Tuesday, October 30, 2012

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Baking bread can be very intimidating if it is something you did not grow up doing and I am one of those people.  I have always been someone who could care less about bread, it just never excited me (unless it was kaiser rolls with tons of butter on them).  This was probably because I grew up in the world of white bread.  Now there is nothing wrong with white bread (or at least before they started adding all sorts of not healthy for you stuff to it) but its just boring!

I started working on baking bread a few years ago and the toughest part was the kneading and not having bread dough stuck to everything (especially the little hairs on my arms).  Some of my endeavors have been kind of successful, others have been major fails but that is a part of baking.

I had printed this recipe up earlier this year and put it in our binder o recipes.  Looking for something to keep myself occupied yesterday I stumbled across it and the next thing you know it was well on its way.  I sincerely feel the flour you use makes a serious difference when you bake and for this recipe I used King Arthur brand whole wheat flour.  If you are thinking of baking bread give this one a try!

Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread from King Arthur Flour

  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
  • 1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • *Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.


1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for "dough" or "manual.") Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.
2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1" above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
4) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.
5) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
Yield: 1 loaf.

I did not have any dry or dried milk and the recipe still turned out great.  I store my flour in the refrigerator so that cuts down on the amount of flour used in my bread (this is kind of an experimentation thing).  Michael said that this is the tastiest bread I have made yet!

Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

The week before last I told you about a vegan chocolate cake I had made and promised to publish so you too could enjoy this!  The recipe I saved, the frosting recipe was not so fortunate.  The shame of that is that the frosting may be the absolute best I have ever tried.  That said, I will endeavor to find the recipe again (hopefully sooner than later since I had hoped to make it tonight again).

The picture is of the same cake made with whipped cream and strawberries, even if you forget to put sugar into the whipped cream it still tastes pretty good and we managed to eat the entire cake!

Chocolate Wacky Depression Cake  from Savory Sweet Life


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup cocoa powder

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together by hand. Add all the wet ingredients until well combined. Pour into a 8×8 pan which has been prepared with non stick spray.
Bake for 30 until done. Allow to completely cool before serving. Cake is even better if eaten the next day. Enjoy!
I cut the cake in half to make two layers, the first time I made it the filling was this fantastic preserve that I buy at work.  It is Mackays 100% Natural Fruit Blueberry and Blackcurrant preserve, it makes a great filling for a cake. The original icing recipe follows!  It is from the same website as the cake...

Shiny Chocolate Icing
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup cocoa*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water or nondairy milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix sugars, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa in a medium sauce pan. Whisk in the coconut milk. Stirring constantly, heat over medium until it gets thick and starts to boil. Continue stirring and boil for 1-2 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat and stir in oil and vanilla. Allow to cool to room temperature, then spread over the top of your cooled cake.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Body Shape

Yesterday Michael and I went for a nice walk downtown, the weather was wonderful and we wondered in and out of some of the shops.  One store we visited was Chico's were I saw some outfits that were so nicely put together!  For work I wear jeans, a solid shirt in one of the approved colors and either flats or sneakers (pretty boring I know but we can get pretty dirty loading furniture or moving furniture or just plain old doing stuff).

I have decided it is time to mix things up a bit when I am not at work!  Last week I started exercising and need to add some upper body workouts to what I have going in order to get rid of this little pouch that has developed on my stomach (why does it never go any place else?). 

Then next comes the wardrobe do over...so to the Internet I went.  For some reason I thought it would be as easy as looking up recipes and it is not.  I found one site that looked interesting and it prompted me to take a body shape test so that they could tell me what to wear.  After signing up (which was not easy) through the survey I went.  I measured and answered some rather bizarre questions than the moment of truth...my body shape.  I know what it is not but no way was I prepared to be told that my shape is...A Ruler, that's right, my body is the shape of a ruler!  Straight up and down...there has got to be a better name than that!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


An assortment of raw sushi

Michael's dinner which was Scallop shushi and Kobi Beef sushi
Last night we went to a wonderful Asian fusion restaraunt downtown. the name of this fantastic place is O-Ku  and the food was fantastic!  Now that we understand the menu and the serving sizes (which are huge) we will enjoy it even more next time!  I was shocked by how affordable this meal was especially for sushi....

One thing about sushi is that is doesn't all come raw, there are many cooked choices (I don't mind raw fish but am not crazy about the texture) and this restaraunt has a number of great entree's (I had a seafood udami dish with scallops, shrimp, mussels and clams in a great spicy sauce and had some of the leftovers for lunch today).

Homemade Chicken Stock and stuff

It's been a hectic week and I can't believe it has been so long since I last posted!  We had a corporate visit at work and you probably can imagine or you actually know what you have to do to get ready!  But enough of that, let me catch you up on whats been going on.

