Doodled Easter Eggs
What fond memories I have of Easter from my childhood. My parents always made a big thing of it as they did most holidays. Every single year up until I was a teenager, maybe even a young adult (sad to say), we dyed eggs. My brother and I used to see who could make the best design and yes, I won every time (in my opinion anyway). To this day my parents still talk about the mornings of the Easter egg hunt and how I would find all the eggs and there wouldn’t be any left for my little brother. When we (I) was done, my Mom and Dad would have to divide everything in half so my brother got his share. Poor Marc, he never stood a chance against me.
Luckily for my daughter, she’s an only child and doesn’t have to worry about sibling competition. For the past few years we’ve dyed eggs with Noelle but this year I thought we’d doodle instead. I boiled up eight eggs, let them cool and then brought out the sharpies. I just did a really quick search in google images for some bunny ideas and then started doodling away. Yet again, my daughter completed all five of her eggs and was ready to move on to the next project while I was just starting egg number two – she hasn’t quite learned to savour the experience yet. Sometimes my husband ask me “is this project for you or Noelle”. I genuinely had noble intentions with this one and it was all about Noelle but as soon as I started getting into it, well… dinner was late again.
Easy and tasty no-knead bread
I’m just going to say it… I love bread! Which means I never keep it in my house. If I ever have beautiful artisan bread in my house, it rarely lasts longer than an entire day – yes, I’m ashamed to say that means I can eat an entire loaf in a day.
My talented friend Diane is an incredible baker. She’s always bringing in her stunning loaves of bread into work and taunts the entire office with that warm, rich and delightful fresh baked smell. Myself, I usually don’t have much luck with baking but I thought I’d get some advice from Diane about an easy bread that I may have some success with. Diane suggested a no-knead bread so I came home and looked up some recipes online until I found this recipe on Frugal Living NW. Overall I thought the recipe was great but personally, I like something with a bit more flavour so I added asiago cheese, garlic, rosemary and a touch of oregano to the recipe the next time I made it and it was to die for. Now I make this whenever I have at least a days notice that we’re having company. This also makes a wonderful gift to take when attending dinner parties – always a hit!
Here’s the recipe:
Basic No-Knead Bread
slightly adapted from Jim Lahey’s My Bread
6 cups bread flour (recommended) or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 t. instant or active-dry yeast
2 1/2 t. salt
2 2/3 c. cool water
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated; (THIS WOULD BE WHERE YOU COULD ADD ANY EXTRA FLAVOURS OR INGREDIENTS YOU’D LIKE) the dough should be wet and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 12-18 hours on the counter at room temperature. When surface of the risen dough has darkened slightly, smells yeasty, and is dotted with bubbles, it is ready.
- Lightly flour your hands and a work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice and, using floured fingers, tuck the dough underneath to form a rough ball.
- Generously dust a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with enough flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran to prevent the dough from sticking to the towel as it rises; place dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran. Cover with the edges or a second cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot, such as a cast-iron Dutch oven, in the oven as it heats. When the dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove top towel from dough and slide your hand under the bottom towel; flip the dough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
- Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes, until the crust is a deep chestnut brown. The internal temperature of the bread should be around 200 degrees. You can check this with a meat thermometer, if desired.
- Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
Bubble fun in the sun – using the 3 minute DIY bubble maker.
3 Minute DIY Bubble Maker – How cool is this! It literally took me 3 minutes to make and my daughter spent almost an hour playing with it outside. The neighbour kids saw Noelle playing with hers and wanted their own, so I whipped some up for them too.
What you need:
- Small plastic bottle
- Sock (I used one of my daughters old but clean tiny socks)
- Dish detergent & water (about half and half) in a small bow
- Sharp knife or box cutter
Everything you need to construct your bubble maker in only 3 minutes.
What to do next:
Cut the end off the bottom of the bottle, slip the sock over that end of the bottle and secure with elastic. Go outside. Place sock end of bottle into the dish of soapy and then blow into the top of the bottle.
That’s it! How easy was that! Now the kids will be entertained so you can go sit down, have a tea and watch them enjoy their new toy!
Healthy and nutritious sprouts
For the past couple of years I’ve been trying to make healthier food choices for myself and my family. I’ve learned a lot over that time and continue to pick up little tidbits here and there. Years ago I dated a guy who was a vegetarian and he loved sprouts. Since he always had them around the house I used to make myself cucumber, cream cheese and sprout sandwiches – oh so yummy. I had forgotten all about those sandwiches until recently when I saw sprouting seeds for sale in the garden centre. I bought a few packages of seeds and almost bought a sprouting tray but at the last moment decided against the sprouter which was about $25. When I got home I jumped on to my computer and looked up how to grow sprouts. It turned out they were really easy to start and although the sprouting trays are nice they really aren’t necessary.
Health Benefits of sprouts:
- Rich in essential nutrients including vitamin A, C, B1, B6 and K; Iron, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, and Calcium
- Excellent source of enzymes
- Contain up to 35% protein
- Very easy to digest
- Great for weight loss, high in fiber and low in calories
How to grow your own sprouts:
Growing sprouts in a jar
All you need is a glass jar (mason jars are great for this), cheese cloth or nylon sock (I had some new ones that I’d never worn), seeds and water. Pour your seeds in the jar and stick your nylon sock on the top of the jar, add water, swirl around and then drain out. Do this a few times just to get rid of any dust or debris. Fill the jar with water so that it’s covering the seeds and then leave it somewhere bright but not in direct sunlight. The following day rinse the seeds again and fill again with water. Do this everyday (usually about 3-4 days) until you see little tails coming from the seeds. At this point, drain as much water from the jar as possible and then just leave it. In a couple more days your sprouts will be ready to eat and enjoy!
Cucumber, cream cheese and sprout sandwich – yum!