Friday, April 24, 2015

Whole Grain Artisan Bread (in 5 minutes a day) and Blendtec

I'm a big fan of Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day.  I wanted to try out a healthier option, by using my whole grains.  I do have a grinder.  But to be honest, it is not the easiest thing.  It takes a bit of time and sounds like an airplane is in my house.  

But, I do have a Blendtec blender.  Hot dog, I love that thing.  So, I got a scoop of 7 grain mix, put it in the blender, put it on level 9, and let it go.  What do you think?

Slightly unconventional, but I use the top of my cake holder to mix the bread dough.  It's the only thing I have big enough to do a double batch, and still have a lid for the fridge (yep, I turn it upside down).
Add the salt, yeast, and water..and let it proof for a bit.
3 cups lukewarm water (you can use cold water, but it will take the dough longer to rise. Just don’t use hot water or you may kill the yeast) 

1 tablespoon granulated yeast ( you can use any kind of yeast including: instant, “quick,” rapid rise, bread machine, active dry, or fresh cake yeast*. We’ve always tested with Red Star Yeast and they have a new premium product called PLATINUM, which has worked beautifully in our recipes. You can also decrease the amount of yeast in the recipe by following the directions here. Or you can bake with a sour dough starter, see instructions here.)
*If you use cake yeast you will need 1.3 ounces.
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Morton Kosher Sal(adjust to suit your taste or eliminate it all together. Find more information here)
6 1/2 cups (2-pounds) all-purpose flour.  
I added 4 cups of multigrain flour and then 9 cups of all-purpose flour (remember now...I double the recipe).  

Then mixing just to incorporate all the ingredients. 

Here it is.  Mixed.  It took about 1 minute to mix it to this consistency.  The point here is to just get it all wet.  Then let time take over to make your dough awesome.  I usually start my dough in the morning, and then bake it in the later afternoon.

Just cover and let it rest, while you go about your business.  No big deal.  I know the creators of this recipe make a bunch of dough, and store it in their fridge to use throughout the next couple weeks.  But me?  I just bake it all up the same day.  My family eats about 2 loaves, and then I usually find a few friends to share the rest of the loaves with.

Form loaves, about 1 lb each.  Let rest for about 40-60 minutes.  The longer they rest, the bigger the bubbles in the loaf.  Also, they should spread out, not so much rise up.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a Baking Stone* on the center rack, with a metal broiler tray on the bottom (never use a glass vessel for this or it will shatter), which will be used to produce steam. (The tray needs to be at least 4 or 5 inches away from your stone to prevent it from cracking.)

When ready to bake, place on the stone (I use a pizza peel to put it in the oven-using corn meal on the bottom), and bake for 30-35 minutes until the loaf is a deep golden color.  


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Creative Eye Thursday -The New Hexagon by Katja Marek

Picking this book to review was a bit of a challenge.  The blocks are fun.  Everything is perfect, but let's be honest, hand piecing?  I have never done hand piecing before.  And as much as I would like to say I am a patient woman, let's be honest, that's not by best trait.

When Mark Lipinski came out with his slow stitching movement, I was intrigued, and I back him whole heartedly, and I love the idea.  But, that's just not where I am right now.  And that's okay.  (My stitching still seems pretty slow with the 20 minutes I get to work on stuff here and there). Here are some of the goodies in this book.

If you wanted to join the slow stitching movement, this is totally the book for you.  The funniest part of this for me was picking the block to make, it took a minute.  I finally picked the block I like the best, and then I looked at the name.  Sarah.  Seriously?  Why didn't I just look at all the names of the blocks, and then pick my name.  That could have saved me some time.    But, in the end it seemed like it was meant to be...if making a block can be meant to be.

It took about 1 hour to prep the block. Then the next day, I really had very little time.  I had appointments all morning, and watching kids, and driving carpool.  The nice thing about sewing by hand, is that I could take the block with me wherever I went.  I started at the park.  During my 5 year olds learning time I threw in a couple stitches, and then couple more stitches during the daily drive.

Here's the finished block.  I loved as I pieced it together, that my 5 year old genuinely and seriously said: "That is a really cute block."  That's a pretty great compliment, even if I say so myself.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

It's coming up...are you excited?  
On the edge of your seats? 
My block is in this next issue, and I'm pretty excited to show you what's up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Broncos Star Inspiration-Quiltmakers 100 Blocks

Last fall I spent quite a bit of time around blue and orange.  Like all the time.  Being a cheer coach, as well as the momma for a pretty awesome football player, meant I got to be bathed in blue and orange pretty much all the time.

It's amazing how being immersed in a sport, can change your quilting.  Never before had blue and orange caught my eye.  But, I started liking it (even though our NFL team is decidedly not the broncos).

When I knew I needed to make a block for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, I had to pay homage to my blue and orange team.  How could I resist?

Here's a sneak peak of my quilt block.  Orange and Blue... it's the start of a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Creative Eye Thursday - Fabulously Fast Quilts by Amy Smart

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

If you are a new quilter, or a seasoned quilter who is looking for something quick and beautiful to put together in a jiffy, this book is for you.  Every quilt is adorable.  Seriously so cute.  I know there are times for me, I just need to make a quilt for a kid, a loved one, a short amount of time {like yesterday}. This quilt book is for those times, when you need a super cute quilt in a hurry.  If you are new to quilting, this book will teach you a ton of the basics in quilting, and you will be able to make some awesome quilts (which is sometimes difficult when you are new).

