Friday, March 18, 2016

Artisan Bread-first attempt.

Today was the day!

Last night I put together the poolish and let it rise overnight.  I got up really early to start baking my 1st loaves of artisan bread.  The first loaf looked wonderful, but I didn't quite get it right because there is a streak of flour in it.  I haven't cut into the second loaf yet.

See there is a streak in it.
 I made the mistake of folding it under before
 putting in the dutch oven to bake.
This is the second loaf, I haven't cut into it yet.

 The recipe for the bread consisted of 4 ingredients.  Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast, which is the name of the book that I have been reading and learning from.  The book is by Ken Forkish, it is a wonderful book.  I also found his technique videos a great complement to the book.  For years I have avoided making artisan bread, because I didn't know how to handle a poolish or a biga. But just by reading his book and watching the videos I understood what I had to do and you can see the results in the pictures.

The first bread tasted wonderful.  With one bite I was hooked, I was like OMG! this is how I have ALWAYS wanted the bread I made to taste like.  The crust was crunchy, the middle soft and full of air holes.  WOW! it was worth all the effort.  The great thing is, the more I do it, the easier it will be to do.  I am really so excited.

I also made strained yogurt today.  I got really annoyed that Fage Total costed almost $8 for a quart. That's absurd considering it isn't imported from Greece any more.  It's made here in the U.S.  I don't even know if I did it right.  I just lined a strainer with cheese cloth and dumped the yogurt that I made yesterday in. Making yogurt turned out to be really easy and is worth the effort. The first time I used whole milk, this time I used 2% milk, which is why I wanted to strain it.  The yogurt from the 2% milk was a bit thin.

Homemade strained yogurt
Now that I am not working I have the time to do these things.
I just have to exercise some self control over the finished product.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Low Iodine Diet Diaries-Day 13--It's been a long day.

We went on a birding field trip today.  The weather was "absolutely gorgeous".  Very low 80's, a nice steady breeze, that kept the vicious, blood sucking green head flies away and really good birds.  There was about 30 people on this N.J. Audubon field trip and 5 guides.  The birds were very co-operative.  The best bird for the day was the American Bittern.
I know it's not the greatest picture in the world, but I like this shot. 

Here is the an American Bittern out in the open, usually they are hidden in the phragmites and 
very difficult to find. 

I packed my cooler cooler this morning with the food, I prepared last night. 
Breakfast-1c. Simply Fiber Cereal, 1/4c Hemp Milk and a banana

When we got to the parking lot this morning, you can sense a common sentiment among birders.

Life is simple.
Eat. Sleep. Bird.
Lunch-Salad, Jer-Zi pickles (see previous posts for explanation), chick peas.  LID Blueberry muffin with Peanut Butter and Sugar Free Apricot Jam. 
Snack-fruit salad and Coffee with Vanilla Non-Dairy Creamer (had Carrageenan in it, but it was the last ingredient). Rice cake with the same jelly. 

Dinner-Beef Stew and potatoes. 

Low Iodine Diet Beef Stew.
Carrots, Onions, Celery, chopped in food processor. 
Stew Meat
More Carrots, Green Beans, Peas.
2 16 oz Cans of Salt Free Diced Tomatoes
16 oz. Salt Free tomato sauce 
Liquid, can be stock, beer, wine water (your choice)
salt, pepper, your choice herbs
a bit of Sherry

I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper and brown in a bit of Canola oil, then removed from pot. 
I dabbed the bottom of the pot with a paper towel to get rid of the fat, added Sherry to de-glaze the pan. 
I added the chopped vegetables, with salt and pepper, to the pot and let them soften and brown a tiny bit. 
(This is called sweating the aromatics)
I added the diced tomatoes and some seasoning, mixed them together and added the tomato sauce and about 2 cups of chicken stock. Let that boil and simmer a few minutes.  
I added the meat and carrots, I used both baby carrots and sliced carrots.
Let that cook for about an hour. 
The great thing is that you can add almost any hardy vegetable to stew, you don't want something that will get mushy.  I had a really tough green bean.  I cut them up and added them to the stew. I let that cook. 
The last ingredients I added were peas, I always use frozen petit pois and potatoes. 
I now cook until the potatoes are done. 
I have enough stew to last a long time. 

