Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm a believer...

I know I sounded a little sceptical yesterday about the bread recipe, but it worked. It could have been better, but I take full responsibility for any imperfections you might see. The recipe said to just stir till all flour was moistened, to level each cup of flour, and to leave it overnight in the refrigerator for best results;

   ..I used my mixer, was a little heavy on the flour, and baked it the same day. Still it rose beautifully in the first proofing, and baked nicely, and even though may have been a bit heavier than it might have been had I followed all directions, it tasted good. One of the nice features of this bread is the very crispy crust. You lay an empty metal pan on the bottom rack of the oven when pre-heating and then when you put the bread in to bake you pour a cup or two of water in the hot pan to steam while the bread is baking. I know from working in a bakery for many years that this makes a nice crust, but I had never used this technique at home before.  The recipe makes 4 loaves about the size of a very large honeydew melon.

Since making this first batch, I did a bit more reading about this particular type of bread and they all say to leave (at least) overnight in the refrigerator, for best taste.
You can even cut off just one loaf and leave the remainder to bake a fresh loaf daily. It seems to me it is very similar to what we called "batter bread" years ago. There is a book available with recipes for many different types of this bread. I hope to borrow it from the library today and possibly buy myself a copy if I like it well enough. I am interested in making a whole grain bread like this. 

 is the link to the book.

While we are on the subject of is a pic of the breakfast I made for Mr. O and I before leaving him for a week and a half. 

Just make your favourite blueberry pancakes

Add this

and a dollop of this

(the absolute best tasting yogurt on the market, tart and lemon-y and thick like whipped cream)

Add a drizzle of yummy New Brunswick Maple syrup and here is breakfast!

I am thinking it may be time for a repeat.

Bon App├ętit !

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Call me skeptical but ...

I have been making bread for almost 40 years, and I always add a bit of sugar to the yeast, (doesn't yeast need sugar to grow?)and a bit of butter/oil, sometimes milk and egg, depending on the recipe.  I have been seeing a recipe for Artisan Bread popping up on several blogs and thought I would give it a try. Now there are only 4 ingredients in this bread recipe. Water, yeast, coarse salt, and flour.
I thought I would give it a try...

Already I am not to pleased. It seems not as moist as the pic I have seen on the blog I referred to for the recipe. I will let it rise for the requisite 2 hours before passing too much comment though.

By the way is that not just the cutest tea towel? I have the matching apron too. I treated myself to the apron on one of my trips to help care for Mom last year and when I went back to the  shop last week she had the matching towels, so I had to get one of those too.

Speaking of aprons, I made an apron yesterday with some of the themed fabric I purchased while in Ont. My daughter dabbles in wine making at home and I think this would be perfect for her.

One more thing before I go. 

My Mr. O is a celebrity of sorts...well in my eyes anyway. There is a full page article in the paper featuring one of the projects he had been involved in for the last year or so.
 It has to do with miner certification...something that was unheard of when he started in the mines 43 years ago. He is part of a National Committee for Miner Certification and some of the men from our local mine will be certified this week...I believe this is a first for the Canadian mining industry.

Bravo Mr. O and Congratulations to all who are being certified on Friday.

I know I said "one thing before I go", but I just thought of something else.
I have been telling myself that the bedrooms need painting and if I am going to the trouble of painting, maybe I should change the colours too. Well yesterday I was walking down the hallway from the bathroom and the way the light was shining in our room, made me stop and think how much I still liked it...I'm not ready to change colours yet and you know maybe it can wait til next spring to be painted too! Yes!! One more thing off my "To Do " list.

Sure looks cozy, especially on this dreary old, wet and drizzly day. I wish someone would say,"Wendy. Go to your room! ...and stay there !"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Catching Up

I have been away and now I feel like I am having a hard time catching up. Catching up on quilt show details, projects left unfinished, housework, posting to my blog etc.
I was on a top secret mission. My sister and I schemed to meet in Toronto and then journey on to Mom's to surprise her for her 76 birthday. Only our husbands, children and a few close friends knew. No blog postings about it, just in case Mom read our blogs, no chat on Facebook, in case someone close to Mom got wind of it and might spill the beans and I am happy to say it was a complete surprise. I wasn't able to capture it on camera, but I did get a shot about a minute after the initial surprise...can you see the slightly dropped jaw?..the bit of a "stunned look of disbelief" as she looks at my sister? 

Well if it is not visible to you let me say it was visible to us. My Mom, brother and sister were totally shocked! Oh it is fun to surprise people with good news. One of the first questions Mom asked was, "how long can you stay?" When we said 9 days she was very visibly pleased, however as the days sped by 9 days didn't seem nearly long enough to her...
We helped her celebrate her birthday quietly with just us kids. This is the first time we have all been with Mom on her birthday since 1975. Shame on us!

Mom, baby sis (Pam in her best jeans, beside mom), Gary on the other side.
Barb, the middle sister and then me, (the oldest) at the back in the green.

Three Sisters
I can't tell you how many times we hear, "you guys are brother sisters?! Well yup we are...same Mom and Dad too!

and a Brother (minus the beard and hat). You clean up good Gar

Mom looks great when you think that in the last 6 or so years she has had a colostomy, and beaten her cancer, lost her second husband, and then hospitalization for over 5 months after having survived that terrible car accident in July of '09. I can only hope to be as much of a fighter and survivor as my Mom.
While in Ontario we also took Mom away on a 4 hour road trip to see an aunt of hers that she was longing to see and also to visit with my Dad's last remaining sibling; my dear Aunt Margie. Both of these were surprise visits as well.

I also managed to fit in a little fabric shopping and my sister brought a few of her projects to show me what she is working on.

I love this one! This is a Canadian Pattern from the Quilt Patch in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. It is Stella Does Spring. I think it needs another border to finish it up.

Before leaving on my trip Mr. O and I moved my sewing room upstairs to make ready for the big reno job in the basement. Surprisingly I was able to transform my front foyer into a temporary studio. (We use the side entrance) It's amazing what you can fit into such a small space.

Take a peek...

As you can see I have a cutting area, sewing station, a fabric storage area, a small collection of my books on top of the fabric cabinet, 2 rolling drawer cabinets for notions, and I even managed to squeeze in my printer for copying downloaded patterns etc. 
Busy days ahead with the reno's but I will try to drop a post in here and there. 

Happy Spring!

"When sisters stand shoulder to shoulder, who stands a chance against us?"
                                              Pam Brown

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