Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hootin' Annies

image provided by Miss Diggy @

It has been forever since I posted any recipes but I have pledged to be more diligent beginning today.

I wanted to start back with a recipe that has taken over breakfast in my home. A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity of watching my nephews. When I asked Abe what he wanted for breakfast he first said scrambled eggs and pancakes and then he said no hootandannys (I spelled it how it sounded when he said it). I told him I had never made this and had no idea what it was but that me, google, and our trusty computer could surely find the recipe. Sure enough I got a hit on the first try..."Hootin' Annies" . The excitement didn't end there for me though because when I saw the brief list of ingredients, 5 to be exact I was delighted and then I nearly fell over from my enthusiasm when I saw that all I needed do to prepare this dish was to mix the first 4 ingredients in a blender and pre-heat my oven. BUT the thing that topped it all off was that these things tasted like heaven. Yes, heaven I say...melt in your mouth creamy, buttery, sweet heaven. And you'll never believe this but Abe said they tasted just like his Mom's. Now that is any kid's compliment to end all compliments. Needless to say my family asks for them at least once a week and my husband even more :) So, go ahead and see for yourself what I am a talkin about! Oh and most importantly you serve them with your favorite syrup or fruit and powdered sugar or just powdered sugar or just fruit or freezer get the idea :). PS Hootin Annies are also known as German pancake PSS This is a wonderful breakfast recipe for these busy Holiday mornings.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 TBS butter
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 casserole dish by placing the butter in the bottom. Mix the first four ingredients in the blender. Once the oven is heated place the casserole dish in the oven to melt the butter. Remove the pan from the oven and pour batter in pan. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 18 minutes NO PEEKING! Remove from oven, pancake should be very high and fluffly (see picture). Cut into squares and serve immediately.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another Year of Firsts

2010 has been another year of firsts for my boys - Joaquin...

1st Soccer game and first GOOOOOOOOOOAL!

1st Dance class - I have NO pictures of this first. I swear I intended to bring my camera each week so I could take pictures but I even forgot to bring it the day of the recital. shame on me...Bad Mommy :)

1st Karate belt - (He is currently a yellow belt)

1st Day of School -

1st Solo in sacrament meeting - Joaquin was asked to sing the Jonah verse of "Follow the Prophet" and sing he did! ...that's what Jonah learned DEEP DOWN inside the whale.

1st overnighter with Grandmommie Jacqi

1st 4th of July with Abuelos

1st Sunday in Spanish - (we are attending the Spanish ward)

Acting debut - He played the herald in the "King Benjamin" know the one that told everyone it was time to head to the temple to listen to the King :)

1st guitar lesson - Joaquin loves music and continues to strive and learn from Dad all he can about strumming the guitar.

1st time realizing his little brother is also his best friend!


1st climb out of the crib (he has been climbing into it for about 9 months)

1st time sleeping in a real big boy bed

1st time getting all Mommy's attention to himself (for a couple of hours:)

1st "Boondocks" adventure

1st encounter with nectarines and peaches....YUMMY!

1st sleepover with Abe and Elijah

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Proclamation

I am so grateful to live in a country that has raised leaders who still know from whom all blessings flow. We are beginning a tradition in our little family to read Lincoln's proclamation to set the tone for this glorious day of gratitude.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Big Helpers

We had to sterilize the Nursery last night after finding a mouse on Sunday. It was lots of work and my two boys jumped right in to help. They sprayed down and wiped the big toys, helped clean the chalkboards and carry all the toys we had sterilized at home into the church from the car. I am cherishing these days when they complain for hugs and to help and to sit in my lap. I am so thankful for their helpful spirits. They made my job a little easier and a lot more fun!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Secret Delight

Yesterday I took Zeke with me for a quick grocery store run. I let him sit in Joaquin's car seat - one of his favorite things to do. I was driving along lost in thought when I happen to glance at him in the rear view mirror. He had this big grin plastered on his face and I wondered what was going on? I continued to watch him and he was looking around at the world as it passed and smiling with such delight. My heart was brimming with joy as I watched my boy light up at such a simple pleasure. Truly, joy is found in the small things!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lessons Learned

I think it is quite appropriate that this post follows the Karate one, don't you? Do you see that picture? Yes, that one. Look closely, very closely. Do you see those drops on Joaquin's shirt and other clothing? Yes, you're right it's blood. My boy got his first big fat bloody nose, inflicted by another boy while playing at the local Carl's Jr. play ground.

See, Joaquin is a super social boy. I have always thought of this as such a wonderful trait until this event. I guess Athena, yes the goddess from Greek mythology and more recently the Percy Jackson series, was right when she said...Our best trait can also be our "fatal flaw". So, here, let me tell you the story...
Joaquin was playing with a boy about his age but this boy had an older sibling and what must have been a cousin playing also. I think the older boys were about 8 years old. Joaquin is 4 so I didn't like the idea of him playing with the eight year olds especially since I could hear how rough they were playing. I told Joaquin not to play rough that someone was going to get hurt. I looked around the room wondering where the "Mom" of the other boys was thinking she should jump in to and tell them to be careful. I am not an over-protective mom but these boys were really, really rough housing and it was making me nervous. I saw Joaquin trying to play with them but, for the most part they seemed uninterested since he was so young. Well, until they got bored. The older boys began playing with Joaquin and it seemed to be more calm.....oh the wicked calm before the storm. Suddenly there is a wail from Joaquin and then he begins to sob. Now, you have to understand this, Joaquin does NOT usually cry when he gets hurt. In fact, most times I don't even know he has been hurt til I later find the scratch, scrape or bruise. But, in this instant he was sobbing. I knew something had to be pretty wrong. I jumped into the jungle gymn and started climbing up to him. He met me on the way down with blood running from his nose all the way. I got him down and started first aid while asking him What Happened? He informed me that the kid had punched him in the nose. I asked Joaquin what he had done to provoke this and he said he hadn't done anything. The mother rushed over and I told her that one of her boys had just punched him because, well just because. She demanded they come down at once. She began to apologize profusely and told the boy who had punched Joaquin to apologize. I have to say that the most alarming thing of the whole experience was this boy's apology, if you could call it that. He let out a rude and unapologetic "I'm Sorry". His mother immediately told him that wasn't good enough and began to apologize for him. She at this point started gathering her things and the kids to leave all the while continuing to apologize. I finally, looked at her and said, "You, didn't do this". She apologized again and left.

