Wednesday, November 18

Trial 1

Flavor Question: Can I make the flavor more even by pureeing the peaches and evening out the fruit (putting in more cherries and less peaches)?

Texture Question: How can we make the edges less brown and still keep it cooked inside?

Flavor Hypothesis -  If I Puree the peaches and divide the fruit in half I will make a more even flavor in the bread.

Texture Hypothesis - If I bake it at the same temperature for only 50 min the insides will be done and the edges will not be burned yet

Experiment  Summary - When making the bread this time, we used 1 cup of sweet cherries instead of1/2 cup of  tart cherries.  The peaches were pureed and measured 1 cup. I forgot to put in the nutmeg with the other spices, but luckily I remembered just before we mixed so we were able to fix it.  We mixed for for 35 seconds this time. We wrote down the empty bowl bowl weight wrong and accidentally put too much in one loaf pan.  The loaves were baked for 50 minutes at the same temperature (350 degrees)

Flavor Conclusion - I only tasted cinnamon except when tasting cherry chunks. There was not any peach flavor.  We decided that we might want to find a way to concentrate the peach flavor since we can't increase the amount without getting rid of the cherries.The best idea we had for concentrating the flavor is simmering the peach puree to cook off some of the water.

Texture Conclusion -We decided that the inside was probably under cooked because there were more holes at the top than at the bottom, but the edges were still crispy.   Next time, we will cook it for one hour at 325 degrees.

Personal Review - Overall, I like the cooking part but I hate the lab report. Taking notes is frustrating because I hate writing with a passion.   The cooking part is pretty fun because it is good mother-daughter bonding time and it feels really good.  It is like hot cocoa.  And it made some yummy bread.

Wednesday, November 11

The Control Group

Hi, I’m Froggy and I am 10.  Mommy and I are trying to make the best quick bread ever.  I’m going to learn how to make the best quick bread ever.  What I already know is that you shouldn’t overmix.  According to Alton Brown in I'm Just Here for More Food," over-mixing begets gluten makes for very tough 'balloons' inside the batter that can be blown up and up and up." which then holes that are too big in the muffin. You should sift the dry goods because it removes lumps and combines the ingredients. Sugar is a wet good in this recipe.  

 We are going to test the recipe in a scientific manner.  First, we are making a control recipe then I’m going to taste it, and then talk to my Mommy, who will make suggestions.  We’re going to try them.  We’re going to make the recipe modified by the suggestions and we’re going to taste it and make more suggestions and keep going till its perfect.

The recipe for the control is:

370g flour
3 tsp spice (we used 2tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp clove, 1/2 tsp nutmeg*)
 3 eggs
370g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1 c vegetable oil 
2 cups fruit (we used 1 1/2c frozen chopped peaches and 1/2c Oregon brand canned tart cherries drained and roughly chopped)

To prepare the bread, we mixed the wet ingredients in the mixer then added the fruit and mixed again.  Finally we added the sifted dry goods.  To ensure we did not over mix we timed the mixing.  We mixed on low speed for exactly 30 seconds and then stirred twice to scrape sides.  We divided the batter evenly into two pans.  We weighed the batter to make sure we put half in each pan. We baked the loafs at 350 for exactly 1 hour. 

When we took the loaves out, we decided that the batter might have been cooked too long because it was a little crispy.  Next time we will probably puree the peaches because they were not spread out enough through the loaf and we were just getting little chunks.  We will also uses more cherries.  The spices were good just as they were.  We could tell we didn't over mix from the lack of cavities.

* We used whole nutmeg instead of ground and put in 15 grater strokes

Friday, November 6

Food Fun For Froggy

Froggy and I are working on a really neat project while we are trapped inside this winter.  She and I are going to write our own cookbook.  The plan is that it will be a deliciously educational way to teach scientific method, math, writing, and practical life skills. 

We are going to work on  one recipe at time using the scientific method to analyze the changes we make as we  tweak and perfect the recipe.  The math will come in part as we change quanities and make conversions and weigh all the ingredients.  And the writing will be the best part as Froggy writes the scientific reports and as well as the recipe reviews.

Stay tuned next week as we tackle our first recipe, breakfast loaf. We are starting with a very generic loaf so that Froggy can use her creativity and develop her own unique flavor profile.

Friday, October 30

Happy Adoption Day

After a rocky, roller coaster three months, Little Bit is not officially, legally part of our family forever! She has been part our family in our hearts from the moment she was born.  Now she is part of our family in the eyes of the law as well. 

Wednesday, October 28


I am not sure if it is being a big sister, part of turning 10 or just time but Froggy has suddenly gotten more mature.  As a part of that, she decided to get her ears pierced!
 She was extremely brave during the process and been really responsible about caring for them.

Friday, October 23

Three months - sort of

Little Bit is officially three months old today.  Sort of.  But really she is a brand new baby only two weeks old.  She is 8lbs and 19 inches.  She eats and sleeps and has very brief awake phases.  She has beautiful hair that is just long enough now to fuzz and feels delicious when you rub her head.

She has been part of our lives for three months but she has only been home for roughly two weeks which helps remind us (if not the rest of the world) that she really is just a brand new baby.

But now that she is really supposed to be here ( ie full-term) she is doing so much better.  She still has major reflux and still needs oxygen support. But we are adjusting.  We figured out the wrap and she loves being worn.  She can be more upright which helps the reflux and she breathes more calmly and easily being worn.  And it also means I can keep life functioning at least somewhat.

Wednesday, October 14

Fairy House Jack O' Lantern

For ages I have been collecting ideas for how Froggy and I can make natural invitations to play.  Today we finally acted on one of those ideas.  We took one of the gourds from our still life painting and turned it into an amazing Jack O'Lantern.  Kitchen Counter Chronicles supplied the idea and instructions.  Froggy supplied the creativity and labor. 

I think it turned out awesome.  And as a bonus, we roasted the seeds and had a yummy snack.