Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"take a deep breath, mama"


Dinner prep did not go well this evening. I'm back to monthly meal planning, and tonight's dinner was tacos. Here's the thing about tacos at our house: I have to make everything from scratch. Everything. I dream about those taco kits from the store ...

Taco night is tricky because I need a long stretch of time to make dinner. Like two hours if I do it all in one go. I usually make the tortillas halfway while the kids are resting then finish them off while I am making the filling and fixings, but today during rest time I crashed on the couch with my Bible and a chocolate bar.

I started with the taco seasoning, which I knew I needed to make more of. A few spices, shake the jar up, done. Then I began making the tortillas. When I went to add the baking powder I discovered an empty jar. Gah! I quickly mixed up a batch of baking powder (we don't buy it from the store because we don't eat corn).

J and I had recently discussed why the tortilla recipe had sugar in it. We concluded that it was for flavoring purposes so I decided to leave out the sugar, but the end result was so sticky I ended up throwing the batch away. I told B, "We don't normally do this - in fact Daddy would never do this - but if Mama doesn't throw this away and start over she is going to start yelling."

While I was mixing the tortillas Ainsleigh was screaming as loud as she could because a) I wasn't giving her peas fast enough, and b) that's what Ainsleigh does. Queen Squawkers is the perfect nickname for her. I think the Lord thought it would be helpful to make her super loud so that all of my worries about her verbal skills failing to develop well because of her hearing loss wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

Then B joined in the yelling, because he is three. And then I yelled, because I am human.

I was mixing the dough, getting more and more frustrated, and then B, who was standing in his helper tower, looked at me and said, "Mom, you need to breathe. You need to take a deep breath, mama," because that's what I say to him when he gets frustrated.

The tortillas did not come out perfectly, but I got enough done and pressed that we could have dinner. I threw them onto silicone mats then pulled the griddle out so I could cook them. Two weeks ago when I made tacos I had two silicone mats full of beautiful little circles all laid out and ready to cook as soon as J got home from work. This time I wanted to throw all the tortillas out the door, or have J fix the problem - which he is brilliant at - but I knew J was going to be home late and I didn't want to make him walk in the door and fix dinner (foreshadowing!)

Tortillas done. Spanish rice started. Taco meat started. Fixings done. J almost home. I thought I was home free.

Oh, wait! While I was busy cooking Ainsleigh was pushing the kid chairs and table all over the dining room, which I thought was no big deal because she does that all day every day. But little miss was scheming and plotting and when I peeked in the dining room I saw this:


She used the small chair to climb on the big chair and was doing her best to get up on the table!!

J finally came home and whisked the kids upstairs with him to change/bounce on the bed. I put dinner on the table. I taste tested the Spanish rice before putting it on the table since it was my first time making it. SPICY!! I tried to figure out what I did wrong while eating cheese to ease the burning in my mouth.

"Something is wrong with the Spanish rice," I told J. "You can try it if you like, but it's really spicy."

I served the kids then made myself a taco. I took a bite, then my eyes began watering.

"J! This is SPICY! B, stop! STOP! Don't eat the meat."

He tried a bite. His eyes got huge.

"Eat some cheese, baby!! Quick! It helps!"

"It must be the chili powder, J! The chili powder we bought from the bulk bins this weekend."

"There's different kinds of chili powder?" he asked.

"I don't know! I guess so."

Then another thought crossed my mind.

"Oh my word, that's a pound of grass fed beef!" 

"Stop freaking out, let me try to fix it."

And he did. Mostly. Of course. He used his science brain to add a certain ratio of fats to the meat to tame the spice, then he rinsed it out, and it was edible. Ish.

I just put my head in my hands and ate a plain tortilla.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

kitchen adventures: homemade fruit snacks / energy bites {allergy friendly}


I wanted to make B homemade fruit snacks, but there were some hurdles to face first:

- I needed grass-fed gelatin (what the what is that?!)


- I didn't know how to use the juicer 

Once the gelatin was sourced - online, by J - I asked how to use the juicer. J laughed and said it was easy, did I really need him to show me?

Well no, no I don't, thank you very much, sir.

This morning B and I went to the store then prepared ourselves to make homemade fruit snacks. One thing J did not take into consideration: I'm pregnant. And pregnancy makes me a little stupid.

I couldn't figure out how to turn the juicer on.

I put it all together, I understood the mechanics of it, but the on button was missing from our model.

I had to watch a YouTube video to figure out how to turn the darn juicer on. (Why am I admitting this?)

