Oh the irony of the timing of “Make Your Dreams Come True Day”

Make Dreams Come True

Take a chance! Make Dreams Come True!

“Make Your Dreams Come True Day” is today!

Seriously, it is! I was Googling, “fun observances in January,” and ta-da, I found out that every year, January 13 is the day set aside to assess your dreams, goals and so forth. Makes sense to observe this in January as we begin a fresh new year.

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Posted in humor, IMHO, My Take on the Subject | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Baking bread in Lynne’s Kitchen

ingredients for baking bread

Getting all the ingredients together for baking bread!

Here’s a guilty admission of mine. I know – “thou shall not covet,” but covet I did!! I always wanted a KitchenAid mixer, as I love to bake. Every year around Thanksgiving and Christmas, I would dream about getting this high-speed equipment. So, I took the plunge, ordered it and viola! My long-awaited, much-anticipated mixer arrived yesterday! I spent the evening reading the manual (okay, you know I am excited when I read tech manuals!), washed it, and checked the bowl settings so I could use it today. A combo birthday/business investment, as I am wanting to write more about foods and baking, and compile a recipe book.

The performance expectation level I had was pretty high – especially for baking bread.

KitchenAid Mixer

New KitchenAid Mixer!

As long as I have wanted this mixer, I was a little hesitant to use it. I mean, I don’t want to get it all dirty. Haha! The performance expectation level was pretty high – especially for baking bread. Would it live up to all I imagined? Everyone I know who has this mixer loves it. I just had to try it out today! I wondered, “What should I make?” We still have way too many Christmas cookies to justify baking another batch. Plus, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that dough hook!

So, I decided on baking bread.

A wise choice. I wish someone would develop a plug-in app, allowing the aroma of fresh-baked bread to drift through cyberspace, coming through every PC, laptop and device…That would drive my readership up! But I digress.

Mmm! Baking bread

Fresh from the oven!

Well, the KitchenAid Mixer worked like a dream! It was by far the easiest bread baking day I have ever had. I Googled a very simple bread recipe, “Basic Homemade Bread,” found on TasteofHome.com (recipe in the link and pasted below). Everything went into the big bowl, and clean-up was a breeze. I wanted to start out with something fairly easy until I got used to the mixer, but honestly, the learning curve time was not a concern.

So, with this under my belt, I can try other new and great things! Stay tuned! In the mean time, I have a photo-show of the bread-making process. If you have never tried it before, seriously, you must. Yeast breads sound very intimidating, but they aren’t. Just make sure you follow the directions and measure carefully. Whether you have a big, high-speed mixer or not, give it a shot, and tell me about your experience in the comment section!

Photo steps – recipe below!

Mixing it up

Mixing it up!

Mix water and yeast. Add sugar, salt, oil, and about half the flour. Blend well with dough hook. Shut off mixer to scrape sides of the bowl. Add the rest of the flour – about a cup at a time. Mix well.

blob of bread dough

Blob of dough

Turn dough onto floured surface. Kneed until smooth. If using the dough hook, you will only do this about a minute or two. If by hand, kneed longer (8-10 minutes).

bread dough

Smooth surface before first rise

The dough should look smooth like this.

bread dough

Ready to rise

Place into a greased bowl. Turn (so top is greased); cover and let rise until double.

Help dough raise faster

Neat trick! Add a bowl of hot water to help dough raise faster.

My trick: Place dough in oven (do not turn oven on!!!), turn on oven light and place a bowl of hot water in to help the dough rise.

Time to bake

Success! Time for bread baking!

It should double – like this!

punch down the dough

Punch down the dough

Dump dough out of bowl; “punch” down and let rest a minute.

almost ready for baking

Let rise in pan

 Divide dough; and place in greased baking pans. Let rise until double.

ready to bake

Ready to bake!

Like this! Bake in a preheated oven (375 degrees) for 30-40 minutes.

Baking bread - delicious!

Bread is done!

Remove from pans. Cool. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe:

Basic Homemade Bread Recipe

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 30 min. + cooling

 Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6-1/4 to 6-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Shape each into a loaf. Place in two greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
  4. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/basic-homemade-bread

Originally published as Homemade Bread in The Taste of Home Cookbook 2006, p452

Posted in Baking, Cooking, Recipes, Stuff I've taught myself | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

When Turkeys Fly – Thanksgiving Disasters

When Turkeys Fly

When Turkeys Fly – Thanksgiving Disasters

It’s hard to believe another year is drawing to a close. And of course, this is the time of year we are most sentimental with memories of holidays past, like when turkeys fly.

