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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My beautiful daughter

We just got back from the park. There was another family there with two kids playing on the toys. They mostly spoke Spanish to each other, but spoke to me as well in English a bit. They were very friendly and after a couple minutes of the kids playing the gentleman told me how beautiful Elle is.. "Your daughter is so beautiful. We (his wife and him...in Spanish) were just talking about how incredible looking she is." They had the slightest question in their voice, something about the statement.... at the word "daughter"... I understood that they questioned if she was mine. I responded, "Oh, thank you so much.... my husband is really good looking." and smiled. With out missing a beat, they looked at eachother and he let out a breath of understanding and said, "Ooooohhh... I see." about 3 seconds passed (quite a long time really...try counting it out) and he said, "must be good combination."  with a nod of his head. What a save! HA! =) Nice try... I know she doesn't look like me...and when I meet new people when with Michael I often just want to say... "I know, I know....but I have a GREAT personality!" =D


We got a Ukulele!!!

I love the sound a ukulele makes and it is small enough the kids could learn when they are young. I am not musical AT ALL but this only has four strings and I am just following the kids lesson book and learning songs... it'll be a fun addition to any future "hoe-down" we have back at the farm! =) Michael was really itching for a musical instrument (he is REAL musical) so this was the solution.

It makes Elle a little crazy...

maybe a LOT crazy...

With Christian's crooked teeth and under bite, red hair and wide duck feet we have always invisioned him stomping in the barn barefoot with that goofy smile and a banjo on his knee (no offense to any banjo players out there, but for some reason that was just the instrument that seemed to fit his unique appearance and personality), so maybe this ukulele will be a good start for him.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

On parchment paper before going into boiling water



Salted... no very good with the sprinkling! I don't even have Elle to blame on this.. that was me...

I got this recipe out of a magazine- Grit Country Skills Series- Guide to Homemade bread.

1 1/2 Cups warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon Sugar
3 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon salt
1 egg
Coarse or Kosher salt

Water bath consists of: about a gallon of water and 1 Tablespoon Baking soda

1. In large bowl, combine warm water, yeast and sugar; let sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
2. In separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Add to yeast mixture and mix until it comes together. Use your hands to combine into a ball. On lighly floured work surface, knead dough for a few minutes until a smooth, sticky dough forms.
3. Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for about 45 minutes.
4. On lightly floured work surface, divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each peice into a long rope, 18-20 inches long. (Don't over flour your hands or work surface as this will make the pieces more difficult to roll.) Twist each peice into a pretzell shape by placing the arc of the pretzel at the bottom (closest to you). Round the two ends so they're facing the arc and twist them around;"paste" them to opposite sides of the arc, using a little water, if necessary. Place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
5. Prepare water bath. (don't forget the baking soda!) Once boiling, use slotted spatula to trasnfer each pretzel into water and boil for 3 minutes (I did 4 at a time), flipping once halfway through. Drain on a cooling rack and transfer parboiled pretzels back to parchment-lined baking sheet.
6. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush egg wash (beat one egg with 1 tablespoon water) generously over each pretzel and sprinkle with coarse or kosher salt.
7. Bake for 25 minutes.

They are yummy! No quite Aunt Annies (my favorite kind!) or Weltzels but then again, they are not coated in butter (although you could), don't cost $5 each and you know exactly what is in them. I think I am going to try and add raisins and cinnamon to the dough next time I try them... and maybe make 10 instead of 8 with the dough so they are a little thinner. It was a fun one for Elle to help with- watching the yeast grow and get bubbly, working the dough, rolling them out, shapeing the pretzels and painting the egg wash on them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fun tip: How to make your own brown sugar

I didn't know this! Maybe it is common knowledge...but I still thought I wouldd post this because I think it's great to know and I had no clue; so maybe someone else has no clue too! =)

For every Cup of granulated sugar add 1Tablespoon of molasses for light brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons for dark brown sugar. Combine with electric mixer on medium-low to medium high speed (start slow and gradually increase speed) until the molasses is incorporated and the mixture becomes fluffy brown sugar....takes almost 10 minutes or so... you want all the molasses balls blended in.

That simple! How great if you are baking something and realize you're out of brown sugar- no trip to the store needed if you have granulated sugar and molasses on hand.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I raised a chicken

Warning*** another "potty" story... =)
I was sitting in the living room yesturday, reading a book (You Can Farm by Joel Salatin- SUCH a good one!) and I hear Elle screaming. She was working with her art stuff on the floor of my bedroom.  Her screaming is not normal, so I feared she was hurt or managed to cut herself with the child proof sissors, I went running to the room... There she was, on the toilet in the master bedroom, bach bach baching at the top of her lungs like a chicken! She looked up and saw me and smiled and said she was "announcing that she just laid some eggs." I think I laughed a little too hard as now this is a regular event when she is going potty. Oh dear...