Monday, April 28, 2014

April 2014 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Easter Bread

This month's Daring Bakers' challenge couldn't have been more perfect if it tried!! This month, we were challenged to make Easter bread. The beauty, aside from the fact that it was an Easter bread challenge, was I didn't have to find time to complete the challenge; I was already planning on making Easter breads because, let's face it, that's what I do :)

I started off making Aunt June's mother-in-law's hot crossed buns recipe. It's an old, old, old family favorite and it didn't fail to impress. I took a batch to work and a batch to the kids' teachers on Good Friday. Annika, I found out, is a HUGE hot crossed buns fan. Such a smart girl! (Eric still votes for more frosting... those crosses just don't cut it for him. I've decided he needs hot asterisked buns!) ;)

Was I going to stop there?? Oh no, no no. I also made Easter Bunny breads to have as an Easter morning nosh.... and when I got tired of shaping bunnies (surprisingly, that was only after 5 bunnies ... they're shockingly mundane to shape), I changed tactics and started breading my remaining dough into wreaths.

Not sure if that is a very traditional Easter shape, but it still tasted just as good!! I also made dove-shaped rolls for Easter dinner, but neglected to get a photo of the completed ones ... we were too busy eating them! 

What does one do with all of this leftover Easter bread? Why, make it into bread pudding, of course! 

I now need to return to my usual low-carb lifestyle so I can fit in my summer pants... Easter was very carby and oh so yummy!! :)

The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den . She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Baptized, Bath-tized ... Tomato, Tomahto

While in the car yesterday, the kids and I began talking about our upcoming weekend plans, which include going to my brother's house for lunch and mass. I explained to Annika and Conor how freaking cool it is that Fr. Fred (our dear, dear, dear family friend) is going to say mass for us.

Annika asked, "who is Fr. Fred, again?" We talk about Fred a lot and Annika knows he's going to bless her St. Elizabeth necklace, but she doesn't see him often enough to keep him in her first and foremost memories. I explained that Fr. Fred performed the weddings for Uncle Troy and Uncle Andrew AND he baptized Annika, Conor, as well as big cousins Ian and Kat. (He also drove down to Portland, OR to say my dad's funeral mass a couple of years ago, but I didn't want to open that can of worms...)

At that point, Annika started to giggle quietly. I asked her why she was laughing, to which she answered, "You said BaPtized." I said, "Uh huh... and?" She said, "It is BaTHtized."

Naturally, at that point, I had to bite my lip until it practically bled to keep from laughing at her absolute adorable-ness!

When I was sure I could speak with out tee-hee'ing, I asked, "Do you think it is bathtized because the baby has water poured on its head and its it getting cleaner?" "Yup!" she replied.

Sure! Makes sense. You take a bath with water ... a baptism includes water. I can see the connection. :)

Fr. Fred "bath-tizing" Annika
(Nov. 2007)

Friday, April 18, 2014

My baking buddy

Last night, I busied myself making a chocolate pudding tart and, not at all surprisingly, Conor asked if he could help as soon as he heard the mixer going. (The fact that he abandoned his new "Land Before Time" movie to make something with me is REALLY saying something!)

I'd already mixed the dry ingredients together, so Conor jumped in to help add the ice water and egg yolks to the dough. One of our kids' favorite things to do is crack eggs. This time, things got even better!! I showed Conor our egg separator and let him crack the egg open over it. He was amazed and struck with a wonderful case of the giggles as he watched the egg whites ooze away from the yolk. The squeals of, "COOL" and "EEWWW! GROSS SLIMY" definitely gave me a laugh, too.

I was a little nervous about having him pour things into the Cuisinart's small spout, but he did a fantastic job! No spilled water or egg yolks overboard. He can help me make tart crust any time!!

In goes the water
(like the safety goggles??)

Corralling a slippery egg yolk

Making things with Mama is fun!

After we were done with our project, a double rainbow graced our neighborhood. I hope that means our
tart will be tasty. Conor hopes it means he can go looking for treasure!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Future Professions

On our way home today, Annika announced that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Conor, not to be outdone by his forward-thinking sister, announced that he wants to be a pancake chef. :)

Annika's previous profession announcements include an astronaut, a scientist, a violin teacher, a kindergarten teacher, and a waitress. I've decided to keep a running tally over the years, so we can look back and follow their paths to self identity and (hopefully) decent paychecks!

Who knows? Maybe they'll become rocket scientists!