Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Are You Ready ~ The Chef Brad Challenge

Perfect nutrition,  green beans caramelized with nuts and pomogrante seeds

   This is my challenge. Thirty days no sugar, no dairy, no processed food at all.  What can you eat? Fruits and vegetables, nuts, meats in moderation, and whole grains.  What are whole grains?  Fresh ground flours,  whole grain rices, like red, brown, and black.  Whole grains cooked up and eaten with out processing them.  Follow me in this blog and I will teach you just how you can do it.  Start with the cleanse and go into the thirty days.  It will change your life.  

Ok,  Are you ready for the adventure.  Weight loss is a hard thing.  But if you do it right it can be a great blessing to you and if you adopt the things learned it can be a lifetime blessing for you.

      Saying that, I love food.  It's what life is all about.  All my life I have eaten what ever I have wanted, whenever I wanted. Needless to say,  I paid the price.  I ended up over 275 lbs.  My ideal weight should be 220.  That is over 55 lbs.  That is a lot of weight to be carrying.  In addition to not feeling good most of the time,  the health risk of being overweight is horrible.  From heart risk to diabetes, the list goes on and on.  Being over weight is not a good thing.

     For me it is all about how I feel.  When I am over weight, I feel bloated and uncomfortable in all areas of life.  It effects everything I do and how I act.  I have learned that feeling great is far better then the taste of foods.  I still love to eat, and it is still work to keep in shape and I am far from where I want to be, but I am over 50 lbs. lighter and I have developed some great skills that keep me in line.  I have kept off the majority of the weight, but it does involve work and effort.

Here are a few facts that have helped me.
1.  I cleanse regularly.
2.  I exercise often.
3.  I avoid processed foods.
4.  I only eat Sugar in moderation.
5. I eat a lot High fiber grains
6.  Good fats are a part of my diet.
7.  I enjoy the foods I do eat.

     So the Cleanse.  A few times a year I do a cleanse.  I love the lemon, cayenne pepper cleanse.  For me it is a jump start to staying on track.  When I do the cleanse it breaks my bad habits and gets me back on track and the side benefit is I drop a few unwanted pounds.  I feel great after and it motivates me to work harder and stay on track.  I love it.   This is the cleanse.   Oh did I tell you,  this is all you eat or drink for as many days as you can.  I go from 4 to 10 days.  I go as far as my body will let me.  I listen to my body and I do what it tells me.  Some times I go longer and other times it is short.

1 cup lemon juice
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (or more if you can handle it)
1/3 cup chia seeds
Water to a gallon

Mix all the ingredients in a gallon jug.  I take the jug with me and drink when ever I am thirsty or hungry.  Actually I am not hungry when I do this.  It is actually amazing.  I love it,  I love the way I feel and I love how it works.  I try to drink a gallon each day.  Do what you can.  It is an amazing cleaner of your entire body.  It works and for me it is the perfect way to start any program for weight loss and a healthy life style.  The Cleanse is so important,  it helps break bad habits.

     Exercise.  Exercise is an important part of life and feeling good.  It is different for everyone.  I am not going to tell you to run, jump, or swim.  Do what you love and enjoy.  The important thing is you do something.  Exercise is good for every part of the body.  It is essential to well being of both body and spirit.  From the heart to every part of your body you will feel the benefits of a regular exercise routine.   I have found that when you exercise you can eat more of the foods you enjoy, (in moderation), and life is just better when we discipline ourselves to exercise.  Exercising 3 or less times a week maintains health. 4 or more times a week improves fitness.  And it is important to get the heart rate up.  Go slow to start and build as you can.

     Avoid Processed Foods. At all cost you should avoid processed food.  They are the ban of bad health.  They cause excessive weight gain and every other health problem you can think of.  From the chemicals in the food to the poor quality of ingredients it wrecks havoc on the body.  I would say that almost all healthy issues today can be traced to our devotion to processed foods.  All good foods can be enjoyed  more when they are prepared from quality ingredients from scratch.  There is so much more food to be enjoyed then what we find in a supermarket or fast food chain restaurants.  Processed food is of no value to your body if you are wanting a stronger body stay away from processed foods at all cost.

