January 12, 2007

Happy New Year… Hey, It’s Still Applicable!!

The holidays are over… Didn’t think I would ever be happy to say that!!! We entertained a lot, which was a lot of work, BUT fun. We survived the icky flu, which was NOT fun – especially since Wes and Ellie were both sick days before Xmas!! We are happy to be getting back into our routine – Well almost… Ellie just had the stomach flu again yesterday!!!! We are pretty sure she picked it up at the pediatrician’s office on Tuesday when we were there for her 18 month check up. DARN Dr.’s office, it’s a hotbed for germs!!! But, more about Ellie:

Her check up went great (except for contracting those nasty germs!). She is 34.5 inches tall and 33 pounds, off the charts for both! The Dr. said she is beautiful (of course) and perfect AND that she will probably be about 5’9” to 5’10” tall – Wow!! It’ll be interesting to see how that prediction pans out..! Ellie has been talking a lot. She’s still saying pitty (her pronunciation of pretty), and has added a few new words. Now she’ll make cow and Lola Kitty sounds when we ask and we’re working on oink and quacks (the Dr. says those count!)!! She says peas (please) when she would like something, usually ice, and has started saying Hi and Bye. We’ve discovered that she says me, and means mommy/momma, and Wes is still dada-y. She has a lot to tell us and now some of it is making sense!!

The last couple of weeks I’ve been testing out some of my new cookbooks! I’ve been baking a LOT of bread and love this bread machine recipe:

Dennis’s Blarney-Stone Bread (Bread Machine Magic – Thanks Sheri & Jeff)

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 ¼ cups milk
1 egg
3 cups bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ tablespoons butter or marg.
3 tablespoons honey
1 ½ teaspoons active dry or instant yeast

Place all ingredients in bread pan (in order specified by your bread machines instructions). Select the Light Crust setting and press Start.

** I don’t like to bake my bread in the machine, SO, I use the dough cycle, then turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for a minute or two. Then shape it into a loaf and put it into a greased 9X4-inch pan and let it rise again for about 45-60 minutes. Brush some melted butter or beaten egg white over the top and bake at 375 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool. Then slice and eat!! This bread is really yummy toasted with butter and jam… mmmm!!!

My mom and I also used a couple of recipes from my new Giada De Laurentiis cookbook (thanks Kass & Scotty) for a wedding shower my mom hosted for my cousin this past weekend. We tried the Pizza Rustica and the Raspberry Tiramisu. Both were fairly easy to put together and looked great!! The pizza got rave reviews and the tiramisu was so pretty and so yummy! I would definitely make ‘em again! My next obsessive baking session will be cupcakes or some kind of chocolately gooey cookie… I’ve been jones-in’ for a cupcake and can’t find any good ones around here..! Evidently Temecula/Murrieta doesn’t have any bakeries – we’ve looked all over… and, I mean a real bakery NOT a Von’s or Ralph’s in-store bakery. It’s like we’re in the twilight zone – every town should have at least one independent bakery, don’t you think?? The search continues!

Wednesday my Mom and I made a giant batch of applesauce. We had a whole box of apples that my Uncle Pat graciously provided for the shower – a few too many for the shower, BUT, great for us!!! The applesauce turned out GREAT, and didn’t even need sugar. May be applesauce cake will be next on the baking list – never know with the way my mind changes!! It was fun learning how to can/preserve and we only had one bad jar (it broke during the boiling water bath)! Ellie had fun stealing apple cores to eat and play with – Quite our little helper!!!

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