Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cottage Loaf

Every year RaeAnne gets me a cookbook for Christmas. This year I told her that I wanted one that was for five or six ingredients. She got me "200 Four-Ingredient Recipes" by Joanna Farrow. This recipe is from it. We were having stew so I decided to make bread bowls. They were pretty yummy. Let me make a few notes before I post her recipe. I don't think that you can get "fresh" yeast at Wal-Mart which is what her recipe called for. I used Fleischmann's Rapid Rise Highly Active Yeast and followed the direction on it. I also have a Kitchen Aid mixer that has the hook attachment that knead dough, and I used it. What can I say...I am lazy! So, this is Sherry's version. From the original verbiage on the recipe you could tell this is from Britain and not the good 'ol U S of A.

6 cups unbleached strong white bread flour
2tsp salt
1 package Rapid Rise Highly Active Yeast
1 2/3 cup water (120-130 degrees)

1. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Sift the flour, salt and yeast together into a large bowl.
2. Pour water into dry ingredients, then mix to a firm dough.
3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour.
4. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and punch down. Knead for 2-3 minutes, then divide the dough into four or five parts and shape each piece into a ball. Place balls of dough on the prepared baking sheets. Cover with inverted bowls and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
5. Carefully press a hole down into the center of the top of the balls using your thumb. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and leave to rest in a warm place for about 10 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the bread on the lower shelf of the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a rich golden brown color. Cool on a wire rack before serving.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

quilt pieces

What could be one of the best Christmas presents ever? Pieces of quilts that my wonderful Granny had started piecing together. There is one that is completely pieced, but has some wholes to fix. There is one that I am unsure of the pattern and then there is one that is in the pattern of double Irish chain. The first quilt she made of that pattern was for me. I still have it, and my children use it all the time to cuddle up. I get the privilege of finishing something that my grandmother started. I held fabric that my beloved grandmother held and sewed with love. I can not wait to get home and sit at my sewing machine. I am sure it will be an emotional journey. I will cherish it and cherish the memories of us together looking through quilt books. My heart is grieving her loss all over again right now. At the same time I am rejoicing that she is with our Lord. She was the living example of Christ to me. My heart always felt lighter when I was around her. What a blessing these quilt pieces are to me. To think they were in a closet at my parents all these years. I am thanking God for this snow storm. It gave us time to sit and talk and remember.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rude Much?

Why do people feel that they can just say anything to you? When did decency go out of style. Yes, I know that I am tired. I am sure that I look tired. I have four children and I packed and drove three hours with a crying baby. However, I do not need you to tell me that I look tired. I know that I probably do. How would you feel if I said the same thing to you? It would probably sting a little just like it did when you told me that I look tired. Please give me a little grace and just not say anything about how bad I look. I am kind and don't tell you how you look.

Friday, December 18, 2009

All Because Two People Fell in Love

Two blogs in one day. Craziness, I know.

So, we have all heard the saying or seen one of the signed or photo frames, "All because two people fell in love". Right? That is the saying that popped into my head just a few minutes ago.

What made me think that? You are wondering, I am sure. Well, the baby was fussing. He was DONE eating, if you know what I mean. He was covered in goo. A big slobbery baby cookie and teething biscuit is what he was. Andrew (age 4) was screaming in the potty that he needed poopy medicine. He was gagging on his tears, slobber and snot. Screaming, really screaming. Our house is a pit. A real disaster. So, please don't come by (not that anyone is planning on coming to Texas). We were gonna go out to dinner, but my hubby had to work late and the kids were hungry. Not the evening I had planned.

So, just picture all of this going on. That is when the saying came to me. I was scrubbing last nights dinner dishes. Not the picture perfect evening, huh? I could think of a hundred better ways for the evening to go. But, in the words of Kate "It may be a crazy life, but its our life."

I really do love my life. I love my children and my husband. Sure, we all get tired and just plum worn out. However, the love that we share is precious. Not everyone is blessed enough to have experienced it.

All because two people fell in love...there is a house full of people that can laugh and cry together...there are children that will fulfill God's purpose for their lives...two families were brought child who was motherless now has a child who fatherless now has a father...two lives were created...two hearts that were created to love have someone to spend the rest of their lives cherishing...all because two people fell in love.

*Footnote...we are very aware that we didn't just happen to fall in love. We were brought together by God for a divine purpose. Nothing just happens. Where there's God will, there is a way.

