Friday, May 27, 2011

Birds, Bees, Blooms & Bread

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Hello, my friends!

Anyone else having loads of trouble with Blogger???  I haven’t been able to sign in or leave comments for 3 days—so frustrating!  Oh, well…I’m sure they’ll fix it…again.

On to nicer things!

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So much lovely springtime living going on around our house right now…

We have three little swallows nests on our house…here’s a shot of one of them, attached to a lower roofline…no birds in it at the moment…

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…and another, higher up by our roof—but FILLED with life!  The photo isn’t as clear as I’d like it to be…had to really zoom my lens!

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Isn’t nature wonderful?

In one of my posts from last week, I shared with you about the bees in my courtyard…here was one of the photos…

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…I mentioned that I was wishing they were swarming when I took pictures so you’d get a better idea of what size of a hive we were dealing with, and just the next day…

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Can you believe this?!

We’ll be getting them lured out soon, and taken to some very happy beekeepers homes, but it entails knocking down the inside of our courtyard wall—carefully—to get them all out…which is why we hesitate…it’s going to be a BIG job!

One of the reasons they love our yard so much, we were told, is that it’s filled with roses, lavender, rosemary…lots of old-fashioned, pollen-rich flowers…

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…here are a few of my favorite blooms from this morning…

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My beautiful, David Austen roses…I just love the way the sun highlights them in the early morning…

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And bush after bush of sweet English lavender…buds just waiting to burst…

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…so looking forward to their delicious scent filling my house soon…making sachets & lavender wands with my girls….heavenly!

In the same post last week, I mentioned the delicious bread I make each week, and many of you requested the recipe, so here we go:

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There’s a company near where my Mom lives called “Pantry Secrets” that came up with this recipe…it’s just pretty amazing…and SO simple, you won’t believe it!

There is one specialty ingredient that you don’t normally use in cooking—at least I don’t!  I’m told you can get it in grocery stores in some areas, but you can’t in mine, so I order it from the Pantry Secrets company—Liquid Soy Lecithin.

Upon looking online, I found there are many places you can order it online.

From your first idea of “Hmmm, some fresh bread would be pretty wonderful right about now…” to it cooling on your countertop is just about 1 hour total!

This recipe makes 4 loaves of bread—very easy to cut it in half—works just fine!

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WHITE BREAD

10 1/2 cups white flour (the recipe calls for bread flour, but I just use all-purpose flour, and it’s great!)

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. salt

3 rounded Tbsp. instant yeast

3 quarter-sized circles liquid lecithin

4 cups HOT tap water

Mix dry ingredients.  Add lecithin and water.  Mix (I use my Kitchenaid) for 1 minute and check consistency.  If dough is too dry, add more water.  Dough should be very sticky.  Mix for 5 minutes. (Do not add flour to the dough after the 5 minutes of mixing.)

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Butter bread pans.  Form loaves and put in each pan.  Cover with dish towel.  Let raise for 25 minutes.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. 

Easy peasy!  You don’t have to be very specific with the amounts, either, I’ve found.  SO delicious, too!

Enjoy!

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Well, that’s all I have for you today!  Here’s hoping our Blogger woes will be over soon! 

See you soon with something new…

Julie