Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow Day!

Today is the first day back at school for not only the kids, but also for Mike. At least, it was supposed to be. But here in Manitoba, we are in the middle of a deep freeze such as we have not seen for a long time, if ever before. Don't get me wrong; winters here are cold. We know that. We expect that. But usually the really unbearably cold part of the winter is starting right about now, and goes through to the middle or end of February. This year, we have been in a deep freeze for weeks already, and even November was much colder than usual for that time of year.

As such, we have had multiple days where the temperature with the wind chill has been well below -40, going as low as -51 at times. Yesterday was one of those days, with the wind chill somewhere around -49, and today we are there again. As a result, the boys' school division shut down for the day, seeing most of the kids are bussed in and the buses either won't run, or it is just too dangerous to travel in this kind of cold. As it happens, Mike is part of the same school division, so he is also home with us for the day. A bonus holiday. Some moms might be less than thrilled, having prepared to be childless for the day, but not me. Not today. I am relieved. My boys have a long walk home from the bus and I was concerned about these temperatures. Besides, this now means I don't have to drive Micah to Kindergarten at lunch time, so I don't have to go out there either. Phew!

My plan for the day? Well, I have some cleaning to do, which is super boring. I also plan to read; something I have been doing a lot of this holiday since I got sick. Yes, I did get the stomach bug, albeit three days later than the rest of my family, and it lasted five days for me. So I did lots of reading, and though I hate being sick, I must say it has been too long since I have read so much fiction and I am rather addicted once again. But that's beside the point. My adventure for the day will be a baking project.

Baking and cooking, particularly when it is a new recipe, are always an adventure for me. I am not really gifted in the kitchen. I have improved a lot since I got married 13 years ago, so I guess I can't in all fairness say that I can't cook, anymore. But I am not what you would call a natural when it comes to all things culinary. That's why today's project has me a little nervous. I'm making bagels. I made bagels once before, a long time ago, and it was okay. But these are New York style bagels...whatever that means. I got the recipe online, and I'm not going to lie to you: I am really excited about the final product. That is never a good thing. I keep picturing these perfectly shaped, perfectly smooth and golden bagels. I can almost smell them. I am picturing them piping hot out of the oven, and imagining my kids and husband beside themselves with pure joy at the taste of my culinary masterpiece.

This is where I always go wrong. Maybe if I didn't have such high hopes for how they would turn out... Well, I don't want to be disappointed. I have kind of made a big deal to the kids too about this secret treat I am making for them. As much as I hate cooking, I have to admit there is a small part of me that gets a real buzz out of making something delicious for my family to enjoy. Maybe that's why I hate cooking. More often than not, after I cook up something I think will be a hit, all I hear are complaints from the boys. I know that's normal, but there is absolutely no reward in that. I guess I like rewards.

My project has already started and the dough is rising in a slightly warm oven. In 40 minutes, I get to do the next step, which is forming the shape of the bagels. Crucial, I think. I'm nervous about it. After that, I have to boil them. A curious process, but thankfully, I have done it once before, and witnessed it once before that, so I know how to do it. I will finish this post later, once the bagels are complete. Maybe I will even post pictures. Maybe.

And the update? The bagels turned out quite nicely. They got a little darker than I hoped, and they were not perfectly shaped. But they were delicious. A bit of a crunchy exterior, and soft and chewy on the inside. They were a hit.


I kind of wish the recipe made more than eight, but then a bag of them at the store contains only six, so I guess this option is better. They took me a good two hours to make though. Perfect for a snow day. 

Anyway, it is supper time now, so time to sign off. If anyone wants to try the recipe, this is the one I followed:  http://www.sophisticatedgourmet.com/2009/10/new-york-style-bagel-recipe/

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