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Today's Bread Baking Endeavor

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Okay, I am officially TIRED!

This morning I talked to the children about making healthy substitutions in recipes beifre we cooked. They were really interested in seeing of adding half applesauce instead of the whole amount of oil or butter in a recipe and only half the sugar would turn out and were excited about trying.

This morning we made four loaves of zucchini bread with freshly grated zucchinis.

Then we made three loaves of pumpkin bread with pureed fresh pumpkin. We had enough pumpkin for us to also make enough pumpkin muffins for everyone in the class to have one for our afternoon snack.

It was great for them to have the opportunity to taste the wares after making the substitutions and using fresh pumpkin. The muffins were delicious and a huge hit.

Our final bread of the day was the buttermilk cornbread. It was a pretty hilarious project. My cooks on this one were three 4th grade boys, all very enthusiastic. They were eggspert egg crackers; not one shell in the batter. However, my little guy with the electric mixer decided to try the 'powerburst' button and was surprised by its speed. The bowl, too close to the edge of the table, went flying across the room sending eggs and butter everywhere. What a slimy mess! They grabbed paper towels to clean up the explosion, while I went back to the kitchen for replacement ingredients. It is always an adventure to cook with children.

Once they finished their bread, it was moist, golden, and wonderful.

The aroma of the baking bread wafted throughout the school. It was a bit torturous. emoticon

I think I must have walked about five miles today between my classroom and the kitchen. I'm pretty certain that I walked off that mini muffin I ate.

Tomorrow we will be baking the yeast breads, parmesan bubble loaf, French bread, and challah. In the morning we will mix up the dough and let it rise. In the afternoon, we will shape the French bread, roll the individual balls of the parmesan bubble loaf in garlic butter and place them in loaf pans, and braid the challah, then bake everything.

As tantalizing as the school smelled today, it will be all the more tantalizing tomorrow with the yeast breads. I need to make sure I have protein snacks on hand to keep the Carb Monster from a full on attack.

Off to see Fernando now - I'll try to be perky, but oh boy - am I exhausted!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARY1313 11/7/2011 12:00PM

    I got tired just reading it! but the breads are beautiful!!


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PHEBESS 11/4/2011 11:04AM

    That sounds like great fun!!!! I'd love to be in your class!

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OLDERDANDRT 11/4/2011 10:58AM

    emoticon emoticon
Glad not to be smelling all that wonderful baking bread!! I tend to gain pounds from such smells!! emoticon

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MCGS62 11/4/2011 9:20AM

    Well you may think the boys learned a cooking lesson here but a assure you they did not.
after all the times watching and helping mom bake, when I finally got my own place I chucked a fork in the electric drill and threw eggs all over the kitchen--that's when I learned.
good luck friday .

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WATERMELLEN 11/4/2011 8:04AM

    Mmmmmmm! I can just about smell it!!

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WINE4GIRL 11/4/2011 6:31AM

    What a fabulous project with the kids! Yummy!

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GOLIGHTLY344 11/3/2011 6:50PM

    Wow! The breads look amazing and delicious! I hope you put these recipes on Spark Cookbook or somewhere.

Comment edited on: 11/3/2011 6:51:30 PM

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0309COOKIE 11/3/2011 6:30PM

    Those breads look delicious! What a wonderful teacher you are!

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TRULYVISIBLE 11/3/2011 6:28PM

  What lucky kids to experience this type of education and to have YOU as their teacher. I spent a week at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and took an extension class on healthy eating living on campus for 5 days. That is where I learned how to substitute the applesauce you talked about. Don't ask what that week costs me and they get this great education at such a young age and for a fraction of the price.

Homemade challah, now I am impressed! Haven't had homemade challah since my Bauby was alive. Your breads look beautiful and mouth watering.

You may even have saved a kid with a sweet tooth from having a weight problem in the future now that you taught him how to substitute. Keep being the incredible teacher that you are. Since I was a fat kid, I love this blog because you may be saving a kid from being overweight and teased. Sometimes the littlest things have the biggest impact.

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 11/3/2011 6:25PM

    Looks delicious, you are always so sweet!

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CAROLJEAN64 11/3/2011 6:15PM

    Aroma, taste and healthy food.... what better lessons could you be teaching!

