Archive | February, 2008

DB #2 – French Bread

29 Feb

DB logo 

After perusing through the list of upcoming hostess, I had a strong suspicion that bread would be the topic for February.  Mary and Sara chose Julia Child’s French Bread recipe.  I was so excited when I read the recipe, but also very nervous.  This recipe is 15 pages long!!  But I signed up to be a Daring Baker and this is my chance to be daring.  I was planning on making the bread Saturday.  Friday night Patti (my stepmother-in-law) called to invite us for dinner on Saturday.  Stupidly, I told her I’d bring some yummy bread to have with dinner. (I say stupidly because now I had pressure to 1. have this bread completely finished and cooled by the time we headed to their house and 2. have it be pretty and edible.) 

So, at 2:00 a.m. (yes, you read that right) I woke up to start the french bread.  I carefully measured out the ingredients and mixed them together.  I carefully kneaded the bread and put it in the bowl to rise.  Then I went back to sleep for another 3-4 hours.

flat bread

At 5:30 a.m. I woke back up to check on the rising.  Much to my suprise, the bread was fully rose!  So I flipped it out of the bowl and folded it down.  Placed it back in the bowl for the second rise, and headed back to sleep.

Risen bread 

I finally woke up around 7:00ish for good.  I went in to peak at my dough and it was finished! Woo hoo!  I have a fast riser.  But as I was re-reading my recipe I noticed – salt – darn!  I forgot to add the salt when I was groggily mixing up the bread.  I really doubted it would make that much of a difference, but just in case, I thought I would try a second batch while this was finishing.  So I kneaded this batch and cut it into my 2 pieces to shape in a minute.  While the bread was resting (I know, it has a very hard life and was tired) I mixed up a second batch, carefully measuring out the SALT this time.  So, I finished it and kneaded it and set it to rise.  Then, I got back to my first batch.  It was time to form the loaves.  (This is the scariest part to me, if you don’t get the glutenous coat pulled tight enough, it’ll just go crazy in the oven and you’ll just have a blob of dough.)  So, I chickened out on the harder formations and stuck with round loaves.  They sounded the easiest to form.

 Formed Loaves

Once they rose for a third time, the got flipped onto a bakers paddle, sliced on the top and placed into a blazin’ hot oven.  In an attempt to transform my oven into a bakers oven I did a couple of things.  When I preheated my oven I put my stoneware pan inside the oven so it would heat up to the same degree as the oven.  I also tried to create steam by placing my roaster pan on the bottom of the oven and filling it with cold water once the bread was put in the oven (that part didn’t work so well…) 

Ready to get toasty

Once you cut the slits in the top, you must brush water over the top of the bread, then 3 more times every 3 minutes.  This helps the crust brown and get crunchy.

I was finally done with both batches of bread at nearly 4:30.  It was a full day of bread baking, but every minute was worth it.  I never thought that I would be able to produce this quality of bread in my oven.  I know it’s not the prettiest, but it is definetly a good first try!  The salt less bread turned out great too, infact John liked those loaves the most!

Here are a couple of pictures of the finished product.

Finished! 

Bread

Many, many, many thanks to Mary for being on Yahoo messenger when I was created this bread.  I had a couple of minor incidents, but she was able to talk me through them all and I had fabulous results!

If you would like some more people’s opinions, takes on this recipe visit the Daring Baker’s Blogroll.

Dawn so nicely created a PDF version of the recipe.   

Thanks for another great recipe Mary and Sara!

5000 visits giveaway!

28 Feb

The deadline for the grab bag of goodies is today at 5:00 p.m. CST.  So post your comment if you haven’t already!  Contest is here.

Please Vote For Me :)

26 Feb

I interrupt this blogging frenzy for a plea for your votes.  The Knot is having their awards and I have entered.  I know I probably don’t have the best pictures, but I am pretty partial. 🙂  So if you want, please vote for me. 🙂  

I would really really enjoy winning a African Safari.  And I will take lots of pictures to share with everyone if I win. 🙂 

I’ll be posting a video highlight shortly (as soon as we can get approval from the artist), I’ll update when that happens.

Wedding!

Mr. Cuppycakes love’s me!

26 Feb

I was kind of bummed out that I had to work late last night.  And some friend were suppossed to come over last night also, but some stuff came up, so they had to cancel.  So as I was driving home, I wasn’t in the best of moods.  As I was drving up my driveway, I saw a cute little package perched on the the steps by the front door.  Now, whenever I get a package (it doesn’t matter what’s in it) I turn into a little kid on Christmas morning.  There is just something so special about people mailing you something.  I hurridly speed  drove cautiously and slowly into the garage, hopped out of my car and ran to the porch to see who my package was from!

