Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 31

I left for work with my boy's shoes and car seat in my car. If I hadn't needed to go back, I would have missed this view.

Today is the last day of habit.
I am so glad that I played along, it was so much fun!

Today is also special, because this is my 500th post!
Thanks for sticking with me for so long, faithful readers.

Friday, July 30, 2010

July 30

Green toes.
She couldn't remember why her foot was green, or when she made these tracks.

Summer Baking

I don't know what it is about Summer that makes me feel like baking.
Maybe it's already so hot, that having the oven on doesn't really matter.
Anyway, I had some friends ask if I would share the recipe for the deep dishes from yesterday so here it is.

Deep Dish CheesePizza from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

(I have said it before, you have got to get this cookbook! Every recipe I have used has been perfect.)

1 russet potato (about 8 ounces) peeled and cut into 1" chunks
3 3/4 cup flour, plus more for the counter
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl
1 cup warm water

1. Cover the potato with water in a small saucepan and simmer until the potato is cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Drain, and when it's cool enough to handle, run the potato through a food mill or ricer. Measure off 1 1/3 cups lightly packed potato and put to the side.
2. Mix together1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup water and yeast. Let it proof for about 10 minutes and add flour, salt, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, remaining water, then the potato.
Mix with a dough hook for a minute or so and then let the dough rest before kneading on a floured surface for 5 minutes.
3. Online, they suggested letting the dough rise in the oven using this method.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees, let heat for 10 minutes then turn off the oven.
Place the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Proof the dough in the oven (which is now turned off) until doubled in size (45 minutes to and hour)
4. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
5. I used cake pans, so the next step is to divide the dough in half.
Oil the two pans using 2 tablespoons of olive oil per pan.
It seems like a lot, but it works well to make a nice crispy crust.
6. Press the dough into the prepared pans, and push up the sides of the dough to the top of the pan.
7. Here I missed the next direction which is to par bake the crust: generously prick the dough with a fork reduce the oven to 425 and bake on a preheated pizza stone until dry and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Then top the par baked crust and bake another 10-15 minutes.

What I did was top the raw dough with my sauce and "cheese" (I have to use the vegan stuff, yuck.) and baked the whole thing at 500 for 20-22 minutes.

When it came out I shook some dried basil on the top, since the vegan cheese has no flavor, and then we let it cool and the kids devoured it.

I will definitely use this recipe again, in fact the dough was so light and fluffy that I think it would be a great bread.
That's on my agenda for today, and I think I'll add some caramelized onions to the dough with a little fresh thyme.

Maybe I'll post some photos of that bread, if it works out.

Update: I made another batch of the dough, added a cup of caramelized onions with some rosemary and baked it in a dutch oven like the NY Times No Knead Recipe.
I can't wait to have a taste!
Have a fun weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 29

My first attempt at deep dish pizza, these were gone in about 15 minutes. If this is how they eat now, I don't know what I'll do when they're teenagers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 28

He's growing more and more independent all the time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27

The clouds are gathering, all I can hope for is a siren-free night.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Yummy Cake

I made this cake tonight, and it was too tasty to keep to myself.

Fluffy Yellow Cake from Cook's Illustrated with Non-dairy substitutions

2 ½ cups cake flour , plus extra for dusting pans
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon table salt
1 ¾ cups sugar (12 ¼ ounces)
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks , melted and cooled slightly
½ cup Tofutti Better than Sour Cream , room temperature
½ cup Rice Dream
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks , room temperature
3 large egg whites , room temperature

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease paper rounds, dust pans with flour, and knock out excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in large bowl. In 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.

2. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to bowl and set aside.

3. Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.

4. Using rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Lightly tap pans against counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.

5. Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, then invert onto greased wire rack and peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

I also used the Foolproof Chocolate Frosting

10 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) Earth Balance, softened (60 to 65 degrees)
1 cup confectioners' sugar (4 ounces)
¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa ( I just used what I had on hand)
Pinch table salt
¾ cup light corn syrup (I used the end of my golden syrup, about a quarter cup, then made up the difference with corn syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces vegan chocolate chips , melted and cooled slightly


In food processor, process butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl, then add chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 seconds. Frosting can be used immediately or frozen until needed. If frozen, leave out on the counter for an hour before using. (I used my kitchen-aid, I don't own a food processor)

I got about 2 times the frosting than I actually needed.

This is partially due to the fact that I filled the cake with sliced, sugared strawberries.
Please, go forth and bake this cake.
It's really tasty.
Even my hubby, who avows that he hates chocolate frosting, really liked it.

