Sourdough Chocolate Chia Pudding Scones 

I’m constantly trying to find recipes that help me use up my “discard” portion of my sourdough starter. I’m obsessed with pumpkin scones, but I also figured a bit of variety wouldn’t be a bad thing. I had some leftover chocolate chia pudding and it seemed like the perfect medium as a replacement for the pumpkin. I personally believe this one was a huge success and they’re absolutely fabulous.

The recipe, from start to finish, will take anywhere from 3-3.5 hours. That sounds insane, right? It’s for the pudding, which needs to “set” for some time (in the fridge) before use. However if you’ve already made it, then the time will take roughly 30-45 minutes. 

Once you’ve made the pudding you can get started! 


Start by combining all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients (except butter) in another. Your sourdough starter does not have to be recently fed, but definitely within the last 12-24 hours is probably best. 

Cube the butter and, using a pastry blender, mix it into the dry ingredients until it has a sand like texture. Now add in wet ingredients and mix (first with a spoon and then, when it starts to become more of a dough, by hand). You don’t want to over-mix the ingredients, so once it’s a cohesive ball try to minimize handling.


Now you need to shape the scones. This actually very easy. Cut the dough in half and make two small round disks, roughly 1-2″ thick. Slice the disks into eight pie pieces and put these on a baking sheet line with parchment paper (I place them like interlocking bricks). They will expand, a little, in baking, so you want to make certain they have a little bit of space between each (at minimum a finger width apart).


Now place these in the freezer and preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven is heated place the scones in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. 


Recipe:

Dry ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour (300g)
1/2 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (no iodized salt)
1/2 cup butter (cold and cubed)

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup 100% hydration sourdough starter
1/2 cup chocolate chia pudding + 1 tablespoon 
2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract

Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons milk 

Instructions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
2. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, except butter. In a separate bowl combine all the wet ingredients. 
3. Add butter to dry ingredients and, using a pastry blender (or two knives if you don’t have one), break down the butter until the whole mixture has a sandy like texture.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. You’ll have to use your hands to make the dough into a cohesive mass. If the mass seems to be too dry you can add (a teaspoon at a time) some milk to make it more moist. 
5. Separate the ball of dough in half and shape these each into disks (4-5″ in diameter) and then cut each of these into 8 pie slices. Place these on the prepared lined baking sheet and place the whole tray in the freezer.
6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven is preheated place the tray in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. 
7. While the scones are baking you can make the icing. Don’t combine everything at once, first mix the powdered sugar with the vanilla bean paste and then slowly add in the milk. I recommend doing it a teaspoon at a time, as it will quickly become very liquid-like. I prefer a thicker consistency, but this will harden on the scones (once cooled), so it’s all about your own preferences here. I don’t often make the icing and just enjoy the scones as they are. 

Parasites?

Both kids have been going through some big emotions lately. We visited family (that’s about 3 hours drive north of us) for the Memorial Day weekend. We stayed in a hotel for 2 nights and the stopped at th nearby aquarium before heading home. We brought along their tablets, which they don’t often get to use at home, and they’ve kinda continued to use them since then. This past weekend it was very rainy and muggy out, so we didn’t really do much. All this, in combination with long car rides and a broken DVD player (my daughter stuffed a coin in the DVD slot) in the car (making the car rides very long and boring for them too). 

MMC has always been convinced that our kids are somehow abnormal and too loud/rambunctious. They, like most preschoolers and toddlers, have sometimes short attention spans and easily have big emotions when things don’t go their way. Apparently because of this (very normal) behavior, MMC is overly critical of the way that I’m raising them. I prefer a gentler approach and don’t think that talking down to them or saying “because I said so” is the right approach. Knowing the why and having choices (even when we set the parameters) empowers them and makes them feel involved  in their day to day activities. 

