November 21, 2011

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Not being able to bake a decent loaf of bread is really starting to bug me.  So much so that I should probably switch the name of this blog to The Trials and Tribulations of a Chick That Can't Bake Bread to Save Her Life. Catchy, no?  I'm sorry if I've been absent from the blogging world for a few weeks as I haven't had much blog-worthy material to write about. I've tried baking a few more loaves of bread which have been pretty big disappointments so I finally watched (at my husbands asking) an old Good Eats episode about bread baking. As it turns out that in an effort to be a low sodium household, I am only hindering my bread. Apparently salt is one of the necessities of bread baking and I have been leaving it out. It's not just for flavor, but it helps in the baking process. I'm still a little confused as to why since it's a bunch of scientific mumbo jumbo, but it's muy importante none the less. So I went back to square one and followed the recipe to a T and what do ya know? The bread was perfect. Sort of. Size has been an issue with my previous loaves, so over the weekend Josh and I made a stop to our local Bed Bath & Beyond to buy some new bread pans that were larger. I'm unsure what my thought process was as to why buying bigger pans when making the same size loaves would yield bigger bread. In the end I wound up with some darn tasty Italian bread in the shape of a small bread loaf. Hopefully all I need to change for next time is instead of making 2 loaves, I will just make one large one. I'm going to test this theory on Tuesday night.  I really hope this goes well.  There is nothing like failure after failure in the kitchen to really take the wind out of my sails.

On a happier note, to accompany my bread I made a delicious Bean with Bacon soup.

I altered the recipe a bit by using navy beans instead of lima beans.  I also added my homemade chicken stock, a re-hydrated cayenne pepper, some frozen corn and 1 lb of cooked bacon.  The great thing about this recipe is that I made it for under $10 and I still have at least 6 more meals worth with all the leftovers.  As a dessert, I whipped up some Irish Cream to sip on while we watched Sunday Night Football.

This recipe is so easy and delicious that it will be a must for any holiday party you attend this season.  Here's what you need:


1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (Eagle brand preferred)
1 Pint Non Dairy Creamer (Coffee-mate works great)
1 Cup Brandy
1/4 tsp Coconut Extract
2 T Chocolate Syrup

Mix all ingredients together and chill for 1 hour.  Good for up to one month.

On the knitting front, I've been making some progress with all the Christmas projects that I have lined up.  I say some because the book for this months book club is The Hunger Games and I have been having a difficult time putting it down.  I need to get my butt in gear though since I have a large order from Webs that should be here tomorrow.  The contents will be everything I need to finish up.  Here's where I'm at with everything:

Mom - Sweater - DONE!
Tom - 2 Pairs of Socks - 1 down 1 to go!
Kenny - 5 Pairs of Socks - 3 Down 2 to go!

Caroline - Cowl - Half way done

Judy - Fingerless Mittens - Need to buy yarn
Julie - Sweater - Yarn will be in tomorrow.

In case I don't blog in the next few days, I would like to wish you and your family a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!