Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse

I thought I should give an explanation for anyone who does find this blog as to why I chose the term purplepreps.

The catch all term for stockpiling supplies and food storage is usually called diaster preparedness. So when I started to become serious about this (to my hubby's delight) I started to save alot of webpages in my favorites. Then I realized that if there was a disaster we probably won't have power and therefore no computer, no internet and no way to access all the wonderful information I have been finding. So I bought a binder and started to print a few pages.

Of course my favorite color is purple and so I bought a purple binder (hubby rolled his eyes again and said it is not purple it is LAAAVENDER lol at least he knows the difference). In my way of thinking - purple and preparednss both start with P. Also the same reason why I use a black binder for bible study and a blue binder for baking recipes (well it has all the recipes I use but the concept is there right?)

Anyways, when I showed him the binder and told him purple is for preparedness, he quickly corrected me and said that if I am to be serious about this then I must use the proper terminology - preps! So purplepreps was born!

As we begin our quest for stockpiling at least one years worth of food and supplies I absolutely must have an inventory and a plan! It will drive me crazy to try to figure out what we have and what we need if I try to go by what is listed in my hubby's brain.

I did not want to reinvent the wheel and knew that there must be information out there as to how to start the "preps". I found a couple great websites and bought a great little book. Here is what I have done so far (besides starting to make homemade bread from freshly milled wheat):

1. A start to organizing spices and baking supplies
On the simplylivingsmart.com website I watched many videos and read many tips that I will eventually use. But the one that I wanted to do right away was to buy some glass spice jars. They are meant to be placed in a drawer rather than in a cupboard. I absolutely hated having my spices in the cupboard and not being able to see what was in the back and knocking them all over to get one out. And Ido not have the counter space for a spice rack. So when I saw her idea of putting them in a drawer I simply thought - why didn't I think of that! Anyways, I will be placing my order from penzeys.com in the next day or so.

2. A start to organizing food storage
The book I bought is called

Food Storage 101 Where Do I Begin by Peggy Layton
In it there are 6 steps to preparing what she calls your Home Grocery Store and Pharmacy. There is so much to think about and I am really glad I bought this book, I love that all the steps are laid out so neatly. I didn't have to reinvent the wheel, she is giving me all the steps I need. Anyway, one of the things in the first step is to find a space and prepare the shelves that you will need. Well we have a small space set aside for this purpose and today we bought some shelves! Hooray we have started to be organized!

Scripture

Psalm 11
blueletterbible.org


Observation

Oh the Holy Spirit is wonderful, and I am simply amazed to be drawn to this Psalm today. It is so short and before I read it I prayed that it would speak loud and clear to me. Verse 3 nearly jumped up off the page.

The foundations of law and order have collapsed.
What can the righteous do?"


I just wrote a post about the election and how impressed I was with John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate and how it has drawn me into the process. The world and this country are so out of conrol - the foundations have collapsed. We need leaders who are trusting in God.


Application

And so what can we do? I heard the answer in my mind so loud and clear - We need to Pray!


Prayer

Dear Lord thank you for speaking so clearly to me today. I rarely pray for our leaders but today I heard you telling me to do just that and so I pray for the candidates to have a safe, clean, and ethical campaign. I pray that you will work through them and bring the entire country closer to you and repair the corruption and fractured foundation that this country is experiencing.

I have never been all that interested in politics, and besides that I can't even vote right now. Now I have to give you some more info - I am Canadian married to an American and I have Permanent Residence Status, a green card. I cannot vote in Canada because I am not a resident and I cannot vote in the US besause I am not a citizen. Although I am somewhat up to date and probably know more than that average person simply because of my hubby. I think that I could call his interest in politics a hobby - bordering on addiction. Whenever possible he listens to talk radio and even plays the radio as we fall asleep. And so I hear much more than I sometimes want to about the happenings in politics. And I tried very hard to avoid the whole Hillary - Obama thing as much as possible - it simply drove me crazy.

Then yesterday I noticed on my yahoo page news summary that John McCain had picked his running mate, and I had never seen or heard of her before, so I clicked on the link and called in my hubby to watch it. We were amazed to hear that this Alaska Governor was a women who hunts, fishes, is a lifetime member of the NRA, prolife and against same sex marriage. Wow, what was going on with this pick.

