Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bread Recipes and Mixers

The Problem:
I have a bread recipe that I really like but I've been having troubles making it in my Artisan Kitchen Aid Mixer. It calls for 10.5 cups of flour and the last few times I have made the recipe I have to really work to make sure the flour gets incorporated. It's a lot of flour and I've broken a plastic mixing spoon trying to get it all in while scraping the bottom trying to do it manually.
I have been considering whether a bigger Kitchen Aid would solve the problem or if I need to go to a different recipe. The style of the mixers changes as you allow for more flour and I wasn't sure that I would like it. So my sister offered up her Professional Heavy Duty model for me to use side by side with mine.

The white mixer is the Artisan. The grey/silver mixer is the HD. First of all the dough hooks are completely different. The Artisan has springloaded mixing tools with a bread hook, while the ProHD has a spiral hook. Interestingly the bowls are both 5 quart bowls. The shape is a bit different as the HD bowl is less tapered at the bottom. The tools for the HD are much bigger as well.

A problem I have with the large 10.5 cup recipe in my artisan is that the dough climbs the hook and gets in the spring... a pain to clean up. The HD has no spring. The wattage is 375 in the Artisan and 425 in the HD, but power isn't a problem. It's more of a flour in the bottom of the bowl issue.
So I chose a 7 cup bread recipe a friend shared with me to make in the Artisan. I'm all too familiar with what the 10 1/2 cup recipe will do in mine so I didn't feel I needed to do exactly the same recipe in both. I made the larger bread recipe in the HD.

Adding ingredient in the beginning is easy in both. Tilt the head on the artisan and add to the HD before you put the bowl on the mixer.

Trish's recipe calls for only half of the flour to begin with... my recipe calls for the full 10 1/2 cups of flour. (Hmmm. I wonder if I could switch up the order of ingredients on my 3 loaf recipe...)
Just as a comparison I wanted to compare the level with ALL the flour in each.

The HD is designed to be able to handle 20% more flour than the Artisan. See how the artisan bread hook has a disk at the top to keep the dough away from the hook. Well it doesn't do the job with my big bread recipe. Let's see if it does better with the smaller sized recipe... Here is the flour level in the HD. Not much difference when you look at how far from the top of the bowl the flour is, but when you consider there is no disk on the spiral hook, we have no worries of being over capacity. OK so I removed half of the flour from the Artisan so I could make the bread. Adding more flour halfway through was pretty easy. I never really use the ingredient chute that came with this. Why? Because it’s one more thing to move out of the way when you need to stir the bottom of the bowl. I have already stirred this mixture by the time I was adding the other half of the flour. Another interesting thing I noted was it is a lot different stirring 3 ½ cups of bread dough than it is 10 ½ cups.

It did creep up on the disk a bit, but not bad. It slipped back off on it’s own. Also, look how clean the edges of the bowl are getting. It really is licking the sides clean.

The other dough did fine. I did have to stir that heavy dough, and it’s very sticky. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. It did ball up just a little bit better than this. Nothing like the other one did though.

I am starting to see that the smaller recipe is just easier by design at this point. You can see there is hardly any flour around the Artisan / 7 cup recipe mixer and it’s pretty floury around the HD.

The Winner? Easy Homemade Bread (7 cup) beats out One Hour Bread (10 ½ cup) for ease of recipe. The bread texture and density is the same and both slice easily … I just assume make the recipe that behaves itself better, and make the easy stuff twice! Check with Trish if you want the recipe. You can link to her at My Daily SAHM Life.

… and the Mixer Winner??? More tests are necessary… but so far I’m thinking it is just preference. They both have features that make them cool. Here's my bread!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Other Feast Food

