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Archive for May, 2010

4am

Okay, it’s 4am and I should be in bed, but I stayed up late to watch the final episode and reunion show of Survivor one of my guilty pleasures, I’ve watched all 20 seasons believe it or not over the years. When my sister was alive we both used to watch it and enjoy it from our different houses in different states. Anyway, I was ready to head on up to bed and Calvin the cat started going crazy running around the first floor of the house and things were crashing around him. I tried to see what was going on but couldn’t get close enough to really see (I’m tapering off the steroids these days and my distance vision is acting up again) but I am pretty darn sure he had something in his mouth. I don’t want to know what though so I shut myself into my office and am waiting to see if he’s quiet a long enough time to get out and go to bed. He has been known to carry live mice around the first floor before, playing with them, tearing them into little bits and pieces all over the place. Letting them go and then catching them again. All sorts of gross and creepy things (I do NOT like mice or any other rodents thank you very much). Ugh!

So I figured I’d take this time to post a little good news. Last week I signed the contracts for an offer on my mom’s condo! So mid June we go to closing and I will get a huge load of anxiety off of me. Right now the tension is high, first getting the offer, negotiating it, the inspection and waiting for the contracts to all be signed. That’s all happened and went pretty smoothly thankfully. Now the work of dismantling the condo of it’s contents begins. We won’t be able to even get up to there for a couple more weeks so right now we are doing as much as we can do long distance which includes getting estimates from movers (our wonderful realtor is helping us by meeting them in person to get the estimate) for various furniture going to various states and places. We’ve been very lucky as there has not been a sale in the condo development or in the general condo market area for at least a year, we are the first, and luckily our buyers have a cash offer as it would be quite difficult to get a mortgage without a┬ácomparable (makes it impossible to get an assessment as they need three sold properties over the last 6 to 9 months).

We also sold in 90 days, a miracle in this very, very slow market. Apparently my other tv watching guilty pleasure helped a lot in this regard and that is my watching bits and pieces of HGTV on our small tv in the kitchen while eating lunch or breakfast. I like to watch the real estate shows and in particular the ones that show how to stage a house so it gets sold fast. I used the things I learned to take my mom’s things and make them work the best I could. The condo was in great shape but it was dated, they had not upgraded the kitchen, bathrooms, lighting etc. since they bought the place in the mid to late 80’s so the comments were always, it’s beautiful but it needs updating. Our realtor was concerned because in the current market people didn’t want to do the work to update a place, yet wanted to find a place already done that was in their perfect taste. I was told that the buyer’s wife wanted me to know that the way I presented the condo brought it up $50,000. So, we lucked out obviously in finding the right buyer for the property, but the things I learned from HGTV helped a lot too. Made me feel good that all that work I put into it paid off.

So meanwhile here A. is painting our dressing room in anticipation of our getting my mom’s teak furniture (mostly bookcases, but also a desk unit and vanity among other things). It’s the last room that needed to be finished in our house and has never been painted in the 7 years since we bought this house (wow, 7 years, I had to count it up, I hadn’t realized it’s been so long). It’s a nice warm golden color that looks like it will be a bright and cheerful way to start the day.

Okay, it’s been quiet out there for a while so I am going to open up the doors and hightail it up the stairs (yeah right, I can barely walk up the stairs these days never mind run up them!). My comfy bed awaits!

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made the bread

Today I finally made my first loaf of bread from my container of dough that has been sitting in the basement fridge since I made the dough a week ago. I guess it’s good and aged by now. It made a pretty small loaf, but that’s actually a good thing as it was so easy to do that it will be fine to have smaller batches of fresher bread instead of a big loaf that I have to worry about it getting stale or even moldy (as it’s been so darn hot and humid here the last few days we’ve put the a/c on). So here’s the dough rising on the pizza peel. Rising isn’t exactly the right term as it barely rises since it is cold from the fridge. The “oven spring” was there but not a whole lot. The bread itself is a decent whole wheat (mostly, it does have some white flour in it but a fairly low amount), nothing super special but good. Since it was sitting in the fridge for a week it’s getting more yeasty (kind of like sourdough) and A. said that every time he opened the fridge he thought a beer had spilled open. I honestly couldn’t smell that, but I could taste the difference (from a regular w/w bread) a little bit.

I don’t know that it will replace my favorite artisan bread bakery breads, but it’s definitely as good or better than some of the more easily accessible ones and way, way less expensive. It was so easy to put together too, just grabbed some dough out of the bucket, shaped it for a few seconds onto a rice flour dusted pizza peel. Let sit for 90 minutes and pop onto a preheated pizza stone in the oven to bake for 30 minutes and it’s done. My only problem was timing, I had it timed perfectly to go into the oven while I should be out waiting for Z at her bus stop. Thankfully A. was able to take a short break from work and get her for me, but it probably would have been okay if it had sat longer on the counter, I don’t know. I’ll try to be in a better math head next time I make it!

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Bread dough

I meant to post this on 4/29 but guess I never got around to hitting publish. I’ll post it now since I am writing a new post about actually baking my first loaf right now.

I made the wet dough a few days ago for the 5 minute a day bread I mentioned in the last post. It’s sitting in our basement refrigerator untouched so far. I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to make the bread, hopefully soon. In the meantime I have half loaves of various store bought “good” breads in the freezer to keep us going until we do. It was very easy to make for the most part. I chose to hand mix it in the storage container (less mess, nothing to wash but the big wooden spoon) but I do not have the best upper arm strength and towards the end enlisted A.’s help to get that last bit of flour stuck on the bottom to incorporate into the dough. The dough rose at room temp for over 3 hours and got maybe a slight bit higher than this photograph shows, but basically went from the 2 quart mark to the 5 quart mark. The dough in the fridge then flattens back and is about at the 3 quart mark. This is all supposed to be pretty normal for a very wet and refrigerated dough. It’s not supposed to rise much again until it gets into the oven (oven spring, I love that term, it brings such an animated image into my mind). So the first picture shows the first rising on the counter before it went into the refrigerator. The 2nd photo was taken at the same time, just shows the top of the dough. The flatness is because the dough is so wet. I love the lumpy, bumpy look, I can smell the yeast just looking at the photo.

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