books, gift giving, gifts, good karma, Uncategorized

staff of life

This day is full of bluster.  Wind gusts that take your breath away.  Rain pouring so hard it blocks the light of noon day.  It is a loud day.  I can hear trees and bushes brushing the side of the house.

Instead of fighting it and complaining, I decided to lean into it.  I have on warm socks and a sweater.  I made a huge cup of strong, dark, rich coffee and stirred in a spoonful of homemade caramel sauce.  I turned on the twinkle lights and flipped the switch on all the battery operated candles.   I even whipped up a mixture for the diffuser (spruce, cinnamon and orange).  Smells like winter.

Perfect day to talk about bread.  artisan bread

About 4 1/2 years ago I bought this book.  I got the supplies needed.  Then I didn’t do it. Life somehow got mixed up in MY plans and the road detoured for a bit.

I have baked many, many, oodles really,  loaves of bread in my life time.  I wanted to try my hand at Artisan Bread.

Why on earth did I wait so long?

You know that moment when you are in an upscale restaurant and they serve a slice of bread with holes and has a really good flavor and “chew” to it?  The chef simply kisses the bread with a little fire and somehow elevates everything that is served near, beside or atop it.  Yeah, that bread.

I wanted/want to learn to make that perfect texture, great color, haphazard slices swiped into the top, smell of heaven on earth, mouth-watering looking and tasting staff of life.  This is my first loaf!!!  Seriously folks, this is what baking is about.   Man alive, I wish your screen was scratch n sniff.   This is the real deal.  Oh, sweet mawma!

20170510_163953-1_resized

“In the history of art there are periods when bread seems so beautiful that it nearly gets into museums.”
Janet Flanner, Paris Was Yesterday, 1925-1939

 

Once you mix the dough and let it sit in the refrigerator for a day or two or fourteen……..it takes HONESTLY 5 minutes to form it then you step away and allow it to do its thing.

I love the feel of the proofing cloth.  I love swirling the flour around with my hands.

The original recipe makes enough for four loaves.  I started with two.  It was easy peasy to divide.

Once I practice a bit more, we will share loaves with our friends and neighbors.  You can make a smaller loaf for a single friend or couple.  You can make a more generous size for a larger family.  As well as still making an amazing loaf for you and your spouse. 20170510_172200-1_resized

Baking a loaf of bread by spending 5 minutes.  What a lovely way to speak to your husband.  Yes, Mr. Right means that much to me.  I smiled to myself, the moment he walked in that back door.  His words,  “yum, smells like fresh-baked bread”.

That is why I bake bread.

That and the fact that it makes awesome toast.20170511_101744-1_resized

Gentle suggestion and nudge.  Buy the book.  Learn something new. Spend 5 minutes on making something for someone else.  You will be so proud of yourself.  Your family will be smitten with your new hobby.

Feeding yourself, family and friends fresh bread.  Nothing feels more right.

Imagine yourself, offering a loaf of fresh-baked bread to your neighbor or your co-worker expecting a new baby.  Yes, it feels that good and more.

In this together friends,

ps.  If you stop by, I promise to share a slice or at least get a loaf baking so you can take it home with you.

 

cooking, friends, haPPY, recipe, Uncategorized

easy fix

Yesterday while teaching a baking lesson the unthinkable happened.  I reached to get a box of brown sugar and discovered it was nearly empty.  GASP.  Oh no!  We NEED 1 cup!

My almost 11-year-old friend, was instantly sad.  We were in the process of gathering ingredients to make her Dad’s favorite molasses cookies.  Big ol’ sad face with huge sad eyes. (Can you imagine, this face being sad?  Oh dear.)20170328_120302-1_resized

Why don’t we just make some?

WHAT?

Make brown sugar?

um, yeah, that’s what people do.

I don’t know how to make it.

I do.

I will teach you.

Pencil ready?

Write this down:

 1 cup of white sugar + 1 Tablespoon molasses, mix = Brown Sugar. 

Done

Wait!!!! 

That’s it?

Yes, that’s it.

Chop, chop, Lollipop!

Let’s get that cookie dough made so we can chill it and make cookies for your Dad!