I suddenly became interested and just had to know more. I think John McCain has made an absolutely brillant move. He took all the focus off of the Democratic convention- basically he stole the spotlight just by making an announcement. But he also made a choice that is what many people will admire. I don't even think it matters all that much that she is a women. I think her accomplishments will speak for themselves - she is not a typical politician and does not tolerate corruption. She drastically reformed her town as mayor and the state as governor. She is not a pushover and is not afraid to stand up for her beliefs. I say hooray John McCain - for your choice and I am excited to watch what happens in the next couple months.

I still can't believe that I am actually interested in this - but I guess that there will be alot of people who will be as well. And I think that is a good thing becaue maybe this will draw all those people who maybe would not have voted this year. And maybe it will make more people interested in the process and understand what they are voting for.

And as I watch this over the next two months I will be praying for clean and ethical politics from the candidates and the media.

So I did my first workout on Thursday, I cannot believe that I am in such horrible shape. Not that I have ever been in great shape, but I was shocked that I especially struggled to do the sets of pushups. I was supposed to workout today too, but I have been fighting with a migrane for a couple days, so I am being a big baby and well, I guess I did not workout today. Maybe tomorrow.

I usually try to remember to weigh myself every morning and I fluctuate up and down all week, but I seem to be consistently down another pound this week so I am happy about that. That makes it 5 pounds off so I am not feeling too guilty about not workingout today. Baby steps!

Scripture

Mark 12:28-44
blueletterbible.org


Observation

In verses 30-31 we find Jesus telling us what is the most important Commandment.

30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' 31 The second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."

Jesus tells us to love God and love others. It is that simple. When we truly love in this way we will be blessed beyond imagination. The challenge is to get to this level of love. Every day we are challenged by things in the world, our thoughts and actions are often less than admirable and certainly not loving in the way we have been commanded to love.

I have been very lazy when it comes to memorizing scripture, and although I know the concept of the passage, I could not recite it. Yikes! That is just down right horrible. A couple days ago I was looking at various blogs and links within them and came across a wonderful website for scripture memorization. It just simply amazes me that I found that site, and even started to prepare the cards and was then led to this passage! The Holy Spirit leads and I have to follow!!!
simplycharlottemason.com


Application

Verses 30-31 need to be at the tip of my tongue and the top of my thoughts every moment of every day!

In order to love in the way we are commanded we have to apply this to every thought and every action. There is a common phrase "What Would Jesus Do", I think that we need to ask in every situation we face "How would Jesus Love" and apply the answer to what we are thinking or doing.

Prayer

Lord thank you for reminding me what is most important and that is how to love you and others. Thank you for leading me to a way to help me to memorize scripture so that my thoughts are more frequently drawn to you throughout every day.

Scripture

Psalm 10 A Prayer of Helplessness
blueletterbible.org

the NLT uses the term helpless in this psalm. I didn't particulary like this term as I don't think of myself as helpless when I know that God is my strength. Anyway, I wanted to see some of the other terms in different translations. Here are some other terms I found: innocent, poor, victims, afflicted, humble.

So that didn't help all that much. Time to pull out the Strong's Concordance and Dictionary. The word poor is used in the KJV and it has two translations back into Hebrew. One means depressed and one means unhappy wretch.
And in verse 17 KJV uses the term humble.

Observation

There is so much evil, wickedness, and grief in the world and is desribed in this psalm. It can often seem that the evil of this world is overcoming the good. In this psalm we see that in verse 10 The helpless are overwhelmed and collapse;
they fall beneath the strength of the wicked.
Using the Hebrew definations - we can be overcome with unhappiness at the situations.

But the "helpless" find their strength through trust in the Lord because He is our defender. We see this in verse 14 But you do see the trouble and grief they cause. You take note of it and punish them. The helpless put their trust in you. You are the defender of orphans.

God hears us and listens to our cries. This psalm starts off in verse 1 by asking God why he seems so far away and hidden from us. But the end of the psalm in verse 17 we know that God hears our cries and comforts us.


Application

The more time we spend with God, the closer we get to Him. The deeper we grow in our relationship with the Lord, the more we can see Him working in our lives. This increases our faith and trust in Him and therefore we always know that He hears us when we are crying out to Him during our inevitable times of pain, suffering and sadness.


