Mexico 2015.

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The plain old truth is that I haven’t quite known what to say.  I’ve toyed with shutting my little blog down because I hardly think what I have to share is of any consequence in light of my recent discoveries in all things spiritual.  Then again maybe the little things of life are that much more important because ‘heaven is all around us’ as it were.

We went to Mexico again this year and it was amazing.

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It was a slower pace than normal for me and I realize that part of my emotional/spiritual journey will be learning how to truly slow down.  It is only when I slow down that I can enjoy motherhood.  As a mother I am constantly pulled to move quickly to avoid a child’s meltdown, to keep up with the laundry; to keep up with the dishes, the diapers, the nursing, the teaching and answering questions, the endless amount of chores to be done while also being a good mom.  That is not even to mention the never-ending dust bunnies that I see and I know I just vacuumed yesterday (or was that last week already?).  I will never keep up with all of it.  I will never do enough.  And if I try I might just end up not being as good of a mom as I want to be.

So I need to slow down.

There is a parallel here that I am discovering ever so slowly.  Just as I will never be able to do all that I need to do to reach perfection in my daily life as wife and mother, I will also never be able to be good enough, pure enough, strong enough, brave enough, loving enough, kind enough, etc., etc.  Not without Jesus.  What He did for me is only now beginning to take shape in my heart and mind.  It is just beginning and it is OVERWHELMING.

So you see why I’m having a hard time coming up with something snippy and useful to post?  My normal attitudinal diatribe is sort of paling in comparison to the greatness that is HE who is everything, and HE who has saved us, and guess what?  You have been saved too.  Yup, I said it.  JESUS loves you.  Haha, I don’t even care that I sound like a WWJD bracelet wearing-card carrying thumper.  If you don’t know this I’m gonna tell you, because you don’t know until He has introduced himself to you, but once He does, hold on to your behind.  Not joking.

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So, in light of the revelation that has totally taken over my life (because, you will remember, I thought I was a Christian.  I thought I loved Jesus, but YOU GUYS…I had no idea.  I had never MET Him), you can see why I’m considering my blog to be somewhat ‘meh’ these days.

But this morning a dear friend sent me a text and in it she said something about me being an inspiration.  ME??  I thought about that for a minute, and it was surprising and it felt so good, especially coming from her.  She is the one who is inspiring.  But anyway, it got me thinking about my blog.  If my, ‘testimony’ were to reach ONE person, that is enough.

There was this guy who went to preach in Africa.  He was straight-up American with no foreign languages on the docket.  When he opened his mouth to speak to a large crowd of people his words came out in German.  He was speaking fluent German and he doesn’t speak German.  He later found out there was one person in the audience who only spoke German for whom his testimony had obviously been intended.  This is what I’m talking about.  This is my God.  He cares to go after that one lost sheep so badly that He will go to insane lengths with unfathomable patience to get you.  To get you.

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Yeah that’s right, Mr. H. is staring you down.  Be slightly nervous.  I fell for him because he smoked, drank, had tattoos and dropped the F bomb regularly whilst having a sprinkling of reverence for God which I thought was attractive in that sexy-humble kind of way.  That was us pre-children I’ll have you know.  But God is sneaky because it was marrying Mr. H. that really got me.  Slowly but surely his love for the Lord and prayer for my soul caught me in that net and as I look around at all the other fish here with me I realize that my God is MOVING right now in a way I never knew possible.

He is after you.  Don’t doubt it for a minute, and His brilliance in going after those of us who have lived in DEEP sin and rebellion is that once we find that absolute TRUTH, we are unafraid of what others think of us since we have lived a life on the outside our entire lives.  A girlfriend I never would have imagined would give her heart to Jesus texted me in January that she has met the Lord and now all we do is talk about Him.  You should have seen us 12 years ago (you should have seen me two months ago).

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Oh yeah, Mexico.  This is basically how I lived down there.  Dolly chunk-a-munk lived on me and we walked everywhere like this.  It’s our jam at home now and I love it.

I am sorry I haven’t been posting much.  I am sorry I’m not posting fun food stuff.  I have a ton to share there.  I’ve been baking 100% rye sourdough and it’s good but it’s kind of super rye-ee.  Now I’m trying a mix of rye and spelt.  I just want to steer clear of wheat, but you guys.  I can’t seem to pull off beautiful bread, artisan style crumb, with 100% whole grains.  Anyway, I’m going to get to a place where I’m thrilled with something in that department before I post.  I have a couple of tricks I’ve learned from a sweet little rye cookbook I bought HERE that I will share soon.

I’m making water kefir again, but it is taking about 15 batches for it to be lively enough to be super bubbly and delicious.  I’ll post on that once it’s a total success.

Truthfully I haven’t been inspired in the kitchen.  Just doing the few things I do because I know how, but not venturing out much.  I don’t know if all moms with two kids under two have a hard time finding TIME, but I sure do.  Very often I have to choose between washing my hair or changing new poo diapers; catching up on emails or sleep.  The fact that I’m writing this post right now basically means my living room is covered in legos, there is flour all over the kitchen counter, and I need to vacuum before the Mr. gets home.  Will it get done?  No really, I’m actually asking ’cause I don’t know.

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That is either a crocodile or an alligator, but either way, not cool.  You know how they kill you right?  Spinning down down, creepy evil buggars if you ask me.

Back to Jesus.

There is something I have to say here.  You truly just cannot and will not know until you know.  You are an atheist.  Fine.  I have many friends who are.  I’m woo-woo and you can write me off and that is fine because you know what?  He will have His way.  If the hound of heaven is after you, you almost have no hope of escaping.  I sure didn’t, and thank goodness because now that I KNOW, I am just plain overwhelmed that I may have never known Him.  And I’m only talking about in THIS LIFE.  There is eternity to consider here.  You know the whole ‘you don’t have a soul you are a soul’ thing right?  That’s a deal.  And also, C.S. Lewis said God has placed eternity in our hearts.  It’s true.  I knew it.  That longing, that unfillable by any other means thing.  And believe me, I have tried those other means.  All. Of. Them.  You don’t have a longing?  You are stoned then, and that doesn’t count.  You can’t really measure anything if you don’t take the test properly.

And one more thing.  I was in the camp for a while that subscribes to the whole “well, might as well be safe and believe Jesus died for my sins, because if it isn’t true then no harm, and if it is, ‘yay, no hell for me’.”  I say take that one step further and really put it to the test.  Put Christianity to the gosh-darn test and take your coffee loving, book reading, science-y-snobby-hipster-bottom to your favorite coffee shop, pull out your mac, sip your black americano (or true italian macchiato; none of this ‘starbucks macchiato made-like-a-late’ bull honkey) and follow this foolish little formula:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to you (he doesn’t exist right?  So you can do this safely just to prove it).

Read the bible.  I mean, like the whole thing (no, not in one sitting you have to sleep).  Every time you open it though you have to ask to meet the Lord, and you have to actually want the Truth.  If you don’t really want to know the Truth, whether that be that God doesn’t or does exist, then you are just an angry atheist and those are just funny (Richard Dawkins) because they are so angry at God that they spend their entire lives trying to get others to stumble…oh how grateful I am that my sins are forgiven because I have made so many stumble…but I digress.  Anyway, if you want the Truth regardless of what it is, then you will find it.  I promise you.

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This guy here is a dragon.  This guy dares you to do it.

-Bee

Do You Love Ron Swanson So Much You Have His Portrait On Your Dining Room Wall?

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We do.  If you don’t watch Parks and Rec. you should start.  It is probably the most amazing show ever.  Not that we have time to watch anything ever anymore, but still…I have memories.  Also, I was recently reminded of a favorite quote of his:

“Never half-ass two things, whole ass one thing.”

Which is exactly what I have done this week.  I am whole-assing failure like it’s going out of style, and loving it.  Apparently one should never have the thought “I’m going to NOT EAT BREAD” because it leads to exactly the opposite.  Sure, I haven’t tried very hard, except to not buy bread.  It’s hilarious that I would think that would stop me because instead of thinking “Hm…I didn’t buy bread so I need to make food with some other substance” every morning I think “Oh!  We’re out of bread I need to make bread alternatives like sourdough english muffins and quick breads like coconut flour-flax-muffins for breakfast!”

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Never made english muffins before.  Guess what?  They are super easy and of course they taste amazing.  I used my starter so the dough proofed overnight but it took very little time.  I flattened the dough out the next morning with my hands because I don’t have a rolling-pin and it was as simple as using a drinking glass to cut them out and then grill them on the griddle.

Oh and yet another reason you should be cooking with cast iron.  Nothing sticks when you use and season them properly and they are perfect for cooking tortillas and english muffins!

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I’m going to perfect this recipe and post it soon.  I added the honey in the morning after the initial proof and I think maybe I will heat it before mixing it in so it spreads more evenly next time.  They tasted perfect, but I could actually see the honey inside the muffins so I know I need to tweak something.

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So this morning when I realized once again “We are out of bread!” I thought well we should make healthy bread today.  These muffins are actually quite genius.  Not joking.  Since we are going to Mexico soon I need to start clearing the fridge of items that may go bad so these muffins have:

Coconut flour, flaxseed meal, honey yogurt, sour cream, homemade applesauce, butter and lots of eggs.  (Of course they also have baking soda and powder, coconut sugar, and salt and other items that won’t go bad.)  They are kind of totally amazing.  I know very little about baking with coconut flour but I do know that it is very dry so I added three times the eggs I normally would, and some sour cream!

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I took some time to paint my toes and get ma hairs did yesterday which felt amazing.

Almost as amazing as eating these muffins.

I don’t do New Years Resolutions, but maybe I’ll try a post-Mexico resolution regarding bread this year.

Or not.

-Bee

Need To Get Bikini Ready? You Should Probably Subsist on Bread For Two Weeks Prior.

Maybe you would diet considering you were just five months out from having a baby,  you would at least cut down on bread and butter a little bit.  Know what I’ve done?  The opposite.  Sure, we have been juicing some rather intense juices (ever juiced an onion?…oh my goodness I was nauseous from detoxing all day.  I won’t be doing that again while nursing an infant) almost every day, but also I seem to have whittled the remainder of my diet down to lots of sprouted toast and even more butter.  Also, when I cut out all refined sugar (which was not much, but still…) I started craving sugar like mad so of course I made whole wheat (not acceptable, I cheated) shortbread cookies with coconut sugar and grass-fed butter and then ate them all in one day.  What is going on with me?  I don’t know.

But there is an upside to my failures!!!

I noticed some bananas had spots this morning so instead of considering a smoothie guess what I made?  Banana bread.  Duh.

I even documented it for you so we can all take some pleasure in my diving head-first into failure.

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(Yes, that is a book called Good Morning Holy Spirit that a friend just gave me.  I was going to move it out of the picture and then I was like “Nope, not ashamed.”)

Oh but it was so fun.  And funny.  I don’t know if baking with a little girl will be different, but boy I was not expecting such boyishness from Dub.  I was like:

“Hey Dub, wanna make banana bread with me?”

He nods a yes.

I say “Okay c’mon!”

“Here is how we crack an egg…wait, no wait okay…let me help you…oh wow!  Oh baby baby….ahhh….ooooooooookaaaaaay, well, I bet that feels fun but actually the point is to get JUST the inside of the egg into the cup but that works too.  Okay let’s clean up.”

He smashed the egg and immediately started smashing the shell up between his hands and saying “Ooooooh!  Ahhhhh!”

I looked away for a second before mixing the wet ingredients and he was already dumping in the dry.  He also couldn’t not try to dump the three small molds of batter out onto the table.  It was kind of chaotic but I loved every minute of it.

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Also, I realized half-way into mixing ingredients that I don’t have a loaf pan anymore!  Apparently one of those random things you don’t think to buy until you need it.

So, this banana bread took basically no time, is super easy, and incorporates a 1/2cup of flaxseed meal which is good for the digestion I totally need after the last two weeks of bread-binging.

Fix a problem with more of the problem, and a little of the answer sprinkled on top.  GOSH I’m good.

Speaking of cussing (or not, as it were), I’ve mentioned here before how I have loved the language of cuss.  A couple of years ago when I started this blog I had quit cussing.  I never told you, but I started again shortly after that.  I have been happily sporting the mouth of a sailor, since.  Until recently.  Something has caused me to have a bad taste in my mouth every time I cuss.  It’s strange.  It’s cool, actually.  I do have one question though:

I know they say ‘ass’ on the radio (as I have addressed in a prior post), and ass is a donkey, so don’t you think it’s okay to say ass?  I don’t feel like it’s bad, and quite honestly, when something happens and I want to cuss it feels good to say “OH ASS.”  Ya know?  Just me?

Anyway, banana bread.

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Bam.  I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen because she rules.  I changed things, as I do, so it is much less unhealthy but still kind of naughty.

Banana Bread (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter (or some butter and some oil…I used sunflower oil because I’ve used so much butter this week I’m going to get in trouble if I already need to buy more:)
3/4c coconut sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2c flour (I used 1/2c all purpose 1/2c whole wheat, and 1/2c flaxseed meal)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix wet, then mix dry, then add dry to wet.  If you are me you will just do it all at once since my little helper knows nothing of order and just dumped it all in.  The dough is wet enough to where it doesn’t make much difference.

In one loaf pan bake 50 minutes to an hour.  In three it took 36 minutes.  She split hers in half and she said it took 45 minutes.  My oven is gas so if you do 3 small loaves check around 30 minutes and see how they are doing.

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It’s simple.  It’s delish.  It’s fast.  That’s what a mama wants these days.

