Friday, January 30, 2009

Grab Bag Friday: Turtle Bread

We had another snow day this week. When I was a kid, I used to actually feel *sorry* for the kids who lived in warm places like Florida and California...they never got to have any snow days! Snow days were like a gift from heaven. My sisters and brother and I would build snow tunnels (yes, the snow was *that* deep and packable), or stay in our pajamas all day, or most often, bake.

One year, my brother got on a Turtle Bread kick. He found the recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook, and he'd make turtle after turtle (and we would gobble them up faster than he could make them!) We loved to watch the bread rise, taste the raw dough (I know, gross, huh?), smell the bread cooking in the oven, and we especially loved to eat the little turtle feet.

This is a great introductory bread recipe for kids. Even if you're one of those poor souls who don't get snow days, I hope you'll enjoy making it:

Turtle Bread

2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
1 package quick active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 egg
2 raisins

In large bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar and salt; set aside.

In 1-quart saucepan, heat water, milk and butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to 125°F to 130°F; stir into yeast mixture. Stir in egg. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. On lightly floured surface, knead dough about 5 minutes or until smooth and springy. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Lightly grease cookie sheet with shortening or spray with cooking spray. Shape a 2-inch piece of dough into a ball for turtle’s head. Shape 4 walnut-size pieces of dough into balls for feet. Shape 1 walnut-size piece of dough into tail. Shape remaining dough into ball for turtle body; place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Attach head, feet and tail by placing 1 end of each under edge of body to secure. Press raisins into head for eyes. Cover and let rise in warm place 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 400°F. Make 1/4-inch-deep circular cut around top edge of body, then make crisscross cuts in center to look like a turtle's shell. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Refrigerating dough is not recommended.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ALA Awards, Running Behind, & Stevie Ray Vaughan

I'm totally off-schedule and running behind this week.

I was planning to post about the Newbery and Caldecott Award winners on Monday. I was planning to spend some time listening to Andrew Bird's new album to review here today. There's a big pile of clean laundry on the couch, and a bigger pile of dirty laundry in the basement.

It's been that kind of week and it's only Wednesday.

So instead of doing *any* of those things tonight, I procrastinated on YouTube, found the video of Stevie Ray Vaughan's brilliant song Tick Tock, and a cool video of Stevie Ray and his brother Jimmie talking about making their album Family Style.

I love the shot of Stevie Ray and Jimmie playing the double neck guitar, and I *love* the quote at the end where Stevie Ray is talking about how much closer he and his brother became during the making of the album..."I really needed that." There's nothing like family to get you through.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Grab Bag Friday: Cold Is Relative

Okay, we can all admit to succumbing to the charms of the occasional forwarded message. My dad (in Wisconsin) just sent me this one, and maybe it's because the weather has been dipping below zero around here and freezing my brain cells, but it struck me as hilarious.

A lot of it, by the way, is not *that* much of an exaggeration--my sisters have totally sunbathed at 60, and my husband has used the outdoor grill in temperatures lower than 35!

(The picture is a van outside my mom's bedroom window in Idaho.)

65 above zero:
Floridians turn on the heat.
People in Wisconsin plant gardens.
60 above zero:
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
People in Wisconsin sunbathe.
50 above zero:
Italian & English cars won't start.
People in Wisconsin drive with the windows down.
40 above zero:
Georgians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, wool hats.
People in Wisconsin throw on a flannel shirt.
35 above zero:
New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
People in Wisconsin have the last cookout before it gets cold.
20 above Zero:
People in Miami all die.
Wisconsinites close the windows.

Californians fly away to Mexico .
People in Wisconsin get out their winter coats.
10 below zero:
Hollywood disintegrates.
The Girl Scouts in Wisconsin are selling cookies door to door.
20 below zero:
Washington DC runs out of hot air.
People in Wisconsin let the dogs sleep indoors.
30 below zero:
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Wisconsinites get upset because they can't start the Snow-mobile.
40 below zero:
ALL atomic motion stops.
People in Wisconsin start saying...'Cold enough fer ya?'
50 below zero:
Hell freezes over.
Wisconsin public schools will open 2 hours late.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Aretha Franklin: My Country 'Tis of Thee

In case you missed it yesterday, or in case (like me) you just wanted to see it again, here's the Queen of Soul singing at Barack Obama's inauguration. I watched it in one of my favorite restaurants that was so packed that I could only glimpse the corner of Ms. Franklin's fabulous hat on the big screen. But the timbre of her voice, the excitement of the moment, the beauty of the melody, and the profundity of the lyrics (written almost two centuries ago) brought me to tears all the same.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Langston Hughes: Children's Rhymes

Last week, a professor in my department used the second stanza of this Langston Hughes poem on his syllabus, and it was so stunning to read in light of tomorrow's inauguration that I immediately had to go look up the whole poem.

"Children's Rhymes" reflects the generation gap at the time Hughes wrote it (early 1950's, I believe)---an older person watching (and complaining) about the jivey be-bop rhymes (in italics) of the kids on his block.

We've still got a lot of hard work stretched out in front of us, but I have to say it feels really good to make some progress!

Children's Rhymes
by Langston Hughes

When I was a chile we used to play,
"One -- two -- buckle my shoe!"
and things like that. But now, Lord,
listen at them little varmints!

By what sends
the white kids
I ain't sent:
I know I can't
be President.

There is two thousand children
in this block, I do believe!

What don't bug
them white kids
sure bugs me:
We knows everybody
ain't free!

Some of these young ones is cert'ly bad --
One batted a hard ball right through my window
and my gold fish et the glass.

What's written down
for white folks
ain't for us a-tall:
"Liberty And Justice --
Huh -- For All."

Skee! Daddle-de-do!

Salt' peanuts!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Grab Bag Friday: Tickets, anyone?

Well, I'm back from a lovely, sunshine-filled family vacation and woke up this morning to -14 degrees. Brrrrr!

Luckily, we've got some things to look forward to in the next few weeks to keep our minds off the weather. I'm looking forward to the inauguration, and Kevin's looking forward to the Superbowl. So of course this cartoon from Slate cracked me up:

Friday, January 2, 2009

Blog Vacation

I'm taking a little break for the first half of January, but you can be sure that when I return, I'll bring you up to speed on everything I've been reading and listening to over the last few weeks!

Happy New Year!!