Monday, January 31, 2011

Sick Sick Sick

We're sick here. So very sick. So very sick of being sick. Once I'm feeling better, I'll have some good stuff to share with you. I'm working in the girls' room again. I'm so close, and yet so very far from having it done. Trim work is SOOOOOO time-consuming. The wood filler, sanding, painting part seems like it will take forever. But I haven't even gotten there yet. A little more wall trim, half the window trim,and all the crown molding still have to go up. I hope I get my energy back soon. We also have drywall to hang in the hallway.

For now, here's a sneak peak.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

French Toast

(I got this image from learningtocook(dot)com. It was the closest to what mine looked like. I tried to take a picture but it was late and I didn't have decent light.)

Alrighty, here it it. Now, this isn't exactly a cutting edge recipe. It's your basic french toast. The key is that you'll slice your sourdough bread at least 1/2 an inch thick. That's what makes this good. A hearty slice of homemade bread. (Which reminds me of a sign Lincoln and I saw in northern WI one night outside of a restaurant. They were advertising their "homade pizza". That was fuel for some great jokes about ho-made food for the whole weekend.) Anywho, back to french toast. This particular recipe comes from "Cooking With Mickey: Gourmet Mickey Cookbook", the most requested recipes from Walt Disney World and Disneyland. I got it in a consignment shop.

Cinnamon Sugar French Toast

1/4 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
4 slices sourdough bread, 1/2 inch thick
4 eggs, well beaten
Soy bean oil (I just use whatever I have)
Confectioners sugar
Butter, whipped (though I skip the butter on it and like it just fine, especially if I cook them in a little butter)
Maple syrup, warm (Don't make me get on my soapbox about maple syrup. Just use the real, pure stuff and not that plasticky, fabricated garbage, OK?)

Mix cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Cut bread slices in half diagonally. Dip in beaten eggs, soaking bread well with egg. Heat oil in a skillet and fry bread, turning to brown both sides. Roll at once in sugar and cinnamon and dust with confectioners sugar.

Serve with butter and syrup.

So there it is. We had this for dinner last night and the kids couldn't get enough.

Linking up to Funky Junk's SNS

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sourdough Bread

Ok, folks, it's a recipe today. Just trust me when I tell you to get your starter going for this, because tomorrow I'm going to share a French Toast recipe that you HAVE to make with slices of homemade sourdough.

It will take you approximately 2 minutes to make the starter, so what do you have to lose? You could make this while you're swishing your mouthwash around your mouth, I bet.

Here it is:

2C all-purpose flour
2C warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast (or a scant tablespoon if you're using bulk.)

Mix together flour, warm water, and yeast in a large glass bowl.
That's it for the mixing! See? Easy!

Let stand uncovered in a warm place overnight (up to 48 hours). The longer it stands, the stronger the ferment will be.

After fermenting, the starter is ready to use or store covered in the fridge. Feed once or twice a week with 1 C milk, 1 C flour, and 1/4 C sugar. Allow the starter to rest at room temperature for several hours after feeding.

*Side note: Don't worry if your starter has a "skin" over it after fermenting. Once you cover and refrigerate it, it softens up.

Sourdough Bread:

4 3/4 C bread flour
3 T sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
1 C warm milk
2 T margarine or butter softened
1 1/2 C starter
1 extra large egg
1 T water
1/4 C chopped onion (optional)

1. In a large bowl, combine 1 C flour, sugar, salt, yeast. Add milk and butter. Stir in starter. Mix in up to 3 3/4 C flour. (I often don't need all of that. Yesterday I only used 3 and I still felt like it was a little too much.)

2. Turn dough out onto floured surface, knead 8-10 minutes. (You can also use your Kitchenaid or Bosch mixer with dough hook attachment).

3. Place in greased bowl, turn to coat with oil, cover. Let rise one hour or until doubled.

4. Punch down. Let rest for 15 minutes.

5. Shape into loaves, place in greased baking pan. (I shape them into round loaves and cook them on my stones. I like the round loaf when I'm going to make French Toast, because it gives me a nice, long , slice of bread.) Let rise 1 hour, or until doubled.

6. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 375' for 30 minutes.

****EDITED to add- If you're adding the chopped onions, they go on after the egg wash!

Ok, now go get your starter started. You'll be making french toast in a couple days. My kids LOVED this french toast, and the key to the whole thing is to make it with this sourdough bread.

Happy baking!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Still Here

I'm trying to work out some kinks with getting access to my photos. Long story involving a new router and wireless and me only wanting to work on my new laptop and issues with accessing my network and blah blah blah. I've got stuff I want to share. Hopefully soon.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Mantel

With Christmas gone and the holiday decor packed up for 11 months, it was time to redo the piano mantel for January. I wanted lots of warm, rustic, winter whites. I threw in lots of natural elements- the birds, the pinecones, the berry garland, the iced wreath-and items that speak to family and tradition.

Here it is:

I'm happy with how it turned out, but not so happy with my pictures. I took about 6 million pictures and still couldn't capture the light the way I wanted. Someday I'll figure this photography thing out.

I'm linking up to the Winter Mantel Linky Party at Stories of A to Z

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Basement Progress

Basement progress might be overstating what we have done of late in the area. But progress is progress, no matter how small...Right? We NEED to get the hallway in this area finished off. As part of that process, we planned to rip out the doorway to the unfinished portion, opening it up without an archway or anything, just a continuation of the wall and ceiling, one smooth line. Well, one smooth line with a soffit in the middle of it.

A few days after Christmas, Lincoln got to work with a Saws All and a crowbar, and tore out the doorway.
I couldn't believe how much bigger it made the family room space look! It will be amazing when we get it finished. And warmer. A lot of cold air comes in from the unfinished basement. Right now, getting drywall up in the hallway is top priority. If we can get the ceiling up, I can plug away at the walls on my own.

There are so many projects I want to get working on, but this is where our money and efforts need to be concentrated right now. I'm hoping we can get to it on Saturday. We shall see.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Craigslist Addiction

Yes. It is true. I absolutely have a Craigslist addiction. I try to stay away, I really do. But despite my best efforts, I suddenly find myself scrolling through the antiques section of my local list. I've done well lately, browsing without buying. But I recently came across a lovely antique table painted in a soft creamy white. Remember my inspiration picture I shared in my last post?
I hemmed and hawed. We already have two perfectly serviceable tables. But I really have been yearning for a lighter, airy look in our dining room. The large dining room table we have is rustic and dark. It is a farmhouse style with slate inlaid on the top. It is heavy and solid.
We loved it when we bought it. We loved that it came with a large leaf so we could easily fit 10 people at it. Well, unfortunately, it has never opened easily, and a couple years ago we finally gave up completely on ever putting the leaf in it again. And, as I mentioned, I'm just ready for a different look.

So, with my babysitting money, I bought the new table.
I love it. It is delicate looking,(but amazingly sturdy), bright, and beautiful. Unfortunately, it is too small for our family. It does open, but doesn't have a leaf. I could have one made for it, I'm sure, but I'm not sure what that will cost.

So plan B is to put it in my craft area I've been working on. I need a good work surface in there, so my pretty little table will be it. I think the old dining room table might become the game table, and the game table might move upstairs to the dining room. You may recall that the game table was a Craigslist purchase that I refinished. Well, partially. There are two large leaves to the table that I never got around to finishing because we didn't really need them. However, the table opens like buttah, so it would be perfect for using in the dining room in terms of ease of use. Plus, the lines of the table are curvier and more delicate like what I'm craving upstairs. So I need to get to work sanding, staining, painting, and sealing the leaves. When that is all done, we'll do the swap.

And y'know what? When I put the original table back in place, I actually liked the scale better. I think the downstairs table will be the perfect compromise. Bigger than the new white table, curvier than the old slate table, easy to open, plenty of room for our crew and a little company. And in the meantime, I'll dress it up a bit and I think I'll be pretty content.

And, FYI, it's very difficult to get a G-rated photo of anything with a half nude child constantly running into the frame.