Saturday, January 25, 2020

To Sourdough or Not to Sourdough

That is the Question!!!

When my girl mentioned that she would like to change
the way she eats bread
that sourdough bread would be better for her,
I took it as a challenge!

I have been making "Tuesday" white bread almost weekly.
This started when my Tuesdays with Noa days began!
We baked bread each week.

When I began to explore the method of developing sourdough starter
I almost gave up - there is just SO much information and
SO many youtube videos to navigate through!

OK - starter is simply flour and water, left to ferment for about 7 days
till it gets bubbly and yeasty.
My first attempt - after 7 days it had done absolutely nothing and
never started bubbling!!!
I threw it out (a quart jar full) and doubted my ability to make this.

Finally, after more reading, I found a starter recipe that used
a wee bit of instant yeast to get it going - it worked - too well!!!

Thankfully, I was able to salvage enough of this starter
which has become the "mother" starter so far.
I named her Levina!

The farmer felt like someone had moved in with us ...

This mixture needs tending. 
Daily or weekly feeding.
Lots of clean jars.
A baking schedule.

1st attempt:

I used all purpose flour and the bread turned out pretty good.

January 11, 2020

I don't have all the equipment
recommended but I used
my craft exacto knife to slash
the bread.

(You would be surprised at how many
videos I watched in order to know how 
to do this).

2nd attempt:

I mixed some dark rye flour into some of the starter to get a new 
variety going - still haven't found a good name for this one.
Perhaps I'll name it Grapes (for sour grapes).
I also, stocked up with some bread flour which is supposed to be better.

It seemed to take forever to rise and the dough had sort of dried and formed a skin.
I baked it anyway and gave it to my daughter to try.
She said it was good and no lumps in the loaf which I was afraid had happened.
It sure did look pretty though ...

January 12, 2020

3rd attempt:

Disaster - I made the Rye version but forgot to add salt.
Then I forgot to preheat the dutch oven.
And, forgot to slash the top.
Needless to say, it did not taste very good nor did it look good!
We used it for french toast and left some outside for the birds.

Today, I made another Rye variety loaf and I think it's a success.

January 25, 2020

Unfortunately, my daughter has declared no bread at all for the time being.
This means less bread baking and lots of "feedings" to keep these starters alive.
I think I'm too impatient, quick bread this is not!

**Taste note update - strong sour flavour but nice "crumb".  Not sure I like the rye bread one.

In the meantime, in the beginning of this new decade, I've been
keeping busy with a bit of quilting.

I truly am in my happy place when in my messy sewing corner!

One Bear Claw Quilt done, another started (blue and white), and a mystery quilt on the go.

How has your January/New Year been going?

It's been a strange Winter so far in 2020 ... mostly quite mild.
However, we did have a cold snap last week with some beautiful lacy frost.

Till next time ..... recouping from a lingering cold, sewing to my hearts content, and contemplating whether to pursue sourdough or not to.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year!

2020 has arrived!

As we roar into this new decade, staying healthy is on my mind!
It's not a New Year's resolution - it's something I want to be intentional about.

Today was Christmas turkey bone broth day - the turkey's gold!
I'm hoping this healthy broth will give me the boost I need
to kick this 3 week old cold and cough!

This is the recipe I use to make it:  

It's not difficult to make. It just takes time ...

While the bones brothed, I worked on my Bear Claw Quilt.
The fabric was cut and ready to go before Christmas.
The sewing machine is out of storage and it makes me "sew" happy.
Here's a peek:

How was your Christmas?
It slipped by so quickly but not without some wonderful family times
and delicious food.
Sadly, very few pictures were taken over here!

It was all about these little loves ...
Our hearts are full!

Our little Angel in the church
children's program.

A wee reindeer arrived at our 
door on Christmas Day.

Home made play dough - the best! It had to be pink.

A great message for January 2020

Days are slowly getting longer and oh, those beautiful sunsets!!

Till next time ... stay healthy and happy.
Tomorrow - another year older - eek! How did I get so old?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Time to Shine

The hall is "dec'd"

The porch is done

Biscotti made

Ginger cookies baked

The reason for the season ...

A special "first time" school concert - delightful!

