Happiness is a Great Loaf of Bread

I know, I’m down to the basics, but given where my country is right now, the staff of life is just what we need. (Well, that and a new government.) My local grocery has brioche and challah, and I have butter and cheese and wine, so I’m pretty damn happy right now. Also I have a new potato recipe thanks to Ann.

What made you happy this week?

11+

37 thoughts on “Happiness is a Great Loaf of Bread

  1. waking up early to have time by myself. A long drive out in the country to visit a pumpkin patch on a beautiful fall day. The kids got to run around on giant hay bales with some friends and they had a ball.
    Having my heated mattress pad again.
    My very silly fanfiction idea of a mashup between a Hallmark Christmas movie and the X-Men. I will probably never write it, but every time I think of it, I smile.

    17+
    1. Hallmark and X-men mashup would be awesome, I stopped watching X-men because they started to lack that feel good factor. I happily watch Christmas movies just for the cosy feels

      13+
  2. When I went to buy plants last week, I bought a brick of 500g local dairy butter from a farm shop/co-op. My bread has been a bit more tasty since.

    Here we get a huge range of foods so breads like baguette, ciabatta, naan, tortilla, uJeqe are all regular food items. And in the cities that I’ve lived in or visited, people want to try many things.

    While we’re talking bread – do not say naan-bread because it just means bread-bread.

    13+
    1. I like naan with mozzarella, tomatoes, and mushrooms with oregano sprinkled on top. Yes, I know that’s a pizza. It’s just so good on naan.

      13+
      1. When I worked at an Italian restaurant we used to do that with focaccia and cut it into small squares to put out in the bar during Happy Hour. A different topping every day.

        9+
    2. I had never heard of ujeqe, but I’ve googled and now I want to try it. I’m always up for carbs. Here in DC you can find almost everything, but strangely the one thing that is very difficult to find is. . . crumpets.I can get them on Amazon if I’m desperate. My husband has been know to make them from scratch sometimes, but he also grumbles about what a pain it is.

      8+
  3. Saturday, my three sisters and I met in a park to celebrate our all birthdays in 2020. We took lawn chairs and sat in an appropriately-distanced circle. We all brought one cupcake each and toasted our birthdays for the year. Fortunately, the weather was wonderful and we laughed and talked and had a great time

    17+
  4. Happiness yesterday was visiting the brand new Lego store that opened in a shopping center near me. I hadn’t been to a mall since before the pandemic, and found this one strangely empty, with many storefronts boarded up with decorated drywall and very few shoppers, but the Lego store was bright and colorful and had lots and lots of very fine Lego options to choose from.

    Mike got me secret Xmas presents and we both bought some of the new Harry Potter collectible minifigures which are astonishingly detailed and really well done. The Weasley twins with magical joke display case and map of Hogwarts; Ginny Weasley with chocolate ice cream scoops in a martini glass; Ron and Hermione holding mugs of butterbeer; Dumbledore in festive robes with a beautiful phoenix. And Moaning Myrtle for the first time, with a grumpy face and a tearful one.

    It’s retail happiness but it’s very satisfying. 🙂

    11+
  5. I had the week off work, and a dear friend came and walked with me twice. We went to a farm outlet and bought olive bread (it was great). I made two kinds of candy and chocolate chip cookie bars. I read things. I got three annoying tasks done, which I would NOT have accomplished if I had been away on vacation. Today is rainy so I have an excuse not to walk, but just stay home, light a fire, and eat up left over goodies and read a brand new book. An oasis of calm.

    12+
  6. It has been over a year since we lost Aubrey and Lindy no longer goes mewing upstairs for him, and has become more playful so we decided to get a pair of kittens to keep him company (Lindy [Lindoro really] is very mild mannered and does not fight with other cats that hang around our yard so it seems a safe bet). Also we figure this is probably the last kittens we will have. By time we are ready for new cats again we will be adopting older cats. All this leads up to dinner last night and sitting and sipping wine and going through Sir Dennis’s A Night at the Opera and looking up names of various characters and laughing: no names with ess or zee sounds in them so the kittens don’t think we are hissing at them when we call was our only constraint. First time in forever we had a dinner conversation that wasn’t full of angst about politics. It would have sounded boring to anyone listening. But it was fun and I can’t wait for boring news again.

    21+
  7. Had a good session clearing the allotment with my friend Pam, and worked out which bit is now hers until she gets her own plot – hopefully next year. And this morning, at her request, I took her for a walk which turned into a three-hour scramble through brambles and fallen trees, but we won through to some ruins which she liked as much as me, so we’re planning to go back (the short, clear way next time) and have a photography/sketching session there.

    I’m getting clearer on my garden plans, which is exciting. And I’m getting four short books from Penguin’s new Green Ideas series to proof-read, so am glad I said no to the depressing novella.

