It’s the end of vacation week here. Vacation for the kids, at least. Michelle and I still had to work. And while the girls spent time in New Jersey and Rhode Island, there were also days at the end of the week where they were at home. By themselves. With nothing planned.
Like some days of summer vacation Dad camp, they were able to practice an important skill: the ability to be alone. To entertain themselves. Or at least get comfortable with boredom.
It’s a critical part of life. Those who lack the ability to sit with their own thoughts are often miserable and prone to addiction and overstimulation.
If I’m honest, sometimes this is harder on me than it is on them. If they are home and the house gets too quiet, what do I do? I go check on them. Encourage them to do something. Tell them to go outside.
They need to be comfortable being bored and I need to be comfortable with bored kids.
I often complain about the kids in this blog, in a humorous way, but still usually some chiding complaint. I thought I should at least offer a positive story once in awhile. Just not too often. Don’t want them to get inflated egos.
Cecilia didn’t do well on a test (sorry, can’t call them tests anymore – check-in) earlier this year. To be fair, given the email we received from the teacher, many kids did not do well (which might make me think about the teaching methods…). I digress.
Cecilia latched onto this group failure as her life preserver. Sorry, not going to work, in school or life. You will make mistakes. Nobody is perfect and we all make our fair share of mistakes. Even Dad bloggers. Maybe one or two a year.
However, if you do not take responsibility for the mistake and do your best to correct it, then you are committing a second mistake. You can probably picture me telling her this. Or you probably have given your own kids similar advice. Take responsibility. Do the right thing, even though you may feel embarrassed by your previous actions. Don’t compound the error.
You also probably walked away wondering if any of that sank into their teenage brain.
Well, last Wednesday, I received an unexpected text that Cecilia was staying after school for extra help to prepare for a te-, eh, check-in the next day. She listened! She didn’t compound the error! She still rolled her eyes when I picked her up, but I’m sure she was smiling on the inside.
New England is know for many different foods: clam chowder, lobster rolls, baked beans, cream pie, but maybe not anadama bread. I grew up, and still live here, and I had never heard about, or tasted, this regional lost classic.
Anadama bread deserves a wider audience. While it resembles an Irish brown bread on the surface, the similarities stop there. Anadama bread’s defining characteristics are the use of molasses and cornmeal, household staples in the region at the start of the 20th century. Those two ingredients, combined with melted butter in the dough, give the finished bread a wonderful mix of sweet and nutty flavors with a sturdy, yet fluffy interior.
This simple, no knead bread, made with semolina and coated in sesame seeds, is almost as Italian as pizza. This semolina Italian bread is very easy and forgiving to make and works well as breakfast toast or in a dinner bread basket. I make at least one loaf of this bread for my father-in-law each time he visits.
Is a Billy bookcase or Ikea’s Knada bread mix easier to put together? Which tastes better?
If you’re going to Ikea just for the flat-packed furniture, and bypassing the food, you’re missing out on half the experience. One dollar ice cream, cinnamon rolls, lox, meatballs, free drinks. A stop at the Ikea cafe is the cherry on top of the Swedish shopping spree.
But could you bring a little bit of that bistro goodness home and bake it up in your own oven?
For the past year, I’ve been happy to act as my local bread baking phone-a-friend. I was the Butterball hotline of beginner bread baking tips and questions. It was great to see so many people take the quarantine time to dive into bread baking and discover it’s not all that difficult, in fact, it’s quite easy and quite rewarding, to baking a beautiful loaf of homemade bread that easily beats any soft, rubbery disc you might find at the food store.
These are the beginner bread baking tips, advice, and questions I answered the most in the past year. Do these simple, basic things right and you’re well on your way to being a successful home bread baker.
If you don’t want to mess around or maintain a sourdough starter but still yearn for better tasting home-baked bread, you might consider using a starter or pre-ferment to quickly improve your home loaves with little additional effort beyond some advanced planning. Continue Reading