Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Whole Wheat Bread

Today was one of those wonderful yet insane days. When it was over I sat down and almost couldn't get back up. Everything I did was wonderful and fun and I wanted to do it everyday (like the park with a friend and the kids...twice) but physically I kind of collapsed. One of my many activities was teaching one of my oldest and favorite friends how to make bread.

When people find out that I make all of our bread they get this look in their eye that could be admiration but is probably more scepticism about my sanity. I'm here to assure you that I am completely sane. When we were finishing the bread today my friend actually said, "that's it?" see -- Making bread is NOT as intimidating as it sounds and it's actually cheaper. Also, your house will smell A.MA.ZING. I'm just sayin' ;)

So onto the goods -- Plan for a good few hours to let this rise but other than that the hands on time is 20 minutes.

If you can grind your own wheat, that is the best, it's fresher and healthier but I know not everyone has that option. If you are in the market for a wheat grinder here is the one I have and love.

If you aren't sure if your yeast is good then make sure you let it foam, otherwise throw everything in your bosch (or other mixer) with your dough hook on, turn it on high and knead for 10 minutes.

While that is mixing oil 6 loaf pans.

when the dough is done kneading it's ready to be formed into loaves. Your dough should be easy to handle, not sticky. To divide my dough I make one big rectangle and slice it with my bread knife into even pieces and then form each of those pieces into a loaf by kneading a few times with your hands. If there is an obvious crease in the bottom pinch it together to seal it. Place each loaf into a pan, turn once so that both sides are greased and let rise for 2-3 hours.

Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes. You will know they are done when they are brown and sound hollow when you tap the top.

Immediately after taking them out of the oven rub a stick of butter over the top and cool, on a wire rack. If you prefer your bread SUPER moist immediately place in non-seal bags, otherwise leave to cool for awhile and then bag and freeze.

{Recipe} From my amazing sister-in-law, Julene Weaver

5 cups warm water
1 rounded Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons yeast
9.5 cups whole wheat kernals (13.5 cups flour if you are not grinding your own)
1000-2000 mg vitamin C (ascorbic acid) -- I use 1500mg
2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoons salt
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey

Mix water, sugar, and yeast together in your mixing bowl to activate
yeast.  Be sure the water is very warm, but not HOT.  You know the
yeast mixture is ready when the top is totally covered in foam.

Measure wheat before it is ground (it will yield quite a bit more
flour than 9.5 cups, approximately 15 1/2 cups).  Grind whole wheat and
vitamin C pills together.

Once the yeast mixture is ready, add all the other ingredients (flour,
oil, honey, and salt) to it.  Knead 10 minutes with mixer or 20
minutes by hand.

Immediately form dough into 6 loaves and put into loaf pans.  Let
rise until they reach the desired loaf size (this recipe only needs
to rise once) and then bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes.  You can tell
the bread is done by its color and also by tapping the bread with a
fingernail--if it sounds hollow it is done.

Remove bread from pans immediately and put in bread sacks while still
warm to retain moisture.  Freeze extra loaves immediately. (Ilet mine cool a while before putting them in sacks, just my preference. Experiment and see what you like better)

The drier and older the wheat the more you need Vitamin C you need.
If your bread is turning out dry, try using a bit more Vitamin C.  You
can grind up Vitamin C pills (break them in half before putting them
in your grinder) or you can just add ascorbic acid crystals to your
flour.  You can also try adding dough enhancer or wheat gluten if your
bread is too dry, but you shouldn't need to.

Use the same graduated one-cup measurer to measure your oil and honey.
Measure the oil first and then the honey will slide right out.

You can use whatever type cooking oil you want.

If you don't have enough honey you can use apple juice concentrate or
molasses as substitutes.

Don't put bread into bags with a perfect seal (like a ziplock) or the
bag will shrink up and crush the bread as it cools -unless it's cool when you put it in.

You can use white or red wheat in this recipe.  I prefer the white
wheat because it has a lighter color and lighter wheat taste.  You can
also use spelt wheat in place of half the wheat.  It gives the bread a
richer, slightly nutty, flavor.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tortellini Salad

My sisters and I went to lunch with my cute Mom for her birthday earlier this week and they all ordered the smoked turkey tortellini salad. It looked absolutely AMAZING!!! So -- this recipe began as a copycat from Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City but ended very differently and now I can only claim their lunch as my inspiration rather than my base.

This is one recipe that throws together impressively fast and still looks like you spent time cooking. Prove it you say? Challenge accepted.

Mr. Chef always calls when he leaves work. It is a phone call I look forward to every day. 5:00 came and went, 5:15 came and went, 5:30 came and went and still no call. I was busy so I wasn't worried but I hadn't started dinner because I knew it would be fast. I was poking around- prepping veggies etc. when suddenly I heard the garage door going up. He was home. Apparently my phone had gone straight to voicemail. Odd. I threw all my veggies in a bowl, boiled the tortellini, tossed with a tiny bit of mayo, sprinkled with some cheese and ten minutes later we were sitting around the table eating dinner and chatting about the day.

Voila! Fast, easy, healthy and delicious.


  • 1 package cheese Tortellini. (I use the 2 pack from Costco and freeze one. Total this pack could make 3-4 meals, they are big. I cook the whole pack and then take about 1/4 out for my 9 month old before I toss it and we still had leftovers)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Cup ham, turkey or meat of choice, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 C mushrooms, chopped
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 1 Roma Tomato, diced 
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C peas
  • 1/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/8 C mayo or dressing of choice
  • salt
  • Black pepper

Cook tortellini according to package directions, drain well
Combine all ingredients and toss lightly.

*One of my favorite parts of this new recipe is that you can make this once a week and never repeat. Switch the meat, experiment with different veggies, dressings, etc. Make this your own.

Substitute ideas --
Dressing: Creamy basil, Poppy seed, balsamic vinaigrette
Meats: grilled chicken, smoked turkey, bacon, leave it off and have a vegetarian dinner
Vegetables/Fruit: Avocado, strawberries, apples, oranges, celery, broccoli, shittake mushroom, green beans...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Strawberry Limeade

Mr. Chef and I love to curl up and watch our shows after the kiddos hit the sack. We love Psyche, Castle, White Collar and The Voice. Get a life? Is that what just went through your head? You must just be jealous of our Super giant love sac :)
Well, most of the time when the munchies hit but we don't want a FULL treat, just something sweet we pair this with some fresh air popped popcorn and bask in our "Mom and Dad time" with all of our TV friends!

Enjoy this, it takes just a minute to prepare and it really is yummy!
6-8 Large Frozen Strawberries
1/2 Cup Lime Juice (fresh squeezed is best of course but any works just fine)
1/3 Cup Sugar
Place strawberries, lime juice, and sugar in a blender.  Fill with water to the 4 cup line.
Blend about one minute.  Chill and serve.