Honey Whole Wheat Bread – 7 ingredients in all

homemadebread

Delicious and nutritious homemade bread

Well I did it, I made homemade bread, and it rocks! Here is the Honey Whole Wheat Bread recipe I used from allrecipes.com. There are seven ingredients in this recipe and a majority of them I had on hand. I followed the recipe exactly, despite some of the reviews, and it turned out beautifully. I may remove it from the breadmaker about ten minutes earlier next time because the crust is a little tough. But the bread is so very delicious.

We had breakfast for lunch today with eggs, bacon, clementines, and homemade honey whole wheat bread. It made me so proud to serve something so yummy to my family, they have such low expectations when it comes to bread. It has been bothering me for a while that the bread was the hold up in enjoying the sandwiches I make. I spend a lot of time making sure to get the deli meat and cheeses with no additives, organic salad mix, and mayo, but then you eat the sandwich with crappy store-bought bread and it just makes you kind of sad. But no more! We’ll see how many times I actually get around to making the bread. Ahh, good intentions.

The breadmaker is the way to go, that thing is awesome. The one I got was donated from a close friend who no longer wanted it. The behemoth was manufactured about 100 years ago, okay not really, but I found the manual online and it looks old, but it works perfectly. I would ask your friends if they have one sitting around they don’t want before buying one, I’m sure there is sad little breadmaker out there, just waiting to be loved. The whole wheat breads take longer to cook for some reason, I think it has something to do with yeast rising in whole wheat flour, but it took 3 hours and 40 minutes to make ours. It makes a lot of bread, I think I could probably do it weekly and have just the right amount for my family. And final bonus of this whole project, making your own bread is SO CHEAP! You can buy crappy tasting bread for a lot of money, or make your own homemade for very little money. YAY!

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Daggone good pot roast recipe

potroast

Delicious Pot Roast

I found this Many Meals Pot Roast recipe a couple of months ago on one of my favorite recipe websites, allrecipes.com, and we absolutely love it. I made it today and my youngest had three helpings. She doesn’t even weigh 20 pounds yet, so hopefully that tells you something about the deliciousness of the recipe. The recipe meets my criteria because it has few and simple ingredients, most of which you probably have in your pantry/fridge right now:

  • beef chuck roast
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • onion
  • carrot
  • celery
  • diced tomatoes
  • beef stock

This is actually a sponsored recipe so I was skeptical at first, as I am of all sponsored things online, but after reading the reviews, I decided to try it. I did make several changes including only using 1 pound of meat, half an onion, 3 carrots, 3 celery strips, one can of tomatoes and stock as needed. I cooked the meat in oil like the recipe says, pulled the meat out and put it in the crock pot, then added the veggies to the pan with tons of spices like basil, thyme garlic powder, and parsley, as well as the salt and pepper. I added the stock and tomatoes to get the yumminess off the bottom of the pan, brought the mixture to a boil then poured it all in the crock pot on top of the meat. I cooked it 3.5 hours on high, then cut it down to low for about 2.5 hours. So six hours total cook time in the crock pot. We serve this meal over egg noodles and have yet to have leftovers. I will have to double or triple the recipe next time so we can freeze some.

Photo thanks to allrecipes.com.

Shredded Wheat – a carcinogen?

I used to eat this lovely cereal almost daily, Post Shredded Wheat n Bran. I added some fruit, golden raisins, organic milk, and was just as happy as could be eating this every day. I was so proud of myself for having found this item that had ingredients I understood – 100% whole grain wheat and bran. I neglected to notice, or pay attention to, the wording underneath the ingredients, until I read this article online called 13 banned foods still allowed in the U.S. This list is nuts, but BHT jumped out at me, because I knew I had seen it somewhere. And then I walked to my pantry and found it. My beloved cereal had BHT added to the packaging to prevent the food from becoming rancid. Right. So, what does that mean? Well, I’ve listed the entire blurb from the website Shape.com below, but basically this BHA and BHT may be a human carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent. Now I know, it says MAY be, but really, are you willing to take that risk? I’m not. Call me chicken, but cancer runs in my family and I want to do everything humanly possible to avoid it. So, sad face, no more Shredded Wheat for me. Sorry Post, you might want to consider a different type of package.

Here is the information from shape.com’s website:

Ingredients: BHA and BHT
Found In: Cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer
Why the U.S. Allows It: “Made from petroleum [yummy!], these waxy solids act as preservatives to prevent food from becoming rancid and developing objectionable odors,” Calton says. A better solution may be natural rosemary and sage. In a 2006 study, some organic herbs and spices proved to be efficient at preventing oxidative decay in meat, which ultimately could improve the shelf-life of these products.
Health Hazards: California is the only state that recognizes the U.S. National Institute of Health’s report that BHA is may be a human carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent.

