A Simple & Delicious Bread Recipe

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I mentioned on Instagram recently that we have been doing a health over-haul in our house. Nothing crazy. We’re just trying to eat more natural, wholefoods. And we have a treat over the weekend.

As a mother, trying to go grocery shopping with healthy foods in mind and a budget, it can be super depressing. Real food is so expensive! {At least, in New Zealand.} Everything that is cheap is fake. Even bread. Good bread is expensive, but even that bread is made to last for at least a week in a pantry.

Real bread should only last a day or two, max.

So I’ve started making our own bread. And it is AMAZING.

bread

My dear friend, Rachel {from The Purposeful Wife, follow her, she’s a kindred spirit} asked for the recipe. I’m no food blogger. So none of these pictures are gloriously done. They’re like me: simple but real.

And so is this bread. Oh my. I can’t remember the name of the cook book I got it from. But it was a memoir-type recipe book, and the bread was one of her father’s tried and true recipes. I can see why.

The original recipe is for a white loaf. The above picture is the white loaf. Recently I’ve been using wholemeal flour and it works out just as well. Moist, dense and perfect for little sandwiches. It’s more filling and the kids breath it in.

I make two loaves that covers two days. This is because my husband isn’t eating bread during the week at the moment. But if he were, I doubt two would last a day. They fit in a normal loaf tin when baking, and only take about 15-20 minutes to prepare, and about the same time to rise if in a warm space.

Instructions are in the metric system {sorry, I’m from Down Under!}.

breadrecipe

The loaf tin I use is small {this one looks about the same size} and it is silicon, so I don’t need to add butter or baking paper around the edges {this one looks just like my own one}.

bread2


This loaf is just delicious and is perfect for lunches or a Saturday morning treat. Pin or share, and let me know if you try it!

Birthing Babies: Grace In A Fallen World

“Children are a heritage from the LORD.” Psalm 127:3

I am a mother by the grace of God. As part of His plan for my life, and my husband’s, He has given us two children. And as I have said in my page about me, it looks like our two little ones are it {at least, biologically}.
My youngest turns two in a few weeks and I was thinking yesterday that it’s been so long since I have been pregnant. It still feels as strong a relief as it did the moment she came out. But, I long for another one. I would like to have another baby.
Yet, I shouldn’t have another baby.
As Christians, we love rules. We love adhering to a standard and making our stand on it: “Yes. This is God’s way. We all must be this way.” No, I am not saying there is no absolute truth, of course there is. Morally. But on many life issues, the Bible offers principles. And on child-rearing? Children are a blessing, plain and simple. That is why those who love the Lord ought to pro-life. God loves children and His hand is on the origins of every human being. They are not tissue or just a fetus.
But, I digress.
Children are a blessing. It is good to have children. It is part of our mandate as we rule over creation {Genesis 1:28} and it is a beautiful part of married life, and being one flesh {Genesis 2:13-25. And yet – it is not always as simple as we would like it to be.
Before Josiah, we had two miscarriages. I wondered if I could ever carry. Then, blessedly, Josiah was born. My body did okay with pregnancy, though I developed one blood clot in the later stages, and birth left some stitches. Then, I had a really rough bout of anxiety/postpartum depression that was really, really hard on this first time mother. But, once I got some help and pushed on through, life looked brighter.
Rosalie was born sixteen months after Josiah. Her pregnancy was hard. My blood turned to sludge and I developed nine blood clots during my third trimester, with strong prelabour from thirty-two weeks which involved two hospital admissions. I was on daily blood thinners and her birth worsened what was damaged from my first. When she came out, I cried, “It’s over!” And I wasn’t meaning birth. 
Pregnancy for me has the real possibility of being dangerous. It would be a significant risk for me to get pregnant again. I find that really hard, and I have wrestled over the chasm between my will for another child and the reality of what it means to have another child.
Birthing babies has taught me more and more that everything on this earth is tainted and destroyed by sin. Nothing is like it was before the Fall. It reminded me that we have it easy today with hospitals and medicine and life-saving operations. A close friend, if she had been around one hundred years ago, would have died with her first baby. She literally has no room to push a baby out so she must have c-sections. 
We are blessed and we are cursed.
Some Christians forget this dichotomy. I know why they do for, a part from loving rules we also love God’s ways and it is God’s way to have children {as opposed to our children are a burden/are despensible culture}. The only trouble is when well-meaning Christians make mandates about how many babies we ought to be having they forget that we are made for perfect, but perfect isn’t here yet. It is coming. But until then, we’re just waiting in a world that is groaning like in the pains of childbirth {Romans 8:18-23}.
Some women can have many children and, though it is hard, can do it by God’s grace. Some women can’t, or have a few, and do it by God’s grace. God, above and overall, is in control and all births and deaths are in His hands {Psalm 139}. And really, we ought to mind our own business and live a quiet life {1 Thessalonians 4:10-12}.
If I were to discover tomorrow that I were pregnant, I would be over the moon. Children are a blessing. I haven’t always felt that way, but I have always thought that way. My struggle would be entrusting my body to the Lord, knowing the great risks, but accepting His hand on my life. Life or death, I am His. But, we are not looking to get pregnant, in grace.
So if babies or pregnancies are a difficult issue for you; if you are frightened to have another one; if you want to but can’t; if birthing babies breaks your already broken body more – – drink in grace. God doesn’t condemn you for a broken body. He broke His own so that one day you will be perfect. But right now, we’re having to do this all in bodies, in minds, in places, in a world that is decaying.

