Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quick Tip!

When making muffins it's best not to grease the sides of the tin, grease only the bottom. This is so the batter can climb up the sides during baking. Don't fret: the muffins will come out when done, the cooked muffins will draw back from the sides of the tin (or pan) :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ok. I'm still waiting on my beloved husband to hook up some pictures. I'll just put a little tip I've picked up in my class. 

Did you know that older cheeses have stronger flavors? That's pretty common sense right. I mean the longer the cheese sits around molding the stinkier it gets :) Well what I didn't know is that older cheeses melt better. Really that's what they taught me in my food preparations or "cooking" class. Just passing on a tip.  

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Experimental Foods

Hi there to all my many fans who I'm sure have been missing me. I'm sorry I haven't posted much. Really the hold up has been getting pictures hooked up to my site. Who wants to talk about food without seeing pictures? My wonderful husband is working on fixing it though. He's pretty busy though.

As for our experimental food, I'm in school so we've left the field of gourmet food to cheap food. No really we are on a student budget, but are managing to eat tasty and healthy foods. We're really missing our stone ground grits though.

I'm working on a recipe modification for my experimental food class. I modified this recipe for a patient with diverticulosis or another disorder requiring high dietary fiber, but in actuality all Americans are at risk for intestinal problems if they're not meeting daily fiber requirements. And most Americans aren't. So enjoy: yummy, healthy, pretty cheap and a meal I would feed my family!

Modified Lentil Sloppy Joes

Ingredient List

1-1/2 cups dried brown lentils
2-1/4 water
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup catsup
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
6 hamburger buns


1. To cook the lentils bring the 2-1/4 cups of water to a boil.
2. Add the lentils, allow the water to return to boiling.
3. Reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer for 25- 30 minutes.
4. Test the lentils for doneness, they should still hold their shape, if cooked too long- they'll be mushy.
5. Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring well.
6. Turn down to low/med heat, simmer mixture for 30 minutes covered.
7. Serve on hamburger buns.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Beautiful Blue Mixer

So my breadmaking adventures continue. My beloved mother bought me a professional 600 Kitchen Aid mixer for my birthday, which I really really wanted (primarily to make bread). Well at first I was kinda upset (a little) b/c they are really expensive $300 +. But after she told me she got it on sale at Williams Sonoma half off b/c of the color. And it's really not a bad color, it's b/w pastel blue and seafoam- a nice shade really. Maybe I'll post a picture of it whenever my husband helps me figure out how to post pictures- technical difficulties.

I am really really thankful to own a lovely piece of kitchen equipment that performs so well. Really you should hear to motor- it really sounds like it has some power. I finally got around to making bread in it last friday, kneading the bread in there was so quick. I have actually kneaded bread by hand (MESSY!), but this was a nice medium b/w hand kneading and a bread machine. The bread machine is a closed system allowing little input from the use. The mixer on the other hand requires some thought to knead bread. It is up to the baker to decide if the dough has a good consistency- too wet or too dry. And the baker must decide when the dough has been kneaded adequately and it's pretty quick in a mixer so I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to overknead some bread (adversely affecting it's ability to rise).

My first attempt at bread baking using my pretty blue mixer went well, I can't take too much credit. I followed a recipe and the bread turned out pretty and tasty. If anyone has tips on whole grain baking (100% ) I'd love to hear them.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The death of my breadman

So article title catch your attention? Well it is just like it sounds: I killed my breadman, breadman breadmachine that is. I became interested in making my own whole grain breads about a years ago. My dear husband (fiance at the time) gave me the bread machine, I selected after much research, for a Christmas gift last year.

I tried for half a year to make bread in that bread machine. There were a few loafs that came out, most were hard as a brick. Now many home bakers out there probably have good results with their breadmachine. But the trick is making whole grain bread in the bread machine. It just doesn't work most of the time, and the loaves don't turn out as well if you make them by hand.

What am I suggesting you do all that messy kneading by hand, not really. I just received a kitchen aid mixer as a birthday gift after reading rave reviews (and hearing some in person) about it's ability to quickly knead yeast dough. I haven't used it much yet, but I'm very optimistic about the results.

I will say I have made rolls and several loaves of bread outside of my bread machine. I did all the kneading by hand and it was messy but my kitchen survived. The resulting bread (100% whole grain) was light and very tasty. Even the best whole grain bread is not white bread, it is not white and super spongy. It tends to be denser, heartier, and more flavorful.