     Sugar in Moderation.  Sugar is a leading cause of weight gain and health problems.  If you are addicted to sugar, you should not have any at all for at least 30 days,  it will break your addiction.  We  develop bad habits and it has to be dealt with like any other addiction.  Absolutly no sugar for at least 30 days or more.  It works.  After the thirty days develop a habit of eating sugar in moderation.  Like maybe once a week or so.  There are great alternatives to sugar that will fix your need.  Fresh fruits are a great source of sweet that the body likes.   Processed foods are packed with sugar, so that is just another good reason to stay away from the processed foods.

     High Fiber Grains.  Ok, lets face the facts.  There is a lot of stuff out there that tells you grains are bad.  Paleo is the big fad today that preaches just that.  They stay away from any grain.  I have read all about Paleo and have discovered usually when they refer to grains, it is a processed grain they are talking about.  I have done the research and have discovered that whole grains are good.  They actually promote weight loss and are so good for the body.   Processed foods are not good.  When they take anything and process it,  the value leaves.  Even whole grains when over processed loss value and nutrition.  Whole grains are packed with nutrition and are amazing for the body in every way.  The only reason that it would not work is if you have allergies to certain grains.  If you don't have allergies get into the whole grain movement.  It really will change your life.

     Good Fats.  There is such a thing as good fats.  Our bodies need the good fats.  Coconut oil, good olive oils, good nut oils, flax oil, and even good animal fat in moderation is good.  Our fat free society has made us afraid of fats and in the process we have taken all fat out of our diets.  Our bodies need good fats to be healthy and actually when we get the good fats we need the body gets rid of the bad fats.  Fiber and Good Fat are key in having a good healthy body.

      Enjoy the Foods You Eat.    The biggest part of life is to enjoy the foods we do eat.  Especially when the foods we eat that are healthy.  Foods that are prepared from scratch, with fresh quality ingredients are meant to enjoyed.  Guilt is not a good thing.  If you are filled with quilt, you are eating the wrong foods.   You should be happy with the foods you eat and our bodies handle the foods we eat better when we truly enjoy them.  Part of giving thanks when eating a meal is enjoying the foods we just gave thanks for.  Food is a major part of life and I believe that there is a spiritual side of foods.  We destroy that part when we eat processed garbage foods.

Getting Fit,  Staying Fit and enjoying life is a process that takes effort and work.  It is worth the effort, no matter where we are in the process, we really can enjoy life more  when we put effort into staying healthy.  Our bodies are amazing in how quickly they respond to what we do to them.  It works both ways,  when we do bad things we are affected and when we do good things we are affected.  We just have to choose which one we want, good effects or bad effects.  I choose good.  Even if it takes a lot of work and effort,  I enjoy the results when I make good choices.  Any time we make a good choice, we reap a good reward.

Over the next few weeks follow my blog for wonderful recipes that will inspire you and teach you how to eat healthy.  

Enjoy the adventure and please let me know how it goes for you.  Any questions email me at

Chef Brad

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chef Brad's Weight Loss Plan. It really works THE WHOLE GRAIN WAY

     Diets and weight loss are huge issues in our society today.  I want to share with you my personal feelings about it.  I feel it is a personal thing.  By that I mean we have to feel good about who we are. And in the process we have to be honest about it.  I for years pushed away the thoughts about being over weight rationalizing that I had to be because I was a chef and I have to eat everything.  At my peak weight I was 275+ pounds.  I didn't like myself much, but I enjoyed eating to much to fix it.  
     The BIG moment in my life when I decide to change was at my daughters wedding.  I had to buy a new suit, and it was big.  The big moment is when I saw another man, who's name I will not mention here, at the wedding.  As I looked at him I realized that is just what looked like and I didn't like the image. I decided that night I was going to change.
      I hate diets. Most are unhealthy and when we are done we gain it all back.  But sometimes we have to do big things to get results.  So diet I did.  Starvation was the game.  Protein bars and very low calories for months.  I worked hard and got down to 210 lbs.  I felt great.  I loved how my body felt and how my spirit felt.  Let me explain about the spirit.

