Friday, January 10, 2014

An attempt at Gluten Free bread....

There's a reason we are trying to transition away from gluten, because we all love breads and pastas so much :)

That being said I know that if we are going to make this transition I MUST find a bread recipe that will work for us.  I did some searching to find paleo bread recipes and decided to start out by trying this one....

http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/03/finally-gluten-free-bread-that-doesnt-suck.html

I didn't follow her recipe exactly, I didn't have brown rice flour for the flour blend, only white rice flour but I decided to go ahead anyway.  I also didn't have egg replacer powder, I added a Tablespoon of potato starch instead at that step.  I also used 2% milk instead of powdered milk and just subtracted from the water.

Here is my version: Which still needs to be tweaked based on my results

Rice Flour Blend
Makes 4 cups
1⅓ cups rice flour
1⅓ cups tapioca flour
1⅓ cups cornstarch
1 tablespoon potato flour

 Mix this up together, I put it in a canister and shook it up.

Jillee’s Gluten-Free Bread That Doesn’t Suck 

This is her recipe, with my changes in the side in parentheses... She has lots of good info on her blog. Ingredients:
4 cups Brown Rice Flour Blend (remember her recipe uses brown rice flour, I used regular)
1 tablespoon xanthum gum
1 tablespoon gluten free egg replacement (I subbed potato flour)
2 teaspoons salt
½ cups Powdered milk (I used 1/2 cup 2% milk since we aren't avoiding dairy)
 3 large eggs at room temperature
¼ cup butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
⅓ cup honey
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast (not INSTANT dry yeast)
2 cups warm water (I only used 1 1/2 cup since I was using real milk)

Prep your two loaf pans (spray with cooking spray or grease them)
Add the yeast to the 2 cups of warm water and stir until mixed. Set this aside to activate while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
 Mix the flour blend, xanthum gum, gluten-free egg replacer, salt, and powdered milk together in a medium-size bowl and set aside.

Put eggs, butter, vinegar,milk (if using liquid) and honey in the bowl of your mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix together for about 30 seconds. The butter will be chunky, that’s OK.
Add half the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in the mixer. Mix just until blended, and then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix for another 30 seconds, until blended.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm water and yeast mixture, then turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 4 minutes.  After the 4 minutes your bread dough should resemble thick cake batter.
Pour into prepared pans and using wet fingers smooth the top.  Like so...

 Set them aside to rise in a warm dry place.  Mine took FOREVER to rise, but I think it's because my house is so drafty.... Unfortunately after raising for awhile it fell before I could get it into the oven so my loaves are flat.
Preheat your oven to 375 and bake for 45-50 minutes.
 Let cool for 10 minutes then flip out of pan to finish cooling COMPLETELY
 Slice and enjoy....
 As you can see it has nice air pockets and a nice crust.  I wish it hadn't fallen but it still tastes good and slices easily.  I'm going to try it again after we eat these two loaves and see if I can get a higher loaf.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year... Almost

Hello to those of you that follow my blog, although there are a few of you (especially since I'm SO inconsistent with blogging)....
The New Year is bringing some changes to our home... I start my graduate program to become a Nurse Practitioner so I will be busy with that as well as work and Momdom.

I have decided that in an effort to improve our overall health and mood I'm going to make some dietary changes in the household.  I'm going to convert to as much whole food/ gluten free food as I can.  I expect some protest amongst the masses so it will be a slow and gradual change over.  I have some definite carb and sugar lovers in my house and the kids think Pasta is a must several days a week.... 

As I try out recipes I will share them with you and how they were received here...  For now, I'm researching and gathering recipes :) 

I hope that you enjoy your New Year's Eve celebrations tonight :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quiet time....

Quiet time is something I crave.  A few minutes here or there where it's just me, no noise and no distractions.  For everyone this time looks like something different.....
Lately for me it looks like this

My alarm goes off at an ungodly hour so that I can start my day.  I let the dogs out, poke the teen to get her started and turn on the coffee pot.  I brew that first lovely cup of coffee.

