Spiced Pumpkin Bread

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Have you ever had Spiced Pumpkin Bread? No, I’m not talking about that cake stuff that you buy, or that grandma bakes for dessert, I’m talking about actual bread that you can make sandwiches or toast with. Yeah, actual bread. No? Well, you are in for a real treat my friend because this is the best bread that I have ever had and it is too awesome not to share.

Okay so disclaimer it is high in calories. I’m not going to lie. You know that diet that you’ve been struggling to stay on? Well, you can go off your diet just this once. I swear off bread when I am dieting, but from October to December I throw caution to the wind because screw it, your weight can wait until January 1st when you make your New Years resolution to lose weight.

Now back to the bread. This bread is so fantastic. You can literally make a ham or turkey, or ham and turkey, go wild. My favorite is Peanut butter and Jam. It really brings out the taste of the pumpkin more for some reason. You can also make toast or garlic bread. Whatever you want, just freakin’ do it!

This is what you do. If you have a bread machine then wonderful, if you have a mixer that works too. If you have neither and you are low on funds, just head on over to the thrift stores. I bought my bread machine at a thrift store for $6. I shit you not. If you can’t find one then well, get your hands ready to start kneading dough. Trust me, it is so worth it.

spiced pumpkin breadThe ingredients are very simple. You start with the top and work your way down to the bottom. This is the recipe that comes in the recipe book for my bread machine, but I have a couple alterations for you because this recipe doesn’t make the best loaf of bread.

The recipe I use is in the middle for the 1 1/2 pound loaf. I don’t actually let it bake in the bread machine, I just use the machine to knead the dough for me. So just use the normal dough setting.

Start with 1 egg. Crack it directly into your cup. It says 1 egg with enough water to equal 1/4 cup. Well, I make it 1/2 cup. 3 tablespoons of oil. It doesn’t really matter what type of oil you use, so use whatever you want. I used canola for this recipe. 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. You can use a real lemon, or just buy one of those little plastic lemons with lemon juice. Just go down the list and add everything else verbatim.

Once you’ve added all of your ingredients, turn on the machine (or if you are actually doing this by hand, and if you are I applaud the hell out of you) and let it start kneading the dough. Don’t walk away from it, stand there and watch it. Does it just spin dry as if it were a baseball stuck to the bottom? If so, it is way too dry so add some more water, I would say about 1 tablespoon at a time. I would also suggest adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of more pumpkin. More pumpkin doesn’t hurt. What you want to see is your dough flapping against the side of the pan or bowl. Don’t make it too wet, but if you do, just simply add another tablespoon of the flour. Just keep watching it to make sure that it’s not too dry and it’s not too wet.

The bread machine should go for about half an hour or so. Once it finishes its kneading cycle, it will rise in the machine, just allow it to rise until it beeps and turns off. When it does that, what you want to do is turn the machine on again so it starts spinning the dough again. Let it work long enough until it’s back to a ball of dough. When that happens, take out your bread loaf pan and grease the sides to keep it from sticking, then dump the dough inside the pan.

I use a toaster oven since my oven doesn’t work, but that is the perfect place for me because I don’t have to wait for it to preheat, and I will tell you why. You want to put it in the toaster oven on warm, not bake, 45 minutes on 150F to rise. When 45 minutes is up, you should notice that it has risen again, and if it has, you want to turn the temperature up to 375F and switch it from warm to bake and let it bake for 45 minutes. When the 45 minutes is up, turn the temperature back down to 150F and switch it over to the warm setting again and let it warm for 20 minutes.

Oh and if you are using a toaster oven, you don’t need the rack because the bread will rise so high that it will touch those 2 coils at the top. You do not want that to happen. Just take the rack out and put it on the counter to use later. If you have 2 coils at the bottom, if they are wide enough that your bread pan sits in between them then you are golden, if not then you may have to sit it on top of them. I hate to give the advice to do that because it could break them, and we don’t want that. So if that is the case then it’s probably a better idea to use your oven.

Most people would say to take the bread out of the bread pan and put it on a rack to cool, but I found that it falls when you do that, so just leave it in the pan on the counter for a 10 minutes. When it is sort of cool to the touch, flip it over into your hand and lift the pan off. If the bottom is kind of wet, just take 2 paper towels and place it over the pan and drop the bread back in. I know this sounds odd, but it is wet because it is no longer in the oven, so it gets wet. Give it about 10 minutes and take it out and put it on the rack. It should be nice and cool by then, and the paper towel will soak up the moisture from the bottom of the bread. Let the bread sit on the rack until it cools down and the bottom will dry out.

