"Keep calm and carry on," I always say. OK I don't always say that, but I was taken with this framed quote that I saw in House Beautiful magazine. It's what we all have to do, every day. I look forward to another year of blogging - I might even kick it up a notch with some tunes and a new design.
It took me less than five minutes to mix the bread up, and that included going to the laundry room to look for the white vinegar.
I used my Bosch mixer, though the recipe mixes the dough by hand. I say, anytime you can use the mixer, do it! My Bosch is 32 years old - we got it when we lived in Germany. I use it almost every week - for cookies, not bread. I've not been much of a bread maker, though that may change after trying this recipe.
I took this picture to show you the Red Star Quick-Rise Yeast I used. I recently read a comparison of rapid-rise yeasts and the Red Star brand got the top rating - even over SAF. The recipe only calls for 1/4 teaspoon of yeast - the key to this recipe is the long rising time.
Recipe: No-Knead Bread
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water
scant 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Flour or cornmeal as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water and vinegar, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18 hours, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself, kneading for 15 seconds.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a sheet of parchment or a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on parchment or towel. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
5. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes (reduce oven temp to 425), then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
This new Kingsolver book is not fiction - it's a fascinating non-fiction book about her (and her two daughters') move from Tuscon, Arizona to Southern Appalachia - after her joyful marriage to a man who is a college professor, farmer and gardener. (Starting with the first three pages, the story is happy.) The book focuses on convincing the reader to eat fresh and locally-produced food.
Here's what the book review said: "Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, this book (released May 2007) tells the story of how our family was changed by one year of deliberately eating food produced in the place where we live. Barbara wrote the central narrative; Steven's sidebars dig deeper into various aspects of food-production science and industry; Camille's brief essays offer a nineteen-year-old's perspective on the local-food project, plus nutritional information, meal plans and recipes."
OK, if you know me you know that my diet isn't exactly very nutritious. I have a hard time getting myself to eat five fruits and five vegetables a week, let alone a day. I can't believe I'm admitting this.
This book is making me want to revamp my shopping and cooking - just in the first 100 pages. Wow, it's convincing. I love the format - facts and family story intertwined into a very fascinating read. I love the menus and recipes. Yes, sprinkled through the book are good-sounding weekly menus and recipes to go with them. Like I just read the section on spring greens and here is the menu:
Greens Season Meal Plan
Sunday - Roasted Chicken and potatoes, chard-leaf dolmades with bechamel sauce
Monday - Eggs in a Nest (swiss chard)
Tuesday - Chicken salad (from Sunday's leftover chicken) on a bed of baby greens
Wednesday - Pasta tossed with salmon, sauteed fresh chard, and dried tomatoes
Thursday - Dinner salad with boiled eggs (from the hens in the yard), broccoli, nuts, and feta; fresh bread
Friday - Pizza with chopped sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and cheese
Saturday - Spinach lasagne (recipe in book)
This doesn't sound like my cooking at all, but a girl can change??? When does the Gardeners Market open!
Favorite Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 (11 ounce) package milk chocolate chips
Cream together butter, margerine and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Sift or stir together flour, salt, soda, baking powder and mix in just until combined. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Drop balls onto cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
These "Aggiettes" are cute girls, but honestly their dances are b-o-r-i-n-g. I swear Brookelyn and Bailee could learn their steps. Step, touch, step, touch. They do a little more with their arms, but really, can't they kick it up a notch? The bball team is giving it their all and the dancers are dancing to tasteless music. I guess I just long for the good old days when Dorothy Watts was an Aggiette - or her daughters Angie, Millie and Ginna. Now those were some performances! No one went for popcorn during halftime back then.
The rules for the tag are:
It was one of those days that would have been charming and exciting in December...but a snowstorm like this in March just made everybody frustrated and impatient! It started snowing in the middle of the night and by morning we had a good six inches. It continued to snow and snow and snow - ALL DAY - dumping about a foot in our neck of the woods - twice that much in the south end of the valley where my brother Doug lives. Standing on the inside looking out, it really was quite pretty. But we all have spring fever, so we just couldn't appreciate the beauty of it all.
