Jan 1, 2021 – A new year has begun

It’s hard to believe it’s the year 2021. For some reason I’ve been thinking a lot about it. Thinking back to being a child and wanting to be 13, a teenager, and thinking that 1989 was so far away. Then graduating high school in 1995 and thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe it’s 1995”.

Who can forget Y2K? Life as we know it was going to end, and we woke up the next day and we were still here. In 2002 I met the love of my life and we started dating, and in 2004 I got married. Last night (NYE) we celebrated 16 years, wow…

2021… What’s this year going to hold for us? For me? As we sit in our provincial lockdown, I find myself growing more and more, for lack of a better term, depressed. I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss the freedom to get together with people and just be together.

Last night we celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. The evening couldn’t have turned better. My sister put together a gigantic charcutier board for us. We got all the kids to bed by 8pm which opened up the entire evening for us. We enjoyed each other’s company, some good food, wine, and then the inevitable happened, the baby woke up. Happy New year.

This morning was slow starting. We got up, had some breakfast and everyone was just… blah! Finally got motivated and we got out outside and enjoyed some exercise.

Came home, had some lunch and again, did nothing. Sue and Eve went out for a bit and I was inspired by a friends facebook page and took down ALL the Christmas decorations. It took a while, but getting that tree down really opens up our home. There were other reasons for doing it too. Our 9 month old is crawling EVERYWHERE and she was determined to get the tree.

Dinner time came and I was going to make my first Keto meal of 2021. We had found a recipe for waffles. Say what you will, we eat waffles a lot, and who cares that it’s dinner time, they are good anytime. So, I got everything together, and while the waffle maker was heating up it started making noises, and then came the smoke. Wow! Not cool. I unplugged it and aired out the house. Once I was ready to go, plugged it back in and poured my first batch. Keto is an interesting way of eating, and dairy-free Keto is even more interesting. It was a very egg heavy recipe, and they didn’t really come out of the iron nicely. So, I did what any normal person would do, I tried again, with more batter. Only issue is, the machine started getting cooler and cooler. Well, the machine is dead.

The machine didn’t owe us anything. Friends generously gave it to us a bunch of years ago and it was well used when we got it. Now, we are in the market for a new one. What do you do when you waffle dinner doesn’t work out? Make nachos! Of course! LOL

The hope is to swing if nothing else, my meal plan back to Keto within the next couple weeks. I’ve gained 6lbs in 2020, and that’s after knocking 25lbs off. I don’t really like me right now, and the ole doc tells me that I’m supposed to be 52lbs lighter then I am. So, we shall see. I got off to such a solid start in 2020, and I just need to rekindle that again.

My other two big goals this year are pretty simple ones. Try and blog (journal) every day and guard my tongue. It’s been pointed out to me lately that I’ve been swearing a lot more than I ever have in the past. I’ve always struggled with that, but it’s gotten worst this year.

The adventure continues… The kids are getting older, and I can only hope I’m getting wiser

Day 6 – Sourdough Starter

The house at times now has a tangy… zippy scent. My wife tells me proper term is “Yeasty”. I’ve actually come to enjoy it myself. Today is Day 6 and the final day of removing and adding and removing and adding. It’s bubbling up nicely and I am so excited to try my hand at making this bread.

I’ve gotten so excited that I did what any normal red blooded adult would do… I logged onto Amazon. As I watch these videos of people making bread and creating these treats, they all have the proper tools. So, of course, I needed some tools.

I’ve now got a proofing basket, dough cutter. I’ve been trying to impose my will on my eldest daughter to join me in my quest for Sourdough. We both sat down and watch Patrick Ryan’s video and she thinks it’s going to be a lot of work, but that she’ll cheer me on. HAHAHA!! To be 5 years old again 🙂

As I said, my starter is really moving as you can see here

I’m continuing to follow the receipt found on iLoveCooking.ie that Patrick Ryan put up as part of his masterclass.


Day 5

150g wholemeal flour
150g water

  • Throw away 200g of the starter.
  • To the remaining starter, add the 150g flour to the starter and mix in the 150g water.
  • Cover and leave overnight. The starter should appear active and full of bubbles.

