This Frock Rocks; six great things shared weekly
Milestones: I hate to close the books on 2015 because it was a great year. I am especially mindful of my blessings at the end of the year because of all of our significant family events that occur. I have scheduled for my convenience all of my children's birthdays and my anniversary alongside Christmas and New Year's so that I might both celebrate and reflect on the things that matter the most. So, a little tongue-in-cheek there, of course one can't schedule birthdays, but it seems that I did. I just wish my last baby had come in December like he was supposed to, then I would never have to think of any other birth months.
November 19th, Henry -7th birthday awesomeness; loves trains, Legos, writing notes, and directing others behavior in the home
Thanksgiving - Italian inspired menu of pure deliciousness
December 7th, My dad celebrated his 61st day of life after receiving a terminal diagnosis of 60 days to live. He is continuing to thrive while he waits for lung transplant.
December 14 - Double Birthday
Brittain's 17th birthday; a junior who plays rugby, takes AP Psych and AP Calculus, sets a great example for his family, enjoys more and more driving privileges.
Thomas' 15th birthday - loving high school, playing for Nighthawks Basketball, spending time at the beach, running a surf photo Instagram page , gets As because he wants to.
Christmas Eve - Chili and Scones + Gift Trade at Chez Moses. My mom does such an incredible job every year with her Christmas Eve traditions.
Christmas - A beautiful day with family. We held a short devotional, opened gifts, walked at Torrey Pines
December 26th - Dieter's 11th birthday. I recently found a video of of him when he was a toddler and I watch it 100 times with big tears streaming from my eyes. I want to always remember when he was little.
December 30th - My wedding anniversary. 20 years!
New Year's Eve - A quiet night at home watching Mission Impossible and hanging with my younger set, the husband, and my dad (glued to his phone all night waiting for the transplant call).
Team Brittain: Together with my 3 siblings and our spouses we have created a powerful team, almost like the Avengers. I am actually not kidding when I speak about our might. We have come together to help my dad, Bruce Brittain, overcome his lung disease, IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis). The only way for him to do that because he is end stage, is through a lung transplant. We have started a blog to chronicle his journey called Bruce's Oxygen Addiction. Team Brittain celebrated my dad on December 7th, in a Day of Infamy | 61st day party. It was a way to show my dad that he has many people rooting for his health and welfare. We feel very blessed in our endeavors to preserve his health and the team we have assembled to support him. He is a brave #PFwarrior.
20 Years Married + Honeymoon Do-Over - I have a million things to say about being married for twenty years. I have one million sentiments that I could share about marriage of course and talk about my husband and our dream team. However, what I really want to share is how much I hated my honeymoon. When I planned it at 20 years old with my $1 budget, I did the best I could. My soon-to-be husband and I thought that a coastal California honeymoon would be really wonderful. We had to keep in mind the low budget AND the fact that because of our ages, would couldn't rent a car should we have flown somewhere.
I won't get into all the reasons that I wanted to call my parents to come and get me from my own honeymoon, but know that CLAW-FOOT TUBS and BED & BREAKFASTS will never again feature in my travel plans. HATE. TAKE ME HOME. HATE.
I have wanted a do-over of that honeymoon for a long time. This year to celebrate our anniversary we took a staycation in town in order to start that do-over. We went to a Korean spa, ate ramen, went shopping, ran at Torrey Pines, stayed at the Lodge Torrey Pines, had a great burger lunch, and enjoyed all of the elements that were missing from our honeymoon.
There were a few key details I would have changed about the wedding too if we we were really to get into it; uber-heavy brick colored lipstick, tight-worse-than-the-prom style "french twist", my parents' creating drama, my 13 year old brother as the videographer. I might delve a deeper into these another time.
Bread Baking - After the month's long celebration that was December, I struggled to get back to the home arts. I finally turned on the oven and did something with it. I returned to baking bread, it seemed therapeutic and simple. I tried a rye flour variation of what I usually bake and the family says "success!". Here is the recipe I used from Tartine No. 3 but followed this blog's step-by-step photo tutorial.
