November 24, 2010


For 176 days I looked down at my left arm to see this.

This morning this is what I see.

September 9, 2010

After Hours

I'm not sure what's worse, insomnia or migraines?  Put them together and you've got one wicked combination.

All I want to do is go to sleep and wake up feeling better.  For the last 90 minutes I laid in bed.  Tossing and turning, the thoughts racing through my mind like a freight train.  So here I am, sitting in front of the computer.  Writing down some of the frantic factors in an attempt to clear my mind.

While I'm up I should get the coffee pot ready.  I'm going to need some caffeine when the sun starts to shine.

August 26, 2010

The Numbers

20  -- Point at which I am in this pregnancy, in terms of weeks along.

12  -- Time I've had a PICC-line stuck in my inner-left bicep, in weeks.

116  -- Number of times I've jabbed myself in the abdomen with a heparin shot.

7 --  OB office visits I've had in the last 12 weeks.

5  --  Ultrasounds I've had done so far to check baby's growth.

14  --  Weight of baby at yesterday's ultrasound, in ounces.

1/11/11  --  Official due date.

August 12, 2010

When the Boss is Away

Apparently the dogs will play.  

And act up.  Performing WWF (or is it WWE now??) moves on my living room rug just minutes after KT goes to bed.  Refusing to sleep on their designated beds at night and attempt time and time again to coyly find a spot on the mattress next to me.  Barking at 5:15am to go outside and harass whatever wild thing has dared to moved in the field behind our house. 

Did I mention act up?  What is it with the whining and barking?  I've done nothing different in our day to day routine.  If anything they've gotten more attention but they act like little monsters.  Every time I turn around Logan is whining to come in the house, whining to go back out, whining as he lies next to me on the couch, whining for another serving of food even though he just wolfed down his own and half of Dakota's.

If anyone is awake at 5:15 tonight/tomorrow morning they will spend the rest of the resting hours outside, shivering on the concrete patio as the temps hover in the low 50's. 

Yeah, right.  Who am I kidding?  After about 5 minutes of standing outside in the dark they'd both be barking and pawing at the already busted sliding glass door to come in.  As mean as I might try to be, I won't subject my neighbors to the hooligans before the sun rises.

Instead I'll let them back in.  Shoving my feet into their kidneys when they try to lay on my bed and cursing at them much like the ants found scurrying across my kitchen floor this afternoon.

August 4, 2010

Have Sourdough, Will Bake

Or rather, "need" to bake.

The sourdough starter got stuck in the fridge some time ago.  For the life of me I can't remember if it was before we went camping (??) or before our quick trip to Michigan (??).  Either way it's been way too long since its presence has graced our kitchen counter.

I pulled it back out last night, fed the yeasties and gave it a nice warm, comfy spot in the kitchen to bubble away.  It needs to be nurtured for a couple of days but then I bake.

I'm thinking at a minimum we need a batch of sourdough pizza crust and some donuts.  Some of the trusty "standbys" that have already come to be loved.  This time though I feel the need for some adventure...any suggestions on new recipes to try?

July 26, 2010

Dress Revamp

The blue dress was a disaster. 

The color -- much darker than the pictures portrayed.
The fabric -- much heavier than I anticipated.
The fit -- just wrong, very wrong.
The skirt -- had POCKETS!!  Who puts pockets on a formal dress??  (and this gal certainly doesn't need any more attention drawn to these hips)

It got returned and I went on a mission to find another dress.  Thankfully I waited until the last possible weekend (we leave on Thursday for Washington) to attempt the mall.  I say thankfully because I ended up stumbling onto a fantastic deal.

Say hello to the new dress:

The best part was that I got it on sale for almost 60% off of the original price.  I ended up buying this dress, a pair of shorts for C and two tanks for KT and spent $3 more than the price of the first dress.

And I decided to pair it with these shoes.  Heaven forbid my feet swell horribly, I have a pair of black patent flip flops as a back up.

Now I just need to find the motivation to start packing for the trip.

July 19, 2010

So, Yeah...

...although vague and confusing for those who have more recently joined this party, the last post was not only a plea it was an announcement.

