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Surprise in the Garden

Feeling like a shopping fool of late, today I spent the day at home, working in the garden and baking bread. According to the recipe in an old Cook's Illustrated given to me by Nancy, this multigrain sandwich bread was not only easy, but flavorful as well. What I did not realize from reading my copy of, what I'm calling their "greatest hits" and what they call "revolutionary recipes", is that the subscription magazine is filled with not only recipes, but some pretty amusing commentary as well. Saturday afternoon, watching the football game, I trolled through a bunch of them, finding the bread.

Here's an example of that amusing commentary:

"Some multigrain bread is better suited to propping open a door than making a sandwich. We wanted a light but flavorful loaf--and we didn't want to spend all day making it. "

Convinced? If not, here's one more for you:

"Scavenging for different grains can be an invigorating challenge, but it also eats up precious time. We prefer the ease of one-stop shopping: One bag of hot cereal mix has seven grains."

Rather than pay the $10.39 on their website, I picked up a bag of Bob's Red Mill 7 grain cereal at Big Lots for $3.00, enough in the bag to last for years, or many loaves of bread, whichever comes first! Mentioning it to Matt yesterday afternoon during an extensive FaceTime chat, I read off the grains; neither of us had a clue what triticale is, but now I know, a hybrid of wheat and rye. Sounds like a great trivia question to me! The recipe instructs the cook to add boiling water to the cereal mix, letting it stand for an hour before adding the remainder of the ingredients. Taking a little taste during this stage, it reminded me of my fondness for Cream of Wheat when I was a girl. Perhaps this winter I'll give it a try. Anyway, here is the loaf in the pan ready for the second rising, or I guess what's popular now is the term "proofing."
Oops, not so fast Gail. The day began when the sky looked like this during my bike ride before sunrise. Up early--what can I say?
Don't you just love it when the moon is just a sliver?
One thing I told Matt was that my almost-daily bike ride has suffered a bit of late; ever since I've returned from our vacation, I've been entirely too sporadic, missing the weekends, and sometimes Friday as well. This last 1,000 miles has been hard to accumulate! I think I'm around 1,800 now. I should set up a schedule so I can finish off the year at 2,000, which I guess would be on my 60th birthday. :)

While the bread was doing it's thing, I tackled the weedy, overgrown, garden beds. While doing so, what to my wondering eyes did appear, but the paper whites are coming up like mad!
Only recently did I learn that Narcissus are in the Daffodil family, but I bet you knew that already....
Searching my blog history, I could not find any mention of when they actually broke ground last year; all I discovered is they were blooming in early January. Wonder if it will take that long?

You know me and my bargain shopping ways don't you? It's always a good thing to be friendly to the sales clerks because one never knows when that friendliness will be paid back in kind. Yesterday, looking at house windows at Lowes, I could not resist the garden center's bargain table. Marked $2.00, I carried five 12 packs of white petunias to the counter. Because of the above advice, I am on speaking terms with the cashier who decided that they really weren't worth two dollars, SO, she up and changed the price to one dollar each. They are definitely a motley crew, but I'm pretty confidant I can bring them back, and if I don't, well, it's only $5.00, and a little bit of my time. Then too, it's good to have any excuse to be outside--still wonderful. Speaking of weather, in case any of you were wondering if Matt and Tom were affected by the storm, they were not. Furthermore, I wrote to check on Jane in the Midlands, and they too were in good shape.

So the paper whites erupting was one surprise, but wait--there's more! Planting those white petunias in the jungle area, I came across these very weird, I don't know what to call it...
Honestly, after watering the plants, I was walking along, and thought to myself, "is that an egg in the dirt?"
The red made me worried it was blood, so I went to get my reading glasses for a closer inspection. Not an egg, but what is it? There were actually three, or maybe I should say four as the one pictured above is a double. Feeling it, I was reminded of a marshmallow. I can't wait to show it to Bruce, perhaps he'll have some idea. Or, maybe you do?

In the meantime, the bread cooked, although maybe I rushed the second rising because it sure isn't all that big, but after letting it cool the full three hours(!), I had a bite, and it is indeed tasty.
I try my best to follow his recipes to the letter as I know they have tested them enough to have learned a thing or two. The sourdough recipe took three months to develop! Not to mention the 240 pounds of ground beef used during the meatloaf tastings! Good grief!

Breathing a sigh of relief, this morning I found what I was looking copy of the "greatest hits." Generally we are pretty neat folks around this house, but in this case I was too neat, putting it between some cookbooks, and overlooking it in the process. What to make next?

Although this book garnered pretty good reviews, I half-heartedly recommend, Lookaway, Lookaway. Maybe a little too ambitious in scope? I did, however, stay up very late one night reading, so that says something. Make of it what you will.

There are some real nuggets in this article from the Times, Working for free.... I remember so well people telling me to do this and that for "exposure", which generally did not one thing for me. Let's face it, more people come through the market yearly than will ever go to an art gallery. I also felt a little stab when, either the author, or one of the commenters, writes that these days, "everyone thinks they can write." Gulp...
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