Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Friendship Bread

I've been passing around starter for Amish Friendship Bread for about 2 months now. For all of you who are tired of the current recipe, my mom passed this one to me for Sourdough bread that you can use with the same starter. Just do everything the same up to Day 10.. then start ere:

Sponge: Pour starter into large non-metal bowl.

Add 1 cup of warm water and 1 cup of flour. Stir well, and set in a warm place for several hours. You can even leave it overnight. This is called “proofing.” The recipe I got it from had refrigerated starter, but since mine was already at room temperature it only took a couple of hours. When your sponge is bubbly and has a white froth, and smells a little sour, it is ready. The longer you let the sponge sit, the more sour flavor you will get.

Making Bread:

¼ Cup Sugar ½ Cup Oil
1 Tablespoon Salt 1 ½ Cup Warm Water
2 Cups Starter 6 Cups flour

Keep 1 ½ cup starter for your next batch. (I had another 1 ½ cups I tossed.)

Mix all ingredients except flour then add flour 1 cup at a time. Dough should be stiff but sticky. Knead on floured board just till dough is not sticky and can be picked up.

Place in large greased bowl (at least 3 quart). Turn dough over once to grease top. Cover loosely and let sit till double in bulk (5-8 hours or more). To speed rising, you can put it in the oven (TURNED OFF) with a pan of steaming water under it. Shape bread or punch down and refrigerate to shape later.

This will make 3 loaves of bread or several batches of rolls.

Loaves: Divide into thirds. Knead each piece a few minutes, using as little flour as possible to keep it from sticking. Place in greased loaf pan, brush with butter, cover lightly, and let rise till double in bulk. Bake on bottom rack at 350º for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and pans and brush with butter. Cool and wrap in foil. (Or slice, butter and eat it hot!!!!)

Rolls: Shape as desired, let rise and bake the same as loaves.

Cinnamon Rolls: Roll dough as thin as possible. Spread melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon on the dough and roll up tightly. Slice about ½ inch thick, place in prepared pan (well greased) and let rise till double. Bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes. Glaze with powdered sugar glaze while warm.

Caramel rolls: Melt ½ stick butter and ½ cup brown sugar in a 8 or 9 inch pan. Place rolls on top and let rise as usual. When baked, turn out immediately onto serving platter and let syrupy mixture run down over the rolls.

Here is a good glaze that was not included with the recipe but works well:

1½ cups powdered sugar 1 slightly beaten egg white
1/8 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon melted butter
½ teaspoon vanilla
Blend powdered sugar into egg white. Add melted butter, salt, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. If glaze is to thin, add more sugar.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Three Months...

Tomorrow will mark three months of being cancer free. It's been three months since my surgery. Wow. The first part of 2007 certainly was a whirlwind for me. Between doctors visits, recovery and opening a full time studio to say life has been a little crazy is an understatement.

I attended a dinner for Cancer survivors last night. It's part of the Relay for Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society. I got my purple survivor shirt. I sat at the table with my Grandmother, also a survivor, and several other friends, one of which has been cancer-free for 23 years - which in and of itself is crazy to me because I actually remember her having her surgery - does that mean I'm old??

So many things about my "bout with cancer," or my "minor inconvienience" as I like to call it, are really out of the norm for cancer patients that I really don't feel like a "survivor." I am, I suppose. I had cancer and now I don't -- but I didn't "fight the fight" - I was so blessed in the circumstances, the type, the treatment - I didn't have to go through much that many many people do when they have this terrible disease. It almost doesn't seem fair to label myself a survivor.

I do know that my little "bout" has made me more appreciative of the little things. It's given me a greater faith that God is in control. It makes me hug my babies tighter every day, night, and moment. It has shown me how much I am loved. It's made me not sweat the small stuff a little more often (though I still struggle with that occasionally).

Three months. Wow. On the one hand, I can't believe it's already been three months. It's all still fresh in my memory. On the other hand it seems like it was ages ago. My children are different now than they were then... Clara's talking more, Lila's completely potty-trained and is now a three year old "big girl" and Mallory's minus a baby tooth! I take joy in watching Clara squeeze her eyes shut for the prayer - in Lila rattling off her adapted lyrics to the "Sweet" song - in Mallory being an AllStar softball player. A lot can change in three months. I'm glad my past three have changed for the better.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Lila!

It's hard to believe that Lila is three. On the one hand, she seems like such an old soul, like she's been around forever. On the other hand, I can't believe she was barely one when we moved to Pearland. That's younger than Clara is now! Lila is our "spunky" child. People are drawn to her because she's full of life and so charismatic. She's such a little ham and loves being the center of attention. (Not to mention she's brilliant, of course, and people just love hearing what she's going to come up with next). We had her party yesterday. It was a "Go Diego Go" party - her choice. ( The party was followed by a nice long nap (yay!) and dinner at Benihana. Yum!

You can view her three year portraits here:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Mallory's lost her first tooth. Very exciting!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What happened to planning?

My 10th anniversary is coming up in June and we are planning a trip. I have no idea where we're going yet, but somewhere... and without children. Yay! I'm open for suggestions if anyone has any great vacation ideas. Kevin's not a big water fan, so lazy days by the beach are out.

Of course, of much sooner need of planning is Lila's birthday party, which will be next weekend (the 21st) at 10:30. She wants a "Go Diego Go" party, so I'm trying to think of something adventurous to do. Where did all the creative juices go that I had when I planned Mallory's first several birthday parties...?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Keeping it Real...

Yes. This is me on the scale. There I am in black & white. (Pun intended). In my defense, this was taken at the end of the day after dinner... .and when I weigh myself in the morning before a shower I weigh several pounds less.... Yet I found myself cringing the other day when Mallory looked me up and down and said "Mommy, are you getting pregnant again??" Um... nope. Just fluffy, dear. Yikes! So, I've been reinspired to get back to healthy eating habits & hopefully soon that line on the scale won't be sitting quite as high. Maybe by June I'll need to buy some cute new clothes for my 10 year anniversary trip.