You see,

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of morning sickness, with "unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids.

Baby #2 is due January 11th, 2011.

July 6, 2010

Confessions From the Chaos

Dear Hyperemesis:

I  know you and I have a sordid, tumultuous relationship.  

I know we have a history and the odds were high we'd meet again at some point if the situation warranted.

I know your presence typically indicates everything is going as planned.

I know you are not prepared to cede just yet, nor am I asking for such conditions.

All I ask is that this week, in light of everything else going on (C traveling for work, family medical concerns) that you choose to lessen or remain unwavering in your stance instead of heightening with the added stress.

It's not a huge request, is it?

Plant Girl

July 2, 2010

Decision Made

The votes were really a landslide -- toronto blue won out without any competition.  Which is good because it's the color that I really liked and wanted to order anyway.

Thanks for the suggestions!  Now on to find something for rehearsal dinner...

June 28, 2010

Another Fashion Request

So there's this wedding C and I are going to the beginning of August.  My original plan to make myself a dress was foiled when I realized the fabrics I found online, I didn't like in person (I had ordered swatches to be on the safe side).  Plus, I decided it wasn't worth the time and frustration to make a dress when I could find a fairly inexpensive alternative.

I haven't even attempted to head out and look around town to see what's available yet.  But my shopping choices around here are typically limited.

Here's a link to the dress I like.  (You can see more views of the dress through the website.)

These are the 2 colors I'm torn between.  Toronto blue and fuschia rose:

I found out that the bridesmaids are in "royal purple" and the groomsmen (ie. my husband) will be in a purple vest and tie.  Which do you think is the better choice for me?

June 22, 2010

Like Father, Like Son

For those of you who know my father-in-law, you'll fully appreciate this post.

We bought a new barbecue grill over the weekend.  The one we were using had served us well -- 10 years, thousands of meals cooked and many winters weathered -- but I had been wanting one that could actually hold enough food to have company over for dinner. 

After the grill was assembled, C got "the look" on his face and pulled the old one out into the middle of the yard.  I know based on his expression that I was in for some form of entertainment.

Last night after dark this is what I looked out the back window to see.

Apparently there's no need for a paper shredder when you have a spare grill in the backyard.  Silly boy.

June 4, 2010

Sourdough Donuts

Today is National Donut Day so I decided to try my hand and make my own.  This is the first time I've ever made donuts so aesthetically they're not the prettiest, but holy moly, are they tasty!


2 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg (I usually put in a bit of both!)
1 egg
1/2 c. sourdough starter
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp. oil (+ additional oil for frying)

Resift flour with baking powder, soda, salt and spice. Beat egg, beat in sugar. Combine with starter, milk and oil. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix to moderately stiff dough. On floured surface, knead to smooth out and round up dough. (I usually knead less than 5 minutes or so.) Roll out to 3/8" thickness. Cut with doughnut cutter. Place on a cookie sheet and let rise for about 30-45 minutes. Drop in heated oil (~370F). Fry til golden brown. Let drip onto paper towel and then roll in sugar.

May 17, 2010

Spring Blooms

This is one of my favorite times of the year.

May 15, 2010

Opening Delay

My original intent was to have my Etsy store launched and open for sales today.  It didn't happen.  Surprisingly though, I'm okay with it.

About 10 days ago I made the decision to push the Grand Opening back to June 1st.  I was sitting at the sewing machine one day fretting over how I was going to get it all done and ready.  I had dresses, skirts, shirts and pants to get sewn; I had pictures to take of all the items; I had listings to write and post on Etsy.  Add to that my day to day housework, laundry, tending to KT, trying to get my garden prepped and planted and the camper put back in order (i.e. curtains and cushion covers sewn).  When I looked at all of the pieces it just felt like too much.  I didn't want to go into my opening being overwhelmed.

 So that's what I've been doing lately -- housework, yardwork, sewing and more sewing.  I'm enjoying it all.

April 22, 2010

My Secret Life, Part II

I'm taking the leap.

Walking to the edge,
holding my breath,
closing my eyes and
taking that step off into the unknown.

