It was all a blur…
until I looked closely.
I stopped and closed my eyes,
and I took a deep breath.
I exhaled slowly,
and then I opened my eyes.
And there it was…
I saw the beauty.
Cheers & Hugs,
Five-Minute Homemade Rustic Artisan Bread.
Aren’t these loaves beautiful?! I recently found this recipe that makes homemade bread so easy!
You can mix this dough together in five minutes. Then it just needs to rest for two hours while you go about doing something… anything else. After that, throw it in the fridge – for up to 14 days! Whenever you want a fresh loaf of bread, grab a hunk of dough, and bake it. Super simple, super delicious!
So… disclaimer… you obviously can’t make it from start to finish in five minutes, but that really is all the longer the dough takes to mix together, and there is no kneading, so it really is a simple way to make warm, fresh, delicious homemade bread quickly and easily with just a few simple staple ingredients!
Pour water in large bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and salt, and mix until dissolved. Add flour all at once, and mix until completely incorporated. That’s it! Five minutes. No kneading.
Place a clean kitchen towel over the bowl and let it sit for two hours.
After two hours, cover bowl with saran wrap (but not too tight as it needs a little vent for gases to escape), and throw it in the fridge.
Your dough is ready to use at anytime in the next 14 days.
When you are ready to bake a loaf, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grab a hunk of dough with floured hands. Do not punch it down, and do not knead or overwork it. Gently shape as desired into a ball, loaf, rolls – whatever you like. Place on a baking stone. (I bake absolutely EVERYthing on baking stones – cookies, bread, roasted vegetables, meatloaf, french fries – they are all I use in the oven – and the results are awesome!) You can let it rest for 30-40 minutes or bake right away – depending on the density you desire. Dust top of dough with flour (and salt if desired). Slash a few cuts in the dough with a serrated knife.
Place an empty metal broiler pan on bottom rack of oven and fill with warm water right before placing dough in oven.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the crust is a rich brown color and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
Cheers & Hugs,
*original recipe found at Leite’s Culinara
Purple Irises in Watercolor.
Continuing on my kick of violet and crimson and gold…
and thinking floral…
and thinking Spring… (it continues to be in the 60’s and sunny here this crazy February of Spring in Western Pennsylvania!)
I created a couple iris paintings.
They are both very different, but I kinda love them both.
I painted these on Sunday after dinner on what was such a beautiful sunny, warm day.
I have to admit I gave purple irises a try on Saturday (in the midst of “construction” work on another project in the house).
I painted four or five different versions. They were all terrible!
I hate days like that. It makes me feel like I’ve “lost it.” Not to say I’m anything magnificent in the whole big world of amazing watercolor artists. But I’ve finally come to a place where I feel like I have some bit of my own style and can often appreciate the beauty in some of my work.
When I did this first one, I was so pleased. I felt like I finally achieved what I was going for.
I thought I’d try another version, and I like it too. In fact, I can’t decide between the two. I wish the photos better represented what they look like – or maybe it ‘s just me, but they look so much better in real life.
Wishing you a day filled with simple little victories and moments to feel good about yourself!
Cheers & Hugs,
Yellow & Green Grilled Chicken & Spring Mix Salad.
They say it is important to balance colors in our diet.
I love to make salads from whatever I can find in the fridge and pantry – especially at lunch time – when it is only me, and I can make it whatever way I want!
I often make a large batch of grilled chicken during the week so I can have leftovers for salads and snacks.
I love mixing veggies and proteins and fruits and nuts in a beautiful, colorful meal.
This yellow and green salad just “happened.” I had not planned it to be yellow and green, but when it ended it up that way, I marveled at it’s beauty as well as it’s deliciousness.
For this “springy” lunch time salad in the middle of February – when the temperatures in our part of the world have been more spring-like than wintry – I found myself topping a bed of Spring Mix greens with beautiful yellows.
Enjoying yellows and greens not only in my salad, but in the air here in Mars in this beautiful stretch of Spring in February.
Place Spring Mix salad greens in large salad bowl.
Add onion, tomatoes, shredded cheese, golden raisins and chicken. A handful of walnuts and/or pumpkin or sunflower seeds would be great too!
Drizzle with Balsamic Viniagrette and a dash of salt and pepper.
Cheers & Hugs,
Why do I feel the most sad
when it is the brightest most beautiful day?
Some time has passed and life goes on,
but why does my heart not feel better?
Why does the sound that I used to love
of the trains blowing their horns in the distance and echoing through the hills
haunt me so much
that I sometimes want to scream “Shut Up!”
