Archive for October 2007

How to make The Best Whole Wheat Bread ever!!!

Okay so I use strictly whole wheat for my recipes. (I have since writing this bended a bit too use “white flours” at times and half ww and half ap, sometimes even bread flour)I am no expert so sometimes it is a matter of trial and error. When I started baking alot earlier this year, I found a good recipe on recipe zaar which called for half/half. We hadn’t gotten the grain mill yet so used white flour and it was the softest most delicious bread you ever tasted.

Once we got our wheat it was still good. But as you know WW only is easy to taste “wheaty”, quite a bit on the rougher side. Last week I baked a few loaves and I did goof by having the oven on too high or something and , well, they were pretty disappointing. VERY WHEATY as well.

I decided to try a new recipe from Tammy’s Website. Oh my!!! It was perfect!!! Very soft and tender, melt in your mouth. I can honestly say it reminded me of when I had made those first loaves many months ago with white flour! That is how good it was. I am definately making this again and again. I think this will be my new “main bread” recipe and occasionally I will try others.


5 comments October 31, 2007

Hot clothes! Hot clothes!!

Yeah!!!!! So as I informed my dh at lunch time yesterday that, NOPE it is STILL not working. He had cleaned it out really good. The hoses going to the outside, thinking it was clogged, etc. I said,”Maybe we need a heating coil.” Then he started laughing. I said, “What?” He said, “Ummmm….maybe I forgot to turn the gas back on.”

Arrrgggghhhhhhh!!!!! 4 days with no dryer and 5 kids with dirty clothes piling up. hahahahha Anyhow, it is fixed! Yeah!!! Do you use a dryer? Or do you hang them up outside?

2 comments October 31, 2007

Chocolate Chip Muffins

So I made up 3 batches of chocolate chip muffins yesterday. Now if I can just keep the kids out of the fridge and freezer we will have enough for a while. Yeah right.

I had 2 snack cakes yesterday. They were really good. When I woke up this morning I feel like they stuck to my ribs already. No muffins for me! haha I usually keep treats to a minimum, good thing I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.

Where are all the chocolate chips? I think I can see one. They all melt inside of the muffins. Them and the blueberries fall to the bottom. What kind of muffins do you like to make?

2 comments October 30, 2007

Snack Cake Mix

Okay so it was very, VERY good! Even though I goofed the recipe a bit. Maybe that is why it was sooo good? :)It didn’t taste “wheaty” at all. It reminded me of a Suzie Q. Very tender and moist. But not as sugary. Which is a good thing.

See, that is what I goofed on. I got it from the make a mix cook book. They wanted something like 8 1/2 cups of flour and 5, yes FIVE cups of sugar! WOW!! The muffin mix is 8 cups of flour and they only want 3 cups of sugar. I think I usually cut that down to 2.5.

I can’t remember exactly how many cups I put in. I am thinking 4.25. Maybe just 4? I also added nutmeg and cinnamon. Well when it was saying to add the wet ingredients, it said add one package of snack cake mix. With the muffin mix it just always says add 2 3/4 cups of muffin mix. So i had to flip back to that page to find out how much one package would be. It said makes about 13 1/2 cups, about 6 packs. Okay simple. 2 1/4 cups each batch for the mix. I was going to make 4 batches up and freeze some and save two batches to mix later. So I start measuring out 9 cups of mix. What I forgot was this:

There is not going to be enough for “6 packages”. I didn’t put enough sugar in to make that ratio. I realized this as I was nearing the end of the container and thought to myself, there is NOT going to be enough for 2 more batches. Maybe ONE. Oops. Maybe it was a good thing cause I made the mix up and thought I was done and actually already poured it into two big rectangle baking dishes, sans the cocoa powder. lol

I got distracted away from adding it because I could NOT find the chocolate chips. When I bake, I hide the chips otherwise the kids will sneak them and eat them all. I usually hide them so good not even I can find them! Good thing my eldest ds just got home and kids have a nack for finding stuff like that. 😉

So I made up one more pack, poured all the mix in the pan back into the mixer and added cocoa. If you look close you can see on the pans where I had to pour it back out.

I used two big glass pans and a small one. The table cloth looks wrinkly. Dh said the dryer is now fixed. I will go and inspect soon. 😉

I poured finely chopped walnuts and choc. chips on top.

The little pan is cute.

So I tossed those in the oven and set the timer for 35 minutes. Then I started working on the dough for the corn tortillas. I think that is when I smeared the phone. Cause these next pics are blurry too. Notice how the chocolate chips and the walnuts all ran to the middle of the pan? lol Joey said he wants the middle pieces. haha Yeah him and everyone else. Everyone was oohing and awing over them. Joey said I am in for it now. He took FIVE of them. He was so stuffed between that and dinner he couldn’t finish his last piece. My eldest ds ate dinner with us, was invited to his friends house, called up and said they invited him for dinner too and could he stay? Ummm…okay. Eats dinner with them, comes home and wants a muffin and a snack cake. Teenage boys, I tell ya.

