Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5-Minute Recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Makes 2-3 loaves. Recipe can easily be doubled or halved.

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (1 1/2 packets)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
5 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil, plus more for greasing the pan
6 2/3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly milled hard white wheat)

Mix together the water, milk, salt, honey and oil. I use boiling water and milk from the fridge, which together with the oil and honey make just the right temperature for the yeast when all is mixed.

Add yeast and stir (don't worry too much about it all dissolving).

Add flour and mix in without kneading using a big spoon, food processor, or KitchenAid with dough hook (speed 2). You may need a little more flour - the dough should basically somewhat hold its shape and pull away from the bowl, but still be very moist and not dry at all. The secret to this dough is that it is very wet, which is why it will rise without kneading and also keep well in the fridge.

Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough doubles.

The dough can be used immediately, but it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container. Dough can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. I keep mine in a 1 gallon plastic pitcher with lid (vented).

When you are ready to bake, wet your hands and tear off a piece of dough about the size of a cantaloupe. Quickly shape and place in greased bread pan. Cover and allow to rise until about doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place an oven-proof bowl with cold water on a rack in the oven below the rack that the bread pan will be on. Bake bread for about 50 minutes.

When bread is done, rub top immediately with a stick of butter, which will make the top very soft and easier to slice. Take out of pan and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Alternatively, the equivalent of one loaf also makes about a dozen rolls, which I make by simply placing balls of dough in a greased muffin tin. You can do this the night before and let them rise in the fridge overnight, setting them out in the morning for only 15 minutes or so for the dough to warm up a little before baking. I bake them at 350 degrees for about 20 or 25 minutes - just going by the color of the rolls and not really timing them. Again, I rub a stick of butter on the top of them as soon as they come out of the oven and then put them on a cooling rack. This recipe also makes fantastic hot dog and hamburger buns.

The dough is suited for any sweet baked good that uses yeast dough, such as cinnamon rolls, although if you have it on hand you may want to replace the hard wheat with soft wheat (pastry flour). Do not use the pastry flour for making bread, though.

This recipe is NOT conducive to making pizza crust and french bread, because it contains milk and bakes up too soft.

I got this recipe from "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day". Most of the recipes in the book use white flour, BUT they just released their new book TODAY: "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day". I ordered a copy on Amazon and will let you all know how I like it - supposedly, it has many recipes that use 100% whole grains.

I calculated that using all organic ingredients, raw honey, and raw milk this recipe comes out to less than $1 per loaf, with very little time or effort expended. Right now I am experimenting with using other grains, and adding sprouted wheat berries.

If you find yourself baking all or most of your family's bread (as I have done consistently since discovering this recipe), you may want to invest in an electric slicer. I found several on craigslist for $10-$30. You will be able to use the slicer for cutting meats and cheeses as well, which can help save money by buying in bulk.
Please leave me a comment if you try this recipe and let me know how you like it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Becky's birthday

Hard to believe how fast time flew by, but our baby girl turned 1 this week. Becky is such a joy and blessing, always friendly and smiling. Thanks to having four older siblings, she totally understood that birthdays are special days, and that this was her special day. She got a couple of gifts from us, one from Grandma, and one from a family at church - plenty for a little baby like her.

We took Becky for her birthday portraits last week.

Becky started cruising along the sofa and furniture months ago, and about three weeks ago started taking steps without holding on to anything. Within just a week or two, she was walking clear across the house. They always grow up too fast!!! :(

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Financial reasons to turn off your television

(This was not written by me, but I thought it was too good not to share. Copied and pasted from here. There are many other reasons not to watch TV, most notably moral standards, but looking at the financial aspect is certainly worthwhile, too.)

Cable / satellite bills Our cable bill used to cost us roughly $60 a month. That adds up to $720 a year spent just to get more programming. Three years worth of that and we’re looking at a very nice vacation. Five or six years of that, put into a savings account, potentially replaces a car.

Electricity We had two televisions, and they would each be on an average of four hours a day. Given a cost of $0.10 per kilowatt hour, and the fact that the smaller television used about 100 watts and the larger one used about 160 watts, that meant we were using a bit over a kilowatt hour each day. There’s another $40 a year that vanished.

Guilt Television programs often create a glamorous image of a life that is far outside the financial capabilities of most people watching. When viewers watch such programs then reflect on their lives, it creates a set of negative feelings. For me, the most prevalent feeling was guilt – I can’t give my family this stuff, I would think. Thus, my sense of self-worth would go down. This would put me in a mindset to be more susceptible to the ….

