Bread Recipes for Your Bread Maker

The following recipes below are for a bread maker but can also be done in the conventional way. Each recipe will make one and a half pounds.

Keep in mind that there are many different recipes out there and these three that I am sharing are what I would consider fun or better yet dessert types.

Keep reading…

My first recipe is for whole wheat carrot bread. And again, these ingredient measurements will make one and a half pounds.

Whole wheat carrot bread:

Oil – two tablespoons

Honey – two tablespoons

Cottage cheese – 3/4 cup

Grated carrots – 1 cup

Dill weed – 1 1/2 teaspoons

Dry Mustard – 1/2 teaspoon

Orange zest – 1 teaspoon

Salt – 1 teaspoon

Whole wheat flour – 2/3 cup

Bread flour – 1 1/3 cup

Dry yeast – 1 1/2 teaspoon

For a bread maker you would put the setting on the basic bread cycle.

Chocolate Bread:

Water – 1 1/8 cup

White bread flour – 3 cups

Sugar – 1/4 cup

Salt – 1 1/2 teaspoons

Chocolate chips – 1/2 cups

Vanilla – 3/4 teaspoon

Large egg – 1

Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup

Yeast (fast rise) – 1 1/2 teaspoons

Or dry yeast – 1 1/2 teaspoons

The recommended cycle for chocolate bread on your maker would be sweet bread cycle or something similar because of course not all makers use the same terminology.

Also, if for any reason you are wondering why I am not giving the amount of time to cook the bread its because the bread maker is programmed to determine the cooking time.

Raisin Bread:

Water – 1 cup

Oil – 3 table spoons

Sugar – 1/4 cup

Salt – 1 1/8 tea spoons

Cinnamon – 3/4 teaspoon

Bread Flour – 3 cups

Raisins – 1/2 cup

Dry yeast – 1 1/8 teaspoon

The recommended cycle for raisin bread is the sweet bread cycle.

So there are three recipes that I know you will enjoy and if you do not currently have a bread maker you should consider getting one because they are so simple to use. The maker basically does all the work for you.

The only thing you would need to do is put the ingredients into the bread pan, choose your cycle and then press start. Approximately three hours later you will have a fresh loaf of bread and your house will fill up with the wonderful smell of fresh baked bread!

Best of luck with the recipes. I know they will turn out fine and taste delicious.

The Secret of Sweet Potato

There is nothing like a hot baked sweet potato with butter melting and maybe a little brown sugar or cinnamon! Yum! Or what about yam casserole at Thanksgiving? Sprinkle a pecan topping and melt some marshmallows and you are ready to go! As good as those things are many people don’t realize this tasty tuber is so much more and is so versatile.

The sweet potato according to nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is the richest vegetable in complex carbohydrates and ranks number one in nutrition far above the humble white potato and surprisingly more so than many other vegetables. In fact CSPI ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of ALL vegetables. With a score of 184 it outscored most vegetables by more than 100 points! How were they graded? Points were given for dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat, especially saturated fat. Also, sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine were considered. Look at these comparisons to other vegetables:

Sweet potato baked 184
Potato, baked 83
Spinach 76
Kale 55
Mixed Vegetables 52
Broccoli 52
Winter Squash, Baked 44
Brussels Sprouts 37
Cabbage, Raw 34
Green Peas 33
Carrot 30
Okra 30
Corn on the Cob 27
Tomato 27
Green Pepper 26
Cauliflower 25
Artichoke 24
Romaine Lettuce 24
(SOURCE: The Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington D.C.)

Sweet potatoes are highest in beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C; fiber, thiamine, niacin, potassium and copper. They are also a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin E. Well, I could go on and on but I am here to discuss the versatility of this super food and to give you some ideas on how to use this versatile tuber in some ways you may not have thought of.

The sweet potato has become my ‘go to’ vegetable for adding to recipes. One thing I love to do is stir fry. It is a great way to prepare a colorful, healthy meal or use as a side dish. First I wash the sweet potato and most of the time I leave the peelings on. I do cut off any bad spots and usually cut the ends off. Now, get that shredder or food processor out; personally I love the versatility of the old fashioned metal shredder. Just shred the amount of sweet potato you think you will need. I find one potato goes pretty far depending what else you stir fry with it. The great thing about stir fry is it only takes a couple of teaspoons of oil. Go ahead and use a healthy oil like olive oil, grape seed oil or coconut oil. You may want to throw in a couple pats of butter also. Throw in some fresh Kale or whatever your favorite cruciferous green may be. Use your imagination and use whatever vegetables you like. Experiment with combinations to figure out what you like best. I like to chop up asparagus, carrots, cabbage, bell pepper and onion… I’m always experimenting. Teriyaki sauce surprisingly really enhances the flavor of shredded sweet potato in a stir fry. You can also add meat of your choice that has already been cooked and cut to small size. Season to taste. You can add salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic… whatever you like!

