Breaking Bread


Gosh. I hope I didn’t really break the bread. I hope I just made a nice easy cut. Sawed it back and forth. Then ate it. Is that worse than simply breaking it? I am sure it didn’t feel a thing.

When I am feeling down, nothing makes me feel better than baking or cooking (and no, I do not think you have to be good at one or the either. That makes no sense at all). Just making something. Forming something from simple ingredients into a wondrous treat makes my whole heart heal.

And if nothing else, it gives me calories to burn while I cry. Or laugh. Or both.

And of all of the baked goods, bread absorbs tears the best. At least, that’s what I’ve been told.

My mother-in-law once taught me her secret to perfect bread. And now I’m telling you. And since she is unaware that this little blog exists, you won’t tell her.

See how that works.

Her secret is substituting whatever liquid the bread recipe calls for with apple juice.

Trust me. It is divine.

But with this recipe having honey, I did not want to do all apple juice and make it too sweet, so I simply substituted a cup of apple juice for the original recipe’s full 2 1/2 cups milk. I very slightly adapted this recipe from Taste of Home.

And I loved it.

It wasn’t broken.

The end.

Oh, wait, I still have to teach you how to make it.


1 1/2 cups milk
2 packets active dry yeast (1/4 oz. ea.)
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup melted salted butter
1 cup apple juice
7 cups flour + 1/2 cup to spread on counter
1/3 cup honey


Pour milk and apple juice in a microwave proof container

Microwave on high one minute. Stir. If the liquid is still not warm to the touch microwave for thirty seconds more (it will depend on the depth of your cup. I just measured milk to 1 1/2 cups and then apple juice to the very top of a two cup measuring cup. You want your liquid warm and not hot. If it is too hot, it will kill your yeast. My mother-in-law uses a thermometer. I use my finger. Again, she’ll neve’ know. But if you like to be precise, the temperature should be 115 degrees Fahrenheit.


Dump yeast into your mixer. And yes, dump. Not pour. Why? Because “dump” is much more fun to say.

Pour (we can’t get carried away with the other word. It is about to get serious) milk/apple juice mixture in. Stir gently a few times. Let yeast activate for a few minutes (I get impatient. This is usually three minutes for me).

Pour in remaining ingredients. Pour the butter in last because you do not want the hot butter to kill the yeast.


Knead six minutes on your floured surface (or use your dough hook on your stand mixer if you have one. Ditzy me did not realize what that was for until my friend came over and asked me why I just didn’t just use that instead of kneading it by hand. Thankfully my husband did most of the work, because I am a kneady). Form into a large dough ball.


Grease round mixing bowl with butter.

Lay ball of dough in the bowl and then flip the dough once so that all sides of the dough are greased.

Turn oven on to its lowest setting for just two minutes. Do not let it get to a high temperature. Turn oven off. Place a damp dish towel over bowl of dough and place the bowl in the oven for an hour.

Make sure you leave plenty of room above the bowl for the dough to rise in the oven.

Remove bowl from the oven.

Remove the towel.

Punch dough in the middle. (The kids LOVE doing this).


Dough will deflate. Form dough into two loaves (I just rip mine in half, channeling my inner Hulk and just pat that baby into shape) and place into two, greased with butter, 9 X 5 loaf pans.

Place pans in oven to rise for thirty minutes (it will still be warm enough to do this).

Remove pans from oven. Turn oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread for 15 minutes. After fifteen minutes cover the tops of the bread with foil and cook for another eighteen minutes.

Remove loaves from oven. Turn oven off. Remove foil.


Turn loaves upside down onto a cooling rack one at a time and turn over so they are right side up again.


Let cool thirty minutes before eating.


I made the kids and myself a cute little table setting to eat our fresh homemade bread at. We all loved it. It created minimal clean up. And it definitely made the homemade bread feel much more special.


I would say that is not broken at all.

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream


The summers of my youth could be described in three flavors. Grape juice, cheddar cheese and homemade honey vanilla ice cream. Being from a long line of beekeepers meant that my family had learned to incorporate the very nectar of their labors into almost every food they ate.

I have mentioned that as a young child, a spoonful of honey was a snack. A few drops of pollen, a special treat.