Do any of your kids seem like they have a bottomless pit for a tummy?

Add a comment October 29, 2007

Fresh Corn Tortillas!

Hooray! Okay so I did make some yesterday. They were pretty good. 🙂 Joey said he wants me to make them more often. He likes the taste better than store bought. The kids ate them up also and didn’t complain. Yeah. The recipe says it makes 18. I mismanaged my dough and was in a hurry so I only got 13. haha Store bought to the rescue! lol

Corn Tortillas

We are all familiar with both the corn and flour tortillas, but the original ones were of the native corn only, and except in Northern Mexico, corn tortillas remain the staple.

4 cups masa harina *
1/2 tsp. Salt
21/2 cups hot but not boiling water

*Masa harina (corn flour) can be purchased in most supermarkets. Quaker and Maseca brands are both excellent. If you are fortunate to have a specialty Mexican market nearby, you can purchase the masa dough freshly made and ready to press or roll out.

Place the masa harina and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and mix with your hands to make a dough that comes together in a soft ball. Continue mixing and kneading until the dough is elastic enough to hold together without cracking, about 3 minutes. If using right away, divide the dough into 18 equal portions and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. If making ahead for later use, wrap the whole ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day and then divide.

To form the tortillas, place a portion of dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Press with a tortilla press or roll out with a rolling pin into a circle 6 or 7 inches in diameter. Use your fingers to smooth any raggedy edges. Continue with the remaining portions until the dough is used up.

To cook the tortillas, heat a heavy skillet, griddle or comal over high heat until it begins to smoke. Peel the plastic wrap off a tortilla and place the tortilla in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for 30 seconds. Turn and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Turn again, and cook until the tortilla puffs a bit but is still pliable, not crisp, about 30 seconds more. Remove and continue until all the tortillas are cooked. Serve right away as this is when they are the best. The best homemade tortillas by far!

I am using my camera phone and the pictures came out kind of blurry because…I don’t know. Steam from the oven? Wait, there ws no steam. DD#3 stole the phone and breathed on it? My hands were all messy from baking and cooking and I smeared it? Ding!!! I think we have a winner!

My handy dandy tortilla press in action! If you are wondering what the plastic bag is, that is a bread bag for storing baked bread I got from Smart N Final. They said to use plastic wrap. I guess it keeps them from sticking to the press.

A corn tortilla pressed and waiting to be cooked.

In the pan and almost ready to eat. Good thing I have ONE cast iron skillet. I have never used it before. I cleaned it really good today and greased it wih oil to treat it. It was a pan of my moms. So there you have it. A very simple recipe I will definately do again. They were very tender and soft. I tried the salsa again and it was very good. Still not like the Mexican restaurant. It didn’t taste tangy tonight. Maybe a day in the fridge did it some good. 😉 Have you ever made corn tortillas before?

Add a comment October 29, 2007

My New Refrigerator

So the old fridge freezes milk, eggs and vegetables and that is on the lowest setting! We have a deep freezer in the garage and a freezer on top of the fridge, we don’t need 3! haha So we decided to take some money we are saving for the van and went and bought a new refrigerator.

The 3 pictures on the left are of the $720.00 BB fridge I did NOT get, The 3 pictures on the right are of the one I DID get. You can click on the pics to see the full size. Do you see the second pic down on the left? ONE DRAWER! See how flimsy those shelves are? lol

I try to be frugal when and where I can but when it comes down to it some things just aren’t worth saving money on. Like for instance I could care less about “name brands”. I buy walmart brand saltines not because they are cheaper, but because the “name brand” has trans fat in them. I buy real butter from smart n final at $2.15 a lb. Sure margarine is cheaper but the further away we get from the way the food originally was the worse it is for us. So I guess how I usually shop is quality, with the lowest price I can get. lol

Then you run into Needs Vs. Wants.

We NEED a fridge and the Whirlpool 20. 8 cu ft. top mount would of been fine. I seen the display at Costco and it looked nice too. Not cheap looking. W.P. is supposed to be a good brand.

I looked at Best Buy and everything was a few hundred more in that ft. range (for a decent brand). Okay so $580.00 with shipping inc. But right next to it at Costco they had a Samsung side by side, ice in the door, all the bells and whistles for almost twice as much. $1050.00 w/out shipping. They don’t even have shipping for that one.

