Homemade Spelt Cheez-Its

March 2014

Behind the varieties of vitamins, shelves of whole grains, organic condiments and the very purposeful lack of corn syrup, there was a dirty little, salty, orange secret: a Cheez-It vice!

Cheddar and PreBake

“I didn’t want to tell you this,” he said, “but I eat a few handulls of Cheez-Its a day.” I tried to receive this confession without returning a look of judgment, but that, my friends, is when I decided to experiment with a counter offer: a whole-grain, homemade version of that snack so many apparently still love.

Baked Cheezits

Staring into the eye of the Cheez-It ingredient monster is pretty daunting. The list is fairly long and questionable. Making crackers in your own kitchen is surprisingly simple and wholesome, and though the first bite tastes a little unfamiliar, the flavor finishes like a Cheez-It. I’d still like to experiment with making these classics (rolled thinner, different grain, etc), but in the meantime, these little squares passed the test, so give this rendition a go! The salty snacker in your life will be glad you did!

One cheezit

Homemade Cheez-Its
makes about 7-8 dozen crackers


6 ounces (1 1/2 cups coarsely grated) good-quality sharp cheddar, orange-colored if you want the authentic Cheez-It color
4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) cold, organic unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (optional: additional salt for sprinkling on top)


Combine all ingredients in a food processor, running the machine until the dough forms a ball, about two minutes.

Shape the dough into two separate disks, wrap in plastic wrap, + chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350°F.

When dough is cool, place between two pieces of wax paper, parchment paper, or silicone mats, + using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick.

Using a pastry wheel (to get the fancy edges seen above) or a pizza wheel, cut the dough into a grid of 1-inch squares. use a toothpick or skewer to punch a hole into the center of each square. (note: as a salty snack lover, i sprinkled a bit of additional salt on top at this point.)

Return the cut dough (still on the parchment/waxed paper/silicone mat) to the refrigerator for 10 minutes – this allows the dough to firm back up, which makes it super easy to transfer the individual crackers to a baking sheet prior to baking.

Transfer individual crackers to a parchment or silicone mat-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1/2-inch between crackers. bake at 350°F for 11-14 minutes, until crackers are puffed up + just starting to turn golden at the edges.

If you pull them out too soon + the crackers don’t have the desired crispiness you want, simply return them to the oven for 1-2 more minutes. remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a wire rack to cool.


Happy Snacking!

Juice of the Week: Citrus, Carrot, Ginger & Celery

March 2014

Though deceivingly portable, eating an orange is complicated. The thick flesh’s release of those fragrant oils forms an unpredictable splash zone, and each bite is a gamble. Will there be a seed? Will the bite result in a spray of juice dribbling down the chin and hand? Despite the labors of peeling and the mess of dribbling, the orange’s ability to refresh and hydrate redeems its splash zone demerits. 

Orange Lemon Juice 01

Cut a slice from your morning routine to supreme some citrus for this Juice of the Week concoction. Though the juices will surely pool on your cutting board, one messy session will result in several glasses of gingery citrus sipping, and that is a very refreshing notion indeed! Plus, this recipe sneaks in some celery for extra greens in your day, and you won’t even notice.

Orange Lemon Juice 02

Citrus Carrot Ginger
makes ~2 quarts


3 lbs organic carrots
~4 oz fresh ginger, peeled (I like a prominent, spicy ginger flavor. Reduce quantity if you like a milder accent)
1 organic heart of celery
7 organic navel oranges, peeled
6 organic lemons, peeled


Combine according to your juicer’s instructions.

Juice of the Week documents my goal to drink fresh juice daily (made in batches weekly).



A Giveaway: The Farm to Table Conference Tasting Event

March 2014

The way the birds are chirping adds so much spring to the air despite the lingering chill. I can’t help but long for tables stretching over grassy pastures, tomatoes bursting with the sweetness of a dessert, the aroma of basil and mint carried by warm breezes, and bronze shoulders exposed by slipping sundress straps. As the anticipation grows for spring’s rebirth, we can take comfort in the local goodness our region has to offer, and one lucky winner will enjoy that local goodness even more at the annual Farm to Table Conference.


The Annual Farm to Table Conference
Friday & Saturday, March 21st & 22nd

from 10am-5pm each day
at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center

This year’s theme is Food Sources, which supports the Farm to Table Conference’s mission to connect the community to local farms and food producers. Attendees will have the chance to sample local foods from more than 70 vendors, as well as hear speakers, including the Keynote Speaker, Judy Wicks, the founder of White Dog Café and author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business: the Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer.


Giveaway: Two Tickets to the Friday Night Local Food Tasting

Day one of the conference concludes with a Local Food Tasting from 5-8pm, on Friday, March 21, 2014. I’m giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader to enjoy this relaxed gathering of farm exhibitors and like-minded locavores.

To Enter
The Local Food Tasting will feature several of the region’s best food, wine and beer purveyors. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below telling me which vendor you’re most excited to try [and tell me why if you're feeling extra communicative]. On Thursday, March 20th, I’ll announce a random winner.  