The venison chili took second at the cook-off!  Much better than when I entered a black bean and turkey chili at Michael's office, we took next to last place (and there were 15 entries that time).  By the time I got to the oyster roast there was none left so I guess it was okay.  First place went to a pumpkin chili, sounds interesting!  I ate more than my fill of oysters...but wish I had eaten more!

There has been tons of cooking going on here from baked stuffed shells to a vegan chocolate cake with icing (I promise I will absolutely post both the recipes) filled with blackberry and black currant preserves.   So much for the diet!

Tonight we are supplying the snacks for after church.  There is a Saturday night service at 6 at our church, very casual, kids are encouraged to attend and make as much noise as kids make and it is lay led.  What that means is that a member of the congregation not only does the readings but also gives the homily after the gospel is read.  It is so different from the formal service on Sunday with the organist and the choir and is a wonderful way to end the week.  Afterwards we all get together and have some snacks, wine and just catch up with one another.  Tonight we are bringing curried egg salad sandwiches, chicken salad wraps (with green onions, apples and grapes in the salad) black bean salsa and madeleines with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.  Thankfully I got off work at 12 so I can finish up making everything and still have plenty of time to goof off!

Yesterday I made chicken stock.  If you have never made stock, it is actually ridiculously easy!  I hold onto the chicken carcass when ever we have a whole chicken and use that!  Here's the recipe...

Homemade Chicken Stock

1 chicken carcass
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
8 cups of water (or so)

Put everything into a large stock pot, bring to a boil, turn to medium low and let cook for a few hours (mine usually goes for 3 to 4 hours).  Pour through a strainer and there you go, you have stock.  I put mine in zip lock bags with about cups in each.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Venison Chili

Well, tomorrow is the church Oyster Roast!!  I am more than ready to go eat my $25 worth of the succulent yummy oysters.  There is also a Chili Cook off and I entered, the winner gets a free massage (of the legal type of course, this is a church event).

There are going to be many healthy chili's there.  I have heard speak of a couple of vegetarian entries, a couple of chicken or turkey chili's so I decided that we need something different!!!  Our entry will be a Venison chili.

Venison was not something I grew up eating and as a matter of fact I had it for the first time a few years ago at a restaurant downtown.  I am in love with it even though I did need to get over the whole Bambi thing.  I assume you can go buy venison but we have been fortunate enough the past couple of years to make friends with folks that hunt and enjoy sharing their bounty!  This year it is the boyfriend of our next door neighbor and he gave us 4 pounds of meat (3 ground and 1 looks like a roast of some type).  At first I was going to bring a venison and black bean chili in a Mole sauce but the initial attempt pretty much wound up in the trash (yes it was that bad),  the recipe I started with was for chicken and has cinnamon in it which is what I think did the whole thing in.  So after that attempt it was decided that it would just be a plain venison and black bean chili.  This makes a lot so if you try it you may need to cut the ingredients back to suit your needs (or you can just put it in freezer bags for later).  I am also making a fairly mild chili for the masses, if you like it spicier go for it!!

Venison and Black Bean Chili

2 lbs ground venison
2 medium onions chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large can tomato sauce
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1 cup medium salsa
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a large stockpot heat the olive oil, add the onions and the venison.   Cook the venison thoroughly (the onions should be done when the meat is finished).   Add the chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Stir thoroughly than add the tomatoes and the salsa.  Heat to boiling than reduce to a medium simmer.  Let cook for many hours (I cooked mine on the stove for about 4 hours and than put it in the crock pot and let it go on low all night).

Chili is one of those foods that tastes better the second or third day and you could substitute any meat you want, I have made this with ground chicken before and it turned out great!  If you are using a meat with more fat content (venison is very lean) you may need to cut down on the olive oil.

I will let you know how it goes!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Stuff Going On!

I have about a million things going through my mind right now that I want to tell you (well maybe not a full million but many).  I will try to keep it to the most exciting (at least to me).

We are back in the house and the tub is done!  No showers yet and thankfully I was off yesterday and today from work.   No I don't smell although the sponge baths definitely don't leave me feeling overly clean and my hair is desperately in need of a good shampoo!

Bear loved being downtown, probably all the people and everything going on around him all the time!

It is only October and I am already tired of Christmas.  Last week at work it was ornaments, this week food.

We apparently have a water leak somewhere so I am waiting for the water company to come out and check the meter.  Our water usage has doubled according to the bill, how much water can two people and one dog really use?