Anyway… I digress a bit. The whole point of this is that this past weekend it seemed to come to a head. Both kids were tired, feeling a bit over-stimulated, and missing out on their regular structured day. Both were on edge and both were either screaming or hitting the other. MMC was not convinced of the tired/hungry/over-stimulated and immediately stated that he believed it might be a parasite they picked up at one of their forest school outdoor activities. 
I swear… I don’t make this shit up… A parasite is causing our preschooler and toddler to have meltdowns. Yup, I think I’ve about heard it all… A parasite?!?!? Bwahahaha!!!!

Sourdough starter

I’ve recently learned how to use sourdough starter to make waffles and bread. Several months ago I started making bread, with yeast, you know…. The “normal” way. Then my father told me I was doing it wrong, that using a sourdough starter was a much better way to go. Well, I have to admit that he was right. I’ve now had my own sourdough starter, from my parents, for almost a month. I’ve made several batches of waffles and 4 different loaves of sourdough bread. I’ve even shared my starter with a friend and she’s now making waffles and bread too (AND she just found a recipe for blueberries sourdough muffins, which I plan on trying tomorrow!). The cool thing is that now my friend is posting about it too and she’s going to share her starter with friends too. That’s such an awesome thing, it makes my tummy all giggly with delight.

Anyway, back to my starter and bread and stuff. I made my first sourdough following Jacob Burton’s step by step video, with Stella Culinary, on YouTube, last weekend. I wanted to make the bread on Friday and instead found out that 1) I didn’t have enough starter (called my dad on how to actually “properly” grow it) and that 2) my starter didn’t pass the float test. That latter step was a little intimidating at first, because I didn’t know my starter that well yet. However, I then did a lot of reading, online, on what to do and how to do it. The best way to find out when your starter is ready for bread (float test, or dropping a dollop of starter in room temp water, if it floats it’s ready to be used to make bread, if it sinks it’s either not ready or it’s too far gone and needs to be fed) is to test the “float” status of your starter every hour, starting with the first hour after the most recent feed. I discovered that my starter is excellent at around the 2-3 hour mark. So on Saturday I woke up early, fed my starter, and then set the timer for about 2 hours. 

My starter passed the float test (room temp water, drop dollop of starter, if it floats make bread, if it sinks wait a little longer)

Now you can make bread, which I’ll do in a separate post. I think, for bread recipes, you need a fed starter; for waffles and muffins (a recipe to be tried today) you can have a fed or unfed starter.

Feeding your starter is very simple and there are two ways to maintain a starter: in the fridge (feed weekly) or on your counter (feed every 12 hours). 

My fridge starter (her name is Abigail) before her weekly feed

Weekly fridge feed:

Take starter out of fridge. Open jar and stir contents (it may have separated a little, and have a golden-ish liquid on top, this is normal and does not mean your starter is dead). Allow to adjust to room temperature a little (anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours) by leaving it on the counter. The resting process is not necessary, if you are short on time, and I’ve tested out feeding a starter directly from the fridge with no issues. A slightly warmer starter seems to feed better, however, so that’s what I’ve been doing. 

Once the starter is ready remove about 1/4-1/2 a cup of starter, place in a bowl that can be covered. Add 100g (4oz) of lukewarm water and 100g (4oz) bread flour (or other wheat based flour), stir and let it rest (covered) on counter for several hours (6-12 hours). 

After the resting/feeding period stir the starter and put back in mason jar (pint sized is good). The starter you have left over can be tossed, used to make another counter starter, make another starter, or used in a recipe (like muffins or waffles).

For the counter starter:

Remove all but 1/4-1/2 cup starter, add 100g flour and 100g lukewarm water. Stir everything together and cover. This will need to be done every 12 hours (I do first feed around 8 or 9am and then the evening one around 8 or 9pm). I have accidentally skipped a feed and if that happens, feed your starter as soon as possible. Continue to feed as you normally would (if you remember 24 hours later, do next feed at 12 hours, if it’s a couple hours before the next feed, say it’s 4pm, you could do another small feed at 10pm and then again at 8am). You can use the discard to make waffles, muffins, another starter, or bread. You can also keep feeding and make the starter bigger, this will be needed when making most breads (which usually call for roughly 500g of starter).