    15+
    1. I love how you plan your garden, Jane. In the fall I think about the plants purchased because I liked how pretty or textured they were and didn’t work as opposed to plan ahead a garden like my aunt Dot. So…a master plan is in the works.

      7+
  8. Sadly challah and brioche is not for the granddaughters, made with butter and eggs. Not vegan. Youngest granddaughter loves butter and cream and eggs. Still rebellious about the cream and butter and eggs. Mommy and daddy are softening about the butter. Fresh bread straight from the oven slathered with butter. Hmmm.

    8+
  9. Not much. I am generally not greatly happy or unhappy right now — just stressed out of my mind by the politics.

    The things that did make me feel good this week: 1) I applied for four (FOUR) jobs last week, and 2) this is the week the housekeeper cleans the rooms at my end of the house (today, actually). Clean bathroom! Dusted and vacuumed! (There are really a lot of perks to living in this house. I lucked out.)

    15+
  10. The last week and a half have included 2+ days without power and 8 days without internet/tv/phone. Daughter and grand-cat were visiting during those disturbances before returning to their home yesterday. I’m happy to have running water again and to check out Arghink without figuring out how close I am to using up all my cellphone data.

    Last week we got flu shots. Today we went to town hall and voted early. At this point I was worried that something would happen that would prevent me from voting on Election Day. Now I’m happy, yes.

    10+
  11. I made bread! The most ridiculously easy recipe in the world. Perfect with soup.
    Dutch Oven Bread
    3 C flour (any kind)
    1/2 t yeast*
    1 1/2 t salt *
    1 1/2 C hot (not boiling) water
    Whisk (not stir – it needs the air) dry ingredients together, add water and mix. Dough will be “shaggy.”
    Cover with Saran. Let it sit anywhere on the counter (Doesn’t have to be a warm spot) for around 3 hours, or more. Whatever. Go about your day.
    LATER:
    Generously flour a surface. Turn dough out. Dust with flour. Using a scraper, or a flat, sturdy spatula, fold the dough several times until you have a nice floured ball. Don’t overdo it- 5 or 6 times is about enough.
    Put the dough on parchment paper in a clean bowl and cover with a towel.
    Put a covered Dutch oven into your oven and heat to 450 degrees. (Use a thermometer to ensure your oven really is that hot. Mine thinks it is at 450 after 10 minutes, but according to the thermometer it takes a lot longer- 20-30 minutes.)
    CAREFULLY REMOVE THE DUTCH OVEN. TAKE OFF THE LID CAREFULLY. HOT!!!
    Lift the parchment paper and bread Into the Dutch oven and cover (HOT LID!!!) and place in oven for 30 minutes.
    Remove (HOT!) pot and take off the (HOT!!) lid. Remove the parchment paper. Put lidless pot and bread back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes. This will brown the crust and make it crunchy.
    Cool on wire rack before cutting into it. Try, anyhow.

    **Note: salt and yeast in my recipe are adjusted for our mile-high altitude. It still worked for me with The original measurements of 1/4 t. Yeast and 1/2 t. Salt, but I thought it was a little flat and needed more salt. So, you could try the 1/4 t. yeast and maybe 1 t. salt? The extra salt keeps it from rising too much at altitude.

    10+
    1. I know a bunch of people who swear by this recipe. I think it might be from Jenny Can Cook (!):
      https://www.jennycancook.com/recipes/faster-no-knead-bread/

      She has all kinds of recipes using this technique with whole wheat or rye or other flours, and she mentions in the FAQ what other utensils bakers have used when they didn’t have a Dutch oven, or how you can substitute instant yeast for the regular dried. I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but it’s been too hot. When it stops being 450 degrees outside, I’ll give it a whirl.

      7+
  12. I’m dog-sitting the neighbors’ little Chihuahua/Yorkie mix for several days. This means I’ve been alone inside for the first time in months. For hours.
    I ate some pizza, drank some wine, and ate some ice cream, and watched Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. Which with breaks came to about six hours of movie time. It was so great.
    Then I went to bed and the little dog got up and snuggled under the covers. I’ve never had an under-the-covers pet. Very cozy, and she slept like a log.

    14+
  13. Went to my coousin’s for dinner. She’s feeling very ‘house-bond’ during the pandemic and Covid cases are on the increase in my county. It was nice to get out and visit.

    Tomorrow I’ll drop off my ballot at the election bureau and I can relax about voting,

    9+
  14. I went to the doctor on Friday to see if the cut on my big toe is becoming infected. The jury is still out on that one, but she gave me some more specific care instructions and we will see how it looks on Monday. I feel more hopeful, but I still can’t walk very far or fast.

