Recipe #1: Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Last week I ran into the grocery store to get a few things for meals, fruits for the morning, frozen spinach for my dinners and bread for sandwiches for Nick and I.  I grabbed a bag of 100% Whole Wheat bread, a better choice than white, but to my surprise..not as good as I thought.  Ingredient #3 was HighFructoseCornSyrup (HFCS)and the last 14 ingredients were all  preservatives and nutrients that were added in at the end.  Big disappointment.   Whether or not you believe that HFCS is fine for your body, the fact of the matter is that HighFructoseCornSyrup is a HIGHLY processed sugar substitute, which is why I am choosing to eliminate it from my diet.  Not because it’s a sugar product.

Part of the reason I was so excited to go to the farmers market was to get a loaf of bread from any one of the local bakeries.  However as I laid in bed this morning, it was a quick realization how comforatble I was and that I probably wasn’t going to make it downtown.  When I got up, though, I was determined to do something else good for my nutrition today.  1st, I watched a new movie on Netflix: Engine 2: Kitchen Rescue, which I highly recommend. 2nd, I made this bread for sandwiches for the week.

The recipe calls for rapid rise yeast*, honey* and  oil*, which I didn’t have, or didn’t want to put in the bread.  Instead I combined 4.5 teasponn *active dry yeast with 1 cup of hot tap water in order to activate it.  I then combined the remainder of the water, milk, *maplesyrup and *applesauce in a sauce pan to heat it up a bit, then combined that with the yeast mix.  Whole Wheat Flour was slowly added one cup at a time and mixed with handmixer on low.  The rest of the directions were followed as presented in the recipe. 

The results: DELICIOUS!  It’s very moist and not to sweet, and to boot, it’s easy to make and I know exactly what’s in my bread from the get-go! My first sandwich was a new favorite: pickles and cheese, made much better by homemade bread!

Try the recipe, and let me know what you think!  I can’t wait to try different combinations for flavorings, and see where I can take the recipe on my own.  Now to find a recipe to try for Week 2!

Happy Saturday, and of course, Happy Eating!

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Welcome, 2012!

1st post of the New Year–What to write about??? 

Nick & I went to Boston for the weekend–which was a great, relaxing time catching up with friends and family.  However, my eating choices have been the best since before Christmas, part my choice (how often do I really partake in chips and dip, it won’t kill me!), part availability of healthy food choices.  Also playing in the thought process: it’s vacation!!!! All legitimate, but also, all potential excuses.

I didn’t make a “resolution” per se. However, I set a goal for myself that I’m going to incorporate into this blog for the next year.  I am going to try 1 new recipe a week for 2012.  I have too many cookbooks, and magazine rip outs, and now a couple website with ideas for healthy, whole foods made with non-processed ingredients(right up my alley!). So I’m really excited to have a goal, and to put a means to organizing my cabinets.  I haven’t decided what this week’s recipe will be, and I might just wait until Saturday after the farmers market–great time to start, I think! That’s all for now, I’ll report back Saturday.

Happy New Year to all, and to all a GREAT year!

Happy Eating 🙂

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Confessions.

So, as detailed in my 4 or so posts over the last 2 months.  I fell off the wagon with my eating choices. I stopped going to the farmers market, ate whatever I could get my hands on when I was hungry, and stopped listening to my stomach when I was full..I listened to my tastes buds when they said: “uh, YUM! let’s eat more of this stuff you know isn’t good for you.” I also didn’t eat my veggies like I should have.  I ate crap from Dunkin Donuts and had more ready-made meals than I care to admit.  Unfortunately I’ve been sick for going on, 3weeks?  And that’s probably the low end, another reason why I don’t eat well when I get home–I just want to lay on the couch!  Oh, and, the holiday drinks have certainly not helped. 

Luckily with some fruit and veggies, lots of sleep & water, and a healthy dose of advil cold and sinus, I’m on the up and up. Finally.  I’m really excited to go back to the farmers market, and even the grocery store, and super excited to use my new kitchen tools I got for Christmas: an immersion blender, mandolin slicer, pasta roller, mini zester/cheese grater, this awesome casserole dish.

After this weekend I”m going to go to the grocery store and stock up on non-processed whole foods.  I can’t wait to make my own pasta, more crackers, my own potato & tortilla chips (now I can get everything very thin!), veggie lasagna, mac and cheese with steamed cauliflower (because I’ve wanted to try it for a while now!)…and thats just to start.  Any ideas, or favorite healthy dishes you make?  I’m looking for and forward to trying many new things, and keeping eating interesting; avoiding as many ruts as I can and still stay in budget. 

