P31 Wannabe

Bread Making Tips June 26, 2010

Filed under: Breads,Recipes — Lacey @ 7:01 pm

I found these tips in my mixer recipe book and thought they were helpful. So I wanted to share them in case you’re going to try to make any homemade bread.

  • Use a candy thermometer or other kitchen thermometer to assure that liquids are at temperature specified in the recipe.  Liquids at higher temps can kill yeast, while liquids at lower temps will retard yeast growth.
  • Warm all ingredients to room temp to insure proper rising of dough.  If yeast is to be dissolved in bowl, always warm bowl first by rinsing with warm water to prevent cooling of liquids.
  • Allow bread to rise in a warm place, 80-85 degrees F, free from draft, unless otherwise specified in recipe.
  • Here are some alternative rising methods to use:
  1. The bowl containing the dough can be placed on wire rack over a pan of hot water.
  2. The bowl can be placed on the top rack of an unheated oven; put a pan of hot water on the rack below.
  3. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F for 1 minute; then turn it off, place bowl on the center rack of the oven and close the door.
  • Cover bowl with waxed paper, of desired.  Always cover with towel to retain warmth in the bowl and protect from drafts.
  • Recipe rising times may vary due to temp and humidity in your kitchen.  Dough has doubled in bulk when indentation remains after tips of fingers are pressed lightly and quickly into dough.
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Twisted Berry Nut Bread

Filed under: Breads,Recipes — Lacey @ 6:55 pm

This recipe is a little harder than those I typically try, but I was up for the challenge. And it really wasn’t that hard besides having to wait a lot in between kneading and such. I got it from a Family Circle magazine back in November. It ended up so pretty and is delicious! I’m pretty proud of it! This time, I’m including a few step by step photos.

Twisted Berry Nut Bread
Makes: 16 servings
Prep: 40 minutes
Rise: 2 Hours
Bake: 30 min at 350

Ingredients
Dough:

3/4 c milk
1/3 c sugar
3 T unsalted butter
1/2 t salt
1 packet (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water (105 degrees to 115)
3 eggs
4 1/4 c flour, plus more for dusting

Filling:
3/4 c seedless raspberry jam
3/4 c chopped walnuts, toasted
1 T sugar


1. Dough: Heat milk, sugar, butter and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Let cool 30 min.


2. Sprinkle yeast over warm water in large bowl; stir to dissolve. Add milk mixture, 2 of the eggs, and 1 1/4 c flour. Beat 3 min on med-low until smooth, scraping down side of bowl. Stir in about 3 c flour to form dough.


3. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 3-5 min, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in large oiled bowl, turning dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place, away from drafts, until doubled, 1 hour.


4. Punch dough down; place on floured surface. Cover; let rest 15 min.


5. Lightly coat 15X10X1 in baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.


6. Filling: Roll dough into 14-in square. Brush with jam, leaving 1 in border. Sprinkle with walnuts.











7. Beginning with one edge, roll dough up, jelly-roll style. Pinch seam closed, then carefully transfer to prepared baking sheet, seam-side down; reshape into 14 in roll. Cut roll in half lengthwise. With cut-sides facing up, and beginning in middle and working to top, keeping cut sides up as much as possible; pinch ends together and under to seal. Repeat with bottom half of loaf. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.











8. Heat oven to 350. Lightly beat remaining egg. Brush over top of bread, then sprinkle with sugar.


9. Bake at 350 for about 30 min or until lightly golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Pineapple Jello Salad

Filed under: Recipes,Side Dishes/Snacks — Lacey @ 6:42 pm

Ok, I know I’ve been on a jello kick recently. And there will be more coming still in the next couple weeks! The jello salads are just so easy to make, and its a great way to eat fruit without having to cut it up everytime. Now that I’m home more, it helps to have already prepared snacks to eat throughout the day.

The jello salads also remind me of my grandma and our family dinners when I was a kid. She used to make so many different types of jello, one of them actually had shredded cheese in it. Not so sure if I’m going to try that one again! But its been fun taking a walk down memory lane while I’m making these. It also reminds me of one of my college roommates. We discovered that we had a mutual love of jello with fruit in it. So we’d make it together sometimes.