Prayer

Dear Lord, thank you for always be in my life and for giving me strength when I am overwhelmed and feeling down. Help me to keep my routines and a positive attitude so that I do not get overwhelmed.

In the last five years I have gained 50 pounds. The first 20 was in the first year of our marriage - my husband spoiled me with all kinds of delicious goodies! The next 5 pounds came when I quit smoking because I was pregnant. The next 5 pounds after during this first pregnancy that was a miscarriage at 10 weeks. I was soon pregnant with Sam and gained 10 more pounds, and very quickly was pregnant with Ben & Carlee and 10 more pounds.

I jokingly blame my extra weight on my family, but it is really no one's fault but my own. Over the last couple years I have not really been serious about doing what I need to get the weight off. Although I have dropped about 4 pounds this month without really trying. A few weeks ago I even purchased the Momentum Weight Loss System which I found out about through the flylady website. I didn't even open the box, it has been sitting on my desk collecting dust.

Today I was reading the blogs I have been consistently reading for the last couple weeks and I think that I have been convicted! TWO bloggers wrote about starting programs today - Amy at momstoolbox and Kendra at preschoolersandpeace both started weight loss programs. So as I read their blogs I kept glancing over at the Momentum box and finally said "Okay I'm ready".

I opened the box and put on the heart rate monitor which didn't work, I have to go get a battery. I was immediately discouraged and thought what is the point. That was when I saw a picture of myself pop up on my screen saver which randomly shows photos from the MyPictures folder on my computer. UGGG! So I started by logging on the website and setting up my account. I was nearly finished that when all the kids woke up from their nap and chaos took over again. I went back later and saw that the workout scheduled for tomorrow doesnot need the monitor so I can start without it. Tomorrow - game on!

Yesterday I tried a yummy carrot cake recipe and substituted with fresh milled flour. But I also baked them in some silicone bakeware that I was given. First mistake was to do three new things at once.

1. I baked them into loaves rather than cupcakes so I wasn't sure about the timing. I think they might be overdone.

2. The cake has a different taste to it that I can't quite place. So now I don't know if it is the change to the flour or a something that seeped out of the bakeware.

3. I also found that the cake did not come out of the bakeware well, I thought it was supposed to just slip right out. Well it didn't and I was so upset I threw them out.

I also realized that for baking I should be using a different type of wheat. I read that for breads and other doughs that rise, hard wheat is best. And for pastry type baking soft wheat is best. a few days ago we recieved our shipment of several buckets of grain, so all I have to do is organize it and get it set up so that it is easy to get into whatever bucket I need.

Scripture

Mark 11:27 - 12:27 Tempting Questions

In these passages various people are asking questions of Jesus attempting to challenge him and trick him.

Observation

Jesus often uses Parables and answers a question with a question. In order to grasp what he is trying to say we have to think more and dig deeper to find true understanding. Only those who are truly listening and willing to do this will be able to see what Jesus is teaching.

Application

It is so easy to say "I read my Bible everyday" But what are we doing with that time. Just reading is just that - just reading. We have to slow down and look deeper into what is on the pages. What is the passage really saying and what am I to learn from this passage.

Today as I slowed down in this portion of Mark, I saw it is easy to miss out on a wonderful opportunity. Jesus teaches this way so that we have to slow down to understand. And sometimes it may take me a long time to understand, but while I am trying to understand I am spending that time only with Jesus and not worrying about all the other chaos in my life.

Prayer

Lord, on a day that I thought I was going to lose my mind, thank you for showing me how to slow down and spend some quality time with you. Thank you for refreshing me.

Scripture Mark 11:1-26 Palm Sunday

blueletterbible.org

Note that the NLT & the NIV do not have Mark 11:26, but it is written in the footnotes, watch the footnotes in your Bibles, there is often some enlightening information there!

Observation

When I opened my Bible and saw that this was the passage where Jesus clears the temple, I immediately thought I would be writing about how anger can be appropriate in the right circumstances. But then I got to verses 13-14 and thought what is that all about? I was being led in a different direction. I read it a couple times, in a couple translations but was still stumped. I had to go to a commentary and was reminded that I have to look deeper and remember the background of what is going on at the time.

