Friday, August 26, 2011

Special Olympics Scarf #6

I finished my 6th scarf last night.  It's red granny squares edged in blue.

I am not sure what pattern I may try next, but a few of the ones over at bestfreecrochet are pretty neat and could easily be adapted to the guidelines for the scarves.

Are you making any scarves for this project?

Today's Sewing & Zip - It - Up Bags

I've done a little bit of hand sewing last night and today ...

I finished up decorating this zipper jean bag. Those are iron-on jewels.  They aren't sticking 100% .. but they will be pretty while they last! :)



I saw this really kewl bag over at Craft Passion.  It's a Zip-it-Up Pencil Case .. they also have a tutorial for a Zip-It-Up Coin Purse.  I decided to try my hand at it today.

My first one didn't turn out very neat, but it is very cool!  It works, it's amazing! 

Here's a quick little video of it zipping up .. you really have to see it to believe it! (Please excuse the quality of the video .. it's just a quick one I did on my most basic digital camera.

I think I may try to do some of these on the sewing machine .. get a neater sewing line on it.  I encourage you to try it for yourself!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sourdough Bread

I did end up baking the bread last night, and the boys and I have been eating it today. 

It's pretty good.  Not as "sour" as other's I've tasted, but I'm assuming that's because it's a new starter and not one that's been going awhile.  I figure the longer you have the starter brewing, the stronger the taste will be?

I've mixed up the second batch of prepared sourdough starter dough, and have set it in the 'fridge with plans to use it for pizza tomorrow night.  I added some onion powder, garlic powder,and oregano to that dough to give it more "pizza" flavor.

I have a bunch of cherry tomatoes from the volunteer plants in the garden, soI will probably chop those up and see if I can make a sauce .. perhaps a pizza sauce for tomorrow night.

I have a pork tenderloin in the crockpot for tonight's supper .. only just put it in, so I hope there's time for it to get done before supper time.  Figure I'll match it with mashed potatoes and either carrots or corn.  Perhaps some gravy if I still have energy later. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sourdough Starter - Day 9 1/2 & 10

Well, there's really good news .. last night before I went to bed I checked the starter and it had quite a bit of foam on top .. so I figured I'd go ahead and harvest a little and prepare it for baking today. 

 Harvest: 4 oz (approx 1/2 cup) of starter.

Add to the harvest amount - 2oz flour & 1 oz water. Mix well and let sit overnight.

Here's what it looked like last night after mixing in the flour and water .. much thicker.
Here's what it looked like this morning. --->>>

I used this recipe to make a bread dough - the 8 oz of flour by weight is a little more than 1 1/3 cups. I eyeballed the salt and oil.

After adding that much flour, it was still quite sticky .. so I used more until it looked more like a bread dough ball and wasn't sticky anymore. atleast 1/3 cup more ...

Here's the bread dough after I got it to shape a nice ball ..

now to rise for 2-3 hours ... then shape, then let rise again.  When I get back from an appointment this afternoon, I'll see if I can't get it baked and a picture loaded for you then.

So I have the bread all set. 
Next, I harvest another 4 oz for pizza dough.  Add 2oz flour & 1 oz water.  Set that aside to deal with tomorrow.

And finally, feed the remaining starter. 

Day 10: Add 1 oz flour & 1 oz water.  Stir very well.

I think tomorrow I will not harvest.  As you can see, the jar has less in it now.  The math says it all .. if you are adding 2 oz, and subtracting 4 oz .. then you will end up on the minus side .. so if I wait a couple more days to harvest, then I will try to keep about the same amount of starter in the jar.  I might change jars though, this one is getting kind of messy! :)

Below you can see a picture of my prepared sourdough bread dough all laid out in a nice loaf. I used some corn meal as a light dusting on the pan and on top of the loaf.  I've got it in the fridge right now, so it doesn't rise too fast, and will bake it tonight after we get home from our "date night". 

I'll let you know tomorrow how it turns out!

Can't Wait!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sourdough Starter Day 9

Here we are at Day 9.  The blog I'm being guided by said that it could be a day to harvest a bit .. but I'm not sure since my starter seems to be pretty slow to start .. so .. I think I'll wait one more day .. but there is some very good news!

There was foam and not liquid on top of the starter when I got to it this afternoon! YIPPEE! Hip Hip Hooray! :) That is a very good sign!

 Isn't that great? AND AND AND .. it smelled more like a bread smell, and not so sharp!  I think it's finally going in the direction it is supposed to be going in! :)  I'm so happy!

Here's a picture of the side of the jar before I did anything with it today.

so .. I'm going to ...

Day 9 - Add 1 oz flour & 1 oz water, stir/whisk well.

Tomorrow I can start a small harvest and prepare to bake the following day ... I'm kind of excited .. :)

Ham & Broccoli Ring Recipe

I thought I'd share with you my baking adventures :)  I made this for supper Sunday night.
If you want to try this, please let me knowhow it turns out, and note that I list my ideas for improvement at the end of this post!  I would change it next time!