Once I learned that the button was at the back on the very bottom (the guy on YouTube was a little confused too) I did just fine.

From there it was pretty easy. Well, I had to Google "what is compote?" to make sure my definition matched that of the general population, but overall I did fine.

And the fruit snacks are good! B is meh about them, but I am determined to make him like them. We popped in for a quick doctor visit this morning (B has a mysterious one sided rash next to his mouth that will not clear up) and heard the best news: B has gained 1 lb since April and the doctor is pleased - hear that, pleased!! - with his progress. If I can get gelatin in this boy we may actually hit 20 lbs by the time he's 2.


When J came home from work - more like stopped in, that man is working so hard right now on so many projects - he noticed the cleaned juicer next to the sink.

"Hey!! You juiced!"

"Well, I made a little orange juice for those homemade fruit snacks. I didn't really juice."

"I didn't think you would actually do it without me!"

Then I did this really embarrassing hands on hips head bob thing that comes out sometimes when I don't know what to say, but feel the need to project a little attitude.

I showed him, didn't I?

On to the next adventure, which was really easy in comparison: Vegan Gluten-Free Energy Bites. I made these once. J found a different homemade granola bar for me to try later this week. Wait, it's Thursday? Make that next week. I like this recipe, but it uses oats and we're trying to wean off the grains. I might try making it again with quinoa flakes because B loves it so much.



It only took me a few minutes to throw this recipe together. I cut out the hemp seeds (didn't have any) and cacao powder (didn't have it until it showed up with the gelatin).

Up next: homemade marshmallows and the granola bars I mentioned above.

In case you missed it: Homemade Fruit Snack Recipe HERE

And Vegan Gluten-Free Energy Bites HERE

Friday, November 23, 2012

thanksgiving!


I did it! I made my first Thanksgiving meal - with lots of help from my mama.


I did all the menu planning, though!

We made: 

Turkey
Stuffing 
Gravy
Rolls 
Mashed Potatoes 
Braised Cabbage with Apple 
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Pomegranate seeds (this was the cranberry alternative)
My Mama's Jello Dish


And J made apple pie and chocolate cream pie. He made four pies all told: apple pie, gluten free apple pie (for Bennett) chocolate cream pie, and miniature chocolate cream pie sans eggs (for me).



I have never cooked so much food in one go. My mom and I cooked for hours yesterday and did a fair amount before dinner today too. And this was happening while we cooked:



Chef bonus = sampling 





First apple pie. So. much. sugar.







Blessed. And thankful.

Friday, November 2, 2012

egg, dairy, gluten free pancakes



I did it!! I finally made a pancake Bennett can - and will - eat. My previous attempts have been inedible, but this one was pretty good. I even ate two, and I am particular about my pancakes.


I looked up multiple recipes, picked the most common ingredients and substituted nearly everything. I left out sugar, but next time around I may add a little honey. Bennett ate the pancakes plain. I offered pieces with and without jam; he threw the ones with jam on the floor.

Egg, Dairy and Gluten Free Pancakes

Ingredients:

1.5 cups flour (I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free baking flour)
1 egg (1 TB flax seed + 3 TB water)
1 cup rice milk
2 TB coconut oil (melted)
3 teaspoons baking powder

Process:

Melt coconut oil
Add to rice milk (I mix everything in a large glass measuring cup. It makes it easier to pour)
Whisk together
Add flax seed, baking powder and flour
Whisk together 

If too thick add a bit more milk. I originally tried 1 cup flour, but it was way too runny. I couldn't get the pancakes to hold together.

They took a little longer to cook than I'm used to. Wait a while before flipping, or else you'll have a mess on your hands. Trust me. I only managed three good pancakes out of the entire batch.

Bennett looks a little grumpy in the pictures because he woke at 5:30 am. I have to find a way to make him sleep a little longer. He spent his morning collapsing on the floor and wailing. Around 9 he finally caved and is now passed out next to me.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

feeding b


is challenging.

He cannot have wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts or seeds.

And his doctor wonders why he's on the smaller side.

Genetics + limited diet = a 1% baby.

I always want to know what other people eat. Leave me alone in your house and I will look through your kitchen cabinets. I'm just fascinated by other people's food choices. It's not a judgmental thing; it's more of a can we be food friends? thing. And if you have only healthy, organic food in your cupboard I'm sorry, we can't be food friends. This girl likes sweets and snack foods and (gasp) boxed mac n cheese.

