Monday, May 30, 2011

The One Where I Wax on About Baking!!!

Hey Y'all!

Well, I am four days away from FREEDOM! We have four days of school left this week! I have one more work day next Monday and then I am FREE for the SUMMER!!!! Pitty Pat and I are over the moon! AND, could I have used any more exclamation points in those last few sentences?

This weekend was a long weekend for us, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I spent everyday on the beach with several great books. I took a break from beaching' it today.. I am starting to resemble a coffee bean. And since my best friend is coming next Monday, I will have plenty of time to hit the beach again soon. Today I spent the day hanging with Mr. P, catching up on The Young and the Restless, straightening the house, and organizing my craft room with my projects that I want to work on this summer. Busy day, right? Oh, and I still have to cut the grass tonight when it cools down. Hello!

The other thing that I have been doing a lot of is baking. If you have been hanging around this blog for awhile, y'all know that I love to cook and bake. And trust me, I just might have to rename the blog, justjuliaknits and cooks because, once school is out, I have a ton of recipes that I can't wait to try! I don't know why it is easier for me to cook when school is out, I think I just enjoy it more and I have alot more time.

Anyhoo, onto my recent baking. A few blog posts back, I posted about a book I read, Friendship Bread. So over spring break, I made my own Amish Friendship Bread Starter, and the rest they say is history. I have baked loaves of bread for friends. But, what everyone seems to be clamoring for these days are my cookies! Y'all. They. Are. So. Yummy!!!

This is where all of the goodness starts. With your Amish Friendship Bread Starter! I have had mine going for about a month and a half now. I have given lots away and frozen some of it too. It comes in handy when it is frozen, you can bake on demand! Now my starter has a new home, a nice glass jar. It is very happy!

This is the acutal Amish Friendship Bread baking. The recipe makes two loaves.

Here is my Snickerdoodle batter. It is kind of sticky, but if you put it in the fridge over night, and then bake on parchment paper or a Silpat, you will have out of this world Snickerdoodles!

Here are the Snickerdoodles ready to go in the oven. Oh my!!!


Here are my other cookies, and in my humble opinion, I prefer these over the Snickerdoodles. These are slap a pig, kick a horse GOOD! They are of course, Chocolate Chip. And they are perfection. Crispy on the outside, chewy and gummy in the middle.

 Paddington says, "Woman, you better bake me some Amish Friendship Bread Bones! I know where you sleep at night!"

I have tried many other recipes with my starter, all thanks to The Friendship Bread Kitchen. Another big hit that I have baked is the Triple Chocolate Amish Friendship Bread. That lasted all of 5 minutes! Luckily I have neighbors and friends at school who are happy recipients of my baking! :)

So that is what I have been up to! Check back tomorrow when I update my Read's From the Beachchair... I have read 4 great books this weekend!

See ya later!
:) JKP

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Hey Y'all,

Well, we are t-minus 5 days left in the school year. The last day for the children is NEXT Friday, June 3rd. I still have to go in a work Monday, the 6th. But we are SO CLOSE! I am always ready for summer, but this year in particular, I seem to be like a kid on Christmas Eve!

If you have been keeping up with my Twitter feed, you will notice that I have been busy baking and reading! And pondering drinking lots of Margaritas! Right around spring break, I made up my own batch of Amish Friendship Bread starter. Since then, I have made countless loaves and variations of Amish Friendship Bread, and cookies too! My co-workers have been the main recipients of my baked goods, and they are not complaining! As y'all know, I LOVE to bake and cook and having this starter around to feed and bake with has been quite fun! Over the long weekend, I have a post planned with all of my baking. It has been a great stress reliever!

The other thing that I have been doing a lot of is reading! I usually kick up my reading into high gear during the summer, but this year I started a little earlier. Somehow, I have come across a ton of books that I want to read, and they have found their way to me! I haven't updated my GoodReads yet, but I did want to post these on the blog! Also, I think this big reading push has a little something to do with all of my TV shows being on hiatus for the summer. No new Castle, Good Wife or Big Bang Theory. I am ready for my summer shows!

If you want a laugh out loud funny book, then you need to read Tina Fey's BossyPants. Now let me say, this is an "R" rated book, but y'all it is spit out your sweet tea funny. Just warn the folks at the beach that you are not crazy, the book is just funny!

As many of you know, my class mascot is the penguin. And, unless you live in the Antarctic, you probably know that Jim Carey is staring in "Mr. Popper's Penguins" that opens in June. So of course, I have read this book and I am now reading it aloud, a few chapters a day to my very excited second graders. Remember that this book was originally published in 1938... and that is what makes it so charming. I know they have changed the plot to be a bit more modern for the movie, but it is still cute. I am planning a movie date with some of my students so we can all see the movie together!

The weather was so nice when I got home this afternoon, that I picked up another book out of my library stash. The Provence Cure for a Brokenhearted is really great. It is about dealing with grief (which HELLO, I know a lot about) and recovering from loss. But this book is not sad. And, parts of it take place in France, which makes it a perfect summer read. Start it today!

In a pinch, when I want a quick breezy read, I always grab a Danielle Steele novel. However, reading Danielle these days is like reading a cookbook, she definitely has a recipe to writing her books. I checked out 44 Charles Street from the library last week. I finished it in a day sitting on the beach. It was OK, but you could do worse for a vacation read.

I have also picked up a few classics to read again once school gets out for summer. The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird are just waiting for me on my coffee table. Ahhhh.... SUMMER!

I am also stalking some online reading summer lists for kids. I will admit, I was a big nerd in school and read EVERY book on my summer reading list. I am still like that. Even though I am the teacher now, I still like to read the books on the summer reading list each summer. It's my way of earning a literary gold star!!!!

That's about all that has been going on here. My vertigo is still acting up, so I am drinking lots of water, cutting down on my caffeine and getting lots of rest. Keep your fingers crossed that it stays that way. The summer heat tends to do a number on my vertigo.

Pitty Pat can not wait for summer to start! Only 5 more days!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I'm Ok, You're Ok

Hey Y'all!

I just wanted to let y'all know I am ok. I got hit with the dizzies a little while ago, but I am doing much better. This last attack has not been as bad, but it has left me EXHAUSTED. We have had some major DRAMA going on at school AND my Friendship Bread starter has taken over my life! But all in all, I am good and Pitty Pat is doing a great job of taking care of me. I only have 14 and 1/2 days left of school. I also have a big wedding this weekend for one of my oldest friends. I'll be back in just a bit, I promise!!