After they were gone I got the details from Joaquin. I guess that the boys were bored and decided Joaquin would be fun. This is how the punch happened. He grabbed Joaquin's hand which somehow he had talked him to balling up into a fist and used it to punch Joaquin, as hard as he could, in his own face. Thank goodness Joaquin was only 4 because the humiliation of what the boy had done could have been worse than the pain of the blow. As it was Joaquin was traumatized by the pain and the fact that someone who he thought was his new friend would be so mean. We gathered our things and left.

Later, after the emotion of the whole experience had worn off, I talked to Joaquin about the importance of noticing when someone is playing roughly or meanly and to stay far away. New lesson to live by: kids who play meanly aren't our friends. But, we also had a discussion about forgiveness and how we should forgive the boy who punched him and to love him even though he was mean.
All in all it was a good growing experience for us both and lessons learned: Not everyone wants to be our friend. We need to love everyone even those who don't want to be our friend BUT it is probably best not to play with them. We most forgive! Oh, and last but not least....Never, ever, return to the Carl's Jr. playground :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Next Karate Kid

We put Joaquin in a couple of summer camps offered through UVU. He took dance and karate. He did well at both. However, when it came time to decide which or if any to continue the karate won hands down. I was so impressed with the instructors and all the things taught. See it isn't just how to break a board with your bare hands or do a round house kick but obedience, kindness, honesty, respect and so many other life skills as well as self-defense techniques. Not to mention that Joaquin L.O.V.E.D it! I felt it was what every parent needed...a little no A LOT of positive peer pressure.
He has received his white belt (the pictures are of him at his white belt test) He has a test for his next belt this month. He is positive that he is THE Karate Kid :) Because well he did break a board with his bare hands.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Best 4th of July ever!

Celebrating the 4th has always been a big tradition in my family.I have fond memories of cook-outs that ended with fireworks and the belting of our favorite patriotic song…"God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood. Let me just say that Provo, Utah knows how to celebrate this spectacular holiday. With help from this city I think this holiday has moved in as a close third to Christmas. No, believe it or not Christmas isn't my favorite holiday, although I love it. My F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E. is Thanksgiving…it is all about family and being together…but more on that at a more appropriate time…like November J

The fourth of July was Sunday and a counselor in our Bishopric said he loves when the 4th falls on a Sunday because it draws the celebration out for a few extra days. I live in Utah remember J Anywhoo, I completely and totally agree with him so we began our celebration on Friday the 2nd.

Freedom days in Provo begin the week before the 4th and include some of the funnest, family friendly and FREE activities. Friday was the first day of the freedom days in downtown Provo and as per CJane's recommendation we hit the festivities Friday evening before the crowds. This kids loved the bouncey blow-up thingamuhbobs (what are those called?) and we had some super yummy and supper cheap tacos. One of the food booths had homemade potato chips. Had to try them…they were yummy too! Finished the whole shebang off with some gelato a two-fold pleasure for cooling us off and tickling our tastebuds! And we did all of this while listening to some very talented local bands! It was a great kick-off to our celebrations!

Saturday morning we headed for the "Balloon Fest" (picture complements of the site) which begins bright and early at 6am. It is held on Bulldog field where hot air balloons are set-up and take-off. It was amazing to watch, and beautiful, and well worth getting two little ones up at 5:30am. We ended the morning with a hot breakfast. It was decided this is now a family tradition! Later in the day we received visitors – Abuelitos. They came to spend a week with us which included the 4th. Of course this included lots of gifts for the boys….Thanks to Tia Vivi and Abuelos.

Sunday was church and catching up on family news witha surprise ending…our upstairs neighbors invited us to enjoy their fireworks with them. Wonderful family! Wonderful home fireworks show! Wonderful time! Well, with the exception of a little scare with Joaquin. Our neighbors gave him a box of "Pop snappers" and somehow Joaquin thought they were candy and ate one. Gave us all a good scare. I called the poison control center and was relieved to find that he would be fine since it was only 1 that he had eaten. Note to self: tell children what it is exactly that they are getting and it's appropriate uses.

Monday was the Grand Parade which we watched with great pleasure. I still love parades especially the bands! Then the boys rode rides at the carnival and we watched an international dance presentation. Ending what was one of the Best 4th of July celebrations I have ever enjoyed!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Leader of the Band

Joaquin loved music from the moment he entered this world. I first noticed It while in church…when we would sing the hymns he would look at me so intently with such a look of serenity. He loves for me to sing to him when he is upset and to help him fall asleep. But now even more he likes to make up his own songs. I often will hear him in his bed, as he is trying to fall asleep, creating tunes of his own. Now he came by this love and talent naturally. Rodrigo and I both love music and Rodrigo plays both the piano and guitar by ear.

