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Tasty recipes, healthy cooking tips, naughty treats, and other delicious answers to your delectable questions.

Hey Laura, what is wrong with my homemade bread?!

Ashley writes:

I’ve been trying various recipes from “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and have yet to find one that works well. This latest batch was Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread and the first loaf turned out ok (though a sandwich with two slices would make me gag because it was so cakey and crumbly) but the second is far worse (shaping the loaf was difficult because the dough pulled apart rather than allowing any sort of manipulating and even when toasted a slice crumbles apart when I try to peanut butter it!).

The last recipe I tried was 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Plain and Simple and it produced bricks, so I had to dump the dough before I got my four loaves. I’m careful about...

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Recipe: Zucchini Crisp

High summer is nearly upon us, and most of you (anyone who doesn’t live in the mountains) are about to get inundated with overgrown zucchini - either from your own gardens, or by the “Zucchini Fairy” ditching her excess on your front porches at night!

This recipe will make you rejoice to see zucchini in any shape or size. The big seedy ones work just fine, too, which is what makes it so fantastic! If you’re suspicious of a squashy dessert, rest assured that it is virtually indistinguishable from apple crisp. And don’t delude yourself - just because it involves a vegetable, it is not health food!


Zucchini Crisp
(passed down in my family; probably sourced on the internet somewhere)

...

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Hey Laura, what are my non-dairy ice cream options?

Stephanie asked, but don’t we all want to know?

If you’re dairy free, you used to be up a creek if you wanted a decent frozen dessert. Thankfully, those days are over and now there are a number of very nice options out there! Of course, there are some nasty ones as well, but I’ll tell you which ones I steer clear of.


My favorite
Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss. Rich, decadent, short ingredients list, minimally processed, and sweetened with low-glycemic agave nectar, this is definitely my favorite. The only caveat is that you can’t mind a subtle coconut undertone to all their flavors. I always get the Dark Chocolate, so I don’t even taste it. The vanilla or mint flavors might have a more...

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Recipe: Crack Salad Dressing

Here is my hippie-food-kindred-spirit Marisa’s recipe for the best dijon vinaigrette I’ve ever tasted. We lovingly refer to it as “Crack Dressing” - not because of where you put it, but because it is just that good. This dressing makes me want to eat salad for every meal!

Marisa says [my comments are in brackets]:

Into the blender [I use my immersion blender] goes:
1 cup grapeseed oil or olive oil [why grapeseed oil? Because it doesn’t coagulate when it gets cold! It’s also a neutral-flavored oil with a high heat point. I love it!]
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar [I use Bragg’s - do use a high quality one, please!]
1 TB whole grain mustard or dijon type mustard
1-2 garlic cloves [I usually...

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Hey Laura, what do I need to get started cloth diapering?

Carissa writes:

Hey Laura!

Now that you’re on child #2 in cloth diapers, what types and brands do you recommend? Also, are cloth wipes a given if you’re using cloth diapers? Finally, do you have a favorite soap for cleaning the diapers?

So far, I think the AI2 is the diaper for us, and I want to try five types: Thirsties Duo, FuzziBunz, BumGenius 3.0, Flip, and SoftBums.

One more question: the one-size diaper would definitely be the most cost-effective, if it really fit for three years. Has this been your experience?


Now, Carissa is already planning on cloth diapering, so I’m going to spare you the story of my own conversion and my own cloth diapering evangelism speech. But if any...

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Hey Laura, how do I go gluten free?

This question has been at the forefront of quite a few conversations I’ve been having with people over the past couple weeks, so I thought I’d write up a Gluten Free Beginner’s Guide, Laura-style.

*****  Here’s my standard disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Nothing I say here should be used to self-diagnose. If you suspect you have a gluten allergy you need to talk to your doctor. You should also embark on dietary modification adventures with care; talk to a certified nutritionist for help!  *****

I have the privilege of experience with gluten (and much, much more!) elimination diets because I seem to give birth to babies with Multiple Food Protein Intolerances. That means that my breastmilk...

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Hey Laura, what kind of cottage cheese should I get?

Heather writes:

Hey Laura, what is a good brand of Cottage Cheese to buy? I have just recently re-discovered this amazing low calorie snack and am in love! Should I opt to buy only organic straight from the farm or is the store brand (not the low fat) equivalent? I am not looking to body build, just eat a healthy snack. Also ... how much of this delicious stuff can I eat?

Mmmmm…cottage cheese! I love mine with ketchup on top. :)

As far as quantity goes, my mantra is “everything in moderation.” If you are just eating cottage cheese as a snack, then eat a snack-sized portion, not a whole meal-sized serving. Have some fresh fruit or veggies along with it to help fill you up with fewer...

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