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Let's Make Some French Bread

Shall we?

But before we get to that, let's talk spaghetti and meatballs. Around our house, while growing up, having spaghetti and meatballs was quite a production. On the rare occasions that I've mentioned my father in this space, you've probably gathered that he was picky. Make that extremely picky, down to the size of the meatballs my mother made. Don't ask me to remember his reasoning for only wanting very small meatballs because I can't, however, I know it was woe to my mother if they were too big. So......

Although I married a man who is similar to my father in some ways, being picky is not one of those ways. To say that he's easy to get along with is an understatement. Furthermore, he's always wanting to take me out to dinner when he's home. Mostly I say, no thanks. If you've ever been to a restaurant with me you know how challenged I am when it comes to choosing my food, always wanting to go last. It's that choice thing I guess. I'd mostly rather go with home made.

Because I know how much Bruce loves spaghetti and meatballs, and because he'd just gone through a hellacious week, I set out to make just that. I never knew until fairly recently that some people plop their meatballs into the sauce uncooked, did you? After forming all the meatballs my mom used to fry them in the cast iron skillet. I've gone somewhere in between; half cooking them in the oven before putting them in the sauce to finish cooking.
Please note the dirty oven and the clean pan, one of the new ones I purchased with my gift card Bill gave me to William Sonoma. Last post I mentioned I was busy and astute readers will recall that cleaning was not on my list!

At my age I've tried lots of things, one of which is bread making, although I've not attempted any in the last few years. Yesterday that all changed. Using a recipe I found online, which truth be told, I already knew the ingredients, I set to work. After mixing the dough here's what it looked like:
Mighty gloppy, if I may use that word, wouldn't you say? Let me just give a shout out to granite counter tops--they are the best. The orange Tupperware measuring cups must be nearly thirty years old by now. I do love color. Anyway, here's what it looked like after kneading for five minutes and then after a few minutes rest, another three.

The bowl in the foreground dates back to my wedding shower. I suppose it is cool all over again these days, what with the retro craze and all. On the back of the King Arthur Bread Flour package there were instructions for baking a rustic loaf which I followed, letting the dough rise only once, punching it down and forming the loaves. Next I placed them on a corn meal dusted pan, placing it in a cold oven with a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack. I turned the oven on to 400 and 35 minutes later here they were:

Pretty cool, huh? The recipe is entirely vegan down to brushing the loaves with cold water before baking. I can't wait until Matt comes home again to make some for him, but in the mean time, expect yours truly to be making more bread. Some people, judging by the amount of no-knead recipes, find kneading tedious, however I found it relaxing.

Finally Bruce came home, after four days away. I mentioned he'd had a horrible week earlier, but didn't tell you what happened. He left on Monday afternoon, flying into NYC, and driving from there to Kingston, NY. If that weren't enough, the next day he drove from Kingston to Watertown on the most treacherous highways you can imagine. Or maybe you can't. Cars and trucks jackknifing all over the road, with some landing along the guardrail. Snow, snow, and more snow. Plus ice, which is apparently worse. After spending time in Watertown, the next day he drove seven hours to his job outside Boston. Why, you ask, did he do all that driving? Mostly because he thought it would be quicker than multiple rental cars and flights, however, the dangerous weather he faced has him re-thinking that for next time.

Here's the festive table he found when he arrived:
Have I gone on too long? Are you bored yet?

I suspect you could care less about the bread, what you really want to know about is today's interview. Am I right? Here I am wearing my home made dress before I left:

I will be freelancing for a magazine named Central Florida Lifestyle when there are assignments to be had. In return, I will receive free advertising for my business. There are a number of freelancers already, however, they apparently like to have many to choose from at any given time. Keep reading my faithful ones.

Finally--I'm just about ready to call it a post! Nancy asked for a better look at my new table/chair and maybe you thought the same.

That's a denim dress I'm working on hanging from the chair. Although those fun pockets won't be seen, I'll know they are there. 

And that's all folks--another edition of Camera Crazy comes to a close. :)


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