Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wreath bread

I ran across this super-easy and beautiful recipe on the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day website, and, using my adaptation of their basic bread dough, made a few of these loaves as gifts.

For this first one I added thyme, onion powder, and grated parmesan.

Corin found it easy enough to tear off pieces for eating.

This one was the plain dough (which rose better), with colored red and green sesame seeds on top.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Goodbye, Luna

After eight great years with us, entertaining us with her dazzling hunting prowess as a young energetic thing and stealing our laps as an older and cuddly thing, today Luna succumbed to her kidney disease and left us a little sadder but much richer in love.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rainy Halloween

Thursday, October 21, 2010

26 books, 27 weeks

Back in April I challenged myself to read 25 books by my birthday, which was 28 weeks away. I ended up exceeding that goal, completing 26 books a week early.

Was it a success? Mostly. I read a lot of things I'd had on my list for years that I'd get around to "someday," and to actually get to them felt like bonus weeks of life. On the other hand, I didn't really fall in love with any author that I wasn't already a big fan of (Danny Wallace, Anne Lamott, Frederick Buechner); I'd sort of been hoping to find another rich vein of books to lose myself in. Another failure: I put off reading several books that were particularly long or complex in an effort to keep pace, so I'll remove that pressure from my reading list for the next six months and not worry about quantity. However, all in all I was happy to have done it rather than not. It felt good to be intentional.

Here's the final tally:

  • "Pride and Prejudice," Jane Austen

  • "Survivor," Chuck Palahniuk

  • "The Year of Magical Thinking," Joan Didion

  • "Prayer and Temperament," Chester P. Michael & Marie C. Norrisey

  • "Patience with God," Frank Schaeffer

  • "You Shall Know our Velocity," Dave Eggers

  • "Breakfast of Champions," Kurt Vonnegut

  • "Time Out of Joint," Philip K. Dick

  • "Suck it, Wonder Woman," Olivia Munn

  • "From Eternity to Here," Frank Viola

  • "The Yellow Leaves," Frederick Buechner

  • "A Princess of Mars," Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • "The Fallacy of Creative Thinking," Alan Abel (as Dr. Bruce Spencer)

  • "Round Ireland with a Fridge," Tony Hawks

  • "The Gun Seller," Hugh Laurie

  • "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," Agatha Christie

  • "Slaughterhouse Five," Kurt Vonnegut

  • "Ubik," Philip K. Dick

  • "The Guinea Pig Diaries," A.J. Jacobs

  • "The Untold Story of the New Testament Church," Frank Viola

  • "Imperfect Birds," Anne Lamott

  • "S*** My Dad Says," Justin Halpern

  • "Join Me," Danny Wallace

  • "Friends Like These," Danny Wallace

  • "Revolution," George Barna
  • Monday, October 11, 2010

    English lessons

    Corin was asking for a second slice of bread & butter, and our friend Lindsey was in the kitchen helping him get it. After getting the bread for him, she asked, "Do you want to put the butter on yourself?"

    To which he answered, "No, I want the butter on the bread."

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Autumn, pt. 2

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    1000 words

    I promise this will be the only time on my blog I show you a picture of something that's been peed on.

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010


    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Unclear on the concept

    Corin received a thank-you note in the mail today for a friend's birthday party gift. The four-year-old had drawn a picture in purple marker of two curly-haired stick figures, which we assumed to be the birthday girl and Corin, both who have curly hair. But when we suggested this to Corin, he burst out in tears, seriously upset.

    Once we got him calmed down enough to speak, he finally told us what was wrong:

    "I'm not purple! I'm not purple!"

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Cut short

    There's a story you tell yourself,
    a narrative of your life
    that is braided together out of single, tenuous strands.

    As you grow, learn, and age,
    the thread gets stronger, reinforced —

    to the point where you see not only where you've been
    but also where you're going, the story's end.

    Except — you'll never get there.

    The rope will snap, the story unravel,
    the fiction shown up as fraud. Left with nothing
    but a handful of lies —

    grasping, gripping, hoping, flailing, drowning in freefall.

    Friday, August 20, 2010


    The other day we were waiting at a light for a long while, and I absentmindedly said to myself "Man, that light took forrrr-ev-ah!"

    Corin piped in from the backseat: "Don't say it like that, Apa?"

    I wasn't quite sure what he was talking about, so I asked him what I should say.

    "Ev-er," he enunciated, crossly.

