A Walk on the Healthy Side

This blog was conceived from my love of furniture refinishing, decorating, and all things design.

Oh, don't misunderstand me.  I still love those things...!  I can get downright giddy were you to come over this afternoon and talk furniture over a latte with me. 

Matter of fact, whatcha doin' around 3pm?

But seriously, as much as I love design, we all know life is more than just pretty stuff, especially when you're a wife, mom, sister, daughter, homeschooling parent, etc. etc. 

In a previous post I talked about my desire this fall to focus on a few things in my role as mom, ie primary cooker/baker/menu planner/prep cook.  One was making my own bread, the other was trying new recipes.

I'm happy to report that my first week of homeschool was a success in both areas.  Yes, we accomplished a heap of school work, too, but that's for another day. Not only did I grind my own wheat for the first time (thank you, dear Stephanie, for lending me your Nutrimill for my first attempt), I've discovered a bread recipe that works great for our family. 

"Works great" means it tastes really yummy, is nutty and nutritious, and best of all? Works great for sandwiches! 

Dough Enhancer, where have you been all my life?

I used the following recipe (found in a book I bought years ago and to which I still refer today called, "The Busy Mom's Guide to Simple Living"by Jackie Wellwood). The recipe is named after Marilyn, the lady who founded The Urban Homemaker:
Marilyn's Famous Whole Wheat Bread
for Kitchen Aid Mixer (love this part, cuz it's what I already have)

1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup oil
2 1/2 cups warm water (approx 110 degrees)
1 1/2 Tbsp. Saf Instant Yeast (use 2 Tbsp other brands)
2 1/2 tsp. salt
6-7 cups fresh whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. dough enhancer

Combine the warm water, yeast, and 2 cups fresh whole wheat flour in mixing bowl.  Allow to sponge for 15 minutes.  Add the honey, oil, dough enhancer, salt, and 4-5 cups additional flour until the dough begins to clean the sides of the mixing bowl (use dough hook).
Set a timer for 6 minutes (for freshly milled flour) and let your Kitchen Aid do the kneading (gotta love this part, too).  When the timer beeps, form two loaves of bread.  Allow to rise in a slightly warmed oven (turn the oven on at 200 degrees F for five minutes, then turn off) or other warm place until doubled (about 30-60 minutes).
Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.  Break is cooked through when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom and when the top and sides are a golden brown color.

*I added one cup flax seed for the last minute or two of kneading.  I love the crunch and nuttiness it adds to the bread.

There is something so innate ~ so fulfilling and nurturing ~ about making your own bread and feeding it to your family.  When my 12 year old takes a bite, a warm fuzzy thing happens in my own belly that's hard to explain... 

Am I crazy?

I've also snagged a few recipes for salads and breakfasts out of "The Eat-Clean Diet" by Tosca Reno.  I highly recommend her Crock Pot Porridge utilizing cracked wheat & steel-cut outs.  How easy is it to pop all the ingredients in acrock-pot before bed and wake up to a warm, nutritious breakfast?  Love it.

There are also several recipes for salads like Quinoa with Sundried Tomatoes and Orzo Primavera.  With trying to eat much "cleaner" myself the last couple weeks, I'm taking the whole family along with me.  So far, I'm not hearing any complaints (except for all three kids put WAY too much brown sugar on their Porridge...)

I'll leave you with one more recipe which is far from new for our family, but it's something we always have on hand.  We also gift it to neighbors and teachers at Christmastime, and it's always popular.

Coon Family Granola

12 cups oats
2/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar**
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. vanilla
2 cups nuts
1 small box Rice Krispies

**you can eliminate the brown sugar and use a total of 1/2 cup honey.

Mix all ingredients and bake on cookie sheets at 350 for approximately 25 minutes.  Stir the mixture halfway through the baking time.  (You can fit this quantity onto three rimmed baking sheets).  I often will add craisins or any chopped up dried fruit the last 15 minutes of cooking - so yummy.

Here's a picture of some jars we packaged for Christmas two years ago, chock full of freshly made granola:

Now, without further ado, back to....design.

I stopped by the health food store yesterday to pick this up:

I came across a recipe for mixing up my own chalk paint a couple weeks ago, and for some reason this particular one made sense to me (there are certainly lots of them out there, some undoubtedly better than others). 

I plan to mix up a couple batches later this afternoon (after aforementioned latte, of course....are you still coming?) to experiment on the likes of these two furniture pieces currently occupying my (dusty) garage.

I better sign off before I get too giddy thinking about it.


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