Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fresh Oven Baked Wheat Bread (Includes Link to Bread Machine Version)

I baked a beautiful loaf of wheat bread in the oven yesterday. It's so flavorful, when I made a cheese sandwich I could hardly taste the cheese. The fresh bread is overpowering! 

I own a bread machine and I have to admit I haven't had a lot of luck with it. I'm not ready to give up yet, but the loaves I've made have consistently fallen, and come out denser than they should, no matter what little tweaks I do to the recipe. 

I found a recipe for wheat bread at Taste of Home designed for the bread machine. I noticed the last comment on the page which explained how the user had utilized the dough cycle on their bread machine, but then took the dough out and baked it in the oven. I had never tried that method before and thought I'd give it a whirl! I'm so glad I did! It's a simple recipe, I had all the ingredients on hand, and it sure beat driving to the store and dishing out $4 for a loaf!

wheat bread

This recipe is adapted from the recipe Bread Machine Wheat Bread published by Taste of Home. 

1/2 c. warm milk
1/2 c. water
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 Tbsp honey (I used raw honey)
2 Tbsp softened butter (I went with unsalted since there is already salt in the recipe)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 c. bread flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1.70 tsp instant (bread machine) yeast (yes, I know, that says "1.70 tsp" and that's weird. See the note at the bottom on yeast.)

In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients; flour, salt, and instant yeast. Add milk, water, egg, honey, and butter to the bread machine pan. Add the dry ingredients to the bread machine pan. Place pan into bread machine and select the dough cycle. Grease a bread pan and set aside. When dough cycle is complete, remove the dough from the bread machine. Shape it into the greased bread pan, cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. (If you leave the pan on the stove it will stay nice and warm while the oven preheats.) After 1/2 an hour remove the towel and place the pan in the oven. (For a nice rustic taste, rub the top of the dough with a little bit of flour and a tiny bit of salt.) Bake for 20-25 minutes. (20 minutes was plenty for me.)

Note on yeast: The original recipe called for 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast. According to a chart I found online you can substitute instant yeast (breadmachine yeast) for active dry yeast, by using 25% of the yeast called for. 25% of 2 1/4 is 1.70 tsp. Basically I just measured out 1.5, then used the 1/2 tsp measuring spoon to scoop out a little bit more, an amount that looked like less than half a spoonful. It sounds complicated but I promise it isn't! For more info on converting check out this nifty conversion chart here. P.S. my pride would like you to know that I didn't use this conversion chart, I did the math myself ;) 

I hope this works as well for you as it did for me! If you try this out let me know. I'm going to keep trying with the bread machine, but I have to admit I may be retiring it soon. This recipe was so easy and I know it can be done just as easily with the dough hook on my Kitchen Aid Mixer! 

4/28 Week Recap: Body By You, a Bee Sting, and Bread

It's been a bit of a rough week, but we're trudging through it. I was looking forward to the weekend but it's getting cut short as Mr. Eight has to head back to work a day early. 

The kids have been crazy, to say the least. Waking up at 6 AM and fighting like cats and dogs throughout the day. I haven't had the urge to lock myself in the bathroom for 5 minutes peace since Mr. C was a newborn, but it's returned full force! 

He was a cute newborn, just y'know, loud.

The icing on the cake came yesterday when I scooped up a bumblebee in my sandal. My middle toe feels like a little weenie shaped water balloon (and looks like one too). The swelling started to spread to the top of my foot around nap time, so I decided to take it easy, put my foot up and ice it. (It was a difficult decision). 

The Body By You workouts are going great! I woke up this morning a pound lighter than last week, and I'm feeling the difference too! Today I'm wearing a pair of cord capris that I normally have to unbutton around lunch time in order to sit down comfortably. It's almost 4 PM though and I haven't needed to unbutton them yet! I took some body measurements last week, and saw some definite inches lost, but I'm going to measure again next week and then post the results, that will be the end of Week 4. 