As Charles Spurgeon said,

“It is grace, and nothing but grace, from first to last.”

Life Lately

I unexpectedly took a very long break from blogging. There was a major faultline in our phone so we were without phone or internet for almost a month. Then, after being used to not having the internet and not blogging, I just kept ignoring the blog. It was nice. A breather. I realised how easy it is for the internet to rule my life – not just blogging or social media, but just having access to it for, say, a recipe or a map or a reference for something. It was certainly frustrating at times, but overall, I really enjoyed it and, in many ways, was thankful for the space.
I feel almost ready to come back to my blogging space though. My creative/writing side is itching to be let lose. So hopefully I will be back up and running soon. My husband has also been helping me with a few things that I may be able to share with you – once they’re all ready to go {think: household printables}.
Until I’m up and running more regularly, here is a round up of what’s been going on lately.

Thinking

There are major issues going on in the New Zealand Anglican Church {see below under ‘Praying’} and, being in one of the key churches that is {we believe} fighting for God’s truth, His Gospel and His Word has been on my mind so much. I have been having many online discussions with other people within the Anglican Church, mostly with those who do not agree with evangelicals, so I have been contemplating and mulling over the many basics of what it means to follow Christ. Particularly so, the great chasm that occurs between people when some hold fast to the authority of the Bible and others don’t. It is impossible to keep that hold from widening.

Doing

We have been particularly busy having play dates. It has just been a term holiday for school kids, as well as Josiah’s kindy, so we have had play dates with about eight families in the last few weeks. It has been just great – but busy. So I am just very thankful to move back into the gentle rhythms I have established over the last few years of our normal, everyday life.
Hagley Park in the centre of Christchurch. A kid’s favourite for walking and exploring.

Moving

Last time I was blogging, I was determined to get a grip on my health. I haven’t fallen off the wagon, but it is hard and I am always trying to stick to my goals. I stopped jogging for over a month and instead was just doing my normal walking. But I’ve realised I need to do jogging in order for changes to be made on my body. I just turned thirty and I have to work harder to get my blood pumping and my body processing what I eat. Also, my mental health is just so much better when I push myself to go jogging: I feel fitter, more confident about my body and just all-round good about myself. Who can say no to that?

Eating

My eating has been better than it has been in the last six months. I’m using more self-control and eating less between meals {ie. I rarely have a snack other than perhaps a cup of tea}. My breakfast is healthier and I make sure I have a well-balanced lunch. Dinners are normal and I try not to over-eat. I have had yummy baking etc, but I am working hard on discipline. I have also been making my own bread, which has really helped {it’s much more filling than normal bread}.

Some of the yummy yummy bread I have been baking.

Reading

I read ALOT while we had no internet. I couldn’t do anything else! I’ve read about three books in over a month. I have also had consistent quiet times in the Word {about two-three a week} and finished the Book of Colossains. Amazing, people. And we have been doing a tonne of read alouds – my kids are falling more and more in love with books. I love it!

One of the books from the library the kids have loved and wanted read over and over.

Praying

In a week, representatives of different churches/parishes over NZ will be meeting for General Synod where governmental things get decided on. It happens every two years. Since the last one, a special council released a motion to bless same-sex marriages and ordain practicing homosexuals. This is a historically significant event and next week at Synod, there will be a vote whether to pass it or not. I am part of a group of evangelicals within the Anglican Church who are praying fervently that it won’t be. We believe this is a first-order issue, that it will cause people to be excluded from heaven, so we are fighting so hard for what we believe in. We don’t want to, but if it passes, we are likely to split away. It is not a sudden decision, it has been many years in the making, and it breaks our heart. But we must fight for God’s truth, His desire for godly relationships and His absolute holiness that cannot accept sin. It is a very heavy time, my extended family are deeply involved, so I have been praying a lot. But God is good and so much of what I read in my quiet times silences the fears within my anxious mind: He is good, He will prevail in the end. 
So this is me lately. I have missed my blogging friends and hope to be back up and running very soon. I hope you haven’t forgotten me! 

