Oh Baby, Baby and Bread

Baby Cake Pops!

Baby Cake Pops!

I LOVE making cake pops! Baby cake pops are one of my favorites as well. I was very happy to spend my weekend on a rush order for a baby shower for my friend. She is a party planner and this party needed a fast plan! Luckily, she asked me if I would make cake pops! Yes!
This was my first time putting hair on babies and I really love how they turned out. The little mohawks are my favorite. Do you have a favorite among all the cuteness?

This is my third time baking with the starter.

This is my third time baking with the starter.


Since baking the first free form loaf several weeks ago, I have tried a making the recipe suggested on the starter another time in a loaf pan. The recipe calls for 2 1/2 Cups of the starter. To me, it has a very strong sour taste which my family liked, but I didn’t. So, I decided to try another recipe. This one calls for only 1 Cup of starter. It also is flavored with some softened butter and warm milk put directly into the dough. It rises well, it browns to a deep golden color (crusty) and tastes fantastic! I have a large loaf pan that is stoneware. I made three loaves before I figured out how long to bake it. It takes an hour. I had some doughy middles in the first two loaves.
For those of you who would like to try out this recipe, I will post it below. This photo shows the height on the loaf.
This photo shows the height of the loaf

This photo shows the height of the loaf

San Fransisco Sour Dough Bread
1 C. Sour Dough Starter (Make sure your starter is room temperature and has bubbles. If it doesn’t feed your starter and let sit a few hours or overnight.)
4 1/2 C. All Purpose or Bread Flour
1 Heaping Tablespoon of Salt
3 Heaping Tablespoons of Sugar
1 Pkg. yeast (I only use 1/2 a pkg)
1 C. Warm Milk
2 Tablespoons of softened butter
1 Egg
Combine 1 C. of flour, salt, sugar, yeast, butter and 1 C. of flour in your Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attached. Allow this mixture to become well combined. Now slowly add flour about 1/2 C at a time until it is all added. Change to your dough hook here or before you add the extra flour. Allow the dough to be kneaded for about 5 minutes. You can do all of this by hand if you do not have a mixer with a dough hook. Once kneaded, form your dough into a nice round and place in a greased large bowl. I used olive oil and turn the dough over once to coat the top. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in height. Punch dough down in the center and pull edges down into the dough all the way around. (I have this process posted in the first bread post) Form dough into a loaf and place in a well greased bread pan. Allow to rise until doubled in height and volume. Slit the top with a razor blade of sharp knife. Beat the egg with a splash of water and brush the top of the dough. Bake for at least 1 hour at 375 degrees. Be prepared to have your home filled with a very fragrant, heavenly smell. #bakingbreadsmellsfantastic

Expect the Unexpected!

It seems that for us, we always have to “expect the unexpected”.  My daughter was hospitalized on an emergency basis a couple weekends ago.  It was very “unexpected” and we are very glad that she is feeling better now.  While last week was a bit slow as far as bangle designs, I did decide to make several variations of “Hope Anchors the Soul”.  Here is a peek!ImageImageImageImage

I also did not expect for these to be so popular!   That’s a happy statement because I love to make personalized items that people enjoy wearing or using.  I then worked on some custom pieces for a graduating senior and also many, many teacher gifts!  

This week, I have decided to try what I am calling “hashtag design”….while I have not yet used the actual # symbol and run the words all together as in a tweet, I do plan to do that as well.  Here is a peek at those.Image

Then, there is this awesome song by the Eagles called “Fabulous”.  I have loved it since I first heard it.  It’s basically about a woman that doesn’t have time for anything because she is too busy being her “Fabulous” self! haha!  The song is not in a complimentary tone but rather sarcastic but, I couldn’t resist!  I think all women need one of these!  When the mood strikes, throw on the bangle and off you go!  

 

 

Fabuloous!

Bread Quest! Sour Dough Lovers Unite!

The Sour Dough Kit from Williams-Sonoma

The Sour Dough Kit from Williams-Sonoma

Journey to the perfect loaf!

Journey to the perfect loaf!

