Roots and Wings

I am soaking up the quiet times and the squeals of excitement in these final days of summer; the Sepia afternoons of sunset and the crystal shimmer of the sea; the salty air that permeates my coastal life and the smell of succulent meats on our smoker in the backyard; the laughter that arises from play with our child and the quiet moments of our family together at the end of the day.

These late days of summer have been the sweetest of my life. Be present! Don’t miss these moments. I want to be fully aware and in the moment I am in and fully enjoy the sounds, sights, smells, and feelings all around.

The only constant in life is the inevitability of change. My son’s world is about to explode into the beauty of friends and school and learning, and I am so grateful. These summer days are drawing to a close where his realm of influencers will reach beyond the walls of our home – to teachers and friends. With that naturally comes a mother’s celebration, and a slight, momentary mourning: we will no longer be his everything. But, that is okay. We will always be his loving parents.

We have given him roots, and now we are about to give him his first real set of wings: school days. What an amazing adventure it is to be a parent! I am grateful. And I am actively working on being present.

I hope you are enjoying your summer and wherever you are in life, you are present. Whatever is happening in the ebb and flow, you’re able to know when to establish roots, or when set forth in flight.

Blessings,

J.

Sourdough Bread Success!

I did it! The test was my 4 year old son – he wanted seconds. My husband wanted seconds. And my friend who gave me the starter said the pic I sent him looks great.

So, now that I’ve baked once, I get to try again tomorrow and fine tune my dough-ball shaping skills. I wanted a “practice run” before some of my family come to visit this weekend, and circumstances sent me into overlap with the 3-day process. Trial by fire. Go big or go home. Dive in head first. That’s my nature, so here I am, baking again tomorrow.

I was able to walk my second loaf over to my neighbor’s house, and my friend, S, popped her head out the back door a little while later and said they love it and were eating it right then.

That’s why I bake. I love doing it, but I love to gift the goods to friends and neighbors. It always brings a smile to their faces.

And to see the buttery grin on my son’s face, and know my husband has a treat to enjoy after a long work day. I am looking forward to baking the next batch, today, and continuing to perfect my sourdough! Many thanks to my neighbor and friend, Shaun, who gave me the starter and recipe!

The following are pics of my “bake day” process.

Loose square formation before folding and forming the dough balls.
After folding corners of “square,” it looks like a diamond. Fold each corner once more.
After 2nd round of folds
Both dough balls
Dough balls and banneton

Happy eating!

Sourdough Bread – In the Beginning

The gear.

In the beginning – there was a girl who loved her mama’s homemade honey wheat bread. Girl grows up and begins making the bread. Then she branches out into making French bread, pizza dough, and now…that which she’d never had the guts to try because she heard it was so temperamental…sourdough bread.

I have written about quite a few topics on this blog – parenting, boating, surfing, outdoor activities and coastal living, but one of my favorite and first loves has been sadly left out: food.

Fortunately, I married not only a “foodie” but a pretty amazing chef. He isn’t a chef by trade, but he could be. My husband started cooking in restaurants when he was a teenager. He has since taught me to cook beyond my “southern style” I grew up learning. I have always been a baker, however.

So, sourdough. Yum! My knowledge of sourdough didn’t extend beyond having this doughy alien in your fridge that you had to run home and “feed” to eventually turn into a magical slice of warm, soft bread with a distinct flavor and crispy crust. My friends and I in high school all had delicious sandwiches for lunch made out of sourdough bread, for our moms all shared the starter.

Fast forward to a neighborhood party a month ago, where our hosts served gorgeous artisan sourdough bread. It was delectable. My kind neighbor gave me the starter, and here I am, feeding the alien.

The scale I ordered from Amazon. It’s amazing!

Beginners tips:

1. Get a kitchen scale that measures dry goods and liquids. It’s more accurate. I thought I could do without and convert measurements. Now that I have my scale, I’ll never go back!

2. Name your starter! Very important. Name the alien. Ours is Little Joe. We smoke and Grill on our Kamada Joe a lot, and we refer to him as “Joe,” so, our starter is “Little Joe.”

3. Don’t give up! Follow your directions and if something goes awry, keep at it, research, read, check out YouTube. My starter first just bubbled, but it didn’t rise. How disappointing! However, I read that I could add more flour. So, I did. That’s exactly what it needed.

Day 2: my first dough batch after my first round of folds.

I will bake later today and will post pics from the day 3 process. Wish me luck!