Then I get my coffee, and my bible and go sit on the couch.  I take a few minutes to pray and ask God to help me see what he wants me to see in the bible.  I thank him for my blessings and open up to whichever chapter I am studying.  If my teen is up, sometimes I read it out loud (she asks me to sometimes) sometimes I don't.  I don't turn on the TV, check the internet or anything else before I get this quiet time....

I always start out with one chapter in the old testament, one psalm, the days proverb, and one chapter in the new testament.  I get sidetracked sometimes, something catches my eye and I keep reading or I just felt led.  I also use my bible app for a bible study that I'm doing. 

Then I thank God again, ask him to be with me throughout the day and move on with my day.  I feel better on the days when I manage to do this.
I used to always want to sit and read my bible, but I let other things get in the way.  I didn't make a daily commitment to it.  Oh I would do okay for a day or two, maybe even a week but then I would get busy and stop again. 

After we got moved in up here I decided to try yet again to be consistent.  This included my decision to not check my email, phone, television etc before I did my reading.  Can I tell you the change it has made in my whole day, and my whole outlook? 
I still have my crazy days, but I handle them better.  I feel more peaceful, I think I'm better with the girls.  I just feel at peace.

I implore you... find your quiet time.  I know it's hard when the kids are little and you work all day (in or out of the house).  I know that you will skip a day here or there (I have) but try to find a way to do it consistently.... A few minutes each day just you, God and your bible.  I promise you that if you do it things will change.  Not outside things, but inside things... the things that matter.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Marriage as a priority and a ministry

Good Morning World....
I have spent time in prayer this week on marriage.  This morning while I was reading in 1 Corinthians I came across a devotion in my bible that brought the points home.  I have the Woman Thou Art Loosed bible (among several other bibles) from T.D. Jakes.

 I have been talking to friends about marriage and what our priority should be.  What comes first our marriage or being a servant to God?  How do you balance the two?  For many people marriage comes last, not first. 

The bible calls us to minister to our families first.  1 Corinthians 7:33-34 we are admonished not to be so caught up in the spiritual duties that we forget to be a wife and see to his needs, and vice versa.  God wants husbands and wives to see to one another, then to the needs of the world.  We are to be concerned with pleasing one another first.  Your priorities need to begin at home... God has called you to be a wife/husband and a parent if you have kids first.  Then to be a minister, teacher, nurse, cook, waitress etc, etc, etc... 

Now this doesn't release us from our obligation to spend time in the word, and serving others.  It is a reminder that our ministry should begin in our own home.  Do you spend time in your bible?  Do you pray for one another? Do you pray with one another? 

I am not about to say my marriage is perfect, in fact it is far from it.  We don't often find the time to read the bible together (although we are trying) and I know that often we forget to make our marriage a priority.  It takes work, we have to schedule time for our spouses. Make a date for after the kids go to bed, go for a walk together... This doesn't cost you anything and it will draw you closer to one another.  Pray for your spouse every day... not in a oh God fix him way either, in an Oh God fix me and my attitude way.  You can't fix him, you can only fix yourself....

Be blessed today my friends. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Housework... not cooking today

School is back in here, for which I'm so grateful and I am getting back into a routine.  I have to say that after many years I think I have finally gotten the hang of this housework thing (as long as I don't get sick of course)....

Let's be real, most of us don't enjoy housework.  Yes, we all enjoy a clean house and peace but we hate doing the actual work.  Now, I know there are a few of you that like cleaning but I don't really.  I like seeing that the work is done, and that I have crossed stuff of my list but there are a million things I would rather be doing.  Sewing, reading, knitting, writing something, vegging out and doing nothing.  Those things can't  happen though unless the house is clean.  I have a hard time relaxing in a mess.