How about a nice quiche? Rather than using a pie crust here is a healthy twist. Bake your sweet potatoes, peel and then smash and spread around a pie dish all the way up onto walls of dish creating a sweet potato pie crust. Bake in oven about 375°F until baked slightly dry to the touch. While it is baking stir fry together some of your favorite vegetables. I like eggplant, kale, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots and other vegetables in various combinations. When sweet potato pie crust is done baking just pour all that stir fry in the pie shell. If you wish, you can also add meat of your choice that has already been cooked and cut to small size. Crack a couple of eggs into the mix and a little shredded cheese. Stir this around just a little. If you like a cheesy topping add some shredded cheese as a topping. Then back into the oven until the egg is thoroughly cooked through and the cheese has browned to your liking, maybe even switch to broil just to get a crusty cheese topping.

Sweet potatoes can also be made into a healthy pan of brownies. 1 cup of mashed sweet potato should do. Mix in 3 whisked eggs, ¼ cup each of coconut oil and honey. ¼ tsp. of vanilla extract and cinnamon. Mix in 2 tbsp. of cocoa powder, more if you like it more chocolaty; 3-1/2 tbsp. of your favorite flour. Mix it all together and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes. Really tasty and healthy.

Gypsy Soup is another recipe I love. In a large pot sauté some onions, garlic, celery and some bite sized chunks of sweet potatoes about five minutes with some turmeric, basil, salt, cinnamon, even a little cayenne if you like a kick. Add about 3 cups of broth of your choice. Let it simmer about 15 minutes and then add vegetables like celery, tomatoes, sweet peppers, cauliflower florets… whatever you like. Let it simmer another 10 minutes and you have a delicious stew.

That gives you a few ideas to work with. Just go wild and you will be surprised how versatile the sweet potato can be!

Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts (for one medium size sweet potato)

Calories 130
Fat 0.39 g
Protein 2.15 g
Net Carbs 31.56 g
Dietary Fiber 3.9 g
Calcium 28.6 mg
Sodium 16.9 mg
Potassium 265.2 mg
Folate 18.2 mcg
Vitamin C 29.51 mg
Vitamin A 26081.9 IU

How to Read and Execute a Recipe Properly

It seems like such a simple thing, but I like to employ a certain method to my madness when reading a recipe that I might like to execute. Pardon me for sounding like machine code. If recipe = good, then execute = Y. Being prepared is the number one piece of advice that I give when executing a recipe. I stress this all the time, because it is a big lesson that I have learned in my kitchen adventures.

Read and Reread

Take a few minutes and read the recipe through once. Then read it again, this time take note of any ingredients that you will need to purchase or any cooking utensils you will need. It is never a good idea to be completely linear when executing a recipe. Sometimes the recipe calls for a certain type of bakeware in the last paragraph that you didn’t know you needed.

Also, make notes or mental notes about what ingredients need to be prepared a certain way, and where the instructions tell you to do so. For instance, one recipe might read One Medium Onion, Chopped. But another recipe might say One Medium Onion, and then two paragraphs below tell you to chop the onion.

Check to see if the oven needs to be preheating. Some recipes don’t actually say “Preheat Oven.” One time I did an hour’s worth of preparation only to get to the last paragraph telling me “place dish in a 400 degree oven.”

Check off ingredients

Go through your kitchen or pantry and check off the ingredients you have and make notes of ones that you know you can do without or you can substitute. You’d hate to be ready to light the grill and realize you have no charcoal.

Start your Mise

Begin preparing the ingredients you will need. Chop, mince, dice, measure, preheat. Retrieve mixing bowls, skillets, or whatever utensils you will need to prepare your dish.

Final Glance

Take a moment to glance over the recipe before you begin cooking to see if you missed anything crucial. Did the oven need to be preheated? Does the recipe require a water bath, for which you need to boil some water? Do you need to heat some oil in a skillet? Do you need to let the wine breath?

Hope this will help you when preparing the food with recipes. And now execute the rest. A little forethought and preparation will go a long way.

How to Make Organic Desserts

Fresh fruit and veggies are organic sources of meals that you can enjoy without feeling guilty when you crave something light and refreshing as desserts. Depending upon age and gender, consuming 1 to 2.5 cups of fruits per day is highly recommended for us as stated by The U.S. Department of Agriculture. An adult male requires slightly higher portions of fruit and vegetables than a young girl does. In addition, The National Cancer Society advised that everyone should consume five parts of vegetable and three parts of fruit to stay away from cancer.

