Wholesome whole wheat bread

I baked a loaf of whole wheat bread to go along with the Veggie Lentil Soup. This is a  consistently good recipe.  I’ve had a lot of success with it. Sometimes I don’t have nonfat dried milk and it comes out great anyway. I’ve tried it with honey, agave, maple syrup, and brown sugar.  Still good. They’re right about adding orange juice; it really does soften the whole wheat-y flavor. My son loves raisin bread so I’ll add a cup or so when he’s around and he can eat a whole loaf right in front of my eyes. “Course he’s over six feet tall with a freaky uber-metabolism; he’s the only one I know around here that can do that.  Plus with the whole portion control thing, no one else is allowed to have unlimited amounts of anything.

Just out of the oven I spread about a half teaspoon of butter on top to get a shiny crust.

King Arthur was founded in 1790 and is located in Vermont.

Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread

  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
  • 1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • *Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.

tips from our bakers

  • Why the range of water in the dough? A lot depends on the weather, the season, and how you measure flour. You’ll need the lesser amount of water in the summer; or when it’s humid/stormy; if you measure flour by weight; or if you sprinkle your flour into the measuring cup, then level it off. You’ll need the greater amount of water in winter; when it’s dry out, and the humidity is low; or if you measure flour by dipping your cup into the canister, then leveling it off.
  • The liquid sweetener you choose makes a difference. Molasses produces the darkest loaf, one with old-fashioned flavor. Honey yields a lighter, milder loaf. Maple syrup makes a less-sweet loaf — unless you use real maple syrup, in which case it’ll be similar to a loaf made with honey, albeit with a faint hint of maple.
  • If you’re someone who tends to taste whole wheat as somewhat bitter, try substituting 1/4 cup of orange juice for 1/4 cup of the water in this recipe. A bit of orange juice tones down whole wheat’s somewhat tannic taste.

1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for “dough” or “manual.”) Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.

2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1″ above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

4) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

5) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Yield: 1 loaf.

Your tax dollars at work

Here in SoCal, we’re enjoying temps in the eighties. It’s dry and sunny and hard to believe the other side of the country is in the midst of an epic disaster. I’m happy to report my son is weathering the storm in San Francisco; he emailed from Stanford‘s library. I hope everyone else makes it through the night unhurt and unscathed.

This morning I stepped onto the deck intending to feed our resident scrub jays and heard the roar of a helicopter overhead, I mean right over my head. Our street sort of borders on an undeveloped hilly area and there’s also an elementary school across another street. Sometimes really bad traffic accident victims are transported here and picked up by an air ambulance that lands on the playground. However, this helicopter looked like a huge military one and with all the weather turmoil on the east coast and what seems to be a surge in crime locally, I thought this was the beginning of the end. We’ve all heard the dire predictions of the Mayan calendar, right? The helicopter circled a couple times, diving ever closer, and landed at the school playground. It was unbelievably loud! Were we under attack?

I ran out the front door and across the street with my camera. About a dozen cars had stopped to watch what was happening. It was then that I noticed the entire student body was outside on the far field, sitting “criss cross applesauce” on the grass. There were police cars and white police S.W.A.T. vans surrounding the helicopter. I asked a neighbor what was going on and she told me it was part of the drug program. Drugs not hugs or hugs not drugs, something like that. In case you were wondering, here’s where some of your our tax dollars are going. I have no idea how much it costs to send a military helicopter from either Miramar Naval Air Station or Camp Pendleton and the police officers were diverted from the actual job of preventing crime. Do you believe that this has any effect at all on future drug consumption and/or selling of drugs? As a former teacher and a mom, I say no, but I’m a bit jaded with regards to the whole “Just Say No to Drugs” propaganda. I have a hard time believing that anyone has not tried drugs or not sold drugs because they were forced to attend a couple of assemblies or colored a worksheet or two. I believe it’s the home environment that makes a positive difference and it’s peers that influence our kids, too. I guess I’m kind of curmudgeonly resenting the use of our military and police to scare these kids straight, and I’m not convinced it’s a good use of my tax dollars.

In sickness and in health

You might think I’m referring to what a wonderful nurse I am to my sorta under the weather husband. Not that that’s not true; my mom was an RN and she taught me all the tricks of her trade, but I was talking about my wondrous, beautiful, gorgeous seashell embedded toilet seat! It’s something you can use in sickness and in health, right?