    He's not going to like Boston.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Bacon-Corn Zucchini platter

    I don't have any photos of this, because it was literally an attempt to clear out leftovers from the fridge, and it wasn't until afterward that I appreciated how good it was. Perhaps I'll need to make it again just for some photos.

    3 zucchini (or 2 enormous ones fresh from the garden, as in our case)
    1/2 sweet onion
    2 ears sweet corn
    10 or so basil leaves
    3 strips bacon
    grated parmesan cheese
    coarse salt and fresh pepper to taste

    1. Cut bacon strips into small pieces, and in large pan cook over medium-high heat until crisp. Set aside bacon to cool but save some of the grease in the pan.

    2. Chop zucchini and onion in fairly large chunks and saute in the grease, with salt and pepper.

    3. Cut corn off the cobs and set aside cold kernels. Finely chop basil and set aside.

    4. When zucchini and onion are done (just slightly soft), pour onto two large plates. Dust with as much parmesan cheese as you like. Top with a layer of basil, then corn, then bacon. Add another sprinkle of salt on top, and serve with bottom layer hot and top layer cold.

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball

    Full post on our latest ballpark outing here.

    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    Pirate Corin

    "Hey, me parties!" (That's his version of "Ahoy, me hearties!")

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010


    We started discussing Colossians in our last night, continuing our approach of reading a whole epistle in a sitting. I now can't imagine approaching Scripture in any other way, as it's really easy to misinterpret verses outside of the whole.

    Colossians is, essentially, a manual on how to exist as a church body. It's addressed to the plural "you" (or y'all, as Amanda pointed out) not to the singular "you" that we often focus on as individualists in an individualist society. There's a whole passage about getting rid of anger, rage, maliciousness, greed, slander, etc. (3:5-9) that's just ripe for reading as a personal self-discipline list. But it comes right after a passage (2:16-23) about not getting sucked into rule-oriented behavior that puffs up by requiring devotion and rigid discipline. Paul's point is not personal piety. Rather, it is providing a simple statement about how social groups work: you (y'all) must set aside all that foments disruption by drawing attention to onself, and instead replace it with mutual submission to one another (3:10-25). That's the core of the book. It's not pushing a personal code of conduct, but is describing what does and doesn't work in successful corporate life together.

    "Make allowance for each other's faults," Paul says in 3:13. Why don't we see that on a bumper sticker? Does anyone even know that's in the Bible, let alone the central tenet of Colossians? "Let peace rule." "Teach and counsel each other." "Clothe yourselves in humility." "Let your conversation be gracious." "Always be thankful."

    You don't do this stuff to earn brownie points or gold stars or gain status, you do it because it's practical in achieving a loving community. If it seems like Paul is full of too many rules and regulations it's because he likes to say the same thing a hundred different ways until it sinks in. There is simply one main point here: since you love Christ, contribute to the healthy life of the church body, which is his family. Make allowance for each other's faults — Paul's just telling it like it is.

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    Mamma Mia

    We attended our first West Seattle outdoor movie last night, which was great fun. I haven't been to a movie outdoors since, I believe, Indiana, where we enjoyed the last two years of the only drive-in theater I've ever been to, before it shut down. (Actually, enjoy is a strong word, considering the car roasted unless you had the windows down, but then you got feasted on by mosquitoes.)

    The first thing I want to make clear — this is for any random internet searcher who happens to be looking for a start time for these things, which they do not advertise well — is that we got there at 6:45 or so (after finding a blog post from two years ago that mentioned a start time of 7 p.m.) and the lot was already quite full. We had to wedge our two chairs into a little spot where two other rows kind of diverged. We probably could have fit in around the edges more easily, but then you're more in the way of foot traffic, and boy was there foot traffic. See, the movie didn't actually start until 9:30. I know! Crazy! And we'd brought a 3-year-old. (To be fair, they say the movie starts at dusk, but I somehow imagined they meant "just dusk" not "full dusk.")

    Amanda walked Corin around the Junction for a while to kill time while I guarded the seats, but by 8 most of the stores were closed. There was free popcorn and ice cream and cotton candy (which I believe is not usual, but they were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the building on which we were projecting the film, so they pulled out the stops), as well as handing out free toothbrushes and oral care kits, which fortunately kept Corin entertained for a while. There was some dancing, sponsor plugs, a raffle, a short film. (A really odd choice for a short film — Trip to the Dentist, with W.C. Fields — considering that it makes dentists out to be sadistic self-absorbed pain-inflicters, when the event was partly sponsored by two dentists in the building. Corin was a little freaked out by the short, especially all the fake screaming from the dentist chair, when we're actually trying to get him used to the idea of the dentist as being not scary before he goes in next month. Also, the short was incredibly racist, sexist, and classist — maybe a product of its time, but I'm not quite sure that it warranted public viewing without a disclaimer or some sort.)

