Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happiest Place on Earth (aside from the 2 billion people getting in my way)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Focaccia heaven.

This is the BEST bread ever.  And I made it!  And it turned out!  There were a few precarious moments where I almost panicked because I couldn't get it out of the pan, but I prevailed! 

Recipe from My Bread - No Knead Method by Jim Lahey.  Awesome book with lots of easy and yummy bread. 

Equipment: A 13 by 18 inch rimmed baking sheet


about 1 cup peeled yukon gold potato, cut into 1 inch chunks  (I used red and it worked too)
2 1/2 cups cool water
4 1/2 cups (600 grams) bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant or other active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/4 cup EVOO

1. Put potatoes and the 2 1/2 cups water into a small saucepan, cover, bring to boil over high heat.  Cook until potato chunks fall apart when pierced with a fork.

2. Use a blender, immersion blender, or food mill to puree the potatoes with the 2 1/2 cups cooking water until smooth.  Let mixture cool to 120 degrees F; it will feel very warm to the touch but not scalding.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar, and half the salt.  Add the potato puree and, using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature until the dough is tripled in size, 2 to 3 hours.

4. Oil a 13 x 8 inch rimmed baking sheet (make sure you oil the sides as well or it will get stuck like mine!).  Use a bowl scraper or spatula to scrape the dough onto the baking pan; it will still be quiet loose and sticky.  Gently pull the dough and stretch it across the surface of the pan. Then oil your hands and press the dough evenly out to the edges.  Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining salt.  Use your fingertips to create dimples all over the surface of the dough.  Let the dough rise in a warm, draft free spot until it has risen just over the edges of the pan, 45 minutes to an hour.

5. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, with a rack in the center.

6. Gently place the focaccia in the oven on the center rack (the risen dough is delicate; a bump going into the oven could collapse it) and bake for 30 to 45 minutes (mine took 30) until the top is evenly golden brown.  Transfer the pan to a rack to cool, and give it at least a few minutes before slicing and serving warm or at room temperature.  (if it gets stuck in the pan like mine did, I ran a knife around the edge and the bottom as far as I could, turned it over, and tried to twist it out like an icecube tray.  It was messy but eventually worked without too much damage!!)

Try not to eat it all in one sitting.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Chocolate Chip Scones

These are YUMMY.  Sydney's favorite part (aside from eating them) was squishing the butter into the flour mix.  I cut them in half (with a sharp knife) after they cool because they are pretty big.

6 tablespoon (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole grain flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used white chocolate swirled with milk chocolate)
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used soy milk!)
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon demerara sugar (I don't know what this is so I just use sugar)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Spray baking sheet and dust with flour, shaking off excess.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add butter: rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Mix in chocolate chips.

In a medium bowl, mix milk, egg yolk, and vanilla.  Whisk to combine.  Add milk mixture to dry ingredients.  Stir until combines (dough will be sticky).  Using floured hands, turn out dough onto a floured work surface, form inot a 7 to 8 inch round, and cut into 8 wedges.  Use a small spatula or the side of your knife to transer wedges to prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart (it's ok if wedges are mishapen).

Brush scones lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake until scones are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And finally.... the best for last.

Random picture time...

You say you want a revolution, well....do you?

It's a miracle.  I've worked out almost every day for almost 2 months now!  I've been watching those P90X infomercial for months thinking how much I wanted to be that fit.  And a few months ago, when the dog bit Sam, I picked Sam up in a panic and my tweaked my lower back AGAIN.  I realized that I've been throwing my back out way too much lately and that I HAD to do something about it before I really hurt myself.  So I ordered it.  And it works!  I've lost 5 lbs. and gained a lot of muscle and I still have one more phase before I complete the first round.  I feel great!  And I enjoy it.  Mostly.  The best part is that you burn so many calories doing the workouts that you don't need to restrict your calories.  You actually need to increase your calories to fuel your body!  I am supposed to eat about 2200 calories to maintain!  2000 if I want to lose.  Crazy!  Highly recommended and two thumbs up!

And I'm obsessed with Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.  Great show.  I hope he continues and the country is inspired to make the change.  I know Michelle Obama is also trying to make some changes so hopefully between the two of them they can make a difference.  Fast food does NOT belong in our schools.  French fries aren't a veggie.  Our kids deserve better.  So do our teacher.  Imagine trying to teach kids after eating that crap when their blood sugar crashes.  If you haven't already, sign the petition. Please??  Sign Jamie's Food Revolution Petition!

I can't just stop at one....

So Sydney is doing wonderful in school.  Her teacher raves about how smart she is.  She is doing great in reading - she's super fast!  And she loves math (gets that from Daddy).  She has a best friend named Nichole.  She comes over for sleep overs all the time!
Watch how they amuse themselves...

Sydney went to "Uniquely Me" again this year for her Girl Scouts Troop.  It's a fun day for the girls where they have different booths and information to support self esteem in girls.  She did the fashion show again - this time in her own outfit.  She did awesome! 

