Tag Archives: bread

It never. stops. snowing.

I tweeted this the other day, but I seriously feel like I am the only person in the northern half of the US who isn’t sick to death of snow by now.  We got another 4″  or so overnight, and with today’s shoveling the drifts are officially higher than our car.  I’d take a picture but I haven’t been outside yet (Jeff missed the bus and drove himself to work).  I think Simes and I are going to take Roxie on a walk later, though, because despite the snow it’s actually not super cold.

Let’s see…it’s been over a week since I posted.  What’s been going on?

I finished an AWESOME project and am dying to show it off but I have to keep it under wraps for a while yet (the recipient checks in here every now and again).  I’m also trucking along on Jeff’s mansocks (yawwwwnnnnnn) and when I finish those I’m going to reward myself by FINALLY casting on for Catkin.  I’ll only be, like, the last person on earth to knit it.  I have some yummy Dyeabolical Tenacious Tencel fingering weight set aside for it.  It’ll be the first thing I’ve knit for myself since, well, those stripey knee socks (which are now hibernating) that I cast on right before we moved to Ohio.  SOMEONE (a pointed look in Simon’s direction) has severely curtailed my knitting time, what with his need for “food” and “diapers” and “stories” and “playing” and “interaction”.  Jeez.

We managed to get our act together and hit storytime on Thursday.  These storytimes are SO much better than the one we went to in LA.  More chaotic, but more fun.  Also, there are at least 4 other pregnant moms in the toddler group (plus the teacher/librarian, too).  I’d try to make friends if I weren’t so damn shy.  And of course the kids are still a little too young to really play with each other, so there’s not even really the whole “hey your kid and my kid like to play together! Want to come to our house for a playdate?” opening.  Ah well.  Moving in 6 months anyway; I’ll just try harder to make more friends in our next city.

Simon was LOVING the tunnels during the free play time:

After storytime was over we weren’t quite ready to go home but didn’t have any errands to do, so I called Jeff and asked if we could take him to lunch (one of the benefits of living 5 minutes down the road from his work!).  We also seized the opportunity to get official “helping Daddy at work” pictures for this office:

Simon is terribly helpful, you see.

Because Jeff and I are boring and old, we didn’t make any plans for Valentine’s Day.  But then it turned out that Sarah was free, and there was a showing of the Lego Movie that ended before Simon’s bedtime, and when the stars align so perfectly you can’t just not take advantage of it.  So we ditched the baby and went on a romantic date to see a kid’s movie (lol).  AND IT WAS AWESOME.  It’s one of those movies that really truly isn’t just a kid’s movie or a grownup movie.  I really can’t remember the last time I liked a movie so well.  Can’t wait to get it on Blu-Ray and share it with Simes when he’s a bit older 🙂

On Saturday we decided to head up to Cleveland and visit the children’s museum, since our last couple of family adventures have been more grownup oriented (the Akron art museum doesn’t really hold a lot of entertainment value for the under-2 set ;-)).  It was a little bit expensive for the three of us to get in ($8/person, even though there wasn’t really anything even remotely interesting for grownups), but Simon LOVED the whole thing so I guess he got $24 worth of fun out of it for all of us.  (Seriously though – since kids get reduced/free admission to a lot of grownup events, doesn’t it seem like grownups should get it for kid events?  It’s not like Jeff and I were personally enriched by the fake grocery store or fire truck setups).

Here is where I spam you, big time.  Sorry (not sorry).

We spent the first half hour or so in a play area that was done up like a farm, for the really young crowd:

Simon spent most of his efforts repeatedly mowing the carpet, but he also took a turn on the tumbling/crawling mats and played with the silo/crops activity.  At one point when we’d just been there for a few minutes, Jeff and I were watching him play and Jeff said to me:  “See how he’s over playing all alone?  I wish he’d play with the other kids.”  I told Jeff, “What do you think we’re doing?”  We looked around and sure enough, across the room was a cluster of other parents all socializing, while we were off in the opposite corner with our arms crossed.

 

At least we know where he gets it 😛

Also, one of the moms in the room was wearing a “flags of the confederacy” t-shirt with camo pants and combat boots.  I’m not sure they would’ve been our type, anyway.

More than the farm area, though, Simes loved the suspension bridge that was in the “city” (bank/grocery store/doctor’s office area):

After a few hesitant steps, he was trotting back and forth across it like a pro.

But the best thing of ALL was the water activity.  This thing was so cool, even as a grownup.  (Maybe I did get my $8 worth after all)

They had rain jackets in every size and step stools for the little ones, and Simon immediately cozied up to the table and set to work.

For a while, his primary occupation consisted of holding his arm over a spout and sending water jetting up his sleeve (so much for the cute little rain jacket).

Explaining his master plan to Daddy:

They had a bunch of bath and pool toys, magnetic fishing poles and random floaties:

 

Further upstream (we were at the downstream end) there were more complicated things set into the table – mechanical water wheels, locks, etc. – but those were arranged at a higher level (apparently for older kids and, you know, gravity) so we didn’t mess with them too much.  Not gonna lie, I sort of wanted to go play, but Jeff wouldn’t let me shove 6-year-olds out of the way.

