To the weekend

Summer is here. The weather is warm. The days are growing longer.

Enjoy this weekend. Soak it up.  Have fun. Relax. Create. Cook. Craft. Read. Nap. Swim. Garden. Drive to the beach. Go to the mountains. Sit in an open field or simply by the window and relax.

Enjoy each day.

 

-Tessa

 

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Bread Making – Start small!

It’s officially summertime and with summer comes extra time to be creative and create! Today, I chose bread!

This is a recipe that I love for one small loaf of bread. Good for one person or couple.  If I eat bread, I try to eat homemade bread….that way you know exactly what’s going into it. This bread requires 6 ingredients. That sure does beat the list of ingredients on the bread at the store! Have you ever checked out the labels on bread?  I think you’ll be shocked to see the list. Try to say some of those ingredients out loud…good luck trying to pronounce things like “azodicarbonamide.”

So! Okay. You wanna make bread and we’re starting small.   The thing about bread making is the zen like quality about the process. Also make sure you have a good 2 1/2 hours on your hands to dedicate to this process. This is a handmade bread. No mixers required! I

 

t takes time and  a little elbow grease. You have to put the love in if you want to get love out. Remember: All good things come to those who work hard!

 

This is the extent of the ingredients you’ll need. Milk, honey, yeast, flour,salt (it’s hiding behind the oil in the picture) and oil for coating a bowl. OH! And I forgot the butter. 1 TB of butter. That is all. No azodicarbonamide necessary! Lets get started. ingredients Pour 3/4 cup of room temperature milk into a large bowl. It’s important that it is ROOM TEMPERATURE because it needs to be warm to excite the yeast.

1 cup of milk

Next add in 2 tsps of honey. Sweet, sweet honey.

1 tsp honey

Melt 1 TB of butter. Let cool for a few minutes and then pour into the milk mixture. Butter melts FAST! Keep an eye on that butter…you don’t want it to burn.

butter

The last ingredient will be the yeast. Add in 1 tsp of active dry yeast.

1 tsp yeast

Did I forget to mention salt? SALT! Add 1/2 tsp of salt to the mixture. If you left it out, the bread wouldn’t know the difference. So your choice my friends….your choice.

salt

Stir the mixture together and add in 1 cup of flour to start with.

1 cup of flour

After mixing it should still be a wet mixture. This is good…this is GREAT!

after 1 cup flour

Add more flour until your dough forms a ball. There is no secret amount here. Just keep adding flour until the dough is not sticking to the sides of the bowl. Allow your dough to become a free-wheeling ball of flour, milk and yeast.

It should look a little something like this.

form a ball

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured, clean surface. Ready!? Time to knead. Roll up those sleeves and get ready to work.

dump on flour surface

Knead the dough for about 4 minutes, adding flour lightly if it feels sticky. When the dough is forming a ball and is no longer sticky….stop. You’ve done it. Now you and the dough must relax.

form a ball2

Looking good. This is such a sweet, small loaf of bread. I can taste it already! Now grab some oil and lightly oil a glass bowl. This is where the dough will rest.

oil a bowl

After lightly oiling the bowl, put the ball of dough in the bowl move it around on the oil and then flip it over so the top of the dough is slightly oiled. Place a light towel over the bowl and keep in a warm place. Let the dough rise for an hour.

An hour of waiting for bread to rise is an hour reading in your favorite chair, getting some house work done, or taking a run around the block. Or…you can rest…like the dough.

let sit 1 hour

After an hour your dough should be doubled in size. Aw! It’s growing!

after 1hour

So for the next part you will need a fist. Any fist will do. Your own, call over a child, ask your significant other to lend a fist and then punch the dough down into the bowl. This will release some bubbles that were created during the rising process.

punch

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface again and…you guessed it. KNEAD! Another four minutes will do. This time, listen closely to all the popping bubbles that have formed in the bread during rising. Make sure you get all of the bubbles out of the dough. Knead until the popping stops…and you’ll have to listen closely!

knead bubbles out

After about 4 minutes, form the dough into a ball shape again and prepare a baking pan or a bread stone.

bubbles out

Place the bread on the baking surface of your choice, cover with a light cloth again and let rise for 45 minutes  in a warm spot.

bread on sheet

rest 45 mins

After 45 minutes, the dough should be doubled in size. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the bread into the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes. I like to set the timer for 20 minutes and then check in on it every 5 minutes.

rise dough after 45

After only 25 minutes, I decided the bread was finished. Voila! A beautiful small loaf of bread make from 6 simple ingredients. I encourage you to try this recipe! If you’re interested in making your own bread, start small! But get started!