I couldn’t interest Dub in any “banana bread” once it had baked because he had been slightly nonplussed at tasting the batter.  Know what I did?  I started calling it “banana cake with butter frosting.”

I don’t even care.  I care not.  Sorry not sorry.  I manipulated my child into eating something that really shouldn’t even be called “healthy.”

Oh, here is dream baby.

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And here is Dub having his third huge bite of what he indicated he had NO interest in just moments before.

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Thank you.  Enjoy.  Peace out.

-Bee

Roar.

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I took this photo in hopes of illustrating how I feel about some things currently happening in my life.

When I looked at it I decided I looked angry, or sad, or anything but jubilant and on fire…which is how I feel.

Dub saw it and said “That’s Mama!”  I said “Yup.  What’s she doing?”

I was genuinely curious as to his interpretation.

Know what he said?

“SHE’S ROARING!”  ROAR MAMA!”

Well Dub, you know me so well.  Roaring is exactly what I was doing, I just didn’t know it.

If you read this blog you probably know enough about me to know that I get really excited about Truth when I discover it.  That and I’m kind of a freak show.

I love food, specifically real food.  I have an unnatural obsession with textiles, particularly textiles made from natural fibers like (in order of importance) LINEN, WOOL, COTTON, SILK.  I have too many neutral-toned natural-fiber throw blankets because I am obsessed with them.  I love a good deal, but not at the expense of quality so the hunt for a steal is something I sort of live for.  I get bored very easily.  I spent my entire young life bored, which explains why I did so many totally insane things.  I mean, you have no idea.  I had no fear of the ramifications of my self-destructive tendencies, and yet until now, I have been one of the most frightened people I have ever met.

I know.  I put up a good front, but I have been terrified for most of my life.  Of what?  Whatever horrific thing is on the news or that was on a show or movie, or whatever I can imagine, etc.  My imagination is rude.

Something happened to me recently that has changed my life forever.  I have had an experience with The Holy Spirit.  I didn’t know that I didn’t know, but apparently I have never known Him.  Until now my life has looked like this:

Non-believer age 12-25?

Believer in a God age 25-29

Believer that the Jesus part is significant age 29-31

Believer that Jesus Died for my sins age 31-34

MEETER and now seeker OF JESUS age 34-THE REST OF MY LIFE

I didn’t have any idea that I was so on the fence in my Faith.  The Holy Spirit has introduced himself to me by giving me a glimpse of what it means to have Him communicate with me through my days, and move me into a light of a happiness so complete that human words just cannot explain.  They can’t explain what is waiting for us in Heaven.  They can’t explain the peace of His Presence.  They can’t explain anything of The Spirit to the spirit so The Spirit has to do it.  He is subtle, working gently and strategically on hearts that He has primed and readied.

I am still that young girl willing to jump off of the highest cliff before anyone else, but the fear that ailed me in the silence of my thoughts and ruled most of my life is gone.  I have been relieved of the spirit of fear because I’ve been filled with Faith.  Real Faith.

I was on a literal high for days when this happened.  Then, I crashed.  I didn’t want to crash, I wanted to bask in the feeling I had received forever but I live here on this earth and I guess I have to stay here for a while.  The fear is still gone, which is amazing, but I’m learning that the feeling of His presence that I was given a glimpse of, is what I am going to be seeking for the rest of my life.  It was given to me so I could know why to get down on my knees every single day and seek The Lord (which to be honest, I had never done, until now).

If you don’t know this feeling I’m talking about and you want it (even if you don’t want it, somewhere in your heart you do because it is gosh-darn what you were created for) I can tell you how to get it.

1. Pray to experience the presence of The Lord

2. Read God’s Word every day

3. Seek The Lord in everything you do

I don’t think much before I write, as I’m sure you have noticed.  I hope I am not giving advice that isn’t correct but I have a feeling I’m suppose to write this.

So what is one to do when they are a thrill seeker (whole new meaning to that phrase now) and the thrill is over (even temporarily)?  Delve deeper into the seeking.  Become the freak show He made me to be and focus my life on the advancement of His Kingdom.

If you don’t get it I get it.  I didn’t even know how much I didn’t get until basically just now when I got it.

What an honor it would be to have people remember me as the girl who “loved Jesus so much she was willing to be a complete fool for Him.”

REGARDING FOOD:

This will come as a surprise to many of you but apparently I am a mere mortal.  I totally failed my juice cleanse and I will fill you in on exactly why that is in a different post soon.  Still juicing daily, just also eating a handful of peanut butter filled pretzels here and there in addition.

Gahhhh….

Ha. What Did I Say? Fad Diet Called “Bulletproof” Might Actually Be Onto Something.

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Remember how in my last post I mentioned that we don’t diet in this family?  We don’t, and quite honestly I have never heard of a fad-diet that I thought was anything but a bunch of hooey, only interested in making money off of unsuspecting and well-intentioned-albeit uninformed-people.  Except, this whole “Bulletproof Diet” that seems to be a big deal might be the first “fad” that I actually kind of agree with.  Not all of it of course, but most.

I happen to understand that some people need a plan to follow.  I went to girls boot camp.  I know how to make a bed properly, and I thrive in extremely regimented conditions, so I identify.  IF you happen to need a plan, the Bulletproof thing might be a great start.

They had me at “butter in your coffee.”  But of course I had to research further.  When I realized the outline of the diet is pretty similar to the way we live in this household I was intrigued.  So, for the record from what I have read so far it seems pretty legit. I am not into legalism so I don’t think mineral sugars are bad, but you know…I love dessert and I don’t find it a problem.  I don’t agree with the no-honey thing.  But again, they are talking diet.  I’m talking lifestyle.

So what did I say in a previous post?

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Grass-fed (preferably raw) dairy and meats.

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No refined sugar.

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No vegetable oils and especially no corn or canola oil.

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If you are going to have grains, soak and/or sprout them.

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ORGANIC produce.

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Coconut oil rules for almost everything.

I’m not a scientist but I like to research.  I’m not a health guru but I know how to take a body from the picture of un-health to a radiant specimen of wellness.  It ain’t hard, just eat real food and…

Just say no to un-food (which, let’s be honest, is basically everything these days.  Take the time to seek out real food by changing where you shop and actually reading ingredient labels.  It becomes fun after the adjustment period, I promise)!

-Bee

P.S.  And just so we can all have a moment of REAL TALK.  Although I haven’t read the Bulletproof Diet book I agree with the intermittent fasting portion of the diet, because guess what?  The Bible talks about it.  Know what I have found is pretty accurate in terms of what is good for us?  What the Bible says.  After I had Weston my doula (at my behest) blended up parts of my placenta in a shake and gave it to me.  I puked.  My God-fearing midwife, while holding back a bit of laughter, informed me that nowhere in the Bible does it mention humans consuming the placenta after childbirth…so there is probably nothing to it.  Maybe there is…but probably, there isn’t.  Reasoning then leads one to consider that if the Bible does mention it (as in the case of intermittent fasting), there is probably something to it.  Just sayin’.

