Thursday, September 29, 2011

artisan bread in 5 minutes a day.

Yes, I scoffed.  No way can you make artisan bread in 5 minutes a  day... BUT I was proven wrong, and it's true, you can actually prepare artisan bread everyday in 5 minutes (30 minutes baking time).  So if I keep this up my kitchen will ALWAYS smell like fresh bread! Yum.

It's a really simple process with what I think is a lot of steps, but the basic premise is that it's a no knead dough that's quite wet which allows you to make a lot of dough at once and store it in your refrigerator for up to two weeks, and then just pull out a pound or so of dough whenever you want a small loaf. It's great for many reasons, no stale bread, no moldy bread, always having fresh bread, a perfect side to soups and stews, hearty for the winter, great for 2-3 sandwiches, delicious alone or with a slice of cheese, it's just perfect bread.  Also, the longer you wait to bake the dough, the stronger the dough will become, turning into a sour dough, and it's absolutely delicious.

The bread is a basic fresh boule which means... round... so it's a basic french round bread :)

So here's how you do it!

Basic French Boule (5 minutes a day artisan bread)

3 cups of lukewarm water (warm but not hot enough to kill the yeast)
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
6 cups of white flour (because this bread only rises once, whole wheat flour tends to be too heavy, but if you want to substitute whole wheat for white, use both and use more white than whole wheat... :S)

1. First you add the salt and the yeast to the water in a large bowl, you don't need to worry too much about what the yeast is going, just dump it in and get the flour ready.

2. Next you level off 6 cups of flour and dump it into the water and stir.  Don't knead the dough, but stir until you have a really wet dough.

3. Cover loosely and allow the dough to rise at room temperature from 2-5 hours.  You want the dough to double in size.  Once that's done, it's best to put the dough in the fridge in a container with a lid that's popped open, you don't want the lid completely closed.  Wait at least three hours or overnight before you bake your first loaf.

4.  The dough can stay in the fridge for up to two weeks, and now it's the easy part.  Every time you want bread, just give yourself 5 minutes to get the dough ready and 30 minutes to bake it :) That means fresh bread with soup for dinner!

5.  When you're ready to make the bread, preheat the oven to 450*, sprinkle the dough with some flour and scoop out 1 pound or a bout a grapefruit sized amount of dough and put the rest of the dough in the fridge.  Shape the dough by dropping it back in forth between your hands until it loosely resembles a ball, use flour, it's going to be sticky!  Slowly begin to pull the dough gently from the sides and gathering it at the bottom, you want the top as round as possible, and the bottom will become flat while baking.  Then when you're ready to do the final shaping, put the dough onto a pizza peal or a cookie sheet that's been dusted with cornmeal (you don't want the bread to stick!)

6. Sprinkle some more flour on to the top of the unbaked loaf and run a serrated knife across the top creating whatever design you choose, a grid, three lines, a circle?  Anything.  All this does is allows the bread to grow while it's baking.

7.  Now you're ready to bake the bread!  The magic to this bread is  in two factors, not kneading it, and in steam baking.  When you're ready to put the bread into the oven, first put a broiler pan with about 1 cup of hot water on the shelf below where your cookie sheet or pizza stone will be going, then put in your bread and close the door quickly.

8.  ABSOLUTELY NO PEEKING FOR 30 MINUTES!  Letting the steam escape while the bread is baking will harm the process.  I promise in 30 minutes you will have a perfect loaf of bread..  It will get quite brown on top, but the insides will be beautiful and chewy!  The steam makes a really crusty crust with a soft center!

and that's that! Enjoy! Just pull off another piece of dough whenever you want another loaf!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Free music by interesting artists.  It's amazing.


and if you want some of my music..

The Cold Feeling Inside Our Mouths


everyone has their ideal day.

Everyone has a criteria for their ideal day, regardless as to whether they know it or not.  Think about it, what would you include in your absolute ideal day?

This is my criteria for an ideal day: (these aren't in chronological order)

  1. Time with God in the early morning before the sun comes up.
  2. A made bed.
  3. Seeing Tal's face right when I get up.
  4. Time in conversation with someone (or several people) that I love.
  5. Doing a job or activity that I feel in my element doing.
  6. Cooking or baking something delicious.
  7. Getting outside for a bit, rain or shine.
  8. Time being encouraged or inspired by other artists.
  9. Dinner at the dinner table.
  10. Standing at my front door, wide open, looking out.
  11. Lots of music.
  12. Reading a really good book.
  13. Learning something on YouTube or other Internet source.
  14. Praying and meditating.
  15. YOGA
  16. An excellent cup of coffee.
I think if I implemented all of these things in a day, it would be a pretty ideal day... it's definitely not my everyday, but I think a little bit gets in everyday :)
What's your criteria for an ideal day?

the joy of doing what you love.

There's some days where I really let myself LOVE my work.  It's easy to just get it into your head that you aren't going to enjoy yourself because it's just that... work... but when you really let yourself LOVE your work, I bet you'll start really enjoying it!

Isaiah 55:12

The Message (MSG)
 12-13"So you'll go out in joy,
   you'll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
   bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
   exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
   no more thorn bushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
   living and lasting evidence of God."
Isaiah 55:12-13

I think that as little kids we really get this.  We really live with joy, the mountains and the trees singing along with us as we walk.  However, as we get older, that joy seems naive, and the hardness of life kicks in.  Not the physically hard or challenging, but the cold hardness of life and how adults are "supposed to act."

I teach little kids and big kids music, and it really has to be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.  It's not only amazing to see progress in a little child who knew nothing about music and is now playing songs with two hands, but also just to be with the little kids and figure out how they think!