FOR THE DOUGH
200g rye levain (see below)
830g KA bread flour
170g Bob's Red Mill medium rye flour
FOR THE LEVAIN
15g active rye starter
50g Bob's Red Mill medium rye flour
50g KA AP flour
1) Make the Levain - Dissolve 15g active rye starter in 100g h20. Stir in 50g medium rye flour and 50g AP until you arrive at an amalgamated paste. Let this ferment overnight.
2) Dissolve the Levain in 800g of h20. Stir in the 830g bread flour and 170g rye flour with your hands until you reach a shaggy mass. Autolyse for at least an hour.
3) Squish the 20g of salt into the dough with your fingers until it is fully incorporated, let it rest for 30 minutes.
4) After 30 minutes, you will perform 4 series of turns every 30 minutes, which will comprise 2 full hours of your fermentation. Perform your turns like this: dip your hand under the bulk of the dough, and fold the bottom up over the top of the dough, give the bowl a 1/3 turn and repeat until you have done this three times.
5) After 2 hours of gentle turning, let the dough ferment unmolested for another 2 hours at room temp if it's cool enough in your area.
6) After the 4 hour ferment, turn the dough out onto a well-oiled (or floured, your call) workspace.
7) Divide, shape into loose rounds, and cover with 2 bowls for their 15 minute bench rest.
8) After the bench rest, shape into Boules, then get them into bowls that have been lined with linens dusted with brown rice flour. Pop them into the fridge for a 4 hour proof
9) With 25 minutes left of your proof, preheat your oven to 500 degrees with two combo cooker sets inside. After the dough is fully proofed, cut out a square of parchment, place over the mouth of the bowl, and invert the bowl onto a peel. Remove the bowl and the linen carefully (in case there are any sticky spots, you don't want to yank the linen off too hard and rip the dough).
10) Score the dough, slide it into the shallow part of the hot cast iron pan, mist with a water bottle set on the MIST setting. Cover with the deep part of the comb cooker. Turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes covered.
11) Remove the cover from the combo cooker, then bake until done. My bread took another 40 minutes for an hour and 10 minute total bake.
#FeedingMen: The men need some direction in managing our refrigerator and pantry. The men (all 5 in the home) have a difficult time finding food to eat in our home. This is a great mystery for me because our fridge is full, I have food prepped for easy consumption, and I keep healthy snacks on hand. I have made it my life's goal to teach my family how to feed themselves in a healthful manner while paying attention to not wasting food. Here are some of the problems that I have endeavored to overcome in 2016 by organizing my kitchen in a way that makes feeding the family as streamlined as possible. Here are some of the problems I paid attention to:
- No one know how to hull a strawberry, therefore whole berries were rotting in the fridge.
- No one knows where to discard grape stems other than the couch
- No one knows how to open opaque food containers to look for delicious prepared foods
- Giant empty milk jugs left in the fridge
- A vat of cottage cheese
- Huge plastic bottles of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and other condiments taking up fridge real estate
- Assorted bags, bins, and bottles of perishable items like chia seeds, hemp seeds, yeast, that needed to be corralled
- Space for cut and prepped ingredients like peppers, basil, parsley, celery
- A need for easy to grab single serve veggie cups
I put almost everything into glass jars. Now the clean and clear appearance of food allows my kids to see it and want to eat it. I decanted all condiments into small Weck jars that are more manageable and can go straight to the table. I arranged ready-to-grab snacks like chocolate milk and Perfect Bars so my kids don't waste time searching for something to put into school lunches or sports bags. Overall I am curating my fridge like a piece of installation art, but with a purpose. I crave order and this is one of my favorite FROCK PROJECTS of all time.
Top 5 Wardrobe Pieces: I am not ashamed to say that I have a few items that I wear over and over. I took a look back at some photos from 2015 and I was in one of these pieces in 90% of them. This is what I call a wardrobe of basics. Look for me to keep on with black blazers, ripped jeans, flare jeans, white tee shirts, and sunglasses for the next ... hmmm.. Forever.
Book club: I am now in a book club! I am going to officially read along with friends and do book-clubby things this year. On that note, I joined GOODREADS to help me remember what I have read, what I am reading now, and all the books on my list to read. I am hoping to get through 50 full books this year, but will not count cookbooks because that number would be quiet high and not really a full read if you think about it. On that note, here are my favorite cookbooks this month.
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