My Hollywood Homemaking Education

     I had to laugh at myself yesterday.  I had decided to try my hand at making some baguettes instead of my usual large loaves of french bread.  I’d done some research on line and discovered that my normal french bread recipe was all that I needed, the difference was simply in how the bread was shaped and how it was baked.

     I normally bake my french bread in Pyrex bread tubes.  Seriously, Pyrex made a big mistake in discontinuing these things.  They make beautiful, evenly baked french loaves.  However, the loaves are large loaves, and I wanted to experiment with baguettes.  Instead of two loaves, I divided my dough into fifths, and hand shaped the baguettes.  I sprayed my baking sheets with Pam, sprinkled them with cornmeal, and placed the baguettes on that to rise.  I baked these smaller loaves at 450° for 20 minutes in the center of my oven with a bowl of water on the lower oven shelf.  They turned out nicely, with a nice, crispy crust and a soft, even textured middle.  Next time I will take a bit more care in shaping them. 

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     Here’s the part where I giggled.  Have you all seen Ratatouille?  Cute movie.  Anyway, the female chef in the movie, Collette, explains to the young, novice chef , Linguine, the best way to tell a really good loaf of bread.  She demonstrates by picking up a loaf and listening to it as she gently squeezes it.  My baguettes sounded just like that!!!!  I made Bruchetta last night using one of the baguettes.  It was incredibly good, despite the fact that I had to use store bought, winter tomatoes.  I can’t wait until I can make this with fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes this summer.

     Years and years ago, while watching Places in the Heart, I noticed the technique that Sally Field used to transfer her rolled out pie dough to the pie plate.  Before I saw that movie, I always struggled with trying to get the rolled out pie crust from the board to the pie pan with tearing it.  I tried gently folding and unfolding.  I tried just moving quickly like my mom always did.  Nothing worked.  But Sally Field gently rolled her rolled out crust around her rolling pin, and then gently unrolled it over the pie pan.  Voila!  I’ve done it that way, with almost 100% success ever since.  If Sally Field can teach me how to transfer my pie dough, I can certainly learn how to tell really great bread from Collette!  Thus, my Hollywood homemaking education continues!

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     Corin and the grandbabies came today.  It was not our normal Thursday by any stretch, but I certainly enjoyed having them here.  In fact, Corin and Rob are attending a meeting this evening, so she left all four grandbabies with me.  Bliss!!  With Dani gone, I am, of course, needing to keep up with as much of her work as my own.  She carries a good piece of the work load around here, for which I am very grateful.  However, running my home is my responsibility, and I was running way behind today.  When Corin arrived, I was just getting the cookie dough into the fridge to chill, and Aaron was stirring my still-simmering marinara sauce for lunch. 

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     I sat and chatted with Corin while I ate my lunch and she fed the baby her lunch.  I spent the next hour baking cookies.  Dani-girl has nothin’ on me!   Corin stood on the opposite side of my oven from me, keeping me company while I baked.  That was nice.  Familiar.  Like old times.  Dani doesn’t really care for these cookies, so she rarely makes them.  They are, however, one of my favorites!  I had intended to freeze about half of the dough, but decided, as I was working, to bake the entire double batch and then freeze a good portion of the already baked cookies.  A dozen or so to munch with my treasures, three dozen  for the cookie jar, and five dozen for the freezer. 

     I’ve added a few things to my freezer stash this week.  Four of the five baguettes from yesterday were wrapped and put into the freezer.  We had Ham it Up Spaghetti for dinner last night.  I had forgotten what a large dish this makes up.  We ate less than half for dinner.  I used a spatula and carefully transferred most of the left over casserole into an 8 x 8 baking dish, covered it, labeled it and put it in the freezer.  I sprayed my baking dish with Pam before adding the casserole.

