Our Midwest USA weather has been very confusing, or perhaps confused, this week. We’ve enjoyed temperatures that felt like Spring had arrived in February. Spring bulbs started blooming, the birds got really active and vocal, and I opened doors and windows on several days to let the fresh air in the house.
But today we’re back to winter with a 30 degree (F) temperature drop. Oh, well. It is still February, and we technically have another month before the first day of Spring, so I’m still smiling! Here’s what else I’m smiling about this week…
My biggest “conquest” of the week was finally getting a loaf of sourdough bread to turn out like bread rather than a doorstop. I’ve tried sourdough before and the bread was edible, but very heavy. This time I cheated and used a teaspoon of dry yeast along with a cup of white flour and a cup of water when I began my starter rather than simply trying to capture natural, airborne yeast. I fed my starter daily (almost, oops!) for week. Then I used this recipe for sourdough bread.
Because of the long time needed for the first rise, I mixed and kneaded the dough the night before I wanted to have bread for lunch, then applied my yogurt trick and put the dough in the turned off oven with the oven light turned on. The dough rose beautifully overnight in the light of the oven and again the next morning once I’d shaped the loaves and put them in well greased pans. The bread had a much lighter texture but didn’t have much of that sourdough tangy taste, which was pretty much perfect in my book.
While we’re talking about leaving stuff in the oven overnight, I’ll mention that I made yogurt again this week, using part of my last batch as a starter. This batch of yogurt had more whey to it, so I strained it through cheesecloth to get a thicker texture, saving the whey to boost the nutrition in future bread baking adventures. I left the last “straining” of this batch in the cheesecloth in the fridge for several hours to make it spreadable, almost like a spreadable yogurt cheese. Jay, our daughter, and I ate it on the sourdough bread and loved it. I’ll be trying this again!
One of the other things I did in the oven was make peanut blossoms. There’s not a lot of point to my telling you this except that I think the cookies are adorable. The recipe is here if you’d like to make some of your own cuteness.
Like many of you, I am a long-time shopper at Aldi, and like many of you, I keep a close eye out for clearance tags when I’m in the store. This week I found three packages of chicken drumsticks, roughly 5 pounds each, with 1/2 price stickers. That means I bought about 15 pounds of chicken at 50 cents (US) per pound! Two packages for the freezer and one to make fried chicken for supper sounded about right to me.
My savings continue in my 52 Week Savings Challenge jar. I was pleased to participate in the Baby Bottle Campaign for our local pregnancy resource center, but now that it’s over, I’ll confess it’s been fun to get back to throwing extra change in my jar. There’s just a child-like giddiness about listening to the clink of coins as they fall and watching the jar fill up. Since the “why” for this $ta$h of Ca$h is more about discipline and the money is just to keep score, my next project should probably be making a list of possible uses for the money at the end of the year.
But my biggest thing to smile about this week is that the person we hurried off to visit at the hospital a few weeks ago should be going home soon. A long road to recovery lies ahead, but we’re rejoicing with the family at this progress. Thank you so much for praying, and please continue to do so!
What are you smiling about this week?
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