Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Can I call for a Mulligan?!

It was just one of those days.  It started with Heath getting a late start. You know, the panicked, "OH NO! WHAT TIME IS IT?!!! kind of starts. And I, being the wonderful, supportive wife that I am, rolled over and put the covers over my head so he wouldn't disturb me anymore.

I had a large laundry list of things to do. And speaking of laundry, I think I could have given the Duggars a run for their money today. The boys once again decided that it was time to quit hiding all their dirty clothes because they didn't have a single garment left in their drawers. So I had like a months worth of stinky, sweaty, dirty boy clothes added to the piles. Nice.

I started my bread for the morning. And set out my cream for butter making in the afternoon. I'm new to the raw milk world, and the real reason I even am trying the raw milk is because the cream fascinates me and I wanted to make butter.  The kids cleaned up from breakfast and got started on school work. I ran after Anderson all morning. Chasing him out of my room, where he wreaks havoc. Out of the bathroom, where he plays in floods. Out of the pantry, where he loves to eat. Out of everything. Got two more loads of laundry through the wash.

Made nachos for lunch. Had to unload and load dishwasher again just so I could get to the counters. Got everyone fed, rotated laundry, and sat down for a minute or two for a break. Heath was back home, and it was nice to sit with him for a little bit. And suddenly I had the panicked, "OH NO!! WHAT TIME IS IT?!!!!! moment. I apparently fell asleep. For FOUR hours. Yep. I slept through everything. In my sleepy stupor, I told Jeffie Jean how to punch down the bread dough, knead it, shape it, and stick it in pans for their second rising. Let the little ones watch some cartoons. I kind of scared to find out what else I might have agreed to! Once I woke up, bread was put in the oven. Cream was shook into butter. And I chased Anderson some more. First, he decided he didn't like his dirty diaper anymore, and took it off all by himself. It took 23 wipes and a half a bottle of Resolve to clean that mess up. And while I was throwing everything away, he needed to go to the bathroom some more. And I hadn't put a clean diaper on him yet. 33 wipes later, and the rest of the Resolve, I had that taken care of. And a very smartly diapered boy at that too. While scrubbing the next two layers of skin off my hands, he walked to the pantry and dumped all 3 pounds of chocolate chips into the floor and had a feeding frenzy. More wipes, and this time a broom, and we're clean again. I'm cleaning the kitchen, and smell pumpkin pie suddenly. Run back to the pantry, and find not pie, but Anderson standing on my massive flour container pouring ground cloves, all spice, and cinnamon into his mouth. These things are at my eye level. That's how high he had climbed. More wipes, and the vacuum, and we're clean. Again. And I have a fleeting thought that maybe his diaper won't smell so bad tomorrow. Well, that and I wondered if it would be bad if I tied a leash to the bedpost and clipped it to him for a while.  An hour later he's covered in chocolate again. He dumped it all! Where could he get more? We threw it .. all...away. Yep. The kitchen floor is covered in trash. And he's still trying to dig out chocolate chips. Finish off the box of wipes. Broom, mop, and bleach later, it is clean again. And I pray hard for time to warp forward to bedtime.

The bread was baked somewhere in there. The butter rinsed and in the 'fridge. I have more on my to-do list than my done list. And more will be added tomorrow. But that little boy, grabbed my neck tonight and kissed me with all the slobber a two year old can muster. And said those words that made me forget my exhaustion. "I lub you Mommy" in his deep, husky voice. And as each child came in tonight to tell me good night, I forgot how stinky their socks were, how icky the undies sometimes seem. I forgot my irritation with the constant, "can Is?", or with the unmade beds. As I stretched up to hug my oldest, and he planted a firm kiss on my forehead, I forgot to be mad at having to pick up his man sized shoes yet again. So maybe I don't need a do over on this day. I just need to do-over my attitude and outlook. These days are just a vapor after all.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Monkey Bread: Is it for monkeys or made from monkeys?

We made monkey bread yesterday. And had HUGE debates as to why it's called Monkey bread.  There were funny antedotes, lots of hilarity, and good times with the kids.  There are tons of ways to make this treat, here's the way we did it yesterday. 

