Monday, April 4, 2011

How I Saved $150.00

It all started on a snowy day.  I was stuck inside with the kids and out of bread.  I had 2 choices... go buy bread or whip some up.  I decided to NOT brave the storm and to try making my own bread.  I stirred, kneaded and let it rise.  It was good.  The kids loved having warm bread.  I loved making them bread knowing what was in it. That was it, I decided I would no longer buy bread, but make my own.  It wasn't hard.  Then the question came, "Did you use a bread maker?"  Hmmm, There's a gadget I didn't have!!!!  I started to search on-line... WOW, they really ran the gamut in prices!  The one I liked was the middle of the road - $150.00  While talking to my kick-butt friend Eileen, she mentioned she had one.  LIGHTBULB!  "Can I borrow it to see if I like it?"  Of course she said yes, because she ROCKS!  This is the bread maker that has been mentioned before in my blog.
Back to the bread.  The machine was super easy to use.  I just layered the ingredients, set the timer and viola.  My only problem was, the beeping kept waking me in the middle of the night.  As my time with Eileen's bread maker comes to a close, I realized I needed to make a decision about this gadget before giving it back.  Did I want to get one, should I go back to store bought bread???  **I like to picture my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with a  hot pink cape with the letters KA in leopard print on it**  In comes my trusty hero, my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and her trusty side kick, dough hook.  Assembling the ingredients took just as little effort as the bread machine.  I let it rise for the amount of time recommended in the recipe.  Once I put in in the bread pan, I kept on eye on it.  I knew I could always punch it down a little bit, if I wanted to wait to put it in the oven or pop it in when it was ready.  The bread came out (almost) perfect!  For some reason, it stuck to the bottom of my glass loaf pan.  Next time, I'll be sure to use my non-stick and to grease it a little better.    I'm glad I had the opportunity to try the machine before running out to get one.  I love my KA mixer and am SO happy I have another reason to have it on my counter!

Here's my new favorite bread recipe:


  • 1 1/8 cup warm water

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • tablespoons olive oil or butter

  • cups whole wheat flour

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal, uncooked

  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten

  • teaspoon salt

  • teaspoons active dry yeast

    1. pour the yeast into the water, let it get good and foamy. 
    2. stir in the honey and oil, pour in mixer
    3. put the mixer to 2 or 4
    4. add salt, oatmeal, gluten and flour a little at a time.
    5. continue to mix on 2 or 4 until all the flour is in.
    6. let the mixer do the work for about 10 minutes
    7. take the dough out of the bowl, oil the bowl, put the dough back in and flip it over.
    8. cover and let rise, until about doubled in size - approximately 1 hour
    9. turn the mixer to 2 or 4 and let the machine punch down your dough
    10. grease your loaf pan ** You can also use a baking sheet and just shape your dough - I use mine to make sandwiches, so I like a loaf**
    11. put the dough in and cover 
    12. let the dough rise until it is the size you want it, at least 1-2 hours
    13. preheat the oven to 400° 
    14. **Optional, brush some eggwash or milk over the bread and sprinkle oatmeal**
    15. Bake about 30-40 minutes, spinning 1/2 way through, if your loaf is getting too dark, cover with foil.
    16. Let cool 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on rack.

    1. I Adapted from this recipe:

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Time to share...

    I love to share stuff... here's a few "finds" that I am loving:

    ♥ I may be a little late to the party, but I am LOVING Bakerella and her cake pops!  How cute are these: 

    I'm cake pop obsessed!  I can not wait to make more!!!!  I need to find other people to eat them though!  

    ♥  My newest crush is Ree Drummond (a.k.a. Pioneer Woman) AND her husband.  While I've been a fan of her website for some time now, I never really paid too much attention to her blog portion.  It was all about the recipes for me.  I took out her cookbook from the library. 
    Holy Yum & Butter!  Definitely not weight friendly, but fine for a once in a while meal.  Or you can always "slim it down".  

