Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Birthdays Galore

Well, can you believe it?! Lara and I have been married just over 3 months. Yes. It's Aaron. The non-English major. So, whether the Oxford comma is kosher is not up my alley (however, I have been convinced that it is necessary). So thanks to my most lovely wife for allowing me to say hello.


Yesterday was the best mother-in-law's birthday, Deanna. Lara made some amazing fettucine alfredo while Rachel brought the cheesecake.



There was dancing...






And reading...






And baby holding competitions...

Sit-up competitions...





Hide-and-seek...




And fun times held by all!!!!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

shards

When I was 13, I traveled with a charter bus full of teenage girls to Nashville. We went for a Baptist conference. I don't remember much about the conference. What I do remember, though, is the ride back when they handed out "superlative" awards. You know, like "Most Funny", "Most Thoughtful", etc. Mind that I had only known these girls for a week. You know what award I got? "Most Clumsy."

I wish that at 25, I could say I'd outgrown that award. I don't think I have.

I shattered the 9x13 version of this Pyrex dish when I brushed it off the counter and it hit our tile floor.

A few weeks later, deja vu. This pot lid (thankfully I have two) met the same fate. We have hard floors.

Then, today, as in five minutes ago, another glass-breaking happened. My dismay soon turned to laughter because this accident is so me. I can't believe I did this. But then again, I can.

I have this lovely letter from Aaron framed in our bedroom. When I was first trying to hang it, the glass broke in the corner. See?
I headed to the thrift store this morning to find a replacement. Sure enough, I found a cheap brass frame with a perfect piece of 8x10 glass for 25 cents! I bought it, brought it home, and plopped down on the bed to pop the broken piece out of my frame. That's when I heard a terrific crunch. I stood up, startled.
I sat on the new piece of glass and shattered it! I was wearing jeans, so my bottom is okay, but I am wondering if glass is ever safe for long around me. I just can't get out from the shadow of "Most Clumsy."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Making bread

I am about to reveal to you how to make the best bread in the world. I cannot take any credit for it. The summer of 2007, I lived with an amazing family in Colorado while I worked at their ice-cream shop. Carol, the mom, taught me how to make this bread, and I don't even want to look at another bread recipe in my life. I will even claim this bread is fool-proof. Although if you make it and it doesn't turn out, I don't know...maybe you need to go live with Carol.

Yesterday, Aaron asked if I was going to make bread. The birthday boy glow was still halo-ing out from him, and I do love him a lot. Bread it was.
A little picture to get your appetite whetted:
This bread is not hard to make. I make the dough in my KitchenAid mixer, which takes the difficulty level down a few more notches, but it's still totally possible without the KA. (Which, as a side note, I use practically every day. It is incredible. I think I could become a spokewoman for the KitchenAid mixer. Since I'm on the subject, look at this cute thing from an Etsy artist. )
Here is the recipe:
Carol's Homemade Bread

2 T. yeast
1 c. lukewarm water
2 t. sugar

Mix yeast, water, and sugar together. Let sponge for five minutes. It will look something like this:

(The reflection gives me away...I am wearing socks and granny houseshoes.)

Add 1 c. flour and let sit for 20 minutes.

Add 3 T. oil, 1 c. sugar, 1 T. salt, 3 c. lukewarm water, and 7-8 c. flour. Sometimes I use less sugar. I have found that I usually need upside of 8 c. flour to make the dough not sticky. This recipe is so versatile, because you can substitute in a lot of things for some of the flour. For instance, yesterday I used 4 c. whole wheat flour, a little bit of oat bran (1/2 c. maybe?), and some wheat gluten. Mix all this together (either using the dough hook on the KA or a strong hand and a wooden spoon). If you are using the dough hook, you can let it do the kneading, or you can also knead by hand. I usually knead some by hand, because it is cathartic.

After kneading 8-10 minutes, cover the dough and let rise in a warm place 1 hour. Do not think that it is a good idea to set it on the stove and turn on a nearby burner to create a warm atmosphere. I once did that heard a story about a college girl who did that with roll dough and the towel caught on fire, sending the whole bowl up in flames. The fire extinguisher had to be used, campus safey had to be called...it was not pretty.

After 1 hour or so, punch dough down in the middle. Then shape into loaves. This recipe makes approximately 3 medium sized loaves. Let the loaves rise again until double.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Carol always brushed butter over the top of the warm loaves, and I do this too.


One more thing: eat.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

here's to 24


Happy Birthday, Aaron!
Aaron turned 24 yesterday. Now we will be the same age for 10 days, until I will once again become the older woman. :)

It was a lovely day...
  • sleeping in
  • biscuits and gravy
  • puttering around the house, each doing our own job (a = k-life stuff, l = sweeping and dishwashing and baking)
  • quick spinach fetticuine lunch
  • a trip to the grocery store and my favorite thrift
  • walking to dinner at the famous El Rodeo where we had some fabulous year-in-review talk (the silly Olympic date, the night he proposed, the honeymoon!)
  • birthday party with some friends (I was the only girl...getting used to this...)

And p.s. I bought a piano! For $20 at a garage sale. Upside: it is beautiful and antique-y. Downside: it took 7 men to move it up the front stairs and into our dining room. Aaron says when we move from this house, the next owners will inherit the piano. Lucky them. I might be able to convince a different seven men to move it for us...whadda you think? It does need a good tuning, but until there is enough money in the budget for that, I will pound out the old hymns and my own improv.