Ham & Broccoli Ring

1/2 of a 1/2 of a turkey ham.  (I buy turkey ham in the half-ovals... so half of one of those. Can be any type of ham.)
1/2 of a crown of broccoli
1/2 of a medium onion
scoop of sour cream (maybe 1/4 cup?)
couple handfulls of shredded cheddar cheese.
2 tubes of crescent roll dough.

Place your crescent dough in a circle on a pan.  I used a foil lined pan, but I think a stone would have been much better.  With your points to the outside, press and widen the center of the circle so you have a nice place to put your mixture.

Place all other ingredients in a food processor and make into a fine mixture.  I processed the ham, brocolli and onion separately, but you certainly could do them all together.

Spread the mixture on top of the dough.  Then fold your points into the center and tuck them under to "seal".

Bake at 375 until golden brown.

Before Baking.

After Baking

Okay .. it wasn't terrible .. but here's what I would do to make it better .. I would lave the ham and cheese amounts alone, but decrease the broccoli and onion.  I would also use thawed cheese, not frozen, as it made it too moist and I had liquid running around the bottom, which made the dough not crisp like it should have.  I would also bake it longer .. even if I had to cover the browner parts with foil so the inside and bottom would have a chance to get more done.  The boys hated it .. but I liked it ok and so did dh .. but it could be better with those changes.

Sourdough Starter - Day 8

I forgot to post yesterday, but here is my observations for Day 8.

Day 8: Feed 1 oz flour & 1 oz water .. stir/whisk well.

I see more bubbles today .. so that's a good sign!

1 oz of flour in a snack cup .. pretty!

Starter before stirring or feeding.

After stirring, but before feeding.

After Feeding and Stirring.

I am using a whisk now .. seems to do a better job then the swirling or the fork.  The starter isn't smelling as bad either. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sourdough Starter Day 6 & 7

Hi y'all :)

We had a busy day yesterday, so although I did feed my sourdough starter, I did not take the time to take pictures.

Day 6: Add 1 oz flour & 1 oz water and stir well.

So we are on day 7 now...

Day 7: Add 1 oz flour & 1 oz water and stir well.

I believe I stirred the starter before church this morning, and then we went to church, out for lunch and some shopping, and got hom early-to-mid-afternoon.  When I got home, the starter had quite a bit of clear yellow liquid on top.  So it still wants to separate. 
What I did differently today is I used a whisk when I fed & stirred.  After that, I am getting more bubbles, and it is looking slightly foamy .. very slightly.  I guess that's a step in the right direction!
Here's a photo of it after feeding & stirring.
 Here is a look at how much starter is in the jar now.  This is a standard 1 quart wide-mouth canning jar.
I would appreciate any comments or observations...  'Till tomorrow.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

Tried a new recipe tonight.  I made Strawberry Shortcake.

Haven't tasted it yet, but it's our dessert tonight along with some whipped topping.

Sor far - I think it looks good .. but I think I used too many strawberries, and could use more crust ... My springform pan is bigger than their's and I didn't have quite enough dough to spread on the bottom and top.

Sourdough Starter, Day 5

Well, it just seems like there's a thin layer of liquid on top of my starter if I let it sit for even a couple of hours ... but it wasn't too much this morning, although it was still there. 

Here's the starter after I stirred this morning, but before I fed it. See the tiny bubbles?

 So there are bubbles appearing immediately after stirring.  That's a good sign, right?

Day 5: Add 1 oz flour and 1 oz water.

So I fed and stirred and this is what it looks like right after.  I see I missed a little flour from the side, but I'll get that with my next stir during the day today.  I think I'm averaging about 4 stirs during the day?  I'm trying to do more rather than less, but I tend to get distracted.
So far so good .. still some weird smells ..

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sourdough Starter Day 4

After I showered this morning, I checked the sourdough starter.  It had separated again overnight and smelled too.  Not sure if it's supposed to do that or not?  Probably not .. but I'm going to be patient and complete this.  I don't want to stop too soon and then not succeed where I could have if I had only waited..
So on we go.

Here's a picture of how it looked this morning before I did anything to it.

I stirred it up, and then I completed Day 4 instructions.

Day 4: add 1 1/2 oz flour and 1 oz water

Now, that's what I did, but what the directions from this blog said was actually 1 oz flour and 1/2 oz water.  So I remembered wrong.  I have no idea what affect that will have on the starter.  As the blog said, today was fixing the hydration to 100% hydration, meaning equal parts flour and water are in the mixture now.  By my calculations I have a total of 3 oz of flour and 3 oz of water.  This means that I've added 1/2 oz more of each flour and water than she did at this point.  I think that will be ok.  The point is that I have reached 100%hydration.

Here's what it looks like.  It's thicker now, and it coats the spoon.
I'm still concerned with the smell.  Not sure what it's supposed to smell like.  I am probably not stirring it often enough, and I should probably stir instead of swirl to get more air in the mix. She did say that air was an important ingredient. She also said it should smell like buttermilk.  Does anyone know what buttermilk smells like? I don't buy or use that often, so I have no idea.  Perhaps I should go buy a quart so I know what it smells like?

