cinnamon graham squares - whole wheat!

Sweetened with honey & brown sugar and packed with whole wheat flour, these squares are a healthy & filling snack. They are also quite inexpensive to make, and great for kids. You can also add chocolate or banana's to them if you want to change it up.

6 c whole wheat flour (you can substitute also)
1 1/2 c oatmeal
1 c brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
3 T cinnamon
3/4 c honey
1 1/2 c oil
1 cup cold water
This recipe is large, so you can half it if you want.
Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine honey, oil, and water in a separate bowl. Mix well, then add to dry ingredients and stir until mixture forms a thick, crumbly dough. Grease two 9x9 baking pans and let your kids "mash" the mixture into each pan. You can't really go wrong as you press the dough flat. Using a butter knife, pre-cut your squares. Bake for 13-15 min at 400 degrees F - until lightly browned. Cool (if you can even wait!), re-slice, and store in an air-tight container. You can also freeze for later.

Yuanxiao Dumplings

No Lantern Festival (元宵节 Yuánxiāo Jié) is complete without some sweet, stuffed dumplings made with "sticky" rice flour (汤圆 tāng yuán). Here is an easy recipe using very few ingredients. You can find all these items in any Asian market, OR you can just buy Yuanxiao there. If you enjoy cooking though - give this a try!

There are so many versions of this treat - and can be filled with countless fillings. Sweet fillings = black sesame paste, tangerine peel, walnuts, black jasmine, white jasmine, peanuts+sugar, & fruity fillings. Savory fillings = meat, vegetables, fish, & red beans.,

Prep time = 15 min, Cook time = 30+ min.
4.5 cups (500 g) sticky rice flour
Water, as needed (4 cups on average?)

7 oz (200 g) butter
7 oz (200 g) black sesame powder*
8 oz (250 g) sugar
1 tsp wine

Put 4 (?) cups water into the sticky rice flour and mix by hand to make the sticky-rice-dough. Shape the dough of the sticky rice into half balls, with a depression for the filling.

Make the filling by heating butter with sesame powder, sugar, and wine. When cooled - make small dime-sized balls and drop into the sticky-rice depressions!! Close the half-ball to form a full round ball. Smooth it out by rolling between your hands. Place in boiling water and cook until they begin to float on the surface. Cook (med heat) for about 30-40 minutes in boiling water. You can serve as a soup (in the water you boiled) or alone. I have also seen them rolled in powdered sugar afterwards.

*If you can't find the black sesame powder, just grind black sesame seeds in a food processor. If you buy fresh black sesame seeds - you can put them on a cookie sheet in the oven on 375 F. Stir a few times while cooking - about 20 min. Then grind until smooth in a blender or food processor.

I have yet to find a Chinese person with a cookbook! Recipes are not really written down, but passed along from mother to daughter, from sister to brother and from friend to friend. They teach each other recipes by cooking the meal together.

honey oatmeal bread

7.5 oz water, 80 degrees
3 T honey
2 c bread flour
1 c oats, quick or old fashioned
1.5 T dry milk
1.25 tsp salt
1.5 T butter, cut into four pieces
2 tsp active dry yeast

Get out yer handy dandy bread machine. Add water & honey. Add dry ingredients. Tap to settle ingredients, make a small well in the middle for your yeast, with no water poking thru. Place one piece of butter in each corner, and put the yeast in the middle. Set machine for basic. Watch while kneading - if it is crumbly, add water 1 T at a time. If it is sticking to the sides after 5 minutes of kneading, add flour 1 Tbs at a time. Enjoy!!

wheat bread

A slightly sweet, healthy half-whole-wheat bread

1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 T milk
2 T oil
2 T honey
2 T brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp dry yeast

*Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir. Add flours and yeast, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down; knead for a few minutes until smooth and then form into a loaf. Place in greased loaf pan and cover. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. If loaf starts browning too soon, lightly lay a piece of foil on top of the loaf to prevent too much darkening. Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cover with a cloth. Slice and enjoy while still warm! Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight bag or frozen until needed.

*OR - add all ingredients (in this order) into a breadmaker.