Home Cooking

Simple family fare

Making Whole Wheat Bread, Part One

Making whole wheat bread that you love is often touted as one of the great culinary feats of the world in cookbooks. Whole wheat by itself, you see, makes a dense, heavy loaf that no true aficionado would tolerate if it weren't necessary.

Owners of European-style bakeries make country-style and rustic loaves with just enough bran or whole wheat flour so you can see charming flecks of bran in your thick, crusty slice, but not enough to really qualify as whole wheat bread. Those who embark on a purer tack create bread that can only be truly enjoyed in Birkenstocks and tie-died shirts.

What gives? Why is it such a challenge to the home baker to make a delicious, light loaf of whole wheat bread?

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Ask the Miserly Mom: Cleaners, Hem Lines and Mixes

The questions Jonni answers:
--Does anyone have a homemade "recipe" for oven cleaner? I hate using that awful chemical stuff, and thought maybe someone could help!
--Do you know how to get the white line and permanent crease out of a garment after letting the hem out? I think I heard to rub salt into the white line to soften it, but do not want to ruin the garment in case I don't remember correctly.

--Is it really frugal to make your own spaghetti sauce if you can buy it for $.89? What about Jell-O and pudding?

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A Beautiful Porridge

As I was cleaning up after dinner a few years ago, my 4-year-old daughter Josie kissed me goodnight and turned to run upstairs so her dad could put her to bed. "Oh, and Mom? Can we have that beautiful porridge again for breakfast tomorrow?" And off she went.

You may be saying to yourself, "Beautiful? Blech!" I would bet that the mush of your youth was some gluey mess that stuck to your spoon as well as your ribs. It doesn't have to be that way. Your family can love a good stirabout as much as mine does, though I can't say that your kids will eat three bowls at a go like Josie does when she's in the middle of a growth spurt.

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L'Equip 528 Food Dehydrator

At the time I posted this, the price Amazon listed for this was $119.

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Sunburst Muffins

Finally, the days are growing longer. Soon our longing for warmer weather and sunny days will be satisfied. But for a bright fix now, stir up a batch of sun-kissed muffins. Sprinkled with flecks of orange and lemon peel, these muffins burst with flavor and splendor. Let the kids help with grating, mixing, and filling the muffin cups.

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Alton Brown

High-temperature thoughts from rampant chef and Good Eats host Alton Brown

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Patriotic Slushies


This 4th of July, beat the heat with a frosty red, white, and blue drink that's as much fun to make as it is to slurp. Made with fruit, these patriotic slushies are tasty and nutritious. Kids mash up the fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, pears and bananas and as one mom from Ohio pointed out, "It's another fruit serving in one day."

To keep in the holiday spirit, sing or hum some traditional patriotic songs like "The Star Spangled Banner," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," and "America the Beautiful" while mashing the fruit; you can make a family game out of seeing who remembers all the words. Old Glory never tasted so good!

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Bread Machines

hi all, can anyone tell me if they use a breadmaker and which one is best I had one (A cheapy) and it was ok, it broke and now that i bake alot I'm looking for a better model. Anyone got any guidance for me.

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Beans, the Wonderful Fruit

Without beans where would Jack be? Though there are no magic beans outside of fairytales, they can seem to magically stretch your food dollars.

"Oh, beans," you may say. "They take too long to cook, and then...well...YOU know. Plus they're boring. How many times can you eat chili?"

Balderdash. Beans take hardly any time to cook if you know a couple of tricks (and if you don't use beans that have sat on your shelf for the last five years). There are hundreds if not thousands of things you can do with them. They're so versatile you can make everything from appetizers to dessert with them--yes, dessert! But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

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Munch and Crunch

Nope, that's not the sound of autumn leaves. It's a snacker's delight--Microwave Carmel Corn and Nutty Bear Crunch snack mix. So simple you will want to make both while you're in the kitchen. The S. family said they made both treats following school one afternoon. "The cleanup was certainly easy, which I liked," said Beth S. "It was a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon." These are perfect pack-along snacks or video night treats. One mother said they would be a good snack to put into snack baggies and use as treats for the soccer team. "I will definitely serve both snacks for guests--very yummy recipes!" said Mom Lynda Hannan. Whatever the occasion, the treats are fun to make, and an Iowa mother said, "They sure made the kitchen smell nice!"

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