So I am the kind of person who is pretty susceptible to the power of suggestion, and I often find myself feeling guilty over the fact that my lifestyle doesn't match up to what other people's opinions of the "right way" to do things are. I know...its silly. But as a mom especially, if I hear someone touting a certain method or philosophy on parenting, I immediately become insecure and wonder if the way I am doing things is wrong. Trust me, it's not nearly as bad as it used to be when I was a super newbie mom, but now that I am oh so slightly more experienced, I am learning to trust my gut a little bit more. But I have been known to have the same reservations about my food-related decision making, especially as it pertains to feeding my family. As a mom and wife, I want the best for my husband and kids, and myself of course, when it comes to food. But guys...I am also tired, and in the tunnel of parenthood right now, and finding the time to pee alone is hard, let alone cook any gourmet meals. I also happen to be surrounded by a few people who are of the paleo persuasion, and my insides quiver anytime I hear someone talk about how great, and amazing and healthy they feel after going grain free, or doing a whole 30. I can't help but think twice about what I'm feeding my family. But then I remember...I love bread. I LOVE MUFFINS. I love to bake and I can't deny it, its just in my soul. We don't have a problem taking in enough fruits and veggies in this house, but we do eat alot of grains, and we love them. And I think I have finally found my middle ground when it comes to feeding my family well.
Have you seen, or read this blog? I am becoming more and more interested in the idea of a "real food" diet, and while I know we still have a lot of changes to make in order to be eating more real food than not, I am really happy with the progress we have made so far. And I think the reason it appeals to me so much is that it doesn't seen to far off from what I have been trying to do in our home anyway. When I was pregnant with Agnes I became obsessed with baking. I have always enjoyed it, but never to the extreme degree that I reached during those nine months, and ever since. I'm talking more muffins than any sane person should ever make. And bread.
Bread has always scared me. Muffins, cookies, pancakes, granola from scratch...easy peasy. Bread? Not so much. Every now and then I would make a loaf but it was always a special occasion kind of thing. In June of this past summer I started baking sandwich bread to see if I could replace our store bought version, and I haven't looked back since. I don't mean this to sound braggy, but it has really given me a lot of pride to know that for almost four months now we haven't had to buy a loaf of bread at the store. Nope that's a lie...I bought one, and it is still in our freezer waiting to be eaten, because I was too stubborn to break my baking streak. There's something so old school and romantic to me about baking things from scratch. Not only does it taste better, but (and don't mistake me for a health nut, or anything) it actually IS nice to know what you are eating, and there is something that feels so wholesome to me about baking bread for my family. Don't get me wrong here, we still have a ways to go in the healthy eating department, but I'm learning that sometimes you need to "start where you are" with just one thing that you can do. And for me that is bread. Baking, for me, is comfort, and love, and hanging on a little bit to the way things used to be.
Thank heavens for Pinterest, where I have found all of my favorite recipes so far. If you want to try your hand at making your own bread here are some of the recipes that have worked well for me, and are very easy (and I mean very).
This French Bread is a new one for me, but after I made it the first time I knew it was going directly into my recipe binder to be made over and over and over again. I got totally spooked by a terrible loaf of french bread I attempted about six months ago that I never tried since, but we made soup the other night and I knew we needed some good bread to go with it. We devoured an entire loaf, straight out of the oven and it was like a big warm hug, in carb form.
This oatmeal sandwich bread has seen the inside of my oven almost every week since June. It is delicious, hearty, makes amazing grilled cheese sandwiches, and it so incredibly easy, I could hardly believe it the first time I made it.
On a scale of 1 to expert baker, I would have to say I am about a 1, so I'm not claiming to know much about much of anything but I do know this: I love to eat, I love bread, and I would love to feed my family healthy foods with a big dose of love (barf...I know that was sappy, but its the truth) so I am slowly but surely learning how to make that happen. Give it a try, you won't regret it!