Diet Reset. How To Purge And Restock Your Food Supply.

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There are a few reasons it’s time for a reset.  I’ve been thinking about it for a while since I know diet plays the biggest role in the health of my family.  Also, Mr. Ham said something that was kind of the last straw (keep reading).  What has led to the urgency I feel in addressing this issue?  Weston is sick.  He doesn’t ever get sick, probably because we don’t see other kids very much.  When he was younger (before the fire) I would say it probably had to do with his diet.  Not only have we relaxed about food a bit, but he is an extremely picky and obstinate toddler when it comes to food now.  So recently when a girlfriend brought her (tail end of a cold) sick baby over, I told her we would be fine.  I would just use some essential oil blends that have been working well for us.  Weston may have been fine but he decided to stick her baby’s pacifier in his mouth.  So, now he is sick which in the long run I do understand is good for his immune system, but honestly…he is miserable.  Up many times a night, constantly coughing, snotting everywhere and eyes half-mast.  I miss my little loud/crazy/happy/squealing/baby-waking-up toddler so much! This is what he looks like the last three days.

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But I want this little insane person back…

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So…what do I do?  I dose him with baby medication and natural cough syrup so he can sleep but I don’t feel really good about that.  The best medicine I know in the entire world is food.  What do we do since he won’t eat any veggies and hardly any fruits?  Why won’t he eat most meals I make even when I make only what I know he likes?  I’m starting to realize we have to go back to the way things were before.  If Dub is going to snub even the most toddler-friendly meals, he might as well be snubbing super healthy vegetable-laden plates bursting with nutrition cause it isn’t just him who needs the medicine that is food.  What was it Hyppocrates said?

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

It is time to change our diet. By diet I don’t mean ‘A diet’ of course.  We don’t diet around here.  But, let me tell you a few things that might make you feel better about your various slip-ups or challenges when it comes to eating well. When it came to food in the past, Mr. H. and I felt pretty good about the way we did things.  We heard a TedTalk one time by a mom (regarding food these days and what is in it) and she said “I can’t unlearn this.”  We would say that all the time, and I really thought it was true. But although it is true that we cannot unlearn it, it is also true that we can get lazy and not put what we know into practice.  I never thought I would start buying non-organic pre-made dinners, like, EVER.

But apparently with everything that has happened in our family over the last few months I could. Granted, since our house burned down I haven’t exactly had a kitchen.  I no longer have a juicer, a food processor, or a dehydrator.  All of our money has gone to a new mortgage and things that you take for granted is probably somewhere in your house…like, a hairdryer or a cheese grater, so spending real $ on food has been low on the priority list.

Now, granted, I have not fallen as far as the Mr., since last night I found out that while he was remodeling our bathroom (before we moved in) he ate Jack In The Box out of convenience “like a few times.”  I’m kinda grossed out.  But hey, if that is your weakness and you think I’m judgy-bear over here just wait for the big reveal.

I like to choose my weaknesses.  As I’ve said before on this blog, there were years where my weight went up and down, mostly because I thought soy products were healthy and THEY ARE NOT.  Since switching over to real food (I will delve deeper into that in a moment) I am pretty much not fat.  I mean, I’m kind of thin.  Not overly thin, but my body just seems to be where it is supposed to be, which feels good. My weakness?  Donut O’s from Trader Joes.  I don’t have to have them.  I hardly even love them.  I just find that they are convenient when I don’t want to make noise making things in the kitchen, and they fill me up fast so I hardly have to eat very many.  I mean, I am so lazy that when one or two children are sleeping I want to do something other than nourish myself.

What I’m trying to say is…the Bee before the fire would have scoffed at the prospect that a future Bee would eat “whole wheat” (knowing it’s probably GMO) and “sugar” donuts that someone else made.  Oh how the mighty have fallen. Last night the Mr. said “I miss vegetables.”  After curling up into the embarrassed crescent-moon shaped human I felt like and possibly shedding a tear (for failing my family as a wife and mother and sliding so far off course), I pulled myself together (with some encouragement from Mr. H.) and we made a plan.

I bet you’re wondering what we have been eating?  Lots of potatoes, bacon, butter, and bread.  I make the bread, and of course there is nothing wrong with sourdough.  But when it’s basically your whole diet?  Yeah.  Also, I think a huge part of my issue has been how the boy who once ate anything and everything has turned into the ‘No’ child.  He has been known to sit at the dinner table for hours refusing to take one bite of his food.  And that is with me catering to his tastes.  Needless to say, it’s time for a reset.

I’m sure you have seen the movie Fat Sick and Nearly Dead.  If not, it’s on Netflix.  Watch it.  Well, we saw that movie long ago, along with so many awesome food documentaries revealing the BIG LIE about nutrition fed to us by corporate marketing and government corruption.  We loved the movie, and now there is a part 2.  We were watching it last night and we realized “Okay, we have strayed.  It’s time to get back on track.”  No biggie-I mean, we still eat organic for the most part, and we don’t do fast food (AHEM!), and we have good beer sometimes but we never overdo it (although once a year in December I am known to ‘overdo’ it), and we don’t bake with refined sugar…..what I’m trying to illustrate through my list of dont’s is exactly how I’ve been justifying the last few months of not eating as well as I know we should.  I tell myself, everybody else eats way worse than we do and they are fine.  I can put a little less effort into cooking and we will still be fine.

Part of this was survival for me, learning to manage life with a toddler and a newborn.  The problem is, although it isn’t a huge deal that we haven’t been eating all the local organic vegetables and fruits we should, it will be a problem, and soon.  Dub will be way less likely to get sick if his immune system is supported by his diet.  Dolly too.  Although, she hasn’t gotten sick with this thing Dub has, yet.  Fingers crossed. So, here is the plan. I simply cannot (and don’t want to) go out and buy all the kitchen gadgets I relied upon to do the magic I did in the kitchen before. I don’t have the time, and although someday I may do all that again (I will do it all again because I love it) for now I’m going to do the bare minimum I think it will take to get us back on track.

This is where this story changes from a self-involved diatribe to one that actually has something to do with YOU.

For us this reset is not hugely complicated.  We need to have a lot more fruits and veggies in our diet, and I need to do meal planning again.  This will help me shop more efficiently and will enable me to depend on my plan for dinner that night rather than wait for inspiration…which never seems to arrive these days.  So, produce and sprouted grains and breads.  That is our big change and I promise you it is going to make all the difference.  Done it before. If you also need a reset and you need to purge your pantry and begin eating in a way that will support gut-health (which is basically everything) and keep many sicknesses and long-term health conditions at bay;  If you want to shed (or gain, depending on how much your body needs to balance out) a few pounds;  If you want more energy, better brain functioning, and an overall emotional/life boost; THIS PART IS FOR YOU.