    Fortunately Corin was being cute and energetic rather than, say, whiny and rambunctious, and lasted not only the whole preamble but the whole movie as well. I was sure we'd have to leave by midpoint (and we probably should have, considering how we threw his bedtime off), but the boy loves "Mamma Mia." He watched it with us on DVD maybe nine months or a year ago and loved it then, and we occasionally launch into a hodge-podge rendition of singing its songs even now. He loves the music video on Youtube of Amanda Seyfried and clips from the movie.

    And I'm with him. Before seeing "Mamma Mia" the first time I was an ABBA virgin, and I had enjoyed the songs and therefore the movie quite a bit. But I wasn't prepared for how highly unshakable their songs are. How they worm their way into your brain. How they feel insidiously familiar, as if the universe was born with these tunes hard-wired into its circuitry. Of any band, they're the one I'm most concerned sold themselves to the devil to make universally addictive tunes. This second time around I was surprised at how re-hearing so many of the songs were like visiting old friends. And how exquisitely romantic the filming was, now that my processor-brain was freed up for focus on it. It was all deeply disturbing and delicious.

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Actual conversation

    "Let's put the bacon back in the freezer; we don't want it to go bad."

    "What's 'go bad'?"

    "It means we don't want it to get rotten."

    "What's rotten?"

    "Rotten is like when food ... goes ... bad."

    "What's 'go bad,' Apa?"

    "It's like when food sits out, and so it gets all moldy and gross."

    "I wanna see gross, Apa! What's gross?"

    At this point I actually started thinking through things in the fridge that probably had mold on them, before realizing that it probably wasn't a good idea to get him interested at all in exploring disgusting food.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Nice to meet you, octopus

    Monday, July 5, 2010


    Corin was gifted a little plastic Toy Story horse several months back from the UPS pick-up window after he waited very patiently for our packages to be located. I couldn't quite remember what the character's name was, except that it wasn't Pokey, because that was Gumby's horse. Unfortunately, I murmured that to myself out loud.

    Several months later, after we saw Toy Story 3, I found the horse again and brought it out to Corin. "Look, it's Bullseye!" I told him.

    For going on two weeks now the horse's name is "Poke-eye." As in, with a sharp stick.

    Saturday, July 3, 2010


    I know tennis elbow is a thing, but how about toddler-swinging wrist?

    Corin's had a turn on a swing for 45 minutes straight for three days in a row now, and I'm beginning to feel it.

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    Forever will it dominate your destiny

    The Wallingford playground has three slides: a twisty slide, a tunnel slide, and a side-by-side hump-slide. Corin's favorite is the tunnel slide. But he can't pronounce the "l" very well.

    So after a couple times down the cavernous tunnel slide, he exclaims, "More the dark side! I want to go down the dark side!"

    Sharon and I burst out laughing, so he must have thought he wasn't being clear. "I want the dark one. The dark one is my favorite!"

    Well on his way to being a Sith Lord.

    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    Working backward

    One thing in particular has stuck in my mind from the conversation I had the other day — this friend talked about approaching Scripture without his mind settled on what it all meant. In particular, he liked approaching the person of Jesus without superimposing the idea of "Son of God" on him beforehand; rather, he preferred to approach Jesus with the same sense of confusion that the people of the day had about him and then to tease out and work through the text to discover that he must be the Son of God. Rather than being handed the answers and conclusion in advance, he found it more beneficial in making it his own belief if he put the pieces together himself and was surprised by this Jesus anew. "Don't tell me Jesus is the Son of God and then present the Gospels to prove it," was something to the effect of what he said. Tell me about Jesus himself, and let me be drawn in by the question."

    Friday, June 25, 2010


    After Corin was in the bath for nearly an hour last night, I tried to convince him it was time to get out by showing him that our fingers were all wrinkly.

    "What's frinkly, Apa?" he asked.

    I showed him my fingertips and told him that when you've been in the water a long time they get all rough and bunched up.

    "Apa frinkly; Corin not frinkly," he decided.

    I showed him his hands and how they were wrinkled, too, so we should let the water drain.