Here’s my latest jello salad:

Pineapple Jello Salad

1 pkg Pineapple Jello
1 Can Pineapple chunks or tidbits
Grapes, cut in halves
Chopped walnuts or pecans
Celery, cut up into small slices

1. Prepare jello according to instructions.
2. Add all ingredients. Refrigerate until solid.

 

Here we stay June 25, 2010

Filed under: Life — Lacey @ 1:20 am

Seth is leaving for CIY tomorrow night…well, I guess its actually tonight since its 1 am! I’m a bit bummed at this point because I saw him for only about an hour today. Or so it feels like. He got up at 4:15 am (yes, you read that right) to go play basketball at the Baptist church, then worked out, then spent most of the early part of the day working on the church bus to get it ready for the trip. He came home, talked to me for a few minutes while eating lunch, then went out to mow the jungle (hallelujah), then had to rush to the church for his staff meeting. We then had Bible study with his grandfather (an awesome one at that). Then we got home, put Haddie to bed, and while relaxing and watching the LOST finale…he fell asleep. No amount of my “you can’t sleep this is the last LOST!” could keep him awake. So, I finished LOST and am still LOST and now I don’t have him to help me piece it all together. Since then he’s pretty much been comatose…and I can’t sleep, once again.

I think I’m becoming a night owl. I seriously need to get on a more regular sleep schedule so I can function with getting up at a normal hour in the morning. But tonight and tomorrow are not promising to be any help. Oh well.

I’m going to visit my family during this next week while Seth’s gone. I’m going to be there from Sunday to Thursday. It should be interesting. Usually Seth is with me to help drive (its only 2.5 hrs away..not like its days or anything) and visit. But since he’s not with me, we’re going to be able to stay longer since we won’t have to be back for youth group. Like I said, it should be interesting. I enjoy seeing my family and all. But since my parents’ divorce and my mom’s remarriage, it makes for some interesting family dynamics.

I don’t know how kids deal with divorces when you’re actually a kid. I’m glad it didn’t happen until I was out of the house. And far enough away to not be so much in the middle of it. But overall, my parents have done a good job about not making it too ugly. But there’s always going to be the aspect of he-said she-said stuff. But we’re trying to make the best of it.

Still, going back to the hometown is always kind of weird. Especially to see some of the people I grew up with that haven’t really grown up or moved on since high school. Thankfully I don’t usually run into too many of them. But its still weird when I do. I feel like I revert back to the awkward, insecure middle/high school age. Blah. I hate that. So glad I’m outta that stage. But I hate when I’m thrust back into it.

On the brighter side, I’m excited about taking Haddie to the Homosassa Wildlife Park with my dad. Now don’t be deceived…its nothing too exciting. I know its sometimes advertised as such, but from what I remember as a kid, its not. But its still going to be fun to see it through Haddie’s eyes. And honestly, I don’t remember much about it anyways. Its been a while since she’s been to the zoo or Sea World and since she’s talking so much more and much more observant, it should be pretty cool.

And I’m excited about going to El Ranchito with my mom. It has got to be the best Mexican place I’ve ever been to. I have been having cravings for years. And now, my addiction may be started again! I can’t wait to sink my teeth into their quesadillas and their never ending chips and salsa. Just thinking about it reminds me of my best friends from high school and our trying out our Spanglish on the nice waiters there. That and my cheese addicted friend always ordering their queso. Yum. I can’t wait!

I’m also looking forward to seeing my sister and my nephew! Its still weird to say that I have a nephew. And from the pics he’s getting big. Can’t wait to see them. I’m also going to get to visit with one of my best friends from high school. Should be fun to catch up and see her new baby (well…he is closer to a year now…its been a while since we’ve seen each other!). So, all in all, I’m looking forward to the time I get to get away.

But I’m still bummed that things always come up that come in the way of time with Seth before he leaves for the 9 day trip. I guess its life though. At least the youth ministry life. But blogging and venting has made me feel much better. And more excited about my trip!

 

Tales of the Potty Chair, part 2

Filed under: Life — Lacey @ 1:01 am

Like I mentioned in a previous post, we’re not working on potty training yet, at least not hardcore. But we had another interesting poo experience, so I thought I’d share it since I can’t sleep right now.