There are days I wish I could whip up a box of mac n cheese from Trader Joe's for B (no preservatives!). Even though the moment itself would be wonderful he would break out in a rash and be miserable for days afterward. 

I cook a lot. Me, the queen of being lazy and lover of eating out (you can hear this every month in our house: "are you sure we used up all of our restaurant money, J?") has to cook nearly every meal.

I am so glad we haven't hit a picky stage yet. I am in trouble when that happens. Right now B will at least try anything I put in front of him. Some meals I end up giving him fruit because he won't eat anything else and he will always take fruit, but most of the time he eats what I give him.

If you need food ideas for your toddler, or if you have a very allergic toddler like me, or if you like knowing what's in people's cupboards - here's what B is eating:

Breakfast

Hardest meal of the day. I'm always so tired and barely awake enough to turn the stove on. I was getting in the habit of feeding B applesauce and a few gluten free puffs, but that's not enough food for him. His doctor wants him to be getting meat with every meal so I've recently changed our breakfast routine.

- Oatmeal with coconut oil (I mix coconut oil with a lot of things because he needs good fats)
- Hash (I am in LOVE with this new idea I stumbled across. I throw together a whole bunch of stuff and scramble it up. Example: Bacon, apple chicken sausage, apple, sweet potato. B and J love it.)
- Chicken sausage (good preservative free options from Trader Joe's and Costco)
- Fruit (blueberries, grapes, applesauce, plum, peach, pear, apples ... etc)

I usually make a big batch of oatmeal at the beginning of the week and then feed it to him throughout. I'm going to start doing the same thing with the hash. I add flax seed to his oatmeal too. Thanks to flax seed and lots of water B has never been constipated (fingers crossed, knock on wood).

Lunch

If we have leftover chicken or other meat from dinner I give it to him for lunch. Most days he gets lunch meat and a vegetable or three. I know some moms who won't give lunch meat to their little ones, but I feel comfortable with what Trader Joe's has on offer. I love Trader Joe's; I buy most of our groceries there now because they do super smart things like offer already cut up fruit and vegetables at a decent price and they have good food without a whole lot of junk added in.

- Ham
- Turkey
- Chicken
- Chili (homemade or Trader Joe's)
- Black beans 
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
- Carrots
- Sweet potatoes 
- Sweet potatoes and apples with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, roasted (B loves when I make him this)
- Potatoes (still working on russets from our garden!)
- Lentils
- Coconut yogurt 
- Gluten free bread with turkey and goat cheese on top - put under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese

Dinner

B usually eats what we're having, but when I get a craving and make something he can't have (like lasagna) he gets something else. I do some creative substituting too. The other night we had sweet and spicy stir fry with noodles. The noodles had wheat so I gave B mung bean noodles. He LOVED them.



Snacks

- Raisins 
- Rice cakes 
- Fruit (at least one snack time he gets a banana)
- Cut and steamed veggies 
- Gluten free, dairy free puffs
- Plum Baby dairy free snacks (coconut yogurt melts and other little treats. They are expensive, I'm trying to stay away from them)
- Fruit leather

I feel like I should make smoothies for B, but I've had little success on that front. I wish he liked avocados. I've tried hiding them in different foods but he can suss out even the smallest amount of avocado.

B only has water and breast milk to drink. He still nurses five times in a 24 hour cycle, which gives him a much needed nutritional boost. B eats every two hours. Some days he eats every hour. If I forget to feed him, or if he gets hungry, he goes to the first shelf in the pantry where we store his food, stretches up on his toes until he can snag something, hauls it off the shelf and brings it to me. B doesn't care if I feed him that particular food, he just wants me to give him something. I no longer let him breastfeed on demand because it was getting a little interesting in public. B has milk at 9 am, at 1 pm (or before nap), at 6:30 pm and twice during the night.

So tell me, what's your little one eating? Food ideas and suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

fall recipe: roast chicken, two ways


September is a warm time, if not the warmest time of year in the Willamette Valley. This morning I stared at the 10 day forecast with dismay, but I know the rain will fall soon. When I did a quick read through of blog posts this evening I saw no fewer than three 'fall is coming' posts so I know it is almost upon us.

I love fall to pieces. It's my favorite season, which I've told you 1,000 times, I know. I hate cooking during the summer because it's hot and we don't have air conditioning and when it's hot I don't feel like eating. But then fall comes along and eating soup by a fire becomes not only appropriate but necessary (ten months of the year I am chilled to the bone) and hot chocolate in the morning starts to sound good every morning.