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Baking Bread - Lots of It!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Today and tomorrow I need my comfy shoes.

Our school is having our big Harvest Soup Supper to honor people who have contributed to our Annual Fund. My class traditionally bakes the bread for the event. We do quite a bit of baking and they are excellent bread bakers.

The children vote on what kind of bread they would like to bake for the event. This year, they decided on three sweet breads and three yeast breads; zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, cornbread, parmesan bubble loaf, French bread, and challah. Today we will bake the sweet breads because they stay fresh longer and tomorrow we will bake the yeast breads.

Usually I cook with whole grain flour, but for this event we will use refined flour since not everyone will eat a good whole grain bread. I will make the sweet breads a little healthier by cutting the amount of sugar and fat in the recipes. This is very easy to do with sweet breads. They still come out moist and sweet and delicious. We will also use fresh pumpkin instead of canned in our pumpkin bread.

I'll be on my feet most of the day. It is always an adventure cooking with 16 children. emoticon

After that, I need to rally my energy for my music lesson. What I'll want to do is take a nap!

Have a great Thursday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARY1313 11/7/2011 11:57AM

    Yum! I love that tree!


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BADASSBLONDIE 11/3/2011 12:52PM

    What fun for those kids!!!! :D I feel like every time you post, I want to go back to being a kid again and be in your class. So. Much. Fun. :D

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SCOOTER4263 11/3/2011 9:33AM

    I prefer using fresh pumpkin, but have trouble with the lack of consistency in the moisture content. I use fresh for breads, where it doesn't seem to matter much, but for pies I usually resort to canned. Do you find this to be true also, or do you have a way around the problem? emoticon

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MCGS62 11/3/2011 8:58AM

Fresh pumpkin bread!!!!! MMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!

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CHALLENGER15 11/3/2011 7:31AM

    What a great experience for the students! And yes, you DO need your comfy shoes.

Enjoy your day and your lesson!

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November 2 ~ Death, Music, and Dias de los Muertos

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

November 2. Entering November is hard for me. I try to remain in the present, but November challenges me with wanting to linger in sweet memories, ascend grief, and enjoy the present.

November 2. The day when my sweet baby granddaughter went down for her nap and forgot to breathe. A mysterious thing this is. Why did she do that? Please don't tell me that God wanted her. I wanted her. Her mommy and daddy wanted her. All of her family wanted her. We were not ready to let her go.

It is hard to lose a baby. They have not been here long enough to gather memories and stories, to share experiences, to garner the richness of life.

We have in our own ways found Lilee's Gifts.

For me, it was music. My father always sang to me, and I sang to my children. I was looking forward to singing to Lilee, but did not have many opportunities to. To start recovering from the pain of her loss, I bought myself my first guitar on her first birthday. I celebrate her life every time I play. I feel Lilee's spirit in the vibrations of its music. And yes, I do sing to her and write songs to her.

November 2. The last day of Dias De Los Muertos - the Days of the Dead. I love this tradition and celebrate it. These are the days to celebrate our departed loved ones, and I dedicate them to my great grandparents (I actually knew my great grandmother), grandparents, parents, granddaughter, mother-in-law, and my ancestors who I never met. Today I will place chysanthemums under the tree we planted over Lilee's ashes. And today I will sing her one of her songs.

Lilee is featured in my profile picture.

I particularly like this piece of traditional Dias de los Muertos art. It combines music and death, loss and life.

Today is a day to celebrate and honor our loved ones who are deceased.

I do not need condolences, just needed to blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCOOTER4263 11/3/2011 9:37AM

    I absolutely agree (and I knew my great-grandmother, too!)

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WHENDERFUL 11/3/2011 1:09AM

    Brought back a lot of buried memories that should be unearthed every once in a while to give thse who have passed the honor they deserve. Thank you. emoticon

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ANJELIA1968 11/3/2011 12:01AM

    You are amazing! A true inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story with your friends here at SP. I'm sure I am not the only one who was touched.
I also want to thank you for your continued encouragement. Each time you respond to one of my blogs, I feel strengthened. I hope today I can offer you just a small piece of strength, and I hope you continue to find peace and solace in the music. That, along with God, are my ultimate comforters.