I tried a new wheat bread recipe yesterday, and a cornbread recipe earlier this week. I'll be sharing both in a post real soon, and I'm hoping to get going on some brown butter chocolate chip cookies here in the next few minutes. I'll let you know how they turn out! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Body By You Week 1

I started using the Body By You workout program at the beginning of the week and I'm in love. I'm so motivated to do my workouts and keep advancing levels. It's like a game! I'm even motivated to eat healthier, I mean like really make a change, something that I haven't experienced in over a year. Scroll down for my Week 1 results or read on for a little review of the program! 

(Quick note: If you're doing this program and you haven't downloaded the app, or the free video pack that comes with it, do so! This is the best exercise app I've ever seen!)

A couple weeks ago Mr. Eight bought the book You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren. It was recommended to him by a coworker. Mr. Eight has been working hard recently to lose weight and get fit, in about a year and a half he's looking to reenlist as a pararescueman! This book is perfect for him because Mark Lauren is former special ops and helped design the training regimen special ops forces use to stay as fit as possible. His biography is pretty impressive!

After Mr. Eight suggested I check out the book (he was reading it on his e-reader) I got on Amazon to order it for my own Kindle. Lo and behold Mark Lauren has another book out designed just for women! I decided to give it a go and purchased Body By You. 

I recommend it to anyone looking to be healthy and fit. It's a quick and easy read, no gimmicks, no crazy diets, no fasting, juicing, or cabbage soup. The workouts take about 20 minutes and are performed 3 times a week. Easy to fit into a busy schedule? You betcha! The first day I did mine while the kids took a bath. I was able to perform all the exercises while keeping within 10 feet of the bathroom. 

This is a bodyweight training regimen, so you use your own weight, plus things around your house to do exercises designed to gain strength and build muscle. Your body burns more calories maintaining muscle, so it's a good thing to have around! (Don't worry, you aren't going to get all nasty buff, Mark explains why in the book.) 

This is Mark Lauren demonstrating Let Me Ins (Legs Slightly Bent). It's an easier variation of Let Me Ins.

Here's an example of things both Mr. Eight and I have used around the house to do our exercises: dining table, dining chairs with bench press bar laid across it (on top of two open books to keep it from rolling), the kids little art table, the end of Miss M's bed, door knobs, the stop sign 15 feet from our front door, and windowsills. 

There are five classes of movements that each have 25 exercises, listed in order from easiest to hardest. (Ex: some of the earlier pushing exercises are pushups at chest height, then waist height, followed by knee height.) This is one of my favorite parts of this program. It's hard to see progress on a scale or by looking in a mirror,  but it's really easy to see progress when you're building up step by step. I know that I'm getting stronger because I'm successfully completing movements I could barely do at the beginning of the week, and it feels awesome! 

Here's a comparison of where I began the week, and where I ended the week. Remember, there are only 3 days of workouts in a single week. 

body by you, mark lauren, week one, results, progress

Not too bad right? Although I have to say I think I'm gonna be at that 16th exercise in the Bending area for a while, One-Legged Hip Raisers ain't easy! 

I highly recommend this workout to everyone. I'm going to be sharing my progress here, I didn't see a lot of progress reports online, so if you're doing these workouts too leave a comment and please let me know how it's going for you! 

I took measurements all over my body yesterday, at the end of Week 2 I'll take them again and report any changes. No need to embarrass myself if there hasn't been any progress yet though ;) 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's Game of Thrones Night! Happy Sunday!

Episode 2 of Game of Thrones Season 3 is airing tonight. I can't believe it's already in it's third season. I've read all the books, of course, so I already know what will happen. I love hearing the excitement in those who are devout followers of the show, but haven't picked up the books. Mostly because you're all about to get your socks knocked off and you don't even know it! 