Rodrigo has wanted a guitar for a while now and Joaquin's request for one was just the excuse he needed to run out and get one. As you can see, this is a child's guitar but it doesn't stop Rodrigo from rocking the house with it J. He is teaching Joaquin little things here and there and Joaquin, though he can't actually play yet, enjoys a good pretend rock session…

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Rodrigo wanted a nap and the boys had other ideas…

Friday, June 11, 2010

Growing Up Is Hard to Do

No excuses am I making but just telling the plain awful truth…Joaquin has slept with Rodrigo and I for the last year. It started out just occaisionaly when he was sick so I could keep an eye on him and give him his breathing treatments more easily throughout the night but then developed into him just plain ole going to bed with us. We have known for quite a while that we needed to break the habit and have been pondering the how part. Now you must know that we realize that as a parent we could just force him to sleep in his own bed but something a friend quoted me once has stuck with me. She said something to the essence of "good parenting is not forcing our children but helping them to make the right choice while still allowing them to choose". With this thought in mind I capitalized on an opportunity. Joaquin is beginning soccer next week for the very first time. So, I sat him down and explained to him that being able to play soccer was an indication of how grown-up he was getting and that as a "big boy" he needed to sleep in his own bed. That is just what big boys do. He understood and didn't argue just simply stated but Mom, I'll have bad dreams. I quickly told him that we wouldn't begin this new habit for a few days to allow him time to mentally prepare and that his father would give him a blessing that would help him feel calm and peaceful about sleeping alone. I told him it would be OK because Heavenly Father would be with him and because of this he is never alone. He responded with but Heavenly Father isn't there in the room with me…I can't see him. I explained that although we can't see Heavenly Father we feel his presence through the power of the Holy Ghost. This seemed to satisfy his concerns…TO BE CONTINUED…

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Imitation: The Sincerest Form of Flattery

"Freeze!" This is Zeke's favorite way to insert himself into a conversation, calm tension, and basically stop us in our tracks. Currently, I am the Nursery Leader for our ward and Zeke is one of our many cuties. About a month ago I introduced a game. I cover my eyes and while they are covered the children run toward me. However, when I uncover my eyes they are supposed to "freeze". While trying to teach them the concept of "freezing" I used quite a bit of different body gestures one of them being to put my hand out and palm out shouting "freeze". They still didn't seem to get it as they continued to run fast toward me regardless of whether my eyes were covered or not…or so I thought.

It has been several weeks since we have played this game but just a few days ago Rodrigo and I were discussing something. I can't remember what but we weren't agreeing about whatever it was because suddenly I heard "Freeze!" from the back of the car. I looked back to find Ezekiel holding his hands up palms out. Although, it didn't seem it at the time he most certainly had gotten the gist of the game and then some. He now says "Freeze" when he wants Joaquin to listen to him or when He needs me to stop what I am doing and help him with something. And of course, at the sound of any contention or discord we can count on a strong, forceful, adamant "FREEZE!"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My talk given 3-14-2010 "The Gifts from the Holy Ghost"

A few weeks ago Rodrigo and I gave talks in Sacrament. The assignment was The Gift of the Holy Ghost. I wanted to record for myself and my posterity the things I learned from this assignment. I am posting the talk that I gave below. I have scripture references listed but not the actual scripture in an attempt to encourage those who read it to seek for themselves after these things. Rodrigo will be doing a guest post soon with his talk and thoughts on it.

The Gifts of the Holy Ghost*

*(As I studied I realized that when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost we also receive gifts from the Holy Ghost.)

· The third member of the Godhead. D&C 20:28 What a sacred blessing it is to have the constant companionship of a member of the Godhead as we live worthily.

  • Testator – witnesses of the Father, the Son and of all truth.

Moroni 10: 4-5

I was about 10 years old the first time I remember feeling the power of the Holy Ghost. My grandmother was a lover and seeker of truth. She had a great passion for it. A friend of hers, that was a member, stopped in to her work one day to visit with her. During the course of their conversation he asked if he could bring the missionaries to share with her more about the church. She accepted. My sister and I lived with her at the time and were eager to hear these discussions as well. I am not sure the order in which we learned about the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ to the earth but, I will never forget how I felt the first time I heard the story - A young boy of 14 who went to a grove of trees and knelt down in prayer asking God what church he should join. As I heard his testimony of how God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to him I was filled with light, joy and the sweetest peace I have ever felt. I knew he had seen God and Jesus Christ and that this young boy was God’s instrument in restoring His church to the earth. I have never doubted it. I hadn’t yet received the “Gift of the Holy Ghost” but I had felt of His power and had received a testimony of not only the Prophet Joseph Smith but that God hears and answers my prayers. He knows me personally by name. I am His child. The testimony I received that night led me to baptism and to receiving this great gift.

  • Comforter – gives us peace and consolation in the face of pain and sorrow. When Rodrigo and I were dating we had something we were really worried about. We discussed it and then went our separate ways for the evening. When Rodrigo picked me up the next day he told me about how he had prayed about it and that he had received an overwhelming feeling of peace. He knew everything was going to OK. The circumstances hadn’t changed but the spirit had brought him comfort. John 14:26 One of the great “gifts” of the Holy Ghost is that we can feel peace when we are surrounded by chaos, destruction, war, sorrow, and sin.

