Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bread Making Demonstration

Last night we had our regular Wednesday night Nutrition and Weight Loss Class here in our home. The class is also broadcast over the internet and can be joined in by people all over the country. After the class we had another special demonstration just like last week. This week I showed our class members how to make a natural yeast or sourdough bread from beginning to end.
This required some planning on my part to show each step of the process that normally takes up to 2 1/2 days, in just 45 minutes. I started prepping for the class on Monday and by last night there was a total of 8 loaves of bread in various stages. Here is a link for the full recipe.
Here are some photos taken by Papa-rotzzi:


The first step in the process was to make the 'sponge'. The sponge is a mixture of whole wheat flour, milk and sourdough starter. The sponge should be set aside for 8 hours or more depending on the time of year and the weather.


After the resting time for the sponge has been completed, it should look very bubbly and airy when a fork is dragged though it - it almost looks dry. This is when the rest of the ingredients get added to the sponge and mixed together as best you can in the bowl, then, the dough gets turned out onto a counter to be kneaded until all the ingredients are worked together smoothly.


The newly formed dough gets placed back into a bowl and directly covered with plastic wrap (right on top of the dough) and loosely covered with a towel for about 2 hours. After this rest period, divide the dough into two loaves, knead lightly to shape into a loaf and place in loaf pans.

This is where working with natural yeast can get tricky....because this last rise is hugely dependant on the time of year and the weather. First, lay plastic wrap right on top of the loaves and cover again with a towel. In the cooler months, I need to put the loaves in the oven (while it is off) and place a roasting pan on the shelf below them filled with boiling water. Close the oven door and don't open it for at least 8 hours. This usually does the trick.

In the spring, summer and fall there is no need for this extra step. The final rise can happen on a counter in about 8 hours or so.


When the loaves have risen, all that's left to do is bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes. Test the loaves to see if they're cooked completely by thumping a wooden spoon on the tops - you want to hear a hollow sound.



Then comes the best part of all - the eating! Last night we had warm bread from the oven with Kate's Homemade Butter and Orange Marmalade.

Making bread with natural yeast is not as difficult as it sounds. I hope this post helps and encourages you to give it a try - and thanks to all the people who stayed for the demo last night!

Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Meal Plan Monday 4-27-09

As you can see, the swimming area needs some major spring cleaning!


We worked really hard in the yard this weekend past! Not only do we have the normal spring clean up things to do, but we also have to CLEAN THE LAKE - yes, clean the lake. That means that we have to get in the water and rake all the leaves and other debris out of the lake, before we can actually swim in the water. Unfortunately for me, I am the only one who sees it like that (rotting leaves on the bottom of a lake = leaches). So, Saturday - I raked all the muck out of the swimming area! I tell myself this is really good exercise for the arms. Superman and Papa-rottzi worked on the new shed for most of the day, and Little T. went swimming - it was that warm.

My helper - Garden Barbie stayed with me for most of the day, raking the muck that I raked out of the lake (I simply do not do a good enough job - she has very high standards).


Our menu this week is pretty exciting for dinnertime, but breakfast and lunch are going to be simple due to the fact that I spent our budget on dinners. Breakfast will pretty much be oatmeal, eggs and toast and for lunch we'll mostly be having leftovers.

We will be trying some new recipes this dinner week. I'll let you know how they are.

Sunday - Cheeseburgers and Chopped Salad

Monday
- Salmon with Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday - Spring Panzanella

Wednesday
- Freezer Meatloaf w/ White Sweet Potato Fries

Thursday - Pasta with Lentil Bolognese

Friday - Homemade Chicken Nuggets w/ Honey Mustard

Saturday - Pork Stuffed Collard Greens

For more great menu ideas, check out www.orgjunkie.com.

For all the members of our Weight Loss and Nutrition Class - this week directly after the class we will be having a bread making demonstration. That does of course mean there will also be bread eating as well!

Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Homemade Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping

Every Wednesday night at 7:30 PM EST we have a Nutrition/Weight Loss Class here at our house. This class is also broadcast LIVE over the internet through our website. The attendees vary from 6 to 20 in our living room, sometimes it's standing room only. The website hosts anywhere from 20-50 people. The class also gets recorded for those who have other commitments on Wednesday nights.



Each week after class, the LIVE attendees always have a special treat from the Test Kitchen. We are constantly trying out new low glycemic recipes to keep our program exciting and do-able. This week we did something a little different after class. I demonstrated how to make Homemade Magic Shell, which is VERY easy- so easy in fact that I didn't hand out a recipe for it and basically just wing it every time.


Here are some guidelines when making Magic Shell:

Begin by melting about 1/4 cup of coconut oil in a saucepan, being careful to remove from the burner as soon as it is clear. Whisk in about 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa, 2 tablespoons of agave and 1/2 teaspoon or so of vanilla.Last night we had homemade vanilla coconut milk ice cream and topped it with the Magic Shell - everyone loved it! The coconut oil makes the mixture harden as soon as it hits the cold ice cream.


