Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Work for Chocolate

This rosebush is in my back yard.

I think of “Sleeping Beauty” when I look at it. You can't tell from the angle of this photo, but I've actually spent a few sessions hacking away at it. It's massive, tangled, and intertwined. It has thorns and it uses them. So I clip away bit by bit, clipping longer branches into shorter lengths that fit into my recycling bin, working in such a way that I avoid the thorns. When it's full, I dump it into the “branches” part of my compost pile. Today I looked at the rose bush to see what I've accomplished. It's hard to tell any difference.

But I don't mind working on it. I get to be outdoors with birds and butterflies. I even enjoy the slugs and spiders. And the plants are so prolific! So much of gardening in Syracuse is deciding what you don't want and removing it to make room for what you do want.

And I do want the rose bush. I just want it to be a lot smaller.

Just like the rose bush, the inside of my house suffers from neglect. The mess, while largely compartmentalized, is a massive, tangled, and intertwined Rubik's cube. Its thorns incite anxiety.

I don't like working on it. I have to be indoors. I have to face fears and make decisions. Most of the decisions are whether or not to keep something, and, if I keep it, where to put it. That doesn't sound difficult, but it is for me.

I decided today that I will give myself permission to resort to chocolate as a reward for working on my house mess. So I baked some brownies. For a certain number of tasks or a certain amount of time spent on-task, I could eat a brownie. It's sad that a grown woman has to resort to such extrinsic rewards. But I did start. I clipped away at some edges today. I made a difference. I reclaimed my dining room table. Even better, I found a button that I feared was gone forever. This button goes on a dress that I love but have been unable to wear for three years … because the button was missing.

I'm encouraged to hack away some more tomorrow. But I will still need chocolate.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Breakfast Sandwich

I made a delicious sandwich for breakfast this morning.

Start with delicious, healthful, whole-grain bread. I just happened to have some!

This works best with large bread slices, which is why I baked extra-large loaves of bread a couple of days ago.

Cut out the center of the slice of bread.

Put a small amount of butter or oil (no more than 1 teaspoon) in a heated skillet.

Put the outside part of the bread in the skillet. Crack an egg in the hole. Add (salt) and freshly-ground pepper.

Place a slice of lean ham on the egg.

Top that with sliced cheese. I used Jarlsberg, a type of Swiss cheese, today.

Top that with the piece of bread from the middle.

Turn it over 2 or 3 times while it cooks for a few minutes. I covered it with the lid, too.

Finally, you have a delicious Breakfast Sandwich! I served mine with some zucchini left over from yesterday.

I think it would be easy to make a lot of these assembly-line style on my big griddle.

I'll make a note of that for our family gathering in Sylvan Beach next summer!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Back to Bread Baking

I'm back from my hiatus from regular bread baking.

I spent a couple of months as a longterm substitute teacher at The New School.

Then 14 members of our family made the Great Cross-Country Trip of 2013 together to a family reunion near Astoria, Oregon and to visit other family, friends, and sights along the way.

My Uncle Frosty, Aunt Betty, and cousin Thomasene. I got my roll recipe and cracked wheat bread recipe from Aunt Betty!

No sooner did we return from that, then 19 of us spent a fun week together at Sylvan Beach.

Pizza night! (Home-baked, of course.)

 A few days later, we spent a day at Water Safari in the Adirondacks.

These activities were fun, exciting, and challenging. But I'm happy to return to the fun, excitement, and challenge of baking bread.

On the right, three loaves of whole wheat bread hot out of the oven. On the left, two extra-large loaves baked yesterday. Not pictured, two loaves in the freezer, baked four days ago, and one loaf, um, gone!

Whole Grain Happiness Menu


*Whole-Wheat Bread

*White Whole-Wheat Bread

White Bread

*Whole-Wheat Cracked Wheat Bread

Cracked Wheat Bread

*Whole-Wheat Maple Oatmeal Bread

Maple Oatmeal Bread

Dinner Rolls
*Whole-Wheat Dinner Rolls

*White Whole-Wheat Dinner Rolls

White Dinner Rolls

Cracked Wheat Dinner Rolls

Sweet Breads & Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls with Raisins

*Chocolate Rolls

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

Monkey Bread



*hard red wheat

*hard white wheat

*soft white wheat

*Cracked Wheat—freshly-ground


*100% whole-grain

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