Dearest IPOM readers! I mentioned a few posts back that I am a big fan of the New Year, and with it all the promise each new opportunity/moment offers us in life. There should always be time to dream, and to plan the life we want, like we (maybe) used to do when we were kids. Continue reading →
If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.
~ Robert Browning
Baking beautiful bread?
Bread. Beauty. Bounty (alliteration today is brought to you by Cara). Today is the day!
I’ve been excited about this one for weeks, that is ever since I discovered it (I haven’t stopped baking beautiful bread since that day).
This was a recipe I randomly & luckily stumbled upon, and I am not sure through which medium it actually came to me (I am thinking Pinterest) – however, it must be noted it was this amazing blog post that got me going.
Insert major gratitude here.
Over the years, I’ve certainly tried all manner of bread recipes. Yeast and flour and I have never really gotten each other, and it could be that the precise nature of all things baking just does not come naturally for me.
I am happy to say that I’ve finally found the one recipe that has made me a bread baker. The day has come, and now, if you want it, it is yours for the taking too!
Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.
~ James Beard
Not only must we be good, but we must be good for something.
~ Henry David Thoreau
It is true that not all good folks enjoy bread freely these days. With the rise in sensitivities to gluten, more and more people every day are avoiding the stuff.
Wheat being one of the oldest crops known to man-kind, it always seems crazy to me that evolution would take us down this road. Especially considering wheat’s status as the ‘staff of life’ and the fact it is an age-old source of sustenance that has been relied upon since the dawn of human existence.
Wheat berries are cheap, they can be grown all over the world, and in their whole form are full of sound vitamins, minerals, and other healthy nutritious properties.
Used in their most natural form, whole wheat berries can be made into all manner of salads, added to stews, or famously sprouted for making raw breads or used to make rejuvelac and to grow wheatgrass.
However, when wheat berries are milled, bleached, bagged, and left in giant storehouses to spoil & turn rancid, it’s no wonder that our bodies are struggling to recognize wheat for the simple, life-giving grain that it is.
Change your thoughts and you can change the world.
~ Norman Vincent Peale
So if you are sensitive to wheat & gluten, but can still eat it from time to time, do source out organic freshly milled flour if possible. You might just notice a difference in how you feel after eating it (or you might not).
Whole wheat, all-purpose, or white, the most important thing to know is that it is fresh.
Just like roasted coffee should be ground right before use, or nuts & oils can go rancid if left for long periods of time at the wrong temperature, all milled flours are susceptible to the same conditions, so use it fresh.
Like all of your food (if you can).
There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Less store-bought, packaged bread products means less cost, waste, and potential preservatives. Less reliance on commercial food supply lines means more control of your health, your home & your pocketbook. Less complicated recipes to produce authentic foods means more likelihood you’ll do it, because everyone deserves to be a baker (if desired).
More fresh-baked bread from freshly milled flour means (hopefully) fewer reasons for healthy bodies to reject it. More novice friendly methods means more confidence you can do it, so you can turn pro starting right now. More homemade comfort food on the table means more enjoyment all around, and isn’t that what we are all seeking after all?
Easy Crusty Home Baked Bread:
(3) cups all-purpose flour
(1/2) tsp active dry yeast
(1 3/4) tsp salt
(1.5 – 1.75 cups) cold water from the tap
Whatever additions your heart desires: fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, grated cheddar cheese, dried fruits, nuts & seeds, the ideas are endless!
One oven proof casserole with lid, preferably ceramic or cast iron (though I read you can use any oven proof dish and cover it with foil, I have an Emile Henry clay casserole I got for my wedding years ago)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except for the water. Next, add the water (in bits or all at once) and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or tough plastic spatula.
Once mixed, the dough should be sticky, like the picture shown below.
Feel free to play with the amounts of water used as I have used anywhere from 1.5 cups (the original recipe amount) to almost 2 cups. A good friend of mine uses a bread recipe very similar to this and suggested to add more water particularly if I play with other flours – ie. a mix of white & whole wheat.