Haddie went pee in the toilet a couple more times today and after bath time she said she had to go pee again. She did and then got up and said she was done. We dumped, rinsed and flushed the pee. Then she said she had to go pee again. Once again, we completed the cycle. Then, she did it again. Afterward, she still didn’t want her diaper back on. So I finished drying her off and noticed that she was um, shall I say, concentrating a bit.

I started to inwardly panic since she didn’t have a diaper on, wouldn’t let me put one on and refused to sit on the potty. I knew what was coming next. So, I figured…well, here’s a learning experience. And a few seconds later. You can imagine what, ahem, presented itself…onto the bathroom floor. She flipped out again! I saw that she wasn’t completely…finished…so I pushed her onto the potty while I um, cleaned up her mess. She was flipping out! I wanted to laugh so loud…but I was more concerned about not completely scarring her from potty training ever again. That and I didn’t want anymore poo on my floor or me, for that matter. Then she got up from the potty and saw that there was more of that stuff in there! Flip out #2. (no pun intended)

I dumped it in the toilet, and tried to clean up her messy butt. But she was still flipping out. Apparently she still doesn’t get the concept that that stuff came out of her and its the same stuff that makes her diapers dirty. Weird. Guess it could be scary when you really think about it.

I was trying to figure out how to calm her down and explain what it was. I figured, the whole “this is your food after you eat it” speech might freak her out more and make her anorexic…so I opted with the only other option I could think of. I gave her the “everyone poops” speech. I told her mommy and daddy poop in the big toilet. And Haddie poops in the potty chair. She eventually seemed to get the idea and kept saying “yeah, mommy and daddy poo in big potty.” So, crisis averted.

We got the messy butt cleaned, said goodbye to the poopy while it swirled down the toilet and reassured her a couple times that yes, it was gone. Otherwise she was still ready to bolt out the bathroom door before we could brush her teeth.

The next time with #2 should be quite interesting, I’m sure.

 

Where Has the Neighborhood Gone? June 24, 2010

Filed under: Life — Lacey @ 3:44 pm

We moved into our house about five and a half years ago. Since that time our neighbors have changed at least a couple times. And unfortunately, not always for the better. The more I’ve thought about our interesting neighbors, the more I’ve realized how strange and humorous their descriptions/stories are. So, I thought I’d share them with you, if for nothing more than a good laugh (don’t worry, they’ll never know).

Before our story begins, I want to preface it by saying that overall, we do really like the area where we live. Its been pretty quiet. Most everyone just keeps to themselves (although sometimes I wish it wasn’t that way). Most people keep their yards somewhat tidy, but there are some hideous exceptions. We have decent size yards and the houses aren’t squished together like in the newer housing subdivisions. And we don’t have a homeowner’s association. So, we can paint our house whatever color we want, not cut the grass every week, leave our trashcans by the street for a couple of days in a row and pile our yard debris by the street and not in neat garbage bags (yes, we are those neighbors you sometimes hate). I typically enjoy the shade, still vacant wooded lots, and the character of some of the um, shall I say, interesting houses. With all of that said…here’s a few stories of our interesting neighbors.



First here’s Carl’s house:

Carl lives right across the street from us. He bought the house and moved in a few months ago. And from what I’ve seen, he’s the best neighbor of them all. He keeps to himself, but is still friendly. He keeps his yard in tiptop shape. He reminds me of what my dad is probably going to be like when he’s retired…busy doing lots of small projects on the house and yard. He gave us his old stove when he bought a new one. And his was still in great shape and newer than ours. He asked Seth to help him move in some stuff and also to pick up a new mower he bought. And Seth gladly helped. But the guy insisted on paying him afterward, both times. Seth tried to nicely refuse, but the guy eventually put the money in Seth’s pants pocket…thankfully he was wearing cargo shorts. Would have been a bit awkward otherwise. Not that it wasn’t as it was. But anyways.