      I had this experience one day in that I had a strong impression what my spirit looked like.  It was not the 275 lb man that I had become.  I realized that my spirit was more fit then my physical body was at that moment.  Meaning the impression was that my spirit was buff.  It might sound funny, but that turned out to be great motivation for me to make some changes.  In the process of changing I realized the closer I got to what I felt my spirit looked like the better I felt about life and myself.   My spirit is happy when the body is more in line with what it should be.  Now as I said in the beginning, it is a personal thing.  You have to decide what your spirit looks like and where you are comfortable. I have a good friend and I believe him when he says he is perfectly happy being a big man.  He said when he was thin he felt out of sorts.  The thing I think about is are you healthy were you are?  Some are just designed to be different.  I will never have a six pack, it is just  not in my gene pool, it skips a generation,  I think my grandpa had a six pack and my sons do but it skipped me for some reason.  I was born with a keg of sorts.  I was always chubby.  

      My main concern is am I healthy, and am I happy where I am at the moment   If I feel uncomfortable, for me that would be bloated, tired always, shortness of breath, just plain yucky feeling.  That is when I know it's time to do something about it.  I have learned to listen to what my body and spirit is telling me.  It lets  us know, but we often push those feelings aside.  As we learn to listen we can understand the foods we must avoid, the ones that cause weight gain and bloat feelings.  It is amazing when we treat our bodies right they respond so quickly.   That to me is pure evidence that our bodies want to be healthy.  

     Hoping not to offend any one, but I see many who struggle to get around,  knee problems, back problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, and so many more health issues and it all stems from the foods we eat and how much of them we eat.  There are so many that are huge, but just fat, but obese.  Is is any wonder so many are struggling with health issues.  And lets face the honest facts.  When we treat our bodies right life is just better.  We see clearer and enjoy the journey more.  

     So Join me as I teach you a great way to get back in control of who you really are.  Sons and daughters of God with unlimited potential when we follow the spirit and keep our bodies healthy.

For the record I am not a fanatic.  I love food to much.  I have taken off 50 lbs and have been successful in keeping it off.  Yes  I do some high powered maintenance at least twice a year to get back on track.  I do try to exercise.  But I enjoy food and feel it is meant to be enjoyed.   The next couple of weeks will teach you what I have learned and how you can reach your spirit potential and enjoy a sweeter life. 

 The following is a picture journey that explains a lot.  

I adore food so much.  I live to eat.  In this picture I have a few extra pounds on.  Some say you look great,
but it is not about what others think,  for me it is how I feel.   If I feel uncomfortable, it's time for action.

Some pictures make me cringe.  I have that hug keg.  But am grateful for today's picture society. For me
it's a constant reminder to stay on track.

More wonderful bread.  They tell you bread is the biggest no no.  I have a different feeling.
More to come on that topic later.

I just hate my beer belly.  And its not from beer.  

I saw this picture and realized that I needed to get back on track.  But I don't think I have to give up
snow cones for life.  I love them.  

I love exercising.  HA HA.  It's a chore, but a chore that gives great results.  If  we want to me more spiritual what do we
do.  We do spirit things.  The same applies to our bodies.   

And the truth be known,  I really feel great when I get exercise in.  It has so many benefits, from toning our bodies to
helping with depression.  It helps me sleep better and increases my energy levels.  It is really so worth the effort.

Chubby me.

I do love food.

A better day.  Still cooking.

OI thought strips made one look thinner. 

Nope, they don't.

And strips sitting down,  You get the picture.

I really like this picture.  It was taken on a photo shoot when I worked for Thermador.  This was just after I lost a lot of weight.

There is that beer belly again.  

And Again.  Funny thing,  As I was teaching these classes I felt  so uncomfortable.
I remember clearly how bad I felt.

