03 January 2011
After Sunday breakfast (Eggs Benedict and good hash browns at Medici), a visit to the playground, and a trip to Hyde Park Produce, we came home to enjoy lunch and the rest of our Sunday quietly, at home. I made a list of kitchen projects for the day.
My life has changed so much over the past six months and this little list reflects back to me the changes and the accomplishments. The kitchen has become the center of my activities at home in a pretty big way and I'm more at ease there than ever. These are changes that represent something I wanted for myself and to create for Peanut as he grows up as well.
The bread pudding was a way to use up a couple left over loaves. One is homemade from late last week and the other is from the grocery store. The grocery store loaf was an attempt to give myself a break from baking, but it turned out to be a dry, unpleasant loaf of bread. I recall a few years ago searching for a perfect bread pudding recipe. Yesterday, I found some notes, decided that the eggs and milk must just be a ratio and made it up as I went. The result was a delicious bread pudding. Probably the best we've had at home.
Making bread for our family is an old dream of mine and it's slowly becoming a reality. A good recipe book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhardt, and a new KitchenAid mixer have made it easier to make bread at home. During a normal week, we eat two or three loaves. Our standard is a Swedish cafe roll recipe adapted for a loaf. It's a good heavy bread made with white, whole wheat, and rye flours as well as oatmeal and flax seeds. I like that it's full of healthy stuff as well as being delicious and fairly easy to make.
At the grocery store, I picked up six or eight pounds of bruised apples that were begging to be made into applesauce. After Mama, Papa, and Peanut snacked on them during the peeling and slicing, we had enough left for dessert and two big jars. It's going to make for delicious eating over the next couple weeks.
Finally, we had pancake leftovers from Saturday morning. Since finding a good whole wheat and honey griddlecake recipe, we usually make a double batch and keep some for snacks or breakfast. I also made up a Lamb and Eggplant Pastitio that is scrumptuous, but enough for at least six people. The leftovers sat in the refrigerator overnight, which made them perfect for cutting into squares and freezing. It will come in handy when life gets super busy around here in a couple months.
Sometimes, I get good and angry about not having time for myself or my PhD work since we've moved to Chicago. But yesterday I look at my little list and marvel at how this move has made it possible to start building a lifestyle that I've wanted for a long time. All the things on my list take half as much time now as they did a few months ago when I was just getting started. They have also become a part of our lives here. We all expect more homemade and for things to go a bit slower. It leaves more time for smiling and enjoying. Who can complain about that?