Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bless his little heart

I'm at the computer reading your blog and Josh comes in.

Josh: Mommy, mommy, I want to sit on your lap.

Me: Where is Jane (as he is getting onto my ever shrinking lap)?

Josh: She is outside, but I locked the door.

Me: Nice.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My lovely children

Last night the Fam went to SLC so Kgordee could sell a guitar to a dude who had responded to his add on Craig's List. After the drop we went to Five Guys for dinner, I have to say I was really impressed. I have eaten there before whilst in State College PA, with my sister and her husband. It's been a few years since the first time and I had forgotten how good it is.

The burgers are ginormous and next time I will get a small cheese burger as I had to remove the superfluous patty from mine. These are the type of burgers that I strive to make at home, the meat is not too thick, very flavorful, juicy and there is plenty of yummy extras like grilled onions and mushrooms. They also serve their fries with malt vinegar and it's pretty tasty. If you haven't tried it, I would recommend it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The starter that wouldn't die

Last August-ish Dixon brought back a sourdough starter from somewhere in the north west and has been making amazing bread ever since. At every family function he is there with super yummy sour dough. I need to add here that I am really impressed with his bread making skills, and his dedication to the mother sponge (starter).

Owning a starter is like owning a pet, somewhere between a gold fish and a pet rock. It has to be feed every day (if you keep it at room temp, or once a week if you keep it in the fridge) and in return you can make bread everyday or you can start another sponge to give to someone else. Dixon is a good man, he makes bread almost everyday for his family and the wider Provo/Orem area.

The process can take upwards of 24 hours but the resulting bread is worth it. The first time I made bread from his starter it was the best bread I have ever made in my life, hands down. I can think back to all the breads we made at school for banquets and catering affairs and I can't think of anything that touches this bread. Thank you Dixon.

I have made the bread a few times now and it is so consistent, the texture of the bread is light but chewy and the crust is crisp and thin. A lot of my homemade breads have a density to them that isn't quite what I am looking for. Not so with this bread, it is light but not airy and amazing with olive oil and balsamic or just plain.

One of my favorite things about this bread is it's simplicity, all you ever have to add is flour, water and salt, yep that's it. I haven't tried adding herbs yet or making it into pizza dough, I will let you know how that goes.

If you live with in driving distance and you want a mother sponge of your very own, let me know and I will so make you one. If not and you still want to try it you can make one yourself. These sites will get you through the basics and on your way to making bread, here and here.

The best starters are from coastal locations because of the unique yeast present in the salty air. However even if you do buy it by from a coastal city and bring it inland the local yeast in the air will eventually take over, changing the nature of the starter. I'm sure the one I'm using now has lost it's unique west coast yeast, but that doesn't mean that the bread isn't completely tasty.

The baby sponge, made from the starter.
The proofed bread dough.
The bread rounded and shapped for the final rise.
Oh the sweet, sweet bread.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finished Baby Sling

I'm so happy with my new sling. It's not a fancy one but it is functional; I tested it with Jane and she weighs 35 lbs. It was so easy to make and because it went so fast, very satisfying as well. I wanted to get one for the twins but I knew it would be too hard to carry around just one for any length of time and not feel guilty about the other. I know that doesn't really make sense but I'm glad I'll have one this time around.

Below you can see how the sling is worn, though this isn't my picture. It's from an Etsy site that sells them at a very reasonable price. If you want to make your own sling, here are the instructions I followed, though here are a lot of different ways to make slings, with and without rings. If you want rings you can get them here, they are specifically made for baby slings and safe unlike the ones they sell at Joann's.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ricotta Recipe

Ricotta Cheese recipe:

1 gallon full fat milk
8 oz fresh lime juice

-Heat the milk to 180 degrees, stirring often. Hold the milk at 180 for 5 minutes, while stirring
-Remove the milk from the heat and slowly stir in the lime juice, continue to stir as the curds form
-Gently pour the curds into a strainer lined with new, rinsed cheesecloth and let it drain for an hour untouched
-For a firmer cheese gather the edges of the cheesecloth and secure them with a rubber band and suspend over a tall container over night or for at least for hours.
-Unwrap the cheese and season with salt as desired and use as you would any commercial ricotta.

I found this recipe in my On Cooking book, one of my text books from school. I found it before I made all that lasagna and manicotti and I was so happy that I didn't need to spend a million dollars on ricotta cheese. This recipe is really forgiving and very easy. It makes about a pound and a half of ricotta to start with but if you let it sit overnight you will get less but you will have a nicer, firmer cheese.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jane's new art project

Jane loves her new easel from Ikea. We kinda felt bad that Jane has been out in the cold as far as all the Lego action goes. Josh has been doing so well with the potty training and raking in the Legos we thought we had better reward Jane for all of her efforts over the last six months. Of course all of the chalk has been broken into tiny tiny pieces within seconds of opening the package. Good times.

Is it still called nesting if you are six months pregnant?

I really don't know, but I'm sure that is what I have been doing the last few weeks/months. I finally have a little bit of energy so I have been trying to focus on getting things ready for the baby. I still don't understand how I can be so unprepared to bring home a newborn when we had the twins only three and a half years ago. Where did all that stuff go, why can't I remember what it takes to care for an infant??

Well whatever kind of mental block I have going on, I have been busy. My sister in-law was cool enough to show me how to make these rad nursing covers, "Hooter Hiders" if you will. So I made two, as babies are a wee bit messy. I sewed a little burp cloth into the corner of one, as I forgot with the first one and was not about to rip out the stitches.

Here you can see some of my other handy work. I recently purchased a Food Saver and I have prepared about 40ish meals to use after the baby is born. I've made three kinds of pasta sauce, creamy pesto, marinara and a creamy red sauce. I have lasagna, manicotti, chicken enchiladas, cream of broccoli soup, fajitas stuffs (chicken, peppers and onion), french bread pizza, rolls, and cookie dough. I also have some other stuff like raviolis and such that I didn't make but portioned out for easy meal preparation.

Unfortunately for my family the only cooking I have been doing of late is the food saved freezer kind, and now that my outside freezer can hold no more I'm kinda pooped out on the whole cooking thing altogether. I'll have to work on that.

I am also waiting for some metal rings to come in the mail so I can make a baby sling. I'm so excited to use one, and with no guilt because there will be only one baby to hold. If the sling works out, and is semi-decent looking I will post pictures.


Me: Why is this wet? (I'm looking at a little net fabric bag I found on the bathroom floor)

Josh: It was in the toilet.

Me: Why, why, why was it in the toilet. (Using a very frustrated raised voice.)

Jane comes in the room.

Jane: Mom, what the hell?

Me: Excuse me, we do not use that word.

Jane: We don' t say Hell and we don't say Damn.

Me. Hmmmm.