#3: evaluating time and baking bread

“But what minutes!  Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Idea 3 on the path to a simpler life:

3. Evaluate your time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that aren’t, and focus on what’s important. Redesign your day.

What’s important in my work day schedule:

  • morning quiet time – I like to meditate over a warm beverage and give myself the space to take in the day’s to-do list and energies.
  • time for quick chores – spending 15 minutes unloading and reloading the dishwasher or folding sheets helps me to stay on top of chores without them being an overwhelming project.
  • office work and seeing clients.
  • second block of quick chores.
  • evening downtime – I might start a batch of pickles or a biga for bread, or I may want to just veg out in front of the television and exchange foot rubs with my partner.

While discussing this 72 ideas in 72 days project with my partner during a long walk around the neighborhood I had some insight on managing my time better. My complaining about too much time spent doing things I didn’t enjoy wasn’t met with the “well, don’t do them then!” but instead with a suggestion to push through the chores and get back to the routines I was craving. I continued complaining for another block or two then realized that he was right – I do need to devote giant blocks of time to organizing, sorting, doing data entry and other non-fun things, so that I can get back to the fun things. Light bulb!

Yesterday I sat down and did three hours of data entry. It felt so good to file that stack of papers afterwards! Then I sauntered over to the farmers market, chatted with my favorite vendors (even found out the really cute couple that run one booth are getting married in a couple of weeks! Mazel tov!), swapped canned peaches – my can of peach chutney for her can of peach jam, and promptly forgot about the drudgery of data entry only minutes earlier. That wasn’t so bad! Hehe.

No time for bread?

Sourdough Starter

Recently I’ve been itching to bake bread but haven’t had the solid blocks of time to squeeze in the rising, kneading, rising, baking steps that I find so therapeutic. And there’s no space in my fridge right now to rise my usual three loaves of bread overnight! With luck I found a book by Susan Draudt at the used book store called “Sourdough Baking: Fabulous recipes for bread machines and traditional methods.” Happy dance! The last chapter of the book has bread machine recipes that are wholesome and inspired but I can walk away from and let an appliance do the work while I am sleeping or seeing clients. Yippee! We went through a phase where we used bread machine mixes from the supermarket a few years ago when we craved fresh, hot bread but had no time. That bread really wasn’t much of an upgrade from store-bought bread – it didn’t taste “homemade” it tasted like box mix bread. Blech! I didn’t like any of the from-scratch recipes I tried though and so our beloved bread machine went into kitchen storage on the highest shelf for many, many months. Until this Susan person inspired me to pull it down and plug it in…

Sourdough Banana-Nut Bread (in a bread machine)
1-1/2 pound loaf

3/4 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup ripe banana, mashed
2-1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

I added the wet ingredients to the bottom of the bread machine pan, then the dry and let the yeast touch just a part of the wet ingredients. I have a separate tray for nuts but I added them straight into the dough. I used the “Light” loaf setting and hit the start button and went to bed. For breakfast I smeared almond butter and some homemade jam over a slice and was hooked! This bread isn’t very sweet, don’t expect it to taste like a quick bread, all sugar and barely the enjoyment of bananas. It is so perfect as a PB&J bread though and a genius way to use up ugly bananas that no one else in the house wants to eat! 🙂

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