Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bread Machine Recommendations?

I posted on facebook recently, asking for bread machine suggestions. And then Kim, over at Life in a Shoe, posted about making bread in her incredibly helpful weekly post on "4 Moms, 35 Kids." Since she's doing linky's for this particular post, I thought I'd get in on the action, and hopefully get some great bread machine recommendations along the way!

Making our own bread is something I've been thinking about for quite awhile, but recently (after running out of yet another bulk order of Alvarado Street Sprouted Sourdough bread) I've gotten serious about it.

I've thought about doing bread by hand and baking it in the oven, saving the cost of a bread maker. But, if I go that route, I know it'll never get done. Life with soon-to-be three little men under 3, and no really productive "helpers" (yet!) is just too busy and unpredictable. It looks like bread maker prices range between $60 and $300. Even at the $300 price, from my rough calculations, it would pay for itself in a little over a year. And it would be healthier and cheaper than storebought! : )

A few requirements/preferences in a bread maker:

Whole wheat & sourdough options
Pizza crust option
Mixing, kneading, & baking

I would love to avoid non-stick pans, but haven't seen any non-stick options. And it seems like that could be a real mess!

I've also seen a "sandwich bread" option on a few. This sounds really good to me, since a lot of the bread we use is for sandwiches.

A few of the recommendations from wives/mothers/daughters/homemakers on facebook:

Panasonic SD-256

The Cuisinart also seemed to have good reviews.

What breadmaker have you found to work the best with whole wheat? Have you tried grinding your own grain? How did that turn out? Which breadmakers have just not worked for you? What have been your experiences with whole wheat sourdough bread?

Looking forward to your feedback!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

On This Day in Our First Pregnancy...

...Little Tait was born!

27 weeks and 1 day today!!!

It adds a whole new dimension to this pregnancy, being able to visualize exactly what this little guy is like at this point - approximately 2 1/2 pounds, 14 inches long, fully formed with transparent skin, able to cry, able to survive, able to grow up, able to bring immeasurable joy to his parents! He looks something like this ...

...just, minus all of the cords, wires, sensors, goofy goggles, tape, diaper, and IV's. Instead, thankfully this little guy is snuggled safely inside of Mommy right now, right where he should be! : )

And this is what little preemies look like at 2 years old, helping Mommy make peanut butter honey cookies when they should be in bed, but instead get up with a messy diaper and are just too cute for Mommy to resist.... ;D

(Yes, that cookie in the front row is missing part of itself. Apparently a whole sheet of cookie dough within easy reach is too much for 2-year-old little boys to resist.) ;D

It is so exciting to make it past this point in this pregnancy for me! It means that we will not have an exact - or worse - repeat of our first pregnancy and delivery. Every week - every day! - this little one gets stronger and stronger, better able to survive outside of Mommy!

We are now 2 weeks past the point when we started having issues with pregnancy #2 and had to go on semi-bedrest. Everything looks good, and our hope is growing stronger and stronger for a full-term baby this time around, by God's grace!

I'll upload a tummy picture tomorrow (we don't do bare tummies here, so don't worry ;D)! Today was strictly a day for housecleaning and preparation for a restful Sabbath tomorrow (and, of course, any random things Tait needed help with throughout the day)! So yeah ... you don't want to see a picture today. ;P