Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mom Advice Experiment- Who Bread:White vs Wheat

Bread 1: Bread Flour

Bread 2: All-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour

So, I decided to give the Mom Advise Notebook Experiments a try. Amy has a notebook where she list all kinds of great ideas she finds online. Many of them are projects that I really want to do. I've looked through her past notebooks and have booked marked lots of things to try. So, I'll be back for the weekly experiments. I really like how Amy makes them look like an experiment when she post them, so hopefully she won't mind if I do mine the same. I got a bread machine with our income tax refund this year and I love it. Although I still have a lot to learn! This is the first recipe we tried and really love, Low-Fat Bread Machine Italian Bread . I was really excited to try a different one.

Experiment: Can I make Who (pronounced hooo, like an owl) bread and will my kids and husband will still like it if I substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the bread flour?

Experiment taken from: Notebook Entry 02.14.07

Materials needed: Here's the recipe that I used from SouleMama.

WHO Bread
(makes 1.5 lb loaf, set to 'basic' with medium crust)
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter @ room temperature
1 tsp salt
3 cups of flour (we do 2 cups unbleached white, 1 cup whole wheat pastry)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or, one package)
Add ingredients to pan in order listed according to bread machine instructions. Makes 1.5 lb loaf, set to medium crust and basic.

Part 1: The first loaf we made was with just the bread flour. This bread rose quite a bit in my machine and looked more like a 2 lb loaf. I was worried that my lid would come off of the top of my machine, but it did not. I thought maybe I did something wrong, but I followed the instructions exactly! So, I thought? After rereading the recipe, it called for plain flour and not the bread flour, which is probably what made it rise more. My kids ate the bread fine and said they liked it okay. I liked it.

Part 2: The second loaf I made was the one that I substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the white flour. Now why would I want to do this? Well, first it is healthier for my kids and second since being on Weight Watchers, I noticed that using the whole wheat flour lowered my points sometimes and after running the recipe through the recipe builder (you have to be an e-tools subscriber to get this service) on the Weight Watchers Website, I found that it did indeed lower it by one point. If it tasted just as good, that was the one I wanted to use. The bread rose more like it was suppose too since I used the all-purpose flour. (I did not have any unbleached white.) The top fell, but the results were that my bread's crust was crispier and the bread really did taste better to me than the first one I tried. But how did my kids like it? Well, my oldest one said it's okay. I asked him what he did not like about it and he said it taste like wheat. The others are 4 years old and 2 years old and basically they will eat warm bread with butter on it.

Conclusion: Well, I guess my kids will eat the bread with the wheat in it, although they seem to like the white flour bread better. My dh and my 9 year old refuse to eat wheat bread. I don't have any other answers as to how to get them to eat healthier and to eat wheat. Personally, I liked the second one and if I make this bread again, that will be the one I choose. This however is not my first pick for my favorite bread.
For more experiments go here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday-Starting Seeds

My tackle was actually done on Saturday. I wanted everyone in the family to be involved and that was the day we were all here and it was a beautiful day outside! This is a project that we had been putting off. The project was starting our seeds. We are going to be doing container gardening so if our crop is late, I guess that's okay too. We used a Jiffy Greenhouse. This was $6.00 at Walmart and allowed for 72 plants. My kids had a great time and what made it even better was that last week and this one my twins theme at head start was gardens. We even took them on a trip to Walmart to look at all of the plants and gardening stuff and buy the stuff for this tackle. My kids had a great evening and I have my containers ready to transplant when they are ready. Here are some pictures from our tackle.