Check out the other banned items including food dye, oil, flour, etc. Yet another reason to eat whole foods!

Delicious Navels

navelorange

Delicious winter find

I discovered that navel oranges are delicious right now. I mean to say, go to the store and buy some today and eat one immediately. I’m not sure what it is about the middle of winter that makes oranges taste so good, but I’ll have two. Plus, they are a whole food, so bonus! They are so juicy and orange-like. Winter time – get some navel oranges. I don’t know why I associate oranges with summer, but I’m never happy with them in the summer.

A new foodie friend and I went for a killer 5 mile run yesterday. It was killer mostly because I was pushing both of my kids in the double joggy stroller, plus the hills. If you think you are a strong runner, grab a double joggy and add 50 pounds to it and see how strong you are. I’m sure it would break most people. I like to call myself hard-core, even if sometimes I have to walk up the hills. But yesterday, I did not walk, and was barely breathing up the hills, but I did it. This chick was fast, and I’m nothing if not competitive. It really is ridiculous when I’m competitive, random Tuesday run – competitive, race day – depends. Anyway, it felt so very fantastic last night to be post-run, basking in the glow of physical tiredness. I haven’t pushed my body like that in a long time and it reminded me that I need to do it more often. Push yourself today, go for a long walk, or swim, bike, or run if that is what you are interested in. Your body will thank you.

Accidental stock

I needed to cook some chicken today for a Thai recipe so I decided to try something new, boiling chicken. Allrecipes.com has a Boiled Chicken recipe with very few ingredients, mainly water, vegetables, and spices. SCORE! I love when I want to make something and I actually end up having all the ingredients on hand. It’s like the stars align, okay not really that intense. Anyway, I started cooking and when the chicken was done, I pulled it out of the water, and I had stock. It was so easy. The stock is in my freezer right now in ice-cube trays, and I’ll be transferring them to a plastic freezer bag in the morning. I can just pull out the 1 ounce stock cubes whenever I’m making something that calls for stock. How amazing to have my own homemade stock on hand, with no preservatives, or fillers. I’m so proud!

Making your own stock is a real money saver, if you have the time, since the basic recipe is chicken, water, spices and veggies. I added some minced garlic and sauteed the veggies in oil before adding the chicken and water. Spices were salt, pepper, rosemary, and oregano. And bonus –  I used some celery, onion, and carrots that needed to be used or composted today. A smart cookie/good friend recommended saving celery and carrot ends when you chop up veggies, as well as any leftover fresh herbs you don’t need, and freeze them for the next time you make stock. Good luck if you decide to make your own, it is so simple and worth it, just do it, right now, go do it.

Nutrition 101

healthy walking

Get outside for a healthier you.

I have so many questions about food, and most of the time I like to go out and research and find the answer myself, but sometimes it is nice to talk to an expert to clear up some things. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Betsy Templeton, a Health and Nutrition Coach in Carrboro, NC. I threw some random questions at her and she did a bang up job of following my train of thought. Be sure to check out her diet/exercise tips below for busy moms and dads.  Here is our interview:

Question: It completely overwhelms me to think about whether or not we are getting all the vitamins and minerals we need in our diet. Is there some simple chart, or system that you use to advise your clients? We take vitamins to supplement what we don’t get from food, but still, I’m uncertain.

Answer: Whether to supplement or not is a controversial issue indeed. I believe that a good diet is the best path to optimum health. There are no simple charts or calculations to determine the need for vitamins and supplements. But there are factors other than one’s diet to look at when considering the use of supplements. Some of these factors are: age, medical history, family history, alcohol consumption, exposure to chemicals and toxins, stress level, and if the individual is or was a smoker. There are some specific groups of people who can benefit from vitamins such as women of child-bearing age, people over 50, people on a vegan diet, and folks recovering from an illness or operation.  I strongly believe that most healthy adults can satisfy their vitamin and mineral needs by eating well and I mean really well every day! When I am working with a client, I look at the whole picture and also have them consult with their doctor. Another key point is the quality of the vitamins and supplements. There are so many of these products on the market with varying degrees of credibility. I am very discerning as to which brands I use myself and recommend to my clients.

happy family

Betsy and her family

Question: I personally feel like whole foods are the only thing we can trust when it comes to food, is that too simple? I know there a ton of diet plans out there, but I feel like I’ve been able to maintain my ideal weight (after having two kids) by just eating healthy foods and exercising.