The past few days, I have to admit that I have been getting a kick out of reading about Thanksgiving disasters.

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Posted in Cooking, Family, humor | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Thanks by accident

wpid-20150515_094210-1.jpg“This year, I am going to blog a funny story for Thanksgiving instead of the usual “I am grateful for…” I told my husband. And I got busy typing and editing a memorable family story. To share a funny accident.

But then life happened, and I wasn’t in a laughing mood.

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Posted in Faith and Prayer, Family, Mid-Life, Motherhood | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers

randomacts

“One of the most difficult things to give away is kindness; usually it comes back to you.” – Anonymous

 “Note: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Element Associates and Midlife Boulevard.”

Did you know that over 40 million Americans are caregivers? They do this, not as a career choice, but because a loved one or a friend needs their help. And because they do this, “Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers” is in full swing this month.

Forty million – that is an absolutely staggering number of caregivers. And as “boomers,” we are probably the highest demographic of unpaid caregivers as our parents – and other loved ones – age. Additionally, many boomers still have children at home, plus jobs – creating a mountain of things to accomplish in a day.

Before my father passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease, I, along with my siblings and our spouses, assisted our mother with Dad’s care. How she managed his care is nothing short of a miracle. Many people didn’t even know he was afflicted because of how well she did her job. Her goal was to keep Dad at home for as long as possible.

But it came at a cost. She was burned out, and as his “sundowners” progressed, her lack of sleep caught up with her.

My mother relished a few hours to herself, either to go to the store or a sewing group or even be home by herself “putzing.” Unless someone has had first-hand experience with care-giving, it is hard to even imagine being – or witnessing – someone on call 24/7.

Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers

If you know someone who is in this position, there are several ways you can help. During November, AARP is looking for “Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers.” There is a video (below) with suggestions, but witnessing first-hand what a caregiver needs, here are a few things I know our family appreciated:

  • Time! If you can, offer to be with the patient an hour or two so the caregiver can take a nap, get a haircut, exercise, or go to lunch with friends.
  • Research: Sometimes a caregiver doesn’t have the time to search for assistance. If you know of an agency that can help the patient and caregiver, print the information and/or call the agency for details that you can forward to the caregiver.
  • Offer to run errands. Many times, especially with a dementia patient, a 15-minute stop at the pharmacy turns into a much longer – and exhausting – trip.
  • Make a meal – or drop off a carry-out from a favorite restaurant.
  • Call and check on the care-give. Remind them to care for their own self, too.
  • Send a card or note of encouragement.

In order to spread the word for “Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers,” you can enter a contest and share a story on how you are supporting your favorite caregiver. Winners will share a cash prize, and we can all share ideas on how to make the lives of our caregivers a bit brighter and let them know – most importantly – that they are not alone.

Click on this video for more information on how to enter the contest.

#BeKindtoCaregivers :-)

© Lynne Cobb – 2015

Have you been a caregiver? What helped you through difficult days? Please share what would make your life easier so we can help each other!

 

Posted in Alzheimer's and the family, Caregiving, Mid-Life | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The Day After

clouds

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers

It’s hard to believe that yesterday at this time, sleet, rain and snow flurries were taking turns smacking against the windows. It was gray, cold and dreary – a typical November day in our area of the world. Twenty-four hours later, the sun is streaming through the windows of a pretty late-fall day, and as I had let the dog back in the house, I could hear the comforting bells chiming at the church a block away.

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Posted in Faith and Prayer, IMHO, Inspiration, My Take on the Subject | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Patriotic path to Veterans Day

wpid-20151111_074407.jpg

“The sanctity of our battlefields, monuments, and veterans institutions is of utmost importance to preserve military history and pay respect to those who fought.” Henry Waxman

One of the perks of having an “almost-empty-nest” is the ability to travel more frequently. As it happens, the opportunity for an extended weekend away from home has happened a few times this fall. Most recently, I tagged along with my husband on a trip to Maryland.

I had never been there before, and we had a great time getting to our destination. Driving through Ohio, I was manning the interior controls of the rental car, and almost cooked us inside out when I turned on the heated seats full blast while trying to find the air conditioning. Fun times – always a laugh a minute with yours truly. Continue reading

Posted in Mid-Life, Military, Military Family, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments