Tag Archives: Healthy

Oatmeal Wheat Bread

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As far as I’m concerned, bread baking is one of the best smells there is.  I love the warm, yeasty smell of bread rising, and the nice crust you get when it’s done, along with that sense of accomplishment.  So, since I was out of bread, I’m trying to empty out my pantry before I move out next week (and failing miserably), and my dad’s going to be in town this weekend and loves whole-wheat bread, I made wheat bread.  There was logic in that decision somewhere, I’m sure.  If you find it, let me know!

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Ok, so this isn’t exactly whole wheat bread like my dad prefers, but I think it’s a pretty good compromise between our two preferences.  This bread came together really easily, and rose quickly.  I only had two small problems with it.  The most universal one was that the bread was a little bit over-browned, so I probably should have tented it with aluminum foil partway through baking.  The other problem is probably only mine, and that’s that this recipe uses oatmeal, which meant I had to make oatmeal.  I get that it’s incredibly healthy, but oatmeal gives me the heebie-jeebies.  As with most foods I’m not fond of (like scallops or flan), the texture just freaks me out.  But I sucked it up, and I wouldn’t even know it was there if I hadn’t made it myself!  This bread was a little bit sweet from the honey, and will be great for sandwiches, or maybe even french toast!  It was a great use for my SMS preserves!

Oatmeal Wheat Bread

Adapted from Epicurious and Gourmet magazine

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking) plus additional for topping
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105-115°F)
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast (from 3 packages)
  • 1/2 cup mild honey
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for buttering pans
  • 3 cups stone-ground whole-wheat flour
  • About 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Vegetable oil for oiling bowl
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water I used 1/2 Tbsp. melted butter

1. Heat milk and 1/2 stick butter in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over low heat until hot but not boiling, then remove pan from heat and stir in oats. Let stand, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooled to warm.

2. Stir together water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon honey in a small bowl; let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) Look out, this foams a LOT! Stir yeast mixture, melted butter it’s already there, and remaining honey into cooled oatmeal.

3. Stir together whole-wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add oat mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead with floured hands, adding just enough of remaining unbleached flour to keep from sticking, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes (dough will be slightly sticky). Form dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel; let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. Lightly butter two 8×4 inch loaf pans I used 9×5. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to remove air. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf, then place 1 loaf in each buttered pan, seam side down, tucking ends gently to fit. Cover loaf pans loosely with a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

5. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly brush tops of loaves with some of egg wash and sprinkle with oats (or just with melted butter), then bake until bread is golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. (Remove 1 loaf from pan to test for doneness. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen.)

6. Remove bread from pans and transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

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Also, since my dad will be here tomorrow, I thought I’d share some important things I’ve leard from him.

1. Always carry dog bones in your pocket.  Even if you don’t have a dog.

2. Never throw the first punch.  However, if you do throw the first punch, make sure you give fair warning.

3. If a boy doesn’t respect you enough to pick you up at the door, he’s not worth dating (although this one was usually phrased more along the lines of “I swear to god, if he sits in the driveway and honks the horn, you’re not leaving this house!”).

4. Everyone should have a nice, heavy pen.

5. You don’t have to like everyone.

6. It’s ok to skip a homework assignment every now and then, but it’s not ok to skip a big project.  Pick and choose.

7. Algebra.  Also, that math is a four-letter word.

8. Being a little weird is a good thing sometimes.  It makes you stand out from the crowd.

9. Asparagus tastes way better warm than it does cold.

10. It is possible to penny someone’s door shut so far that it is impossible to get it back open.

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Beef and Pork Picadillo

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I was planning to start this post partying after a good week.  I don’t have class tomorrow, my great-grandpa turned 92 on Tuesday, I saw “The Hangover” (which was hysterical), for the first time I did the SMS recipe before the weekend it was posted, and it was only a balmy 88 degrees out today!  But then I saw that Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett passed away today, so somehow it didn’t exactly seem appropriate.  Mind you, that apparently hasn’t stopped me…

Anyway, with as hot out as it’s been, I don’t want to turn on the oven, the stove, anything.  I made a quick stir-fry earlier this week and ordered pizza last night, and tonight I made picadillo.  It’s a really yummy Cuban dish of ground meat, peppers, onions, garlic, and spices.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the recipe I’ve used before, so I looked at several recipes online to get some ideas, and then just tried to do what I remembered.  I thought it needed more spices, maybe a bit more kick.  Next time I think I’d add some red pepper flakes.  The whole thing came together in about half an hour, which was perfect for me, and would be great for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen in this weather.  Best of all, it uses ingredients you probably already have sitting around!

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Your ingredients.  Before I’ve used all ground beef, but I had half a pound of ground pork sitting around, so I decided to use that with half a pound of ground beef.  Also, pretend there’s an onion in this picture.  Thanks.

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Brown your meat, and drain off the fat.

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While the meat is browning, chop half the onion, half the pepper, your tomato, and your garlic.  If you’re using fresh herbs, chop them now as well.

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Add your veggies to the pot and let them cook for a few minutes.  At this point, start your rice.  After the veggies have been in the pot a couple minutes, add your spices.

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Add your tomato paste, mix well, and then add the beef broth.  If you don’t have tomato paste or don’t want to use it, you can use tomato sauce in place of the paste and broth.

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Turn the heat down a bit, cover your pot, and simmer the picadillo for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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When your rice is done, spoon it into a bowl and put the picadillo on top.  Garnish it with whatever you want.  I just spritz it with a squeeze from a lime and mixed it together.

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Mike adds cheese, mixes it all together, and eats it with tortilla chips.  Really, anything goes!

Beef and Pork Picadillo

1 pound total ground beef and pork (or all ground beef)

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 tomato (I used 1/3 can petite diced tomatoes), chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 c. beef broth

2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. oregano

3/4 tsp. cilantro

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cooked white rice

1. Brown the ground meat, crumbling as it cooks.  Drain.  While the meat is browning, chop the pepper, onion, tomato, and garlic.

2. Add the chopped veggies to the drained meat for a few minutes, then add the spices and salt and pepper to taste.  Add the tomato paste and broth, or half a cup of tomato sauce, and mix well.

3. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer the picadillo for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.  Remember to stir occasionally.

4. Serve the picadillo in a bowl over cooked rice.  Garnish with whatever you want (we used lime and cheese- although not together).

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