Monday, August 23, 2010

Better Than Sliced Bread

You may have noticed that I've been doing a lot of not-so-calorie-friendly baking lately. And you may (or may not) be asking why.

I subscribe to Cooking Light and I like a good percentage of their recipes. It just seems to me that so many "diet" recipes lack flavor. They may ask you to use cheese that doesn't melt in order to save fat and calories. So many of the low cal recipes have been lacking in flavor and texture.

I had just assumed that's the way I have to live if I want to be able to wear cute clothes and lose the Jabba the Hutt body. Seriously, I had more rolls than a bakery. And I have lost a lot of weight. I'm certainly not where I want to be but on my way.

I want to eat good food and still have the body of a domestic goddess. I don't want to be limited in the kitchen. I really enjoy cooking. I've been hooked since I got married and realized that a way to a man's heart really is through his stomach. Well, at least that's the way it is with my man. I've never seen Chuck more happy or content than after he's had some scrumptious eats. All is right with the world and suddenly I'm the most perfect woman that's ever walked this earth. I like that kind of adoration. :)

Test formula: good food + moderation + exercise + more exercise = decent body and happy tummy

Making all of these homemade dinners does have a slight downside: "packaged" foods and most restaurant food now seems lacking. For instance, I bought the dreaded Hamburger Helper because I got it for $.80 on sale and some ground round for $1.50. Unheard of prices! I needed a quick dinner one night and cooked up my processed dinner and served it up. Charlie says, "Wait. This doesn't look homemade." LOL Hey, it was cheap and filled a void.

One of my favorite things to bake is bread. The smell that fills the house is heavenly. I see bread as almost a work of art. Think about it. You start out with some basic ingredients that on their own would taste terrible. But you do a little mixing and shaping and suddenly you have a beautiful loaf of fluffy wonderfulness.

See what I mean?
This is one loaf of two that the following recipe makes. Totally worth the effort.
And in case you are wondering what's on my windowsill, they are fossils and a trilobite and petrified wood. I love fossils and run out of places to put them. Oh, and there is a dodo bird carving that my mother gave me years ago. Being an extinct bird it gets an honorary spot with the fossils.

OK, back to the bread. Look at the texture. The most perfect grilled cheese....imagine it.
Beats the hell out of sandwich bread from the store.

This is easy to make. And you get two loaves. Give it a try.

Beautiful Bread

2 packages of yeast
3 Tbs sugar
1/4 cup shortening (oh come on, a little won't hurt ya)
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup milk, warmed
6 cups flour, divided

Directions for this bread are unusual but correct. Dissolve yeast by mixing with sugar. Mix softened shortening, butter with water, salt, milk, yeast mixture and 4 cups of flour. Beat thoroughly. (I used my stand mixer with the paddle for this) Add remaining flour. Mix. Turn out on floured surface. Knead for 6-8 minutes. (I used the dough hook on my stand mixer) Place in greased bow; let rise until doubled in warm place. (I heated my oven for 10 minutes on 200 degrees then turned off. Makes a great place to let bread rise. Beware: this dough gets HUGE and needs a pretty big bowl) Punch down; let rise until double again. Shape into two loaves. Place in two 5x9 inch loaf pans. Let rise to top of pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until done. Brush top with butter.

Makes 2 loaves of bread.

And after baking bread and having dinner we all went to the neighborhood park to play and watch a gorgeous sunset. It's hard to beat a day like that. As a final note, I'd like to apologize to my friends who I haven't visited in a while. I haven't forgotten you. I just need to arrange my time better so I have some blog reading time. Hope you are all doing well and thanks for stopping by to visit me.


  1. I have to agree, and would add that after talking with my OB and dietitian after my gestational diabetes diagnosis, they both agree (in different ways of course) that a small amount of a "real" food tends to help more than a larger quantity of something that doesn't taste right.

    My OB (who I love) has said from day one, it's all about moderation. Except for water drinking, do that all you want. But seriously, by simply practicing moderation you can do so much good for your body.

    I'm not Buddhist, but in doing a study several years ago, I fell in love with the principle of brahmacharya - moderation in all things. When I want to binge on something, I have to remind myself it's not taking care of my body (or my baby) to do that, and step back. Doesn't work every time, but enough that I still do it.

    Oh, and I love baking homemade bread. The favorite at our house is the whole wheat bread found in The Joy of Cooking. Easy, tasty, makes two loaves.

  2. I totally agree with you, Kelly! Real food is the way to go. It's our portion sizes that have gotten way out of whack thanks to the "super size it" mentality of restaurants and fast food chains. You are definitely on to something. I think that real food = satiety and therefore, you will naturally eat less.

    Well, unless it's one of Rachel's awesome cakes... ;) Who can resist?!

  3. I could have written this post (except the making bread part) - I'm all for real food lately too and have to admit that I probably should have eaten a little less of it this summer :)Maybe less coolers as well ... LOL
    I stopped "dieting" and started to enjoy my life again so now I just need to make some adjustments and eat the right portions. Eat as clean and close to the real thing as much as possible... but still enjoy life.

    As for the bread part - I love fresh homemade bread but I do not seem to be able to make it without the help of a breadmaking machine. I've tried and you could throw them through the wall and it would create a very large whole :)
    Yours looks delish and now I'm hungry (good thing I read this at lunch time and can now go get my lunch).

  4. I, too, love "beautiful bread!"

    (diagnosed bread-aholic)

  5. I agree, fake foods are so not good that I'd rather have a little of the real stuff than a lot of the fake. Oh, and I swear I can smell you bread from here! YUM!!!!


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