Monday, December 29, 2014

All-In Challenge

After Lauryn was born, I knew I wanted to focus on getting the best nutrition possible while reclaiming my pre-pregnancy self, not to mention having enough energy to keep up with 3 big kids plus a newborn! Thankfully, I had AdvoCare to help me meet those challenges. I focused on clean eating while doing a modified version of AdvoCare's 24-Day Challenge. After 24 days, I was amazed to see I had lost 5 pounds and 14 inches! I was completely out of maternity clothes, and best of all, I felt great!

Because this time of year is when many people start making new goals or recommitting to old ones to focus on eating well or losing weight, AdvoCare is offering special pricing on their 24-Day Challenge through Noon on December 31st!

For Distributors who place a challenge order, you receive:

* Free Expedited Shipping

* A free limited edition blender bottle and wrist band

* Free shipping on your next order of $250 or more in January 2015

If you're not a distributor, you can still join in the challenge by contacting me for your order to receive the same benefits! I'd love to help you reach your goals for a healthier lifestyle and more energy.

Give me a call, email me, or take a look at my AdvoCare website to learn more.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Buttermilk Bread

I have been making homemade bread for years, and watched my mom make it for years before that, but I learned something new about the whole process recently. Apparently, adding just a pinch of ginger to the yeast mixture when starting your bread makes the yeast go crazy! I have never seen yeast bloom like it did when I used ginger in with the sugar/yeast/water mixture. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try because the bread and rolls I made were tender, fluffy, soft ... perfect!

Buttermilk Bread

I used half the dough to make rolls and half to make a loaf:

Naturally I tried to find out why the ginger affected the yeast the way it did, and this website had a pretty good explanation. (At the link, scroll down to the final answer to the question.) In a nutshell, ginger keeps the pH at the optimum level for yeast growth.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Hamburger Today

I don't even remember when I started making hamburger patties using this method, but I've done it for years. I love it because my hands stay relatively clean. That means not only do I have easy clean-up, but that I can also do other things in between forming patties. I'm a big multi-tasker - I think most cooks are! It's a necessity in the kitchen. My oldest daughter took process shots so you can see what I'm talking about:

Use a good-sized piece of plastic wrap to protect your hand.

Scoop up a portion of your ground beef.

Twist the plastic wrap up loosely to form the meat into a ball.

Press the meat down firmly into a patty.

Unwrap and ...

... fold the plastic wrap over and press to shape the patty.

Then turn your hand over to drop the patty ...

... onto your waiting plate!
If you're making a big batch of patties and need a double layer on your plate, simply lay your used plastic wrap over the first layer of patties. Then get a fresh square to make the second layer of patties.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

By Special Request

I have to say, we have the best mechanic! We've had a few issues with our van over the last year and our service place always goes above and beyond to make sure that we get back on the road quickly and affordably. Because of that, I've made cookies a few times to share with them as a Thank You. The latest batch I whipped up included a special request for Lemon Coolers, which is coincidentally one of my childhood favorites! You can't really buy them anymore since Sunshine Biscuits merged with Keebler. The recipe I used made a nice imitation, and were really fantastic in their own right. I also included a batch of my Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bars.

Lemon Meltaways

Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Lemon Meltaways

Also this week, Jeff received a request from someone at work for Cookie Dough Brownies. I made them several months ago and his friend remembered how good they were! I follow the recipe more or less as written, but I use mini chocolate chips and omit the walnuts. I put half of the chips in the cookie dough batter and melt the other half to drizzle on top. I don't like having a solid layer of chocolate on the top - it makes them hard to bite into.