Because you don’t need anything special to do this, basically anyone can.

Unless you are a health nut, like I used to be, you probably have some plain old bad stuff both in your fridge and in your pantry. First, we need to get rid of all of it.  I know.  It’s painful to just throw money away, and if you want to finish what is in there that you just bought I get it.  I am going to do that with the things I’ve opened (like some delicious harvest bagels from Traders…don’t let the name fool you, they are still made with plain old bad flour).  However, we still haven’t opened some peanut butter filled pretzels and a bag of organic corn chip things…I don’t remember what they are called but we don’t need them.  Trader Joes will take them back no problem. I’m going to go through a very basic list of what you shouldn’t find in your pantry.

Rancid flours-flour should be kept in the fridge or freezer anyway so it doesn’t go rancid.  Any non-organic big name brand company should not be in your pantry.  Honestly, the flour is way too processed and probably rancid.  Rancid flour is bad bad.  It is binding in the gut, way slows down digestion, and overall aids in sickness and lethargy.  (WHY?  Because what most people don’t know, and what a lot of doctors don’t talk much about, is that pretty much all sickness starts in the gut.  If you can at least stop adding to the problem in there it is a start.  At some point-soon I hope-I will do an entire post on healing your gut.  I did it for the first time about 10 years ago and it changed my life.  Really cleansing the gut in conjunction with changing your eating habits can quite literally change your entire life for the better.)

Replace with-whole grain flour, preferably local, next preference would be organic.  If at all possible use teff, rye, spelt, and totally if possible use sprouted flours.  Make sure they are non-GMO.  Almond flour is a fun thing to mess around with in the kitchen, but it’s different than normal flour so be aware that baking with it will require different measurements and yield different results.  Coconut flour is good too…but it makes for very dry results so requires many eggs.

Refined sugar-this is a biggie, and also one of the best ways to see major results in your life, fast.  ALL cane sugar, organic sugar, brown sugar, any sugar that has been refined at all has to go.  Brown sugar is just white sugar with the missing minerals (molasses) added back in, but barely.  Organic cane sugar is just refined sugar.  Turbinado, same same.  Ditch it all.  Sugar, when refined, is straight-up poison to your body.  Literally, your body responds to it like it is poison.  If you only use sugars with minerals still intact your body knows what to do with it and absorbs it much more slowly.  Also, agave is pretty refined and although studies show it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels, it is not exactly close to it’s original state once its served up at the store-and Sally isn’t sure of it so…same with stevia.  New on the market…question it.

Replace with-coconut sugar.  I love coconut sugar because I can substitute it 1:1 for refined sugar in baking recipes.  I love it in my coffee in the morning.  Grade b maple syrup; it is deeeeelicious, can be used in so many things, and is good for you.  Do not get grade A.  That is refined, and you run into the same problem as with sugar.  Honey.  Local honey is bomb because it helps fight allergies specific to your area.  Some less known and harder to find good sugars are sucanat and rapadura.  Both very good for baking.

Snack-foods-Nothing wrong with snack foods if they don’t contain any of the above, or any dyes, or any ingredients you can’t pronounce, or four or fewer ingredients, and are natural AND organic, and they have an expiration date.  Unless you dehydrated and preserved them yourself, you really should be darn clear what exactly they are.  If you must have some snack foods and you aren’t just ready to grab a carrot or apple (as many are not, yet) choose something simple like seaweed snacks from Trader Joes, or sweet potato chips.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a good transition from straight-up potato chips to where you want to go.  Traders also now has Kale chips that are pretty good.  Also, if you want to snack (which is basically all I do these days since I hardly sit, ever) don’t turn your nose up at taking two minutes to prepare something.  What about a handful of raw almonds, some slices of an organic or grass-fed cheese, and a few slices of dried/preserved meat?  All can be found in the same section at Trader Joes (notice how I totally forgot a vegetable?  Baby steps…).

WHY DO I LOVE TRADER JOES SO MUCH?  Because it’s a good mid-point between shopping at Wal-mart for your “food” and getting used to spending a bit more money on nutrition and shopping at your local co-op or at Whole Foods.  It’s affordable, and they have some good healthy options.  It’s not the best produce you can find, for sure.  A lot of their organic produce tastes like cardboard, but for most people it is a good start.  Also, their specific brand is non-gmo and contains no MSG.  So cool to not have to stress about that when you shop.

As a side note, once you get into this you should get your organic fruits and veggies locally.  The explosion of taste and flavor that comes from local and organic produce will ruin you in the best possible way.

Cans of beans and preserved foods should be in packages labeled bpa-free. Read the ingredients of everything and just plain get rid of it if it doesn’t fit all these criteria.

As far as the refrigerator goes: Many many condiments have GMO’s in them.  Many are soy based.  Many have Canola oil (canola oil bad).  Because they aren’t consumed every day on everything I get it if you want to use them until they are gone.  Buying all new condiments is spendy.  But, next time you run out of mayo, soy sauce, hot sauce, salad dressing, etc.  Consider buying something that is organic, and has no canola, soy, sugar, and if it does have say, soy, then specifically says non-gmo on the front. Also, I get pretty inspired when I clean my whole refrigerator.  It makes ME feel clean, and it a good marker for changes.

Cooking oils-you have heard me harp on this before but here I go again.  Don’t use canola oil.  It isn’t a real food and in fact has been deemed “unfit for human consumption” but because of an agreement between Canada and the US and an exchange of lots of money, Canola oil somehow found its way into every cookbook this side of the border in a short period of time.  Don’t do it.  It is so bad for you.  Don’t use olive oil when cooking at high temperatures because it has a low smoke point.  Olive oil is great cold or in cooking with med-low heat and mixed with butter.  NEVER use vegetable/corn oils.

Replace withcoconut oil.  High smoke point, and super good for you.  The organic virgin coconut oil we use has a coconut flavor so I like to bake with it.  For savory meals I use grape seed oil and olive oil (which I mix with butter, of course).  Grass-fed butter is one of the best fats alongside coconut oil.  You can put coconut oil into your shakes at room temp. and eat it straight off the spoon for a lubricated gut.  (Why lubricate the gut?  Because poopin’ is the fastest way to rid your body of all the toxins you’ve been dumping in there for so long.  The less time that stuff is in you the better.)  Also, many do oil pulling with coconut oil.  Look that one up.  I also like sunflower oil.

FOOD-Eat fat.  As in, don’t buy low-or non-fat anything.  Honestly, it isn’t necessary, compromises flavor (which manufacturers know so they add in other bad things to make up for it), and if you truly want to get healthy and balance your body (which is when your body forgives you and gets back to the state in which it should live by shedding unnecessary pounds of stored fat and toxins), you need to feed it real fats.  Let your body know it is safe to let old fat go because it will regularly get new fat.  When buying yogurt, buy full fat yogurt that comes from cows fed a good diet and cows not ever treated with rbst.  Goat milk yogurt is good too.