Once the little dude was thoroughly waterlogged and getting cranky, we headed home (after a full wardrobe change in the car, of course).  He conked out before we even made it onto the highway.  Success!

Sunday was quiet – Jeff judged a mock trial thing and we ran out for haircuts and FroYo – and that was our weekend!  Just right 🙂

We’ve officially reached the stage where I adore sleepy Simon pictures more than ever, as they belie the sheer chaos that encircles his every waking moment.  I look at pictures like this and he’s just so quiet and peaceful and I love it.  But then he wakes up and we go spin in circles and play fetch with the dog and build  massive block towers just to kick them down, and that’s even more fun.

Isn’t he just utterly kissable?

This afternoon we’re making 12-grain sandwich bread:

I use this recipe and Bob’s Red Mill 12-grain cereal, which makes the whole thing so easy that most of the time it’s honestly more convenient than going to the store.  And it tastes like a gazillion times better too, because DUH.  (Also I add 2T each of vital wheat gluten and soy lecithin, because I can.  It also helps the dough have a little more resilience, while still being soft and tender.  Come to think of it, I could use some vital wheat gluten and soy lecithin for myself. :-P)

And now I need to go tend to my dough and build some of those aforementioned block towers.  Hi-YA!

Advertisements

Cranberry Orange Bread with Vanilla-Clove Glaze

Y’all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Jeff and I have discovered that pretty much the only way he’ll partake in said meal on weekdays is if I entice him with delicious home-baked goodness of some sort.

 

WELL TWIST MY ARM WHYDONTCHA.

 

My usual repertoire of cinnamon rolls and bran muffins was getting a bit stale (hurr hurr), and whole cranberries were on sale at the grocery store, so I started piddlefarting around a couple weeks ago and came up with this.  Then I tweaked a few things and made it again, because diligence.  Eet ees mee meedle nam.

Long story short, this thing is delicious.  In fact, I think it may be Jeff’s favorite non-chocolate semi-healthy baked item, which is really sayin’ something.

 

And now I share it with you, for your weekday (or weekend) breakfast (or snacktime) pleasure (or indifference).

 

Also, if I were a good and thoughtful person I would’ve taken pretty pictures without the dish drainer in the background.  But I’m not a good and thoughtful person, so there.  The fine folks at Rubbermaid can thank me for the free publicity 😛

 

Cranberry Orange Bread with Vanilla-Clove Glaze

1c whole wheat flour

1c white flour

2t baking powder

1/2t baking soda

3/4t salt

1T orange zest (if you have it.  No biggie if omitted.)

2c fresh cranberries, rinsed and roughly chopped

1/2c walnuts, chopped (if such things appeal to you.)

3T flax meal (because everybody needs more fiber.)

1/4c room-temperature butter

3/4c packed brown sugar

1 egg

1t vanilla

3/4c orange juice

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a standard-size loaf pan and line with parchment paper.

 

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together dry ingredients; stir in orange zest, flax, walnuts and cranberries.

 

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla.  Stir in orange juice.  Stir in flour/cranberry mixture *just* until moistened (batter should be lumpy, like for muffins).  Pour into prepared pan.

 

Bake 45-60 minutes, or until loaf is springy to the touch.  Cool slightly, then turn out on a wire rack.

 

Vanilla-Clove Glaze

1c powdered sugar

1T vanilla or caviar from 1/2 vanilla bean

1/2t ground clove (nutmeg, or mace, if you’re fancy)

splash of milk or cream to achieve perfect drizzly texture

Combine and wisk together well, adjusting powdered sugar or milk as needed for texture.  Glaze while loaf is still slightly warm.

I love you.

 

 

Have a good weekend, guys.

Friday Favorites – 9/17/10

I have just the linen yarn for this supercute kerchief

OMG SO TRUE.  I was *always* the first one awake at sleepovers.  And I’d lay quietly as long as I could ’till I heard my friend’s parents woke up and then I’d usually wander into the kitchen and sit there feeling awkward and drinking an unusual brand of orange juice and watching the clock ’till my mom would come pick me up.  UGH.

Amazing library desk.  But how could they stand to lose so many books?!

More library porn – only with a 19th-century twist.

I’m making pumpkin cream cheese tomorrow, y’all.  Just so ya know.

Love it.

Could this be the best Cake Wrecks ever?  Perhaps…

I want to make them all!

Note to self:  make challah.

Fine art, Star Wars style.  Just what it sounds like.

Delicious easy appetizer idea?  yes please! 🙂

Great post on cycle commuting.  I know that “there already?  Aww…” feeling.

I think Bed Intruder is my favorite meme of the year.

Yep.

Friday Favorites – 8/13/10

Gotta make this quick, Jeff wants to go to Ted Drewe’s and I *guess* I’ll indulge him 😛

Whoa…meta.

I fully support street art of this nature.

So cute I almost died.

Hyperbole and a Half wins again.

Great compilation!

Why haven’t I tried making baguette yet?  Oh yes.  The laziness.

Best use of color in a tattoo that I’ve seen in a LONG while.  J’adore!

AWWWW!