I bought a bread slicer, it’s more of a guide that allows you to cut even slices and trust me, it really helps. You want to give it a couple of hours to really cool down before you start slicing it. Some say to wait a full 24 hours, but screw that, you want some bread now! Just let it cool down and then cut the bread to your hearts content. I use a plastic grocery bag to store it in.

Your bread should be light and fluffy and really soft. If it is too dense, you didn’t add enough water when mixing the dough. If it is too fluffy, you either sliced it too soon, or you added too much water. If you did it right, it will be so delicious that you will never want to buy regular bread ever again.

I normally don’t eat bread because I get so addicted to it that I can’t stop lol. Most people are addicted to chocolate, I get addicted to bread. I mean, not just regular bread, if it’s really good bread, then yes, but like regular bread, not so much. Give me a bag of bagels and get the rest while you can. Forget about English Muffins, those are ALL MINE! LOL. You see, I didn’t get fat because I couldn’t stop eating junk food, it’s from all that damn bread.

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Eat healthier at Subway

subway app

I have been going to Subway since I was a teenager when they first came to California.  I even remember my very first subway sandwich.  It was a footlong cold cut combo on white (they only had wheat and white back then) without cheese and with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and actually I don’t remember what else.  I do remember it had oil and vinegar which I did not like and I haven’t gotten it that way since.  As they added more breads, my order has slightly changed since then, but it has always been a cold cut combo.  I think one time in the last 23 years I ordered the meatball sub, and I think one time I ordered the tuna, but those were the only two times I ever ordered something different.

Their slogan is “Eat Fresh” and they have always had a list of their sandwiches with calories, but you never really knew how many calories you were getting with all of the extras you add-on.  I mean, who wants to get out their calculator to see how many calories they are eating?  You just assume that whatever you are getting is low cal.

We went there tonight and I was looking at the receipt and noticed they had an app for ordering your sub with your smart phone.  Naturally I had to download it.  The Subway closest to us does not have the feature available where I can place my order from my phone, but I asked to be informed when they do.  It would be cool if I could just place my order from my phone and then just go pick them up.  In the meantime, I can see how many calories I am eating.  This is tonight’s sub.

12 inch cold cut combo

Tonight I got a 12” Honey Oat Cold Cut Combo with Provolone toasted with lettuce, light mayo, cucumbers and olives.  That’s it.  That sandwich is 1040 calories.  Keep in mind we buy the footlong and only eat half of it for our meal and the other half for the next meal, so whatever calories it has, divide that by 2.  So 520 calories isn’t that much right?  Well, wrong actually.  Check it out,

12 inch 9 grain wheat turkey

If I changed my order to a 12” Turkey Breast and Black Forest Ham on 9-grain Wheat, no cheese, no mayo, with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and olives, it goes down to 580 calories.  Now, I can split this up into 2 meals like I typically do and my calories will be cut in half.

I have been eating the cold cut combo for 23 years.  I think it’s time for a change, don’t you?

Suffering Side Effects

Well I’ve already started to suffer some of the side effects from these medications that the neurologist gave me for my shoulder.

I’m taking Methylprednisolone 4MG Dospack 21’s which is this pack that has all the pills that you pop out the back.  The first day is at the top and you have to take 6 pills in 1 day.  2 before breakfast, 1 after lunch and supper (I guess that drug company has never heard of dinner) and 2 at bedtime.  Then day 2 you take 5 pills at various times throughout the day.  Day 3 4 pills and so on until day 6 you are just taking 1 pill.  This one is the steroid drug.

Then the other one is Baclofen 10MG tablets that I have to take 3 times a day so like every 8 hours.  That is a muscle relaxant drug.

I read the possible side effects for both of them and some of them are similar.  The muscle relaxant doesn’t have nearly as many side effects as the steroid but I’m getting quite a bit.

1 of them isn’t even listed and I’m not going to air that dirty laundry in here but believe me, it’s painful to sit down hint hint wink wink.  The other ones are that my teeth don’t feel like they belong in my mouth lol.  They just feel strange like the dentist shot something in there to numb them.  Also I’ve got major joint aches and pains especially in my legs at the hips and well just everywhere in my legs.

Let’s see, I can’t sit, I can’t stand and my teeth don’t feel like they belong in my mouth lol.  What else can go wrong?  Oh shoot, I just jinxed myself by saying that.  One of the other side effects are that I’m hungry more which happened today, I got extra hungry, I had 2 sandwiches for lunch, not just bread but these really big rolls with 3 slices of turkey each and lettuce and mayo.  Oh and we went to Hometown Buffet and I stuffed myself silly and one of the other side effects is weight gain which I guarantee you tomorrow I will see that side effect come into place thanks to the hometown buffet but we’re just gonna say it’s a side effect from the pills ok?

