Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Five Loaf Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Sam and Evan helped me make bread today and they did an excellent job!
I have finally found the perfect whole wheat bread for sandwiches, toast, and regular every day use!  I've tried so many!  It's taken me years!  There was always something wanting... and now I've found it!  (Okay it's still not as good as that bread you can buy in Utah, but this is healthier and homemade so I'm willing to call it even.)  I did this by hand, since I don't have a mixer, and you only have to let it rise once!  I left out the 2/3 cup of gluten since it's not so good for you and the bread still slices fine (gluten helps it hold together).   Gluten also needs to be refrigerated I think so it was a no-no for food storage since I like to plan for emergencies and I don't want to have to worry about whether or not something went bad and therefore my bread won't work.  This makes 5 loaves which is good because my oven can't fit anymore.  Two across the back and then three in the front.  The original recipe that I got also had 2 Tbsp of dough enhancer, which again I didn't want to have to store, so I substituted the egg, powdered milk, vanilla, and ginger for the dough enhancer since those are things I'd already have- less stuff to buy.  Altogether this recipe has 3 cups of white flour and about 10 cups of whole wheat flour.

Here is my recipe:
5 c. Hot Water
3 c. White Flour
2 c. Whole Whear Flour
2/3c. Olive Oil
2/3c. Honey
1 Egg (or egg powder)
Pinch Ginger
Pinch (drops) Vanilla
1 Tbsp. Powdered Milk
2 Tbsp. Salt

Grease 5 bread pans so they're ready.
Add all of the above ingredients to a large mixing bowl.  Mix together.  Add 2 Tbsp Yeast and stir in.  Slowly add Whole Wheat Flour to mixture until dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl (about 5-7 cups).  Mix together on high speed for 10 minutes if you have a big bread mixer, otherwise by hand- 20 minutes on a clean floured wood board or counter.   Keep adding more whole wheat flour as needed so that dough doesn't stick and becomes smooth and elastic.  I do this gently and slowly until it's good and then knead it as best I can.  You will be tired by the time you are done.  You can count this 20 minutes as an arms and abs workout for the day. 

 Divide dough into 5 equal parts as best you can and form into loaves and put each loaf into it's pan.  Cover with towel and let rise until top of dough is about 1-2 inches above the sides of the pan. (1-2 hours, maybe more depending on the temperature and weather).

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool on rack.   If you're family is not going to eat this in 1 week like mine, then you can freeze these loafs and pull them out later.

More fav's for my cousin...

Here are two of my favorite meals that are a little on the healthier side.  When I was serving as a missionary in Chile they always ate palta.  Palta is a delicious, ripe-soft avocado that has been roughly mashed with a fork with some salt and lemon juice (to taste) and olive oil added.  The bit of olive oil makes it more speadable and delicious.   Then they just eat it on their bread which is a white, crusty bread either by dipping the bread into the bowl to get scoops or by spreading it on the bread.  When I have a good avocado and good bread I could eat this forever.  Too bad there aren't avocado trees where I live now.   I wish I could come up with a good alternative to the bread.  Maybe sprouted bread that has been toasted?  They have a lot of healthy chips now too...

And next is the turkey burger!  I love turkey burgers so much more than regular burgers which usually gross me out.   I do not eat mine on a bun however.  Here's how we eat it in our family: (and the kids love them!)

I make the turkey burger usually with some onion and seasonings and then we eat it on a plate with a fork.  With each bite we take we have also cherry or grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, greek plain yogurt, pickled jalapenos (for the adults), or whatever other toppings you'd like.  The kids make a huge decoration around their burger with the tomatoes and cucumbers with the large dollop of yogurt in the middle.  They then eat it all up!  Sometimes someone wants a bit of sweetness like BBQ sauce mixed into the yogurt.  And like I said it's a great way to cut back on carbs since we don't eat ours with buns. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tomato Caprese Salad

Some healthier dishes I've found recently, and thought I'd share! 

Tomato Caprese Salad
(The really yummy stuff I make with my fresh tomatoes)
  • Sliced fresh tomatos
  • Sliced soft mozzarella log
  • Fresh basil, or Basil Pesto (I like to buy mine from Costco)
  • Olive Oil
The above is a recipe I found on the internet for Tomato Caprese Salad.  When the girls here make it, they just spread the Basil Pesto on the tomato and then top with the Mozzarella and eat it like a little sandwich, but I loved this picture.

This is spaghetti squash spaghetti.  Cook spaghetti squash in a big pan of water boiling for about 1 hour.  Lift out of pan with two forks and set on cutting board.  Cut open in whatever way you want, scoop out seeds and discard.  The rest scoops out and separates into strands.  Top with tomato sauce and bits of mozzarella cheese.  Pretty good!

This is just a salad with balsamic vinegar as dressing.  Just gently boil the balsamic vinegar until it is thickened and it turns really sweet.  Only takes about 10 minutes.  I'm not really sure if this is healthier, but it must be since you aren't adding sugar to make the dressing sweet?  And you don't need oil or any other ingredient.  Tastes great!

Sprouting chickpeas(garbanzo beans) and lentils.  The lentils didn't work, but the chickpeas did and they tasted great.  Basically they tasted like alfalfa sprouts.  I didn't buy any special beans... just used the dried beans and lentils I had already to see if they would work. 

Kids love them!

My visiting teacher brought me these.  She is a cancer survivor as of recently and has started sprouting.  This is a jar of sprouted sesame seeds and another of sprouted quinoa.  I wasn't a huge fan of these.  Won't ever make them to eat plain, but they weren't bad on the tomatoes below (with a bit of salt) or mixed into yogurt.