This was at 270 pounds.  Some pictures inspire us to do better.  This is one of those that really inspired me to get it together.  

This is close to how I look now.  I love feeling like I am in control.  I have to say that I do get off track and have to jump start my routine to stay on track from time to time.  

So over the next few weeks join me as I teach you my weight loss philosophy.  I have a plan that works and helps you break the food ruts you are in.  I love food,  but I love feeling and being healthy even more.  Food taste better when you don't feel guilty with every bite.  Take the guilt out of your life and start enjoying every bite.  

Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Butter Oat Sticky Buns

      I love a great sticky bun,  gooey, moist, and full of flavor.   Not all sticky buns are created equal.  Some look great, but lack flavor or are dense and heavy and still lack flavor.  Sticky buns differ from cinnamon rolls in that a glaze is placed in the bottom of the muffin tin and the roll is placed on top of the glaze.  After they are baked you dump them out and the bottom becomes the top covered with nuts and gooey caramel stuff.   I think they are best served warm with a glass of milk, ice cold or your favorite beverage.  I love baking and I enjoy sharing what I bake.   My family is under pressure to be constantly ready to try my creations and praise me when I share them with everyone.  That is the fun of baking,  sharing.  I have also found out that when you go into it with the desire to share it ups the success rate.

      This recipe I did at 8:30 at night and within a hour I have these rolls out and in front of my family for a before bed snack. They loved them,  the evidence is the empty tray.  They can tell me they like it, but the real indicator is how long does it last.

Fresh baked sticky buns.  Be Still my heart.  Moist, light, and full of flavor.  

I roll the dough out  and spread it with coconut oil, cinnamon and sugar and a splash of water.

Rolled tight and cut.  I get 12 nice rolls that fit in the extra large muffin tins.

Butter, nuts, and coconut sugar make the glaze.

The cut rolls are placed on top of the glaze.

I use extra large muffin tins.  They usually have six spaces.

There is nothing healthy about this roll.  Evidence is the pad of butter I place on the roll as it is proofing.
This way the butter melts slowly into the dough.

The rolls in the oven.  The butter melts quickly into the bun.

After baking I dump them out onto a parchment paper.  The glaze is hot so it will flow well.  

The End or the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
The Recipe

For the Dough
1 cup oats
1.5 cups hot water
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons salt
3 to 4 cups *CLEAN white flour
1 tablespoon yeast

In your mixer place hot water and oats.    Let set for 2 minutes.  Add eggs, oil, butter, salt, and 1 cup of flour.  Place yeast on top of flour and turn on mixer.  Let mix to combine all ingredients.  Add more  flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides.  Mix for 6 minutes.  Remove from bowl and place in oiled bowl and let rise for 10 to 15 minutes.

For the Rolls
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup cinnamon sugar blend.  1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1-2 tablespoon cinnamon
Roll out dough into large oblong circle.  Brush with melted butter,  spread cinnamon sugar mixture over dough and spread evenly with hand.  Lightly Sprinkle with water, this moistens the dough.  Starting on the side away from you start rolling the dough towards you.  Tighten it as you roll.  Once it is rolled tight, cut into rolls and place in large muffin tins.

For the sticky bun glaze
Coconut sugar, butter, and nuts.
In the bottom of each muffin tin place one tablespoon each of sugar, butter, and nuts.

*Clean White flour is flour that is free of chemicals.  Especially Bromine's, they are harsh chemicals that effect the thyroid gland and the immune system.   King Arthur and Wheat Montana's flours are chemical free and bake excellent breads.  

