Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

On the tenth day...

...I wish I could say I had slept ten hours. Haha. Not likely. Though Faith has and she's not yet awake. She often sleeps 12 and is almost there right now. Lucky girl.

The duct cleaning man is coming today. We've been in this house for 13 years and it's not been done by us. The house is almost 30 years old and I don't know if it's ever been done. Could be a really big job. I don't know what to expect, but I keep hoping he won't make a mess.

School started back today for Noah, and the big boys at Ohio State (and will for Faith when her sleepy head wakes up). I don't wish to be them walking in the snow from building to building. Brrrr. I love winter but mostly because I stay home, a lot. My little chick and I will be tucked away, snug and warm in our house. In the winter, I find myself thanking God frequently for a roof, and furnace, and warm clothes.

Speaking of furnace, that's the reason we are having the ducts cleaned...we are getting a new furnace and air conditioner installed very soon. Though I admit I hate spending money on stuff like that -- a new roof, new tires -- I am grateful we can do it. Unlike last year's list of home improvement projects, I truly hope this is the only thing we do this year. I'd like a year off projects. No ten projects this year.

I'm running out of numbered topics (at least those that are readily available in my head) but I thought I'd talk about food goals this year. I feel like by Christmas every year I have absolutely no energy left for 1) cooking and 2) setting limits for the kids in regard to food, and by New Year's Eve we are all about eating junk, something I hate. But besides eating healthier this year (at least until December when it all falls apart) I have some other food goals, and we'll see if I can come up with ten.

1) bake more bread. I did already mention that as part of my "resolutions" but I'd like to try more kinds of bread and really make an effort to buy a lot less bread. A lot less. I'd like to work my way through the Five Minute Artisan Bread book because I think it's a great resource for truly good bread. I'd also like to get my self a sandwich bread pan and try to perfect the old-fashioned white bread my kids love, while also encouraging them to eat more whole grains.

2) Try to really limit ingredients to whole foods -- less purchased sauce and condiments and more cooking with herbs, lemon and lime juice, extra virgin olive oil. Really just more simple. Simple but better.

3) Try my hand at Indian food. I've never been a big fan of curry, but it could be something that needs more trying. There is also more to Indian food than curry. My college boy (who used to be the pickiest kid) encouraged me to try some Indian food, and I am on the hunt for some good recipes.

4) More ethnic food in general. My family loves to be adventurous with food and so I'd like to work on some truly ethnic dishes -- more than Mexican/American and Italian/American.

5) More grains less wheat. I need to experiment with some grains other than what we normally eat, rice, oat and wheat. I like corn but don't use it a lot in baking, and I'd like to try some grains we've never tried. Our G/I doctor told us earlier last year that less wheat is good for everyone, but wheat, like soy, is rather pervasive. I always say "everything in moderation," but sometimes you have to cut in order to even be moderate.

6) in the same ilk but not food, I am trying to cut plastic from our food use. Not that we eat plastic, but then, maybe we do. Did you ever notice how much food is stored in plastic? Yuk. I read some articles recently (dangerous, I know) that really creeped me out about how much plastic we ingest. I switched to all glass storage containers, and even bought wax papers lunch bags (how's that for a blast from the past?) and now I'm keeping an eye out on the products I purchase. If I can buy plastic-free I will. I need to find a way to store bread that's not in plastic -- any suggestions?

7) more fruit, different fruit. It's hard to get away from just apples, oranges and grapes, but I'd like to have more fruit every day and not just the same-old same-old. It's expensive though, isn't it? Geoffrey wanted to try a pomegranate while he was home and one pomegranate was $1.50. And all he got was a handful of seeds. Not a big bang for our buck. A lot of canned fruit is made in China, so that's not a good route either. I think making smoothies might be a good route, because I can buy frozen berries when they are out of season or pricey. Hmmm, need to experiment.

8) the same goes for veggies, but I am hopeful that branching out into different ethnic dishes will help us consume different veggies. And maybe I can start throwing some spinach into a smoothie.

9) less dessert. My family will be so sad if I tell them they are getting less dessert, so I'll have to just stop buying as many treats and make the ones they have healthier.

10) less time spent cooking. That seems rather contrary to the above goals, but I think, with the right recipes and state of mind, and simple ingredients, I can spend less time in the kitchen. That's a good thing.


  1. LOVE this post! Most of these are things I've tried to do more of over the past few years... can't say I've tried Indian food, but I'd like to try it. We do make Chinese and Mexican often.

    The Artisan Bread book is in my cupboard. I like your idea of baking your way through it. My favorite online sources for flours are King Arthur and Azure Standard, but you live close enough to larger cities to shop locally and get a good price (I assume!).

    If you want to cook less, take a look at Once a Month Cooking. I'm not 'way' into it, but every once in a while, I make dishes that can be doubled and I'll freeze the second for later. Saves a ton of time to just even brown extra hamburger and freeze it for later.

    Can't wait to hear how you minimize the dessert/treats, as we do struggle with that, too.

  2. I really like all your food ideas! I am on the same track, mostly. For the glass storage containers, I have been frequenting thrift stores, looking for old pyrex/corelle pieces. On dessert, Jack and Therese can have Oreo's since they are dairy free (I don't want to know what the 'creme' filling is!), but Jack had come to expect cookies every night. We have stopped buying them and instead are buying graham crackers. I am looking for a good dairy free version I can make myself. Lastly, I have been trying to find quick and easy recipes that can be on the table in 30 minutes and still be healthy (no prepackaged ingredients).

  3. We have never gotten into the habit of dessert, but reading your list one thing that jumps out is that fruits make wonderful desserts, and you've said you wanted to eat more-and-different fruits. You can ring the changes on cobblers, buckles, and slumps, not to mention the sheer joy of a dish of fruit with a little sugar sprinkled on it or a dollop of whipped cream . . .

    As for bread, before there was plastic, there was cloth. Here's one place that is filling that niche http://www.bamboo-bag.com/breadbags.html (I haven't used the product, I just googled it . . . but I may order some, now!)

  4. Here's an etsy source http://tinyurl.com/bread-bag-on-etsy

  5. I worked in a bakery my senior year of high school. We used waxed-paper bags to store bread. You could probably make bread bags that fit the loaves you bake at home out of regular waxed paper. Bread keeps really well in waxed paper; unlike plastic, waxed paper will keep a crispy crust on bread instead of turning it all soft and mushy.

  6. Barb - if you get this - how did the duct cleaning go? My house is very old; my grandparents built it. And it is SO DUSTY. I have horrible allergies, as does Cash and I'm afraid Hank is on the way to the same. I've heard some people say the cleaning is worth it, and others say it's a waste. I'm just curious. Ours have never been cleaned, by me nor by my grandparents....

    1. Abby, the cleaning went well. Not messy, just a little dustier than normal. I actually told the guy in charge that I had heard mixed reviews on duct cleaning (the guy who sold and installed the furnace is my husband's cousin and he recommended it) and he said it's companies who "do it on the side" that give them a bad name. He said carpet cleaners will do it and use their suction hose to suck the dirt from the furnace and use small air compressors to blow the air down from the vents. The company we used only cleans ducts and the hose they used was about 12 or 15 inches across. I could hear the stuff going through the hose out to the truck. Yuck! It took them about two hours. So my advise is, don't use the coupon guys. Get a good service. You'll have to pay for it though. We paid $475. Ugh. But at least we aren't breathing all that dust any more. Apparently the new furnace would have blown it all out.


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!