Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday's Truth

Watch the Olympics.
Its good for the soul to see all those talented athletes.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Beautiful Sunday

Woke up to the glorious sound of raindrops on the roof.
Almost didn't recognize the sound,
seems like we haven't had that wet stuff falling out of the sky for months.
Its certainly not going to put a dent in the drought
but, wow, it sure is nice.
Think I'll have a lazy morning listening to the drizzle,
maybe knead up some marble rye dough,
work on my quilt some more.
Enjoy the surprises your Sunday brings you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Truth

Sometimes you just have to take a risk,
otherwise how will you know?

Nursing Cover

Spent a good bit of time this past weekend with a friend who just had a baby.
Lots of family and friends around made nursing a bit ummm..
So I hopped online and visited Jamie over at Sunflower Seeds
and lo abnd behold she had a link to
this tutorial for a nursing cover.

Hanging out inside today, its going to be 108!
Gotta protect my poor scalp
got a bit sunburned at the ball game Sunday
(Go Cards! Swept the Cubbies!!!)
By a bit I mean I already have blisters that are oozing.
I will not be using the hair dryer for a while.
Lesson learned, wear a hat!

Stay Cool!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday's Truth

Sometimes you need a challenge to kick you in the butt to get you jump started onto the
next great thing.

And then you just have to let go of the fear and stress and do it.

The rewards will overwhelm you.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Grillin' up some Bread

So the heat wave continues and whats a gal with a hankering for fresh bread to do?
Go to the grocery?
Go to the bakery?
While we have St Louis Bread Co (Panera to the rest of the country)
just down the street, and their bread is yummy
(in a commercially, chain store, tastes the same here as in Ohio, California, and South Dakota
((not that I ate there on any of my various vacations, 'cuz I didn't))
 baked kinda way),
Ummmm.... in a word,

Its too durn hot to turn on the oven
(its almost too hot to put on clothes!),
but sometimes you just gotta have some 
fresh, flavorful, open crumb, warm deliciousness
that is homemade bread.

I contemplated trying to bake bread right on the driveway,
kinda like the old 'its so hot fry an egg' trick.
But then I looked out on the deck and through the waves of heat
shimmering up off the (in desperate need of a new stain) deck
and lo', there stood the grill
in its shinning armour,
looking like third degree burns might result from touching its surface.


I could do this.
Grill/bake bread.
So I did, to delightfully wonderfully yeasty goodness.
And I did post about it.
Sort of.
But not enough, because people started emailing me:
You have to teach us.


I started with my favorite go to, so easy a child can make it,
 dough recipe from King Arthur Flour Company.

It's a no knead recipe that I just mix up in my dough bucket and let sit in the
fridge until I can't stand it any longer and HAVE to have bread.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to let it sit for more than a few days.
It's that good.
Seriously, if you think you are intimidated by bread, dough, or kneading,
Intimidation no more!

I grabbed about a grapefruit sized handful (around a pound of dough)
and shaped it into a baguette.

The secret to beautiful baguettes is gently flattening out the dough in to a rough rectangle
and letter folding it (like a piece of paper), pinching it closed along the fold,
and putting it down to rise with the fold down.
You do NOT have to have the fancy pants pan I do.
In fact, most of the time I just bake on a parchement lined cookie sheet.

I digress.

Let the dough rise for 45-60 minutes.
Vaccum the house, fold laundry, clean the sinks...
Who am I kidding??? Kick back and watch trash TV!
During the last 15-20 minutes of the rising time, light the grill.
Now I just have a gas grill, but this works with charcoal too.
Preheat the grill to about 500-550 degrees
(translation, all burners on high!).

Brush the bread dough with a smidge of olive oil for color (really, just a smidge!!).
Turn the burners on low that will be directly under your bread (don't want to scorch the bread)
and if you have room, add an old pan or pot that you can add water to for steam.
Open the grill and lay in the dough, add a cup of water and
Your temperature will have cooled some with the lid open,
but should come back up to around 450-500.
Just don't open the grill for the next 25-30 minutes.
And then....

Geek that I am, I take my bread's temperature to check for doneness'
somewhere between 205 and 210 degrees.
You don't have to join my geek club, just test for doneness like a watermelon.
Thump the bottom of the bread with your finger.
If it sounds kinds hollow, it's likely done.
 The bread will bake faster the thinner the baguettes are.

One of the most critical steps is after you take the bread off the grill
(or out of the oven).
Do NOT cut into your bread for at least an hour.
Its still doing its thing inside, and if you cut into it now
all you'll have is hot gummy gooey not quite baked dough.


After it cools, you can of course reheat it in the oven for that warm bread at the table
And I warn you, this bread will not last long in the house.
In fact, one of these two loave have magically disappeared into my belly already,
and I baked it yesterday.
Good think I like to hike and my hiking buddy doesn't mind a punishing pace!

If that wasn't enough info to get you feeling confident about putting bread on the grill to bake,
check out Jeff Hertzberg's youTube video.
He's a great resource for bread on the grill
and his recipes in all of his books are really easy.

