Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle

My last Healthier Lifestyle post was September 13, 2018 and looking back it seems as though my body was telling me something is not right. A few short weeks after this, during a routine Pap Test, my gynecologist discovered a mass near/on my uterus. This resulted in a flurry of tests and ultrasounds, ending up with a visit to a specialist. I had, at that time, an ovarian cyst that was 11cm x 14cm x 9cm. For my American friends that translates into 4.5 inches x 5.5 inches x 3.5 inches. Just think of a really big grapefruit.

Surgery was successful although I was in surgery longer than anticipated because they found some hardened masses behind the uterus. All tests have come back and there was no cancer in anything. Praise the Lord! My recovery was swift and I didn't have to take any painkillers. I must confess, I have an extremely high pain tolerance and I also knew God had me in the palm of His hands. I trust Him for everything.

So, this healthy eating is still on the go. I've lost close to twenty pounds since I started. My pants were falling off me and I had to break down and buy some clothes. Part of this lifestyle is making as much as I can in my own kitchen and my latest craze is home made bread.
I baked the loaf shown above this morning. The recipe is super easy and I'm using my Kitchen Aid mixer/dough hook to do the kneading. Believe it or not, that was hard for me to do because I've always made my bread by hand. Once I took the plunge I slapped my own wrist for waiting so long.

Here is the recipe with some brief instructions. As always, check your flour to water ratio as the dough is kneaded. Everybody has different temperatures/humidity and other factors in their kitchen that change how the dough comes together.

1.5 cups
warm water (almost hot to the touch) 110F 
2 tsp
 active dry yeast
2 Tbsp
 sugar
4 cups
 flour
2 Tbsp
 softened butter
2 Tbsp
 dried milk powder
1 tsp
 salt

Blend (Level 1 on your mixer) all of the above.  You really want to watch how this dough comes together.  If the sides of the bowl start coming clean, you know you have the right amount of flour.  If it's sticky or wet, or sticking to the bottom center, you have to add a bit more flour

Stop the mixer.
The dough should be slightly sticky but you don't want it to stick to your fingers

Set mixer to Level 2 and set your timer for five minutes.
Take dough out of bowl and shape into a ball.

Coat the bowl with olive oil. Place the dough ball inside, making sure the dough ball is covered lightly with some of the olive oil.

Cover. Let rise for one hour in a warm protected place (I put mine in the microwave).

Dough should double in size. Gently punch down to release any air bubbles.
DO NOT KNEAD THE DOUGH!!!

Roll it out of bowl.  Shape and fit into bread pan and let rise for about a half hour (2" above bread pan)  While the dough rises in the bread pan, preheat oven to 350F

Bake 25 - 35 minutes (depending on your oven - I baked mine for 30 minutes)

For a soft top - spread butter on the crust while fresh (hot) from the oven.

Enjoy!


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