This month at Whole Foods we were able to get a lot of snacks for E plus some great meat and a bunch of their "normal" people groceries as well. E's actually able to have sheep or goats' milk products, so we've sampled our share of the upper class WF cheese too. Livin' large on sheep cheese, that's what we are. I'm pretty fond of their 365 Organic brand, especially their pretzels and Woven Wheats (i.e. Triscuit knock-offs). I love processed foods with only two or three item ingredient lists, like: wheat, salt. At least then you know what you're getting and I honestly can't say I notice a taste difference over their chemically-enhanced cousins. I've just admitted that I'm always going to snack, and I'm going to snack on whatever's in reach so it better just be healthy. It doesn't matter how well I plan all day, I'm going to sink into the couch at about 8:00 and I better have a plate of something for noshing or I'm going to be a crazy person.
E and I also started paying attention to what kind of healthier meat and produce options our regular grocery store and bulk stores stock. Costco sells organic chicken, and though it's honestly MUCH more expensive than the regular bag of chicken breasts we normally buy, it's very good. I bought two whole chickens and a pack of six chicken breasts. So far, so good. I can stretch a whole bird pretty far, so we've managed to get by on a little less chicken. Costco also has a giant bag of frozen organic blueberries that's reasonably priced enough we use it in our morning smoothies (oh, and I just started mixing them into Greek yogurt with a little honey--YUM.) I shopped Bel Air today (a Northern California standard) and noticed that a lot of their organic produce is only slightly more than the regular. Now I don't know yet if this is because Bel Air is typically more expensive for everything, or if they are just reasonable about produce. But it was a nice surprise when I stopped in to buy eggs and veggies to discover that I could keep it under $20.
Since I was sick yesterday I didn't make it to the farmers' market, but I've been going there for hormone free/cage free eggs and whatever produce they have on hand. I'm bummed that I missed out on market berries this week--there's a couple that's there every week and their berries are divine. But I did nicely at Bel Air as a substitute. I'm pretty new to all of this, but there's evidence to suggest that at least for the "dirty dozen" (fruits and veggies that absorb the most chemicals), organic is worth the money. As always, YMMV (your mileage may vary). I'm just trying to make some gradual, painless shifts to see if it helps with E's constant digestive struggles (and, admittedly, my own health as well).
Anyway, God. Sorry. This didn't start out to be a narrative about my grocery shopping habits... I wanted to post the recipe for the bread I've been making, because I lurrrrve it and it's so easy.
I'm still rockin' bread maker bread, especially for E's Gluten-free sandwich bread (Pamela's makes the best mixes), but this is like, um, fancy bread. You know what I mean? You have your sandwich bread and then you have your fancy bread. You can't put out a slice of Iron Kids with a four course meal. So this is bread that's both simple in its ingredient list, and oh-so-tasty. Fancy bread. Pretty good with a smear of butter and a little cinnamon sugar too.
Adventures in bread making (recipe at the end):
I asked Roo to copy the recipe for me since I'm getting tired of dragging the laptop around the kitchen.
Henry helped pour in the ingredients--bread flour, yeast, salt, water--and stir.
Hurley hanging around, hoping something would drop on the floor.
She's admittedly a better mixer. Has more patience for it.
Mix it until it looks all shaggy like this.
Then we cover and leave it alone for 12-18 hours. It ain't so picky. I think we left it about 15 hours this time.
It looks like this after it has a little rest. Bubbly and ugly. I mean, fun.
After this (I didn't take pics of these steps) we dump it out onto a floured surface and shape it into a ball. Then we put the ball of dough into a bowl lined with parchment paper. (I only had wax paper--it didn't work as well.) Then we cover it with a towel and leave it alone for 2-4 more hours.
Just after taking the lid off.
Admire its fanciness.
After taking the lid off, we bake for 15 more minutes, and...
No Knead Bread (AKA PDawg's Fancy Bread)While it takes some time, it takes almost no effort to get a bubbly loaf of bread with a delicate, flaky crust. Enjoy!
Adapted from NY Times and Steamy Kitchen
yield: one 1 lb loaf
3 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
3/4 T kosher salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1. Mix dough: Combine all ingredients in a big bowl. Mix until it just comes together and looks kind of shaggy. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it on a counter for 12-20 hours.
2. Shape dough: Uncover dough and dump onto a floured surface. Tuck ends under and form a ball. Line a bowl with parchment paper, place ball of dough into bowl, seam side down. Cover with a towel and leave alone for another 2-4 hours.
3. Preheat oven: Place a heavy, lidded (oven-safe) pan into the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
4. Cook bread: Shake ball of dough into hot pot. Cover and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes.
5. Remove bread carefully and place on a wire rack to cool. Wait to slice bread until it has cooled completely.