Thursday, July 29, 2010

Breakout!, Birthday, and Bread

Ava is five weeks old today.  I have had a hard time pushing myself out of this house, partly because I feel like I have so much to do here, and partly because (yes, even after my fourth baby) I am sort of intimidated to run out with all of the kiddos.  It just seems overwhelming at times.  I am continually trying to be relaxed, but in my tired, emotional, usually self-defeating self, it can be hard to do that.  One day at a time, one grace at a time, I am changing and trying to become a stronger person.

Last night I took a deep breath and broke out of the house for our first big outing – church!  Everyone was excited to see us, of course, and meet our little blessing.  It was refreshing to be out, and once again, I reminded myself that it wasn't that hard!  Today, I took all of the kids to the local fruit market for some minor grocery shopping.  I put Ava in the Bjorn carrier (a continual lifesaver!) and gave the others a pre-shopping trip lecture about how things should go.  Again, a good success – phew!

Yesterday was my son’s 9th birthday.  I can’t believe he is nine… or I guess moreso, it is making me realize that he will be in the double digits next year – gulp!  I love him dearly.


For birthdays, the children get to pick what they want for meals throughout the day.  He wanted monkey bread for breakfast.  We had that with a psuedo-omelet (fried meat, cheese, and 1 egg – that’s all I had left) and some frozen blueberries.


Monkey Bread

from Martha Stewart

(Note:  I use softened butter instead of shortening and so far, have omitted the nuts for the coating)

Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake

  • 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, plus more for pan and bowl
  • 1/4 cup warm (110 degrees to 115 degrees) water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus a pinch for yeast
  • 1 envelope dry active yeast (scant tablespoon)
  • 3/4 cup warm (110 degrees to 115 degrees) milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar


  1. Lightly coat a 10-inch Bundt pan and a medium bowl with shortening; set aside. Put the warm water and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl; sprinkle yeast over top. Stir; let the yeast soften and dissolve, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place shortening, milk, sugar, salt, and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  3. Add yeast mixture to shortening mixture, and beat to combine. Slowly add flour. Knead on medium-low, 1 minute. Transfer dough to the prepared bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place, 20 minutes.
  4. Make coating: Place melted butter in a bowl. In a second bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts; sprinkle 2 tablespoons nut mixture into prepared Bundt pan.
  5. Cut dough into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll into balls. Coat in butter, then roll in nut mixture, and place in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate, and let cool 20 minutes more.
  7. Make icing: In a small bowl, combine milk and confectioners' sugar. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over bread.

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