Family Update

Jacob makes tiny improvements, like baby steps that we all rejoice about.  Jacob remains in a coma.  He occasionally opens his eye or eyes for a little while.  He moves about a bit more.  He is battling pneumonia.  I stand in awe of my baby sister and her husband for their grace and courage, their strength and faith both in our Lord and in prayer.

Information has come to us about a place in Atlanta called Sheppard's Clinic where they have a specialty in these types of injuries and we have been told of wonderful healing and recovery that occurs there.  We are hopeful.  The representative from there will go to Indianapolis to meet them when the other health issues improve.

My daughter-in-law, her Mother and sister, and my granddaughters and my son grieve the passing of her father.  He was truly a fine fine man.  I pray that the pain of loss will subside and be replaced by the joyful memories they shared.

Thank all of you who pray and care.  We remain in your debt.

Pie Baking on Spring Break

Black Raspberry Pie
Buttermilk Pie
My beautiful granddaughters Emily and Katie are visiting with me afternoons this week and we have projects going.  Today we will transplant some lovely "Resurrection lilies" My Friend and neighbor Doris brought over yesterday.  The girls love to plant and help in the garden.  I also have a porcelain painting project laid back for them for "Mother's Day" if we get to it,  and cooking baking is for sure this afternoon.  Their Dad's favorite pie is black raspberry and I just happened to have the berries laid back in my freezer and their Mother favors the buttermilk pie so yesterday we baked them up to go home with them last night.

I have tinkered around for years with pie dough and have a couple of recipes I really like.  This is the result of an evolution of the 5 crust dough given here on the blog early on but it makes a very generous 2 crust pie or a one crust and a two crust pie depending on how adept you are at rolling the crust and the actual size of the pies you make.

Ingredients for the pie dough:

3 C. all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1 t. salt (I use Kosher salt)
1 1/2 sticks very cold butter
3/4 C. shortening (I prefer Crisco)
1 egg
5 T. ice water (draw the water over ice before you start then measure)
1 T. vinegar

Two big things about making a successful batch of pie crust are the cold butter and ice water and the ability to work the dough and not get it warmed up too much with the palms of your hands.  I have been known to put the Crisco in the refrigerator too just to give it a chill and drawing a glass of ice water before I ever start the pie are two of my suggestions.

Combine the flour and salt and whisk them about to blend and set aside.

Cut the butter into "dice".  This means cut the butter long ways in half the again into quarters so you have 4 long skinny sticks of cold butter.  It is helpful to use a long skinny knife with a thin blade.  Then cut the sticks in about 1/4" little chunks.  I do the same thing with the shortening.  This does not have to be exact or look good.  You are just trying to achieve some conformity and small pieces. 

Add the butter and shortening to the flour.  Using a pastry cutter work the butter into the flour until the mix looks like a bowl of small peas.  This should only take 3-4 minutes.  Use a table knife to clean the particles of dough mixture from the pastry cutter.

Generally I use a clean coffee mug or small bowl to beat up the egg with a fork then add in the water and vinegar and stir them altogether.  Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture just until combined.

Flour the work surface and your hands and knead just enough to form a ball.  Cut the ball in half and form each half into a flat disk about 5" round.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate usually I leave at least 30 minutes but sometimes a half a day.  It will keep fine for a couple of days or it can be frozen for a few months.

If I am using all of the dough the same day I make the fruit fillings first while the dough is chilling.

Black Raspberry Pie Filling:

4-5 C. fresh or frozen berries rinsed if fresh
1 C. sugar
3 T. instant tapioca  (this lends to a consistent texture)
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. butter

Stir all of the ingredients except the butter up in a medium bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes for the tapioca to soften.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll the bottom crust and place it into a 9" pie plate.  Set this aside and roll the top crust.  For a lattice top cut the dough into strips.  Pour the filling into the bottom crust and dot the filling with small pieces of butter.  To make the lattice top place the strips across the top of the pie in a woven pattern then crimp and trim the edges.  Bake for 50 minutes until the crust has well browned and the filling is bubbly.

To make the buttermilk pie roll the bottom crust and make the filling as previously given and bake according to directions.

Both pies were still warm when they went home with the girls and their Dad last night.  They smelled and looked like a great treat.


Blooming in Indiana!! Spring has Sprung here!!

This is by far the most beautiful time of the year in our neighborhood.  The crocus and daffodils are spent and the dogwood trees are ripening to become the glorious masses of blooms almost too beautiful to soak in.  Red bud trees are in bloom as is the Bartlett pears and the forsythias.

Virginia Bluebells
Red Bud
Take a walk with Brian and me and we will snap some pictures to share.
French Lilacs
Burke WoodieViburnium
White Dogwood
Red Dogwood
I look at these things and hope is renewed.  I wish you a lovely Sunday too.  We continue to pray for our nephew Jacob as he recovers in the ICU in Indianapolis and for our friend Judy and our daughter-in-law who lost their Father and husband in the past days.

Smoked Pork Butt & Chicken, Fresh Miracle Strawberry Cake and Fresh Strawberry Frosting and a walk through our yard today as blossoms are busting out all over!!

Fresh Miracle Strawberry Cake is made with a white box cake plus 4 additional ingredients and the frosting is easier yet!!
Brian and I are cooking together today.  He fired up the smoker for the first time this season and I mixed up a rub and BBQ sauce.  His custom water bath was a can of beer and a chopped lemon and a chopped orange so the steam is chocked full of flavor too.

The dry rub:

4 T. kosher salt
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. paprika
1 T. onion powder
1 T. lemon pepper

Mix all together and season pork and chicken very generously.

For the chicken after rinsing well and patting dry I placed a quartered lemon and a half of a large onion into the cavity and tied his little legs together.  I also tuck the wings behind themselves so they don't flop around.  We place the chicken on the rack below the pork as the pork is a fattier piece of meat.  You want the pork to lay fat side up so the juices run through the meat and over the chicken to baste and flavor the bird.

We got the whole process going at around 8:30 am and we are cooking all day at 225 degrees F.  When we decide things are done we usually wrap the meat in foil and keep it warm in the oven at 180 degrees.  This allows the juices to reabsorb back into the meat and it generally just melts in your mouth.

Meanwhile I worked up another loaf of the Miracle French Bread Boule and a batch of BBQ Sauce:
1 C. coke
1 C. ketchup
1/4 C. Worcestershire sauce
3  T. Heinz 57 steak sauce
1 t. liquid smoke
1 T. diced onion
2 lg. cloves diced fresh garlic

Simmer everything over low heat in a heavy bottomed pan until thickened.  Refrigerate any unused portion in an airtight container.

Miracle Fresh Strawberry Cake ingredients:

1 boxed white cake (I use Duncan hinds)
4 whole eggs
3 T. flour
1 C. oil
2 C. diced fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare 2, 9 " round  or 1 9 x 13" pan with baking spray or butter and flour  and set aside.

Mix all ingredients well using an electric mixer.  Scrape the batter into the pans and bake until cake tests done when a skewer in placed in the center of the cake.  (about 40 minutes.)  Cook 15 minutes and remove from the round pans onto a cooking rack.  When completely cooled make the frosting and ice the cake.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting:

1/2 C. diced fresh strawberries
1 pound box of powdered sugar
1 stick soft butter
1-3 T. heavy cream as needed

Beat all of the ingredients together adding a few droplets of cream at a time to get to the desired consistency.

 Frost layers and serve.  This cake is a Wow and smells heavenly.  makes great cupcakes too.

 Garnish with fresh strawberries.  I refrigerate this cake until serving time.

Between the cooking we took a lovely walk in our yard and enjoyed all of the spring blossoms!!

During the between times I whipped up a bit of homemade macaroni and cheese and fresh spinach.  both recipes have been given in earlier posts.  We just really enjoyed our picnic dinner and the day we had outdoors and in the kitchen.


Beef in Beer, Twice Baked Potatoes, French Bread, Creamy Slaw, and Strawberry Shortcake Cake, Menu for a Weekend Meal.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake
French Boule Baked in Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Slow Simmered Casserole of Beef and Beer
I started cooking for the weekend Thursday morning by stirring together 2 loaves of French bread that need a first rise of 12 to 24  hours.  Then I separated 4 eggs and set out a stick of butter to soften for a cake I plan to bake this afternoon.  Meanwhile a 3 1/2 pound sirloin tip roast defrosts to be cooked this afternoon as it is to set overnight before serving for optimum flavor.  Tomorrow I will frost the cake, bake the bread, roast potatoes for twice baked spuds,  and make creamy Cole slaw.   I am sharing this menu with a friend and will deliver half of it to them Friday afternoon all packaged up and ready to warm and serve.  I sure hope this all goes well!!