20170328_153841_resized

cooking, grandchildren, recipe, Uncategorized

ribbit ribbit

In so much as we say we will indulge our grands with anything they want, secretly we have limits.  A pony?  Sure!  New shoes that their parents said are too pricey?  Sure!  Any book they want?  Why, yes indeed!

Sugar, not so much.

Luckily for us, their parents are well-educated and informed.  They know that sugar on little bodies is not a good thing.  Sugar on little people makes parenting so much tougher.

Sugar causes inflammation.  Sugar suppresses the immune system, a weak immune system is trouble.  Sugar generates alertness, making bedtime difficult.  On and on the list goes as to why we should all be serious about leaving out sugar.

My job?  My job as Grandma Daleen is to love them and I show that by listening to them, sewing for them & baking treats and goodies for them.

One trick to being a good grandma is to indulge my little darlings without upsetting the parental apple cart.  We think our grands are being raised extremely well.  So proud of our adult children.  We would like to respect their desire to raise healthy, well-adjusted young people.

However, I still want to bake fun, happy, silly treats for our grands.  I think, just maybe, I figured out a wonderful solution.

I found a new cookie cutter, several actually.  I only bought one to try.  I loved the idea of controlling the ingredients, yet making the impression so deep on the cookie that no frosting is needed.  Thus cutting down on sugar, yet still having a fun treat.

20170322_113751_resizedI searched for a recipe that wouldn’t spread too much. I didn’t want the shape of the 20170322_112953_resizedcookie to get distorted.  I played with the amount of sugar, so I used less.  I must say this recipe turned out perfect, perfect, perfect for these types of cookies.  Oh wait, maybe that is why they are called, “Simply Perfect Chocolate Sugar Cookies”?

https://bakingamoment.com/simply-perfect-chocolate-sugar-cookies/

The flavor is mild.  The dough turned out smooth and held its shape perfect.

20170322_120048-1_resizedThis practice batch of frogs is for Mr. Right’s 80-year-old chess teacher.  Chess teachers love chocolate frogs, right?

PS.  Oh, you KNOW I am going back to buy all the animal cookie shapes!!!!  Grands NEED homemade animal cookies!!!!

Chat soon.

 

 

cooking, food review, friends, friendship, pure goodness, sewing, Uncategorized

Guest Author, Chef Natalie

It gives me much happiness to introduce to you,  my guest author, Chef Natalie.20161220_131129_resized_1

I wrote about our adventures in a previous post.   https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/5-star-soup-10-star-chef/

Housekeeping:  Because my guest is under 18 years of age, I have asked  and was granted permission of her parents to share some pictures.  

I am delighted to share this post with you my kind hearted & charming readers.

Please leave a positive, uplifting comment, send my guest Good Karma and by all means please share this post on your blog or on Social Media.  Thank you, kindly.  I appreciate your kind feedback and I know for sure, she will.

I have this funny feeling, we are all in on the ground floor of ……. something pretty special. 

Please welcome my friend, Chef Natalie!

Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m 10 years old and I love to cook. I started cooking with my mom when I was 3. I love helping my mom cook and I love seeing people like my food.

I spent the best day ever at Miss. Daleens house. We started the day by making a delicious 20161220_090844_resizedsmoothie. It was a banana, strawberry, spinach, lime juice, chia seeds and coconut smoothie. I got to crack open a coconut with a hammer and a coco jack. we used the meat scraper to get all of the meat. The tools that we used to open the coconut were so much safer than using a knife and a hammer which did not work out for me before. I had to get 3 stiches! Oww! Once we were not hangry any more we made palmiers. p.s hangry means your so hungry that your grumpy. The palmiers are like a light fluffy 20161220_105041-1_resized_1crossont covered in sugar. They were my favorite cookie of all because they were sweet but not too sweet. They were super easy but looked like you spent hours on them.

Next we made the dough for Daleens Famous molasses cookies. While that was chillin we tried facon!  Its coconut, tamari, liquid smoke and maple syrup. It tasted surprisingly like bacon. After that the dough was chilled so we scooped it into marble size balls. We baked them for 14 minutes. Once all those were finished we moved onto the pizelles which tasted wonderful.