“The Holy Ghost confers upon a person the right to receive, as he may desire and need, the presence, light and intelligence of the Holy Ghost. It gives, as it were, an official claim upon the mighty assistance and comforting assurance of the Holy Ghost. When the servants of the Lord display a spiritual power beyond the command of man; when the grief laden heart beats with joy; when failure is converted into victory, it is by visitation of the Holy Ghost.” John A. Widstoe

“Yes, that still small voice, which has so often whispered consolation to my soul, in the depths of sorrow and distress, bade me be of good cheer, and promised deliverance, which gave me great comfort…For although I was troubled on every side, yet [I was] not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” [See 2 Corinthians 4:8-9] – Joseph Smith

  • Revelator – D&C 8:2-3 This gift bestows us with the privilege of knowing what path to take and giving us warning when we are in danger.
  • Sanctifier – Alma 5:7-9, It is through the Holy Ghost that we can draw on the power of the atonement and be made new. He sanctifies us – changes us.
  • Receive the gifts of the spirit – 1 Corinthians 12:31 and D&C 46:8&11. “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts…and to every man is given a gift by the spirit”

One of my good friends is the Gospel Doctrine teacher back in South Carolina and she recently shared something she had discussed in class. She presented the question - What gift of the spirit would I or should I seek to help me be a better mother, daughter, wife, friend? I have pondered this question and have been seeking a specific gift of the spirit to help me in my family calling. It has helped me reach beyond my self to serve beyond my own abilities.

  • The Holy Spirit of Promise – He confirms that the priesthood ordinances that we have received and the covenants that we have made are acceptable of God. This approval depends on our continued faithfulness.(True to the Faith)
  • Because of the Holy Ghost I know that God lives that Jesus is the Christ His Son, my Savior and Redeemer. That through Him I can be forgiven and live forever with my Father in Heaven and my family. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that we have a prophet upon the earth today. I receive comfort and direction that lead me to all that is good. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Traditions - Christ's last week

This year we are continuing our Easter tradition. First Rodrigo and I are rememborizing (remembering our previous memorization :) a portion of "The Living Christ" each of the 12 days. You can find the pretty little cards we use for this here.

We are once again following the last week of the Savior's life beginning today with, "The Savior cleanses the Temple". We missed Palm Sunday yesterday but will review this tonight in FHE. Each day using the corresponding picture from the gospel art kit we will have a devotional and discuss the things that happened in Christ's life that day. The gospel art picture will then be placed on the wall for us to look at and ponder throughout the week. Thursday we will celebrate passover with foods that are typically eaten.

Saturday we will hide easter eggs and present easter baskets to the boys. Fun has a place too in our traditions!

Sunday we are getting up to watch the Sun rise. We will talk about His resurrection and share our testimonies with each other (help Joaquin to practice:) and have a celebration dinner. It doesn't end there though! Monday we are going to have a FHE on his visit to the Americas.

I have added one thing this year to our tradition...I am re-reading "Jesus the Christ". I of course won't finish by the end of the week but it will be wonderful reading about the Savior throughout the week.

Sunday - Triumphal Entry "Palm Sunday"
Monday - The Savior Cleanses the Temple
Tuesday - Scribes question Jesus/Parables and teachings
Wednesday -Scriptures are silent on the events of this day. FHE and overview of the week also discuss Conference and the things we enjoyed.
Thursday - Passover, Garden of Gethsemene, Betrayal
Friday - Arrested, Tried, and Cruxified
Saturday - Visits the spirit world - Make Easter Story Cookies
Sunday - Resurrection - "The Empty Tomb" - Make Empty Tomb Rolls as part of celebration dinner.
Monday - FHE - Discuss his visit to the Nephites and have a fun activity.

I hope that this tradition will continue to help strengthen our testimony of Jesus Christ...his life, his great atoning sacrifice and his resurrection.

Happy Easter Week Everyone!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Something to Ponder

The following is the quote of the week for my blog but it bears repeating as a post. Definitely worth regular pondering...

The Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ...The Lord's tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord's timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings."

~ Elder David A. Bednar

I love the last line...and it is often the Lord's timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings."

How have you experienced the tender mercies of the Lord?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring is in the Air

Well, we took a cue from a family we greatly admire...namely the Brock's and we have begun not only the physical preparations for our garden but the spiritual as well. We will be planning out our garden for the next 3 family home evenings. We've actually planted the peas - The USU extension has proven a wonderful resource as well as the following websites: - This is a great site to help get the kids involved in the planning, planting, and harvesting!

The plan is to update our blog weekly on our progress, successes, challenges and the things we learn so we can use this information for our future gardens.

We have felt such a peace in this project...more to come soon!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cooking with Caprece - White Chicken Chili

Caprece won a chili cook-off in her stake with this recipe and I have wanted to make it every since - nearly 4 years.  Everyone is always asking if I have this recipe of hers and so here it is in all of it's glory.  I do have to say that it is a KEEPER.  My whole family loved it. We served it with sweet yellow cornbread.  I loved the contrast between the spicey and the sweetness of the bread. Tip - if you have younger children just make sure to use mild green chilies and go super easy on the cayenne pepper.

Recipe courtesy of Andrea Shumway and Caprece Curtis

1.5 lbs chicken breast, cubed
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 TBS oil
2 cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chicken broth
2 - 4 oz cans chopped green chilis - you decide the heat factor
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper - remember you control the heat so you can put less!

Saute the first 3 ingredients in 3 TBS of oil (I used a canola/olive oil blend) in a soup kettle or dutch oven.
Add the Great chicken broth and stir making sure to get all those yummy bits stuck to the pan.
Now add the Great Northern beans, green chilis - Quick Tip - high quality chilis are best.  Others tend to have a great deal of stems and husk like pieces.  Even the quality chilis can have bad bits.  Check them before you add them to the soup and remove any unwanted bits.  - salt, oregano, ground cumin, pepper, cayenne pepper.  Mix together and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for one hour until thickened.  It will be similar to a thick batter.  Add 1 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup whipping cream.  Whisk together and serve.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

1,729 miles, 3 days and 2 nights

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I had the wonderful fortune of helping my mother move to Utah.  She began her journey in Myrtle Beach, SC and I met her in Kentucky.  We loaded furniture and belongings, slept briefly and then began our nearly 1800 mile trip.  Her excitement could barely be contained as she thought of actually living near all of her grandchildren.  However, this joy didn't competely override her anxiety about a new place - one that she hadn't even seen - and she often found herself caught between feelings of elation and those of complete nail biting fear :)  Let me assure everyone...the joy quickly and easily won out as she walked into her new home that already had a bed, new linens in the bathroom and other important necesities provided by Matt and Cayr.  As well as a B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.  welcome sign created by Chancey and signed by the the whole family.

This trip was nothing new for me as having attended school and lived in the west for many of my 40 years, I have driven these miles back and forth over 10 times.  This was usually by myself with the exception of my original trip with my Sister and my honeymoon/move trip to Northern Cali.  So this was a special treat to be with my Mom.  She came prepared with a few books on CD that we enjoyed but mostly we enjoyed talking and comfortable silence.  We both reminised on previous trips - she with grandmommie and me with Caprece.  It felt good.  And of course we couldn't help contemplating the pioneers as we traveled in their footsteps in a warm ,dry, and mostly comfortable :) truck.  We stopped each night to sleep in a warm comfy bed and it only took us 3 days and 2 nights.  Mom may not be a pioneer in things temporal as were those pioneers long ago but she is still forging a path of faith, hope and charity for those following her.

My Joaquin had been counting the days to her arrival and Rodrigo informed me that the night before we were to arrive he had decided the anticipation was killing him and he could wait no longer!  He demanded to see Grandmommie Jacqi NOW!  Needless to say it was a wonderful reunion for us all - I had missed my little boys terribly and Rodrigo too.  There really is no place like home.  I can't help but think of our future heavenly reunion with those who have gone on before us and a return to that home, the home that I feel a constant longing for.  Ezekiel and I were reading a book about the Savior this past week and there was a picture of the Savior hugging a child.  I was talking to Zeke about it and how wonderful it must feel to receive a hug from the Savior.  I was overwhelmed with a desire for a "Jesus Hug" and I told him so.  He agreed that this would be a very good thing.

How thankful I am for Jesus Christ. Because of him I have a family, and a home - both earthly and heavenly. 

Welcome to Utah Mom!   

Monday, February 8, 2010

Whatcha thinkin bout...?

Sometimes I just have to wonder where my kids come up with their ideas...I mean what in the world are they  thinking about?  A few days ago Joaquin said to me out of the clear blue, "Mom let's go to a hotel."  I said why?  He tells me, "Because I don't like this place (referring to our home)."  I responded with, "Really, why don't you like it here?"  He says, "Because there is no red stuff."  Hmmm, I wonder what this "red stuff" is that he is referring to and the only thing i can think of is that we had a red accent wall in the condo...maybe he really, really liked it?  Guess it is time for me to add a little color to our place...? 

Roasted Asparagus

I know, I know, I said I would only post my sister's recipes but this one is sooo good I have to post it.  Forgive me :)?

Roasted Asparagus courtesy of Me

  • 1 bunch of Asparagus
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1-2 TBS olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the asparagus.  Take one stalk and break.  Asparagus will naturally break at the point where the veggie is good to eat.  Using the asaparagus that you broke as a  guide cut the bottoms of the remaining aspargus off.  Lay on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with olive oil, kosher salt, and garlic.  Toss until well coated. Roast in oven for 12-15 minutes.  Asparagus should just be tender.   

Cooking with Caprece - Glazed Carrots

Yesterday I made a family favorite "3 envelope roast" and I was trying desperately to figure out to serve with it.  I didn't want the same ole same ole.  So I dove into Caprece's recipes and came across this one that looked delicious.  It didn't disappoint although I think I like my friend Christina's recipe better.  I also served wild rice and roasted asparagus that was out of this world good.

Glazed Carrots recipe courtesy of Sharlee Bates

  • 2 pkg (16oz) fresh baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 envelopes of ranch dressing mix
Cook carrots as desired and set aside.  Combine all ingredients except carrots in a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir til butter is melted and everything is well blended.  Add carrots cook and stir for 5 minutes until carrots are glazed.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cooking with Caprece - Homemade Pancakes and Syrups

Waking up to the smell of sugar, maple, butter, and batter were a common and favorite experience on my visits with Caprece. She made a warm breakfast nearly every day of her life as mother and wife. Maybe because we grew up in a home of working mother and grandmother and rarely had a hot breakfast it spurred us to give this to our own families but whatever the reason it is a glorious thing! She made things other than pancakes like waffles, French toast, and scrambled eggs but my favorite was her pancakes. They are so simple to make that whipping them together takes about as much time as putting together a bowl of cold cereal. Now if I have a choice between cold cereal and hot fluffy, melt in your mouth pancakes well…I am sure you know the choice I would make. The syrups are just as easy and ohhhhhhhh so yummy!


