about the level of thought I am at

It has been a good week but there has been a lot of change.  The boyos are building out the shop to include a display room for knives.  The whole back yard and shop feel like a mess!  Wednesday felt incredibly overwheliming but it keeps getting a bit better each day.

I was thinking about writing about making English muffins but my brain has not words.  Instead, all I wish to do is sit and spin.  Or sit and crochet.  Forever shawls are about my speed currently because I do not have to think.  I have a sweater I am working on and there is a little more thought involved there.  But there are a few more stitches involved.

I have started to do some researching into dyeing yarn.  I would like the ability to take some of the white fleeces I have and make them something else.  I love the natural browns, blacks, and whites but lets be honest.  I am a bit of a klutz and white yarn will not stay white in any garmet I make!  Color is a good thing.

Off to more research and crochet!


Lady Emma

We had frost in our neighborhood this week.  How strange for April in Houston.  I realized that I wished to put my hands in the soil.  It may be due to how chaotic life is.  I love the short people in my life but that does not mean I have a lot of time to create.  Or thought power.

I can pull weeds and try to make the flowers that are starting to flower try to look prettier.  I planted a Lady Emma rose.  The buds are changing in a positive way, not a I killed it as I planted it.  I hope to plant more roses again. I need flowers.  There is a theory that flowers are enlightened beings because they developed before insects and other pollinators.  

I do not know.  I am not that wise.  I know flowers sooth my soul.  I am going to add more roses to my garden again.  The soil should have revived from the last time I planted them.  And this time, I am not so worried about having veg as well.  I am told I may get a veg plot again in the backyard.  I am kind of at I will believe it when I see it stage of life.

But I will have roses.  Be prepared for many pictures when that does happen!


ballgown style skirt

It has been a week where the computer and myself have not been kind to each other.  I hope I now have everything sorted.  But is funny how a first world problem can seem like such a big deal when I am in the midst of it.  But, when I look back it did not mean anyone was hungry, unclothed, or unsheltered.  I was just having technology issues.  Bleah!  It is done.  I can hope it does not come up again for a long time.

I have a family wedding to go to this summer.  With requested dress for each event.  One of those is Dress to Impress.  Not that I really need anything new if I did not wish but I have been looking at ballgown style skirts for years.  I love the idea of long and swirl.  Especially with a white shirt.  It is an idea that has played in the back of my head for many years.

I bought some black twill to try it with.  Took cotton out of my stash for pockets.  Cut the fabric.  I used all day Friday for myself and made myself a skirt.  It really did not take all day but I double seamed everything.

I ended the day early with a long black skirt.  Which I love.  Especially with my hiking boots.

The pockets are not as deep as some others I have made in the past.  But I realized that means I cannot put so much stuff in my pockets that I drag the skirt down.  Thought I made it in a fashion that it will not go over my hips, even with an elastic waistband.  I did take it in a bit later.

This pattern added fullness but four deep pleats.  So the skirt still lies very flat but is very full.  It did not have to be cut in such deep wedges.

I love it!  It twirls!  Especially with my arms full of Blue.  I wear it with hiking boots.  I could wear it every day.  I have another in the works.


pancake batter, sugar brioche, and cinnamon rolls

I did not talk about it the last time I posted, but my house sat under the smoke from the chemical fire in Deer Park, Texas.  Allergies are always bad this time of year but I could taste the chemicals in the back of my throat.  The government was saying the air quality was moderate but I have an acquaintance who is a neurologist and she said the numbers of people coming to the hospital with strange things was way up.  I got sick. 

My allergies changed into something that had fever.  Every adult I was around with that fever caught crud.  It has been an interesting week trying to care of short people.  And I swear Blue was some type of prehistoric marine mammal in a previous life.  He likes to spend an hour in warm water if you let him!

But while this has been going on with life, I have been trying to keep up with bread.  I have now come to the conclusion that my hot cross bun recipe translates into many lovely things.

The hot cross buns have walnuts and cranberries in the recipe.  I leave those out it the dough becomes many things.  I leave it as a batter, it becomes pancakes.  The plain dough makes lovely sugar brioche.  And after eating lovely sugar brioche in New Orleans, I wish some in my own kitchen.  I laminate the plain dough with butter and swirl in cinnamon and brown sugar, it becomes cinnamon rolls that are better then what can be purchased out.

pancake batter, sugar brioche, and cinnamon rolls

Note:  I started with the hot cross bun recipe from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.  I have tweaked to use sourdough and make the dough richer.  

a couple tablespoons of sourdough starter

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup water

3 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons salt

3 cups flour (no more, even for kneading)

1/4 to a 1/2 cup butter

In a large bowl, about eight hours before you want to make pancakes, mix the starter, buttermilk, water, and three cups of water together.  Cover and put in a warm place to become bubbly.  Depending on how warm your kitchen is, eight hours is a good guess but it could be less or more.