    But he had another course of action. "I wash off the frinkly for you," and turned the faucet back on to clean his hands of frinkles.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    I love this city

    I sat down at the library today to type up some notes on "Prayer and Temperament" and got into a two-hour conversation with a stranger about psychology, Jesus, home church, education, Paul, James, canonization, third-century food, American cities, love and marriage, divinity, loving one another, and the call of God on us. (Sorry, other library patrons.) It wasn't remotely weird or stilted, but rather substantive, challenging, refreshing. It's amazing, walking and weaving among people all day, to stop and to uncover the fullness and variety of a life of the person just one seat over.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010


    I hate to pat my own back, but one of the songs I wrote has been going through my mind lately and it has become such a prayer for me that I couldn't help but share how much I liked it. It goes:

    It is not our goal to remain unstained
    like a chalice buffed and shined;
    He has filled our cup with abundant love,
    let us spill it down our sides

    The gist of the idea is this: Too often I feel that we as Christians are pressured to live a kind of "pure" life with no sin, no mistakes, no tarnish. But the easiest way for us to do that is to remove ourselves from people who we don't like.

    It's relatively easy to be kind, loving, thoughtful, generous, and peaceful among those who think and look and act like we do; as Jesus said, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them." Yet somehow we still imagine that what God wants from us is to be pure and untainted, removed from all temptation of anger and haughtiness and despising and overreaction.

    What he asks of us, rather, is to love. And love is messy. We're going to bear the scars of it. We're going to make mistakes in relationship. We're going to hurt people's feelings and hurt our own in inviting people of all sorts to the banquet table with us. We won't come out the other side pristine. We'll be well worn, chipped, cracked, stained, with the marks of Christ.

    I'm not stating this out of a place of success or achievement in this area; I am just terrible with lowering my defenses and spending energy on those who don't mutually reciprocate. I say it to myself as a hope and dream as much as a truth of faith.

    Love requires that we jump into the thick of people's lives, even and especially those we don't like or love or understand or appreciate, and to treat them as Christ treats them, as God's beloved creations. That's what its all about. That's what Jesus did, that's what he's calling us toward, that's what he's giving us the power to do.

    Our lives are like the talents of the parable: At the end of the story we shouldn't be pristinely perfect like the tucked away stash; we should be spent.

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Hear him roar

    I've noticed over the past couple weeks that Corin is now responding to strangers who ask him questions. For most of his three years, a question from a post-office clerk or the supermarket-checkout lady earned either a blank stare or a burrowing of the face into Apa's shoulder. But now he routinely answers how old he is, if he wants a sticker, what's on his shirt, etc. I have no idea if this will hold or not, or if he'll end up as stranger-shy as I am, but I'm encouraged nonetheless by his about-face in bravery.

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    "Hover over me"

    music & lyrics by Steve Lansingh, performed by Amanda Caldwell

    (if the embedded version won't play, you can download the song here)

    the surf laps my feet
    and the sunset it steals all the light
    I stand as a speck
    before infinite waves with my plight

    'cause once long ago
    in the black of the night
    your spirit roamed 'tween sky and sea
    I'm needing to find you
    to feel a reminder
    of your pow'r and your majesty

    so hover over me
    let me feel the touch of God who made me
    come brood over my soul
    as it churns like the sea
    hover over me
    come brood over my soul
    as it churns like the sea
    hover over me

    you made ev'ry creature
    that swims beneath glassy black waves
    and in the dark sky
    the gulls soar on the wings that you gave

    it pleased you to make
    ev'ry being that wakes
    that scampers and swims and takes flight
    where your spirit moved
    it brought forth new life
    so grant me that presence tonight

    hover over me
    let me feel the love of God who made me
    come brood over my soul
    as it churns like the sea
    hover over me
    come brood over my soul
    as it churns like the sea
    hover over me

    your voice called out
    into the dark
    and spoke a word of light
    the void peeled back
    the sun was born
    and swaddled us in white

    hover over me
    let me feel the breath of God who made me
    speak a word to my soul
    as it churns like the sea
    hover over me
    you who spoke into dark
    and called forth the first light
    hover over me

    come brood over my soul
    as it churns like the sea
    hover over me

    Monday, June 7, 2010


    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    12 years married

    Days of joy, of pain,
    exhaustion, elation,
    creativity, lethargy —
    seeing blackness and bearing witness —
    I collapse into you.

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    Happy 3rd Birthday, Corin!

    May your year be sparklingly 'thumbs up'!