• 2 cups flour

• 2 TBS baking powder

• 2 TBS sugar

• 2 TBS oil

• 1 tsp salt

• 2 eggs

• Milk

Grease your griddle or skillet. Heat your griddle to 350 degrees or a skillet on your stove to medium-low heat. Mix all ingredients together adding milk a little at a time until you reach the desired thickness – this depends on whether you like thick or thin pancakes…the more milk you add the thinner the batter and therefore the thinner the pancakes. We like ours thick and fluffy so we add about 1-1.5 cups of milk. Pour batter onto heated surface using ¼ measuring cup and cook flipping once. Makes approximately 10 pancakes.

Buttermilk Syrup

• ½ cup buttermilk

• ½ cup butter

• 1 cup sugar

• ½ tsp baking soda

Mix the first 3 ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Serve warm over pancakes, waffles, French toast etc… NOTE** Due to the amount of butter in this syrup I don’t put any butter on my pancakes when I use it. Makes about 2 cups. Doesn’t keep well so only make what you think will be used at meal.

Maple Syrup

• 1 cup water

• 2 cups sugar

• ½ tsp Mapleine

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and serve warm over pancakes etc… Makes about 2 cups and keeps very well in a mason jar or something similar.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cooking with Caprece – Spanish Rice

Caprece was a member of a recipe club when they were in Logan, UT while Matt was completing his MBA. She acquired many of her best recipes from her participation in this club. Last night we had Carnitas and I knew this was just the recipe to compliment them. I have my own recipe for rice that I usually serve with Mexican dishes but this was a wonderful change and tasted superlicious!

Recipe courtesy of Keesha Halbrook

Spanish Rice


  • 1 ½ cups long grain rice
  • 1 TBS oil
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 80z can of tomato paste
  • 1 chicken bullion
  • Salt and pepper


Fry rice onion and garlic in oil until lightly brown. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in water, tomato sauce and chicken bouillon. Cover tightly and simmer for 15 min on low heat.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

All That Jazz

As an undergraduate student at Utah State University I had the wonderful priveledge of watching the genius of Wynton Marsalis in person. I never really appreciated jazz until then but after that performance I was hooked for life. He was of course a natural choice for our family as we embarked on our study of this wonderful music. Here are a few fun facts about his life.

  1. He plays the trumpet.

  2. He is considered a classical virtuoso and a virtuoso erudite of jazz.

  3. Al Hirt (I love him too) gave Wynton his first trumpet when he was just 6 yrs old.

  4. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1997.

  5. He has won 9 Grammy Awards.

  6. He has played with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Herbie Hancock and more.

  7. He is also renowned for his classical compositions.

  8. Wynton recorded the Haydn, Hummel and Leopold Mozart trumpet concertos at the age of 21 and went on to record 10 additional classical records, all to critical acclaim. He has performed with leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and the Czech National Orchestra. (

  9. He is a UN Messenger of Peace, has been honored with the National Medal of Arts and the French Legion of Honor.

  10. An unbelievable to me he is only 8 and 3/4 years my senior.

Take note to the music playing on my will be hooked too!

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Cooking with Caprece

Due to popular demand for my Sister Caprece's recipes I have decided to make Monday and Wednesday on my blog "Cooking with Caprece" days. I will do a feature post on one of her recipes. I will be limiting my recipe posts to her recipes on those two days for the remainder of this year. Today I will just direct you to the recipes of hers that I have already posted. The following were some of her family favorites.
Sugar Cookies
Spaghetti Sauce
Fruit Pizza
Broccoli Salad
Classic Ground Beef Tacos

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oatmeal is for fun not food!

A few weeks ago I was cleaning in the back of the house and Joaquin came to get me. He wanted me to know Zeke had made some kind of mess and that he needed help. I thought I was going to scold him until I walked in and found him swimming in Oatmeal. All I could do was laugh and run get my camera. I just thank my lucky stars it wasn't honey or jam or some other sticky substance.

Italian Sodas

I love putting a little something special in my hum-drum days. This week at book club our host treated us to Italian Sodas. Who knew something so simple could taste so utterly fabuloso! I, of course went out the very next day and got all the ingredients so we could enjoy something out-of-the-ordinary in our very ordinary snow bound days. The good thing is the ingredients keep so you can have every day or just every once in a while.
You'll Need –
  • 1 ounce of Italian Syrup – flavor of your choice. So far I have had lime and cherry not together although I am sure that would be superb too. I found the syrups at my local supermarket, shelved with the coffee.
  • 1 ounce of whipping cream – they sell this in pints so you don't have to buy large amounts at a time. *Note – please don't deny yourself such pleasure as whipping cream – which is yes, whole cream. I recently lost 12 lbs and am working on my next 12 all while having whole cream and butter. The key is the amount...all things in moderation right J So let me state now ABSOLUTELY NO SUBSTITUTES!
  • Club Soda – refrigerated so as to not melt the ice
  • Crushed ice
  • Straw – for stirring

What to do and How to do it –

Place a small amount of ice in the glass. Measure out 1 ounce (about 1/8 cup) of each Italian soda and whipping cream. I used a ¼ cup measuring cup and filled it half way with cream and the rest with syrup. Pour into glass. Pour club soda over mixture in glass and stir. Drink…go ahead…you won't be able to stop with just one sip. You'll be hearing that "empty glass through a straw" sound before you know what hit you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

3 Gifts for Jesus

In an attempt to steer clear of the commercialism of Christmas Rodrigo and I started a new tradition this year. Each member of the family will receive 3 gifts just as the Savior received from the kings or the magi. We as a family in turn give 3 gifts to Jesus for the year. We sat down for FHE and discussed what gifts Jesus would like us to give him. Joaquin even came up with one all on his own. We can already feel an increase in the reverence for sacred things and in the spirit in our home…way less contention! We review our progress the first Monday of each month and then on Christmas eve we will talk about how we did and how our relationship with the Savior grew. We hope this will help us focus more on the Savior throughout the year.

