One week deep into resolutions, I have come up with some seriously wonderful conclusions.  Or beginnings.  Too early to determine I suppose.  One week ago I began a nightly meditation.  Short and sweet, something doable; Ten minutes.  But, I found I have a “busy” mind and ten minutes soon turned into twenty.  Twenty minutes of no obligations; Of clouds of thoughts passing through, in and out, quickly at first and then slowing down until I can deliberately let them leave, no judgements. Just gone.

I have discovered a bit of resistance, I have uncovered a bit of faith.  And alas, I feel a bit of relief.  Mindfulness is such a settling feeling.  Impossibly short-lived in my life, but one I hope to bring forth a bit more often in the year to come.  My life is worth this at least.  Everyone’s is in fact.  Mindfulness is euphoric.

I envision it as living precisely as a child does.

I remember eating Oreos as a little girl.  Each one required several minutes.  I would carefully unscrew them so as not to ruin the perfect circle, then scrape the frosting off with my two front teeth until there was nothing left but tiny stripes.  Then I would lick the frosting side clean.  Finally I would take the first half and tiny bite by tiny bit I would suck all the flavor out, feeling the chocolate just melt away and swallow.  This whole process took quite a bit of time I am sure!

Oh, how things have changed.  First of all, I know better than to eat the hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup laden product most likely strewn with gmo’s.  But luckily, with a decent replacement (Newman’s Own makes a pretty good knock off, that while isn’t  exactly healthy, it does hit the spot!), but also I can down a whole slew of them without even a thought about it.  Oh, how true.  How very true and very sad.  They days when one Oreo was all that existed in the world have passed, and I would like to reclaim them.  Not for my waistlines sake (exactly), but for equanimity’s sake.

There is just this moment.  Your future is dictated by it.  Your past is fast asleep.  Initially I began my resolution to find a piece of true calm in my day.  To give me an evening ritual to wind down and find solace in my own mind.  Already I see it as much more.  It is a deliberate pause where I am set on clearing my mind of unnecessary clutter that interferes with any mindfulness.  Of course I will not get to worked up about my progress, because that would not be very equanimous of me now would it!

I am more lively.  I am more creative.  I am more present; For my husband, for my children, for this life.   


So try it out!  Your inner buddha is waiting for you I hear.  We just have to stop interfering. 

ps- I have run out of space on this blog!  So until I can figure out what to do next, good-bye!  Hopefully not for long, I will miss this space dearly!

#52 Artos (A Greek Celebration Bread) resolution complete.

52 weeks ago I made a resolution about bread.  A simple task.  One new variety per week, made by my own two hands.  The task was not all together daunting, but mostly exciting.  I envisioned myself an expert by the time December rolled around.  My kitchen would be brimming with tools that could equip the finest of bakeries.  Never again would the cellophane wrapped store-bought loaf have to enter my bread box.

While it is rare to have to pick up a soft and squishy loaf (as my boys have deemed them), it does happen.  I am not by any stretch of the imagination an expert.  I believe myself to be only at the beginning.  I have picked up a baking stone, a paint scraper (the perfect tool for dough) and a sturdy piece of linen over the past year, but that is all that I can claim for tools on my bread baking expeditions.

More than a resolution, I have found love.  I have found comfort in the rhythm of baking.  I have lived by the rising and falling of bubbly dough.  Cookbooks have become my bibles.  Tasting, tearing, dipping, and smearing… these actions spell out my days.  Bread has given me something to focus on.  To count on.

The unpredictability of a new move, knowing not a soul for miles and miles, the solitude of a home nestled in the swamp lands of an isolated area, the chaos and sometimes exasperation of mothering two small boys; these things can add up to a lonesome life.  I promise you.

But somehow this whole bread thing sparked something inside me.


A resolution can bring on hope.  It doesn’t have to tell you no.  It doesn’t have to dictate your every mouthful, or every word.  All I did was keep at it, and I found myself a new woman.  This may sound humourous, it does to me!  Bread cannot change a person.  But it did.

It connected me to the past.  Women and men through out all of history made these very loaves.  They cultured yeasts and experimented with temperatures.  They shared meals, and delivered loaves to neighbors.

It gave me satisfaction that I was doing something that very well could affect my family for good.  Never again will sunbeam feel like the epitome of perfection in the world of bread to that giant of a man who I share a name with.  Yes, he may still prefer this for a bologna sandwich here and there, but I know in my heart of hearts the crusty exterior, the chewy interior and oh the fresh-baked smell that fills our house has won him over.

My boys.  My boys expect the best.  My youngest first word, shortly after the obligatory mama and dada was of course, “bread”.  I watch them in their tiny kitchen kneading smooshing, sharing, and enjoying that very thing their mama spends time on.  Bread.

It is contagious.  It is habitual.  It is the bread of life.  My bread of life.

I don’t know what the future holds for this years resolution for me, but do yourself a favor; make one this year.  And make it good.  Point your life in a direction of joy.  Fall in love.  Make it tangible.


Artos (A Celebration Bread)

1 cup barm (a starter)

3.5 cups bread flour

1 tsp salt

1.5 tsp. yeast

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp minced orange and lemon zest

1 tsp almond extract

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup of whole milk

Stir together dry ingredients.  Mix in the wet.  Knead for ten long minutes until it passes the window pane test.  (You will be able to stretch a piece until you can see through it but it does not tear)  Place in an oiled bowl to proof until doubled.

