3 hour French Bread

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So it’s been a rainy, muggy, yucky sort of day here in the great city of Indianapolis and that means baking for me! Well, besides hubby has a 13 hour shift tonight so I made dinner a little earlier than normal. Nothing says ” I love you and thank your for taking good care of our family” like a loaf of crusty, hot French bread. *sidenote: Did you see that the Powerball is up to a quarter of a billion?? That is just insane!  As we ate lunch dinner this afternoon, my hubby and kids discussed what we would do with that kind of money. I heard things like quit my job (scary, but I ‘m listening), put off college for a few years (of course that came from my 18 yr old who leaves for school this Saturday!) and last but not least, move to the beach in California (ok, now I’m REALLY listening) So what would you do with that kind of money? 

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Ok, back to the French Bread. I swear it took only 10 minutes to prepare and 2 hours to rise and bake. So here is the recipe. let me know how yours turns out!

3 3/4 c bread flour + 1/4 for dusting table

2 teaspoon active quick rising yeast

2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions:

Place flour in your mixing bowl. Spoon the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other side of the bowl (something about yeast touching salt makes it ineffective?? Anyway,pour in the warm water and with a paddle attachment (not the dough hook, you’ll use that in a minute) turn on the mixer to low speed and mix until the dough starts to come together and form a ball, but is still kind of doughy on the bottom of the bowl. Mix for 2 minutes and let the dough rest for 2 minutes. Switch out the paddle for the dough hook and mix on medium speed until the dough is in a ball. If the dough is too sticky add a little flour and mix until incorporated. If the dough is too dry, add teaspoon of water at a time. Let the dough rest for another 5 minutes. Turn the dough on a floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes. Form the dough to a round ball and place in a well greased large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set bowl in an area that is warm and free from drafts. Let rise for 1 1/2 hours and till it doubles in size.

Meanwhile, while the dough is rising, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a pizza stone or an inverted cookie sheet in the middle of the oven. After dough is completely doubled in size, place dough on a lightly floured baking surface and punch down to release some of the air. (at this point, the dough should spring back fairly quickly) and then form back into a ball. Cut dough in half and place one half back into the greased bowl.

Stretch dough to the size of a rectangle. Fold over the end of the dough so that both meet in the middle. Now karate chop down the length of the bread dough as to seal the two folds. Make sure to fold over the two ends as well. In essence, make sure that every nook and cranny is sealed because it’s the steam that builds up in the folds which in turn makes the crust nice and well…crusty!

Almost ready… Allow the dough to rise on the baking surface for another 30 minutes. NOW its time to bake!  Cut diagonal slashed across tops of the bread. Carefully place bread loaves on the hot baking stone. Before closing the oven door. Pour 1 cup of water on the bottom of your oven floor (trust me on this one) and quickly shut the oven door. The steam that builds up in the oven allows the bread to bake evenly and therefore yielding a crispier crust. Bake for approximately 20-24 minutes. Enjoy with a dab of sweet creamy butter or just au naturel.

 

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Summer Insalata

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I’M BACK!!!!! I know its been a while since I posted ( 7 months to be exact) but as we know life gets in the way sometimes and we have to re-prioritize. I have been very busy with my catering company and even opened a cafe at a surgical center here in Indy. I have decided to return to my first love which is homemaking and bringing my love for all things food and family back to it’s rightful place. Stay tuned because I will be cooking lots of fun and exiting recipes and of course sharing my awesome thrifting hauls. It’s good to be back!!!

The Ravenous Kitchen Catering Company Taking For Holiday Pies, Cakes and Rolls

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The Ravenous Kitchen Catering Company is now taking orders for pies, cakes and rolls to make your holiday buffet complete!

Pound Cakes:

Vanilla Bean, Cream Cheese, Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Chip and Sweet Potato

Homemade Country pies: featuring Mile High Apple pie encrusted in our signature flaky crust, Lemon Cheese Pie, Coconut Cream Pie,  and Chocolate Dream Pie

Sweet And Creamy Indiana State Pie: Sugar Cream Pie

Cobblers: Apple and Peach , best served with vanilla ice cream!

Parker House Rolls- Fresh and warm out of the oven

Inbox on facebook or call to place order at 317-443-4138

Orders will be ready for pick up week of November 25th.

Delivery Available for small surcharge

Thanksgiving Nostalgia

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Image Thanksgiving is probably my most favorite holiday. Why? Because of all of the fun memories attached to our family gatherings.

