Wednesday, January 23, 2013

one more day

I don't know if its due to Christmas travels or because a few more teeth are coming in, but Arianna has been up several times a night lately -- which always makes mornings come way too quickly! As I push through to count my blessings in the midst of heavy eyes and the wish for more sleep, something I read recently comes to mind and has encouraged me in the midst of day-to-day responsibilities:

I get an invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.  It doesn't come in an envelope. It's ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen.

I've seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live...
It looks like seeing something really beautiful as just normal.

Accept the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this AMAZING LIFE for one more day.

-Bob Goff
Love Does

I'm striving to enjoy the moment and appreciate the little, sometimes ever day things about my life RIGHT NOW
The sound of my baby's giggle...her little arms wrapped around my neck...the sun sparkling on the snow...a hard-working man who comes home every night and wraps me in a hug...a warm cup of hot chocolate and time in God's Word...

will you join me in taking a little time to stop and savor the blessings that surround us?
What are you thankful for in your life right now?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

There is nothing like the smell of fresh bread wafting through the house...and then slicing a piece to enjoy while it's still warm from the oven.

Growing up, we always ate a batch of bread so quickly there were no worries that it would go stale. But when cooking for two, keeping fresh bread on hand can be tricky. That is why I love muffins and biscuits -- and this recipe. One loaf is perfect for a meal and is still small enough that it gets eaten before getting dry. AND the dough freezes super well. I often double this recipe and bake half and freeze half. Then the next time I need bread, its simply a matter of pulling it out of the freezer and baking it. Easy breezy!

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

1 cup warm water (100-110 F)
1 Tbl. sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning 
(or pinch of each ground garlic, dried oregano, and dried basil)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour + extra for kneading
1 egg, whisked + 1 Tbsp. water, for egg wash
dried rosemary, for sprinkling

The same blog also has several other delish looking recipes that I am now eager to try sometime.

And why is it that I always forget to take pictures after I bake something? I guess I could take pictures of our happy smiles after eating -- or the leftover crumbs, but that really doesn't help you in picturing the deliciousness of this bread! {smile}   

1. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes. 

2. Stir in the salt, rosemary, seasonings, olive oil, and whole wheat flour. Add the bread flour and stir until the dough forms a ball. Knead on a lightly floured surface (or with the dough hook in a mixer) for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until smooth.

3.  If you are planning on freezing the dough, loosely wrap dough in saran-wrap and  place in a ziploc bag. Set in the freezer immediately. (It will expand while in the freezer -- don't worry. It will still bake beautifully later.) If baking the same day, place dough in a lightly greased bowl; cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

4. Punch down the dough and form it into a round loaf. Place it on a cornmeal dusted parchment paper; cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, preheat oven (and pizza stone) to 400 F. Once the dough has risen, gently brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with dried rosemary.

6. Bake on preheated stone for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Makes 1 round loaf.

To bake frozen dough:
remove dough from freezer and let thaw in fridge overnight or for 6-8 hours. Place on cornmeal dusted pizza peel or parchment paper, cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about 60 minutes. Proceed with step five to bake.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I love these people

...and any opportunity to make memories with them. [grin]

It was a delight to spend a whole week in Nebraska with family! The little ones keep growing up and learning new things, sister-talks are as sweet as ever, the guys crack jokes and make us laugh, the lights all twinkle and glow, delicious food and the whole family gathered around the table -- before you know it another Christmas has come and gone!

--Arianna playing piano with Aunt Elizabeth--

--Ruth and Asher--

--Arianna enjoying all the paper and ribbon laying around--

It was boys vs. girls when it came to decorating gingerbread houses.

--candlelight service--

--Sunday afternoon treat at Red Mango--

--late night snuggles with Aunt Esther--

The Beasley men all ready to head out for the second-annual 10 mile Christmas Eve run.

(We girls opted to spend the afternoon in the kitchen!)

--Arianna playing with her cousins--

--gorgeous girls--

--smiles with Aunt Alaythia--

 Arianna made herself at home --
crawling around on the table during a game of Balderdash!

Ruth made this and gave it to me for Christmas --
an amazing silhouette of one of my favorite photos!

Playing at great-Grandma Wissmann's house. 
(with the same toys I played with growing up!) 

"By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us,
O God of our salvation...
You crown the year with Your goodness."
Psalms 65:5, 11

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Simple Christmas

[wrapping paper]

Anyone interested in one-of-a-kind, super-cool looking wrapping paper? 

Supplies needed:
an old book that won't be read again
(thrift stores are a great place to find books just ready and waiting to be re-purposed. Just make sure it's not so old that the pages break upon getting bent!) 
bright red thread
a sewing machine

Simply take the pages apart and then
until you get a large enough sheet to use for your gift.

I had fun using both a straight and zig-zag stitch to add variety. 

add some red ribbon and a cute tag

and there you have it!

And I couldn't resist posting a picture of my helper, who had a blast entertaining herself with my ribbon bag. {grin}