Baking bread

Thanksgiving pics will be coming soon - I promise. In the meantime, here is to wishing you all a Happy POST Thanksgiving, and I hope your holiday was meaningful and lovely!

Mike and I had a nice low-key weekend. Besides a 4am trip to Kohl's, Circuit City and Target on Friday, we did a lot of relaxing. So much in fact that I decided to take my new $25 faux-Kitchen Aid mixer from Target's doorbuster sale and put it to work making a loaf of bread.

I found an easy beer bread recipe online - I chose Sam Adams Winter Lager for the beer (Mike's favorite seasonal lager). I used my new silicon loaf pan and baked the loaf - the house smelled amazingly wonderful. Even though it was chilly in the house, my insides actually felt warm by just smelling the bread.

I decided to use an egg glaze to give the top of the loaf a lovely shine. It looked like something out of a professional bakery. It was the first loaf of bread I have ever made myself, so you have to understand my wonder here!!! It was beautiful. I couldn't wait to dig in. Shortly after, Mike arrived home, and we cut open the warm bread. We happened to have some honey butter on hand, so we used that to top the slices. Absolutely fantastic. The bread had a great consistency - a bit thicker than store bought bread, but not heavy - and the beer added an earthy taste to the bread.

We snacked on the bread a bit throughout the day, and on Sunday Mike cut two slices and made a leftover Turkey sandwich. With the bread I MADE. It may seem silly, but I had an overwhelming sense of joy and accomplishment from 1) making the bread and 2) seeing someone enjoy eating the bread. There was also a great deal of satisfaction for making something of substance and use for my family (family being Mike!!) . Making things from scratch is so very fulfilling to me. Being connected to what I'm eating and how it is made is starting to become more and more important to me. Some may find it obnoxious, but I am really enjoying this journey. Learning to cook is so much fun.

It's not that I didn't know how to cook before this - my Mom taught me how to make a lot of stuff. I can make a killer cube steak with mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes, ground beef chili, fried or King Ranch chicken. But, as a vegetarian now, that isn't helping me much!!! I am having to learn how to cook without meat, and I am trying to use as few faux meat products as possible. I need to change my taste to better appreciate natural foods rather than processed ones. It's tough, let me tell ya! My waistline has suffered from all the processed crap I'm eating, and I need to get that under control. It's been over 2 years of vegetarianism, and it is about time I started really cooking like one!!!

Thanks for listening to me rant about this - you will probably hear much more down the line. Hopefully between my own personal eating habits and my final paper, something good will come out of all of this!!!!


Amy said...

I just wanted to say that I totally get what you are saying. I have learned over the last few years that it's so fulfilling to drive to the farmer's market, do my grocery shopping, and cook dinner with just these amazing fresh ingredients. Ed and I comment regularly that if it wasn't for Owen we probably wouldn't have to shop at Publix ever, but he's three and he likes gummy snacks and non-organic yogurt and instant oatmeal and a few other items. He doesn't eat a ton of junk food, but sometimes... Anyways, my point is that there's nothing more satisfying then knowing that you can make macaroni and cheese that taste better than the box stuff and is only slightly more difficult. Enjoy the journey that you've starting with your food. It can only lead to good eats. (Sorry, I know that was cheesy but I couldn't resist.)

Amy said...

Oh, and one other thing, Ed was asking me what I wanted to do different this time around with the baby and one of the only things I could come up with is that I wanted to make my own baby food. I'm so excited about roasting butternut squash and apples and canning them. Silly, but true.