Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm a Bread Baker

One of my favorite things is fresh baked bread straight from the oven. It's warm and yeasty and yummy. I've made bread the old fashioned way a few times and it was a lot of work. A lot of work! One year, I bought my mother a bread machine for Mother's day or something like that and we enjoyed fresh bread that way. The bread was okay from the machine, not wonderful just okay.

I've recently been hearing about the "no-knead" method of bread baking and instantly became interested. The book that had me intriqued is the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I checked my library for the book but they didn't have it. Luckily our library is part of a book sharing system for our entire state. I ordered the book from another library and it arrived a couple of days ago.

I'm now a bread baker.

The "no-knead" method works by making a very wet dough that you let sit in your fridge for up to 2 weeks. Here is my dough after I'd taken some dough out for my first loaf. The batch makes 4 loaves.

You put the dough in the fridge in a lidded (but not sealed) container. Look at all the air bubbles in the dough. The bread will continue to make air bubbles that you don't want to knock out of the bread when you form it or it will be a very dense loaf.

My formed loaf resting/rising just before baking.

Can you smell it? It is starting to smell wonderful in my kitchen. The bread is baking on a pizza stone.

Here's the finished loaf. It baked just a tad too long. The crust was a bit dark but it still tasted great!

I've made another loaf the other day that we ate fresh from the oven. It was amazing bread. Next I'm gonna make an olive bread. That's on my "to do" list for today.

*update* The olive bread just came out of the oven and it smells wonderful. We'll be eating it with some great hummus.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monster Sunflowers

We have been growing MONSTER sunflowers! My niece has her own little garden and sunflowers were on her "to grow" list. She planted about 6-7 sunflowers and they have grown HUGE. The largest one is about 9 ft tall. I don't know the measurement of the flower heads themselves. I'll have to find a tape measure and find out later.

Here is a comparison shot of me and my niece standing next to the flowers.

I think these will go on our "to grow" list every year. It was fun seeing how large they got. The flowers are actually getting a bit shorter as the seeds are beginning to form. The flower heads are getting heavy and pulling the flowers over. I'll take some more photos later on as the seeds develop more.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Speesees at Nature's Child

Win a $250 Speesees organic cotton baby or toddler wardrobe from Nature's Child - Wholesome Goods for Mothers and Babies

Along for the Ride's Beco Giveaway

Along for the Ride is having another amazing giveaway. This one is for a Beco Butterfly and aBeco Toy Carrier.

Make sure to enter before Sept. 30, 2008. What are you waiting for? Get over there and enter.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

MomDot is Fighting Muffintops

The crazy mommy bloggers over at MomDot blog, is hosting a contest to make the world a better place and to fight muffintop. Please come over and enter to win an amazing giveaway from Blush, where you can keep or pass along an awesome topless undershirt. They need 200 entries to get more shirts to give away, so come enter this worthwhile fashion cause. And while you are there, dont forget about the other awesome giveaways and new chat room. Oh, and Toni is crazy. Really, really crazy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Little Seedlings: an update on my herbs

I've got an update on my herbs we planted a couple of weeks ago. We have some sprouting pots and some without anything. The decorations on the box are courtesy of my niece (who I should give a name on here so I don't keep calling her niece. Hmm, I'll have to think of one)

Here are a few close ups of the little seedlings.

lemon basil

garlic chives

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Visit A Daycare Life to Win a Flo

A Daycare Life is giving away a boon flo. I have been wanting one of these. I actually had it in my hands the other day at Babies R Us but put it back for a later purchase. Maybe I'm meant to win it? That would be great. You can enter too. All you have to do is go to A Daycare Life and leave a comment before Aug. 26.

Win a Personalized Stamp at MomDot

MomDot, Blooming Babies and The Childrens Guide are working together to bring you a great giveaway. Head on over to MomDot to find out how you can win a personalized stamp.

I have always wanted one of these to stamp my books that I loan out. I've had fairly good luck when loaning books. I usually get them back. I would prefer a stamp over hand writing my name on my many books.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mommies United Back to School Event

Mommies United is also having a Back to School Event. Make sure you stop by between Aug 18 - 25 to see all their great finds for this coming school year. You could also win some prizes.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

5 Minutes for Mom Back to School Giveaway Event


5 Minutes for Mom is having a Back to School giveaway event. You have the chance to win several prizes. Make sure you head over before Aug. 12 when the giveaways will close.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Visit Tree Swing Reading

I thought I'd let you all know about a great website. Tree Swing Reading is a great Christian book review site. I've found some great books to read from there. I've also won some great books. Tree Swing Reading does some amazing giveaways mostly in the chicklit and suspense genre (all Christian of course). Tami hopes to spread the love of reading Christian books to everyone who visits and also the love of Jesus through these books.

Make sure you stop by and check out the great list of books she's reviewed. You might even enter to win some books. Tami is having a Summer Things giveaway right now. It's at the end but don't worry you still have time to enter some of the giveaways and there is always future giveaways to look forward to.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Potting Shed Creations Herbs - Planting

Remember those herbs I said were coming? Well today is the day. A while back, I won a giveaway for a set of 6 herbs in these really cool pots made from rice hulls. I finally planted them. I was waiting for a day when my niece would be here. She loves planting.

The Rice Hull Gardens are from Potting Shed Creations. The pots are made from renewable grain husks, mostly rice hulls. They are 100% biodegradable, which can't be said about those plastic pots.

I received garlic chives, lemon basil, lavender, mint, parsley, and oregano. I do have to say that all of these herbs are ones we grow in the garden except for the mint. But I can never get these herbs in the winter unless we grow them inside or buy them from the store. This will be our first try growing herbs inside. With the cold winter that lasts forever, we have a small window for fresh herbs. The store bought packs are expensive and we never use it all which is a waste. I'm excited for fresh herbs all year long.

And in regards to mint, we can not find it in any of the stores around here. Which I find strange because there is a city here that grows gobs of the stuff. Where is it?

Inside you will find: seed packets (oh look, it's mint), a bag of soil, and directions. See that top? It's not really a top it's a saucer. Let's get planting.

I moistened the soil a bit and then had my niece scoop out some to save for the top. The saucer works well for this. The directions didn't tell us to put rocks in the bottom but I've always done this for irrigation. You can see a few in the pot if you look.

Next, we filled the pot with the rest of the soil.

Now for planting the seeds. Do you see how tiny the mint seeds are? Very small. I was surprised at how tiny they were.

Make sure you get them all in there.

A little spritz of water and were finished. I stored them all in the cardboard box the were shipped in and put them in the basement. They need a warm, dark place for sprouting. I just checked on them today and I saw a bit of sprouts from the garlic chives coming through the soil.

I'll try and post more pictures to let you see how they are coming along.

One herb they don't sell is thyme. Although I wish they would. I love that stuff.

Thank you Potting Shed Creations for the herbs.

*this is not a paid advertisement. Just my own opinion.