Once the dough is well mixed, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to proof on the kitchen counter for anywhere from 12 – 20 hours.
Seriously, this is (just one) of the beautiful things about this recipe.
You can start the dough at anytime and get to the baking when it works for you. I have baked after 12 hours proofing and I have baked after 22 hours proofing. All delicious, all the time.
Proofed Dough, ready to bake.
When you are ready to bake (and have a free hour and a half), turn on the oven and heat it to 450 degrees. Once the temperature is reached, put your oven proof dish in the oven and heat it for 30 minutes.
Just before the heating time for the dish is ready, flour a work surface with a very generous handful of flour. With your hands, pull the proofed dough out of the bowl and set it atop the floured surface.
Shape the dough into a roundish loaf and evenly coat it with the flour. Don’t worry about any inconsistencies with the shape of the dough – it will all sort itself out in the baking process.
This is a no knead recipe. Yes, that is right, no kneading!
So. Very. Awesome.
Remove the hot pot -careful it will be HOT! – and place the dough carefully into the dish. No oil or anything required.
Place the lid on top (or foil if this is your method – use good oven mits!) and place the dish into the hot oven still set to 450 degrees.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, keeping the oven hot by not peeking (I love having a hot and heavy lid that prevents me from peeking).
I have done both times and prefer the 35 minute time, the crust gets (just a little) crustier that way, but feel free to play with a time that works for you.
After 30-35 minutes, carefully remove the dish from the oven, and voila! Hot, beautiful, glorious bread. Remove onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool before slicing.
For best keeping, do not store in a plastic bag until the loaf has cooled completely as this will diminish the crust on the loaf. A paper bag or on the counter is great right after it is made.
Though if you make this in time for a family meal I can almost guarantee leftovers will not be an issue.
Serve with soup, salad, curry, pasta, or make into crusty bread sandwiches with tofu steaks, cheese, lettuce, and ripe red tomatoes.
My personal favorite? Fresh out of the oven with butter. A bowl of hearty warm beans. And not a whole lot more (or less)
The history of the world is the record of a man in quest for his daily bread and butter.
~ Hendrick Willem Van Loon
Whatever makes up your daily bread, doing so with reverence and appreciation of all things past can give us a better understanding of how it is we got where we are today. Things don’t always get better with time (but thankfully many things do).
In our modern world full of processed, packaged, ‘middle grocery aisle’ foods, fresh foods from fresh ingredients are still best. It’s been that way for thousands of years. Funny how some things never change.
Fresh is still best.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
~ Dr. Seuss
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
~ Mother Teresa
This recipe is cheap, easy, and simple in a world with so many options when it comes to tackling what (can be) one of the hardest foods to master in the kitchen.
Suitable for kitchen novices and experienced cooks alike, I’ve got full faith that anyone can be just hours away from blatant, breathtaking, bread-baking brilliance!
Are you a bread baker?
What is your favorite bread recipe?
We’re coming off a gorgeous holiday weekend here in beautiful Whistler (thanks to all for the truly fabulous company) – here’s to wishing all of my Canadian readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Next up, I’ve got the best brussels sprout salad you’ve ever had.
So stay tuned. It will be worth it, that I can promise you.
I think it is safe to say we all need a little comfort in the form of our favorite foods here and there. Growing up, one of my most favorite snack foods was just this – comforting – not to mention dirt cheap and easy to make.
After all, what is easier than opening up a can of beans and heating them up? Toss a few pieces of bread in the toaster and slather on the butter….just thinking of it brings me right back to 4th grade heaven.
My 30 something year old self now knows that while the old canned standbys are still good in a pinch, there is nothing better than a warm bowl of home cooked beans and a fresh piece of bread hot out of the oven. Especially when they are this cheap, and this easy.
All you need is (just a little) love. And (just a little) time.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Having just celebrated another birthday, I find myself of late quite keenly aware of the fleeting nature of our lives.