Needy Texans

Something that Bryce and I have noticed since we moved to Texas that we didn't in Oklahoma is the amount of needy people. In Oklahoma there would be a family here and there that needed help that we would hear of. A few people that lost their jobs and such. In Sunday school we would "search" for someone to help at Christmas.

Here in Texas it seems that there are lots of people facing troubles. Almost every church that we have visited the pastors have addressed issues of the food banks being overwhelmed and families in the churches that have lost jobs and homes. There are lots of children without coats at school. The schools have done a coat drive to meet those needs. The resources that are available for people are just overwhelmed by the need. They simply can't keep up with the demand.

The Sunday school class that we visited last Sunday had just given gift cards to two families in the church that had lost their jobs and their homes. They had also adopted two other families that were on the angel tree and bought Christmas gifts for them. Someone brought up the fact that there were still families and children on the tree that no one had bought for.

Our hearts are breaking at the need. I know that times are tough for most people right now, even if you do have a job. Don't let that stop you from giving. Bless someone this season. If you can't give of a financial means then give of your time. The food banks are needing volunteers to organize the food that is brought and to pass it out. The elderly in the nursing homes are lonely. They just want to know that someone remembers them. There are so many physical and emotional needs. Try to meet at least one. My husband has decided not to receive a Christmas gift this year so that he can give the money to an area food bank. There isn't anything that he "needs", but there are people that need food and clothing. Go through your clothes and give away what you don't wear to a clothing closet. Take your suits to one of the organizations that help people get jobs. Those people can't afford even a Wal-Mart suit.

If God has blessed you, then you need to bless someone else. You never know when you might be the one in need. Do it for His glory and not your own.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chocolate Box Cookies

1 ½ C. flour
¼ C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp apple pie spice
¼ C. unsalted butter, at room temp, diced
¼ C. sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk

For the decoration
5 oz milk chocolate
5 oz white chocolate
3 ¼ oz semisweet chocolate
Almonds or walnuts (optional)
Cocoa powder (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets.
2. Put the flour, cocoa powder, spice and butter into a food processor. Processes until the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Add the sugar, egg and egg yolk and mix to smooth dough. (I use my mixer to blend ingredients, use my hands to make sure it was thoroughly done. Add the other ingredients, mix. Then, I get the hook or kneader for the mixer and let that make smooth dough. It takes a bit.)
3. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Cut the dough in half and roll out each piece under the palms of your hands to form tow long logs, each around 13 inches long.
4. Cut each log into ½ inch slices. Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet, spacing slightly apart and chill for at least 30 minutes.
5. Bake for 10 minutes until slightly risen. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
6. To decorate, melt the chocolates over simmering water. Dip cookies into them. Be creative on decorating! Top some with powered sugar, some with cocoa powder and some with almonds.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Reminder to go with my complaints

A little while ago I was sitting in this very seat a little frustrated that the baby was crying because he wanted me to hold him. I was annoyed that Andrew wanted to watch TV instead of play with his brother. I'm not feeling the pile of laundry that needs to be put away or the pile that needs washed. Wal-Mart needs a visit from me today. I need to clean the house, and I am just not motivated even though my parents are staying here tonight. Really hard life I have, right? I really was kinda feeling sad for myself, with all I have to do and deal with today. Then I read my friend Alisha's blog and was reminded of some things that made tears fall.

While she is holding a baby two months younger than my Gabriel with wires and iv's in him, my baby just wants me to play in our living room with him. There are parents who are in the hospital with their children right now. They don't know what the future holds. Their children might not see Christmas this year. Bryce's son should be celebrating his sixth Christmas here on earth, but he isn't doing that. Instead he is in his mother's arms and they celebrating with Christ himself in heaven.

My issues that I thought a minute ago were so big now seem really small. How easily we loose focus. We only look at ourselves and how things effect us. Last night Joel tried to get up the stairs before Andrew and Andrew got pushed out of the way. Bryce had Joel come down and told him that he needs to learn the phrase "I am second". He explained about putting others needs and sometimes wants in front of your own. Really, Christ is first, others are second, and we are third. We forget that so quickly.

So, I am going to get up and clean my house and play with my children with a happy heart and renewed spirit. My children are happy and healthy. I have a home, food and clothing for all of us. We have no real needs. I have a loving, giving husband that prayed over me this morning before he left for work. What a way to wake up! How blessed I am. How Christ loves all of us! I am chosen, I am redeemed, and I need to live like it. I need to thank God for the day. Say it with me "This is the day that the Lord has made..."