Joe really wanted the double door, with ice maker. I really liked it but for half the price I would of been happy with the single. The Samsung was 25.00 cu. ft so it was a little bigger but come on now, I have read they have about 65% usable space vs. top mount 80% so…lol Probably not much difference really.

So I looked online at side by sides at Best Buy and the best price just happened to be on a Whirl Pool, 25 cu ft, for $720.00 with free shipping! Good brand, good price. So I did the math, 720-580 is actually only $140.00 more, plus we get the side by side, maybe a little more space, and the ice/water dispenser! So we were all set to buy it and ran off to get it but when we got there I was really disappointed. It just…looked like a fridge. lol I know that sounds funny. But when we seen the Samsung at Costco it was really nice looking, stainless platinum, they look like glass shelves in the door(even though they aren’t). It was just like WOW! This one was boring looking/plain. At first I couldn’t place my finger on it, then I figured some stuff out. For 1. the shelves in the door were super cheap plastic, flimsy as all heck, how long would those last? 2. It had one drawer!! Normally you get a veggie and a meat/cheese drawer, sometimes even 3! But one? NO humidity controlled crisper either. The door shelves and humidity cont. crisper were debatable for $330.00 less than Costco plus not having to hassle with delivery. But I just could not get past it having only one shelf!

They had like 50 fridges there and by the end my head was hurting. We went home, ate dinner, took a break. I thought long and hard about if we did get the Costco one how would we drag it home? I decided a definite no on the $720.00 BB fridge. If I am going to spend $720.00 on a fridge then why get one that seems “cheap” to begin with? If that is all we can afford then by all means yes. But if we can spend a little more and get something much better…

So I looked online to see if they had the Samsung like at Costco there, they did not have that exact model. They had one close to it. It was $950.00. So $100 cheaper but with free shipping. They even said they would throw in a water line for free. We went back and looked at it and by then I was worn down and just wanted a fridge. A new fridge. From a place that delivers. Online the options were black, white and stainless platinum. The only model they had in the store was black and I hate buying sight unseen. KWIM? Also I noticed the black was listed as new and it had a few features the other two didn’t.

We ordered the black and I had a hard time sleeping thinking about it and wondering how I would deal with a black fridge, my appliances have always been white and I really wanted st. plat. By the next morning I was having a serious case of buyers remorse so I called to see if we could get the st. plat. instead. Good thing I did cause as it turns out the guy said the black is fine….if you don’t have kids! I have 5!!! He said it chips/scratches easily! Oh forget it! And guess what they had no st.plat available to be ordered or anything in all of California! He offered me white. I cancelled the order. I am SOOO glad I did.

I called dh and he said if I wanted the costco one than he would figure out how to get it home. He is such a sweetheart. I was also really thinking about the costco one and I felt like I would always be comparing it to the one at best buy. The BB samsung was nice, alot nicer than the whirl pool one for $720.00. It was also $100.00 cheaper than the Costco one and free ship
ping but it was still not nearly as nice as the one at costco. It didn’t have as many features and the shelves in the door were different. It is hard to explain. We were at Home Depot a few days later and they had fridges for $2200.00 that I didn’t think looked as nice as the one we got at Costco. They had a Samsung there for $1500.00, same as mine, they list it as one of the models in my book, the only difference is it has the meat thaw drawer, mine doesn’t. And for $450.00 less I can deal with that. 😉

So he has a friend at work who said they could go get it in their truck. Praise the Lord!! So dh went on Tues. and bought a dolly and straps and on Wed. he brought it home Hooray! I am so glad that ordeal is over. I am so glad we got the one I really wanted otherwise I know I would of been annoyed from day one. The difference of $100.00 and hassling with shipping some things are worth the extra money, some aren’t. The samsung from costco had alot more features than the one at bb. haha Costco also said if it breaks, bring the receipt and bring it back for a full refund. I really like that! Of course dragging it back wouldn’t be fun.

So what about you? Are there some things you are willing to spend more on? Or do you just beat down the best price?

2 comments October 29, 2007

WHy do some things break…

AFTER you clean them?!? haha Okay for instance the glass on the chandeliers that goes around your light bulbs. Last time I took them down to clean them I broke two of them!

Last weekend, dh and the boys were cleaning the garage, moving stuff around. Dh moved the washer/dryer and cleaned behind there really well. The garage looks alot better but….The washer and dryer aren’t working now!!!

I went to do a load of clothes that night and the water wouldn’t even turn on. Then dh said he turned it off and so he turns the faucet back on and guess what started leaking? The faucet! He ran to Home Depot, wound up getting the right part, wrong thread count. So now he needs to take that back. Til then the cold water works, just not the warm.

I can deal with that. But now the dryer is not drying!!! It took like 4 hours to get one load done! I hope he can fix it. We are saving up to get another van next year. We just got done needing a new refrigerator.

