Friday, September 25, 2009

Give us this day...

I jumped in head first and landed in flour.  I was at Satan's (aka Sam's Club) and saw they had 25 lb bag of bread flour for $7.  A loaf of bread at the grocery costs, when on sale, $2.50.  Stand back, I'm about to do math.  That's 2.5 divided, no multiplied, carry the zero, that's not right.  My brain hurts, let's just say that if I waste (shame) most of the flour I will still have saved a frillion pennies.  And with Gryffin eating PB&J's like crazy and toast with breakfasts, we go through a lot of bread.  Plus with Fall Soup season on the brink, what's better than some fresh bread with soup?
For years I've struggled with bread machines.  When they first came out I wanted one so bad.  Mike and his Mom bought me one for my birthday one year.  I used the hell out it until it gave up the ghost.  Got another one used and ran it into the ground too.  For over a year it's been sitting my cabinet taking up valuable real estate, but not for long.
I used to think mixing, kneading, proofing, waiting made for a whole day to make one loaf of bread.  And sometimes it does, depending on the recipe.  However, I've found a recipe that in less than 1 hour, most of it resting time, I can have a loaf of bread in the oven.
This recipe is from and is so quick, easy and delicious it's unbelievable that it requires so little work.

Rich White Bread

(Food Processor recipe)
Makes 1 loaf.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 envelope FLEISCHMANN'S RapidRise Yeast
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, 
  cut into pieces
1 egg
3/4 cup warm water (120° to 130°F)

Insert metal blade in food processor bowl. Add flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt; process 5 to 10 seconds to combine. Add butter and egg. Begin processing, then slowly pour warm water through feed tube just until dough forms a ball, about 10 to 15 seconds (all water may not be needed). Continue processing for 60 seconds to knead dough. Carefully remove dough from processor bowl to lightly floured surface. Cover; let rest on floured surface 10 minutes.

Roll dough to 12 x 7-inch rectangle. Beginning at short end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Place, seam side down, in greased 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pan. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; let cool on wire rack.

Nutritional Information:
Per serving:
Serving size: 1 slice (1/12 of recipe)
calories 159; total fat 4g; saturated fat 2g; cholesterol 25mg; sodium 280mg; total carbohydrate 27g; dietary fiber 1g; protein 4g.


Just as an example, today I had the ingredients out, mixed and covered for the first rise in 5 minutes.  That gave me a 10 minute break to put on some eggs to hard boil, clean up the mess, empty and refill the dishwasher.  Then it was roll, put in the pan and cover for another 30.  During that time I put on my makeup, did my hair, brushed my teeth and ruined them with a cup of coffee.  Then the bake time was spent playing with Gryffin. 
Fresh, home made bread with only about a 15 minute investment of time. It took me longer than that to wrestle the behemoth bread machine to the counter, plug it in and program it!  Not to mention all the time saved by not having to curse at it, clean it and figure out why the crust was nasty.
My bread machine will be put in the "Donate" corner of the basement, along with the waffle iron, the old clothes and the numerous other things I felt I just HAD to have.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Manwich, schmanwich. I want real food!

Yesterday was a day that screamed for something warm, hearty and comforting for lunch.  I had cooked, crumbled ground beef, hamburger buns and peppers.  Hm, Sloppy Joe's!
A while back after reading the ingredients on a Manwich can I was surprised.

Tomato puree (water, tomato paste), high fructose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, less than 2% of: salt, sugar, dehydrated onions, dehydrated red and green bell peppers, chile pepper, tomato fiber, spices, guar gum, xanthan gum, dehydrated garlic, carob bean gum, natural flavors.

 Yes, the 2nd, 4th and 6th ingredients are sugar!  And exactly what are guar gum, xanthan gum and carob bean gum?  I want a sandwich not candy!  

The first couple of recipes I tried were OK, but around here OK isn't good enough to get a second try.  The one I tried last night was THE ONE! 
I did make some changes, so here is my version:

1 lb ground beef, cooked, drained and crumbled

1 cup ketchup
1 T mustard (I used Jack Daniel's mustard because I don't like the neon yellow stuff)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 T chili powder
1 T paprika

1 small chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
1 T chopped garic

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic until softened but not mushy.  Mix everything else in and heat through.  

Yesterday I made six pounds of this stuff, that is how good it was.  No, we didn't eat it all.  We had a little less than a pound for lunch, another pound in the fridge and the rest was put into freezer bags and well, frozen.  In the time it took me to make lunch, I made another 5 meals!

I can get there without a Compass

Earlier this week we received a letter from a local car dealership telling us that they were interested in our Jeep and we could trade it in for another car for little to no money.  OK, gimmick alert.  But our Jeep is a 2001 in excellent condition so lets just see if they could give us a deal we couldn't refuse.
We test drove a lot of cars and found one that we liked.  A Jeep Compass loaded with more features than I ever knew existed.  They offered us much more on our Jeep that we expected and brought the price of the
Compass down too.  Along with free oil changes for a year, it was a really good deal. 
But not enough for us.  We like our Jeep.  We like not having car payments.  The experience at the dealership Saturday reminded us that we like what we have, our life and lifestyle, our knowledge that we are defined not by what we have or don't have but who we are inside.