This is my counter starter (his name is Fred)

If you want to make your own starter King Arthur has an excellent tutorial on their website. 

These are the waffles I make. It requires overnight resting (roughly 8-12 hours), so this is a great recipe for using up your “discard” starter at night or when you feed your fridge starter.

This recipe is excellent for making sourdough sandwich bread. But it definitely requires two bread baking pans (at least for my starter it has and my friend, who’s also made this, she found the recipe for me). As you can see in the picture below, it could not be contained.


Thankfully I caught it in time and was able to salvage it.


My favorite recipe (my father introduced me to this), which I’ll do a separate post on, is Jacob Burton’s from Stella Culinary. He has a YouTube video on the step by step process of making a simple sourdough bread. The first time I made it, it definitely didn’t feel simple, but after having made it three times now it seriously makes THE best sourdough bread I’ve ever tried.


So far I’ve really been enjoying the process and I look forward to making this part of my routine. It’s certainly pretty budget friendly, since the last recipe only requires flour, water, and kosher salt and you can easily make several loaves of bread with one bag. An artisan bread like this could easily cost $6-10, but even King Arthur flour only costs $4.99 for a 5-pound bag. I’d say that’s a win. 

Marinara, simple and tasty

I’m a huge fan of anything homemade and even more so when it’s simple and tasty to boot. Yet another great find on Pinterest, but I modified it to my own liking. 

I don’t think I need to go into a long drawn out post on this one, though I’d certainly love to make this entire recipe from all fresh ingredients (and make my own diced tomatoes from my “potted plant garden”), but right now I have to use canned diced tomatoes. 

I buy diced tomatoes on sale (less than $1 per can, for the 28oz cans). A jar of decent marinara sauce costs upwards of $7 and with how little it costs to make it from scratch, I can’t justify spending that much. This recipe makes roughly 2-3 jars of sauce, so it’s a pretty good budget saver. I freeze the leftover sauce in mason jars and put them in the fridge (24 hours before I need them) to defrost for use. I’m no a huge fan of canned tomatoes, but hopefully my potted tomato plants will do well this summ and I won’t have to buy canned for much longer. 

So here’s the process for making the sauce. Heat a pot, or sauce pan, at medium-medium-high and add olive oil (I use California Olive Ranch everyday extra virgin olive oil, first cold press). 


Add diced onions and cook, until almost glassy, and then add minced garlic. Cook until everything is soft and aromatic. Mix in the spices, and stir to combine, before adding in the remaining ingredients. Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, wine (I use Chardonnay from the Gallo family, nothing fancy and I buy the tiny bottles, because I am not a huge alcohol drinker and we’d just end up tossing it all), olives, salt, and pepper. 


Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to low and cook for 30 minutes. Check every so often and stir as needed. After the 30 minutes I stick blend the entire thing until it’s pretty fine. 

At this point I add my baked meatballs to the sauce and cook for another 20 minutes. 

Recipe
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced onions
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 28-ounce can diced/stewed tomatoes
1 8 ounce jar Kalamata olives, drained (reserving 1 tablespoon brine to add to sauce)
3/4 cups white wine (Chardonnay)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat sauce pan and add olive oil
2. Add in diced onions and cook until almost glassy/softened.
3. Add in garlic and cook until aromatic (roughly 1-2 minutes, don’t allow garlic to burn)
4. Add in spices and stir to coat onions/garlic
5. Add in remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to boil
6. Cook on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally 
7. Stick blend to your desired smoothness. 

Note: I add my oven baked meatballs at this point and cook for additional 20 minutes.

Meatballs – in the oven

Seriously, I have yet to find a recipe that is better. I was never very good at frying bacon (always seemed to burn it) or making meatballs (they always came out hard like hockey pucks) in a pan. So I started making both in the oven. 

