Sunday, July 12, 2009

Around the family table.

Our months' long illness of winter got us off track from going to church, which in turn, gave me time to ponder my own confusions and misgivings with regard to where to go, confusions and misgivings that I'd successfully (or so I thought) previously addressed.

Ziggy misses church terribly. He misses, as he recently told me with trembling bottom lip and chin, "My friends at Bible school class at the big church where Miss Ruby goes, and my favorite part is sitting with you, Mama, in the pews and looking at the big books when we listen to the beautiful peaceful music."

Hard to argue with that. And I've told Ziggy that I'll happily reengage my efforts on his behalf, and either return where we'd been attending, or find a better fit. I have found fellowship, reengagement with tradition, and spiritual nurture at Belmont -- and am particularly excited for Ziggy about their children's programming-- but also find good in so many others, including having felt elements of home at Nashville Friends Meeting, as well as local Unity and Unitarian Universalist churches. Alas, the coughing at present makes sitting in a peaceful sanctuary a bit difficult.

Which brings us to this morning, here at home where we've played and visited and gardened and planned.... The breakfast above: all local and whole foods, save for the Sister Schubert rolls (oh, my, they are good) procured for nearly free on that tripled coupon spree last month. And good as it was, as much as I enjoyed the couponing puzzle, I think we're done in largest measure with that experiment. As avowed previous, we're eating what's in the larder and freezer that which is off list with the new plan, but not replacing it tit for tat. Instead, we're going full on whole foods and moving away from the "junky" stuff we've enjoyed in addition to our largely local and healthy diet. Cutting the fat, as it were. Which also cuts cost, and elminates most need for couponing.

I've been wanting to begin baking all our own bread, and have several friends who've become converts to the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which holds much allure, though the library book has a waiting list many people long. I think I'll spring for a copy myself. Those of you already using it, are there ways I can use all whole grain flours? I know the basic boule is made with all purpose or a mix of all purpose and whole wheat, isn't that right? But to wean my family off white flour, is there a version I can make with full on whole grain? Tell me, do.

The planning and the organizing becomes ever more important, as it appears that I will become, for the first time in a good while, a working outside the home mama, as soon as this week; an endeavor of mixed blessing and mixed initial feeling as I scramble to navigate childcare and other commitments. At the bottom of it all, however, I welcome the opportunity to engage my skills and more significantly contribute to my family's economic well-being. I think that the timing is very right in terms of our needs and current abilities, including Ziggy's comfort with being in the care of others.

Our breakfast blessing acknowledged all these things, and asked for the guidance to make sound decisions with balance and time management, that we may all truly bask in the opportunity.

Details anon.


  1. Whole-wheat bread: pick up Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book at the library and learn the basic recipe for the single loaf. There is a diagnostic list if the loaf fails somehow and frankly it's the best way to learn how to make whole-wheat bread "the regular way." From there, you can "graduate" to the far simpler No-Knead recipe from the NYTimes and/or the 5 Minutes artisan bread. I have a link to that bread on my site as I did a bit of experimenting with it myself this last winter.

    However, we're going away from most wheat altogether as a form of simple sustainability and good health. So, I have been making a lot more things that are really low on the flour front but high on the eggs and milk front (two whole-foods things we have in abundance) like crepes, one-pan popovers, souffles and ricotta pancakes. Plus, I am not much of a baker in the summer!

    White flour is one of the great processed-food evils in the world, IMHO; very much a nutritional desert, especially since it tends to tip people's glycemic index in the wrong direction.

    (steps off soapbox now)

    But yeah, whole wheat isn't such a bad thing! Gradually step your recipes down in the white flour and up in the whole-wheat, should you have some favorites you wish to try...and have fun with it.

    And good luck with the job!!! It won't be nearly as hard as the one you're already doing, though.

  2. Kathryn2:26 PM

    I don't have the book - yet - but I've been using the basic Artisan Bread recipe from the December 2008 Mother Earth News, and I love it. They also have a recipe for 100% whole-wheat bread, which I intend to try this week. I expect it's on their Web site, or I'd be happy to e-mail it to you.

  3. Anonymous8:41 AM

    ah, synchronicity....
    j has been working on the ny times recipe this week....gradually working from unbleached white to a full whole wheat loaf. last night he made the fifty-fifty, tomorrow will try the full monty. it is a beautiful bread, baked in a pot. nice crust.

  4. With your thoughtfulness and sense of purpose, you will no doubt make the best decision for your family and make it work for everyone. Blessings during this time of transition!

  5. thanks, El, for the encouragement and for the suggestions w/r/t bread.

    Kathryn, I'd love to hear all about it! Let's get the boys together soon and talk garden and such!

    K, ah, yes, synchronicity! Would love to glean some wisdom from the Jaybird. What kind of pot is baking the bread in?

    thank you, Bonnie, for your warm words. It's close to baby time for you, yes? Thinking good thoughts your way.

  6. After a few years of using no-knead and food processor recipes, I switched over to the more effortful breads described in Hamelman's book Bread. He's the head baker at King Arthur Flour. The book was a little intimidating... but the results are spectacular, even without a standing mixer or a steam injector.

  7. thanks, Danielle! awesome to see you here. thanks for checking in. I aim to make a bread project and document.... soon! i'd like Thursday to be baking day, too.