What a treasure!

Seriously, if you were going to give it any thought at all, what other kind of toilet would you expect enchanted seashells to have? Little by little, the dream of my bathroom is coming to fruition…an enchanted place.

A throne fit for a princess

 

Halloween didn’t happen; earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes did

Thank you to my commenters for weighing in on what the captain and I should dress up as for our party last night. We never went! In the late afternoon, he started to get a sore throat and was not feeling too good. Since I was recovering from tonsillitis, we thought it best not to spread our germs to friends and others in case he was coming down with the same thing. He seems to be feeling better today; a a quiet evening at home and a good night’s sleep was most likely what he needed more than partying and staying out late. He’s very healthy whereas I seem to get lots of upper respiratory things, prob due to chronic asthma. I really wanted to go as the Captain and MaryAnn! Oh well, there’s always next year, but he might not be here…

I’m making a healthy Veggie Lentil Soup for dinner tonight. It’s pretty easy. Just sauté some onions, celery, carrots in a little veg or olive oil. When they become fragrant, add about 4-6 cups water and 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils. I always rinse lentils first to clean off any dirt, etc. Let it simmer for about an hour, add some broccoli florets and continue cooking until they attain the degree of doneness that you like. I usually use my immersion blender for about half of the soup, I like the rustic piecey part too. I’ll serve with a (not homemade this time) sourdough bread.

Hurricane Sandy
My son’s been in San Francisco for a few days and was supposed to get back to the east coast Monday night. That was not gonna happen, so he changed his flight to tonight, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen either, as he was flying in to New York and I’ve heard that 5000 flights have been cancelled. I’ve texted and emailed him; haven’t heard back, so I’m on mom high alert until I know everything’s OK.

With this superstorm and the earthquakes and tsunamis on the west coast, I’m beginning to freak out! What’s going on? Is this the beginning of the end? Should we load up on hair supplies and Jolen facial bleach? I’m glad I got my roots done on Friday; I’ll be OK for a few weeks. We’re running a little low on toilet paper, that would not be good to run out of that!  I hope everyone is safe back there and up there.

The Mission, Part Two: I swear I am NOT bribing my husband to buy me a Chanel handbag, honest.

I dragged my tired, feverish, achy body out of bed to do the laundry and fulfill all my wifely duties. I filled the tub with water, brought in a few rocks from the yard…too much? Well, I did cart the heavy basket of wet clothes outside to hang up. When we’re having weather like this, it’d be a shame not to use Mother Nature’s power to dry and sanitize clothes! Don’t you think polka sheets are tres cool?

I’m being the best wife ever and not complaining, (well, not too much) about watching the World Series.  I’m surprised I even know who’s playing.

“More coffee, honey?” “How about your dressing gown, shall I bring it?” “Let me just slide your slippers on your feet.” Again, too much, huh? Well, I’ve been on the sofa watching Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver   for the part of the day that I wasn’t baking and cleaning–on my knees, scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush, and, OK, OK, I know when to stop.

Who Am I?

Sometimes I feel like I’m part I Love Lucy, part That Girl “Oh, Donald!” part Erica Kane from All My Children, and part Blair Waldorf minus the Upper East Side penthouse, private school education, and money.  Oh, and part Jess from New Girl.

Hmmm. If those are my female role models, I can see why people my son sometimes accuse(s) me of living in a fantasy world. OK, at least I don’t identify with Honey Boo Boo Child! In my defense, I was at one time an aspiring dramatic actor. It’s a part of me, once an actress, always an actress, with the same tools of the trade. I say that I’m a famous undiscovered actress, and I’m hopeful that it’s not too late for me. But since I never audition for anything and don’t have current pix or even an agent,  that’s probably not going to happen; I do realize that. I am not totally delusional. A certain percentage of delusional is all I’ll admit to. Math is not my strong suit.

A Halloween Party!

This is the first Halloween the captain has been home in two years. One of his academy buddies is hosting a Halloween party and we’ve been toying with the idea of dressing up, which we never do. Our choices include Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, Captain and Tenille, the Skipper and MaryAnn, or Ginger and Fred Astaire ‘cos we love to swing dance. Right now we’re leaning toward the Frankenstein/Bride theme. I’ll take pix when we’ve made a decision.