Fig trees produce fruit twice a year, in late spring and early fall and the fruit would be ripe and ready to eat when the leaves are full. This event took place in early spring when the leaves on a tree should be just budding, so there should be no ripe fruit on the tree. So when Jesus saw a tree in "full leaf (NLT)" he expected it to have ripe fruit. But it did not, it was similar to false advertising. The tree appeared to be fruitful, but on closer inspection was not.


Application

The key verse to understanding this comes in verse 23 All that's required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart. It is all about faith, truly believing and never doubting what God is saying and doing in my life. The result will be a fruitful life.


Prayer

Thank you Lord for guiding me and helping me to trust in my faith. As my faith deepens I am humbled by your love for me, lead me and guide me in knowledge and understanding so that I may be a blessing and witness to others

As I start using this blog to record my thoughts on what I am reading in the Bible, I thought I should let anyone who is reading this know what translations I am using.

I know that there are problems with many translations and that some are better than others. The King James Version is one of the best, but I struggle to read it, and I sometimes will read the New King James Version finding it a bit easier to read. But the version I use for daily Bible reading is the New Living Translation. It is the Bible I used when I first started to read the Bible, and find it easy to read and understand.

When I want to do a serious & in-depth Bible study particulary for a word study I will have many books open. I have a parallel Bible which lists 4 translation on one page, I will also keep my NLT version handy because I make alot of notes and highlights right in it. I also have the Strong's reference books so that I can research the original words in Hebrew & Greek. It is a fasinating process to do these studies!

Unfortunately I do not have alot of time these days and have not been able to do these kind of in-depth studies for quite awhile. For now I simply read my Bible and make a few notes as I go. Although I read from the NLT I have a NIV Quiet Time Bible that I use to guide my reading. It is seperated into small sections that include devotional comments, questions about the scripture in the section, and suggestions for prayer. I find it useful not only to set up a reading plan, but also to guide me in digging deeper into the scripture. When I am lost and confused about what I have read it helps to turn some lights on so I can see!

Scripture Psalm 9

Rather the pasting the entire Psalm you can read it in your Bible or use the Blue Letter Bible for whatever translation you like. Here is a link to Psalm 9 at the Blue Letter Bible. blueletterbible.org

Observation

Although this Psalm speaks alot about how the Lord deals with enemies and the wicked, I see the expressions of praise and thanksgiving.
The key verse for me is Verse 10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you.
We know God and we trust in Him knowing that He will always be with us.


Application

Sharing my testimony - from verse 1
As I give thanks to God for all the blessings, I also need to remember share these blessings. Sharing with others how God has worked in my life is my testimony, and even though it is not spectacular or amazing to others, it is amazing to me how truly blessed I am. I have a wonderful loving husband and three amazing beautiful children, God is working through me to raise these precious gifts and I am blessed every day to see how he works. We just started ""school" and are looking at the creation story. Sam at 2 years old knows who made the world and everything in it and he has nearly memorized Genesis 1:1. Ben & Carlee say 1:1 whenever I say Genesis. It is so cute! They aren't even 2 yet and still they are learning the Word of God - how amazing is that!

Prayer


As I start this blog, please guide me in my words and be a blessing to anyone who finds it. Bring them to this blog or other websites that are focused on You Lord so that they may become closer to you, show them how to have a relationship with you.

I just found a great blog! momstoolbox.com/blog/

In it Amy uses a Bible Study technique called SOAP which stands for:
S - Scripture
O - Observation
A - Application
P - Prayer

I did an internet search for the technique and found this description
SOAPcards

I have been using this technique and not even realizing it. In my notes I was using the labels Scripture, Summary, Application & Prayer! So now that I have this new blog I will be using the SOAP technique here. I am likely not applying it exactly as it was originally intended, but I like the concept and am adapting it to my own purposes.

I am in Psalms & Mark so I will just start in where I left off, and try to do one chapter from the old testament and one from the new testament each day. I try to do my Bible reading/study every day but somehow life gets in the way. Maybe with the possibility of other people reading this blog will be enough of accountability for me. We will see! And remember that if you do find this blog, it is basically just me moving my journal notes from a notebook to this nicely organized format of the blog. If you do find me please say Hi.