20161220_124152_resizedPizelles are like a flat pretty waffle cone. But it was not a cone. They can be flat or you can wrap them around a wooden cone shaped mold but you have to wrap it around when it comes out of the burning hot pizzelle iron. It was really hot. I think I20161220_125817_resized_1 burnt of 3 layers of my skin! Even though it hurt, in the end it was all worth it. For my family I filled them with ice-cream and put whipped cream on top. We loved them. You can also fill with ricotta and powdered sugar mix. For a fancy vibe you can add whipped cream on top. They 20161220_131653-1_resizedwere delicious and beautiful.

 

Ok time for a break, Im getting hangry again. Lets have lunch. For lunch we made vegetable bisque and cheese crackers by putting parmesan on a baking tray with parchment paper and baked it at 350 for 15 minutes. The soup and the cheese crackers together were fenomenal. We laughed talked and had a good time. We

talked about presentation for our food and how important it is because people eat with their eyes first. Also you need to put some of the ingredients in your food on top so if 20161220_115822_resized_1people are allergic to something they can see it on top and know they cant eat it. You have to be careful of allergies when your cooking for other people. Ask them ahead of time if they have any allergies and stay away from those things. For example nuts are a very common allergy

Back to work.

First we did the dishes and cleaned up. Into the sewing room to make the last thing, pot holders. We made a practice one and then made my mom two. They were so 20161220_144736_resized_2easy to make. It was good for my first time using a real sewing 20161220_155827_resized_1machine. Its cool to see how it works. Miss Daleen taught me a little bit about the parts. Its important to iron so you have clean

 

sewing lines and it looks more professional. Later when my mom came home I gave the pot holders to her for an early Christmas present. She loved them so much

All in all it was a great day hangin out with my best pal Miss Daleen. Hope we can do it again soon.

 

good manners, grace, healing, Uncategorized

the need to knead

Some weeks just feel out of sorts.

Emotional or stressful, whatever the heck you want to call it……it sort of hangs in the air.

Like when you accidentally burn beautiful little orange pieces of carrots for fried rice.  Then you have to stop and toss and take out the garbage and scrub & clean the pan five times.  Then you start over, and yet somehow that smell of burnt carrots is still lingering, hanging in the air, for quite some time.  Come back into the kitchen, windows open, 3 hours later, yep, it is still faintly floating in the air.

This past week, some of us have dealt with wedding stress, the stress of being unwell, injury, memories of the past, poor sleep, missed talking to grands, stubbed our little toe on our right foot,   however, I can safely say, we all have felt the punch of our election.  Boy Howdy, did we all feel the stress.  yikes.

No matter what side you were on or if you were balanced precariously on the fence……..political stress packs a wallop.  (I won’t mention the poor behavior of talking badly about others.  They all better be on their knees thanking the Good Lord, that I am not their mother.  My kitchen floor would be spotless!  If you have time and energy to talk bad about others, then I guess you have time to scrub my floor or rake my leaves, or wash my windows?)  If you would like, you can certainly ask our grown boys how I feel about talking poorly about others.  I am quite sure they will fill you in.

The stress is still lingering, floating all around us.

Back to basics my friend.

When I can’t seem to move gracefully forward, I notice that I stop and stay put.  I do things that I can control.  I take extra time to wash dishes, by hand.  I don’t grumble about folding laundry, I just find the calm in the process.  I don’t mind plucking weeds or raking leaves.  I can see the results of my efforts.  I send cards.  I write actual letters & walk to the mailbox and send.

I bake.

I measure and stir and use a whisk.

Oh sure, I have a great machine with a wonderful dough hook.  I didn’t use it.

I used my hands.  I needed to knead dough.  I wanted to work with my hands.  I was making something to give.  Not to sound to “Medusa Mom crazy”….. however…………..I needed to feel connected to it.

20161111_142418_resized_2All with the idea, there is no way, we could ever eat all this food before it spoils.

So instead of fretting and fussing over things I couldn’t/can’t control , I decided to bake rolls for some neighbors.   No other reason than just to share with our neighbors.

