Monday, December 16, 2013

the weekend with some recipes

I wish every weekend could be like this last one.  Where we roll out of bed just whenever on Saturday morning.  We make breakfast together, him on coffee, me on pancake batter.  We sit around the table, the four of us, enjoying bacon and buttery pancakes dripping with syrup, fresh cut fruit, and glasses of cold orange juice.  We do a few things around the house during the day, just slow and easy.

That evening we left the boys with a pizza and took off for the company Christmas party.  It was at an upscale restaurant, definitely out of our price range.  But things were beautiful, the light was soft, and the food prepared with attention to detail.  It was a special treat.

We spent Sunday where we spend all our Sundays, with our church family.  We sing together, make food together, clean up together, laugh together, and hopefully there's some encouragement, some sharpening that happens amid the day.  Sundays we get home usually around 4:30 in the afternoon.  Since it is football season, the guys spend the evening watching whatever football game together and I sit with them with the laptop and headphones and watch a girlie movie.  We eat Sunday night sandwiches, our tradition for almost 5 years now.

Monday closed our long weekend.  Austin had to get up to go to class but the rest of us slept in again.  Aaron spent the morning at the dentist and I spent the morning correcting quizzes and cleaning the house.  We did a little Christmas shopping this afternoon and took the boys to Wendy's for a late lunch.

Now everyone is gone at wrestling practice.  There is a yummy stew in the oven, bread dough rising on the stove, and dogs snoozing lazily.

About the stew:  I've discovered that baking stew in an enamel pot on a low temperature for an extended time produces delicious results.  The recipe I'm using today...
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Saute in oil in a large pot: 1 chopped shallot, 1 peeled and cubed sweet potato, 2 small cubed red potatoes, 1 sliced carrot, and minced garlic.
  • Add to pot: 1 pound cubed pork. Stir and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Coat meat and vegetables with 3 T. of flour, stirring well.
  • Add 1 T. Thyme, 1 t. pepper, 1 1/2 c. chicken broth, 1/2 c. white wine (or more broth with a splash of white wine vinegar).
  • Move your lidded pot to the 300 degree oven and bake for 2 hours or so, stirring once midway through.
  • Let stew sit for 15 minutes before serving.
About the bread:  this recipe comes from a friend whose very spirit evokes love in my heart.  She is a kindred soul.  The first time I tasted this bread I swooned.  It is airy and crusty and simple in it's elements.
  • Dissolve 2 1/2 t. yeast in 1 cup of warm water.
  • Dissolve 1 T. salt in 2 cups of warm water.
  • Measure 7-8 cups of flour into large bowl and add yeast and salt mixtures.  Mix together then knead the whole thing until smooth and elastic.
  • Place in a large greased bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Shape as desired (2 or 3 loaves) and bake at 375 for approximately 40 minutes.
I have learned that bread dough doesn't have to be babied too much.  It can rise for more than an hour.  You can punch it down and let it rise again, and again.  Maybe there are some picky dough recipes.  But for a simple bread, don't let it rule your life.  Work it around your schedule.  Another trick that works for me (when making just 1 or 2 loaves of bread) is to knead it right in my big mixing bowl.  Most of the mess stays in the bowl and then I hold the dough ball in my left hand while oiling the messy bowl with my right hand, put the ball in oiled bowl, then turn the dough over so it's oiled bottom is now it's top and set it aside to rise.  My lazy self loves this method and it's never proven to be a bad way to go.


  1. It all sounds wonderful. I'm coming over to eat at your place. Go out and inhale the crisp winter breeze for your southern California sister?

    Missing you all like crazy...

  2. we had a lazy Saturday kind of day today on a Monday.
    and it's been great.

    hope that you all had an Amazing Christmas season.