Probably there is not any better dessert for organic meal lovers than natural ice cream to charm their summer time. Variation of toppings could be limitless to pour on the ice cream including frozen fruit, chocolate flakes, nuts, dried fruits, and more to enhance your summer menu. If you do not wish to spend too much time in the kitchen to make your organic desserts, then all you need to have is a special ice cream maker.

A Frost Food machine has a cold plate as its main components. It is an efficient catering equipment which bars and restaurants should have to get the competitive advantage among organic food lovers. This ice cream machine is superb to help you to prepare instant mousse from your favorite flavor juices. It offers a brilliant, cool method to make your desserts organic with the added advantage of being nutritious as fresh organic fruit and veggies.

Once having a Frost Food machine, all you need to do is to come up with new frozen yogurt and creamy dessert recipes. Do not worry at all about this. Even with your simplest dessert recipes, Frost Food machine allows you to have some fun preparing your unique flavors of ice cream. Just pour your own favorite flavor juice on the cold plate of the machine, and let it turn quickly the juice into delicious, healthy mousse only with the help of a spatula.

Eating raw fruits and vegetables had been our ancestors’ way of life, while juicing has been a common way to take out liquid of these healthy ingredients. The Frost Food machine offers a modern way to keep both healthy practices. Although proper diet is harder today due to our fast-moving world and work overload, it is still possible for those busy, hard-working people to enjoy their healthy lifestyle without limit.

Facts About Vegetarians That Will Impress Your Friends

It’s always nice to throw out an interesting fact when you are with friends. Here are some vegetarian-related snippets for you to use, whether you are vegetarian or not.

1. There are a lot of vegetarians out there

If you are a vegetarian you may sometimes feel a little lonely. You scour menus searching for the veggie option (hoping it isn’t mushroom risotto – or worse: vegetable stack) and most of your friends and family eat meat. Yet in actual fact, there are many, many vegetarians in the world. Millions! In India it is estimated that over 350 million people are vegetarian. In Taiwan, around 13% of people are vegetarian.

If you live in the UK you may be interested to know that as many as four million of you are vegetarian. In Brazil 8% of the population (that’s 15.2 million people) are said to be vegetarian. In the United States, 13% of the population regard themselves as either vegetarian or vegan.

So you are not alone. Someone just needs to tell the restaurants.

2. Vegetarians do not eat fish (or chicken)

Vegetarians hate being asked if they eat fish. By definition, a vegetarian does not eat animals – whether they are from the land or the sea. Where the problem lies is you may have met a fish-eating vegetarian. Or rather, someone who eats fish and no other animals and then labels themselves vegetarian. They are not vegetarian. Such people are actually called pescetarians.

The fish-eating issue can cause problems for vegetarians as all too often they may be served fish by their host at a dinner party or ‘fish’ ends up being the vegetarian option on a menu.

So the next time you meet a person who eats fish but calls themselves vegetarian, feel free to correct them.

3. Vegetarians do get enough protein

There’s another question vegetarians get asked all too often: where do you get your protein from? People who ordinarily don’t care about nutrition feel compelled to worry about a vegetarian’s intake of protein. It’s the sort of question that feels like the one trick meat eaters have up their sleeve and it’s not a very good one. Mainly because they are showing their ignorance of nutrition. Protein is plentiful in a vegetarian’s diet. Here’s a list to get you started: nuts, beans, textured vegetable protein, tofu, cheese, lentils, peas, yogurt, broccoli, spinach, avocado, soy and quinoa. Furthermore, many people actually eat too much protein (this is the case in Australia at least). So it makes little sense to be worrying about a person’s protein intake, especially when so many people are unable to meet their daily fruit and veg requirements.

4. Vegetarians have a lower risk of developing heart disease

People may be vegetarian for ethical or religious reasons. However, there is a positive consequence to your health if you are vegetarian. Vegetarians are less likely to develop heart disease. This is not the only benefit however. Vegetarianism can also reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers (including breast, colorectal and ovarian). Vegetarians are less likely to become obese. When you consider how prevalent these diseases are on society, this is good news indeed.

5. Anthony Hopkins is a vegetarian

In my first point I stated that there are many vegetarians in the world. It is not surprising then to learn that there are a whole bunch of celebrities out there who are vegetarian and vegan. Here’s a quick list, but there are many, many more. We have: Kate Winslet, Corey Feldman, Sarah Silverman, Carrie Underwood, Casey Affleck, Diane Keaton, Pamela Anderson, Ian McKellan and Natalie Portman. From the music world we have: Kelly Clarkson, Billy Idol, Bryan May, Johnny Marr, Moby, Michael Bolton, Ricky Martin and Nelly.

Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids

Besides eating three meals per day, kids also need three healthy snacks. But what constitutes healthy? Generally, you will want to stick to the basic food groups of whole grain, fruits and vegetables, and dairy. Here are some easy to prepare, but nutritious snacks that fill the bill:

1) Whole Grain Cereal Clusters

Start with 3 cups of whole grain cereal, ½ cup chopped dried strawberries and 1 ½ cups of white chocolate chips.

Put the cereal and strawberries on a bowl. Melt the chocolate and drizzle it over the bowl mixture. Mix up the melted chocolate and bowl mixture. Spoon into mini muffin cups, and refrigerate until firm.

2) Cheese and Fruit Kebabs

When cut into fun shapes, these are a real hit with your kids. Take 4 cantaloupe or honeydew slices (or 2 slices of each), 4 fresh blackberries, 4 whole fresh strawberries, 2 ounces of reduced fat cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese and a few stick pretzels.

Using a 1 to 1 ½ inch cookie cutter, cut out shapes from the melon slices and cheese. Thread the fruit and cheese onto the stick pretzels and chill.

3) Fruit Smoothie

While you can buy fruit smoothies, most are loaded with unneeded sugar. You can make healthy ones at home (and for less money).

Start with an 8 ounce container of nonfat vanilla yogurt, 1 banana, 1 cup of strawberries or peaches and ¼ cup of orange juice.

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and whip. Serve in glasses.

4) Snack Mix

This snack only takes 15 minutes to make from start to finish. Ingredients needed are:

  1. 6 cups of popped popcorn
  2. Non-stick cooking spray
  3. 2 cups of potato sticks
  4. 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
  5. 1 ½ cups of peanuts or almonds
  6. 1 cup of mixed dried fruit.

Start by popping popcorn either in the microwave or air popper. Lightly coat with the cooking spray and toss to coat the popcorn evenly. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and toss again. Finish by stirring in the potato sticks, nuts and dried fruit.

All of these recipes are healthy snacks that take almost no time to prepare. And all recipes are kid-proven to be something they will eat. Making your own snacks for your kids is not only cheaper, but you control what goes into them. Many pre-made snacks are loaded with sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. At least when you make it yourself, you can be sure what they eat between meals is healthy and nutritious.

How To Choosing Cheap Meat

meats1On the average, Americans consume 11 ounces of meat per day. That’s a world topping 250 pounds per person per year. Now I am not saying that to eat frugally that you must switch to vegetarianism or veganism, but some good advice I received recently was to use meat as more of a condiment. What do I mean by this? Instead of using the recipes whole pound of beef, try using ¼ as much. Beef stroganoff calls for beef tenderloin; at $10.00 a pound there is no way to serve your family a serving under $1. But cut it to ¼ as much, $2.50 and make 6-8 servings and the math works. And beef stroganoff receives the bulk of its flavor from bouillon, sour cream and dill.

My recommendations when selecting the inexpensive cuts of meat can be used as a guide to help in your decisions.

Best Beef for Grilling – Flank steaks and skirt steaks. They come off the grill flavorful and tender.
Best Beef for Roasting/Smoking – Chuck roast. Try braising in beer, wine or broth.
Best Beef for Pan Searing – Top sirloin butt. Try pan frying in a half and half mixture off butter and olive oil.

Best Pork for Grilling – Ribs, what can I say?
Best Pork for Roasting/Smoking – Pork shoulder, just cook it low and slow.
Best Pork for Pan Searing – Pork chops. That caramelization is superb.

Best Poultry for Grilling – Chicken leg, the combination of smoke char and dark meat is wonderful.
Best Poultry for Roasting/Smoking – Turkey, buy them on sale at Thanksgiving and freeze a few.
Best Poultry for Pan Searing – Chicken thighs, that meat close to the bone has the best flavor.

Let’s talk tenderizing those cheap cuts of your favorite meat. There are 3 methods of tenderizing meats in the kitchen. First is to pound the heck out of the meat or grind it up. You are trying to break down those fibers in the meat so that it will come apart easier. If this doesn’t work, a less efficient method is marinate. The acid in citrus can help break down those stubborn fibers. But for marinate to be effective, it needs to be injected all through the meat. The last way is to slow cook the meat by stewing boiling or braising. Or try smoking the meat in a wood smoker for several hours.

Here are some of the lesser used cuts.

Chuck eye steak is tougher than an average steak and will require marinate.
Tri-tip or sirloin tip which comes from the hind leg of a cow.
Pork shoulder is best used in soups, stews and smoked low and slow for hours.
Flank steak is good for fajitas and thinly sliced beef recipes.
Oxtails are very bony which imparts good flavor to the meat.
A nice fat turkey can provide for several meals.
Beef short ribs also smoke well and gather flavor from the bone.
Chicken thighs are the best tasting part of the chicken.