Drink real juice if you want juice.  I mean juice with real food in it, and not from concentrate.

Get grass-fed milk if ever possible.  Organic whole milk is okay.  Local, raw, grass-fed would be ideal.

Don’t do non-fat.  Stop it, seriously. One of the biggest ways you can begin to feel differently is to buy organic vegetables, organic/grass-fed/pastured meats, and stop eating ANY AND ALL refined sugar.  Do grass-fed dairy, pastured organic eggs, and buy sprouted grain breads.

Bread-the only bread we will be eating in this home is sourdough bread I make, or sprouted bread from Trader Joes.

Salt-A friend recently asked me what was wrong with iodized salt.  Here is how I see it.  If we refine and remove all minerals from our salt, then find that our diets are lacking in iodine and need to add it back in, doesn’t it seem simpler and probably safer to just leave the minerals in the salt to begin with?  Mineral sea salt is salt in the state in which it should be consumed.  Just sea salt is okay too.  But, iodized salt is refined salt with lab-made iodine added in and when it comes to iodine specifically we really should be eating it in it’s natural state since it is hard to know what is too much…and also, the less our core-diet items are refined the better.

A note on iodine-here in the northwest we are pretty lacking in iodine both in the soil and in our diets so getting some of that through the food in your diet would be a good step toward health too.  Better to eat it than take a supplement of it for sure.  Seaweed anyone?

Organic is a good first step for pre-packaged foods, but it doesn’t cover so much of what makes a huge difference in getting back to health.  If you absolutely must do pre-packaged food, make sure it is only one or two times a week. If you struggle with convenience foods, and just don’t have time to make a lunch for work or cook anything yourself for dinner, then designate three days a week you are going to live this new way.

Or…bite the bullet and clean out your fridge and pantry and begin to replace all baking items with with real flour and real mineral sugars.  Replace junk snacking with healthy snacks.  Only eat the real dairy, real meats, and real vegetables and fruits that I have talked about here. The thing about eating real food, once you have purged your body of the refined sugar addiction that basically everyone has (because refined flours are also sugar), is that it actually tastes SO MUCH BETTER, is so much more satisfying, and makes you feel so much happier.  Not just because you feel/look good but because it is what we were actually created to eat.  That guy up there is pretty smart.

And to start this reset off, in this house we have decided to juice for one week.  Obviously, juice will just be something added to Dub’s diet, but I have a feeling it will help to reset him too.  We are going to borrow a juicer, and we have borrowed my mom’s Vitamix until now for berry smoothies during this transition. I’m not positive how juicing will affect my milk-supply for Dolly but here is how I see it.  Since what I need in order to make good milk for her is nutrients, wouldn’t juicing be perfect in the short-term?  If we do it for one week I can’t imagine it is bad.  I’ll look into it before I start, but the missing ruffage from my diet shouldn’t affect her milk…right?

If you don’t have access to a juicer, implementing some of these changes really could be enough for most people.  We just want a reset for our tastebuds too.  Again, go see Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 1 and 2 if you haven’t. It’s inspiring even for those of us that think we know all about nutrition.

As I type this I can see that I have a bit of a belly protrusion happening.  With Weston, four months out I didn’t have this much of a belly.  At that time I was eating sprouted grains and lots of vegetables.  No pre-packaged snacks really at all, and pretty much entirely organic.  I know they say it’s hard on your body especially after multiple babies but I know what the problem is.  I can sit back and accept the fact that my body just “changed a bit” after having babies, or I can be an active participant in my health and the health of my little family. If you are eating as above, you get an adequate amount of physical movement every day, and you still have as much fat as Dolly…

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Then more to love is exactly how your body is made!

Never one to back down from a challenge, here we go into the land of real health once again.  I’ll keep you posted on energy levels, sicknesses, and baby-bumps-without-the-baby.

-Bee

Easy Amazing Pancakes. Bread Variations. Babies. Continuous Lotion Endorsement.

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Let’s start with pancakes.  Know why I love them?  They are easy, always delicious, and a winner in the land of toddler picky-eater drama.  Sure, they are bread.  But they are also totally not bad for you if you doctor them up in that tricky way that I do.  So many recipes can be tweaked just a bit to make what was once a dessert-for-breakfast into an actually nutritious beginning to your day.  Now, this isn’t a sprouted flour that I have used-as in the days of yore-but it could very easily be sprouted or whole grain flour.  I don’t mind the local (and not rancid) all-purpose flour from our grocery store.

I took this recipe directly (with some minor changes) from Smitten Kitchen.  She is such a good source for delicious food when I need a quick fail-safe recipe.  She tests her stuff, and she loves food and she is good at her job.  I changed a few things, like using real minerals-intact sugar in place of refined, and I didn’t have buttermilk on hand (although making buttermilk is as easy as adding a tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of milk required and waiting 5 minutes until it curdles a bit), so I used organic whole milk, and I left out the blueberries.  Dub likes to have these cold as a snack later in the day and berries kind of turn him off in pancakes.

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This recipe takes about 5 minutes to whip up, and you are grilling and serving in about 15.  So easy.

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Lots of butter.  Duh.

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And…

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Yes, please.

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Yes. Please.

Recipe at the end of this post.

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If you want to make delicious cinnamon raisin bread just follow my exact sourdough recipe found HERE and add a couple of tablespoons of cinnamon and a cup of raisins.  OR, those two items to your taste.  I like a lot of both.

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Here is this goof.  He never stops moving.

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Here is the Buddha princess.  She gets plenty to eat as you can see.  She is in the 95th percentile for weight and almost everything.  Dub was 10% across the board.  I thought it was my milk…apparently not.

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Here is yet another endorsement for THIS lotion.

I swear by this to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy.

Weston had some pretty bad eczema when he was a baby, and over a few months it didn’t matter what I tried, NOTHING helped him.  Finally, around 6 months old I put this on him.  Two days and it was almost cleared up.  So naturally, with our dry climate here during the winter, as my poor hands were cracking and bleeding randomly I thought of Weleda.  I had been putting frankincense and Melaleuca and lavender oils on them daily-multiple times a day-to no avail.  Well guess stinkin’ WHAT?

What had already become rather deep wounds on my hands, has, in just one day almost already healed.  This is quite literally

SKIN FOOD.

Get it.  Use it.  Be amazed.

EASY AMAZING PANCAKE RECIPE: (Taken with a few minor tweaks from Smitten Kitchen)

2 cups good quality all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
1/2 teaspoon mineral sea salt
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 large pastured eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups organic whole milk (or buttermilk, or some milk and some whole milk yogurt!)
4 tablespoons grass-fed butter

I didn’t read her instructions because they’re pancakes.  I mean, how hard can they be?  So here is what I do.

Melt 4T butter on the griddle I will be using for the pancakes.  While that is melting, mix dry ingredients.