3 Gifts to the Savior for 2010

  1. Go once a month to the temple as a family. This was Joaquin's idea. We decided to expand on it and since we live in a state full of temples we made the goal to visit a different temple each month.
  2. Read from the Book of Mormon each day as a family.
  3. Cultural Arts devotional each Sunday. The scriptures tell us to seek wisdom and learning from the best books and that all that is good is from God. Heavenly Father has blessed so many with extra-ordinary talents to give us beauty, comfort, peace, and joy. We want to come more familiar with these talents and to rejoice in them.

I will be posting each Tuesday a little about our "talent" of the week and on the first Tuesday of the month I'll post a progress update.

This week we are studying Vivaldi and I am completely smitten. Did you know he started playing the violin at 4? Did you also know that he nearly died when he was born and that his mother made a promise to God that if He would let her baby boy live that she would give him to the priesthood? He lived and much to the chagrin of his musically passionate heart she was true to her word. However, he soon found a way to fulfill his mother's promise and the desire of his heart… My favorite composition by Vivaldi is Four Seasons Do you have a favorite composition by Vivaldi?

Cranberry Pot Roast

Roast is one of my family's favorite meals but it can get boring really fast. I don't serve it as often as they would like in fear of us all becoming bored to death with it. However, I think this recipe helps prevent that. My family may love the fact that this recipe includes roast but I am crazy about it because it uses my crock pot. OH JOY! Little to no prep and my crock pot does the rest. Oh that all recipes could be so simple.

Adapted from Holiday Cooking 2004 p47

  • 1 3lb beef brisket (I used what I had on hand – chuck roast)

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

  • 1 cup sliced celery (I didn't use)

  • ¾ cup green or red sweet pepper

  • ½ cup chopped onion

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 16-ounce can whole cranberry sauce

  • 1 15- to 16- ounce can marinara sauce
  1. Trim fat from beef brisket or roast. Sprinkle roast with salt and ground black pepper. In a skillet, cook roast in hot oil about 10 minutes (5 min each side) until browned, turning once. Remove roast from the skillet and place in crock pot. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add celery and sweet pepper and cook for 2 minutes more. Add water and simmer over medium heat just until the veggies are tender about 5 minutes. Add the cranberry sauce and marinara sauce; cook til bubbly about 5 more minutes.

  2. Pour the sauce mixture over the roast in crock pot and cook for 4-6 hours. Serve with sauce. If the sauce needs to be thickened, mine didn't, boil sauce gently, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes or until it thickens. Makes 6-8 servings.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What’s in a name?

Did you know that my Great-Great-Great Grandfather was Abraham B. Benningfield. This is significant to me because my sister's oldest boy is named Abraham. Now, she didn't know this at the time she named him but it sure did fill me with spirit of Elijah when I discovered it while doing my family history. Interestingly enough I also discovered that Abraham had a son named Elijah(nicknamed "Lige") which is the name of my sister's youngest child. And even dearer to me I discovered that my Great-Great-Great Grandfather Abraham's brother was named Ezekiel. His mother is America Ann Lake, my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandmother whom I have felt a special kinship with throughout my life and for whom I have done temple work. So what's in a name? Family.History.Love.Life

Greek Salad Dip

We have a tradition in our home that we try new recipes every year for our Christmas Eve dinner. While on my hunt for something new I came across this recipe that reminded me very much of an appetizer that I had eaten at California Pizza. I started craving it from the minute I saw the picture. I studied the picture carefully and then ran to the store purchased the ingredients and we ate it for lunch. It is easy to make, tastes wonderful, and is healthful. What more can you ask for?


  • 1 8 oz Chive and onion cream cheese, softened

  • 1 10 oz container of Hummus (flavor of choice – I use "Tribe" brand it is wonderful tasting hummus but mild enough not overpower the dip.

  • 1 seedless cucumber, chopped

  • 2 -3 medium Roma tomatoes, diced

  • 3 green onion, chopped

  • 1 small can of sliced black olives

  • 1 lime juiced

  • ½ TBS Extra-virgin olive or canola oil (the canola is milder tasting)

  • 1/2 -1 tsp dried oregano

  • 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled


Prepare the vegetables and olives. Place in a bowl and toss with the juice from the lime, oil, and salt. Note*** I usually prepare the lime juice, oil and salt like a salad dressing then pour it over the veggies and olives then toss. Spread the cream cheese over the surface of a platter or plate (8 inch platter). Spread the hummus over the top of the cream cheese. Spread the veggie mixture over the hummus. Crumble the feta over veggie mixture and then sprinkle with oregano. Serve with pita chips.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Wear My Sunglasses at Night…and When I Brush My Teeth

Zeke is a hard child to get a smile out of yet he is the one the gets me laughing the quickest. See what I mean….

The Master Recipe:Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf)

First and foremost please, PLEASE, please don’t be intimidated by the length of this post. This is an excerpt from the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” It may appear daunting but let me tell you this book transformed my belief about making bread. See, I have always had a real fear of yeast. You have all heard the warnings...”Don’t get the water too warm!” “Don’t use water that is too cold!” “Don’t stir it with a metal spoon!” and on and on. I had just written off the idea of ever being able to make a loaf of bread. Boy was I wrong. The directions (for pictures click the "directions" hyperlink) are so long only because they are step by step. I have had nothing but success from the very first attempt with this recipe. Check out the picture of one of my first loaves below. Pretty good huh? The best part is I can make a loaf of bread or a pizza crust straight from my food storage! Although I have read the book I have not purchased the it YET but it is on my wish list.
Recipe Taken from
Makes four 1-pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved.