As I think back to my days as young child I can tell you my defining moments just as easily as I can tell you what my favorite things to eat were. Most often, and particularly at the beginning of each new school year, I think back to me and my siblings, convening after a long day at school to watch TV and eat food we could make on our own.
Hot beans in a bowl. With toast. Childhood comfort food. Three’s Company. Let’s do it!
Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Less canned food in your pantry means more room for cheaper dry goods to nourish you. Less waste and added preservatives means cleaner eating and a lighter conscience. Less sugar heavy baked beans means more naturally sweetened heartiness, and a whole lot more nourishment too.
More high fiber protein foods means easier work of digestion. More hearty, filling comfort means more warmth and goodness in your day. More cheap easy recipes means more ways to spread your money farther, because good health doesn’t have to come at a high cost.
Homemade Baked Beans:
(2) cups dry white Navy beans, soaked in cold water
(1/3- 1/2 cup) good olive oil
(2) medium – large yellow onions, chopped
(2) tsp salt
(1) small can tomato paste (about 1/2 cup)
(3) tbsp honey, brown sugar, or other plant-based sweetener
(8) cups cold water for cooking
Lots of love of and plenty of time
Start by soaking your beans in plenty of cold of water for anywhere from 8 – 20 hours (8 is about the minimum to soak thoroughly and don’t worry if you ill time the soaking – they can sit there for a while). When ready to cook, drain the beans and rinse in the colander under more fresh cold water.
Next, heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the chopped onion and salt. Cook the onion for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat, being careful not to burn them. Stir here and there, after 10 minutes the onions should be soft and translucent.
Next, add the tomato paste, beans, and 4 cups of cold cooking water. Stir well to dissolve the paste and bring to a boil over high heat with the lid on. Once the boil is reached, stir again and reduce the heat to medium, to keep the simmer at a jolly roll (not boiling but cooking nicely).
Now, kick up your feet, and get settled in. Read a book , or finish that knitting project you started. Maybe write some notes to your family to tell them you love them. Or not. But do enjoy this nice time at home.
Cook the beans withe the lid ajar for 1.5 hours, stirring here and there and adding the remaining 4 cups of water in increments as the sauce reduces. After the first hour, add whatever water is left, and the honey or sweetener, and cook for 30 minutes until the mixture is deliciously saucy.
From here, you can let the beans hang out until you are ready to bake them (you can even sneak in a bowl to eat at this point).
To bake, transfer the beans to a casserole and bake, covered either with the casserole lid or with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and serve hot with fresh bread or toast.
These beans will keep extremely well, and should be good to eat up to a week after they are made. A little goes a long way here as these guys are hearty and filling, so pile them into a container for those moments during the week when you need a little comfort.
Paired up with the bread recipe lined up for the next post, you’ll wonder if there could possibly be anything simpler or more nostalgic (especially if you grew up in my family).
You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.
~ Julia Child
I was pleased to see that 25 years later, kids still love this food as a filler up after soccer practice or after a long tough day as a teenager (because let’s face it, that is exhausting work for those of you who may recall).
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Next I’ll share with you the bread recipe that has literally changed my life since I discovered it. Turns out, it’s never too late to be a baker, even if you’ve never even made bread before! Stay tuned, I am really excited about this one!
Here’s to a super fab October…wishing you all the very best as always!
Did you have a favorite childhood comfort food?
Got an updated version to share with us?
Let us know! Looking forward to hearing from you all as always, and for all my vegan-minded blog friends taking part in Vegan MoFo, wishing you all the best for a month of blogging inspiration, and those of you interested, check out the link here!
It’s that time of year again! The time here in the cooling (and beautiful) Northwest when we start thinking about cozy sweaters, warm scarves, pulling on our favorite boots, and about Thanksgiving. This is the time of year when every corner grocery store stocks tiny mini pumpkins and you can’t take a step without hearing a leaf (or seven) crumble under your well-meaning fuzzy-socked feet.
Happy October everyone!
The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.
~ William James
This week I am particularly thankful for big progress here at what I like to lovingly call world IPOM headquarters (tee hee).