I have some thoughts on why whole grain breads work out better not baked in a bread machine:
1. Whole grain breads are far denser, the dough is heavier- most motors in breadmakers can not handle this load of work

2. Whole grain breads need to be kneading for longer periods of time, I found my breadmachine was not kneading the dough a sufficient amount of time. I have read a suggestion to run the knead cycle twice, but I couldn't tinker with the cycle of my breadmachine. When I did run it twice it ended up overheating, leading to its demise

3. Whole grain breads needs a longer rise period, the dough should double in size this is not always a exact time. It really takes a person there to monitor when the dough is ready to go to the next stage.

Now I'm not knocking the breadmachine without reason, I love the idea of load it up, walk away, and have beautiful bread 4 hours later. But the reality is whole grain bread baking is best done away from the bread machine. These have been my experiences, too bad I had to learn the hard way. Many brick hard loaves of bread later I've learned good whole grain bread is worth the effort and time it takes to make it by hand. Try it for yourself and tell me if you agree or don't :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bob's Red Mill

This probably should have been one of my first posts, being it has been through this company's products that many of my friends and family have discovered how good and easy whole grain foods could be. Bob's Red Mill is a company that sales whole grain products at retail stores (grocery, health, ect.) and online from their website. If you're into healthy eating, I'm probably not telling you anything new b/c you've probably tried Bobs products already.

I've gotten into making my own bread (in a breadmachine) and I order my whole wheat flour and various other grains from Bob's. They have a great selection, including organic and gluten free products. Not only do they have a good range of products, I know when I order from them my grains will be fresh. Whole grain products have a much shorter expiration date than refined grains and flours. This is because the natural oils found in the germ are still present in whole grain products. This can cause the grain product to go rancid after a time period. Their shelf life varies due to storage conditions. It is optimal to store grains in the refrigerator or freezer. The package of the product should say how long they'll last in cold storage. Here's a good info guide about grain storage, I'm sure there's plenty more information out there.

Although I really have enjoyed the loose grains, and fresh flour I've bought from Bobs, I think the best products they sale are the mixes. Know someone that likes pancakes, cornbread, scones, hot cereal, granola? Who doesn't. I've started using Bobs pancake and cornbread mix mostly out of convenience. Sure I could buy the cornmeal, flour, ect and mix my own, but it is alot easier to use the mixes. And the whole I forgot the baking soda problem (one I have sometimes) is eliminated. The pricing is pretty good. And best of all Bobs mixes are whole grain, they're good for you. Pancakes and cornbread that are quick, easy, and good for you. What more could you want? Check out their site, I'm sure you'll find something you like there.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Deal with Grits...

This is a follow up post to my previous post about grits. I'm sorry it's taken me awhile to post this. We received our stone ground grits from Anson Mills about a month ago. They are awesome! According to their website, , they cold mill their corn and ship immediately. I didn't understand the importance of this till I recieved my grits. When I cook them it smells like fresh corn cooking, and the flavor was phenomenal. Butter and cheese are really not necessary, the flavor of the grits stands by itself. My husband absolutely love the grits, I think we'll be ordering all our grits from Anson mills. Even though they're pricier, their grits are worth every penny. I really can't convince you by typing up this blog, really you'll have to try them to be convinced, just like I did.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Best Food Quote Ever

"All the food of this world is divine love made edible"
Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blackhook Beer

I may get in trouble for posting this on my wife's health food blog, but hey, beer is healthy. I recently stumbled on Black Hook beer- a dark porter from Red Hook Breweries. Their website is dumb, but the beer is good. Pick some up if you can find it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What's the deal with Grits?

As I've mentioned I'm from the south. One of the stereotypical beloved southern foods is grits. The traditional form of grits is made from hominy, corn soaked in an alkaline solution which removes the hull of the corn kernel (or skin) and germ. The hominy is then dried and milled. The resulting meal is called grits. Now commercially made grits are made by steaming the corn kernel, which removes the hull and germ. The endosperm is then processed, ground to the desiring size- from larger to smaller quick cooking particles. So this means that commercial grits contain only the endosperm of corn. Now there is nothing wrong with eating only the endosperm, but you are missing out on the nutrients and fiber that can be obtained from the hull and germ.