I am grateful that the cashier at the store gave me a huge box of diapers for only 10.00 simply because the scanner wasn't scanning the correct price. So he just typed in $10 and I should have paid about $30.

I'm grateful for that waiter that didn't charge us a couple months ago for all the kids meals. I don't know if he was just trying to get a big tip, but if he was, it worked. Even with the big tip, he reduced our meal price by about $20. That was so nice of him.

I'm thankful for my friend Melinda who came to my house today and taught me how to make her fantastic lasagna.  She is going through a lot, yet she still made time to come and spend some time with me.  And as a bonus I had dinner already made tonight!!!  Yummy lasagna.

I'm thankful that my talk went well on Sunday. I spent every free hour I had on it for the 5 days I had to prepare it, and wrote 3 different talks and nothing felt right. I kept praying for help and direction. I am not afraid to speak in public and I can usually prepare a talk fairly quickly, but nothing would feel right! No matter how many different topics I tried, or how many different angles I tried to approach them from, I just kept ending up with BLAH. I missed lots of engagements (bookclub, basketball, Super Saturday, and relax time), and I just kept getting no where. I stayed up two nights in a row almost the whole night because I just kept trying to get it done and it would just not work! Pat was always patient and helpful, giving me suggestions, helping me find scriptures, doing the dishes and watching the children after he got home from work so I could work on it. I woke up Sunday morning after getting 2 hours of sleep, still with pieces of a talk and time slipping through my fingers as church started at 9am. I was so frustrated! I could feel Heavenly Father helping me, but I could still feel something wasn't right. Then Pat made a suggestion that was the missing link. Suddenly it all came together and even though I was still filling it in during the first part of church, when it was time for me to speak, the Spirit was there, and when I stood, it all came out just right.

So to sum that all up, I am grateful to Father for listening to my prayers, and I am thankful to my dear husband for never getting angry at how much time it was taking, or how wishy washy I was being trying to decide what to speak on.

And, yeah, I'm not going to tell about my talk, but many, many people complimented me, which I know the credit goes to God, but after spending a week feeling like I was in finals again, it was delightful to hear that the talk really made a difference to so many people. And Pat really liked it too, which was nice to hear since I love him so much!

Country club membership

To live in the country, you have to be able to make your own bird house.  This is D's.

To live in the country, you have love dirt AND eating worms. (These are really gummy worms that the kids love to eat for Family night in some chocolate pudding with crushed oreos- a dessert called DIRT.) 

To live in the country you've got to dress in overalls.  No shirt required.

Most importantly, to live in the country, you have to have membership cards and a key that you wear at all times.

Dinner time

It's a good thing kids are cute.

Sam wanted to take a picture of us all eating dinner.

Great day at the zoo!

A couple weeks ago after D's speech therapy I took all the kids to the zoo and had a fun, relaxing visit!
The weather was perfect; not too hot or too cold. All the kids were in good spirits. We had good glimpses of the animals that you don't always get. The polar bears especially. We happened to be there with about 10 others right at their feeding time and that was especially exciting. Their feeder had a good arm and threw the fish all over making them leap off of 20 foot cliffs into the water below and climb back up again and we got splashed repeatedly.

While watching the chimpanzees, the boys knocked on the glass to get them to move or do something. I told them to stop because that wasn't nice, and how would they feel if everyone came by bothering them all the time?
Dallas said, "Yeah. It's like every morning I'm just in my bed trying to read my book and this girl comes in and bothers me about my chores." (Talking about his dear sweet mother.)

Sam unbeknownst to me brought along paper and pencil to take notes and he wrote down all sorts of notes about each animal which took a long time, but I was just so proud of him for wanting to do that, I didn't mind. One great note he wrote was about the big pink bottom on the chimpanzee.

Evan said funny stuff all day too but I don't remember already.
My crew

Mom look!

Sam finishing up his notes.  He had to find a place to sit down and write while we waited for him.

Polar bears at feeding time.

Mom look!

Dallas carrying Evan to the car since he couldn't walk anymore.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blacksmithing class

We had a WONDERFUL field trip to learn about blacksmithing from this great teacher. He is a Christian, like us, and it was so uplifting and refreshing to talk openly of it in a school setting. As a believer, he asked us to brush our children up on the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego before we came. I also brushed my children up on the story of Nephi building a ship, and having to find ore to make his own tools that we read in The Book of Mormon.

The flowers D is holding below must have taken so much work! We learned that it got it's bronze/gold color by being brushed with a copper brush while still hot thus transferring some of the copper onto the tips of the flowers. This blacksmith's main work seemed to be making fancy fixtures, doorknobs, decorations, etc for peoples homes, though he has done a little bit of everything.
It was fascinating and a little scary to see that hot metal come out glowing bright and then to see him hammer it on the anvil with the sparks flying. Once he left the metal in a bit too long and it caught on fire which just made it look like a big sparkler on 4th of July. Then a big chhhhh sound as it was dipped in water to cool it.
The blacksmith made this ram while we all watched and he taught the children with metaphors from his trade as he quoted scripture. He really knew his history and also made accounts in the Bible come to life in ways that were useful to us for our lives.

Interesting fact: When you heat your metal into a liquid state for pouring into a mold it is called casting. I just read Johnny Tremain about a young boy living in Boston (during the beginning of the Revolutionary War) who was a silversmith. He had a terrible accident in the early part of the book while casting. I highly recommend this book to anyone but to boys especially who are at least 10 years old.

The walls were covered with interesting pieces to look at and we thought it was all so interesting!
Thank you to Mr. Gunter for a great class.

Hail to the princess!

...coming into her own. She already has her own carriage with footmen... and watch out if the princess is displeased. She has a bit of a temper.

Who me?