Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dilly Bread

Delys, Elin, and I have all been watching old seasons of "The Great British Baking Show." Laurel, are you a fan as well? In any case, it has inspired me to share one of my favorite bread recipes. This is a recipe that my mother used to make, and we all loved it. I'm not sure where she got it, but I haven't ever run across it anywhere else. It's unusual, delicious, easy to make, and it goes beautifully with soups, stews, salads, pasta, and, well, just about everything.

Here are the three ingredients that give the bread its unique flavor and texture:

Cottage cheese, dill seed, and dried onion.

The recipe:

1 pkg yeast     
1/4 c warm water
1 c cottage cheese
2 T butter
2 T sugar
1/4 t soda
1 egg, beaten
1 T instant onion
2 t dill seeds
2 1/2 c flour

Dissorlve yeast in warm water. Set aside. In the microwave, heat cottage cheese to lukewarm. Combine all ingredients. Beat. Let dough rise for about 30 minutes until about double in size. Punch down and knead. Grease a 2 qt glass casserole dish. Round dough in dish and let rise again for 30 minutes:

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when the crust is tapped. Brush the top with butter and a dash of salt. 

(Mine sank a bit during the bake, but it didn't affect the taste or texture.) Let it cool slightly, remove from bowl, and invert it onto a cooling rack:

This bread tastes great cold or hot, but I love it best warm from the oven and topped with butter:

So good!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Preschool Lesson: Letter "N"

Our Letter "N" day just flowed amazingly well. The kids were engaged; time passed pleasantly and was almost too short. I don't know if the kids were in a particularly good mood or if the lesson plan has secret magic.

One thing it doesn't have a lot of is the letter "n." After browsing ideas on the internet, I decided lots of what was out there didn't sing to me. I opted to go for a Noah's Ark theme.

After the usual pleasantries of looking at the lower and uppercase versions of the letter, making "N"s with popsicle sticks, and discussing the sound that "n" makes, we introduced prophet Noah and told his story using Peter Spiers rendition.

Next, we built our arks. Actually, I had pre-folded the paper boats. I long ago learned how to make these boats via Curious George Rides a Bike, but in case you didn't lock-in that life skill as a child, here are the instructions. Do-a-Dot markers in hand, the kids decorated them.

Arks ready, it was time to gather our animals two by two. We headed upstairs to Patch's room and did an activity similar to our animal search with the letter "a." I had pictures of the animals they needed to find laid out on the floor, and they searched the room for the hidden creatures. They always enjoy a treasure hunt.

 Arks ready and animals gathered, it was time for the rain!

We sang "If All the Raindrops were Lemondrops and Gumdrops" and "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man." We also watched "Drip, Drip, Drop, Little April Showers" from Bambi while shaking shakers to make our own rain sounds. After we were all rained out, we talked about rainbows and sang "When I am Baptized."

Next, I tried to make a rainbow for them using the flashlight/slit in paper/glass of water method. I can't find the link for the specific tutorial I used, but that's probably okay since it was a science flop The rainbow was feeling shy? I probably had the slit the wrong size or not enough water in our glass. Either way, we moved on. Ah well. Instead, we made our own rainbows with our do-a-dot markers.

We wrapped up our Noah section with a snack of animal crackers and nuts.

On a non-Noah note, we made noodle necklaces. I pre-dyed the dry pasta different colors using food coloring and vinegar (similar to this tutorial.) I basically just put a small amount of vinegar, food coloring, and dry rigatoni into separate ziplock bags and shook them with SourPatch until the colored vinegar was well-distributed. I then spread them out on a cookie sheet to air-dry.

At preschool, I gave the kids a long stretch of yarn with a noodle tied to one end and let them practice stringing their own necklaces (an excellent fine motor activity.)

Our letter craft was very simple: "N" is for Night. Yet the kids were very into gluing on the stars. Like I said, perhaps they were in a particularly amenable mood?

We had a great time with "n" and hope you do, too.