I'm opening an online store on Etsy.

Right now I'm shooting for an opening date of May 15th.  This could be pushed back to June 1st depending on how much stuff I get sewn in the next couple of weeks.  (When I thought about doing this I neglected to remember the launch would coincide with getting my garden planted, spring yard work, getting the trailer open for the summer camping season, etc. After a couple of days of internal struggle I decided to start anyways while the ideas were still fresh.)

I'm excited, nervous and excited.  Very excited.  And nervous.

I love seeing pieces come together.  I love seeing the recipient's reaction.  But it terrifies me as well that they won't like what I made, that they will only see the imperfections.

If I step off and it turns out disastrously, at least I'll have gifts for all my favorite little girls on hand.

March 25, 2010

My Secret Life

If you can't tell by what's written here, I usually have half a dozen projects going on at any given time.  Often times they don't get finished and get tucked away in a box/bin/corner somewhere (I'm really trying to work on that) but I love seeing things come to fruition.  I love creating stuff with my hands and see it transform before my eyes.

One of my problems is that I have many hobbies including sewing, quilting and scrapbooking (as well as baking bread, gardening...).  I flit from one project to another as time warrants -- making quilts for new babies, sewing gifts for birthdays, scrapbooking 10 years of our life together.  It is a stress relief for me; it makes me happy to work on projects.  The thing is though, that when I start on something, I immerse myself in it completely at first.  All of my free waking time is spent laboring over the newest obsession.

This results in a dirty house, an inbox full of messages that need replies and seclusion from friends, both in real life ones and my internet buddies.  As my project nears completion I reemerge and resume my (somewhat) normal activities.

I guess this explanation is my way of helping to explain my absence for the last few weeks.  You see, my friends, I have a new love in my life.

I bought it a few weeks ago and it has consumed me.

I've made dresses for KT:

And items for friends:

Currently I'm trying to finish up projects that were started eons ago and organizing my sewing space.  My hope is to open an online store and start selling my stuff.

Don't worry though, I'm snacking on yummy sourdough baked goods as I go along...

March 10, 2010

Sourdough rolls

Last week I had a very successful venture in sourdough baking!  (Finally, thank goodness!)  I opted to make dinner rolls and they turned out beautifully -- great sourdough flavor, the trademark slightly chewy crust and a good internal texture.

Ingredients (makes 12 large dinner rolls)
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 cups flour (I used 100% unbleached bread flour)

  1. Mix starter, 1 cup warm water and 1 cup flour in medium sized bowl to create the "sponge".  Let sit for 20-30 minutes, cover tightly and put in fridge for 10-24 hours.
  2. Bring to room temperature.
  3. Proof yeast in 1/4 cup warm water, using 1-2 teaspoons of sugar.
  4. Combine sponge and yeast mixture in bowl, then add remaining water and sugar, salt and olive oil.
  5. Stir in flour, adding 1/2 cup at a time until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl and is manageable.
  6. Turn onto floured counter and knead well.
  7. Place in oiled container, cover and let rise in warm area until double in size.
  8. When doubled, punch dough down gently and form into rolls with floured hands.
  9. Arrange formed rolls on greased or parchment-lined 9x13" pan and let rise again until double.  (I covered mine with a slightly damp flour sack towel and misted the tops of the rolls periodically to ensure they didn't dry out and form a "skin" that would prevent rising.)
  10. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  11. Brush with melted butter and bake another 5-10 minutes until golden brown. 

**As hard as it is, these rolls are best baked the day before they are served to let them cool completely so the flavor can fully develop.** 

February 25, 2010

Another Day, Another Project

Despite the really cruddy weather last summer, we had a great time with our garden.  The yields left a LOT to be desired but that was mainly out of my control. 

This year we're trying something new.

2/14 -- Planting Seeds

2/24 -- New Seedlings (Tomatoes & Peppers)

February 24, 2010

The Slippery Slope

I'm sitting at a point I hate.  I've been here before and you'd think I'd learn my lesson.  You'd think I know enough to not make the mistakes that put me here.  