I Heart Cuppycakes!  Ooooh, these must be the delicious Turtle Cuppycakes that were inspired by my Turtle Cheesecakes!  As, I read the cute letter she wrote, she also included one of her Red Wino and Chocolate Cuppycakes.  I think I hit the cuppycake jackpot!

When I opened to box and pulled off the filler paper, this is what I saw:

Cuppycakes

Those silly cupcakes, just won’t stay in their little holes in the cute boxes that CB bought.  I think maybe something needs to be attached to the bottom of the cupcakes (a cardboard disk or something) that way the cupcakes will stay put and not “go exploring”.

 My cupcakes!

So, needless to say, these aren’t the purdiest cupcakes when they got to me, but everything they lacked in beauty, they made up for in taste.  Delicious! 

 Thanks CB and Mr. Cuppycakes for the nice suprise.

Chicken Rice Pilaf

26 Feb

My mom used to make this recipe all the time growing up.  It has turned into one of my favorite recipes.  I don’t know why, but I’ve never made it myself.  So, last week I called my mom for the recipe and tried to make it.  She thought she remembered the recipe so she told it to me over the phone.  I knew I wouldn’t follow the recipe exactly, so I didn’t write everything down, turned out to be a big mistake.  So, when you make this: Make sure you cover the dish when you cook it or you will have very very crunchy rice. 🙂

Rice Pilaf

I love this rice, it is one of my all time favorite dishes to eat.  John really liked it too.

RECIPE
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
1 1/2 cup cooked, chopped chicken

In a skillet, saute rice, celery and onion in butter until the rice is lightly browned and the vegetables are tender.
Spoon into a greased 2 qt. casserole. Combine all remaining ingredients, pour over rice mixture.
COVER and bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes or until rice is done.

Pie Crust Cookies for the Hubster

25 Feb

After making the Cherry Pies last week, I had quite a bit of extra pie crust left. Since John always raves about how yummy the pie crust is I decided to make him some cookies with the leftover pie crust.  One word of advice: pie crust shrinks when you cook it.  I had no idea, I should’ve made these cookies larger, but oh well, ya live and learn.

Here’s how much they shrank.

 Shrinkage

Here they are all in a bowl ready to eat.

Hearts in a bowl

Here’s just how tiny they really are.

Tiny cookies

I baked these cookies for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  John raved about these cookies.  He loved that I remembered him commenting on how yummy the crust is and made him cookies out of it.

Tag, I’m it, again!

23 Feb

These are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.
5 Things About Me That You REALLY Wanted to Know (Or Didn’t Want to Know at All)

My dear friends CB and Alanna both tagged me in this so I shall reveal 10 things about myself , so here it goes:

  1. When I was a small child, I stuck a crayon up my nose.  I took my mom a Kleenex and pointed to my nose (this was before I talked) she asked my brother what was wrong (we were coloring together), he said I stuck a crayon up my nose, a red one.  Sooooo, we had to go to the ER to get it removed.
    Red crayon
  2. I used to babysit John’s little sisters (before we started dating).  The summer we first started dating I went to NC with his family as the nanny.
    The girls and I
  3. I get paper cuts all the time.  I get the at the most random times, like while opening an envelope or taking the tape off a cardboard box.  I think it’s a hidden talent of mine.
  4. Speaking of talents, I was going to enter a beauty pageant in high school, but we couldn’t think of anything I could do as a talent.
    Crown
  5. I love desserts so much.  If I could I would cook some kind of dessert every single day.
  6. I really want to get a pink chef’s jacket.
    Pink Chef's Jacket
  7. I watch t.v. shows that are targeted at teeneage girls (Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill….)
  8. I bite my nails constantly.  Infact often times they are so low they hurt and bleed.  You would think that would make me stop biting them, but it doesn’t.
  9. I started a cake decorating class yesterday.  I have my reservations about the teacher, but I’m going in with an open mind, so hopefully it will be great.
    CAke Decorating
  10. I wasn’t born in a city, I was born on an Air Force Base.  So, when people ask me where I was born I say Tinker AFB.  Most times, people will argue with me that they need to know what town, but there isn’t a town.  My official birth”town” is Tinker AFB.
    Tinker AFB