Front - almost centre with red and black checked shirt

Kitchen island centre piece

A birch theme this year

The mantel 

Mom's China Cabinet

The tree

We're almost there and things are beginning to sparkle and shine.

How are your preparations coming along?

As we prepare, let's remember ...

... to be humble and kind!

Till next time ... shine on.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

A November to Remember!

A whirlwind trip to Arizona ...

The farmer had a conference to go to in Scottsdale, AZ
I tagged along
we made a trip of it!

First stop on our way was to see the Frank Lloyd Wright
"Taliesin West".
It has always been his dream to see some of the FLW sites and this was our first.
It did not disappoint.
Nestled into the desert hills with cacti all around, we were guided 
through this amazing facility, baked in the hot Arizona sun.
It truly was a WOW and now we for sure want to see more structures
designed by this brilliant man.

Next stop - the luxury hotel "The Pheonician Scottsdale"
Wowza - this place was fancy - the farmer and his wife were in awe 
and probably didn't quite meet the guest expectations.

Balcony View

However, we stayed two nights and enjoyed it just the same.
While the conference was in session I joined a party of spouses to hike up Camelback Mountain.

I soon learned why they insisted that
we each carry at least 2 bottles of water!
Very hot and oh so dry.

I have never seen such tall cactus.
Thankfully no rattlesnakes were spotted.

A view into the Scottsdale Valley from Camelback Mountain

The hotel even had it's own beautiful 2 acre Cactus Garden

Evening and Morning strolls

A fancy and magical lawn dinner party to end the conference!
We felt so pampered and amazed.

Over the next week and a half we travelled and experienced more awesomeness
and "take your breath away" sites.

Sedona, AZ
"Sedona has long been considered a special and sacred place. It is believed to possess several unusual energy fields collectively known as Sedona vortex sites. ... They believe that the vortexes (or vortices) in Sedona are swirling centers of subtle energy emanating from the surface of the earth."

This truly felt like a sacred place to us ... we hiked amongst the giant red rocks and
gazed from high buttes on this beautiful ancient land.
What a privilege to experience this special place.

Grand Canyon, AZ
South Rim

Pictures simply do not do this incredible place any justice!

We hiked below the rim on the South Kaibab Trail
and lived to tell the story!

Early Morning at Ooh Aah Point
Full Moon peeked out just as my camera battery died
A glimpse of the mighty Colorado River that carved this place!

Pinch me - I've experienced part of this wonderful world!

Next stop was Zion National Park where we stood in the valley
and gazed upwards to the magnificent peeks!
This was the Farmer's favourite.
It was a perfect warm Fall day with leaves floating gently to the ground.

Court of the Patriarchs

A rare California Condor hatchling was spotted high on a cliff's edge.
Barely visible, this black fluff spot caused some great excitement with these
avid birders. 

One more place to explore - as we headed further North into Utah.
Bryce Canyon, UT

Again we were looking down deep into this breathtaking canyon.

Natural Bridge - Bryce Canyon, UT

We felt the high elevations and chill in the air as we did a short hike above the rim and as
we travelled from point to point.


This Canyon was explored all in a day and with the long trek ahead of us back
to Phoenix, we headed back south to Flagstaff, AZ.

The next day we were back in the Phoenix area with a quick stop 
to see the Montezuma Castle - so interesting!

Oh my, this post is getting far too long ...

A few days before catching our flight home we did a quick stop
in Apache Junction, had coffee with a cousin and his wonderful wife
 who own a beautiful summer home there,
explored part of the Apache trail, dined at a real Western (ride your horse to)
eatery, and visited a "shoot'em up" museum village.

Before returning our rented vehicle, we paid a visit to Phoenix's 
Musical Instruments Museum.
This was a surprisingly amazing museum and we were so glad that a friend
had recommended this. Well worth the visit!

All in all, it was a wonderful 2 week get-away.
We ended the trip with a cab ride to the nearest shopping mall, of course, and relaxed with
a huge bag of popcorn while watching Ford vs. Ferrari at the IMAX theatre, of course!!!
He loves his IMAX movies.

Sorry I kept you so long.
Till next time - wishing all our US of A friends and families a very Happy Thanksgiving.

To Sourdough or Not to Sourdough

That is the Question!!! When my girl mentioned that she would like to change the way she eats bread and that sourdough bread woul...