Roasted Turkey
Delicious Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Gravy (with Red Wine)
Whiskey Glazed Carrots
Zesty Lemon Beans
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Canned Whole Berry (always)Cranberry Sauce
Huge Pumpkin Pie from Costco
Halfway to Heaven Chocolate Cream Dream Pie
Market Street Raspberry Almond Torte with Love From Market Street
(I forgot all about Grandma Bea's Cranberry Relish. I love that stuff!)
So on Early Thanksgiving Eve (Friday night) I made some Delicious Creamy Mashed Potatoes and I made them EXACTLY the way PW described on her wondermous website. She had this genius idea to add a package of cream cheese to mashed potatoes. This idea had never crossed my mind or if it did I assumed it was against the rules or something. Anyways, they are very good and Mom had me make them on Thanksgiving as well. That day I forgot the half and half and they were a bit on the dry side. NOTE: No one really seemed to notice the cream cheese taste in the potatoes at either dinner, so maybe it's not worth the extra 3 hours at the gym. Maybe it was because the gravy was so flavorful and yummy?? Anyway the texture stays good whether you make them the day before or the same day.
Also on Early Thanksgiving Eve I found the can of whole cranberry sauce and put it on the countertop with the can opener. Whew! (Deep Breath) I sliced my red and yellow peppers and yellow squash for the veggie tray and added carrots and the black olives and put out in the garage for the next day.
The Zesty Lemon Beans did not turn out the way that they have in the past. I made these the night before and they got overcooked and over lemon juiced the next day. Sad! Sad! Sad!!
OHH! I almost forgot! Whiskey Glazed Carrots I wish I had a black cast iron skillet like PW! My carrots looked just like hers. Honest! They really did!! Except I used baby carrots, I guess. So they were smaller. I plan to use regular carrots next time. These were very sweet, but yummmy. Yes I know there is an extra 'm'. I only cut them up the night before.

Halfway to Heaven Chocolate Dream Pie

This was so easy! It had a very rich mousse like taste to it. I cooked a Marie Calendar's Pie Crust (actually 2 of them, one more than the other) and followed the recipe for Dream Pie on the Dream Whip package. You need two envelopes of Dream Whip Topping for their recipe, which I didn't have so I used Heavy Whipping Cream and Half-and-half and a package of instant chocolate pudding to the desired consistency.
I cut up my celery and onions for the dressing like PW suggested as well. By this time it was around midnight and I went to bed. EXCITED!!
Next Day:
Mashed Sweet Potatoes are peeled and cut into approximately the same size pieces. Cooked until they are fork tender. Mashed with a potato masher 3/4 cube Butter for 5 pounds of potatoes. Salt. 1-3 Tbsp Brown Sugar to lightly sweeten to taste. These are simple and perfect. I think I might have to make them even if the fancy cranberry sweet potato recipe that Heather found and Trish made this year is a keeper. You can never have too many types of sweet potatoes!
This was my best Turkey Gravy Ever and it was the first time I didn't use an envelope of Turkey Gravy in the recipe. I used browned butter, onions, garlic, chicken broth, juices from the turkey, Kirkland Signature brand Herbed Seafood Rub, Sage powder, little bit of fresh thyme and ....Red Wine! Wowza! I loved it. It was quite dark. Kenzie didn't eat it... so maybe she noticed the cream cheese in the potatoes??? I made it again with the same success at my mom's (no onions that time). Rave reviews there.
OH and Whiskey Whipped Cream. Inspired by PW... didn't really need a recipe. Make whipping cream and add a little whiskey. I made some Whipped Cream with Splenda and no Whiskey as well. We all need options.
At Mom's house we also tried Alton Brown's Cranberry Dipping Sauce. This was very tart and could have used more sugar to appeal to the younger kids' palate. We'll probably try this one again.
A note on stuffing. I bought Mrs. Cubbison's Dressing this year. What I should have bought was Mrs. Cubbison's Cubed Herbed Stuffing. It turned out pretty good, but I like to see cubes. I also missed the mushrooms. I usually cook celery and onions until tender and mushrooms then make the stuffing with the veggies in the same pan. Mom showed me that this boxed stuff can be awesome if you add more than chicken broth!
All in all it was fantastic food, and even better company! Family makes me happy!I forgot to take pictures of Early Thanksgiving, but I got a bunch at Mom's here's a few:

