Tuesday, February 28, 2012

stomaching it

For years, I've harbored a deep and abiding fear of baking bread. Because, you see, it represents failure. Yeast is so finicky. Bread collapses if I look at it sideways. It's just a chance for me to mess up, and while I'm at it, waste time. I hate messing up almost as much as I hate wasting time. Unless I'm on Pinterest, and that my friends, is a productive waste of time.

And so year after year, I tell myself this is the year I'm going to bake bread. Well folks. THIS WAS THE YEAR. My mom practically forced me to do it while I was visiting. And because she was there to blame my failures on - like any self-respecting child would - I did it. We used Bosch foolproof whole wheat bread (second recipe here) because it uses zero white flour (many "wheat breads" are actually a mix of wheat and white flour, thus the reason they taste good) and it has no sugar (just honey). So we mixed up this little batch of bread, we both balked at the ridiculously sticky dough, we stuck it in a cold oven like instructed (no pre-heating), and a serious loaf of heaven came out twenty minutes later. No lie, this bread is impossible to resist. Even my husband, who prefers a gourmet meal of Skittles and Dorito's for dinner, likes - dare I say - ENJOYS this bread. And Belle prefers it bar none over store bought. And little Miss Lou? She loves it too. She eats tiny bit after tiny bit after tiny bit. I, on the other hand, eat huge slice followed by thicker slice. My only problem with this bread is that I can't stop eating it. Especially when it's fresh. And slathered with Nutella. Thus negating its health benefits. Yup, I fully partake of this chocolately irony several times a day. So seriously - give it a try. It's healthy and irresistible. And you may not have to buy store bought bread anymore (I don't!). (P.S. I half the recipe for three loafs. And I also usually do half red wheat flour and half white wheat flour both because my husband likes it more and because it seems to bake up softer. But no regular white flour.)

Speaking of Lou Lou, we're taking a much more organic approach to feeding her than we did with Belle. You see, feeding our children is generally a joke until they're two. Why? THEY HAVE NO TEETH. Belle cut her first tooth at nine months and by the time she turned a year old, was proudly sporting two half-teeth (seriously - they were half grown in for like six months). Annabelle did pretty well for a while with solid food. And then I think she was like, guys, I CAN'T CHEW. STOP IT WITH THIS FOOD JUNK AND HAND OVER THE MILK. I'd really like to avoid that debacle again, so basically, if it isn't laced with peanut butter or shrimp or egg or whatever the heck else they say will make my child's fingers fall off if she deigns to look at it (I also question this line of logic, if I'm being honest), we pretty much let her try it.

Last night she had this homemade broccoli mac and cheese. No lie. (For anyone who tries it, I use whole wheat noodles, but I use regular sharp cheese and 1% milk.) She asked for some, so why not? And by ask, I mean opened her mouth when I forked a noodle for myself, then screamed (she's going to be our drama queen if anyone was wondering) when it went into my mouth instead. And of course she loved it. It has flavor. (By the way, we don't give her candy, cake, cookies, any processed sugars.) She's doing much better this route than trying to force feed her liquid cardboard and string beans. Instead, we let her play with her food, sometimes help her and just generally make eating more of a fun experience than a nutritional one. Because she won't be able to properly chew for another year and a half anyhow. And isn't food supposed to be enjoyable?

As far as Annabelle goes, I have a big secret for all ya'll with a toddler. They will eat anything if it is dipped in either ranch dressing or Nutella. Guacamole if you're desperate. Seriously. Belle's rate of consumption has tripled in the last six months since we discovered the secret to getting a toddler to eat: dip. And there you have it.

One more thing: I'm doing really good at the no sugar, no white flour rule. Except for those dang Reeses eggs. I would like to put forth a motion that Reeses eggs be removed from the processed sugar pool and moved to the fruits and veggies category. All those in favor? I.

It's settled then.


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