Sunday, September 19, 2010

Channeling My Inner Martha

My friend Peter once remarked (with a hint of disdain in his voice) that he was surprised that I was so domestic. I guess I had never thought about it like that before, but maybe I do seem like a person who would be less inclined towards the domestic arts. But let me tell you, I do so love a weekend of sewing pants for one of the kids, baking a loaf of whole wheat bread to feed my family for the next week, whipping up a big pot of soup from whatever Brent scored at the farmers’ market, and scheming up my latest Halloween decor theme.

And yet, Martha Stewart I am not. I like to say the f-word. I drink a lot of beer. I am a total feminist. I would still go see a punk show if you invited me to one. I have tattoos.

However, there is something about the house and home. I’m devoted to my family. I like us to eat well and I’m not a big fan of processed foods. I want my kids to have clothes that five other kids at the park aren’t wearing. I’m also kind of a homebody by nature.

So in finding the balance, I’ve discovered that you can have it all. The education/career/independence and the housewife/mom/Martha Stewart all wrapped up into one. It can be done, but it’s exhausting and requires a lot of coffee. (And sometimes a lot of beer.)

I’ve linked you to the recipe for this bread before, but I’m starting to fear that someday my links will all be dead and then I’ll have no way of knowing how to make all of this food because god forbid I would actually take the time to write down a recipe on paper- ha! How archaic.

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

Into your Kitchen Aid, put
2 ¼ t yeast
3 T molasses
2 cups warm water

Let the yeast bloom for five minutes.
Add in:

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 cup rolled oats
4 T melted butter
2 t salt

Mix until combined. Let rest for 30 minutes. Switch to the bread hook and mix for about 6 minutes. Let rise in oiled bowl for 1 hour, shape, place in buttered loaf pan and let rise again for an hour. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes. DO NOT cut into the loaf until it has cooled. This will be difficult. I have faith in you.

This year I made pizza sauce to freeze. I’d link you to the recipe, but really all I did was boil down a big old bunch of tomatoes (I left the skins on because I am lazy), add a few handfuls of basil, a healthy dollop of tomato paste, tons of oregano, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few dashes of red pepper. Now, I’ve been long tormented by the issue of tomato paste (don’t I sound like Martha now?) and whether or not to buy it because of the whole BPA in canned foods dilemma. It’s really easy for me to jump onto any sort of food safety bandwagon, watch some documentary, and then become completely hysterical about what we’re feeding the kids and declare that we cannot possibly eat ANYTHING AT ALL ANYMORE because the food industry is so effed up and Monsanto controls everything with their corporate evil empire and WE’RE ALL GOING TO GET CANCER AND DIE, etc.

Where was I? Oh yes, tomato paste. I made my own! It took a long, long time and I followed a recipe until it got to the part about cooking down the paste for hours and hours on end and then I just turned off the oven and called it good. And it was. (I can't find the link right now, but it essentially involved boiling down a bunch of tomatoes, straining them, then cooking them in the oven with low heat for a long, long time.)

In other domestic news, I’ve been sewing for… wait for it… MYSELF! See? I made this skirt! And in the process I remembered why I don’t sew for myself. Kids’ clothes are so much easier. A lot of seam ripping went into the making of this skirt. And you better believe that there was a lot of swearing, too. But here it is- my skirt for me! (Just don’t look too closely at the seams. What the hell was I thinking using a contrast thread? That’s for real seamstresses who actually know what they are doing.) Sure, this skirt’s not going to win any prizes at the county fair, but I think I’ll be able to wear it to work.

(A quick aside: I once entered a pillow that I had sewn in the youth sewing contest at the county fair, I think I was 8 or 9. It was a heart shaped decorative pillow made from- get this- white fabric with red hearts AND it had a ruffle with red ribbon with white hearts AND IT HAD A RED BOW IN THE VERY CENTER! My god, it was the tackiest thing ever and it won first place. A blue ribbon! It was a proud day for my mom.)

Sawyer got a haircut! Yes, I know. It was time.

Jack brought home his First Ever Homework Assignment!! I was so excited! But then I was like really? Homework from preschool during the first week of school? Sheesh. I thought I was an ogre. But then I looked at the assignment and it was so cute with these little drawings to color and interview questions for Jack and a place to glue on a family picture, so I got all carried away thinking about how we could impress his teacher with paint! And glitter! And googly eyes! And then I remembered that it was Jack’s homework, not mine. Oops.

Eschewing child labor laws, we've recruited Jack's help in our home beer production. There are currently two kegs of beer fermenting away in my bedroom closet as we speak, so if my work clothes smell a bit like a brewery, hopefully my colleagues will understand.

Instead of coming up with a clever conclusion to this blog entry, I think I'll go watch Dexter season 4. So suck on that, Martha.


  1. I am with you on the canned foods issue...we stopped eating them when we read about BPA...It is pretty scary to think about all the stuff that happens to our food before it actually gets to us.

  2. I love everything about this post! And I especially love non-coordinating thread colors... I am always too timid to do that... perhaps I should give it a go. :)

  3. That skirt is waaaay hot! Nice work, can't wait to see it around FRMS!!

  4. ok, i am in awe and inspired by your blogs. i want your life...seems so fun and BALANCED! i LOOOVE the skirt!! i never learned how to sew and lately i've really been itching to pick up a cheap machine and learn the basics. i would really like to be able to create some unique things for my kids (& MAYBE myself!)
    i'm also going to try this bread recipe for sure! sounds (& looks) delicious!
    p.s.-what kind of camera do you use? i'm in the market for a new one.

  5. Cassadie, I love your blog! Dave showed it to me recently and I have really enjoyed looking through it and reading about your family. We have also been preserving like crazy. I stayed up until 2am over the weekend canning 42 quarts of applesauce with a friend... ugh, but you are doing all of this with two kids! I'm inspired to do more!
    I'm sorry I missed seeing you guys at Jacie's reception. It sounded like a lot of good times. The boys are so big! As of now I don't think we'll spend forever in Minnesota, so I'm sure we'll see you again.
    All the best to you, thanks for sharing your family on the web :)