Friday, January 8, 2016

Bread 'n' Breakfast...

Mr E and I have slipped back into our relaxed morning routine again now the short holiday break is over. Breakfasting together before he picks up his lunch bag and leaves for work is one of my favourite moments of the day...

But not all things in 2016 are the same as last year.
You see, I decided it was time to draw my line in the sand and reduce the workload of Elefantz Designs in order to give more of my day to the gentle domestic life and embracing the slower pace of living in the moment.

I'm content with my business as it is and feel no need to expand or grow it further, which meant declining some generous opportunities - but my heart and head knew this full-time homemaker / part-time designer life would be the best and most satisfying path I could choose. 

On Monday morning I sat down after waving Mr E goodbye and wrote a plan to re-structure my business week - freeing up four extra hours each day to keep house, bake, read, garden, connect with my children (face to face or phone calls) and try new things. 

I've created a menu plan that also frees up time because it structures my Monday morning grocery list and removes all those agonising hours I waste wondering what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
It also saves money which is a relief on the budget.

Most of the menu was taken from one we had used during our decade of homeschooling so all I had to do was remove recipes the kids had liked but my husband did not, and add in things he and I now enjoy. 
I'll do a new menu each Monday for a month and then rotate it, incorporating seasonal produce availability.

 I found THESE free printables online to write my menu on...

Whilst browsing our old menus I remembered we used to have fresh focaccia at least twice a week, but I hadn't baked any in years apart from one rye sour dough version that was delicious but took a lot of prep time.
 Since Mr E and I had to reduce wheat from our diet we've just stopped having bread all together because he simply does not enjoy the gluten free kind. Not sure why, but it didn't occur to me that I could bake with the same spelt flour we use in biscuits and muffins. Until this week.

I used the same focaccia recipe I always had, replacing wholegrain wheat bread flour with the spelt and adding in some sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds for fibre. 
It worked SO well. Oh my, you have no idea how good this tasted!

Today I decided to give my old bread recipe a try using spelt.
The result? Brilliant.

I can't wait to make 'normal' corn beef and pickle sandwiches again! 

There was a lesson to be had in all of this.
I was so busy for the last couple of years that I didn't take time to think about suitable alternatives; I didn't experiment. I bought quite a few alternative cookbooks with recipes that required expensive ingredients and was disappointed that many did not taste good at all. My mind was on a 24/7 hamster wheel and it took all of last year to learn where the brake pedal was so I could slow down and think clearly about the path I was traveling and ask myself why.
When the mind is overloaded and overwhelmed, when time never seems to stand still, when you don't stop to appreciate what's right in front of you - the obvious is invisible.

I've found the brake pedal now, and I'm using it. Simple things truly do bring satisfaction and peace of mind.

What about you?



  1. Lovely to see you have more time for the simple things in life now, Jenny. The food you have shown looks yummy and I am so pleased that the bread turned out for you.

  2. Querida Jenny: Al ver tus fotografías parece que los buenos aromas van a llegar hasta aquí. Yo hace diez años que dejé mi trabajo para dedicarme a la familia. Yo usé el freno, como haces tú ahora. La vida familiar mejoró mucho: Más armonía, más organización, mejor comida :) La parte menos buena es la económica. Y la mala, el poco aprecio por nuestro trabajo. Un trabajo bastante solitario a veces. ¿Mereció la pena? .Totalmente. Yo soy mi propio jefe y mi salario es la felicidad de mi familia. Los días difíciles...¡me declaro en huelga! :)))) Muchos besos.

  3. Good on you Jenny. I really need to get back to menu plans as I have to make 2 separate meals due to my restricted diet. I find it difficult to prepare both at the same time. I used to make bread years ago when the children were still at home but the yeast played havoc with me. Unless bread is free of grains, potato, and rice, I can not eat it these days. I think your avocado egg brekky looks yummy . Good to see you are taking time to smell the roses.

  4. Dear Jenny

    I found your blog last year and thoroughly enjoy it. It is good to slow down, sometimes our lives become so busy we do the urgent and not the important things that give our lives quality. Best wishes, Lyn.

  5. I always believe in slow down..And enjoy the little things in life :)
    Life is beautiful ❤️
    Yummy food ..enjoy your weekend x

  6. Querida Jenny!
    Que delicioso se ve ese pan! Yo también decidí hace un par de meses quedarme con el lado amable de vida!
    La felicito, siempre es un placer leer su blog.
    Cariños Vicky Dc

  7. Good for you Jenny. It's hard for people to slow down. Now you can take time to smell the roses. Have a great week and give Mary a hug.

  8. Jenny, you are such an inspiration. Thanks for the great post.

  9. When I first started reading this post I thought you were going to say you were going to give up your blog, but thankfully my first thought was wrong :) I love reading all your posts and though I'm not very interested in cooking I do enjoy reading about what you cook and bake. Enjoy the next phase of your life but keep on writing :) :)

  10. Good for you Jenny - enjoy all that lovely extra time. xx

  11. I would love to see your recipes for both of these bread type things you bakes--I also no longer eat bread and do not like the gluten free ones--so I am with you Mr E on that score--thanks for sharing==and such pretty photos--
    love, di

  12. It is hard to give things up, especially when you are feeling successful and all, but when you start feeling the toll it is taking and start thinking of changing, a lot of the "what ifs" often stall us from making the necessary changes. It is counter-cultural to what we have been led to believe for so long. I am happy for you in your choice of direction.