Commercials Those wonderful short little programs that are designed to sell you stuff, period. Even better: they often work in concert with the programs to create a sense of guilt – and they offer a psychological way out. One commercial isn’t powerful, but when you’re inundated with them… very powerful.

Less time for other opportunities If the television is on for four hours a day, that’s four hours where I could be doing something more constructive with my time, like starting a successful blog (*ahem*) or starting a business or working on a novel or getting household chores done and so forth.

Stress When we spend a lot of time watching television, we put off other things that we should be doing, like paying bills, playing with the kids, and so on. After a while, these things build up and we begin to feel stress in our lives that wouldn’t be there if we didn’t spend so much time watching television. Over time, elevated stress leads to health issues.

Poorer dining habits Instead of spending time preparing a healthy, inexpensive meal from scratch, we would hurry up and eat an more expensive prepackaged meal (or takeout) so that we could catch certain television programs. These costs added up, not only on our wallets, but also around our waists.

Poor health / obesity Television is almost always a sedentary activity. Over time, it begins to show. Television is the big reason for the “obesity epidemic,” because Americans simply don’t get the natural exercise from doing non-sedentary activities that they once got. The health costs from this can be tremendous.

Less communication When the television is on for hours each day, it’s much more difficult to have real conversations with the people in your life. Over time, less communication means weaker relationships with the people you love, and this means that quite often you have to “supplement” the relationship with additional spending.

Monday, October 12, 2009

When "raw" is not really "raw"

There is not enough time in my life to write about all the things that are wrong with the FDA, USDA, CDC, and on down the list of government agencies who think their job is to parent grown citizens and line the pocketbooks of large corporations under the guise of "safety." I'll have to be content to just occasionally expose one of their deceptive lies.

Probably everyone has heard about the health benefits of eating raw nuts, particularly almonds. But did you know that when you buy a package at the store that says "raw", these are really pasteurized by steam pasteurization or fumigation with propylene oxide? You can read about it here, as well as lots of other online sources. How this can be called "raw" is beyond me. If I gave you a baked potato and told you it was raw you'd know the difference. And if you planted the baked potato, it would not sprout. The Bible talks a lot about the health benefits of fruits and their seeds, but the FDA apparently does not concur.

I honestly believe that they want all people to die slow, painful cancer deaths just before they are old enough to retire. That way, we pay into the social security scam, but don't "withdraw". We will also be more than happy to pay astronomical insurance premiums to cover ourselves in case we get seriously ill.

And while we are it, most cheeses labeled as "raw" (meaning they were made from unpasteurized milk) are not really raw, it means that they were pasteurized for shorter or at a lower temperature.

Thankfully, I found a great source for raw, organic almonds that in bulk are actually much cheaper than conventionally grown "raw" almonds at the store are.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tips to prevent flu

This information is all from Gloria Lemay's blog. Since she is a midwife, this is all geared at pregnant women, but it works just as well for anyone else.

I am not affiliated with Ms. Lemay at all. Her website is always full of great information on natural childbirth, but personally, I would classify some of the content as only appropriate for other ladies. So if you go visit her blog and take objection to something, please do not write to me (or her!) to complain.

Regimen to help prevent flu:

1. Go to bed at 10 p.m. or earlier in a very dark room. Healthy sleep is important. Get rid of lighting in the bedroom (nightlights, electronic clocks, etc.)

2. Change your bedding and towels once a week.

3. Eat foods high in Vitamin C. Grapefruit, oranges, kiwi fruit and red peppers. Get used to these fruits as dessert.

4. Eliminate white sugar and flour from your diet.

5. Eliminate caffeine (coffee, tea, colas, chocolate).

6. Buy a wool scarf and mittens and be sure to bundle up warmly when you go out into the cold. Scarves help maintain your body heat and can be unwrapped and stuffed into your pocket when you go into a store or office building to adjust your warmth level.

7. If you feel the first tickle of a cold or sore throat, cancel everything and go straight to bed with hot herbal tea and a bag of grapefruit. Nip it in the bud with rest, Vitamin C and inner warmth.

8. Here’s a link to herbs that are safe in pregnancy. Learn to love your herb teas.

9. Slow down and enjoy your pregnancy. This is a special time in your life. Say “no” to overbooking yourself and consider quitting work earlier than you planned.