Miracle Boule

3 C. flour, (1/2 all purpose and 1/2 bread flour)
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. instant yeast
1 1/2 C. warm water

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl using a whisk to incorporate.  Add the water and stir together with a wooden spoon.  The dough will be a slack and sticky dough but will come together in  a rough ball.  Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 12 hours.

Friday morning  (20 hours later) :

Flour a work surface and dump the dough out onto it.  Sprinkle a bit more flour onto the dough and fold it over onto it's self a couple of times.  Cover with a clean tea towel and let this rest for 15 minutes.

Use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers and shape the dough into a ball.  Generously coat a cotton towel with cornmeal, or if you prefer flour or wheat bran.  (You need to use quite a lot as to keep the dough from sticking to the towel.)  Again cover with a towel and this time let the dough rise for 2 hours.  When ready the dough will be more than double in size.

Half of an hour before the dough is ready preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.   Place a 8 quart cast iron dutch oven into the oven with the lid on to heat.

When the dough is ready remove the dutch oven and turn the dough into it, seam side up.  (This will look terribly messy but this is really OK.)  Shake the pot a bit to settle the dough evenly.  Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid and continue baking for 15-30 minutes.  I set the timer for 15 minutes and checked it then baked another 7 minutes and it was perfect.  Cool completely on a rack.  This is a unbelievable loaf of bread!! Crisp, big uneven holes , chewy inside!!
VERY Artisan like and European a very uncommon  accomplishment in a home oven.  And, easy!!

This recipe was adapted from one by Laura Calder and makes one loaf.  I just happened to make two batches at a time today.  I was thrilled with the result.

As I progress through making the dishes on this menu I am emotionally going back and forth between fear they might not like what I am cooking and excitement as my kitchen fills with the wonderful aromas of the preparations.  The main dish is a slow simmered dish of French origins and smells heavenly bubbling away in a sauce of onions, garlic, stock, and beer.

The cake has been baked and I am ready to prepare the frosting and "beautify" it up a bit!!  Then I will roast the potatoes and cut the vegetables for the slaw.  I am trying to remember to take some photos as I go to share with the recipes when the meal is completed.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake:

This is a recipe I adapted from one I saw in Mehan's Kitchen.  She got the recipe from a chef that had served her and her husband at his restaurant.  I was interested because it is not an overly sweet cake and that attracted me as I don't care for things so sugary it makes me cringe.

1/2 C. butter at room temperature
3/4 C. sugar
4 egg whites
2 t. vanilla
1 3/4 C. flour
1/4 C. cornstarch
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 C. buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 2 cake pans.  I used 9" squares but the recipe called originally for 10" rounds.

Sift the dry ingredients but NOT the sugar, into a bowl and set it aside.  Using a stand mixer place the butter, sugar, and vanilla inside the bowl and beat with the paddle attachment  until smooth.   Add egg whites and beat to incorporate.  Mix on high for 1 minute more.  Turn the mixer down to medium.  Add the remaining ingredients alternately and slowly beginning with the dry and ending with the wet.  Bake 30 minutes until skewer tests clean in the center of the cake.  Cool completely on rack before frosting.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting:

16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
6 oz. soft butter
3/4 C. sugar
1 whole fresh vanilla bean scrapped
1 1/2 C. diced fresh strawberries

Mix butter, cream cheese, sugar, and scraped vanilla bean in a stand mixer until smooth.  Add the strawberries and mix to incorporate.  Frost the cake and enjoy!!

Beef in Beer:

2 T. butter plus more as needed
1 T. olive oil
3 pounds sirloin tip sliced thinly
3 large onions dice4 cloves garlic chopped
2 T. all purpose flour
1 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 C. beef stock
2 C. beer
1 T. red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bouquet garni

Heat the butter and olive oil together in a large pan and working in batches, brown the beef on all sides and then remove from the pan proceeding until all of the meat is cooked.   Using the same pan fry the onions until soft for about 15 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.  Remove the vegetables and check to see if there remains any fat in the pan.  If not add a good tablespoon of butter and melt.  Add the flour and sugar and cook for a minute to make a roux.  Whisk in the broth and bring to a boil.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.    Add the beer and vinegar to the broth mixture and continue to boil for  about 10 minutes until thickened.  Remove from the heat.