    On Saturday I took a bag full of presents out to the suburbs so that my friends can take them out to their grandchildren on the farm. They have a nice backyard so we were able to sit outside and talk for a little while before I had to turn around and ride the bus home. I was very tempted to stop at the fried chicken carry-out on my way home, but managed to resist the temptation, which made me briefly proud of myself. I also managed to read a little on one of the buses going home so the fact that I had to take the slowest form of transport didn’t bother me as much as I was worried it would. Now the only question is whether the critter slippers I bought the twins are the right size. I’m pretty sure that Middle Brother will like the book I got him.
    I was feeling guilty that I didn’t try to go to my sister’s house since I was only a mile and a half away, but when I talked to her this morning, she told me that it wouldn’t have been a great time for them then. She also told me that despite living in an area where the transmission rate for Covid-19 is spiking, her youngest daughter and son in law are fine. I had been worrying about them every time I heard the news about their state.

    Another source of satisfaction was loading up on overseas postage and Get Well cards to send to my sister-in-law in France. She just got home after a hip replacement and I’m sure could use some distraction during the recovery and PT. Unfortunately, the selection of cards was still at a post-shutdown level, but I imagine that even dull mail is better than bad news or bills.

    Things are not going very well on the weight and healthy eating front, but since this is a new week, it is a perfect time to start over. As the book I just finished kept saying, “You just start over again. Start now.”
    Maybe I should put up a Start Now sign on my refrigerator and the place where I hide my chocolate.

    11+
  15. I’ve had a pretty shitty week, pretty much due to work. But I saw my crush again today, so that was good, and I got hugged again twice, which I needed. I don’t know when I will see him again, but I ordered stuff at his store, so I guess whenever that comes in.

    (Incidentally, they had ANOTHER fire scare yesterday at the place they’re staying at, but at least it didn’t burn down.)

    I did some play rehearsing this week (really gets going next week) and did another reading with friends, and I’m watching an online play or two this weekend. And the weather is nice when I have been out in it for a bit. Though only a bit since my neighbors are either chatting, coughing or smoking outside…sigh.

    7+
  16. I’m still very happy about our election results. I guess the euphoria will wear off sometime but it hasn’t yet.

    Watching the probability of a Biden win on 538 makes me happy too. Hopefully all will be well in a few weeks.

    9+
  17. “Happiness is a Great Loaf of Bread”?

    I would never lie and claim that I haven’t enjoyed an occasional roll or bun. Or a slice of toast. They’ve become rare treats. Tonight, the shopping therapy was Lowes for yard improvement and Publix for groceries. Dinner, after, was taken out of Outback (and a BK Whoppa for the grandkinder). We forgot to tell Outback, “Hold the bread.” So we got, in addition to the steaks, a complimentary loaf of black bread.

    Well, the dotter is Keto, the GK dislikes any dark bread (this would be where I insert a “Black Loaves Matter” joke if I were less sensitive), and I’m dieting. The loaf was shredded and scattered for the birds and other hungry critters. That would have been a great loaf.

    I miss my bread machine. When you don’t have an oven, they are great for making bread. I used to buy mixes on the net, really great stuff, rye, pumpernickel, cheese bread, even something called “A** Kickin’ Beer Bread, with jalapenos.

    4+
  18. I’m late on this, because of all the happiness yesterday. I posted on FB a need for help to pay for spaying/neutering the five kittens who were born on my patio, and was overwhelmed by offers of help! A friend came to take pictures and post them on her neighborhood site, in case someone wanted a kitten, and we have a possibility. She also brought about 25 lbs. of cat food. I am so happy that I will not need to take them to the Animal Welfare League because I can’t afford to keep them here as part of the outside herd!

    6+
  19. My BFF threw herself an online birthday party on Sunday. There were people dialed in from west coast, east coast, and Europe. It was somewhat chaotic but fun and definitely happy-making.

    6+
  20. Classic martini, salad (soft cheese, oranges, onion, black olives) and really seasoned chili, and Gardener’s World. The head gardener we met at Mottisfont Abbey pops in as a presenter now and then, so great fun. He’s aged a bit, beautifully – hey, wasn’t THAT long ago – and has since moved on to another position. Watching this show makes a calming end to the week.

    Made an arrangement from garden forage centered by yellow Anna Oliver rose. I’ve done arrangements for a few weeks now, and I like that I’m keeping up the habit.

    New Robert Galbraith book received, massive: evening reading ahead.

    2+
  21. I served as tech support to get my FIL onto a Zoom call with all his kids and grandkids, and boy was it great to see him smile.

    We got our ancient air conditioner out of the window without injury to us or the unit.

    And DH, who does all the cooking and grocery shopping but is not really into baking, returned from the co-op grocery with some unusual apples so I could make apple pie. Which is how we ended up with a delicious Asian pear pie.

    1+

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