Ever After
  • Archives
  • February23rd

    I have a long history of making crummy rolls–more tough than tender and more heavy than heavenly.  Thankfully, with a little help from a couple friends who are expert roll makers, I’ve improved (but not yet perfected) my skills over the last few months. It also doesn’t hurt that we are blessed to have a French-trained chef that goes to our church, and he has generously shared his wheat bread recipe with us. My friend, Megan, has adapted the bread recipe into a roll recipe, and it has risen to the top of my all-time favorite foods list.

    A word of warning: I’m a fairly disciplined person–I can have a candy dish full of chocolate and not gorge myself. But, I kid you not, these rolls are to-die-for straight out of the oven and I have been known to eat 3 or more (I won’t divulge how many more) in rapid succession. I even forgot the shortening in the batch I made this morning, and they are still delectable.

    Proceed with caution.

    C’est Bon European Cafe Wheat Bread — Adapted for rolls
    Recipe Type: Bread
    Author: Greg Miller
    Prep time: 2 hours
    Cook time: 7 mins
    Total time: 2 hours 7 mins
    Serves: 30
    World’s Best Rolls!
    • 3 pkgs. dry yeast (2 1/4 T. or so)
    • 2 1/2 c. warm water
    • 1/2 c. honey
    • 3 T. sugar
    • 4 c. white flour
    • 1/2 T. salt
    • 1/2 c. honey
    • 3 T. shortening (not oil)
    • 3/4 c. warm water
    • approx. 5 cups wheat flour
    1. Mix the first four ingredients–yeast, warm water, honey, sugar– in a bowl.
    2. Add the white flour.
    3. Mix approx. 1 minute–will result in a pancake-like batter.
    4. Cover the bowl and let rise until double in volume, about 1/2 – 1 hour
    5. Add salt,honey, shortening and warm water
    6. Mix well
    7. Add wheat flour–enough so that dough pulls away from the bowl and can be handled without sticking. Error on the side of sticky dough to avoid heavy rolls.
    8. Mix with dough hook for 10 minutes.
    9. Lightly spray 3 cookie sheets w/ cooking spray.
    10. Divide dough into 3 equal portions using a dough cutter. Apparently, you’re not supposed to tear bread/roll dough; you’re supposed to “cut” it w/ a blunt dough cutter. Keep the dough lumps that you’re not using yet covered w/ a cloth so that it doesn’t dry out.
    11. Using a dough cutter, cut off a small hunk of dough and form it into a dough ball, pulling the top of ball down from the top and pinching it underneath so that you have a smooth top. You can dust a little flour on the hunk of dough if it is a little sticky, but don’t over do it because it will make your rolls dry and tough.
    12. Place on cookie sheet. I get 20 small rolls from each 1/3 portion (60 rolls total). I fit 20 on each cookie sheet, 4 wide, 5 long. When one cookie sheet is full, cover with a dish towel and set in a warm place to rise.
    13. Repeat until all the dough has been formed into rolls.
    14. Bake at 350 degrees (convection oven) for 6 1/2 minutes.
    15. Remove from oven, brush w/ butter.
    16. Indulge.

    • February22nd


      Posted in: Tad, Vivi

      What fun it is to have two littles at home that help keep each other company. Tad and I are going to be awfully lonely when Vivi starts kindergarten next year.

      Last week, they spent HOURS amusing themselves with a box of foam peanuts. And surprisingly, they even cleaned up after themselves.

      The sight of them sitting in their box watching Rudolph together is something I never want to forget. Surely, I’ll remember days like this as some of the best of my life.

    • February22nd

      Tough Tad!

      Posted in: Tad

      Tad is one TOUGH kid.  He rarely cries when he gets hurt, and if he does cry, you know he’s REALLY hurt. And I love that he’s still young enough to be soothed by his momma’s kisses.

    • February14th

      True Love

      Posted in: Bryan, Lori

      Love is . . .