But I don't.  I know what I need to do, I know what I should do, but I'm just not doing it.  It's more fun to take the easy way out and be lazy.

This last 6 months has been tough.  I've had many things to deal with in terms of my health.  That 6 months has taken a toll on my body.

I stopped exercising over the summer when the chiari got so badly.  Our eating habits took a turn for the worst because I didn't feel like cooking.  Surgery came and went -- we had meals delivered to our door, we ordered a lot of pizza, we ate what was convenient.  What other people made.  I was on 6 weeks of very stringent restrictions.

Then the restrictions lifted.  I started to feel better and started cooking again.  I started baking -- fun things to bide our afternoons when it was snowing, loaves upon loaves of wheat bread to find my perfect recipe, sourdough goodies to play with my sourdough starter.

Alas, it all began to catch up with me.  My physical activity didn't match the foods I was enjoying and the scale began to climb.  A pound here, a pound there.  Not enough to make me need to switch my wardrobe but enough to make me feel uncomfortable.  In both my skin and my clothes.

I'm not back to my heaviest weight by a long shot.  I'm not even back to where I was 18 months ago.  I am however closer to that weight than my goal and I want to get back.  I want to feel good in my skin again.

So I have to get back on track.  I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll never be one who can eat whatever I want with no thought to exercising.  It would be nice to be lazy and skinny.

February 23, 2010

Sunshine Surprise!

Holy cow, my husband is awesome!

Friday morning we woke up to clouds and grey skies in Moab.  I knew he had something planned for our anniversary but he completely played it off as though it was no big deal that the weather was postponing it.  As the weekend went on and the clouds lingered his mood began to match the gloom in the skies.  He pouted, he sulked.  I tried to stay upbeat and optimistic about our weekend.  Trying to make the most of our time even if it wasn't ideal.

Yesterday he seemed to be in a better mood as we woke to sun.  Still slightly edgy, but more easy going than the previous days.

On the drive out of town, he handed me a envelope with a card in it.  The front had two penguins (non flying birds for those that didn't get the subtlety that I missed as well) holding hands -- it read "You've always made me feel like I could fly.  Now it's time to give you that feeling..."  As I read the card, slightly confused, he turned off of the highway into Canyonlands Field.

My anniversary surprise was a scenic flight over Canyonlands National Park, through Redtail Aviation!  Although my stomach didn't fare as well as I'd hoped during the 1-hour flight (but I didn't puke, thank you very much) it was a fantastic adventure.  It was so amazing to see Canyonlands from the air.  The snow on the sandstone formations was beautiful -- there was so much to see that I felt like I could barely take it all in.  

Definitely a good surprise on his part and I'm thankful that the skies cleared yesterday when they did.







(KT did fairly well.  No freak outs, but she chose to lay with her head in C's lap for most of the flight.  Periodically she'd peak out the window, make a comment and lay back down.  I think it was all a little intimidating for her.  I give her a ton of credit for doing as well as she did.  And thankfully, they didn't charge us for her.)

February 22, 2010

What is that I See?

As I cracked my eyes open this morning I could sense something was different.  Something was lighter, more cheerful.  A renewal of sorts.

Perhaps a good night's sleep had refreshed my body.  A roll to the left confirmed that indeed was NOT the renewal I was sensing.  Hauling KT in the backpack carrier for a handful of miles the last couple of days had taken a toll on my body -- sore hips, a huge knot between my shoulder blades.  

Maybe I was sensing a clean, inviting hotel room.  A look at piles of dirty, somewhat smelly hiking clothes confirmed that was NOT the renewal I was sensing as well.  KT's socks have taken on a color of grunge from the hotel carpet that I might not ever get out.  That definitely wasn't cheerful either.

Then!  A moment of inspiration!  I jumped out of bed and gingerly made my way to the heavily curtained window.  Yes!  There it was -- the source of the renewal and cheerfulness.


On the morning of our departure the glorious sun has finally made an appearance.  I'm reminded of how beautiful this place is, and how much we enjoy being here.  It's sad that we have to leave today but we're inspired to be back in Moab before another 2 years has passed.

