Green 2009 New Year’s Resolutions Update

Among other things, I resolved to eliminate plastic bags from my life in 2009 by acquiring some reusable produce bags to go with my reusable shopping bags and to start baking all my own bread. I have yet to order the reusable produce bags but I did get started on the bread baking part of this resolution.

Two weeks and dozens of bagels, oodles of baguettes, boules, focaccia, and hundred’s of vegetable herb crackers later my thoughts on the whole bread making thing are this:

Wow! baking bread is a lot of work!
Wow! There is nothing better than a crackling loaf of French bread fresh from the oven or homemade bagels.
Wow! Did I mention that baking bread is a lot of work?

Fortunately my friend Ann Clifford read my December column in the Iowa Source and recommended a great book called Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. This book has revolutionized my bread baking and I don’t even own it yet!

Following the recipe included in a great article by the authors of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day on the Mother Earth News Website I have baked baguettes, free form loaves, even gooey pecan cinnamon rolls. And with the exception of the cinnamon rolls which required a little bit of assembly, it really did take only about 5 minutes of effort on my part each time.

I read cookbooks for fun like other people read novels and I can’t wait till this book arrives in the mail so I can drool on it and try all the bread variations. Full speed ahead on the bread-eating, er, I mean plastic bag-elimination project!

The only other resolution I have made any real progress on so far is my desire to plant a garden, I have been poring over seed catalogs and choosing what vegetables I will grow. had to seriously prune my list of the vegetables I want to plant, forcing myself to be realistic about the time and effort I will actually be able to devote to this project. I also reread Eliot Coleman’s The Four Season Harvest,  and I am heading off to the library this weekend to check out a book on companion planting, so I can play garden arts and crafts and make charts and lists that map out where I will plant what.

Funny how the resolutions that I am most enthusiastic about right now both involve eating delicious food, huh?