Friday, January 20, 2012

National Wheat Bread Month, National Soup Month, National Bread Machine Baking Month

I've been keeping up with the daily food celebrations, but I can't help but feel I'm lacking on the month and week food celebrations.  I just don't blog as much as I anticipated.  I did manage to make a dinner this week that touched on multiple food month celebrations.  Let's take a look at the dinner.

First, bread made in the bread machine!  There!  That knocks out National Bread Machine Baking Month.  Wait!  It was a 50-50 wheat bread... there's National Wheat Bread Month!  Sweet! And since it's been cold and rainy, soup is the perfect thing to warm me up.  (National Soup Month!)

The bread was made following the "Fifty-Fifty Whole Wheat Bread" recipe from More Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway.  Not only was it a hit with wheat-bread-loving me, the roomie liked it, too, and the recipe was officially labeled a "Yay!" recipe.  (We tend to sort new recipes as "yay," "needs a little tweaking," "meh," and "ew, never again.")  The bread was so tasty, it only lasted a few days, so I didn't get as many pictures of it as I had hoped.  In fact, that's the last piece there with dinner.  It was had as toast with jam, butter, or honey, used to make cheese toast, and used in a sandwich.  I did add a little more water than the recipe called for, as the bread machine seemed like it was struggling.  Pictures of the bread at the start of the cycle and at the end:

The majority of my soups these days are made from scratch.  Soup's just so easy to make.  In fact, Grist called soup a "packaged food you never need to buy again."  If you're scared to jump right in and start making soups completely from scratch, you can always buy a soup mix and toss it in the crock pot.  Crock pots make soup making easy - just toss in some veggies, some liquid (broth, water, milk) and just let the crock pot cook away.  Looking for a recipe?  Whole Foods recently tweeted a link to Heart Greens Soup.

Truthfully, there's always a day or two when I didn't start up the crockpot, I have no leftover soup in the freezer, I'm lazy, or I'm hungry and I want to eat IMMEDIATELY.  For those days, I do turn to packaged soup.  For some people, sodium is a concern but some packaged soups are low in sodium - you just have to hunt through all the labels.  If you're worried that soup in cans can expose you to BPAs, there's always soup in boxes or paper containers from soup counters.  The soup pictured here became mine because my roomie didn't like it.  She felt the onion flavor was too strong (she doesn't like onions) but I thought it was just fine.  If my basil plants hadn't succumbed to the cold, I would've added a little basil to the bowl, if only for color.

Then, because I felt the dinner needed more vegetables and something green, I added some leftover broccoli raab.  (Remember, make half your plate fruits and vegetables!) This broccoli raab was cooked in a saute pan with some garlic and almond slivers.  If you like broccoli, you'd probably like broccoli raab.  If you can't find it in the grocery store, it may be hiding under a different name, but it basically looks like broccoli if it was stretched and had smaller florets.

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