Tag Archive for whole grains

Eat Healthy AND Save Money!

Is it possible to eat healthy and save money? I hear people say all the time, it’s expensive to eat well. There are many reasons why it’s much less expensive to eat high quality, nutritious food. Let me show you a new way of looking at it.

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How to Make Great Homemade Whole Wheat Bread with a Breadmaker

I make tons of stuff in my bread maker, but most of the time I use it to crank out delicious loaves of golden goodness for my family and daycare kids. Why not just serve the kids store bought bread? Click here to see my reasons.

My kids and family love my bread and hopefully they are grateful for the extra effort. I know their bodies are better off for it, health is so important. For me it’s totally worth the trouble.

Homemade bread is better for our bodies

I find baking in multiple batches and freezing the excess helps me keep on top of feeding 10 people a day here at Little Sprouts. I use the bread maker to mix my bread, but I take it out of the machine and put it in loaf pans to rise so I can bake more in a day. To me it looks nicer as well.

I have a wheat grinder and I purchase wheat berries from a local farmer and grind my own flour. Flour loses its nutrition quickly once it’s ground, so even if you can’t grind it yourself, store your unused flour in the freezer to help retain freshness.

Hard wheat is used for making yeast breads such as bread, rolls, buns, bagels and pizza crusts. Soft wheat is more of a pastry flour used for making sweet breads, muffins, cookies, crackers, pancakes and waffles.

Whole wheat is full of health benefits

If you are new to whole grains and want to break your family in slowly, you can start with half white flour and half wheat and slowly increase over time as your taste buds change. I recommend using unbleached flour as it retains more nutrients than bleached flour and contains less chemicals. Bleaching agents are not something you want to consume if you can help it.

Also, one more note, I use a low gluten wheat because I get organic wheat that has not been modified to produce more gluten like most wheat has. Most people like bread that is very light and fluffy, so if you want that texture with organic flour, you will have to add a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to your flour. Gluten is the elastic substance in the flour that stretches when the yeast makes bubbles in the mixture so the bread will rise and become airy and soft.

Tried and true bread recipe

Here are my tried and true stand by recipes for most of what I make for my family and my Little Sprouts. When using a bread machine recipe, you just dump the ingredients in the machine in the order the recipe lists them. Also, make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. Set your yeast and eggs out ahead of time to let them warm up. When I mention warm water, I am talking about using the warmest water that will come out of your tap. It works perfectly for me.

Everyday Whole Wheat Bread
Regular whole wheat bread perfect for sandwiches or whatever you need a slice of bread for/
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  1. 1 Egg plus enough warm water to make one cup of liquid
  2. 1/8 C. olive oil
  3. 3 Tablespoons of raw sugar
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  5. 3 C. whole wheat flour
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons quick rising yeast
  1. Add ingredients in order above and process on dough setting until done.
  2. Take dough out and place in a greased loaf pan.
  3. Cover with a moist towel and let rise until double in size.
  4. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
  1. If using low gluten flour, add 1 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten for a soft loaf.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/

breadmaker wheat bread rising

wheat bread rising

whole wheat bread baking

whole wheat bread maker bread


Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
Whole wheat dinner rolls.
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  1. 1 Egg plus enough warm water to make 1 1/2 cups of liquid.
  2. 1/4 C. Olive oil
  3. 1/2 C. Raw sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 4 C. whole wheat flour
  6. 2 1/2 teaspoons quick rise yeast
  1. Put ingredients in bread maker in order listed above.
  2. Set bread maker to dough setting and let it mix until the cycle was complete.
  3. Remove dough from the maker and divide in half, then in half again and in half a third time. Take each segment and divide that into three more sections and roll sections into a ball. Place in a greased pan and cover with a damp towel.
  4. Let rise until double in size.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  1. If using low gluten flour, add 1 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten for a soft loaf.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
Whole Wheat Hamburger or Hotdog Buns
Delicious bun recipe that can be shaped into multiple different types of buns.
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  1. 1 egg
  2. 1/4 C. warm water
  3. 6 oz. room temperature whole milk
  4. 1/4 C. room temperature butter
  5. 1/8 C. raw sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  7. 3 3/4 C. whole wheat flour
  8. 1 1/4 tsp. quick rising yeast
  9. 1 egg white, beaten for glazing top of buns
  10. Sesame seeds for top of buns
  1. Add ingredients to bread maker in order listed.
  2. Mix on dough setting until cycle is completed.
  3. Remove dough from bread maker and separate into 24 pieces.
  4. Roll dough into a ball and flatten into flat rounds with a rolling pin or roll dough into a long rope and flatten into hot dog bun shapes with a rolling pin.
  5. Place on a greased cookie sheet.
  6. Brush tops with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  7. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until double in size.
  8. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  1. If using low gluten flour, add 1 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten for a soft loaf.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust Dough
Whole wheat pizza crust adapted from Ree Drummond's pizza dough recipe.
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  1. 1 teaspoon quick rise yeast
  2. 1 1/2 C warm water
  3. 4 cups whole wheat flour
  4. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1/3 C. olive oil
  1. Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm water.
  2. Place whole wheat flour, salt, and olive oil in the bread maker.
  3. Pour in yeast/water mixture and mix on dough setting until cycle is finished.
  4. Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it.
  5. It's best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better, according to Ree!
  6. I also make it and freeze it.
  7. When you are ready to make your pizza, bring the dough to room temperature.
  8. Separate dough into two pieces.
  9. Roll piece into a ball and roll from the center out on a pizza stone until it reaches the desired size.
  10. Roll the edges of the dough to make a ledge to hold the toppings on.
  11. Top as desired.
  12. Bake at 450 until toppings are cooked and dough is golden brown.
  1. If using low gluten flour, add 1 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten for a soft loaf.
Adapted from Ree Drummond
Adapted from Ree Drummond
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
When the bread maker does all the work for you, it’s a snap to add whole grains to your family’s diet.  I encourage you to try it today!

