Saturday, May 5, 2012

Food Stamp Budget-Basic Bread Recipe

It’s Friday again, and that means Food Stamp Challenge recipe time.  For today I have a recipe for my go to bread.  I bake bread 2-4 times a week, depending on my menu.  Today’s recipe is my standard for whole wheat bread.  If you’re new to bread making, start with the standard recipe and then mix it up based on your own taste.
This recipe uses 100% whole wheat flour.  If your family isn’t used to eating whole wheat, substitute some of the wheat flour for white flour 1:1. 
Basic Whole Wheat Bread
Yields 1 loaf
Britt Huffman
3 c 100% Whole Wheat Flour
4 Tbsp Milled Flax Seed
1 Tbsp Sugar
3 tsp Dry Active Yeast
½ tsp Sea Salt
1 ½ c Warm Water (Around 120 degrees)

   1.      Mix sugar and yeast in 1 c water and let dissolve.  Allow the sugar and yeast to foam.  Set aside for about 5 minutes.  If it doesn’t foam toss it out and try again.  If a second time fails your yeast may be tired and need replacing.

   2.      Mix Flour and Flax seed together.  Add in the Sugar and Yeast and mix together.

   3.       Add in Salt and remaining water as needed.

   4.      Mix completely and turn out onto a floured surface.

   5.      Kneed bread until it forms a soft elastic dough ball.

   6.      Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size (about an hour)

   7.      Punch down, shape into a log and allow to rise in a loaf pan. (About an hour.)

   8.      Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  The loaf should sound hollow.

   9.      After baking remove from the pan.  Coat the top with butter (this will ensure a soft and tasty crust) and allow to cool.

The amount of water you need will depend on the temperature and humidity.  You want a soft elastic dough ball.  Add water or flour as needed. 
There are infinite possibilities for flavoring this basic loaf. I like to add roasted garlic, onion, and peppers to this along with some cayenne powder and cinnamon for a southwestern flavor.  Try basil, oregano, garlic, and sundried tomatoes for an Italian bread. 
I wrote this recipe on the assumption readers do not have a bread machine or stand mixer.  Those things make it easier, but they are by no means a requirement.  If you have a stand mixer use the bread hook and kneed for about 5 minutes.  For a bread machine, add the ingredients according to your machine’s directions.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Watch It Online

Big Bang Theory
Everybody has tips for saving money on entertainment, and nearly every article on the subject includes canceling your cable or satellite subscription and just watch the ever increasing array of programming available online.  I’ll assume at this point you’ve read at least one or two of those articles.  I’ve never had cable except when I lived with my mother.  What I will tell you about today are some of the fun stuff I enjoy watching online.  Some of it is free others require a Netflix subscription, though at only $8 a month it’s still a good deal.

Big Bang Theory
What can I say, I LOVE NERDS!  It’s available for free on CBS

I’ve been a loyal fan of Psych since its first episode.  Old seasons are available on Netflix and the new ones are on USA Network.

IT Crowd
Tragically this hilarious British comedy will not have a fifth season in 2012.  The four fantastic seasons are however, available on Netflix.

Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Okay, I’ll admit it, I think it’s sort of gone downhill this last season, but I’m willing to stick with it because it’s still a decent show and I have faith it will get better.  If you’re not familiar, Doctor Who is the longest running sci fi series in history.  The show began in the 1960’s and was cancelled in the 90’s.  BBC brought it back in 2005 and it is a classic    not only in it’s British homeland in countries around the world.  It is hands down my absolute favorite show!  Watch the entire new series and a good bit of the original on Netflix and throw your own 50th anniversary party for the show in 2013!

This is one of my new favorite shows!  A hysterical story of a mobster turned witness on the run in Norway.  It’s funny.  It’s dramatic.  It’s awesome.  It’s available on Netflix.

They Live
They Live
It’s not new by any means.  This John Carpenter classic is as awesome today as it was in 1988.  There are countless pop culture references, South Park’s Cripple Fight and anyone who has ever repeated the timeless statement, “I’ve come here to chew gum and kick ass, and I’m all out of gum.”  They Live is a quirky classic that has withstood the test of time and improvements to special effects.  Check it out on Netflix

Those are my picks for this month.  Check back in June for all my newest fabulous entertainment finds.  Do you watch tv online?  Leave a comment with your recommendations.     

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Low Budget Birthday

Michael’s B-Day
Just wanted to give a quick update about Michael’s birthday which was Wednesday.  With Michael between jobs and the utility companies insisting they need to receive payment for services (I mean how rude), money in our house is like straight men in a Broadway musical, very little of it and I get excited whenever I find some.  So, right now any special occasion is celebrated mainly by remembering the reason we’re celebrating.  But, it wouldn’t be a birthday without a present and a cake.  I’d love to share some pictures of the giant chocolate chip cookie cake I made for him, but he ate it.  I turned my back for a minute and it was gone.
I did get some pictures of his pressie.  I was really pleased with my ultra low budget idea.  Have you heard of Heroics?  Unless you have a small boy or a big nerd man, my guess is no.  Michael has started collecting these things.  They’re the size of a ping pong ball and have little super heroes in them.  I bought him four at Wal-Mart for about $1 each. 
In keeping with the superhero theme, I bought an Avengers cup from the party supply section for around $2.
Packed some blue (his favorite color) tissue inside and put the Heroics on top adding another $1 to the cost.
I put the whole thing in a blue gift bag ($2) and topped it off with light and dark blue tissue.  Slapped a pretty premade bow ($1) on it and called it a gift.
Grand Total- $7