My Health Overhaul : Week One {and the Link-Up}

Hi friends, we currently have NO phone or internet so i am borrowing the computer at my in-laws to upload the latest link-up – two weeks late, but that’s how long it’s been! Hopefully, it will be all fixed soon.

Successes:

  • I have only chosen to eat something sweet deliberately twice. The first, on Tuesday, was half a lollie-cake {a NZ slice} at a cafe with a friend. It was actually Rosie’s, but I cut myself a small slither and then ate half of it. Now, I felt stink about that lack of self-control BUT considering this was the only bad sweet thing I ate all week, I don’t feel so stink anymore. The second, on Friday night, was three pieces of dark chocolate {70%}. I didn’t actually really like it, so didn’t eat the fourth I had broken off.
  • I have changed my breakfast. Instead of four pieces of toast {white, with margerine and honey}, I have started having yoghurt, mixed in with a handful of rolled oats, flax seeds and frozen berries. It has been a really yummy way to start the morning. We have breakfast around seven, and I’m not feel super hungry to about eleven. 
  • Mid-afternoon I am trying to either have a banana smoothie with the kids {milk and banana} or a handful of nuts to tide me over the hungry slump til dinner at 5pm.
  • Meal portions have reduced. I am having one serving of dinner.
  • Evening snacking {which, for me, is so hard} has stopped this week. Barring my chocolate last night, I have been focused on having one cup of tea while we watch TV. If I am feeling cravey, I just have another cup of tea.

Fails:

  • That slice of lollie-cake I just shouldn’t have eaten!
  • I only got in two good walks this week.
  • Forgetting sometimes that the reason isn’t {solely} to lose weight, but to treat my body healthier and in a more godly manner. I look in the mirror and want to be thin, but I have to take those thoughts captive and remind myself of my goals and God’s truth about myself {so hard, friends}.
Last week I went into the reasons why I am getting on top of my eating habits, so I thought this week I would share with you my goals for eating and the practicalities involved.
Source

Goals:

  • Though I am not going fully sugar-free, I am deliberately cutting back on as much sugar as possible and focusing on whole-foods. I believe in moderation and enjoying life, but before I was using that as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. Now, I’m allowing myself one night a week to have a treat. If I meet a friend at a cafe, I can have something small and sweet but no more than once a week.
  • Though I am focusing on eating better, I am not changing our dinner meals. They are not particularly unhealthy {ie. sushi} but, like I said, this is a matter of mind and attitude, not an obsession.
  • I’m trying to keep portions smaller and spaced out about three-four hourly.
  • No evening snacking, barring my nightly cup of tea.
  • Three good walks a week {3-4kms} at a brisk pace.
  • To lose weight if possible, but accepting there are some factors that may inhibit that {medicinal} so to keep the goal of health and respecting this body God has given me as primary.
  • To master self-control over those impulses that lead me astray.
  • If possible, to comfortably fit in size 12{NZ} pants, I am currently at the lower end of size 14.
Here is this weeks food for thought as we head into another week of getting our bodies right before the Lord:
Our bodies are tools, not treasures. You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its eighteen-year-old form. Let it be used. By the time you die, you want to have a very dinged and dinted body. Motherhood uses your body in the way God designed it to be used. Those are the right kind of damages… We are not to treat our bodies like museum pieces. They were not given to us to preserve, they were given to us to use. So use it cheerfully, and maintain it cheerfully. You want to fix your body up in order to be able to use it some more. We should not be trying to fix it up to put it back on the shelf out of harm’s way or to try to make ourselves look like nothing ever happened. Your body is a tool. Use it.”
~ Rachel Jankovic, Loving the Little Years
Father, This is my goal. Though my flesh wants Hollywood, my soul wants usefulness for Your Kingdom. I want health to glorify You, to enjoy You forever and to use it for Your sake. Help me, Father, keep this perspective in my mind and heart as I begin a new week treating my body in the way that fits being owned by You. Amen.

***

I have been so grateful for the feedback from my last post. It’s kind that you all think I am brave, perhaps I am, I just feel a little desperate with myself and know that going public will help my accountability!

I am thinking of setting up a Facebook page to help with that, would anyone be interested in joining if you are working on health, too?

Thank you too, to the lovely ladies who shared their posts. All posts were really applicable and challenging, you must go and check them out.

Convicting words on complaining by Ifeoma at Purposeful & Meaningful

An Invitation with Jenn at A Daily Rhythm. 

The beautiful name of God by Blogger Loves the King

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