Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Menu Monday...on Wednesday

What's on the menu this week?

Surviving. It's been quite a week. But since ya still gotta eat, here is the plan...

Monday--White Chicken Chili
Tuesday--Jason's Deli
Wednesday--pasta with olive oil and parmesan, chicken, salad, and whatever frozen veggies I can find in the freezer
Thursday--taco salad
Friday--another dinner out, please Dear Lord.

Eating out is my primary love language you know. I can't help it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Menu Monday...on Tuesday

Just for my own personal records, I'm going to start writing out my menus here. If you see any meals that you would like the recipe for, just email or leave a comment and I'll link to them.

Monday--crock pot green beans, new potatoes, and ham; cheddar biscuits
Tuesday--fish tacos (Ellie Kreiger recipe)
Wednesday--white chicken chili
Thursday--parmesan chicken (Real Simple recipe)
Friday--take out!

Notes to self: The boys hated the potatoes but liked the green beans that had no potato on them. Those were hard to come by after spending 8 hours together in a crock pot (the beans, not the boys.) Next time, make them separately as the boys seem to have food-mixing issues.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baking Bread

I wish I could say that my only motivation for baking our bread is the pure joy that slaving away in the kitchen on behalf of my family brings me. That's part of it of course. And the smell--the smell is nice, too. And it's cheaper. Again, bonus.

But if I get right down to it, the reason I love to make our bread is because I feel like I'm stickin' (that's right--stickin'--a "g" would be inappropriate here) it to the industrial bread people and their industrial chemicals and their industrial little nutrition fact box that would lead me to believe that what I could purchase from them is actually bread. As Michael Pollan puts it, if not for the indulgence of the FDA, what is sold in those long plastic bags and twist-tied closed could not be truthfully labled so.

Not that the higher-ups at Mrs. Bairds or Orowheat are sitting at a conference table right now trying to figure out how to minimize the "Jamie Effect," but I like being able to say, even if just on this blog for all 5 of you precious people to read, I will pass, Bread Big Wigs, on your ingredients list longer than my arm, and make it myself. The fact that it is healthy, more cost-effective, and tastier is the icing on my industrial bread rebellion cake.

And here is the recipe I use. I cannot remember where I found the original one, but I have modified this one quite a bit so hopefully no one's intellectual rights are being too badly violated.

2 pkts. dry active yeast
2 c. warm water
1/2 c. honey (I've used agave nectar too and it works, but I like it with honey better)
a little salt (maybe 1/2 t.)
1/4 c. olive oil
4 c. all purpose unbleached flour
2 c. whoel wheat flour
4 t. vital wheat gluten

In a large bowl, dissolve the honey in the water and then sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes.

Next, add the salt and oil and stir to combine.

Then, work in all the flour and the vital wheat gluten. Knead it for a few minutes until it is smooth.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn the dough once to make sure it is all coated in the oil. Put a towel over the bowl. If you are as fortunate as I am to still be enjoying temperatures in the 90's and 100% humidity, you can just place your bowl in the garage to rise. I hear some people turn their oven on low and place to bowl on the top of the stove. So do what you gotta do, just put it somewhere warm to rise for about an hour.

After that, punch the dough down and knead it for a few more minutes, then divide it into 2 loaves and place in well-oiled loaf pans. Preheat your oven to 350 and let the dough rise for 30 more minutes. Bake it for 25 minutes.

Of course, there are some weeks when I'm not in the mood to single-handedly bring down the corporate bread world. When that occurs, I buy Ezekiel 4:9 bread--a little pricey, but so delicious and full of healthy sprouted grains. Even rebels need a break now and then.