Day 6

200g wholemeal flour

200g water

  • The starter should be quite active now and be full of little bubbles and smell slightly sour.
  • Throw away 250g of sourdough starter.
  • To the remaining starter, add the 200g flour to the starter and mix in the 200g water.
  • Cover and leave overnight.

I don’t know that I’ll attempt the bread tomorrow or wait another day or two, but it will happen by the end of the week.

The adventure continues…

Day ?? – Sourdough Starter

Well crap… hahahaha… I lost track of my days and well… I did Day 4 AGAIN, and I should have moved onto Day 5. Isn’t that just a kick in the pants. Ohh well, what can you do? An extra day of fermenting won’t hurt.

It is with great sadness though, that I declare the white flour based starter… dead. As I looked at this morning, it looked ok, but by evening time it had turned into more of a soupy state then anything else. Kind of gross actually.

There has been a bright star in my newly found love of baking. About 3 weeks ago I got a raincheck for 2 Wilton donut baking pans, and they came in. So, with advice from a friend, I grabbed our banana bread receipt and whipped up some batter. Now, the adventure was… How long do I cook them for? and the most fun, how full do you make each donut. By about the fifth one I got the hang of it.

Tomorrow I will continue onto Day 5 of the starter, and we’ll see how I fair.

The adventures continue…

Day 4 – Sourdough Starter and other adventures

What a beautiful day to be alive.

Today Eve started back with her highland dance class. They were brilliant and had the primaries meet at a public park and they danced in the field and eventually moved to the grandstand. She had so much fun. While dance class was going on Anna and I roamed about the park checking out the ducks, geese, RC sailboats, and the awesome nature within Andrew Hayden Park.

Anna was most impressed with the water falls that seem to be strewn throughout the park.

That was pretty much the highlight of our day. Of course, being Friday, we ended up at Crispy’s Chip Truck and enjoyed our weekly meal of fries #FrenchFryFriday.

Back onto the sourdough starter train… I keep reading about this stuff and wondering if I am doing it right or wrong. This is a bread that requires patience, which is a gift I’ve yet mastered.

I just finished reading an article published by King Arthur’s flour and another person mentioned that it wasn’t until Day 8 when her starter really started taking shape. So, I wait. I will say this, that wonderful yeasty smell has started to grow in my kitchen. I’m not sure how much my wife likes it, but it’s growing on.


Day 4

100g wholemeal flour

100g water

  • Throw away 150g of the starter.
  • To the remaining starter, add the 100g flour to the starter and mix in the 100g water.
  • Cover and leave overnight. The starter should start to smell pleasantly sour with small bubbles appearing on the surface.

***https://www.ilovecooking.ie/features/sourdough-bread-masterclass-with-patrick-ryan/***


This is what my starters look like today

I’m fascinated each day how they grow and fall and change. The left, as mentioned earlier is straight up white bread flour and the right is whole wheat flour.

We (my daughter and I) rewatched the video associated with this receipt and I asked her if she’d help me make the bread and she got all excited. Which in turn got me more excited. When it comes to food, I take great pleasure in finding foods that we can both eat and enjoy. She has a great deal of food allergies and to this point, this checks the boxes for being safe for her to eat, let alone help make.

The adventure continues…

Day 3 – Sourdough Starter

Now we’re at day 3. Wow!! What a difference!

This is what I woke up to this morning. I could believe how much it had grown. Counting down the days until I can actually make a loaf using this starter has got me so excited! After dinner I will proceed to the next step in Patrick Ryan’s receipt.


Day 3

100g wholemeal flour

100g water

  • Throw away 100g of the starter.
  • To the remaining starter, add the 100g flour to the starter and mix in the 100g water.
  • Cover and leave overnight.

The fun continues as I feed my new little monster. The aroma is very interesting. It’s got a definite tang to it.

I’m not sure if I’m going to continue on with the Bread flour starter. I’ll wait and see what it looks like tomorrow. More to come as I continue on with my Sourdough adventures 🙂

The adventure continues…

Day 2 – Sour Dough Starter

As I continue on and read about different flours that exist. Man alive, I had no idea there were so many different kinds of flour. You almost need a degree to understand why and in what circumstances you would need different kinds.

That all being said, I was tossed into a tailspin when the baker, Patrick Ryan talks about the flour he uses in his receipt. You makes his starter with Wholemeal flour and uses Strong white flour for his bread. To those in the UK that makes perfect sense, but when you start searching out these terms, I ended up at a dead end. Then my wife came home and I whined about the look of my starter and well, Dr. McColeman told me why I hit my dead end and within seconds of her intervening I had a chart in front of me showing what various names were in different countries. All to find out Wholemeal flour (U.K) is Whole wheat flour (CAN) and Strong white flour (U.K) is White bread flour (CAN), and most importantly… 50g of water is 50ml of water. These were all key things to know.

So, now i’ve got 2 versions of my starter; I’ve got 1 using Whole wheat and 1 using White bread flour. I am amazed at how this works and I am having so much fun watching this starter grow and how it pulls the natural yeast from the air.

Day 2

50g wholemeal flour

50g water

  • To the sourdough starter add 50g wholemeal flour and 50g water. Stir together until fully combined.
  • Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

The adventure continues

Can I bake?

So, it’s been over a year since I last say down to write anything. Lots has happened in the ole McColemanclan during that time.

We’ve added to our clan, and have welcomed a new baby girl, our oldest just graduated SK, and will be heading to Grade 1 in the fall, and the middle child, well… she is slowly adjusting to all the changes.

I’ve been off on parental leave now for about 10 week now. I’ve been having a lot of fun with my ladies, trying to figure out new and interesting things to do with the world being closed and our city asking us to be socially distant from other people.

While visiting with a friend a couple weeks ago he was telling me that he was making sour dough bread. For some reason this stuck with me, and I started to read about the process.

After a couple weeks of reading and asking people who I know bake, I decided to take the plunge. My first attempt I used regular old All Purpose Flour and well, you could see this visible difference between what I was doing and what I had seen on YouTube videos.

Then I found a video from an Irish baker named Patrick Ryan. He puts on a “Masterclass” in Sour Dough making and I watched it and was totally inspired.

Now, I’m going to try my hand an making bread outside my trusty bread maker.

Day 1

50g wholemeal flour

50g water

  • Place the flour and water into a clean bowl and stir together until fully combined.
  • Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

The adventure continues…

We must be doing something right

March break has come to an end. It was a full week of museums, movies, bowling, shopping and fun. Yesterday by request of my niece we went to visit great grandpa. She was very excited to see him and so was Eve. It was a short visit, but just enough time to keep him in the forefront of their memories.

Tonight during our bedtime routine, Eve decided to prayer for all her family… Aunts, Uncles, cousins and Nana. It was really sweet. Eve doesn’t like to go to bed on her own and well, good or bad, we indulge her and snuggle up until she falls asleep. This is usually the time where the deep sharing comes out to and tonight was no different.

She looks over at me and says “I miss Nanie” (My grandmother who past was last fall). She continues on and says, “I miss reading with her, and I miss talking to her”. Well, at this point I can feel the tears running down my face as I tell her how much I miss her too. Then she says, “I miss Grandmama. I miss playing with her on her iPad, and swimming with her.” My mother in law passed away about 2 months ago now.

Eve continued; Dad, I need to say a special prayer, is that ok? I told her yes… She made the sign of the cross (yes, we’re catholic) and started to pray. At this point I have a lump in my throat the size of a soft ball and can’t speak, and my eyes are burning with tears. She prayed for God to protect her Nanie and Grandmama, and asked God to keep them close and watch over them. At the end of her prayer she asked me if it was a good prayer, and I softly told her, yes.

She says, it’s ok dad… Nanie and Grandmama are in heaven and they are in my heart too, just like Jesus. I will never forget them.

It was this point where I hugged her so tight and hoped she didn’t notice how wet my face had become from the tears. This little person is 4 years old. Where at 4 do you get that kind of insight?? That kind of understanding? I’m blown away right now. I knew that I needed to scribble down my experience because, frankly, I’m still not sure it happened.

Eve has had 2 influential ladies in her life pass away by the age of 4 and I didn’t realize how much of an impact loosing her Great Grandmother and Grandmother would be.