  13. Hi Jenny~ I am so happy about the direction you are taking in this new year as I know the creativity will flow in the peacefulness you are creating in your home. A calm mind leads to great ideas! I too eat gluten free and have not tried spelt as an alternative "flour". I will give it a try. Thanks for the nudge. Can you share your recipes for bread and pizza dough on your cooks simply with love website? I miss seeing new posts. But....only when you are relaxed and have time! Warm Hugs~Susie

  14. I loved the fact that I looked at your menu and thought, "I might even make myself use that, I wonder where she got it." Then I went back to the post and there was the link! You do know your readers. =) This was a good post for reflection, too. I've stopped doing a lot of things because they were too expensive or time consuming, but I haven't substituted better things. I'll have to ponder on which things I miss and figure out an easier, cheaper way.

  15. I applaud you for making this decision to free up some time Jenny. From my own experience people have quite a different perception of folk working from home ... in that it is just a bit of a hobby that we do when we feel like it. Whereas the reality can be quite different & can involve some long, long hours 7 days a week with no let up. I hope to free up some time for things I enjoy doing this year too. Great decision you have made Jenny.

  16. Hi Jenny.....what a lovely post here showing you are following your Heart! If I could just say to you about gluten free...I am gluten tolerant and did not really enjoy gluten free bread. Mind you I'm not a huge bread eater either BUT upon recently learning about gluten free and sourdough (look that up if you get a chance) things have changed! I learnt that (and from a baker as well) that if sourdough bread is proven for 12 hours minimum the natural yeasts, bacteria etc 'eat' the gluten which helps pre digest it for me. I have tried this and yippee it worked for me! In France bread making is an art form and I saw on a programme they prove fir 18 hours! I've been told that Australia can bake bread in 1 hour. Maybe this had helped Mr E some!

  17. Well Jenny - I too am like another reader that asked about the recipes.. Are you able to tell us where you got these recipes. I would love to try the focaccia !!! The food looks yummy .. I also wish I could say that I too am slowing down but it seems like lately I am just going faster and faster.

    Thanks for the wonderful post

  18. Hmmm....yummy...can smell the fresh bread from here! I am realising how I will be organising myself differently this year with the part time job. More organised meal plans for sure, and sewing time and getting rid of some things - just finished putting all the Christmas decorations down now we are home and re-displaying things in the lounge/dining. Now time to vacuum and then sewing! Yippee! Sewing time!

  19. "When the mind is overloaded and overwhelmed, when time never seems to stand still, when you don't stop to appreciate what's right in front of you - the obvious is invisible." No true-er words were ever spoken. This is something I have struggled with a lot lately and didn't quite have the words for it, until I saw this. Thanks for putting what I've been thinking and feeling into a statement. It made a difference.

  20. I am very thankful for the thought and words you put into your posts. I am so ready to appreciate what is right in front of me. I am working on spending time in the kitchen as worthy and wonderful. I don't always appreciate the time it takes to prepare meals and then they are devoured in minutes with little acknowledgement...and I hate messy. Cleaning my stove and then one simple meal messes it up makes me crazy! My husband loves GREASE and the more it splatters the better for him! YUCK! Just give me ice cream and cookies and I have NO mess. Wonderful Weekend Dear...

  21. I was always astonished by your work load and how many patterns you produced and stitched. I think a slower pace will be lovely for you. I'm making quite a few changes too, all hopefully will decrease my stress and help my health.

  22. Spelt is a lovely ancient grain and a wonderful hexaploid wheat, but it isn't gluten free. So if gluten is a problem for Mr. E, spelt is not the answer, unfortunately. That said, your focaccia and bread look amazing!!! I agree with Mr. E, gluten free bread tastes like cardboard, even homemade!

  23. The breads look delicious. I have never heard of Spelt before. Would you be willing to share your recipes? I would be interested to try using Spelt. I am trying to cut back on wheat products But Love bread. Though it sounds like this is closely related to wheat yet different and easier to digest I would like to see If I could eat it without feeling bloated. Thank you. Janita

  24. Good Morning Jenny, The breakfast that you prepared for Mr. E and yourself looks delicious! It truly is mind boggling how we do spend unnecessary money on items looking for improvement, oh yes I have done it a lot myself, when it is right before us. We just have to open up to adding a few easy changes and delicious and healthy are the wonderful result. I do have a couple of questions though. What exactly is "spelt" and "focaccia" I truly would love to know. I applaud you on your decision to chose your homemaking over your business. Excellent planning strategy to save a whole four hours of time. That is amazing. Have a splendid time using each and every moment of it for whatever you want. My 28 year old step daughter and I had a fantastic 3 hour phone conversation yesterday afternoon and womens liberation was brought up. We began talking issues and ideas and one of the things that she said was that when womens rights were being fought for before they left out the right for women to chose to work as homemakers! Then went on to say that she believes and several of her friends also feel that it is the hardest job that anyone can choose to fulfill because not only is it full time it is a 24 hour a day job 365 days a year job. As the discussion continued, she also added that with todays rights that she believes that a lot more people are choosing once again to be stay at home homemakers and parents. I just thought you would like to know that. Although having girls in that same age range, I am sure you have already heard it. I just now thought of that. LOL. Thank You for sharing and have a wonderful creative day!

  25. Hello Jenny. The Focaccia bread looks so delicious...I think you have inspired me to try it out....spelt flour, hey? I have been menu planning weekly for quite a few months now....recycling the same 3 (should be 4 but I lost that one) menu plan weeks....even the shopping lists are pre-written and all I have to do is cross off what I don't need to restock that week. So easy, so much more enjoyable and saves me a few dollars too. A good way to add hours into your day to do other stuff. I think you have visited my blog before but here is my latest 'foodie' post. . I have tried to create a linky from it but either people don't enjoy cooking or I am hopeless at engaging an audience :) :) :) so this month will be the last I think. My menu plan process is on the side bar. I would love you to visit.
    Cath (also of Bits 'n Bobs)


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