After learning that those with gluten intolerance may be able to successfully tolerate sour dough bread, I have been on the quest to find and make the perfect loaf of sour dough bread.
I read where the sour dough starter actually cancels out the gluten. My sweet daughter, has an auto-immune disease which greatly benefits from a gluten-free diet. We learned that she does tolerate and digest sour dough bread. Of course, I am certainly going to do my part in helping her find quality foods that are within her diet.
My first attempts at making my own starter were from “scratch”. It took eight days to ferment the starter and begin baking. After six very dense, fair tasting loaves, I was able to make a pretty good loaf. My starter however, was a bit frustrating to me as it seemed to take about two days to proof a loaf. I also thought it needed to have a better taste.
I started searching for the best sour dough bread I could find. Topping the list was San Francisco Sour Dough Bread made in a bakery in San Francisco. I also learned you could purchase a sour dough starter kit from Williams-Sonoma. (I am not associated with Williams-Sonoma. I am just a customer.)
It arrives with a nice little crock to keep your starter preserved in.

I found the detailed instructions a bit difficult to understand but I ended up with a good end product so I suppose I came close to following it correctly. It begins by combining the starter with warm water and all-purpose flour.

[caption id="attachment_437" align="alignnone" width="300"]Combining the starter packet with warm water and flour. Combining the starter packet with warm water and flour.

Next, cover the bowl and allow to rest. Stirring the mixture at regular intervals is
important in the fermentation process.

Note the large bubbles on top of the mixture.  This is ready for division and feeding.

Note the large bubbles on top of the mixture. This is ready for division and feeding.


For the remaining 72 hours, you will be stirring at regular intervals until the mixture reaches it peak (lots of active bubbles), then you will reduce to 1/2 C mixture and add one cup of warm water and one cup of flour. (If it is bedtime, you will increase the flour and water to 2 or 3 cups and cover for the night) Upon rising, divide, reduce to 1/2 C and feed with 1 C warm water and flour.
The is the final division.  Fill your crock with starter and refrigerate.

The is the final division. Fill your crock with starter and refrigerate.

Beautifully Proofed Dough

Beautifully Proofed Dough


Two days later, I had to bake bread to see how the new starter would work. The recipe is easy. The night before baking, put 1/2 C starter in a bowl with 3 Cups warm water and 3 Cups flour. Cover overnight. The next morning, you will have beautiful starter called a sponge. It’s very bubbly! Take 2 1/2 Cups of the sponge and put it in your stand mixer, add 1 1/2 C flour and mix together. Allow it to rest an hour. Next, add one more C of flour, put on the dough hook, add a tablespoon of salt and slowing continue adding flour until you have a moist, non sticky dough. Put your dough into a bowl and allow to rise 8 to 13 hours! Yes, it takes that long! Yes, it will eventually work! Yes, it’s worth the wait!
Then the fun begins.
Shaping the dough into a round.

Shaping the dough into a round.

Creating a smooth loaf

Creating a smooth loaf


Once you have gone all the way around the dough and folded it upon itself. Place the round on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. The dough is ready for a second rise. Allow the round to rise for 3 hours.
Finally, cut tic-tac-toe slits into the dough with a new razor blade. Brush with an egg wash, and place into a hot 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking an additional 45 minutes.
The dough round is rising for a second time for 3 hours.

The dough round is rising for a second time for 3 hours.

Brush the loaf you just scored with a razor blade with the egg wash.

Brush the loaf you just scored with a razor blade with the egg wash.

This is a huge, crusty loaf of San Francisco Sour Dough Bread.

This is a huge, crusty loaf of San Francisco Sour Dough Bread.


The end product was a very beautiful round of San Francisco Sour Dough Bread. It is a very tasty bread. Next time, I will be making it in loaf pans to see how it holds up for sandwich bread. I am very encouraged by my first loaf. I feel like it can only get better as I get better at making it! Hope you give the San Francisco Starter a try if you enjoy baking bread or want to start.

Thankful Every Day!

My husband, Tim, was first diagnosed with cancer when he was 28 yrs old.  The six months following the diagnosis were the most difficult months of our lives.  It seemed like we were being attacked from all directions.  We had just packed up our vehicle with baby Laurel and the dog and driven from Memphis, TN to Wadsworth, OH to visit our dear friends.  It was there that Tim discovered a very painful tumor.  It was also there that we received a call that our house had been on fire and all contents were damaged. We would not be able to return to our home.  We packed the car and headed home to assess the damage to the house and to Tim’s health.