Not So Fast is making progress at a healthy and (mostly) manageable pace. I owe big gratitude to all who are taking part in this creative and amazing labor of love. Your energy and support are the only reason NSF is anything more than just a random passing idea.
I’ve got a giant heart here and it’s all full because of all of you. Yes, you (that is pointed squarely at you too IPOM readers).
Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
~ Leo Buscaglia
Not So Fast is hard at work planning a full school year of cooking classes for kids and families living in our fair city’s poorest neighborhood.
We want to not only share simple food with those who are keen to join us, but we hope to (maybe) offer (just a little) hope, confidence & much needed access to eating well into lives that are (likely) much more limited than our own.
A quick visit to our local farmers market drives our mission home for me with motivating intensity each and every time I go.
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
This time of year showcases producers of all types offering up the very height of glory in the fruits of their (hard) labor.
I get goosebumps just thinking of perusing & buying fresh corn, squash, kale, sweet cherry tomatoes, heirloom variety apples, and the last of the summer fruits and berries of all kinds.
It is nothing short of pure vegetable heaven this time of year, and every bit a true food lover’s paradise, no matter what your dietary preferences. You’d have to be inhuman not to get inspired this time of year after a visit to the market.
That is, unless you can’t afford it.
I wrote a few posts back about my visit to the market where I (oh heavens me) happened to find myself with only a meager sum of cash to get me through my visit. That visit where I had to control my desires and my will.
Imagine (just for a second) that you had to do that every day?
Not because (like me) you just weren’t organized, but because you simply didn’t have the dough. I ask this question not to instill guilt, or a sense of anything other than awareness.
Awareness that no matter what your means, there is always someone who has less than you, and always someone who has more.
Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.
~ Thomas Goodwin
As we prepare here in Canada to celebrate our national celebration of Thanksgiving (we are 3 weeks ahead of our American friends), many of us might be busy planning menus, inviting guests, or maybe just looking forward to our next three-day weekend.
My wish for this coming weekend, and for all the weekends to follow is simple:
My wish is that each day that comes next might be just as good as the day before, and that no matter what life throws at me, I always remember the important things. Like having a healthy loving family, a cozy roof over my head, and two strong legs to walk my sorry a** to the store when I’ve run out of milk (again).
Rest and be thankful.
~ William Wadsworth
I’d love to know what you might be thankful for not just this season, but all year long. I’ve a feeling our needs are not that different from one another, really.
Food, shelter, love.Good people. Good food. A good laugh here and there.
Not too much for ask for I reckon, especially when there is just so much to go around.
I am so happy to have you all here at IPOM to continue to celebrate simple healthy food and the idea of living with (just a little) less.
Many blessings to you, your loved ones, and the communities you live in.
Because the truth is as we move forward in our collective lives is just this: we are all in this together.
I’d love to hear what you might be pondering in preparation for this coming holiday weekend (and for those of you who are looking that far ahead in the US). No matter where you are, thanks for joining us!
I’ve got some recipes coming up that I hope you’ll love
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
~ Marcel Proust
The quote above is one fit for the bounty that engulfs us at this time of year (at least in this part of the world!).
Harvest season always give me the chills, and it is worth noting that I am currently head over heels, knee-deep & no turning back in love with fresh farm produce.
Anyone else with me on this?!
This past Sunday, I was excited to hit the Farmer’s Market and arrived to realize I had but a meager $25 cash to stock up for the next few days with fresh produce for our growing family.
At first I panicked, thinking it impossible that I could resist the urge to buy armloads of all the beautiful apples, peaches, and every other thing my heart desired.
And then (after a stop at the bank machine only to recall I’d given my ATM card to the teenager to buy jeans), I decided I’d see instead how far I could make that $25 go.
The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose.
After all, ever since the market experience in France and the subsequent realization that things just are not the same here at home, it is still incredibly important to me to support our local farmers whenever I can.
It is also important to me (to try) to buy just what we need and not an apple more. So I am happy to report I did just fine, in fact, I really think I did better than fine.