Amazing afghan, amazing act of kindness by Thi.  Love it!

Orange-pecan sticky buns with dates and cranberries.  What else is there to say?

On writing and education.

Little House Cookbook!  I *must* buy this for HH’s.  Yeeahhhh…HH’s. ::solemn nod::

I am physically pained by this photo.  The windsuits and turtlenecks bring up childhood memories I’d *thought* I’d repressed.  ::shudder::

I love pun dog!

This is my new favorite.

OK LAST recipe of the week.  I promise.  But you can’t miss these banana chocolate chip oatmeal cookies!

I can’t decide if this makes me happy or sad.

One more.  That’s it.  NOW I’m done.  I mean it this time.

PS>Don’t click here.  Unless you find caramel and chocolate completely unappealing anyway, and won’t be tempted.

Amazing

I’ve done this dozens of times over, but it never ceases to amaze me.

Yeast + warm water + sugar = MAGIC.

I feel like I’m Harry Potter, and I just got an O in Potions class.

Just Like Grandma’s

While we were at the grocery store on Saturday Jeff grabbed a package of cinnamon rolls and said, “Let’s get these!”.  But I am a mean old witchyperson, so I said no and smacked his hand and made him put them away.

Then on Sunday morning I woke up early, and made some the right way.  Because I’m a mean old loving witchyperson.

Grandma’s recipe – it’s never failed me before, and I swear it’s pure magic.  Love these things.

Speaking of magic – before the second rise:

(and here I go, posting my dirty stove for all the Internet to see…)

And after the second rise:

HOLY HELL I LOVE YEAST.

But a bunch of raw cinnamon rolls don’t do ya much good, will they?  So then you bake them, and ice them…

And eat them.

I ate this one:

It was every bit as delicious as it looks.

This one, too:

(is there anything better than a Sunday morning with fresh baked cinnamon rolls and a whole Internets’ worth of entertainment?)

And then I died.  Again.

NOM.

The end.

…oh, all right.  If you’re just gonna whine at me, I’ll give you the recipe.  But remember – this is Grandma‘s recipe.  My grandma.  So don’t mess with it! 😛

Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls

1c warm water

1 packet (2 1/2 tsp) yeast

2T sugar

1t salt

1/2c dry milk

1/4c shortening (just no getting around it.  Gotta use shortening.)

~3c flour (varies)

2T melted butter

cinnamon-sugar mixture

Icing:

2t vanilla

2T melted butter

powdered sugar (~1c, maybe?)

milk (~1/3c? maybe?)

Combine water, yeast, and sugar in mixer bowl; let sit until yeast activates.  Add salt, dry milk and shortening; beat well.  Gradually beat in flour, until a soft dough is formed.  (At this point, I take the dough out of my KitchenAid and knead by hand).  Knead ~6-8 minutes, or until you’ve got nice pretty happy glutenstrands.  Let rise for 1 hour, using your preferred method*.

Turn dough onto lightly floured board; punch down and roll to about 12″ x 20″ rectangle.  Spread butter evenly on top, then sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar.  Roll from long end to long end (so you have a tube ~20″ long), pinching the seam closed when you’re done.  Transfer roll to a cutting board** then cut into 12 discs of even width.  Place in a greased 9 x 13 pan*** and let rise a second time.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Icing:  combine all ingredients in small bowl; whisk together until smooth.  Icing should be runny but not liquidy (adjust amount of powdered sugar and/or milk as needed – amounts above are just guesstimates.)

Pour icing on warm rolls.  Consume with great abandon.

*I learned about this rising method a few months ago, and haven’t done it any other way since:  When you first get started, heat oven to 200 degrees, then turn it off.  When dough is ready to rise, just pop it into the warm-but-not-hot oven in its bowl or on its bread board (whichever), and cover with a cotton cloth.  The oven will cool so slowly that it’ll create a perfect, cozy environment for the dough without causing it to lose humidity.  And I guess the cotton cloth is optional if you don’t live in cat- or dog-friendly house.

**Because I don’t like to get icky stuff – butter or cinnamon – on my bread board (it can make the board unsanitary, and you shouldn’t be washing a bread board frequently anyway).  So I’m extra careful  when I brush on the melted butter, then transfer to a bamboo cutting board when its time to slice the roll.

***After much research, I’ve determined that the best pan for this is a cheap-o aluminum one like you can pick up at Dollar General (which is where I got the one above).  Darker colored pans (ChefMate, Wilton, etc. – and everything at Target)make the rolls get too brown and cook unevenly.

Enjoy! 🙂 I’d love to hear if anybody tries the recipe. Just think – it’ll be just like standing in my Grandma’s kitchen.

PS>Bonus points if you have a Currier and Ives plate to eat off of.

 

~~~

EDIT 2/2/11:  I have since tweaked this recipe a bit.  I now use a 2:1 ratio of white sugar to brown sugar and sprinkle it liberally on the flat dough.  I also use a TON of cinnamon (more than you would think is humanly possible or necessary).  Then I roll them long-ways rather than short-ways, to increase the number of layers in each roll.  This makes them more tender and delicate and flavorful.  Highly recommended!