I have tried all sorts of systems and of course none worked exactly for me.  I read a book years ago (really I think it may have been when my teen was a baby) that talked about my specific problem, perhaps it is your problem too....

You start cleaning up your living room, and see the glass that needs to go to the kitchen so you take it to the kitchen where you see crumbs on the table.  You set down the glass and wipe off the table, except now the floor is dirty (you know you dropped those crumbs), you go to the laundry room to get the broom and you see that there is a load of wash that you need to fold.  You fold it and go to the upstairs to put it away and realize that the room is messy.  The cycle continues and you realize that you haven't ever managed to finish cleaning anything.  The house is still a mess and you have been running all day long.  You throw up your hands in frustration and go eat bonbons....

Okay, so the bon bons part is not real.  At least not for me....  I will admit to being reduced to tears by frustration at the never ending part of housework.  I try to remind myself that everything I do is important but sometimes it gets overwhelming.  I know it and you know it.

The important thing is to find a system that works for YOU, what works for me may not work for you.  Keep trying till you figure out what that is...  I have found a lot of help from flylady.net and definitely recommend it if you are looking for a system.  I will tell you what works for me though, and hopefully it helps someone.

First of all, I try to pick up as I go, and get the kids and husband to do this too.  It doesn't always work but I try.  Then I have a different focus each day, that is the room that gets deep cleaned that day.  The other rooms get a cursory clean. 

Daily - I wipe off the counters, make sure the dishes get loaded in the dishwasher (although if I get it emptied in morning the girls are responsible for loading their own dishes).  I also sweep and vacuum every other day (or the girls do if it is their assigned chore) because of the pets.  I retuck the slipcovers on the couches, and clear off any hotspots (you know where ever papers get tossed).  If I do this in the morning and again at night my house stays fairly tidy.  I also try to start a load of laundry before bed and then I put it in the dryer as soon as I get up, then fold when it's done. The girls are also responsible for taking their laundry up and putting it away.  I also look around and if I see something that needs to be done I do it.  I walk through the girls rooms checking for anything that I can pick up quickly and easily (which is usually a discarded shirt or something), and walk through their bathroom as well.  They do a fairly good job keeping their stuff picked up now since they are all bigger but I still give each room a cursory check each day.

Monday - I clean the kitchen in detail.  I start at the top (the light fixture) and work my way down. I wipe off cabinet fronts, put a dish with vinegar and water in the microwave and turn it on for 2 min to loosen up the junk, I pull the burner covers and throw them in the sink to soak.  Then I wipe down the inside of the microwave, wipe off the counters, wipe out the sink.  I load the dishwasher with whatever is laying around to include the drip pan from the coffee pot and the toaster.  I clean the burner covers and put them back on the stove.  Then I sweep and steam mop.  Once a month I try to remember to pull out the stove and fridge but that doesn't always happen.

Tuesday - I clean up the living rooms.  That includes three rooms in this new house, the living room, the craft room and the game room.  I dust the blinds, pictures, knick knacks whatever.  I clear off surfaces and wipe them down.  I dust the TV, the computer and the keyboard.  I wipe off the game room table.  Then I make sure the movies are all put away and I vacuum (the girls do most of the vacuuming so on Tuesday I make sure to do it well, I move furniture to get all the nooks and crannies).

Wednesday - I do the bathrooms.  I squirt cleaner in the toilet and close the lid.  Then I clean my mirror, clear off the counter top, wipe it down.  I wipe out the sink and dust any knicknacks in the bathroom.  Then I clean the outside of the toilet.  Finally I use the scrub brush.  Then I wipe out the shower and tubs in the two rooms that have them and hit the floors.

Thursday - this is the bedroom day.  The girls strip their sheets before school (or that's the plan anyway... doesn't always happen).  I do my sheets Thursday as well.  I dust as needed and vacuum.  The girls try to pick up their rooms each night and if they do I will vacuum for them.  Otherwise they do it on the weekends.

