Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A mish-mashy post

I have been like a woman on a mission this morning. My mission: clean, clean like I've never cleaned before (only I have cleaned like this before, just not in a long time). It's almost like Spring cleaning though it's not Spring. I couldn't wait for Spring. We still have two months of winter left. For whatever reason, this cleaning is helping to wash away the winter blahs I've had. It helps to have a clean space (and I mean sparkling) to make it seem less drab, less gloomy, etc.

I was up at 7am this morning. For those of you who work normal schedules this may not seem like such an amazing thing, but for me whose earliest shift begins at noon, 7am is the earliest I've woken up in awhile. 8:30am is usually my get-up-and-start-the-day time, but not this morning. I was awake, fully awake at 7am. It's sort of refreshing. I feel like I've been cleaning all day and that it's already the afternoon, but it's only 12:30. There's plenty of day left for other things.

Things like knitting...I've been working on my Tangled Yoke Cardigan ever since I finished up those socks for mom and it's really coming along. Another inch or so and I get to start the cable!

It also leaves time for other things.... like my new found happiness, Netflix. I've known about Netflix for awhile now and I've even known about their online viewing option, but I've just not jumped on the bandwagon until now. Let me say a few things here. I own a television set, but I do not have cable or network TV to watch on it. Most of what you can find on TV is mindless programming with equally mindless commercials inbetween and I refuse to spend my money on things like that. I do, however, watch movies. I love movies, movies that make you think, movies that make you laugh or cry. They're fantastic. As are some well made, thoughtful TV shows, but I just couldn't stand sitting through the commercials. Also one of my favorite things that I've been missing are nature documentaries. I really miss Animal Planet. Now that I have access to these things, minus the commercials, I am really excited. Now I can watch my nature shows and movies while I knit mindless projects.

There's also time for something else I've been meaning to do recently.... bake my own bread. It occurred to me that so few of us even know how to make a loaf of bread. I've been reading up on it and it's actually very basic with huge potential for variety. Having never done it before, this could end up being trial and error, but I'm ok with that. I'm also totally ok with the fact that I'll know exactly what's in my bread... anybody else have no idea what calcium propionate or natamycin are and what they're doing in bread?


Anonymous said...

Great the you have decided to make your own bread. I love to make bread, though I only rarely do it these days, just due to the incredible business of my life. But it's a great thing. If you want some interesting recipes, I've got a number of them. Like sour dough olive bread. It's one of the best breads I've ever made or ever eaten.

To your questions. Calcium Propionate is an anti-fungal agent. It is used in foods, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals. Natamycin (aka Pimaricin, and a few other names) is also an antimicrobial/anti-fungal agent.

Both of these chemicals are there to prevent commercially produced bread from growing mold. The first one has a toxicity so low that the Merck index doesn't even list it. The latter one lists an LD50 that is rather high. If I do a back of the envelope calculation you would have to eat a teacup full of the material to have a 50:50 chance of croaking from an acute poisoning. The amounts used in foods are exceedingly low. Enough to bother the mold, but not you. I wouldn't worry about it. The reason you want to make your own bread at home is that the process is enjoyable, the smell of it baking is lovely, there are so many breads to bake (as you noted), and it tastes wonderful.

Good luck with the bread. Oh, and I also have the spring fever, so I can relate. I even started cleaning on the weekend. Now, if only I could continue the cleaning.

Knittripps said...

Cleaning away the winter blahs sounds like a great idea. I'll have to try that!

Erin said...

I too am in total love with Netflix. A red envelope in my mail makes me so happy I can't express it.

Sarah said...

That sweater is going to be so wonderful when it is finished--can't wait to see it!

I used to bake a lot of bread--it's kind of like knitting, a very meditative process.

Paper Tiger said...

I have fallen down so many Netflix rabbit holes: Coupling, MI-5, Ballykissangel, and my current obsession, Heroes. (1020 minutes of TV the first season. That's 23 episodes. It's all I can do to go to bed at night instead of watching another episode.)

jackie said...

Fresh baking bread is a wonderful thing. I stayed home yesterday and did the "domestic in the kitchen" thing. Muffins, laundry (better smelling now that it is done) and the preparation for supper before the kids made it home form school. So much nicer than the usual rush that I find myself in in the evenings.

Amanda Jayne said...

I have spring fever too and all this wintery weather in w/pa isn't helping me with feeling springy.
Fresh baked bread does sound yummy I haven't made any in a while. Maybe today should be the day. That sweater is going to be so beautiful when finished.

Benny said...

:D nice,
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Cathy said...

I feel the same way about television as well. I'm enjoying my TV watching on the internet, but I'm sure it's not going to be long before they manage to shove tons of commercials in.

Laurie (Moo!) said...

Bread making! Easy peasy. Toss it all into the machine and...oh, that's not what you mean, is it? LOL! Tom used to get the dough to rise by putting it under the covers of the heated waterbed! Brilliant!

I love my TV but I love my DVR more. No commercials for me and my shows are always ready when I want to watch them.

Love your tanged cardi. It's almost knitting itself.

Enjoy your movies and knitting!

JessaLu said...

Beautiful cardi! :o)

Netflix rocks! Welcome to the club.

As for bread - I looooove my bread machine. ;o)

erica said...

I love making my own bread. I have several favorite recipes and have friends requesting that I bring bread when I visit. The more I make the more confident I am to know when I can just let a loaf sit and when one needs a bit more attention. It's very therapeutic but as I read somewhere - don't bake bread when you're having a really bad day, you don't want to put that negative energy in a loaf of bread. It's true and all of my failure loaves have been on truly bad days.

The cardigan looks beautiful. It's on my list!