The Turkey

On "Early Thanksgiving Eve" I was checking out PW's "My Schedule for Thanksgiving". I loved that PW (Pioneer Woman) had a plan and it settled my nerves quite a bit to know I now had a plan as well. I thought I would have all day Saturday to prepare a dinner for Sunday, but we moved the dinner up a day so that the Mommy Daughters could be at the festivities.
I would use PW's method for cooking the Turkey since we both had 20 pounders. I had bought a fresh turkey so I had no thawing hurdles to climb and am very glad I did.
I set the alarm for 4:30 since the sink was full of dishes and I wouldn't be able to clean the turkey until I got the dishes done.
As I said in an earlier post Husband woke early (before the alarm went off) and when I heard him bumping around I told him I needed to get the turkey ready and in the oven. He said it was too early, but that he would work on it while I got more sleep. I was SO tired and was happy to have his help. When I woke up the kitchen was clean and the turkey was ready. Dennis had loaded the turkey with a pound of butter, a cube or two under the skin next to the meat, two in each end of the cavity and slathered the outer skin. He placed it breasts down and put it in an oven bag.
Husband Hint: He grabbed a few nylon zip ties from the garage and used them to reseal the bag when he basted it. These were a very good idea. It worked out really good!
Next morning I took the Turkey out of the fridge, preheated the oven to 275 degrees and when the oven reached temp, put the turkey back in the fridge. Took the Rhodes frozen dinner rolls out of the freezer and put them in a muffin pan. 2 rolls in each cup and let them start thawing/rising. Then, Dennis and I went to Lehi to get some fresh thyme I needed for the Zesty Lemon Four Bean dish and to Cool Beans to get a cup of coffee.
I "changed my mind" about using PW's cooking method when I went to baste the turkey at 10:00 am and it wasn't in the oven. Sometimes I put the Ice Cream in the fridge instead of the Freezer and sometimes I put the turkey back in the fridge instead of the oven... good thing there was still PLENTY of time to do it another way... at that point I told Dennis that he was responsible for the Turkey.
He cooked it at 325 degrees until it reached 170 degrees. It was 175 when he carved it. It was very juicy and yummy and um... buttery!

The Other Turkey
At my parents house they had decided to use Alton Brown's method. I love that guy. The guy should cook in a lab coat. He speaks to me on a level that only a nerdy scientist type could. ;)
Here is the recipe:
1 (14-16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
1 gallon iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves of sage
Canola oil
Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5 gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.
A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500°F. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine. Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil. Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500°F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350°F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161°F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.
They cooked the Turkey at the lower temperature on their Trager Grill in the roasting pan covered with the aluminum foil. It was so so good and pretty!

If you follow nothing else from this recipe cooking at 500 degrees for 30 minutes (prior to putting it in an oven bag if you use one) is a definite must. Dennis says that is the only thing he would have changed about our turkey. This would have given us more crispy skin that the daughters love so much.

Coming Soon!

I tried two bread recipes one that makes 3 large loaves and one that makes 2 large loaves.

I also tried 2 models of Kitchen Aid Mixers. The tilt-style head KitchenAid, like the Classic and Artisan and the drop-bowl style Kitchenaid like the Heavy Duty and Professional models.

Pictures and results as soon as I get caught up around the house.

Also I will let you know about the Thanksgiving meal with recipes and things to remember for next year... or next month.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Am Thankful

I am thankful for

- A husband who woke up at 4:30 am to get the turkey ready. He cleaned the entire kitchen and the bird, giving me a fresh start when I woke up at 7:30. Thanks sweetie!

- Mom-in-Law who saved my sanity by doing dishes for me all day long, while I cooked and afterwards. I worked her hard!

- Three beautiful daughters to share the holiday with and how happy they make their Daddy.

- Three delightful and beautiful granddaughters to remind me what's really important in life.

- Butter... need I say more?

- Marie Calender and the time she took to help me have a wonderful pie crust.

- Grandma June's old age. She really does get nicer the older she gets!

- Raspberry Almond Torte from Market Street Grill and the fact that they offer it for sale in their market and their serving tips.

- My Mom and Dad who let me know they love me all the time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trish Tagged Me!

1) Post rules on your blog
2)Answer the six "8" items
3)Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving them a comment

8 Favorite TV shows:
~House MD
~Dave Ramsey
~Wil and Grace
~ CSI something
~ Cartoons in general: Simpsons, Futurama, South Park, Family Guy, Sponge Bob
~ Monk
~ Throwdown with Bobby Flay

8 Things I did yesterday:
~Left Work Early
~Two trips in to SLC and back home
~Talked to the Contractor fixing up the yard
~Cooked Leftovers
~Bought much needed clothing
~Took a Jacuzzi Bath
~Bought Sandie Kittie Science Diet and threw away the IAMS.

