Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Baby Nolan Is Here!

He took FOREVER (two weeks overdue) to get here, but as you can see, he is perfect! I have fallen in love all over again.  

And here is a photo of the happy family! Gavin's world has literally been turned upside down with the arrival of his baby brother, but is adjusting nicely and has even made up his very own lullaby to sing to Nolan.  Seeing it in type just doesn't do it justice, but if you can imagine a three year old singing "cars get flat tires" to his sweet sibling, your heart will melt.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guess Who's Three!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Soft Braided Bread

Ok, I get it! Rumor has traveled back to me that some of you have actually checked the Indiana obituaries to see if I've passed on to the next life. Y'all can get back to reading the funny pages as I'm still among the living and will hopefully not be gracing the obitupages for a long, long time. I'm still alive, kicking and ornery as ever, but a recent osteoporosis diagnosis has forced me into abandoning my dream of becoming a rodeo clown. And I suppose as long as I'm revealing all, I had to shitcan the whole pole dancing thing as well. Sigh.

The reason for today's post? I am cleaning out my freezer and trying to use up the dozens of bags of flour that I accumulated when I was part of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge. This bread recipe has become hubby's new favorite and I make it at least once a week. The basic recipe calls for All Purpose flour, but in the interest of using my specialty flours, I do substitute some of the AP with white whole wheat flour, regular whole wheat flour, and even Sir Lancelot flour. This post is not really intended to be a tutorial, but rather a permanent recipe card for me so I can finally toss the nasty sticky note with the handwritten recipe.
Soft Braided Bread


2 cups flour (about 8 1/2 ounces) I used half Sir Lancelot and half white whole wheat flour for this loaf
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) room temperature water

Whisk together the flour and yeast in the bowl of stand mixer. Add water and stir well to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest on counter overnight (at least 12 hours)


2 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (8 1/2 to 10 1/2 ounces)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP vital wheat gluten
2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup milk (room temperature)
1/4 cup (4 TBSP) shortening, cut into pieces (6-8)

In medium bowl, whisk 2 cups of the flour with the salt, sugar and wheat gluten. Set the remaining 1/2 cup of flour aside.

Add the milk to the starter and whisk to combine. Add the yeast and whisk to combine. Add the flour/salt/sugar mixture and stir to combine.

Attach dough hook to mixer and start to knead dough.. Gradually add in the shortening and then as much of the remaining flour as needed. Knead by machine for about 6 minutes.

Spray large bowl with cooking spray. Transfer dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, gently deflating dough about halfway through rise time.

Cover large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina flour.

Pour dough onto greased counter and separate into three sections, about 11 ounces each. Roll each section into a 15 inch rope and then braid bread, tucking and sealing both ends of the loaf. Transfer the loaf to the prepared baking sheet and cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place baking sheet in oven and bake bread for 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees, rotate loaf 180 degrees for even browning and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove loaf from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Hym (and Happy New Year!)

Do you know what this is?

Oh come on. It's really pretty obvious, I think.  My son and daughter-in-law are having another baby and it's going to be a smurf.

Remember? (Of course you do. You're older than dirt, just like me.)

OK, you know I'm kidding.  They're going to have a another baby boy and I'm going be be a grandma again!  And since they can't decide on a name, I've decided to name him Hym. (For the record, Hym would be Herm if he were a she, but as they say in the silent movies, it's a mute point.)  This is what I do when I can't sleep.... I think up ridiculous baby names.  And I dream of baby hugs and kisses.  SIGH.

So this little bundle of delight is expected at the beginning of April and I wanted you all to know that I'm the happiest and luckiest woman/grandma alive.  Happy New Year and may God's love and peace be with you throughout 2013.Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Coach's Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Hubby has officially put me in charge of his bowels.  While this is not nearly as romantic as when I was responsible for his libido, it's a necessary evil I suppose, considering we're approaching dinosaur age.  If this is too much info, I apologize and respectfully submit this recipe to you in reparation for any mental harm done.  You'll thank me later for your regularity (and maybe some lowered cholesterol too!)

If you're not familiar with (or don't care for) Coach's Oats, I'm guessing this recipe can be easily modified to almost any non-instant oatmeal. Also, this makes a boat-load of oatmeal. I wanted to use the entire cans of evaporated milk and pumpkin. When I make oatmeal I portion the cooked oats and store in containers in the fridge, then reheat individual servings as needed, making for an easy breakfast for hubby to pack for work.

Coach's Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal 

2 1/2 cups Coach's Oats (regular steel cut oats would also work well here) 
6 cups water  
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk (I used 2%) 
 pinch of salt  
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar (or 1 cup regular)  
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice  
1/2 tsp vanilla  
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree

Place water, evaporated milk and s
alt in pot and bring to a boil.  Add the oats, stir, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let sit for a minute or two.

