Bread Slicer

bread slicer with pumpkin bread

I know, this is a very strange thing to blog about, but I’m excited because the bread slicer that I bought on eBay actually works.  I tried using it when I first got it, but it didn’t really work out because I sliced the bread too soon, so it wasn’t slicing right because it was too soft.  The trick is letting the bread harden a little before slicing it which usually takes a day.  I was also pushing down on the top when I was slicing it the first time because it was wobbling too much in the slicer.  That gave me uneven bread.  If I don’t touch the top, it gives me perfect slices every time.

The bread in the image above is spiced pumpkin bread.  I normally only make 100% whole wheat bread to use for sandwiches or toast, but the spiced pumpkin bread is awesome to eat during the holidays.  In case you want the recipe, here it is.

spiced pumpkin bread

I substituted the oil with butter, and I don’t use the lemon juice and it comes out just fine.  I don’t use the lemon juice because I found a recipe for cinnamon raisin bread from Betty Crocker that uses butter instead of oil and it doesn’t use lemon juice.  The recipe for cinnamon raisin bread that came in the recipe book that this recipe came in used oil and lemon juice, so I simply just cut out the oil and lemon juice and replace them with butter in all of my bread recipes and they still come out good, amazing in fact.

I use the 1lb recipe for my bread machine and the bread usually goes over the top, if I use the 1 1/2lb recipe, it goes way over the top and touches the vent and the glass on the door of the machine.  That’s way too much bread, so the 1lb recipe is perfect.  The Betty Crocker recipe must be the 1 1/2lb recipe because it always goes over the top.

So I just wanted to show the slicer and how thick the slices come out.  I was hoping for thinner slices, but this is fine.  At least they aren’t too thin on one side and too thick on the other which is what usually happens when I don’t use the slicer.  It’s a good guide to use.  Oh and this bread slicer was only $7.99 on eBay.  I give this bread slicer a thumbs up.

Here is this same bread slicer on Amazon and here it is on eBay for $6.99.  Naturally they lowered the price by $1 the day AFTER I bought it lol.

Oh and just in case someone asks, because I was thinking about it too, you can buy an electric knife if you want to, but a regular bread knife works just fine.  Although an electric knife will probably give you a more even cut on each slice, a regular one works just as well.  The bread in the image above isn’t 100% perfect, it’s uneven, but it’s not too uneven so it doesn’t make too much of a difference to me, but I’m sure you will get the same or near the same results with an electric knife.  So if you already have a regular knife like I do, save your money and just use that.  If you don’t have either then buy whichever one you want, but a regular bread knife will work just fine.

I Bought a Bread Slicer

bread slicer

The bread machine that I bought at the thrift store seems to be the best thing ever, you could even say since sliced bread.  Pun well intended.  The bread machine is awesome, but there is only 1 issue that I have, and that is slicing the bread.  I have a long bread slicer knife, but the bread slices are uneven.  Sometimes they are too thick on one side, and paper-thin on the other, or some are too thick while some are too thin or some are just lopsided lol.  It’s very difficult to slice bread, so I have been researching bread slicers.

I wanted a wood bread slicer because wood is way better than plastic when it comes to something like this, but they are way too expensive.  I decided to buy this particular bread slicer on eBay because it was only $7.99 with free shipping.  Although, today it is $6.99, but I still feel like a got a good deal, so I’m fine with what I paid.

What I really want is to cut thin slices like you see in this picture.  I want thin slices because the bread that I make with my bread machine is really… and I’m not sure I’m using the proper term… dense.  It’s not fluffy like the bread you buy in the store, you know like Wonder Bread or Sara Lee bread.  It’s harder like the really expensive wide breads that you buy.  I like the airy or fluffy bread, but the problem with those is they rip to shreds when you spread peanut butter on it, but this bread doesn’t have that problem which is why I love it so much.  I think the thinner the slices are, the better the sandwich will taste and the less calories it will have.