· 3 cups lukewarm water
· 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (1-1/2 packets)
· 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
· 6-1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method
· Cornmeal for pizza peel

Mixing and Storing the Dough
1. Warm the water slightly: It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature, about 100°F. Warm water will rise the dough to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. You can use cold tap water and get an identical final result; then the first rising will take 3 or even 4 hours. That won't be too great a difference, as you will only be doing this once per stored batch.
2. Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl or, preferably, in a re-sealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket. Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve.

3. Mix in the flour—kneading is unnecessary: Add all of the flour at once, measuring it in with dry-ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping up flour, then sweeping the top level with a knife or spatula; don't press down into the flour as you scoop or you'll throw off the measurement by compressing. Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor (14 cups or larger) fitted with the dough attachment, or a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until the mixture is uniform. If you're hand-mixing and it becomes too difficult to incorporate all the flour with the spoon, you can reach into your mixing vessel with very wet hands and press the mixture together. Don't knead. It isn't necessary. You're finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. This step is done in a matter of minutes, and will yield a dough that is wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of its container.
Allow to rise: Cover with a lid (not airtight) that fits well to the container you're using. Do not use screw-topped bottles or Mason jars, which could explode from the trapped gases. Lidded plastic buckets designed for dough storage are readily available (see page 14 of the book). Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flattens on the top), approximately 2 hours, depending on the room's temperature and the initial water temperature. Longer rising times, up to about 5 hours, will not harm the result. You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period. Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and is easier to work with than dough at room temperature. So, the first time you try our method, it's best to refrigerate the dough overnight (or at least 3 hours), before shaping a loaf.
The scoop-and-sweep method gives consistent results without sifting or weighing. It's easier to scoop and sweep if you store your flour in a bin rather than the bag it's sold in; it can be hard to get the measuring cups in a bag without making a mess. Also: Don't use an extra-large 2-cup-capacity measuring cup, which allows the flour to overpack and measures too much flour.
Relax! You do not need to monitor doubling or tripling of volume as traditional recipes.

On Baking Day
5. The gluten cloak: don't knead, just "cloak" and shape a loaf in 30 to 60 seconds. First, prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal (or whatever your recipe calls for) to prevent your loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven.
Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough, using a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won't stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it's not intended to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out and adhere during resting and baking. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 to 60 seconds.
6. Rest the loaf and let it rise on a pizza peel(I use a wooden cutting board – me Karm): Place the shaped ball on the cornmeal-covered pizza peel. Allow the loaf to rest on the peel for about 40 minutes (it doesn't need to be covered during the rest period). Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise during this period; more rising will occur during baking ("oven spring").
7. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.
8. Dust and slash: Unless otherwise indicated in a specific recipe, dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a 1/4-inch-deep cross, "scallop," or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top, using a serrated bread knife (see photo).

9. Baking with steam: After a 20-minute preheat, you're ready to bake, even though your oven thermometer won't yet be up to full temperature. With a quick forward jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the preheated baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour about 1 cup of hot water from the tap into the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Because you've used wet dough, there is little risk of drying out the interior, despite the dark crust. When you remove the loaf from the oven, it will audibly crackle, or "sing," when initially exposed to room temperature air. Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack, for best flavor, texture, and slicing. The perfect crust may initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.
10. Store the remaining dough in the refrigerator in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next 14 days: You'll find that even one day's storage improves the flavor and texture of your bread. This maturation continues over the 14-day storage period. Refrigerate unused dough in a lidded storage container (again, not airtight). If you mixed your dough in this container, you've avoided some cleanup. Cut off and shape more loaves as you need them. We often have several types of dough storing in the refrigerator at once. The dough can also be frozen in 1 pound portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking day.

VARIATION: HERB BREAD. This simple recipe shows off the versatility of our approach. Herb-scented breads are great favorites for appetizers and snacks.
Follow the directions for mixing the Boule dough and add 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (2 teaspoons fresh) and 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves (1 teaspoon fresh) to the water mixture.
You can also use herbs with the other bread recipes in this chapter.

What's a "gluten-cloak"? Just imagine a warm blanket being pulled around you on a cold night. Or, for the more technically inclined: What you are trying to do here is to add enough flour to the surface so it can be handled and the protein strands in the surface can be aligned, creating a resilient "cloak" around the mass of wet, barely kneaded dough. Visualize a cloak being pulled around the dough, so that the entire ball is surrounded by a skin. Resist the temptation to get rid of all stickiness by adding too much flour. Adding large amounts of flour prevents the bread from achieving a finished crumb with the typical artisanal "custard" (page 19 of the book).

Lazy sourdough shortcut: When your dough bucket is finally empty, don't wash it! Immediately re-mix another batch in the same container. In addition to saving the cleanup step, the aged dough stuck to the sides of the container will give your new batch a head start on sourdough flavor. Just scrape it down and it will hydrate and incorporate into the new dough.
Amaze your friends with the "6-3-3-13" rule: If you want to store enough for eight one-pound loaves, here's a simple mnemonic for the recipe: 6, 3, 3, and 13. It's 6 cups water, 3 tablespoons salt, 3 tablespoons yeast, and then add 13 cups of flour. Store in a 10-quart lidded container. That's it. It will amaze your friends when you do this in their homes without a recipe—but tell them to buy this book anyway!
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