I was so tired I forgot to take a picture, but this isn't the last of the stew.  I will take a serving to the hotel when I have the Radioactive Iodine Ablation.  I have to bring most the food I am going to eat with me, that is going to be such a hassel.  I do get to go to Trader Joe's when I am on Staten Island, I can pick up my favorite salad dressing! 

Another Bird Picture...
A very early White Throated Sparrow had arrived.
Yesterday there were 2 of them here, today I only saw one.
On the left is a Chipping Sparrow and on the right, the White Throated.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Low Iodine Diet Diaries-Day 12--At the Amish Market/Whipped "Cream"

Today's Big Treat
I went to the Amish Market today in Columbus, NJ. The Amish Market is only a small part of the Columbus Market Complex.

I bought bulk herbs and spices, bulk sugar free candy, pickled beets for after the LID.  I asked about the salt in the baked goods, but the women in the market didn't know.  I could have had some bread if I had known. My neighbor, Jerry, the Jer, of Jer-Zi pickle fame, had never been to the market before.  He was amazed how big it was.  He had lunch there, I couldn't. :-( Oh, Well! on 8/4 I will be able to eat what I want.  Crab Cakes and French onion soup!

A very good LID day, a not so good diet day.
Breakfast-Simply Fiber Cereal, banana, hemp
Snack (before leaving for the market) LID blueberry muffin and SF Apricot jelly
Lunch-A bowl Corn Soup, made with the cobs of corn and Pacific Low Sodium Chicken broth, carrots in soup.
Dessert-Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Whipped Rich Whip. 

Amazingly, the Rich Whip tastes just like Whipped Cream.
I put Kalhua and Splenda in it. I was impressed.

Whipped "Cream"

Dinner-skinless BBQ chicken, with salad and Jer-Zi homemade kosher sour dill pickles

Peeve is standing guard once more.

It's been a real busy night, I made beef stew for tomorrow and for next week.  I made my breakfast and lunch for the field trip tomorrow. And I still have dishes in the sink to do. 

Bird Picture of the Day
Today's cool weather reminded me of Fall

Pine Siskins in backyard

Hairy Woodpecker  and Red Breasted Nuthatch

Rufous Hummingbird

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Low Iodine Diet Diaries-Day 11--Starting to get antsy

I am beginning to get a bit anxious about next week.  I go for the Thyrogen injections, the whole body scan and the ablation.  I can tell, all I want to do is eat sweets. And I  think the Coffee Rich is upsetting my stomach. Tomorrow I will use Coffee Mate for a few days.  I didn't stick to my weight loss diet today, but I did stick to the low iodine diet, which right now is more important.

I also had less protein and more grains today.  I blew the day right from the beginning. I had oatmeal for breakfast, because I wanted to see if I could make my own "instant" oatmeal.   The differences in the types of oatmeal, (old fashioned, quick and instant) are only the cuts of the grain.  I put old fashioned oatmeal in the food processor, pulsed it many times, and got instant oatmeal.  That was 2 starches right there and 1 grain.
Breakfast, instant oatmeal, banana, hemp milk
Snack Apple.
Lunch-salad, chick peas, dried cranberries, nuts and dressing.  Babaganoush on salt free tortillas chips. 

Another weird thing that my body does, is when it is craving nutrients, I crave sweets.  This diet is so nutritionally out of balance, that I am sure I am becoming deficient in something.

Dinner-homemade chili, boiled potatoes, veggies and more chips
Dessert-chocolate zucchini bread.