Think of the winter snow storms spent making bread instead of braving the roads to go pick up the last of the loaves left on the shelf! You have all summer to practice !

bread voila

Enjoy with some preserves or jam and a strong cup of coffee or tea !

Finished bread

What’s YOUR favorite bread recipe. This summer I want to explore bread making, so if you have a recipe please send it along or post it in a comment!

Honey Bunny Sweet Loaf

3/4 cup of (ROOM TEMPERATURE) whole milk ( milk can be replaced with low-fat or dairy free milk or water)

1 TB of butter (melted and cooled)

2+ cups of flour

2 tsp of honey

1/2 tsp of salt

1 tsp of active dry yeast

oil to coat a bowl

1.Pour 1 cup of milk into medium bowl. Add yeast, melted and cooled butter, honey and salt to the milk and mix. Add 1 cup of flour and mix. It will be a sticky dough. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough forms a ball and does not stick to the sides of the bowl. Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 minutes and form into a ball.

7. Coat a large bowl with oil and place dough in the bowl. Flip the dough so the oiled surface of the dough is face up. Let rise in bowl for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough down and dump on a lightly floured surface. Knead for 4 minutes or so making sure to release air bubbles. Prepare a bread stone or a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into a ball shape and place on the cooking surface. Let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

14. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Place sheet with bread into the oven and cook between 20-30 minutes. Start checking the bread at 20 minutes and take it out when it is browned around the edges and top. Let cool on cooling rack and then eat and….

ENJOY!

Fathers Day Down the Shore

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The sea! the sea! the open sea!, The blue, the fresh, the ever free! ~Bryan W. Procter

Down the shore. It’s the expression Urban Dictionary defines as “Where folks from Philadelphia and southeastern PA go during the summer.” There’s something about the Jersey shore. Bright blue ocean at a distance (if the sky is just right),  people in stages of undress everywhere and I mean everywhere,  screams and laughter, tip jars encouraging patrons to donate to employee college funds (or party funds for the night) The smell of French fries, funnel cakes and the ocean waft through the air…the sounds of screams from the carnival rides,  the sun attacking all exposed skin….the sea gulls attacking all exposed food. “Down the shore.” It IS where we go in the summer. It’s vacation. It’s the day trip or the skip-work-head-to-the-beach trip. It’s where we gravitate to when the days grow longer and hotter. 

 facewheel

I love it there. It’s my childhood and young adulthood and adulthood. It’s familiar. It’s the boardwalk I’ve walked down each summer since I was a little kid. It’s the ocean I’ve been pummeled by and gently rocked by each summer past.

This is the Jersey shore.  Love it or leave it. I love it.

My dad loves the ocean. Salt and sea. I too love the ocean. We have this in common.

My large and glorious family arrived in Ocean City for Fathers Day on June 16th. It is the family tradition that has grown to include the blooming branches of our family tree. My older brother takes his two children and my oldest sister and her husband take their 6 beautiful girls. Three of my four brothers, my two sisters, my mom and dad were all there too and this was enough. The mighty Atlantic remains the backdrop to this family tradition.

 photo 2

The day melts on down the shore. Time doesn’t seem to move. Nieces and nephews spent their time building sand castles and playing the water, my sisters and my mom sat on a bench and chatted, my dad and my brothers walked the boardwalk  hitting the arcades. The day melts at the Jersey shore and we melt along with it. Pizza at Manco and Mancos (my dad’s favorite pizza ever! ever!), salt-water taffy at Shrivers and 8 addicted children asking for a taffy. ANY taffy. I snuck in with my mom to pick up an Americano from the Ocean City coffee co to feed my own addictions. One cannot simply walk by the coffee shop without grabbing a cup.

The day ebbs and flows with relaxation and excitement; energy and exhaustion.

I always itch to get onto the sand, after hours, once the beach goers have left in search of dinner and entertainment. I love to stand on the edge of the water and look out over the great expanse of the sea. My mom and I walked down to beach to the ocean this year together.

 under the roof

As I stood there, waves at my ankles… it reminded me of how tiny I am on this great big earth and how glorious it is to be alive and swirling in this universe with the people I love. Having shared the space, admiring the ocean with my mom made the moment even sweeter. It was the best part of my day.

ocean 2014

It was a nice Fathers day at the shore. Spending the day with my entire family is always lovely. The background noise and scenery is never important. Spending time with family matters.

 

It matters.

Gosh do I love trips down the shore.

 

What traditions do you hold true on Fathers day? Share a tradition or a memory or story about your father below. I’d love to hear from you all. 

New Jersey, Sommers Point