I have a list of why teaching little kids is amazing, but first here's a joke that one of my students told me today, upon walking in my door and meeting me for the first time (first he handing me a folded black piece of construction paper that was stapled together at one end) and here's what he said: "Open it, it's a joke."  I looked at the paper and saw two stick figures one with a tiny head and no hair, and the other with an enormous head and lots of hair, and mutton chops.  "It goes like this," he said, "Knock-knock, whose there? Big fat head.  Big fat head who.  Big fat head, bigger than yours because you're a baby and you don't have any hair, and I do."  When he finished his joke, he almost couldn't stand up straight because of his laughing, and I admit I was laughing pretty hard too!

Here's what I love about teaching little kids music:

  • I love their silliness.  Anything and everything can be funny if you say it a funny voice.
  • I love their open minds.  Anything is valid and reasonable to comment or ask about anything, nothing is embarrassing.
  • I love that shortly after being taught how, they want to do it by themselves, regardless as to whether they'll be able to or not... no fear of failure.
  • I love the quiet serious ones who barely crack a smile when I do something silly.
  • I love the ones who tell ridiculously tall tales and finish them off by saying, "just kiddin'."
  • I love when the little ones use the same figures of speech that their parents use daily, everything from the "Holy Cows!" to the younger sisters who look at their older brothers and say, "Are you listening to the teacher?" in a mommy tone of voice.
  • I love that I can say "criss-cross apple sauce," and they know exactly what I mean.
  • I love that I can sing really silly songs and they listen seriously. 
I could keep writing that list forever, I just love teaching little kids!  Does anyone else have a job they absolutely love?  Try to dwell on the fact that you love it and not that it's work... it will drag you down!
Have an awesome day, and I'm going to get ready for my next student!

Friday, September 9, 2011

back-on-track (confessions)

I don't know about you, but often I get totally excited about something... live with the reality of it for awhile... and then completely forget whatever it was I was excited about and move on to the next thing.

My dear friend Katy jokes that two months to me is like a year... meaning, two months is an unspeakably long amount of time!

Anyways, this is all going somewhere, I promise.

I've allowed myself to be completely immersed in wedding, moving, housewife(ing) etc, that I've let a few things slip... some are really important in general, and some are just really important to me, and it's time to get all these things BACK ON TRACK!

I have a credit card bill weighing over my head... as well as a few phone bills.  I HATE THIS!  This is just general stuff that needs to get done, but with the cost of wedding, moving, honeymoon, it's been put on the back burner until things "go back to normal."  I say enough with that and call today "normal."

The other day I was throwing out some lettuce that had gone bad, and my friend said, "you should throw that in the compost and rinse out the container to recycle it"... and... I was too lazy to do it :S

This next one is embarassing...

I ate mac and cheese .... 4 times last week.

So... here's to getting back on track of my bills, taking care of the environment when I can, and eating healthier.

It hit me the other day that if we want anything other than the status quo for our lives and our families lives, we have to live differently than the status quo. (duh... but nevertheless an epiphany)

1.9 million people 20 years of age and older were diagnosed with diabetes in the US in 2010 alone.
59% of Canadians over the age of twenty are overweight or obese.
26% of children in Canada ages 2-17 are classified as overweight or obese (this has tripled in the last 25 years)
In 2005 the average daily household TV watching time in the US was just over 8 hours per family, Canada was sitting at just over 3 hours per household.

It struck me that in order to not become a statistic, we really have to live differently than what the average lifestyle is.  If we don't want diabetes, we have to change our diet.  If we don't want to be obese, we have to change our lifestyles, if we don't want our families to be watching 3-8 hours of TV a day we have to limit our screen time.

I know this all seems very worldly and not entirely connected to my faith, but I think it is all very connected.  When there are disease epidemics in Africa, it's considered missions work to go and help them, and to tell them about Jesus, and yet, there's massive disease epidemics going on right here in North America, they're just accepted diseases (diabetes, obesity, etc.)  it's not okay to just watch a continent get lazy, and unhealthy.  We may not be dying of starvation, but we're killing ourselves slowly in the other direction.

Also, we're CALLED to be stewards of the Earth, not to use up one third of the resources and peg the pollution to other weaker economies.  It's horrible.

Our bodies are to be temples, and we're supposed to be the managers of the planet we live on.  We're running one corrupt corporation if we're being held responsible for how the earth is used.  The rich get fatter, and the poor get poorer.

This sounds preachy.  I'm sorry.  It is incredibly easy to just forget about this though, and fall into just living with our disposable lifestyle.  It's not just easy, it's encouraged, we watch TV, we go on the internet, we shop (shopping and watching TV are the most common pastimes in North America) and we're told to throw away what we have, and buy new.  It's sort of like brain-washing, and it's hard to stand up and walk in the other direction...


It is possible.

I used to think that with enough caring, and keeping, that the earth could be saved, but I now understand that that planet is a dying planet, and that it will eventually perish.  It's not up to us to SAVE the planet, but to respect it and to do the best we can... similarly with our bodies, our earthly bodies are mortal, we will die, but it shouldn't stop us for doing the best we can while we're here.  Our bodies and the planet are a gift, really precious ones.

Anyways, here's to new beginnings and small steps.

(here's 3 small steps I'm going to take to get back on track)
1. stop buying paper towel
2. eat more veggies (buying organic when I can)
3. not spending more than I have

Baby steps.

Here's to a more thoughtful way of living.

If you want more inspiration to be kinder to yourself and to the planet while we're here, google the Cache Creek landfill, it's where the greater Vancouver areas garbage is shipped.  Out of sight out of mind... in sight, in mind.