    Then I read her new book:

    I can totally relate to her.  Well, not in the way that I live on a cattle ranch and get up at 4 a.m. and home school my kids way, but seriously, I do!  I never planned to live in the mountains, in a town with 5 traffic lights... Oh, I mean 6, they just added one more.  I am a city/town type of girl.  I also love to cook and bake.  The fact that there are deer, bear, chipmunks and turkeys using my backyard as a playground is crazy.  I wouldn't change a thing though.   And both P-Dub and I are very funny!  HAHA!  
    Anyway, back to the book.  This is a love story of how she met her now husband.  Anyone that is a fan of hers knows that she marries him, I'm not ruining this for you, really, I'm not.  The actual story is so sweet.  I read it in about 4 hours.  I had to keep going.  I couldn't stop.  When I finished, I wanted to hear more... so Ree, if you're reading this... write. more. books.  You know, in your spare time ;-)  
    I've said this several times before and I'm sure I'll say it again and again.  This book made me want to drive out to the ranch to hang with them and eat meat.  I've been craving a nice juicy steak since finishing it!

    Here's something I found out through my "investigating" of my two new faves... THEY ARE FRIENDS!  They have gotten together for cake pop weekends!  I WANT TO GO!!!!!  INVITE ME!!!!!!  

    ♥ Katy over at My Vegan Weight Loss posted a recipe a few weeks back about a sushi salad.  It was from the book Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  
    Like I said in my last post, I could never go vegan all the way.  I love my Greek Yogurt and Eggs... and I like meat!  But let me tell you a little something about these recipes... They are easy, delicious and low fat!  Some of the side dishes sound amazing!  There's a whole section on "Bowls" that will just knock your socks off.  SO many great ideas!!!!  I took it out of the library, it's on a 14 day loan.  I HATE to have to give it back.  I think I am either going to have to go scan crazy scanning in some pages or go buy this!  

    ♥ And... my last new fave - Because I AM still a Jersey Girl, even if I live in the mountains...
    Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in HOT PINK!!!!  Oh how I love thee!!!!  I got a sample in the mail, from Target.  I am smitten with this lip gloss.  It's the perfect pink, without being too Barbie-ish!  
    Of course, I went to purchase it and it was the only color sold out... I guess I'm not the only one who loves it!!!!

    Lunches and other updates

    I've been MIA.  I've been super busy.  Also, my kids have been very boring with their lunches, asking for the same thing day after day.  It's been pb&j, yogurt and fruit every day.  Not something I need to write about or take a picture of.  Today is a new day though!
    Here's L's Lunch:

    *Cheese Stick
    *Granola Bar

    I made my own little bento box using silicone baking cups and a chinese take-out container.  
    You may notice the pink lunch box is gone.  This is her panda lunch box.  It's usually reserved for days when it's a snack only day.  However, the pink one bit the dust.  Her new one is on it's way!!!!

    Waste: Cheese stick wrapper and granola wrapper.

    In other updates...
    I went grocery shopping and for the first time, purchased Blue Agave.  I bought it in the raw.  I didn't know if that would be better, but I know that sugar in the raw and honey in the raw are both so yummy tasting, so I went with it!  I tried it in my tea.  It was good.  I don't think I'd use it there too often though.  Maybe for the occasional iced tea.  L used it this morning on her plain yogurt with Kashi and LOVED it.  I only needed to use a little drizzle.  

    While on the subject of sweeteners... 
    I tried Truvia a while back, it was ok.  I have been a Splenda girl for a while.  But since I'm trying to eliminate as many processed/artificial things from my diet, I thought I'd go the natural route.  
    Here's 2 things I found:
    a) I used the same amount of packets as I did Splenda, even though these packets seem MUCH fuller.
    b) The weird aftertaste that I had after the first few tries, went away.

    I like that this sweetener comes from a leaf.  I'm definitely a big fan of plant based foods.  I don't think I could ever give up my meat or dairy, so I could never go vegan, but I could definitely embrace some of the other aspects of that lifestyle.  

    My kids are on spring break next week, so there won't be any lunch boxes.  We do plan on trying some new recipes, I'll share those.  

    Happy Friday!!!!