I've read a couple articles this weekend regarding piracy and Game of Thrones (NPR and Money.CNN) . It was named the number one illegally downloaded TV show in 2012. The season 2 finale having an alleged 4.3 million individual downloads, a record breaker, and the season 3 premiere broke the record for the most people simultaneously sharing a single file (163,000. Heroes held the previous record). I have to admit I'm a part of this crowd. We don't have cable, we watch mainly Netflix and Hulu, and I just don't see the point in paying one company (the cable company) in order to pay another company (HBO) so that I can watch my shows. Get with the program HBO, and put it online for streaming already! Jeez. You're making dirty pirates out of the lot of us (argh). I don't feel too bad though, HBO's programming president said all this illegal downloading is kind of a compliment!

I'm not a super big TV watcher, but I have to admit there have been a couple blasts from the past I'm excited about on Netflix. Remember The West Wing? Mr. Eight and I started the first season this week. It's his first time seeing it, and my first time seeing it since it aired (the first season aired when I was 12 years old!). What a fantastic show. 

While searching for Dumbo on the kids Netflix today I noticed they added a bunch of classic 90s Cartoon Network shows, including Dexter's Lab, Johnny Bravo, Powerpuff Girls, and my favorite.. Ed, Edd, n Eddy! Yes! My kids will definitely not be watching these shows, but I might be ;) Mr. Eight linked me a fun article on which lists 6 crazy, yet believable, theories on children's cartoons. It describes Ed, Edd, n Eddy as an allegory for purgatory. Nuts right? Maybe not so much! Check it out if you have a sec!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. My schedule tends to follow Mr. Eight's and his weekend technically just started, he won't go back to work until Wednesday. We may be heading out to Kailua to belatedly celebrate his birthday, or (I'm hoping) we'll head out to Wet n Wild Splash Park and have some fun there! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday Easter Face

What's an Easter face? See below. 

Link up peeps! Let's see what you got!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Aliens and Easter

Happy belated Easter everyone! I hope you had a cracking good time :) 

We had a great day here. The kids got up extra early, dug into their baskets (actually they were buckets), and immediately dived into the great egg hunt in the backyard. This was Mr. C's first Easter in which he could actually participate, so that was exciting. He's prone to filling his trick or treat bucket with toys and lugging it around the house, so I thought he'd catch on pretty quick (and he didn't disappoint!). 

After a hearty, french toasty, breakfast I met a friend at the mall to see The Host. I've really been looking forward to this film. I read the book about 4 years ago and really liked it, I thought it was a great change from Twilight and more "adultish". After the serious disappoint that was the Beautiful Creatures movie I was a little worried about The Host. Turned out my worries were justified.

Choose to Save Your Money 

What a waste of emulsion. If you haven't seen it yet, don't bother. If you really want to know for yourself, download a bootleg copy off the internet. Preferably with Russian subtitles, then maybe it will be educational and you'll get something out of the experience! Something besides vast disappointment, that is. 

Why does The Host suck so hard you might ask? It's a long list. The acting is lame, the voice-over was obnoxious (the southern accent just came off whiny), no character building, and it was boring! 

After the movie I rushed home to purchase the book on my Kindle. I needed to get the bad taste of the movie out of my mouth! 

I also had Game of Thrones to look forward to later that night. So excited to get this season started!

So, Easter was a huge success, The Host was a total flop, and Peter Dinklage is my hero! 

Back Into the Swing of It (Again)

How long has it been since I wrote a blog post? I don't even know. I've been on an internet hiatus of sorts.

I have no idea what started it, it just happened. One day I woke up and I had no desire to check my Facebook, Twitter a tweet or whatever the crap.. I hardly even looked at my inbox.

To be honest, it was kind of liberating! I know people that do this regularly, take a "break" from the internet and social media, but it hadn't ever crossed my mind. I didn't do it on purpose this time, it just happened.

I swear, the whole time though I was thinking about blog posts I'd like to write, but just never got around to it! : /

So I am re-committing myself to daily posts, no matter how short, in an effort to get back into the swing of it (yet again).