Saturday, August 25, 2007

A couple of flops

Wide awake at 5 a.m. again. I went to bed about 9:15 last night after I put Nell down. She slept until 4:55. Sam gets up incredibly early and offered to take care of her so I could sleep in. But, no go.
The Multi Grain Struan was a flop. It didn't rise well in the first place and then I was careless when putting the loaf pan in the oven, which caused what little rise I had to fall. So, I baked a Multi Grain Brick. Sam was sweet and sliced a piece and said it still tasted good. So, into the trash it went. Too bad you can't frog a loaf of bread and salvage something. I'll still try to make it again in the future. The picture looks wonderful.
I had trouble concentrating yesterday. I was waiting to hear from Caitlin. I guess she was one of the few that received a cot to sleep on at O'Hare Airport. Her 8 a.m. flight was canceled too. She made the 10:30 flight and arrived at KCI about an hour later. Since she didn't have a cell phone I had to wait for her to call me until 12:30 or so. So, most of the morning I was distracted and puttered around the house.
I decided to make Chicken Enchiladas and Guacamole for dinner last night. I was inspired to make my own corn tortillas like Barbara does over at Tigers & Strawberries. So, I took off for a Latin American grocery store not too far from here for Masa and a tortilla press. What a huge surprise! It had been some time since I had been there and the whole store has been remodeled. Plus, the front of the store was a Farmer's Market loaded with local produce. I've never seen so much produce in a grocery store. They even had hatch chilies for a fraction of the cost of what they sell them at Whole Foods. They had tons of chilies, every kind of fresh Mexican produce, greens, eggplants, etc. It was wonderful. And they are all labeled with the local farm from which they came. I'm switching grocery stores!
Sam and I were eager to make the fresh tortillas. But, they were only about four inches in diameter. Certainly not big enough to use for enchiladas. Since everything I've made from Barbara's recipes have been a huge success, the error must have been on my part. I think it's probably the cheapo tortilla press. I've sent Barbara an email, and maybe she'll respond with some advice. The tortillas tasted good, but a little thick in my opinion. So after making a few tortillas, that dough was trashed as well.
Today, I am making a bread recipe from Beard on Bread. It calls for rye, whole wheat, and all purpose flours, plus soaked whole wheat berries. It makes two large loaves of bread, so I'll finally have some extra to give away to my friends that I've promised to give any bread overflow.
Nell is coming dangerously close to discovering the cat door to the basement. She's small enough to fit through, too. On the other side of the cat door are the stairs to the basement, which poses a huge danger, considering that it takes her about three attempts to make it up the one step from the patio to the sliding patio door. It wasn't much of a consideration before because she never went too far and seemed to be afraid of the slickness of the Pergo flooring in the kitchen. But, now she's all over the place and seems to find the one thing she should not. Just like a regular baby. I think I'll head over to Target today and get a baby gate.
All Hell is going to break loose over here when she gets big enough to get off the big chair or the couch. At this point, we can put her on the couch or chair with some toys and she'll settle down for a nap. When she wakes up, she whimpers to get down. Once she is big enough to get down, we'll have to come up with something new. Any thoughts?

Friday, August 24, 2007

And Pfft, it was gone.

Just like Verbal Kint says in"The Usual Suspects." The tree debris was removed and it looks as if the microburst never happened. Except half of the tree is gone. Sadly, the entire tree will have to come down soon.

When we moved in this house some 23 years ago, my neighbor, at the time, would wait until the most of the bright orange leaves had fallen and rake them in a huge pile leaving it for my kids to jump in. Then she'd go out and rake it up again and again until they tired of jumping in the leaves. I also remember looking at that tree during my pregnancies. I'd sit on the couch and stare at the various stages of the tree while wondering about the baby inside of me.

Caitlin never made it in last night. All flights were canceled out of O'Hare Airport due to weather. She had opted not to renew her cell phone contract two days prior to her trip because her reception was crappy. (Her house is to close to the ocean. Wahh. ) So, there she was stuck in O'Hare Airport without a cell phone and about $5 dollars on her. And I guess it was near to impossible to get a hotel room since all flights were canceled. I'm sure she'll be wiped out when she makes it in today.

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm the one who is getting housebroken. I put Nell to bed around 10 p.m. last night. I woke up a little before 5 and tried to be as quiet as possible not to wake her up. It was raining pretty hard. I was NOT looking forward to standing in the pouring rain waiting for her to piddle and poo. Sometimes, it takes a few attempts to get the latter to happen. She'll run to the door, so I have to take her farther and farther out in the yard until there is success. When she woke up at around 5:15 the rain had calmed down. So, it wasn't all that bad. But, here I am, wide awake.