The ingrediants:

6 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups warm water
1/3 honey
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
3 TBS melted butter

Mix 3 cups of the flour with 1 1/2 cups water and let it soak for 30 minutes or so.
(only do this if using whole wheat flour)

If using dry, active yeast, mix it, honey, and water in a bowl and let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the yeast to proof.  It will get all bubbley. I however use instant yeast, so I just mixed it with the wet ingrediants right before putting it in with the flour.

Put the yeast mixture, butter, and salt all in with the soaking flour. Gradually mix in the remaining 3 cups of flour.  Once it is all mixed in, attatch the dough hook, set the speed to 4, and let it mix/knead for 5 minutes. If you don't have a stand mixer, take it out and mix by hand for about 10 minutes.

Put the dough into a greased bowl or bucket and cover. Let it sit in a warm, not hot, place for about an hour to hour and a half or until doubled in size. The size of the dough is what matters. Not the time.

And then the waiting begins. You could play games with the kids. Clean up the mess that you have made in the kitchen. Wash the dog. Feed the pig. Do some homework. Rake some leaves. Mow the yard. Take out the trash. Do some exercises. Begin wondering why you are doing this the long way. Whatever.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, and knead it a minute or two to get all the air bubbles out.

Then start pulling off golf ball size pieces and roll them up.
(It's REALLY scary how much that hand looks like it is my Momma's! But it's mine. I promise.)

This is where you bring in the child labor. Six of them were dying to help. The baby was off sleeping. And the oldest decided it was better to write an essay over The Odyssey than to play with our food.

It gets really messy. But hey, kids are washable.

Forgot this part. You have a wonderful mixture you are going to dip these nuggets of dough into.  It's a whole stick of melted butter, a cup of sugar (or half brown sugar, half regular sugar), and a tablespoon of cinnamon. And if you have your children helping, you will have to threaten them with dismemberment to keep them from licking their fingers while still working. (I kid of course. Mostly)

We used two loaf pans. A regular sized bundt pan works great too. Or if you want to be all cute, muffin tins would produce individual sized portions.  Cover them and let them double in size again. This time it should only take about 30 minutes.

Turn the oven on to 350 degrees. If you do it while they are rising, you don't have to wait an extra 15 minutes like I did.

So I took another picture. Because the camera is new, and I like playing with it.

Bake them uncovered for about 35 minutes.

And enjoy the yummy goodness.

Now, there are tons of variations. If you need a quick fix, use canned biscuits and cut in half, then roll up. Or the canned cinnamon rolls. Probably would need to quarter those. Mmmm. That sounds wonderful. You don't have to use my recipe. That was just my go to bread recipe. Use your own favorite. Or a sweet bread recipe. Just make sure it makes a kneadable dough. Not a batter.  Throw some cut up apples in the bottom then fill with the bread, and you have an apple cinnamon bread. I bet mangos and coconut would be good sprinkled in. Or you could do a nod to pineapple upside down cake with chunked pineapples and a some cherries. Throw in some dried cranberries, and use some orange juice in your dunking mixture. If you use brown sugar, it's going to have more of a caramel taste.  The only thing missing yesterday, was a powdered sugar glaze. There really isn't a wrong way to do this. I bet a chocolate glaze would taste GREAT drizzled over!!

And Terry summed up the name of the bread. "If this is made for monkeys, and I LOVE it, what does that say about me?


Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Skills

Don't call me old! 'Cause I just learned a new trick!! My 11 year old, Jeffie Jean has been practicing crocheting for months now. She has a book that was given to her by her piano teacher. That story is pretty funny. Mrs. Brown, the piano teacher, has been telling friends and all about a student that loves to do handwork. So one of the friends has a thrift store, and collects stuff for Jeffie Jean and sends it to her every few months. One of the treasures was an old Reader's Digest book about everything needlework. It's older than I am! But, Jeffie has been working away. She has taught herself simple knitting stitches, and crochet stitches. So with her help, the book, and some You Tube, I learned some crochet techniques too!

My first crocheted project.

A simple chain band.

Resin button center

 Sweet baby

All one piece

One more view

I just can't quit posting her picture!