Bacon

Bacon is so easy in the oven!!! Place bacon on a baking sheet (line with aluminum foil, to catch grease), place in oven (unheated, don’t preheat!), turn oven on and set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and let bake for 15-22 minutes (depends on the number on slices, I find 7 slices need at least 22). Remove from oven and place (or as I do roll up) on paper towels. Bacon is perfect every time. 

Meatballs

I found a recipe a while back that used all ground pork in their recipe, I like pork, but I prefer a mix, so I changed it up a bit. I use half ground pork and half ground beef. There’s also milk, bread (good bread!), seasoned bread crumbs (I buy plain and add my own seasoning), garlic seasoning* (I create my own with equal parts salt, organic garlic powder, and black pepper), eggs, and cheese (I use a 3 cheese blend, Romano, Parmesan and Asiago). Soak bread with milk then add remaining ingredients. Mix, I prefer to do this with my hands as opposed to a spoon, until throughly combined. I do it with my hands because the bread pieces (soaked with milk) need to be broken apart a little further (especially if it has a good crust on it). You could break it apart with a potato ricer, before adding he remaining ingredients, but there’s something cathartic about the squishiness. 

Once it’s all together you’ll need to form the meatballs. Here’s where I turn on the oven (set to 350 degrees again, but here you will need to preheat).  I’ve got two sizes I like to make an 1/8th of a cup (or 2 tablespoons) and newly attempted 1 tablespoon sized meatballs. Let me say, right now, that the smaller size is awesome; easier to cut into smaller pieces for the kids and poppable for adults! I use a 1 tablespoon scoop and I’ve just purchased a 2 tablespoon one as well, which I’ll test out next time. Spray your dish/tray with a non-stock spray or coat with oil. Place formed meatballs on dish and place in oven.

You can see, in the picture below, that there are still some larger pieces of bread visible, I like it that way. This recipe will make roughly 80 mini meatballs or 40 1/8th cup sizes meatballs. 


The larger ones…


Place in oven and cool them for 35-45 minutes (shorter time for the smaller ones and longer for larger). The way I know they’re done is when I life a meatball off the tray it’s got a crispy bottom). 

Recipe

3 slices Italian white bread (not wonder bread!)
1/2 cup milk (I use whole organic)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
3 eggs (whisked)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic seasoning* (see above)
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs 
1/2 cup three cheese shredded blend (Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago)

1. Soak bread with milk, allow bread to fully absorb milk.
2. Add meat, whisked eggs, garlic seasoning, breadcrumbs, and cheese and mix thoroughly
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 
4. Spray Pyrex dish with nonstick spray.  Shape mixture into meatballs and place in dish, making sure that meatballs are not touching.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on size. Start checking at 35 minutes. The bottoms of the meatballs should be toasted/brown colored.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a little bit. I make my own marinara sauce and transfer the meatballs to the sauce for further cooking/absorbing flavor. This is totally optional, as these meatballs are delicious on their own.

I’ll make a separate post for the marinara sauce, also a delicious (and simple) recipe.

Stock and more stock

For the past two years I’ve been on a “quest” to eliminate processed foods and sugar from my diet. I was surprised to find that many brands of store bought stock and broth has sugar added to it. So I started making my own from scratch. I started making it using a stock pot, but the process was too involved for me and I wanted something I could set and walk away from. Thank goodness for crockpots (and mine certainly gets used… A lot). It’s so simple too. Have bones leftover from a roasted chicken, don’t toss the carcass. I make my own roasted chicken, roughly once a month and I buy the expensive organic one, because I know I’ll be using it in my bone broth. During the month, before I make my stock/broth, I collect the leftovers from onions, celery stalks (the tops and bottoms, thoroughly washed), and peeled carrots (you know those annoying shavings you take off whole carrots, yeah those) and I save them in a ziploc bag in the freezer.

