– Cookbook of the Month

Yes, I must be slow to catch on to a lot of things! I just found out tonight that has a cookbook of the month discussion!

This month (May/June), it’s Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen. I found a copy at the library and requested it.

There appears to be a lot of recipes on too! Why do I love looking at recipes so much, but hardly ever follow them!?!

Cookbook Review: The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

I am sad because it’s time to return my copy of The Bread Bible (by Rose Levy Beranbaum) to the library tomorrow.

Even though the book concentrates on white flour instead of whole wheat flour, I learned so much from reading the Bread Bible. The first 91 pages are full of so much good information – great for those just learning to bake bread.

There are sections on various Mixing and Kneading techniques: By hand, bread machine, stand mixer, food processor, and spiral mixer. She lists the different pros and cons for each method. I really learned a lot from the Bread Machine section (pg 48-49).

I also was introduced to “autolyse” which is the technique of mixing flour and water and allowing it to sit for 20 minutes or more.

The book has helpful illustrations for turning/folding dough: The business letter fold and the dough package fold. Also illustrations for shaping dough: round (boule), rectangle, torpedo (batard), baguette, and braiding.

I didn’t try any personally, but I enjoyed reading through the recipes. I wish it was geared more toward healthier whole grains, but it looks like she really thinks processed white flour is the only way to bake really good bread. I dunno, it’s too bad.

I really liked the last two chapters (starting page 543): Ingredients and Equipment. I hadn’t even heard of some ingredients like Kamut and Triticale. The equipment chapter starts out with the “Bakers Dozen” essential pieces, most of which I already possessed, but some I didn’t feel were very important like a heavy duty mixer and a dough rising container. But I really enjoyed browsing through all the cool baking equipment!

There were a few sections of color photos interspersed through the book in between chapters, but I really love cookbooks with photos on the same page as the recipe. I did appreciate the various illustrations in the book. I read Rose’s comment on the Fresh Loaf web site that the illustrations were drawn from photographs, so they are very realistic.

So much good information, I really hate to let the book go. I don’t know yet that I’ll buy a copy for myself. I will have to wait until I finish reading the other baking books I borrowed and decide which one I love the most. But I have a feeling that I will be borrowing it again, and I highly recommend The Bread Bible either for purchase or borrowed from the library to anyone else wanting to learn about the basics of baking bread.

Last Note: Rose Levy Beranbaum has a web site: Real Baking With Rose that includes book errata – I guess there were a lot of recipe errors, so it’s good that she has corrections available. Her site has a lot of baking information as well. Wow, there’s just so much to learn, and not enough time to learn it all! But it’s exciting to try!

I love reading cookbooks, like some people love reading novels! I am inspired by recipes, and enjoy learning ideas from cookbooks; I like putting my own spin on a recipe rather than exactly following it. Please keep in mind that my opinions might be completely different from the other home cooks.

Compulsive Eating

Hello my name is Debbie and im a compulsive eater.

Yes I am feeling compulsive tonight! I keep thinking about my homemade bread upstairs and I want so badly to make myself a peanut butter & jelly sandwich.

But I am trying like mad to resist! We had lunch at the inlaws for Mother’s Day and I didn’t do too badly but I just don’t think a PB&J would be appropriate.

Gosh I am hungry, but this too shall pass!

100% Whole Wheat Bread With Rosemary

Okay, after the semi-fiasco last weekend, I am determined to try to bake bread again, and succeed!

I chose the Walnut Whole Wheat Bread recipe (with my own modifications) on page 188 of the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book for my experiment this weekend.

I had to forgo the nuts (since I didn’t have any pecans nor walnuts in the house) but I replaced with just under a tablespoon of dried rosemary – it was all I had left in my jar. After all was said and done, it was probably the perfect amount, because we eat a lot of nutbutter and jelly sandwiches, and any more rosemary might have been too overpowering.

Continue reading “100% Whole Wheat Bread With Rosemary”

One Pot Chili

Easy one pot chili

I just threw a bunch of ingredients into my 2 qt cast iron pot:

  • 1/2 pound raw 93% ground beef
  • 1/2 (large) can of Bush baked beans (leftover from the other night)
  • lg can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • Leftover sauteed onions and fennel
  • bunch o’ spices/herbs/peppers

I let it simmer in my counter-top oven for about 2.5 hours at about 250°
Making some homemade guacamole to go with it too.

Too Much Sugar

Ugh, my stomach is going wacky tonight. I feel bloated, keep drinking water to try to settle myself.

I made my yummy baked french toast tonight with apples and raisins, but this time, I topped it with warm blueberries cooked in sugar. At first, it didn’t taste very sweet, but by the end of my plate, it was getting very sweet.

blueberries topped on baked french toast

An hour later, my stomach still felt full. And now, 4 hours later, I’m still very unsettled.

It’s good because I now know that my body is not used to sugar like before. It’s a good thing to feel this way!

My First Homemade Avocado Guacamole!

So, I finally got around to using one of the avocados I bought from Whole Foods last week. They were definitely ripe, so I put them all in the fridge for safe keeping.

This morning I decided it was time to use one for lunch.

avocado ready to be made into guacamole

Continue reading “My First Homemade Avocado Guacamole!”

Bread! Another Whack at Bread!

Today I baked bread! Hmm it was about 90 ° and I decided to bake! Ha! But I’m glad I did!

It was both positive and problematic, but I remembered “no failures, only lessons” – and I know I will get better next time with the lessons learned from this time.

I couldn’t decide which recipe to follow in all the books borrowed from the library, but I settled on “The Easiest 100% Whole Wheat Bread Ever” recipe on page 180 of the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book.

Since the King Arthur Flour staff praises the use of a bread machine, I was excited to try the “dough” setting on my Breadman Bread machine.

The recipe looked so easy, and I had all the ingredients, except for the orange juice, but it stated that water could be substituted. I took my time, making sure I weighed the flour and measured the water and molasses correctly.

Continue reading “Bread! Another Whack at Bread!”

Family Party

Went to a family party today. Did okay. Definitely ate some things I shouldn’t have, but it’s all good!

Had one stuffed shells, with approx 4 small meatballs, with some ziti, along with some romaine salad. I am proud to say I didn’t have any fried chicken wings!

I ate two chocolate chip cookies, and a piece of cake. It was a pretty large piece but oh so good!

I didn’t feel stuffed or bloated like I have felt in the past after eating at parties. I had what I wanted and didn’t make a pig out of myself!

153.8 – One More Lost Pound

Still losing. It’s so strange, but in a good way. I guess I can’t stop saying that, because I am just in shock that the pounds keep coming off.

I have a new goal of 150, and if I make it, that will be great, but if my body stops, that is great too. I am soo very happy with the weight I’ve lost so far, so anything more is “cake” – LOL pun INTENDED! haha

Today I manually set my “goals” over at I set my total calories to an even 1700, which brought my daily calorie deficit to 160 calories, or .3 pounds per week. I have been leaving approximately 200 daily calories (or more) uneaten, so that gives me some leeway.