This morning Sam, who won't be 3 until November, came and gave me a kiss and a hug then said "bye-bye see you later" and started walking into another room. I said "bye I love you", and wondered what was up. He came back a minute later and said "here you go mama" and pretended to put something in my hand. I simply said "thank you" and he went through the whole cycle again. This time he came back and said "here is some money for you". So this time when he said "byebye" I asked him where he was going he said "to work". When he came back and gave me the 'money' I said "Oh that is so nice for you to take care of your mama!" He said "No! I am taking care of my brother and sister". How cute is that!!!

Well, this procedure continued for several minutes. I wasn't complaining I was getting those wonderful toddler hugs & kisses. But then he came running saying that there was a monster at his work. I have no idea where these monsters come from but they show up every few days. I tried to get him to tell me the monsters name but that didn't work. Then he said "the monster at work getting money for you". I chuckled and told him "Go tell the monster that mama says thank you". So off he went and I heard him yelling in the other room. "Hey Monster! Mama said thank you for money!" It was so funny I couldn't help but giggle.

As this blog evolves, I imagine it will be a journal of what goes on in our daily lives. More for me to keep track of my thoughts and plans. anyways, I recently changed my way of thinking more along the lines of my husbands thinking. Well I should restate that, I never disagreed with his views on food storage and "preps" - yes I was corrected in the terminology;) I just jumped on board and am taking control of the organization of it - you know accountant background and all that, so I must be in control of the organization!

The first step for this change was that we bought a house and now live in the country - nice and far away from the city. We are also close enough to the ocean that we could be affected by hurricanes. Although in my opinion that is better than the threat of earthquakes when we were in California, at least we should have warnings about hurricanes.

Now that we have some appropriate storage space we started talking about storing grain, rice, beans, supplies, etc etc. And along with that conversation goes the wheat mill and baking our own bread. So we bought a couple buckets of wheat and I started looking into wheat mills. A couple days before I bought the mill, my cheapo mixer died so now I bought the mill and a new mixer. And was ready to make bread from scratch and is originally why I started this blog.

However, now I am thinking more and more about what I would do if I was stuck here with the kids. I decided that I am so unprepared it isn't even funny! Now I am planning on how to have a food storage program so that we can have the food and supplies necessary for whatever might happen in the future. And that's where I am right now - just at the planning stages.

I made my next batch of bread, using the first recipe and Pastry setting on the WonderMill when I ground the wheat. I think everything else was the same. I wanted to see if I could get the same results as the last time. But bread does not seem to wait while life in our house continues!

As I was washing the dishes during the first rise I happened to look out the window and see a puppy playing in the yard. Well of course I have to go and investigate to see how friendly the puppy is. Turns out she is really sweet and ran behind me for cover when our two dogs tried to chase her. Anyways, the kids came out to see as well and we ended up playing with the puppy. They thought she was alot of fun and I think they thought she was our new puppy!

Meanwhile my bread dough has risen too much and started to dry out. When we cme back in I punched it down and shaped it into two loaves and left those for the second rising.

By now my hubby was home and we decide to go down the street to see if we could find where the dog lives. Now we are gone quite a long time because we met a new family and chatted for a very long time. The good news was that we found out where the dog belongs and returned him later that day. Anyways, when we got back the dough had risen way too much again and had really started to dry out this time.

So I thought I would try to salvage it by punching it dwn again and letting it rise a third time. I remember reading something about three risings but I couldn't recall all the details. So I quickly punched it down and reshaped them, left them to rise and then into the oven.

By this time it was time for putting the kids to bed. And apparently I cannot hear the timer go off from upstairs. When I realized that they had been in too long I jumped up and ran down stairs, my hubby asked "what's wrong" and I yelled "THE BREAD" I don't know how long it was in, but it was not burned. It also wasn't the same as the last batch, it was alot heavier and denser. So I guess the longer you let it bake the denser it gets???? Maybe someday I will test that, for now I was happy that it wasn't totally ruined and I didn't burn the house down!

This time I used the pastry setting on the WonderMill to get a finer flour. Then I used the extra to make the same cookie recipe as before. The cookie dough seemed to hold together a bit better and they weren't quite as gritty. But they still aren't "really good" yet, they are still kind of dry which is I think because of the flour. I have to think about what to do to make them softer and moister.

I went back to the first bread recipe and tried it again. It turned out much better this time, although I am not sure what the big difference was. The only thing that I did really different was that I milled the wheat on the pastry setting so that I could use the left over for cookies. But I didnt really see that much difference in the flour.