I have 10  siblings and most have a least 2 children or more, so just any old dining room would not accomodate such a large crowd. As a matter of fact, we used to have to rent an apartment clubhouse so that all of us, including close family friends could be together in the same room.

Ah, the memories! I can almost taste the wonderful food prepared by my mother and my daughter Chloe dancing on top of the tables for our entertainment. (another story for some other time perhaps?)

Although we still celebrate together, somehow it’s not the same (divorces, illnesses, moves, etc…) How I long for those times again!

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for those awesome memories in which will transend time and circumstances.

Harvest Hoopla

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P1090663  Looking out of my patio door this morning, I dreaded the fact that the last few vegetables and herbs in my potager were ready for harvest. The tomatoes I planted must have some kind of resistance to cold temps because as of today, with all of the cold overnight temperatures we have experienced, look what I harvested this afternoon!

I am so very proud of my first little garden and dream of having 5 acres of my own one day in the country. As a matter of fact, every Sunday my husband and I scour the real estate websites in hopes of finding our little place in the sun.chicken-dreams

No such luck just yet, but I know that it will be soon. I am not sure what our total yield was from our garden because I did not weigh my produce but it was plenty enough to keep a family of 5 fed and happy this summer.

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This gardening experience has taught us a lot about the process of being self-sufficient and the abundance of the variety of produce and herbs that God has so blessed us with.

I am already making plans to expand my potager next year with the addition of a few dwarf apple trees. If I had it my way, I would have a full working farm in my backyard, but I don’t think the neighborhood association would look too kindly on that!

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Here a just a few pictures of some of my harvest from today. The green ones will sit on my window ledge to further ripen.

The red tomatoes and herbs are just perfect for my delicious spaghetti sauce that I am making for dinner tonight.

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Sunday Reflections- October 20, 2013

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Is seems like a lifetime ago since I last posted a blog. Life has a way of sometimes swallowing you up leaving little time to take small breaths in between. Yes, I am still cooking up a storm, crafting(as time permits) and of course thrifting.

However, as of late, most of my time has been devoted to completing scholarship and college applications with my eldest daughter, homeschooling our youngest daughter, and cheering on my middle school daughter’s as she plays volleyball. Lets not forget to add in helping to take care of aging parents!

Combine all of this together with being small-business owners, and you have the perfect brew for an extra large cup of PRESSURE.

Please don’t take this as a whining session, because I know for a fact that I am so unbelievable blessed and am truly thankful for all of the responsibilities that the Lord has allowed me to take on.

Today at church, our pastor talked a lot about the pressures of life and how to handle them based off of the Apostle Paul’s instructions in Phillipians 1:4-7. I realize that I am a person who typically likes to handle things themselves which is in direct opposition of the Paul’s direction to “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say:Rejoice! and to not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with THANKSGIVING, present your request to God. And the God of PEACE which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts in mind in Christ Jesus.

I have said before, but it bears repeating. I am so glad that the God of Peace is with me during the seasons and times of unusual pressure in my life. God, please help me to remember this while in the midst of it… Amen.

P.S. Stay tuned because I have some fun videos that I am uploading on The Ravenous Kitchen YouTube channel as well as some exciting holiday tips and recipes.

Baby Shower Bonanza

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Whew! What a weekend. I had the absolute pleasure of catering my sister-in-law youngest sisters baby shower. The weather was perfect and the venue was beautiful except for the falling acorns from my enormous oak trees in my backyard. Luckily there were no concussions suffered and all had a fantastic time. When planning for the shower we mulled over different venues and themes, but the autumn theme kept coming back. Why not? I had the perfect setting (my backyard) and since baby Noah is due in late November, it seemed to just fall in place.

We kept the food simple yet very tasteful. But more than that, I thought the decor and the setting brought everything together. I enlisted the help of my sister Jaime (decorator extraordinaire) and my 3 hard-working live in assistants and we set off to make this a shower to remember.

I could not have a more perfect job. I love catering and making the events that I am involved with all the more special by adding in little surprises sprinkled throughout.

A special thank you to Tori and Denise for allowing me to be a part of a very special day!

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Sunday Reflections: Wise Words for Domesticity

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baby pic  I have been reading a book title “American Woman’s Home” by sisters Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher-Stowe(Uncle Tom’s Cabin) dating back from the late 1800’s regarding the roles of women in the home.  I love the book credits which says “This book is dedicated to ALL the women of America in whose hands rest the real destinies of the Republic”. Wow! what an honor it is to be a mother in which rest in my hands (through Gods grace), the destiny of this country. What a powerful statement! It’s funny that a book written so long ago would still have relevance in our very liberal world we live in today. These two humble and wise sisters knew what it would take to run a successful household and to raise children who would have a love and reverence for God.

What this book is essentially saying is that women really hold the power in this county. Although we have always had men in the Presidential office, it was in fact a woman who got him there. This is not a feminist propaganda book, actually far from it.  We are the ones who nurture, fortify and train our children up on a daily basis. I am not , I repeat, NOT bashing men and their roles in raising our children, but if truth be told, who does little Johnny run to when he has a boo-boo?  For the most part, it is the woman who has the majority of influence on her children because in many cases dad is at work all day trying to provide for his family. This statement should be especially empowering for all of the brave single moms who have all the responsibility on their shoulders. Even though this book was written over a century ago, the Beecher sisters were very much in tune in what a woman experiences on a day to day basis while trying to raise a family.

So, what exactly am I trying to say?  Well, first of all read this book if you have the chance. (I downloaded it for free on Kindle) and of course, the Bible which is our first source for guidance and wisdom on raising our children. Lastly, my wish is that women would stick together and help each other rather than compete against each other or try to “one -up” each other. Remember, we have the power and influence to raise up the next Rosa Parks or Billy Graham to do great and mighty things.

“Train up a child in the way they should go; even when they are old they will not depart from it”. Proverbs 22:6

English Breakfast Banana Walnut Bread

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?????????????????????? A cool, crisp morning accompanied by slice of just baked English breakfast bread and you have the makings of the perfect Autumn day. My mother gave me a cookbook by a British pastry chef sometime ago and although I love the Brits, I just sat it on my shelf and forgot about it.  Today, as I was reorganizing my armoire where I keep my cookbooks, the cover of this book just happen to catch my eye. “Hmm…I never even cracked open this book” thought. After perusing through it, I now know why. All of the recipes measurements were in the metric system. Kilo’s, grams, ounces oh my!

The recipe for the banana walnut bread was so enticing, I thought I would give it a go. Side note: Actually, the Brits would probably never eat this at breakfast, but would have it with their afternoon tea. After a quick tutoring session on the many virtues of the metric system by my German husband, I was ready to start baking. Although I was a little worried about the results since I had to convert the measurements to the “American” system, the bread came out moist and had a tender buttery crumb. The addition of the wheat germ in the banana bread gave it some body but did not take away from the taste. The recipe did not call for it, but I added a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to the finished batter.

Try of this recipe or any of your favorite breakfast breads this weekend along with a spot of tea!

P.S. Hope you enjoy your weekend. I am off to the last Robin’s Eye barn sale of the season. I hope to score some great pieces that I will share with you later!

English Breakfast Banana Walnut Bread

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 c sugar

2 eggs (beaten)

1 cup flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking Powder

4 tablespoons wheat germ

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup walnuts (finely chopped)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

3 ripe bananas (mashed)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions oven to 350 degrees

 

Butter and flour a 9″ loaf pan?????????

 

 

 

 

 

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, if using, into a bowl. Stir in the wheat germ.

In a separate bowl, combine the butter and the sugar. Beat mixture until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the mashed bananas and eggs and mix well.?????????????????????????

Add the dry ingredients and blend quickly and evenly blend all dry ingredients.

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Spoon into a prepared loaf tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean.

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Sunday Reflections- Fire and Desire

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Today at church, our Pastor asked the congregation the very provocative question “Has Your Fire Burnt Out”. Not in the romantic sense, but have we allowed church to just become church? Are we just going through the motions of being a Christian but not having a fervor and desire to seek God in all of his fullness and glory? As I sat there and pondered his question, sadly I had to admit that I have become one of those. Though not on purpose I suppose, and based on the number of people who responded to his altar call, I’m not the only one. In Leviticus 6:8-13, God was giving instructions to Moses regarding the procedures for Aaron to follow regarding the sacrifice. His instructions to the priest was to never let the fires of altar go out. God is represented as fire all throughout the bible. This same command was repeated at least 3 times in this same chapter. Do you think God was trying to tell us something?? Unless we keep the fires of altar burning in our hearts we will never see the true power of God come to down from heaven to touch our churches. We will never see healing in our land and generations changed forever because GOD IS IN THE FIRE!