Playtime Can Be Learning Time, Too

Learning Through Play With VTech 

I think you can safely say that we LOVE our VTech learning systems in this house. I love that I can download games and apps, or purchase cartridges to use with the systems to continue to extend their learning possibilities, and my girls love that they are fun. It’s nice that the kids can play something that they love and enjoy, while learning a new skill or polishing one that they already posses.

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Vanilla Sugar Cookies Made Using Vanilla Powder

Vanilla Sugar Cookies Using Premium Vanilla Powder {Food Storage Baking} | Cooke's Frontier

 

I didn’t know something like Vanilla Powder even existed in the world until I was sent this Premium Vanilla Powder from Emergency Essentials. Just to look at the can, you’d think it was just another food storage item, but let me tell you something. When you open this stuff, it smells like magic. Seriously, if unicorns had a scent, this would be it! As someone who’s been known to use their homemade vanilla extract as perfume, this stuff is right up my alley.

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Cherry Filled Thumbprint Cookies

Cherry Filled Thumbprint Cookies | Cooke's Frontier

I love to make cookies, but I really love to make Christmas cookies! It’s so much fun to cut and shape, bake and decorate, and then set them out for my family to enjoy. This time of year we’re busy making all kinds of cookie dough for the freezer, which we will shape and bake a little closer to Christmas. I generally mix up 1-2 batches of cookie dough a day for the freezer, depending on how many types of cookies I have planned to bake.

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Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast Book Review

Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast Book Review

 

Baking with yeast is one of the things that I truly enjoy. I love baking bread that my family then enjoys, fueling them through the day. One thing I’ve wanted to do for a long time has been capture a wild yeast and create sourdough bread. While I’m still waiting on my yeast to get here so I can start that process, I’ve been reading through Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast in preparation of the day when I *can* bake with my sourdough. Until then, I study.

The first thing that struck me about the book, right off the bat, was how beautiful the pictures are. Take a look at a few of the included photos so you can see what I’m talking about.

Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast Book Review

Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast Book Review

 

 

The next thing I loved was that I could sit down and read this almost as if it were a book. I LOVE a cookbook that I can enjoy looking through. It isn’t just a dry tome filled with instructions, it’s a manual filled with tips and insights to help you succeed.

I feel like I might be a little behind because I haven’t ready Melissa’s first book on baking with natural yeast, but after looking through the book and reading the recipes, I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able to tackle these recipes and end up victorious.

Immediately upon opening the book, there is a Welcome section that explains a bit about Melissa and her journey into baking with natural yeast. she also lists her blog, The Bread Geek, where you can find some of her recipes and resources. It’s a great blog and one that I had followed for a while. I like to dream about things long before I try them, so I’ve lived a vicarious, sourdough baking life through her for some time.

Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast Book Review

 

The next section is the “Starter Summary” where all of the ins and outs of growing and maintaining your starter can be found. Everything from what to type of container to use for your starter, to what types of flour to use, to how to power feed your starter, to the 5 Critical Keys to Success.

In the next section, we move into “Getting To Know Your Yeast”. This focuses on what wild yeast are, how to feed them and keep them happy, terms you should learn that might be helpful to you, as well as the symbol key to identify special diets and recipes throughout the book. I loved the fact that this book includes Contest Winners that readers of the books have developed and won at fairs, cook offs, and the like. Those are sure to be crowd pleasers!

After this, we dive right into the meat and potatoes…..or in this case, the bread. Page after page of detailed, easy to follow directions paired with fabulous photography. The first time I opened this book, I was in kind of a hurry and had about a million things to do, but I wanted to take a peek and see what it was like. I ended up sitting down and looking through the whole thing right then and there. I was so drawn in, so interested, that I just couldn’t put it down.

Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast Book Review

 

My final thoughts: I loved this book. I’ve said it once, and I’ll end up saying it a thousand more times before this blog has run its course- I love nothing more than baking bread. A cookbook like this is so pleasing and fun for someone like me who cannot get enough of bread. It was everything I look for and everything I had hoped. This is one amazing book that will take you through the steps and process of baking with natural yeast and leave you on the other side of your journey just a little smarter, with a little more ability, and a whole lot of pleased bellies filled with natural, nutritious, whole grain bread!

I was supplied a copy of the book in order to facilitate this review. The opinion and views are all mine and 100% my own. This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of those links and make a purchase, I may receive a commission, however your purchase price will not change.

Celebrate The Holidays With Rudolph and Hallmark!

Celebrate the Holidays with Rudolph and Pals!

 

Each year, we pop a big bowl of popcorn and sit down to watch the classic Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer as a family. I love the older animated Christmas classics, and Rudy is my ALL TIME favorite. We sing the songs, munch our snacks, and just hang out. It’s a treasured family memory for me every year and it’s one I hope we can continue even as the girls grow.

Did I mention I have a Rudolph Story Buddy Set and a Santa and Bumble Itty Bitty to give away, too? Oh, there is that.

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