Wednesday, January 28, 2009

cats and dogs

Tonight I needed to do something to make me feel better. I needed to feel that I was actually "productive".

As I sit in my favorite chair......

the one that sits in the corner of the room.......

behind my chair is a rack that holds extra blankets that we all like to use for those really cold nights that we experience here in Michigan. After a while, I realize that I can hear something....
and if you look real close you can see something......

my big fat furr ball of a cat, Simba. He loves to sit and lay behind me in my favorite chair. Has anyone ever heard a cat snore? Simba does! You see, sometimes blankets fall to the floor in the back of my chair and this is one of his favorite spots This one is one of my favorites because I get to hear him snore. Now by definition, it isn't a "loud" snore, but listening to a cat snore......I mean really who wouldn't want to sleep on a nice fuzzy blanket? Oh to be a cat, and lay around and not have a care in the world.....well yes I suppose there are some cares, like when is he going to be fed, and will he have enough water, and will his cat box ever be cleaned? ahhhhhh the life and trials of a house cat. But really he likes to hide back there because he thinks he is smart enough to hide from the most horrific creature in the dog!

Today we were privileged to receive a little bit more snow here in Michigan, but really we really do not have enough snow, I mean really for real... Here is my dog, the snow dog, I know it's not the best picture, but I hope you can see the snow on his face. It amazes me that he likes to dig through the snow, and get wet, but heaven forbid me give him a bath....oh the agony!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

learning moments

Hello everyone....well my original intent was to just post recipes, but tonight I couldn't resist a sidetrip and blog a piece of our life. We had an interesting situation that happened today, and this problem has come and gone since we have been in the world of children doing dishes......our dishwasher became very sick. You see, the reason why our dishwasher became very sick is because the children that I have do not listen and do not rinse the FOOD off the the dishes and when this happens it causes our dishwasher to slowly become clogged in which brings me to today, when the dishwasher washed our dishes two times and still did not clean the dishes, so our dishwasher was clogged.....

Now for reasons I am not quite sure of, our dishes had piled up to super high piles, and in the past when our dishwasher clogs, the dishwasher remains sick for a while, so that my dearest children can actually hand wash the dishes, and possibly learn a lesson. Also the reason why the dishwasher remains clogged is according to my husband, cleaning out a dishwasher is a pain.

So........Devon is in charge of doing the dishes this week, and refused to hand wash all of the dishes you see below......

There's two pictures here, and really the pictures don't do this justice...the sink is also piled high, with dishes....a lot of dishes.
So, my wonderful determined son decided he was going to take apart and unclog the dishwasher.......yeah I know, quite the undertaking.....Steve was out plowing our snowpiles and he wanted to do this all himself. (oh and look he got a haircut today!!!!)
He did pretty well for a while, he took apart all of the pieces and arranged them oh so nice, and if you look at the next picture, you can see he has arranged the pieces on the counter.

After a while, Steve came in and started to offer Devon some advice. Devon took quite a dislike to this.....and Steve ended up walking away in a huff. I then went back to my dearest hubby and soft-talked him into him going back and be a Dad for him, listen and not take over. Yeah, I know, to not take over, what a hard they were able to work it out....Steve was able to watch and help (a little) and Devon was able to put it all back together.

Here, it is all back together.....learning moments.....these are the best. It became a win-win situation for both my son and my husband.....a man bonding moment and my children don't have to hand wash all of those dishes....Honestly, with a dishwasher, my children't don't know how good they have their life! Lots of love......Below, it is all put back together!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mom's Wheat Bread

Hello everyone, I have been thinking for a while about starting up my own blog, but I really didn't know what I would could put on it, or did I really think I was all that creative...... so I decided to start one and to put recipes on my blog that I thought would be fun or were nostalgic recipes. So, my first recipe is a recipe that I grew up with and a recipe that brings good memories to me. It was always such a good memory to come home to fresh baked bread. I would come home, slice a big slice of bread, put a nice hunk of butter on it, and then top it off with homemade jam or jelly. Oh yeah.....what a good snack. My mom even made bread and sold it to teachers in elementary school for $1.50! Her bread was in high demand at the school. I have no idea where she got this recipe, and if you look at some of my pictures, you will notice that my bread pans are quite dark and old. They were here pans, when I first got married, she gave me a few of her pans, and I have treasured them ever since. So here is the list of ingredients:

White flour, wheat flour, yeast, honey, vegetable oil, salt, water, brown sugar...I don't know if you can tell, but my yeast is in a quart jar. I buy the yeast at sams, and it when you buy it, the yeast comes in two containers. I put one package in a jar, put it in the refrigerator, and the other, un-opened in the freezer. It will keep like that for a long time. That is how Mom told me to store it, and I have been doing it like that since I have been married. Also, I apologize in advance, I took a lot of pictures for this recipe, it has a lot of steps, I felt the more pictures, the better it would help to learn the proces of making the bread if you have not made it yourself.

