Friday, March 29, 2013

Second Friday of Great Lent

A quiet day.
Mr. Husband worked from home.
Lenten lunch.
I helped a friend with a resume
and then did some paper work.
I also knitted while listening to most of
this long lecture ~ I find it not for the
faint of heart (no beating about the bush is another way to say it)
but at the same time I think this lecture is very
salutary ~ in the sense of curative ~ but a healing that comes
with what feels a cold sunshiny day
with brisk air and bracing air...
not always easy to breathe but at the same time
if chosen or loved,
(This of course is also my favourite weather
for winter time).
Appreciated this post on love, fear, love.
So my first baby blanket:

Thanks to comment and emails
I have a good idea going,
I hope!

If you look closely,
you can see I missed some spots
that I will have to knit over later
or something.
So I have knitted the first 5 or so rows with the
knit stitch,
then endeavored to do the stockinette stitch
but towards the beginning I accidently did two
knit rows instead of going knit, purl, knit.
But I am getting there!
The ends I am trying to knit one or two stitches of the
opposite of what I have been doing that row,
as one friend told me this will help
it not curl.
I am also doing the longer rows on top and bottom.
For another blanket I may try to do a boarder all around it.
I am excited to see how it will turn out!
I practiced some more with the gauge swatch and then
frogged it and began making the blanket.
It's about 80 stitches or so across
and once these two skeins are done,
I will do a solid colour and then a mix again, etc ~ as planned.
I hope all those who are on the
Western (i.e. Catholic or Protestant)
calendar have a blessed Good and Holy Friday.
For those Orthodox,
we are almost to week three of Lent!
St. Gregory Palamas!
I do need to get his homilies...
my spiritual father in Ottawa encouraged us all
to read them...
I pray that God is encouraging each of you
along our often challenging way
and that we will look to Christ in all things.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Around the house on a Thursday in Great Lent...

I do love flowers... 

The lemon cranberry bread being toasted...

Our kitchen sink has developed a
never-ending stream of water.
Contacted the landlord ~ hoping for a fix ASAP.
Cleo loves the sunshine as much as I do!
It was really wonderful to be at a presanctified liturgy
again yesterday...
Thanks everyone for your knitting suggestions!
I am looking forward to trying them!

New Knitting ~ gauge swatch for baby blanket ~ and a question or two

Baby Wool ~ Colours: Blue Bonnet and Pear.
My goal is to make a cute baby blanket with
these two colours.
I am thinking of a pattern something like this:
~rows of the two colour strands together
~rows of one colour together
~rows of the two colours together
~rows of the other colour together
repeat as needed.
I think it will be really cute and varied!
It will be the first pattern I make on my own :)
I got the idea from a pattern on the
Lion Brand Yarn website called
Sunshine Day Baby Throw.
You have to register on the site to see it
(it's a real cute one! I may try it sometime
but would have to get the yarn colours first).

The biggest needles I have knit with so far! 13/9mm.
I am really loving them!
They are circular needles, as one needs this for bigger projects.
The bigger size is making it really easy to knit with two strands of yarn
and to see exactly what I am doing.
Also really easy to hold,
which is great when one's hands get a bit tired
from knitting on smaller needles.
I am trying the Stockinette stitch.
I am doing a gauge swatch for the first time.

It seems that this side (above) is the purl side.

And this is the knit side.

I think I must of switched sides towards the beginning
as you can see (picture above and below)
how it changed...
(if anyone can confirm that this is as I suspect,
I would appreciate it!)

I am appreciating the easy instructions that I can review,
 as my class only briefly touched on the Stockinette stitch.
The Stockinette stitch tends to roll up at the ends.
if you were making a baby blanket would you just leave this as is
or do you try to make a different edge to it?
I hope you are all having a great start to your day!
It is sunny here and I may try to make cookies
before the day is out!
What do you have planned for your day?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday ~ quiet, sunshine and preparing for presanctified liturgy

I am loving the daffodils that Mr. Husband
brought me this week.