Current accumulation for next batch of bone stock

Then, when I’ve made my roast chicken (I’ll do a separate post for that and the leftover chicken pot pie too), I take the remaining carcass (I peal it clean of any meat remaining to use in my chicken pot pie with homemade crust) and put it in my crockpot, add my bag of frozen veggies (and if there isn’t enough of a particular vegetable (usually carrots) I add more of those), add water until it covers everything up to the top, and a teaspoon or so of fresh peppercorns.
  
I then set the crockpot on low for 10 hours and then set it again until it’s been cooked for at least 24 hours. I will sometimes add more water if I feel the level has dropped. You’ll know when the stock is done when the bone breaks apart easily when squished with your fingers. 

After the stock is done I put it into mason jars, let them cool in the fridge and then put them in the freezer (make sure there’s enough head room in the jar to avoid cracking, which means you can toss that jar of goodness right in the trash).

Just to state the obvious, this also saves a good deal of money. Not only am I getting a solid staple that has many wonderful nutritious properties, I use leftovers and scraps to really stretch my money. The organic whole chicken costs about $13, however this will be used for two meals (roasted chicken and pot pie) and almost a gallon of chicken stock. The chicken stock would, by itself cost roughly $15, so the cost of the chicken has already been recouped. Then spreading it out across two meals, making it $6.50 per meal, it’s an even better deal. The pot pie, which is probably 42oz (or more) would cost upwards of $10 (Marie Callender’s 45oz pot pie goes for $9.99), but that doesn’t even include organic ingredients. A rotisserie chicken usually goes for $5.99, but that’s not organic either and is usually loaded with salt (although I do brine my chicken, so we’re not exempt from the higher salt either). So the cost of the separate meals and the stock would cost roughly $30, but instead I’m spending about $18 (when you count additional ingredients for the pot pie) and I’m getting wholesome ingredients with no additives or preservatives, so the health wins are even greater. 

Burnt Yogurt

As I’ve posted, before, I’ve started making yogurt from scratch. I’ve been using my crockpot to do it, but I should’ve done a better job monitoring it when I made it this past Tuesday. It was my mother’s birthday, so I dumped the gallon of milk and set it for 8 hours on low (at least I thought I did that). What I didn’t take into account is the warming feature when the settings are done running. So of course some of the milk, in the bottom, toasted a bit (almost burnt). Instead of tossing the milk, though, I decided to make the yogurt anyway. Know what happened? The yogurt turned out cream/beige colored and has a bit of a caramel taste to it. It actually turned out very yummy. Even the strained Greek yogurt I made, from this batch, turned out really delicious. I’m glad I didn’t toss the burned milk (waste of $5.69) and I still have enough starter left over to make a normal batch (though I’ll have to make a 1/2 gallon batch, because I don’t have enough space/mason jars to store it all (let alone fridge space).

Here’s the Toasted Milk

It already looked like caramel. Made me laugh a little, because heck it’s obviously burnt.

I added the starter and put the whole thing (wrapped in a towel) in my unheated oven with the light on.

The next day….

Burnt yogurt, with a white spoon to show that it’s not white
 
And then I started straining batches… And I almost choked I laughed so hard. Because it’s really not white yogurt, like it should’ve been.

White straining cloth shows just how yellow/beige the burnt yogurt turned out

But…. Here’s the thing. I like it, it’s unique and creamy and rich, on top of already being that from the original batch. So I’m calling it burned yogurt. Here are the steps I took with the first batch, just let the crockpot cook it longer than the 180 degrees (I’m going to assume the whole 8 hours and then let cool from there, no need to keep warm, but I’ll test this out again next time). 

All the steps are still the same (let cool back down to 110 degrees before adding starter and swirl up and down/back and forth with a whisk, do not stir in circles). Set in unheated oven, wrapped in towels, with light on, for 10 hours. Then next morning I put it in the fridge to cool for 4-5 hours and then put in mason jars.

And here’s a comparison to the original batch of truly white yogurt.
 

Burnt yogurt on the left, regular yogurt on the right (a noticeable shade difference)