Cleaning Up

Every year, January just seems to be the right time to revamp our year, new me, new us??  Seems logical, but it is if we must use the excuse of a new date to modify all that has declined over the preceeding 11.5 months.  I guess it is even more silly that we use January as an approaching date when we are in the midst of our decline, like in June when we have 6 more months until we really need to do something about all of this nonsense.  Well, I'm guilty...not to an extreme, but the words, "as soon as the new year begins..."have passed through my mind when I'm feeling far too lazy to put extra effort into improving something.

As a whole our family doesn't fall into the traps of decline that cause drastic concern, but we certainly head in that direction in many areas.  Eating is one of them.  Crazy how it doesn't take but one bite of a donut to convince you that since you've already had ONE bite, you may as well finish the whole thing, and then suddenly what was an occasional treat becomes a routine!  My greatest downfall is organization...or lack there-of!  It is SOOO much easier to grab a box of granola bars from the pantry than it is to make something wholesome...and soon I get sucked into the idea that because it says "Granola" that it is a healthy choice.  Kind of like "fruit snacks" are healthy because they're fruit??

A few weeks ago, Tim asked me if I wanted to start the Daniel  I didn't say "no".  For me, the Daniel Fast is an amazing sacrifice during Lent.  I have no desire to do that in ordinary time.  Call me lazy.  I do however, have a huge desire to be as supportive as possible when my husband decides he wants to gain control of his health, so I suggested an alternative:  Clean Eating.  It would require some modifications, but nothing super drastic, because for the most part we eat pretty healthy.  The biggest change would be baking...I readily admit, I love to bake, and I love to use sugar and white flour when I do!  Those two things have no place in "clean eating".

Comfort foods...those are what will need to be modified the most.  There is a reason that an ooey, gooey, flaky cinnamon roll that is dripping with cinnamony, sugary glaze is comforting.  I don't care who you are, I don't believe that the same comfort is found in a whole wheat version that has a filling that isn't refined and processed and is covered with less than a powdered-sugar-buttercream icing!  NOW...there are many ideas of clean eating and ours includes red meat--farm-raised and straight from the farm itself, as well as butter and  natural sweeteners.  We are basically getting rid of the processed stuff (which seems like a whole lot of everything that is convenient!)

Baking and cooking, it will not keep me from though.  I recently--after 15 years of trying and trying and trying, made a beautiful loaf of bread.  Everything about it was right.  And then?  I made it again and again, and each batch was successful!!  It was a very proud moment for me, because my entire family knows that baking bread is NOT one of my culinary gifts!  My mom and my grandma are both accomplished bread bakers, and for all of my life, I've known them to grind their own wheat for their bread and most of their baked goods.  I usually use half wheat because I like baking with white flour...rather, I like eating things baked with white flour.  In all of my bread making over the last months, I have given my Kitchen Aid mixer a run for the money.

It finally gave out for good last week as I attempted a batch of 100% whole wheat bread.  Needless to say, the bread, because I didn't finish kneading it by hand, turned out to be a dense brick of brown yuck--very similar to every loaf of bread I've made for the last 15 years!  Because I use my Kitchen Aid a minimum of 5 times a week, I knew I would be replacing it.  The one I had already had the most powerful motor available, but it was also 12 years old, so my plan was to simply replace it with the same model...a Professional 600 series mixer...and then my mom asked if I had considered a Bosch?  Of course...after all, that is what she had and has and what her mom has.  I know their reliability, because until I purchased a KA, I had one, but it was a small one and we were outgrowing it.

HOWEVER...the one thing that prevented me from replacing my Bosch with a larger one was simply that I liked how a Kitchen Aid looks much more than the Bosch.  Trivial, but it made my decision, and today, it was still impacting it.  A Kitchen Aid just screams nostalgia and  home-maker, and kitchen-user.  It is attractive enough that it is featured as part of kitchen decor on TOP of the counter just as the stove isn't concealed, because it is just part of a functioning kitchen--it is iconic.

In contemplating my decision, I knew that I must do my research and cover all bases practically.  Shopping for CLEAN food requires label reading and it is difficult to find bread, rolls, buns, bagels, even tortillas that make the cut, so I know I'll be doing a lot more bread baking...and even when we fall off the clean wagon back into the dirty food, I'll still be baking bread--and cookies and brownies and cheesecakes!  :) I'm just sayin...I'm not giving up right away, I just know that we won't maintain 100% clean, and I'm ok with that, because more than before is better than we were anyway, and I'm sure we'll create some new habits here.

SOOO, after scouring reviews and prices and specs, I bit the bullet and ordered a Bosch.  I'm still hung up on how pretty a Kitchen Aid looks in comparison, but an 800-watt motor compared to 525 just for starters helped make the difference.  That, and I KNOW I will be happy with its performance.  It is half the weight, smaller in size overall, but the bowl itself is as big.  It is manufactured in Germany where they have very strict environmental laws, so while it looks more plastic-y than my KA, I am assured it is safe.  It has been suggested that I make a really cute cover for it...we will see...I'm not sold on the look of anything on my countertop under a cover.  Since storing it anywhere is not an option, maybe it will grow on me and someday my kids will not think twice about the iconic Bosch.  :)

I'm sure I'll have something to say about it after it arrives and I've used it several times, as well as our progress and success in keeping things clean...stay tuned.