Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Something to work on

The crazy herb lady is at it again. I'm bouncy and excited that spring! spring! spring! is here, so yesterday I spent most of the day outside--and today I'm feeling it.

It shows me how important exercise is. Honestly, I hate the treadmill. Walking outside is fine during the summer, but during the winter it's both cold and dangerous. Walking on the treadmill is boring, but the way my legs were hurting last night (after just carting some leaves around and doing a bit of digging!) tells me that I need to make this a priority.

Eating healthy is just one piece of the puzzle. I also have to make sure that I keep in decent shape, keep my brain active and maintain some semblance of a social life. If I intend to be living on my own at 80 or 110, I need to take care of what I have. Which is a really weird thought, you know? I'm halfway there.

I don't feel like it. I don't notice that I feel that much different than I did at 20. Just happier. And I want to keep it that way, which is going to require some effort on my part.

OK. So treadmill walking or neighborhood walking (I won't run on a regular basis because I want to keep my knees and hips, thank you very much) every day. Targeted exercise...the problem is that I see these things as taking time away from my writing. I need to work on that.

Friday, February 14, 2014

I can do it myself

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Laugh, probably.

I had a discussion with my sister a week or so ago about bread. She said she uses a commercial dough enhancer.

I'm just one of those "I can do it myself" people, and if you imagined a three year old saying that you hit the idea on the nose. I listen to people who claim to be amazing gardeners, but they use purchased seeds, chemical fertilizers, weed killer, bug killer, etc. I do NOT consider that "do it yourself" gardening.

Same thing with bread. Vital wheat gluten, dough enhancers, special flavors and odd strains of yeast...if I can't do it myself, I want to find a way. Of course I have to draw the line somewhere (I can't grow my own wheat--yet) but I try to do whatever I can. I do not want to be dependent on a commercial product that may not always be available.

So on the topic of dough enhancers. Commercial dough enhancers are made up of four elements: Gluten, acid, starch and sugar. Gluten makes the bread stand up and do tricks. Acid strengthens the gluten strands. Starch also strengthens the gluten, and the yeast eats the sugar.

Gluten is a commercial product, so I'm ignoring that. Basically if you use vinegar and a bit of potato flakes or rice flour, you have your dough enhancer. I'm baking tomorrow, so I'm going to try it.