Split into one large chunk and form a boule (a very tight ball) and let rise until doubled.  The smaller piece should be placed in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic.  Preheat the oven to 350.

Roll out your small piece forming the shapes in the pictures below.  Place in the oven onto your stone or a sheet tray will do fine.  When it registers 190 or if your brave, it sounds hollow it is done.  About 40 minutes.

As soon as it comes out glaze with a heated up mixture of 2 tbsp of the following, honey sugar and water, and 1 tsp of orange extract.  Sprinkle on sesame seeds if desired.


bread #11 Finnish Pulla

Not many loaves I have made as of yet can hold a candle to the beauty and sweetness of this loaf.  Surprisingly simple and quick (in the world of yeast breads) I was pleasantly surprised.  I chose this beauty for just that.  The look.  I wanted something to put on the table that would have some presence.

From Baking with Julia… the best book in the world. 

1 cup milk scalded

1 tbs. yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. cardamom

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs beaten

5 cups flour

1 stick butter melted

egg wash (egg and milk beaten)

sliced almonds and pearl sugar for topping (although I crushed mine and used regular sugar and it was still successful)

Proof your years in the warm water.  whisk in the scalded milk (make sure its cooled a little first or you will cook your eggs), sugar, salt, eggs, and crushed cardamom.  Julia recommends using your coffee grinder and enjoying this spicy addition in your next pot.  Or you can use a mortar and pestle.  Or, like me just chop.

Using a wooden spoon stir in 2 cups of flour.  Beat in the butter.  Add 1/2 cup of flour at a  time until it is stiff but not dry.  This part was confusing for me, but when the time comes you will know what I mean.  Let it rest for fifteen minutes.  Turn onto floured surface and knead for ten minutes, until its satiny and not sticky.  Let it rise in a greased covered bowl for about one hour until its doubled in bulk.  Divide the dough into three equal slices and roll each one out into a 36 inch log.  This is where I rushed and you should note it is best to take time here and make the logs as even as possible, hence my uneven wreath.  You see I had a helper….

Braid them and turn them into a neat circle.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet (preferably without edges).  You can add a bow if your wreath needs a little help where you connect the ends.  Let it rise once more for about 45 minutes with just a kitchen towel tossed over the top.  This should be about forty-five minutes.  After, brush on your egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and almonds.

Finally, bake it at 375 in the center rack for 25 minutes until toasty brown.  Place on your table for an eminently delicious dessert or a perfect partner to tea or coffee.

bread #10 banana

I swear I made this on time.  My new years resolution is still going strong.  But, this will be short and sweet due to lack of hours in the day (well hours in the day that my boys are asleep while I am awake).

Mariah’s sore dove healthy banana bread

Cream 5 tbs. butter and 3/4 cup agave nectar don’t worry if you cant get out all the lumps.  Then add in two eggs  and whisk until somewhat smooth.  Stir in 2 finely grated carrots and 3 mashed overripe bananas.  Stir in sifted 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour sifted with 2 tsp. baking soda.  Put into a greased bread pan and bake for about an hour at 350.  You might find you need to cover it with foil at the end if it gets too brown.  EAT!

home is where the yard is

Oh my… what a hiatus!  And what a fantastic one at that.  The move…the move…. oh what a move it was.  We feel like we have found all four corner peices of the jigsaw here in our new cozy down home spot on this earth.  It just breathes family.  I can tell you the honest truth when I saw the ad on craigslist;  I had to catch my breath and my fingers dialed my honey’s familiar work phone number before I even realized what I was doing.  I just knew it was going to be right.  What a wild month it has been.  Wild but so sweet and satisifying.

Saying good-bye is never easy.  The thought of the upcoming loneliness in the interim of meeting new friends daunted me once again.  I knew the challenge of moving with two wee ones would be a stress of its own, but i knew the benefits would be so far out weighing the tribulations there was no sense in even dwelling.

But, alas we are here.  Our belongings are finding there way to that place where they will reside for the time being.   Our bare feet have touched sandy shores, muddy waters, and weedy backyards and loved every single bit of it.  We are learning of the treacherous sweet gum ball, Miles can fully pronounce “spanish moss” and announces it every chance he gets (which is quite often in our neck of the woods), and Rowan…to see the delight in that little baby boy’s face for the hours spent out doors.  There are woods to be explored, so many varieties of birds to be spotted, stars to gaze upon and oh my goodness so so much more.  We are so very lucky to be residing in this glorious house, with this giant yard that has the capability to entertain us indefinitely.

I also must mention- I have a craft room.  Do you hear me?!  Because I can not contain my enthusiasm.  An entire craft room.  Oh the crafting glory!  Well, it might double as a guest room, and also contains the computer for the occasional movie viewing pleasure of my (sort of obsessed with movies after many nights in hotels) two year old…and his parents too.  But that is completely besides the point,  the desicion has been made, the room has been officially deemed The Craft Room.  I am sure there will be many many photos and exciting adventures to report on from this station in our household.  I just can not wait to see..

And finally, I have to say I am so completely excited for my new years resolution this year.  Over the years I have made a few and believe it or not, it turns out I am really truly good at keeping them!  So, with that being said, this year will be the year of 52 breads.  Yes, that is right, one new bread each week all year long.  Starting tomorrow!

Even Mo is beside herself.