Quarantine? Lets Re-Learn The Art Of Baking Bread!

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Hello Y ‘all! Its my hope that you are doing well in your part of the world, practicing social distancing and staying home? We are going on our third week of the Covid-19 induced lockdown and it’s become my new normal in a weird kind of way. Limiting my time outdoors as much as possible is the best way to reduce the chances of exposure to the virus. My heart goes out to those who have lost family members and loved ones and to those fighting the disease right this moment.  Through this trying time, I am doing my best to stay healthy, remain productive and still find some semblance of a lifestyle while remaining positive and its been tough.

When the outbreak hit the shores of the United States, it was no longer a problem within ‘those’ countries. S**t got real, if you will excuse my French. The store shelves were wiped clean in a matter of 24 hours. I was one of the late shoppers and by the time I got to the grocery store, there was literally nothing worth buying. There was no bread. No milk. No meat. NO NOTHING! So, I have decided to go back to the basics and brush up on a few skills, which includes re-learning the art of baking good ole homemade bread using very few items laying around in your pantry.

Lets Do This!!

Ingredients: 3 Cups of bread flour, 2 tbsp. or 1/8 cup or 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, 2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast,  ¹⁄ 3 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water.

First, heat a cup of water for one minute and pour into a small bowl. Add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar and let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast becomes activated or foamy. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add vegetable oil and ¹/3 cup of sugar into the same bowl and mix. If you don’t like a sweet bread, you can cut back on the sugar. Add 2 cups of flour a little bit at a time (about ¹/3 at a time) and keep mixing with a spatula or spoon. Pour out the flour unto a nice dry surface that’s been dusted with flour. Knead lightly for 8 minutes. Using the same large bowl, add a tables spoon of oil to coat the bowl, and place the dough in it.  Cover with a damp cloth, and leave to rise for 2 hours until it doubles in size. P.S.: Notice, I’m using the third cup of flour to knead the dough. Setting a timer helps.

Take the dough out, roll and stretch it some more into the shape of a loaf. Take your 9″ x 5″ bread pan and place the dough in the pan.  Cover with a slightly damp napkin for about another 1.5 hours. Afterwards, remove the napkin. Depending on the size of the dough or pan, you should notice its risen about an inch or more above the pan, and now its ready to bake.  Heat your oven to about 325-350° Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. If you have an oven that doesn’t  heed to basic direction, you might want to start at a lower temperature…just saying.  When the top is golden brown, remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool. Scroll down to see the finished product. Its ready!!!!

 

Helpful Tips During The Quarantine!!

♥Finish uncompleted projects around the house. Sort through your closet. Organize your shoes. Write a list of all the kitchen utensils you need…I’m already making a list to get me some solid mixing bowls 🙂

♥Reignite your artsy side. My goal is to finish the blanket I have been croqueting for longer than I’m going to admit on here…he he!!

♥Write a thankful list E-V-E-R-Y D-A-Y. Life is so precious. People are dying, all alone and at a speed that is unprecedented because the virus is ravaging the body so fast, people are literally disappearing like mist. No preparation. No goodbyes. NO NOTHING! 

♥Keep up your fitness regimen. A lot of people including yours truly are exercising via zoom and other apps which help boost morale and keep your body active despite being confined.

♥Take your vitamins DAILY, whether you feel like it or not. This includes Vitamin C and D especially now that you’re not out and about or in the sun as much.

♥Rest. The news is constantly updating us on how many people have died or how many newly infected cases there are, or the problems medical officials are having on the frontlines. This is well and good to keep us informed but the rise in fear or anxiety can lead to unrest or worry for the future. Don’t let it get to you. Turn off the TV and go to bed on time. Rest easy, tomorrow will come and we will deal with it when we get there.

 

Until I come your way again, stay healthy, upbeat and remember if the rest of the populace decides to panic-buy the bread aisle at your grocery store, you can always bake your own!

 

Periwinkle Starr♥

 

 

 

 

The Art of Handcrafting: A Distant Memory

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Hello Y’all! I hope you’ve had a good week so far. I was on YouTube catching up on a few channels I subscribe to and I came across – as always – another makeup tutorial that I usually end up watching even if I have other things to do. :/ As amazing as the ‘after’  effect was in comparison to the ‘before’, I see that the art of having a skill or a craft is fast becoming a distant memory in our generation. People need an outlet and in this case, makeup fills that void.

In every culture of the world, the women were raised with some crafting skill or the other. It was a requirement to be able to use your hands for a skill. I was thinking to myself that I do not know anyone in my age bracket that knows how to use a sewing machine (myself included)…and not that we would make our clothes ourselves 😀 (that would be disastrous), but just to know how to tinker with one. :/ Anyways no worries if you have no skills, feel free to blame it on the industrial revolution 😀 😀 for rendering us all inept in one way or the other.

Taking a ride down memory lane, It was my first week of 4th grade, there was a girl in my class who sat behind me that seemed to be poking around with two huge pins and some yarn; I later learned the term was called knitting. I was instantly fascinated and it wasn’t long before I pleaded with her to teach me how to knit. Before long I learned how to make a shawl, then a pair of socks and a cap – for fun! After 4th grade, my family moved to a different state and we had new neighbors. While playing outside every other evening, I noticed our neighbors cook would sit outside on their porch and knit. At the time, I had never heard the word ‘crochet’ before. She would do this between chores and as always, I was curious about how she was able to do that with one pin instead of two? I was fascinated and wanted to learn how. I would go and sit by her and watch her hands move very intricately between loops creating the most beautiful table cloths I have ever seen. I had to learn this new style of knitting and fast. She didn’t speak much english but she was very patient and happy to show me how.

Fast forward to present day, although a large portion of my job is done by clicking a mouse and sketching, every now and then I bring out my knit kit and continue working on that supposed table spread or blanket I have been knitting for a couple of years now… 😀 Its something I still find time to do. There is something very calming about knitting. Its as if your thoughts are streamlined into two basic things: where the hook needs to go and when to pull on more thread…very therapeutic if I might say. I have attached a few pictures. Let me know what your favorite crafting skill is and how you learned it. Until next time, I remain

 

Periwinkle Starr

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