Tag Archives: homemade

Baking 2: Electric Boogaloo

10 Oct

The danger is not lest the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but lest, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry. -Simone Weil

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
Mother Teresa

Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.
Nikolai Berdyaev

The wretch who digs the mine for bread, or ploughs, that others may be fed, feels less fatigued than that decreed to him who cannot think or read.
Hannah More

To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread.
James A. Baldwin

(love love love BrainyQuote.com)

Bagels/ Laugen (pretzel)Bagels (by me!) The grey/weird speckles are Celtic grey sea salt. Yum!

We found out rather quickly, that all commercially available breads at our local supermarket (Publix) contains either soy, a soy derivative, or ascorbic acid.  All of these ingredients are on our list of forbidden foods as Alex and I try to build our health and learn to live (and hopefully live well!) with G6PD deficiency.  The only bread we have found is pita bread, and while we enjoy it sometime, we both had been craving some fluffy, more leavened bread.

First off, I ordered an inexpensive Sunbeam bread machine from Amazon.com.  That solves the daily bread issue- I can make a 1.5lb express loaf in an hour, without any kneading or oven heating to make my arms and hands hurt more (from the kneading and the hand-wringing when I get another sky-high electrical bill…thankfully the cooler season is almost here, so I will be able to shut off the air conditioner. Woohoo!).   This is a pretty good solution, and allows me to make a loaf every day.  We usually have fresh bread at dinner (the express loaf, while still warm, tastes just like Carabba’s bread according to Alex) and the rest of the loaf is used to make Alex’s school lunch for the following day (now that Smucker’s Uncrustables are off our menu. They were a staple during my pregnancy with him and have been a staple for him since starting school.)   However, I noticed a neato looking book on bread on Amazon.com and coincidentally, my friend Marissa mentioned it the next day.   So I considered that a sign and bought it.

It is called “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”  and it is fantastic.  All of the breads are for the most part, “no knead”.  Basically you mix up a base dough in a large batch, using a mixer with a dough hook or just a large spoon or your hands.  You mix just enough to combine the ingredients, but not enough to actively knead it to develop the dough.  Most of the doughs can be kept in the fridge for up to 14 days, and the book features many recipes and suggestions for using those doughs. All of the doughs can be used to take multiple types of breads, so it’s not like a person who actively bakes using this book will get bored over the 2 week period, from eating the same loaf constantly.

However, being creatures of habit, we have found that the Olive Oil Bread is our favorite and it is perfect for pizza, focaccia, calzones, even a simple rustic round.  I do find that one batch of the Olive Oil bread dough only lasts us a couple of days as I’m definitely not on my feet yet, so when I am I like to get as much done as possible.  It’s hard for me to cook anything, but if I make pizza for Alex on one day, I’ll set up a few mini-pies so he will have lunch for school and a snack the next day, and Jeff will have leftovers.

Anyway, just wanted to share this awesome cookbook with all of you…. It has definitely put artisan bread within the grasp of this arthritic old gal, and in the mouth of my little one with all of our “contraindicated” foods.

Oh and the best part?  You should see how much Alex is eating now and how happy he is!   It’s an incredible change and it just makes my heart smile to see how strong he is getting.  It’s making-me-all-teary-wonderful!



P.S. Thanks to my friend Marissa, for suggesting this book!  Please check out her amazing art & visit her Etsy shop!

Bookmark and Share

P.P.S. Does anyone have an easy to use ice cream maker they really like? (I’m thinking an electrical one, to preserve my energy)

Mushrooms, bowling, and chocolate…

10 Oct

Awesome kid and possibly the heaviest thing I have ever created (outweighed kiddo’s birthweight, definitely) both went to the bowling alley yesterday for a very belated (due to me being extra sick lately, holidays, other birthday parties, etc) Birthday celebration!

He asked for a Mario themed cake…Our local purveyors of baked goods all have soy or ascorbic acid somewhere in their cakey creations, so we originally decided to bring Alex a cupcake from home, and have a themed cake for the rest of the kids.  Alex was totally down with this plan (it’s amazing what he is flexible with lately… really makes me appreciate the amount of progress he has made).  Then I found out that Publix did not have a Mario theme in their catalog, so the plan was switched to get the cake and put Mario figurines on the cake…

But he had his heart set on a really awesome cake and that seemed a little too pieced together for this gal and her creative tendencies.

And the kids loved it!  The cake itself is fantastic (from Sur la Table’s Baking Kids Love)… The mushroom “stem” was more of a brownie to offer increased support for the weighty mushroom “cap”… As probability would have it, one of my kitchen accidents would have to be a happy one- last week I tried to make the chocolate cake with Alex but because of constant narrating and ironically, the Mario theme song as Alex danced around, playing with his Nintendo handheld, narrating every moment and demanding I look (and me refusing and trying not to get more distracted) I forgot to put in the baking soda.  Ooops.  The “cake” came out more like very dark chocolate velvety brownies… Tasty (especially when garnished with a bit of finely ground Celtic grey sea salt)…. So when I was building the mushroom then EUREKA!  I set aside 1/4 of the batter and left the baking soda out…..

Here are the “failed” cupcakes (they were still tasty, but not cakey…very dense) that inspired the stem…

The fondant. Well, it was my first time working with fondant, and I felt guilty about all of the red food dye (but I was making this under a major time crunch)…I did darken the red fondant with some dark cocoa powder first, which seemed to help and gave the fondant a nice buttery and slightly chocolatey flavor….

So here is what I came up with.    I have seen other mushroom cakes online and they look much more professional (smooth fondant is something that just boggles my mind.  With RA I can’t chill the fondant and then roll it, and with hand tremors placing it neatly is another issue (and sensory issues?  Yeah. Fondant (and the post-cake making aftermath that was my kitchen and kitchen floor that I finally excavated using the steam cleaner) is definitely some sensory mayhem…Albeit, sweet sensory mayhem))

All in all, it was a nice birthday party.  We had five of the nicest kids show up, Alex was happy (I don’t think I have blogged, yet, about last year’s party…Soon I will. It’s on the “to blog list”)… A good time was had by all….

And now we have the leftovers of the beast of all cakes taking up all of our top shelf in our fridge…The little figures are all on the space left by the part of the cake that was eaten.  It’s like a Super Mario Land massacre… Or maybe a parallel to Boston’s Molasses Flood would be more appropriate, as the Mario, Luigi, Shy Guy, and a turtley thing are firmly encased in sweet, paralyzing fondant…

(I definitely recommend the chocolate cake recipe… I used “Special Dark” cocoa powder- which is super-chocolatey, and with the sea salt I use in all of my cooking, I think it made it perfectly yummy.  And soy free, so Alex could eat the same food as his non-G6PD deficient friends. Which is why we undertook this adventure to begin with.)

Sometimes we put on our “normal” to fit in and sometimes we bring the circus and invite everyone to grab a trapeze and join in.



Bookmark and Share

Pop-up Love!

18 Feb

Valentine’s gift

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

Alex and Jeff made me a pop-up book for Valentine’s Day!

I can only imagine the amount of effort both of them had to conjure up to complete this treasure…. They both worked so hard…

Mama & Me

This is Mama & Me. We do fun stuff together. (the pulltab makes us stir the pot on the stove together)....

My Mama is brave.

My Mama is brave.

My Mama is smart. (pulltab makes a lightbulb appear over my head)

My Mama is smart. (pulltab makes a lightbulb appear over my head)

She gives hugs and kisses.

She gives hugs and kisses.

Mama is the best mama in the world!

Mama is the best mama in the world!

copyright Alex 2009

copyright Alex 2009

Am I the luckiest mama in the world? I think I must be!

Best Gift Ever.

25 Dec

Best Gift Ever.

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

This morning we opened our presents.

These are two rocks that were lovingly wrapped (with enough tape to keep Fort Knox secure) in brown kraft paper and twine with little jingle bells (so the boys would know if I was being sneaky)…

One says “Mama”
One says “Alex”

I asked Alex what they mean and he said,
“Mama Rocks!”


Lime Loops! Front Page! Woohoo!

4 Apr


%d bloggers like this: