Wednesday, May 26, 2010

5 & 8

We're here...I can't believe they are five and eight now. That's big kid territory! We went bowling on Chloe's birthday. It was lots of fun for the whole family. Here are a few recent pictures of what 5 & 8 look like around here...OH! And I turned 36.

Louis lost his awesome skater locks this Spring because head lice was sweeping the South Hill and Chloe's classroom was affected for months. He has a buzz cut and we are all anxiously waiting to see his skater 'do again soon. He has taken to wearing hoodies more than ever. He sports a sticker earring or two to match his big sis...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Easter Sunday 2010

This year we went to a fabulous Easter Brunch at Margaret's house. Elinor and Phillip were there, too! We went to Cannon Hill to hide eggs and saw Rebekah, Ziggy & Solly! It was a beautiful spring day full of friends.

On our way home we stopped in at the Japanese Gardens at Manito Park and took a few pictures.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chloe is looking so big lately...

Here's Chloe, doing her homework in the green chair. Can you believe that this time next year she will be almost nine years old!?


I baked my first bread yesterday. Ironically enough, I am not eating much bread lately in my attempt to eat raw, fresh foods as much as possible. I have wanted to try making my own bread for a long time. Mark used to use our bread machine to make dough and then bake it in the oven. He fell out of the habit over the summer. I miss having home-baked (cheap! organic! healthy!) bread, so yesterday I finally gave it a try.

I received the final nudge I needed when Mark's library school classmate and friend Amy Scott posted "5 Minute Fantastic Bread " on Facebook. I printed out the recipe and found the time yesterday to give it a whirl. It's slightly sour, very chewy and crusty and my absolute favorite type of bread!

This is what Amy posted on Facebook:

"Makes 3 loaves
Active time: 5 minutes; total time: 4 hours

This is a combination of Jim Lahey's no-knead bread recipe, which ran in the New York Times a few years ago, and the simple crusty bread recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day--a book that you should hunt down if making bread turns out to be your thing (the pumpernickel in that book, for example, is worth the cover price). Experiment with different flours, or find something you like and stick with it; the cost, in terms of both time and money, should discourage all fear.

3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast (2 packages)
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons kosher salt, depending on your saltiness preference (or half as much table salt)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
6 1/2 cups flour (In the bread pictured, I used 3 cups white, 3 cups whole wheat, and 1/4 cup each ground flax and wheat germ. My usual recipe is 2 cups white, 2 cups wheat, 1 cup white wheat, 1 cup rye, and 1/4 cup each ground flax and wheat germ; this makes a quite dense and grainy and wholesome loaf. Make it with all white flour, and your kids will fall to their knees in gratitude--or mine will, if you invite them over.)

Pour the water into a large bowl or plastic container--one that you won't miss, since it may be in the fridge for a few days--then sprinkle in the yeast, salt, and vinegar. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the flours, and mix until there are no dry patches. The dough's texture may seem all wrong: too loose, too shaggy, too sticky. This is fine. Cover it with plastic wrap or a shower cap and let it rest and rise at a warm room temperature for at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours.

At this point, bake it or refrigerate it for up to two weeks to bake later. To bake it: sprinkle some flour across the surface of the dough and use a knife to cut off a piece that's about a third of it; refrigerate the remaining dough. Turn the dough in your hands to stretch its surface, pulling it under to create a taut, rounded top and a gathered-up bottom (imagine that you're giving the dough a firming face lift and tucking all that baggy, extra skin underneath). You will want to do this kind of quickly, keeping your fingers moving lightly over the surface of the dough, rather than plunging them inside, where they will stick. If your hands get doughy, stop what you're doing, wash and dry them, reflour the dough, and try again.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or wooden cutting board heavily with flour then lightly with cornmeal, put the loaf on it, sprinkle the top with flour, cover it lightly with a dish towel, and let it rest for 40 minutes (if you're using refrigerated dough, increase this rest time to 1 1/2 hours).

Half an hour before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450, and put a heavy, covered pot inside to heat. I use a Corning ceramic baking dish with a glass lid, but I used to use my enameled cast iron Dutch oven (over time, I felt like I was ruining that pot, though). Cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic all work well, so long as it holds at least 2.5 quarts and has a lid. Don't burn yourself, okay?

When the dough has rested, use a serrated or very sharp knife to slash an X across its top; do this with authority, so that the knife doesn't stick and so that the slashes are a good quarter-inch deep. Now pull the pot out of the oven, remove the lid, put the loaf in X-side up, replace the lid, and pop it into the oven. Did that go okay? Not so great? The dough stuck a little to the board and your hands and dumped into the pot at a weird angle? Don't fret. It will figure itself out in the oven.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes, covered, then remove the cover and bake another 15 minutes. At this point, it should be beautifully browned. Cool on a rack before slicing, or you will end up with a mess of damp, shaggy crumbs. I know you're going to eat it hot anyways, but I just wanted to have said that."

I will be making this bread again and again and again!!!!! I used 2 cups white, 1 cup oat, 3 1/2 cups whole wheat. Delicious.

New Year's Eve visit with Amy, Josh, Liam & Ethan

Liam and Ethan
The four kids played incredibly well, intensely, and without breaks for the entire visit. All we heard were joyous laughter, roaring, running, talking, negotiating, disagreeing, agreeing, & other interesting noises; we kept the food coming and the playing continued.

The adults played board games and did puzzles, occasionally stopping to eat or drink something yummy.

Friends & fun fun fun.

Saturday, September 26, 2009