Take out a couple of tablespoons of the starter and mix back into your starter jar.

Into the bowl, put the sugar, eggs, and salt.  Mix well.

At this point, take the amount of batter out of the bowl that you would like to become pancakes.  I put it into a quart canning jar.  If the dough is stiff due to the water content of the flour, I will add some more buttermilk to thin it.  Remember, the dough is yeasted so it is still growing.  Leave plenty of room or it will explode in the refrigerator.  It is a mess to clean up.  And yes, it has happened to me.

When you are ready for pancakes, warm up a griddle on a mediume low heat.  Melt butter.  Drop the batter by tablespoons on to the griddle.  Koda Bear usually eat nine to twelve before school and I am a genius for making sure there is pancake batter every morning!

To the rest of the dough, mix in 2 cups flour.  It should start being a soft dough.  Add another 1/2 cup if it is too soft.  Turn it out on to a clean surface and knead until it starts to become smooth.

Put the butter on the counter and beat it flat.  I fold it, sprinkle with flour, and beat it again.  Sometimes, I beat it with my hand.  Sometimes with my rolling pin.  I am going for soft pliable butter.  The little bit of flour will let it be kneaded into the dough easier which is what I do next.  I knead the butter into the dough until the dough is smooth and the butter is well incorporated.

Put the dough into a ziploc bag and refrigerate at least over night.  Refrigerating for 24 hours is good too.

When the dough has been refrigerated, make buns or cinnamon rolls.  Follow my cinnamon roll directions for shaping and baking.  I will have to change that because I have been laminating 1/2 cup of butter into my cinnamon rolls.  It really takes it to the next level but I have not taken enough pictures.

If you make sugar brioche, this dough balls are much too big.  Make them about golf ball size.  Because the dough is cold, it may take all day for the dough to rise and get puffy.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.  I do not preheat.  The bun needs to be golden.

I am still experimenting with how to add the sugar.  Currently, I am using a egg white wash and granulated sugar while the bun is still warm.  I will continue to experiment with it.

I am trying a new brioche recipe this week but I will be surprised if it is as good as this.  Why do I try?  Because other people rave.  And I know everyone has different tastes.  Why not try?

I am making sugar brioche for my birthday breakfast.  It will be a day of food I wish to eat!


my odd travels

My bag and I went on our travels.  It was the first time I slept in the back of the new Subaru.  And I was glad to be above the ground because the ground was saturated!  But saying that, I did not realize how different the angles were in the new car versus the old car.  I am going to have to go about making my bed differently in the future.  I kept trying to slide out the back!

Noticed I said the ground was saturated.  I ended up in New Orleans with rain.  Lots of rain.  So instead of trying to cook outside in the rain, I went into a restaurant.  The one I hoped to go to is no longer but I went to another that was quite good.  Aranas on Magazine.  It was loud but so loud I could not interact with anyone if I did not wish to.  I sat at the bar and ate and crocheted.  I talked with the chef about knives.  I had actually spent time in a bar with him many moons ago.  I always said I would try his place and now I have.  I was very surprised he remembered me.

The next day I tried to go to the art show that I wished to.

Come to find out, the gallery was attached to a public school in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans and was not open.  I was disappointed.  But I did find out interesting historical facts.  The gentleman portrayed in blue on the mural was Homer Plessy.  In 1892, he board the all white car of a passenger train.  The decision of the Supreme Court in his case was the foundation for Brown vs the Board of Education and desegregated schools.  To me, this is huge because I was part of desegregation in the late 1970's, early 80's.  I was the white girl who got bused to the inner city school.  It was interesting to see where some of what I experienced started in a historical sense.

And there were good views of the Mississippi river.

Otherwise, I tried some good food and drove home.  I am going to try to recreate those sugar brioche in that picture.  So good.  I am close!  That recipe is going to be interesting just because I use it for so many things.

I need more traveling in my future.  I may try to go to that show later in the month.  I may just try to go camping out west.  Both are possibilities.  The odd travels are interesting and I do enjoy them.