I made the Multi Grain Bread again yesterday. We had BLTs made with the fresh bread for dinner. I also made the soaker and biga for the Struan, which I will bake today. I've been enjoying the new bread book. Peter says to try a recipe three times before you give up on it. My first attempt with my own sourdough was a flop. It just wouldn't rise. So, I guess I'll take his advice and try again sometime.

Most of the heavy cleaning is done, so now I'll have time for fun stuff. I started a Secret Project, which I want to compete before our knitting club meeting in September. It's a fun one using an unusual technique that I can't wait to share.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Yesterday afternoon we had a storm pass through, which was more than likely a microburst. It just came out of nowhere. Don'tcha just love the Midwest? It rained incredibly hard and the wind blew like crazy. Large chunks of hail fell. The whole thing lasted about five minutes. It woke Sam up from his nap. I commented that he almost missed all the excitement, when he pointed put to the front of the house and commented, "No, I didn't."

So, the neighbor's ancient sugar maple split in half and crashed onto our driveway. Good thing we couldn't get the old basketball goal post out, because it saved my car from getting crushed. Amazingly, I only have one tiny dent and some scratches. Oh, and I left the windows open. I'll have to open them and let the thing dry out. I called my insurance company, and the burden is mine. It's called "An Act of God" and it will cause my insurance rates to increase if I make a claim. Thanks, God.

This arrived in the mail yesterday. I've only thumbed through the book, but most of the breads are made using a two-day process. The first day you prepare a soaker and a biga to ferment. On the second day, these are incorporated in another dough. This is much like the Multi Grain bread that I've been making except there is no biga in it. I'm going to make the Multi Grain Struan first.

Last night, I made Lemon Grass Beef over Broken Rice for dinner. Except my rice wasn't broken. It was delicious.

Caitlin arrives tonight around 6:30 p.m. I can't wait to see her. Though, she will more than likely spend her first evening with her brothers and sister, partying like a Rock Star.

The Piddler slept a bit better last night. Going to bed at 10 and then up at 5:30. I put her back in bed after a brief trip outside, and she slept until 7. It occurred to me that my aches and pains may just be from lack of sleep. When I was pregnant with Tate (my fourth) I remember being so incredibly tired that I ached all over. Just like the flu. I was convinced something was terribly wrong, so I went to the doctor. I was certain he was going to tell me I had cancer and that I was going to leave my three kids motherless and the child I was carrying was going to die with me. He just smiled and told me I was just exhausted. It would make sense that some 20 years later, the old body just can't pop back after lack of sleep.

It looks like Nell thinks she is a cat, too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Time Off

Today is the first day of many days off from work. Yippee!
I plan on spending today and tomorrow cleaning like a Banshee. I had to take a block of time off this week to wage war against the ants in my kitchen. I walked in there, and they were all over the place. It was disgusting. So, I had an emergency cleaning of the pantry. Everything is contained now. I have tried everything to get rid of ants this summer. Nothing seems to work. I sure as hell don't want them around when I have guests in the house.
Over the past few days I have been obsessing over I loved the green smoothie and then tried and loved the watermelon cooler. Then, I found this recipe. After I used this recipe, I looked up information on Ann Wigmore and found that there are lots of recipes for Energy Soup and you can add different stuff to it. The main thing is to use lots of leafy greens, some sprouts, some seaweed, a fruit, part of an avocado, and Rejuvelac. I didn't know what Rejuvelac was either, but found the recipe on her site. It's now completely finished and ready to bottle. I really like the Energy Soup and have been sipping it for four days now. We'll see if it makes me feel a ton better.
We have also been doing the Colonix program for a little over a month now. And a few days ago I bought some detox foot pads. I had heard that detox foot pads can help you quit smoking, which is one on my goals. However, ever since I've been using the foot pads, my joints have been hurting pretty bad. I'm chalking that up to the detox. Everything was hurting so bad last night, that Sam suggested I take a ginger bath, which seemed to help.
When I first started working from home, I had all these grandiose plans for self-improvement. I must admit I spent the first few months sleeping in. The Beagle has recently put the kibosh on sleeping in. And I get even less sleep now since Nell came into the picture. So, the diet change and detox are now in high gear.
Taking care of a puppy has eaten into a lot of my spare time. I know this won't last forever. They're only puppies for a short time. But, alas, not much to report on the knitting front. I've been working on the KP&S cardigan. I have about 14 inches of the body done. It's supposed to be 25 inches in length. The sleeves, collar band, and button band are added next.

After I get Nell settled for the evening, I've been working on the crochet blanket, too. It's a no-brainer thing to do.
The Beagle and Nell are getting along a little better now. At first they played Keep Away and Tag. Nell always being the chaser. Now, they play a little better, though The Beagle usually tips her over on her back with her paw and sniffs her. And they bark at each other. They will also sleep on the couch together.