So I would like you to picture a big bowl of Honey Nut Chex Cereal in my hand, because that is what I ate for dinner tonight.
You know, there are different things that happen to people that make them feel as though they had a good or bad day.
Maybe they felt skinny that day. Good day. Maybe they went for a run. Good day. Yoga? Good day. Maybe they told someone they loved them and they said it back. Good day.
For me lately, there are two things that determine whether or not I have a good day or not. No joke. Unfortunately.
One-- Whether or not I threw an unwarranted tantrum. I mean, I'm all 30 and stuff now. Tantrums for no good reason ought to have been left with my single digit years-- but they have stuck with me.
Two-- Whether or not what I made to eat that day tasted good. What?
Well, both of those things happened the bad way today. Not only did I have an unwarranted tantrum, but what I attempted to bake was a total flop.
It was floptastic.
So, I had a really good therapy session with a very wise friend who calmed me back down after my tantrum. After I declared four loaves of very flat french bread inedible(my first fail with that recipe), I poured myself a bowl of cereal. I may have ate icecream before that bowl of cereal. Two things justify eating dessert before dinner.
One-- Going out to a resturaunt
Two-- A very bad day.
This post is funny for a couple reasons.
ONE-- I really liked that talk with my friend so that means the day wasn't a total bust.
TWO-- After the bread fail I had a really fun conversation with my brother that reminded me what I bake isn't everything.
Now that I think about it, the day was pretty darn great.
Also, my littlest baby four year old son wouldn't go to bed until I read him the same Cars book I have read him a meeellion times the past few months. I like to watch his chubby hands turn the pages. That part was pretty great as well.
Then, my oldest recited word for word the facts from his book about the universe. Word for word. He had this look of complete discovery and fascination that I couldn't look away from though. Have you seen my oldest smile? He has dimples. He has the most handsome smile. I was so glad he wanted to share with me the new things he was learning about the universe, by golly, just to see his face light up. I could listen to him rattle of facts I already learned years ago forever.
Okay I officially have more than two reason why my day was actually great. And now in all fairness here is the middle one.
Oh my he is soooooooooooo cute!
Friday, January 27, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
This is why I bake for other people in families that are not my own. When I asked my second son ( I have three) to finish his dinner this is the face he made. The red eyes just make this picture.
After that we had a little photo shoot.
Do you read the blog Cjane Enjoy It? (cjanerun.com)
Well, for the longest time she had this quote at the top of her blog about how we write to taste life twice, once in the living and another in the telling-- or something clever like that.
I have been thinking about that quote for the past few days.
I have been thinking about how sometimes when I taste life the first time it isn't so sweet- and how I'm okay with that. Life can be frustrating and difficult that first time tasting it. But if I can snap a picture of it and taste it a second time by writing about it- it is so sweet to look back on. This is my one life. I struggle onward to make it awesome. Because I am struggling the first time around to make it awesome- it may make the taste a little bitter. But the second time I am just enjoying it, laughing at it, reliving it. I can see more clearly the parts of it that are awesome.
That's why I like keeping a record of my life. It is wonderful to taste.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I am sitting up in my bed with my laptop on my... lap (whatdoyouknow) and I am considering the mound of starburst wrappers that have piled up on the end table next to me.
This little guy told me that he wanted to play baseball yesterday. Little did I know that what he meant was he wanted me to blow up one long balloon and four little round balloons and then play with those. I love having a four year old.
I was in charge of throwing the balloons at him. Have you ever tried to throw a balloon to a certain spot? It's hard.
Real life shot!
So if you were wishing to only read blogs from people who do their children's hair before taking pictures, and who also always have wonderfully clean and organized houses in the back ground, I'm sorry you are reading my blog right now.
Here we are in the office where the balloon making was happening.
I love this kid so much. How did I ever get so lucky? We hang out every day, just thinking about what we can get into next. Today Jackson painted stickers of snowmen. I thought that was pretty weird but he thought it was the coolest thing ever. I spent an hour on the treadmill and he spent an hour running in between the kitchen and the office alternately painting and showing me what he had done.
I have been thinking about my health lately. Four weeks ago my doctor put me on a new medicine and weaned me off most of my other meds based on the diagnosis I received at the Mayo Clinic and I am feeling better. I occasionally have a few of my old symptoms come up-- like today my stomach and joints were hurting a little bit and I have been tired the past few days, but nothing like what it was. I really feel so good. I have been able to accomplish the things I wanted to do and I have been so grateful for my healthy body the past two weeks. What a remarkable blessing a healthy body is. I feel liberated. I have had the most fun playing with my kids though. We play Just Dance on the Xbox. My four year old makes me pretend to be the yellow ranger (cause she's a girl). We make cookies, play with playdough, and make crafts. The house is relatively clean. I make dinner. It is really weird. For almost a year those types of things were sporadic to non-existent. I am a lucky girl.
Speaking of making dinner.
Recipe found HERE.
Monday, January 23, 2012
I couldn't stop thinking about peaches.
This past summer I had such a wonderful time buying a whole bushel of peaches. I was all, "I am so awesome. I am going to put all these peaches stored away in my pantry and in my freezer."
So there they sit.
I hate cobbler. Perhaps I should have sat down with those peaches in the beginning of our relationship and explained that. Probably.
Me- "So, peaches.... Do you do anything else besides cobbler?"
Peaches- "I like to keep my relationships a bit of a mystery at first. If you want to get to know me, you are just going to have to figure me out without my help."
I was sitting in my kitchen today and I was trying to think of something desserty to make.
All I could think about was how much I hate cobbler.
Don't you hate cobbler? It is sooo.... gross. It's like all... not sweet enough...
But I have all these peaches frozen and they are gorgeous! They can't go to waste! I spent time preserving those things! Grrrr....
Anyways, what really matters is that I ended up making a crisp instead of a cobbler out of those peaches. I just mixed butter, loads of brown and white sugar, oatmeal, flour, baking soda, cinnimon, and nutmeg, put half of the mixture on the bottom, put peaches on top of that, then put the other half of the mixture on top of the peaches. I baked it for 25 minutes until it got crispy like creme brulee on top.
Then I served it with icecream. It was all silky and rich and wonderful. MMmmmm.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
This is a picture of the finished cheesy bread I mentioned in THIS post.
Doesn't that cheese melting out of it make you want some? I know, me too.
More about that later.
Do you have a spot in your house that ends up looking like this each morning?
I start out reading scriptures and writing in my Pepto Bismal Pink Awesome Journal, then I check my email on my laptop while getting distracted by facebook, then I have little ones demanding I read books to them and by the end this is the pile left behind. It is the best. I just had to snap a picture of it.
What have I been thinking about as I study scriptures in the morning lately? I'm glad you asked.
Lately I have been thinking about free will, reason, and the way it connects to receiving personal revelation-- how about you?
So in my last post I promised pictures of the finished products of all the different breads I was making.
Here is a picture of the crunchiest on the outside while chewy on the inside bread that I make in my cast iron enameled pan. Drool...
Isn't it lovely from every angle?
And that cheesy bread at the beginning of the post? A total keeper of a recipe.
Then there was the super soft and silky and fluffy sandwich bread. Seriously, all other recipes may be dead to me. I love that I used "seriously,' and "may," in the same sentence there.
So this is how I get my dough to rise. On my heating pad I like to keep right by where I collapse on my bed at the end of the day for my back. I know what you are thinking right now.
But really-- it was a cold day and this was a perfect way to get my dough to rise up soft and fluffy.
Speaking of soft and fluffy things I have created.
I have three of those and you can't have any of them.
I like to bite his cheeks. Delicious.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
This is a picture of what I look like when I eat. Don't you look that way too?
So today I woke up and I just itched to bake. It was essential that I cover myself and my kitchen in flour. I needed to grind my own wheat and then pour it into a mixing bowl whilst following a good recipe. Or two or three. I just needed to.
So today I am going to make your baking day by showing you a few sites that have taught me all I need to know about baking really good bread sticks, pizza dough, sandwich bread (that you actually want to make sandwiches out of), and a really beautiful rustic loaf that looks like you bought it at a bakery but NO-- it came out of your own oven and was made with your own little hands. Oh yes.
If that doesn't scratch your baking itch than we likely won't ever be really good friends, you know?
...I'm sure you are okay with that.
I will show you a site that will answer every single question you have about how to make a whole wheat loaf of sandwich bread that is both soft and delicious. It is both non-crumbly and beautiful.
I mean... come on.
I have a friend who has a friend... or something... who has this really handy site all about everything from how to make the perfect chocolate cookie to how to make a really great loaf of bread (as I said). I don't know where these girls have been all my life. My cookies and bread thank them.
So this is a link to the bread tips that I use, but really, spend some time browsing the site-- it is so thorough. If you didn't have someone hover over you and teach you all you need to know about cooking growing up, then this will be a good substitute.
