Sunday, April 21, 2013

Homemade Bread & Jam

Diet. I loathe that word. It doesn't have a good connotation, like ever. Even if it's meant in the best way, people still think it means, "I'm tryin to get skinny, so lay off." In this case, let's just suppose for a moment that I actually do have a new diet, but it's not to lose weight. Sure, that may be a side effect, but I call it a lifestyle choice. It's not easy, but this is life, and I'm going with it, like forever. 

So Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, and what fights it off is taking anti-inflammatory drugs, which cost about 55K a year. Whew! Who knew right? But, did you know that there are anti-inflammatory foods, and you can make them right in your kitchen, and they do the EXACT SAME THING? Oh yes, they're called vegetables! The more plant based foods I consume, the better! So of course I don't have to eat this way, and I could have chocolate cake every day of my life, but I choose to eat this way, because I'd rather play it safe and help my body out a little. When I do this, I'm trading in cheeseburgers for the ability to walk someday. I'm giving up milkshakes for the ability to talk. It's a no-brainer really. :) It's just a choice, and for me, it's an easy one. There are also pro-flammatory foods (which, in my specific case, are the bad guys). They disguise themselves as animal fats like milk fat, beef, butter, certain oils, pastries, etc. You get the picture, right? In the end, I decided I'd like to live on the safe side and continually pump good food into my body. So, you can expect every recipe to be pretty darn healthy from here on out. Just a fair warning.

Can I give you an update? It was hard eating this way at first, because I couldn't figure out what I could even have. But after one month, it has become a way of life that's really not a big deal. Hopefully I'll post some really great healthy foods in the days to come that you'll love and that your whole family will enjoy too. Believe it or not, healthy food is tasty! 

Enough talking, let's cook!

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

Here is a healthy bread recipe for almost anyone! It doesn't have any extras (like butter) in it, but still tastes amazing! Our family makes this recipe every other weekend, since there are just three of us, and it lasts quite a while. You'll get two regular sized loaf pans of bread in the end, and they keep for a little over a week. Happy baking!

5 c whole wheat flour
3 T yeast
2 1/4 c milk (it's ok to use sour milk here)
1/2 c molasses
  1. Mix yeast, milk, and molasses in a microwavable bowl, and microwave for 1.5 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl (I use a Kitchen Aid mixer) add 2 cups of flour.
  3. Stir warmed wet mixture and add to the 2 cups of flour, mixing continuously.
  4. Slowly add remaining 3 cups of flour until your bread starts to work itself together as it kneads, and looks like this... see how it's all stuck together in a ball? That's good!
  5. Leave this ball of dough in the bowl you mixed it in and cover with a kitchen towel for 1 hour. If you don't know already, the towel helps the yeast rise, trust me. :)
  6. After an hour, punch down the dough a few times (don't overdo it) and shape into loaf appropriate sizes and put the dough inside of two regular loaf pans, spraying them beforehand with cooking spray so the bread doesn't stick. Cover again and let rise 30 minutes-1 hour. Patience, patience, patience my friend. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees in the meantime. 
  7. Put in the oven for 30 minutes! 
Eat that bread hot of the oven with a little jam or honey I tell ya! It's the very best thing in the world! Oh say, you'd like to make some  homemade jam too? Why sure, you've come to the right place.

Blueberry Apple Jam

This is easy. easy. easy. If you want to make jam and have never done it before, you're going to love me forever, because this is new person friendly. What I like about this, and what motivated me to make it is the fact that there is NO sugar added, because basically I don't eat straight sugar anymore, and fruit is about the closest I come. For this I use blueberries and applesauce, but I have had fantastic jam made out of strawberries (instead of blueberries) and 100% grape juice (instead of applesauce). I really wanted to try the strawberry when we tried out this delicious blueberry, but we started baking the bread by the time the urge to make jam came over me with hurricane force...well, you see my problem. :) Hot bread cannot wait for jam ya know.

4 cups blueberries (can use frozen, but just thaw beforehand)
1 cup no sugar added applesauce
2 T fruit pectin (no sugar needed kind)
  1. Put 4 cups of blueberries in a large metal pot or sauce pan, and start to smash those boogers down to nothing! Don't turn the heat on just yet.
  2. This is what it looked like when I finished smash, smash, smashing.
  3. Mix the fruit pectin into the applesauce well and then pour into the smashed up blueberries.
  4. Turn on the heat to medium and stir continuously until the mixture begins to boil.
  5. Once it starts boiling, stir for 15 minutes straight or until the mixture starts to set up like jam does. Do NOT stop stirring, or that yummy pot of berries will burn, baby. 
  6. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and let your jam cool.
  7. Store in a clean glass container, or sterilized canning jar. Done!
And...if you're like me, you can enjoy warm bread with warm jam.  I recommend making these together, obviously. 

1 comment:

Heather said...

I cannot wait to try! You can post all the healthy recipes you want! I am always looking for ideas, especially when it is taste test approved! That way I don't have to use my hubby as a guinea pig 😉! He is a butter lover for sure....while I am not so they have to have some serious flavor. I am so proud of you Michelle!

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