For more tackles, go to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Make Your Own Seed Starting Pots

This year I am doing container gardening in our home. I know this will save lots of money on produce this summer and the great thing about container gardening is that I can do it year round! I am starting my seeds this week. I don’t buy plants because most are priced 200% more than it would be to start your own. There are lots of ways to start your own seeds. I have used the Jiffy pellets and really like those. They seem to be pretty reasonable to buy too. I also found a way to make your own pots out of newspapers. This can save you even more money. Here are the instructions and you can find a wonderful video here to get you started.
How To Make Your Own Seed Starting Pots
1. Take a single full sheet of black and white newspaper (color paper can have chemicals that may leach into your soil so it’s best to avoid it also avoid the sleek paper ads).
2. Fold the paper on its seam. Fold in half one more time. If your paper is larger in size you may have to fold it once more. Make a good crease on folds.
3. Take a glass and place it on its edge halfway onto the newspaper. Wrap the newspaper tightly around the glass and then shove all the edges down inside the glass.
4. Pull the newspaper off of the glass. Take the inside edges that you had previously folded into the glass and unfold them a bit to make the base of the pot. Press them down hard (you can use the base of your glass to really get it sealed down in there.
5. Transplant (or plant) your seeding into the newspaper pot with some good potting soil and place it in a tray and put it into direct sunlight.
6. When ready to move the plants into your garden simply remove the newspaper and place the plant in your garden.
Thanks to Food Storage Made Easy for this great money saving idea!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Storing Spices

This month one of the storage areas I am working on is spices. We all love spices, our food would not be the same without them, so we need to store some in our food storage. When trying to decide what to store, we need to go look at our spice cabniet to see what we seem to use most and then make a list of those spices. I also think it is important to go through your spices as you are looking up there. Growing up, I remember my parents always saying spices last forever. So, I guess I have lived like that too since I have lots of 10 year old spices in my cabniet and on my spice racks. The frugal in me just cringes when I throw something out, but most spices do have expiration dates on them. If you can't find a date on the spice look at it. Does it still have a smell? Spices should have a smell. What is the color of the spice? Spices that should be green should not be beige. Time will make them become discolored. Ground spices quickly lose flavor, which is why whole peppercorns last longer than ground pepper. To keep your spices fresh longer, store them away from heat, light, and moisture. That will help to preserve flavor and color, and prevent clumping.

So what’s a reasonable storage time? McCormick shares these guidelines for how long spices can be expected to last:
Seasoning blends: 1-2 years
Herbs: 1-3 years
Ground spices: - 2-3 years
Whole spices (such as cinnamon sticks and peppercorns): 3-4 years
Extracts: 4 years (except for pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely)
If your spice bottle is missing an expiration date, you can check it online:
Check dates for McCormick spices
Check dates for Spice Islands, Durkee, Tone’s, French’s, Dec A Cake, and Trader’s Choice
I think the big thing with storing spices is that you need to rotate as you buy new stuff. The hard thing about that is I don't buy new spices enough to go and make time to do a spice cleanout. We got 5 spice racks when I got married 10 years ago. I took all of them back, but 2. I still have those spices in my spice racks and I have only change out a few of the jars and a few are empty. So, I am going to throw all of those away. Actually, when I am all done, I will probably throw half of my spices away.
Here are the spices I use a lot that I plan to store for my food storage:
Garlic Powder
Seasoning Salt
Chili Powder
Taco Seasoning
Vanilla Extract
Almond Extract
Onion Soup Mix
Dehydrated Onions
Dry Mustard
Italian Seasoning
I don't know if I will buy all of those this month because spices are not cheap, but I will try to get some of them. I already bought all the salt I need for my family for one year. When buying spices, buy in bulk to lower your price, especially on things like salt.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thinking About Container Gardening

Well, I have never had a garden since I have been on my own. We have always rented and my lifestyle just did not give me time to plant and raise a garden. I know excuses!!! Well, this year I feel this need to plant something. I am looking at container gardening, but need to do some more research on it because I do not have a lot of money to spend on the containers. Anyone know of the cheapest route to go? I saw on a blog I read that Gayle learned to make some containers out of newspapers. You can check that out here. I don't know if I have convinced my dh to do this and I think that is what makes it hard. We just put it off until we do not do it at all each year. At our Stake Conference this year, we were encouraged to plant a garden. Our Stake president talked about President Kimball's admonition for everyone to have a garden. Our Stake President felt everyone in our stake should make this a goal. Our Stake Relief Society also has encouraged sisters to get back to the basics and they also want us to think about planting an extra row for the hungry. So, I know it is important and I LOVE fresh produce! I just got to get it together!