I had about 1/2c. of chili, I made it from ground chicken and navy beans that I soaked.  I didn't like it at all, but Larry did and will finish it lunch tomorrow.

not much of a dinner tonight

 Bird picture of the day 
Feeding Baby Huey
Cowbird chick begging food from a Chipping Sparrow

Cowbirds lay their eggs in other birds nests, and then split. They have done their job.  The eggs hatch and the foster parent now has to raise the chick. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Low Iodine Diaries-Day 10--Blogging Al Fresco

Finally it is nice enough to be sitting outside. I had the pleasure of dining on my new patio, under the big old oak tree in the backyard.  The lightning bug (or fire flies) are out and I can hardly see the keyboard by the light of the citronella candle.  But I don't care. This is what I have wanted for years and now I am happy to enjoy my space.

I am having a real hard time finding Dutch processed cocoa around here. I have another supermarket to try. I may have to wait till I am in Manhattan or maybe Brooklyn.  I found a few new foods to eat today.  My favorite salad dressing! Trader Joe's Light Champagne Vinaigrette. Unless their products state sea salt in the list of ingredients, all the salt in their branded products is plain salt. Woo-hoo!  I was disappointed to find out the the unsalted canned beans in the health food store had some weird seaweed in it.  Now I have to hydrate beans to make some chili.  I picked up some Frontier Salt Free Mexican Spice mix to use.  If I was smart I would have bought Penzey's chili powder because there isn't any salt in it.

I am having a very strange reaction to not having enough calcium in my diet.  I can tell when I need more, because it's hard for me to swallow and my thinking gets all fuzzy and forgetful.  I take a couple of Tums and it goes away.  It happened again this morning.

It's really cool to be typing this and hearing the Whip-poor-wiill calling! WHIP-POOR WILL over and over and over again.  My neighbors complain about his calling all night long, but we love it.

Breakfast-3 egg whites, 1oz homemade bread toasted. 
Snack-an apple. 
Lunch-1c. pasta, 3 1/2 oz. meatballs, salad with TJ's light salad dressing.

My computer isn't reading my disc drive for the photo card.  I have to restart the computer.
I had a really nice picture of my dinner to post.
It was taken outside, I had...
Dinner-4oz grilled chicken breast, with Mike Sugar Free Buffalo Wing Sauce, Grilled pineapple and mixed veggies. 

Another health food store find...
Bearito's salt free microwave pop corn. The only ingredient is corn! no chemistry experiment there.

I am beginning to really notice all the stuff that I consume, and all the while, thinking I am eating healthfully. Even though I am following this restricted diet for a pretty negative reason.  I think I will make some really positive long term diet changes because of it.  I have become so aware of all the crap in my food.  Granted, I am having non-dairy coffee creamer and I will make non-dairy whipped cream.  But eating that stuff is only temporary.  This experience has been a real eye-opener for me.  I consider myself lucky because I do have many more resources available to me then people in other parts of the country, I am used to being on a diet, and my husband has been so supportive. The only thing that he has complained about is the amount of dishes that need to be cleaned up after I cook.

Bird Pictures of the day
Bald Eagle- Alaska

Royal Terns

Whip-poor Will!

Cattle Egret

I re-started the computer. 
Here is my dinner picture

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Low Iodine Diet Diaries-day 9--rattling the pots and pans.

I am trying to stay OUT of the kitchen.  But it is hard because everything I eat I have to cook from scratch. I am tired of buying vegetables. I really would just like to open a pouch of tuna fish and mix in some mayo and call it lunch.  Won't be able to do that until 8/4.
Some where over the rainbow, there is an end in site to all this....
 But, until then, I have to make this diet, tasty and tolerable. I can't imagine doing this if you don't cook and experiment with new foods. I found a product called Rich Whip Liquid.  It's a kosher, non-dairy substitute for heavy cream.  You can make whipped cream from it.  I'm game. First, I had to check with Rich Foods, to find out about the salt in the product.  They confirmed that it was plain non-iodized salt. Then, I had to go the Kosher Experience at Shoprite in Lakewood and believe me, it is an "experience".  I hope I never have to go there again. But it's the only place I know to get Rich Whip.  Tomorrow I will make whipped cream for my chocolate zucchini bread.  I am happy.  I don't usually eat anything like that, but, I deserve a treat.  I made lemon sugar jello last night and will make more later on tonight for tomorrow.

