E is for…


1. An ongoing endeavor of mine is taking better care of our bodies by eating well and exercising enough.

I’ve been baking all our bread for a month or so now, alternating each week between a basic whole wheat bread and a whole wheat sourdough. I’ve had a bag of wheat berries (unground wheat) in my freezer for almost three years — I keep meaning to try sprouting some and just haven’t done it, because it involves a commitment of several days in a row. Instead, finally, last night I soaked some, along with some sunflower seeds and millet, and baked it into the regular bread today. Looks and smells great — I love bread with these things in it for texture and taste, so I hope it turns out well.

Soon we’ll be adding local eggs to our diet — as soon as we use up the current batch from the store. Last week I was out for the first bike ride of the season and happened to hear a rooster. On a whim, I rode up the driveway and knocked on the door and asked about their chickens — would they show them to me, and tell me about raising them (I’ve wondered about buying a few laying hens), and by the way do they sell the eggs. They have a nice set up where the chickens free range all day when the family’s home, and otherwise stay in their coop and run. They eat cracked corn, layer mash, oyster shell, occasional dry cat food, and whatever bugs and such they find out in the yard. Some have some feather loss issues, but no one was bleeding or bright red or anything. And the price is right — $1.50 a dozen, compared to $3 at the health food store.

As for exercise, theoretically I’m participating in three fitness classes each week at the academy where Mark teaches, but there were no classes over our long spring break, and I’ve only done two measly video workouts, plus the short bike ride.

2. Another endeavor, especially since deciding to send Amy to the Montessori school, is to expand my business.

I play hammered dulcimer, teach, and have a few CDs to sell. I arranged with the local coffee shop to play there once a month for tips and CD sales, and it’s keeping me practicing a little more as well as providing exposure. Friday I play for a church supper, a gig arranged by someone who saw me at the coffee shop. I also have a student from playing there. No leaps and bounds, but a good start.

I have the intention to start an Etsy shop to sell stuff I sew. First I need to finish sewing diapers and sorting and organizing my fabric stash. Then I hope to make jeans bags, towel bibs, and who knows what else to sell.

3. This blog challenge has been quite the endeavor so far, too. Actually, the first three letters weren’t hard, but E was driving me nuts. I found myself absent-mindedly going about my day, brainstorming: eight, elbow, eighth note, ellipsis, elephant, end…


10 thoughts on “E is for…

  1. How fascinating! Would you be willing to share a recipe for whole wheat bread? I’m not much of a bread-maker but that is something I’ve been meaning to do. Exercise is theoretical in my life at the moment too… need to work on that.

  2. Great post! I took like to eat as close to nature as possible, but have done a TERRIBLE job of it in the past year or so. I’m going to start looking for local eggs. It’s important to me to at least eat as organically as possible. Have you considered writing a post on sprouting your grains? I’ve never done it, and would be interested to read what the process is.

  3. I wish I had someone who would take care of my food for me. If you just leave it up to me I don’t eat right.

    Hang in there! The beauty of the challenge is that the ideas are limitless. Okay maybe X or Z might be a real tough one, but with a dictionary it’s not too hard to come up with something.

    You’re doing great!

    Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

  4. Melody, here’s the recipe:

    The night before, soak about a third to a half cup each of millet, sunflower seeds, and wheat berries. I put them together in a pyrex bowl and cover with water, plus extra water so they’ll still be covered as they expand. Cover with a towel or lid or plastic.

    Here’s the basic bread recipe, adapted from Catherine Clark’s Country Kitchen Breads “Miracle White bread.”

    Set out 3 T butter to soften; set aside.

    4 1/2 t yeast
    1 c warm water
    2 T sugar
    1/2 t salt (omit or use less if using salted butter or salted sunflower seeds)
    1/2 c white flour

    Place in a bowl, whisk smooth, cover, and let rise fifteen minutes.

    1 1/4 c warm milk (scald, then cool to warm)
    2 T sugar
    2 t salt (again omit or use less if necessary)
    2 c white flour
    3 T softened butter

    Add to the bowl and beat about two minutes — I use a hand mixer with dough hooks; regular beaters would be better at this stage but I don’t want to wash two sets of beaters and you’ll need the dough hooks later.

    Add 3 c whole wheat flour and the drained soaked grains. Mix with dough hooks. Cover and rest ten minutes.

    Knead, divide into two balls, cover, rest ten minutes.

    Roll out into 15×6 rectangle and roll tightly, place in greased loaf pans, cover, let rise 40-60 minutes until light and doubled.

    Bake 375 for about 30-40 minutes, remove from pans immediately.

  5. Jan, I don’t have a grain mill but it’s on my wish list. What kind do you have and how do you like it?

    Lisa, I’ve never sprouted either — I would follow the instructions in Nourishing Traditions, just because it’s the only one of my cookbooks that explains how. I’ve also seen some good blog posts detailing the process.

    And Lee, that’s how I am about exercise. I am so chagrined about how little I worked out over spring break. I hate the idea of exercise, as a separate compartment of life, instead of being integrated into what we do anyway — but I don’t live on a farm and I’m not a manual laborer so my usual life just does not include enough exercise, so separate compartmentalized exercise is a necessary evil. And once I’m exercising, I’m fine — it’s just getting up to do it.

  6. Your bread looks amazing! I love to bake..i am behind in the A-Z challenge, but hope to catch up soon!
    I agree exercise is hard sometimes to fit in…I love your commitment ideas. Bike riding is exercise
    and being outside with the breeze in your hair, hearing the birds sing, seeing Nature’s new wardrobe,
    what could be better! Sprouting sounds fascinating; i have not tried this! You have peeked my curiosity!
    Great post~

  7. interesting. I’ve also wanted to try a wheat bread. My step-dad swears by his peasant loaf, the recipe found in artisan bread in 5 min. a day (a really, really, really excellent book for beginner bread makers)

  8. Thanks for visiting, Ellen and Jenni —

    Jenni, I’ve heard good things about that book. Might have to add it to my wish list. My first attempts at bread, especially sourdough, were dense, uncooked in the middle and hard as rock on the outside, and otherwise unappetizing. This recipe is great, and so is the newer one I’m using for the sourdough.

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