      • patient and love is kind (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
      • putting out the trash cans.
      • putting down the toilet seat.
      • carrying down the heavy baskets of dirty laundry on Monday morning.
      • holding your tongue when, for the umpteenth time, your wife questions your love for her because you agonized so long over the decision to marry her.
      • holding your wife’s hair back when she is suffering from morning sickness or the stomach flu.
      • cleaning up from the stomach flu.
      • holding hands.
      • changing dirty diapers.
      • giving a hug even when you’re mad.
      • daily phone calls.
      • emptying the trashcan even when you think your wife should be able to stomp on the trash and fit a little more in.
      • putting a new liner in the trashcan.
      • an evening of American Pickers and Blue Diamond Almonds.
      • sleeping in the guest room so that The Littles can have cuddle time with mom.
      • scrubbing the shower.
      • putting your dirty clothes in the hamper instead of the floor.
      • buying a wedding ring for your wife even though you didn’t want to.
      • shaving your head before it looks scruffy.
      • using deodorant daily.
      • brushing your teeth more than you think you need to because your wife likes minty breath.
      • going to estate sales and patiently watching the kids so your wife can browse at her leisure.
      • not complaining when your wife buys things at estate sales.
      • bravely breaking out of “holding patterns.”
      • Quiddler.
      • Mother’s Night Out.
      • not chomping ice in your wife’s ear.
      • Cristina’s when you’d rather have Market Street.
      • overlooking the dirty dishes in the sink.
      • washing the dirty dishes in the sink.
      • putting up with an elderly cat.
      • comforting your wife when her elderly cat died.
      • trips to the ER with your wife after Tad was born.
      • eating mediocre beef stew.
      • never giving your wife a reason to doubt your fidelity.
      • Text Twist.
      • doing yard work.
      • hiring Mario to do the yard work.
      • learning how to grow a garden.
      • being frugal.
      • knowing when not to be frugal.
      • Half-Price Books.
      • helping with Math homework.
      • giving an opinion.
      • knowing when to stay silent.
      • hanging doors together.
      • supporting our family even when the job is stressful.
      • letting your wife pluck your old man eyebrows.
      • taking family pictures.
      • smiling when taking family pictures.
      • late-night surprise stops for frozen yogurt.
      • letting your wife wear your sweats and gym socks.
      • BLT.
      • writing notes to your wife and leaving them in unexpected places.
      • using the yellow towel and not the blue one.
      • cleaning the top of the ceiling fans without being asked.
      • not answering the phone at the dinner table.
      • knowing when to set the family history work aside and pay attention to your wife.
      • eternal.

    • February9th

      Let it snow!

      Posted in: Ariana, Lori

      I think that I am more excited than any school child when I hear that school has been cancelled due to inclement weather.

      Normally BT drops Ariana off at school on his way to work, but a couple of weeks ago he was running behind, so I ran Ariana to school for him.  After she gave me the tenth hug and kiss of the morning, she hopped out of Fern (our car) and walked away, turning only once to wave goodbye.

      As I lingered at the curb for a few moments and reflected on how beautiful and good she is and how quickly the years had slipped away, I hoped that the crossing guard didn’t notice the woman with the bird nest hair and morning mascara smears crying like a baby in the drop-off lane.

      And so I was up half the night last night checking the weather and the school website, eagerly hoping for another day with all the chicks safely in the nest. Once the 5:49 a.m. automated call came, I was finally able to drift back to peaceful slumber.

      Oh, happy day!  I just received word that school is also delayed two hours tomorrow.  February 2011 may just be my favorite month EVER. Let it SNOW!

    • February7th

      Mother, May I?

      Posted in: Ariana, Lori

      As an enterprising young girl, I had aspirations of making buckets of money by opening my own lemonade stand.  Lemons were plentiful in our little Southern California yard; in fact, they littered the ground around the over-burdened tree at the west side of our home.  I figured that my siblings and I could fashion a table using scraps of wood from Dad’s workshop, Mom could donate the sugar, and we’d be in business.  Sadly, despite my careful planning and detailed business plans, Mom would always say, “NO!”  As an adult, and thankfully one with a forgiving heart and a sense of humor, I now chuckle at the reason she gave for putting the kibosh on our plans: “You’d be operating without a business license and the police would come and get you and throw you into jail.”

      She loved that two-letter pet word of hers and used it often.  Before we could even get the entire phrase, “Mother, may I .  .  . ” out of our mouths, she’d give her damning answer.  (“Damning,” not “damn” . . . in case that matters to someone.)  I promised myself that when I was a mother, I’d say “yes” all the time.

      Fast forward to reality.

      Just ask my kids, I am my mother.

      And so when Ariana asked if she could go shovel walks Thursday morning as a service project for her Faith in God program, I instinctively said, “no.”  All she heard was, “no,” but in my head, I really did have a good list of reasons:

      • No, it is too cold.
      • No, we don’t own a snow shovel.
      • No, it’s still snowing and your hard work would be for naught.
      • No, I’m sure you need some sort of business license to shovel walks.

