Thursday, February 27, 2014


Last summer, in Victoria, Canada, we had a special treat. Along with the fish and chips we had waited so anxiously for- from Red Fish Blue Fish (yes, we stood in line for over two hours!), we were able to taste and savor Poutine at a different meal. Wow- it was comfort food on a platter! Well, in a bowl, but the idea is still the same. Ever since then, I have been scouring the web for a comparable recipe. I finally found one, thanks to a wonderful Canadian, and was able to make the creation this week. We even have a local cheese factory for the white cheddar curds- perfect! 

We curly cut the potatoes and baked them, a bit different from fried, but still incredibly yummy! As we sat out back and ate our dinner, we were flooded with memories of that camping trip! So fun!  And there was even a serving left to enjoy later :)  Like I said- comfort food in a bowl- a wonderful takeaway from Canada! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I am not much of a fan of exercise, but I make myself do it. I am much more disciplined with the way I eat to stay healthy. That was until last summer. I got the pink cruiser my hubby got me off the hangers. It has 21 speeds, the only way it works in our hilly area. And I got moving on it, pulling my littlest little in the trailing trailer. I realized about Day 2 that I LOVED biking!!  There is a massive trail system near our home, and I utilize that to the fullest! I rode each day until the snow hit this winter. I have been doing indoor exercises the past two months, just counting the days til I could ride again. The kids have been begging to go too, but when there is snow all over, it doesn't work too well :). Until today that is!!

I was thrilled that it was warm enough (40 degrees is my limit, I don't have heavy duty winter biking gear) and that it was sunny to boot. The snow was off the paths, so off I went. 

It was pure joy!  The wind in my face, the calm and quiet, and the best part, the BURN in my legs. I L-O-V-E the burn!  It let's me know that my pushing and pedaling are doing something. When you are pulling yourself and another 70 pound trailer with child, it can give you some pretty decent burn- and I eat it up!  I could so get into this biking thing. It doesn't even feel like exercising, just FUN with the added bonus! Sign me up! There is no snow in the forecast for a few days, so I am going to take advantage and ride my little heart out :)  Here I come!  Then if snow hits again, I will be able to hold myself off til Spring. Until then, I will enjoy every minute of the ride!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Uh-maz-ing! It's Grandma's!!!

I wrote here about my bread adventures. Well, once that bread came out of the oven, not only did it smell just like, but it TASTED just like my Grandma's too!  I even called my cousin, who was close by, and had her come taste it to make sure I wasn't dreaming!  Then my sweet mother came by to seal the deal- and sure 'nuf- it's the real thing!  I could not be more happy!

I made the bread again this week and shared some loaves. It is just dreamy! It makes me smile each time I start grinding the wheat! And I love eating healthy, so it's an added bonus. I want to share the legacy, so sharing the recipe it is!  My Grandma based her recipe on the Magic Mill "Foolproof" bread recipe, but she changed it up, switched around, and edited quite a bit- that's what took so many years to figure out. (I actually just found a copy of the recipe book at a thrift store yesterday so I could have it for future generations- I giggled when I saw it!!) So here goes-

My Grandma's bread- otherwise known as the "BEST BREAD ON THE PLANET"
(adapted from Magic Mill Foolproof Bread Recipe)

4 Tbl dry yeast
1/2 C warm water
2 C milk
3 C hot tap water
2 Tbl salt
2/3 C oil
2/3 C honey
2 eggs
2 C white flour
8 C freshly ground red whole wheat flour


1. Add yeast to the 1/2 C warm water. Stir. Let stand 10 minutes.

2. Combine hot tap water, milk, and 7 C wheat in Bosch mixer. Mix on low speed until 

3. Add salt, oil, and honey. Continue to mix until blended. 
Add 1 C flour to mixture.  Keep mixing.
Add prepared yeast to mixture and blend thoroughly.   
Add eggs and blend thoroughly.

4. Add rest of flour to mixture. Knead for 10 minutes on low speed.

5. Remove dough and roll in to four loaves on oiled counter. Place into oiled pans. 
Oil top of loaves for soft crust. Place warm damp rag over loaves and allow to 
rise 1/3 in bulk for about 35 minutes (I did 45 min. - for high altitude).

6. Bake at 350* for 40-45 minutes. Remove from pans. Put on rack to cool.  Brush 
tops with butter if desired.

Serve with butter and honey while WARM!!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Look Up

It's a dream of mine to someday live in a place that I can look up and see the stars. 

Yes, I can see seem stars where I live now. It's not a "big city" by any means, but it's city enough to not have tons of stars visible. For some reason our dinner conversation revolved around stars tonight, and it got me thinking. I recalled a family camping trip a few years back, out in the boonies, where dear hubby woke us all up to come outside and gaze at the stars. "Seeing" the stars could never describe the view before my eyes, it was definitely "gazing"!!  Stars is an understatement- as far and as deep as you could fathom, there were stars. It felt like you could reach up and touch them. Just incredible- the Milky Way was right there, soaring through the sky, as clear as day! I mentioned at dinner tonight, that that was the first time I could recall seeing that many stars. Dear hubby looked shocked and asked, "Didn't you see that many growing up?!" 

Well, I grew up in a fairly small town in the deep South, and there were not tons of lights around. I can recall summer evenings chasing fireflies, and playing family baseball until it got too dark to see the ball. I can remember talking to the Man in the Moon- I love the night sky, just plain and simple, so yes, the Man in the Moon and I are on a first name basis. So I really thought about my hubby's question. And I thought hard...

I finally had to respond, "I guess I didn't look up". It jerked my heart a bit to admit that I didn't remember if there were crazy awesome numbers of stars in the sky where I grew up. Then I thought about all the other things I didn't want to miss if I didn't look UP, or AROUND, or DOWN, or ANYWHERE! I don't ever want to look back and think that I just didn't look. I want to be here. aware. right now. I want to soak it all in, and breathe it to my core. I want to be part of life, of everyday, of living. 

Maybe someday I will have that little spot where I can look up and see the heavens opened up with stars each night, or maybe I will just have to dream. But either way, I will make sure I am looking every day! 

Friday, February 14, 2014


Funny thing- time. 

It seems the toilet in our half bath got clogged. With little people who love to add toilet paper by the handfuls, it's no wonder!  No one bothered telling Mom- no one has to claim guilt and plunge it that way. 

I found this note taped to the flusher handle.

When asked about the sign, the littles replied that there was "NO TIME" to get the plunger and unplug the clogged toilet. HOWEVER, there WAS "time" to get a card from another room, write the note, and illustrate it! 

I wish I had known when this was all happening so I could have looked at the clock to time it!  

Makes me smile. It's moments like this that are priceless and give me energy to plunge the toilet myself, when need be :). 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


This dog thinks he is :). Some dogs drive people nuts, some dogs are "man's best friend". The latter would hold true here.

When our oldest was a year old, he would wander off chasing dogs because he loved them so much. He still loves animals, almost 15 years later. After chasing him several times, we decided we needed a dog to keep our child in the house ;). Dear hubby had never had a pet growing up, so this was a hard one for him. But bless his soul, he gave into another hair-brained idea of mine, and we got our first dog. We now have two Poodles, one of which is a toy variety and not worth her keep on most days - ha! We have trained and done everything possible to civilize her, but she still thinks whatever she wants to do is ok. It's not. At least she likes the kids holding her and will cuddle. That's her saving grace! 

The other Poodle is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He is perfect! You could never ask for a better dog!  We did our research on this one and found the perfect breeder. It was an amazing experience and we are blessed to have our sweet Reb. Hubby has never liked one of our dogs, but this one, oh, man, he seriously is his best friend!  It makes us all smile - he even hugs him! They go running together, they throw and catch outside, and they are together every second he is home. This dog is all of our best friend- he is close to each of us and is so observant. We also trained him and he will actually do everything that he should. He is the kind of dog we always dreamed of. It just doesn't get any better! If ever a dog was loved by his family, this one IS!

We are sure that he considers himself one of us, and to us, he is! 

Friday, February 7, 2014


The nose is an amazing thing! Not only does it help give our food flavor, it can bring back memories like no other! For years now, all of my family has tried to reproduce my Grandma's bread. She passed away 19 years ago and tasting her bread was like getting a warm hug from her. But no one knew how to make it. All that was left was her recipe book. Her recipe page had notes all over it and things crossed out every which way.  No one had been able to figure out her concoction. My dear aunt had copied the recipe for all of us so we could all give it a go. Once someone got it right, we would all rejoice. I got a Bosch almost 7 years ago and set out to accomplish the feat. I failed miserably, time and time again. The smell was never there, and needless to say, the taste fell short too. I have been thinking and working my brain over this the past year. Today I pulled out the worn recipe again. 

I studied it once more, with 7 years more cooking experience, and felt much more confident than the last time I tried years ago. I just couldn't bring myself to miss it another time, but I was ready to try again today. I noticed an extra few cups of flour I had not noticed before and that gave me the added fuel I needed to try. I ground the red wheat flour and got busy! Making bread amazes me- watching the kneading paddles punch the dough into yumminess. The rising worked- I was worried since it is such a cold day. And now my timer has almost expired for the completed product. 

I don't know how it will taste, but the SMELL!  The smell is enough to take me back to South Carolina and see my Grandma in her kitchen with her apron on! It is like a dream come true. I hope against hope that the taste is there, once it is slathered in butter, of course. But if not, I have had 40 glorious minutes of memory smell!  And that does a soul good! Fingers crossed for the taste, and if it's there, I'll be making loaves for all my cousins!