My Former Life

I was cast as a streetwalker in a Marty Feldman film that was shot in San Diego a looonnnggg time ago; that was a good look for me, too. In fact, I was so convincing that I got propositioned for real! Good times. Hmmm. I was also cast as a Costa Rican hooker for another film, a made-for-TV movie with Jack Scalia. I had lines that time; “Te gusta, señor?” That translates to “You like, mister?” More good times. In case you were wondering, it was my curly brown locks that caused the casting agents to choose me. Def not in my personal bio. Definitely not.

Although, who knows what one’s price might be….a large Chanel might very well be my tipping point. Only kidding! Gotta hop to it and make the captain his lunch. I might as well stay in character…

I Am The Portion Police, The Food Nazi, Also a Member of the One Percent

I am the self-designated portion control policewoman around here. I really don’t like to use the word “nazi” to describe myself for obvious reasons, so I will now and forevermore be known as the portion regulator, which is prob more accurate. I am the one who doles out specific serving sizes and amounts to my family. Or as my husband calls me, herr field marshall. I’m not really sure how I came to wear this mantle. Maybe it’s because over time, I watched those around me eat bags of chips, unlimited cookie consumption, handfuls and jowlfuls of nuts, and I had to put a stop to it.  For my husband, it’s because I tell him he’s no longer 25 and his metabolism is not the same as it once was (nothing is). He simply can’t eat like he used to. None of us can. I dole out his snacks into the approved amounts; 2o almonds, 10 chips, 2 cookies–and tell him he needs to be satisfied with what IS there and not complain about what is NOT there. The day has long passed when he can have two ice cream bars in a row.

On the other hand, my son has that freaky metabolism that burns calories the minute he starts chewing. He can and does eat all day. I do hate him for that. I really do. It’s not fair. It really isn’t.

Here’s a true story. It enters potentially dangerous territory involving a MIL and a DIL but I think we both handled it in an adult manner. Well, you be the judge. I’ve had a gin-gin (Tanqueray and diet ginger ale) along with a glass of wine, so I might not be the best judge of anything. (BTW, all consumed at home; we don’t drink and drive.)

Once upon a time, my daughter-in-law was visiting. Since I only have a son, I never really had the fun shopping experiences with a daughter that I had with my own mom. When DIL comes to town, we always try to have a shopping day, which is a win-win for both of us. We shop, I buy. This particular day, we were in Encinitas on the 101, where there are a multitude of shops from a global marketplace to a couple of consignment stores and boutiques. We were in a boutique and each picked out a cute summery shirt. If I remember correctly, hers was a tangerine orange that totes complemented her beautiful skin tones, and I chose one in a peacock greeny-blue with birds all over. As I paid for them, S spied a dish of hard candies on the counter. I watched her out of the corner of my eye as her hand reached up to grab one, unwrap it, and stuff it in her mouth. Without blinking an eye, I finished the financial transaction, turned to her, and said, “Spit it out.” I said, “You most definitely do not need to eat pure sugar that’s going to go directly to your pancreas, empty calories that are not necessary and contain no nutritional value at all. Just spit it out now.” “But there’s no where to put it” (She kind of whined here, sorry S, but you did.) “Just spit it in my hand. That’s what moms are for.” We all know that moms’ hands are the repository for old gum and other gross stuff, right? And so she did, my Ph.D. DIL, I am so proud of her and so pleased that she really did spit it in my hand. I felt like such a mom! She’s also a real lover of “crisps”. That’s UK SPK for chips, potato chips, any kind of chips. When she was here a couple weeks ago, I watched her (like a hawk) open the Trader Joe’s Veggie Chips and thrust her freshly manicured hand in and commence consuming massive amounts of chips while we were chatting about whatever. I grabbed the bag with her hand in mid-grasp, and pried the chips (crisps) away from her. I placed an appropriate amount in a bowl and implored her to savor every bite and become conscious of the flavors so that she wasn’t eating without thinking.

Oh, and she’s beautiful, in great physical shape, very strong, lots of endurance for hiking and biking and surfing; it’s simply that I’m very health-aware and want everyone in my family to function at their peak performance level. Plus, I admit I’m a bit of a bossy pants… I’ve also been told I’d make a great drill sergeant. Hmm. Not sure what to read between the lines on that one. 

I can’t imagine what you’re thinking right now. Do you have similar tales to tell, or am I on this rock all by myself?