The house was heavily smoked damaged so we moved into a Hampton Inn.  Let me just say that keeping baby formula in an ice chest with no way to warm it is not fun but we all made it work.  Tim got into the specialist fast and surgery was scheduled within two days.  He was diagnosed with cancer that would require months of chemotherapy.  Once discharged, he got to begin his recovery in the room at the Hampton Inn and I got to return to work full time.  After two weeks juggling our lives around the Hampton Inn, some awesome friends invited us to come to their house until we could get into a rental home.  Luckily, that happened within two weeks because chemo began.

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Tim’s mother had been fighting her own battle with cancer when he was diagnosed.  She grew progressively worse and passed away in October.

 

 

This time in our lives was certainly a time when we knew we were not in control.  We learned quickly to just be still, quiet and wait for the Lord to handle whatever it was that we faced each day.  I tried to adjust my work schedule where I could go with Tim for his chemo some.    He was very sick from the effects and was hospitalized some for fever and infections.  In fact, he looked so forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner I was planning but ended up hospitalized the night before.  Family came in and we made the dinner but he said he just did not want it because of the chemo taste.  So, my promise to him was that I would make him a turkey dinner as soon as he could taste it.   I did make that dinner but it also tasted like chemo!

Our little sweetie pie, Laurel, enjoyed her first birthday cake sitting on her daddy’s lap in a hospital bed.  She had fun getting cake all over herself and her dad!  We have video of this somewhere and I hope to locate it.  While Tim is a bit self-conscious about having no hair, to me that bald head means he is with us today, a battle scar.  He was such a fighter as he went to the office almost every day, preached every Sunday regardless of how he felt and continued giving of himself to the people of our church.  If you are wondering, what this post is actually about, it is this, cancer is forever in your life.   Cancer survivors are followed closely and monitored for new cancers with body scans.  Scans are initially frequent, like 3 to 6  months and then spaced further apart each year the body is cancer free.  The time between having a scan and receiving the results from the doctor are worrisome at best.

In December 2011, Tim had gone in for the results of his routine scan.  When he got home, I was standing in the kitchen making cake pops when he said, “they found a mass in my kidney”.  I said “what”, thinking I didn’t hear him correctly.  Again, he said “the scan showed a mass in my kidney”.  I think we both had become so accustom to hearing “all clear” that it was just unbelievable that we were once again facing cancer.  I mentioned the cake pops because I was actually making cake pops shaped like little kidneys for a close friend to give to her dialysis team.  How ironic could it get?  All we could do in that moment was cry!

Joyfully though, I am so happy to say that God had this one too!  He led Tim to a fantastic surgeon who removed all of the cancer.  The cancer had not spread and he would not be needing any chemo or radiation.  Today, is the Tim received results from his follow-up scan day.  Today, is the day we both report “all clear”!  Every day we are thankful!  Every day is precious!  Every day we praise God for allowing us to just be “still”.  HE has us covered!  HE has YOU covered too!

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He is Risen!

ImageMatthew 20:28  “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”   Today, is the anniversary of His death on the cross.  The darkest, saddest, most horrific of days.  We face this anniversary with HOPE!  Our hope lies in the future given to us freely.  This Sunday, remember not so much the pain left behind from today’s anniversary, but the HOPE given to us because HE AROSE from the dead!  Many people saw Him and spoke to Him and witnessed his ascension into Heaven.  He LIVES!  Our Hope for eternity is our FAITH in HIM!  I encourage you to attend church this weekend!  You will be blessed!

Welcome Sunshine!

These feel and look great!

These feel and look great!

“Everything looks better sprinkled with a little sunshine”!  I love looking out at our backyard and seeing grass, birds, flowers, and the dog running around playing instead of gingerly going down the steps avoiding ice and snow.  I am so ready for all that spring brings.  While it’s still too chilly to have a coffee on the deck, it’s evident that the weather for that is soon upon us.  I am also very happy to finally feeling better!

