Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bread That Gives Life

Hello Dear Ones,

Thank you for your patience while I summon up inspiration for posting!  Sometimes I will ask someone what will be a good subject, and then we will get to talking and discover some fairly good subject matter within our discussion.

Today I want to show a tea tray, which is a portable way of having a tea table.

I would prefer a metal tray, of stainless steel, amd am on the lookout for one. It withstands the drips and spills, jams and such, and wipes easily.  
My wood tray is quite chic but I have to line it with a piece of durable plastic. You can get this at Walmart in the sewing section on a set of rollers with different grades and weights and prices of plastic. This is $1.46 a yard. I cut it into useable squares to put on little tables or over delicate linens. I have used a piece of it over my cook book page to protect it from food splatters, and I like a piece of it on my night table since I have vintage furniture. 

Well, now that is said, let me go into the subject of bread.

You have probably read the words of Christ, "I am the bread of life," which was a figure of speech to emphasize His importance in our lives, daily. Bread and leavening were used often in the Bible to teach about life. Christ prayed in the Garden to "Give us this day our daily bread."

Bread was not always the cheap, de-vitaminized, manufactured product we find in stores today. It used to be sold daily fresh, as daily bread. Daily made bread doesn't have deteriorated ingredients.

 One ingredient I was recently alerted to is a product in most commercial  baked goods, an additive called Datem. Apparently it is an additive that can wreak havoc with your health.

Curious, I decided to read bread ingredient labels to find a bread without Datem.  I found two brands: Grandma Saginaw's old fashioned bread, and bakery croissants.  However, even without the Datem, these breads had too many phosphates and other additives.

Note: In Europe, Datem is not allowed to be put in commercial breads, but in the Americas, it is in everything.

Another product found in baked goods is aluminum.  You can solve that by buying non-aluminum baking powder or making your own from cream of tarter and soda bicarbonate, or a recipe you can find online. 

Since making my own bread products with 3 to 5 ingredients, we have felt more clear minded and grounded, and in a way, with less whirling thoughts, fewer mood swings, and generally  more even-keeled, balanced physically and mentally.  (Less insane?) We have no more chronic fatigue, acid indigestion, acid reflux, or any sense of anxiety.

There is always the concern that home made bread can cause weight gain, because it is so very good and so digestible, especially hot, with butter.  However there are ways to alleviate this.

Going for a walk twice a day, (maybe as the bread rises or bakes)  as well as putting only the allotted daily bread supply out for the day (and freezing the rest) will make it easier not to over-eat this delicious goodness. 

Because the ingredients you use will be so fresh and organic and pure, one slice of bread will satisfy you enough, as opposed to commercial baked goods, which can leave you unsatisfied and wanting more.  I use unbromated, unbleached flour, which is light, fine, and fragrant.

As for baking failures, let me tell you, everyone has their bread stories about the colossal mistakes they made when first baking bread, muffins, nut breads, in their album of bad memories. Having a cooking failure used to make me break down in tears. It was just so humiliating.   Don't be discouraged. Keep trying and move ahead with each attempt, getting better each time.

An 18 year old woman asked me what she was supposed to do all day at home.  I suggested taking one day  week for baking, because it takes time and good timing, and it takes you through a process you don't get from the grocery store. Other days can be marked for other things, but in general baking one thing, can take a few hours,  counting the shopping, preparation, serving and cleaning up.

The point I made to her was that making bread, packing her husband's lunches, collecting the ingredients, etc. answers the question about what there is to do all day at home.

The act of mixing and the raising involved in baking, prepares your senses.  It is like walking up a path to a door, entering the parlour, and being admitted into the main part of the house. Every step prepares you for the final destination, and if the architect and the landscaper have done a good job, the journey into the house envelopes the senses: smell, sight, sound, touch, and the anticipation is part of the process.

The baking (or any cooking from scratch) is an entire journey to the final destination. It involves a trip to the market, where you may judge between good, better and best products. It involves preparing the ingredients, stirring, and enjoying the aromas. By the time it is served in a plate, everyone's taste buds are well prepared. The sense of smell, followed by the mouth watering in anticipation, is all part of the digestion process.  

I don't need to go into having pleasant conversation because I have written about that before. Meal time and tea time are not the time for someone to stage a fight, lodge a complaint, aggravate others or make the meal miserable. It upsets the digestion and causes illness.

Moving on to the well set table with the nice plate and glass (even if only one or two of you there) you get a visual sense of the food that prepares your mind, which activates other parts of the digestion. Add to that the taste buds slowly awakening as you eat carefully with good manners, and you will find the meal process, beginning with the preparation (even if it is only a sandwich) can be more than satisfying.