Answer: I think you have the right approach. Diets don’t do anything but sell diet books! Eating whole foods and exercising on a daily basis is the key. Of course we all need a splurge on occasion but it is the solid day-to-day habit of eating consciously that is the path to a healthy life.  In addition to whole foods there are other facets of our lives that play an important role in being truly nourished. These aspects are healthy relationships, our work, physical activity and spirituality. In my experience when we work to achieve balance in these areas of our lives we feel more satisfied and are less likely to fill the voids with unhealthy foods.

yoga teach

Find balance in your life.

Question: My dad had open heart surgery and heart disease runs rampant on that side of the family. My question is, do genetics really matter that much when it comes to things like heart disease, and other medical conditions? I would like to believe I can control my future with diet and exercise, but do we have any control?

Answer: Great question. Let me speak from experience. My father had vascular disease, very high cholesterol, and a massive stroke at 54. Through extensive rehabilitation and a super healthy diet he lived to be 85. I am the youngest of his 3 daughters. My sisters both have high cholesterol and take medication for it. I have been eating mostly a plant-based diet and a gluten-free diet for many years. I have been practicing yoga almost daily for 15 years. I am 55 and my doctor proclaims that I have the best cholesterol panel he has ever seen. Not trying to brag here, I am just saying that I do think it is possible to decrease your chance of some genetically disposed diseases. Again, diet, exercise, and stress management must be a part of one’s lifestyle for this to be possible. That being said, you can not escape genetics.

Question: On a lighter note, any diet/exercise advice for busy moms and dads?

Answer: I think you have a great way to exercise by including your kids. Why not make exercise fun for the whole family? There are many ways to fit exercise into a busy schedule.

  • First, turn off the TV and see how much more time you have!
  • Cordless jump ropes are cool and handy for the busy traveler.
  • There are many great yoga and Pilates DVDs for home use.
  • Using a pedometer to count your steps is fun; set a daily goal for a certain amount of steps and find a way to meet it!
  • Having a dog is also a great way to stay in shape and wonderful for families.
  • Taking the steps versus elevators is productive as is parking on the far side of the parking lot.

I know that cooking for busy families can be a struggle. Finding a good resource for quick, healthy recipes is important. Also using slow cookers can be useful. I like to teach my clients how to cook once and end up with 2 or 3 meals. Meal prep and planning is vital. I recommend getting the whole family involved in the meal planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning! I strongly encourage families to eat together at the table as often as possible and avoid eating in the car!

Question: What do you personally do to stay healthy?

Answer: I have a dedicated yoga practice and teach two classes a week. I also take a Pilates class and have a weight routine that I do at home. I walk my dog daily and my husband and I hike with him on the weekends. I am lucky because I adore cooking! Cooking and eating healthy food brings me joy as does sharing my passion with others. We have a nice vegetable garden at home which provides me with lots of amazing ingredients and inspiration! I also meditate to keep my stress level down. It took me a while to discover this, but yes it works.

glasshalfull

Glasshalfull in Carrboro

Betsy also owns a small business in Carrboro, Glasshalfull. It is an awesome little restaurant, wine bar and wine shop. I’ve heard wonderful things about the place and asked Betsy to tell me a little more about it. “Since I spend most of my time as a Health and Nutrition Coach, I am only at the restaurant on the weekends. When I am there it brings me much pleasure to see people having fun, relaxing and sharing great wine and delicious food at Glasshalfull.   It is a lovely spot for a fun date or a perfect place for groups to gather. We are fortunate to be a few blocks from the Carrboro Farmer’s Market where we try to support the local farmers and bring the best products available to the table. There is something for everyone and all are welcome!” Check out her restaurant if you live in Carrboro or are planning to visit the area soon.

Here is Betsy Templeton’s contact information:

www.goldenbeetwellness.com
betsy@goldenbeetwellness.com
Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach
Member of the American Association of Drugless Practicioners
Certified YA YogaWorks Instructor

And cheers to healthy living!

Gluten-free, by necessity

gluten free lifestyle

Kelly

Kelly Bourgeois, 17, began having grand mal or tonic-clonic seizures last year. After a lot of testing, doctors determined he is allergic to gluten. I interviewed his mom, Kristine, after finding out he actually has a life-threatening allergy to wheat gluten. Wikipedia lends this information, “Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue”) is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten may also be found in some cosmetics, hair products, and other dermatological preparations.”

Kristine was generous enough to share her story with us:

Question: I remember talking to you about Kelly’s experience with seizures, and how traumatic it was for your family. Tell me about your experiences that led up to learning about Kelly’s gluten allergy.

