Sunday, August 28, 2011

Honey White Bread

This honey white bread recipe is so easy and so yummy! I haven't bought "store bought" bread in over 2 months. I just make a loaf or two of this on Sundays and freeze most of it, taking out what we'll need over the next few days at a time. Just so you know, homemade bread does not have all those additives and preservatives. So, a loaf won't last more than 4 or 5 days without freezing. On a side note, a couple months ago, I bought a loaf of white Wonder bread as a back up while I was searching for the "perfect" bread machine recipe. That loaf lasted a full 2 weeks just sitting on the counter. Although this seems economical, it's kind of scary. What the heck do they put in that stuff to make it last that long?!?! Whatever it is, if you're eating it, you're putting it in your body. Ugh.

I have searched and tested many bread machine recipes and have settled on this one as my "go to" recipe. This recipe is incredibly easy, incredibly tasty and incredibly "bread like." By that, I mean, when you slice it, it is most like a slice of regular store bought sandwich bread.

For a while, the docs thought I was gluten intolerant. However, it appears that I'm more "whole grain intolerant". For the last several years, I have using mostly whole grain breads and pastas because of their health benefits. Apparently, my digestive system cannot break down grains in their "whole" form. Therefore, I had the extra task of finding a good bread recipe using all purpose flour. It took a while, but here it is!

This is all you need! All purpose flour; shortening; milk (I'm allergic to dairy, so I use almond milk, but feel free to use skim, 2%, whole, rice, soy, etc.); honey; shortening (you can also use butter flavor shortening - if you don't have a problem with dairy); salt and active dry yeast. That's it.

Oh and a bread machine. I have a Panasonic SD-YD250. I did some research on bread machines before purchasing and found this one to have great reviews. It's great! Does everything: mixes, kneads, rises and bakes. Throw your ingredients in there and walk away till you hear it beep telling you that your bread is done!

First thing to do is take 1 1/4 cups of milk (2%, whole, skim, rice, soy, almond, etc) and heat in the microwave for about a minute.

Take 1 1/2 tbsp of honey (plus a little - I always let mine dribble over the side ;). Anyway, put your honey (measuring spoon and all) and let it rest in your warmed milk. This allows the honey to mix with the milk - plus it gets it all off the measuring spoon.

While your milk is heating in the microwave, measure out 3 cups of all purpose flour. I use King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour. I figure I don't need bleach in my flour. I'm good with the off white color. 

Just dump your flour in the bread pan for your bread machine. That's it. Don't stir or anything - just dump.

Throw in 1 1/2 tbsp of shortening. Again, you can use butter flavored shortening if you don't have dairy issues. 

Again, just dump it in there.

While you're dumping, go ahead and throw in 1 1/2 tsp of salt.

Next dump your milk/honey mixture in there, too.

At this point, it's going to look like this. Just a big gloppy mess. Don't stir or mix. Just dump.

Set your little bread pan inside your bread machine. Whew, that was hard work!

Next you need to add your yeast. I use the "quick rise" yeast specifically made for bread machines and have had really good results with it.
For this recipe use 1 1/2 tsp of yeast.

My bread machine has a yeast dispenser on top and this is where I add my yeast. Some bread machines do not have this, so you may just dump that in with the rest of your ingredients, too.

After this, set your bread machine. On mine, I select the "basic" bread setting. Medium loaf and light crust. 

This is what you get when it beeps. Four hours after you push start, you'll get a nice fresh loaf of bread. 

Look at the texture! It's just like a regular slice of sandwich bread. Try it, you won't be disappointed!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Eating Less Than 1200 Calories A Day

If you plan on consuming less than 1200 calories a day, think again! The average person uses almost 1200 calories a day just for things like breathing, digestion and heart beat. At 1200 calories a day, the body is "comfortable" without too much stress and shock.

So, what happens if you do consume less than 1200 calories a day? In a nutshell, you shock your body and will actually possibly gain weight. But, why, you might ask. The body is a very intelligent piece of machinery and it knows what it needs just to exist on a daily basis. Your body knows that it needs fuel (from food and drink) and when it needs it. It also knows, from past experience, that you are going to provide that fuel at certain intervals every day. So, your body happily goes along, using what it needs from the fuel you provide and ridding itself of any excess fuel. (However, keep in mind if you provide too much fuel, the body is going to store it wherever there is a spot: organs, fat cells, you get the picture).

Any drastic interruption (say, less than 1200 calories a day) is going to shock your body into thinking you're going to starve to death. This is called starvation mode and it isn't pretty. Like I said, the body is an intelligent piece of machinery. When it thinks it is going to starve, it holds on (tightly) to every single crumb, ounce and fat gram you do supply and releases very little as waste. Think of it as a sponge. If the sponge is full and water continues to be supplied to it, excess water will drip away because the sponge doesn't need it. A dry sponge will soak up and hold onto every tiny drip of water.