So the number one step for making fluffy chewy sandwich bread on that page is to soak your wheat flour for 1/2 hour to 12 hours. This means you mix your flour and water and let it sit at room temperature on your counter. I made around four recipes this morning (or will be later) and when I do that I like to label my doughs. Today I just covered my dough in plastic wrap and then wrote on it with a sharpie. But by all means, do whatever floats your boat.
What? When you run out of plastic wrap suddenly don't you use leftover red wrap from Christmas? I have green too.
HERE is a link to the pizza dough I am making. Oh Pinterest, what would I do without you? This recipe claims to be the BEST ONE EVER.... I will have to see if I agree! Half of this dough will be made into those cheesy bread sticks she mentions in the same recipe. My husband has requested and shall receive.
Since I was in the mood to use flour I had just ground myself I busted out this contraption. Check her out??? She is an oldie but goodie. I somehow inherited her from my wonderful husband's grandma. Cool huh? She kind of looks like an Unidentified Flying Object.
Since I was using whole wheat and I don't want my pizza dough heavy and bricklike, I went ahead and soaked my flour by combining the water and flour the recipe called for. I will just add the rest of the ingredients after that sits for a few hours.
After I put that together I thought to myself, "Why stop there!?" So I kept on grinding wheat berries into flour and mixed up enough flour and water to start soaking three loaves of sandwich bread. That recipe is above and also HERE.
I also like to sometimes write the ingredients I have already used... You know, not that I would forget and add them twice and ruin the recipe or anything... Ha-- I tried to cover this bowl in leftover Christmas saran wrap and not only was it not sticking but it wasn't large enough. I grabbed the lid for the bowl and put the labeled wrap on top. See? Whatever floats your boat.
After that I thought to myself again, "More more!"
So I pulled out THIS recipe. Pioneer Woman, sigh. (I love you). I made this loaf just the other day and it turned out so beautiful it made me leak a few tears. I wanted to do that again. Since I have to think about when my oven will be free to do all this baking, I decided to use a technique a friend just shared with me the other day. She made this beautiful bread and shared it with me-- I asked her, "Friend, did you make this with half whole wheat and half white flour?" and this friend said, "Why no, I used half hard white wheat and half soft white wheat!"
So that is what I did with this recipe. I just love using all whole grains and using my grinder this morning probably gave me the chills but I mean, I wouldn't admit that here. That would be weird.
So here is my lovely ball of dough rising for the most beautiful loaf you ever will see.
What on earth am I going to do with all of this bread after it is baked, you ask? Well that is a very good question I thought hard about as I was covering every surface of myself and my kitchen with freshly ground flour. I thought to myself, "Utter Girl, who do you think would take this freshly made bread off your hands after you make it cause, you know that your kids hate sandwiches made with anything other than white bread from the store and nobody but you really cared about that beautiful rustic loaf you made the other day and half of it would have gone to waste had you not made that french toast out of it a few days later... (I always think in run on sentences.)" So I thought up a few friends who have gone through some hard or new times lately and I will be stuffing my three boys in the van later on and making them deliver them right to those friends doors. Warm.
So there, ungrateful intermediate family. That is how I will deal with you.
And that is where I am. In a few hours I will put the rustic loaf into the oven to bake for a little over an hour. While that bakes in my cast iron enamel pan I will add the rest of the ingredients to my sandwich bread to start it rising. It will need about three and half hours to rise twice and bake after that. Oh yes, it will be ready right as my children get home from school so they can deliver it for me. My rustic loaf will have baked while the other bread rose (are you following me?) and it will have cooled while the sandwich bread baked, so it will be ready to deliver as well. I know just where that loaf will go. A friend just got home from having a baby and I know she will appreciate that loaf's glory. (If you don't appreciate the loaf's glory, you don't get bread. So there, intermediate family... who I love...)
Then after we get home I will make cheesy bread sticks to go with dinner. I will need to mix in the rest of the ingredients into this while the sandwich bread is baking. That way the bread stick/pizza dough can rise while we are delivering bread. Oh yes, this is going to work out.
I will post pics another time of all the loaves completely and out of the oven. I love baking days! Yay!
Here is a recap of all of those links:
Sandwich Bread Technique from The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
Pizza Dough and Bread Stick Recipe from Lauren's Latest
Super Awesome Crunchy on Just the Very Outside and Softy Silky on the Inside Beautiful Loaf
There you have it.