This year, as in somewhere around February, I tackled making a whole chicken for the first time. I'm 29. Is that shameful? I think it is. I found a fabulous easy recipe for rotisserie chicken in the slow cooker and I make it once a month, if not twice. I think I've shared the recipe here before. I'm so tired (mastitis, seriously) I'm beginning to think I've already written this post, but I don't think that's the case ...

So that's recipe number one. It is so easy. Go try it. And when you have that one tackled take on this next one. I found this recipe in the Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild. Somewhere in the last year I became someone who flips through recipe books for fun. To think, it all started with a bit of innocent meal planning.

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme chicken

Ingredients:


1- 4-1/2 lb whole chicken
2 tsp dried rosemary
1-1/2 tsp ground or dried sage
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme
bay leaves
5 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 small russet potatoes, quartered lengthwise and sliced into wedges
8 large shallots, peeled
1-3/4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp butter
minced parsley


Process:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Rub chicken inside and out with salt. Combine rosemary, sage, thyme and generous amount of freshly ground black pepper in small bowl. Rub herb mixture inside chicken. Place 1 bay leaf inside. Tie legs together with string to hold shape. Brush chicken with some olive oil. Sprinkle with half of remaining herb mixture.

Place chicken in heavy large roasting pan. Surround chicken with potatoes, shallots and any other vegetables you are roasting. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining herb mixture and salt. Add remaining bay leaf and mix well.

Roast chicken until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with fork (about 60 - 75 minutes depending on size of chicken). Every 20 minutes or so baste chicken and vegetables with pan juices throughout cooking. Remove chicken and vegetables from roasting pan and tent with foil to keep warm (aerating so skin stays crispy).

Pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup and spoon off fat from top. Add enough chicken broth to measure 2 cups. Add vinegar to roasting pan; set over 2 burners and bring to boil over medium heat, scraping up any brown bits. Boil until reduced to glaze (4-6 minutes). Add broth mixture and boil until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables and serve.

**

I admit, this one taxed my brain a bit, but it was so good I will make it again. And to be completely honest, the first time through a recipe always taxes my brain a bit. To make this post even more exciting I'm going to add a third recipe: homemade chicken noodle soup. This won't be very precise because I make it up as I go along, but it's a great way to use every bit of a whole chicken.

When you've finished supper remove as much meat as you can from the bone. Place the chicken carcass in a large pot. Fill the pot with water until the carcass is just covered.

Add:

Carrots and celery, roughly chopped.

Salt (however much you like).

A dash of apple cider vinegar (pulls minerals from the bone).

Fresh rosemary and thyme (if you have it, if not dried will do).

Set it to simmer for a good long while (at least two-three hours).

Remove and discard the chicken carcass (you can pull more meat from the bone at this time).

Pour the broth into a large bowl (or two) through a sieve. Or use whatever you have on hand to make sure you don't wind up with vegetables and herbs in your broth.

Put it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning skim most of the fat off the top, but not all of it! Fat is good for you.

Chop up carrots and celery. Add.

Add rosemary and thyme.

Set it to simmer.

I like to let it simmer all day, but a couple hours is plenty of time.

When you are a few minutes from supper time make noodles separately and then add them to the soup. They go all mushy otherwise.

Taste for flavor. Add salt or chicken broth if you like. I only recently have managed to make a soup that I don't feel needs a bit of chicken broth added to make the flavor stronger.

**

So there you have it.

Roast chicken, two ways, and a soup recipe.

If you're thinking you can't handle raw chicken I promise you will be fine. I gag through the entire process, but I make it through.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

so good


This is going to be one of those annoying I'm gardening!! posts.  Apologies in advance.


But first: Yes, @Hope's Mama, this is the Pacific Northwest summer.  We wear jackets and sweaters sometimes during the summer because the weather isn't always warm.  And we spent our weekend away on the Washington state coast, which is quite chilly (it didn't get above 70°F (21°C) during the day).  This week our warmest day is predicted at 83°F (28.3°C).  And it nearly always cools down enough at night that a sweater or jacket is required.


******


We have SO much food in our garden right now.  I love selecting our food for dinner from the backyard. When I did the weekly shop J asked, "is that really all we need?"  And I was able to say, "yep, everything else is outside."  Oh my stars, it's exciting!  I know I'm a little bit (a lot?) lame for finding gardening so exciting, but I've never watched food grow.  I'm learning a lot, some of which I probably should have known before I was 28 (almost 29 - yikes!).


