Sunday, February 27, 2011

Doing the best we can- the hummingbird challenge

So often I feel overwhelmed with what I see as unfixable problems.  There are a lot of things that I, on my own will never be able to fix.  But, like the hummingbird, I can do the best that I can.

This clip was from the documentary Dirt.  It was really interesting, and I think I could (and will) watch it over and over again.  It talks about what dirt is, and our relationship with it.  As we forget its importance, and allow it to become damaged, it stops nourishing us with healthy food.  I was talking to my aunt and she mentioned how her stepson wouldn't eat carrots for a long time after seeing our grandmother pull them out of the garden.  We've become so accustomed to seeing our food in neat little packages at the store that we've forgotten where food comes from.  In an effort to produce more to meet the endless demands of cheaper food, the quality of our soil has decreased as we pump pesticides and herbicides into it.  Our way of life is not sustainable, and eventually we will be forced to make changes.

I believe that God put us on the earth to learn and to grow.  Part of that growth and learning, is learning to be good stewards of the life around us.  That includes the dirt.

It's not practical for everyone to stop buying corn fed beed, or switch to organic foods.  However, like the hummingbird, even if we can't completely change how we eat, we can do what we can.  If that means growing our own garden, great!  If it means buying locally produced meats (Christensen's Family Farm in my side link sells grass fed beef and pork!), then do it!  If it means you switch one meal, or one meal more, each week from a meat based meal to a vegetarian one, it can make a difference (plus vegetarian meals are often cheaper).  If it means you find organic gardening and yard care solutions, great!

So my challenge to all five of you who read my blog, is be a hummingbird.  Find something you can do to put out the fire.  How will you respond to the hummingbird challenge?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Honey Whole Wheat Bread (that isn't too sweet)

I've been looking for a good whole wheat bread recipe for a long time.  I've gone through a few different recipes.  Some have been good, but didn't have a great texture.  Others seemed to go stale too fast.  This one was a little too sweet for anything but pb&j's so I reduced the amount of honey in it.  The proof of the goodness of the recipe is that my 7-year-old doesn't pick the insides of his sandwich off and leave the bread like he was doing with my last recipe (it was really good, nice texture, but had no sweetener in it, and did tend to go stale faster than we ate it).  

I can't find our camera (thanks to my 3-year-old I'm sure!) so I stole this picture off of the website where I got the recipe.

Another bonus of this recipe is 1 fewer raising times than my previous recipe.  

4 1/2 tsp yeast
4 C water
1/2 C butter, softenend
1/4 C molases
1/4 C honey (the original called for 1/2 cup but it was too sweet)
2 tsp salt
10 C whole wheat flour (the original calls for 6c wheat 4c white flour, but it tastes good with all whole wheat)
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten (my addition since I'm using whole wheat flour)

Dissolve yeast in warm water.
In a large bowl comine butter, molases, honey, salt, and mix well.
Add yeast mixture, then gradually add flour.
Knead until smooth (I just do this in my kitchenaid)
Raise until double  (about 1 1/2 hours) in a warm place.
Punch down and let rest for a few minutes.
Divide into 4 parts (I do 3 because my bread pans are extra long) and shape into loaves.
Place in pans (it says to grease them, but I don't) and let rise for an hour or so.
Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.