Baking is a great adventure.  I love to bake and I love to share what I bake.  The smell of fresh baked bread is like non other smell in the entire world.   Add the smell of cinnamon to that and life is better Enjoy your baking adventures.   Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Third Sunday Dinner Report~March 2015

     I get great calls from friends all over  that tell want to tell me their stories and adventures in doing Third Sunday Dinner type events.   One of the most recent calls  was from a good friend in Utah that has started "Third Friday Pizza Night".  I loved hearing that.  She took the idea and made it work for her.  She stated that she just could not get the Sunday thing down, but wanted to do something.  I love hearing the success of her adventure and was able to impart some ways for her to make it more effective.  She is having great success and now people text her to see if it is still on.    For pizza night she invites them to bring a topping of their choice or paper goods.  People want to help she found out but don't know what to do so she actually put up a jar for donations.  What a great idea to off set the cost.   No one is made to feel obligated to help, but most are delighted to be able to do something.  Her event includes friends of her children,  from young girls at home to college age and young marrieds.

      I love hearing about your adventures and success and even failures.  Feel free to send my your stories with photos so I can share with others what others are doing.  You can e-mail me at

     March is a great month in Arizona for an outside event.  Most months are.  This month is especially wonderful with the orange blossoms in bloom.  It smells heavenly and just adds to the charm of being outside.

      I decided to do a baked potato bar with salad.  Who doesn't like a good baked potato.  It worked great.  I baked about 80 lbs. of potatoes that I was able to by for $12.  Great for a budget.   Cheese tends to be pricy right now so i opted for a canned cheese sauce that I have my good friend Nathan Botts fix up.  He chopped up fresh cilantro, herbs, and chilies from the garden to make an absolutely wonderful cheese sauce.  At $7  or less a can you cannot beat it.   Sour cream, butter, and pickled peppers make for a great baked potato.

     I am always looking for ways to make it simple and cost effective.  This month I was given a bag of gluten free corn bread mix.  Twenty five pounds goes along way.  I baked up three large pans of corn bread and tossed the salad and dinner was ready.  It just seems to get easier all the time.  I love Third Sunday Dinner and all it does for me.  I always feel lifted and blessed each month.  I love seeming friends that come and making new friends.   We never know who will be there, but my prayer each month is that those who need to be there will and that we will be able to give them just what they need.  That could be anything from a smile to hug, kind words of encouragement, or just a great meal.  What ever the need, if we listen we will know just what to do.

     Please take time to share if you are having adventures in your life.  Also if you have questions, please ask and I will post them and the response in the blog.  '

A few baked potatoes.  I baked 8 pans of potatoes.  The secret for a great potato is dip it in bacon fat and wrap it in foil.  Bake for one hour and wow,  what a potato.  

Fresh baked corn bread.  Always a treat.  

The Spread.    Well the end of the spread.  

We love the Mormon Missionaries.

And the youth in our area.

Its good to see everyone having a great time. 

The children love my garden.  Always something new to see.

Oh my.  I love these children.

And these big children. 

Smile,  I need a picture for the blog. 

I had to get a picture of this rose bush.  No one for years has ever seen it.
It was grown up into my tree.  I pulled it down a month ago so we
could enjoy the bloom.  It's lovely.

Very well behaved pets are allowed.

The end of another great Third Sunday Dinner Experience

     It amazes me how quickly each month passes.  Please share with me your experiences.   Each time I hear about someone else starting a Third Sunday Dinner or something like it,  I am thrilled.  I just know what is in store for them.  Wonderful cherished memories.   Until next month.  Chef Brad

Monday, March 2, 2015


     One of the best investments I have ever made was a Traiger Smoker.  I love it so much and enjoy using in more then any BBQ grill or out door cooker I have ever owned.  In fact my BBQ grill just sets there alone and unused.  

     I have owned other smokers over the years, but I hated the constant vigil of keeping the temperature perfect.  There are those that love that and I really admire the vigilant smoker that is dedicated to the entire process, but for me I love the ease of putting the pellets in the bin and choosing the temperature and leaving.  And the best part is everything turns out perfect.  

     It does take time to smoke meat well not matter what the equipment, but if you have the time and love smoked meats you might want to try a Traiger Smoker.  And just for the record they do not pay me to say that.  I bought mine at Costco and if you do buy one make sure it has the built in thermostat.  It is great not having to guess.  