Why do the melodious wind chimes
that sing in the breeze
make me so sad and sometimes mad
that I had to put them away for a while.
Why did you have to take your life
on the day we used to celebrate
the life of another so dear to us
whose life was also ended too soon?
Why – on a most beautiful day in February – the month of your birth,
when it should be cold and snowy and blustery,
did I sit in the sunshine… in bare feet… and short sleeves…
and mourn this beautiful gift you were missing that I know you would have loved?
Why did we often let long periods of time pass
when we didn’t see each other or talk
when I knew you were there and that you loved me,
and I know you knew I loved you too?
But now you are gone,
and now I think of you every day,
and I miss you every day…
and I wish things could be different.
With love always from your sister,
Friends – I usually try to keep my blog upbeat and encouraging, but I really felt the need to share that even in the best of days and times and all the blessings in life, there are still times of grief and sadness. We can’t ignore it. Grief is something we all must face when we love. When we love someone and lose them, it hurts deeply. But it is still worth it to love and bear the hurt, for what would life be like without the love? To grieve means you have loved. And to love and lose is far greater than to have never loved at all.
I also want to thank a dear friend, who somehow always seems to know the right time and right thing to say. This dear friend – out of the blue and from far away – sent me a text telling me he was thinking of me and my brother when he heard a song, and he thought I should listen to it as it could be my brother’s parting song. If you care to listen, this is the song he recommended to me: “Go Rest High On That Mountain“
Smack in the Middle of Winter
The sunrise was beautiful
that mid-February day
when Charlie and I went
on an early morning walk.
And the sun just shone brighter,
and the sky turned bluer,
and the air grew warmer,
until it reached a sunny 68 degrees!
A record was set that caused
the robins to sing and the breeze to gently whisper.
It encouraged the daffodils to pop out of the ground,
and the earth smelled like Spring.
Charlie snoozed on the porch,
and we opened the window
while we painted and pounded
wearing light t-shirts.
It was a beautiful Spring day…
smack in the middle of winter.
Cheers & Hugs,
Watercolor Impressions & Expressions of Friendship in Violet & Crimson & Gold.
I had fun splashing in watercolor a few evenings this week after Couples Camp last weekend when my sweet Bubby told me she wanted my Illusion watercolor painting, but she also wanted a couple more paintings to complement it for a grouping in her dining room.
Bubby is not really a floral girl (so she says), but she also has my Very Variegated Violet painting hanging in her home. 😉
She is obviously a “purple girl!” She also loves more abstract art.
So these are some choices I’ve presented to her to choose from – or not… Either way, I had fun expressing my love of her through impressions in art.
Cheers & Hugs,
Feel free to check out more at McKinneyX2Designs
Creamy Cauliflower Soup.
Does anything warm you up more wonderfully on cold winter days than a steamy, creamy bowl of soup?
I made this yummy creamy, cheesy cauliflower soup one day this past week, and we absolutely loved it.
When hubby, who typically prefers to eat lunch out during the work week, asked for a serving to take for lunch the next day, I knew I had a real winner on hand!
It is chock full of delicious vegetables simmered in broth and then creamed by adding an easy cheesy roux and blending a bit. You could completely cream it if you like, but I like to cream about half and leave plenty of hearty chunks of the cauliflower, celery, carrots and sweet red peppers.
Fresh thyme really adds a fabulous fragrance and taste, and hot sauce is a great way to kick it up just a bit!
Imagine serving this with some crusty french or chewy ciabatta bread to dunk in it or alongside a sandwich or salad.
Hope you’ll give it a try, and hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Cheers & Hugs,
Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Tart with Cookie Crust (No Bake).
You may recall seeing this dessert I made for our Valentine’s Couple Camp Party. I promised then that I would share the recipe.
I have to tell you… this dessert is not only beautiful and elegant looking, it is so simple, uses only five basic ingredients, and is possibly the most luscious chocolate dessert I have EVER tasted. And I’m really not exaggerating. I absolutely loved this tart!
I typically make dessert, but just taste enough to know it is okay to serve. This one, however… I not only had the evening of our party, I ate the last leftover slice!
I am certain I will make this tart again.. and again. It is a great dessert for ANY occasion, any season, anybody. I would take this to a summer picnic. I would make this for a birthday “cake.” I would make this for a Christmas dinner dessert. I would make this for ANY reason.
I originally came across this recipe posted by Mary at HomeisWheretheBoatis, and I only tweaked it slightly. Thanks for sharing Mary!
I so hope you will give this a try, and I cannot wait to hear how you like it!
Enjoy! I know you will!
Cheers & Hugs,