8 Things I look forward to:
~The Weekends
~Thanksgiving With Daughters
~Thanksgiving at Moms
~Kaylee and Kenzie’s next visit
~Updates on the Family’s Blogs
~Meeting our new grandson
~My Bonus and paying off the Visa
~Getting the yard done

8 Favorite Restaurants:
~Market Street
~Costa Vida/ Café Rio (same thing)
~PF Changs
~Crown Burger
~Macaroni Grill
~Thai House
~Draper Soup (Citrus Grill)

8 Things on my wish list:
~My Pantry to Match my Kitchen Cupboards
~Kaylee to set up residence in Utah
~A wider driveway
~A Finish Carpenter for 2 weeks
~An organized garage
~Happy Healthy Family
~A secure future
~Time to accomplish my goals

8 people to tag:
All blogger friends have been tagged... but it was fun to play!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cooking at Home

I haven't been cooking actual meals too much lately. The biggest thing for me is I have to plan what it is I am going to make, so I can buy the things I don't have on hand to make it.
I haven't done any meal planning ahead of time for a few weeks now, and this means if I don't stop at the grocery store on the way home, nothing sounds good and I don't think I have the fixin's I need to make anything worth making. It's a vicious circle and I'm trying to get out of my rut.
When I take the time to come up with a plan, we eat home meals that I actually enjoy eating. Otherwise I make Dennis steak or chicken and I have a bowl of cereal. I am so sick of cereal! On the upside, we are saving money by eating at home, either way.
I found this video and bookmarked it because I thought it would give me the structure I needed to follow an actual plan.
According to the video, the secret to meal planning is to keep an inventory of what you have on hand so you are only buying what you need at the grocery store for your meals, and you pick recipes from your collection of recipes that include things you already have.
This is My Grocery Inventory it took about an hour and a half to do, but it went really fast. It was kinda fun and I get all excited anytime I start making a spreadsheet. Simple pleasures, lol. I have the inventory hanging on my fridge now.

So now I have to come up with the recipes I will be making. Now I know what I have and it should be easier to pick recipes that will be yummy and inexpensive! I'll pick just a few to start with and I'll do whatever grocery shopping I need to fill in the gaps.
Since I buy stuff that is on sale and then sometimes forget what I have and don't use it. For example, I won't be buying any French's French Fried Onion Rings for awhile. I still have plenty in my pantry from last year around Thanksgiving. I noticed on the can that they suggest using it as a coating for chicken. I thought that sounded good "Crispy Onion Chicken" and I have PLENTY of chicken.
I will probably check the meals Trish has made lately and her recipe blogs to remind myself of things I was going to try...
I even found a website, that lets you type in ingredients you have on hand and suggests recipes as you go... Coolio!

What's in your Freezer and Pantry???

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bad Toyota!!

I did say I would post to Christy's blog, so here goes!
Dave Ramsey warned us that when we started on our journey to financial freedom that Murphy would come knocking. It's been true for Mike and I, but we are getting through it better than we would have if we did not have our budget.
Mike's Toyota ran away from home and hit a jeep. (Jealous? Maybe it was teasing it?) I told Mike we will look at the estimates and that we have some monies set aside for this. I think it made him feel better.
I did set up one account for my debt snowball that we pay bills out of. I also set up a dedicated savings account from America First. I have only dedicated $100.00 a month to this account and I set it up for one year. The reason for this is because we buy beef every year plus I have taxes on my rentals, renew two vehicle licenses and I have Christmas come up this time of year. I know this amount is not enough to cover these things but I figure it is a good start until my debt snowball gets going. The interest on my account is around 3.8% and I can't touch it until November 3, 2009.
My motivations of getting out of debt is to be able to have FREEDOM and save money for vacations. I really have some vacations I really want to do with my family before they leave for college. I really want to get things paid off and put money away for a vehicle to show Mike that we DO NOT need a vehicle payment.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Paying off Debt with the Support of Family.