February 21, 2010

Holding Pattern

The clouds still obscure the red rocks and the snow flakes fall beautifully on the town today.  With temps in the 30's and no sun shining through the haze, plans for today had to be chosen carefully.  Someone (i.e. me) forgot to pack snow boots for the tiny tater (really, who would have thought there would be this much snow here) so we have to plan for adventuring in places where the mud is minimal.

Our plans worked out wonderfully and we hiked part of the Slickrock Bike Trail after breakfast.  The snow on the red sandstone made for an amazing backdrop and the cold weather meant very few people to bump into.  KT was been a trooper -- thankfully she loves hiking and doesn't mind the snow -- especially when encouraged by promises of Oreos and the large, flat screen television in the hotel room.

Even with snow and cold, who can argue with getting out to enjoy scenery like this?





February 20, 2010

Sneak Peek

The sun has shone through the clouds for all of about 10 minutes since we pulled into town on Thursday.  Temps are about twenty degrees below normal; the weather continuously changes from rain to snow and back to rain.  Hikes have been postpones; hikes have been attempted in the wet weather.  KT has fallen off the beds in the hotel room numerous times and yet still jumps around like a monkey.

My anniversary consisted of eating breakfast at my favorite diner in Moab, watching big fat snowflakes fall.  The hike C had planned was postponed due to weather.  Instead we drove through Arches National Park, viewing a side of the Park we'd never seen.  The clouds hung low and thick, obscuring the panoramic views and clouding the beautiful red sandstone.  The rain and snow drove us back into town for an afternoon nap and roses waiting at the hotel.  Post-nap we ventured out to drive along Kane Creek and laughed about the first mountain biking attempt we'd tried there many years ago.  Once again the rain and snow drove us back into town.  Dinner consisted of our favorite microbrews, fabulous onion rings, amazing chocolate cake and a once in a lifetime feat that we'll talk about forever (I dropped a butter knife into C's pint glass, busting the bottom out of his beer).

Even though the weather made it nearly impossible to get out and "adventure", it was a great day.  I spent it with the people I love in a place that I love, laughing about memories past and making ones for the future.

Very little has gone to plan and it's been a blast.

February 19, 2010

A Decade Gone By

10 years ago we said our vows in a tiny little church in Franksville, Wisconsin.  Surrounded by our closest family and friends, blanketed by the newly fallen snow of one of the worst storms to hit the Midwest in years.

9 years ago we celebrated our 1st anniversary in our tiny little rental house in Provo.  The cold drafts blew through the windows as though the glass was peppered with shotgun shot holes.  Many nights we lay in bed and the red and blue police lights decorated our bedroom walls as the officers harassed the local bums.

8 years ago we celebrated our 2nd anniversary amidst the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  We were both horribly sick with colds and never ventured out to any of the events as we'd hoped.

7 years ago we celebrated our 3nd anniversary with the talk of moving out of our apartment and into a house of our own.  We dreamed of a yard, a garden and perhaps a dog to keep us company.

6 years ago we celebrated our 4th anniversary in our own home.  Our dreams of a yard and a dog had come true.  My visions of a garden were semi-fulfilled with my grad research -- gallon pots of alfalfa grown in the BYU greenhouse.

5 years ago we celebrated our 5th anniversary with visions of a baby swimming in our head and hearts.  The beginning of March we opted for another dog.

4 years ago we celebrated our 6th anniversary with heavy hearts.  We'd experienced the heartache of 2 miscarriages since our last celebration and still longed for a baby.  Little did we know that our dreams were coming true at that very moment.

3 years ago we celebrated our 7th anniversary with the blood shot eyes of new parents.  We ventured out for dinner as a family; surrounded by our love for each other and the new life we'd created.

2 years ago we celebrated our 8th anniversary amidst a pile a dirty laundry, hiking gear and crabbiness.  We had just attempted our first trip to Moab with a toddler; it hadn't gone as well as hoped.

1 year ago we celebrated our 9th anniversary, barely.  The months before that had been some of the hardest we'd endured.  We felt as though we were just going through the motions of being married, feeling more like 2 adults living within the same house, but not really interacting other than to argue.

Today we celebrate our 10th anniversary with a new sense of commitment to one another.  We've faced even more in the last year -- fixing our marriage, me being laid off, my depression, and chiari.  Holy hell, the chiari.  I had brain surgery.  And because of the hard work we'd put into our marriage mere months before that, he held my hand through the scariest moments of my life.  

It's been a long journey this last 10 years.  Some of the moments have left a little to be desired, some have completely left us dumbstruck but I wouldn't change it.  It ain't always beautiful, but it's been a beautiful ride.

Happy Anniversary, my love.  Here's to another fantastic decade and more beautiful moments!

February 18, 2010

Road Trippin'

Moab, Utah is a place near and dear to our hearts.  We moved to Utah shortly after we got married and spent our first 6 wedding anniversaries there (or at least we celebrated there President's Day weekend).  We skipped '07 since KT was months old and opted in '08 to try our hand at combining one of our favorite places with our new favorite little person.  When the wee sprout was just barely a year old, we loaded up the 4Runner and headed off to Moab for a weekend of adventure.  

The weekend was tough.  One of the toughest weekends I've encountered as a parent.  It was an adventure in itself but one that I didn't want to share the details about.  I struggled with visiting a place that we'd always know sans child (carefree with no time line nor worries) and trying to integrate a toddler into that atmosphere.  Plus, truthfully, she was at an age were integrating into anything wasn't easy.  There were tantrums, tears and wishes of being home.  That was just from me; I think KT handled it somewhat more gracefully than her mother.

We skipped '09 because of the (mis)adventures of '08.  I dreaded making another trip and the same mistakes.  But now 2 years has passed and we're attempting it again.  She's at a better age -- no longer needing naps, good to fall asleep in a strange bed, potty trained, excited about eating at restaurants and big enough to WANT to hike and explore.  As for me I think I'm at a better age too -- free of headaches, not stressed with work and less anxious due to the miraculous little pill called cymb@lta.

It's our 10th anniversary tomorrow.  I want to be there this year; I want to try it again.  Worse case scenario I drink a lot of wine and take a lot of pictures of the temper tantrums.

February 17, 2010

Semi-Successful Sourdough

One of the most important things I learned in this attempt is that I need to have more patience.  I need to give myself WAY more time than I think I'm going to need to make a batch of sourdough goodness.

I started this project on Monday evening with the hopes that we'd have hamburger buns for dinner on Tuesday.  We had hamburgers for dinner tonight, not last night as I'd hoped.  It wasn't a big deal at all.  I just need to make stuff well ahead of when I think I'm going to want it done.

The recipe was simple (I am posting what I did, not what the specific instructions were):
  • 2 cups sourdough starter, proofed and active
  • 3 tablespoons butter (I used unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3-5 cups all purpose flour (I used bread flour since it was all I had)
  1. Stir together everything except the flour.
  2. Work flour in gradually until it comes together and can be turned out and kneaded (in my case this was just shy of 3 cups).
  3. Knead until dough is shiny and satiny.
  4. Put in lightly oiled container and refrigerate overnight.
  1. Allow to come to room temperature and let rise until doubled in size.
  2. Punch dough down and let it rest 15-20 minutes.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into equal portions (I did 10, next time I'll go with only 6-8).
  4. Shape into rough circles, smooth the top by pulling the dough down under the ball then flatten to about 1/2 to 3/4" high.
  5. Place on parchment paper or greased cookie sheet, cover and let rise to desired size.
  6. Bake at 375 until golden brown, 15-18 minutes.
  7. Immediately place on cooling racks to cool.
It took until almost 3pm on Tuesday to get the dough to double in size.  I shaped the buns and let them go until a little after 6pm.  I was nervous that they weren't rising well at all and was afraid that I'd messed them up.  So in the name of experimentation I put one pan into a steamed oven and let them bake about 16 minutes.  I got a decent amount of oven spring, but they still weren't the size I wanted.  The taste was gooooooooood though.  Nice crusty exterior with a slightly sourdough inside.  They were a little dense still.

