Archive for September, 2010

Olivia Fix

Five ingredients

I am always on the lookout for ultra simple recipes for week nights. My friend Lori claims to be in the same boat, but she regularly sends me links to “quick and easy” dishes that have seven different herb and spices alone—plus another 10-12 ingredients. I have no doubt they are fabulous, but at 5:30 pm on Monday, I don’t have the patience. (Unless, of course, there’s wine involved. Or friends. Or friends with wine. If it was LORI with wine, I’d never stop cooking.)

I’ve noticed that if a recipe has more than six ingredients, I’m pretty unlikely to make it on a week night. But this—which I’m not even sure counts as a “recipe”—is truly easy. Roast a butternut squash or two, toss it in the blender with a bit of chicken stock, water and/or milk, add some salt and pepper, and you’re done. With all that extra time on my hands, I sauteed some sage, grabbed some bacon from the freezer, and added a bit of shredded cheese.

If only I hadn’t given away that bread…

A&O Fix

As I was saying something about how sweet the girls were, Bryan reminded me that he took these photos VERY early in the morning.

Bread in minutes a day. Really!

When Doug and Karyl were here last weekend, Doug brought along his cookbook, Artisan Bread in Minutes a Day.

I’m familiar with the no-knead process. (For the record, I’m also familiar with plans that involve cooking in other people’s kitchens, but I was pleased—and relieved—to discover Doug is a neater cook than I am.)

I found the promise of “five minutes a day” intriguing—the previous no-knead recipe I’ve used usually has me up at 3:30 am to put it in the oven,  when the inconvenient and rather inflexible 20-hour clock ends.

These recipes, though, require the standard two-hour rising window, and then you can bake the bread immediately, or store the dough in the fridge for up to three days(!).

Doug made these two gorgeous loaves with rye, whole wheat and unbleached white flour.

The bread was smooth and soft, save for the perfectly crusty exterior. I think the pan of water in the bottom of the very hot oven does the trick.

Doug bought me my own copy of the book while he was here, and I put it to use this weekend, making a batch of peasant bread. I was surprised to find the five-minute promise made on the cover is really true. I made one small loaf of walnut sage bread, and liked it enough to make a larger loaf, too.

The only problem with this recipe?

The resulting three or four loaves of bread, which disappear in short order (along with a half stick of butter).

I think that last loaf—and the one yet to be baked—will have to be shared.

So that’s why there were footprints on the window.

“Look, Mama, I’m Sweeping Booty.”

Olivia’s big find

Olivia was the first one out the door this morning, and when she rounded the car, she started yelling, “Oh! Look, a turtle! GET IT, DADDY!”

I have to admit I thought she had confused her animals, but she was right—there was a box turtle slowing making his way across the driveway. Bryan scooped him up so the girls could get a closer look.

After a few moments, Bryan carried him to the yard and pointed him in the right direction. He’s one of the nicer visitors we’ve had as a result of the waterway behind the house.

Sweets for the sweet

It’s hard to appreciate just how “mini” these cupcakes really are…

…until you gain a bit of perspective:

I wish I could claim credit for them, but they came from “Cutie’s” kitchen, with a bit of assistance from Ava, of course.

Smith family visit

Doug and Karyl came down to Kansas this weekend. They took the girls to the zoo, made a serious dent in the inventory of the new American Girl store in Overland Park, and just generally spoiled us for about three days.

They brought Daisy, their new Australian Blue Heeler, with them. She was the perfect guest, and as Doug promised, she drank less gin than he did. The girls loved having her around, and even Dagny didn’t seem to mind much!

Bedhead baby

That is some serious bedhead, Liv. Impressive, no?

Olivia is not exactly what you’d call a morning person. She regularly tries to talk us into more sleep (or at least more cuddling) come 7:30 am. She’s not a big fan of getting dressed, and she will scream and hide if you come at her with a hairbrush.

Of course, that last part probably isn’t too surprising.