I am on the last skein for the green scarf I am knitting.
I think it will be long enough once I am finished
with this 4th skein. 
I talked to my friend Mara this week.
It's been three years of painful struggle for her now.
It breaks my heart and Mr. Husband
shares in the sorrow.
Yet we do not give up hope in Christ and His mercy.
Of course I still ask your prayers for her.
God willing we are going to a presanctified liturgy this evening.
I love these very much and thank God that there is one
near by tonight that we can go to.
It is our first Lent together as a married couple.
I think and hope that we will look back on this time with
gratefulness to God.
I am slowly reading the newly published Lenten book:
Meditations for Great Lent.
So far I am appreciating it very much.
Mr. Husband's birthday is in the next week or so
and I am hoping to finally make the cake
I wanted to make about 2 months or so ago!
I am hoping also to do some baking tomorrow ~
maybe the vegan brownie cookies with dried cherries
that I was hoping to make last week
but was not able to.
What has your day had in store for you?

Yarn Along ~ Scarves, Sunshine and Daffodils

My very first project is done!
My knit stitch cream scarf!

It looks really great when it is
wrapped around one's neck
and is soft and easy to
put exactly as one wishes!

This scarf went with me on many

I am really pleased with it!
And the letter to my friend is written
and all I have to do is box it up,
tape and address and it will be
off to a treasured friend!

Mr. Husband brought me Daffodils. :)

I am about half way done with this scarf.
It's the widest scarf I have done
but I really like it.
It is for a family member who is quite tall and
who I hope will be kept warm in winter
with this scarf.
My Christmas projects are beginning early this year!
But then I have a lot of people to knit for!
I am still reading this book,
The Blessed Surgeon -
It is such a captivating, moving and also eye-opening book.
One understands the horrors of Communism in Russia;
sees many beautiful moments in St. Luke's life;
one is moved by the love of the people for St. Luke
and is amazed at how patient St. Luke was in exiles and
great suffering ~ and how he kept helping and healing
many who came to him with illnesses and needed
surgery.  It is well worth reading.
What are you reading?
Are you Crafting?
Yarn Along with us!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beauty, Sunshine and Thankfulness

a reminder to see one of the most
touching videos I have watched in a long time;
I had blogged about this before but
thought it worth mentioning again.
Watch this beautiful video on how
one man has helped so many children.
I am slowly watching another new video on
Holy Cross Monastery.
I discovered this podcast that I hope to listen to soon.
A sunshine day here.
Laundry is being done;
I cleaned my kitchen;
Organized my temporary computer station
(aka the coffee table).
Done a bit of knitting on a long green scarf.
Wanting to start on another knitting project soon.
We ordered groceries online again to
make things simple.
I am regaining strength but it's been a dozy of a month
and we are taking things one step at a time.
Am thankful for today
and hoping for continued progress.
Would love to hear what you are thankful for
and what you are hoping for...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Singleness and Marriage ~ (a post that was too long for a comment)

Anna asked a very good question
in response to my recent blog post.
I was going to respond in a comment but all of
a sudden blogger said my comment was too big
to be published.
Thus this blog post.
Anna asked what about those of us who are single,
do not want to be a monastic
and seem to have no advice on what to do meanwhile
as it seems Orthodoxy is always giving just two options:
marriage or monasticism. 
I have long lived as a single woman who wanted to be married.
For me this was going on 34 years by the time I
met Mr. Husband and married him when I was 35 years of age.
Mr. Husband waited even longer for me.
So I often thought the same question:
what to do with all of us who are in the reality of
being single with NO ONE on the horizon to marry?
Where do we fit? What do we do?
It can be really lonely,
so many in churches are married and involved in their lives
and the singles often feel left out;
I know, I would have singles from my church in Ottawa
over to my house.
Anyway; that is a side-topic, but thought it was worth
mentioning as it seems that singles can be overlooked.
It's hard and I think more can be done.
But back to Anna's question...
Here's my thoughts that I was writing for the comment
and it is written with Anna in mind,
and I know that she knows a lot about me that I have
blogged about, as
we are both long term blog friends and reader of
the other's blog.
Anna, I do hope you don't mind a blog post about this!
First, Anna - your welcome for the FYI on the Lenten reading.
Oh, I know this struggle for sure.  I was 35 by the time I married...
and I had many struggles in terms of job finding
(and job struggles at times when not job finding!)
and all of that, as you know. It was NOT at all easy.
One thing that the letters that Fr. John said
 were for those who had the wish
 to marry that they should not then
look into the monastery for their calling. 
So I would not worry about having to make
this choice to be a monastic when it is not your desire...
in other words I would not let this trouble you;
it seems that one must really desire
 to be a monastic to become one.
I personally had the blessing to do either and I chose marriage.
  I chose marriage as my path about 4 years or so before
 I even knew of the man who I am now married to.
  And when I was in the process of meeting my
Mr. Husband my spiritual father and I
emailed about marriage and what it is.
  And I talked to my trusted married friends;
I had no illusion that it married life would be easy or
that it would solve all my problems and
so advice I welcome and gathered...
Again, back to you question ~
what do to when there is no Mr. Husband on the horizon ~
 a state I was in for 34 of my 36 years. 
And I know others who are in this state more than 34 years...
I do not know if there is a lot of written material on this -
but it is a real reality for MANY. 
There seems to be a dearth of people that one could even marry
that I myself am married I see as a miracle of God.
As you gathered over the years of being blog friends
 you have seen that I go to monasteries when I can ~ some
are blessed to go to them monthly or even more.
I am not able to go as regularly as this,
but do with what I can do.
Monasteries are for Orthodox Christians regardless
 of what path one wants (i.e. marriage or monasticism).
 Because the one in MI is fairly close
to my parent's house,
 I go there when I am home for Christmas.
  This has been a blessing for me for some years now
~ it's a real place of refuge, blessing, rest and
also a place where I can go with my questions
 on how to live life and what I should do in it. 
I know others who are married who would say the same.
about the monastery they go to.
And I am still going to the monastery
for the same reasons as when I was single, really:
 I still need this place of refuge, prayer and guidance;
it's just that now the guidance is for a different reason
(i.e. how do I be a good wife, etc etc). 
But regardless of one's situation,
if you can find a healthy Orthodox monastery
to visit and retreat at, it helps. 
For me, I got a sense of not being as
alone in the world as I would of had otherwise.
To realize that they rise in prayer hours before I do
in my normal life
has slowly,
over the years,
become a comfort to me.
See this beautiful blog post by Fr. Micheal on this.
I was advised, when I was single, to practice hospitality.
 I see that you are doing this.
You seem very involved in your church
and seeking to be engaged with life as you find it. 
Another thing that is good is spiritual reading ~
this is what I was reminded of when I listened
 to the Fr. Thomas Hopko podcast I just blogged about.
A blessing I had in Ottawa also was a really good spiritual father.
If you can find one, rejoice.
If you have not yet, do not despair,
 God puts us in the situations as He sees fit;
this is the instruction I am seeing in my reading
 and that keeps coming to me from various Orthodox sources
 as I try to figure out my life here in NJ.
I can tell you that marriage is wonderful
and I rejoice in it but I can also tell you
 that my friends who told me this are also right:
marriage will be different than you think and it will be
(if a well chosen good marriage)
harder and better than you think. 
Other than this, I am reminded of what my
Ottawa spiritual father told me
when I was trying to stay in Ottawa amidst
very unstable job situations:
try to have a stable routine for prayer
and do what one needs to do in that day. 
This is something I am still trying to build into my life...
You will see Fr. Micheal talking briefly about this
in his comment to the post I just mentioned of his.
An Abbess, by the way, told me to ask St. Nicholas for a husband.
 I really feel that my Mr. Husband
is a gift from St. Nicholas. 
I also prayed to St. Xenia and
Mr. Husband esp. also to St. John of Shanghai and Sans Francisco.
Marriage is beautiful I would say not
because it frees one from suffering
but that one can learn to suffer
with the other and
seek to help the other in to the Kingdom of God.
  I would also say that one's need for the
 sacrament of confession and
of practicing mutual forgiveness is very important!
BUT how to live when one is single
and only wishing for this - oh, it is HARD.
 I know, I remember, life is often so very hard.
I was really blessed by some special friends I had at
my church in Ottawa;
and by doing book club and having meals at my house with them.
This really helped me;
and when I was really struggling with things I not only
blogged about them but I emailed those in my life
who I knew would pray for me.
(There of course is a limit to what one can blog about).
I guess I suffered enough that I learned how to ask for prayer
and help when I needed it.
Practicing thanksgiving and praise of God;
seeking to have a doable rhythm for prayer, blogging,
visiting monasteries when I could,
going to church,
these were all things I did to make it through.
And Cleo my cat did help too.
But it is not easy.
Life is not easy.
The only other thing I would add is if you or another reader who
is still single does find someone
that one thinks is at least date-able,
involve those you trust in your life and
discernment process.
I have seen the pain in one or two of my friends
who for varied reasons have experienced
separation and/or divorce and I cannot,
even though I am still so young in my marriage,
emphasize enough the importance of involving
your community/family/spiritual father/close friends
who really know and care for you.
I remember once years ago
that one of my other long time blog friends,
telling me that marriage does not always equal
not being lonely.
(I don't remember the exact thing she said
but I always remembered her advice/comment).
It is, I gather, one of the hardest loneliness to
be married and lonely.
I am blessed with a good marriage now
but I am also in a new place and while
I am blessed with new friends,
of course I still have times of struggle and loneliness.
This is part of our modern life.
The key for me to remember when this happens is to
FIGHT self-pity at all costs.
Self-pity is very damaging.
One monastic I know who I talked of a few years
back said that before she was a monastic,
she was happy single.
It seems for either path,
one must be ready for it and contentment seems
to be part of it.
That said,
I rankled every time that someone would say to me
when I was still single
by someone that was now married
oh, I had to learn contentment and was not 
even looking by the time I met my spouse.
I always found myself thinking that
if that would be the case,
I would never get married!
Yet, it's important to remember
because anything can be a distraction
from our peace and as hard as it is to say to
anyone, since I know how hard it can be to be single,
even the wish for marriage must not become one's
only or main goal in life ~ Christ alone must be this goal.
Something I am still learning myself.
I know that Anna's question is one that many
women and men who are Orthodox have.
I most sincerely ask others 
for any thoughts on this;
I could only answer from my experience and current
I am sure that others have much to add to it.

