Categories
Cooking

Herb Bread

Here’s a yummy bread recipe that will fill your home with a beautiful savory aroma!

So far, I’ve made this bread twice, and it’s by far one of my favorites. On my first try, I made an entire loaf, and it split while baking. So heads up, if you choose to bake one loaf with this recipe, I recommend scoring the dough down the middle with a knife or lame.

 Scoring bread involves slashing the dough before baking using a sharp knife or lame. The purpose of slashing is to create weak spots in the bread’s crust which allows for expansion instead of burst seams.

I’ve done scoring with my sourdough, why didn’t I think do this with my herb bread?

Anyway, check out the recipe below and enjoy!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoons of dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 2 to 3 1/2 cups of flour (your preference of flour is cool here)

Here’s what you do:

Dissolve yeast with warm water. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and melted butter. Allow this mix to sit for about 5 minutes; you should see your yeast bloom. That’s how you know that it’s active and ready to go! 

Mix the flour and herb into a large bowl and mix until it’s smooth. I like to use 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour.

Pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and stir it up! I recommend using clean hands to mix the dough. It’ll be super sticky, but the more you work with it, the dough should become more manageable. If the dough feels like it needs more hydration, have 1 cup of warm water nearby and add small increments until the dough is less dry. 

Lightly flour a clean countertop and pour your dough onto the surface and knead the dough for 10-12 minutes to tighten the gluten strands. 

Place the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl (feel free to lightly oil the dough) and cover it with a damped cloth. Set aside and let the dough rise for an hour.

Uncover the dough and punch it! Place it onto a lightly floured surface.

Shape the dough into a loaf.

Set your shaped dough aside, cover, and allow it to proof for 30 minutes. In the meantime, lightly grease a baking pan or cast iron. You can even use parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 350 to 375 degrees and bake your loaf for 30 t0 35 minutes. (I have a gas stove, and I found that baking mine at 350 degrees for 30 minutes gives me a perfect loaf. You’re going to have to play around with this part to figure out how yours will turn out in terms of doneness.) 

Remove your loaf from the stove and baking dish. Place it on a wire rack and allow it cool.

You’re finished! Enjoy this bread with some pasta, lasagna, or ziti! It’ll also pair great with olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix.

Will you try this recipe? Leave your thoughts below and let me know how it went!

Happy Baking!

Categories
Gardening

Fall Garden 2020 Plan

I’m fairly new to gardening since I’ve been at it since March of this year. While I had a late start on my spring crops, I’ve had plenty of time to plan accordingly for fall and try to level up these green thumb skills. Even though I’m new, I’d like to say that I’m not doing too bad. So far I’ve harvested squash, cucumbers, watermelon, and a ton of Swiss chard (my favorite).

Not too shabby, huh?

If you’re a beginner like me, know that Google is your best friend. It also wouldn’t hurt to snag some tips from fellow gardeners on social media. I’ve joined several gardening groups on Facebook; Black Girls With Gardens group has been a safe haven filled with other brown skinned Queens who are also growing their own food. It’s beautiful!

So, are you wondering what I’m planting this fall? Here’s what I’ve planned:

With a quick Google search, I found a cool, free garden planner to plot out the square foot method. It’s super useful as the planner provides projected harvesting dates as well as the amount of seeds to sow per square foot. Here is a guide for suggestions of crops in square foot gardening.

Area 1 Crops:

Seeds planted: carrots, garlic, squash, broccoli, Swiss chard, and marigold. I decided not to plant onion and leeks just yet.

Area 2 Crops:

Seeds planted: More carrots, radish, turnips, collards, cabbage, Bok Choy, kale, and eggplants.

Area 3 Crops:

Seeds planted: Beets, basil transplants.

Area 4 Crops:

Seeds planted: Bush beans! A ton of them. I decided to plant various types here to have a mixture later on in the season. We’ll see how it goes.

Categories
Cooking

Sha’s Breakfast Biscuits

What better way to start your day than with some decadent, buttery, flaky biscuits?

I’m new to the baking scene. I recently discovered how therapeutic it is to sink my hands into a sticky dough—smearing flour all over the surface of my counters. The calmness of kneading dough –– whether it’s by hand or with a kitchen aide mixer –– is probably my favorite part of the baking process. Not to mention there’s a science to baking. You can’t make this stuff up or wing it as you go; I’ve learned that precise measurements are best. The entire process is all trial and error. Readjust the measurements as needed and repeat. Boom. Success.

This recipe should only take about 25 minutes from start to finish.

Here’s what you need.

  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 Tables Spoons of Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 4 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
  • 3/4 Cups of Cold Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup of Cold Milk

Here’s what you do.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. I have a gas stove and found that any temperature above 375 degrees will cook my biscuits too fast. Here, I suggest that you experiment and make adjustments to the cooking temperature based on the type of stove you have.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Afterward, add the cold butter. I found that it’s best to dice the butter into tiny squares and then mash them into the flour. It’s okay to leave some bits whole. Next, add the wet ingredients and mix, mix, mix!

Dust your countertop with flour before emptying the dough mix from the bowl. Using your hands, work quickly to knead the dough for 5 minutes. If the surface becomes sticky from the dough mixture, just sprinkle on some more flour! Next, flatten the dough until it measures to about a 3/4 to 1-inch thickness.

Cut circles into your dough with a biscuit cutter or a glass cup –– I used a wine glass.