To remember and to remind myself that we belong to each other.  Not what the news reporters tell me nor what I see on face book.

Plain and simple:  We belong to each other. 

rumi

cooking, gift giving, haPPY, love, Uncategorized

shot glasses + dental floss = love

You know those plastic, inexpensive shot glass that the younger crowd uses to make jello shots?  Yes, those.

When I have a dessert buffet, I use them for mini desserts.  Everyone loves mini desserts. You feel like you can have three!

Mini lemon tart?  Don’t mind if I do.

Mini chocolate mouse?  Oh yes.

A miniature Pineapple whip?  Heck yeah!

I also use them for frosting.  Can I get an AMEN!?

Thick, rich, gorgeous, creamy dreamy frosting. AMEN!

I made cinnamon roll dough early Monday morning.  This dough is amazing.  It has to hang out in the refrigerator for a day or two to be at it’s very best.

So, this morning I put on my really cute, ruffled apron and got out my dental floss, heating pad, shot glasses and ruler.  What? You don’t get out your dental floss first?

How do you cut your cinnamon roll dough without squishing them?

Note to all:  This recipe is full of fat, sugar, gluten and dairy.  I did use a fresh egg and amazing cinnamon from the Penzey spice company.  We LOVE Penzey!!!!!!

https://www.penzeys.com/

20160727_093132_resizedOkay, I rolled and cut (with dental floss, 1.5 inches wide rolls) and I let them rise on my heating pad. 20160727_094250-1_resized

Next, put them into a very hot oven to do their thing.

Oh, man, these babies (not real babies) rose up toward heaven and released an amazing aroma of fresh baking bread and cinnamon. That glorious scent  of yeast and sugar and butter swirls together and has filled our home with love.  Yes, that is the smell of love.  Trust me.

Mr. Right has chess lessons tonight.  So, I thought I would bake an extra pan (King Arthur Flour baking pan made out of cardboard) for his chess teacher.  Not knowing if the gentleman likes frosting or not, I thought………how about giving him three little shots of icing?20160727_112253-1_resized

8 or  80+ year olds…….let me ask you, who among us doesn’t want to ice their own rolls?  Wasn’t that the best part of those “smack on the counter, cinnamon rolls in a tube”?  They came with their very own tub of creamy icing.

Here’s to baking and sharing love (remember today, love is fresh-baked rolls with shots of icing), one neighbor at a time.

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

balance, cooking, friend, good karma, grateful, Uncategorized

purple squirrels

You know those people who are a sqooch smarter than the average bear?

Hold on minute, in no way am I putting myself down.  Jeepers, I spent 1.5 hours this morning learning more about sleep, Folic Acid, Fulvic Acid and Humic Acid.  I took notes like a preppy school girl.  I learned oodles.

I am talking about those people out there, that seemed to get an extra helping of smarts. They love to talk about the state of world affairs, religious topics, math and astronomy, books they are reading and who wrote what book.

Amazingly enough they are more interested in learning a new chess opening than they are about fashion or sprinkles.

See, this is where I shine.  I love talking about sprinkles and colors.

Balance.

It takes both kinds of folks to make the world swirl happily along.

In an effort to help make the world a more balanced and happy place, today, I baked cookies.

Cookies for Mr. Right to take to his chess teacher.  Tonight is Wednesday.  Wednesday is chess lesson night.  His teacher is an octogenarian plus some, he speaks five languages and came to America while fleeing his (at the time) war-torn country of Hungary. Sadly, he is a recent widower.

The conversations those two have sure put a spring in Mr. Right’s step. Before you ask, the answer is yes, he comes home with books and home work each week.  The next answer is yes.  He does all his home work and then some.

Happily, I like to bake and share.

20160622_132131Today, I baked cookies.  I decided on sugar cookies shaped like squirrels.  Then I went that extra step and made them with purple sprinkles. 20160622_134839

Thanks to me, two smarty pants fellas will have a few cookies and a laugh.  A real belly laugh.

Really , who on earth bakes purple squirrel cookies for two intelligent men?

A smart girl, that’s who.

 

 

Oh dear, look, one broke, I should probably eat that, ha.20160622_140951