For dinner I've been serving a main dish as well as lettuce, carrots and zucchini from the garden.  Last night we harvested and ate the first potatoes.  I season the carrots, zucchini and potatoes with whatever spices will go with our meal (suggestions: olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary or olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning or olive oil, salt, pepper, smoked paprika) and then bake or grill them (oven at 425°, bake 20 minutes then broil until crispy if you like, for the grill 15 minutes or so does the trick).




I haven't had great luck with the zucchini but the carrots were amazing in the oven and on the grill and the potatoes were perfect after a fifteen minute stint on the grill.  It's simple and easy and good for us.  I love it.




A year ago I said I would never garden, that it just wasn't for me.  Now I'm gardening (with lots of help from J) and making a lot of what we eat from scratch.  Last night I made pulled pork sliders on homemade whole wheat buns.




It was easy and really good.  You should try it!  Here's the recipes:


Pulled Pork - the great thing about pulled pork is that I can make a big batch and freeze portions for later use.  The pork we ate tonight was originally made three months ago.


Homemade Hamburger Buns - also makes great rolls.  I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose.  And I just used water instead of making an egg wash.


And if you don't have a garden, use veggies from the store.  And if you would rather not make the buns, buy them from the store.  It will still be delicious.

I am starting to believe cooking should be fun.  I am starting to say I hate cooking less.  And I love that B is growing up playing on the floor at my feet while I cook and bake.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

what we're eating



Meal planning has made cooking more enjoyable.  In fact, I'm actually starting to like cooking.  It's not nearly as stressful as it used to be.  I asked (via facebook) if a post on what we're eating would be boring or interesting.  A few people said interesting (and no one said boring) so here it is.

I think the easiest way to do this is list a whole bunch of meals.  If something catches your fancy you can try it in your kitchen.  If a lot of meals catch your fancy you can put together a month of meals from this list.

My list is light on some foods (Mexican, Thai) because I am a picky, picky eater.  I've linked to some recipes and I have a Pinterest board with recipes as well (look for the what we're eating board).  I make marinades, spice and herb rubs myself, if you want any of those recipes, or any other recipe I haven't linked to just e-mail me (littlebird0514@gmail.com).  It would take me three years to write them all here (read: I'm feeling lazy).

Also: I don't list a ton of side dishes.  We have a green salad with most meals, sometimes fruit as well.  I don't make a lot of sides because it's usually too much food for us to eat.

Lasagna - green salad
Smoked turkey (I buy it from Costco) - roasted vegetables
Baked chicken taquitos - green salad
Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers/Bacon Cheeseburgers - green salad, chips
Homemade pizza - green salad, carrot sticks, grapes
Spaghetti with meat sauce - green beans, green salad
Pork chops - sweet potatoes, green salad, apples or applesauce
Tacos - green salad, pears (I buy our taco mix at Trader Joe's. I just can't replicate it)
Homemade macaroni and cheese (add broccoli or spinach) - green salad
Breakfast for dinner (pancakes, french toast, omelettes) - apples, grapes, kiwi etc.
Turkey, bacon, avocado sandwiches (serve hot or cold) - green salad
Turkey, bacon, apple sandwiches, homemade french fries - green salad
Homemade chicken strips and homemade french fries (or sweet potato fries) - green salad
Winter Stew (I add stew meat)
Pulled pork sandwiches - green salad, chips
Chicken noodle soup from rotisserie chicken carcass
Avocado pasta - green salad
Pot roast with carrots and potatoes 
Chicken Parmesan - green salad
Chicken pot pie - green salad
Chicken tetrazzini - green salad
Baked potatoes - green salad
Fruit salad, green salad, cheese, homemade whole wheat rolls

A few more tips:

If you make one night a week leftovers night you can find a month of meals in this list.

When I make pulled pork sandwiches or chicken noodle soup I make BIG batches.  We eat a small amount and then I freeze the rest for an easy meal option in the future.

If you want to save money (and cut back on carb consumption) don't eat bread with your pasta dishes.  I miss bread, but cutting it out of our dinner meals has helped us save money and waste less food.

Happy cooking!


Saturday, June 2, 2012

friday night, pizza night


I'm sticking with our monthly meal planning.  It hasn't been easy - and didn't go perfectly last month - but we knocked out our smallest school loan on the first which motivates me to keep going.


