Eating healthier

There hasn’t been any rain this past week, however, someone at breakfast this morning, said that showers are predicted for Wednesday and Thursday.
Our country church, St. Ann’s reopened this morning for the first time in several months. We now have sun proof screens on our windows and all the benches and kneelers have been refinished.

The sun comes in so strong from both the east and west that the finish on the benches and floor had been ruined completely. It is now, not only clean, but the floors and benches are beautiful. We now have wood flooring in the sacristy and all of this, including some painting has made it like new again. At least this time, working on it, they didn’t get nearly finished and find honey dripping down a wall!
Many of us are trying to follow a healthier lifestyle and are trying to use whole grains in cooking. (When I have made wheat bread, the recipe I used called for about half wheat and half white flour).
According to an article that I came across over the weekend, whole grains are an important part of any healthy diet, but often isn’t the tastiest item on your daily menu. By now, you already know to watch labels and check for the amount of whole grain in the bread you buy, but at home, surprisingly enough, cookies might be a good place to add whole grain to your diet. According to the article, studies made, show that if a homemaker decides to bake, many times the first thing that comes to mind is to make cookies.
Cookies are a sweet treat and usually contain chocolate (or some other flavor) chips, nuts, dried fruit or perhaps M&Ms or some other type of candy. They are easy to make with whole grain flour. If you exchange the white flour for wheat flour in a cookie that has dark brown sugar, molasses, butter and is full of other good things, no one will ever know. And that’s why they’re so easy to convert to whole grain. Exchange whole-wheat flour for all-purpose flour in a cookie laden with dark brown sugar, butter, toasted pecans and chocolate chips and no one will be the wiser. The cookies will be a little darker in color, but most times, if you are using brown sugar and/or molasses, they are already a light brown color.
If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy whole grains, give these a try:
Whole Wheat S’More Cookies
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1½ cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or yogurt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
3/4 cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Whisk together or mix thoroughly with a fork, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk or yogurt, eggs, vanilla and molasses, and stir into dry ingredients. Stir in melted butter. The mixture will seem dry at first, but keep mixing until the dough is evenly moistened. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and marshmallows. Drop dough by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets; bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until cookie edges are golden brown. Remove cookies from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Yield: 3½-dozen cookies.
Whole Grain Cookie Tips:
In plain-textured and/or light-colored cookies, exchanging whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour, produces a noticeable but pleasant change. To change the slightly different flavor of the whole wheat, add 2 tablespoons of orange juice per cup of flour if the recipe calls for liquid (milk or water).
In many cookies, substituting up to 50-percent whole wheat for the all-purpose flour is almost unnoticeable. Substituting 100 percent whole-wheat flour for all-purpose flour often works well, though success can’t be guaranteed for every recipe. I can hardly wait for Christmas baking time to get here so I can try it with the molasses cookies that are a favorite of my family.
If your cookie recipe directs you to chill the dough, do it. Chilling will create a more tender, lighter-textured cookie that won’t spread too much when baking.
Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies
1½ cups butter, softened (this is 2½ sticks)
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated (white) sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups quick or old fashioned oatmeal, (uncooked)
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and set aside.
Heat oven to 375ºF. Beat butter and sugars until creamy, add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add combined dry ingredients, mix well and stir in oatmeal until well combined. Drop dough by the spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 9 minutes for a chewy cookie and 10 to 11 minutes for a crisp cookie. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store tightly covered.