     This weekend I smoked Pork Chops.  They were wonderful.  I used a oil and vinegar marinate and I used Penzey's Northwoods  for seasoning.   I smoked them for 1 hour on the smoke setting.  After one hour I raised the temperature to 300 and finished them off in about 20 minutes.  So tender and smoked just right.  

Fresh on the grill.  Ready to smoke.  

Smoked to perfection.  Really perfect.  Tender and juicy.  Good hot or cold.  

Just in case you were wondering what a Traiger looks like here is the photo of the one that I have.  It is perfect and not only for smoking, but it is the best grill ever.  Best burgers I have ever made.  

    Smoking meats is a perfect way to cook meats.  I love food and I really love good food.  Smoked meats combined with good foods is an amazing food adventure.  

Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy, or Smoker Guy,  take your choice.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Third Sunday Dinner Report~February 2015

     February is a great month on in Arizona.  The weather is perfect.  I love this time of year.  February and March are actually my two favorite months in Mesa.   March brings orange blossoms and gardening.  The weather has been so warm most of my garden is already in.  I am excited.  

     This month we decided to do Deep Fried French Toast again.  It is a Favorite and we do it at least once a year for Third Sunday Dinner.  Everyone loves it and it really is an easy one to do.  Often I will pick up day old bread at the local bakery, but this year I decided to bake the bread.  I used my mothers Good Ole White Bread recipe.  It is wonderful.  Nothing healthy about this favorite.  I like to serve this with butter milk syrup.   

     We are going into our 7th year of doing Third Sunday Dinner and totally are committed to the next  seven years.  We love the things we have learned.  All members of our family have learned so much and have grown from opening our home up for others.  We have created long lifetime relationships that we love and look forward to more friends we will meet.  When I think of the most important things I have learned is how much we need each other.  Often times we are to busy to really take the time to fellowship, and by fellowship I mean lift others by loving them.  For me Third Sunday Dinner provides a great place that allows for time to really lift others.   

    We never know who is coming to dinner, and our prayer is that those who need it will be there.  And guess what, that prayer is always answered.     

The bread dough.  I baked 36 mini loaves of bread for dinner.  I weigh the dough at 10 ounces   

A Simple trick I have learned it to cover the top of the oven and bread with an old sheet or table cloth.  It traps the hot air from the preheating oven and helps to proof it faster.

The Bread Baking in the Oven

The Finished Product.  It looks great.  I love fresh baked bread.

I have a bread slicer that comes in handy often

 So this month I thought I would clean out the pantry.  I had a bunch of cans of fruit.  Tropical fruits like lychee nuts, palm seeds, etc.  Strange and exotic.  I also had an extra large bag of carrots.  We diced the carrots and added chopped fruit to the cooled down steamed carrots.   It was interesting to say the least.

Canned Fruit

Chopped Carrots

I love these girls.  They are amazing.  I give them a vision and they make it happen.

The makings of the Carrot Tropical Salad

It was unusual to say the least.  The comments were really great.  Some absolutely loved it, others could not figure it out, some absolutely hated it, while others were just to polite to say.  It was a texture thing and the canned bananas really threw them off.  They looked like sausage.  It was a fun experience.  I love doing that.  Why stick to the normal.  And it has a lot to do with memories.  There has to be those memories that are funny.
In the beginning. 

Setting up the tables and chairs.

It's a party, Oh no not a party, it's Third Sunday Dinner. 

The French Toast was really great.  The fryer's fried over 300 slices of bread.  It is always a great meal.  I fry it outside.  I use my camp burners and dutch ovens.  It goes really fast and keeps the mess out of the house.

 This is our fry station.  Pans to dip the bread in.  They fried for at least 2 hours.   I mix the eggs up with milk and cinnamon and nutmeg in the Vita Mix early.  We used over three gallons of milk egg mixture.

 Another Third Sunday Dinner success.  It is always nice when it's all over and I can reflect on what happened.  I love the feeling of peace that comes into my heart.   I look forward for March and am already planning the menu.
Enjoy the Adventure~Chef Brad