Super Simple Artisan Bread

I love bread...actually, let me qualify that with I love artisan bread. I like a crunchy crust with a soft center. Before we moved to Germany I thought I knew a thing or two about bread, but how I was mistaken.

The variety of breads found in a German bakery amazed me. At first, I was hesitant of all that dark wheat and rye, but slowly, as I ventured beyond chocolate croissants and baguettes I found a richness and density in those nutty loaves that I came to love. I came to appreciate stopping by the bakery every day and I stopped making bread!

Now that I live in Saudi there is a complete dearth of bread, that is if you want something other than pita or something other than white flour. I came to realize I was going to have to start baking my own bread again, so when a friend of mine posted this youtube video for super simple bread I knew I had to give it a try.

My first attempt was a success. My husband and daughter loved the flavor, the crust was perfectly crunchy (though the bottom a bit tough) and the technique of cooking in a caste iron dutch oven was very simple.

You can watch the video here 


Home. Where is home? daughter and I were discussing this tonight as she was having one of those "I hate being so far from my family"moments.

I get comments all the time from people who "wish" they had our life, or see our life as one big adventure. They are jealous (in the best way) of all the travel we do and oh, the praise I get for raising children with a world awareness. It's true, our chosen path has been and continues to be an adventure. We are blessed with travel privileges and my kids are benefiting, but there are trade offs to be sure! I have often pined away for the stability of living in one spot. Surrounded by family, hosting holiday dinners, attending special events and actually being a relevant person in the lives of my nieces and nephews.

We really have no place to call home. We have no place to return to. Yes, we can crash at Nana's, Grandma's, Aunty K's, Papa's,  Leslie's, Nate's, or Aaron's (thank goodness we have a big family), but there is something about having an anchor, your own anchor. Creating meaningful relationships is not done easily with only snippets of time each summer. It is trendy to say home is where your family is, but what happens when your family is NOT in the same spot?

The photos in this post were taken over the summer while visiting my mother in Wyoming. Cokeville is not home, but it's the closest thing to stable we have for now.  I grew up visiting my grandma here and now I take my children there. It's a small ranching town short on entertainment and restaurants, but it is a place where we can slow down, breath deeply, ride the 4 wheelers, float down the river and hike in the clean air.  And for the time being it is the place where we will foster relationships with those cousins we only see during the summer.

Silent Sunday

Linking with...One Dad 3 Girls

Seeking The Divine

We arrived in Muscat late in the evening and as we drove to our hotel we passed the two most beautiful mosques. The Grand Mosque is actually open to visitors from 8am-11am. Women must cover, but you are allowed inside to take pictures of the interior. Unfortunately, we never made it during visitor hours, so we had to content ourselves with the exterior. 

We were however, able to get inside the Mohammed Al Ameen Mosque.  Truth be told, I am not sure if we were allowed inside or not.  I kept waiting for someone to stop me, but it was very late at night, no one was around, and I kept exploring.  The domes on this mosque are magnificent! I wish I could have gotten better pictures of them. The exterior is white marble and it absolutely glows. 

I am not muslim, but I appreciate the desire to spare no expense in building a house for God. I appreciate the reverence one feels toward such a sanctuary. I love that you take your shoes off when you enter.  I appreciate wanting to keep it pure, even if that means keeping infidels like myself out. I appreciate the simplicity of design and lack of distracting ornamentation. No, I am not a Muslim, but I do understand these feelings, desires and emotions, and I am pretty sure I could meet God here too.

Linking with...My Town Shootout  *  Friday Photo Journal  *  The Weekend In Black & White  * Little Things Thursday * Weekend Reflections  * Photo Friday

Muscat Souk

The Middle East just celebrated Eid and with a week off of work and school we decided to make a last minute trip to Oman. We'd heard good things about Oman, namely that I could drive and didn't have to wear an abaya, plus with mountains and sand dunes we knew we'd be able to enjoy some nice out door activities.

We spent our first day city exploring in Muscat and so we headed downtown to the souk for some shopping. What we discovered however, is that Oman doesn't have a well defined culture of its own. The lamps, jewelry and rick rack are imports from Turkey and Morocco. The food isn't even distinctive. The same thing exists in Saudi--lots of borrowing from other countries. Never the less, I always love walking through the souk with its smells, people watching and bombardment of sellers.
The Details:
Situated down by the seaside, parking is a bear and it's a hot walk back to the souk if you park far away. Don't worry though, the souk itself is covered and immediately inside there are shops selling ice cold water and soft drinks. 

I am pretty sure my mother would love these antique looking necklaces. I jumped into the goat pin to choose my animal for the Eid feast and then we popped into what looked like an antiques store full of the most unique and random things...Yes, that is a croc head dangling above Bob and Eden. 

You know we love stray cats and there is never any shortage of them in Middle East countries. Not the best photo of the goat, but his coat was so beautiful--he is from Pakistan. 
I do love the traditional mens dress and hat worn in Oman. And from my perch high above, I caught this father and son trying on new hats. 
We got pulled into an incense shop and despite not being a big fan of any of the scents the man was selling, I bought some anyway--Frankincense will come in handy at Christmas time, right?
 I loved the architecture of the old Muscat. The white looks so crisp against the desert backdrop.
Today I am linking with...Our World Tuesday  Sweet Shot Tuesday  image-in-ing  and Wednesdays Around the World 

Silent Sunday

We got up at 3:30am to witness this miracle of life. They are newly hatched turtles trying their hardest to get out of the nest before mommy buries them alive.  

Fremont Indian State Park

This summer we spent a lot of time on the road visiting Utah's State and National Parks. Fremont Indian State Park is a smaller and perhaps lesser known park near Richfield, UT and truth be told would not have been on our radar except that I worked here for a few weeks one summer. 

I studied Anthropology at university and each summer I worked for the Office of Public Archaeology--our jobs usually consisted of surveying public land that was in contract for private use. Our surveys consisted of a lot of hiking in remote sections of the state, staring at the ground looking for evidence of human occupation. This job however, was surveying and documenting the Fremont Indian rock art panels in the canyon. It was a fun job because the "sites" were these great works of art (and perhaps graffiti) from about 1000 years ago.  With only primitive tools to work with, the Fremont had to keep the shapes simple, yet the images are recognizable--sheep (or some other 4 legged creature), people and concentric circles are the most common. 
The Details
Address: 3820 Clear Creek Canyon Rd. Sevier, UT 
Hours: 9am-5pm
Cost: $6/vehicle
Time: One hour
Tip: Stop by the small museum to see a film familiarizing you with the ancient people who inhabited the area and to pick up a map of the rock art with in walking distance.