Thursday, May 13, 2010

Food is my weakness...

I just love food. I love cooking delicious food, I love baking yummy goodies... and I love sampling them. And if they're good, then I like to eat an ample serving... or two. Now, I wouldn't classify myself as ever having been truly "fat" yet, but if I keep this up, I will definitely be one of those rotund grandmas that makes decadent goodies for the grandchildren every visit... and you never know how many other times those grandmas are making those same decadent goodies and not sharing them with grandchildren.
So, my new health guidelines for myself (inspired by the Maker's Diet book) are these two, simple rules. 

1. Eat when you are hungry, and stop before you're full.
2. Think of food as fuel for your body, and give your body "high performance" fuel; organic, natural, healthy food is much better for you than processed, pesticide-infected, artificial-everything food. 

 Those may sound obvious to someone who doesn't have problems with food, but I think I had what could almost be called a food addiction. I ate when I was hungry, but I also ate whenever I was "bored," whenever there was something yummy to taste, whenever it was time to eat, and whenever I was reading. I thought of food more as something to be enjoyed like music or books than something that was necessary for life.

Under those two guidelines, I've been doing much better and lost a few pounds. I'm not dieting exactly, since I'm just trying to eat healthy (I'm not counting calories or anything), and I'm not doing anything else different besides walking more frequently since our weather went from cold to hot (ugh, where was spring??). I feel much healthier and I actually enjoy food more now that I'm not eating too much, too often.

It's important to remember that almost anything good can be abused. God made us to enjoy many things, but that enjoyment can be taken too far. And that doesn't mean that I won't bake and sample goodies... just not TOO much. ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Our Secret Bread Recipe...

 ... is being published on the internet for the whole world to see! Haha! We've always given our recipe to anyone who asks for it. It changes every so often, as my dad is the mastermind behind it and he sometimes comes up with improvements, but this is the current version, with my newly discovered tips for making it work with sprouted wheat. 

The Hargetts’ Secret Bread Recipe

Makes 4 regular-sized loaves.

1 and 1/3 cups of oil (Extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil)
1 cup of sweetener (we use a mix of raw honey and maple syrup)
6 tsp. of salt
6 tsp. of dry yeast
5 cups of warm Rice milk at less than 130 degrees (you can substitute real milk or water, but watch the consistency)
15 LIGHT (we don’t shake or pack the flour in the cup) cups of flour (we use whole wheat or sprouted whole wheat)

In the order listed, put ingredients into a large electric mixer (we use a Bosch, but a larger size KitchenAid should work too) or a large bowl to hand knead. After adding the first two cups of flour or so, turn the machine on low (or begin stirring with a wooden spoon), and continue adding the flour one cup at a time. Adjust speed (or begin kneading with one hand) as necessary when dough becomes begins to thicken.

Knead for 10 minutes. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for one hour. We usually put it in our oven preheating the oven to about 100 degrees. The oven should not be warmer than 130 degrees, as that will kill the yeast.

Grease with oil or butter 4 regular-sized bread pans. Turn bread dough out onto a clean, dry surface and knead into a ball. Section the bread into 4 equal parts of dough (we cut it in fourths with a knife and then weigh each loaf on kitchen scales for better accuracy) and then knead and roll each ball of dough into a loaf. Place in loaf pans. Put a pan of hot water on the bottom rack of your oven, and put the loaves in to rise. Again, the oven should be warm, but not hotter than 130 degrees. Rise for one hour.

Here’s where I’ve found some differences in the sprouted wheat and whole wheat. The whole wheat might take a little longer than an hour to rise well enough, and it won’t rise much at all once you start baking it. However, I’ve gotten best results with the sprouted wheat by baking them after an hour of rising no matter how flat they still are. They raise a good deal while baking, and are less likely to fall or cave in if they started out small.

Also, we bake the whole wheat bread in an un-preheated oven at 350 F for 30-35 minutes, while the sprouted wheat needs to be baked at 325 for 45 minutes (also un-preheated).

Remove from bread pans, place on wire rack and cover with a clean cloth to cool. (I enjoy a slice of warm bread right out of the oven with a little butter…)

 I finally succeeded in making sprouted wheat bread that is just as good as our whole wheat bread! (I like it better...)