Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bread From Grain to Crumb

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Here is the promised post about breadmaking from grain to crumb. Mostly pictures. Hope you like.
Grain, Vita-Mixer assembled, ready for grinding. I am using Prairie Gold White Wheat berries.

This is two cups of grain.
And this is what it looks like while grinding. It actually does end up with more flour than two cups. It's about 2.5 cups of flour. But the mixer piles it up on the sides. Nice thing about grinding in the mixer, no dust. The only dust is the flour I spill.
The finished product. Very fine, light and fluffy whole wheat flour.
This is the first mix. I mix up part of the flour, all of the yeast and water, sometimes all of the sugar and let it 'proof'. The bread turns out nicer, in my opinion.
This is what the first 'proofing' looks like when its done. I could let it go till it reaches the top and for some loaves I do, but really it just needs about 30 mins to make the loaf good.
Here is the dough with all the ingredients all mixed up, kneaded and ready for the second rise. See how the sides of the bowl are clean? That's when you know the dough is good to go.
After the second rise. Isn't it lovely?
All my 'shtuff' needed for forming loaves.
I dump the dough out onto a floured work surface (hubby is supposed to be making me a wood kneading board. I can't wait, then I'll be able to knead at the countertop.) pat it out into an even oval and divide it into two equal pieces.
Then I take the rolling pin and roll it even and flat. This helps to get out any air pockets and evens out the surface of the dough. This is important, for if you don't do this you could end up with holes in the body of the loaf. Ask me how I know this. After it's rolled up, pinch the seam shut and the ends. Fold the ends in and over the seam at the bottom. Place the loaf in a greased loaf pan seam side down.
I then place plastic wrap over the top of the pans (I stopped using tea towels long ago, it allows a skin to form on the top, which prohibits rising) and let it rise on top of my range with the range hood light on. That works wonderfully. Even in the winter!
Here are the two loves, lovely risen, in the oven ready to bake.

Tada! End product. Now that wasn't hard was it?

Few things about this particular recipe. It's 100% whole wheat and no oil (so very little fat).

Do you want the recipe?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

No-Poo Challenge Day 5 and 6

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We have guests so that's why the double up update on the no-poo.

Saturday I did the washing routine and let it air dry again. I used jojoba oil on the ends and it was beautiful!! It is soft and full of body, bouncy, shiny and just wonderful. I was so feeling good with it that I decided to not use shampoo and conditioner for Sunday. It looked great. I rinsed my hair this afternoon and it could use some jojoba oil on the ends, but all in all it's great. I'm sold. It's no longer a challenge. It's a commitment now. I've put my shampoo and conditioner away, hubby will use it and the baking soda and ACV have become a staple in my bathroom cabinet. That's it. I've just become crunchier, but not just to become crunchier per say, but rather this works better!! YAY! And it's cheaper! Just up my alley.

Let me know if you take the challenge. I encourage you to.

Oh and I did find a honey rinse, but haven't used it yet. Basically, if I'm following this well, put a tsp in a large cup, fill with warm water and pour it over your hair. I can't remember if you rinse it out or not. I'll have to look that up too. But that sounds pretty easy. I'll have to let you know about that when I use it.

Check out an up and coming post about bread making from raw grain to loaf. I can't wait!! I truly look forward to making bread now. I like shriek in happiness to have to make another loaf. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Your Suggestions Please...

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Rhys slept 9 hours last night. Ah, this mama is loving sleep! But I think we are in need of a new mattress. Hubby has been saying something for some time, I just chalked my sleepiness up to getting up 3 times a night. But since having had two nights of more sleep and still waking up feeling like I've been drug under a truck, I'm thinking he's right. So what mattress do you have and do you like it? Or what do you recommend? I welcome your suggestions.

No-Poo Challenge Day 4

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Day four was much better. I did my baking soda and ACV routine in the AM. My hair had bounce, shine and was wavy. It was soft and just nice. My hubby complimented me on it, so that is a step in the right direction. I put just a bit of jojoba oil on the ends and that did not make it stringy. No more baby oil. Just soft. It didn't even get frizzy. I'm about 75% sold on this. I did work out this morning but only rinsed and massaged my scalp. It's air drying right now. So far so good....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Praise God for Sleep!

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I would like to announce that Rhys slept from 6:30ish till 3am at which point I nursed him, he went right back down and slept till just about 7am. He was getting up about three times a night there for a while. I'm feeling good.

I just hope I don't have to eat those words!

Thank you God!

No-Poo Challenge Day 3

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Ick. Not all of it, but some of it, ICK. The roots were fine and my hair was still 'ok', but the ends were stringy. I don't think the baby oil was working. Nix that. So I washed my hair again today. This is what I do when I wash. I have a huge cup that I put about .5 tbls baking soda in the bottom. I fill that with water and, if my ends need washing (like today) I dip them in for a few seconds and then pour the rest over my head. I massage my scalp and rinse. I basically do the same thing with the ACV. Now this morning I skipped any oils just to see how it would do and I'll let it air dry. It feels ok so far. I'll let you know at the end of the day. If it gets too frizzy I'll use jojoba oil on it. I've heard of a honey rinse, but I can't find any information on it. I might have to improvise.

