the eagles family

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Spit it out already

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Last night I had a conversation with Nate about how frustrating it is to talk to someone that uses a lot of words, and talks for a long time, but in the end says nothing.  Agree?  It seems our culture is obsessed with phrases and words that leave them sounded unintelligent.  Phrases like “just really” “like” “you know”.  To me they are like nails on a chalkboard.  Even worse, is when they creep into someone’s prayer and I no longer can follow what the person is petitioning God for, but am lost as I count the numbers of “just really”s unnecessarily interjected.

Then Nathan sent me this link from a friend’s website today that entirely summed up my thoughts on this subject.   So you, like, totally have to watch this super cool and super right-on video.

Hopefully after watching this you will join me and take to the streets to take back the English language and once again create a people that sound sincere, intelligent, and that like they possess a brain that can process full sentences.  For real.

Artisan Bread

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2010 at 9:14 am

Some of you have asked me to post the recipe I’ve been using to make artisan bread. I decided a few months ago to start trying this new method of bread baking to try and cut down our grocery budget even more, and it is excellent!  Nathan, who is my biggest critic when it comes to food, even loves it, however I think he’s a little concerned that I’m getting a tad bit “Little House on the Prairie” on him.  Don’t worry babe, I promise to not start grinding my own flour and wearing a bonnet, that is unless that bonnet makes me look sexy…  🙂

This recipe is actually just the base recipe for artisan bread from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It honestly is one of the easiest things I’ve ever tried, and I have been thrilled with the results.  I always have dough waiting in the refrigerator to bake and can make as big or small a loaf as I think we’ll need for the day.  If you think you might want to start making all of your bread for your family I would say the book is worth every penny.  This recipe should yield about four 1 pound loaves of bread.

The recipe is below.  If you give it try, I’d love to see a picture of the finished product!

Ingredients:

3 cups lukewarm water (~100º F)

1 1/2 T. active yeast

1 1/2 T. salt (I use kosher salt, but regular table salt works just as well, but you’ll want to cut back the amount a bit)

6 1/2 c. flour (the best is unbleached all-purpose)

1.  Add yeast and salt to water in a large mixing bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this).

2. Add flour (Make sure you use a dry ingredients measuring cup and use the scoop and level method, not packing any of the flour in)

3.  Mix the ingredients together with the dough hook attachment until the dough is uniformly combined (You can also mix with your hand).  The dough should have a somewhat “wet” look to it.

4.  Set dough aside, covered (but not airtight) for at least two hours to let rise.  (I usually allow it to rise until the dough begins to fall in on itself ~3-4 hours)

5. Place dough, covered but not airtight, in the fridge overnight.  (This dough will keep in the fridge for up to 14 days.

6.  When you’re ready to bake the bread, sprinkle flour over the dough (to help cutting the wet dough) and slice off about a grapefruit sized piece for a 1 pound loaf.  You can make this as big or small depending on how much bread you’ll need that day.

7.  With floured hands “cloak” the dough until the top of the dough is smooth.

8.  Let the dough rise for 40 mins.  Before baking, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and slash a “cross” in the middle, 3-5 vertical slashes all perpendicular, or what ever “artful” way you can think of to decorate your loaf.

9.  Preheat the oven to 450º for 20 min with a baking stone and an empty pan that you eventually pour water into on the rack just below the stone.

10.  Once preheated, slide the dough onto the stone and pour 1 cup of hot water into the pan, closing the oven door quickly to trap the steam.

11.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the outside of the bread is dark.

12.  Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool before eating, but we like to eat it warm.

Here’s a good presentation from the authors of the book that show you how to make the bread.

When you initially look at the directions, they can look a bit daunting.  But I promise that after your first time making it, it comes together in a snap.  Let me know if you have any questions!

New Year’s Resolutions

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2010 at 9:15 am

I know, I know.  Why do I do this to myself?  New Year’s resolutions seem to be made for the sake of being broken, especially when you struggle with discipline.  However, I was so refreshed and encouraged after our trip home that I knew I had to come home and make some changes, after a very up and down last nine months.  Nathan and I also resolved to do a few things in our marriage for the coming year to help us grow spiritually together.  So I’ve been attempting to get more structure in my days, find time so that I can grow more in the knowledge of God, keep my kitchen clean, get up earlier, shower in the mornings, eat better…are you as exhausted as I am just reading that list?

Something that inevitably accompanies resolutions, well at least for me, is guilt.  I’m trying to make myself into super-woman, super-wife, super-worker.  I will always fall short.  I’ve woken up for the last 4 or 5 days with this sinking feeling of guilt, that I didn’t do enough, or I left my kitchen a mess before I went to bed.  So as I was sitting this morning trying to find some semblance of balance in this, I came across this verse in Hosea 6:6 “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (ESV)

For some context, Hosea, the prophet, is sharing God’s heart of frustration that the Israelites seem to think they can just “do” stuff for God, but let their hearts run wild for anything and everything else.  But God doesn’t want just our actions, He passionately desires our hearts and our unfailing love.  So today, I’m going to continue to work on being disciplined, but to have my discipline be motivated from a heart that loves God and want’s to live a “self-controlled, upright life” (Titus 2:11-12), because that is what God has called His people to.  And there is no guilt in that, because Christ has secured me through grace, and not my deeds.  Ah, rest.

So I’m off to grab my whole grain bread, vitamins, and spinach shake.  Wish me luck!  (And yes, I did say spinach shake…don’t knock it till you try it.)

Things I never thought I’d say…

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2010 at 8:36 am

1. One of my favorite blogs is a food blog.
2. It feels good to be back home in California.
3. I’m pretty content to be home and “keep house”.
4. I use a seat heater in 55º weather. (I know, what have I become)
5. I prefer tornados over earthquakes.
6. My jeans are starting to feel tight.
7. My husband is often right.
8. My Christmas presents all had something to do with the kitchen.
9. I’d rather do my laundry myself.
10. I don’t know how I ever lived without Nathan.
11. I like me a little Lady Gaga. (Please don’t hold it against me)