I decided to try out a few new mediums this week.  It seems that wide headbands are worn by almost every lady these days.  I made one for myself and a friend so we could try them out.  Guess what?  We LOVE them!  It’s the perfect way to secure your hair out of the way for working on almost anything.  I am always getting glue, sticky vinyl pieces, melted chocolate, icing etc…in my hair.  I now wear my new headband and just keep that hair out of the way in a cute stylish way.  They are also very affordable!  I will have some in my in my FB shop today.  Just send me a message if you would like one!    Once I made this one for my friend, I decided to give some glitter htv (heat transferred vinyl) a try!  Some folks like a little bling with their headbands!  Well, it is time to go outside find some JOY today!

Bring on the Bling!  Yes, that is an awesome summer weight scarf sitting there too!

Bring on the Bling! Yes, that is an awesome summer weight scarf sitting there too!

Sick but Hopeful

HopeEven though I have spent the week feeling pretty bad, I still managed a few new designs for bangles.  Our plans were to head to Memphis, Tennessee today but that will not be happening.  Fever and feeling much worse, so I am just resting and drinking Pom Wonderful juice.  My daughter had a friend recommend it to her a few years ago and she feels that it helps to ease symptoms right away. We shall see!  If I feel better tomorrow, we will travel!

Here are a few of the beauties made especially for this show.  The HOPE is a wide 2 inch bangle and I think it may be my new favorite.  Believe is also new and on a 2 inch iridescent bangle.

Believe

Believe

Embrace Grace is an original design.  This “Grace” bangle is a smaller width of 1.5 inches.  Very simple and sweet.

Grace.

Grace.

These are all custom requests.  The first has Faith, Hope and Love.  The second has Philippians 4:13.

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It’s Snowing!

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day here on the west side of the Ohio River.  Today, not so much.  It’s been snowing for less than an hour now and there’s probably a inch already accumulated.  Fortunately, we had plenty of inside chores and activities to keep us busy.

I received a new shipment of bangle bracelets yesterday and I am so excited to show them to you.  They are a rich jewel tones combined with black to make a very nice animal print.  I couldn’t wait to turn a few of them into my “Blessed” bracelets.  These are a bit different in shape as well.  The band is graduated to where it is thinner on the back side.  They are also a hinged a design.  They fit a normal to to small size wrist very well.   

I have four ready to go that I will share with you today.  Let me know if I can do a custom bracelet for you, just send me a private message on my Facebook page and we will discuss it.  I hope you are in a warmer part of the country but if you are not stay warm!Image

Memphis!

10000361_10203184780401237_1029211228_oToday’s post and design is inspired by Memphis.  Memphis has a big chunk of my heart due to the many years that we lived there.  The friend connections are priceless to our family and we are really looking forward to an upcoming trip to see all of the amazing people.

I was not born a “southerner,” in fact, I am routinely referred to as a “yankee” by my husband’s family and most native Memphians.   I didn’t realize how little I knew about the “Civil War” until I very abruptly learned that it seems to still be alive and “kickin” in a lot of southern people.  Since I did not speak the accent or even realize the differences in dialect, I was at a huge disadvantage when desiring to just “fit” in.  I quickly learned that “I”, have the accent!  A “yankee” accent!  Now that I am once again living in the midwest, I am told that I now have a “southern” accent!  So to sum that up….no one understands anything I say! (Insert big smile)  I am pretty sure I unknowingly offend on a daily basis.

This post is bringing back some fun memories of more differences specifically in the food category.   Growing up, both of my grandmothers were excellent cooks!  They always made everything from scratch and most of our food came from gardens they planted and took care of.  Tomatoes, carrots, peas, cucumbers, corn, cabbage, onions, potatoes, were all a part of the big half an acre garden plots.  Well, when I got to Memphis, I learned that peas were no longer a sweet little green ball inside of a pod.  Peas were now purple or had black eyes!  They were allowed to sit out in the sun until the pods swiveled up and the little purple and black eyed fellows became hard as a rock!  There’s even a special machine they throw them into to separate the crusty pods from the rock hard peas!  Then, you get to boil them until you have a pan full of the dirtiest water you have ever seen….then you probably get to boil then another hour or so because they still are rock hard.  Give me my cute little green balls of sweetness any day over purple hull or black eyed peas!  I will move on today but I do have to address cornbread, spaghetti, barbecue, fish, baked beans, turkey and dressing, pies and cake at some point.

See you soon Memphis!