10. Keep your partner healthy, too.

Nutrition to prevent flu (a guest post on her blog by Aliss Terpstra)

Handwashing can minimize the spread of live virus
from hands to our own mouth, nose and eyes which are the portals to the mucous membranes that the virus needs to enter in order to cause infection. Handwashing can also reduce transmission to others, but will not protect anyone from airborne virus at close range. Handwashing and laundry do not aid the immune system once exposure has happened! I think it is irresponsible and unethical for our public health officials to harp on handwashing but deliberately avoid informing the public about solid scientific information on nutrient supplementation that is safer and more effective than an untested vaccine costing Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars. We can not adequately control our risk of exposure from others unless we are willing to live in a bubble until the ‘pandemic’ is over, but we can aid our bodies to resist infection and produce true immunity with mild illness or no illness at all. This kind of immunity tends to be permanent and will be passed on to the baby.

In addition to good quality uninterrupted sleep (not always possible with other children to tend, discomforts of pregnancy and need to empty bladder more frequently) and a diet with adequate natural FAT and PROTEIN during pregnancy, there is now good evidence that three nutrients protect against flu infection when supplemented. Not coincidentally, these three nutrients are needed in greater amounts during pregnancy and nursing, and CDC-NHANES recent studies found a high percentage of women of childbearing age to be mildly to severely deficient in at least one. They are:
Vitamin D

Drinking fluoridated tap water and consuming processed foods, tea and reconstituted bottled fruit juices increase the requirement for all three nutrients. Those of you living in B.C. are so lucky. Southern Ontario is 75% fluoridated and the grocery food supply is 100% fluoridated. To boot, our agricultural lands are selenium and iodine deficient so local foods are low in these nutrients.

Prenatal vitamins do not contain adequate amounts for optimal immunity. Health Canada does not approve of vitamin supplement formulas that produce optimal immunity in pregnant women. Ironically, factory farmed animals get optimal supplementation! Health Canada would also like all drinking water systems across Canada to have added fluoride from industrial waste source, to a level of 0.7 mg per liter. Hmmm I wonder why.

Check Dr. Mercola’s website for more info, Mike Adams, the Vitamin D Council (Dr. John Cannell), Harold Foster’s site, or the works of Marc Sircus OMD.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Calling all bread lovers

You do not have to be a bread baker to appreciate a good loaf of fresh, artisan bread. But if you are, you could save some serious "dough" by making it yourself. Then again, who has the time and inclination to any more these days, right?

In comes this book, which I read about in an all-natural type magazine a few weeks ago and then checked out from the local library:

Just as the title suggests, you can learn how to make artisan bread in mere minutes. The book explains how to mix a big batch of rather moist dough without kneading or raising it, which is then kept in the refrigerator and baked into individual loaves whenever you want to. It really works, and tastes wonderful.

Here is a picture of a loaf I made this week - it was gone before it ever even cooled down completely.

The only downside is that the book uses mostly white flour (which produces a crunchier crust than whole grains that contain more plant oils), but the authors are releasing their new book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, on October 27th. Maybe my husband will read this and get it for me for Christmas.

And speaking of Christmas, I would also really like it if he built a bread oven in the backyard. Just saying...

Friday, October 2, 2009

The cure

As I walked into the bank this evening, I noticed that every single employee, both male and female, was dressed in bright pink tops. Actually, I think some of the ladies even had pink skirts/dresses on. I asked if it was some sort of breast cancer awareness campaign, and the clerk confirmed that it was with a big smile.

I wasn't trying to be smart or anything, but it occurred to me that the majority of ladies working in that bank, trying to raise awareness of breast cancer, were themselves most likely using some sort of hormonal birth control. These greatly increase the likelihood of breast cancer because they not only expose the body to dangerous levels of artificial hormones, but also reduce the amount of children women will bear and nurse.

"You know," I said with a big smile, "the best preventative for breast cancer is to never use hormonal birth control and instead have lots of babies and nurse them all!" Then I made sure to hold Becky on my hip in a way that she couldn't help but see how cute and adorable she was. Definitely a much better alternative than cancer and the terrible treatment options that come with it.

Her smile froze, and she probably thought I was crazy, but I hope that those words will sink in and get her to think.

Anyway, I am in no way implying that women who get cancer brought it upon themselves. I was just trying to point out a very effective method to reduce one's risk. And it was a lot easier and faster than running in a Susan G. Komen marathon.