Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Crusty Bread

Original recipe posted here.

I will never make soup again without making this bread to pair. It will require some planning, but this bread is SO worth it! I have never made bread that was this easy, tasty, and beautiful!

Easy Crusty Bread

3 cups flour

1 ¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon dry yeast

Whisk these 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 ½ cups water. Mix until combined.

The dough will look wet and not like bread dough at all. That’s OK – it’s supposed to look like that.

Cover the large bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-18 hours. DO NOT refrigerate! Don’t skimp on the time either – it needs that long. (this is the planning ahead piece!)

After 12-18 hours, the dough will look bubbly and sticky.

The recipe said to bake the bread in an enameled cast iron dutch oven. I don’t have one of those. (hey mom! I know what I want for my birthday! ;)) I used the insert from my mother-in-law’s crockpot that was still at our house. I think any oven-safe pot with cover will work fine.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. When the oven is hot, place the empty pot and cover into the oven for 30 minutes.

While the pot is warming, dump your dough out onto a well floured surface. (and I mean REALLY well floured… remember, I said it was sticky!) Without kneading it, bring the dough to the center and make it into a ball. Cover with the plastic wrap until the pot is hot.

When the pot is hot, dump the dough ball into the center of the pot. Replace the cover and bake it for 30 minutes. Then, remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

When it is done baking, dump the bread out of the pot and onto a cooling rack.

So easy. So yummy. So pretty. Soup and bread will never be the same!

This is the basic recipe for plain bread – you can get all creative and add things to make your bread more “special”. Next time, I would like to try adding some seeds, like flax, sunflower, etc. I like seedy bread. Or maybe add some parmesan cheese, a little garlic, and some basil for an herbed bread. The possibilities are really endless!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012


We love pesto!  Even Clara gobbles up recipes that include pesto.  I make my own pesto using basil from our garden and freeze it to enjoy throughout the year!  Here is my recipe:

3 C fesh basil leaves
8 T olive oil
4 T plain yogurt
4 T lemon juice
1 C shredded parmesan cheese
8 ts minced garlic

Use a stick blender or food processor to chop and mix it all together. I freeze it in 2 T portions in baby food containers. This recipe makes about 9 containers.

We grow a variety of different basils, and I usually pick all different kinds to blend together.  You can use whatever kind you want, but I would stay away from the "scented" basils, as they usually have a little different taste.

Our favorite pesto recipe is Pesto-Pasta with chicken


Clara turns 2!

It’s a few days late – but here is the post about the big birthday party!

We had Clara’s 2nd birthday party on Sunday, June 24th. I had been at 4-H Camp all week, so had just a day to get the house cleaned up, the food made, decorations up, etc. Needless to say, I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped, but I don’t think Clara or any of the guests cared. We had food and cake, and that’s really all that’s important…right?

The theme of the party was “birdie”, but outside of a bird on the invitations and the cake, the theme was pretty much lost. Again, I don’t think anyone cared. I had gotten some balloons in pink, green, and blue which Paul blew up and hung in clumps in the house and the garage (where we also had tables set up for people to eat). The banner from her party from last year would have fit in well also, but I couldn’t find it :/.

I wanted Clara to have a special outfit to wear for her party, so I made a ruffled skirt using a tutorial I had found on pinterest. I found a shirt at Target that matched well also. My original intention was to appliqué a birdie on the front of the shirt, but the shirt I found looked better without it.

We served pulled pork sandwiches, company potatoes, fruit salad and, of course, CAKE! I had the cake made at Target. I didn’t have high expectations for it since they didn’t have anything in their book that looked like I wanted. I showed the girl a picture on my phone of what I was thinking. It turned out AWESOME!! I called Target to let them know how happy I was and to thank the decorator for me.

Clara finally got into opening presents. She oo’ed and ahh’ed over them all. She wanted to play with them all “wite now!”

After presents it was time for CAKE! Clara was starting to crash from not having a nap yet, but perked right up at the mention of cake. She blew (spitted) out her candles and we all sang to her. Then she dug in!

It wasn’t her first taste of cake… My mom brought the cake over on Saturday since she had volunteered to go and get it for me. I had set it on the island until I could clear space in the refrigerator for it. I went to the bathroom and could hear Clara digging in the silverware drawer, which she does quite often, so I didn’t think much of it. Then she appeared in the bathroom carrying a fork covered in frosting, proclaiming, “Good cake mommy!” She had pushed her potty chair up to the island, stood on it, took the cover off the cake, gotten a fork, and helped herself!

After the cake was eaten and the guests had gone home to enjoy naps of their own, Clara finally crashed for a short nap. I think the party was a success! Thanks to all who came!

Clara spent her actuak birthday playing outside in her pool!  It was a great day for it!