He pushed and pulled. He stretched and slapped it. He said this would relax the dough and make it better. He said it was like a deep tissue massage, leaving the dough feeling all loose and ready to rest.

Beloved is a bit of an odd man. But he can make amazing bread. This is something that has eluded me for years, this making of bread. I’ve tried various types of dough to different degrees of failure.

I’ve created the most lovely to look at and completely inedible buns. I have shaped beautiful loves that magically became horrible things when they were pulled out of the oven.

I have made things that seemed unable to bake. Other things that seemed to incinerate themselves almost immediately. I’ve had things rise and other things decide to this was against the laws of gravity.

No matter what I’ve done or not done, I have yet to make bread that is edible and looks like it should. So I watched him, hoping to somehow master through observation.

Beloved tells me that the trick to a good bread is really to start with exact, quality ingredients and to knead it with confidence. Since I’ve used his ingredients, let him measure things out and still had disasters, it must be in the kneading. And apparently I’m not kneading it right!


Breaking Bread With A New Friend

Eating outside will be fun he said as he started to gather supplies. You will enjoy it he promised as he started to cook. It will be great he exclaimed as I raised an eyebrow his way.

Beloved has a thing for eating outside. I assume it is because he didn’t do it much growing up. So any chance he gets, if the weather is good and we have the right food items, he will prepare a delicious meal and insist we eat it outside.

He will point out that historically my ancestors would have eaten outside. Of course they also ate raw meat before the discovered fire, but apparently that’s not the point. Nor is pointing out that ants will soon join us along with wasps and other insects. Oh no, none of that is the point.

So I just let him get on with getting the meal outside, banking on the ants getting their invitation and showing up. Because the ants always drive him inside. However this time was different.

Before the ants could arrive, a seagull showed up and stole some food before we had a chance to taste it. This was something that had never happened to us before. So the food was brought in and research about how to avoid this in the future was carried out.

Apparently if you stare at a seagull you will make it uncomfortable and it will leave. However it may have friends and they may not sit together so it would be impossible to keep staring at all of them. Meaning they could sneak food away as you are staring at one of them.

So eating inside should probably continue to happen, because I’m not up to staring at seagulls while keeping an eye out for all the insects. But that’s just me.

A Dog’s Life

I must confess, I am envious of the four-footed one’s life. I mean I don’t want to eat dog food, nor do I want to drink out of a dish. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like a leash either. But her lifestyle is something to envy.

She gets up in the morning, has the most incredible stretching routine to remain nimble and flexible. She takes care of her toileting needs (granted I wouldn’t want to do that outside) and then is all set for breakfast.

She is well fed, but not overfed. She is taken for walks, where she mostly picks the route and the duration. She naps when she wants, where she wants for as long as she wants. There is plenty of time to play, explore and learn.

She doesn’t need to worry about bosses, bills, or taxes. Oh no, her life is a life of luxury and dare I say leisure?

Sure I might get bored if that was my day everyday. But there is something to be said about the simplicity of her life. She wakes up happy and seems to be happy and full of joy. So for a little while at least, I’d like to have her life.

Planned To A T

A friend gifted me with a planner. The type of planner that is supposed to do more than just keep track of what I’m working on, need to be working on and what has been accomplished.

This planner, my friend told me as she thrust it into my hands, would let me reach weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. And it would help me save time, focus on things when I needed to and somehow just be an amazing journey. My friend knew all of this because she had used the same planner for a year and she truly loved it.

The problem with this is not in the planner itself. Lots of people live by them. Everyone says you need to have things written out to know what needs your attention and how much time you are spending on it. Most people will tell you that the act of writing things out, not typing them, will help you be more committed.

Here’s the thing friends. I’m not a planner kind of girl. I’ve had planners for years, thinking it would organize things, or maybe give me more time. And so I’d start out using these things, some of them almost works of art I might add. And within a few weeks, forget it. The planner usage was work.

I have my own method which works well for me. It’s not one that I would recommend for anyone. But it’s mine and it works. And as my friend explained to me how to use the planner with its tabs and stickers, she assured me that it isn’t that I am a mess. She just wanted to have the most amazing planner so I could have the most amazing plans.

I have amazing plans, some of them in the works, some of them in the planning stage and so on. I do have no plans though on what to do with this planner I was given. Or when it try to use it.

Diet Dilemma

Some people swear by a high protein diet. Others swear by a sugar-free diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. If you listen to the medical experts, some will agree that one of these diets is ideal and the others are not. But another expert will counter that all.

I need a diet that is good for me, but has the foods I like in it. Not that I don’t like veggies or fruit. And I’m not opposed to protein. But where is the all cake, pastry and eat what you want diet? That’s the one that I am pretty sure I can easily stick to. It sounds like a lifestyle that would be easy to adapt to.

Of course that won’t ever happen, but I also don’t think it’s ideal to never have cake, or pastries. After all someone must eat them to show the baker that we appreciate the talent and energy that was loving put into the creation. And I truly believe it is important to show that appreciation. The thing is, it must be done in moderation. A very controlled moderation.

Now this may seem a bit harsh or unfair, but it’s better to have some once and awhile than to have to never have it again.

Fortunate One

Some people are lucky or fortunate. Some of them win the lottery, find money, win a trip or have an amazing thing happen in their life with no effort on their part. And then there are those rare people who get whole airplanes to themselves.

I know, talk about being fortunate. Imagine getting on an international flight and discovering you are the only passenger! (I get a bit giddy just thinking about it!)

There would be no crazy struggle to find your seat. Heck you could probably sit where you wanted. No struggle to locate an overhead storage compartment somewhat near you. After all, every overhead storage compartment can be yours! No one to recline the seat in front of you, taking up valuable space. In fact, you could stretch out in any seat, or across multiple seats.

There’d be no screaming babies (not their fault) to deal with. No rude passengers to try to manage. No delay in flight attendants arriving at your seat if you needed something. And no one to fall sleep on you as they used you as a pillow. Without asking your permission first.

Sure you would miss out on meeting strangers, but imagine the pure joy and comfort that you would be afforded. Those rare people who have managed to have the entire plane and staff to themselves are the fortunate ones indeed.

Oops! Again.

We were hosting some people for a meal so Beloved and I were in the kitchen together, getting the meal sorted and cooked before our guests arrived. Normally we don’t spend a great deal of time cooking together as we have very different styles.

Beloved believes that believes that because we have enough pots and pans, you just grab a clean one each time you need one. That way you can spend the “waiting time” reviewing the recipe and such. I believe that during that down time you can be doing some dishes so you can reuse the pots and pans rather than gathering a mountain of them to deal with later on.

So naturally our time in the kitchen is a bit an adventure. We decided on the whole “divide and conquer” approach. I worked on some side dishes while he worked on the entree. This way we could get everything done on time and we could focus on what we needed to.

To be careful, I pulled all the required ingredients for my dishes and placed them where I was working. Beloved was dealing with his own ingredients in his own way. I wasn’t really paying attention to him to be honest.

Until he started coming over and raiding my ingredients. I didn’t think anything of it rather than being annoyed with him.

That all changed when he got a fresh spoon to do a taste test. And turned red with tears streaming down his face. You see I had hot paprika in my recipe and he grabbed it thinking it was sweet paprika. So he had to start over again.

Surely this time he would be more careful, but nope. He did it again. Now almost short of time and certainly short of patience, I got the sweet paprika for him and put it where he was working. Every time he came to invade my space, he got swatted at, just in case he did something else foolish again.

The meal was a hit and everything was fine. No one was none the wiser for it and I thought surely he figured out not to do this again. Time will tell.