      And as the words leaped from my lips, I caught the look of profound disappointment in her eyes, and I was transported back thirty years.

      When she showed me the clever flyer she had already created and planned to leave as an anonymous calling card on each doorstep , I became as soft as the falling show she aimed to shovel and acquiesced to her crazy but sweet plan.

      Yes, she learned a few lessons through the experience:

      • Yes, it was too cold.
      • Yes, shoveling snow with a garden shovel doesn’t work very well.
      • Yes, the path quickly vanished under a new blanket of snow.
      • Whew,  Thankfully we didn’t have to post bail.

      But so did I:

      Unless it’s going to get her arrested or killed, say “yes” more.

    • February4th


      Posted in: Lori

      I’m not sure if you’ve heard the news, but I suffer from a debilitating, paralytic condition that has been particularly acute the last several months.

      It’s not brought on by the cold weather, although we’ve had plenty of that.

      It doesn’t seem to flare up when I eat too much ice cream.  In fact, I’ve been depriving myself of my favorite treat as I try to stop the spread of my lower hemisphere. (Doesn’t seem to be working too well, though).

      I could blame it on childbirth, and I think that it may be related to some kind of postpartum fog that I still find myself in even two plus years later, but I get the sense that there’s more to it than that.

      Honestly, I think that the big, bad WHATIF MONSTER is to blame.  He attacks my confidence; he burdens me with doubt; he torments my resolve.

      As I sit and stare at a blank screen or a think of my many craft projects or gaze at my camera with my glorious 24/70 lens just waiting to be used, my heart starts to race as the WHATIF MONSTER approaches.

      What if I write something and I dangle a preposition or split an infinitive?  Or what if I write something and someone reads it and it makes them feel bad?  Or what if I start to write something and I get interrupted and then I get really angry and then I feel bad and then I realize that I really am a bad mom?

      What if I cut into the silky fabrics and I mess it up?  And what if I use my beautiful fabric on this project and then I decide later on that it would have been better to use it on another project and then it is too late and I can’t get anymore?  And what if I knit up this skein of wool yarn and the gauge is all wrong?  And what if I work on a craft project and the husband comes home and looks at the messy house and thinks (but never says) “wife, what have you done all day?”

      And what if I took a picture and the exposure was wrong or the shutter speed too slow or the f-stop too high or the angle unflattering?

      And the longer I think of the what if’s, the bigger the monster becomes.

      I read a Shel Silverstein poem many years ago that I’m afraid may be read at my funeral.

      “Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
      Those were the words of Mary Hume
      At her seventh birthday party,
      Looking ’round the ribboned room.
      “This tablecloth is pink not white–
      Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

      “Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
      Those were the words of grown-up Mary
      Talking about her handsome beau,
      The one she wasn’t gonna marry.
      “Squeezes me a bit too tight–
      Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

      “Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
      Those were the words of ol’ Miss Hume
      Teaching in the seventh grade,
      Grading papers in the gloom
      Late at night up in her room.
      “They never cross their t’s just right–
      Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

      Ninety-eight the day she died
      Complainin’ ’bout the spotless floor.
      People shook their heads and sighed,
      “Guess that she’ll like heaven more.”
      Up went her soul on feathered wings,
      Out the door, up out of sight.
      Another voice from heaven came–
      “Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

      And so here I am, one of the least productive people you will ever meet because I’m too afraid to try . . . A coward who worries that the outcome will be “almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

      I envy people who bravely start on projects even when they can’t see the end from the beginning. I marvel at the boldness with which they work, shrugging their shoulders at setbacks and moving forward despite mistakes.

      And so I resolve to slay WHATIF and replace him with a soft, cuddly, lovable SOWHAT.

      It’s okay to read books on slipcovering furniture (I own at least three of them) and to pour over countless articles about it on the Internet and to attend a class (can’t wait for next Friday). But then it’s time to put the books down and get to work. And yes, my couch may end up looking like it’s wearing an ill-fitting “mu-mu” and not the tailored Pottery Barn style “suit” that I’m hoping for.  So what?  I won’t know until I try.

      And even though my blog posts may be overrun with run-on’s and my pictures fuzzy and under-saturated, so what?  Someday I’ll be grateful that I captured the moments of my kids’ fast-fleeting childhood.

      So what if I make more mistakes . . . TONS of them.

      I want to be a “doer” and not just a “thinker.”