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    The Half-Blood Prince

    Like most everyone else in the world, I've read and enjoyed the Harry Potter books. Amanda and I debated whether or not to see the movies, since the world was so firmly in our heads just from the books, but eventually we decided to see what modern moviemaking techniques could offer in depicting such a whimsical and mysterious universe.

    I had no intention of seeing any of the films more than once, especially after the first few, to which I felt more or less "well, there's the book." There was nothing unique added or a new perspective offered; if anything the movies were much the poorer for trying to cram every plot point into a feature-length running time. Stripped from the stories were the parts that I found most fascinating and endearing: the day-to-day life in a school of magic, where, despite the fantastical, the kids all struggled to make friends, to keep up with classes, to navigate around school bullies, to be resourceful and creative in the face of their challenges. The adventure and intrigue is good and all, but the real fun for me was the sense of living abroad in a new and unexpected culture.

    Then came the movie version of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" — the first film in the series to be appreciated, I think, as its own entity. It's helped by the fact that the book is something of a breather between climaxes (something that frustrated me to no end when the book was finally released, when I'd been waiting so long to find out what happens next!), but the lack of big plot points to cover makes this the first film in the series to come alive on a day-to-day level: against a background of looming war, when their minds must certainly be on conflicts beyond school, the students are still human. They fall in love, get jealous, put friendships to the test, converse with mentors, do their schoolwork, and confront their new and maturing selves. The fact that the amazement of the earlier movies has worn off a bit, as things like password doors and giant spiders and Quidditch have become commonplace, works to the film's advantage and lets it explore solely the emotional landscape. I've watched the movie twice now, finding it rich both times, and alone among the Harry Potter films it's the one I plan to watch again.

    I'm curious to see what "Half-Blood" director David Yates does with "The Deathly Hallows" films, and whether he'll continue the emphasis on quiet moments and character tension. It would be really interesting if books more or less followed the trajectory of the small and personal story of a young boy's coping with loss to a sprawling worldwide battle for supremacy, and the movies followed a trajectory from the fantastical and showy to the small, quiet, and emotional.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Bread recipe

    Now that I tantalized you all with bread goodness but made you do your homework to get the recipe, I decided to just share my own even-easier variation.

    What gets easier than 5-minutes-a-day bread? Well, that timeframe depends on you making up a batch of four to eight loaves at a time, storing it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and taking out what you need when you need it. But that takes up a lot of storage space. And there's this ticking clock for using up your bread. I've made seven loaves this week and that's just an insane amount. I normally don't need more than a loaf every week or two.

    So, I scaled down the recipe to make either one large or two small loaves, and skipped the whole storage/refrigeration part of the deal:

    • 1 cup room-temperature water
 (neither hot nor cold to the touch)
    • 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast
    • 1/2 tbsp coarse kosher salt
    • 2 cups unbleached white flour, pushed slightly against side of bag when measuring (10.8 oz)
    • optional: dried herbs, finely diced garlic, shredded cheese, diced mushrooms, etc.
    The flour is the tricky part, because a cup of flour is supposed to be 5 oz, but depending on how you measure it, the cup will be anywhere from 4 oz (sifted) to 6.5 oz (packed). If you scoop out of the bag, pushing against the side a little but not cramming it, you get a slightly heavier cup of flour at 5.5 oz, which happens to be perfect for making the measurements come out simple in my reduced recipe. (Otherwise you have to do 2 1/6 cups.)

    You'll need:
    • 5-quart mixing bowl
    • spoon
    • parchment paper
    • pizza stone
    • pizza peel
    • pan for water
    • cooling rack
    1. Measuring and stir all the ingredients, in the order given, with a spoon in the mixing bowl until just combined. (If you want to add a few teaspoons of flavorings like dried herbs, diced garlic, etc., do it at this stage as well.)
    2. Loosely cover and let rise for two hours. (Dough will be very sticky, so don't cover with a towel or anything that will droop in and touch the dough. I use a large cutting board.)
    3. If desired, add any chunky ingredients like mushrooms (3 large, diced) and/or cheese (large handful) and stir again, deflating the dough.
    4. Place on parchment paper and mold into whatever shape you like. You might be limited by the fact that the bread is very sticky (your hands will get a coating on them as you work) and somewhat limp. But you can do rounds and tubes pretty easily.
    5. Add a moderate amount of shredded cheese on top if you like, enough to cover it.
    6. Let loaf sit for 30-35 minutes, preheating the oven to 450˚ while you're waiting, having placed a pizza stone on the upper rack and a pan to hold water on the bottom rack.
    7. Pour one cup of water into the pan (it will start steaming immediately) and then slide dough onto pizza stone. Bake for 30-32 minutes until browned and hard on the outside.
    8. Let cool on cooling rack until it can be handled (15-20 minutes) and serve warm, OR, let cool completely and bring it to a party later on!
    Total time: 3 hours and 15 minutes; actual time in the kitchen probably 10 minutes or so.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Taking charge

    There are times as a parent when you grow oblivious to your own command-giving. You direct or instigate direction (which juice would you like?) dozens of times an hour. So it's kind of refreshing to have the tables turned once in a while and live in your child's shoes. Corin's recent favorite activity is to sing, and he's the band leader, directing us peons to come in on cue.