Maybe it’s because I’m only five feet tall, but I find a high level of tolerance, like a Pekinese or Chihuahua that barks at a St. Bernard or a German Shepherd and the larger dogs just look at the tiny one in astonishment, like they can’t believe what they’re witnessing.

1%

I am now in the one percent club. In a moment of weakness, the captain revealed to me that he listens to only about ten percent (10%!!!) of what I say and I disagreed, telling him he actually listens to only about 1% at the best of times, so now I am officially a one percenter.

On that note, have a great Friday evening, and don’t drink and drive.

The way to a man’s heart (read wallet) is through his stomach, right? I’m on a mission here.

I felt better pretty quickly, that’s what a Z-pack‘ll do, and we’re having a Santa Ana weather event (hot, dry, windy) so I did several loads of laundry and hung them out on the clothesline to dry, no really, that’s what I did! Then I decided to make petit4chocolatier’s Italian Chocolate Meatball Cookies  because they look so delicious in her beautiful photos. My pix can’t compare to hers, but the cookies are delicious! I didn’t have the blue sugar crystals to sprinkle on top, but all in all, I think it was a success. Take a peek. They look like meatballs with Alfredo sauce. Thank you, Judy, for a fun cookie to make and an easy recipe to follow!

Delicately arranged on an antique Limoges plate

Unfrosted. They’re yummy like this, too, full of chips and pecans.

 

Tugboat wife for the defense, your Honor

I’ve been nursing a sore throat on and off for a couple of weeks. I tried gargling with organic apple cider vinegar, drinking ginger tea, taking a lot of EmergenC, and nothing seemed to help so I went to the doctor and found out I have tonsillitis! Who gets that anymore? I’m taking that wonder drug, the Z-pak, only five days of antibiotics.

While I was at the doctor’s office,  I concocted what I believe to be a fabulous story, a logical defense just as if I was an attorney. Maybe I was delirious with fever, but it seemed brilliant at the time.  With a nod to my dad, who was an attorney, here it is, a re-creation of the conversation between the captain and me as he drove me to the pharmacy. (He had driven me to the doc, then went alone to PepBoys, thank goodness, and came back to pick me up. We’re still one car short; he’s not finished rebuilding the seat motor. As you can surmise, he needs something to do when he’s home and not out to sea, and if there’s no surf, it’s home/car projects:)

A pretty accurate verbatim transcript:

“Isn’t it a shame that I get so many sore throats?”

“Yes, it is, you do get a lot of them.”

“And this one is your fault because you brought home the strange germs from your flight from Puerto Rico, right?”

“Well, sure, if you say so.”

“And since the throat is very near the heart, and it’s entirely possible for a bacterial infection to travel, it’s entirely possible that I could contract a very serious heart valve infection, don’t you agree?”

“To be honest with you, I’m not sure I know where you’re going with this.”

“Pay attention and try follow my logic. I’m only looking out for your best interests. I want you to be happy.”

Huh?”

“Let’s say that I became very ill and died from something like that, or anything else unexpected, and let’s just say that you had not gotten me that Chanel 2.55 handbag that I’ve been drooling over for a long time, the only thing that I want in this whole world…think of how bad you would feel that you had not done the one thing that would have made me happy, how if I could have carried my Chanel even one time, than you would know for the rest of your life that you had fulfilled my every dream.”

“Don’t you get it? I want to make sure that you won’t have any regrets. I’m looking out for your future happiness.”

“Stop laughing. It’s not nice to laugh at someone who doesn’t feel good. That’s not very compassionate. No really. STOP LAUGHING.”

“Geez, it was only a suggestion. Well, you’ll be sorry. You’ll have to carry that burden with you for the rest of your life when I’m gone. The one thing that would have made my life complete and it would be too late. Is that how you want it to be?”

“OK, real funny. Turn the volume down. The radio’s so loud you can’t possibly hear me!”

I admit that it’s a very shallow, superficial, and unimportant desire, but it doesn’t make me long for a Chanel any less knowing that. I don’t think this approach was as brilliant as I thought it was, but I’m extremely tenacious, and I’ll wear him down one way or another! A girl can dream, can’t she? Oh, and in case you were wondering,  I do chat about ninety percent more than the captain does. He’s very quiet, calm, mellow, and I’m, well, I’m NOT. 

