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I don’t care for Valentine’s Day and I don’t care for decks. But if you tear my deck out on Valentine’s Day, you’ll have won my heart.

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I can’t stop raving about this cookbook. I love fresh bread, but had never made my own. I had a hand-me-down bread machine, but it was old and caught fire the first time I tried to use it. I stumbled across this book and suddenly, I’m making my own actual bread on a regular basis without all the trouble and fuss of a bread machine or the tricky science of rising and kneading and all that jazz. You mix the standard bread ingredients–flour, yeast, water and salt–and after an initial rise, the dough is refrigerated for up to two weeks. Anytime you want bread, you cut off a piece of the wet sticky dough, allow it to rise briefly and bake it up! So it’s just like traditional home-baked bread, only easier AND more convenient.

So far I’ve made round freeform loaves, crusty white sandwich loaves in a pan, and this incredible pizza dough that Tony used to make wood-oven pizza in his new Green Egg. Delicious!

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It goes without saying that my blog has been neglected (again). Rather than try and catch up in one heavy post, however, I’m just going to pick back up as if my last post was really written yesterday and not six months ago.

So! Remember how we were stripping wallpaper to have our home painted? Yeah, well we finished that project and now we have a lovely family room and play room up front, all in the perfect shade of blue (you may also remember, mama don’t do beige). In the playroom we added a FLOR area rug, and the TV room got a large oriental rug that one of Tony’s clients left behind. I like that rug, it’s very nice, but I think I’m going to move it into the dining room and put another FLOR rug in the family room to match the one in the playroom.

You can see our playroom here as it looked on Christmas morning. A riot of sunshine, torn paper, champagne and toys. I love this room.

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