Healthier living

What an awesome week it has been for me with family in from out of town! We managed to do several different things, including just shopping locally and finally last Friday we three ladies took off early in the day to go to Victoria with a stop off in Cuero to check out a “down-sizing” estate sale. We had a really great time and while I didn’t buy very much, my sister-in-law found some dishes that she fell in love with and since they were a great buy for the amount asked, was a very happy lady. After that, we went out to eat and then began shopping in several different places, as well as at the mall. Later, in the day, the two husbands came to Victoria and we all met up for our evening meal and had a great time visiting. On Saturday, it was time for me to do some laundry and sort of straighten out the house, which I did, and I told them that on Sunday I would make dinner for them after church. The meal turned out great, with me making the main dish, salad and a starch and my sister taking care of another vegetable for me. When we finished and cleaned up the kitchen, we had dessert and then us gals settled into a great game of Chicken Foot! It was so very enjoyable and so much fun. First, since it had been a very long time since any of us had played the game, we had to figure out how to actually play, and then figure out how to keep score. We finally got it all set up and had a really good time. The guys visited and watched football as Dallas was playing and that kept them occupied as neither one of them are particularly fond of table games. All in all, it’s been a wonderful week. This week, being the first week of the month is a week of meetings for me, so between the meetings, and doing Auxiliary things, I’ll be pretty well occupied.
Many of us are trying to follow a healthier life-style 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. And, in addition to the whole grains, we also need to be watching the sugar and sodium count, as many items in food have added sugars and salt.
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.
Now, here’s a recipe to help you get started with something to enter in the avocado-cooking contest at the Fall Festival. Good luck to all of you cooks!
Stuffed Meat Loaf
(In this recipe, it works better to make the stuffing and allow it to be cooling while you are mixing the ingredients for the meat loaf)
1 tablespoon chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
¼ cup margarine
Cook above ingredients together for 10 minutes, then add
½ cup hot water and
2½ cups dry breadcrumbs
Mix together and allow to cool while you make the meat loaf.
Meat Loaf
2 pounds ground meat
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped celery
1 egg
¼ cup milk
½ cup tomato sauce
¾ cup hot water
Combine meat, salt, pepper, onion, celery, egg and milk and mix well. Stir together the tomato sauce and hot water, set aside. Pat out the meat mixture onto a piece of foil or waxed paper into a 10×12 rectangle and spread stuffing mixture over meat. Roll up starting with long side. Place into 9×13-inch baking dish pour tomato sauce/water mixture over meat loaf. Bake at 350ºF for about 1 hour basting several times with pan drippings. (I cheated and used a box of Stove Top Stuffing Mix that had the bread cubes rather than the one with cornbread, mixed it up, adding the sautéed onion, celery and bell pepper, and then put it in the fridge over night. Sunday morning, I used about 2/3 of it on the meat and it turned out great, everyone said it was delicious).
Avocado Cookies
Place in large bowl and stir until well blended:
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Using a separate bowl:
Melt: 1/4 cup shortening (let cool)
Add: 1 egg and beat well.
Add: 3/4 cup mashed avocados and beat until well mixed.
Add: 1 cup raisins
1/2 cup diced dates
1 cup chopped walnuts
Stir together until well mixed.
Mix in dry ingredients and stir until all dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
Drop by tablespoons on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350ºF. for 10 to 12 minutes.