I hope everyone has a very safe & Happy New Years Eve!  I’ll be back next year with new ideas and photos and can’t wait to share everything with you guys!

Happy Eating!

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A Happy Holiday Question

First of all, Happy Holidays!  As we come closer to the end, with New Years Eve just 6 short days away, I have to say–It’s been fun & Thank Goodness!  As much as I love this season, and wait patiently(ish) for it all year, I am also glad for the materialistic stress to go away, the fear that someone I forgot about,  got me something–  Granted, a small problem, but one that brings me anxiety, no less.  I always overspend, despite planning the last minute pick-ups are what kills my wallet–a last minute drink or snack can put you back an unexpected $20, a couple trips to the store can put one into the red pretty quickly. I digress.

As with everyone’s holidays, this time of year has everyone making their delicious specialties, those treats they only make at this time of year, those extra calorie, probably highly-proccessed nuggets of yummy that are made in abundance, just for the holidays. Of course, one wants to eat as much as possible, without going over board, but making these special treats any other time of the year would take away the specialness of said treat, so we indulge. This, in a round-about way, brings me to my question.  But first, some more round-aboutness:

In doing some of my “research” and exploring, I came across the realization that “sweet” and “salty” are not tastes that are found easily in nature, so when our ancestors and other nomads found this, they would indulge.  My question (finally): How come our tongue and tastes buds haven’t evolved?  Sweet and Salty are vastly more easy & accessible, yet we still crave it and indulge like there might not be a next time, especially this time of year.  Obviously I’m very guilty of this, and have returned to my older eating habits (still concious of what I’ve learned) for the last month, but it’s just a thought I’ve had recently.

We went to the farmers market last Saturday, and it was a good reminder to what I want to eat, and where I want to be with my habits.  The next 2 weeks are going to be weening myself off of the processed stuff and back into being more disciplined and planning my meals.  I’ve done it once, so I know I can again! The distraction of the holidays are soon over, and with that will hopefully come more blogs and pictures!  That’s my rant for this time around, enjoy your time with your family and all the good thing the holiday season brings! In the mean time,

Happy (and healthy!) Eating!

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“You don’t have to be right all of the time, you just have to do it most of the time….

…to make a difference.” –paraphrased words of wisdom by Michael Pollen.

That’s what has gotten me through these last 20 days (and more) from my previous post.  I’ve thought of blogging about my meals, but they weren’t impressive, I’ve thought about telling those who read this blog the cool new things I’ve tried, but I haven’t tried anything crazy, and the color variety in my food has been limited to red tomato sauce (homemade) and frozen spinach.  All in all, pretty bland, unimpressive and, for me, unpostworthy.  The following is a list of my dilemmas that at one point or another swayed my eating towards “less of the time”:

  • Money.  It’s difficult to buy healthy for yourself, and make decent sized meals to use for leftovers, when you live with 3 males.  I got tired of having to explain why the food I bought had to be fully enjoyed if the boys wanted to eat any.
  • Meal sizes.  Some tell you to eat 5 small meals per day, other’s tell you 3 large meals–I got caught some where in the middle and always felt hungry, especially when getting home from work.
  • Meal times.  Per above, I’m hungry when I get home from work, however the boys work until 7…sometimes 8 or 9. So I struggled with having a snack now, dinner later, or dinner now, snack later…usually I ended up with the first of the choices, which resulted in eating more (at least that’s the way it feels).
  • Laziness.  Saturday AM’s…I just want to SLEEP IN! so that’s what I’ve been doing; by the time I get my act together, the farmer’s market is about over, and not worth my trek down (also coupled with the lack of money).
  • In-Season Variety. At this point it feels like all that is in season is the starchy root vegetables, which don’t give you the same nutrients as the leafy greens; and the tomatoes I love are officially out of season, and what you see at your grocery store are, most likely, picked green, shipped and chemically ripened (at the very least, this is what is stopping me from buying fresh tomatoes at this point, and, although I’ve slacked, don’t want to buy preservatived (?) canned tomatoes.)

So, with little explanation, that is what I have been working through.  Excuses aside, I need to get back on track, and tonight was a good one!  I made homemade vegetable and noodle soup and grilled cheese (with Vermont Bread Company Soft Wheat and Cabot cheddar cheese!!!!).  Last week for Thanksgiving I made a SweetPotato & Pumpkin Bisque–I think that sparked my desire for cooking, which had pretty much stopped this past month.

I’m not 100% back to where I was, but I’m heading back.  I have to make it a point to go to the grocery store, and at least get the food for myself that I want to eat so I don’t resort to eating the food I buy for the boys (Yah, I know, how many times have you read THIS before).