So, what if you slowly drop your calorie intake to under 1200 calories a day? Nope. That won't work either. Your body still requires that amount of calories to survive. Anything less than 1200 calories will throw your body into starvation mode.

But, what about the HCG Diet? Without getting into the diet protocol too much, the HCG diet is designed to burn your stored fat for energy by stimulating your hypothalamus with the human chorionic gonadotropin (a hormone). Therefore, the 500 calories of allowed food per day on this diet is paired with the thousands of calories the hypothalamus burns for energy. Note: I personally do not recommend the HCG diet unless you have over 25 pounds to lose and/or your weight is a contributing factor to disease or serious weight related health risks.

The best way to lose weight is to consume a minimum of 1200 calories a day and I recommend 1500 with some exercise. While you're at it, make those healthy calories like fruits and vegetables with plenty of protein, antioxidants and amino acids.

Trust me, your body will thank you for it and release some of that weight it's been holding on to.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos

This recipe was a bit more involved than I had planned, but was super yummy. A little prep ahead of time would make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, I guess I didn't have a whole lot of sense when it came to pre-prep ;)

Start with about 4 large sweet potatoes. Put them in boiling water to soften, like you would for making yams at Thanksgiving.

Open about 3 cans of black beans and drain them.

I like to take the lid off and then push it down in the can, turn it upside down, drain the liquid out.

Take a potato masher and mash the black beans until they are fairly smooth.

Chop up a small onion.

Put a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet. I used a large cast iron skillet.

Saute your onion and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic (or 4 cloves of garlic minced) in your skillet of olive oil.

Saute your onion and garlic until the onions are soft and it looks like this.

Put your mashed up black beans in your skillet with your onion and garlic. Heat until warmed through.

While your beans are heating. Take your sweet potatoes out of their jackets and mash them until smooth with your potato masher.

Gather soy sauce, mustard, cumin and chili powder. Yes, I realize that is curry powder in the picture. I did add a little curry powder in mine, too. **Even though I put soy sauce in this time, I don't know that I would add it again. Here's your chance to go a little crazy - just put whatever you want in there ;)

Remove your beans from the heat and add your spices. I added 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 4 teaspoons mustard and a dash of curry powder. 

Grab some burrito size flour tortillas. I did use 98% fat free flour tortillas.

Warm your flour tortillas in the microwave for a minute or so. Then lay them out one at a time on a cookie sheet.

Add a spoonful of your black bean mixture to the center of a flour tortilla.

Add a spoonful of your mashed sweet potatoes.

Top with some shredded cheddar cheese.

Fold burrito style - turn up the bottom and then both sides - secure with a toothpick.

Arrange your burritos on your cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

This is how they come out of the oven. These were so yummy!

This recipe made 14 large burritos. I was able to eat ONE and I was full. Bossman got two down and was full. They do freeze very well, so they are great to prepare ahead of time and have for lunches and those nights when you don't feel like cooking.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bossman Nachos

****I don't know what happened to my pictures! I'm going to leave this blog post up, for the directions....meanwhile, I'm hunting down my pictures in the blogosphere picture graveyard...

This is what happens when I've had a long hard day and Bossman takes over in the kitchen. He is the King of Scrounge, no doubt about it. While this may not be the healthiest dinner in town, it did have some positive, healthy attributes like lots of fiber and protien.

And they were really, really good. Amen.

Bossman started with some extra lean hamburger. He browned it in a cast iron skillet. See, healthy already.

He added a healthy dose of Lawry's Seasoned Salt

While the hamburger was browning, he warmed up some pinto beans we had leftover from dinner the other night. There's our fiber.

He gathered the remainder of his ingredients: tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa and salsa verde. This is sounding pretty good, huh?

He was very precise about how to arrange the tortilla chips on the plates. They have to be spread out and somewhat even to allow the other ingredients to get "down in there".

These are our plates lined up with the tortilla chips arranged just so. 

Then, we put a layer of shredded cheddar cheese over the layered tortilla chips. Followed by another smaller layer of tortilla chips. At this point, it was getting pretty tall, so I only did one layer of chips. 

Followed by another healthy dose of shredded cheddar cheese. Plenty of dairy and protein.

Here's our lean ground beef all browned and ready to go.

Add a layer of the browned lean ground beef. This will start the cheese melting and getting gooey.

Add some warmed up pinto beans.  Again, fiber. And, more protein. (plus is uses up your leftovers)

This is what it looks like after the lean ground beef and pinto beans were added to the layers of cheese and chips. Looking pretty yummy.

Add a little more cheese on top of all of that. 

At this point, he put the whole plate in the microwave for 1 minute and 11 seconds. He said it's easier that way since you just have to hit all "1"s on the microwave keypad. I love him :) This makes your cheese get all melty and ooey gooey good.

This is what it looked like right out of the microwave.

Make a little "well" in the center of your ooey, gooey cheesy goodness and add some salsa.

Make another little "well" in the middle of your now salsa'd ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness and add some salsa verde.

Now it's time to dig in with your fingers and enjoy! 

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone