Bread dough for Bread, Pizza Crust, Rolls, Whatevs

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (Look for the big bag)
  • 1 cup warm water (think a hot bath)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil (any kind works for the most part)
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1. Stir the yeast, water, sugar, and oil up in a bowl. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. It should foam up. If it doesn’t, your water may have been too hot or too cold.

2. Mix your flour, salt, and the yeast concoction up in a bowl.

3. Knead that shit for about 5 minutes. It will start off super sticky, but will come together into a nice dough. If it’s stays sticky, toss in some more flour. When kneading, you fold the far edge of the dough back over on itself towards you. Press into the dough with the heels of your hands and push away. After each push, rotate the dough 90°. Repeat this process in a rhythmic, rocking motion for 5 minutes, sprinkling only enough flour on your kneading surface to prevent sticking. 

4. Take a ceramic bowl and run a stick of butter all around the bottom & sides,  knead your dough again for 2 to 3 minutes then add to bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and leave it someplace warmish for 1 to 2 hours. 

5. By now your dough should have doubled in size, give it a gentle punch to release the gasses that have built up inside.  HELLO NURSE!!!!!!!!!!!! You have bread dough. 

Here are just some of the stuff you can make from this basic bread recipe:
  • Bagels: Bring pot of salty water to a boil, pull off ball size pieces and make bagel shapes, toss them in the water for about 2 minutes. Pull them out, drip dry, egg-wash the tops and then bake at 400 for 10 minutes.
  • Bread: Lightly score the top of the loaf, brush with cold water, top with egg-wash if you want, bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. (It’s done when it sounds hollow if you knock on the bottom.)
  • Bread Sticks: Pull off ball size pieces and make snake shaped rolls, let them rest on pan while the oven heats, say about 10 minutes, then bake at 400 for 10-20 minutes.
  • Cinnamon Rolls: Roll the dough into a rectangle shape. Top with mixture of butter, cinnamon, and sugar (no exact amounts here, do it to your taste, alternate recipe). Roll it up into a log, and cut it into discs. Let them sit 20 minutes in a pan and then bake at 375 for 15-17 minutes.
  • Dinner rolls: Pull off  ball size pieces and roll into a ball. Place on greased pan, let rest 10-20 minutes to rise, top with egg-wash, then bake 375 for 25 minutes.
  • Doughnuts: Using a heavy bottom pot or deep fryer, add oil (at least 2 inches of oil, with 2 inches of space from the surface of the oil to the top of the pot). Bring oil up to 350-360, reduce heat to low, pull off ball size pieces and make doughnut shapes (or just use quarter size pieces), drop into oil, fry 2-3 minutes, turning once. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate. You can totally roll them in sugar or dip it in chocolate.
  • Pizza Crust: Stretch it on a pan, using a fork poke it all over, add whatevs toppings you want (ie: pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni) then bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. 

Here are some other tips you can use:

  • For lighter, crustier bread: let your shaped loaves rise for 45 minutes. Put a roasting pan of water in the oven and then preheat it to 500, bake for 15 minutes. Place bread (dinner rolls) in the oven, bake for 10 minutes, lower oven to 400, bake for 10 minutes. 
  • Add ins: You can add whatever you want to the dough for some variety, like cheddar cheese or garlic.
  • Egg-wash: Crack an egg in a bowl and add a pinch of salt, whisk together. Brush onto bread/rolls before baking for a nice crust.

Fear Strikes Again

Someone explain this one to me, please.
This is Charles Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, and he was simply doing his job - trying to calm and protect his patient. His reaction to having multiple semi-automatic rifles pointed at him was to make himself a non threatening a target as possible by laying on the ground with his hand in the air and he tried to open a dialogue between himself and the police officers by telling them MULTIPLE TIMES I am unarmed, he has a toy truck, I am a behavioral therapist - all of the things that a good person should do if in this type of situation. And what happened, he was still shot.
Why? He never reached toward his pocket for a concealed weapon, his hands remained steadily raised and in sight, you can't say he charged or rushed or hell even tried to approach the police officers, and he kept the lines of communication open with the police (not that they responded to him) "I am unarmed, Rinaldo is autistic, lay on your stomach Rinaldo, he has a toy truck." And he was still shot. Why?
After he was shot, his only reaction was to ask the officer who shot him, Why? And the officers response is "I don't know". .
But the very worst part of this whole situation in my opinion, after this man has done everything he could possibly do to show that he was not trying to break or subvert any laws, after he was shot - the officers on the scene rolled him onto his stomach and handcuff the bleeding man behind his back to lay on the hot concrete, while they do WHAT EXACTLY?
Mr Kinsey, you asked why? Why he shot you? He shot you because he was scared and I'm sorry for that. I'm sorry that he took his fear out on you. I know that a white woman's apology & her tears mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, but I am truly sorry this happened to you.
I get that being an officer of the law has got to be down right scary as fuck right now ESPECIALLY because of the deaths of your brothers in blue, but really? I understand that each and every day you put on your uniform you are terrified that you won't be coming home again. I see you and I see your reactions to your fear. I don't know what needs to happen to affect effective change, but something has to give. America has fallen to such depths of despair, that all of her wondermous citizens are hating & bashing & hurting each other for no good reason. Hell, it's not just America, it's the whole damn World. The World has gone out of sync and we need some serious help getting Mother Earth's children back on track.

21 Day Fix Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 lbs B/L S/L Chicken Breast (sliced in half or butterflied depending on your level of commitment to cooking)
5-10 slices of low sodium ham (I use a thin cut natural)
Shredded Provolone
Mustard (I've used regular deli mustard, honey mustard, and spicy mustard)
16 (maybe a few more) Whole wheat crackers - finely crushed

I slice the chicken breast so I end up with thin "layers", and place about half of it in the bottom of a casserole dish. Then I top with mustard. Don't go totally crazy, but it does add flavor. Lay the ham out on top of the mustard, on my half of the dish, I use 3-6 slices of ham, on his half I use between 6-12. Sprinkle shredded cheese next, on my half of the dish, I use the blue container full of cheese, on his half I just sprinkle it over. Place the remain chicken on the top of the casserole dish. Sprinkle the crushed crackers on top. Bake at 350 until chicken is done, depending on your oven 30-45 minutes is usually good.

For measurements I use 1 yellow (cracker topping), 1 blue (cheese), and 2-3 reds depending on how much I eat/have eaten during the day. It's a decent reheatable meal, but may need more mustard if it dries out.

You can totally "spice up" this meal by spicing the chicken up. I tend to cook kind of bland for James' stomach.

Jury Duty

Well it's that time again. 

I had to call out of work, pack a boredom bag
and try to sleep during the night (didn't happen),
so I would be wide awake for what can only be
termed the most boring day of your life (if you don't get selected).

Now, don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy jury duty.
What I have a problem with is all the stupid delays and boring repeats, 
over and over again.

First, you have to show up at the courthouse by 8:30am 
(the time listed on your summons),
but the jury office isn't even open, so you hang out in the lobby & kill time.
Finally someone comes out and starts to act all drill sargent 
but all I can think of is a chirpy little ankle biter - bark bark bark, look at me.
Then you FINALLY begin being processed into the jury room.

Now you and the other 200 odd peoples get pushed and pulled into format by
the DS, line up, come to the door, state your last name only, get form 
(fill out the address, phone number & check the box if you want a note for work)
Then you take a badge & a seat while everyone else gets their shit together.
Pull out a book to read, hunkered down in a severely uncomfortable chair.
Only to be interrupted 5 minutes in with a lecture from the DS saying that as soon as
she gets everyone checked in, she'll set up the TV with a video and print
out work excuses. Then she goes back to checking people in.
Sometime later, she comes back in and gives a lecture on the importance of Jury Duty,
it's not a duty, it's a privilege.
(Actually I do agree with this, we as citizens seriously need to do our part to help)

Then the dreaded boring video begins to play, and what do you know - it's everything
DS just said but in LONG LONG LONG drawn out format.
Please note - I am not the best at staying awake while watching something I want to 
watch, I sure ain't feeling like it when the show is boring.

Then it's the swearing in or affirmation to do your Duty.

Everyone breaks for the bathrooms, vending machines or simply a better chair.

That's finally over, and the excuses start coming off the printer, 
so we all do the shuffle step to get our personalized notes.
And even though none of us could have possibly escaped, when no response is 
giving for a name, the attitude gets pissy, like it's our fault.
Several Jurors tell the DS that some people are in the bathroom and she just snarls.

Next up, we are permitted a 15 minute break. Wahoo! Scramble!

After the break, its back to waiting, so I curled up with a book. 
What's that? Could it be that we are going to head to a courtroom?
11am and all of us file into a very small courtroom.

We are giving even more instructions or rather the same instructions repeated yet again ~ 
in triplicate!

So then begins the jury selection process.
12 people are called up to the jury booth.
Endless questions later
(your name, occupation, spouse, occupation, children, ETC ETC)
some are released because they would be prejudiced against one side or the other 
new people are called - another questions - rinse and repeat.
11:30am and the judge calls for a break.
Back at it in 10 minutes.
Wash, rinse, repeat times 3 ~ now there's only 1 chair to fill
technically its time for break, but the judge says hold on and perhaps I can let you go.
3 more rounds to find a juror, but now it's 1:30pm and the rest of us can leave.

Where have you always wanted to visit?

I'm a point at the map and travel kind of girl. I don't have any true desire to be on an airplane for an extended period of time, so I am content to travel the North American continent alone. My favorite type of vacation isn't really a particular place to travel too. It's a cruise. I simply adore cruising.

So I guess if I have to pick one "place" to visit, it would be all of the cruise ships.

Crock Pot Chicken

5-7 pound Whole chicken (depending on your need/desire for left overs)
1 Pound New Potatoes
3 Whole carrots 
3 stalks of celery
1 onion
spice mixture (I use low sodium garlic garni that I get at the RenFaire)

Dump veggies in a crock pot, add chicken, sprinkle spice mixture over entire chicken, make sure the breast side is down. Put the lid on and set the timer for 4-6 hours low or 8-10 hours high. I usually set it for the 10 hour mark, but that's cause of my sleep schedule. LOL. And that is IT!

Okay, so this "recipe" is so simple I shouldn't even call it a recipe lol.

Happy Mail

Well my Moonbeam wanted a bunch of goodies from Lady at Large so
I simply had to place an order and I am most impressed
with not only the quality of her work, but
the sheer guys & gumption she has to create art centered around plus size ladies.
You must check her out.