Smarter Than Pancakes

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Whole-Wheat Pita Experiment

Filed under: Uncategorized — shaye3 @ 6:07 pm

First, let me state for the record that PITA in internet parlance has its very own meaning.   That meaning of PITA does NOT apply to pita bread.  They are actually very easy to make!

So, with that out of the way, on with the show…

Today, my part of central Indiana has yet to reach temps above zero.  Right now, it’s the warmest it’s been all day at 0;  but we still have a wind chill of  -16.  I think that would make it the perfect day to warm the oven up to 400°, and then keep opening and closing the oven door every three minutes.  Am I right?

I’ve never made pita before, but I’ve seen it done on the net.  I found several recipes that looked good, but none were whole wheat.  I took it upon myself to try to convert one to whole wheat since I’m trying really hard to avoid white flour.  (This recipe is loosely based on one I found on The Fresh Loaf.)

The original recipe said to roll them 1/4″ thick.  They were ok, but seemed too bready.  The next few, I rolled much thinner.  The last two I forgot about, and they wound up quite crispy.  Oops.

The first few I rolled kind of thick.  A few of them had the one big puff that you fill in store-bought pita.  Even the puffy ones seemed too bready.

The first few I rolled kind of thick. A few of them had the one big puff that you fill in store-bought pita. Even the puffy ones seemed too bready.

This was the first batch of thinner ones.  They turned out puffy, but not one big puff that you can fill.

This was the first batch of thinner ones. They turned out puffy, but not one big puff that you can fill.

This is how they turn out when you roll them thin, then forget to set the timer.  I wasn't too worried, they'll be perfect pita chips to use with hummous.

This is how they turn out when you roll them thin, then forget to set the timer. I wasn't too worried, they'll be perfect pita chips to use with hummous.

So here’s how it goes…

Whole-Wheat Pita Bread
Makes 8 – 4 points each

2 tsp. active dry yeast  (I buy in bulk so I just measure.  It’s a little less than a packet, if that’s what you use.)

1-1/2 c. water (Approx 110° F.)

1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1-1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 Tbs. vital wheat gluten (Or you could just use 3 c. bread or AP flour and skip the gluten.)

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. sugar or honey (I used sugar because it s easier to measure.  Might try honey next to compare taste.)

2 Tbs. olive oil (You don’t need anything fancy like evoo, but it works fine.)

  1. Put the warm water in the bowl to your mixer, add the yeast, and stir to dissolve.  Let it sit while you measure everything else. (Use a regular bowl if you don’t have a stand mixer.)
  2. Measure the flours, gluten, salt & sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl, and stir well to combine.
  3. Add the oil to the water/yeast mixture, then add the flour mixture.
  4. Stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball.  (If you have flour that won’t incorporate into the dough, add a little more water.)
  5. Put the dough hook attachment onto your stand mixer, and let it go to town on the dough for about 10 minutes on low.  (If it wraps itself around the hook and makes an unmoving blob– stop the mixer, take it off the hook, and start it up again.)
  6. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead it by hand; but don’t complain to me about your arms hurting.  I’m just going to tell you to buy a stand mixer.)
  7. In the meantime, wipe the flour out of your medium sized mixing bowl and either oil it or spray it; put the dough in; then either turn the dough over in the oil or spray the top.
  8. Put a damp towel over the top of the bowl, and put in a warm place for an hour until the dough doubles.
  9. When it’s done rising, take it out and divide it into eight equal pieces.  (I just used a knife.  It cuts really easily.) Roll the eight pieces into balls, then put your damp towel over the little balls and let it rest for 20 more minutes.
  10. Preheat your oven to 400° F at some point during this process, and throw in a baking stone or an upside down baking sheet so it will be nice and warm when you get to it.  (If it’s 0° outside, like it is here, you can start the preheating process when you first get up in the morning.)
  11. Roll each piece out very thinly–maybe 1/8″ to 1/4″, depending on what you like.  (I tried both and liked thinner better with this recipe.)
  12. Throw as many pieces that will fit onto your hot stone or sheet in the oven. (I did two at a time.)
  13. Let them bake for 3 minutes, then take them out and throw more in.  (If you want them crispy–like to eat with hummous, leave them in for a few minutes more.)
  14. Take them out and enjoy.  (I’m planning hummous, falafel, and gyros–but my son tried them dipped in Cherry 7-up and said that’s good, too.)
  15. If you don’t immediately enjoy, keep them in an air-tight container.  They’ll stay fresh for a little while.



Monday, January 12, 2009

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Filed under: Desserts,jelled pineapple rings,WW Points — shaye3 @ 9:10 am


This, my friends, is what happens when you know you won’t have many points left after dinner, but you’ve been craving sweets all day.

Gross, huh?  Yet surprisingly not that bad.

Take a tall can of pineapple rings in juice and drain the juice.  Then you dissolve a package of sugar free gelatin with once cup of boiling water, let it cool just a little, pour it back into the can with the pineapple, and throw the whole mess back into the fridge.

After it sets up, you just eject it from the can (warm water around the outside of the can helps), and then slice it between the pineapple slices.

Depending on how much you eat, a serving is just a point or two.  (Plus it has the cool can-line thing going on–like the canned cranberry sauce that people seem to insist on for Thanksgiving.)

Yum.  (Ok, not quite yum, but at least we enjoyed it.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

White Bean Chicken Chili for a chilly day!

Filed under: crock pot,Soups,White Bean Chicken Chili,WW Points — shaye3 @ 7:15 pm

Look ma!  I’m posting!!!  Can you believe it?!  Me neither.   First my internet went out, then I got internet back and lost my camera.  I tell you what, I was not destined to post any new recipes until today.  (And today is actually the 2 year anniversary of my non-food blog that turned into a food blog on Vox.  Maybe I should make a post to it, too…)

Anyway, it’s chilly here in central Indiana.  Not as cold as it could be, and I need to lodge a complaint that we did NOT get the snow they promised us, so I’m just sitting here being cold without the snow.

Everyone knows that when you’re chilly you have to eat soup–and what better soup than chili?!  Steve and I have really been hitting the Weight Watchers, so I tried to find a recipe that was point friendly.  This one started out point friendly, but then I had a whole pound of chicken defrosted instead of the 3/4 lb. that it originally called for.  Then, when you add the “optional toppings”, it bumps up even more.  THEN, the amount they consider a serving really isn’t a serving around here, so that effectively doubled the points.  All that to say that if you can get six servings out of it, you can include the extra 1/4 lb. chicken and all of the optional toppings for a thrifty eight points per serving.


White Bean Chicken Chili

(The person I got this from said it originally came from a Prevention cookbook, but of course I tweaked at will.)

20 min prep

6 hours or 30 minutes cooking time–depending

SERVES 3 – 16 points per serving  (Or 8 points per serving if you make it serve 6.)


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces (I used scissors.)

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt (Add more salt if you’re using wine instead of broth.)

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional Toppings

3 oz. baked tortilla chips

2 Tbs. shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (2 tsp per bowl)

3 Tbs. reduced fat sour cream

  1. Spray a large skillet with Pam-like spray, then sauté chicken over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Remove and set aside.
  2. Lower the heat a little, add a little more spray to the pan, and cook the onions until softened.
  3. After the onions are soft, add the garlic and cook for about a minute. (Don’t let the garlic burn. Burnt garlic is nasty.)
  4. Place all of the ingredients into your crockpot and cook on low 5-6 hours. (Or, if you’re impatient like me, you can throw it in a pot on the stove and cook for half an hour or so.)
  5. Serve with optional toppings. (I used baked Scoops and ate it like bean dip.)

Yum–and warm!

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