At his request, I made his favorite dinner, Buffalo Chicken Pizza, and for desert was had his giant chocolate chip cookie.  The cookie cake was next to nothing since I made the cookie from scratch.  Much cheaper than buying one at the bakery.
To cap off his birthday we had a fabulous picnic at the park today.  I made a lovely roasted chicken (which will serve for a couple more meals) a salad, and some fresh made bread.  It was a fantastic birthday for almost no cost.  Our low key (and low budget) celebration gave us the opportunity to appreciate how grateful we are to have had another year together.

Slow Cooker Meatball Heaven

Slow Cooker Heaven
I love, love, love, love my slow cooker!  I’ll say it again I LOVE MY SLOW COOKER!  Three days a week I work until 10 o’clock at night.  The last thing I want to do is come home and cook dinner.  My slow cooker makes a hot and fresh meal totally doable on a busy night.  So Monday is my slow cooker day here at Misadventures in Homemaking.  Every Monday I’ll post my favorite recipes for slow cookers. 
Today’s slow cooker delight is meatballs!  I love meatballs.  There is so much you can do to make them unique.  Seriously you could eat meatballs everyday for a month and never have the same meal twice.  Plus you get to talk about rolling and eating balls. :-D
Today I have a couple of terrific meatballs that go over great at my house!  I use ground turkey because it’s cheaper in my grocery store, but ground beef works too.  I also like to buy a medium fat package, around 85% lean (hint: grind your own meat for extra saving.)  The extra fat keeps the meatballs moist and holds them together.  On that note, if you’re meatballs should fall apart, no worries.  They’ll taste the same.  Just pretend like you meant for it happen.
Savory South of the Border Turkey Chorizo Balls
This recipe makes roughly 24-1 inch meatballs.  Make them whatever size you want.  Also note that some might consider it a little spicy of if heat is problem for you cut back a bit on the cayenne and chili powder. 
1 lb ground turkey
½ lb ground chorizo
2 Tbsp. of cocoa powder
1 tsp. of sugar
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp cayenne powder
1 tsp. Mexican chili powder (Mexican chili powder is the hot kind.  Use Sweet or mild chili powder if you’re not into spicy stuff.)
4 c water (more or less to cover the balls in the slow cooker)
Oil for browning

 1.   Mix the turkey and chorizo together in a bowl
2. Divide into meatballs (make them any size you want)
3. Lightly coat the bottom of a large pan with oil and heat over medium high heat
4. Brown the meatballs on all sides and transfer to the slow cooker
5. In a couple of cups of hot water dissolve the dry ingredients and pour over the balls
6. Add more water to cover the balls. 7. Cook on low for at least 4 hours
 I like to serve these along with some brown rice or quinoa mixed with black beans, frozen corn (thawed obviously) and salsa.  Top it all off with a little sour cream, guacamole, and cheese.
Note: Michael has suggested I add cinnamon to the spice mix, but as I’ve not yet had a chance to try it I haven’t worked out the amount.  I think it sounds good.  If you’re daring leave a note in the comments and let us know how much you used and how it worked out.

Smoky BBQ Balls
These are without a doubt my favorite meatball recipe.  I love BBQ!  I make these a bit on the spicy side, but that’s easy to fix by using less red pepper flakes and using a less spicy BBQ sauce.  The sauces listed are my preferred, but use whatever you like or make your own!\
Recipe yields around 18-20 1-inch balls.
1 lb Ground Turkey
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Chipotle Powder
2 Tbsp McCormick’s BBQ blend (that’s the one I use, but any you like will do just fine.)
2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
¼ c Kraft Chipotle BBQ Sauce
¼ c Kraft Smoky BBQ Sauce
4 c Water (Enough to cover the meatballs)
Oil for Frying

   1.    Mix turkey, chipotle powder, BBQ blend, and garlic powder and form balls.   
 2. Lightly cover a large pan with oil and heat over medium high.
  3.   Fry balls on all sides (just enough to brown the outside) and transfer to the Slow Cooker
4. Mix the BBQ sauces in about 2 c. of warm water and pour over balls
5. Add more water to the slow cooker to just cover the meatballs
6. Cook on low for around 4 hours (longer is fine)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

Happy May Day everyone!  In honor of the first day of May here is a link fun spring projects.  I’d love to hear what other projects everyone has planned for the beginning of spring.  Leave a comment to share your ideas.

On a somewhat separate note, it is presently about to storm here.  March started off very very warm and then spring tricked us and it got cold.  Today it was finally warm again, around 80 I think.  It felt wonderful and it still does even at 9 o’clock at night.  Now a spring thunderstorm is threatening and, I’m loving it.  So, here’s to pouring yourself a strawberry vodka martini, relaxing on the porch, and welcoming all that summer has to offer!

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