Mix in the eggs, milk and butter.  If it’s a bit thick, add a little more milk.

Add more butter to your pan (always), and get them going.

With pancakes you want to see bubbles before you flip ’em.

Serve with grass-fed butter, grade B maple syrup (because it’s actually good for you), and start your day right.

(Sorry Mr. Ham, maybe next time you won’t have to walk out the door to work right before they are ready next time.  Bad wifey:(

Until next time,

-Bee

No-Knead Sourdough For Dumb-Dumbs .

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*UPDATE: A friend tried this recipe immediately after having this bread at my house and has had some trouble with a doughy center.  I think…although I don’t have this problem, the best course of action is to go back to the source so I have changed the recipe from what I now do, to what will be the best way to learn, and is generally fail-safe.

I am going to illustrate just how simple it is to make sourdough.  I didn’t say fast, and you must bear in mind that there is a learning curve when it comes to reading your dough; knowing when it is almost ready, and knowing when it has over-proofed.  This ain’t no instant yeast bread-either in process or in final result- so if you don’t have the desire to eat an incredibly delicious, artisan style bread, with a crunchy perfect crust and soft warm center, then maybe you just want to hop on over to another blog about now.  However, if you want to enjoy some of the best. bread. on earth. made with your own hands, do read on.

Also, you should know that sourdough bread is the best bread you can eat because the long fermentation process aids in digestion by breaking down the grain for you.  Eat it.  Eat it eat it eat it.

There are a few things to address that you must know before you start.

You need a sourdough starter.  Starter is the living yeast that you feed (daily if you bake daily, and keep it out on your counter, or weekly if you bake weekly and keep it in the fridge).  Where can you get one?  A friend who has one pretty much always has some for you because they dump some out every time they feed theirs.  If not from a friend, the most fail-safe way would be to make your own.  This will take days.  Not much hands-on time, but still some time.  Like I said, this requires a bit of a commitment up front.  I prefer Sally Fallon’s way to make a starter since she is pretty much the smartest human on the planet.

The Healthy Home Economist does this best.

If you would like to buy starter I fully trust Eric from Breadtopia. (I watched all of Eric’s videos when I was getting started.)

Also, from his site you can buy a lot of useful tools for making bread.  I used to use the dough whisk with a proofing basket (round) and the la Cloche clay baker.

Since the fire, I use only my wooden spoons, hands, counter for proofing, and a Romertopf that a girlfriend has loaned me for now.  A clay baker is the reason you get that amazing crust that is so delectable.  You need it.  If you just can’t swing getting one, you can use a Le Creuset or version of that.  It needs to be able to withstand very high heat and have a lid.

Okay so let’s review.  Before you can even begin you need to have a sourdough starter and a clay baker-at minimum.

Let’s now move on to the feeding of the starter.  I feed mine with rye because I find that it keeps my starter really happy and I like to know I’m not just eating ALL bread flour.  A few hours before you mix your dough (let’s say, mid-afternoon) pull out your starter from the fridge.  Dump out half to 3/4 of it and  feed it 1c flour and 3/4c water.  Filtered water is best, but our water here is good so I use tap.  Doesn’t kill my starter so I use it.  Stir with a wooden spoon, set the lid on top (do not tighten the lid or it could pop off from the pressure).  A few things to note here:

Store your starter in glass.  Never touch with metal of any kind.  Don’t tighten the lid, even in the fridge during it’s slow feeds.

Once you have fed your starter, set it on the counter in your kitchen and wait until it is nice and bubbly.

A few hours later (longer in winter when it is cold, or depending on the heat in your home/kitchen).  My starter takes 3-6 hours to be ready.

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(I don’t keep mine by the window, I just set it here so you can see how happy and bubbly it is.  Ready to add to my flour.

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Once upon a time I turned my nose up at non-organic ingredients.  I would even go so far as to say I was a bit of an extremist when it came to food.  These days, although we do mostly organic, for things I use a ton of I generally go with names I trust.  King Arthur can be trusted because their flour doesn’t stay on the shelf for long periods.  Flour goes rancid very quickly so using a brand that has high standards for shelf life is key.  This rye I mix in is stone ground, and aids in proliferating friendly bacteria to the bread.  This salt is amazing, and I think there is some miraculous thing happening with it, like when the pots of wine at that wedding in the bible just never ran out.  Really, we use a LOT of salt in this family, and this thing has felt full since we moved in!  That is MONTHS.  No idea what is happening, but I’ll take it.

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Now for the recipe.  I am a lazy person.  Truly.  That is why I always make two loaves.  I bake once a week, and I make two loaves at a time so I don’t have to do more work than is necessary.  Later in this post you will see how being able to discern when exactly your dough is ready is so valuable-since making two loaves with one clay baker means one will be a bit smaller than the other.  That is because one was slightly under-proofed to avoid the second being overly proofed, which is much less acceptable.

(Remember, I double this recipe.  I’m going to give you the recipe for making ONE LOAF).

No-Knead Sourdough Bread Recipe (taken from Eric at Breadtopia; there is a wealth of information on his site.  Check it out).

3.5 cups flour (I use 3 cups bread flour, and 1/2 cup rye)

1.5 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 cup water

1/4 cup starter

(Just to be clear, I double the recipe so my pictures will look like more dough)

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Mix your dry ingredients and make a well in the center.

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Pour in your water and starter.

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Mix the starter into the water-not trying to incorporate the flour just yet.

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When you feel the starter is sufficiently broken up, begin to work the spoon in a circular motion outward to incorporate a bit of flour every time you move around the bowl.

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Keep going and your flour mixture will soon begin to form a dough ball.  From when I started stirring to this next photo, it was probably about 60 seconds.  Very fast.

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This is a wet dough.  You don’t want to use your hands, and you don’t need to.  This is a true no-knead recipe.  All you want to do is “activate the gluten” in your dough, so keep stirring and picking up the bottom with your spoon and pulling it up over the top, or any motion that incorporates all of the dough, for another minute or two to get it alive and awake.

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Cover it with a super sexy plastic bag and set it aside in your kitchen (preferably a spot without a draft) for about 12 hours.  This time frame is very contingent upon the heat in your home, but I find that mixing my dough in the evening works well if I want to bake in the morning.  Or, feed starter at night, next morning mix dough, then bake that evening.  It becomes second nature, I swear.

Here is what my dough looked like a few hours before I was ready to bake.

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Wet.  Almost there.  Not overly proofed.  Amazing.  Overly proofed would have bubbles on top and would mean less “oven spring” when it comes to bake time.  Oven spring is a magical thing, and we can talk more about that in a minute.

When turning your dough out onto a well floured surface, I like to use a malleable rubber spatula.  It tends to stick the least to this very wet dough.

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Now you are going to flatten out your dough.  Not thin, just flat enough to shape into a boule.  Youtube that if you have never seen it.  I will someday do a video of this and it will be the most amazing thing you have ever seen since it can replace all of my blah-blah with simple action.  That’s how I learn, so I get it.