In a large casserole layer the beef and onion mixture alternately seasoning each layer as you go.  Tuck in the bouquet garni and pour the sauce over all.  Cover and bake 2 1/2 hours.  If you can wait a day before serving, cool and refrigerate over night, the flavor will be even better when you rewarm it!!

Yield 6 servings.

This recipe was adapted from one given by Laura Calder.

The recipes for creamy Cole slaw and twice baked potatoes are given in earlier posts and can be found using the finder box.


Spring Vegetable Salad, My way.

Gosh!! The Bradford pear trees are in full splendor of bloom, Forsythia bushes have exploded into dazzling golden spikes, and Daffodils sway in shades of yellow at every breeze.  This has lifted my heart from the despair I have felt this past week.  Spring has come today.  The world renews in spite of our strife and tribulation.

Spring vegetables are such a welcome treat and I have for a long time borrowed from the French and enjoyed the bright green and tender crisp result derived from blanching fresh young green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and sometimes carrots too!!

Laura Calder of French Food at Home on the cooking channel inspired me to set out a platter of just such vegetables a few weeks ago as she made her version of Salade Nicoise.  Traditionally either tuna or anchovy is added to the vegetable platter with a dressing of tarragon vinaigrette.  I have made the traditional version before but it didn't work for me tonight.

My goal in making my version for last nights supper is to incorporate an even larger portion of vegetables into our daily diet.  My husband has asked me to make BL T's for supper (A spring favorite around here.) and It didn't make sense to me to add a lettuce  and tomato side salad to a Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich!!  So.....a "spring vegetable platter" sounded better.
I collect big old platters and probably have 18 or 20 of them stashed about and this type of a salad is beautiful and appetizing strewn across a lovely large dish.

Ingredients for the dressing:

1 t. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. mashed garlic or paste
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
4 T. virgin olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl.  Whisk in the oil streaming it into the bowl.  Add fresh lemon juice and taste to sharpen the flavors.  Season to taste.

Ingredients for the salad:

1 head of Bibb lettuce separated,  washed, dried, and torn
1/2 pound of slender fresh green beans, blanched in boiling salted water, plunged into ice water, and drained
7-8 baby red potatoes cooked and quartered
2 sliced and halved tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts drained and quartered
1/2 small red onion sliced into rings
2 hard cooked eggs quartered
salt and pepper

Toss the lettuce with a very little bit of the dressing and arrange as a base for the salad across the platter.  Toss the green beans, potatoes, and artichokes separately into a bit of the dressing and arrange on the platter.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the arrangement scattering the onion across the top.  Drizzle with any remaining dressing.

Serve with a large serving spoon and fork for selection.  Cover and refrigerate any remaining salad as this will stay much nicer than a dressed lettuce salad. 


Avocados and how to preserve them!!

Pinterest is a really interesting place to be.  I look and find the most fascinating topics there.  This is one I saw and knew for certain I would try first chance I got on preserving avocados!!  If you have not known of this site it is a collection of on line pin boards on all sorts of topics!!

There is a blog called, and she had featured a post on freezing avocado which was then picked up on pinterest which I liked and pinned too!!

Friday I had to go to the grocery in spite of the terrible things that were going on around me.  I had not been for 2 weeks as we had gone to Methodist Hospital the prior weekend to be with Jacob and the family.  Haas Avocados were on sale and so I purchased 4 of them with the intention of preserving them for better days when I would use them and have them at hand.


4 ripe avocados
1 fresh lemon

Squeeze 1/2 of a fresh lemon and if there is plenty of juice this will be all you need.  If not squeeze the other half too.  Cut the first avocado in half and twist the halves in opposite directions and pop it into.  Slam rather briskly the sharp edge of a large knife well into the pit of the avocado and twist the knife as it is lodged into the pit.  This should readily release the pit and you can discard it.

Brush the cut edge of the avocado generously with lemon juice to cover.  Leave the skin of the avocado otherwise in tact.  Repeat the process for all of the avocados and place them in  a freezer bag.  Freeze until needed.

Isn't this a wonderful idea??  I love it.  Just peel the skin away and proceed with whatever recipe you are making as needed.

A Family Update......

Again I have pondered for days on if I should share this information but again concluded to do so.  We have always been a private people but you have so many of you, loyal friends become special to me and it is so I tell you this news.

