Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I've had it!

Okay, I've tried all kinds of organic whole grain breads and I give up! They're all awful. I mean truly awful. The other day, after a week of making smoothies every day for breakfast, I wasn't very hungry and I was in a hurry. So, I decided on a piece of wheat toast with butter and grape jelly. I didn't have any sourdough English muffins or any homemade cream scones. So, I had to settle for the toast. Well, as I ate it, I started to smell dirt. Now, the smell of soil is okay when you're gardening, but not while eating a piece of toast. I tried to ignore it, but after every bite I realized that my toast tasted like the smell of dirt. (I always think it's weird when something tastes like the smell of something else. It's almost always unpleasant.) As expected, I immediately lost my appetite. I didn't attribute this whole episode to pregnancy since I've been feeling better lately and I'm not turned off by many foods anymore. So, I blamed the whole thing on just plain old bad yucky tasting bread.

I have made bread once in my life and I have to say that it turned out pretty yummy, but I wished the recipe had made note that there was enough dough to yield 2 loaves instead of one. You can imagine how my bread turned out. There were some truly yummy parts, but it was doughy, huge and extremely weird looking. I guess that scared me off from making bread until now. My husband found a high quality bread maker for me at a garage sale about a year ago, but I haven't used it yet, but I'm ready now.

Last night, before bed, I was reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. He was talking about how food science has made something that should be completely recognizable completely alien. Of course, I was thinking about my wheat bread debacle as I read
As your grandmother could tell you, bread is traditionally made using a remarkably
small number of of familiar ingredients: flour, yeast, water and a pinch of salt will
do it. But industrial bread - even industrial whole-grain bread- has become a far
more complicated product of modern food science (not to mention commerce and hope).
Here's the complete list for Sara Lee's Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread. (Wait
a minute--isn't "Whole Grain White Bread" a contradiction in terms? Evidently not any

Enriched bleached flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin,
mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], water, whole grains
[whole wheat flour, brown rice flour (rice flour, rice bran)], high fructose corn syrup
[hello!], whey, wheat gluten, yeast, cellulose. contains 2% or less of each of the
following: honey, calcium sulfate, vegetable oil (soybean and/or cottonseed oils),
salt, butter (cream, salt), dough conditioners (may contain one or more of the
following: mono- and diglycerides, ascorbic acid, enzymes, azodicarbonamide),
guar gum, calcium propionate (preservative), distilled vinegar, yeast nutrients
(monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate), corn starch,
natural flavor, beta-carotene (color), vitamin D3, soy lecithin, soy flour.

That ingredient list was seriously tedious to type!
Pollan goes on to write that not for the "...indulgence of the FDA [Sara Lee's] could not even be labeled "bread"."

Now, this wasn't the bread I was eating, but whatever. I know it had way less ingredients than this, but it doesn't matter. It was gross.

By the way, here's Pollan's list of how to choose foods:

1. Avoid food products containing ingredients that are unfamiliar.
2. Avoid food prodcuts that have ingredients that are unpronounceable.
2. Avoid food products that have more than five ingredients or that include High-Fructose Corn syrup.

Now, I'm a serious label reader and I'm often astonished that so-called simple foods become so complex when I read their labels.

So, today, I welcome tasty easy home made bread recipes either using a bread maker or not.
Please help me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband who works so hard for us and sacrifices so much without complaint. We love you!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A picture thought I'm sharing....

I forgot to add a picture thought with my Simple Woman's Daybook entry. So, I'm adding this picture today. I bought this little table and chairs at Lowe's over Memorial Day weekend. I almost passed it up, but I just loved that bright green color. I felt kind of bad for buying it because I didn't think it was absolutely essential and I guess it's not, but now the boys love bringing their snacks out onto the deck. I love looking out the window to look at the cute little table and it will really enhance our outdoor living the summer. In that sense, it was an essential purchase after all!

The Jam Plan

I've wanted to make jam for years, but I just haven't done it yet. Every time I go to a farmer's market, I scope out the booth with the homemade jams an jellies. I love the cute little jars and I'm sure half the allure of homemade jam is the jar. Last Fall, when we attended the Fall Festival at the Littleton Historical Museum, they were selling homemade jams. I couldn't help myself. I bought a jar of their grape jelly, apple butter, peach butter and peach jelly. They had made them at the museum and some were made using 1890's techniques. Recently, I bought strawberry plants for my container garden on my deck, but I know that I won't get enough strawberries for jam this year. So, I will just have to purchase them. Last night, I went to the grocery store and bought twelve small Ball jars for the jam. So, I'm well on my way. I saw this over at Elizabeth's and I got even more motivated. Aren't those jars so cute??? Last weekend, I went a little overboard and bought strawberries, blueberries and cherries. We've been eating berries non-stop especially Sammy. It's finally feeling like Spring here. More to come on the Jam Plan...