What started off as a 3 day weekend has turned into a 6 day weekend due to snow. Being from the northeast it’s pretty funny to see a small town derailed by only a few inches. Whatever the reason though, it’s been nice to have the extra set of hands around the house to keep the Bear occupied while I tackle some projects.

One of my goals this year is to become a proficient baker of bread. Armed with no experience and an old, uncooperative oven I found my first couple loaves dense and overdone on the bottom.

So I did a little more reading, bought an oven thermometer, and put together a whole wheat sourdough starter using a 200 year old sourdough strain someone gave us as a housewarming gift. While this loaf wasn’t quite perfect, it’s a definite improvement over my first sourdough attempt. Not quite so dense with a very strong sour flavor and an even doneness all around. I followed a recipe from the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book, which is a great resource for those looking to make hearty whole grain breads of all shapes and sizes.. I think this small slice topped with butter on honey resting on my coffee cup almost looks like a little whole wheat snow cloud. 



My husband forgot to label the secondary fermenters. So, initially we thought this carmely swirl of beer that we bottled and put blue caps on was my breakfast stout, but after some careful tasting we’re pretty sure it’s an experimental dark ale. When they finish bottle conditioning in another week or so we’ll be able to tell for sure.

Adventure is out there!

It’s been a few months and after finally settling into being a new mom, in a new house, in a new state, with the holidays over a big year ahead, I decided it was time to start exploring the surrounding area. There was lofty talk of taking a day trip out to Cascades National Park, but there was need to stay a little closer to home today. So we talked about a trip to purchase exotic cheeses and other food staples, but even that excursion was too far out, so finally we decided a scenic drive around the island would be best for our purposes.

So early in the morning we packed up ourselves and the Bear, put the coffee in travel mugs, and we were off, or so we thought. It seems that our muffler wanted to stay behind, so we turned back not 3 miles away from our house for a repair. 2 hours later, still feeling intrepid (or at least a bit bored of staying in), we packed up the Bear, bought fancy coffee drinks, and set out again. Though it was cold and rainy (even a bit snowy), we enjoyed our little jaunt, and look forward to sunnier days with cooperative cars and copious farmers’ markets.

I think I’ve Created a Monster…

Ok, not really. It all started when I gave someone the idea to give my husband a winemaking kit for Christmas. It was something we’d been talking about as a natural extension of our beer brewing, so it seemed the appropriate gift. Of course being intellectual types, upon receipt of this gift it became obvious that we needed some sort of instructional book to guide us in our new endeavor, so I sleuthed  around Amazon and discovered this, and since the price was good (and we had a gift card), I also found this. Well, I don’t think it took my husband 10 minutes to fall in love with Strong Waters, and with good reason. There are recipes for exotic sounding spirited beverages that we had never heard of. Any they are easy and inexpensive to produce, especially after a good friend gifted us some one gallon fermenters. So here on the left you have two versions of Zythos which sounds like an epic, mythological Greek monster. My husband was so inspired by his creation that he has started his own blog where he will share with you in detail his thoughts, processes, and musings on home brewing, spirit making, and  speculations on my reactions to it all. I am glad that I could inspire him to such heights.

Snuggled and Warm

This blanket is acrylic, which as a yarn snob I avoid at all costs, but my grandmother crocheted it for me as a Christmas present when I was a freshman in college, and I have held onto it for 10 years now. Blue and gold were my school colors at the time, and became my school colors again when I attended graduate school. Now it’s colors are significant to my line of work. It’s as if the blanket had some sort of way of knowing my future and making sure that its colors always had a place in my life.

It has followed me around for 10 years, kept me warm in my car and in my bed, and now resides on the back of a couch in our first home where it has found a best friend in Snuggle Bear. It matches nothing in the room, but we plan on keeping it there for a while. And thank goodness it’s acrylic so we can wash it and enjoy it for years to come.

Pumpkin for my pumpkin

It seems like many moons ago that I would make a large pot of steel cut oatmeal on Sunday night or Monday morning and enjoy it with a variety of fix ins every week. It’s a cheap and easy breakfast that requires little effort and is filling, hearty, and customizable to your own tastes. I followed this recipe, but left it plain and added whatever was available when I heated it up in the morning. A couple weeks ago I stumbled across this recipe for baked pumpkin steel cut oatmeal from The Kitchn. It takes a little more (but not much effort) than the NY Times basic version, but I love pumpkin….looooooooooooooove pumpkin, so I taking the extra steps of toasting the oats and “frying” the puree were totally worth it. Besides, it gave me a chance to finally make something in my cast iron pumpkin pot.