Monday, 19 January 2009

Guilt-Free: Food

Doesn't the image of grandma's homemade cooking hold such wonderful memories in your mind? I can recall sitting at the counter in my grandmother's kitchen as she artfully cooked a scrumptious meal, or watching her pounding the dough into bread, or pulling out a fresh batch of cookies. The ingredients were natural, the food deliciously reflecting the wholesome heart.

Today the convenience of packaged food assaults our tastebuds. As I've made a move away from these items, I have begun to notice the blandness of my old diet. The times when I throw something "convenient" into the oven for dinner results in a general unhappiness with the meal. It just doesn't taste the same.

Of course, we don't have the farms to grow our own food, and often it's just not possible or practical to obtain whole, natural ingredients to cook everything from scratch. But there is one thing that I have found easy and tasty to make on a regular basis: bread.

No, I don't grind my own flour, and no, I don't pound and re-pound my dough, attending to it all day while it rises. But I do embrace my fantastic breadmaker. Many of you likely have one collecting dust on a shelf or in the basement. Maybe it's in view in the kitchen but is only used a few times a year. I treated this delectable machine the same way for the first few years I owned it. I never seemed to remember to pull it out; I forgot to throw in the ingredients until I actually needed the bread; I didn't have the ingredients to make anything other than white bread.

Then one day I made up my mind. The breadmaker sits in my kitchen at eye level. I bought a large bag of white flour, as well as one of whole wheat and rye. I stocked up on bulk yeast. And as I experimented with different flavours of bread, I stocked up on the extra ingredients needed also. And I stopped buying bread on grocery day.

Now we almost always eat homemade bread. I pop the ingredients in at night, set the timer, and wake in the morning to a fresh loaf. Sometimes I forget - and we go without bread (actually fairly easy to do, and it regulates the amount of bread we eat as well). It's not the end of the world. Now, it's a habit - and that's really where the battle lies. Once you get into the habit of it, it becomes second nature. I've already had to replace the gears inside of my machine from so much use. But we now regularly enjoy:

White bread
Whole wheat bread
Honey oat
12 grain
Cinnamon raisin

As well as:
Banana bread
Pizza dough
Cinnamon buns
Dinner rolls

Yet to try:

So, have I whet your appetite yet? Enjoying these homemade treats have been just that - a delicious treat! Don't be discouraged if habit is slow to form, or if you go through spurts (I still neglect mine at times). Slathering a homemade dinner roll in butter and feeling it melt in your mouth even once in a while will be more than worth it!

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