But nothing compared to my grandma’s honey ice cream. And nothing ever will.

I have tried to replicate it the best I could. I also wanted to make it a bit less rich. I believe my grandmother used mostly cream. I decided to use half milk. Half cream.

If you have never had honey ice cream, well, I don’t know if you should try it now. You will never go back. It is that good.

Seriously knees-dropping-to-the-ground-as-you-pay-homage-to-a-passing-bee good.

The person who invented the saying “you’re the bee’s knees,” may or may not have been referring to this phenomenon after just having eaten honey ice cream.

I mean, that makes sense right?

Well, it makes more sense than comparing someone to bee’s knees. Which, while they are quite cute and fuzzy for knees, do not come close to comparing to this treat.

Let’s make some heaven!


2/3 cup honey
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Caviar from one vanilla bean
5 egg yolks


Pour your milk and cream into a large pot on the stove. Add your honey. Turn heat to medium-low.

While that is heating up, separate five egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolks for two minutes continuously. Or bust out your stand mixer if you have one. And let it do the work for you on medium speed for two minutes.


Add the caviar of a vanilla bean to the steeping milk mixture. Whisk. When milk mixture comes to a light boil, turn heat to low. Very slowly add a ladleful (about 1/2 a cup) to the egg yolks while you whisk them. Now add that mixture back into the hot milk mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir continuously until the mixture begins to thicken. This should be about three minutes.

Turn heat off. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Add vanilla extract. Stir.

Cover bowl and refrigerate at least two hours to overnight.


Follow your ice cream maker’s churning instructions. For my machine, I simply dump in the chilled ingredients.


Freeze your ice cream in a freezer-safe container. And then indulge the next day. I like mine covered in Trader Joe’s Fudge Sauce.


I warn you. You will never look at vanilla ice cream the same way again.

Or a bee for that matter.

Now let’s get some padding for those knees.


*I adapted the vanilla ice cream recipe that came with my Cuisinart Ice-100 (a super fancy name for a big ol’ ice cream maker. The link is an affiliate link) to incorporate honey. Seriously, next time your husband makes the brilliant mistake of not asking for anything for Christmas, you might want to get him one of those babies. I might love it more than David Beckham.

The Lord Of The Pizzas


No. This pizza is not really “Lord of the pizzas.” Nor am I, “Lord of the pizzas.” In fact, the title was simply in reference to some silly movie quotes throughout this post.

Blame my thighs. They lord over everything around here.

One of my favorite things to make at home is homemade pizza. We take the term “homemade” a little loosely in our house. We made it in our house. But everything is bought and put together. As in pre-made. And put together.

As in my lazy soul continues to be happy.

And my thighs continue to rule them all.

Isn’t that how the saying goes?:

“One thigh to rule them all. One thigh to wine them.
One thigh to eat it all and in the kitchen dine them.”

Or somethin’ like that.

I have tried almost all of the different store’s pre-made pizza dough. And I know which dough is my favorite. Safeway’s pizza dough can’t be beat. And I will not use any other pizza sauce except for Pastorelli. As for the cheese, I use whatever I can get on sale.

So, my ingredient list has my preferred labels for the pizza I make at home.

With school being out for the summer soon, I know my kids will want to be in the kitchen cooking more. I wanted to post this in case you, too, want to trick get your kids to cook dinner for you this season.

This would be great for second breakfast, too.


Ingredients for two pizzas:

2 Safeway Select Traditional pre-made (but not precooked) pizza balls of dough (usually found next to their pre-made take and bake refrigerated pizzas and usually $1 each)
2 8 oz. cans of Pastorelli Pizza sauce (you can use a 15 oz. can and split it in half. I buy the two little cans so each child has their own can to work with)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


We use:

1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 bag pepperoni
1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

Any other topping you like. Maybe Po-ta-toes.


Let refrigerated pizza dough rest on counter for thirty minutes before using.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Since I have two children, I let each of them roll out one ball of dough. Stretch the dough. Pull the dough. You really cannot hurt it. The more you work pizza dough, the better it gets.


My kids do all of the following instructions. What do I do? Well, somebody has to drink the wine.

