Five on Friday on Saturday!

The day sorta got away from me yesterday. IMG_1471.jpg

I made 5 small jars of salsa and 2 bigger ones. These were all our own tomatoes so that was a big plus.

I doubt we’ll get enough tomatoes for all the sauce I need for winter but I will get some. Based on last years supply I probably need about 18 freezer bags of sauce. I may try and can some but freezing is easier.

Then I decided to make up the sourdough leaven for a Tartine bread. I have the one loaf rising in the bread basket form and I’ll cook that in an hour or so.

My oncology appointment went well. I told him about the stress fracture and he did say ‘repetitive’ movement. So maybe it was just walking every day. Who knows?  My foot is still bothering off and on. Kinda weird. He suggested a DEXA scan so I will do that sometime this fall.  I did have one around 14 years ago that was normal. That was about a year before I was diagnosed with myeloma.

Then we headed to Costco and spent a small fortune. B bought a small or I guess it’s called ‘dorm ‘ refrigerator to replace the tiny funky one he had. It was a good deal at $130. Now we could get milk and OJ at Costco as there would room to keep them out in the barn.

Today, I’m making 2 zucchini loaves of bread from a Smitten Kitchen recipe. She said to use 2 loaf pans but it looked like it wasn’t very full but we’ll see how they turn out.  I plan on freezing one sliced so we can pull out a slice when we want one in the fall-winter. If the recipe is a good one, I’ll make a few more, maybe to give as gifts.

Tonight I think I’m going to make burgers/veggie burgers for dinner.

It’s very very hazy here from the Carr fire. Hopefully, it’ll clear out and the fire will get put out.

 

 

A rainy May day.

Unusual to have a rain in May like this but it’s quite nice as it’s watering the lawn and all the plants.

I’ve just stayed inside working on starting another leaven for a few loaves of Tartine bread and tidying up.

I tried making Peter Reinhart’s bread the other day, and it was a flop. It had a quite good taste but was too hard and didn’t brown up nicely. The main difference between the two is the dutch oven. With Tartine, you make the starter(leaven) and then lots of other steps, but the final dough is baked in the dutch oven not, just straight on the steel.

So I’m back to Tartines recipe which always looks beautiful.

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I’m caught up on laundry and mopped the kitchen floor.

My son finished his final for the semester and he and B are headed down to Las Vegas to see Elton John’s last performance on that piano.  This is his birthday present. The tickets were not cheap:(

But they should have a fun time of it as there are lots of museums to visit and LV has nice weather usually.

Tomorrow, I’ll hit the gym and then I have a number of errands to run like getting bird seed, a few groceries, Home Depot for some garden soil and who knows what else.

Dinner is double stuffed potatoes from the freezer and some breaded cod fillets. Maybe a salad if I’m inspired.

sourdough bread

I’ve got a terrific starter going that I made in the fall. It has been really useful and flavorful.

I’ve made pancakes and two days ago started on bread. I make the bread using the ‘Tartine’   bread book.

It’s really an easy recipe ONCE you get past the scientific stuff. But it does take making the leaven,then the autolyse, then the first rise, and then the final rise in the refrigerator.  Then you can bake the next day. I use Banneton  bread proofing basket.

It gives a nice pattern to the bread and holds it in shape too.

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The flour lines are from the proofing basket..

I’ve been making bread for over 40 years off and on. I started with the Tassajara bread book and Laurels kitchen.  Most of my loaves back then were heavy and more like bricks. But we ate them anyway(most of the time).

Breadmaking is an art form, for sure. But the real trick is to just keep trying and making lots of bread because you do start to get a feel for the bread. I make a number of different breads. This is the sourdough but I also make a sandwich bread in a loaf pan. I start that using the Kitchen Aid and then let rise in the bowl. Then bake in a Williams Sonoma professional loaf pan.

One thing I’ve learned is to get the best equipment you can afford and get the right tool for what you’re making. It really does make a world of difference.

Ending 2017

Goodbye 2017.

It has been a great year for me. I know some people have not had a good year including my sister who has had some serious health issues. I guess it’s all about how you experience the year with health, finances, family, work,  and just life.

I’m so grateful my health has been good and I think that’s the main reason this has been such a good year. I think that makes all the difference. Even money or finances take a back seat to health issues. If you’re in relatively good health, I think you can handle whatever comes your way.

We had some great camping trips and work trips too. I always love going to Santa Barbara with B when he has to see the co-ops. It’s such a treat. This year I went up to the North Coast for the first time with him too. Eureka is a bit of a depressed area but the co-ops are amazing. so that was fun. Plus we camped at new Brighton twice and that was lovely especially going to Gayles Bakery. It’s the best!! Camping at Lake Tahoe always tops my list of the best things that have happened. This coming year we may do things a little different in regards to Tahoe. And I still haven’t booked any camping trips yet.

Learning how to Lodge cook was lots of fun and I ended up with 2 Lodge camping pots. It was such fun to cook a pizza in camp and other great recipes like chili topped with corn bread and breakfast casseroles.  Such fun!!