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BADASSBLONDIE 11/2/2011 7:54PM

    *hugshard* You're in my thoughts.

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WATERMELLEN 11/2/2011 7:45PM

    What a moving blog.

All thing shall perish
From under the sky.
Music alone shall live,
Music alone shall live
Music alone shall live
Never to die.

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MCGS62 11/2/2011 4:42PM


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FIFIFRIZZLE 11/2/2011 4:22PM

    It is a wonderful tradition, the days of the dead, to keep them alive in our hearts.

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MSPLACEDAGAIN 11/2/2011 3:13PM

    ((HUGS))) I will think about my mom and dad today. Thanks for sharing.

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0309COOKIE 11/2/2011 2:04PM

    Hugs to you Chris.

I will be remembering my mother and father today.

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LIVESTRONG2010 11/2/2011 1:24PM

    Thanks for sharing this it's a great way for me to remember my daddy! emoticon

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OLDERDANDRT 11/2/2011 11:04AM


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MARY1313 11/2/2011 9:46AM

    Hugs & Smooches.


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TRULYVISIBLE 11/2/2011 8:03AM

  I am so sorry for your loss. No words of comfort can take away your pain nor should they. Sing to her today and remember those special moments you had with her.

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GETTO140 11/2/2011 7:14AM

    I'm very sorry about the loss of your grand daughter. Play your guitar and sing to her today! emoticon

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SATYAGRAHA 11/2/2011 6:19AM

    So sorry to hear about your pain, but glad to find you are finding positive ways to cope with it. No one knows why these things happen, but sometimes all we can do to get through it is to trust that it happened for a reason, even if it was so you could discover her Gifts. Best of luck to you on this day. I think playing a song on the guitar for Lilee is a beautiful way to remember her. emoticon

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November Music Maker's Challenge Post #1

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

This made me laugh; sometimes just the key signature can be daunting.

I have had very different practice session this October, simply working on techniques and specific passages in difference pieces where those techniques are part of the music without working on any piece in its entirety. I am operating on faith that when I get back to playing entire pieces, they will come together in a cohesive way. Fernando has been giving me some very challenging assignments this past month. At first, when he assigned using the metronome to push myself to greater speeds with my tremolo, I was cursing him mightily during my practice sessions, but within a few days, I could really see the difference. My next lesson addressed doing the same thing with my arpeggios. I have been very pleased with my progress in both my tremolo and arpeggios.

No resting on my laurels though, this week's tough practice sessions entail improving my apoyando and tirando techniques. Right now, it's all about the speed. I have always practiced slowly to build up speed, but never got my speed... well, up to speed. Now I am pushing myself way out of my comfort zone. It can be frustrating, but it is really paying off.

I put in a minimum of an hour's practice time daily, and two hours if I have time.

I think about the 10,000 hours guideline for when one can actually perform with extreme competence. Darn! I started learning guitar so late in life! I think I probably now have around 2000 hours in.... but who's counting? LOL


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCOOTER4263 11/3/2011 9:39AM

    Gah! Cannot....play....without...bitchin
g... emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/3/2011 9:40:26 AM

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GOLIGHTLY344 11/1/2011 9:57PM

    Is the comment in the Outliers book? I've been calculating how many more hours I need on piano and guitar.
I think I need about 6,000 more on piano and 9,500 on guitar! I started guitar last year.
LOL I'm almost 67 1/2 so I figure trying to hit 1200 a year on both, which is a challenge. 5 years just to get to the 6,000. Then, another 10 years (figuring age might slow me down a bit) and around 83 I'll be going on tour....of nursing homes.
But in the meantime, I'm loving making music. There's something exhilarating about it.

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IUHRYTR 11/1/2011 7:07PM

    10,000 hours? Wow. Still, 2,000 is impressive. emoticon -- Lou

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1HAPPYWOMAN 11/1/2011 5:34PM

    I read about the 10,000 too, and it made me want to practice more. But I read that it takes 10,000 to achieve mastery of a skill. Mastery sounds very intense! You're probably pretty danged good after 2,000 hours, even better by 4,000, and so on....