Monday: grey yet looking forward to Spring Sunshine

This was in my reading that I do in the late evening...
I remembered it again this morning and thought,
I must find this and blog it.
No one, not even the Lord Himself, can easily instruct the proud. No one wants to give instructions to him who cries out that he knows everything. "For great is the power of God; by the humble, He is glorified" says the wise Sirach. (The Book of Ecclesiasticus - Sirach 3:19), David also speaks about God saying, "He guides the humble to justice, He teaches the humble His way" (Psalm 25:9). The proud person is he who wants to teach everyone and himself does not want to be taught anything by anyone. The humble is he who does not wish to teach anyone but continually desires to be taught regardless by whom. An empty spike [ear] of grain raises its head above the entire field and the full spike [ear] of grain hangs down with bowed head. O proud man, if only your Guardian Angel would somehow remove the veil from your eyes and show you the endless open sea of all that you do not know, you would kneel before every man before whom you have exhibited pride and kneel before every man whom you have belittled. You would cry out lamenting, "Forgive me, forgive me! I do not know anything!" Often times, to the humble and pious the time when they are about to die is revealed, but the death of the proud comes unexpectedly and without warning. St. Gregory Dialogues speaks of a bishop, Carpus, who daily celebrated the Divine Liturgy and how suddenly someone appeared from the other world and said, "Continue to do what you are doing in serving me and may your legs never grow tired or your hands weakened. On the feast day of the Dormition of the Mother of God, you will come to Me and I will give you your reward in My Heavenly Kingdom, together with all of those for whom you have prayed at the Divine Services." After a year, on the feast of the Dormition, Bishop Carpus celebrated the Divine Liturgy of God, sought forgiveness from his priests, and gave up his soul to God. His face shone like the sun.
(the above is from here with a few editorial changes)

The tulips are over now.
They were very beautiful
but all things fade in time...
I am glad that I made it to our far-away church.
I can tell I am still recovering ~ was very exhausted
by the time we left
but it was a blessing to be there.
Today I got a special encouragement package
in the mail from a good friend,
who I owe a happy email to.
And a card from my Grandma,
reminded me of God's goodness and to keep
my eyes on Christ.
Lent, as I believe I blogged about already,
is as I heard in a recent sermon,
is to help us towards seeing Christ,
to seeing Christ's face.

