Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On the Needles and In the Oven

Things are settling back into our normal routine again and I'm pretty happy about it.  I enjoyed the break and visits with family, but now I'm enjoying our regular routine again.   I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

Little G was happy to go back to school yesterday.  He chattered about his friends (we caught a couple of their names, including the teachers) and was in a great mood when we told him it was a school day.  When I picked him up after lunch he was grinning from ear to ear and didn't want to leave!  He was also as proud as a peacock because he had two stickers on his shirt from using the toilet twice.  The teachers made a big deal of it and he was literally running in circles with his chest puffed out, he was so proud of himself!  I was proud too, since we've been using the toilet successfully at home for a very long time, but he'd been making a liar of me with his preschool teachers. :) 

Showing off his stickers!

In more mundane news, I've been doing a little bread making and knitting.  I attempted the challah bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I ran into a couple of problems with the bread, but they were my doing, so I'll give it another shot. 

The first loaf I made, I didn't photograph, and it was an apple strudel bread I found at the authors' website.  I allowed it to rise too long and it sort of exploded out of the pan in the oven.  That didn't affect the taste though and we still ate some of it.  It wasn't what I was going for as far as the filling, so I decided to try another variation when the mood strikes me again. 

I still had a few pounds of the dough in the fridge after the apple bread.  Since it only lasts five days (due to the sugar I speeding up fermentation, I think) I needed to use it more quickly than I do when I make the standard artisan bread recipe.  I waited until the sixth day and I think that is partially to blame for the lack of spectacular results on those efforts.  I made caramel pecan sticky buns and a loaf of regular challah bread (both recipes in the book).  I did remember to take pictures of those.

The sticky buns were pretty good, but I think they would have been better with fresher dough.  They had a bit too much tang for my taste.  The challah didn't rise quite as much as I'd have liked, but again I'm sure it was from the dough being past its prime. 

I ended up using the challah to make french toast sticks to freeze for Little G.  I sliced it normally and then sliced the pieces in half and soaked them in the usual egg, milk, cinnamon sugar mixture to which I also added pureed butternut squash baby food.  Then I baked them on a cookie sheet, turning halfway through.  They turned out pretty good and froze well.  You could make them with regular bread too.  I did a few pieces that way to use up the rest of the egg mixture, actually.  Here is where I must confess that Gabriel hasn't eaten any of this yet, but I've had it for breakfast twice.  I'm pretty sure he'll like it too. 

On the crafting front, I've been knitting a scarf for myself.  I found a very simple lace pattern on Ravelry that seemed simple and it has turned out to be just what I was looking for.  I'm an extremely slow knitter so I don't like projects that are too big or complicated.  I usually make baby hats, but wanted to make something for myself this time.  I used yarn from my stash and I think it will wear well and it's a pretty color. 

Now the question is whether it will be done in time to wear this winter or next.