If you are daunted by yeast breads, and are afraid to bake, there are quick breads you can try. Children are sometimes very good at yeast breads so allow them to try it. If you have several children, they can each have a bread recipe they specialize in. One can bake French braided bread, another brioches, another croissants....well...that is one I have NEVER been able to master.

In preparing yeast breads, the act of kneading bread is great for preventing tension and stress, which is a chronic suffering of women today, even those who stay home.

There is a book called, BREAD, that might have some recipes that you can be successful with. (You can also find quick bread recipe books). Remember with any recipe to substitute natural and better ingredients. For example, when it calls for salt, I use RealSalt, Australian Sea salt, or Himilayan pink salt. If it calls for oil, I Use light tasting olive oil. Sugar might be substituted with honey or raw sugar or molasses. 

If you think commericial tortillas are natural, read the ingredients on the package. I was surprised at the aluminum and other ingredients, because you can make these with only flour, salt, oil and water. They are practically melt in your mouth and aren't so hard on the teeth and don't take a laborious amount of chewing.

If you are just beginning in the process of making your own bread products, please do a web search on "ingredients you don't need in your bread" to find out more about the harmful additives in commercial bread.  

I am old enough to remember a time WHEN YOU COULDNT GET BREAD IN A GROCERY STORE  unless it was made by someone who baked it in her home and sold it to the store.  It seems like a sabotage of sorts, when our daily bread has been taken out of the hands of the woman of the house.

This was a time in my own history when people rarely if ever, experienced food allergies.

At first, the commercial bread was not so bad, but recently, even the so called health bread has all those chemicals and added things that cause more problems in your digestive system and your brain.

Read more here:!page=post&id=57A345C5-12E9-AC6F-40C8-A9A27BDD8754

In the past and the ancient past, bread was a hand made product, as were many things we buy today.  I don't mind buying commercial products and I welcome the easy way of getting things without the time consuming labor, but a loaf of bread is not a hardship if you learn the process by heart.  

So today, children, we are going to learn about bread and then bake some.  While we are stirring the ingredients I am going to read all the passages I can find from the Bible about bread:

Here are two of them (among hundreds of verses)

2Th 3:8  neither did we eat bread for nought at any man's hand, but in labor and travail, working night and day, that we might not burden any of you:

2Th 3:12  Now them that are such we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

If you are making a study of the word "bread" from the Bible, you can determine when it is used as literal bread and when it is used as a figure of speech or a comparison.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Bit of the Trivial

I do not know how many of you saw my post last year of the old fashioned carriage I tried to make with an inexpensive garden arbor:
I surrounded it with the tube lights, inserted a vinyl wicker weatherproof settee, and tried to find a horse.  I have my eye on a carousel horse that is in someone's yard sale. I just hope they don't want any money for it 😳😞
I always wanted something in my front yard like a row boat, a sleigh or a carriage, but the cost of the real ones is as much as some cars!  Unfortunately my carriage has blown away in strong winds several times, due to the fact the arbor is just hollow lightweight metal. I've had to put unsightly bricks, stones and old concrete pieces around it to keep it still.

We always enjoy looking at the seasonal decor to see if it can be used at other times throughout the year, and the other day we noticed this item, for the first time:

My husband said someone must have noticed people trying to make these for their yards because now they are appearing in lights for yard decor.

Happy Thanksgiving

While extending Thanksgiving greetings, I still want the official date changed to October, when Canada celebrates theirs. By this time in late November, harvest is nearly 4 months past and farmers markets long closed and the beauty of the season has faded, with the he leaves all fallen.

Today I am sharing my outdoor teacup on a warm day here.  We are low key with little mealtime  later in the day and I am resting.

We had a Thanksgiving church dinner last Sunday after church, so we aren't trying to do the whole thing in a big way again, but going to enjoy the traditional foods in smaller servings! 

This has a crack in it so I keep it outdoors to add to the....well...whatever it is goimg on out here in the sticks!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Do You Think There Is a Better Place to Go for a Fancy Tea?

We all enjoy change, do we not? And yet sometimes it is just not possible to go somewhere else for a new aspect on life or a little lift for the mind.

In lieu of a special table for tea, a large tray seems like a good place to set out a permanent tea time area. It brings a smile to me when I see it and reminds me to stop. 

Stopping for tea in the home helps us all reset our temperaments. Maybe we are getting anxious or wound up or upset, or maybe we are feeling really good and want to keep it that way. Tea time sets a lot of things straight.

You may not even notice if you are getting sharp and impatient. Stop for tea.  And if there are those in your own home that do not approve, then do it anyway and get them used to seeing you stop for tea. 

 Sometimes people kick up a fuss when you start exercising your personal, God-given freedom, or make a change in your routine, but they will come closer to being peaceful after they get used to your new ways. You have to get them used to it. You have to keep doing it.

