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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Homemade French Bread...


I LOVE LOVE LOVE bread!!! Other than bacon frying, fresh bread baking in the oven is the most mouth-watering smell. YUMMMMM...

Years ago, I came across the best recipe for French bread. Not only do I use it for French bread loaves, but I also use it for my pizza dough!! It does great double duty work for our family!!

French Bread
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. yeast

I place everything in my bread maker, set it on "dough" cycle and let it go. After the "dough" cycle is done, I take the dough out, divide it into two even sections and shape them into French bread loaves and place on my bread pan. I use my sharpest kitchen knife and make little "slashes" across the top to allow the bread to rise even more. Then I set it in the oven to rise for 1 hour (I let it rise in the oven because it is a draft free place). When the hour is up, I bake the bread in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Now... if you do not have a bread maker, you can easily mix the ingredients by hand and then knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Let it rise for 30 minutes in a greased bowl, punch it down, knead it again for about 5 more minutes and let it rise again until double in size. Then divide the dough into two even sections... and go from there in my original directions.

You can also lightly brush a beaten egg across the top of the loaves just before you bake them and they will have a beautiful golden shine to them. I often will do this when I make bread to take somewhere.

For pizza: Make the dough according to directions. You can either divide the dough into two even sections and shape into two "thin crust" pizzas OR you can use the entire amount of dough for a "deep dish" style pizza.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A new floor..

Mr. U is a pastor and we live in the parsonage that our church owns. It’s a fine house and we are very thankful to be living here. We have had some major water problems in this home since we’ve been here and the floors have been in need of repair. So, while we were in China, the men of our church undertook the task. Not only was the floor soft, but apparently it was rotted and even the joists were swollen with water!! It was so bad that even the beams under the stove and refrigerator were collapsed in two!!! We’ve been told that the only thing that kept us from falling through the floor was the linoleum- oh my!! How many times have I complained about that linoleum, I have no idea. How grateful I am that it held us up all these years!!!!

Here's a picture of the men working on the floor. Yes, that is the ground you see!! Every bit of wood was ripped out of the kitchen floor!!



So… here are some before and after pictures. I LOVE the look of the new flooring! Believe it or not, it is linoleum, too, but it looks SOOO much like wood!! It’s lovely! Now I just want to get that wallpaper off and paint the wall! When? Ummmmm… sometime in the future!!


(before)

(before)

(after)

(after)

Also, we were blessed with a new stove! I’ve been so used to cooking on the old one that it’s taking me a bit to get used to this new fancy one!!! LOL! Isn’t it nice??!!!

(old stove)

(new stove)

How blessed we are!! A new STURDY floor, beautiful new flooring and a new stove all to welcome our new little blessing home!! The Lord has spoiled us for sure!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

We're home!!!!

We are finally home from China!! We got home on Saturday, March 10th and have spent the past several days trying to get Elizabeth to adjust to our time zone. Bless her heart, she was ready to play at 3:00 in the morning!! She's been doing better, though, and I'm sure will be sleeping through the night soon. :)

I've missed my blogging friends and hope to catch up with everyone. I have been so very blessed with such wonderful blogs to learn from. I'm not sure how often I will be able to post, but I will definitely share what the Lord is teaching me in the areas of homekeeping and motherhood when He leads.

This picture is the first one I took of Elizabeth when we arrived home. She fell asleep in the car on the way home from the airport and I just hated to wake her up. She looks so sweet in her pink flowery outfit.



This picture shows Elizabeth's personality the best!!! She is a very happy 10 month old little girl and is full of life!!! She is such a blessing and we are so very thankful that the Lord has chosen her for our family. God is GOOD!!!

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