The dough mixedup much better and was nearly cleaning off the sides of the bowl at 5 cups. Oh, as I measured I also packed the flour more this time, so maybe that made a difference too. I only added maybe another 1/2 cup and I didn't have to knead it by hand at all. I did a little bit just to get a feel for the dough.

It rose beautifully in the bowl, I didn't do anything different there. And it also rose great in the pans and they were left out the whole time.

It is a much tastier and lighter bread than the second one I tried. This was even good enough to give one of the loaves to our neighbors who have been spoiling us with all sorts of baked items. As you can see from the picture, Sam just loves the bread - this was not the loaf that went to the neighbors lol. I turned my back and he took abig bite out of it!!!

When I made the last batch of bread, I intentionally milled more flour than I needed. Partly because I needed more flour for the previous batch, but also because I wanted to bake some cookies. As I bake more I want to use more milled flour and less white flour.

Anyways I used this recipe:

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

cream butter and sugars, beat in peanut butter, add egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift together flour, soda, and salt then combine and beat until mixed well. Bake at 350for 10-12 minutes


I used about 1 1/2 cups milled flour and the rest white flour. And I baked them probably 14-15 minutes. The end result was that they tasted ok, but a little gritty. Definatley willhave to grind the flour on the pastry setting to see if it would make any difference.

I baked more bread a couple days ago and while the results were okay, I was not overly impressed with the recipe. It is a recipe from the new version of the Bread Beckers book that I just received. I used this one because it is a favorite of my friend Melissa's. Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cups hot water
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp lecithin
1 tsp gluten (plus I added 1 tsp dough enhancer)
4-4 1/2 cups freshly milled flour
1/2 cup flax seed
1 tbsp yeast

Combine water, oil, honey,salt. Add lecithn, gluten, half of flour, and flax seed. Mix thoroughly. Add yeast and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5-6 minutes). Let rise until double, shape and let rise again until double. For 2 1lb loaves bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

So that is the recipe I used. Here are the problems I had.

Flour
I think I used closer to 5 cups, and maybe a bit more than that. I am wondering if the flour I have is part of the problem and that I simply will have to use more than asked for, even in the recipes written for fresh milled flour. This time I did mill some extra just to be sure.

Kneading
I kept adding flour in small amounts and it seemed like it was getting close to the point that it would clean the sides of the bowl. However, I felt that the mixer was being over worked because the dough seemed to be so heavy. So I pulled it out and kneaded it by hand, adding a bit more flour and then it seemed to be good. It wasn't nearly as sticky as the last recipe.

Rising
The dough did rise, so I think that the yeast was ok, but it certainly did not rise to double in the bowl. The dough rose some more while in the pans, I did put the pans in the oven that was slightly warm. But again it did not rise to double. So I ended up with some pretty flat looking loaves.

Bread
This bread was alot denser and heavier than the last loaves. It was still tasty but not as good as the last batch. But DH said that he preferred this batch and that it made better sandwiches. Gofigure!

Here is what they looked like. The cookies are the peanut butter ones I made with the left over flour.



What's next
I think I will go back to the first recipe and try to perfect that one before moving on to something different. That way I can compare any changes that I make to a standard recipe.

The recipe I used for the first bread baking was from an older BreadBeckers recipe book:

Slightly Sweet But Very Simple Whole Wheat Bread

2 cups hot water (about a minute in the microwave works well)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey (may use 1/4 cup)
3 1/2 tsp instant yeast
5 cups fresh milled flour (may need more flour to get the dough to clean the sides of the bowl)
2 tsp salt
1 - 2 tbsp lecithin (optional)
1/2 tsp gluten (optional)
1 - 2 tbsp dough enhancer (optional)

Combine water and yeast to proof, then add salt, oil, honey and 3 cups flour. Mix thoroughly. Add the lecithin, gluten, or dough enhancer and 2 more cups of flour.  Add more flour as necessary until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.  Let  mixer knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 min).

Let rise to double. Shape into two loaves, place into greased medium pans and let rise again.

Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.

So there it is, the very first recipe I used for baking bread. I will have to try it again, either with less water or more flour and see if that makes it less sticky than it was the first time.

