Please -- Try this at Home!

If you know me, you know I like bread. I use the word like with every strongest affection attached to it. I came across this recipe when I was thumbing through a Williams Sonoma catalog. It's called No Knead Rosemary Lemon Bread. I doubled the recipe because I have a huge dutch oven. Only for the rising I split the dough into 2 big balls, then I threw them in the pot side by side when it came time to do so. Thus, the split across the top. This bread is fabulous dipped in an olive oil and balsamic mixture with cracked pepper on top. It finishes with a nice crust and the middle is tuggy, chewy, moist. Just like a sponge. It's awesome! Next time I make it, I'll throw in a bit of fresh garlic. Also, my first rise was something like 24 hours and it turned out fine. One more thing, you can go the williams sonoma webpage and find the recipe with helpful pictures.

This bread is almost effortless to make because it requires no kneading. Instead, the dough is allowed to slowly rise over a long period of time. Then it is baked in a preheated covered cast-iron pot, which helps produce a crispy, bakery-style crust on the finished loaf.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. chopped lemon zest
Cornmeal as needed
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and zest. Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at warm room temperature (about 70°F) until the surface is dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold the dough over onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel, preferably a flour sack towel (not terry cloth), with cornmeal. Put the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours. At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over, seam side up, into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, 15 to 30 minutes more. Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Using oven mitts, turn the pot on its side and gently turn the bread; it will release easily. Makes one 1 1/2-lb. loaf

Croup and Spring Break

Last week on Monday, Jake and I decided the kids and I should take this week off for Spring Break. Last week on Monday Benjamin also came down with a fever of 102.5. The first fever he has had in years, I think. Anyway the fever and and gross cough which followed is croup, according to dr. mom, yours truly. The fever and cough have spread like wildfire and every child in the house has had it. Silas was the last to be inflicted and has handled it well. Though if he was our first child I am sure we would have landed in the ER, given how terrible he sounds. Today however, the children are better, the mild coughs that linger are ready to be done with. We are going to go enjoy the day and run some errands perhaps. The weather is in full cooperation and we are looking at 75 for a high. This will be our first celebrated day of Spring Break. Tomorrow is a change of command at Jake's Squadron. Another fun event that the children will be privileged to view.


Caution: Pop-Up Barriers Ahead

Today Ben had the priviledge of sitting up front with me in the Suburban.  This is usually a source of contention among the children and typically Colby wins the right hands down, because he's the only one who doesn't require a booster seat.  We dropped Colby off for baseball practice and headed to the base to buy gas.  A couple years ago the back gate entrance has had some changes and the military has added some in the ground barriers.  The idea behind this is that if someone were to storm the gate the bollards would instantly pop up trapping any would be attacker.  For several, several months we've driven over the barriers and passed the sign giving warning about them.  Today was a different day, because like I said Ben was in the front seat with me.  After we were waved through the back gate, Ben says to me, "huuuuuh(his voice is escalating in tone) mom, we need to look out today." I ask him why that is so. "Because the sign says that there will be pop-up Bears ahead."  I ask him what he is talking about, mind you I know what he has just read and am maintaining self control from pulling the car over so I can laugh to my hearts content.  He then says,"they must be bears that lay down really low on the ground and then they jump up and scare the people."  I had to tell him what the sign really said lest he start telling people at church that the base has pop up bears.  He may be on to something though.  I am thinking the idea of pop up bears is much scarier than a pop up barrier.  How about you?



We have good reason for celebrating Christ.  Our Savior, Redeemer was crucified in perfect obedience and rose again.  He could not be held in Hell and overcame it some 2000 years ago.  Thank you Jesus for resurrecting yourself from the grave for the glory of the Father, for the redemption of our souls, there is none like you!  
In our home most of our celebrations revolve around food.  We can hardly help it.  Christ himself was the "Bread of Life" and "Fruit of the Vine"  He has given us much and we will celebrate him, doing all for the glory of God.  
This Sunday before church we will enjoy some Hot Cross Buns for breakfast and after church we will have the privilege of dining with friends.  The Lord is sweet indeed!

This recipe was taken from the Joy of Cooking website.  No dried fruit was added, just chocolate chips.

posted by CLR


Look what I just found!

For those of you who might be tempted to think I have it all together... Not so, not so, not so. This finding is after I found her coloring her legs with a black marker. What next? The only thing I changed was the aim of the water flow and the soap, which were both pouring into the already overflowing sink.