Friday - Car and Purse clean out day...  I get whatever junk has accumulated in the car and bring it in.  I throw out the trash and empty my purse.  I also try to hit any hot spots in the house that need it on Friday.  My goal is to have the house clean for the weekend so other than just picking up whatever we get out there isn't any real cleaning on the weekends.

This is our system.  It's not perfect, it doesn't always work either.  Sometimes it piles up, or I get too busy or the girls do.  This is my guideline though and what I try to do.  I will say that as long as everyone is putting out what they get away this system works very well.  When I follow this system my house tends to stay clean enough for company and we are all calmer. 

So tell me what is your secret to a clean house?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sammie's Baking Day

I have a budding baker in my house...  Samantha loves to bake bread.  For real, from scratch bread.  She has done this a few times in the past and has been bugging me since we moved to let her bake her bread again.  Today I let her. 

She uses a recipe from Paula Deen's My First Cookbook for honey butter and Homemade Bread.

Sammie's Bread

Ingredients

1 cup Milk
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup warm water
2 packages dry yeast
5 cup all purpose flour (with a little extra for kneading)
Cooking Spray

Measure the milk in the liquid measuring cup. Put the cup in the microwave and nuke it for 40 seconds on high, until it's slightly warm.  Pour it into the large bowl.  Add the sugar, salt, and vegetable oil and stir them well.  Measure 1 cup warm water from the tap, put the yeast into the water and stir it about 5 times.  Let it sit on the counter for about 10 min.  It should bubble up pretty good (Sammie likes to watch it bubble).

Pour the yeast mixture ontop of the milk and stir it well.  Add the flour one cup at a time, mixing it well after each cup.  Use your wooden spoon.  By the end it's pretty thick, she tends to ask for help at this point or just do it with her bare hands. 

Put a clean towel over the top of the bowl and put it somewhere warm to rise.  (A good spot is next to the oven which you can preheat to 375 while it's rising).  Let it be for about an hour.

Stir it down, and  then turn it out onto a floured cutting board or counter top to knead.  Knead the dough for about 2 minutes.  Add a little flour if it's sticky.

Spray your loaf pans (you need two) with cooking spray.  Divide the dough in half, shape into a loaf and put it in the pan to rise.  Cover it with a clean towel.   Let it rise for about 15 more minutes.

Put it in the oven for 35-40 min until browned on top and hollow sounding.

Let cool for 15 min, then turn out onto a board to cut. 
Here's my Sam I am with her yummy homemade bread.... I need to remember to let her do this more often especially since she does it all on her own except for pulling it out of the oven and it's oh so good!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Recipe free day....

My plan for today was to share the yummy lettuce wraps that I cooked for dinner last night...  Except, they weren't all that yummy.
The girls did eat them without drama, which is always nice but the recipe needs some tweaking (or maybe a whole new recipe who knows) before I share.

Today's plan includes Banana Hotdogs (A new breakfast food we are trying, banana on hot dog bun with peanut butter and jelly), sandwiches for lunch and homemade pizza for dinner.  Nothing new to share there either. 

We have been prepping for back to school this week (have I mentioned how happy I am that school starts Tuesday) so I have been doing some stockpile cooking.  I made a huge pot of Minestrone soup on Wednesday and froze it in individual servings for after school snacks or lunch.  My oldest loves soup for snack and I would rather she have a nice healthy bowl of Minestrone then a package of Ramen.  I hit up Sam's club and stocked up on baked chips, fruit leather, granola bars etc...

We had meet the teacher yesterday for the younger two and the girls are all very excited about it.  I think both of their teachers are nice but I'm a little worried (okay, well a LOT worried) about  whether or not they are going to be challenged.  I am reminding myself that God has this in control.  Everything about this move has been God directed and I have felt that peace so I have to remember he has this too.  If it doesn't work out at the school I can always homeschool them.  We shall see what happens with that.

I'm sure I have bored you enough for today.... What are you doing for school prep meal wise?