Here are some of the goodies in the book.
Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

Fun.  Simple.  Perfect.  

As I was looking to see which quilt block I would make, I came across this quilt.

I love this quilt.  It really is just a variation on a pinwheel block, a block I tend to love.  I also enjoy that the instructions were clear and fun to follow.  It used PRECUTS, which I am a big fan of.  Less cutting for me = a happier me.  I also enjoy the fast piecing and cutting methods.  Totally my style.

I pulled out my STACK of precuts and picked out a few choice squares, cut a few white and gray squares and rectangle.  

Lower right hand corner = my favorite way of sewing. Sew, slice, and make life easy.  YES!

After a day of sewing, this is what I pulled together.  Making more than one block meant I could make this into a little girls baby quilt.  Lately, because its the  7th anniversary of our stay in the hospital with Lizzy, I have been having feelings like I should make all these quilt blocks into quilts for Project Linus.  Showing up to that hospital and being greeted with a handmade quilt, well, it touched my heart in a way I couldn't have anticipated.  I have made a few quilts for Project Linus, but maybe a few needs to turn into a few hundred (I digress a bit...).  Anyway......

So here's my little quilt...with my little quilt blocks.  What colors would you choose?  I pondered going way back in time, and doing some nice reds and browns....but the baby quilt part made me use pinks and grays.  MADE ME.  ha ha.

Have a super day.  And get some sewing done.  You know you want to.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Quiltmaker's Blog Tour

You know you want to check out my bock in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks.  My block introduction day is May 7....are you excited?  Mark your calendars.  Let's do this thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Homemade Pizza Heaven - Pizza Limone at Home

The other day I was dying.  Dying for some amazing pizza.  Last time I was home I went to a little restaurant called, Pizza Limone.  I loved it.  Such great pizza, and totally a fresh concept for pizza.  I mean lemon on pizza, that's new, and amazing (for those of us that love lemons)!

My hubby got a fabulous pizza oven from Costco, and on sale ($99).  It's the best.  Anyway, I pulled together all my recipes to make the best faux Pizza Limone I could.  For honest, I LOVED IT.   Here'

3 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Yeast
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
7 1/2 cups (scoop and sweep) unbleached all-purpose flour

To make the dough: Use our dump and stir method of mixing the dough in a 5-quart Container with Lid, using a Danish Dough Whisk or wooden spoon. Then cover the container, not airtight and let it rest for about 2 hours on the counter. The dough can then be used right away, but it is much easier to handle once it has been thoroughly chilled. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks!
To make the pizza:
Preheat your oven to the highest setting, which will be 500 to 550°F, with a pizza stone in the bottom 1/3 of the oven. Depending on the thickness of your stone this can take between 20 and 40 minutes.

Pull out an 8-ounce piece of dough from your bucket and quickly form it into a ball, no more than 30 seconds of work. Let it sit on the counter while you gather your toppings.

Roll the ball out into a 1/8-inch-thick round. If the ball is resisting just let it sit for about 5 minutes and it will relax and allow you to work with it.

Sprinkle a Pizza Peel with flour. Spread the tomato over the dough.

Place the chunks of cheese over the sauce and drizzle with the olive oil.

Check for doneness in about 8 to 10 minutes, turn the pizza around if it seems to be browning on one side more than the other. It may take up to 5 more minutes.

Let the pizza cool slightly, so the cheese can set a little before cutting with a Pizza Cutter. This is best done on a cooling rack if you want to keep a crisp bottom crust.
s what I found.  Try it out and tell me what you think.

First of all pre-heat the oven and pizza stone to 500 or your oven max (usually 400-450) 

Limone Pizza:
7 oz dough-proof properly to allow air into dough and stretch to 10' round on floured pizza peel 
½ oz olive oil drizzled evenly on top of dough 
4 cheeses 
3 oz whole milk mozzarella
¼ oz pecorino 
½ oz fresh mozzarella 
--spread cheeses evenly over olive oil 
--top with 
1 oz red onions, thinly sliced
¼ garlic clove, thinly sliced
5-7 lemons, thinly sliced
¼ oz parmigiano reggiano grated 
light drizzle of olive oil 
slide pizza on preheated pizza stone and bake for 5-10 minutes or until crust is dark brown

For more information about Pizzeria Limone 

Some Variations:

One of the pizza's featured prosciutto and black berries and a red sauce, with all the yummy cheeses.  My husband preferred that one, to the lemon, but I definitely LOVED the lemon most.  It's just your preference.  For some fun ideas, check out pizza limone menu, and try what fits your fancy.  

We also tried some dessert pizza's. Oh my word.  I found a great little pizza. 

Clementine, Strawberry, Chocolate Dessert Pizza
Brown Sugar
Sliced Strawberries
Melted Chocolate

Spread melted butter over regular pizza crust recipe.  Sprinkle brown sugar over butter (as desired).  Layer clementine slices and strawberries.  Bake in pizza oven until done (5-9 minutes depending on oven).  Drizzle chocolate on pizza.  Enjoy!!!