Our beloved daughter-in-law Julie "1" as we call her. (We have 2 daughter-in-laws, both named Julie who we love and cherish,  #1 is called so because she married into the family first and #2 was the second.)   She lost her father quite unexpectedly Friday morning as he drove his mother-in-law to do some errands.  Julie's dad, Tom Whitledge was one of those people that everyone loved.  There was always a twinkle in his eye and a song in his heart and you were always greeted by a big smile that reached out and greeted you before a word could be spoken.  He sang Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Willy songs as well as any man could and was a natural musician.

Tom was only 71 years old and lived here in our little town most of his life after doing a stint in the armed forces as men of our age so often did....Tom died quietly and unexpectedly along a highway of an apparent heart attack but managed to pull the truck off the side of the road as not to do harm to anyone else ........ that is just the kind of a guy he was.

Tom and his beloved wife Judy only live a a couple of miles from us and we have known them for years now.  We sat with them, altogether as a family at school and sports functions the girls were in.  Tom picked up Katie and Emily every day from school and made them laugh no matter what kind of a day it had been for them.  He was a known practical joker in seriously high standing among the other competitors of that ilk.  Every morning he met a crew of cronies for breakfast at a local eatery and was so beloved they are feeding the whole entourage gratis after the funeral.  Not something you see every day!!

So our hearts have been broken yet again this week.  First the tragedy of our Godson Jacob's accident and now the death of our friend, Tom Whitledge.  Lest I forget, Tom told His granddaughter Emily this past week that if anything ever happened to him she was not to cry for him.  He told her he knew where he was going and it was a far better place.  He just never knew how big the hole in our hearts would be at his passing.   He was ready.....we were not.

I offer a prayer for those who morn Tom and for my sister Sheree for her beloved son Jacob and ask you too  to remember them in prayers.  Thank you.  Diane


Chicken Strogonoff with Fresh Spinach

Fresh Spinach with Noodles and Chicken in a Sauce with Cheese!! What's not to like about this one???
Yes, I have lost my mind.  There is no doubt about it.  Not sure if it is the emotional overload and worry about my family since our nephew's accident Thursday or just because that is the way it is.  Having a lot of trouble spelling, putting down thoughts, remembering what I am doing or want to do....

An update this morning from sis said he has contracted pneumonia and they are treating.  Thank you for prayers.

We still had to eat supper last night and I had purchased the ingredients for this before tragedy befell us.  Forgot to get the chicken out to thaw though!!!  See what I am saying here???  Well anyway I had to stop for milk so I grabbed a rotisserie chicken and that worked out just fine.

I was inspired to try this by a recipe I had seen in March 2012 issue of Real Simple magazine.  It was my first issue ever so I looked at it well and paid a bit more attention than normal to a magazine.  It was for Chicken Spinach and Noodle Casserole page 206.  I thought Brian would like it because he likes everything in it!! I did adapt it considerably though to get it "just right" for us.  We would always choose 2 kinds of cheese and extra sour cream over bread crumbs and 2 t. of thyme would be way way too much for Brian.  No reason to chop any spinach either, not when it wilts down to nothing in a shake.

Here are the ingredients as I used them:

6 T. butter
4 T. flour
4 C. milk (I used 2%)
1 1/4 C. sour cream
12 Oz. wide egg noodles cooked 1 minute less than package directions and rinsed well in cold water
fresh black pepper and salt to taste
1 whole rotisserie chicken skinned, boned, and torn into medium chunks
5-6 Oz. bag of fresh baby spinach washed and dry
1/3 C. Parmesan cheese grated
4  Oz. cheddar cheese grated
1/4 t. dried thyme

Prepare a 9 x 13" glass baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bone the chicken discarding skin and bones.  Tear into rough chunks and set aside for now.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and sprinkle in the flour cooking for a minute or two.

Whisk in the milk all at once and keep stirring as it cooks and thickens.  Remove from the heat when thickened and stir in the sour cream, chicken, 1 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, cooled noodles, spinach, and thyme.  Mix all together well and turn into the prepared dish.  Top with Parmesan cheese then the shredded cheddar.  Bake for 25 minutes until bubbling around the edges and the cheese has melted.

Remove from the oven and cool a few minutes (just maybe 5) before serving.  Refrigerate and cover tightly any leftovers to reheat another day.  Serves 6-8.