Happy Baking! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Color Magic

True confession.
I am terrified to pick paint colors.
I may be able to put together quilts with great color sense,
but when it comes to decorating my walls with color
I am paralyzed with fear.
So whats a gal to do?
Dig in her stash with the help of a dear art teacher friend!

I am happy to report that (while I cannot move without my aching muscles protesting)
I now have a Kona Ash great room, foyer, and hallway!
At Home Depot the color is called Gentle Rain
But its Kona Ash!
And it looks great. The magic is that the color changes every minute with 
the changing lighting and looks different on every wall.
This morning it looks like two shades of barely there gray,
last night it looked a bit purple-ly and dark gray,
and at one point yesterday it looked slate blueish and light-ish blue.
(Hmm, is light-ish a word?)

I'd take a picture, but I'm sure you all have a bit of Kona Ash in your stash
(tee hee, that rhymes!)
and I don't know if I can lift the camera anyway.
I did all the painting in three days
(because I started with painting the bathroom moss green on Sunday)
including painting the cathedral ceiling all by my lonesome.
I also changed out the electrical outlets and wall switches,
not just the covers, but the outlets themselves.
Yep, amateur electrician I am.

For now I've rinsed out the brushes and put up the rollers,
but... my bedroom could use some freshening up.
I've pulled out a hunk of Etchings by Studio e fabrics,
its got some lovely slate blue in it....


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday's Truth

True patience allows us to live fully in the moment and to be content to be where we are while we wait.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Stroll

The best thing about Saturdays in the summer
are the Farmer's Markets.
I have to say I sometimes feel a bit greedy with all the choices here.
On any given Saturday there are close to 40 different markets to choose from
within a 40 mile radius.
Today I thought I would check out one of the larger ones in the city,
Tower Grove Market.
A true outdoor market in a huge, beautiful city park.

These flowers still bloomed in the heat, however should have been twice or thrice the size
so said the lovely farmer lady.

Tomatoes are IN! Everyone's booth was filled to the brim with
these lovies, so many varieties of heirlooms
it is difficult to pick!

Looking for the pot of gold under these bundles of rainbow swiss chard.

Such vibrant purple!

I purchased a few containers of these beauties
SOOO sweet and tasty!

I stopped at another market on the way home to pick up just harvested corn and cukes.
I'm thinking of a snazzy Greek salad for dinner!

To go with my salad I baked some bread.
Yup, its 108 degrees and I baked fresh bread.
On the grill!

Turned out pretty good; here I am checking the internal temp to make sure its baked enough.
I'm not completely happy with the coloring of the bread,
its a little on the light side,
need to figure out something there.

The good news is that a cold front is moving in and it will top out
around 97 degrees tomorrow.

What are some of your favorite ways to keep cool in the summer?

Fluffy Sheep giveaway

The brillant minds over at Fluffy Sheep Quilting have come up with a great contest and giveaway.
You get to make your own mosaic of Kona solids and link up for a
chance to win 2 yards of the beautiful stuff!
Here's mine:

1. Azure   2. Lime   3. Bone   4. Avacado   5. Turquios   6. Coal    7. Ash    8. Eggplant    9. Basil

Lots of luck to you if you enter!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

South Dakota Wrap Up

On my final day in South Dakota I took a long drive through Custer State Park.
Custer has several one lane tunnels and corkscrew bridges.

The road and bridge do a full 300 degree turn, corkscrewing.
Really neat.

While I didn't see the bison herds (1,500 roam the park)
or the elk this trip, I did spot loads of whitetail and mule deer
as well as this antelope.

I also scouted out several hikes I'd like to take in the future when I have more time.
Among them is a hike through the Cathedral Spires.

Seems that its not just Ohioans who have a directional sense of humor.

So as the sun sets on this trip
I have to say I am not looking forward to returning to
steamy and hot St Lou.

Oh! Least I forget, here's a photo of me on the Harley!

And before you worry, yes I wore a helmet on my pea sized head.
We actually had to buy a youth small to find one that would fit.
I might have a little head, but there is a lot in it!

I'd love to hear your comments, do you have a favorite place to visit?
Is there somewhere you can suggest for a Great American Roadtrip?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Go ahead, make my day!

Having a great time in South Dakota.
Still need to get photos together to post from the Harley marathon ride
but here's something to tide you over..
Loading a .44 Magnum.
I know you're probably asking yourself
"Did she load five... or did she load six?"
Yep, that's me. Watch out Dirty Harry, I'm on the scene!

Gettin' Western on y'all.

That's no bug up there, that's the shell casing flying.
Can't get more action shot than that!

Have to say, had a great time shooting on public lands in the middle of Buffalo National Grasslands.
Only in South Dakota!
Just so you know, all perfectly legal and safe.

Don't think I'm going to go out a get a concealled carry permit next week,
but it sure is fun to let the brass fly.

Tuesday's Truth

The simplest things in life are often the best.
Enjoy those simple things and simple times while you can,
because challenges are right around the corner.