One thing about this, I don't loose near as much hair as what I did before. There used to be a nice size wad in the shower drain, but now just a few strands. And I massage my hair as much as I did when I used shampoo, but I think it's easier on my hair. I dunno. It's nice to not to have to get as much of that junk out of my drain. Why is it, when it's on my head it's nice, but in the drain it's ew?

I'll report tonight on day 4.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No-Poo Challenge Day 2

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I worked out like usual this morning and was sweaty. I was so tempted to at least do a little baking soda, but then what would that do to my experiment? So I just rinsed my hair in warm water, massaging the scalp. I then did a nice cool water rinse. I put some lavender eo on the ends and let it air dry. So far so good. It still has a nice bounce and is shiny. It's a little staticky, but I did have a hat on today. Otherwise it's doing ok. Not greasy or anything like that.

I'll 'wash' tomorrow.

Update over.

Heralding The Season

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It's officially spring in our house.

I put the flannel sheets away.

Isn't warm weather nice?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Maybe It's Maybelline...

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I believe the photos speak for themselves...

I rarely wear makeup anymore, but she's got the basic idea down. However, I believe it will be a while before we let her out with makeup on. She's got some practicing to do.

No-Poo Challenge

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Ok, I am eating my words. I know I know. I said last week I wasn't going to. But I'm half curious, so I'm trying it for a week. I need my hair to look decent for church on sunday mornings, so if it doesn't I will use my shampoo. But so far it looks nice. I just used baking soda this morning and baby oil on the ends. Then later on I used lavender eo to help it out. I love that smell. I also rinsed it in cold water. My scalp feels calm. That's the only way I know how to describe it. It was bouncy and wavy. Very nice. I'm going to try not washing tomorrow, even after exercising. I will rinse and massage my scalp, though. Just to see what it does. I'd hate to use baking soda everyday, but I do exercise everyday and I sweat! So this is an experiment. I'll keep you posted how it goes. If it goes well, then I guess Nadia and Andrew can use my shampoo and conditioner. One things for sure our grocery budget will be much better!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm A Woman....

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I can't make up my mind. I tried no-pooing tonight. I worked out this afternoon and needed to wash my hair, but I knew I'd be working out tomorrow morning. I don't like washing my hair so close together, seems a bit abusive. So I thought, well using baking soda and then ACV once won't do any damage. So I tried it. So far, so good. I used some Burts Bees baby oil for the ends and I used too much I think, but my roots feel good. We'll see what they look like tomorrow. Perhaps I will use this regimen just every once in a while, when I need a different cleansing. My hair does feel bouncier. Which is nice.

I didn't use much ACV and I still smell like a salad. Which makes me want one. Ummm, salad.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Old Bread

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What to do with it? Whatever you do, don't throw it out!! There are so many things you can do with old bread. It amazed me that I actually paid good money for things like bread cubes for stuffing, croutons, bread crumbs (I really kick myself for that one!) and the like. Do you know how easy it is to make these things? And I actually threw out bread heels and stale bread. Gee, someone smack me. Anyway.

We had Reubens last night for supper and therefore I had made Rye bread for the sandwiches. (I even made the swirly Rye bread, can you see the swirls?) I've been on a bread making streak of late and there is bread coming out our ears! I had planned on making Reuben soup in my vita mixer later this week or early next and the recipe calls for Rye croutons. I thought "I can make that." And so I did. This took all of 5 minutes prep. I cut the bread into large cubes, threw them on baking stone, drizzled it with olive oil and Nadia helped me to stir them around so that each cube got coated. Then I dusted them with seasoned salt. I could've used garlic salt or something like that and I will next time. But, hey, whatever you like. Then I toasted them in a low oven for almost 2 hours till they were just how I wanted them. I actually could've put them in there for longer, but they were nice and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, very nice. I had a loaf of Italian garlic bread from spaghetti night earlier this week that no one was eating so I'm making that into croutons as well. Nadia loves to snack on croutons and the garlic bread already had the right seasonings on it, so it was even easier!

Save bread heels and stale bread in a resealable bag in the freezer. The freezer will dry out the bread even further and you can do many things with this bread. They will last forever in there and you can pull out just what you need. You can toss a few slices in your blender and make bread crumbs. Add some Italian seasoning and salt and you have Italian bread crumbs. You can also use these frozen slices for stuffing. If you have a toddler sit on the floor with a large bowl and tear bread together. Nadia loves it. She eats some too. That's ok. You can also make a great bread pudding that goes together quickly. I'll share my favorite recipe for that.

