Thursday, March 26, 2009

Firewood Surprise, Baking, Vegan Meals and Pacing Myself

I've found that life is much more manageable when I'm a bit more organized, but more importantly, when I don't try to bite off more than I can chew. Then again, I can't seem to help that.

The day started out innocently enough when I was trying to write in the morning when the phone rang about 6:00 AM and it was Andy telling me that my wood was being loaded onto the truck and that they were going to deliver it that day. Talk about coming out of nowhere. I had to stop what I was doing and go out to the end of the driveway to meet the truck that was delivering it, a big semi holding several tons of wood. I stood out there for about an hour and waited in the freezing cold (it's hovering around 15 degrees right now-Spring, you gotta love it) before Ruth came out and told me I was in the wrong place. Apparently rather than deal with finding our house, he wanted me to come out and meet them at their site, which thankfully was only a few miles away, so I drove out there.

And now we have our wood. Seven cords of the beautiful stuff, what a relief. One less thing to have to worry about, though now I've got to cut and split it, but what better job for a real man in training? It's pretty impressive how they haul and unload the stuff, and a nice source of entertainment for the whole family. Who needs TV?

Once we spent the day playing on the pile, we had plenty of other things to do, but as I mentioned, organization and knowing my limitations are the key to a peaceful existence. We've been baking bread like crazy, and in the interest of being practical, I try to use the oven for as many things as possible, and this is where I get into trouble. In the past, I've tried to bake bread, make bagels, bake cookies and brownies, and if possible, a baked entree for dinner in one day. That is way too much, and by the end I'm screaming at the kids to leave me alone and let me finish. Not a pretty scene.

So this time around, even though it went against my inclination to bake as much as I can when that thing is on, I cut back, and boy was it smoother. We only made bread, cookies, and brownies. That is, after we took care of domestic and homeschool issues.

Since we had P&J over for dinner and she brought along this killer raisin bread, we've been inspired to make our own, though I think ours is more "whole grainier" and, dare I say, healthier, but who's to say? Just wanted to mention that since I've been employing the sponge, the bread has been coming out the way we love it-crisp crust and soft and chewy on the inside. Baking bread is a chore, but can be very satisfying when your family loves the stuff you make. You can't beat that, there's something about the smell of fresh baked foods that make a house feel like a home.

Recently in the news there's been more and more information about the potential detrimental effects of too much red meat, and I think about how I used to live on the stuff in LA, in it's worst form-fast food. I can't believe how much of that garbage I ate, at least I could have cooked it myself. Either way, I was thoroughly enmeshed in suburban car culture, and a large part of that is fast food. No way around it.

Which makes me feel all the better about our meatless direction in life. As I've said, we still eat meat, just less of it, and when we do, we go for the chicken and lots of fish. Best of all, the kids like the food we make, so it just goes to show you, you can make healthy meals that kids will eat, you just have be creative and willing to do a little leg work. Vegetarian eating is more work, no doubt about it, but what could more important than the food you feed your family, and yourself?

We had yellow pea dal with rice last night, a la Moosewood, with broccoli and a frittata. You gotta love eggs, a great meat substitute, and our kids love the dish. Plus, it's sort of gourmet, something to be proud of, and a good opportunity to bring out the Martha Stewart in you.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.


The Book Chook said...

The blog is looking great, Fred, but I beg you, stop tantalizing me with all these yummy food descriptions!
I haven't baked our own bread for months, and I am off to check out the pantry and recipe books.

phredude said...

Hi Susan, I think my blog will be a work in progress for quite some time, but such is life. Thanks for your encouraging words, and best of luck with the recipes. I've found baking bread is hard work, but cathartic, in a way. Take care.