Next to Carl’s house and still across the street is this house (if you can call it that):

There used to be really well kept white and blue house there. The owners, Stuart and Shirley, were always very friendly. Stuart helped pull Seth’s truck out when it got stuck in our slightly flooded yard once. Shirley brought us banana bread once. But probably about 1 1/2 years ago, their house burned down. It was so weird! I heard the radios of the firetrucks and looked out the window to see huge billows of smoke coming from their house. We felt sooooo bad for them! Luckily no one was home, and the fire started from a family member that left the stove on. About a month or so later, they finally bulldozed the place. That was super weird to watch, too.

After that, they had a big mound built up on the middle of the property, covered it with new sod and put in a whole new septic system. We thought they were just going to build again, but then they got this huge motorhome and parked it on top of the grass-covered mound. Later we heard a lot of sounds like they were building something. We finally saw that they had built a small building (what you see in the picture) that looked like a small addition that faced the motorhome. Eventually, the motorhome was gone, and they seemed to be living in the mini-house. But not too long later, they left all together. Now a family member only uses their driveway to occasionally store vehicles or trailers in. We can’t figure out where they went. Strange, huh?



On one side of our house is a vacant wooded lot. We’re seriously dreading the day someone buys it and decides to build on it. If we had enough money, we’d probably buy it ourselves.



On the other side of our house is this house:

Ever since we’ve lived here, an older couple has lived there. Ernie and Nellie. They’ve always been very quiet and kept to themselves. We’ve only been inside their house a couple times or even talked to them a couple of times. Once when Ernie was taken to the hospital for a collapsed lung and we later went to check on Nellie. Another time when we took them some Christmas cookies.

We used to see Ernie mowing the lawn and I was seriously afraid he’d die out there. He was so skinny and small on that riding lawn mower. He’d have his cowboy hat on and mowing probably in the slowest gear it has. And his mower had a serious backfiring problem. Caused me to jump more than once.

Ernie died last year and we didn’t find out until a few weeks later when I randomly found his obituary. Since then an interesting man has been staying at the house. I assume that he’s somehow related to Nellie and is there taking care of her, but all I can say is get a haircut and dress a bit better, please! He has a scraggly beard and all he wears is a pair of shorts that are too big, hang below his belly and are held up by suspenders. And there have been times when they have not been fully zipped or buttoned. Just sayin.

And in the past few months, another man, the first guy’s opposite, has been staying there, too. He rarely wears a shirt (I’m tempted to ask him if he’d like one of Seth’s)..and he really should be. He is pretty much skin and bones except for little belly. And he wears the same pair of cut off jean shorts. Thankfully they’re at least down to his knees. All I see him do is either mow their lawn or ride his bike. That and yesterday I saw him smoking and drinking a beer. Oh, and Seth has seen him panhandling by the highway. He’s only talked to Seth a couple of times, once to ask him to inflate his bike tire. Honestly, the man kinda creeps me out.

We realized about a couple months ago that he is living here:

In Nellie’s shed. Double creepy. So we’d dubbed him our “Homeless Shed Neighbor.” It really creeped me out at first when I was laying the hammock and kept hearing noises in their normally abandoned shed. Yeah, didn’t I tell you its gotten interesting?

Also on the creepy subject, occasionally I hear the guy hawking up a lung or a loogie. Yeah, heard this last night after midnight while I was trying to sleep. Yum. And a couple of weeks ago, I went outside at night to water some of my plants that I keep forgetting about and were therefore shriveled and on their last life. Thankfully Seth was with me because I kept hearing the guy talking to himself in the shed. Creepy again. Time to move on.



Behind us is this house:

A few years ago, a middle-aged couple, Ron and Christine, bought it. They were friendly enough and also kept to themselves. He’s a truck driver so he wasn’t home often. At one point another guy moved in. We found out later that it was her exhusband. Yes, you read that right. The husband, wife, and exhusband were all living together. And although the exhusband (I still don’t know his name!), has gone on long spiels to Seth about how’s he a Christians…he is most definitely not! We’ve heard too many lovely yelling matches and colorful words to believe otherwise. He eventually brought a camper and started living in their backyard. Which wasn’t so bad for us. Until they moved it from one side of their backyard to the other. Now its right beside our fire pit and hammock area. Yes, I’d love to relax, lay in my hammock and be watched by him through his camper windows. Creepy again. So, Seth, not so discreetly, put this fence up:

The guy’s never said anything about it. But I am so glad its there. Oh, and another weird thing about this exhusband. He blasts classical music at all hours. The door and windows of the camper are shut, but we can still hear the music in our house! I can’t imagine the guys has eardrums left. Maybe thats why he yells so much?

