I've been thinking an awful lot lately
about the art of
self-care .. what it really means to listen to my body .. be kind to myself .. feel good in my own skin (or maybe I should say .. feel like myself in my own skin)
How often do we fill our days with things we think we ought to be doing .. rather than those that are really right for ourselves? How easily do we buy into everything the world tells us we should be doing if we want to be important .. relevant .. or have someone think we did a good enough job?
“I've got 100 emails in my inbox that I have to respond to right away .. everything on my to-do list needs to be done today .. An invitation for coffee that I really should accept”
Don't get me wrong .. many of these things are important .. we want to do well in our careers .. to be available for and nurture friendships .. be productive in our days. But somewhere along the line I've started to step back .. becoming more aware of how easy it is to get sucked in .. to begin to draw self-worth from things that don't matter .. and at times giving far more of myself than I should .. with very little thought to balance.
I offer no answers .. I'm not even sure I know the questions to ask on this journey. What I do know is the little voice in my gut said it was time to start paying attention .. honor the need to stay home and rest .. when the world demanded velocity. Step away from my job mentally and physically when it wasn't time to work. Start saying “no” to last-minute invitations that forced me to rush and re-arrange my day ..
Stories like Brittany Maynard serve as a reminder .. in the end .. we wish we'd lived more .. loved more .. paid closer attention. I have to believe that when we take the time to really care of ourselves .. we'll have the strength to be our best .. not only to ourselves .. but to others.
If you're a reader of The Veggies you'll know .. I can't think self-care without considering food. It's long been my drug of choice .. self-medication whether I was present enough in the moment to admit it or not. I need to eat ice cream at midnight .. because I feel lonely and blue. I need .. no .. deserve (!) .. that mac and cheese because “Can I just tell you about the day I had?” A big blizzard from the DQ with extra chocolate sauce and malt powder .. “Please .. Have you ever lived with a teenager?”
Of course the feeling of comfort was always fleeting .. leaving me right back where I started .. with the feelings of sadness .. boredom .. anxiety and stress. Instead .. when I really began to think in terms of loving myself and self-care .. food began to shift in my head to a source of fuel .. rather than anesthesia.
This is a wonderful time of the year to be baking bread .. and this loaf is from the new Gluten Free Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day Cookbook. I've long been a lover of their approach .. and this is no exception.
While I don't have a specific gluten-intolerance .. what I have found is .. when I'm not eating it on a regular basis .. I have noticed a difference in how I feel (for the better). I also know bread is one of the hardest things for people to cut from their diets.
If you've experimented with gluten-free breads offered at the grocery .. you'll know there aren't many good ones to choose from. That's why it's been a lot of fun experimenting with ways to make it at home. This one is surprisingly good .. it bakes up fragrant and delicious.
It's fantastic sliced and toasted alongside a bowl of soup .. slathered with peanut butter and jelly .. or with creamy goat cheese and a sprinkling of herbs. If you haven't baked bread before .. I'd encourage you to give it a try. If you're gluten-free .. you really don't have to live a life without great bread.
ps: To learn more about Artisan Bread in 5 .. the authors have a beautiful blog .. here
pps: Wondering what the difference is between granulated (dry) yeast and fresh? A great article from thekitchn .. here
~ Adapted from Gluten Free Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day .. here
- 6½ cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour from Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
- 1 Tbsp granulated yeast
- 1 to 1½ Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp honey (** or sugar)
- 3¾ cups lukewarm water (100°F or below)
- Cornmeal (** or parchment paper) .. for the pizza peel
- Egg white wash (1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water) for top of loaf
- Mixing and storing the dough: Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and sweetener in a 5- to 6-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
- Add the water and mix with a spoon or a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle.
- Cover (not airtight), and rest at room temperature until the dough rises, about 2 hours.
- The dough can be used immediately after rising, though it's easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 10 days. Or freeze for up to 4 weeks in 1-pound portions and thaw in the refrigerator overnight before use.
- On baking day: Dust the surface of the dough with rice flour, pull off a 1 -pound (grapefruit-size) piece, and place it on a pizza peel prepared with cornmeal (use plenty) or parchment paper. Gently press and pat it into a ball-shape, using wet fingers to smooth the surface. Allow to rest for about 60 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap or a roomy overturned bowl. During this time, the dough may not seem to rise much, which is normal.
- Preheat a baking stone near the middle of the oven to 450°F (20 to 30 minutes), with an empty metal broiler tray on any shelf that won't interfere with rising bread.
- Dust the top with flour, and then slash, about ½-inch deep, with a wet serrated bread knife.
- Slide the loaf onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until richly browned and firm.
- Allow to cool completely on a rack before eating.