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Laughter. Indeed, the Best Medicine.

I have anxiously awaited these last few weeks where I have longed to pour my soul into a recipe, yet the desire was absent.   Sometimes my passion for cooking is directly related to my eagerness to spread my love around through food; to create atmosphere and social outlets.  Since we’ve distanced ourselves from such a steady flow of that because of our move, my creative outlet seems caught in a storm of busy.

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(Mt. Rainier, Washington)

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(stuffed family orchard apples roasted on an open fire)

We’ve been taking these last few weeks to pour ourselves into each daylight minute.  Being in the northwest, it is commonplace that the sun sets around 4:30. By 6 pm that evening fatigue sets in and all ambitions are lost to the dusk and the cry of nighttime critters. Sitting ringside around a fire to keep the chill from your nape, is the only thing worthy of unspent energy while sipping on Adagio tea.

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(Lake Cushman, Washington State)

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Nothing is sweeter than the blessings of time for the wonderful company that we have been graced over this holiday season.  When your soul aches for the companionship of family and friends, it is in every effort one minimizes time spent on chores and instead calculates promoting self indulging activities with others; be it kayaking bay side or simply preparing meals together while embracing table side conversation with utter delight that fills oneself with complacency.  Each laugh noted; memories engrained.

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Time

Four months ago we left all we knew behind to give our family a fresh start with a slower pace; in hopes to focus on dreams instead of living as robots.  This adventure has taken the wind from my sails at times, at the hardships and challenges and the financial struggle. But, with this move we have gained so much more than what a dollar could pay for.  My girls have become the best of friends. They have never gotten along as well as they do now.  Time that was once spent commuting is now used for family time; soccer scrimmages, visiting with family, sitting by an open fire.  This change has slowed me down in ways that were necessary.

The constant chase to beat the clock and fit in as much as I could in the hour between picking up children, is gone. I was always strung up so tight that I didn’t feel like I could fart sideways.  Even as hectic as we lived, we still fit in valuable family time, but it was often so rushed.  It feels so good to slow down.  So good.

I’ve sat in traffic twice in four months.  Twice.  Something to be said from my daily commute of 15 minutes to work, that actually took 40 minutes due to bumper to bumper obnoxiousness.  Racing the clock.  Heart beating and face aglow with rage due to stress; no longer there.

Yes, we miss our friends. We miss sidewalks. We miss the beach.  We miss our church.

What is lost is also gained.  We have been meeting new friends. We have the rugged climate a hiker dreams of. We have lakes upon lakes upon lakes to explore. We found a new church that has been feeding us the word just as the one we left; challenging us the way we desire to live.

Taking the risk to continue the pursuit of what truly matters.

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Rustic No-Knead Bread Loaf

Kneading bread has always been therapy for me.  There is something so therapeutic about kneading bread over and over and forming a supple smooth mound; like a babies butt. It’s enjoyable and relaxing. But time ticks away, and every now and again, I’m in a pinch for not enough time.  This recipe is great for preparing, leaving alone, and coming back to when you’re ready.  Not only is it easy, it’s incredibly delicious. I hope you find this recipe as easy as I do, and as enjoyable.

DOUGH:

3 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. dry yeast

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 1/2 cups filtered warm water

1/4 cup organic corn meal

1/8 cup olive oil

additional pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup blend of sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds (optional)

parchment paper, dutch oven

DOUGH DIRECTIONS: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and sea salt. Whisk.  In a separate bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Whisk. Combine the wet to the dry and fold in using a rubber spatula.  Roughly mix it all together. The mound does not need to be smooth. It will look jagged and pointy. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm location for 8-12 hours. When you see the mound after the time is over, it will be bulbous and smoothed out.  This is due to the yeast working its wonder and the time allowed to ferment (fermentation process allows for easier digestion of bread/ much like sourdough) After this process, line a dutch oven with a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with 1/8 cup cornmeal.  Roll the dough into the dutch oven and cover for one additional hour in a warm location.

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BAKING DIRECTIONS: Lower all racks in oven to the lowest possible allowed. Preheat oven to 425. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/8 cup cornmeal, optional seeds, and sprinkle of sea salt. Bake for 35 minutes on lower rack with lid on. When the 35 minutes is over, bake with lid off at 425 for an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool before cutting.

*** I have allowed much longer rising time.  I’ve prepared the dough at 2 pm and not allowed the 1 hour additional rising time until 9 am the next morning. It just gets the dough to have more of a sour taste; which I prefer (much like a sourdough)