While you are partaking, I will address the problem of having someone in the home that gives a cold, hard stare of disapproval. Such a person (a husband, maybe, a guest, or a grown child?) may suppose they have some power in that kind of "look", but if you are aware that it is a method of controlling your feelings, you can get the better of it.

We used to say, "If looks could kill", in describing such a stare, but today people are calling it "the death stare."   During tea time, such a cold hard stare is not allowed. Those who want to be glum and spoil everyone's enjoyment should not be be ignored, but invited to go elsewhere, or be given some work to do.

People that have the time to angrily shoot hateful glares at the family do not have enough productivity in their lives. Often they are so berift of good works and self improvement that they spend their time criticising other family members. 

Take your tea in peace and tell them the following:

This is a place where we want to be happy and have beauty around us. We are not attacking you. No one is undermining you. No one is threatening you.  

You need to stop bringing anger into the home. Come home and be happy you are alive; don't impose bad moods on the rest of us.  Get busy fixing something. Or come and have a cup of tea.

Remember Fanny, in "Sense and Sensibility " when caught in a tight spot conversationally, would say brightly, "Tea!" Then she rang a little bell.  That might be an interesting thing to do ☺️ 

I liked this chart from Pinterest but was sorry it didn't have a tea for the Disgruntled person or the Discouraged   person or the Feeling Defeated person, etc.

I was doing some research about herbs in the Victorian era and discovered they had herbal teas for bad moods or racing thoughts, grief,  low moods, or looping (things that go around and around in your mind).  

Sometimes when cares are pressing, or the work around me and personal responsibility is daunting, I think it would be nice to have a very elegant tea room nearby to sit in, sip tea and get a good start on my day, but such a place can be found in the home. It just needs good lighting, a pleasant view of your books or other nice things, a comfortable chair, a cheerful table setting, and some sweet birdsong.  I have a place like this with a hummingbird feeder and everyone who visits knows they can come in for a cup of hot tea and get a little revived. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

"I Wonder if That Inn Serves Tea?"

Just popping in here today to remind you to have tea and gather your thoughts. Tea tastes so good in a thin, delicate tea cup.

It is raining now and I have come in from a crunchy walk through the dried leaves. I like hearing the rain drops on the umbrella, too. As I returned from the field towards the door of my cottage, I said to myself, "I think I will see if that Inn over there serves hot tea!"  Sure enough, they do!

There will be some sewing coming up in a future post.  I am going to sequester myself indoors during this rainfest and get it done.

I have been walking daily, drinking more water and sleeping on a comfortable mattress. I also have been trying to call or text a friend or two once in awhile and all this is really giving me a lot of energy and creative inspiration. 

Do you think the foliage in the distance looks like a village and a small castle?

Today was the Lords Day and at worship Mr. S. announced,  "I want to give you my business card" and he passed out some pocket size Bibles  (the size of a man's suit pocket) that still had adequately large readable print. I guess if you are going to have a gimmick from the pulpit, that would be a good one. 

No matter what your pressures are, I hope you can look out the window at the rain and serve yourself a hot cup of tea and pretend you are in a fancy place. I remember how much fun that used to be when we were children and I think it serves us well today.

Someone told me once: Don't let anyone steal your happiness.  This is so hard, since there always seems to be someone who wants to make a rude remark or make your life harder than necessary. Just rise above it and continue on the road to your goals. Think about that while you take tea today.

God Bless,


Saturday, November 04, 2017

Yearly Autumn Tea and Singing

Last year the men had to come to the tea because the weather was not very friendly and the ladies  came from a long distance or had only one vehicle, were not wanting to drive at night. We had a table in the dining room for the men, with coffee and "regular" food, while the ladies had a tea table in the front room. The singing was so good and the men greatly enjoyed hearing the harmonious voices.
This year the tea was held in the morning and we had 10 ladies enjoying the pleasant surroundings. I'm sorry I can't show pictures of their cute faces online.

The tea was held indoors and I don't have the pictures available yet, so here are the outdoor scenes that greeted them as they approached the house.

There were 10 ladies who came yesterday.  If you live in the area and want to be invited to the next one please email me. My address is on the side bar.

We sang songs by Albert E. Brumley, a hymn writer of the 20th century, one being "The Prettiest Flowers" which has been a favorite of country western singers. We all sang in parts so the harmony was good.

Last year no one ate any of the special tea foods, because of food restrictions and special diets, allergies etc. so, this year we provided separate bowls of salad ingredients the could choose from.

Apples were sliced from a variety called "Smitten" and orchard owners selling point is "Once you have bitten, you are smitten."

Everyone commented how at ease they felt. We drank tea, sang hymns and drank tea and ate and then a group of us went to Shop of Shalom and bought ever so much stuff. It is a dry goods store with lovely things in it.