Our finances were good and we were frugal yet got quite a bit done around the house. We even bought a wood splitter on sale for B to use. It was bought with one of his bonuses so that made it even better. We still have some big chunks of tree to deal with and I’m hoping this coming year we can take 2 more Ponderosa pines down so there will be more to split. Food and groceries in general still seem to be our biggest variable expense so I’m working on looking at working on that. I do menu plan and plan my Costco trips but food is just so expensive. I’m tracking food, non-food and pet food and this may give me a better idea of where it’s going. We ended December with just under $1000 for food, nonfood, Christmas food, alcohol, and pet stuff. Most months I run @ 600- 700 so that’s high. Although the Costco trip had gifts in it so I could reduce the amount by that and then it’s maybe $800.

I continued to declutter right up to Christmas and as a matter of fact, have a small load in the back of my VW to go into the thrift store.  I would guess this year I’ve gotten rid of 2000 things. many just small but others not so small.  For next year, I’m going to look at each room with a critical eye and see what can be improved. That should be a fun project.

Well, I’m making a whole wheat bread in the Zojirushi on the dough cycle and then I’ll bake in a pan. It’s a king Arthur WW bread recipe and so far looks good. Then I just finished baking the butternut squash for soup tonight and made a batch of mashed potatoes to freeze for when I make a shepherds pie on Monday.

So I’m off to read a bit and decide if I’m going to town.

5th of December

Dark and very cold mornings, but the frost is sparkling and the moon is bright.  The sky is starlite.

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This is a picture my daughter took with Fuiji film HS10.

This is super moon.

 

We had a lovely broccoli cheddar soup for dinner with toasted potato bread. The bread was quite lovely. It’s a good recipe to have on hand.

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Today, I’m grateful for the sun shining and slightly warmer weather.

 

 

 

A Minimalist’s day

Often my days are about doing daily simple chores and going about my life.

I never overload my schedule and even when I worked at the library l kept my schedule simple and unburdened. Now it is even more so as I don’t have a go-to job.

I start my day with getting dressed even down to my walking shoes. I drink a quick cup of coffee that was prepared the night before and then is on an automatic timer for 5:30 am.   If the dishwasher needs emptying I’ll do that.Then I head out the door and drive 1/2 a mile to our park and walk for 32 minutes. Then upon returning home, I get more coffee and then write my list for the day and what I want/need to accomplish. I include simple things like dust, prep for dinner and what we’re having, budgeting stuff, gym, etc.  I browse thru the news and some blogs.

Then I’ll do a few quick chores, like make the bed, take out the laundry, swish and swipe the bathroom. I don’t have young children but both my adult children live at home so there’s always some extra things(dishes, laundry,) that might need attention.

If I’m going to be baking bread like today I start prepping thing and get my starter ready and then the dough. Or if I’m making my delicious maple granola, I’ll get out oats, maple syrup etc.  Otherwise, I wipe down the counters and make sure they are clear and uncluttered. Plus I do this in each room. Our house is tiny so really it doesn’t take but 10 minutes max.  But it is by having minimalized our things that it is a quick process.

I  am amazed at how simplified my life is since embracing minimalism.  It is so true, less is more.

The rest of the day is either going to the gym or whatever chores might need doing. If there’s a project I’m working on, I may do it after lunch. RIght now, I’m still working on the barn decluttering so I may go out for a bit to do that. I prep for dinner between 4-5 depending on what I’m making.  I also usually read for a few hours and then dinner.  After dinner, we might have an outside fire and talk about the day or current events. I go to bed fairly early 9pm or so. I might read in bed for 1/2 hour but generally lights out by 9:30 or 10.

Dinner tonight is chicken noodle soup and homemade bread.

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Tartine Bread

I’m back in the swing of things with bread making. So, the last loaf of a sourdough but it wasn’t the dough that rests and goes thru the full autolyse and bulk fermentation.  I decided to get out my Tartine Bread book which by the way reads like a chemistry class. It is quite challenging to read and follow, but I persevered thru and made the loaves.  It’s anywhere from a 2-day process to 5 days depending on if you already have a starter.  It is an amazing bread and well worth the effort.

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It tasted terrific. The recipe makes 2 loaves so I waited to bake the 2nd one today and then my oven wasn’t cooperating.  This has been going on for a while where it won’t calibrate the temperature.  It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does it’s frustrating. So I turned the oven on and off for 3 hours and then finally it was coming up to speed. For the Tartine bread, it needs to be at 500 degrees for 30 minutes with the Le Cruset in the oven.  Finally got it to work and the second loaf is done. Now I’m in the process of baking 12 huge potatoes for double stuffed potatoes that I’ll freeze.  When you’re cooking that many potatoes it takes twice as long.

 

So I guess we’re going to go buy an oven this weekend. Not frugal, but I cook so much it’s hard to be without a reliable oven.  This one was a lovely GE profile that ( if I remember was @ 1200).  I found a nice Whirlpool one on sale at Lowes for 650.  It’s normally 1000 so a good deal. As long as it’s self-cleaning and has sealed burners, I’m good.

I’m  really trying to keep things as frugal as possible so, we’ll see.