French Bread Recipe

I’m loving fall… are you? The weather is just beautiful and I’m receiving LOTS of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini (mostly tomatoes) lately from a few very generous people. This means me cooking up a storm of tomato sauce and salsa for the freezer… love it!

Anyway, today I want to share a French Bread recipe I tried earlier this week. It’s the best one I’ve found yet and I have to say it is almost perfect. It goes great with practically any meal, especially Italian. Bonus: it’s fairly simple to make too! Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I found it, so it’s a little hard to give credit where it’s due, but thanks to whoever created this recipe!

Here it is:

FRENCH BREAD

1 1/4 cups water (105 degrees F)

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 tablespoon cornmeal (optional)

GLAZE:

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 150 degrees then turn the heat OFF (this is where your bread will rise, leave the oven light on). Mix sugar & yeast in water, let proof for 5 min. Stir (by hand) the flour & salt together in mixer bowl. Then, using the dough hook on the lowest speed, pour oil and water mixture into flour & let it knead for 8 minutes. If the dough is dry & flaky after 1 minute of mixing, add a scant tbsp of water. Dough should be smooth & elastic after 8 min. Put in greased bowl, cover with a warm, damp towel & put in the slightly warm oven that is OFF. Let rise until doubled, 30-60 min.

 When completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Roll each portion into a 10-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal.

 Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal if desired; place loaves seam side down on prepared pan. Cover and let rise in oven (OFF) until doubled, about 20 minutes.

 Whisk egg and water; brush over loaves. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Toss some ice cubes into the oven to make a crispier crust if desired.

 ***If desired, add garlic powder and Italian seasoning to the dough, or sprinkle loaves with garlic salt and parsley before baking.***

Try it and let me know if it’s as good in your books as it is in mine.

Are Our Lives Worth Imitating?

It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

A child’s early years will be spent developing their power of imitation.

Let’s nourish our children with wholeness–let’s make sure we’re giving them something worthy to imitate.

“What a child learns to love first, he will love forever.”

~ Sally Clarkson, I Take Joy

(From Jamie Martin of Steady Mom)

This Moment

There are many, many times in life where we just want to cash out and give up for a while, aren’t there? You know what I mean, those times when we are stretched to the limit and don’t have the energy or patience to take it any longer. When all we want is to just be alone with a good book and a cup of coffee for 8 hours straight.

But as mothers, we don’t have that option. In fact, very few people in this world do. There is very little we can change about our issues and challenges in moments like this, but one thing we CAN change is our attitude.

We can accept our challenges and meet them head on with joy. We can look towards the finish line and ask ourselves how THIS MOMENT can be used to shape our children into the adults we want them to be someday. We can take a deep breath, smile (even if we feel like crying), and get back in the game.

We have choices in life. Why choose to be miserable?

Jamie at Steady Mom wrote the following a while ago:

It’s all we have, no matter where we go.

It may be thrilling, painful, boring, or lovely.

We want to run from it at times, when it means:

– discipline issues

– messes to clean up

– work to be done.

But in embracing it, we find our greatest freedom.

Life without worry, without overanalyzing the future or past.

This moment is perfect.

Let’s enter it and enjoy.

Loving the Little Years

Today, I’d like to share a book I’ve read recently: Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic. This is a wonderful little book written with the purpose of encouraging mothers of young children and empowering them to love every minute of the few years they have with their little ones. Here’s an excerpt from the book:

“Motherhood is hard work. It is repetitive and often times menial. Accept it. Rejoice in it. This is your toil. Right here. Those are their faces. Enjoy them. The days of your life are supposed to be full of things like this. But joy is not giddy. It is not an emotional rush – it is what happens when you accept your lot and rejoice in your toil. So rejoice in your children. Look them in the eyes and give thanks.”

I learned a lot from this book and thought you might too. It’s a short read (I finished it completely in an hour) and is very practical. The author had 5 children under the age of 6 at the time of writing and recently gave birth to another. She knows what she’s talking about. If you’re interested, here’s the link to the book on Amazon:

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches

Feel free to share other books that YOU found inspiring in the comments!