I am really grateful that my Ukrainian family
is remembering to put my Panakhyda book out
for the Panakhyda in Ottawa.
I loved the presanctified liturgies at my church in Ottawa.
I found myself thinking of my church there
through out the presanctified liturgy that
Mr. Husband and I went to last
But yet it was still special
and I felt comforted by this.
I am trying to get things done around the house ~
cleaning, dishes, paperwork.
Not to mention knitting and reading.
I am really hoping to get into a better routine for my
week days.
What do you do to try to keep on top of things?
What does this Monday find you looking at or towards?

Patient Bearing of afflictions

Mr. Husband and I were given a book recently
by Archimandrite John Krestiankin
of the Pskov-Caves Monastery in Russia
May God Give You Wisdom! 
The Letters of Fr. John Krestiankin
which I have been reading over the last days...
his letters speak of many things...
one of the themes that struck me is the
 speaks of enduring under one's Cross
without murmuring
and with faith and hope in God.
I am enjoying these letters;
I find that I often find letters by various holy people
in the Orthodox church to be very uplifting.
You can read parts of these letters here.
Listening to this podcast by Fr. Thomas Hopko
today while I try to clean our home,
I found the same theme...
salvation will be found through endurance of affections.
Fr. John Krestiankin was, it seems, asked many times by many
people for their life path in the
traditional Orthodox paths of either
marriage or monasticism.
He spoke of both being of a Cross and
of the cutting of one's will.
Fr. Thomas Hopko speaks of bearing with
each other in love and being kind to everyone.
I found myself thinking of many of those who I love
who are married with children
and how there are a lot of every day afflictions that
we endure ~ now a lot of my friends have young children
and that has it's on challenges of exhaustion and not much
if any break from the constant effort that is called for
in the raising of children.
Or others who are in
increasingly difficult work situations
or are in other painful and grief-filled situations.
Or those who are just trying to make their way
through things and find life currently bewildering
and without clarity or focus.
Or those who are suffering from illnesses.
Or those needing work...
Or those who are in more than one of the above categories.
There are many struggles in our life...
This theme continues throughout this year for me ~
those who endure to the end will be saved.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


On Friday my laptop died.

I was using my Smart Phone meanwhile.
Mr. Husband and I had many adventures
in getting the new laptop I am now using.
Great to be back.
We went to presanctified liturgy at our near-to-us church,
and tomorrow hope to go to our farther-away-from-us church
for the first time together in over 1 month.
I made fried potatoes and fried mushrooms for lunch,
another I-am-getting-better-dream-come-true!
Mr. Husband reminds me of a line
he wanted me to blog that is one of our jokes:
I am committed to an institution for life ~
the institution of marriage.
I love my Mr. Husband!
Blessed rest of the weekend everyone!
What have you been up to?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lemon Cranberry Yeast Bread

The bread turned out well!
The recipe originates with one of my good long term friends (L.)
in Michigan as bread machine recipe
for orange-cranberry bread.
I have tweaked it into to a normal bread recipe.
See here for the first time I baked it
as orange cranberry bread.
the first time I baked it
I put the ingredients in as the recipe was given to me,
in this order:

1 1/3 c Water 80 F
2 T veg oil
1 1/2 t salt
2 t grated orange peel
1/4 c sugar
4 c flour
2 t dry active yeast
1 c dried cranberries
I used the zest of one whole orange instead of measuring
2 t grated orange peel.
It made two small loaves and I did
the kneading in my kitchen aid blender
with the dough hook.
I think I added the yeast to the water
but I think I forgot to heat the water...
the yeast did not really 'bloom' and my friend
who had tea with me that day I baked the bread
told me how to bloom my yeast.
The bread I baked that day was
very good and very heavy, dense.
I am sure this is because the yeast did not
bloom as much.
It was good but if one wants a light fluffy bread,
instead of a more heavy one,
then read on to see how
I did the bread this time ~
this time it was a very fluffy light bread.
Here is what I did to have the yeast bloom,
as my local friend so graciously told me:
~ heat up the water until it is warm on the inside of the wrist
(I microwaved it for about a minute)
note: I use spring water for my bread as another friend
from my far-away church told me that spring water
is better to have the yeast live/bloom
~ add 1/2 tsp sugar
~ then add the yeast and stir
~ cover it to keep it warm and it will expand
Note: I used my 8 cup Pyrex bowl for this as my friend said 
that the yeast can expand a lot and a large bowl is good;
my yeast did not grow that much but it may matter
to keep it in a bowl of this size for growth and heat.

