The First Baguette!

baguette

It’s finally baking season! Cool crisp weather outside means I can finally turn on my oven inside. First up is, of course, baguettes!

Baguette (Makes Two)

4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
2 cups Warm Water (Aprox. 105 degrees)
4 tablespoons Melted Butter

Measure out the warm water and stir in the sugar then add the yeast. Stir to combine.
Set the yeast mixture aside and allow to proof for 10 minutes.
Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
When the yeast mixture is ready, pour into the flour with the mixer on low speed.
When the dough is just combined turn it out onto a floured surface. Kneed the dough until smooth adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Place the dough into a bowl and cover with a damp towel and leave to rise for an hour in a warm spot.
After the first rise, divide the dough in two and shape each into a long loaf. Set the baguettes onto a buttered sheet pan. Let rise for another hour.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Brush the loaves with melted butter and bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes.

Tip: Before you slide the bread into the oven throw about 6 ice cubes into the bottom of the oven. This will create a steamy environment that will give your dough an extra lift while baking.

DIY Halloween Banner

My cursor hovered over the add to cart button. That burlap Halloween banner was SO cute, it would be mine! I knew just where I would put it too. The finishing touch to my seasonal decor.
And then, the voice in my head: “Are you nuts?! I’ll bet you could make something just as cute for $5.00! You are NOT going to spend that much money on something you trot out once a year!”
The voice was right. She’s always right.

Halloween Banner

What you’ll need:
1/2 yard Burlap
10 feet Twine or Cording
Printer, Computer & Word/Doc. Program
Pencil
Scissors
Cellophane Tape
Black Acrylic Paint
Fine Bristle Brush
Cup of water
A Window

Image 10-17-14 at 7.43 AM
1) Make a template. I used a scrap of paper towel.
2) Cut the banner pieces. You’ll need 14, but, cut a few extra. Just in case.
3) Open your word program and type H A P Y L O W E N.
You’ll be tracing those letters over and again to make your banner. No need to waste paper and ink typing out the whole thing is there?
I used Apple Chancery font set at 250 pt.
4) Print.
5) Tape your burlap piece over the letter.
6) Hold your template up to a window during the daylight. (Free light box!)
7) Trace the outline of the letter onto the burlap with a pencil.

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8) Thin your paint with water until it’s the consistency of thick ink.
9) Fill in the letters traced on your burlap with paint. (You might need more than one coat)
10) Allow to dry for an hour.

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11) Measure out two lengths of twine. One at 4 feet and one about 6 feet.
12) Fold over the top of your banner pieces and snip two holes for the twine to thread through.
13) Thread the burlap pieces onto the twine!

DIY Halloween Banner
Look how awesome! You can now sit back and smugly admire your Halloween vignette.
And, maybe…talk to someone about that voice in your head?

Ravioli with Sage Béchamel, Walnuts & Apples

Rav Sage

Ravioli with Sage Béchamel
1 package fresh or frozen Cheese Ravioli
3 tablespoons unsalted Butter
3 tablespoons Flour
1 1/3 cups Warm Milk
1 tablespoon Dried Sage
Salt and Pepper

Garnish: Toasted Walnuts and Diced Apple

Cook the ravioli according to the package instructions, drain, toss with olive oil and set aside.

For the Béchamel:
In a sauce pan placed over medium high heat, melt the butter then add the flour. Whisk to combine then stir briskly for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour.
Add the sage, salt and pepper.
Turn down the heat to low/simmer and add the milk by increments, whisking after each addition, until all the milk is incorporated. Cook the sauce until thick.

To serve, dish up some of the pasta, sauce with the béchamel then, sprinkle over the walnuts and apples.

Autumn Playlist

There’s something about the cool mornings and mellow sunny afternoons of Autumn that make you want to put on something drowsy and jazzy and a little bit nostalgic.

Don’t have Spotify? You totally should sign up! I’ve discovered a lot of new music. It’s free!
(this is not a sponsored post)

October Bookworm Part 1

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The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Many dates in time and many characters move in and out of the story like pieces in board game. The binding character through all of this is Holly Sykes. The book begins with her story of running away from home in 1984 and ends in the year 2043 as the worlds climate and tech driven society collapses. Each part of the story features a different character and contribution to the final showdown between a cabal of powerful mystics and their enemies.

It’s a lengthy tome and if you have the means I would recommend you purchase it in e-reader format. Unless you need to bludgeon someone with a heavy object, you’ll appreciate not having to lug a 600+ page book around. I don’t mean for that to be off putting, however. The book is long, yes, but it doesn’t feel like it. Each new character adds to the suspense and the rich tapestry Mitchell weaves. The Bone Clocks will be a book that will stick with me.

Excerpt:
“I put my hand on the altar rail. ‘What if … what if Heaven is real, but only in moments? Like a glass of water on a hot day when you’re dying of thirst, or when someone’s nice to you for no reason, or …’ Mam’s pancakes with Toblerone sauce; Dad dashing up from the bar just to tell me, ‘Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite'; or Jacko and Sharon singing ‘For She’s A Squishy Marshmallow’ instead of ‘For She’s A Jolly Good Fellow’ every single birthday and wetting themselves even though it’s not at all funny; and Brendan giving his old record player to me instead of one of his mates. ‘S’pose Heaven’s not like a painting that’s just hanging there for ever, but more like … Like the best song anyone ever wrote, but a song you only catch in snatches, while you’re alive, from passing cars, or … upstairs windows when you’re lost …”