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Monday, January 31, 2011

Kitchen face-lift {part five} – One step at a time

I had a request on Twitter this weekend for more pictures. More blogging through the kitchen madness that is ensuing at our house. So this week I will try to post several short updates.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but our fridge quit a couple of weeks before Christmas. Yeah. Awesome, right?

This caused my husband to start looking around for a new one. Which took him to the website of a store that sell appliances that had a problem “out of the box” and this guy fixes them and sell them. And in the process of looking for said fridge, he found a range. And not just any range.

This range and fridge became my Christmas, Anniversary, Valentines, Mother’s Day and Birthday presents for the next five years.

And might I say it’s totally worth it.

It was this turn of events that took this simple kitchen facelift into the level of remodeling that has us… well… down to the studs. You see, the original kitchen layout was not made for a range, just a cook top. So, since we were going to have to do some work on the cabinets and counter tops anyways, we eventually decided that it all just needed to go rather than trying to salvage cabinets that were falling apart anyways.

The last time I posted, we had only taken out a couple of the cabinets. Not long after that, we really got serious and removed the rest of the cabinets and chipped up the ugly, gross, disgusting, 6x6 inch red “looks like it belongs in a public subway bathroom” tile with the huge 1/2” grout lines.

No. I don’t have a serious opinion about that tile. At all.


We’ve gone down to the studs. When I said that this thing had taken a turn for the ridiculous, I wasn’t kidding.


We’ve been designing new cabinets, picking out various finishes and re-wiring a lot. We have spent a bit of time with the kitchen looking exactly like this.

Mike finally drove to Austin to pick up the fridge and range and we were thrilled to finally have a functioning refrigerator in the space again.


And this is the range of my dreams.

new KitchenAid range

Isn’t she beautiful?

So now they are both here at our house. Just waiting for the kitchen to be ready for them to really be at home.

One step at a time, right?

(You can see a list of all the kitchen update posts here.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You can’t argue with cute

This morning I was getting ready to go to Bible study and couldn’t decide which shoes to wear.  Mike had already left to take Sarah to school, so the only counsel I had in the house was Nathan.  Being a 5 year old boy, he’s not normally the person I would go to for shoe advice, but desperate times call for desperate measures.


I went to his room with both shoes on (technically one shoe and one boot) and this is how the conversation went…


Me: Nathan, which shoes should I wear?

Nathan: (Takes one look.) The black ones.

Me: (Surprised because my son loves him some boots.) So you think the black ones instead of boots?

Nathan: Yeah.

Me: Why?

Nathan: Because the black ones are better and they are really cute.


Lesson: You can't argue with cute.

Or a five year old boy with an opinion about shoes.

Who knew?

Monday, January 10, 2011

BBA Challenge #27 – Portuguese Sweet Bread

Just a point of clarification.  This is actually sweet yeast bread.  Not sweetbread

Ever since I discovered quite a few years ago that people were not referring to a type of bread when they talked of sweetbread, I’ve been leery of the term and always like to clarify.

So, now that we have that necessary item of business out of the way…

First you mix together the sponge and let it sit for 60 – 90 minutes.

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Then the process almost becomes more like mixing a cake or cookie.  First you mix together the sugar, salt, powdered milk, butter and shortening and it looks something like this.


Then you add in the eggs and flavor extracts and it looks like this.


You don’t add in the sponge and flour until the end, which seems a little backwards from most breads that we have made to this point.  Most of the time, we have added the flour and then the water and wet ingredients.  I just find it interesting that this one is done in reverse.


To get a nice round shape, I used pie plates for my baking vessels.

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A little egg wash just before baking…


I tell you what, that is a gorgeous crust on this bread. 



And do you know what?  It makes some gooo-oood french toast.

Coat the pieces in the egg & milk then let them sit for a few minutes to really soak it in.


Of course you must butter your griddle.


Side 1…


Side 2…




To see my other Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge blog posts and to read about the challenge, go here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

BBA Challenge # 26 – Poolish Baguettes

Honestly, I don’t remember much about making this bread.  I can tell you that I made it in May of 2010.  And I can tell you that because of the date stamps on the pictures.

But I guess that won’t do for a blog post about it, huh?

Let me dig deep back in the recesses of my brain and see what we come up with…

This formula calls for sifting the whole-wheat flour to remove the bran and approximate what is known as “clear flour.”  I sifted several times and each time removed some larger pieces each time, but never such that the post-sifted flour looked much different from the pre-sifted. 

If I remember correctly, I ended up using some combination of whole-wheat flour and regular bread flour along with my wheat wild yeast starter in place of the poolish.




If my memory serves me correctly (highly unlikely), this version of a baguette was okay, but not our favorite.  I think some of the previous versions may have been better.

To see my other Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge blog posts and to read about the challenge, go here.