July 26

In the process of making a cake, one must taste test the ingredients to make sure that the end product is successful.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25

They were about to brawl when I asked them if they wanted to spend their summer fighting.
They decided to play tag instead.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 24

We took a trip to the banks of Plum Creek today.
What a sky.

Day Trip

Last night the Hubby asked me if we shouldn't take a trip out to Walnut Grove today, since they have a Laura Ingalls festival during the month of July every year.
So this morning we packed the kids into the car and drove out west.
There was a charming fair with a real blacksmith, and activities for the kids.
The Laura Ingalls Museum was full of artifacts from the time period, things which actually belonged to Laura and her family, and a ton of TV memorabilia since the show was set in Walnut Grove.

The dugout mentioned in On the Banks of Plum Creek is about a mile out of the main part of town, on the property of a local farmer.
The site is there, though it's little more than a slope in the side of the hill. The Elder was disappointed that there wasn't more of it, but after all it has been about 140 years since the Ingalls lived there.
The kids did get a thrill from actually going into Plum Creek.

I was very glad to have made the trip in our car, however, as it would have taken us 5-6 days in a covered wagon.

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 23

Am I crazy enough to whip up a prairie girl dress for the trip to Walnut Grove tomorrow? Maybe just a sun-bonnet.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 22

When I start to feel guilty about frivolous spending, I remember how happy a bunch of sunflowers makes me feel after a tough day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 21

At the zoo today I coveted this guy's shady pool

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20

One girl broke down during class. She had just moved and had to leave her dog behind.
The empathy from the others was wonderful.

Monday, July 19, 2010

July 19

Day 1 of kids' knitting camp.
I can't quite believe this is my 4th year.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18

Today started with a 3 mile walk, a little prep cooking, and ended with yarn and friends.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 17

Alborada Del Gracioso, you are my Everest.

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 16

The highs and lows of this day were sometimes hard to take.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 15

Cooing pigeons, giggling children pretending to be asleep, cool breeze, quiet night.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14

The sun was shining though a break in the clouds, but at our house it was a deluge.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 13

They don't keep score, but she doesn't care.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy, part 2

1. Sewing with knits, part 2 -
I made the pants, (KwikSew 3115) but not the shirt.
forgive the wrinkles. (KwikSew 3652)

2. Mo Willems' blog. You gotta go check out his doodle wall.

3. Last night I fell asleep to the sounds of our neighbors singing with a tuba accompaniment. That was pure heaven.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy.

1. These two.2. Cool breezes after the rain.

3.Sewing with knits!
I didn't know that I would ever be able to do this, but I am in total love!
Today I made myself a dress and a pair of pants. If knit fabric weren't so expensive, I would remake my entire wardrobe.
I really am so excited.

What's on your list of happy things today?

July 11

The rain stopped at the top of the bridge.

July 10

The ripe one didn't make it into the house.

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 9

There were four of these, I wonder if they caught any dinner.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8

park + friends + sandwiches on the patio = fun afternoon and major post-fun freakout.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 7

Hearing the thunder always calms me down.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6

Too hot outside. Perfect for dinosaurs inside.

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5

Watching the water and thinking about its long journey.

New Skirt

From Sew Liberated - Jersey Garden Skirt

The flowers are all made using reverse applique.
Meg has a great system for the technique involving freezer paper and tear-away stabilizer.
It worked great! And I got the whole skirt started and finished yesterday.
I didn't have enough fabric, so it's not as full as the one in the book, but it's so comfortable that I am choosing not to mind the clingy-ness on my derriere.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4

Sand in my shoes from yesterday at the lake.
This is Summer.

I finished something!

I have been floating in a sea of half-finished projects lately, but today I spied land.
This pattern is Kyoko from modkid. Treadle Yard Goods just started carrying these patterns in the Spring, and this is a model garment for the store. The next step is a pair of leggings to go along with the top, and I'll be super finished.
Have a relaxing 4th everyone!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 3

The song of the vuvuzela is like the hum of bees in the warm sun.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 2 - Happy Birthday, Me.

Day 2 of Habit-along
No fireworks, just a quiet day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


One of my favorite blog reads is having a party this month and everyone is invited.
Emily and Molly, the ladies behind Habit, usually choose 3 or 4 people to post a photo every day of the month, and those photographers share glimpses of their days.
In July the Habit crew invited people to join the Habit flickr group and play along.
The last time I looked there were 168 people or so and the photos are inspiring, and sweet, and fun.
Here is July 1 for us -Planning out the days, she decided we needed to form a girls club for crafting.