To get started I take lukewarm water, brown sugar, and mix it in a bowl, and then I add the yeast. This is an important step because you want the water lukeawarm, not cold, not hot. You want the yeast to get nice and happy. There are actually several different ways you can get yeast started. It usually takes, sugar and nice warm liquid. In this recipe, it is brown sugar and warm water.
You set that aside, and get the rest of the ingredients together.
Then you take very, very, hot tap water, honey, salt and vegetable oil, and put that in a nice big bowl. Now I start this with my mixer and finish mixing the dough on the counter. I have a dough hook on my mixer, I do not have the super size mixer, so I can only go so far in mixixng my dough before I have to finish this on the counter. And just to let you know, if you don't have one of those big mixers, have no fear, this can all be done by hand my friend, that is actuallly the way my Momma did!
So below are the liquid ingredients mixed together.

After the liquid ingredients have been assembled, you stop and add the yeast mixture. On the recipe that my mom wrote for me, she had actually forgotten to write this down, and there is a STOP AND ADD FIRST MIX. For whatever reason, I will still forget to add the yeast mixture, and have to go back and hope and pray that I didn't mess up the process. Sometimes I still forget, and add the yeast with the flour. If you look real close, you can see the yeast has started to bubble, and getting real happy.

Here are the two liquids added together.

After the liquids are together, you get to add the wheat flour. I add about 3 cups at a time, and mix this as I go.

After all the wheat flour is added, then comes the white flour. I add a little to the mixer, then take the mixing bowl off, because my hook starts getting caught in the dough. Then I start hand mixing, and honestly, this is good excercise for those un -muscular arms that we have, so I start adding about 3 cups at a time. Soon, I have added enough to take it out on the counter to knead! What fun!

Flour your counter, and remember to flour your hands, actually you should flour your hands before you take it out of the mixing bowl, because if you don't, you will realize how important it is to put flour on your will stick to the dough!

Then you get to knead, this is always the best part of making the bread....what a great way to take out frustrations.....but hey, what am I saying, I am never frustruated....when you knead, you want to try to start kneading a ball, and kneading the dough towards you, and adding flour as you go along as needed. How will you know when you are done, you ask? Well I will tell you!

when you have a nice ball, and the dough isn't "sticky". The dough will be pliable, and I am putting my fingers in the dough ball to demonstrate that it is not sticky but more "pliable."

After that, your dough is ready to rise. I put it in a nicely sprayed pot, and you leave it alone, let it get happy, and rise. Once it gets going, it doesn't take long, and this time I actually timed the rising process, and it only took 30 minutes. Here is a trick though, when I cover my pan, I cover it with plastic wrap, (you don't want the dough to dry out), so on the inside of the plastic wrap, I spray it with Pam, and if the dough rises up to the top it won't stick! When I figured out that trick, that made me very happy. Many years I would come back to my risen dough and waste a lot of dough because it had stuck to the plastic wrap.

Here is the pan when I put the dough ball in the pan. You will wait till that doubles. You get to walk away, read a book, do some dishes, do some laundry.......wait and come back.

Ok, so we come back and get everything ready for making the bread. I have sprayed the pans, and then followed up with a coat of flour. You can also just use the spray with flour, that would also work just fine. I have three pans here, this recipe will make 5 loaves, but when I usually make this recipe I also make cinnamon rolls, if you want to see that process, let me know.
So here we with the dough doubled and ready to go.....

Here comes the fun part, I start taking a little of the dough out at a time. I have this scraper gadget, I have no idea what it is called, but it is great, it cuts the dough very nicely.

Again, the counter gets floured, and my rolling pin gets floured, and flour your hands. Start rolling out your dough slowly, and the reason why it gets rolled and kneaded, is to get out all of the bubbles out of the dough.

Here is the dough rolled, and quite thin, pretty much all the bubbles have been worked out.

After, it has been rolled out, I start to shape in, into bread pan form.

I then start to roll it, to place it in the pans.

This is what it looks like all ready to go in the pan.

This is what it looks like underneath, this is the system I have created, you won't always get it to look perfect, so I don't know any other way to do this.

Then I put the rolls of dough in the pans, and kind of smush them around to fill in the corners, and then we will wait for them to rise. They are less than 1/2 full in the pans.

I then cover them with a towel so that they don't dry out, and wait for them to rise, and at this point I preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

These are ready for the oven! It took about 20ish minutes for them to rise, then they go in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. You will know when they are done, when you pull them out and tap on them and get a nice "hollow" sound. They will be a nice brown color as well.

Here the bread is all done! You should smell my kitchen! I take them out, and place them on racks to cool off. Sometimes I can't wait for them to cool off. This is one of my favorites snacks! I am actually eating homemade strawberry jam!
Just as a little note, the loaves of bread will not keep very long. So after they have cooled for a few hours, I slice them, put them in baggies, put them in the freezer and use them as I go along. I love these for cinammon toast, and yummy sandwiches...they are the best on pb&J!

Much love!
3 tab yeast
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c warm water
then in separate bowl
5 c very hot tap water
1 1/3 tab salt
2/3 c honey (or brown sugar)
1/3 c oil
6-8c wheat flour
6-8 c white flour

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Just getting started!

Hello everyone! I am anxious and nervous about this whole blogging thing. I have seen so many other blogs and feel so not-worthy of getting this thing started. I hope to be able to fill some big shoes of sites I have seen! I look forward to getting started, until then.....see ya later!