I see from this picture that you can slice the bread at any size you wish, like the slices laying down are thinly sliced, but the one they are slicing in the bread slicer is double the thickness.  That is perfect if you want to make French toast.  If you are making pumpkin bread or banana nut bread then the thicker slices are better, so at least I have that option.

I really hope this bread slicer isn’t a piece of crap that will break as soon as I start slicing the bread.  That’s another reason I wanted wood, because plastic is crap and it breaks, wood is sturdy and will literally last a lifetime.

My new plastic bread slicer will be here next week.  I hope it was worth it.

Parotid Surgery

A couple of months ago I mentioned that I had pain in my saliva gland aka my Parotid gland.  I went to the doctor who gave me an anti-biotic medicine and said I may need surgery and even asked me if that was what I wanted.  He sent me to Kern Medical Center and that surgeon told me that I had Sialolithiasis which is apparently a very common thing.  I’ve never heard of it.

The surgeon at KMC gave me some options, have it removed with a scope in L.A. or have surgery to remove the entire gland.  My partner didn’t want me to have it removed because it would leave a huge unsightly scar.  He said we could go to L.A. to have that procedure, but then we discussed how many trips we would probably end up making, so he changed his mind.  See, I told the surgeon that I wanted to have him perform the surgery because I knew it would cost money to drive to L.A., and you know that I would have to come 2 or 3 times.  But the surgeon today told me that the stones are too big to be removed with a scope anyway.  The scope would fit in the, I’m just going to call it a vein, but the stones were way too big to be pulled out of said vein.  So surgery is my only option.

My surgery will be in late November, which just happens to be 1 week before Thanksgiving, and I will have a port in the back that will drain into a container which I will have to be mindful of.  I will have to keep that on me for 1 week and then he will remove it.

On one hand I’m very excited to finally have this removed to fix my problem, but on the other hand I’m not looking forward to having a huge scar on my face lol.  I mean, if that’s what it takes to end this constant agony then so be it, but why did it have to be my face?  Why couldn’t the gland be inside my mouth?  Or why couldn’t the stone be somewhere in my stomach where I never have to worry about people seeing my scar?  Why of all places did it have to be on my face?  I mean, I’m not a model so it doesn’t matter, it’s not like I’m going to lose any modeling gigs, but still.  You never want to do something that will put a scar on the first thing people look at when they see you, or bring too much attention to yourself when you are trying to stay invisible.

Well, it’s inevitable, so there is nothing I can do but learn to live with it.  I’m sure the scar won’t be too bad and I can use scar creams that will make it disappear, so there is something to look forward to.  I’m just glad the pain will finally be gone soon.

So until November…

Toastmaster Bread Box 1155

wheat bread

I took a trip to the thrift store yesterday, well, my intention wasn’t to go to a thrift store, but while I was in the neighborhood, I figured let’s go check to see what they have.  I was actually hoping to find a hot air popcorn popper, but instead I found a bread maker machine.  They had at least 5 of them, but this one had the little paddle inside of it, 2 of the other ones I looked at were missing that.  I didn’t look at the other ones because they were smaller than the one I found.

Okay so I’ve never made bread in my life and I’m 43 years old.  I have always wanted to, but never tried it because I knew it would probably be a lot of work because you have to knead the bread and what not.  I have a habit of burning water, so I was afraid of trying to bake my own bread.  This machine does it all, so there is literally no muss, no fuss.

toastmaster bread box

This is what the Toastmaster Bread Box 1155 looks like.  It was quite disgusting on the inside and outside, but I cleaned it up so it looks practically brand new.  It was only $5.95 plus tax, so how could you not buy it?  I knew I was taking a huge risk because you never know if what you are buying at a thrift store will work, but it works just fine.

The bread maker was cheap, but the ingredients for making wheat bread weren’t.  I went to the store to buy everything I needed for making wheat bread and it came to $30.  Ouch!  But, the good thing is that I will get a lot of bread with those ingredients, so the money I will save will make up for that.

