Friday, February 25, 2011

This is Why I'm Fat

So at work we have this exercise book with some skinny bitch lady on the cover with intense abs and muscles I didn't know a body could have, that states boldly

Now I don't know about you, but I know why I'm fat. It's really simple. And this isn't one of those situations by the way, where I truly am skinny, I'm just a bitch about it and claim I'm not. No. I'm fat. See?

Yeah, fat. Anyways... the reason why I'm fat and why I won't be reading that book (even if it could change my life, meh) is because I 1.) don't exercise, like ever, unless you counting getting A. dressed and 2.) I eat whatever I want, when I want, cause I want to. Yup, that's why I'm fat. See? Simple.

So instead of reading books about how to stop being fat or improve myself in any sort of any real way, I've been reading these books instead...

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls is faaantastic. It's the story of her grandmother who is a horse wrangler, school teacher and a strong willed, fiercely independent woman. The book chronicles her life from a young girl till a grandmother in the early 19th century. It's similar in tone, but different from her first book, The Glass Castle, which I read for book club but is still fantastic. It's a quick read, flows easily and makes me hope she's writing a third book. Then the book I'm reading now...

Room by Emma Donoghue which was last month's book club book that I never got around to reading till now. The story is told through Jack's 5 year old view point of living in one room, the room his mother (Ma) has been a prisioner of since being kidnapped seven years earlier. Room is a wonderful read in the fact that I find is sticking with me hours after I finish reading a portion. I can't wait to see how it ends.

After Room I'm considering trying to squeeze in a few books before April's book club book is selected (March's book is an upbeat love story I haven't picked up yet and may not, I'll see). I'm thinking about The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein which from the reading the back of the book and the first chapter quickly seems to be a story about a neighborhood divided literally down the road of Christians and Jews. The story follows one Jewish family whose daughter falls in love with a Christian and the impact it has on the youngest child boy who finds out about the secret relationship.

Or Look Again by Lisa Scottoline which is the story of a mom whose adoptive son looks identical to a missing boy's picture and the journey it takes her on when she begins investigating his adoption.

And lastly The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers which is a story about two sisters whose father murdered their mother and attempted to kill them and the aftermath it has on them.

Clearly, I enjoy stories where the individuals, whether real or fiction, have less than normal lives. It's probably because it reminds me that while life is crazy, it's not that crazy. Thankfully.

I do love book club. Well, all two times I've went. Mainly it's just an excuse to get together once a month with the sweetest girls I have ever known from school all the way back to first grade, talk about a book for thirty seconds and eat good food. I also like it because it makes me feel sophisticated and grown-up saying I belong to a book club. Plus it makes me feel less lame thinking that I might actually have a hobby normal grown-ups have versus my actual hobbies which consist of wrangling with a toddler all day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Savory Challah

I wrote a while ago about challah and my love for it. I loved it so much that this week I'm going to bake a different one. The honey one is good but a little quirky to make at times. So this time I just wanted to make a savory one to go with our roast chicken and potatoes for shabbot dinner tonight.

This challah is different from the last one I posted in that it's more airy. I've probably made it half a dozen times or so and it almost always comes out perfect. It reminds me more of pull apart bread then bread that can be sliced. It comes from Smitten Kitten who notes that it is an adaption from a different recipe. Works for me. I guessed when it came to the topping and kinda just threw things at it based off a bread I had bought the week before at the grocery store. Obvouisly if garlic, sesame seeds and other spices aren't your thing, just omit them and make plain challah with an egg wash. And if the directions feel really similar it's because they are. They are virtually the same directions from last week's challah. Repetition, yay! This will make one large loaf.

Savory Challah

2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon sugar plus 1/4 cup sugar
7 ounces of warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
3 whole large eggs, 1 egg for egg wash if desired
1/2 tablespoon salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon dehydrated onion
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
olive oil to coat

In the bowl of your kitchen aid stand mixer, pour in sugar and yeast. Add warm water and allow to sit until frothy, approximately three to five minutes.

Add olive oil, eggs, remaining sugar and salt to mixture. Using the paddle attachment mix all ingredients till they are well combined. Slowly add in bread flour, half a cup at a time. About the time that the flour seems like it isn't mixing in as well (usually around 3 to 3 1/2 cups of flour) switch to the dough hook and continue adding in the last of the flour.

Knead the dough using the dough hook, for 8-10 minutes until the dough is stretchy and no longer sticky to the touch.

Place in a lightly oiled bowl and allow to double in size in a warm, draft free space; usually one hour.

After the first rise, slowly deflate the dough and knead gently back into a ball. Allow dough to rise again for one half hour.

After the second rise, divide the dough into three sections and braid it into a three strand braid. Place the loaf on parchment paper and if using an egg wash, brush loaf with half of the egg wash. If using the savory topping, apply a light coat of olive oli and the seasoning liberally to the bread. Allow bread to rest one more hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (if using a baking stone, put the baking stone in the oven while it preheats) and brush with remaining egg wash. Bake loaf for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on the top.

My Commentary

This bread is more plain in flavor than the honey challah is and because of that I think it would go well with any kind of meal. A. doesn't seem to have a preference for either as long as I put tons of butter-like spread on it and having made this into french toast before I can say with confidence this is an overall great bread.

In regards to the topping, The Husband was less than impressed. He thought it was too garlicy (is that a word?) and didn't like how the onions turned brown. He might have a point. I might in the future tone down the garlic powder and maybe only add the seasoning to the last five minutes of the baking.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Batshit crazy moms

In light of my, holy crap that's a lot of crap going on, last post, this post is a little lighter. Because I need a good laugh. We all could use a good laugh sometimes.

Before I was pregnant I had all these crazy first time mom ideas. I read every blog, book and message board that I could. I went a little nuts with all the theories of raising kids. Then when I did get pregnant, it got worse. Suddenly I felt like every single decision was so drastically important that if I made the wrong one I was forever dooming my future child to be anything less than a brain surgeon.

So you would think that when A. finally got here, I would have calmed down and figured out my own way as a mom. Felt confident in my decisions that I was making. Confident that he was well on his way to being a supreme court justice. Um, hell no. And everyone, everyone, seems to have a different idea from the last person and each idea contradicts the last idea. Which lead me to this video that is part of a series that was linked from the newest blog I'm reading, I Hate Your Kids, which is about a Jewish mom whose oldest of three kids is autistic. The video is by far the funniest thing I have recently snorted out loud to (the glass of wine I was drinking probably helped too).

In the end it's clear, the message is, go with your gut instinct and distruss the batshit crazy mom you meet at playgrounds. Instead trust those instincts you do have. Oooor drink another glass of wine and waste time watching Youtube videos till you feel better about the decisions you made today. Yeah, I'm gonna go with that last one.