My husband really likes having grits for breakfast and asked me to get some "weirdo grits". Well by my definition, a grain product that has had the hull and germ removed is not exactly my idea of healthy. So I did order some stone ground grits from Bob's red mill. Although the fat, protein, and fiber content did not vary much between Bob's stone ground grits and commercial grits such as Quaker , we like Bob's grits better. I'm not sure if it has much to do with the corn used to produce the grits, but I suspect the processing of the grain causes differentiation in taste of these two products. Stone ground processing leave more nutrients intact in a grain because in commercial grain processing the steel used to pulverize the grain causes heat and loss of nutrients. Whatever the reason we have been enjoying Bob's grits for breakfast.

But the weirdo in me wasn't satisfied. I needed to find heartier grits, and I stumbled upon them one day online. Anson mills produces stone ground grits that peaked my interest. So I emailed the sales department and had a very quick reply (mere hours!). Glenn Roberts wrote me concerning their grits...
"Our grits, as with all our products, are 100% whole grain and include 100% of the germ."
Well that was a relief to know, I was unable to get an answer as to the nutritional content of their grits,
"We will begin formal nutritional analysis of our grains when we stabilize the maize, wheats, rices, and other heirlooms we are trying to save..."
Although their grits cost more than commercial grits and must be stored in the freezer (due to the presence of the germ) they are a whole grain product. I've ordered a few bags so I'll post an article based on our experience trying out the whole grain grits.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Food and Cleaning?

I do intend for this website to be about food, and primarily healthy eating that tastes good. In the recent past I have had another home issue (besides cooking) on my mind. I've gotten into these "environmentally friendly cleaners". In my quest to eat healthier, I began to purchase stone ground flour and cornmeal (an issue too dear to me to be added as a side note), I've been spending more time in the "weirdo section" of the grocery store. My husband and I have named the organic section "weirdo" in making fun of ourselves as much as anyone else. I'm from Mississippi and my granny makes excellent biscuits (out of Crisco and refined flour- neither of which reside in my kitchen) and excellent southern food in general. All southern cuisine isn't unhealthy, but classic southern fare tends to be high in fat. Point being I'm sure many people in this area and others consider whole wheat pancake mix and stone ground cornmeal- cornmeal muffin mix and organic foods to be "healthy food" for hippies and health nuts. I personally am proud to shop in the weirdo section of our Kroger. I've found some great products there. Our grocery store's "weirdo section" doesn't have much in the way of household products. However in my quest to eat healthy, exercise regularly, I have begun to question other areas of my life and our household.

My newest target for healthy change has been our selection of household cleaners. I guess it began with my visit to, a site I got hooked on when I was working full time and trying to find ways to decrease the number of errands I had to run after work. I ordered Caldrea's countertop cleaner- Citrus mint ylang ylang scented. I'm not sure that it is any better for our health to use this as opposed to soap and water and a washrag- but it smells so good. In fact Daniel (my beloved husband) has said that he likes the way it smells, and it seems to be an incentive for keeping the countertops cleaner- so healthy or not the countertop cleaner is here to stay. Then I began to notice all the "natural products" one could buy to replace all purpose cleaner, glass cleaners, dish detergent, laundry detergent, brown- unbleached paper towels. A.These products cost more B. They are not found at my grocery store, so I have to order them. I actually have tried some of these products. But in discussions with my husband about the budget and household expenses I began to wonder about the necessity of spending more $ to clean our house.

I will say one can spend alot of $ on cleaning supplies in general- with the popularity of the use and throw away products- floor sweepers, mops, cleaning cloths, toilet wands, ect. I am guilty of using a good many throw away products. After all what's easier than throwing away nasty used cleaning supplies after cleaning the toilet or a dirty floor. In a quest to cut down on our trash, we've begun to recycle more, and I have replaced the disposable mops, cleaning cloths, and brushes we were using with good quality mops and brushes, and microfiber cloths.
So where is the food? Well in my internet researching on the "evils of cleaning products" I have discovered something I have seen before and paid little attention to. We have some excellent cleaning products in our kitchen! You can't get more natural than cleaning with vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. I'm sure there are countless articles on the net about cleaning with normal household products. I actually cleaned our bathrooms yesterday with vinegar, although I've seen information saying it can be diluted- I used it straight and was fine. I must say it did a good job, no chemical fumes or having to worry about wearing gloves to protect my hands from harsh chemicals. The smell really did disapate pretty quickly, so my home didn't smell like an easter egg dying workshop!

The best site for information I found was:

There is a lot of information there about cheap and safe household cleaners. They have some great suggestions from disinfectants, to drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and the list goes on. Check it out, save yourself from having to handle harmful chemicals, and save some money!

Monday, June 12, 2006