Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I am really into bread. I was always into carbs even when the no carb craze was at it's peak. How could I say no to potatoes? Bagels? Bread to hug my sandwich? I never got into that craze. Actually, I've never really been into any diet craze. Too time consuming. I do well with just eating when I have physical hunger and stopping just before I'm full. That's it. It's hard sometimes, but it truly works. I can't make the food behave (i.e. take out all the fat, carbs, sugars, and eat 'diet' food), but I can make me behave. 'Me' is always at the heart of the matter, right?

Ouch. I get another little stab when I see that all typed out. So true. In my case, really.

Well, my therapy lately has been a quest to discover how to make bread. Really, REALLY good bread. I'm discovering that I will ultimately need a wood-fired oven in my back yard (I have already downloaded plans for one). Until then, my little oven and I are trying to figure it out.

Bread baking is truly a science and an art. I can weigh my ingredients, have a gorgeous starter going, only to have one batch turn out drastically different than the other. That is, I feel, also the beauty of baking.

Like sketching or knitting, I sometimes just need to feel the repetitive motion with my fingers. I enjoy the scritch/scratch of the lead on paper, the click of my needles and the feel of the dough in between my fingers.

After many batches of ciabatta, I can almost feel the dough and know if it's not going to have those huge holes and crunchy crust. I have only tried the bagels twice. The first time I didn't have enough flour and the dough was too soft and sticky.

The second time I let them get a little two brown and used salt grains that were too large. So that batch ended up looking more like round pretzels than bagels. Both batches tasted really nice.

I've been doing all of my bread baking lately out of this wonderful book. It is not the easy route, let me tell you. But I really wanted to do artisan breads and no matter what the recipes say, I think that most true rustic, artisan bread can't be done in a few hours. Also why I want one of these.

I was never a fan of the bread machine but I understood why it was popular. It wasn't that the bread was bad, but it wasn't good either. I liked the crust, the smell of the yeast, the heat of the oven. Sometimes my mom would decide to bake bread and it was a lovely smell.

Now we're still trying to eat up my experiments here at home and I'm really itching to try this lovely recipe for babka. I just have to empty out a few tomato cans and I'm all set!

On the path...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I say Hello, Hello, Hello...

Back when I was in high school I convinced my parents to become a host home for three weeks to a short-term exchange student. I was actually always pushing them out of their comfort zone, which they ended up enjoying. They told me this later, but I always assumed they would be up for all that stuff. It seemed perfectly fine to me.

They're probably thinking, "What if this child is not well-behaved? What if she has conflicts with the family members? What if she gets sick?" I'm thinking, "Awesome." That's about it.

She was incredible. A girl I keep in touch with to this day. We LOVED her and still LOVE her. Capitals. Well, one week we decided to take her to Kings Island for a day of eating too much sugar and riding crazy rides. She was always trying to practice her diction and had problems with the letter H. So we taught her the Beatles song, Hello. Aaaaaand we sang it the. entire. day. How irritating could we be at 15? Well it turns out, I was right. It was awesome.

So that was a super long story to say hello again to you. I am so very sorry that I stayed away so long. I really missed this little spot here. I always look forward to post-Christmas quiet and I am always hit with a super busy schedule mid-January. That starts my busy time for work and with the rounds of layoffs that happened last year, I was busier than usual.

Unfortunately I had to put a lot of crafting and blogging on hold in order to keep my priorities in check. I missed keeping up, but I knew I was doing the right thing. I sailed through the busiest time I have had in a long time without tears, breakdowns and everyone somehow had clean underwear. Good, no?

We have truly been enjoying our play room. This used to be a guest bedroom and one day, while my husband and I sat in our living room among piles upon piles of toys, books, crayons and picking plastic dinosaurs out from underneath our bums, we realized something. We needed to take back our living room. Besides, when our parents visit, we usually end up letting them have our room anyway. Our house is not a hotbed of overnight visitor activity.

So we took out the dresser and bed and put in shelving. I even made some fab fabric bins from this tutorial. Now it is a room full of organized chaos and lots and lots of fun!

I ended up finding a sweet children's table from craigslist.com of all places. It's my virtual garage sale, I love it. I don't know about your neighborhood, but I believe that my neighborhood is the best place for garage sales. So, when it's not garage sale season, I like to surf craigslist.

We do so many crafts on this table. We can also have a great place for Chutes and Ladder, Hi-Ho Cherrio, and other games.

Baking was still going on and instead of cookies this year, we had copious amounts of chocolate cupcakes for Easter:

I mean, haven't you heard of the Easter cupcake? No? Urm, well.

We did have fun this winter and welcomed spring with open arms!

We're back. I hope you had a great year so far. Stay on that path!