Her and Sam have really picked up on roller skating.  Daddy even comes sometimes.  Now THAT'S fun to watch.  :-)  He secretly enjoys it too.Watch Sydney, Sam, and Daddy skate...

Writers block or pure laziness? You be the judge.

It's been waaaay too long since I blogged.  I have been busy but this is ridiculous.  Where to start?

Sam started preschool in February.  She did so well - not a tear or plea for me to stay.  "Bye Mommy!"  She didn't even look back.  I was amazed since she had such a horrible week before.  Between vaccinations, a cold, and the dog bite (more on that later), I was prepared for the worst.  But she was ready.  So was I actually.  It wasn't as hard as I expected.  I was very proud of my big girl.  Preschool was short lived though - her last day is next Friday.  Sydney is off in May and Sam starts kindergarten in July so we're taking the rest of the summer off for the last bit of mommy time.  Here is Sam's first day of preschool.  You can see how pale she is (from the cold) and the dog bite and bruising.  She was such a trooper.  This picture makes me want to cry.

So the dog bite.  Well Sam loves our dog.  Our dog loves Sam.  But Sam has no fear of said dog (even AFTER the bite!!).  We've been trying to tell her to back off and love her a little more gently, and from afar, but she just can't help herself.  So I was sitting on the couch, Hannah was sleeping on the floor, and Sam walked up and lay her head on Hannah's belly.  It must have startled Hannah from her sleep, because I hear a growl and looked up to see Sam on the floor with Hannah on top of her.  Those 2 seconds it took me to get from the couch to the floor were the worst ever.  So she bit Sam on the face, inches from her eye and left a few bruises and tooth marks.  I grabbed Sam and ran down the street to urgent care in a panic.  She was fine and not in need of stitches.  Very lucky little girl.  Lucky dog too because my first instinct was to put her down.  But she's never done this before and I have myself to blame for not teaching Sam how to handle her pets.  We're working on the rules and Hannah doesn't spend as much time inside as she used to.  Poor thing was getting used to being spoiled too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter blahs....

Apparently I'm suffering from the winter blues.  I don't think I went through this last year but I can't seem to get out from it this year.  Maybe there was more sun?  Maybe Sam was easier?  She is going through a rough phase.  Actually, both of them are.  Syd is on break - it's been almost six weeks.  YES, that's SIX weeks.  We are going craaaaazy right about now.  The countdown is on though.  Syd goes back to school on Monday and Sam starts preschool on Wednesday!!!  We are all very excited about that.  Let me tell you.  Syd and Sam are at each other for a good chunk of the day.  And I'm running out of steam.  One more week.  That's my mantra.

Enough of the negative.....I'm lacking inspiration right now so it's time for random thoughts...

At this moment in time they are giggling and roaring at Hannah as she does laps around the table.  She can keep this up for a good 5 minutes.  I should see if the girls can go that long.  Maybe I can get a nap out of them.  Probably not.  It's a good thought though.

I gave Sam a pair of my heels for dress-up and I am amazed at her talent for walking, running, and jumping in them.  She doesn't get it from me.  She wears those things around for hours sometimes.  I keep telling her that suffering for style is NOT necessary yet but she doesn't seem to care. 

I took Sam down for her vax and flu shots last week.   She was so brave.  She rarely cries at her vax appointments so I wasn't worried.  The sweet nurse came in hiding the needles behind her back to prep when she realized we hadn't seen the doc yet, so she snuck back out with them still hidden.  After the well exam, a new nurse came in (this time a young guy) with all 4 needles, which he proceeded to put down right next to her in plain sight.  And took his time giving her a shot, taking forever and a day to plunge the liquid in, and another forever and a day to take the band-aid out of the wrapping, put it on, only to start over again.  4 times.  She was hysterical by the end.  I know how much it hurt.  He sucked.  When he finished, I looked over at Sydney and she had her face hidden in her hands crying for Sam.  I spoiled them rotten with candy and toys from Raleys.  Sigh. 

So the next day was Sydney's turn - only two shots for her.  But after watching Sam's experience the day before, she was nervous.  So was I.  This time, we drew an ace though and got the sweet girl from the day before.  She was teaching two other girls how to do it so I had a good feeling.  One, two, three and she was done.  Quick and painless.  We were all very impressed.  I realize that I now have bad karma for thinking horrible thoughts about the nurse from the day before.  But he did suck. 

So since we were in shot mode, I went next door to the pharmacy and got my H1N1 vax.  OMG it hurt!!  But there were 2 small children and a gaggle of elderly watching so I toughed it out.  And then proceeded to whine about how much my arm hurt for 2 days.  I feel bad for rolling my eyes behind the girls back for complaining about their sore arms.  They had 2 and 4 shots.  I'm such a baby.  Next stop, eye doctor.  Wish me luck.

I would post pictures but the last one I took was from New Years Eve!!!  Yikes!  Bad mommy.  I know.  I'm on it. 

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