Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Back... and back to basics. No-knead light wholewheat oatmeal bread

An Italian saying goes l'Epifania tutte le feste porta via. Indeed, in many European countries the holiday season officially ended on Monday, with the Catholic celebration of the Adoration of the Magi, also known as the Epiphany. In Italy this day is marked by a nightime visit of the befana, an old lady resembling a witch, dressed in rags and covered in soot that stuffs children's stockings with sweets or lumps of coal, according to how they behaved the previous year.

It is also traditional to take your tree down on January 6th and most kids go back to school the following day.

So with the new year now in full swing, I have been thinking of my resolutions, or rather the resolutions I have not made yet, and what I truly wish and hope for in 2014.

There is little I desire, considering I have all the things that really count (a family I love, good health, a job - albeit not one I love and that doesn't pay as much as it used to but on the other hand gives me more time with my children - a roof on my head and good friends). Sure, there are things that I would really like but they come after the list I mentioned. Who doesn't want more financial security, a home to call their own, the possibility to travel and see more of the amazing planet we live in?

If there is one resolution I think we should all make it is ackowledging what we do more and feeling less guilty about what we don't. It is easy to beat ourselves up, to look around and see what others are doing better than us, to feel like we are not enough. We always feel compelled to work harder, to run faster, like hamsters spinning endlessly on their wheels.

There will always be somebody who is doing better than we are, sure, but there is always somebody who is doing worse too. Just because someone is driving a fancier car, it doesn't mean they worry less than you do at the end of the month. Sure, some problems are bigger than others, some people are luckier than others, but we all have to face obstacles, fear and problems. Rich or poor, we all have loved ones to take care of, children, parents, relatives or friends. We all care, we all worry, we all grieve.

I will not deny that I get caught up in this vicious cycle. I need to loose weight, I should look for a new job, I should be more organized...
I compare my kids' life with my very priviledged childhood and wish I could give them more. Of course I wish I could take them to exotic places on the spur of the moment or that our five-day ski vacation could be two weeks instead, but I am also aware that my husband and I work very hard to give them a taste of everything we had growing up and that what we can't provide materially we make up for in love and presence.

But no worries, I am not getting all Christmas-movie on you and will not start telling you about how I didn't take my family on a cruise to the Carribean but made a snowman with them instead and about how we all rolled in the snow and laughed and hugged and ended the day drinking hot chocolate in front of the fire. Because at the end of the year day, we all have shit to deal with, each and every day, whoever we are and no matter how much we have or don't have.

So this year why don't we all take it a little more easy on ourselves?

Pat yourself on your back, let yourself know you are doing a great job as a friend, a mother, a daughter, a son, a dad, a husband, a wife, a companion, a sister, a brother, a boss, an employee...

I will not to beat myself up about all the things I think I should be doing better and more of. I will not make unattainable resolutions and then feel guilty or lacking because of them. I am going back to the basics, focusing on what matters, on what I have and taking my life one step at a time.

Let this be your resolution for 2014.

By all means, strive to do more, fix some targets, aim higher - because this is human and healthy to a degree - but also let the new year be a time to stop running, to take inventory of your life and let yourself know that you are doing a good job being who you are, providing what you do, caring the way you care.

Go back to the basics.

Here is a little Instagram testimony of the basics in my life: my family, my children, beautiful nature, great food and good friends to call-in the New Year.


When thinking about going back to basics, how can you not think about baking your own bread, doing what so many generations did before you, feeling like you are a part of a bigger picture, providing your family with healthy, nutritious and satisfying food and saving a dime while you do it.

All you need is flour, water and yeast.

The first thing I made in 2014 was this loaf of crackly, light wholewheat oatmeal bread. It sounds fancier than it should: I was just using up bags of open flour in my cupboard. It takes absolutely no effort, and no kneading. All you need is time.

It was delicious and satisfying on so many levels that I want to try to make baking my own bread a habit this year. Although if I don't, I won't feel bad about it...

Happy New Year!

1 cup of wholewheat flour
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup oat flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
See method here.


  1. Baking bread for the week is one of the greatest gifts you can give your family and yourself!

    1. I agree and I really want to start this weekly habit. Happy New Year!

  2. I love this! I try to set very attainable goals, I know myself very well and I am not going to set some ridiculous goal I know I can't achieve, just to end up feeling like shit. Thanks for keeping it real here. Hope you have a fantastic 2014 !

    1. My post was definitely inspired by your wise words, over the years you have been teaching me to listen to myself more and not do what others expect me to do if it is not what I feel. So thank you!

  3. I couldn't agree more :) Everyone is struggling through something that we have no idea about and I'm sometimes shocked at how little empathy people show towards others. We're also very fortunate to be in our situations. A very well written post :) Happy New Year!!

    1. Yes, empathy is the key word. Towards others and ourselves. Happy New Year to you too!

  4. "I will not to beat myself up about all the things I think I should be doing better and more of. I will not make unattainable resolutions and then feel guilty or lacking because of them. I am going back to the basics, focusing on what matters, on what I have and taking my life one step at a time."

    Oh my yes. This is exactly what I am trying like the dickens to do as my own resolution. I am so guilty of spending too much time comparing myself to others (as both a blogger and a professional writer) and when we do don't we always come out behind? Which just makes us feel terrible and takes away any mojo and energy we do have to work. So shake it off! This post came at the perfect time for me. And you know what? You mention skiing and a Caribbean Cruise but what made me smile was the thought of you playing in the snow with your children and going for a hot cocoa afterwards. To me, nothing beats that kind of together, sharing and simplicity and it is that which will stick with your kids well into adulthood. The photos are stunning! Happy Happy New Year, friend xoxo

    1. Thank you Jamie, I cannot even begin to tell you how reassuring it is to know that such a talented writer and blogger has the same doubts as I do. Which just goes to prove what I meant: we all have our fears and problems, even if we look so much luckier and well-off than our observer. Happy New Year to you my friend!

  5. I remember befana from my childhood holidays in Italy! It's my husband's birthday on 6th Jan so I always think of everyone in Europe celebrating that day too. This bread looks lovely - the perfect start to the new year.

    1. I know more and more people born on that day, how funny... Happy New Year!

  6. Happy New Year! I made a very similar resolution for this year!

    (and the bread looks great!)

  7. wonderful bread, pictures and resolutions! as my grandmother used to say "count your blessings" HNY 2014

  8. Concordo coni tuoi pensieri e propositi... Il back to basic è fondamentale... Soprattutto per godere a pieno di quello che già abbiamo... E ripartire da lí... Credo che a volte senza grossi propositi poi ogni piccola conquista che faremo ci sembrerà piú grande... Che sia morale o materiiale ;)
    Buono il pane e belle le foto... Quanta neve!!!!
    Comunque alla faccia che la befana porta via le feste... Qui giá dal 5 le pasticcerie hanno le vetrine con le frittelle di carnevale!.... Ma quando si puó cominciare il periodo di depurazione ;-p


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