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MCGS62 11/1/2011 3:44PM

    I love it!!! What publication is it in? It is worth purchasing just for that comment
besides G flat is one of my favorite keys --
2 more flats and you will be in the realm of
"Humoresque" by Dvorak

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PUDLECRAZY 11/1/2011 11:23AM

    Of course, I love almost every minute of my music time, even when things are frustrating. The 10,000 hours is more about competence and whether anyone else will really enjoy listening. emoticon

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MARY1313 11/1/2011 11:16AM


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DOR2BFIT 11/1/2011 9:41AM

    LOL! I don't think you need 10,000 hours to be good enough to find enjoyment and challenge in your playing. I think you are already there, plus, you have Fernando!

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WATERMELLEN 11/1/2011 7:47AM

    Love that commitment . . .

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A Compliment and a Spark Cookbook Question

Monday, October 31, 2011

My husband, who rarely notices or comments on anything related to how I look, said this yesterday,

"You are looking very chic."

I was wearing a grey ragwool oversized sweater, baggy grey jeans, and black fleece lined crocs - anything but chic. Comfy, but geeky,

"What do you mean?" I asked, "I'm not exactly stylin'."

"You are in great shape!"

"Oh." I said, "Buff?"

"Is that what it's called? You look great!"

Way to go, Body Pump!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Have any of you purchased the Spark Cookbook? I am wondering about the recipes in it. Having a nightshade allergy is very handicapping - when it comes to cookbooks, most cookbooks are wasted on me. Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplants are very nutritious so most cookbooks have recipes laden with them. The problem is, I can't eat them.

So my question is, if you have the cookbook what would you estimate the percentage of main dishes that have nightshades in them to be?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FIFIFRIZZLE 11/2/2011 4:17PM

    You're ...too sexy for your shirt! Way to go, Pudle!

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KRITTERKEEPERS 11/1/2011 11:51AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARY1313 11/1/2011 11:13AM

    ohhhhh big time points for hubby! Yep you are too sexy for your clothes LOL!!! I agree you are looking great!

I don't have the spark cookbook, but I'm thinking about it.


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DDOORN 10/31/2011 9:01PM

    Two BIG THUMBS UP for DH! One can NEVER get enough praise & compliments!


ps...of course two even BIGGER thumbs up to YOU for workin' it so well! :-)

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    Nothing like your man noticing something. Makes you realize there is hope! Good for you!

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BADASSBLONDIE 10/31/2011 5:58PM

    OK my cookbook just got in the mail, and I'd say it's worth buying. Whiel I can definitely find recipes with nightshade, there are SOOOOO many recipes that I bet you won't have a problem finding ones without it. Also, most of the recipes I did find that had those ingredients, they could easily be taken out (with the exception of things like healthy french fries, stuffed eggplant, etc...). I'd definitely say go for it and I got mine crazy cheap on amazon. :D

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BADASSBLONDIE 10/31/2011 2:16PM

    Wooo hooo on that compliment!!!! Yes!!!! My b/f also doesn't comment on things like that frequently and when he does it's just so wonderful!! :D

I ordered the cookbook and am waiting for it to come in the mail. I'll look through it once I get it and let you know :D

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0309COOKIE 10/31/2011 12:03PM

    What a nice compliment from Hubby. Bet that made you feel good!

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JSPEED4 10/31/2011 11:31AM

    I use millet or rice instead of potatoes, in a lot of recipes. Instead of peppers, try more garlic or onion. Tomatoes can often just be left out--add a bit more of a a vegetable or two, to keep the volume stable. I don't do well with eggplant, either. I rarely try a recipe that contains it, but mushrooms seem like a decent substitute. emoticon

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TRULYVISIBLE 10/31/2011 10:10AM

  I have the book. It is 467 pages. I think it has lots of recipes you can use. There is also the Spark Cookbook team I joined. The two chefs that wrote the book are on the team and answer questions. You can ask them first if you want.

See, hubby may not always say it but he is noticing. Keep up the great work and keep rocking it!

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CHALLENGER15 10/31/2011 7:05AM

    Very nice compliment from DH...

Sorry, I do not know the answer to your question about the recipes. I haven't bought the cookbook yet. I haven't made it through the first book yet!

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