Thursday, November 26, 2009

Today's a busy one...

Take time to thank God for our many blessings.

Whether you're cooking for a crowd or dining alone, He has been so good to us.

Happy Thanksgiving.

God bless you richly, richly, richly.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The search for the perfect (swoon-worthy) sandwich bread...

is still on, as it turns out. It was pretty and easy and decent tasting, but it didn't make me swoon.

I made this bread for some delicious sandwiches but wasn't too impressed. If anyone has a good recipe for sandwich bread, send it my way, okay? Oooor, maybe you've got tips for livening this one up a bit...

Check it out:

4 c flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar

Put the warm milk, yeast and sugar in the bread machine pan. Then get all the rest of your ingredients together while the milk mixture and yeast hang out together for a few minites. Put the rest of the ingredients in and set to a 2lb loaf size. Begin to knead.

When the mixing cycle is done, leave in in the bread machine pan to rise for an hour. After an hour, remove the dough from the bread pan and shape into a loaf. Put into a well greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise another hour or so. It should rise well over the top of the pan. If not, let it rise a bit more.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake for around 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool completely before cutting.

Eat in honor of my 200th post!!!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Amazing Grace and the Mall Cop

Once upon a time there was a girl. She was kind, generous and loving. And uncommonly good-looking. To make it easier, (easier than calling her "Sarah: Short and Gorgeous") we'll just call her Sarah.

Sarah had a part-time job and a brand-new driver's license. She'd use any and every excuse to hit the open road, even when it included chauffeuring her younger sisters all around town.

Sarah loved to spend time with her sisters. They'd go to the mall together and get iced coffees from the Beanery (Sarah's treat, of course) and window shop and try on shoes and people watch and evade creepy guys. An all-around good time.

Sarah had a younger sister whom we'll call Patti.

One day after a nice, long mall excursion, Sarah and Patti found themselves at a stoplight next to a creepy guy. Creepy Guy revved his engine, drawing looks from both sisters. Sarah, never one to turn down a challenge, revved back. So what if she was in her parents mini-van? She would have this guy eating her dust in record time. Creepy guy grinned: challenge given, challenge accepted.

The light changed and Sarah floored it. The V6 roared, the van devoured the intersection and raced on towards victory. And yes, creepy guy was left behind to sit and cry. And gloat, as it turns out.

Cue the blue lights and siren. Cops! Sarah toyed with and rejected the idea of making a run for it. As much as she loved and trusted the minivan, she feared her parent's wrath more. She slowly pulled over. Creepy guy eased past, smirking. Curses!

Nervously awaiting the policeman and her fate, Sarah turned off the radio and readied her license and registration. Patti, ever a quick thinker, turned the radio back on and found a Christian music station playing hymns. What better time for Amazing Grace than now!

It seemed to take forever, but the policeman finally arrived at the window, face inscrutable behind his dark glasses.

"Ma'am, what was that?"

Sarah stammered something unintelligible.

In the passenger seat, Patti began to sing, putting on her best Southern hacking preacher voice. "Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already coooooome..."

Mall Cop, looking bewildered, now stares openly at Patti. Was she demented? In shock? What is going on?

Patti sang louder. "Tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me hoooooome."

Mall Cop is dumbstruck.

Patti gives the song all she's got. "The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secuuuuuuuures! He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures!!!"

Mall Cop walks away without another word. Halfway to his car he seems to remember himself and mumbles, "Slow it down, Ma'am." No ticket, no lecture, no threats or promises of justice.

Saved by Amazing Grace.

My new favorite song.

Left alone by the police but Patti still felt the need to share the story with their parents, who were not pleased. Not pleased at all.

The moral of the story: You can get away with anything if your little sister's a little loopy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Such a place really does exist!

There is a place. A lovely place where lovely things happen. Putt-putt golf, batting cages, bounce houses. And also, not so lovely things. Things like a girl whomping the pants off her father in a long-awaited air hockey match. Things like this same girl yelling in triumph for the entire state of Michigan to hear and wonder. Things like this girls mother (and this father's wife) taking pictures documenting this sad, sad day. Pirate's Park: A place where dreams come true. Well, for me at least.

The date: not so long ago.

