Weighing white and whole wheat flour

Before Alex and I became a bit obsessed with pizza dough, I don’t think I’d ever made the same bread product again and again (…and again and again…).  In doing so, I learned I had a hard time consistently making the same dough.  Sometimes my dough was perfect and chewy, sometimes it was too dense.  After a long time of shifting guilt around the kitchen (did I not knead long enough?  did I knead too long?  is this yeast not good?  did I put in too much salt?), I finally started eying up my flour.

Around the same time, I also happened to encounter several different articles on food blogs and in cookbooks that were beseeching home cooks (like yours truly) to measure flour with a scale, not by the cup.  This article, by Gluten Free Girl, was especially compelling.  I started talking about ordering a scale.  And then, about a week later, I came home to a package on the door step addressed to me.  Alex bought me a scale without telling me (isn’t he the best?!).

So many things to measure!  We were grabbing stuff from around the house and piling the scale high.  Does Alex’s iPod weigh 101g, like it says on the package?  Why, yes, it does.

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The search for the perfect lunch containers

“For the Working Girl” from coralvintage on Etsy

I try to bring my lunch to school/work whenever I can — it’s healthier, saves me money and typically tastes better (the Berkeley campus food could be worse…but it also could be better…).

Finding the perfect containers to pack lunch in is a big challenge, though!  I want something that is lightweight, won’t break, microwaves, washes easily, fits in my bag and doesn’t leak…even when I put soup in it.  Maybe that’s too much to ask?

For a while I thought I found the miracle containers that met all my needs.  I used them for years and was very, very happy.

nalgene.com

And then I learned about Bisphenol A (BPA).  I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty sure my miracle containers are chock full of it.  On nalgene.com my “wide mouth storage jars” are not specifically identified as containers for food storage.  I’d rather avoid whatever is potentially in my non-food grade plastic containers, including BPA, so I’m trying to phase them out of my life.  I haven’t done it quickly, though, because it’s been difficult to find a great substitute. Continue reading

What’s the deal with agave nectar?

I’ve been hearing a lot of conflicting stories about agave nectar.  I’ve heard vague rumblings that agave nectar is unnatural, bad for you, etc.  But, my local coffee shops still serve it alongside the other coffee condiments, Dr. Oz raves about how it’s a natural product on Oprah, and I still have a bottle in the house.  So, what’s the deal?  Is agave nectar healthy or not?  Looking at my bottle of agave today, I was deciding whether I should keep it or ditch it.

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Dijon-off: Maille vs. Grey Poupon

It seems like the most widespread Dijon mustards these days are Grey Poupon and Maille.  In the past, of the two I’d definitely grab the Maille.  I’m not exactly sure why — I think I like the label better.  Or somehow it seemed more authentic to me…maybe because it says “Since 1747″…or maybe because they’ve never run a totally obnoxious ad campaign like Grey Poupon (and here’s the Wayne’s World version, of course).

I recently found myself with a jar of both Maille and Grey Poupon in the house, so Alex and I decided to do a taste test.  We even got our neighbor, Sal, involved.

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