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sourdough Starter Day 3

Well, when I got up this morning, the starter was separated again.  I guess the liquid is called "hooch"?
Here's a picture of the jar from the side.
So I stirred it, and this is what it looks like.  It smelled .. but I can't really describe the smell.  There was a hint of a bready-doughy-smell .. but there's another smell too ..

 So, it's looking fine again.

Day 3: Add 1 oz flour & 1 oz water.
Stir often.

Here's a photo of what it looks like after "feeding" and mixing.

No real bubbles yet.  The consistency is still like you'd expect wtih a flour and water mixture ..

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Raisin Bread = Torture

Who else believes that fresh baking bread is torture ?  I mean, for the last hour of the bread machine cycle, you smell this delicious smell, that steals into your brain and makes you want to eat hot fresh bread right NOW! But you have to wait !  and the minutes tick by so slowly! ... and then it finally beeps .. and you get to take the bread out of the machine .. and you have to WAIT .. again! ... Wait a couple of minutes for it to be cool enough to get out of the pan and onto a plate .. and thenyou have WAIT AGAIN! .. wait for it to be cool enough to cut .. well, we didn't wait very long to cut it .. I just tried to do it very carefully, actually, we cut off the "muffin top" and basically tore it in strips so that we could eat it right away ...

Minutes after it's out of the machine, and this is the state of the loaf .. sorry I couldn't get the camera fast enough to get you a picture of the whole loaf .. another 10 minutes and there might be only crumbs left!
I wish this was smell-o-vision .. because I want you to be tortured too! :)

Sourdough Starter Day 2 & one bird singing

Well, the last time I swirled the starter was late yesterday afternoon .. just before supper.  When I looked at it this morning it had yellow liquid on top of the paste on the bottom.  I should have taken a picture, but what I did was take a spoon and stirred it really good. The consistency is less pasty and more like a wet dough .. so that is good... sort of stringy elastic but wet?  Hard to describe .. but I was encouraged.
  This is what it looked like after stirring.

Seems to be bubbling well for day 2.

Day 2:  Stir

So now, I just stir it or swirl it or shake it as often as I pass by and remember.  Not too hard a job today!

I am in the mood for fresh bread today, so I put some cinnamon raisin in the bread machine... when it comes out I'll try to remember to share a photo.

While I was at my computer, this bird was singing outside my window .. singing loud and clear!  Anyone know what type of bird it is?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sourdough Starter - Day 1

Well, I'm not sure how I got to the website, but I found this website which talks about sourdough starters and how good they are for pizza dough, etc.  So I figured I'd give it a try.  I love fresh bread :)

(I do remember, a highschool classmate posted on facebook some pictures taken at Maria's Pizza in Milwaukee, and since I live north of there I had to google that restaurant and see more, so I did, and on her website is the blog about the sourdough. :)  ... now you know how my mind works .. sort of... !)

Anyway .. I decided to try it.

Day 1:  Mix in a mason jar 1/2 oz flour and 1 oz water (by weight).  Shake to mix, and put on cover. (scratch that, reverse it .. put on cover, then shake!)

Now, I'm shaking instead of stirring for now .. it's easier and one less thing to wash!  Actually, I swirled more then I shook ... technicalities ya know!

Here is the jar set up with some pre-measured flour containers.  That way I don't have to get out the scale every day, and these Tupperware Snack Cups fit the bill very nicely.  I think I premeasured flour for 5 days ..
 Here's a picture of inside the jar after swirling to mix.
 Here's an interesting fact .. did you know that 1 oz of water by volume is the same as 1 oz of water by weight?  I thought that might be the case, but today I proved it! :) Yeah for me !

What's Up ? meow !

I haven't been updating my blog again :( .. bad me .. bad me .. lol ..

We've been busy I guess... doing different things .. I haven't been working on the Special Olympics Scarf much, but Joel did this free-form piece ...

We've had a few bird visiters as well ..

 Also a gopher .. thing he's going into the sump pump pipe .. Not the safest of homes for him .. but he doesn't listen to me!

The boys started homeschooling... Seth is taking Latin in addition to his 5 basic courses and Joel is doing homeschool on the computer for the first year.  Seth enjoyes it, and Joel .. well, he's doing better now then he did the first few days .. it's an adjustment. He'd rather be on his bike or out exploring.

My sister and her family came to visit for a weekend ... and we did some things with them .. including going to Harrington Beach State Park.  The kids enjoyed seeing the lake and getting sandy and wet ... they didn't bring their swim suits, but had fun staying at the edge of the lake.

(my sister took this one)

Joel went diving up to his armpit and found two bricks  ..

After they left, we went to church, and then to the Wisconsin Humane Society: Ozaukee Campus in Saukville, WI, and got a cat!  She is 8 years old and her name is Peaches.  She's really sweet and she likes being around us, although she doesn't like being picked up much.  She does love laying on laps and plays with a few of her toys occasionally.  The vet gave us a couple of toys, and one of which was a little fabric knot with catnip in it.  She didn't pay any attention to it at all .. so I guess she isn't susceptible to catnip!
Well, dont' know what else to say for now .. Leave a comment! :)