The place: a near-neglected, disrepaired shack in Flint-town

The extras: Mom, devoted photographer of family feuds
Becky, apathetic sister, along for the ride
Kaeden, loving nephew, always roots for Aunt Sarah (and most determined giver of wet willies I've ever known.)
Mr. X, Park proprietor and all-around nice guy.

Here's what went down.

Though my dear father tried his level best to cheat (I had to REPEATEDLY tell him to "get your hand off the table before I break your fingers with the force of my awesomeness") I beat him fair and square with witnesses. Let the record show. Let the people hear and rejoice:


And I thought I was a sore loser. He's already demanded a rematch (what's this now, best 51 out of 100?)

Oh, and plus? While my dad distracted Mr. X, Becky and I played on the bouncy things. Sorry, Mr. X! I know you said no adults allowed but we just couldn't resist!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beans, beans the musical fruit...

This is almost a guest post from my lovely and talented mom, but not quite. You see, she was recently at my house for a visit and made me this delicious bean soup (and homemade bread!) while I was at work and was kind enough to take pictures so I'd know how to make it myself. Sooner or later she's going to make her own blog, but for now, I'll just steal her recipes and claim them as my own.

Mom's Bean Soup

Get beans. Navy ones. Dump into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Mom's mom says this "gets the gas out." Mmm-hmm.

Drain beans, dump into a bowl and cover with cold water. Allow them to soak overnight. The water may turn funny colors. Fear not!

Put drained beans in a pot with fresh water and add some cubed ham and chicken broth and carrots and salt.

Simmer, simmer, simmer til the beans are soft and the carrots are done.

Eat, dunking in fresh and delicious bread to scoop up the beany goodness.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Question. And an update, too.

Is my brother-in-law's wife my sister-in-law?


You may have noticed that I was gone for a while. Here's what I've been up to.

My parents came for a visit! Yay, parents! I whooped my dad at Wii Tennis yet again. Are you surprised? Also. Bean soup and fresh bread. Yum.

Steven's brother, Chris and Chris's wife, Amanda had their second baby. Welcome to the planet, Landin!

Steven's grandpa passed away, prompting a quick trip to Michigan. I knew him to be a good man. The first time I met him, he had my shy little introverted self sitting on his lap within about five minutes. He always remembered who I was even though we only got to see each other once or twice a year. I'll never forget his cry of "Sarah!" when I walked into his house after his wife died. That and his pipe. That ever-present, sweet smelling pipe.

Mini Thanksgiving dinner with the family. A lovely time.

My dad and I found a real, live, honest-to-goodness air hockey table! Yes, really! You've have to wait for the pictures of that blessed event. Mom?

Roughhousing with the nieces and nephews. Macaroni necklaces, sword fights and Little Shop of Horrors. Good times.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I am now officially...

...the fattest I've ever been.

I've come to a conclusion. Life is too short to worry about dieting. I eat good food that is healthy and I also eat good food that is not so healthy. Chocolate and cheese and cream and pastry...

I cook meals from scratch six nights a week, bake my own bread, delight in new recipes and covet kitchen gadgets.

When I get to Heaven I'll be perfect and that's good enough for me.

In this vein, I present to you:

Sea Salt Frozen Custard

Stolen from and tweaked for your pleasure.

2 eggs
2 c milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c heavy whipping cream
sea salt (a coworker gave me a ton of French Grey sea salt and I am just loving it!)

Slowly bring the milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, separate the eggs into two good sized bowls.

Mix the egg yolks and sugar until light and frothy. Slowly, slowly, slowly pour the hot milk into the mixture. I'm talking a teaspoon at a time, folks, unless you want scrambled eggs.

Pour milk/yolk/sugar mixture back into pot and heat on medium until it thickens, stirring often. Do Not Let It Boil!

Beat the egg whites until stiff.

Slowly fold mixture into beaten egg whites.

Add sea salt to taste. I used about 1 1/2 tsp for that lovely salty-sweet flavor.

Put mixture in fridge to cool.

Once cool, add cream and vanilla.

Freeze, following your ice cream maker’s instructions.

If you don't have an ice cream maker pour mixture into 1 or 2 metal cake pans and set in freezer. Let sit until edges become firm, then remove and mix. Repeat until uniformly frozen.

Eat. It's delicious, especially when you add a little honey on top.