Friday, January 29, 2010

Note to the Twins...

Screaming is not the same as sleeping.

I know they both start with "s" and end in "ing", but really? I know you're both just two (and a third), but they AREN'T the same thing.

Now please, let's make with the napping, OK? OK. Great.

Oh man, did I just confuse the issue by changing it to the "N" word?

I don't know, but the screaming has abruptly stopped. Maybe my super powers have finally come in and I've made them fall asleep by thinking about it hard enough! Woo!

I'd give up on the idea of flight for Super Directed Napping powers, I would.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Emma's First Lie

Certainly not her last and likely to be a pattern.

When asked who broke the dresser drawers (They ripped the metal wheels off of two of the drawers and snapped the rail off two others - these two are destructive!), Emma answered "Yogan did it!".

When asked, "Who made this mess?" (any mess, anywhere in the house, any day, any time): "Yogan did it!"

When asked, "Just you just make a stinky?": "Yogan did it!"

Logan is doomed.

On the bright side, whenever he doesn't want to eat something, she helpfully pipes up with "I eat it!" and then grabs the food off his plate. Very helpful, she is.

Just don't ask her about who did anything naughty.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bread Baking Bonanza

I've been baking bread like mad in the last couple of months. Mostly it has to do with the fact that fresh bread is yummy, healthier for you and uses up less plastic. It also keeps me slightly saner to feel creative in the kitchen. After working my way through Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (and then buying the second book), I decided, for grins, to try to work on "harder" bread.

My first attempt was a Pugliese.

That's no moon!

It was enormous. Tasted pretty good, but not amaaaazing. It took an extra day to make because I had to create a pre-ferment called a biga. Very interesting.

Then, I decided to create a bread called Pain de Campagne. It took 4 days of creating a pre-ferment and then it wasn't very good when I finished baking it.

Flat, dense and sour.

In between the more complex breads, I was still making the AB5M breads and enjoying them greatly. There's a lot to be said for bread that you don't have to spend a lot of time making and yet tastes great!

Lentil curry bread. Yes, it was green.

The lentil curry bread sounded good to me, in theory, but I needed to find out what it would be like in reality. As it turns out, Caitlin, Eric and I loved it. It turned dark brown once cooked, but was still sort of dark green inside. Caitlin received flak about it at school. Her friends don't understand why she doesn't have "normal" bread. Green bread was really blowing their minds.

Five minute baguette. Easy and yummy.

I also love the reaction I get from friends and family when I break out a bread for dinner and they inhale it.

However...around Xmas time I asked Eric for a new bread book. This one is called the Bread Baker's Apprentice and teaches you quite a lot about the science behind the loaves. I love it.

The very first bread I made from it?

Large bagels in front have just been boiled.

Bagels are coated in onion (back), sesame seeds (middle) and a mix of light and dark sesame seeds, poppy seeds and salt (front).

Baked bagels make the house smell fantastic!

Of course, I had to make cream cheese to go with the bagels. It takes 2.5 days to make the cream cheese and 2 days to make the bagels. It's not just baking, it's a commitment and it may as well be good! As it turns out, these bagels were fantastic!

And that was just the start of the fantastic breads in this book. There was Anadama bread, which I've read about but never had an interest in making.

Anadama bread.


I jumped at making cinnamon raisin bagels and discovered that I'm never doing that again, unless I have a much larger KitchenAid mixer. That dough is tough, in order to be chewy, and the addition of all of those raisins makes it impossible to knead in my 4.5 qt without having a raisin shower. had to hand knead it for many more minutes than I ever wanted to.

Cream cheese on cinnamon raisin bagels.

I was glad to be done and glad to eat them. They're on my list to make again...some day. Just like croissants. I made those in my pastry class years ago and haven't made them since. There's an awful lot of work in those things!

Not pretty, but pretty yummy.

Baguettes that took a pre-ferment and two days to make.

Oooh! Aaah!

I learned about proper folding technique to stretch the outer dough and make a properly shaped loaf of bread.

Light whole wheat. More effort than I want to put in for a single loaf.

I made a bread entitled Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire, so I felt almost dared to make it.

Poppy seeds on crust.

Interior crumb.

It had brown rice in it and wheat germ, oats and cornmeal. It was incredible. I need to make it again, it was so good!

The last one I made (so far) was the Casatiello.

Oh. My. God.

It's a sandwich within a bread.

Butter. Eggs. Buttermilk.
It was so good that I'm surprised the neighbors didn't break down the door from the heavenly scent wafting out the front door.


In the end, though, all of this bread winds up in our bellies.

And on the floor.

And stuffed between the pillows on the couch.

And in a trail that heads upstairs to the twins' room.

You see, while I love my bread and eat it all up, those short people are known to be a little...messy when it comes to eating.

Jamface Man.

But they love the bread. And they like to watch while I make it and sniff all of the ingredients.

Logan elbows Emma for room on the stepladder.

They also offer to touch all of the balls of dough and taste test anything before and after it is done baking. They love anything with a soft crust (Emma is terrible about picking out the middle and then dropping the crust wherever she wants.) and are tiny Carbivores. If it has flour in it, they want to eat it.

Yup. It's been a bread bonanza around here. You should really drop by and have a bite!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wasn't there a holiday in there, somewhere?

Yes, I am still around. Seriously. I actually am.

I've been so busy baking bread and attempting to potty train* (and doing all the extra diaper laundry that attempt entails), that I haven't had a whole lot of energy left over for much of anything else. However, here are a few photos to make up for it. A little.

Ready to rip and roll!

Xmas 2009 at Chez Hatchet

There were few presents under the tree this year, but piles and piles of them at Grammy's house the night before. Someone went a little crazy with the presents, but 'tweren't me. Here, at home, there was quite a bit of ripping and shredding of paper, even with the few presents we had.

You know what the twins learned about Christmas? Shredding is fun! It didn't matter what was inside, so long as they got to destroy some paper. (And they are destructive little buggers, let me tell you!)

Opening a present from Aunt Cindy.

Oooh! New books!

The twins love this book! Unfortunately, they ripped several pages out of it the day we mistakenly left it in their room on the dresser. They climbed up and ripped out parts of the PIGS! book. The rest of us were very sad. Now we lock up all of their books at night. Sigh.

Logan "reading" his photo album from Cousin Janet.

Photo albums starring the twins (and Caitlin) were a big hit again this year. They love them, carry them around and flip through them all the time. Except that we have to take them away when their screaming/messy fingers/shredding instincts kick in.

Emma sings along to the Beatles for Kids album.

We also got some new music for the kids: Ziggy Marley and The Beatles for Children. Verrah nice.

Eric received some presents, too! Amazing! He was almost forgotten in the feeding frenzy. Even I received a present! A new cookbook: The Bread Baker's Apprentice. You suddenly understand where all my free time has gone, don't you?

Caitlin received yet more books, of course, and a few video games for the Wii. She seemed quite happy with her haul, so all is well.

We spent a very quiet New Year's Eve here at home. Eric and I had discussed the possibility of one of us getting out to a party solo, but decided not to bother. NYE solo isn't as much fun. Finishing off a new book my MIL gave me was much more fun, anyway.

I found 2009 to be a very rough year for me as a woman, mother and a shut-in housewife SAHM. I'm really hoping 2010 will be more to my liking. It's OK so far, but silver jumpsuit? No flying car? No teleporters? The future is a total ripoff so far!

Instead, I'll have to be content with homemade bread. And lots of it!
Why yes, I did make that. And the cream cheese that went on it, too.

And some bagels, for good measure.

* I have been reading all of your comments. Thanks so much for the support and humor and well wishes! Thanks for sticking with me!
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