Sunday, February 15, 2009

Man Cannot Live on Bread Alone... But I could try!

Oooooh Weeeee! I love my breadmaker! Mine is a Breadman Ultimate. I've had it for a while. In fact, it may be about 8 years old now. My goodness.


I made fresh homemade bread today and it turned out just perfect. The texture, the rise, the consistency, and the aroma. Mmmmm.

My favorite recipe originally came from Allrecipes.com. Then I found others and incorporated bits from those. I have played around with it so much that now I can't remember how close it is to the original.

Here's what I did today:

Whole Wheat Honey Bread

Place wet ingredients in bread machine pan.
- 1 1/8 cups warm water
- 1/3 cup honey
1 T milk (actually I used kefir)
1 1/2 T safflower oil
1 1/2 t salt - don't let it touch the yeast

Place dry ingredients in the bread machine pan.
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1/2 t sugar
Make a small indentation on top of dry ingredients (make sure it doesn't reach the wet ingredients) and put the yeast there.
1 1/2 t yeast - I used breadmaker yeast, but rapid rise and active dry have also worked fine.

Bread machine settings:
Select - Whole Wheat
Loaf Size - 1 1/2 lb
Crust Control - Light

Press Start. Time = 3 hours 27 minutes

If you want to let the bread bake in the oven, which I do, take the pan out just before the baking cycle begins - that's the last 37 minutes on my machine.

Today I split the dough into 2 stoneware loaf pans. The one on the right is darker because it is better seasoned. The newer, lighter one has a ways to go before it reaches stoneware nirvana.


Bake at 350 degrees as follows:
one loaf - 40 minutes
two loaves - 30 minutes
two soup bowls - 30 minutes
rolls - 15 minutes (works well to bake in muffin tins)

The actual hands on time is very little. It's really easy to make but there's something very "domestic goddess-y" about baking bread.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hot Topic - Really, Really Hot!

It occurred to me that this weekend I wouldn't have anything much to post about on my blog. I thought I'd have to search to find something interesting since most everything I needed to do was fairly mundane. Well, that all changed in a flash... as in flash fire.


Dr. Doolittle and my dad decided to burn the brush pile. You know, Dr. Doolittle takes too long to type. I could do like many bloggers and refer to his as my DH (as in Dear Husband). "Dear" somehow seems wrong for him - he's too mischievous. I think I'll just refer to him from now on as RC.

Back to the brush pile... The brush pile had been building for the last year til it was quite high - 10 feet maybe. I didn't see it when it was lit. I was up at the house. When Trish and I wandered down to see how things were going, my dad was frantically fighting a fast spreading fire with a rake. That was not a pleasant scene for a daughter who adores her dad. We didn't see RC. Trish started beating the fire with sticks or branches or something. I went temporarily insane looking for RC, who to me is a knight is shining armor of sorts. He is always so cool under pressure and can handle an emergency better than anyone I know. Moments later he came zipping around the lake on his tractor, looking decidedly uncool. He was moving at a speed I didn't know was possible on a tractor. By this time the fire had jumped the fence. I was sent to call the fire department. Side note: Had I known company would be coming I might have taken time to dress a little better. Maybe I need to rethink my schlumpy weekend attire.
The firemen came really fast. Wow! These guys were wonderful. I went to the dirt road side of our property thinking they'd be coming in there since that was the address I gave. By the time I realized they had gone to the paved road and drove around, they had already put the fire out.

We had done many things right. We had our burn permit. We had checked the weather. The wind was supposed to be fine according the reports we saw. Ha.

We also made a few notes for the next time we burn. The tractor should be on hand with the front thingie (can't remember what it's called) attached before lighting the fire. A good source of water and maybe some extra dirt should be close by. We need a gate on the paved side of the property. We also need another source of weather information.
Once it was over, we could see the humor of the situation. It was all so crazy, it could have been an episode on a sitcom.
A lot of the grass has now had the thatch cleared the old fashioned way, so it should look good come summer. I wish I had a picture of the scene in full blaze. It was pretty scary for a bit. The picture of the aftermath above just doesn't do it justice.

Here is the fire under total control. A nice little fire perfect for toasting marshmallows. At this point most of the limbs and things have already burned and RC is using the tractor to keep a wide berth of dirt around the fire.

We all smell like smoke. What a day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall!

Apparently, Dr. Doolittle & I are quite vain. We have been without bathroom mirrors for a couple of months and it was more irksome than we anticipated.

I hung a hand mirror for a little while so I could at least peak at myself while brushing my teeth.

Finally, we hung mirrors over the sinks. Here are the two in the master bathroom. These are our transitional mirrors. One day, I want medicine cabinets with mirrors. And I want Dr. Doolittle to make them, because the ones I've seen in the stores so far have not thrilled me.

Even though the mirrors are not very big, it was amazing how they made the room instantly look larger.

There are a number of details in the room that still need addressing. I do not like the globes on the lights AT ALL. They have an odd way of attaching - the don't look like standard globes, so I need to go to a lighting store to see what I can do. It may be that a standard shaped globe would still work. I really haven't had time to check into it. Hopefully, I can get replacements soon - something plain - white & a bit old fashioned.

I hope to find nicer containers for the things I'll keep on the shelf. I like things I use daily to be easy to get to, but they need to look nice.

The desk in the middle is a freebie. It was a job perk. I was hired just as some remodeling was taking place and the desk had to go. It looked to me like something I could redo. In fact, it's something I have been hoping to come across. I need a vanity in the bathroom - a place to vainly gaze at myself while I work diligently in an attempt to look gorgeous.

I put the desk in the bathroom to try it out for a bit and make sure it will do before starting any sort of makeover.

I think I can paint it and attach a mirror and end up with something that will serve me nicely until I find the absolute perfect piece. I can't decide what color to paint it. White comes to mind first, but will there be too much white in the bathroom? Green? Robin's egg blue? Too frou-frou? A rich chocolate brown to pick up the browns in the floor? Too much brown? I can't paint it til I have an inspiring vision of how it will look.

Here are a few examples of interesting vanities.

This one is from Restoration Hardware -
This one from Thomasville is interesting, but doesn't have the drawer space I want -
Here's an interesting vanity mirror from thefurniture.com -
I have already have a mirror I'm going to try to make do with, but the one above sure would look nice. Hmmm... I wonder if I could find some scrolls to attach to the sides of my mirror...

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