Monday, February 27, 2012

Move Over Martha....

Yup, I'm talking about the Martha. Martha Stewart, that is. I just might give her a run for her money. Take over her empire. Okay, so that's a bit of an exaggeration. Well, really it's a big exaggeration!! I'm not Martha. Never will be. She's a bit too extravagant for me and my busy life style. Most of her ideas are great, but I'm not much into gardening and I don't have the financial means to give her stuff justice. Nor do I have the time. I'm more of the simple, yet elegant type. Always looking for the quick and easy (and inexpensive) way to do something. That's where I'm at in life right now. And probably will be for a very long time. And....quite frankly, I'm okay with that!
As some of you may or may not know, I am no stranger to making things from scratch. Making "homemade" stuff. I've been making my own diaper rash cream since #3 was born, I started making my own diaper wipes shortly after #2 was born. I make my own Popsicles and fruit bars, I even (sometimes) make my own granola bars (it's amazing what you can find out there on the World Wide Web!!), just to name a few.
I've long been a fan of larger family websites (wonder why?) and blogs. It seems there is a recurring theme among them....making stuff from scratch is cheaper. It's healthier AND you have control over how much you make. And, guess what? Most of it is pretty easy. It has to be, or you see, I won't stick with it!! Anyway, here's a little taste of what I've been up to lately. No pun intended!! I have begun making my own bread again. Long, long ago, I did it on occasion...usually with the help of my bread machine. I'd either bake it in there or I'd set it to dough and let it do all the hard work, then I'd shape it and bake it. However, that was usually what I like to call "treat" bread. You know, all white flour type bread. The "you get more nutrients eating a bar of dark chocolate" type of bread. The Italian loaf. The pizza dough. The bagels, pretzels and donuts. And of course, let's not forget the ol' cinnamon bun!! Oh yeah, you know the ones. Tasty stuff, but any time I tried to do anything with wheat flour (and...good luck finding it back then!!)....it came out hard, dense and brick like. I gave up. All the "websites" (and I use that term VERY loosely, as you see, back when I had #1, the Internet could probably be compared to the Jurassic Period...dinosaur like. I would go on "bulletin boards" and do simple abstract research to find articles of interest to go a find at the library. Strange, huh?) I would go on pretty much talked about baking white bread. I used to belong to a website called http://www.momys.com/ (mother's of many young siblings) that had great recipes....but nothing for wheat. That website has since exploded and for the first time ever, I couldn't rejoin if I wanted to, because you have to have 4 kids under the age of 8 to become a member. (unfortunately the posts became overwhelming so I opted out, but I LOVED the recipes and up until a few years ago, anyone could still access them...not anymore!) OK, so off I went on a tangent again. Anyway, my point is, we eat wheat bread. That's all I buy. Except of course, for the occasional Cuban or Italian bread for sandwiches, etc. If I'm going to bake my own bread....it has to be wheat.
So--that is what I do now. Sadly (and very quickly), it became apparent that it is way too inefficient to do this all the time, because it disappears all too quickly, but I am definitely going to continue to make it to supplement our bread. I make bread, rolls, buns, whatever! I am no longer doing the bread machine. The bread comes out oddly shaped and the slices too big (it is, after all over 15 years old--the modern bread makers probably have normal shaped loaves!). Besides, with my stand mixer, it is so easy to make, never mind that you are in more control of the kneading, etc, but don't have to do the actual work! Check it out!!
 Rising: White Wheat Bread!! Turns out, white wheat flour is just as healthy (well, 1 less gram of protein) as red (or regular) wheat bread. So, I tried it out. It is now a staple in my pantry.
 All done and delicious! It lasted less than a day!
This too is a great recipe. From my Kitchen Aid stand mixer recipes, of all things! The kids love it, as well. This time, I ran out of time and it didn't rise as much as usual. They still ate it.

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