YES, I forgot to take a final picture.  I will try for one when I reheat for lunch.  I need to ask for your patience and tolerance until Jacob wakes up.  My ducks just will not line up for me.


Tragic Accident in Our Family

I have debated all day about whether to share this or not.  Our 18 year old Godson and nephew Jacob was in a terrible accident this morning which has shaken us all to our core.  He was on his way to school this morning north of Indianapolis and the roads were wet and slick and he went off the road.  He is terribly terribly injured and we have sought prayers all day from everyone we know.

Now I am asking you.  If you pray please join me and pray for Jacob and his family.  I thank you.


Thrifty Oven Dinner, BBQ Rib Tips, Hasselback Potatoes, & Broccoli

This has been such a busy week and I just wanted something I could stick in the oven and not mess around with.  The solution was to grab a package of rib tips from the freezer and thaw them.  Remembering my butchers adage for cooking pork, low and slow, I salted and peppered them and slipped them into a pan and popped it into a 200 degree oven at 1:00 PM in the afternoon where they languished uncovered for hours!! Meanwhile I scrubbed 2 baking potatoes and left them in the sink to drain,  Next I grabbed what was left of the fresh broccoli I had purchased and peeled and diced it into bit size pieces. Fresh garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes were strewn across the top of the broccoli along with 2-3- T. of water.  I set all these things aside until later in the day when I planned to finish them up in the oven.

At 5:30 PM I made thin slices through the thickness of the potatoes and set them into a baking dish.  After drizzling them with oil and seasoning them they went into the oven uncovered as I increased the temperature to 350 degrees and removed the rib tips.  In order to finish the ribs I slathered them with BBQ sauce and covered them with foil,  The top of the stove vents the gas oven so I like to set things in that area to keep them warm, so that is where the meat rested.

We generally eat late, around 7:30 or 8:00 PM.  When the potatoes tested fork tender ( about an hour and a half later, the potatoes were large)  I covered them with foil and placed them next to the meat atop the stove.  30 minutes before mealtime I placed all three dishes back into the oven to finish.  The broccoli was tender crisp as were the potatoes and the pork was melt in your mouth tender.

It was a good day.


Bread Machine Sour Dough Bread

About a year ago I started sour dough starter per the directions on the King Arthur website.  So occasionally I whip up a batch,  This week has been like trying to walk in deep mud as I just can't get in gear and get much done.  I had gotten the starter from the refrigerator and left it out yesterday but just got the bread completed this morning.

This is an adaptation of the recipe also found on the same website.  I generally prefer honey to sugar for bread baking and I increased the amount of yeast.  I am quite happy with the results.  In fact the bread made a delightful ham sandwich  for my lunch today.

If you make this recipe in a bread machine for success you need to use a setting that provides a total of 30 minutes kneading, a first rise of 40 minutes, and a second rise of 1 hour, 50 minutes.  The long second rise allows for the volume but I also increased the yeast by 1/2 t. to help it along.  The bread needs to bake for 60 minutes.  I used the basic setting on the Zojirushi bread machine although the recipe recommended a French bread cycle.  I just looked up the specific times of each cycle until I found the one that works.  I do not have a French bread cycle.

Ingredients for a 1 1/2 pound loaf:

2 t. yeast
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. honey
2 1/2 C. bread flour (I use King Arthur)
2 C. sour dough starter
1/2 C. lukewarm water

Place the ingredients into the pan in the order given, EXCEPT stir the honey into the lukewarm water until it is dissolved first!!  Program for French bread or other long-rising cycle and press start.  The directions stated the bread would not crown. but would remain flat across the top.  This was not true of mine.  It did better I presume due to the increase of the yeast.

Remove from the pan when cool enough to handle and cool fully before wrapping in an airtight bag.


Happy Birthday to Me.

What a lovely weekend it has been.  Our three sons and their families have been here to celebrate my birthday.  (Not officially until Friday but you have to go either the weekend before or after when everyone works or is scattered.)  I really haven't cooked.  Katie13, and Emily16 my granddaughters made my birthday cake and it was so pretty!!  They did a great job.  It was a strawberry cake and they decorated it with hundreds of lovely little flowers.  THANKS!!  Jack and Sam 3 1/2, my grandsons helped blow out my candles.  Thanks to them too, and to all of you for coming!!