Netflix

On The Lake

I had the pleasure of a girl’s weekend with my bestie, Rachel! Last year we rented an Airbnb on the water in Shelton (very remote, very peaceful). This year we rented a place on Lake Steilacoom in Lakewood, Washington. It’s between Olympia and Tacoma. I’ve honestly never been–I’ve just seen signs off the freeway. 😉

The place we rented was the basement apartment of a house right on the lake.

I arrived a little before Rachel on Friday afternoon and after unpacking, I sat outside in the sun and read my book next to the lake. It was peaceful and quiet and beautiful.

When Rachel arrived we got some food at the nearby Trader Joe’s and then cooked dinner while catching up. We made goat cheese ravioli topped with Autumn Pumpkin Alfredo sauce–sounds a bit weird but it was tasty! Not too overpowering in either direction.

We drank wine, we talked late into the night, we ate the homemade popcorn the owners gave us and then went in the hot tub. It was a really nice, relaxing evening!

Saturday we both slept in (amazing!) had breakfast and lots of coffee:

And then I went for a run. The place we rented was right on the water and the neighborhood was very nice, but the streets were narrow and windy and not safe to run on. I asked the owner if there was any where I could go and she recommended Fort Steilacoom Park.

Apparently it’s a nice place for all kinds of activities and when I showed up there were tons of people doing stuff. There was some kind of event going on, then there was a soccer tournament and there was a huge dog park area, which looked cool.

There were a bunch of trails. I ran on the gravel/dirt trails a bit until I found the paved path:

It was a beautiful fall day, slightly crisp but not too cold. The sun was out, the leaves were turning. The paved path went around the lake and it was flat and clean and very nice. There were lots of other walkers, runners and bikers. It kind of reminded me of Greenlake in Seattle.

 

It was a nice run. I felt pretty good. I wasn’t in a rush, either, just enjoyed the scenery. Rachel was going to the store to get a few things and she said no rush, so I looked around a bit and found a cool old ruin:

I did a little more running and then headed back to the car. I did just under 3 miles and felt great!

I stretched and then drove back to the house (about a mile or so away), showered and then we kicked back with Pandora tunes and played board games a bit. Then Trader Joe’s honey goat cheese on crackers and some soup for lunch. We played a few rounds of Ticket to Ride.

Then chick flicks on Netflix! We decided to order takeout for dinner and picked up Italian food at Casa Mia. It was pretty close to where we were staying, so that was nice. Rachel got the mushroom risotto and I got spaghetti noodles with pesto and Caesar Salad. The portions were pretty big so we had lots of leftovers. It was a weekend full of carbs!

Then more hot tub time:

And bed. Sunday I hit the gym and then drove home to Portland. It was a fantastic weekend! I really needed the girl time and time to catch up with Rachel (and time to relax and do NOTHING) but I was feeling a little homesick. I missed my boys! I got home just in time for Logan to wake up from his nap!

It felt good to be home. 🙂

Sourdough

Who knew sourdough bread was so hard??? I’ve tried it about half a dozen times or more since the first time I tried it. The first time I tried it, it was flat. The second time the dough didn’t rise for some reason. One time it didn’t look very good but it had the right sour flavor. Then another time it looked great and had the right flavor but it was a little underdone. I’ve baked it in my dutch oven and on our baking stone, with varied results.

I keep trying and reading and trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Recently I did another loaf and tried a different baking method. This is the method I used this time:

The result was pretty good. The rise was nice, there was a great color, the crust was crunchy, it was baked well (maybe slightly overdone) but not sour. UGH! So frustrating. But it did LOOK pretty:

I talked to a friend who does sourdough on the regular and she said that she puts the starter on her counter the day before and feeds it twice, once the morning before she makes it, then again that night. She said that will make it more sour. So next time, I’m going to try doing it that way and see what happens.

This week I tried again and did a few things differently. First, I weighed the flour when I made the dough and used grams instead of measuring cups. Second, I took my friend’s advice and took the starter out the day before, fed it twice and then made the dough the next morning. Third, I followed the new baking instructions.

The result was great! The bread was a little on the light side color-wise but the inside was fantastic! It was the best loaf I’ve made so far. It didn’t have a super strong sour flavor but the bread was light and airy and fluffy instead of being dense. I was really, really happy with the results.

For dinner, I made tomato bisque and we had the freshly baked bread with it. Fantastic!

On a similar note, I’ve been obsessed with the Great British Baking Show on Netflix. It never appealed to me but for some reason I saw a random episode of the new season and I decided to start at the beginning. I loved it! That first season was great and had some really good bakers.

I also love that you learn a lot from the show. They make stuff I’ve never heard of before and it’s interesting to see the methods. I also like that they do a bread episode each season! Listening to the judges critique the breads has been helpful for me recognizing some of the mistakes I’ve been making (not letting it proof long enough, not kneading it enough, etc). Also, it’s nice to watch the show while I wait for Top Chef to come back!

QUESTION: Are you a sourdough baker? Any tips or favorite recipes?