Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Day of Cooking

I have spent part of today cooking. I made bread. This is a loaf of sourdough bread as soon as it come out of the oven. The recipe says to cool it completely before slicing, but here is how it went here at my house: pull bread out of the oven, out of the pan and onto a cooling rack, take a picture with the camera that was sitting right there on the counter, immediately grab the bread knife and slice off a piece and eat with butter. The rest I will wait to slice, but this is the first loaf of sourdough bread that I have made in a very long time and I couldn't wait that long!

My SIL wanted to come over last week to learn how to make chicken and dumplings. While she was here she mentioned that she would like to learn how to make bread next. Specifically, she wanted to learn how to make sourdough bread. A have thought of almost nothing except sourdough bread since that conversation! A couple of days after that, I was in Books A Million killing some time and saw a copy of a special release from Mother Earth News, a magazine all about bread. I glanced through it and saw several recipes that I wanted to try, and it included a section on sourdough breads. I bought the magazine and came home and got a batch of sour dough starter working. This is the first time that I have attempted making my own starter, but I don't know anyone to get a starter from, so making my own or finding one at the store were my options. I decided to try it on my own and it was ready to bake with today. I am very happy with the results!

While my SIL was here, she was teasing me a little because I was making sweet potato chips in my dehydrator, I has some alfalfa sprouts going in my seed sprouter and I had my meal planning sheets out.  It was good natured teasing just because I was doing all of this myself instead of just going to the store and buying them. She knows that I have been eliminating processed food from our diets and am trying to learn how to make as much from scratch as I can. One thing that she asked was how I find the time to do all the cooking. Here is one of the tips I shared with her. 

When I make spaghetti sauce, I make a bunch of it. Really it doesn't take that much longer to make a giant pot rather than just enough for one meal. Only the extra time to cut up extra onions, mince some extra garlic and open the jars of tomatoes. I am fortunate enough to be using tomatoes that my dad grew (organically) and canned himself. For instance, I had planned to make lasagna for dinner tonight. I knew there was no more sauce in the freezer so I made a big pot of sauce this morning. I will have enough for tonight's lasagna plus two small bags that will be enough to make two pizzas and then three to four larger bags that will be for spaghetti, goulash or other meals. Those bags will go in the freezer so during the weeks ahead when we have a busy night planned, I have a healthier, quick dinner solution that does not involve me opening a can or jar of sauce. 

I was trying to let her know that she can make these changes herself if she wants to and it can be done in a way that she will have options other than a drive through on the nights that life just gets crazy. Here is a picture of my sauce:

One of the great blogs I have found while transitioning to all real foods has been Kelly the Kitchen Kop. She does a fabulous round up on Wednesdays for other people to feature the real food that they are making in their homes. The has been a wonderful resource for me, not only for recipes, but tips on making this change and doing it a little more affordably. She has a great giveway posted here on her blog for a Le Creuset Cast Iron skillet. The one she has pictured is a beautiful yellow that would look great in my yellow and red kitchen! 

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