This is what I looked like before I covered it.

I covered it for quite a while.
I prepared the water, sugar and yeast while
I was making lunch and then we ate lunch
before I got back to the bread.

I did a lot of the bread preparation,
leaving the warm yeast water with sugar
covered and waiting.
Mr. Husband is the genius of this recipe
as we had two lemons that I was originally going to
cook/bake with back in earlier February.
He suggested I use the zest in the bread
and make fresh lemon-aid with the rest.
We plan on having the lemon-aid with are dinner;
the zest lemons are waiting in the fridge meanwhile.

So I used the zest of 2 lemons.
note: I plan on putting the recipe in it's entirety at the bottom
for ease of reproducing it if desired
I LOVE my micro-plane zester that I was given
as a bridal shower gift.
The ease of zesting is a wonderful thing.

Here's what my yeast looked
right before I put it in;
It was actually more puffy before this but
this is how it was in the end.
It did grow this time for sure.

Then I added all the ingredients in order
other than the water and yeast mixture
that I added last.
I then realize I had put it in the wrong bowl as
I planned on using the mixer to knead it.
So I moved it all over and then my mixer did the rest.
Or so I thought.
The dough was very different than the last time!
Very moist
(oh, I added up adding a little too much water, so it was
closer to 1 cup and more than 1/3 cup more spring water).
I had learned that bread is ready to be kneaded
when it does not stick to one's fingers.
So I was grateful for the mixer for the initial go,
as it got the cranberries and all well mixed.
But then I added more flour until it was
not glomming on to my hands
and sticking there.
I added about 1 cup more flour in the end,
As I would turn the bread over in my hands,
rolling it into a round or two rounds
and finding it still sticky,
I would add more flour.
Part of baking bread is getting a literal feel for it
in one's hands and knowing when the bread is ready to
be left alone and covered for the first rise.
I let it rise for 1 hour.

The first rise went well.
Last time it barely rose at all,
this was definitely different,
with the bread clearly rising.

I then punched it down;
I may of added a touch more flour at this time;
basically if it seems sticky again,
I will at least dust it with flour until
it is less wet/sticky.
Then I let it rise again, covered of course.
Second rise time was 30 minutes. 

It ended up being closer to 40 or a bit more minutes
to rise
as I was by this time
preheating the oven to 425 degrees,
with an older Pyrex casserole dish full of water
on the bottom rack,
the pizza stone on the top rack.
The oven was to preheat for 30 minutes at 425.
Question to more experienced bakers:
when it says preheat for 30 minutes at 425 do you 
wait the 10 minutes for it to get to that degree or do 
you consider that part of the 30 minute preheat?
I waited the 10 minutes or so was closer to
30 minutes at 425 degrees preheat.

Then the two bread loaves were ready.
I FORGOT again to slice the bread on top
before putting it in!
I have put a note in my recipe book to remind myself...
I have not yet gotten the hang of putting the bread,
which by then is on a parchment paper
and carried precariously to the heated oven
to be put on the pizza stone.
There must be a better way than this:
suggestions welcomed please and thank you! :)
I put the bread in for 30 minutes.
This bread clearly needs 45 minutes:
after 30 minutes the bread was not yet fully baked,
the bottoms being very wet and soft.
15 minutes later the bottom of the bread was
browned and it had the nice
hollow sound when tapped on it.

I must remember to cut the tops of the bread
so that the above does not happen!
Kind of funny,
the top of this one was like a lopsided mushroom top.
I added sugar to the top of both loaves before baking.
Next time I will use a bit less sugar.
And split the tops before baking.
For non-Lenten times
I brush the bread with olive oil
to make it more golden.
This time I used vegetable oil.
The darker of the two loaves went
very dark when I did this.

