Salad
PB&J and Chocolate Soymilk
Since it’s important to eat within 45-60 minutes post workout, find what works for you. Since I often workout in the morning, I make my breakfast my ‘post-workout meal’ and don’t give it much thought. If you train in the evening or during the afternoon, consider a small snack afterwards until you can get to the next meal.
Gaining weight, even though your training harder than ever? I discuss weight gain and running.
What’s your favorite post workout meal?
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! Which either means you are gearing up for a fun night with your sweetie, or rolling your eyes at the calendar.
I admit, the holiday itself is pretty silly, but I never miss an opportunity to enjoy good food (and wine) with BL.
That being said, I was thinking the other day about our vegetarian life and the impact it has on our relationship: If BL wasn’t a vegetarian, would I be OK with that?
To be fair, neither one of us started this relationship with many dietary restrictions. I was a fair-weather vegetarian. Something I started in college and waned from every now and then. I went from being a strict vegan to eating chicken and back again. I did that for quite a few years, exploring the relationship between my thoughts on animal rights and my love of burgers and grilled chicken.
About four years ago, I decided that I couldn’t ignore my feelings anymore, and went full-on vegetarian. I have never regretted my decision and am never tempted by meat. I still cooked, and BL enjoyed our meatless meals with the occasional piece of chicken on the side. It didn’t bother me too much, he did his thing and I did mine.
Sure, I shared my thoughts and feelings, but I don’t believe in bullying someone to change their ways. After reading “Eating Animals”, BL also made the switch and I’ll admit, I couldn’t be happier!
Knowing how passionate I have become on this subject, I think it would be hard to have a omnivore partner. For those of you who have a partner who eats meat, how does it affect your relationship?
I remember reading somewhere that 25% of meat-eaters would consider it a turn off to date a vegetarian. Really? I almost laughed at the ridiculousness. Until I considered if the tables were turned, I would consider it a turn off to date a non-veg. So, I suppose that our dietary choices reach more than the dinner plate.
I guess at the end of the day, to love someone means respecting their dietary choices, even if you don’t agree with them personally. If you do find yourself lucky enough to date a veg, here are a few dating tips:
- You already do it: If you like vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts, seeds, & beans. Congrats! You already enjoy lots of plant-based foods. Favorite, non-scary meals include: vegetable fajitas, pasta primavera, stir-fry, and salads. The first meal BL cooked for me was mushroom manicotti, a delicious choice for even the most hard-core carnivores.
- It’s not you, it’s the dish. Consideration is the cornerstone for a healthy relationship. Now, the smell of cooked meat makes me sick. I respect that others eat it, but it upsets my stomach if I’m around while it’s being cooked. If your significant other is the same way, I would bet she’s not turned off by you but the smell.
- While most restaurants are very accommodating, a lot aren’t. Check the menu beforehand to make sure there are at least 2-3 vegetarian or vegan choices. If you don’t see any, call the chef or choose another place.
- Just as you wouldn’t want to be pestered on your belief system, don’t do it to theirs. I would rather starve than spend an entire meal defending my meal preference.
I’m so curious to know your thoughts on this subject. Hope you have a wonderful V-Day!
I have not met an ethnic food I do not like.
Well, let me clarify. I have not met a vegetarian ethnic dish that I do not like. I don’t do animal parts, insects, and the like. No Reservations and Bizarre Foods creep me out.
But. Spicy Indian curries, Thai noodles, Moroccan Stew… now we’re talking.
Not that I’m much of a world traveler. The furthest my passport has been is Denmark, and while I enjoyed amazing bread & cheese, I wouldn’t exactly call it must-travel ethnic food.
None the less, I do enjoy some sort of weekly ethnic take-out, perhaps making me a part-time world cuisine connoisseur.
Or just a little piggy who needs her fix of curry on the reg.
I’ve personally tried every Indian restaurant in Stockton and the downtown Sacramento area. (Some people have bigger goals, taste testing curry was mine at one point).
Sadly, I don’t branch out much. I almost always settle on one of three dishes and Vegetable Korma tops that list. I can scan a menu pretty fast, looking for the words Korma or Navratan. If I spot it, watch out. I’ll probably be enjoying one there and taking one home with me for lunch the next day.
It’s THAT good. Creamy, cashew rich sauce loaded with spices and vegetables? I could eat this for 6 weeks straight and not get tired of it.
I made this version a few nights ago to enjoy with girlfriends. Yes, it’s not traditional but it’s pretty darn good. And it taste close to what I order at Bombay, a winning argument for me to make it more and take-out less.
Did I mention that it’s simple enough to come together on a weeknight and 1/2 the price of takeout?
DK’s Vegetable Korma
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. curry powder
1/2 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, diced
2 cups diced cauliflower
1 cup diced broccoli
1 cup frozen green peas
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeño, diced
1/2 cup ground unsalted cashews
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 cup coconut milk (the canned kind, light is fine)
4 oz. tomato sauce
1 bunch cilantro, for garnish
Heat the coconut oil in a dutch oven or large skillet pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and stir in. Add fresh grated ginger, garlic, and cook an additional 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.
Add the jalapeño, curry powder, paprika, chili powder, and turmeric. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until spices are fragrant. By now, your whole house should be smelling like an indian restaurant…
Add the potatoes, carrots, cashews, and tomato sauce. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook another 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Continue to stir frequently, so not to burn the mixture.
Add the peas, garbanzo beans, cauliflower, and broccoli, and coconut milk. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Coconut milk will curdle, so make sure your heat is turned down to a low setting.
Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro. Make sure to have plenty of Naan available for dipping.