UGH and my shoulders are experiencing joint pain too.  Ok, I think I need to lay down because I’m becoming too fragile to be sitting here typing.  One of my fingers might fall off and we don’t want that.

Discouraging

I bought my new bike wheel on April 13th, I think.  My first ride was on April 14th so I’m going to assume it’s the 13th when I got the wheel.  I have 2 weeks worth of riding in my log which technically is only 3 days per week.  But in those 2 weeks I haven’t lost 1lb.  It’s a bit discouraging when you ride so far and get no results from it.

I guess in all fairness I wouldn’t lose the weight so easily with only 3 days per week but I’ve just stared exercising again so it’s not going to be easy on my legs to just get back into the routine again.  I mean, when I first started riding last year I only rode for half a mile before my legs were just killing me because I hadn’t ridden in so many years.  And it took me 2 weeks just to get to the point where I was riding for 6 miles a day.  Then I went up to 10 miles a day then next thing you know I was able to ride 18 miles.  That of course was only 2 days that I did that.  I knew it was too much so I went back to 10 miles per day.

My point is that I’ve started up again going 10 miles a day instead of easing myself into it.  So it’s a bit discouraging that 30 miles a week gives me no results.

That first week that I was riding Darrin got his check on that Friday so he wanted to go to Hometown Buffet on Sunday for dinner when he got off work.  Then the very next day was his day off and he took me to China Town Buffet.  Oh and plus we went to Taco Bell.  I knew I wasn’t going to lose weight that first week but come on, the buffets and Taco Bell were a bit much for someone who is working so hard to lose weight.

The 2nd week I wasn’t even trying hard enough to eat right.  I’d have a bowl of cereal for breakfast or some days just toast then go ride and eat a Tiger’s Milk bar when I got to the half hour mark when I took my break to give me the strength and energy to get back home.  But then I’d come home and I was so hungry that I’d end up eating 2 sandwiches.  Some days I’d eat a whole box of Macaroni and Cheese (cooked of course duh lol).  That’s definitely not good for trying to lose some weight.

I’ve taken the last 2 days off.  The day before yesterday I took off because I had ridden 2 days in a row and my legs just needed a break.  Then that day I couldn’t breathe through my nose so I took yesterday off thinking I was coming down with a cold but I was fine.  I’m still a little stuffed up.  But I’m taking today off too because it’s Chips day off.  Plus our dog doesn’t seem to be doing too well for some reason.  I don’t know whats wrong with her.  She might be constipated or she might be sick.  We can’t take her to the vet so we’re watching her.

This week I have to really focus on what I eat and I have to try hard to get motivated to ride because I don’t want to be discouraged.  I need to lose this weight.  We’re talkin 90lbs here that I have to lose.  I have to try so hard to eat less to shrink my stomach so that I get full faster so I don’t overeat.  I’m going to try the best that I can.  I don’t have any money until Friday though so I have to eat what we got in the house.  I’m going to buy a head of lettuce though to try to eat some salad for lunch today and maybe for dinner too.  That should help start getting my stomach smaller.

I think one of the things that is stopping me is the stress from thinking about it too hard.  They say that stress raises your Cortisol levels which makes it harder to lose the weight.  I’ve been documenting my every move (my rides that is) so maybe that is causing more stress than anything.  Plus the stress every time I weigh myself.  UGH!

I think the new plan should be to write down all the info from the bike computer but not think too much about it.  Try my best to start eating salads and maybe even sliced cucumbers and carrots etc.  Just eat veggies as much as possible to help with my hunger pangs.  And maybe put the scale in the back of the car so Darrin takes it to work with him so I don’t have any way of weighing myself every day.  Just do my weekly weigh in.  Or maybe a month weigh in.  That should help if I only weigh in once a month.

Oh that reminds me.  (I’m sorry, this post is getting too long.)  A few years ago I think I was 212lbs and so I started eating salads.  I wasn’t restricting myself on what I put in it.  I put sliced olives, hard-boiled egg or tuna, cucumbers, carrot and I used the salad mix (not head of lettuce) and I used ranch dressing.  I didn’t weigh myself at all for 3 months and I got down to 170lbs.  All of a sudden I weighed myself and that was the end of the weight loss.  Weighing myself put stress on me to keep losing weight so I was constantly weighing myself and the weight started coming back on.  Maybe I should just act like I’m not trying to lose weight and eat the salads again but not weigh myself ever again lol.

$5 Footlong? Really?