#1 Thing NOT to do with your husband if you want to stay married

I’m talking about taking him to Michael’s Crafts. After going to the gym this morning, I needed wanted to go to Michael’s to look at picture frames (that’s just what I told him, I really wanted to look at everything, and I do mean everything) for a print he brought back from Puerto Rico of an antique map of all the islands. I had the pic with me (as my prop) and he decided he didn’t want to just sit in the car because for some reason or another he believed that I spoke the truth when I said that I just wanted to look AT ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY. He actually thought that I planned to walk in a craft store and aim for the frames, get the proper size, and depart. Is he living on another planet? Hasn’t being married to me for almost twenty years taught him anything?

First I said,

“Oh, I’m not sure exactly where the picture frames are.”

(Lie)

“How about we look down here?” “That’s obviously not it, but aren’t those Hello Kitty playing cards totes adorbs?”

“Hmm, maybe we should try over there, that looks like it might be…wow, Chirstmas decorations already?”

Shiny objects tend to have an almost hypnotic effect on me.

“What were we in here for again?”

“Right, picture frames…here we go.”

“Oops, sorry, we seem to be in the scrapbooking area, let’s try that other aisle.”

“Oops again, now we’re stuck in the bead area.

OMG, look at that turquoise. Look at the rhinestones.”

“Hey, where d’ja go?”

“No, I had no idea the frames were on the opposite side of the store.”

“What did you say?”

“Do I plan to go up and down every single damn blank blank aisle in this blank blank store?”

“Welllll…to be perfectly honest, YES!!! You can’t really expect me not to; it’s intoxicating in here.”

“I. Am. Not. Your. Girlfriend.”

“I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD EITHER GET A PICTURE FRAME OR WALK OUT OF THE STORE. NOW!”

“Geez, don’t have a cow.”

I quickly (and by that I mean leisurely) looked up and down each frame aisle, TWICE, and did not find the one that made me happy, so we left.

Hee hee.

I so need a bathroom right now

Hi, everyone, here I am! Parts Heaven is my little corner of hell. I’ve been sitting here for quite a while now in the captain’s truck, waiting for him to pick up a new used motor for the power seats in my car. We’re at a street full of junkyards and parts, an ugly, abandoned, lost part of South San Diego, actually Chula Vista. Huge holes in the streets, everything in disrepair, hand lettered signs, broken cars, definitely not on the touristy tours of America’s Finest City. This is the side that ConVis doesn’t want you to see, the smelly industrial working

areas. I came along for the ride because I thought it was going to be quick and we’d be driving home right by the Nordstrom’s in La Jolla and I’m all out of my Kiehl’s  and reckoned we could do a little looksee around the store. I mean, while we’re there, we might as well carpe diem, right?? I’m thirsty, I have to go to the bathroom, and I’m stuck in the car while he walked to who-knows-where. He took his cell in the event of a shootout or something, (not inconceivable here).

I’m nearing critical mass on the bladder issue. We girls need to remember to not hold it in for fear of a UTI, and I’m a frequent, (you know what I mean). I memorized the locations of all the decent half-way clean public toilets on our main highway, Highway 5 South from Oceanside to the US-Mexico border. If I need to, I can stop at the Denny’s in Del Mar. That’s about 20 minutes or so from my house if there’s no traffic. Easy access, safe, fairly clean, and no hassles. The next stop south would be at the Visitor Information Center near Mission Bay. This one only seems safe during the day; it’s not well lit at night. How did I get on this subject? I wonder! Oh yeah, I need to go BAD. Here he comes, thank goodness! I’ll review the northbound public toilets another time.

Back home now. I was able to wait until Nordstrom’s, which has a very nice restroom. We were in a hurry to beat the commute traffic, so all we had time for was to stock up on the products I love from the Kiehl’s counter; the Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate with Vitamin C and Epidermal Re-Texturizing Microdermabrasion polishing cream. The captain uses the Ultimate Thickening Shampoo… for obvious reasons.

One of the many annoying things I used to say to my son was to “use his time wisely”. With him, it meant stuff like he should get his homework done the minute he got home from school so everything would be fresh in his mind and then he could go play and not have to think about it and the added benefit of not hearing me nag him. (I’m sure that was a motivating factor!) Since I started blogging, I was able to use my time wisely today by taking pictures and drafting a few blogs/ideas for later use.

Now I need to proof a couple of documents for a tech start-up before Gossip Girl at 9pm. As always, thanks for reading!