Monday, June 28, 2010

The philosophy of BREAD.

I need an apron.

I have an intense desire these days to shield my family from the nasty chemicals and processing that has become commonplace in our food chain. It bothers me that nutrients are stripped out, shortcuts are taken, and our food has become less wholesome.

I took up bread baking sometime last year, making piroshky ( little meat buns ), potato bread, cheddar bread, and a variety of other bready items. I made a challah ( a slightly overcooked success! ), cinnamon rolls ( the first was meh, the second set was decadent ), and today I made monkey bread.

There is a magic that comes from working flour, water, yeast, salt and sugar together ad coming out with BREAD. I get a kick out of putting on my apron, dusting my countertop with flour, and kneading away. I love peeking into the oven for the " spring " of the loaf - the first five minutes when the yeast become excited ( and then bake to death ).

But most of all, I enjoy watching my children munch down toast made from real ingredients. No fillers. No chemicals. No shortcuts, nothing extra, no " fortification ".I would love to be able to recreate the whole wheat wonder bread we are addicted to ( I'm sorry. I don't know why. But we are! ). I've already made burger buns, french bread, garlic bread, dill bread. We are dabbling in homemade pizza. Muffins, cornbread, cookies, cakes ( these all count as bread, right? )

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A little bit of... coffee!

No one will be surprised to see a whole post dedicated to coffee. After all, I am the poster child for coffee drinking mamas. I tote around a hot cup ( or two, and sometimes even THREE ) in the morning.

I grew up liking coffee ice cream but found that coffee *smelled* much better than it tasted. My first sip of coffee was a bit of a shock. UGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

( This is the part that surprises everyone. I hated coffee. I hated it with a strange sort of passion. )

My first really GOOD coffee experience was at Dunkin Donuts, in June of 2003. I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts and got a coupon for a free Coffee Coolatta. It was... slightly better than mediocre. It was vaguely like coffe ice cream blended up with grainy ice. It was sickeningly sweet. But it was COLD, which was what my very new to Florida self needed. Soon after, I discovered STARBUCKS! And really, Starbucks Frappichino was MUCH better than a Coolatta. Just Sayin.

But in June of 2004, I recieved a coupon in the paper that was for a FREE Iced Latte at Dunkin Donuts. I drank my first one in about twelve seconds. It was really, REALLY sweet ( much sweeter than I would have liked ) but it was absolutely delicious. I had a newborn son who wasn't sleeping much, the caffienation was great, and it was tasty.... And I was hooked. Especially once the lady at Dunkin Donuts asked me " Do you want sugar? " and I learned that it could be made sans the quarter cup of sugar in the bottom.

I often told people " I don't like hot coffee. " On the few rare occasions that I made hot coffee, I didn't even drink it. I did, however, have TWO Extra Large Iced Mocha Swirl Lattes a day. At $4.90 each, you can imagine the kind of love that was required.

When I moved to Canada, I went back to my Starbucks Frappicino. The " Iced Capp" so lovingly made at Timmies was *just*nasty*. What is in it, I have no idea. I think it is coffee flavoured syrup, not actually coffee. And when it was -30* here, I don't really want an icy cold drink. I started making my own coffee at home, and it was pretty good. I stopped adding sugar and started adding chocolate syrup. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. I went from one cup a day to two cups a day when Mila was crying all the time. Then I went up to half a pot. Or a whole pot, depending on the night.

I've gotten used to Tim Horton's coffee. I've developed a love-hate with Frappicino's from Starbucks ( Oh, how I loathe paying $5 for a coffee! Even if it is reaaaaaaaaaaally good coffee. )

These days, you'll often find me with my coffee cup in hand. As the temperatures climb, I begin wishing for those frozen drinks. I am too cheap now to pay $5 for a coffee too often. And at 400 calories and full of HFCS, I don't really want to drink it. I am on the quest to make the perfect iced coffee drink at home.

My attempt at a Java Chip Frappichino was awful. Gross. BLECH. I'm surprised the kids liked it,because it was THAT bad. I made mocha iced coffee today and it was... still pretty gross, but drinkable. Through a straw. As fast as possible

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Why wearing a skirt is life changing...

Tomorrow will mark the end of my self imposed " Skirt Week".

It has been life changing, and in a good way. I don't really quite understand it, but wearing pants has really lowered my self esteem. Even NICE pants. Isn't that strange? There are curves to this post baby body that I do not appreciate the world seeing, pieces of me that are battle scars from bearing three children into this world. It irks me to worry about the shape of my body, and I feel that pants accentuate that in the possible way. Then there is the issue of *DESIGN*. Ill fitting pants are as forgiving as a concrete wall. If your body shape doesn't match the shape of the jeans exactly, fabric will bag, bunch, and otherwise look ICK. I can't wear low rise jeans - which is practically all that is available at the moment. Current fashion dictates ultra low rise skinny legged jeans right now. I might as well well stuff myself into a sausage casing.

But skirts... there is something inherently womanly about skirts. They are forgiving of curves, lumps, and bumps. They show a womanly silhouette but not every single detail of your nether regions.