I’ve loved Subway since the first time I ever went there when I was 18 years old when I moved back in with my parents when they moved to Quartz Hill in the Antelope Valley.  We went there all the time and I remember that I always got the same thing.  The Cold Cut Combo.  To this day that’s the only sandwich I ever get.  Sometimes I’ll be different and get a meatball sub or turkey but it’s usually always the Cold Cut Combo.  It tastes good to me.

Recently in the last few months or so I’ve been seeing the commercials for their $5 footlong.  They are competing with Quizno’s because Quizno’s has a good deal too for $5.  So they are just trying to keep or lure their customers away from the competition.  That’s fine and $5 is a good price for a 12″ sub.

We went to Subway for dinner tonight and they had their sign (or window sticker) that says “Any” which implies what?  All?  That’s what it implies to me.  By saying any that means if I want a footlong meatball sub then it’s $5 right?  Wrong.  The definition of “Any” for Subway means that they have a couple footlong sandwiches for $5.  So isn’t that false advertising?

I’m lucky the Cold Cut Combo just so happened to be $5 for the footlong because that’s what I wanted anyway but it would be nice if they had more of a $5 selection.

I think that if a sign says “Any” then everything should be $5 and not just a select few.  There were maybe 5 items on the menu that were $5 footlong.  That’s not a lot of choice.  When we got to the register to pay for our $5 footlongs they asked if we wanted chips and a drink for $2 more each and we were like screw that.  $1 for a drink and $1 for a little .50 cent bag of chips?  Are you joking?  We could go to the store across the street to buy a bag of Chips and soda which we ended up doing.  We bought 2 large bags of Doritos (buy 1 get 1 free) and 2 bottles of sparkling flavored water for .79 cents per bottle.

I like Subway but I don’t agree with this false advertisement.  I think it’s crappy because they lure you with the promise of a $5 footlong then you are stuck paying $7.59 for the sandwich you intended on buying.

Update: We were shopping today for new work clothes for Darrin and we had to go to Walgreens to pick up some things and decided that we would go to Subway for lunch.  I was bitching about their false advertising and so Darrin purposely ordered something that was not $5, Roast Beef.  It says on the menu that it’s like $6.79 or something like that and he asked is that $5 footlong? And the lady said yes.  We got to the register and the total for both sandwiches was $10.

So Subway, I apologize that I made such a quick judgement.  But in my defense if any footlong is $5 you should change all the prices on your menu board to show that any footlong is $5.  Because I would see the prices and immediately not order something because it doesn’t say $5.

R&R

Today I decided not to go bike riding because I wanted to give my legs a chance to rest since I’ve been going such a long distance.  Tomorrow I will be going out again.  I’m just not sure if it’s worth riding 17 miles a day while I’m still in this stage of still getting used to riding a bike at all.  I mean it’s only been a month and even though I’ve seen 8lbs of weight loss so far I’m not seeing very much weight loss even with 17 and 18 mile days.  It’s nice to go a long distance to really step it up and everything but I just don’t see the results.

Now I realize that by me saying that I’m saying that I’m giving up on going such a long distance and I don’t want to say that but at the same time I think I can just do the 11 miles and get away with it for now.  I want to burn calories but not at the expense of causing myself pain and possible injury to my muscles.  I’m probably going to notice no weight loss at all this week and that’s possibly because I’m building too much muscle in my legs causing me to gain muscle weight so I don’t see the fat weight disappearing.

The first month was only 8lbs and normally I would be upset by that because 7lbs isn’t a lot to lose in a month, that’s 2lbs a week but at this point I’m just happy to not be in the 240’s anymore.  Being in the mid 230’s makes me feel that if I can get there then I can get to 220’s and so on but it takes time, a lot of time.  I need to stop worrying about the scale and stop thinking about it too much.

Tonight I decided that since I was weighing myself as 238 which is more than last weeks weigh in by 1 calorie that I would start eating salads for dinner, just to give me smaller calories for that meal of the day.  Breakfast I’ve been eating toast and a yoplait, lunch a peanut butter and jam sandwich or a ham sandwich.  Actually I’ve been eating 2 sandwiches but I’m going to limit myself to just 1 from now on and as soon as I get more yoplait’s on friday I’m going to limit my breakfast to just a yoplait.  I love coffee but I’m going to try to limit that too.  Darrin bought me this whole big thing of creamer so it’s going to be difficult to not be able to enjoy it.  I’m thinking for now coffee every other day.  I have been drinking a lot of water though so that helps big time.  Not the sparkling bottled water with flavor that Darrin has been buying from Albertson’s but just plain filtered water.

Well, I’m blogging this just before bed, I’ve taken my ambien already so I’m gonna go do the litter box then get in the shower and go to bed.