Shari's Whipped Cream...
Heavy Cream (Rich Whip Liquid)
any flavor liquor you want. 
I like chambrod.

Another good find is Quick Chek.  They have original Coffee Mate, something I can have.  I stopped in today and made a cup of coffee.  Woo-hoo! Life is good!

I am a creature of habit (most of them bad), breakfast is usually the same thing every day.
Breakfast- 1c. Simply Fiber, a plum and some pineapple, hemp milk.

Lunch was on the run today.
Lunch-1/2 c. curried chick peas, 1/2 c. quiona and a small salad. 
Snack-coffee and fruit salad, rice cake with peanut butter and sugar free apricot spread.

Dinner, 5oz turkey meatballs, homemade tomato sauce. Frozen veggies.
I usually put anchovy paste and grated cheese in meatballs, those are my secret ingredients SSHHH!... don't tell Larry, he will never eat them again cheese and fish combined are a big no-no in his world!.  And I load up my tomato sauce with cheese.  Tomorrow I will have pasta with left over meatballs and sauce for lunch, sans fromage.

The answer to yesterday's was the Red-tail Hawk.  The duck, the swan and the Statue of Liberty are all in the water! Got ya!!!!!

Today's bird...
Puerto Rican Tody
it's a beautiful little bird

Monday, July 22, 2013

Low Iodine Diaries-Day 8--needed Ca and Fe

I think not having Calcium and Iron in my diet really got to me. I woke up really feeling crappy and was totally off today.  I had a couple Tums and an Iron pill with lunch, rested for a bit and I felt much better. I was messing up things at work all day long.

Day 8-I can't believe that I made it this long.  It's getting easier and harder at the same time.  I am totally bored with  food.  I keep trying to kick up the seasoning, change the culture, change the ingredients to jazz things up.  But it's not working.  I am not a meat and potatoes eater.  I want a tuna fish sandwich, cole slaw and some melted cheese.

I am very happy I found the Simply Fiber cereal.  It's made a big difference to me and my "transit time" as my GI calls it.
Breakfast-1 cup Simply Fiber, pineapple and blueberries, hemp milk, cinnamon. 

I may have had more protein today than the diet allows, or I maxed out the amount I can have. I felt  I really needed more today after being so wiped out.
Lunch-1/2 of a chicken breast, roasted apricot and plums, 1/2 of a skinless baked potato, left over peppers, onions and zucchini from last night's dinner. 

Snack-"buttered" homemade bread. 

Dinner wasn't so adventurous tonight.  I steamed green beans and nuked my side dishes from left overs.
I boiled some potatoes, steamed green beans.  The amount of cooking I am doing is much more that I am used to.

Dinner-BBQ'd pork chop, frozen mixed vegetables, salt free soup with a small boiled potato, steamed green beans. 

Every day after lunch I had a couple of squares of 85% Cocoa Chocolate, for the all the health benefits. :-)
It's very easy to have this treat on the LID diet, there are so many brands that only use ingredients that we can have. I also made some sugar free lemon jello.  I shot an email off to the people who make Coffee Rich, they make something called Whip Rich.  If the salt is not iodized, I can make some whip cream. That might be enough of a treat on my jello or chocolate zucchini bread.  Yum!

It's been threatening rain for the past couple of hours, my scar is itching like crazy. 

Today's bird picture is a video of "Frick and Frack"
We have named the turkeys that stop by a few times a day to graze. 

Test your knowledge
Which picture doesn't belong in the series?

I am going to keep you in suspense until tomorrow.