Answer: From the time Kelly was in kindergarten, he was always overweight and always hungry.  He was hungry 10 minutes after he consumed 2,000 calories.  During his freshman year of high school he had a seizure in our driveway.  It was the most terrifying moment of my life.  I thought he was dying, choking to death, or having an extreme allergic reaction to a bee sting.  I didn’t know what a seizure looked like.  The pediatric neurologist was largely unconcerned.  After the second seizure with the same ambivalence  from the doctor, I switched doctors.  The new neurologist quickly took a family history noting that my older brother has celiac disease.  Kelly tested positive to an allergy to wheat gluten.  Food allergies are a huge seizure trigger in teens.  Kelly was put on a non-wheat diet and six months later begged for a cheeseburger; we acquiesced since he was taking anti-seizure meds.  The very next day, Kelly experienced another seizure.  He has been wheat-free since.
Tonic-clonic seizures are no joke, sometimes you have incontinence during the clonic phase of the seizure. No teenager wants to experience this in front of their friends.   Also, there are many days of recovery after each of his seizures.  He gets hurt when he falls, all the capillaries in his face burst making a spiderweb of veins, and he will sleep for 24-35 hours afterwards. We have no complaints from Kelly about his diet anymore.
Question: What physical changes did you see after the diet change?
Answer: Kelly lost 35 pounds in three months; he is not hungry anymore, he eats only cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes and potato chips for lunch at school.  There is nothing on the school lunch menu that Kelly can eat. We make sure he is shored up with lots of protein-rich meat for breakfast and cook gluten-free for dinner.
Question: What mental changes have you noticed, if any?

Answer: Kelly gained more confidence as he slimmed down and stopped being hungry all the time.

Question: Does Kelly have to be on medication?

Answer: In order for him to be allowed to drive and work, he must be on medications at all times. These medications cost over $1,500/month. About half the medication costs are to prevent seizures, the other half of the cost is to correct CARP (skin damage) due to the food allergy. And we have no choice about the medication, Kelly has to take them because it is almost impossible to avoid gluten, unless you live in a bubble.

Question: What was the result of taking on a gluten-free lifestyle for you, your family?
Answer: There was a huge learning curve in switching our diet, and the whole family is not gluten-free. Most meals are prepared gluten-free so I don’t have to cook extra meals. We tried 8 types of bread at $6.00 a loaf (9 slices to a loaf), tons of pastas, and cookies.  We quickly learned that there are very few replacements for bread or pasta. We also learned that many of our meals were already naturally gluten-free, like pot roast with roasted potatoes and carrots.  We rarely eat out anymore and skip all pasta at home.  But we actually have to budget for Kelly’s meals.  The gluten-free alternative products are quite expensive.  We also have to budget extra time at Whole Foods since they have to clean and sterilize the meat slicer before cutting gluten-free lunch meat.  We keep separate condiments, like butter, since we don’t all eat gluten-free bread.  We don’t go so far as to have separate cutting boards though. We are good customers of restaurants that have gluten-free meal options.
I know what products to keep on hand: gluten-free Bisquick, corn bread crumbs, corn starch (for gravy, instead of flour), gluten-free mixes for brownies, cookies.  I have found cookie recipes that don’t use flour. It was exhausting at first, but it is amazing what has happened in just the last 2 years.  There are now phone apps to find restaurants with gluten-free options. Grocery stores have online listings of their gluten-free foods and gluten-free breads in their freezer section.
I think we all eat much healthier because of Kelly.  We don’t just grab a bag of burgers on the weekend anymore.  We put a lot of thought into our shopping and meal preparation now.  You don’t have to go gluten-free to get health results.  Just eliminating processed flour from your diet will really change your shopping habits and force you to improve your diet.  I was tested and am not gluten intolerant, but I have suffered with painful joint inflammation for years.  The inflammation virtually disappears on a gluten-free diet and I have less sinus inflammation when I stay gluten-free.

A wheat gluten allergy is a rare allergy, most people probably don’t have to worry about this specific problem. My purpose in interviewing Kristine and writing her son’s story was to hopefully shed light on how the things we put in our body, can destroy us. We have no idea what the long-term effects of eating processed ‘food’ is for our bodies. If Kelly hadn’t gone to that second doctor, he would still be having seizures today. He will have to pay attention to his diet for the rest of his life. But, I think his life will be much better lived, and more satisfying by making this change.

Good luck in moving to a more whole foods diet. I know it isn’t easy, but your health and happiness are worth it!