Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Flowers, Birthdays and Packing!

Yesterday was my 50th birthday! I still can't believe it. I guess I'm officially an adult...well, maybe not. The best part of the day was receiving this beautiful basket of flowers from my daughter, sister and nephew. Aren't they glorious?

Now, you might be thinking I had a great big birthday bash or even a nice romantic dinner out with DH and you would be dead wrong! Yesterday was the culmination of an incredibly hectic and weird few weeks.

It started with a road trip with Julie to San Diego and ended with me spending my B-day unpacking all the moving boxes I had spent the last week packing! I'm tired!

It all started like this...

I'm planning a road trip to San Diego to visit my Mother who is in Hospice. This is around the beginning of February. Julie and I decide to leave on her birthday. Several days prior to our leaving Corky is partially laid off at work. No one saw this coming! But we decide to go through with the trip as Mom is very ill.

Julie and I leave for San Diego on February 19th (her B-day) to visit my Mother whom I hadn't seen in over 10 years. Once we got to San Diego, Julie realized that she wanted to move back and attend school for music production. Great news. Lee-Ann, my sister, offered her the spare bedroom with open arms. Wonderful! Let's plan the return trip.

We head back home to Colorado on the 25th. On the way home, Corky calls me on the cell and tells me his job is gone. That's right, no more work! Bad! So, I continue on home with my mind just whirling.

Once home, we decide that we will move back to Washington and stay with friends until we can regroup. Our Colorado home is a virtual ghost town. Everyone is gone. The oil fields are done! Nothing left for us here. We'll just pack up and leave. But first, we need to bring Julie back to San Diego.

So, with Julie's help we pack up the house and get it ready to go. We bring Roo to our friend Andrea's; Corky, Julie and I head to San Diego. We leave on March 3rd and drive straight through, 14 and 1/2 hours! I'm dying! We visit for one day and leave on the 5th to return home. Can't even think at this point.

We get home on the evening of the 6th after picking Roo up. We spend all day on the 7th finishing the packing and picking up a car dolly to tow my car. This is now Saturday evening. At 10 pm the phone rings...who could it be this late?

Well, it is a job offer for Corky! I can't believe my ears. A wonderful job offer no less. Truck boss, company truck, credit cards, expense accounts. I see the gleam in his eyes! All of the things he's wanted dropped right in his lap. We discuss and discuss. I'm thinking I'll have to unload and unpack all of this stuff!!! What should we do?

Well, of course, he had to take it. Do we continue on our way to Washington, to no jobs and no home? Do we stay in Colorado in our own home with a great job? A no brainer...especially in this time of horrible job prospects.

So, to get back to my B-day story. I spent my 50th birthday unpacking my moving boxes, eating take-out pizza and thanking God for a wonderful day!

My First Loaf of ABin5

Bread, bread, glorious bread! I love bread that has a crispy crust and a soft chewy crumb and I've found it in ABin5. ABin5 stands for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. This is a great book and I recommend it to anyone who loves bread.

I was raised by a mother who loves the breads from her childhood. This is the bread that came from the local Italian and Jewish bakeries where she grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She has passed this passion on to her children.

I have found this type of bread almost impossible to find. There was one bakery in San Diego where you could buy authentic Italian breads, rolls and cookies, but that was about it. Now, that I live in a rural part of Colorado on the Western Slope it is an impossible task.

Then one day I came across an article in Mother Earth News that outlined how to make delicious artisan bread in five minutes a day without having to allow time for rising or kneading. I thought it couldn't be that easy, but it was! I made my first loaf and couldn't believe the results. The smell, the crunch and the taste were fabulous and all from my own oven! Even factoring in the altitude issues here the result was great.

The biggest surprise of all was DH's response. This is a guy whose idea of good bread is Wonder! I was sure he would hate the crisp crust and the chewiness of the interior, but boy was I wrong. I'm asked almost everyday if I've made anymore of that bread...lol! I even started making it in a loaf pan vs. free-form to make "neater" sandwiches for the big guy.

It also makes great pizza. I make a traditional thin crust for myself and Julie and a thicker Sicilian style for Corky. Everybody is happy!

Now, I just came across another method similar to this one to make an organic, no yeast /no knead sourdough bread. This is also a wet dough that has endless possibilities. I found this recipe in my favorite magazine MaryJanesFarm (www.maryjanesfarm.org). This is a magazine devoted to organic gardening, cooking and living. I just love it and recommend you check it out!

Well, that's probably enough "waxing poetic" about bread for one day. Besides, I have a loaf of bread to bake!