Give this chemical free ice cream topping a try, it's so easy.


Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Perfectly Poached Eggs


Finally, I've found the secret to perfectly poached eggs! (It's the little things that make me happy.) I have been discouraged from cooking poached eggs in the past because when they get in the simmering water, the whites go 'ghostly' on me. You know, they get all feathery and wisp away in the water and most of the egg whites are wasted because I can't get them out of the water. Basically it turns into egg soup. I don't like to waste eggs - it takes my girls 24 hours or longer to make just one!

I've tried all the tips: apple cider vinegar in the water, crack it into a cup first and so forth....


Shortly after I started raising my own flock, I read somewhere (can't remember where), that the best eggs to use for 'sunnyside up eggs', are eggs that are laid the same day. They stay together - in other words, they don't spread out after you crack them - it's like they're more compact.

This afternoon for lunch we had
Roasted Asparagus and Eggs for the second time this week. This time I didn't make it with the sauce, but instead roasted the asparagus with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sea salt.

I prepared the simmering water as directed in the recipe, but today near the stove I just happened to have eggs that were just collected. My eyes couldn't believe how today's fresh eggs were different when they hit the water...they stayed together like little round golf balls.


Just thought I'd pass that little bit along!

Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meal Plan Monday 4-20-09


This weekend past we were truly blessed with two beautiful spring days! We spent a lot of time outside working in the garden. All of the seeds that are safe to plant this early are finally planted. Broccoli, onions, kale, swiss chard, and peas, are just some of the crops we planted.

Warmer spring days also mean Tag Sale and Flea Market season has finally begun. I love to go to Tag Sales...but before I can go to Tag Sales....I had to participate in one. You see, we had this great idea (smirk) about 2 years ago. Superman and I decided to Tag Sale all spring and summer and then we would sell it all on Ebay over the winter. Well, in theory it sounded good. But it takes a lot of time to do that kind of thing! It's time to just move all the stuff along and clear the basement out, so I participated in a Flea Market at a local general store over the weekend.

Our menu looks pretty yummy this week if I don't say so myself. Last week was not so exciting food wise because I did a 5 day Reset. I and am 5 pounds lighter than I was a week ago - now I'm ready for warm weather clothing!

Sunday
B - Oatmeal w/ Sunflower Seeds & Walnuts
D - Hot Dogs & Chili

Monday (make
sourdough bread)
B - homemade Yogurt and Granola
L - Leeks and Lentils (recipe coming soon)
D - Crockpot Beef & Beans w/ salad

Tuesday (make yogurt like
here, but not such a high temp.)
B - Eggs
L - Left-over Leeks and Lentils
B - Oatmeal w/ Applesauce and Sunflower Seeds
L - T.B.D.
D - Salad Night (this week the salad will be topped with black beans, poached eggs and real bacon bits)

Thursday
B - Eggs and Toast
L - T.B.D.
D - Kale & Garlic w/ Soba Noodles

Friday
B - Yogurt and Blueberries
L - T.B.D.
B - not sure yet
L - not sure yet
D - Asparagus & Ham Quiche

On any of the above recipe links that call for sugar, we substitute agave nectar.

For more great menu ideas - check out www.orgjunkie.com.
Have a great week -Wonderwoman

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The First Asparagus

Do you see what I see?
Clearly - there is food pushing it's way up through the soil surface in my garden....lovely...organic...nutritious....
unregulated.


Don't tell anyone.

Meal Plan Monday 4-6-09


What's cooking in your kitchen this week? I tried a new bread recipe from Breadtopia on Sunday. It was so yummy! I only make bread that uses natural yeast or what is called 'sourdough'. There are many articles on line explaining the health benefits (members of Reset Your Ways should note that the link takes you to an article where the author follows a glycemic index using white bread as the 100 - unlike the one we follow which uses glucose as the 100), of bread made using a starter of sourdough versus using man-made yeast.

Breadtopia has not only has great recipes, but videos that show you how to use natural yeast - check them out!
Here is our menu for the week:

Sunday
B - McMommy's (Ezekial muffins with bacon, egg and cheese)
L - Salad with wheat berries and black beans
D - Sourdough Pizza (1 aparagus with cream cheese and swiss, 1 plain cheese)

Monday
B - Eggs on Spelt Sourdough Bread (as noted above)
L - Barley and black bean soup
D - Leftover pizza

Tuesday
B - Smoothies
L - Grilled cheese (on the same spelt sourdough)
D - Asparagus quiche and salad

Wednesday
L- T.B.D. (to be determined, usually leftovers)
D - Chili and salad

Thursday
B - Eggs on toast
L - Wheat berry and black bean salad
D - Pasta with a cheese sauce and broccoli

Friday
B - Smoothies
L - T.B.D.
D - Crock pot beef and beans

Saturday
B - Sourdough pancakes
L - Rice and spinach casserole

For more great menu ideas, visit www.orgjunkie.com.

Enjoy the Easter weekend, and remember - eggs and bunnies are nice, but they have nothing to do with Easter -Wonderwoman