OK, that’s enough for now.  Bed time–time to recharge for a better day tomorrow; eating on track, being healthy & feeling good!!!!

Happy Eating!

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1 post worth 2 weeks.

I’ll try to keep this short.  Every time I made something, or thought of a topic to talk about the last few days , I decided to sleep, or craft or just relax.  What I have done: made a christmas countdown for my sister, working on one for my self and my other sister; I have completed the Christmas movie countdown list and can’t wait until December 1st…received a lot of eye rolls because of my movie and music choice lately (yes, all because they were holiday related).  I hung out with one of my favorite pups, Bojo for a few days while his Moms were out-of-town, I started crocheting again, went to a formal with Nick’s fraternity (which I also returned a meal for, I think, the first time ever in the history of going out–it was that gross.)

Unfortunately during that time period I also ate pepperoni, deli turkey, too many avoidable preservatives and so much leftover Halloween candy.   I also haven’t been to the Farmers Market which usually provides me with the fresh produce and goods I love.  Luckily, my weight hasn’t been effected, physically I don’t feel bad, but mentally, I’m kicking myself–I know better, and if you’ve noticed form previous posts, this is a pattern.  However, this is also life.

I’m a fan of Biggest Loser on NBC…last night they brought the doctors in to consult with the contestance at the half way point….one contestant talked about sliding back into his old habits (how quickly they might come back after he’d worked for the last 8 weeks to increase exercise and control his food).  The doctor said that it’s as easy as a “let loose” one week vacation that you can damage all the hard work, even after 6-8 month health changes.  Makes sense.  I’ve only been working on my plan for about 3 months, and its as simply difficult as snacking around dinner time and thinking that it’s actually going to keep me full for a decent chunk of time.

Psych!  I feel starved, and grab the quickest and nearest thing–last weekend it was a frozen pepperoni pizza Nick had prepared as I came home from grabbing a drink with some friends (Bar food is definitely out of the question, and I can proudly say, I didn’t have that deep fried crap).  Every day has turned into a “let’s do better today” with the under tones of “start over”–and I think I need to get rid of the latter form of thinking.  As previously mentioned in a different post, a diet is the way you eat, there is no starting over, it’s picking the best options and fighting (when possible) the cravings for that last kitkat bar in the back office.  That’s all I have to say for now, maybe tomorrow I’ll post some pics of the food I’ve done well with the last 2 weeks, because after all, it’s doing your best–and that’s what I photograph 🙂

Happy Eating!

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Veggies Day #2

Ahhh, it’s 10:30 right now, and way past my bedtime, but I had a great making & baking evening that I wanted to share while everything is still fresh (literally!).  The evening started off by baking my pie pumpkin from yesterday’s CSA for a Scratch Pumpkin Pie for tomorrow’s staff meeting at the office.  I also roasted up those seeds with some salt for a snack tomorrow and finished baking up the crackers I started 2 days ago (poppy seed and onion! Yum!).

Then I moved on to dinner: Carrot-Beet-Cheddar Patties.  Sound weird? I thought so too, but let me tell you: D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!!!!!  and relatively easy to make!

Chalk full of veggies!

Did you notice anything?  You can see the orange from the carrots, a bit of purple from the onion…but where’s the bright fushia???  I apparently landed me some yellow beets!!! A different color, but still delicious.  This dish also includes shredded cheese, garlic, a bit of vegetable oil, eggs and brown rice; there was supposed to be a few other ingredients that I did not have in my kitchen, so I just left them out since they did not impact the the actual consistency of the dish.  I had my dinner with a side of my seedy crackers & a glass of milk from Battenkill Creamery 🙂

After dinner I finished up the pumpkin pie for the meeting tomorrow and decided to close the kitchen……

….then I changed my mind, as usual, and decided to make muffins since I was out of breakfast food for myself (I’m still sticking with cutting out as much processed food as possible which means no cereals that the boys eat, or the peanut butter from Hannafords [On a side confession: I may or may not have had a candybar today…I need to work on actually making desert foods, and not just wishing I did…it makes the cravings worse.])  So back to the muffins:

Cranberry-Orange-Oatmeal-Wholewheat Goodness!

Morning won’t be able to come soon enough, some of these muffins paired with my new favorite yogurt, Stonyfield.  The cranberries were on sale this week for $2 a bag, which is a pretty good price from what I’ve seen–I’m excited to keep baking with them!

A pretty good day, if I do say so myself.  I’ve stopped checking out the blog for “Unproccessed October”, but I need to look back and get some more information to fuel me up for November, when all the holiday goodies come about!  We’ll cross that bridge when it comes.  OK, it’s about that time to rest my eyes and prepare for tomorrow’s adventures!

Happy Eating!

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