Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The perfect recipe

Most of my blog posts are focused around our family & what we are doing etc. Well I have decided to take a different angle today & focus on another important part of my life. Making food... When you have a family of 9 you will spend lots of time in the kitchen.:) For me thats not a drudgery because I actually enjoy cooking & baking.
 I have baked bread for our family ever since we got married. My interest in bread baking started way back when I was a little girl & my friend's mom always had homemade bread. It was so absolutely delicious especially fresh from the oven! My mom never cared to try & bake bread she made awesome pies, & all kinds of other good food but not bread.
While I was in VS in Haiti all our bread was homemade, so there I got lots of tips on how to make it. :) I learned things like good flour is a MUST or the bread will flop. Believe me we ate lots of flopped bread because it was hard to find good bread flour in Haiti.
 After I came home from service I attempted bread baking & had plenty of flops of my own. I finally found a simple recipe that tasted good & didn't have funny ingredients. I still use that recipe for white bread. However this post is not focused on white bread but whole wheat bread. ;)
 When I was 6 months pregnant with Reagan I was having trouble getting good numbers on my glucose tolerance tests. Therefore I was given a food list of what I could & could not eat. White bread was a no no of course. So I started my search to find a recipe for whole wheat bread.If you have experience with bread baking you will already know that white & whole wheat flours are different. Therefore they produce different results in the finished product. I knew what I wanted it to look & taste like. Most of the recipes in my cookbooks proclaimed themselves to be "wholewheat" but would have at least 4 cups of white flour in it too. So I turned to pinterest, now we all know that if its on pinterest it is going to be fabulous.... WRONG!
 Such sorry looking little bricks of bread you have never seen. It was like all the yeast expired after the first rising.
 My sister-in-law Mary has always made wonderful whole wheat bread so in desperation I contacted her for help. And I found the recipe that works!It contained no evil white flour that I was trying to avoid & had no weird ingredients in it.
I am sure if you would prefer to use coconut oil instead of veg oil you could. I was amazed that even my husband that has ALWAYS preferred white bread now asks for whole wheat!
 I think one of the things that makes this recipe work better for me is the rising time. The pinterest recipe was having it rise for twice as long & it rose fine that first time. It was when I put it in pans that it would not rise anymore.

The only thing better then fresh from the oven white bread is fresh from the oven Whole wheat bread. :)
 I would love to hear what your tried & true bread baking tips are!

 Whole Wheat Bread
4 Cups water
1/2 Cup honey
3/4 Cup Oil
2 Tablespoons salt
3Tablespoons yeast
9 Cups whole wheat flour
Mix together everything except last 4 cups of flour. Let set 15 minutes, add remaining 4 cups of flour. Knead for 6 minutes in bosch mixer. Let rise 15 minutes, then put into pans & let rise again till it reaches the desired size you want it. :) Bake at 325 for 28 minutes.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Rest of the Story

When the skies look dark a dreary what better thing to do but sit inside & blog!
If its going to be overcast anyway I wish it would just go ahead & snow. We did have snow earlier this morning but it melted as soon as the flakes stopped falling. But this is not intended to be about the weather but about the rest  of our 4500+ mile trip. :) 

How do they grow up so fast? It seems like just last Christmas Micah was the little guy hanging on to mama's skirt. Now look how he is growing up. He is becoming a fine young man!

Grandpa taught them this little trick to do with a string & they all practiced till they had it down pat & some of them had sore fingers!

Not sure why the mad look!

More attempts at old tricks. But found out that you have to have the old wooden thread spools for this one. The plastic ones have too many holes inside them.

Grandma always has presents for all of them. :)

Garrett... He hates having his picture taken. ;)

Now she is all smiles. 

Tea party in progress. :)

Here comes Waneta bringing her gifts for Mom & Dad

The adorable Logan. He likes having his picture taken much better then his brother does.

THIS is what happens when you try to take pictures of the preteen girls & their aunt.

The two by themselves didn't do much better!

Pony rides were the highlight of most of our young children. Dad would go out & saddle up the pony & they would take turns riding the very gentle pony. No snow for Christmas was a disappointment but it would have been a lot harder to have pony rides if there would have been snow.

Meanwhile the women spent quality time in the kitchen. I tried in vain to tell Emily & Briana that washing dishes is a great way of spending quality time together. For some reason they giggled at me & did their usual disappearing act.