I always have them make it in a rectangular shape. This is so the finished product fits on my baking sheets.

The baking sheets should be lightly oiled with olive oil.

Once the dough is made into the desired shape, place each pizza dough on a baking sheet.



Pour one can of pizza sauce on to each pizza dough. Sprinkle two cups of cheese onto each pizza. Then top with your ingredients. One of our children likes plain cheese. The other, pepperoni. And our whole family likes sun dried tomatoes and feta.


Those last two ingredients are not added until there are only two to three minutes left to the baking time. I want them warmed up but sun-dried tomatoes burn very quickly, so you can not put them on at the beginning. I feel like feta dries out if I put it on for the entire baking period because the flakes are so small. But you can definitely add it for the entire baking time if you prefer.


Bake pizzas for 13-15 minutes. The cheese should be melted but not brown.

Let the pizza rest for 3-5 minutes. Cut the pizza into slices.

Plate the pizza.

Serve the pizza with salad. I use this easy recipe.


Homemade pizza. Spinach salad. Red wine.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Isn’t that right, my precious?

Pajama Party


I love my friends (my sweet sister being one of them).

Every year, I invite them over for a pajama party to watch a Christmas movie. This year we watched, “Four Christmases.” They were all too polite to rat me out, because the fact is, we had all ready watched this movie two years before. There are just not a lot of Christmas movies to choose from. I started this tradition with my all time favorite Christmas movie many years ago (and to be honest, one of my favorite regular movies, too), “White Christmas.”

Most of the girls didn’t like it.

So, now that is what my family watches every December 23rd together. This was what we did as a child growing up. I hope at least one of my children carries on this tradition with their own family. You tell me which child it will be based on the following conversation:

My son: “Mom, you should make everyone watch ‘White Christmas’ at your party. It’s a really good movie.”

Me: “I showed that before, a lot of the girls didn’t like it.”

Shocked gasp from the backseat.

Me: “But, we’ll watch it together in a few days.”

My daughter: “Ugh. Why do you force me to watch that evvvvvery year?”

My oblivious husband: “We don’t force you.”

Mean Mommy to Nice Daddy: “Um, yea, honey, we do.”

Poor kid. I can think of worse things, though.



I wore my pink gnome flannel pajamas. I was a wrinkled mess. I briefly entertained the thought of ironing my pajamas, but, who are we kidding? I can’t even iron my regular clothes. There is no way I am ironing something I am going to sleep in. Cross that out. There is no way I am ironing something.

A girl’s gotta have standards.

I did not take any pictures of the gathering. Everyone was comfy and I wanted to respect their laid back coziness without posting it all over the internet. I did take photos of the food, though.


I made homemade salsa for the party. I also served some queso dip from a jar, because I got it free with a coupon. Everyone loved the queso, including me. So I will be buying some more when I host my family Christmas Eve.


I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.


And homemade chicken pot pies.


I tried a Rachael Ray roasted sugar snap pea recipe. I don’t think I prepared the peas right. I have never served them before. Looking at my picture, was there something I was supposed to cut off?


The biggest hit of the night was definitely, “it tastes like a cinnamon roll cake.” Yum!

I gave prizes throughout the movie with my spur of the moment drunken trivia questions.


Everyone went home with a loaf of cinnamon burst bread from the local bakery. A neighbor gave me this as a gift last year and I really liked the sweet simpleness of the gesture. So, I copied them.

My friend Bridgette looked at the piano and said, “Is that bread on your piano?” This had both of us in hysterics. Because, yes, where else would you put your bread?


Some of us girls stayed up until 1:00 in the morning talking. I wish we could have stayed up later, but I was stressed out because my husband had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to go to work. Next year, I will ask him if he could get himself a late shift or take the next day off. It put a (small) damper on the night.

But, regardless, I was so happy and thankful to wind down and laugh with women who make my heart sing (missed you Lizzie). Thank you girls!


And no gathering would be complete without Ollie. He made sure to repel everyone with his continuous dog farts. Do I throw a good party or what? It’s not a party unless everyone is gagging and retching.

At least at my house.

Who needs alcohol when you have a bulldog?


Have you been to any holiday parties recently? Hopefully yours did not involve a flatulent dog.