Place your freshly cut biscuits on a lightly greased baking pan lined with parchment paper or a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet; I experimented with both and found that I prefer to bake my biscuits with cast iron.

TIP! Before placing your biscuits in the oven, you can put them in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes to harden up any butter that may have softened during the kneading process.

Brush your biscuits with melted butter (I used Ghee), and you can also sprinkle a little flaky salt on the tops before baking.

Place your biscuits in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

You’re finished! Enjoy these yummy biscuits with a sweet jam or honey butter blend.

Have you tried this recipe? Comment below and let me know how it went!

Categories
Parenting

My Zoom Disaster

I’ve been a gamer for as long as I could remember. Growing up, I there as the Nintendo 64, the original grey colored PlayStation – remember those memory cards and flip tops where you insert the discs? Oh, sweet nostalgia. In my teens, I played classics like 007, Blast-o, Rolling Thunder, Grand Theft Auto, Need For Speed, and Twisted Metal. By my early twenties, gaming became second nature to me … it’s pretty much ingrained into who I am. Gaming was something that brought me closer to my husband solidifying those early stages of dating; back when he found out how cool I was because, like him, I liked to spend hours entirely indulged with video games. I loved to watch him play through games like Deadspace and God of War all day long … as long as I had tasty snacks to munch, this was the ultimate chill day.

So by now, I’m sure you get it. Gaming is just apart of who we are, even as parents. But oh, how I failed to realize just how much my gaming lifestyle would change once I became a mom. Our immaculate dual-screened gaming set up slowly accumulated stacks of folded laundry and a heap of baby toys. All-night gaming sessions turned into 30-minute sessions or whenever I found downtime throughout the day. Trash-talking on the mic is now non-existent out of the fear that my babies’ sweet little ears will hear mommy’s potty mouth –– not that I miss telling dudes that they’re trash. After all, it gets pretty exhausting continuously defending myself from the misogyny of the gaming world.

Even though I’ve had to make a lot of changes to accommodate my new responsibilities as a parent, gaming is still a hobby that I enjoy. So, when I saw a potential career opportunity with Blizzard Entertainment, I didn’t think twice about whether I’d attend a zoom conference with the developers to discuss the details of their openings. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I want to from home, and put my freshly earned degree to use. I could have it all, right? One could only dream. Here’s how my overzealous aspirations quickly dwindled into a disastrous experience.

The zoom call was scheduled for 6:00 pm.

5:50 pm: My 4-year-old is running rampant. In the age of COVID-19 and a 106 temp outside, this poor kid has more energy than she can handle. On the other hand, I have my seven month old who’s reached the stage of “mommy can’t leave the room, or my world will end.” Baby anxiety, what a fun stage … not. 

6:00 pm: The zoom call starts. I’ve been out of work since 2015, and while it’s no excuse, I totally did NOT prepare to be engaged with other adults in a “professional” setting.

Usually, I spend most days on FaceTime calls with my kids’ grandmother or auntie talking about all sorts of foolishness. My attire usually contains a shirt stained with food or soaked with breast milk. My hair … let’s not get started with that. Let’s just say I’ve been out of the game for a while, ok?

By now, I’ve realized how badly I screwed up. But I decided to stick with it and not abruptly leave the call even though I desperately want just to close my MacBook and walk away. Nope, let’s see where this goes, I thought. 

6:30 pm: My kids have morphed into Tasmanian devils. There’s a blur in my background. No, it’s not. It’s just a little human running back and forth as fast as she can while yelling, “zooooom!”.

*Face Palm*

Meanwhile, I’m trying not to look visibly irritated while plaster a fake yet attentive smile on my face and nod my head to key points during the meeting. I have no idea what they’re talking about at this point.

6:55 pm: Finally, my husband is home and comes to my rescue. The moment he grabs the kids, I feel relieved … but it’s too late. The meeting is wrapping up. I hear, “does anyone have any questions?”. I keep quiet with the same smile stuck on my face as I shake my head to signal, “No, no questions”. Meanwhile, my internal dialogue says, “How much of that did you all see? Does this hurt my chances of joining your team?”  

Well, I never found out because I never dared ask. We already know those answers. After my embarrassment finally ended, I walked downstairs to join my family. I couldn’t hide how I felt – defeated. I had made a complete fool of myself. How dare I desire to have it all? Sure. I love being a stay-at-home mom, but is it wrong to want more?

Ultimately, I think there’s a choice that I have to make. Will I devote myself to a career or my children? That’s a no-brainer. However, one direly awkward lesson is not enough for me. Of course, I’m going to continue to strive for more. As my husband likes to tell me, you only miss the shots that you don’t take.

If there are any moms or dads reading this, don’t give up. Push through!

Categories
Sha La La

Who’s Sha?

Ah, yes. Welcome to my blog. Here you will read about things that inspire me, things I like … what I’m like. Over time, you all will get a pretty good idea of who I am. Be forewarned, I’m pretty epic. I’m here to bring you all along on my journey as I evolve, learn, and grow. I’m multifaceted with a tinge of ADHD – still epic.

Usually, I’m a “post and delete” kind of gal, but I’m finally ready to share my thoughts with the world. Here at Simply Sha, you’ll find content involving parenting, homeschooling, cooking, writing, gardening, and photography. Who knows, there may be more … I have a lot to unpack.

So, here it goes! I’m creating a space where I’m allowed to express my authentic self.

I hope that you all enjoy reading!

Peace and love.