We’re halfway through the basketful of ripe yellow tomatoes I bought and we’ve got lettuce in the fridge to make another round of salads tomorrow night.
There’s nothing rotting or screaming ‘eat me‘ after being purchased on a whim without a plan, or a thought to where it would go, or to who would consume it.
And it feels really good to know just how far $25 can actually go with (just a little) discipline, restraint, awareness, and forethought.
And have I mentioned how absolutely incredible those tomatoes are right now?
Not to mention the basil, and the zucchini, and the beans, peppers, eggplant, and just about everything else we can call ourselves lucky to have at our fingertips. Less may be more here, and when it is this good, that is really all we seem to need.
This pasta salad brings together all those things to love in one bowl, & I hope you’ll enjoy this combo as much as we did!
You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Less mayo-based pasta salads means more variety and more fun, flavor, and healthy fats. Less white noodles and wheat based foods can mean less sensitivity for those that matters to. Less boredom at mealtime means dinner and lunch are super fun, especially with harvest veggies & herbs so easily at hand.
More local flavor boosters means more summer flavors in your bowl. More grain based goodness means more grounding, fuel, and energy. More healthy fresh veggies to dress up your meals means more color, life, and vitality, so meal times are as lively as can be.
Spelt Pistou Pasta Salad:
(2) cups dry pasta (I used spelt penne for this one)
black olives for garnish & black pepper (optional)
Make the pistou as described in this post (the last IPOM post). Feel free to play with your favorite pesto as well, I was super pleased to make this with the pistou as outlined as it was quite similar to a recipe shared with me by a good friend recently.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain when done. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sun-dried tomatoes, chopped pepper, fresh tomatoes, and basil ribbons*
*Cut basil ribbons by layering the leaves on top of one another and rolling them to make a tight roll. Then, using a sharp knife, cut horizontally to make uniform ‘ribbons’. Hint:you can also keep it real and rustic by tearing the leaves with your hands.
Start by tossing the still hot pasta with the pistou in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Add the chopped peppers and 2/3 of the prepared basil leaves and stir well.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with olives, remaining basil ribbons (or torn leaves), fresh tomato wedges, and black pepper. Don’t be shy to add a little splash of extra olive oil to the top either, that never hurts
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.
~ Charles Dickens
Make sure to enjoy this one with friends, especially if you are among those sensitive to the effects of garlic!
Leftovers can also be enjoyed heated up a little to release the flavors and soften the pasta if has been stored in the fridge. I took this to work and shared the love with one of my favorite girls of all time, I don’t think she minded one bit!
Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.
~ Ralph H. Blum
Served with a loaf of crusty fresh bread, extra olives on the side, and good friend to share it with, I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy this beautiful, bountiful season we are having.
I’ll be sure to tell the tomato man this weekend how much we’ve enjoyed the fruits of his labor these past two weeks. I’ll be especially proud to tell him we didn’t waste a single morsel.
Enough is a feast.
~ Buddhist Proverb
With all the business we have in this life it is common to hurry through our days checking off to do lists and trying to cover as many bases as we can. Sound at all familiar?
Providing for loved ones adds an extra challenge. Will they have enough? What will they feel like eating? For any of you out there who know the challenges we face just stocking the house (never mind the cooking), we want to hear from you!
Do you stick to a strict grocery budget?
Got some tips you can share with us when it comes to buying ‘just enough’?
Wherever you are, I’d love to know what is inspiring you in the kitchen these days, whether it’s in the grocery store, the gym, or the community center parking lot where the producers congregate to sell their bounty.
Next up? A harvest chickpea salad, inspired by a spontaneous Farmer’s Market find Stay tuned!
Welcome! What is In Pursuit Of More? The blog about living with (just a little) less. By going without, we can gain - by giving to those who have less. Want to make a change in your eating habits for the better? Imagine how you can turn that into something positive for those who would otherwise go hungry. Go without so others don't have to. That's living with (just a little) less.