My next project was a 4 egg yellow cake. I found the recipe in the Joy of Cooking cookbook. It turned out ok, bt don't think I folded the egg white mixture in properly. And I will put the pans in seperately next time. I had two pans on the top rack and one on th bottom. I got uneven baking on the bottoms of the pans on the top and the pan on the bottom baked faster. Definately edible and a sweet cake, but I think I will keep looking for that perfect cake recipe.

My new grain mill arrived Monday afternoon and Tuesday I started my first batch of bread dough. The grain mill worked beautifully and I had fresh flour in no time at all. After reading all the benefits to using fresh groud flour I am so excited about this whole process. Have you seen what they take out of wheat to get to white flour!!! check out this article and you will see what I mean!http://www.nutritionlifestyles.com/homemill.htm

Sticky Dough!
I used a recipe in the BreadBeckers book (will post that later) As I was mixing it I thought for sure it was going to be a disaster. It just seemed so sticky and did not pull away from the sides of the bowl like I thought it was supposed to. The recipe called for 5 cups of fresh milled flour, I added that plus alot more. I lost track of how much unfortunately. Next time I will keep track. Anyways, I used up all the fresh flour and ended up adding some white flour. Then I was worried that the mixer would be overworked. I had read some reviews about KitchenAid mixers not doing well with bread dough, which is one of the reasons why I went with the Cuisinart. And so I did not know if that would happen to my new mixer and I did not want to kill it on the second time I used it. So I pulled out the sticky mess added some more flour and started kneading it by hand. I kept adding more flour until it wasn't too sticky anymore. I will have to make more to figure out what the problem is, my guess is the high humidity here or maybe just the grain???

Forgot to time the rising
Then I put it back in the bowl to let it rise to double - following the directions in the recipe. I was busy with kids and forgot to time how long I let it rise - oops! Then I took it out, cut into two and shaped it into the loaf pans, let it rise some more. Again I forgot to time it and put them into the oven when they seemed to rise double again. I think I got lucky and the dough seemed to do what it was supposed to. But in the future I must remember to time it so that I can compare.

Baking Bread
The loaves seem to bake just fine and we had pretty good bread with supper. My husband was like a little kid at Christmas!














But the bigger compliment was how much the kids liked it, especially Sam. This picture also shows the inside of the loaf. It was really moist and easy to butter.

I have only baked a few batches of cookies in my life, but when I was home at my mom's this summer I fell in love with her peanut butte cookies all over again. I remember there always being home made cookies in the house. She kept them in a yellow tupperware container in the cupboard and also seveal batches worth in the freezer in the basement. As a teenager I moved my bedroom to the basement and ate many frozen cookies!

And so, after my trip home and after seeing my kids eat all her homemade cookies, I want my kids to have homemade baking and meals. And the fact that we have just bought our first home and it is in the country somehow has changed my whole outlook on baking and cooking. It is no longer a chore but a blessing that I can offer to my family.

So my first two attempts at baking cookies were with my mom's recipes. And they pretty much flopped - they were edible but they just were not the same. I believe some of it has to do with the difference in US flour and Canadian flour. It tastes different and it bakes differently. So I decided to start from scratch and use new recipes. I tried a peanut butter cookie recipe from the peanut butter jar and they turned out really good - hoorray I can bake cookies!!

I have a close friend who has a grain mill and grinds her own wheat for baking. My husband, who has a strong survivalist personality, instantly fell in love with the concept and with Melissa's yummy breads. And so for the past couple years he has been bugging me to get a grain mill and bake bread. Ok, so I finally gave in and decided to take homemaker to the most extreme level. I have never baked a cake (until today), made a roast or homemade soup (until a couple weeks ago), and I have only baked buns a couple times and made cookies just a few times. So the whole concept of bread baking was bizarre at best.

But now that I have decided to do it, I am putting in 110% to do it well. I have to - the equipment was several hundred dollars and I cannot just let it sit and collect dust! I was only going to buy the grain mill until my cheapo mixe blew up last week - so now I have a shiny new Cuisinart mixer and a Wondermill grain mill. Add in a couple 50lb bags of wheat and I am ready to bake!

I am doing this blog, as a way to document and journal my baking experiences. I want to be able to learn as I go and because I am a logical and analytical learner I must be organized and hav it all written out. That whole accountant thing has followed me into homemaking! And so, if you happen to stumble upon this humble little blog please say hi and any advice or suggestions offered are appreciated.