The Sisters, Mom and I have been busy sharing information and ideas on what can give us the edge in our goal of getting out of debt. I have encouraged them to start blogs of their own, but for one reason or another they haven't. Instead, we communicate this information mainly through e-mail, which works nicely but they have such great ideas, stories, and heart! So I recently invited them to guest blog here. We'll see how that goes.
I haven't really given much in the way of progress updates on our efforts in this household. I'm excited to say that things have gotten a lot less complicated since January.
We had 15 different debts when we started and now are down to 8. We opened one account since January because of it's interest rate. We had a whoops when we started paying the minimum balances because Citi Bank decided to change up the minimum balance for no reason and raised it by 5 bucks. Which is no big deal but I didn't catch it and we paid the same amount as we had the month before and they had us in their clever little trap. They raised our interest rate from the deal of 0% interest to 24.99% interest and our minimum payment went up a ton to boot. So we opened another account with lower interest and transferred about 75% of the balance that we could and paid them off the next month.
Recently we cut up the cards that had a zero balance on them. We closed the business accounts and paid off the business visa and loan. We sold the Toyota Truck. We are on our 2nd month using our Cotton Pockets Cash Budgeting System. It's going really great. So far to date we have paid our debt down $26,000 dollars. Of course some of that was already going to happen because we were paying bills we just weren't intensely paying bills and we sold some big stuff.
We still have a ways to go and have less to sell. It will be a bit harder and a bit easier going forward. We really are improving.
I love seeing the progress we have made and working together as a team. I also love having the support of family to motivate me and keep up the intensity.

The good news is You've Won ! and the bad news is You'veWon.

Barack Obama is our president-elect. He has a hard road ahead of him and he knows that he won't be able to get everything done in one year or in one term.
When it comes to energy initiatives I hope he gets tons accomplished. I hope that he is able to do many of the things that he wants to do. I am excited and nervous about his economic ideas and plan to educate myself about his plans and ways of thinking.

There are other issues that he is big on that I have mixed feelings about.

I don't like the violence that we have in our country associated with handguns but at the same time our right to bear arms is important to my family and me. Gun Control is something that I want but don't want. I don't want criminals to have guns. That's it. I don't want people to be irresponsible with guns, but I do want them to have them.

He is pro-union and wants to increase the power of the union and I think that the time for Unions in this country has come and gone. We needed unions badly at one time and now we don't. Thank you Unions, now go away.

I look forward to the changes and hope that the positives far outweigh the negatives with Barack Obama's presidency. He will definitely be a busy guy, there is so much to take care of!

The big plunge...

Starting Weight 193.8
Week 1 194.2 - +.4
W- 2 190.2 - -4.0
W- 3 186.4 - -3.8
W- 4 186.2 - -0.2
W- 5 184.0 - -2.2
W- 6 184.5 - +0.5
W- 7 185.0 - -0.5
W- 8 183.2 - -1.8
W- 9 180.0 - -3.2
W- 10 183.2 - +3.2
W- 11 179.0 - -4.2
W- 12 177.1 - -1.9
W- 13 175.1 - -2.0
W- 14 171.6 - -3.5
W- 15 169.9 - -1.7
W- 16 168.4 - -1.5
W- 17 165.4 - -3.0
W- 18 161.9 - -3.5
W- 19 165.4 - +3.0
W- 20 163.0 - -2.4
W- 21 165.8 - +2.8
W- 22 162.0 - -3.8
W- 23 159.8 - +0.4
W- 24 158.0 - -2.7
W-k 25 156.4 - -1.6
W- 26 154.3 - -2.1
W- 27 153.9 - -0.4
W- 28 152.0 - -1.9
August 30, 2009
W- 29 149.9 - -2.1
W- 30 147.7 - -2.2
W- 31 147.1 - -0.6
W- 32 149.5 - +2.4
W- 33 151.3 - +1.8
W- 34 150.2 - -1.1
W- 35 150.8 - +0.6
W- 36 150.3 - -0.5
W- 37 149.1 - -1.2
W- 38 149.8 - +0.7
W- 39 150.1 +0.3
W- 40 156.3 +6.2
W- 41 153.3 -3.0
W- 42 152.6 -0.7
W- 43 152.6 -0.0
W- 44 150.7 -1.9
W- 45 152.4 +1.7
W- 46 153.0 +0.6
W- 47 152.3 +0.7
W- 48 150.1 -2.2

W- 49 147.5 -2.6
W- 50 146.3 -1.2
W- 53 151.0 +2.0
W- 54 149.3 -1.7
W- 55 144.9 -4.4
W- 56 144.1 -0.8
W- 57 140.0 lbs. Goal!!!!