Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

We had decided the sprinkling of snow we had here was enough for to give us a white Christmas.  Sure you could still see the grass a bit.  But we were happy with that.  And that we had.  Til the day after Christmas....Mother Nature must of been running a bit late.  We were lucky though as ten miles from us they were dumped on...over 20+ inches they received.  We only got around 10 inches.  Which is plenty in my book.  Out helping to shovel the driveway so Bill could get to work with me with a bad head cold was no fun. ;)

Wreath on garage.

For our Christmas dinner Bill made a request for my Braided Poppy Seed Bread.  I thought I'd share the recipe with you.  It is a delicious bread.   We had quite a bit left of it as I doubled the recipe.  Yesterday I cut the leftover bread up into cubes, seasoned them up with spices and a bit of olive oil, baked at a low temp (250°) until crusty.  I'll have yummy croutons that will last me quite a while. :) 

Braided Poppy Seed Bread

2 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp nonfat dry milk (I never have this stuff on hand...I always use my Cremora!)
1 1/2 tbsp superfine sugar (I never have this on hand either...regular sugar has never failed me)
1 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
5 tbsp poppy seeds

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp superfine sugar
2 tbsp poppy seeds

1.  Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and stir in the milk, sugar, and yeast.  Make a well in the center and pour in the lukewarm water and oil.  Stir well with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together.  Add the poppy seeds and knead with your hands until they are fully incorporated and the dough leaves the side of the bowl.  Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead well for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

2.  Brush a bowl with oil.  Shape the dough into a ball, put it into the bowl and put the bowl into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel.  Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

3.  Brush a cookie sheet with oil.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, punch down with your fist, and knead for 1-2 minutes.  Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and shape each into a rope 10-12 inches long.  Place the ropes side by side and press them together at one end.  Braid the dough, pinch the other end together, and tuck it underneath.  Put the load on the prepared cookie sheet.  Put the cookie sheet in a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

4.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  To make the topping, beat the egg yolk with the milk and sugar.  Brush the egg glaze over the top of the loaf and sprinkle with the poppy seeds.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckles.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

A new Christmas treasure...

Bill found this piano book at an estate sale we went to a couple weekends ago.   It's perfect sitting on the piano this Christmas.    I just love it.

I am still plugging away at getting my holiday decorations up.  I worked on the fireplace for a while yesterday.  This is below the top of the mantel.    The top isn't done yet as I need Bill to bring up some boxes from the basement this weekend that have what I'm putting on top.  But so far she's looking pretty festive. :)

I am thoroughly enjoying looking through everyone's blogs out here.  Collecting ideas from every one I've read.  ;) 

҉  ~ Happy Holidays!! ~  ҉  ~

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trying to get in the Spirit.....

This holiday season is slow to come this year in our home.  Usually by now our home is fully Christmastized.  This year not so much.  With Mom passing in May and Bill's Mom just one month ago I'm finding it harder to get myself in the mood.  Oh we went out shopping for outside decorations and dropped a load of $ and put them up and they look nice.   I figured it would be hard this Christmas.    Bill is not one for showing much emotion when it comes to death..he is a you deal with it and go on kinda guy.  I try to be...but sometimes.....when a certain song comes on the radio or you see something or taste something of the season...well it's hard.  Being away from all my family during the holidays has always been hard.  I moved to NY 8 years ago and haven't made it home yet for one holiday.  Well thanks for listening to me ramble.  

Here's a couple photos so far of our holiday.  I haven't really even started my inside decorations.

Our front door wreath.

A little lighted tree from Lowe's.  We also have two flanking our front door.  It is in a weighted pot.  The only thing I added was the bow on the top.  This photo turned out a bit dark.  Sorry about that.  I'd show more of my photos from outside...but well they look just plain horrible..haha.  Not sure why  but maybe I'll get some better ones later.

This is the centerpiece I picked up at Lowe's for our dining room table.  Sitting on one of my many vintage tablecloths that I just won on Ebay. 

I had the day off work unexpectedly yesterday as both of the children I sit for were home with the flu.  So I started some holiday baking.  Bill has quite the list still he'd like to see me make. ;)

I hope all your holiday decorating and baking are coming along!  I love reading everyone's blogs out here and viewing all your gorgeous photos! :)
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