Here's the other loaf (above).
You can see the sugar on top...

The darker bread,
it cut well and is very soft and fluffy,
at least on the first cut,
just hours after it was baked.

It turned out well!
A much softer bread.
I think I like the bread both ways.
I told Mr. Husband that I am going to continue
experimenting with how to do the yeast
to see what will happen to it and the bread.
He understood that the sugar was used to feed the yeast.
He commented that I am being a bit of a scientist,
doing bread baking experiments. :)

It's a good bread!
Today I am going to have some toasted
to see how it is this way.
Okay so here is the recipe short and simple
for the
lemon cranberry yeast bread:

1 1/3 c Water - warmed (I used spring water)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
zest of two lemons
1/4 cup sugar
4 cup flour
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 cup dried cranberries

Step 1:
Warm the spring water until it is not felt on inside of wrist.
Stir in sugar and then yeast.
Cover to keep warm and leave it for a while.
Step 2:
Zest the lemon/s (or orange if you want that instead)
Step 3:
Add all ingredients together,
with the water and yeast mixture added last.
Step 4:
Mix in mixer with dough hook or mix by hand
Step 5:
If still sticky, add flour until it is no longer sticky.
An additional cup of flour is fine to add, but add it slowly to be sure
you do not over-flour the bread.
Knead until ready in two rounds.
Step 6:
Cover with towel and let it rise for 1 hour.
Step 7:
Preheat oven for 30 minutes,
putting oven-safe casserole bowl or pan with water
on bottom rack,
and have pizza stone (if using one) in there.
Note: one of my bread baking friends told me that 
she keeps her pizza stone/s in the oven at all times 
as it helps the oven have more even heat.
Step 8:
Punch down and reform the two loaves (which I also call rounds)
and let rise for 30 more minutes.
Step 9:
 Slice the tops of dough with a sharp knife
and put in preheated oven.
Leave in for 45 minutes.
Step 10:
Take out, see if it sounds hollow when tapped and
the bottom is done, dry, golden.
Step 11: (optional)
Add oil to top immediately to make golden.
And then you have lovely
lemon-cranberry yeast bread
to enjoy, as well as a
 wonderful smelling kitchen!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

To read...

I was telling Mr. Husband about this
great story of humility
of Francis Schaeffer and he said
I should post it.
He is right and here it is.
My sister's blog post about
how she worries about her children in Romania 
who have no parents really struck me.
This on Great Lent and Annunciation
(which is soon on the new calendar)
was beautifully encouraging.

More Steps...

I am loving the sunlight.
Every day it is sunny is such a beautiful day.

I am loving that my little rose bush/plant
(that was grown in Canada)
is still alive ~ some of it is not ~ but that there is
still green is a wonderful thing.

Loving the purple mum.

St. Seraphim...

It is a challenge to shot pictures after
10 AM or so in full sunlight
so I was pleased to get this one of my
kitchen area...
It is one of my favourite places...
I told Mr. Husband how good it felt to be back in
the kitchen again...

I trimmed these tulips and changed to
a taller vase.
Much better.

And! YAY!
I set a proper table for lunch for the
first time in about 1 month + 1 week.

I made the salad.

The lentil soup is from
one of my far-away church families
and we are really appreciating it.
I am finally baking bread again!
I am doing the orange cranberry bread
but with lemon zest instead
so this one will be a
lemon cranberry yeast bread.
Mr. Husband is working from home today
and when he came in to the kitchen/dining area
he could smell the lemon zest...
a very wonderful smell.
I let it rise for 1 hour and took a nap
during part of this time.
I can tell it is going to take a while to be back
to full speed again,
but as everyone who reads this blog consistently
I've been wanting to bake bread for quite sometime.
So this is a wonderful thing.
I hope to report back today or tomorrow
on how the bread turns out...
Being the first week of Lent,
it is a busier time
but also a time for new beginnings.
I heard a wonderful sermon about how Lent
is a journey to meet Christ,
to look in His Face.
I pray that we can see our Lord's face
more clearly this Lent
and learn to keep our eyes
on His Most Beautiful Face.