Monday, February 28, 2011

A totally random collection of thoughts

Here's what I'm thinking about right now:

There are dishes in my sink from this morning. Still. Actually, last night when I made Lemon Bars. But this computer is WAY more fun than unloading the dishwasher, loading it up again, adding soap and pressing "start". Even as I type this, that really does sound like too much to do right now. Take THAT kitchen!

Speaking of the kitchen- my kitchen floors are now classified bio-hazardous. Ew. Yuck. Maybe I should mop them. But that might not be enough. I may need to get down, Cinderella-style, and scrub scrub scrub while singing to little mice and harmonizing with bubble reflections of myself. hmm. How would I do that........?

Those cookies on the counter- the yummy ones with white chocolate chips and macadamia buts are NOT for you, Ashley! So quite thinking about them RIGHT NOW!!

If you want something to munch, a sliced apple will do just fine.

Boy, my run was great this morning. I love running 10 degree weather. No seriously.
reasons why:
1. no one else does- I've got the whole trail to myself
2. I never over-heat which means I can just go and go.
3. That crisp, cold, clean air just can't be beat anywhere ever!
4. With all the layering I have to do, just think of the color options!
5. Man, I love my crochet headband- keeps my hears just right. plus the flower is way cute too.
6. two words: new nano.
7. two more words: fantastic shoes.
I'm sure if I tried really hard, I could get 10 reasons, but I 'm done thinking really hard today.

Sometimes I wish I had piano students that did everything I asked of them, every week. Just think how great they would be already?! But then I remember that I practiced WAY less than I should have, I did okay in the end, and I had a rewarding childhood-teen-young adulthood. So I guess I should just cut them some slack.

James is getting to be really aggressive. What can I do to put an end to this?! Probably nothing, it's just a phase. But why do we have to get this phase when he's almost 5? Why not have the aggressive phase at, say, 3 mos when they are too small and uncoordinated to do anything about it?

Dang it. I've left a load of wash in the washer for just about 24 hours! I need to get it out of there!

Speaking of laundry, I should probably go fold that basket of clean whites sitting in my room.

What's going on tomorrow?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kick-you-in-the-seat-of-your-pants bread.

I'll admit it.
I can bake a mean loaf of bread.

Last night, I tried a new recipe and I think it's my favorite. thing. ever.

So, I'll share it with you here.

disclaimer: if your bread does not turn out as beautiful and mouth-wateringly delish as mine, don't stress. It may just be you. Kidding.

Here we go.
1. preheat your oven to 150 or 200.
and turn on your kettle full of water.
2. In your KitchenAid, mix 3 cups BOB'S RED MILL WHOLE RED WHEAT FLOUR,
1/4 cup shortening,
1/3 cup honey
2 packets of yeast
1 T salt.
Mix this until it gets nice and grainy- all the honey and shortening has been incorporated, the flour is evenly mixed- you know what you'll look for. This might take a little bit. I think it took me 5-6 minutes.
3. As soon as you hear your water start to sound like it might barely be boiling, take it off the burner and measure out
2 1/4 cups water.
4. SLOWLY add this water to your dough WHILE IT IS MIXING. (I just leave mine on until the dough ball has formed).
5. once all the water is added you should have something that resembles goo. Like, Nickelodeon slime style goo. This is good. Keep on mixing- at a medium speed. for a couple of minutes.
6. THIS IS IMPORTANT: CHANGE YOUR MIXING TOOL FROM A PADDLE TO A DOUGH HOOK!!! I made the mistake of not remembering this crucial step and I've now got dry dough up to there on my Mixer. yuck.
7. One cup at a time, add:
3 cups more of Bob's Red Mill Whole Red Wheat Flour
keep this mixing until the dough is not overly sticky, but still too soft to use your hands.
now, here's the kicker.
add 1 cup all-purpose flour.
That's right folks, just one cup of white (or unbleached) flour.
and let this knead for a long enough time until it forms an awesome ball of dough. It shouldn't be sticky anymore.

Now, remember your oven? turn it off.
Get a big bowl- I like to use glass. Do not use plastic.
grease the inside with whatever you have available. I use spray oil.
Dump out your dough-ball in the bowl, turn to coat with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap or a wet towel and put it in your TURNED OFF oven.

leave it to rise for an hour. Or more.

Yesterday, I let it rise for an hour, then I had to teach piano for another hour. Just took it out of the oven and took off the plastic wrap. That stopped the rising and held it until I was ready to work with it.

When it's done rising, remove it from the oven, punch it down, split unto however many pans you need. I did two.

Knead each small dough ball for a little bit. Like a minute or so. Flatten it out and roll it into a log shape. Pinch the seams, roll under the ends and pinch them shut. Toss it into your loaf pan, put them in your oven and turn your oven on to 150. Turn it off when the heat gets there. Rise until you have a loaf-looking dough.

turn your oven on to 350. WITH THE LOAVES STILL INSIDE!

Bake until you just can't take the smell anymore and you just HAVE to eat it! Or about 35 minutes plus or minus 5, depending on your oven.

Please notice I did not say to preheat your oven again after you get through with the second rise. By starting at a low temperature, you allow the inside to cook thoroughly without burning the crusts.

Also, you may brush your loaves with melted butter, egg white, egg yolk, or even just water to achieve slightly different finishes on the crust.

And there you have it.
Give it a try tonight!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Try something impossible.

I'm going to try something impossible- well, to me at least.

A you may (or may not) know, I participated in a Sprint Triathlon last fall and had a blast. It was a REALLY emotional experience for me because I NEVER EVER EVER EVER in a million years thought I could do something that difficult and live to tell the story.

I lived.

And now I have decided to try another impossible feat: I am running the Olathe, KS Wizard of Oz Half Marathon.
I'm all in.
Why not the full marathon?
I'll say it: I'm a little bit chicken. At first, I thought I could do a full marathon, but then reality slapped me across the face.
That was nice. Not.

So, for all you people in the Land of Blog, I'll be running in the Land of Oz on April 16th.

And no, I'll not be dressing up. But I hear there are people who do (and run the FULL monty). Crazies.