Monthly Archives: October 2011

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread with a Secret Ingredient

A common complaint I hear about making sandwiches with 100% whole wheat bread is the toughness of the bread. Whole wheat bread can be dense and chewy, and what most people want for a sandwich is light and tender. Yet there is little nutrition in white bread, and almost no fiber.

After experimenting in the Hasty Tasty Meals Kitchen, I’ve found a way to make whole wheat bread with the right texture for sandwiches. Whether you have a bread machine or you use a Vitamix or your hands, try this recipe. You’ll need a 12 oz. can of beer (and no, it’s not for the cook! :D)


Whole Wheat Beer Bread


  • 12 oz can beer, room temperature (pull the tab so it goes flat)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. molasses
  • ½ stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • ½ cup gluten
  • 2½ tsp. yeast


Add all ingredients in order listed to the bread machine pan. Select “Wheat” setting and hit “Start.” Approximately three and a half hours later, you’ll have tasty whole wheat bread. Remove immediately from the bread pan and allow to cool before slicing.

If you don’t use a bread machine, make the dough (I’ve omitted dough making instructions, but if you have a Vitamix, follow the directions in your Vitamix book) and let it rise. Knead and let it rise again. Bake in a buttered loaf pan at 350° for about 40 minutes or until done. Loaf is fully baked when you thump it and it sounds hollow. Remove loaf from pan and allow it to cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.

You will be delighted with the airy softness of this whole wheat bread. Enjoy!

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Filed under bread, Healthful Eating, Recipes

Make Your Own Sausage

Red meat isn’t bad for you (in moderation), but processed meat is. All processed meats. The additives used in curing can be toxic in large amounts. Unfortunately, I like cured foods, stuff like lunch meats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage…  I rarely eat processed meats now, yet I surely miss sausage. Sausage is a tasty ingredient in so many of my favorite dishes, such as jambalaya.

One day while watching a segment of Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals in which she turned ground meat into sausage, I was motivated to try making my own. I took it a step further and ground my own meat, which is easy using my Vita-mix machine. The result: delicious sausage without nitrites or nitrates. I love being in control of my food. 🙂

Here is how I made a pound (4 servings) of sausage:


  • 1 pound lean meat (your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground sage
  • 1 Tbsp. steak seasoning blend Mrs. Dash
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup minced celery, onion, and bell pepper*
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

*You can mince these in your Vita-mix.


  1. I raided my freezer and found 2 top sirloins (approximately 4 oz. each) and 2 boneless pork chops (same size). I thawed them in my refrigerator.
  2. I sliced the meat into 1″ cubes.
  3. I turned on the Vita-mix to Variable Speed 5 then dropped in about a third of the meat.
  4. I ran the Vita-mix about 20 seconds then dumped the ground meat into a bowl.
  5. I repeated the process twice more (grinding meat in batches is actually faster).
  6. Into the bowl of ground steak and pork I added my spices and seasonings.
  7. Using my hands, I mixed the ingredients well, taking care not to overwork the meat.
  8. The sausage was ready to cook.

How simple and easy. Now if I can figure out how to make links . . .

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Filed under cooking, Healthful Eating

The Gentle Cook

Have you tried making hasty tasty meals with disappointing results? Try the opposite, what I call GENTLE cooking. The difference in a hasty tasty meal and a gently cooked meal is planning. No rushed last minute meals allowed.

The concept is simple, one our great-grandmothers and grandmothers knew well: low and slow. When you cook over low heat for a long time, you give food the chance to develop its natural flavors. You don’t risk burning or toughening food when you gently cook. Unlike hasty tasty meals, a gently cooked meal takes time. (Not to be confused with slow-cooker cooking, which takes hours)

The upside of low and slow is multi-tasking. If you start your meal gently cooking, you don’t need to stand and tend to it. You can put pots on the range or in the oven to start cooking gently then go on to other chores like laundry, checking e-mails, or cleaning the kitchen. You can set the table at your leisure. In a way, it’s more relaxed cooking.

Here is a gently cooked meal as an example. Prep produce for carrots and broccoli. Place the carrots in a 1½ quart pan (carrots have a longer cooking time than broccoli), cover, and turn the burner on low. If your range is gas, this is the lowest setting; electric range setting would be one notch higher than warm.

Take frozen fish fillets, season, and place in a dry 10” skillet. Cover and turn heat to its lowest setting as you did the carrots.

Do not lift the lids on the pans. You can check for steam by spinning the lids. If they spin freely, you have vapor seal. This is what you want. If the lid rattles and steam spews around the edges, lower the heat or use a flame-tamer.

After about twenty minutes, add the broccoli to the 1½ quart pan on top the carrots. Replace the lid and allow broccoli to steam at least twenty minutes for firm. Add time if you like broccoli super tender, taking care not to overcook. Broccoli cooked gently will not turn an ugly brownish color, even if it overcooks a bit.

After about forty-five minutes, dinner is ready to serve. You will get nothing but compliments on your delicious meal, and you can relax and enjoy dinner, too. Gentle cooking makes cleanup easy, especially if you use quality heavy-gauge cookware that evenly distributes the heat. No hot spots means no burned on food. Best of all, slow cooking requires little to no fat, which means healthier meals!

Gently cooked fish dinner

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Filed under cooking, Fish, Healthful Eating