A month or two ago, we noticed a moving truck in their yard. And from what we can gather, we think that the original couple’s kids (they’re older than us) have moved in. For a while we were still seeing the exhusband (maybe one of their dad’s? not sure), but I can’t remember seeing him in a while. Weird. But I definitely don’t mind.



Finally, just down the street, next to the wooded lot, is another interesting house. It was empty for the longest time and was finally redone. It needed the work badly. Then the owner rented out the house. The renters are an interesting bunch, too. There seems to be a lady (probably close to my age), a man, and a bizillion kids. I think I’ve seen one older boy (maybe 8 or so?), three girls, and at least one or two babies. I’ve been quite inwardly frustrated at the mom a few times. Her younger girls will play in the street barefooted without supervision. Another time, she looked pregnant (at least in the beginning of her pregnancy), was smoking, pushing a stroller and had a gaggle of barefooted kids behind her. The smoking part and being pregnant was what seriously angered me. And I’ve seen her since then and doesn’t look pregnant anymore. No comment there.

The other day, Seth was at the end of our driveway picking up our empty trashcans and the bungee cords we use to keep the lids on. And the guy was walking down the street past him. He says to Seth, “Those *$&#*(@*#&$ raccoons get in your trash, too?” Yeah, nice classly language. And that’s the only thing he’s ever said to us. Needless to say…I’m not too fond of them.



So, that’s pretty much the tale of our nearby neighbors. I could say a few more things about some of the other “interesting” houses on our street, but I’ll save you the long details…that and I need to get up and do some dishes. Gotta work on limiting my time online afterall, right?

 

Giving Up

Filed under: God thoughts,Life — Lacey @ 2:26 pm

I’m not talking about quitting…rather, fasting. This is something I’ve never been good at. I’ve only actually tried fasting from food once or twice. But it is something that Jesus assumed we would do. And I was reminded of this once again during the sermon last Sunday.

For those of you not very familiar with the idea…
Fasting is most commonly done by giving up food for a set amount of time. Usually it is associated with certain purposes. For instance, its natural to forgo food during times of mourning, illness or while you’re considering a big decision. Other reasons are usually spiritual in nature, and are related to building up self control and growing closer to God. Many people use the time that they would normally be preparing and consuming food to instead pray or read God’s Word.

Frequently, fasting and similar “deprivations of the body” are associated with very strict religious people like monks. But I don’t think this is the way God intended it to be used.

I don’t believe that God wants us to go around starving to death and beating ourselves. God created this world for us to enjoy (within reason…and still abiding by His standards). He created all the great food we enjoy and the nature we marvel at.

But there is still a time and place to use spiritual disciplines such as fasting. Because we can become so consumed by earthly desires and the busyness of life that we become distracted from our primary task of following and worshiping our Lord.

In our youth group D-Groups last night we discussed the sermon and one of the questions we asked was about fasting. We challenged them to try to give up something in order to gain self-control and being closer to God. I also challenged my group to go beyond the typical food fasting and to think of other things that consume their time or are big distractions to them. We talked about what we would give up for the next two weeks until we meet as a group again. Some decided to give up meat, others talking to certain friends who are bad influences, and others responding in certain hurtful ways to people.

I make a lot of excuses about why not to fast, at least from food. I get bad headaches when I don’t eat, and I can get lightheaded and pretty tired. Plus, I’ve been having some stomach problems and that will only get worse if I don’t eat.

So, why don’t I fast from something else then? I came up with some other options…but none that I particularly want to give up. But then again, fasting isn’t supposed to be fun or easy. If it was it wouldn’t be a spiritual discipline. I’ve thought of giving up soda (especially my daily Coke), internet (mainly facebook..and alas, the blog?), TV (although I haven’t been watching much recently), sleeping in. But I have yet to make a final decision. And instead of completely it up completely, I’ve thought of at least putting a time limit on my use of the internet. That would still require a bit of self control.

What about you all? Do you regularly or occasionally fast? From food or something else? Just curious…