Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Emily's French Bread.

Just before hitting that blast of heat.

In anticipation of the apology that I owe you for that last ‘rub it in your face’ post—and due to a frantic EMERGENCY phone call from Marty asking for my bread recipe…I have decided to post my ‘infamous’ French bread recipe in the hopes that you all will forgive me. So whip these babies up, make yourself a cup of soup, and wrap yourselves up in fleeces and blankets by the fire while I go outside to read my book in the sunshine (I think I got a sunburn today). This is especially for Marty and Bonnie and John (via Brooke) as a congratulations treat.


¼ cup hot water
2 cups warm whole milk
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
some honey (a lot or a little, depending on your taste: maybe ¼ cup)
a pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon salt
6 ½ cups of flour (ish: ish means more or less if necessary)
oil for greasing


In a bowl, combine the water and ¼ cup of the milk. Sprinkle the yeast and the pinch of sugar over the liquid and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy.

In a mixer combine the remaining milk, the butter, the honey, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until creamy. Add the yeast mixture and the remaining flour one cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl sides. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the dough to an oiled deep bowl and turn the dough once to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hours.

Flour a smooth work surface, half the dough and role out half of it into a rectangle. Roll the dough up—like a tube—and use a knife to slash divots in it (is that a word) place on a greased cookie sheet and if you want to be really fancy sprinkle the cookie sheet with cornmeal first. Repeat with remaining dough. Then cover loosely with a cloth and let rise again (It usually takes less than an hour, but—as we’ve already determined it’s a lot warmer here) until it’s doubled. Another optional, but fancy, step is to lightly brush with egg white (this browns it real nice).

The rectangle size-ish.

The tubes: slashed and ready to burn.

Doubled in size and ready to bake.

Bake in the oven at 375 for about 25 minutes until the loaves are golden brown. Then slice, put some yummy butter (watch it melt), pig out, and wake up in the morning ten pounds heavier.

I guarantee you’ll love this bread and impress anyone who tries it. Good luck! If you are having any problems with this recipe…don’t call me.

Golden brown...smells so good!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Not to Rub it In....But...

Yes, that's Alice and Jane in our backyard. And yes, those are bare legs, green grass, and a sunset.

And, yes, that's our Almond tree--in full bloom.

Sucks to be you!

(did I mention it's February?)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Life is Good

A conversation with Lily as she’s cleaning up the hundreds and hundreds of UNO cards littered across the living room floor by two adoring younger sisters—on her watch.

Lily: (with attitude) You know those t-shirts that say ‘Life is Good?’

Me: Yeah.

Lily: They should make t-shirt’s that say ‘Life’s unfair.’

Friday, February 6, 2009

On Sleeping.

So I had mentioned in the previous blog about Jane and her crib climbing adventures. We put a stop to it by just removing the crib altogether. Alice was still using the toddler bed and so armed with a gift certificate to IKEA we went in search of another toddler bed. Alas, unbeknownst to me the toddler beds at IKEA cost more than $125. I just couldn’t see myself spending more for a bed that was hopefully, oh so temporary. In the mean time we tried a little toddler bed of our nephews. Jane was so excited about it during the day…however, as soon as the sun went down it became her worst enemy.

We were all in tears every night (and by we I mean Alice, Jane and I) as we searched for a bedtime routine that would be reminiscent of the ol’ crib days. Ah, the nostalgia for the crib. One night Jane finally hopped in Alice’s tiny toddler bed with her and slept peacefully all night (I was in such shocking awe that I, unfortunately, didn’t get a photo of it). So my problem was solved. We brought the mattress up from the guest bed downstairs, plopped it on the floor, threw some semblance of a quilt on top and—ta da—we have ourselves a bed.

Here are two views of the new bed; with the little kitchen, the Trieste grow chart and the other with the reading chair & table.

Don’t get too excited yet it’s taken a few ornery-mom nights to get them to settle down, but I finally found the formula: bunny books in chair, lights out, ‘Little House’ for at least a chapter. It seems to be working. And, bonus, we get to learn things from Mary and Laura like ‘children should be seen and not heard,’ and other classic phrases of the like.

The book routine; it's delicate, like mixing a cocktail. Ahem. At least I think it is.

The only problem now is—we don’t have a bed for Nana and Papa. We’ll have to remedy that soon because we are BEGGING for a visit. (wink, wink)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Jane On Her Birthday.

So, my baby has turned two and is officially a STINKER. What is it about two years? She refuses, suddenly, to go to nursery, refuses to take naps, climbs out of her crib many times a night, needs some serious ‘Little House’ reading to go to sleep at night, says “no” often and with a vigilance never before recorded by someone so tiny. It’s a good thing she’s cute and says “I love you” with such passion. All I know is…I hope this will be the last time I have to grapple with a two year old (at least on a daily basis). In the meantime we will keep her and love her despite her ‘two-ness.’ Ahem. I guess.

This is her new attitude.