Monday, May 30, 2011

summer reading list

While I am not the most avid reader, I have always enjoyed reading during the summer. I spend the majority of the year reading books that pertain to parenting, homemaking, cooking, etc. These books are useful and enjoyable to read, but I am looking forward to a summer spent reading "fun" books.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - a childhood favorite

Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

Books I plan on reading to Spencer this summer:

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Lessons From Nature by John Bunyan

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater

What books are on your summer reading list?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

acres of grace

an old stone farmhouse with creaky wooden floors; greeting the goats each morning with a song before milking time; the wonderfully sweet smell of sweat, dirt, and fresh air on my children as they come inside after completing their morning chores; weeding the garden and canning vegetables; collecting freshly laid eggs; a pumpkin patch, orchard, berries, and pies...lots of pies; hanging wet clothes out on the line to dry; the golden, sticky, sweetness of fresh honeycomb; putting in a full days work to relax on the front porch and watch my children catch fireflies; a simple, joy-filled life that harkens back to another time; sharing it all with those i love.

I have been daydreaming lately about moving out into the country and making some (if not all) of those dreams a reality. With the understanding and support of my wonderful husband, we have decided to start looking for land. It will likely take 5 years at the very least to complete this work, but the best things in life are truly worth waiting for.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

rosemary bread

Thanks to a dear friend with an overabundance of rosemary from her CSA, I had occasion to do some baking.


1 1/2 T active dry yeast
1 cup water
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 t white sugar
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 t italian seasoning
1/4 t ground black pepper
1 T fresh rosemary
2 1/2 cups bread flour

1. Proof yeast in 1 cup of warm water for five minutes. Put proofed yeast, one cup of the bread flour, sugar, salt, and oil in stand mixer and mix on medium high speed until a thick, creamy batter develops (approximately 3-5 minutes).

2. Switch stand mixer attachment to the bread hook and begin adding the remaining flour gradually along with the herbs and black pepper. Knead just until all dough pulls away from the bowl, then knead for an additional five minutes by hand.

3. Put dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise for 3 hours; should triple in size. Then, punch down dough and let rise again for another 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a paper towel, coat a cast iron dutch oven with olive oil. Shape dough in a rough mound, and use a sharp knife to make a 1/2 inch cut (approximate) down the middle (helps with bread growth when baking). Place dough in dutch oven and cover.

5. Bake for 30 minutes. Take cover off of dutch oven and bake an additional 30 minutes.

6. Remove bread immediately after finished baking and allow it to cool. Enjoy!

I know that this recipe sounds like a lot of work, but if started toward the middle of the day, you can have this amazing bread ready in time for dinner. (Most of the time is spent waiting for it to rise, and not actively making the bread).