Monday, February 1, 2016

Back to Basics

I admit it.  I got lazy.  I still bake the occasional loaf of bread, but mostly I have been ordering bread from the store in my every other week grocery delivery order.

Until now.

It has been nearly two weeks since my last grocery delivery.  At that time I stashed an extra loaf of store bought bread in the refrigerator.  Don't ask me why I didn't put it in the freezer.  I don't know.  I just didn't.  And it sort of got pushed to the back where it has languished for nearly two weeks.  Until this morning when I ran out of bread and remembered the stashed loaf.

I fully expected that loaf to be hard, stale and likely growing all sorts of moldy stuff.  It wasn't.  It was still soft, had no stale smell or taste and there was nothing green growing anywhere on it.  That scared me.  I began to wonder just what the commercial bakers put in the dough to preserve it that long.  So I looked up the ingredients in commercially baked bread.  That scared me even more.  Look it up.  You will see what I mean.

The way I look at it, those of my advancing years have enough health issues to contend with without filling up on food that contains stuff I can't begin to pronounce.  Anything that will keep a loaf of bread from turning stale and moldy after sitting out for two weeks can't possibly be good.

So I crossed bread off my grocery order.  And tomorrow morning I will get back into my old routine of baking bread once a week.  It takes time and effort to do that, but I think it is well worth it.

Incidentally, I went over the rest of my grocery order list and to my chagrin realized that bread wasn't the only thing I was ordering just for the sake of convenience.  So I reworked my order to include mostly fresh fruit and vegetables and the ingredients to make my own convenience foods.  I have a whole box of recipes for various mixes - from baking mixes to flavored rice mixes to seasoning mixes.  I have two large shelving units packed with jars of home canned meats, fruits and vegetables and more.  I have boxes full of dehydrated foods.  I have the ingredients stored to cook and bake nearly anything I want over at least one years time.  So I have no excuse for buying anything I can make myself.

I have had a less than stellar January.  I find I am tired much of the time and haven't felt as good as I should.  It isn't just this cold I have been fighting lately.  It has been going on longer than that.  I can chalk part of it to the "winter doldrums."  But I am willing to bet that if I get away from using store bought convenience foods and other commercially made foods like bread, I will start feeling better.

It is way past time to get back to the basics.


  1. I fall into that trap also. Even though I have all of these wonderful home canned goods of all types, I too get lazy and buy way too much prepared foods. I really like to make homemade breads, however my wife gets upset with when I do as that is a weakness of hers and she just can't say no and has a tendency to overeat it when I do make it. Otherwise she doesn't eat a lot of breads.

    I think part of it is I get the winter doldrums and have a hard time getting motivated to do much of anything. I'm really looking forward to spring, warmer weather and longer daylight hours. My cycles kind of run with the sun.

  2. I keep telling my wife that anything we don't raise ourselves is basically poison, and we raise NOTHING!

  3. Jim...Homemade bread is hard to resist, isn't it!! I can't make cinnamon rolls very often because I can easily make a pig of myself on them. It is really easy to fall into that convenience food rut, and being retired and living alone, I have no excuse for not taking the time to cook. You are right about the winter doldrums. February may be the shortest month of the year, but with the cold and gray skies, it sure seems like the longest. We are supposed to have a winter storm blow through here tomorrow. I long for sunshine past 5 PM. :)

  4. Gorges...It is getting that way, isn't it. I would love to eat just organically grown meat and produce, but quite frankly, I simply can not afford it. And even then, a person can't be sure if the food is really organic. Sure wish I had a garden again. Maybe some buckets of tomatoes out on the deck in the spring...

  5. I eat a lot of rice, potatoes,Brussels sprouts and such but they all come from the market. Same with my bread when I have bread. Maybe that's why I broke a tooth tonight, or maybe I am just old

  6. Harry...Everything I eat comes from either the supermarket too, or the Farmers Market in the summer and fall. I just can't afford to be too choosy about where my food comes from. But when that loaf of bread was still good with very little change after sitting for two weeks, it kind of made me wonder just what they put into it to make it last that long.

    I think mostly I got lazy. I will grab a sandwich instead of stopping to cook a meal. And because I am a bit frugal (read - cheap), I remembered how much I could save by baking my own bread and cooking from scratch as opposed to just microwaving something. With a limited income, I think my money could better be spent on what I need to round out my preps than on convenience foods.

    Sorry about the tooth. Sometimes I like being the age I am. It kind of frees me up to do what I want and say what I want. But other times, it is sort of the pits!

  7. Question, would it be faster for you to have a bread machine for making/mixing small batches of dough/bread? You could still control ingredients. Can you imagine how small our markets would be if they didn't carry all the ready made products?? I have a cousin,(her whole family), and SIL that have to eat only gluten free foods.

    Look on the bright side, its February,the sun stays up longer, and baseball spring training starts soon, plus Easter is early this year end of March. I always see January as the dark moth of the years with the bitter cold temps and wind chill. I don't mind the snow, its the damn cold I dislike.

    Big snow coming I think,(LOL) stay safe and warm.

  8. Rob...I had thought about getting a bread machine, but a couple of years ago my kids gave me a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas. It works really well for stirring up and kneading bread dough. I like to bake at least 4 loaves at a time, so the mixer works well for me.

    Stores would be small indeed if they just carried ingredients and not all the convenience stuff. There's nothing wrong with using convenience foods. I like those packages of flavored rice mix and I add a jar of home canned chicken or beef and that makes a pretty good fast meal with a salad. I just got to the point where I was lazy about cooking and wasn't eating as well as I should - or as healthy. I felt better when I cooked mostly from scratch. Seems like there are an awful lot of folks now with allergies and such. I don't remember that being the case years ago when nearly everything was cooked from scratch.

    Yeah, I heard the ugly rumors about more snow headed our way! When it comes down to it, I really don't mind snow either. It's the ice I hate, as well as the cold. But I will put up with it because here is where my family is. :)

  9. Sorry you have the winter blahs. Just a thought. Next time you have blood work done as part of your routine checkup, ask that your vitamin D level be checked. I often am extremely low in vit D; and it makes me tired and depressed. I'm back on supplements now and feel so very much better. My energy level makes me think I'm in my 50's. LOL Julia in Texas

  10. Julia...I'm for anything that could make me feel 50 again! I have to go in every few months to get med levels checked, so I will check on that then. Thanks for the suggestion.

  11. When we were in Virginia waiting for my land to sell, Ralph got a job at a high end commercial bakery. They made expensive bread for fancy grocery stores. He worked up to scaling, that means weighing and measuring all the ingredients for the bread. They add all sorts of things to try to get the bread back to being nutritious. A lot of the things are unpronouncable. We have cut back a huge amount on the bread we eat. Good for you to take control of your food.

  12. Fiona...I guess I really didn't pay much attention until I realized how long that loaf of bread had set out without going bad. And I was paying nearly $4 a loaf for the privilege of eating stuff I can't pronounce. The frugal (read cheap) part of me realized that I could eat better for a whole lot less money. I'm playing with some recipes where the dough doesn't have to be kneaded. If they turn out I'll do a post. One reason I got away from baking so much bread was the time and mess involved. The no knead method is quick and easy and so far the results taste really good.