Now that I've been at the monthly meal planning for a while I've started being less focused on having varied meals with few repeats.  Now that I've mastered homemade pizza crust and sauce I think Friday will be pizza night.


image from here


I love pizza.  LOVE IT.  When I was pregnant with Charlotte we ate so much pizza J said he couldn't look at it for a while.  I could not get enough of pizza and pasta with her, whereas Bennett's pregnancy was all about meat.  I ate SO many bacon cheeseburgers during his pregnancy it's almost shameful.


I like that we can have pizza once a week without spending much money.  And we control the ingredients! I'm getting a little obsessed about ingredient control now that Bennett is eating with us.


Here are the recipes I've been using to make dough and sauce.  One quick note, you will want a pizza stone if you plan on making your own.  I use it to bake bread on as well.


I found the pizza dough recipe on Annie's Eats.  There is also a tips and tricks page which has helped me a lot.


Dough


Tips and tricks


The sauce is from someone at J's work.  I believe they got it from a restaurant they love.  I'm not quite at the - start by growing tomatoes stage, but maybe that's coming soon ...?


Sauce:


1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary or basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 bay leaves


Simmer 2-4 hours. Enough for four pizzas.


The dough freezes really well, as does the sauce, and it makes enough for two pizzas.  We always bake one, freeze one since it's just the three of us (and B isn't allowed pizza, darn food allergies).


This month I am going to make a double batch of dough and sauce (recipe says it's enough for four pizzas, but two and a half is more accurate for us) in one go, which means I will have four meals DONE in a short amount of time.


I'm really excited about this.  My kitchen skills are improving, but I still don't enjoy cooking. And I like being able to eat a food I love without guilt about cost or ingredients.  It's fun to make pizza together too. We talk while J does most of the prep and Bennett plays around the floor by our feet. It's good family time, and when Bennett gets a little older I think he will enjoy making his own little pizza.


If you try making your own - and I encourage you to do so! - let me know how it turns out.

Monday, May 28, 2012

monday blues & one embarrassing story


How about a slightly embarrassing story to brighten your day?


Before I share I want to thank my brother for his service.  I know he has friends he is missing and remembering this Memorial Day.  Love you brother, thank you for protecting our country and its freedoms.


**


I spent my day cleaning the heck out of our house.  I washed windows




cleaned blinds, swept, mopped, organized and alphabetized the spice cabinet.


I AM SO STRESSED AND ANXIOUS I just had to do something besides fret.  J handled B most of the day so I could work out my issues via cleaning and scrubbing.


On top of cleaning and organizing most of the house (the upstairs is still a disaster) I baked bread.


A few days ago I discovered that the bread I've been eating has high fructose corn syrup.  When J came home from work I told him about it.


His response?


"I know."


"You know?"


"It's cheap bread, what do you expect?"


"I don't know, no high fructose corn syrup?"


He shrugged.  "Why do you think I haven't been eating it?"


"I thought you didn't like 8 grain bread!"


"I don't like high fructose corn syrup."


"I had no idea, why didn't you tell me?"


"I assumed you read the label."


"Of course I didn't."


Silence.


"J, I've been poisoning myself!!"


He laughed. "No you haven't. It's not good for you, but you haven't been poisoning yourself."


"I am going to die!"


"No you're not."


"I can't feed this to B!  That's it, I'm making bread from scratch."


J's eyes lit up.  He's been hoping for this.


"Great!  I'll mill flour for you."


"What?  Why do we need to mill flour?  Can't we buy it at the store?"


"It will be SO good if we mill our own flour, trust me.  And if the world ends we'll have flour."


"But, so, um, how?  Won't we need wheat?  Like, stalks of wheat?  How does this work?"


"We'll order it online, and then store it in the basement."


"Seriously?"


"Yes, seriously!" 


And then he disappeared for a while.  He was probably looking up flour mills and bulk wheat prices online.  I didn't ask; I didn't want to know.


I finished off the evil bread a few days ago.  I can't believe I didn't know it had high fructose corn syrup.  Yes, I'm reading labels more carefully now.  I am so ashamed.


This afternoon I whipped up my first two loaves of homemade bread.




And tonight I'll make french toast for dinner from this bread, because when life gets hard, when I feel overwhelmed I take control of what I can and find joy in the small things, like cooking, cleaning, baking, organizing and eating food that brings me comfort and warmth.


*Bread recipe from four minus one makes five*
*Cut salt to 3t, 3T way too much*

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