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Flat.

Remember, I doubled that first recipe so this is two loaves.

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You will just have one, so let’s do that together shall we?

Fold one side over and brush the flour off.

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Then, the next side.

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Then the next.

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Then the next.

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Flip it over and put a small handful of flour on top.

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Rub that flour around.

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Here I like to get a head start and pick it up in my hands and gently tuck in the edges while rotating it in a circle.  You are wanting to smooth it out and create a ball.

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Now you are ready to create your boule.  Place your hands on top and in a clockwise motion while gently pushing down, begin to shape this into the pre-proofed version of the shape you will be baking with.  For example, if your vessel is round, do that.  If it is oblong, do that.

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Here are mine.  They are ready to do the final proof.  I place that sexy plastic bag back on top of them, and wait until they are proofed.  Proofed is about 1.5 times the size they are now.  It generally takes 2-3 hours.

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A few things to note here:

Remember how I said I would illustrate how it is important to read your dough.  Here is where that is important.  I knew I would be heating up my kitchen (which speeds the proofing process significantly) by preheating my oven, and by baking the first loaf I might over-proof the second loaf as it waits on the counter.  So I started baking the first a little before it was actually ready.  I knew I could rely on “oven-spring” to give it the added size in a pinch.

Here are the loaves when I started heating the oven.

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Not huge.  But the heat of the kitchen would hurry them.

NOW YOU ARE READY TO BAKE.

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Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees with your vessel in it.  This part is very important, as clay doesn’t do well with extreme temperature changes.  That’s right.  I said 500.

Once your oven has beeped, let it continue to heat up for another 20 minutes or so.  You want it damn hot in there.

Score your bread.   You can get fancy with this.  There are all sorts of threads on the internet regarding the necessity (or lack thereof) of scoring bread.  More interestingly, the history of why we scored bread goes way way back to community bake houses and family symbols, and all sorts of fascinating stuff.  I like to get really boring with it.  Like I said, lazy.

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Be oh so careful opening your oven.  Watch out for steam burns as you take the lid off of your baking vessel.  Carefully and gently pick up your loaf and place it in the vessel  It will deflate a bit, but no worries.  If it hasn’t over-proofed your friend “oven-spring” has got your back.

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Place the lid on top, close the oven, and set the timer for 30 minutes.

Timing is subjective, but even though the timing changed from my old oven to this new one, I kept this initial time the same.

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After 30 minutes lower the heat to 450, remove the lid and bake for another 10-15.  Sorry for the variable time there, given the differences in everyone’s oven, just keep an eye on it.

What you want is for that crust to get nice and golden and almost brown in spots.  What feels like a hard loaf when it comes out of the oven, will become a perfect crust with a soft center as it cools.

For added assurance, you want to hear a hollow thud when you tap the bottom with your finger.  Also, it should be about 200 degrees F.  I never test anymore-I just know.  (Also, I don’t measure anything for this bread anymore either.  I eyeball it all.  I have done it enough to know what I’m seeing now-and you will too eventually.  You will be a wizardly temptress in the kitchen whirling about, creating magic!)

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My first smaller loaf is on the left, and the perfect proof-timed loaf is on the right.  See the difference?  However, the large CO2 bubbles in the crumb are not affected, as you can see.  This crumb is the smaller loaf.  See?  Unaffected.

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Oh, and this little hand that just COULD NOT WAIT A SECOND (even though he knows he isn’t allowed to reach up and just grab from the counter).

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You do want to cool it slightly before cutting into it if only because it is fragile as it cools and could collapse under your hands as you put pressure on it to cut through that heavenly crust.  We waited about 20 minutes.  That’s all we can ever wait—-however, bread does continue to cook as it cools so it really is best to wait until it has cooled to slice into it.

Slather that warm bread in grass-fed butter and sea salt and ruin your dinner with it.

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Once you make this (or attempt this) bread a few times, you will see that it really is easy, mindless, and cray that you ever bought bread in the first place.

Happy sticking it to all those “carbs are bad for you” people.  They are not healthier, and they certainly aren’t as happy as we are.

-Bee

House Of Baltic Linen. Moments.

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As we usher in the new year, I look back over the last 5 months in awe of all I have learned.  One of those things is that I hold dear the lack of excess left us by the fire.  I am constantly having to explain to Mr. H. that no, in fact I do not want to ‘store’ this or that item, despite the ample closet space in our new home.  If I do not use something daily, it’s out.  I want to have only the cast iron pans I use, only the clay pots I make stews and bread in, and only the linens that are constantly on rotation.  I have one box for next year’s Christmas decor to store and that makes me happy.  I may be a bit on the extreme side as far as simplicity goes but that is an offense I am willing to incur if it means I love what I have, and have not what is not actually needed.  I’m sounding kind of fancy right now, maybe it’s coming from my new French ticking bed linens.

Okay let’s get serious.  I am a deal hunter, but it is not at the expense of quality.  Or…is it?  Mr. H. and Dub and I all have linens that are nice, and they cost less than the higher-end linens.  What is higher end?  Well, it runs the gamut really, but I consider two places to be higher end because of the QUALITY of the linen (as opposed to overhead mark-up) and the woman who crafts it.  One is Rough Linen.  The other is House of Baltic Linen out of Australia.  I haven’t bought much from her because I couldn’t justify the price but this entire post is about the lesson I have learned in trying to save a few bucks.

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For Christmas I received this French ticking summer blanket and two pillow shams from my sister.  When I saw the name on the bag I was extremely excited, but it wasn’t until I touched-no, in fact I could actually SEE the quality difference in the linen-that I realized how it is worth every. damn. penny. to go for the good stuff.  It is what I have heard people describe as “sleeping on a cloud” and “sinking into heaven.”  This is true heirloom quality linen that can be passed down from generation to generation.

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Add to this the fact that Doville (the woman behind the magic) is super helpful and nice (and patient; I email her all the time because I’m obsessed with her linens, but have ever only bought one thing).

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So let me tell you first hand that if you are considering going linen because I’ve geeked about it, or because you have been thinking about it for a long time, go straight to the good stuff and see what all the rage is about.  Also, do yourself a favor and don’t go buy linen from Restoration Hardware or somewhere that charges a lot but is not the same quality.

Go to House of Baltic Linen.  I buy from (and now she has a lifelong customer not only in me, but my mom and sis who have both been transformed by her product) her Etsy shop HERE.

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Start with some pillow cases and tell me you aren’t converted.

In other news, I have the most amazing children in the world.  Duh.  What a blessing to experience this love here on earth.

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And Mr. Ham; I sure do love him too.

I plan to cook, bake, and blog more than ever this year.  Who knows if that will happen, but my most important goal is one that most certainly will happen.

EAT. MORE. BUTTER.

Peace.