Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Italian Salad Dressing

I've been making some interesting salad dressings lately - I have a miso mustard one that is my new favorite.  But if I'm going to blog about it, let's figure out what the best option is - we'll start simple with Italian.

The store brand: Ken's Italian Dressing and Marinade

My recipe (adapted from allrecipes.com):
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsely
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 cup vinegar (white, red wine, or balsamic)
2/3 cup olive oil

The rest is simple - combine everything and shake it up.  It's best to let it sit and soften all those dried herbs (or you could always use fresh to make it extra delicious).  I keep this out on the counter because the olive oil will solidify in the refrigerator, and then it's a pain.

So the comparison?  The storebought Italian that I purchased was just terrible.  It had NO herbs or seasonings, and tasted like oil, vinegar, and salt.  I have had lots of great bottled Italian dressings, but this is just not one of them.  Usually I think bottled Italian dressing is pretty good (although salty), but this time, mine was just better.

So the cost here really surprised me.  It cost more to make homemade dressing than to buy the bottle.  The biggest discrepency was the olive oil - the bottled version used vegetable oil, which would have cut my price considerably (The olive oil in my recipe was $1.49 of the total $1.99).
Ken's Italian Dressing and Marinade16 oz$3.55          $0.22
Homemade8 oz$1.99          $0.25

So although it is nice to make a fancy dressing youself, or to get the rich olive oil and herb taste, I just don't know if it's worth the effort.  There are lots of bottled dressings out there that are delicious, and when I buy them on sale, they cost much less than making it yourself.

Bake or Buy?  BUY!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Somersaults Giveaway!

I've been on vacation in Nicaragua for the past week, so I'm back with a great giveaway.

This is my new favorite healthy snack.  I am seriously in love.  I just happened to pick up a pack of these Somersaults (Salty Pepper flavor) on sale at the local health food store.  Ohhhh golly.  They are little crunchy nuggets with sunflower seeds in them.  They have tons of protein and fiber - great for a vegetarian.

I went on their website to check it out and sent the company an email saying how much I love them.  They offered to send me a variety pack - apparently they have many flavors.  You can purchase them online or check out local health food stores.

So, the pack they sent me was amazing.  Sample of every type they make - and you can have the same pack sent your way!

Alright, onto the giveaway.  It's simple - do the things on this list and leave a SEPARATE comment for each one you do.
- Check out http://shop.somersaultsnackco.com/ and leave a comment saying what flavor you'd most like to try.
- Like Bake or Buy on facebook (or leave a comment that you already do).
- Share this giveaway on facebook or twitter: say something like "Win some delicious snacks in a giveaway at http://bakeorbuy.blogspot.com/2012/02/somersaults-giveaway.html".

And that's all there is to it!  I will draw a random winner on Wednesday, March 7th.

I love EVERY flavor, but I think my favorites are Spicy Pepper and Santa Fe Salsa.  Cinnamon crunch is pretty fantastic too!  Now get to it getting your entries.  One comment for each thing you do to enter.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Portobello Burger Recipe

No, this isn't a Bake or Buy comparison.  But it's my blog, and I can do what I want!  I've been getting a little burnt out on the bake or buy concept, so I figured I would start to post some personal recipes in between Bake or Buy's to keep the content flowing.

So, I made this for dinner the other night and I thought I'd share the recipe(s) with you.  I didn't plan to do it, so there aren't many photos of my process, but next time I'll do better.

Marinated Portobellos:
2 medium portobellos (portabellas?... whatever.)
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon siracha (this was pretty spicy)
salt and pepper

Combine the marinade ingredients and let sit at room temp for at least 30 minutes.  I flipped and basted ever so often while I worked on the HOMEMADE BUNS (!).

So obviously you could pick up hamburger buns, but I'm obsessed with my new breadmaker, so here we go.  You can make these by hand, but I put the dough in my breadmaker.  Recipe from http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/kaiser-rolls-recipe (there are handmade directions there)

3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup water

In my breadmaker, you add the wet, add the dry, and poke a hole and put the yeast in.  I let it go through the first knead, rise, second knead, then took it out.  From there I split it into 6 pieces, tied them in a knot and tucked the ends (no kaiser cutter), and let them rise again.  About 45 minutes later i brushed the tops with milk and sprinkled with sesame seeds.  Bake at 425 for 15 mins.

I also made these super easy steak fries, that were actually crunchy and delicious.
3 medium russet potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper

Cut your potatoes into wedges and toss with oil and spices.  Bake at 425 for about 40 minutes, flipping half way.

For the portobello burgers, I grilled the portos on each side for ~5 minutes over high heat.  I leave the gills in, but if they offend you, scrape them before marinating.  Top your burgers as you wish!  We used avocado, baby spinach, tomato, hummus, and cheese.

Enjoy and think about how healthy and delicious this is compared to fast food!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wheat Bread

Yes, I have been a little absent lately, but when I show you the photos for our newly remodeled bathroom, you will totally understand!  Remodeling is hard work, and I'm hungry, so time for some fresh bread!  I'm going to attempt my first honey wheat bread recipe.

The Store Brand: La Brea 9 Grain Wheat Bread

My Recipe (adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-whole-wheat-bread/):
1 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast (just about 1 packet)
2 tablespoons honey
1-1/2 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and honey. Add white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.

Mix in melted butter and salt. Stir in 1 cup of whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour (continue to add in to avoid sticking). Knead in sunflower seeds as you go.  This may take up to 1 additional cup of whole wheat flour.

Place in a greased bowl and cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Punch down and place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.  Allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Both breads were delicious.  I think my version was a better sandwich type bread.  It didn't have the nice hard crust that I prefer, but it was very moist and tasty.  The store bread is obviously much smaller, but that's just because I bought a petite loaf so I would be on bread overload this week (I used full size for the cost comparison).

Mine on left, storebought on right.
The cost difference is amazing!  It costs 4x as much to buy the store brand.  And before anyone says, WHO PAYS $5 FOR A LOAF OF BREAD??: I really don't like the preservative laden packaged breads, so I always buy the grocery store baked kind.  It is pricey, but it's SO much better.  And even if you are buying the $1.99 sliced wheat bread, it STILL costs less to make it - and it is wayyyy tastier than that type.

La Brea 9 Grain Wheat Bread18 oz $      4.99  $            0.28
Homemade18 oz $      1.21  $            0.07

So yeah, I had to knead bread for TEN minutes.  But it was totally worth it.  It was SO good.  I think next time I will look for a "crustier" recipe, but I will definitely be baking this again.

Bake or Buy?  BAKE!