Good wheat bread is expensive and you never really know what is inside your bread, so at least now I know what I am putting into it.  It’s basically water, oil, lemon juice, salt, brown sugar, dry milk, bread flour, whole wheat flour and active dry yeast.  That’s it.  100% whole wheat bread is the same, except I don’t use bread flour and it takes 1 hour longer to make.

White bread is unhealthy, but it’s basically all the same ingredients except there is regular white sugar and you don’t use whole wheat flour.  I don’t plan on making white bread unless it is requested.

My first time making bread was a success, but I thought I screwed it up because I used the whole wheat setting.  Well, I was making whole wheat bread, so naturally I thought I had to use that setting, but it turns out I only need to use that setting if I am making 100% whole wheat bread with all the ingredients minus the bread flour.  Since I made regular wheat bread, I should have used the basic setting which takes 3 1/2 hours.  Now I know.

I’m particularly excited about making other things with this bread maker like spiced pumpkin bread and banana bread.  The machine didn’t come with a manual or a recipe book, but I did manage to find them online all in 1 pdf file.  The recipe book has many good recipes, but I will probably only make wheat for our bread and the pumpkin and banana bread for special occasions like birthdays and holidays.  They also make great gifts.  Someone gave me homemade banana nut bread for my birthday once and it was AWESOME!  So I plan on doing the same.

So I finally have a bread machine that didn’t break the bank.  What an awesome gift from whoever donated it to the thrift store.  I know it’s an old machine, but it’s still a gift to me since I didn’t have one and couldn’t afford to pay $75+ for a brand new one.

Weight Gain

WeightGain

We went to the doctor’s office today so I could get my clearance note for surgery to remove my parotid gland.  They had me step on the scale and I was shocked to see that I was 205lbs.  So yeah, I’m a bit verklempt lol.

One of my issues with exercising is that when I walk or ride my bike or do anything that burns calories, the Noom app tells me that I can eat more calories, so I end up eating those extra calories, but then I might even go over those extra calories because I think to myself that I did such a good job that it’s okay.  Well, that’s not how it works.  I should still stick with 1400 calories, 1500 at the most.  Even if it says I can eat 1700, I should draw the line in the sand at 1500.

I’ve been using the Noom app for my cardio, but I decided to download the Noom Cardio Trainer.  I’m sure that it will still show the extra calories in the Noom app, but I just want to see how it goes with the Noom Cardio Trainer.

I’ve been eating those Quinoa and Tofu burgers every day with hamburger buns which is not a good idea; I should be eating them without any bread.  Here is my typical day:

Every morning I will either have a bowl of Malt-O-Meal or a banana for breakfast, which by the way the Malt-O-Meal is a green food (which means healthy) and the banana is obviously a green food.  For my morning snack (second breakfast?) I usually have a banana.  For lunch I normally eat a Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinner, although I’ve been eating the Quinoa and Tofu burgers, both by the way are green, except for the bun of course.  Afternoon snack (linner?) is typically a banana or crackers or sometimes I will have a bowl of broccoli.  That has been consistent.  Dinner is typically a Weight Watchers Smart Ones, but I’ve been eating the Quinoa and Tofu Burgers.  For evening snack I’ve been eating a lot of crackers.  I need to stop doing that, but I get so hungry that it feels like I’m famished.

I’m assuming that my issue here is the bread and the crackers.  I also have to admit that I’ve been eating candy corn, but not daily.  I’m guessing that the amount that I’ve eaten so far is finally catching up to me, so I will stop eating them for the rest of the season.  If I am having this much difficulty from the candy corn, just imagine how it’s going to be when Eggnog is available in stores.  I’m going to go crazy because I just LOVE eggnog lol.