Applesauce Bread Pudding
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Arrange in bottom of greased 9inch square pan:
4 slices of dry bread broken up
2 C Applesauce
.5c raisins
.25 c brown sugar
.5 t. cinnamon
Spread over bread. Top with:
4 additional slices dry bread broken up
Beat together:
2 eggs
2 c. milk
.5 c brown sugar
.5 t vanilla
.25 t salt
dash nutmeg
Pour over bread. Top with:
.5c applesauce
sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar
Bake 55-60 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

This will be very full in the pan, but will not bake over. It will rise considerably during baking but then settle down when cool.

If you can think of anything else to use old bread for (besides french toast) let me know!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spend A Little....

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Save A LOT! Check out this website for this deal on a bunch of money saving budgeting type e-books. $17 for 17 books. I'm not sure how long this goes on for, but I'm hoping for at least a little while. Check it out!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Routine

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I've developed a Sunday routine around here that I thought I'd share. We are a pastoral family and so Sunday's are quite, well, um, weird from all the other days. There is no 'sabbathing' in the mornings. We try for the afternoons, but well, it's never a whole day. Anyway. I cook all our meals in this house and usually we have ample leftovers. I make Sunday our leftover day. Since I make pancakes Thursday we usually have leftovers from that and Nadia will eat that for breakfast or her favorite of late, Cinnamon-Sugar Toast. Andrew's too keyed up for breakfast so he skips. I eat my favorite of late Oatmeal and Raisins. Lunch is leftovers, as is Supper. And, to continue the ease of cleanup as much as possible, we use paper products. I know some environmentalists are having a fit right now, but we already have them, people give them to us and we have some from our wedding. Yeah, we need to get rid of them. Once I get that pile down to a reasonable stash, I'll go back to the usual stuff. But hey, it cuts down on work and water usage. That's gotta count for something, doesn't it?

No-poo? Not right now.

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I've decided to go a little bit more 'natural' these days. Kim has decided to go 'no-poo'. I just don't think I'm ready for that step yet. However, after I am done with this current bottles of shampoo and conditioner I am going to try out the quart size bottle of castille soap. I'm going to add a little eo of lavender and some water to make it a little easier to use, but we'll try that. I have some jojoba oil to use on my ends if they get a little frizzy. And if I ever need to, I'll use ACV like I've done in the past.

I also love to take baths and usually use a bubble bath. But I can't ever justify the cost of them and we don't have the room, so tonight I just sprinkled some baking soda in there. It was so nice! Felt like calgone. So we'll try that for a while.

As far as cleansing face and body, I'll just use the castille soap there too. I'll let ya know how it all works for me. We'll see. I'll give it a month.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Help Bloggy Friends!!

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I need all y'alls help. In my most recent weight loss endeavor I had to buy a smaller bra. Now I have these oddly sized barely used nursing bras that cost an arm and a leg. Anyone know where I can sell them? They are in beautiful condition and I'd like to get something back. I realize there is ebay and maybe that's my best bet. What do you think?

It's a 34H by the way. Yeah, I know. What an odd size. I appreciate your help!

I Did It!

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I lost all my pre-preg weight!! YAY!! Actually I'm below my pre-preg weight. YAY!! Now onto the last 20lbs of life weight, to my ideal weight. Pics to follow later.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

200 Sit Ups Success!!

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Well I did it! I completed the 200 Sit Ups Challenge with success!! YAY for me! I can't say that my abs are better, I'm sure they are. I'm just excited I was able to do it. I'll post a weightloss update here soon, complete with pics.

Just had to post that.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

This Is The Lord's Doing...

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And it is beautiful in our eyes....

A somewhat of a miracle occured this past week. I haven't blogged about it because I'm still digesting it. A close family member, with whom I've had a strained relationship with for the past years, and I were talking on the phone. Without devulging all the information our relationship was restored, or redeemed. However you want to say it, it was put right. And it feels so good. I am thanking the Lord for His interest in our family relationships. He doesn't just put the relationship between us and God right, but also the other relationships in our lives. It's good.

The Lord has restored the joy of my salvation. Not that I was in a wrong place with the Lord but He renewed my understanding of the freedom that we have in Him. It's a beautiful thing. Have you ever gotten a gift that you really really wanted? Do you remember that feeling? Like 'ah, now I've got it. It's mine, it's really mine! And I wanted it so badly." Well that's the way I felt after services today. Just a joy at the salvation we have in the Lord. I have it, it's mine and I am rejoicing! I've been 'saved' since I was 7 years old and it is constantly being renewed. How wonderful that our salvation, our relationship is like a diamond. So many facets to it. It never gets boring. And most of the time I've noticed it's the Lord who brings us to new levels of understanding. I guess that's the Holy Spirit.

I praise the Lord for His salvation and His healing.