Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jalapeño Cheddar Bread

I've been doing so well with my Paleo food overhaul (ha!) that I decided today was a good a day as any to make some delicious, homemade, spicy, cheesy Jalapeño Cheddar Bread.  Actually, I've been really good about avoiding carbs, so I needed a good splurge.  I've been eyeballing this recipe for a while now.  As I've admitted before, I'm a carb-a-holic and Panera Bread has a delicious bagel with jalapeños and cheddar that I get every time we go there.  When I saw this recipe, I knew right then I'd have to give it a try and see if it measured up.  I left the jalapeño seeds in and added chunks of cheddar and I've got to say it rivaled those bagels in bread form. The outside had a nice golden crust, and the inside was soft with flecks of green and pale yellow scattered throughout.  It had just a hint of spice and delicious cheese pockets from the cubes - my favorite part! I got two loaves out of this recipe but not to worry, in spirit of keeping to my food overhaul loaf number 2 is safely snuggled in foil and tucked inside a ziplock baggy in the freezer so he doesn't end up in my stomach. By accident of course.

I used my Kitchen Aid to make this bread and so my directions are in this form, but of course you can do it all by hand or use your bread machine.  I don't use bread machines, so just make sure to follow the directions of your particular machine :).

Jalapeño Cheddar Bread
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cups cubed extra sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/4 inch squares)
1/2 cup minced (or roughly chopped, if preferred) jalapeño peppers
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/3 cups hot water (not over 105 degrees or yeast will die)
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast (or 4.5 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeño peppers, white sugar (minus 1 tablespoon) and salt
  2. In a separate bowl (I used the bowl of my Kitchen Aid), combine hot water, yeast and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.  Let sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
  3. Add oil to yeast mixture.  
  4. Using paddle attachment of Kitchen Aid, add flour mixture to yeast mixture and knead of low speed until combined.  Increase speed to medium for a few minutes. Alternately, use your hands.
  5. Add remaining 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and cheese chunks.  Mix gently into dough by hand.  
  6. Grease bowl and turn dough over so dough is greased as well. Cover and let rise in warm place for about 1 hour.
  7. Punch dough down and divide into two greased loaf pans.  Let rise in a warm place for another hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 325 and bake for about 30 minutes or until bread is cooked through.  
  9. Let cool for 5-10 minutes then turn out onto cooling rack.  Let cool completely before slicing. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Food Overhaul

Last week I made homemade caramels - some sprinkled with coarse sea salt and some plain.  They were the tastiest morsels of buttery, creamy goodness ever.  To test my candy making skills further, I made homemade gourmet vanilla marshmallows the very next day.  Then I decided I couldn't have s'mores made with gourmet marshmallows on ho-hum graham crackers from the grocery store, so I whipped up a batch of those too.   I ate to my heart (and tummy's) content.  THEN I got on the scale. We won't say how much weight I've gained since last time this year.  It's so easy to hide behind thick sweaters and coats during the winter, but when the weather warms up and the clothes start to come off, well, let's just say it's not a pretty sight if you've been eating comfort food for 4 straight months.  In anticipation of our beach vacay coming up next month, CD and I have decided to do a MAJOR food overhaul.  I won't say diet, because I don't do diets well.  Really.  If I'm told not to eat something, then that is all I crave until eventually I give in, feel guilty and give up.  I'm calling it a food overhaul, but it's also known as the Paleo Diet which is especially really big right now with hardcore Crossfit fans.  Essentially it's a "diet" meant to mimic the way that our ancient ancestors used to eat - no sugar, no carb, no dairy, high protein, and lots of veggies and fruits.  And supposedly it helps the body to avoid debiltating diseases like cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinson's, and Diabetes - I don't know how much truth there is to that, but it doesn't hurt to eat better anyways.  We're following the Paleo guidelines pretty closely - we're definitely doing lots of lean protein, veggies and fruits, but we're not cutting out the dairy. When it comes to sugar and carbs, we're trying to stay away from those as much as possible too, but I refuse to go hardcore on this because sugar and carbs are my weakness.  I'm a carb-a-holic and a chocaholic -  if I don't outright ban them, it's easier for me to limit them. It's hard to replace the bread with salad, and it's even harder to walk by the pantry without reaching in for one of the delicious caramels taunting me from inside their jar...BUT...I've been doing well. Somehow I lost 3 pounds this week.  I'm not sure how that happened - we're not counting fat or calories and I've still got a bruised rib, so I haven't been able to work out quiet yet.  I'll give it another month and see if I notice any more changes in weight or an increase in energy - which I'll really need since school will be out and I'll have three crazy ones at home ALL day.  If you're interested in the Paleo diet, below are a few websites to check out. CD ordered cookbooks as well, but I don't think you need them since there is quiet a few recipes on line.  The only thing you need is more cash - fresh fruits, veggies and meat is expensivo!


Monday, May 2, 2011

{In This Moment}

Baa Baa Black Sheep, Have you any Wool?
I wonder if they ended up with three bags full once they got down shearing this lot. Cuties. Taken in Mount Vernon (George Washington's Home).