Inez is going to LOVE me for some of these pictures. Which is probably why Garrett has learned at such a young age that it is best to avoid cameras at all cost!

Homemade ice cream made by mom. Its still the best!

Reagan was so intrigued with Grandma's multi colored lights

Here is Micah again :)

Cole wasn't fond of going outside

Reagan got to watch the pony rides from a good vantage point.:)

The following four are pics I got off of Briana's camera.
That's my man right there. :)

All too soon it was Saturday & time to say goodbye & head the 690 miles down the road to SC. We had wonderful weather traveling down & all went well till we got hung up in traffic close to Charlotte NC. Such a frustration to get set back about an hour because of traffic. We did make it to Abbeville safe & sound!
Now I have no pictures of Abbeville because sadly my camera stayed in the van the entire time we were there. Largely in part to this person.
See those red eyes, miserable face & sick look? Well we probably both looked like that the 6 days we were in SC. He slept very poorly the entire time we were in SC. I would get him to sleep carefully lay him in his bed & within minutes he was awake & screaming in terror as only Reagan can scream. I soon decided he will have to sleep in bed with Dale & I or the entire household will be kept awake all night long. So the three of us had miserable nights, but the rest of the household could sleep. :) I would promise myself & Reagan that this too shall pass! Once we get home he will learn to sleep in his bed again! 
Not that we had no pleasant moments in SC. We enjoyed our stay at Reuben's/Grandma's. We had some really nice days while we were there & the children totally loved having a trampoline to play on. Sierra enjoyed keeping Mary & the girls entertained with her never ending chatter. :)
Brian spent Tuesday-Friday at Nate's. She was delighted to finally get some time in with her beloved cousin Emily. Micah spent two nights at his friend Cameron's house. We as a family got to catch up with a few of our SC friends while we were there. But it wasn't the best time of the year to visit because so many of them were vacationing too. 
Thursday morning we left Abbeville & went up to Pickens to spend the remaining of the day & night at Nate's.
We met the adorable Shelby
Isn't she just the cutest little thing?
Nothing ever changes... The boys still hang out in Waneta's bedroom playing computer games. :)
While I was packing up our clothes for what seemed like the 145th time Reagan fell into an exhausted slumber in daddy's arms.

We left for our LOOONNNGGGG journey home Friday morning. All went well on day one. We have found out that it works well for us to have me drive the first few hours while it is still dark outside. Don't get me wrong Dale is an excellent driver but he found out that early morning driving while everyone else is sleeping makes him drowsy. We decided to go home by way of the"southern" route which takes you through, Georgia,Alabama,Arkansas, Mississippi,a wee bit of Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico & Colorado. [not in that order but those are the states we went through.] Going that way seemed the least likely chance of hitting bad weather. Well day one was okay it just rained a lot of the day. Day two was going okay till we got into snow in Texas. :( It was slow going for probably 4-5 hours. Once we got into New Mexico the sun was shining & roads were clear again. Seeing herds of prong horns in New Mexico was a new experience for us. Oh how wonderful it felt to cross the state line & see Colorado mountains again. How we missed their beauty! Soon after we got into CO snow was falling again. If we wouldn't have had to be driving in the stuff it would have been such a beautiful snow. Soon the flakes got thicker we were traveling on an unfamiliar  road. Dale asked me if I was praying for this snow to stop, and if I wasn't to please pray. So I started praying & within 5 minutes the flakes got fewer, the road became visible, & we could see clearly again. Praise the Lord! He also gave us a gorgeous sunset to see over by the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
We made it safely home Saturday night around 9:30. 2 hours later then we initially thought we would be home, but home nonetheless.
I was so glad to be home...
I know these people were too! They were such good travelers... Well 6 of them were
Briana & I took turns sitting beside Reagan. He did lots of this & some

of this. :)

Since we are home he is learning new things. Like cleaning out the dishwasher is much more fun then his siblings think it is! He finally started crawling while we were gone & can get around in a hurry. He is doing much better at night. The first few nights of training were rough again but he has determined parents!;)
Last night I looked in his mouth & found two new teeth. But if he doesn't get his center front teeth quickly he is going to have a funny smile. He has center bottom teeth & two side top teeth. ;)
As a whole he is much happier child since we are home. I did come down with the same cold junk he & Sierra were fighting while we were in SC & decided if his head hurt like mine did its no wonder he was fussy.

So long till next time!