    "I'm Bot! I can show you anything — on my belly belly belly screen," he sings (from Team Umizoomi... there's a robot with a belly screen that, well, shows anything).

    "You say 'skyscraper,' I say 'taxi, Mama say 'traffic light.'" he'll tell us. If we come in late, he repeats the instructions as if we hadn't heard him.

    "Traffic light!"

    He also like to make up his own music. He combines "Mamma Mia" and "Old MacDonald" to make quite the mash-up: "I say 'Mamma mia,' Mama say "had a farm," and you say 'my, my.' (How can you resist that?)

    Or he'll just make up words for whatever he doesn't understand. In another TV show song, the chorus encourages us "don't play rough," which he renders as "don't play drump!" (Or, perhaps, he understands it perfectly well and is just reserving the right to play rough if he wants to.)

    Addendum: I was thinking that "drump" should be a word if it wasn't already, and looked it up on google. It turns out that it's "A word that has absolutely no meaning. When used correctly, is a good silence breaker." See also: drrrump.

    Monday, May 31, 2010

    Carb city

    I've now baked and eaten five loaves of bread in three days. Well, I've actually shared the loaves each time, but still — I'm on a kick.

    Last week, my friend Marilee baked an amazing loaf of bread for us and I inquired into the recipe. (I used to bake bread fairly often, but somehow my loaves kept getting overworked or heavy, and the effort was no longer worth the return for me.) It turns out that not only does this recipe produce a tantalizing crunchy/soft artisan bread, but it's amazingly easy.

    The basic recipe is available online here, and is further explored in the cookbook "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking" (which, judging from its current Amazon sales rank as #120, means that I'm probably well behind the curve on getting the news out on this bread).

    After trying the basic recipe plain twice, I threw a bunch of diced mushrooms and cheddar cheese into the third one, with more cheddar cheese on top, and it was absolutely amazing. The bread still rose nicely unlike loaves I used to do with bonus ingredients. I'm attempting a garlic and thyme one tonight.

    Go ahead and try it — it's really simple and extremely impressive.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010


    I currently have three deep cuts on my fingertips, one from chicken wire while building raised gardening beds, one from attempting to slice mushrooms while cradling a cell phone with my shoulder, and one bad paper cut from wrapping DVDs in mailing envelopes.

    I thought you're supposed to be able to read people's lives in their palms, not fingertips.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Chocolate bread

    This morning Corin asked for "chocolate bread" and I couldn't figure out what he meant. Did he mean the banana bread I'd given him a few days ago that had chocolate nibs in it? No, he insisted.

    Did he mean chocolate cupcakes, which we had with Grandma? No, again. (Although I'm surprised he didn't take that suggestion and run with it, since I brought it up.)

    Eventually, he pulled out a loaf of naan that I'd brought out for breakfast (naan and hummus being his favorite meal these days) and I thought that I'd just been mis-hearing the word chocolate, or he'd been using the wrong term. Clearly he wanted his soft bread.

    Then he brought the naan to the jar of Nutella I'd left out from the night before and said "chocolate bread!" again.

    His first recipe!

    (Followed closely by his second recipe, which involved balancing dried cranberries on top of the bread and eating "raisin bread"!)

    Friday, May 21, 2010


    Corin's new word to describe anything he doesn't like is to call it "dirty."

    I think it comes from food, where if food falls on the floor or what not we'll say it's dirty and take it away.

    Nevertheless, the connotation plays out differently with other objects. If he doesn't want to get dressed then he says clothes are dirty, which makes it sound like we never do laundry. If he doesn't want to go to school it's dirty, which makes it sound like we send him to a pigpen. If he doesn't want to read a particular book it's dirty, which makes it sound like we bought him some sort of smut book. Pretty much we're afraid of letting him speak to anyone until he's past this stage, because there's no way he can't be offensive.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Grandma & Corin