What appliances are breaking down at your house?

2 comments October 29, 2007

Mexican Food To Go Favorite Salsa Recipes

A little blurry but the other two were worse.

So I decided to try a new salsa recipe tonight. I will update with pictures tomorrow. It was actually pretty good. We had chicken tacos and beans with it. I am going to have to have more before I can form a real opinion. I like that it has olive oil and vinegar in it. Olive oil is one of the, “healthier, good for you”, fats. Vinegar is supposed to help lower blood sugar in all people. I tried oil and vinegar on a salad before and just couldn’t do it again any time soon. haha There was a bit of tang to it so maybe I should tweak it a bit, we’ll see.

Normally for salsa I just chop up tomatoes, onion, garlic, and maybe some cilantro, throw in a few chili flakes. Alot of times I add some tomato sauce to it. Pretty simple.

This is the recipe we tried tonight.
Mexican Food To Go Favorite Salsa Recipes

4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (up to 1 cup)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper (bell pepper)
1/4 cup oil
2 tbsp finely chopped green chiles
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp cilantro (coriander) seed, crushed (or fresh cilantro leaves)
1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients. Cover and chill, stirring occasionally. Serve with corn chips.

I doubled this and substituted apple cider vinegar and I don’t believe I have any mustard seed on hand. I used the whole bunch of cilantro, not just a few tsp’s. You know what I want? I want a recipe for the salsa that the local Mexican restaurant has. Maybe I will figure it out eventually. What is your favorite salsa recipe? I have some corn flour, tomorrow I just may try my hand at fresh corn tortillas as well.

2 comments October 28, 2007

Wholesome Homemade Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Wholesome Homemade Honey Whole Wheat Bread

3¾ hours 3 hours prep
2 envelopes yeast
4 cups water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups whole-wheat flour
4 cups white flour

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
2. In a large bowl, combine butter, molasses, honey and salt and mix well.
3. Add yeast mixture and then gradually add flours.
4. Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth.
5. Place in buttered bowl and let rise until double.
6. Punch down and let rest for a few minutes.
7. Divide dough into 4 parts and shape into loaves.
8. Place in greased pans and let rise for about an hour.
9. Bake at 375* for 35 to 40 minutes.

Okay this bread is delicious! This is the one I have been making since I got the grain mill. There is one other recipe I use but I have to find my hand made recipe book. I haven been on a break with my baking and it must of gotten tossed in a box some where. Anyways. This is a great recipe!

I use just whole wheat so mine is a little grainier but I have tried it both ways. I do admit the white flour taste better, softer. I am thinking of trying a dough enhancer. Some women add that to their recipes.

I do have one more recipe, the one my mom taught me how to bake when I was growing up but I haven’t used that one in a few years.

Anyhow here are some pics. I left it in the oven a bit too long though. 😦 We made 4 loaves and there is only 1/2 a loaf left so it wasn’t too bad. lol I think I will make more tomorrow.

Oh and by the way do not buy yeast from the store. They charge a fortune. I think I pay $3.50 or so to get a 2 lb bag of yeast from Smart N Final. At the store they charge like $2.00 for 3/4 of an ounce!

2 comments October 28, 2007

Starting to bake again!

Hooray! Okay so after a long hot summer the weather is finally cooling off enough to start baking again. I am happy. The family is loving it. Back in February or March we had gotten a grain mill. So that we could mill organic wheat from the health store. Interesting article if you want to read: Buying a Nutritious Bread Fresh whole wheat bread, muffins, home made pizza, buttermilk biscuits, tortillas, etc. Summer hit and it was too hot to want to spend much time in the kitchen let alone bake any thing.

I am getting all kinds of yummy recipes and tomorrow I will bake some more. Last week I baked 2 batches of chocolate chip muffins. Friday the kids were all out of school due to the poor air quality (fires,) so dd#1 and dd#2 and I spent alot of time in the kitchen. We made 4 loaves of bread, enough mix for 4 batches of snack cake mix and 4 batches of muffins. We also made 8 medium size pizza’s from scratch. I have a make a mix cook book which is really handy. I love the muffin recipe. The precept is to make the mixes before hand and then later you can just make something quick. Like reaching for a cake mix.

The problem with the wheat though, once milled, (having no preservatives), it will go rancid if not kept in the fridge or freezer. I went and got some more containers from Walmart, air tight, freezer safe, 16 cup, dishwasher safe, etc. I have 6 now so these are perfect for making some mixes and then storing in the freezer til I want to make some muffins or snack cake mix etc.

Tomorrow I want to try the snack cake recipe, I haven’t ever made those before.

Add a comment October 28, 2007






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