So getting back to the Noom cardio trainer, I have set up 5 days a week to go riding on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  I’m going to go out 5 days a week to do at least 11 miles per day, if I can do more, then great, but I’m not going to push myself that hard.  The app suggests 5 days a week, so I’m giving myself 2 days off, but not 2 consecutive days which is why I chose Sundays and Wednesdays as my days off.

balance ballI am also going to buy that Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball Kit which is sold on Amazon for $20.  It has an exercise DVD with it which I can watch while doing the exercises in my bedroom.  The doctor at Physical Therapy told me I should buy one so I can do exercises for my back since I only have 3 more sessions left.  My insurance only pays for so many sessions, then I’m on my own.  My back isn’t in as much pain as it was, but anyone who has, or anyone who knows anyone with scoliosis knows that the pain is really bad.  The only thing that really helps my pain is the exercises.  Pain meds don’t do anything for my back pain, they help my parotid gland pain, but not my back pain.  $20 is a small price to pay for pain relief.  I wanted to buy one at Target, but they were the same price, but without the DVD.

I really hope I can get back down to my comfortable weight of 192lbs and possibly get back on track with my weight loss so I can get down to my ultimate goal of 170lbs.  Considering I lost 70lbs this year, 35lbs shouldn’t be that difficult to lose, although it’s harder than I thought.

So to recap, my goal is to stay away from Halloween Candy and any other holiday sweets, bread and to exercise more and to try not to eat more than 1500 calories per day, even when the app says I can eat more.

Ready… set…  GO!

Quinoa and Tofu Burger

quinoa and tofu burger

Here is a very good recipe for making Quinoa and Tofu burgers.  Now, the Quinoa was quite expensive at $6 for the box which only makes 3 1-cup servings, but the tofu itself was surprisingly cheap at $1.25 for the package.  This was the first and last time I will ever make this recipe because of how expensive it was and how difficult it was to make.  I will say that it is good though.

So here is the original recipe that I got from the Noom Facebook page.

  • 1 cup Cooked Quinoa
  • 125 g extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Peas
  • 2 tbs chopped scallions
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • salt & pepper

Wrap tofu in dish towel. Squeeze towel-wrapped tofu to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer tofu to medium bowl. Using a fork, mash into small pieces and add cooked quinoa, sweet peas, scallions, fish sauce, oyster sauce and salt & pepper. Shape mixture into ½ inch thick patties. Cook over medium heat w/a drop of oil.

My problem is that I hate 3 of those ingredients which are scallions, fish sauce and oyster sauce.  I hate onions and fish, so those 3 things had to go.  I have seen veggie burgers with red beans and corn in them, so I took those 3 things out and added 2 things and replaced the sauce with teriyaki sauce.  I also didn’t want to have leftover tofu, so I used all of it.  Since I used all of it, I basically had to triple the recipe.  I cooked the quinoa in the rice cooker and I thought I was making 2 cups because I used 1 cup of the quinoa with 2 cups of water, as per the rice cooker instructions, however, I don’t think I had 2 cups.  I had to make another serving and there is only 1 more serving in the box, which I should have just used the entire box, but I didn’t for some reason.

This is why I don’t like making food with ingredients that I hate, because I am always tempted to change it and it almost never works out.  I tried making a burger, but it wouldn’t stick in the pan.  Forget flipping it because it wouldn’t stick.  I was at my breaking point, but then decided to add some eggs.  My mother always told me that if you make hamburgers, add some eggs to keep the hamburgers from falling apart, so that’s what I did, and it did help, to a certain extent that is.  They didn’t fall apart when I flipped them or put them on the buns, but once you started to eat them, they basically crumbled into your mouth.  Oh and it wasn’t that tasty either  I put the bowl in the fridge and figured I would deal with it for lunch the next day.

So today I decided to add more eggs and that seems to have worked.  I made 1 single burger for lunch and it stayed firm and didn’t fall apart.  That is the picture you see above.  I made 16 more which are going in the freezer.  There was actually 1 more and I ate that when it finished because it’s actually quite tasty with the eggs lol.

The only reason I wanted to make these was because it was suggested by Noom, but the next time I want a veggie burger, I’ll just buy a garden burger from the store.