My personal favorite is long swishy tiered skirts. They are delicate, flowy feminine. A long skirt provides a haven for an overstimulated baby, a hand grip for a wobbly tot, and a ready basket for collecting wild flowers. A shorter skirt ( knee length, for me ) shows enough figure for my husband to be pleased, and for me to feel lovely.

The happiness I feel in a skirt overflows into my parenting, and my " wifely " duties. Wearing a skirt ( and feeling good about myself ) has provided a gentle boost in ways I didn't think it would.

And I like it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The new resolve...

Things have been ( mostly ) well.

I am reactivating the blog to write about a new direction that I've decided to take my family. I am ( temporarily ) signing off of Facebook, and most of my online " forums". I am minimizing the amount of processed food we eat. I have re-dedicated myself to being the more gentle, natural based parent that I strive to be.

I am working on feminity, not falling into the jeans and sloppy tshirt that I've been prone to lately. I do not feel good about wearing crappy, ill fitting clothes. I do not feel good about wearing a 2xl tshirt that I yoinked from my husband's drawer. I've commited to wearing a skirt every day for 1 week ( today is day 5, but I'll update on that later ).

I baked cinnamon rolls from scratch, cornbread from scratch, and tonights dinner will be using a prepackaged sauce, but I might make the bread myself.

This is the new me... and I'm loving it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Party Hardy, my friends. And eat lots.

We got over a foot of nastiness dumped on us over the last few days. Gross. I couldn't make it out of my parking stall for the damned wind drifted snow, and the roads were about as big of a mess as I've ever seen them. And its not like we had reason to stay home, with everyone semi healthy to mostly healthy.

( Semi to mostly is all I ask for these days, LOL )

I baked a loaf of onion dill bread. oh... onion dill bread, how I love thee. The base was ( again ) Arie's sour cream potato bread. MMMMMM. Actually, it was horrible and i refuse to admit that I ate nearly half the loaf slathered in butter, straight from the oven.

Then I baked these graham blondies. Delicious! Folks, you must make these! oooey... Gooey. YUMMY. And mine. No, I didn't share with the children. I did share with Shannon, my " wife ". She's got two kids - one Mila's age, and one Shayla's age. It makes for lovely playdates!

Shannon's daughter had a party for her birthday yesterday and I braved the snowstorm to go out. WTF was I thinking? First Alex had to 4x4 the car out of the parking spot. ( Gee, that was lovely. The smirk on my husband's face as he EASILY got the car out of the snowdrift from hell that used to be our parking spot.... I won't share blondies with him. Ever. ) Her hubby took some pictures of the kidlets.. .and so, I share them with you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

In the oven...

Out of the pan and into the fire. We're all sick. Again. Still.

I have some sort of viral walking pnuemonia complete with coughing fits. As the doctor put it : the more I cough, the more inflamed my airways become. The more inflamed my airways become, the more I will cough. He prescribed codeine.

( The side effect of which, I'm told, is that the baby will be sleepy. YAY sleepy baby PLEASE be kind to sick Mommy. )

I've been experimenting, and DAMN have there been good results :

Cheddar Salsa Bread ( from potato bread base ) 9 / 10 - if I had simply let it cook a big longer and cool QUITE a bit longer, I think it might have earned a 10. Alex ate it plain. So did most of my friends.

Beef piroshki ( Arie's recipe ) 9 / 10 - Again, i must let things bake longer.

Chicken Piroshki 10 / 10 They were horrible, and i refused to share them with anyone in case they were posioned. ( read : I ate every single last one )

"Best Recipe " Chocolate Chip Cookies 6/10 Too much brown sugar. Too sweet.

" Tollhouse " CC cookies 8/10 Needed more salt, and maybe a minute LESS in oven. Ooops.

Peanut Butter Cookies 5/10 Not peanutty enough. Not chewy, had an odd cakey flavour.

Challah 8/10 Texture was spot on. Flavour was spot on. Until i burnt it... Oops!

Potato Onion Loaves 9/10 Might mash the filling next time. Tasted fab, but fell out of the bun when I was eating it.

Carrot Cake Muffins with Whipped Cream Cheese Icing 9/10... the only downfall? I shoulda chopped the carrots smaller!

I also made Oatmeal muffins, not from scratch.... and they were damned good. But next time, I will make them from scratch!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I feel accomplished!

I baked a batch of cheese & pepper bread ( oh so delicious! ), and carrot cake muffins yesterday. Hubster actually called to tell me they ROCKED. Thank god, since I was a bit worried. I do not enjoy carrot cake, and I despise cream cheese icing. Everyone loved them... I shared a few among two good friends ;-) one called to tell me she might have had a foodgasm. YAY foodgasm!

Today, I baked a batch of bbq chicken buns, and mini loaves stuffed with potato and onion. I'm very excited to see how they turn out! I forgot to brush them with butter ( oops! ) and so must wait until they are well and golden brown before removing them from the oven.

The kids are happy. Mila and Robby are upstairs playing in the playroom, and Shayla is attempting to eat puffed rice from the tray of her highchair. The dog is sleeping, and my house smells divine and I am WEARING AN APRON.

Life is good.

( I will feed you in return for doing dishes. )