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Eating Clean in 2015!!!

When people use the terms whole foods, clean eating, or real food, what are they talking about? To me, those things mean eating pure foods the way our great grandparents ate. Before Betty Crocker rolled onto the scene, before additives and chemicals were put in most grocery store products, foods were much closer to how God made them to nourish us.

Processing foods to death removes most of the nutrients. Take cereal for example. Whole grains, containing the perfect combination of nutrients are processed to remove the bran and the germ which contain vital vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E and Magnesium our bodies need. The newly whitened flour is then bleached to make it look even whiter, further removing valuable nutrients and adding more chemicals. Now the flour is no longer healthy. They need to add nutrients back, so they take synthetic vitamins which are not usable by our bodies and put them into the flour, calling it enriched. Next they take the enriched flour and add shelf stabilizers, preservatives, and other chemicals to make it last for a year in the box. Many of these additives cause a myriad of health problems and diseases. Then they add copious amounts of salt and sugar to make the little chemical bomb taste appealing. Too much salt and sugar cause health problems as well. They add so much salt and sugar in fact, that after eating cereal, natural foods no longer taste good because our palates are trained to find salty and sugary foods. The poor nutritional value of the cereal leaves us with the feeling of hunger, when really, our body is just craving real nutrients and we aren’t really hungry at all. So we overeat the cereal looking for the satiety that comes from being properly nourished.

Our food supply is full of convenience foods like cereal, TV dinners, processed hamburger patties, cake mixes, breads, cookies, canned fruit, fruit juice, canned vegetables, frozen fries and chicken nuggets, corn dogs, processed cheese foods, margarine, sodas, and the list goes on and on. But these foods are far from how food was created to be eaten. God gave us the perfect diet, fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, and dairy. These foods give us everything we need to thrive if we work at keeping the nutrients they originally contained.

Merriam-Webster defines a whole food as a food that is considered healthy because it is grown naturally, has not been processed, and contains no artificial ingredients. Since I started changing our diet for myself, my family, and my daycare kids, I have noticed exponentially we have more energy, better behavior, clearer thinking, less colds and allergies, and just a general feeling of wellness I didn’t feel in myself before.

We do not eat perfectly, but I strive every year to clean up more things in our diet to improve our overall health. We can always do better, but the difference in our diets 15 years ago, and our diets today is astounding. The more I learn the better I can do.

The main key is do something. Start with one small change and work your way to a different lifestyle. Maybe you could start by adding some shredded veggies to your spaghetti sauce or adding a vegetable to your breakfast each day. The important thing is you start somewhere and keep moving forward. Getting families to come along on your journey can be challenging so don’t try to go cold turkey.

What are some ways you can clean up your diet?

  1. Add more fruits and vegetables. When filling your plate, you should have half fruits and vegetables before adding your grains, meat, and dairy. Once you are used to eating more produce, look for fresh over canned and frozen, more variety of colors and different preparations, and more organics, or even better learn to grow your own!
  2. Limit processed foods. Anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce is probably not good for you. Shoot for a goal of at least 80% whole foods and 20% processed foods.
  3. Choose foods with fewer ingredients. If you are choosing tortilla chips for instance, read the label, there are chips that just have corn, lime, and salt. That’s a better choice than one with 20 ingredients including some that are not recognizable.
  4. Start with plain protein. When choosing your protein source, choose dry beans you cook fresh over canned, hamburger meat over pre-seasoned patties, chicken over breaded precooked chicken nuggets, fish instead of fish sticks, etc. The fresher the better and free range meats from a farmer are much better than store bought inhumanely raised, hormone and chemical filled meats.
  5. Make your own breads. Cookies, rolls, crackers, cereals, cakes, bread, muffins, and every other bread product available are full of preservatives and chemicals your body does not need. You can also make bread quite a bit cheaper than buying it, so learn how to make a few bread products yourself and work your way to more and more homemade foods. I make my breads in multiple batches and freeze the rest for future days. This saves me a lot of time as I am feeding 10 people here. Choose whole grains over processed grains. See the cereal example above.
  6. Eat more plants. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans are packed with nutrients your body needs.
  7. Cut out fast food. Just don’t eat it. There are so many reasons….
  8. Choose natural sugars. Instead of using white sugar, try substituting raw sugar, real maple syrup, or raw honey in your cooking. And try to limit sweets because sugar is the number one destroyer of our health.
  9. Choose healthy fats.  Not all fats are created equal.  Butter is better than margarine.  Olive and coconut oils are better than vegetable oils.  Try to take all of the unhealthy trans fats out of your diet. 
  10. DRINK MORE WATER! Avoid soda and have a clean glass of water instead. It takes some practice, but I went from a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper a day to no soda. It was hard at first, but I’ve been soda free for over 15 years and I save so much money and so many empty calories it’s unreal. Let’s figure it up. If I drank my 2 liter of soda or 8 cups per day for 15 years, I would have consumed 800 empty calories daily for a total of 4,380,000 calories over 15 years. Just sugar and chemicals, zero nutrition! And my local homeland has some 2 liter bottles of soda on sale this week for a dollar. If I got them all on sale, which I know I wouldn’t, but it’s easy to calculate with a dollar, I would have spent an additional $5,475 on soda over the past 15 years. Just think if you pay $1.85 for a restaurant soda and you get two sodas with your meal per week, you would spend $2,886 on your meals. That’s a lot of money I could think of a lot better things to do with. There’s more than one reason to go soda free.

Cooking your own foods from scratch will drastically change your health. I challenge you to change your eating habits this New Year and I promise you it will change your life!

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