Michael started with a new brokerage firm this week!!!  He has some great ideas that he just couldn't  put into place where he was and the new group will not take so very much of his commission.  He has been working on this since last year and now the time is right.  I am so very proud of him to have the courage to do this!!!

We went to the Habitat for Humanity Re-sale store yesterday and got a great big comfy chair for the living room.  We did not realize quite how big it was until we got it to our little home but...it was a great buy!!

Sunday is the church oyster roast out on Bowen's Island.  If you don't know what an oyster roast is neither did I until moving here!  I think its kind of like steamed oysters and they are delicious!  If you live here in Charleston and like oysters its this Sunday from 2 til 5 and the tickets are $25 a person, the proceeds go to our churches Outreach partners (Florence Crittendon, Crisis Ministries, Backpack Buddies to name a few).   Being Episcopals there is music and alcohol! 

Big pot of chili on the stove for the chili cook off on Sunday.  It's Venison and Black Bean, I'm not sure if I will mention the venison part!

Yesterday was apparently eat out for $18 dollar day.  First we went to the Workman's Cafe on James Island for lunch and had some absolutely fantastic low country food, Michael had Fried Pork Chops and I had Fried Chicken.  It's not fancy but it is delicious!  We want to go there on a Saturday for breakfast (the only day they do that meal).  From what I hear it is 6.99 for eggs, 2 meats, potatoes or grits (yuck), bread and coffee.  The meals we had were a meat, two veggies and cornbread plus some of the best ice tea down in these parts.  For dinner (I was still full from lunch) we went to How Art Thou which is a coffee/wine bar next to the Terrace Theater also on James Island.  Michael had a delicious roast beef sandwich and I had a bowl of Tomato Basil soup and a glass of wine.  The owner is a great guy so if you live here in town give them a try, they have all sorts of things going on and you might just find a new place to hang out and some new friends! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Life in Downtown Charleston

We  are firmly ensconced in downtown Charleston for a few days while our landlord hopefully re-glazes our bath tub (please get it done on time!!).
So we are suffering terribly, forcing ourselves to stay in this absolutely beautiful old Charleston home, one block off King Street and just two short blocks north of Calhoun.  Will the suffering never end?

Bear is having as terrible a time as we are, he is forced to go for walks, had to go get blessed at church this afternoon (where he was torture d with his three favorite things which are food, children and other dogs).  He is slowly figuring out that he can go in and out the doggy door anytime he wants and that you cannot run down the un-carpeted wood stairs (yes he crashed).

We are being forced to walk around this gorgeous city and do social things  like the French Quarter Art Walk with free wine, (some of it really bad), a play and too many restaurants.

So as you can see we are having a miserable time!  Wish you were here!

Most importantly, so many thanks to our friends Sherri and Jim for opening their beautiful home to us! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Two of the Many Dogs Who Have Shared My Life

Most of you know that I am a dog person, these are pictures of some of the dogs that came into my life before Bear.

This is my much beloved Ben.  He was my heart dog, until you have one you don't know that they are, after you have one you are spoiled for the rest of your live.  Ben came as a rescue at 8 from Lady's Island, SC.

This is Angel who I believe became Michael's heart dog.  According to him she could do no wrong and was a true Southern Lady (even with toilet paper hanging from the sides of her mouth).  She came to us as a rescue from Savannah, GA at 8 years old.  She was turned into the shelter because she supposedly had thunderstorm anxiety. 

Ben and Angel after a swim.  Seems like they were always wet!

Angel looking angelic on the couch she was not supposed to be on.

Angel busted!

My favorite picture of Ben.

I suspect he was up to something at the moment.

I guess the point of this whole blog is that so many people give dogs up when they get to be seniors.  These wonderful dogs still have so much to give, have so much life in them.  I could tell you all day about these two wonderful dogs and yet another great senior that shared our life whose name was Jessie but I have no pictures of on my computer.  There have been many seniors who have shared our lives for short periods of time as fosters and now I wish that we had a picture diary of each and every one.

Christmas in October!!!!

Believe or not, even though it is almost 90 degrees out it is Christmas at your local World Market store.  Yes, I have spent the past 8 hours opening up little tiny boxes containing hundreds of dozens of assorted (and yes some weird) Christmas ornaments!  I am covered from head to toe (even where I was originally covered with clothing) in glitter.  Tomorrow the excitement of the holiday continues when we open thousands more little boxes containing little ornaments carefully wrapped in bubble wrap (which is taped closed), and than paper (which is also taped closed), and finally in a plastic bag (which is taped closed).

So, therefore I have called a holiday!  There is to be no cooking in the Fenwrick household tonight!  Instead we will dine on fried chicken from the Piggly Wiggly (sorry if you don't live near one) and store bought potato salad!!!