Sunday, July 05, 2015

More Things I Love (Especially In Summer)



I love fresh baked bread, and if I can’t bake it myself I usually buy artisan breads from a bakery.  Summer in Texas, however, does not lend itself to heating up a kitchen with an oven so what’s a girl to do?  A little research—that’s what!

I found a wonderful recipe for crockpot bread.  I truly didn’t believe that bread could be baked in a crockpot, but the recipe promised me it could and even more it would be bread I could actually eat.  The results were beyond my wildest dreams.  Barbequed brats on fresh baked bread—WOW.  To make it a faster and easier kitchen stay, which translates into cooler, I put everything together in my Ninja (including the yeast) and mixed it with the bread hook.  I dumped it into the crockpot lined with parchment and sat back with my knitting while smelling that baking bread scent.  Summer doesn’t mean we have to give up things we love!
Okay, if I can bake bread in the crockpot why not cake?  I thought apple cake or lava cake might work and a quick search for recipes told me I was right.  So I tried both.  I have to say that the lava cake was delicious but the apple cake was the best we have ever eaten.  All I did to change the lava cake recipe to apple cake was to substitute apples for the cocoa, add a little cinnamon and a ½ cup brown sugar.  Summer deserves a good dessert too.  Note:  That little corner was not missing when DH put the cake on the plate for me.
We are blessed to have plenty of water in Texas—especially after the recent heavy rains.  My heart aches for the people of California.  It makes me, and I hope all Americans, try a little harder to conserve our natural resources. It takes a lot of water to keep lawns green and gardens watered in the Texas summer so I look for ways to save water.  One of the ways is to use a long handled sprayer that allows me to sit on the patio and spray water on the lawn and garden.  I used to set out a couple soaker hoses and go inside while they soaked the ground with precious water.  Now my approach is “just enough” and no more.  The lawn is still as green and the herb garden is filled with enough herbs for us, the family AND the neighbors.  Summer can be thought provoking!

I love the fact that summer makes me think about new and unusual ways to do things.  Winter is coming and I will be ready to fire up the oven for a brisket or make a pot of soup on the stove, but maybe I’ll still throw some bread dough in the crockpot to go with it.
 
Life is good.