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     I also made a large recipe of marinara sauce at lunch time today.  I served it over cheese tortellini for lunch, and I put the rest into zip lock bags, two cups per bag, and put those into the freezer as well.  I took the time, of course, to label the bags before filling them with the contents (marinara sauce), the amount (2 cups) and today’s date.  The zip lock bags lie flat in the freezer and take up very little space that way.  Be sure to use bags labeled for freezer use.  The cookies I made today are quite fragile, so I put those into a Tupperware freezer container, labeled it, and froze those as well.  With very little extra work and/or effort during the last two days I now have the following in my freezer:

  • Four french baguettes
  • One fully prepared casserole that will feed my family at least once that only needs to be thawed and heated
  • Three bags of marinara sauce, two cups/bag.  Two cups is plenty for most of my recipes, but I can easily pull out two if I need them for a larger recipe
  • Five dozen Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookies (my mom’s recipe, shared below)

     One more note about building your freezer stash, you need to remember to incorporate the items from the freezer into your menu plan before it is past its prime.  I have some goals with my freezer stash that I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks as well.  Don’t forget howiesgal’s great new blog Filling My Freezer for all sorts of great freezer cooking tips and recipes.

     Oh, and that girl tagged me, too.  I’m not very good at following through with these things……….but here goes.  I am to pose a question to you all, using the “would you rather” comparison.  Here it is:  Would you rather go to a live theater performance or watch a movie at home?   Me?  I love attending the theater, musical theater in particular.  Years ago my husband took me to a performance of Evita, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Someday I would dearly LOVE to see Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis live.  However, I really and truly would rather watch a movie at home.  I’d love to hear what you all “would rather” in the comments!   I can’t pass along the tag, there are just too many of you I’d like to tag. If you want to play along, collect the rules from howiesgal’s link and go for it!  Be sure to let me know if you do!

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     After Corin left, I sat outside while my treasures played.  Little Miss Fiesty played sweetly by herself and the boys, those BOYZ, played some sort of rendition of Lord of the Rings involving trolls and orks and I don’t know what else.  By and by they asked to come in at watch a movie and I said, “yes”.  They were all tired and it was getting cool out.  We collected everything up, put the outside toys in their container in the garage, and I picked up a wee pair of shoes left next to my front door. 


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     As I fixed dinner tonight, my youngest treasure kept me company while I cooked.  I guess the smell of Grandma’s cooking made her hungry. 






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     Uncle Aaron fed her while I finished dinner.  She smiled at him and chattered to him the whole time!  Very cute.  Good Daddy training for Aaron, too.  

     Dani came home well into the evening.  I sure miss her when she’s gone.  The grandbabies were already tucked into bed when she came in, but she was able to visit a bit with Corin and Rob when they returned to pick up their little ones.  She and I will have plenty of time to catch up when we do the mega shop tomorrow. 

     I’ve had quite a few questions lately about various aspects of homeschooling, but I just didn’t have time to try to answer those today.  Soon. 

     I have two recipes to share tonight, and those should be just below this post.  Scroll down for the recipe for Coke Steak and Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookies (links should also be in the drop down menu boxes in the “recipes” section of the left side bar).

     It was another blessedly full day in my home.  Having the grandbabies here for so long was a special treat for me, and I didn’t mind a bit that I was doing dishes and cleaning my kitchen quite late tonight (after tucking them all into bed.).  I’ll sleep well tonight!   

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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3 comments to My Hollywood Homemaking Education

  • Oh that boy feeding Pixie Girl! :love:  You know, she’s had her eye on him for 2 weeks now.  I think she’s trying to figure out how to wrap him around her little finger!

    Thank you again for watching them!  They had a blast!  I think it was probably a very VERY good thing that Little Miss Feisty played by herself :rolleyes:

  • It all looks so good. I would love to go to your house for dinner sometime!

  • I am tired just reading about your day! Yes, I am sure you slept like a baby yourself! Your cookies look yummy (I am off cookies for a while), I gave my freezer to my son and DIL as their freezer on their frig was itty bitty and could not hold more than a few items along with the ice cube trays.

    I have my big shop today too…what am I talking about..every week I have a big shop. Now if I still had that freezer……..