The one thing that I did enjoy yesterday was the bird symphony in my backyard - and front yard - and all around me. I went outside to snap some pictures and I couldn't believe the noise. I bet there were a thousand birds in my yard. Well, not quite a thousand, but truly, 30 in every tree, and I have a lot of trees. I looked out front and there were fifty more birds on the road in front of our house. The birds would find a tire track where the road was showing through, and they'd line up on the tire track. I don't know what they liked about it, but it sure was funny to watch. These birds were all big fat robins - notice the red breasts above. I guess they are on their way north for the summer after spending the winter in the south. They came about a week too soon. Supposedly, though, the weather is going to change this weekend. I can't imagine all this snow melting in one weekend, but I'm sure hope it does - I'm ready to get my grass back.
Here's the deal. About six months ago one of our computers got a virus. It was bad and we lost some things...like ALL OF OUR itunes. That was depressing. (Thankfully our photos and Word files were on another computer.) But I was sick about itunes. And we couldn't reclaim them which I think is the biggest ripoff EVER! I had lots of my own tunes that I'd paid 99 cents each for - over a couple of years. When I learned to use itunes a cuple of years ago, I really had fun making CD's for myself of my different playlists. I had CD's titled Debbie's Energy, Debbie's Inspiration, Debbie's Songs to Clean By, Debbie's Oldies etc. I had some good songs that I loved. (All isn't lost, I have been painstakingly downloading the songs off my CD's back to My Music and itunes - but it takes time that I don't want to spend.)
The other thing I lost was all my bookmarks. Arghh. When I first learned to bookmark I went crazy and bookmarked or 'favorited' every blog and good website I came across. Later I learned to organize my bookmarks and had a great library. When I realized they were gone, I was sick. I knew I had to switch to an online bookmark service. I googled and read about a bunch, and ended up deciding to use Yahoo Bookmarks. It's online so I can access it from any computer. It just sits on my My Yahoo homepage and it's quick and easy to add and organize sites. (You can install it on a Yahoo toolbar, but I prefer having it on my My Yahoo page.) I love it! I can find anything on it. I'll never remember or find all my old bookmarks, but I've good some good stuff here.
HERE is kind of what it looks like - I copied and pasted some of it to show you.
My Folders-Family Blogs
-Good Play Lists
-Church Info Sites
-Scrapbook Diva Blogs
-Quilt Shops Online
-Fabric Designer Blogs
- Instantly access your bookmarks from Yahoo! Toolbar
- Quickly search and find any bookmark
- Access your bookmarks from any computer online
After a couple of hopeful warm-ish days, we woke up to snow this morning - again. The day was dreary and depressing until the sun came out later in the afternoon. It was still c-o-l-d, but at least the world brightened up for a few minutes. When the sun finally shines after days of grayness, I love to walk around the house and look for patches of sunlight on my walls and carpet. It's something that lifts my spirits. And then I think of the wonderul book called Patches of Godlight by Jan Karon. This book is FULL of the favorite scriptures and quotes of Father Tim - the fictional pastor in the Mitford series. Warms my heart.
The photo above is my journals. I write in several journals and notebooks. The book on top is the journal where I write brainstorms and ideas - I have a constant flow of ideas, but I don't have the ability to DO all of them (or dang nearly any of them). If I don't get them down on paper, I get all busy in the brain - so thus my idea notebook. Also pictured is my journal where I keep track of the books I read. And my daily journal where I write what's going on - but I do not write daily, more like once every other month. The wire-bound journals are where I write my morning pages. Also not every morning, but at least a couple of times a week. Morning pages are a writing practice suggested by Julia Cameron in the book The Artist's Way. Marty Cannon turned me on to the idea and I love it. I just write what's on my mind when I wake up in the morning. I also have a gratitude journal and a health journal and a journal where I write 'angel nudges' - little bits of inspiration that randomly come to me and I want to remember. Obviously, I like to write.
If you're going to spend any time writing, good pens are a must. These are my favorite pens - they're the best to write with: Triplus Fineliner by Staedtler. I order them from Dick Blick.com. I especially love the brown and green ones. They are so smooth you just want to keep writing. Combine a good marker with high-quality smooth paper, and I'm willing to stay in for another three months and just write!