Screen shot 2014-03-20 at 10.20.04 AM

Winner, winner, Local Foods Dinner…
The Winner is Kezia. Hope you enjoy something from 5 Generation Bakers!


Good Luck!

ps: You can also purchase tickets to the conference here.

A Pizza Pie for Pi(e) Day

March 14, 2014

Depending on your level of cynicism (here’s looking at yours, Will C.), today is either a day for nerds to enjoy being punny or a day for pun lovers to pretend to be math nerds. Why?

Salad and Pizza

March 14 = 3/14
Pi= 3.14
Pi sounds like Pie and voila! National Pi Day is born [an excuse to eat pie, make pi references and test your ability to recall the endless digits beyond the 4].

Fennel Craisin Salad

Since I like to eat a salad with my pizza, might I suggest:
Spinach, Fennel, Feta, Cranberry & Chia Seeds with Homemade Dijon Vinaigrette

I fall somewhere between nerd and pun lover, but I’m definitely a theme enthusiast, which might explain my exuberant devotion to Pi(e) Day.

Salmon Pesto Pizza

In honor of today, I bring you a super simple method for an individual pizza using one of my favorite flavor combinations. I love sharing a more official version of this pizza with friends and watching their faces savor what’s in their mouths. Then we all ask ourselves, “why isn’t this on pizza menus everywhere?!?”

One Slice

My Favorite Pizza

Whole-wheat pita or a pizza crust
Goat Cheese
Smoked Salmon
Black Olives
Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese, grated
Fresh basil when it’s in season

Arrange the ingredients to your liking. If you’re making the quick pita style, heat it in the toaster oven for an easy, delicious lunch. If you’re making a pizza crust, prepare the crust according to instructions and then bake in the oven at 425 degrees until the goat cheese is melted and softened and crust is warm, about 10-15 minutes.


Happy Pi(e) Day!

Happy Pi(e) Day!

March 14, 2014

It’s March 14th (3/14), which means it’s time for math nerds and pun enthusiasts to unite around the idea of pi(e).

Pi Pie

In honor of my nerdy, punny self, here’s a roundup of some of my own pie recipes:

Chocolate Pecan Pie
Star Spangled Blueberry & Cherry Pie
Maple & Apple Handpies
Lemon Honey Tart With Salted Cardamom Shortbread Crust
Maple Mousse Pie
White Cheddar & Cinnamon Apple Pie
Strawberry Lemon Basil Meringue Pie

and more!

Finale 02


Happy Pi(e) Day!

Garnets & Ganache: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Espresso Ganache

February 2014

Long ago, I made my sister a cheesy, craft-fair style plaque boasting “I’d give up chocolate, but I’m no quitter.”

Quelcy 30th-0005

Photo by Joey Kennedy.

As country craft as that little plaque may have been, truer words about our family were never spoken. Persistance and chocolate were probably secretly woven into our Kogel crest, so my birthday would not have been complete without an element of chocolate, especially when the theme for my 30th was Garnets & Ganache.

Quelcy 30th-0011

Photo by Joey Kennedy.

As part of my birthday cake tradition of making one, miniature, beautiful cake for each year of life, I used a large cupcake pan and inverted the cupcakes to create these decadent cakelettes. Follow suit if you’re feeling fancy, or follow the instructions for a layered 8-inch cake (which is fancy in its own right).

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Cake with Espresso Ganache


Butter, for greasing the pans

1 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for pans
2 cups organic evaporated cane sugar
3/4 cups pure cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup organic greek yogurt
1/4 cup organic milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 extra-large, organic eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee or espresso


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans or cupcake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder.

In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.

With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Pour warm ganache over the cakes and form a layer cake, or spread evenly over the cupcakes.


Espresso Ganache

8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
1 heaping teaspoon instant coffee granules

3/4 cup heavy cream


Bring the cream and coffee granules to a boil, in a saucepan over medium heat.

Remove from heat and add the chocolate, whisking to combine. Allow to cool slightly before pouring over cake.


Bon Appétit!

Juice of the Week: Greens for Spring

March 2014

The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. The gray chunks of disgusting curbside ice are dissipating ever so steadily, and rather than layering in 18 articles of clothing, I’m down to maybe 9 or 10. I’ve learned letting my bitterly cold, wintry guard down in Pittsburgh often results in a blizzard in my un-scarfed face, but I’m starting to embrace the potential for spring ever so cautiously.

Green Juice

As the newly revealed muck transforms to bright greens, here’s a sipper to match the preliminary signs of spring popping up around us [unless of course, you're one of the fortunate/smart ones to live in a consistently sunny, springy locale].

Green Juice and Book

Spring Greens Juice


2 organic hearts of romaine
2 organic zucchinis, peeled
1 organic heart of celery
~4 oz ginger, peeled
2 heads of organic broccoli
6 organic d’anjou pears


Combine according to your juicer’s instructions.

Juice of the Week documents my goal to drink fresh juice daily (made in batches weekly).