Monday, May 4, 2009

Bread making, cookie perfecting, and Trader Joe's

I spent the afternoon trying to perfect my baking skills. I have always loved baking; it's therapeutic to me in so many ways.

I used Jenna's Beginner's Roll recipe to make my first ever batch of homemade bread. Since Dennis doesn't like whole wheat bread I made the first batch completely with white bread flour, and the second exactly the way Jenna said to.
I can't get the dough to be as perfect as it should be, but I didn't want to knead too much and kill the yeast. The rolls actually turned out to be pretty tasty, but the white rolls are better than my wheat ones for some reason, which I was sad about. I think I need to add more salt or something. But I'm definitely going to keep working on my bread making skills.

Since I had the oven on I got a request for my Chocolate Chip Toffee cookies. The last time I made them, I accidentally ran out of sugar. At first I hated them, but after letting them set I gave them another shot and damn they were good! They were puffier than normal (they're usually flat and crispy) and I have been trying to get puffy cookies forever! I thought it was in the mixing process--someone told me to mix by hand and not use a mixer. But I was wrong; they came out flat again. With a little research I realized it was the lesser amount of sugar (!) that made them more puffy. So next time I will try 1/2 cup sugar again and some baking powder instead of just baking soda. We'll see if that works.

My cookies are basically the same as that on the bag of the Tollhouse Chocolate Chips, except I use milk chocolate chips instead of semi sweet; I only use a cup of the chips with one cup of toffee chocolate chips, and now will be using 1/2 cup sugar instead of 3/4 and 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda (instead of 1 tsp of baking soda) Hopefully this will work to make my most perfect chocolate chip toffee cookie.

I've said it before and I will say it again folks...Trader Joe's is the shiznit. I don't go there as often as I should for as close as it is to me simply because I hate grocery shopping, and since I can't get everything there (the picky boyfriend and my fat-on-a-diet-cat don't allow that) I tend to get everything at Stop-N-Shop since they have a pretty decent organic selection there.
But I need to go back to having Trader Joe's a regular stop in my life because between last night's homemade pizza and today's sprouted whole wheat pasta dish, it's a wonder why I've been neglecting the trip.
Today's dinner was a cup of TJ's Organic Sprouted Wheat Pappardelle pasta, 1/4 cup TJ's pizza sauce (obviously left over from last night) two cups of cooked spinach and a 1/4 cup of 1% cottage cheese. I can't begin to tell you how amazing this meal was.
I added the spinach for its obvious benefits and the cottage cheese for texture and (more) protein. The pasta's texture was a little slimy but the flavor was excellent. I will definitely be repeating this dinner for lunch tomorrow.

The serving size of this sprouted pasta is one cup
210 calories
0.5 grams of fat
39 grams carbs
11 grams protein
3 grams fiber

I like sprouted foods, like the Ezekiel Breads...they're wholesome and just so good for you.

I decided to take today off from working out for two reasons: one, because I like to give my body one full day to recover after a long run; and two, I'm feeling like I'm coming down with a sinus/allergy type cold. My ears are clogged and I've been feeling really tired. This happens as soon as the weather gets warmer and more humid. Fun!
Hopefully I'll feel well enough to get to the gym tomorrow.

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