So I let the other pan sit on the counter for another 4 hours.  About 10 o'clock last night I popped them into a 400 degree oven and let them baked for 15 minutes.  (I always preheat my oven 25 degrees hotter and then drop in when I put the stuff in -- to compensate for the drop in temp when I open the door.  Last night I forgot to turn the heat down so they baked a little hotter than I'd intended.)  The extra 4 hours proofing gave them the extra height I was looking for and a beautiful crumb.


I give it a 7 out of 10.  Next time I'll shape the buns a little bigger, give them more time to rise and make sure to bake them at 375 instead of 400.  Definitely not bad for my first try.

February 16, 2010

Let the Baking Commence!


My sourdough starter is 14 days old and appropriately (hopefully!) active.  It's doubling with every feeding and some days wants to be fed twice a day.  So last night I pulled some out and mixed up a batch of hamburger bun dough.  It spent a nice, lazy night in the fridge to help develop flavor and is fermenting/proofing away on the counter as I type.  

My hope is to have buns for dinner tonight but I'm thinking that might be ambitious.  Worse case scenario we have something else tonight and enjoy them tomorrow.

Here's hoping for a successful sourdough attempt!

February 3, 2010

Recent Ventures

I cannot leave well enough alone.  Even though I have too many unfinished projects to count laying around my house, I continue to take on new things.

Many, many moons ago (aka pre-job, pre-child, when I was still a student moons ago) we went a couple of years without buying any store bought bread.  Every 10 days or so I'd make a double batch of whole wheat bread that resembled dark, dense bricks of carbohydrate laden goodness.  It was a recipe from a friend that was heavy on the whole wheat flour and didn't rise well and become airy.  Oh, it was tasty though.  As life got busier it fell to the wayside and became a distant memory.  The smell of fresh baked bread -- which is one of my favorite smells and reminds me of being a small child on the farm -- no longer wafted from the kitchen on a regular basis.

Recently I decided to get back into baking bread again.  This time I wanted to get more creative; I wanted to journey into recipes for artisan breads, rolls, etc.  More importantly I wanted to find a whole wheat bread recipe that I liked.  One that wasn't so dense, but was more airy, moist and had a finer crumb.  

The challenge with baking is our altitude is just shy of 4800ft above sea level.  Baking is a completely different experience than what I was used to growing up.  Yeast behaves differently, the boiling point of water is different.  Recipes need to be tweaked, oven temperatures fiddled with, proofing times adjusted.  Before I never paid any attention and just got pissed when things didn't turn out the way I'd hoped.  

I became a woman on a mission.  I armed myself with different kinds of flours, new yeast, an oven thermometer and even a cookbook on baking at higher altitudes.  I was set.

A few weeks ago the first project began -- to craft a good loaf of wheat bread.  My goal was to find a recipe that worked, even if that meant making adjustments for numerous batches.  After I found something that worked I'd commit myself to making all of our bread again.  This is a much loftier goal now that a small person in our house has significantly upped our bread intake.  It's been about 6 batches and I'm almost there.  I need to cut the sweetener (honey in this case) back just a little more.  The resulting loaves aren't fabulously high risers but they're tender, flavorful and make damned good toast in the morning.

Monday of this week I had another hair-brained idea.


It's a gooey, bubbly, smelly mess of fermenting flour and water right now.  And I'm fascinated with it.  Let's see how this venture pans out...

February 2, 2010

A New Look


I figured that with my new look (shorter, darker, some days curly hair) and my new out"look" on life it was only fitting to completely revamp this blog. 

I spruced up the background to something new and snazzy; I updated the blogs I follow; I dumped a bunch of kitschy stuff. 

More importantly though, I reworked the title, the blog description and my profile.  The Plant Girl writing today is different than the one who wrote a year ago.  My hope is that I'm better.  A new improved version of me who is no longer waiting for the next thing to happen but living in the moment.

So as a friend would say, " come in--sit, smoke, drink".  Take a look around and get a better feel for where the last 8 months has taken me.  My hope is that you'll like the new and improved versions of it all.