Well, that’s gross, but yes.
Over the past year or so my fledgling enjoyment of taking pictures has conspired with my fledgling enjoyment of cooking and baking to produce a mom who can go through the 10 lb. flour bag in no time at all, with a grimy camera and lots of seemingly useless pics clogging up my computer to prove it.
I’d like to put those pics to use and spread the manure of thankfulness and joy around. Gratitude is such a powerful fertilizer. It’s hard to grow bitterness in a garden of grateful. We ought to be thankful for our food, even though we’ve twisted up our relationship with food pretty much since the beginning. And we keep on getting ourselves in knots over it, hoping it will save us, cure us, satisfy us, and right all the wrongs.
It won’t do that. But it can point us to what will satisfy. If a perfect pot roast on a cool fall eve satisfies and delights for a few hours, could it be that there’s something like that warm comfort.. forever? Food also shows us our creaturely nature. We need it or we die. We are as dependent as the baby that I nurse every few hours. So I’m being fed by our Father daily.
Food shows us the deeper food. It points to the Food of Jesus, the Bread, the Word.
With this in mind, I’m cheerfully spreading the manure of merriment with pics of food and recipes. My hope is that they’ll kindle a robust hearty thankfulness for food ad the God who gives it and encourage a wholesome attitude toward it. One that isn’t gluttonous or ascetic or idolatrous. So with that lengthy preface behind me, here’s a taste of what we’ve been thankful for lately.
Crusty Bread. I’ve mentioned this bread before and seriously couldn’t imagine a more delightful and easy bread to make. If you’ve never made bread (as I hadn’t just a year or so ago), start here. End here. It’s a winner.
Peach Buttermilk Bread Pudding with Homemade Caramel Sauce. Yes, it’s as good as you hope. Especially with a dollop of ice cream. We were out of bread, so I made a couple loaves of the crusty bread above and used one for this bread pudding. Way too much fun.
I’d be majorly remiss if I didn’t mention the important part helpers play in food gratitude and bonding and serving and general excitement and joy. Sometimes I’m stingy with helpers–saving all the best jobs for myself (who doesn’t love cracking an egg and whisking away?!). But I’m slowly learning that it not only robs them of joy, but me as well. Sharing happy work multiplies happiness (and messes). I’m letting the happiness overrule the messes, some of the time anyway.
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Banana Bread. A friend brought over a zucchini the size of Rhode Island for us as she was going out of town and 8 loaves of this zucchini bread later I wish we had another one! I modified the recipe I linked to by adding a banana that was going bad and using a little less zucchini.
Pumpkin Bread. In college, the DC (dining center) would serve pumpkin bread in the fall. Massive, hot loaves, sliced an inch and a half thick that were inhaled by whoever could get to the front of the line. I remember being pushed and squeezed as everyone eagerly crowded in to get some. I’m sure elbows were thrown. I set out to make something comparable and judging by the kids crowding and snitching, we’re on the right track. I added a streusel on top for kicks. It’s not in the recipe I linked to, but is just melted butter, sugar of any kind, and flour. You can’t lose.
Mozzarella Cheese Sticks. The MN State Fair is a big deal ’round here. We missed it with Titus being born. So I was hankering for the infamous cheese curds and this is what resulted. They actually are nothing like cheese curds. They’re like Italian mozzarella sticks. I cut up string cheese in half, then dipped in egg, then panko mixture (bread crumbs, olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper), then was going to fry them up when I realized I didn’t have enough oil. So I baked them for about 5 min and quickly pulled them out so they didn’t melt all over. They managed to hold together and my son and I gobbled them up. Not cheese curds, but still good.
Peasant Bread. Which I would like to rename to Pleasant Bread. Or Pleasant Peasant Bread. If you decide to keep on going with the bread making, this is a great second bread to learn. Very simple and easy and it bakes the same day, no overnight rising. Which could be a plus or a minus depending on your needs and schedule. Also, it bakes in pyrex bowls, which is great! This bread should be eaten the day it’s made. It’s wonderful that way. Subsequent days we use it for toast.
Last but not least, fall mix. Which is simply equal parts peanuts, candy corn and m&m’s, mixed up and set out for everyone to enjoy.
That’s all the manure I’ve got to spread at the blog today. Still have a few piles to go here at home.
“And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15b