Stir in brown sugar, spice, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Combine well.

(health update: drainage tube is out and I'm on the mend!)


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Laughter, Still The Best Medicine

I'll admit that I've been just a smidge more faithful in posting on Facebook than on my blog lately.  It's much easier to jot a one-liner status and send it hurling off into cyberspace than it is to sit studiously for the length of time that it typically takes me to put my thoughts together in a sufficiently coherent manner as to call what I've  written,"a blog post."  If you happen to be a friend of mine on FB, you may have read a few status posts lately that could have possibly had you raising an eyebrow in wondering if I was of sound mind. Ummm... well... it appears that I probably shouldn't have posted while I was in the hospital and under the influence of pain pills and in a VERY, VERY angry state.  (You know who you are, doctor, and I am in the process of finding  out where you live so I can carve into you while you're awake. Be afraid... be very afraid.)

Anyway. Yes, I was in the hospital for a year last week trying to recover from some strange infection that settled in my breast (the cancer one.)  IV antibiotics weren't quite doing the trick, so the aforementioned doctorsonofabitch drained the abscess and placed a drainage tube to hopefully take care of the infection.  I was sent home with the drainage tube and a poor attitude, because I get that way when I hurt!!! Thankfully I am feeling somewhat better and instead of dreaming up ways of Killing Dr. Calldare (there will be MANY of you who don't get that,) I am now rethinking my hospital stay and focusing on the humorous aspects.  Because we all know that there is humor in EVERYTHING.  Sometimes you have to break your funny bone and reset it to find the hee-hea-heal, but behind every hospital stay is at least one memory that will make you smile.

Mine happened on the night I was FINALLY moved to a private room.  After three nights of listening to (GOD LOVE HER) wailing, hurling and quite frankly, sounds I'd never heard before, I was moved to a room that had GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP written all over it.  I settled in with my pain pills and Diet Sprite and waited for the blissful 8-10 hours of unconsciousness that was ahead of me. I could see the end of the tunnel. I could envision me healed and forgiving Dr. SOB (after a round or two in the Confessional, of course.) I was just getting droopy-eyed and finishing the last of my 79 games of Words With Friends, when a janitor-looking-type walked into my room and into my bathroom. I think I played the word "it" for two points, clicked off my computer, and waited for the man to walk back out of the bathroom.  Instead, two more "fix-it" types walked in shaking their heads. I waited for the bad news. In my drugged-up mind, I'm thinking, "Shouldn't I be getting my death sentence from a physician instead of Larry, Curly and Moe?"  I remained mum, because that's always a good thing to do when you're zonkered and not sure you're seeing what you think you're seeing. A nurse then entered my room and told me that I'd have to be moved to a different room because my sink was leaking.  One look at the three wise men nodding and I knew that this was not a drug-induced event.  I hoisted my 40 lb suitcase while my nurse carried my .05 ounce sherpa blanket and off we traipsed down the hall to my next room.   I'm giggling by now, just because... well, just because.  I was quickly settled into private room #2 and it was when I decided to change my gown that I noticed that the blinds weren't closed.  I could see the people in the lit rooms in the adjacent wing. I'm not the sharpest scalpel in the operating room, but even I could figure out that if I could see them, they could see me.  So I went to close the blinds. They wouldn't close. By this point I'm nearly hysterical with fatigue and the possibility of Ashton Kutcher jumping out of my closet screaming, "You've been punked!!"   I'm still sane enough however to realize that the whole breast infection/abscess/drainage thingie is a little over the top, even for Ashton, so I call the nurse again.  She (along with the three lads bearing ladders) returned to my room to give the situation a "look-see."  The blinds could not be fixed that night and I was told to take all "private matters" to the bathroom.  "I'm OK with that," I told them, "as long as nothing leaks out." Not. One. Smile.  Apparently, you have to hit rock bottom before you see the humor in that.

I'm back to the doc on Friday to (hopefully) have my drain removed so I can get back to pole dancing and safely start my next semester at rodeo clown college.

For those of you who did know the situation and were praying for me, thank you.  I hope you never take me off your list. I love you.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

To A Tough Mother From A Tough Mudder

My son Kellen is participating in a Tough Mudder Contest this morning.  I refrained from Googling exactly what is involved in this contest after he told me that he had to sign a "death waiver" to compete. Ignorance and a BIG bottle of wine is bliss.  When I regain consciousness this afternoon, hubby can tell me if my son is still alive.

I cried my eyes out when he sent me this photo.  I'm still crying as I write this. Breast cancer awareness month couldn't and won't pass before Mags bawls at least a gazillion times over the outpouring of thoughtfulness and generosity of time, talent and treasure from so many, many people.  Please pray that my son survives this activity so I can thank him.   And much heartfelt thanks to all of you for your continued prayers for me and my family.