Reinforced Shelving and Pesto Bread

I used to hate winter. Now I love it – well, I don’t love the cold but I do love the time inside for projects and especially love whipping up some comfort food.

Reinforced Shelving

A couple of months ago, one of the big shelves from IKEA was wrenched out of the wall by the weight of the books on it. CRASH! We came home to a kitchen splashed in purple, littered with glass shards, and reeking of spilled wine.

It was impossible to get back up on the wall and my dear husband’s patience was put to the test. With nothing but lath and plaster walls – we couldn’t find a stud, and the anchors the first hardware store sold us were easily bent and broken.

We needed something with a little more oomph to stop these shelves from coming down again.

After diligent research, my hubs found just the tool and we took down and reinstalled ALL of the shelves so that we would no longer have to worry about them capsizing on us.

Pesto Bread and Leftover Soup for Dinner – YUM!

Thanks to no central a/c and only window units during the hot summer months, my attitude towards fall and winter has changed dramatically. I used to HATE the onset of winter, but now, instead of just shivering in the cold, I smile and turn on the oven. It is the perfect time for baking bread and dishing up some hearty soups.

The minute it gets cold, and I do mean the minute, I am in the kitchen and whipping up yummies to fill our stomachs and chase away the cold.

And as I put the finishing touches on organizing my pantry and my open kitchen shelves I suddenly envisioned fresh-baked bread with pesto and parmesan.

Now I had never made it before, so I paged through a couple of possible recipes online and finally just prepped it like I would my Chile Cheese Bread recipe, except I substituted parmesan for the cheddar and pesto for the chiles. I wish I had some pine nuts, that would have been a lovely addition!

Next time, for sure!

Here is the recipe for the Pesto Bread. Enjoy!

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp pesto
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 6 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

Mix the water, yeast, salt, sugar, pesto, and cheese together. Add the flour and pine nuts and mix with a wooden spoon until dough is mixed and resembles a “shaggy” consistency. Cover and let rise for two hours.

Cut off 1/4 of the dough, dusting your hands thoroughly with flour and shape it into a ball. Place on a baking pan with a non-stick surface, liberally dusted with cornmeal. Let it rise again for 20 minutes or longer if you have refrigerated the dough.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, add a baking pan to the bottom shelf of the oven. When the oven has come to temperature, place the dough (baking sheet and all) in the oven and add one cup of water to the baking pan below and shut the door. Bake for 25 minutes, more or less may be needed for bigger or smaller loaves.

Loaves should be a golden brown on the outside.

This batch turned out rather well. The husband was quite happy, as was I.

The strong flavor of the pesto turned off the “kids” – my 11-year-old and the 71-year-old overgrown kid of the house, but hey, the “adults” liked it!

Organized Pantry

After running to the grocery store on Saturday morning and somehow losing a freshly bought jar of pickles to the chaos of a disorganized pantry – I realized it was time to reorganize it.

And this time I was going to label it!

It didn’t take long. It was mostly organized already, but enough things had been moved or set into place in random areas to make it confusing.

Canned chiles for example – we had them scattered in three different spots. So now I have eight cans of chiles. Which should last me through spring, possibly longer.

It sure is nice to have it all organized and labeled!

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I Miss Sleeping

The hot flashes have subsided. In fact, I haven’t had one in weeks. But sleeping the whole night through? I wish!

I seem to manage about 5-6 hours a night, where before I was a strict eight hours a night kind of gal.

I hate the idea of taking sleep aids, but I’m telling something has got to give if I keep waking up so early in the morning!

I took one last night and only woke up to the chaos of three dogs jumping off of the bed at 6:30 in the morning. It is a daily race to the the bottom of the stairs, down the hall, through the kitchen and utility room to jump over each other trying to get outside when one of us opens the door. I refer to it as “the running of the dogs.”

It was fantastic to get a full night’s sleep. In fact, I think I managed over NINE hours of snoozing.

So wonderful!

Melatonin seems to wear off after about six hours and Tylenol PM is what I took last night, but I would really like to find something natural that will keep me asleep for my needed eight hours.

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