Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hey folks.

Yep, I know its been a while. It seems like I've fallen out of habit of writing here.

To catch up:

Christmas was awesome. Jill's man-friend Mike was with us as his family is in Manitoba and Ontario. It made sense for him to join us and we couldn't have been happier. The day itself was awesome and fairly standard as far as Christmases go. I was blessed with gifts and had a wonderful time blessing my family right back! I didn't get all my Christmas projects done... in fact there's still a few waiting to be finished... but they'll get done eventually. Now that Christmas is over there isn't such pressure to finish 'em! There's one that I absolutely need to do in the next month or two - a baby karate uniform for my friend's baby gift. Her husband is big-time into that mixed martial arts stuff and asked me to make it for her. I started but its sitting there, unfinished. Shame on me!

Work is awesome. No complaints there. I feel like I'm always learning something new. This week it was all about medium-duty vehicles and what we charge for towing them. I've committed most of it to memory except I get hung up on the Dodge vehicles and get a bit confused. I just need to sit down and write it all out about twenty times and I'll remember it then. Its the only way I can memorize - how very grade 2 spelling tests, eh?

I've had a moderately busy afternoon and evening. I went up to The Preserved Seed today to pick up some Organic Salt. Its not easy to come by but boy is it ever good. This stuff is sea salt but the last stuff I bought from them was Himalayan Crystal salt. Its all delightful and is worth the $5 a pound I pay. I picked up some for Jenny, too. From there I went to the hospital to say hi to mom (who was on shift) and my friend Iris, a lady from church, who has been in hospital for five months now. She's in good spirits and will be moved to the Bradley Centre next week. She's looking forward to that which is awesome. Plus her husband lives just around the corner so they get to spend all sorts of time together even though they don't live under the same roof anymore. I hit up the thrift store (MCC) and picked up a few things I need for a project I'm working on for Michelle and then, finally, went home.

Once home, I cleaned and cooked and cleaned some more. I baked up some cheese twists (recipe will follow this post) for Adam and I - we had a good visit. Once he left I busted out all those nifty new grains and flours I bought to make a batch of multigrain sourdough (recipe will follow). Auntie Gloria gave me sourdough starter last week and I've been dutifully feeding it and watching it bubble... and tonight was the night - I mixed up almost 16 cups of dough (it was almost to the top of my KitchenAid 16 cup bowl!). Its sitting on the counter, covered, where I'm hoping it will double in size over night. I'd like to bake it up tomorrow but we'll see. The recipe said it takes 12 to 24 hours to completely double... and then another 2 to 6 hours to double in the pans. Its quite a process but I'm looking forward to fresh sourdough bread! And once that was tidied up, I made a batch of dad's fudge. Its the easiest recipe in the world and makes the best fudge ever. I think he got the recipe from the Vancouver Sun last year (recipe will follow). Its cooling and tomorrow I hope to take it up to the folks at the office. Its so nice to have people to bake for.

And now my day is done and I'm off to bed.

Joyfully moving Forward.


Cheese Twists

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk

Mix together to make a dough. It needs to be soft but not falling apart or sticky.
Press out into a rectangle (about 6x10")
Using a pizza cutter, cut into three long rectangle strips

Brush tops with :
1 tbsp melted margarine

2/3 cup cheddar cheese
and spread over two dough strips

At this point I often cut up strips of sandwich meat (whatever I have in the fridge - usually ham) and place those on the two strips with the cheese.

Stack the three strips with the stop strip being the bare one, margarine side down

Using a pizza cutter, cut into 10 to 12 short strips.
Twist each strip gently and pull slightly and place on an ungreased baking sheet

Bake at 425*F for 10-12 minutes

Aunt Gloria's No Knead Multigrain Sourdough – makes 3 large or 4 medium loaves

per 28 gram /1 ounce serving: about 70 calories, 2 g. fat, (0 transfat), 48 mg. sodium, 11 g. carbs, 1.9 g. fibre, 2.5 g. protein

5 cups wheat flour, white all purpose

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups rye flour

2 cups oats or oat flour

1/2 cup flax, ground

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/4 cup wheat germ, lightly toasted if you like

3/4 cup bran

1/4 cup poppy seeds

6 tbsp. vital wheat gluten

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. salt

3-4 cups water

1 tbsp. molasses

6 tbsp. canola oil

3 tbsp. vinegar
1 cup sourdough starter

Mix 1/2 cup flour with your starter, and add enough water to make a thick pancake-consistency batter (sponge). Let it proof covered and get bubbly on the counter overnight. Measure out 1 cup in the morning, put the remainder back in the jar add 1/4 cup water and a scant half cup of flour, let this bubble for 2-4 hours and stick it back in the fridge for next time.

In the morning, mix flours, seeds, wheat germ, gluten, brown sugar, salt.

Mix wet ingredients. Add them and your sponge to your dry ingredients. You need it to be a very moist dough or even a thick batter. Add a bit more flour or water as necessary.

Leave it covered at room temperature for 12-24 hours or until it doubles.

Divide dough into loaves (this is easiest with a sharp knife and wet hands), shape gently, and transfer them to greased loaf pans (glass ones are good because you can tell if the bottom is getting too brown too quick but if you use glass then knock the oven temperature down by 25 degrees). Place in a cool oven and allow to rise for a second time, for 2-6 hours, until the dough is doubled or about level with the top of the loaf pan.

Turn oven to 425 F. with loaves still in the oven. The bread should be done 35-40 minutes later (if it browns too fast, cover with a piece of foil). It should sound hollow when you tap on the top of the loaf.

Tip out of the loaf pans onto a wire rack and allow to cool for several hours. If you cut this bread while still warm it gets quite squodgy. If you can't resist cutting and it seems way too gooey, stick it back in the pan and into the still hot oven for 10-15 minutes to dry a bit. If you want a soft crust, store it in a plastic bag; to keep the crust crisp use a paper bag for storage.

Dad's Vancouver Sun Fudge

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Microwave on high for 10 minutes

Take out every minute to stir

IT WILL BE HOT - don't burn yourself.

Mix with electric egg beater on medium for five minutes. It will thicken

Pour into a 9x9 inch pan preferably lined with parchment on the bottom and sides but greased also works... and let cool for about six hours on a rack. Let sit overnight.

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