I don’t know who learns more from who. I teach and guide my baby girl to be the person I want her to be, and she teaches me about having the faith of a child, so pure, so innocent.

We miss you Nanie, I think about you all the time. May you rest in peace. Nicole, you have left a huge hole in our lives and we think about you daily. May you rest in peace. We love you both!

Isn’t medicine interesting?

I’ve never felt so helpless then when my kids are sick. My oldest had a flu bug a couple months ago, actually it was at the beginning of September. It was the first time she was legitimately, hard core, sick. Since being sick she’s had this lingering cough that pops up and within the past week has reared it’s head in a big way.

She does not go more then a few minutes with out a coughing fit, and last night we asked her, “how are you?” Fine, “How’s your throat?” Fine, “Is it soar?” No. hahaha… Every question met with a quick one-word answer, giving us nothing to go on.

At twenty after six, as I sit on the couch with my youngest, she jumps up beside me, puts her head down and with in seconds, it snoring. Unreal! In one respect, it was great, I got to watch the six o’clock news in peace as the baby slept in my arms and the tiny human slept beside me.

About 7:15 hit and you can only guess what happened. Yup, I hit a wall. With two little furnaces cuddled on me, I didn’t stand a chance. The eyes got heavy and the next thing I knew it was almost 8 and the coughing started up again.

Now the baby’s awake and getting fussy, the tiny human is coughing up a blue streak and I’m loosing my mind. In the last week, I’ve purchased everything. Vicks toddler lollypop style cough drops, Vicks rub, Vicks vapo pads for the humidifier, etc… etc… (This portion of my blog is brought to you by VICKS! LOL)

So, I put the baby down and march the tiny human upstairs. I set her all up, and pray that she falls asleep. This took almost an hour, and she didn’t go down well. As I sat and watched her my heart broke and then I got angry at “the system”. There is so much advancement in medicine but they can’t figure out something to help a kid with a bad cold? It’s maddening.

I laughed as my wife walked in the door just before 9 and the first thing she says to me is “The house smells like Vicks” HAHA!

The evening ended with an hour of tv, a little Modern Family and Single Parents then off to bed for myself.

 

The adventure continues…

Feeling unprepared

As I reflect back on the past few months I pray that I am not completely screwing up my children.

I realize that I have no idea what I’m doing and I don’t know how I’ve got through the past 4 years. In my head I hear myself saying to my oldest, “You’re a big girl now” and in my heart I’m saying “Stay my little girl forever”

My daughter is growing up, and as much as I want to stop it, I am excited. I’m excited to watch her grow and understand the world. I’m of the opinion that we are rushing our children along way to fast today. Let them be kids.

One of the things I pride myself on is being able to read a room. I was a DJ for a long time and part of being able to last in the business is not only knowing your music, but being able to look around a room and see people’s reactions. My daughter has this gift. She pays very close attention to everything and everyone.

The other night she was going through her bedtime routine and my wife came downstairs knowing she wasn’t asleep, but also aware that she was wound right up. Ten minutes into our program on TV we could hear my daughter yelling for us. I went upstairs, and she asked if I could snuggle. She doesn’t like going to bed alone and in my head I’m saying “You’re a big girl now, and you need to learn how to sleep” and my heart says “Ok, only for a minute”

As I laid down beside her and she started goofing around. After a couple minutes, with a stern voice, I told her I was going back downstairs. She got upset, and promised me that she’d go to sleep. About a minute later, she says in a soft voice “Are you mad dadda?” and I told her no, and then she says “Best buddies forever?” and I replied with a lump in my throat… Forever.

It’s these moments that I wasn’t prepared for. She grabbed my hand, wrapped herself around my arm tightly, pulled herself in close and within, I’d say 2 minutes was fast asleep. I was have laid there staring at her for about 5 minutes. Its times like this that, when I sit and reflect.

I find myself doing a lot of introspecting over the past few years. Looking at myself, who I am as a man, and what I believe I deserve. There are a lot of days where I struggle with how to love, and how to be loved. When a tiny human looks at you, you know that she isn’t looking at all your faults, and all your imperfections, she is looking at  her protector, her rock, and you are perfect in her eyes. I pray every day that I can be what she sees. I pray that I will never let her down.

 

The Adventure continues…