Red Velvet Cake

Before I divulge the recipe I must express my gratitude to Myia Carreiro's mother. Thank you Mrs. Allen for sharing this recipe with me. It was my privilege to be at Graysie and Mick's party and enjoy a bite. The thought of this cake lingered with me for many days and I knew it would have to be made as part of my husbands return feast. The frosting in particular, referred to as Graysie as, "Magic frosting" is especially smooth and easy on the taste buds. Again thank you.

This cake should be stored in the Refrigerator!!
Cream together in a large bowl
1/2 cup Crisco
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs and beat it good
Sift together the following, 3 times:
2 cups flour
1 TBSP Cocoa
1/2 tsp salt

In another bowl:
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 bottles red food coloring
Alternately add the dry sifted ingredients and the milk/food coloring blend to the creamed shortening mix. Once combined Fold in 1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 TBSP Vinegar.
Bake in 2 prepared 9" cake pans
350 degrees for 30-35 minutes

Magic Frosting-Double This

Cook over low heat to pudding stage the following:
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup flour
dash salt
Set aside to cool
Cream Together
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
Add 1 tsp. vanilla.
Add to the pudding mixture then beat it for several minutes. It should be fluffy and not gritty.

Photos from the Celebration

Here are some sweet photos of Jackie's Celebration.


I'll Pay for a Slice of Humble Pie as Well.

What a great day to go the commissary. We really need toilet paper and bananas. Along with cheese, eggs, meat, and of course vegetables. I plan the menu for the next two weeks. This menu includes the Resurrection Day feast along with a fun St. Patrick's Day dinner. It's a long pay period so we're going to have to have meatless dinners a few nights to compensate. This is all fine and the menu is set. The grocery list completed with the exact number of potatoes to purchase and pounds of coffee to get us through. We were out of beans this morning.. a minor headache followed. Off to the commissary I go. The grocery shopping is thorough and quick. I even remembered diapers this time. I go to the front to pay out. The tally could be much worse. I grab the purse, dig for my wallet. No wallet will be found. I begin to sweat and my face is hot. Oh no, I was recording receipts this morning and left my wallet on the desk. But wait, there is hope, I come across the emergency checkbook in the bottom of my purse. It has our old Okinawan address on it, however the cashier doesn't mind. She just wants the money. It'll be ok I think to myself, I can transfer the needed funds later. But wait, my ID card is in my wallet. I am nothing without it. What will the cashier say when I tell her? She says, "and how far away do you live?" I quickly make my exit leaving a trail of sweat as I go. I had to explain to the bagger that I would be back with his tip. What a dumb-dumb. Oh well, the wallet was retrieved, I paid for my groceries and left. Next time I'll be sure to double check the purse before I leave. The bagger assures me that this sort of thing happens all the time. I try to assure myself that, I'm not losing my mind at the ago of 30, just a little distracted. Could have been worse, much worse.


I said Young Man

I was once in your shoes, I was down and out with the blues....  Some things have changed since the YMCA was first established.  The Young Man's Christian Association now supports homeschoolers, in this area that is.  The kids go there on Thursday's for a PE class.  They absolutely love it.  As a matter of fact, Jake and I had a bit of fun with the whole YMCA thing last week, and now the kids think they know the song and dance.  So, as I type, Ben is piping it out.  "I will see you at the YMCA, hoo hoo, 1234 I said I will see you at the YMCA."  Then Jackie, in all of her 9 years of wisdom corrects him saying, "No, Ben, it's not hoo hoo, it's Woo HOO."  This is funny to me.  With my very best self control I don't correct them.  I like this new version and it doesn't involve fire helmets....

For the Love of Spring

It's middle March and all is well. We've been functioning as a complete family unit for about a month now, actually tomorrow will be the full month mark. Jake is working a lot, and he actually flew yesterday. The kids and I are in the grime of school, upcoming sports are lingering in the air, but my favorite thing is the feel of Spring. Yesterday, we had a rather long experience at the auto place. I can affirm that after 4 hours of living inside a cube with 6 delightful children and some very old people, all for the same purpose is an eye opening experience. To say the least, when we were released from the cube and free to take the truck back home that the meaning of spring took on a new effect. The air was lighter, the energy greater. If I were a dog I might just have chased my tail for a good 10 minutes. Haha! I am not a dog, so I took to hoeing the garden until my back hurt, throwing weeds every which way and even caught a glimpse of a bee in the cycle of pollinating a honeysuckle. The grub worms seemed to have multiplied. I threw them out of the garden and the kids competed to see who can gather the most. Ben filled his pocket with them, later they met a sad ending, though I won't give all the details, it did involve a brown paper bag, some prolonged sitting, and a remote control monster truck. Anyway, the delight of my day was Jackie. She had patiently endured the time in the waiting room on her birthday. Once home she donned her colonial maiden dress, on top of this she put on her new apron, followed by some other accessories. She grabbed one of the grub worms from the garden and ran off. I didn't think much about it, as everyone else seemed to be doing the same thing. She comes back to me a few moments later and she had constructed a fishing rod with some stick and string and had tied her grub worm to the end of it. It was the cutest thing, this sweet little girl, all dressed up on her very special day holding a stick with a grub worm hanging. I wished I was holding a camera instead of a hoe.



Jackie turns 9 tomorrow, Wednesday, March 12. She is such a delight and is every bit of 9 and more. She continues to excel in all that she puts her heart into. Consistently motivated to do well in ballet and she adores her little sisters. I love to watch this sweetheart. Sometimes she'll be curled up in a corner devouring a story and other times she flits about the house dancing on her toes dreaming of being married to a charming prince. We love this little girl so much and give praise to our Father for His goodness to us all in bringing her here. Happy Birthday Darling!


Ben's #7

Last time we did punching balloons, they were filled with my very own hot air and I nearly passed out when I was done. I was wanting Jake to experience this same excitement of losing one's balance, so I asked him for some help.. I was snickering at the thought of it, then I heard the machine go. He's very clever huh?

Ben's delights; dad and cake.

It took about 4 blows, but he got them all out.

Squackers, the things in our mouths, not us...

Ben's gift in action.

More on the Cabin

As you can tell, our time was sweet. It was cold, rainy, then a surprise bit of snow to finish it off. The fire kept the cabin toasty and the steaks kept our palates pleased.


Last Day as a Six Year Old

This morning I was reading in the Carolina Room when Ben strolled in after waking up wearing a sweater and shorts (he has inherited his fashion sense from his left-handed grandfather).  He had his back to me and didn't notice me in the room.  I thought, "who is this kid in my house, that looks like Ben's blond hair and head, but this kid's legs are way to big along with his back?"  Well, it was Ben and I just hadn't taken notice of his growth since I have come home and no wonder he is actually turning seven years old tomorrow.  I am thankful to God for his infinite kindness to Ben in health and providence over the course of these last seven years.  Happy birthday son!   


Why I love Target

Not only do they have Starbucks Coffee, great prices, fun deco for the house and cute clothing, they also provide a way for husbands to surprise their wives. Thus, the story. It started a while ago with a few strange bits of info popping up, here and there. Then Jake came home from deployment. I knew something was going to happen, some sort of get away, but didn't have the when's, or the exact where's, and I only had a guess on the who's. So, there I am Saturday night ready to go to sleep and Jake says to me, "I would like to take you and the kids out for lunch after church tomorrow, so, you don't need to cook for us." How sweet. He's being so thoughtful. It will be nice to break free from the routine. Then I think, this is too good to be true. Something is going on. Then I think, no he just wants to take us to lunch, get over yourself. So we go to lunch and nothing happens. Then we go drop off some items at the Goodwill. Now I am thinking, okay I am tired lets go home. However he says, "I need to go to Target." Wow, that's a good idea, I am now back in the game and suddenly remotivated to have a good attitude. After all Target is a fun store, with great deals and maybe they finally got in their patio furniture and we can check it out. We walk around the store for a while, Colby decides what he wants to blow his money on. We check out the patio furniture and discuss how one of these summers we will buy a set. We move on, I point out how Target carries a fun variety of food now. Anyway I am tired again and would just like to go enjoy the day before it's gone. One last aisle however. The baseball card aisle. I am amusing myself watching Colby, Ben, and Jake paw through the cards. How sweet, the boys have their dad back home. Then suddenly, without warning, someone comes up behind and puts their hands over my eyes. I knew it would only be a very dear friend, to do that to me so comfortably. I am thinking it's Melia, but the grip on my head is getting tighter and suddenly I feel a bit concerned, like who would dare squeeze my brain so hard, they must think they know me pretty well to be so comfortable. Well it was my mother. I am shocked as are the kids. Jake hands me a card, which contains a plan of action to take me, and Silas of course, out west to Boone, North Carolina, where we can enjoy the mountains and escape for a couple of days. We had a marvelous time. I will post pictures once the camera is unpacked. To those of you who knew and kept it a secret, thank you! We were so blessed again by my mom coming this way. The kids enjoyed her very much and Jake, Silas, and I had a very restful time in our cabin up in the mountains.