Homemade Kolaches – Simple and delicious!

As a Texan transplanted into New England, I get annoyed about several cultural differences. The cult worship of Tom Brady, the awful city driving layout of Boston, and the absence of any even remotely decent mexican food (or, really, ethnic food in general).

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But not until recently did I realize that no one up here knows what a kolache is.

Yummy, soft, fluffy bread covering breakfast foods varying from veggies to eggs and bacon, to cream cheese and fruit? Yes, please! Oh, how this homesick Texas girl has been missing kolaches. . . and to find out that my friends didn’t know what a kolache was!? Oh, no. That had to be rectified.

I had been wanting to have kolaches for breakfast for some time now, and after exhausting myself searching for a bakery or coffee shop that even knew what a kolache was (much less had them for sale) . . . I decided I would make them myself. They wouldn’t be Kolache Factory good, but they’d at least be kolaches.

On Easter Sunday this year, I made them for lunch. We shared them with our friends at the park (who had never ever had a kolache before) and they were so delicious. Making them was easier than I thought it would be, and it was a great joyful moment for me to see my friends enjoy a kolache for the first time.

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My homemade bacon, egg, and cheese kolaches

The recipe and tutorial I used for making my own kolaches is this one from Homesick Texan. The kolaches came out so perfect – hard enough on the outside to carry in your hand for a portable breakfast on the run, and soft but well baked in the center, with just enough warmth in the filling. YUM!

I found it incredibly interesting and honestly, a great relief, that someone else shared my “you don’t know what a kolache is!?” grief as a transplant in New England. The author of Homesick Texan is from hill country Texas that lives in New York.

Apparently, ya’ll, kolaches are a Texan thing. Who knew?

Making Kolaches

- I suggest making the dough and preparing your fillings the day before, and baking them in the morning if you want your kolaches to be ready for breakfast. Working with cold fillings (bacon, eggs, cheese, cream cheese, jam, fruit, etc) is so much easier than working with warm fillings. It’s easier to fold them into the dough and they bake to a perfect warmth in the 375′ oven.

-These kolaches can be baked and then FROZEN and reheated in the oven or toaster oven for 5-10 minutes. What a great idea for getting a filling and balanced breakfast on the run, when paired with some milk or juice and a piece of fresh fruit! (and since they’re home made, you can make them preservative free, or organic, or vegetarian, or whatever your food choice is!)

The Recipe:

Kolaches (adapted from recipes found in Texas Monthly and the HoustonChronicle)

(I made my own adjustments in the method section, specifically between steps 7 & 9)

Makes 18-20 4 inch kolaches
Ingredients:
1 package of active dry yeast
1 cup of warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup of melted butter
1 teaspoon of salt

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, warm milk, sugar and one cup of flour. Cover and let it rise until doubled in size.
  2. Beat together eggs, 1/2 cup of melted butter (reserve 1/4 cup for brushing on the pastry) and salt.
  3. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture and blend.
  4. Stir in about two more cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time. The dough should be soft and moist.
  5. Knead dough for about 10 minutes on floured surface. You will be adding about a 1/2 cup of flour during the kneading process.
  6. Put dough in a greased bowl and let rise covered until doubled in size—about an hour.
  7. After dough has risen, punch it down and pull off egg-sized pieces. In your hands, roll pieces into balls and then flatten to about three inches in diameter.
  8. Flatten/stretch the three inch pieces with your fingers so that the edges are thinner than the middle, and place your chosen fillings in the center of your circle. Fold up the edges of the dough over the fillings, making sure to press slightly to stick the roll together. You can pick up the dough ball after folding in the fillings and roll it gently in your hands like a dinner roll.
  9. Place filled pieces on a greased cookie sheet, brush with melted butter, cover and let rise again for another half-hour.
  10. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Brush with melted butter when you take them out of the oven and serve warm.
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You may also prefer the “thumb press” method for sweet kolaches. These are cream cheese and strawberry preserves.

Mamatography: Fall Catch Up

I have gotten SO behind in my Mamatography posts. So, here’s a catch up of what we’ve been up to for the past few weeks – the end of Fall, 2012.

At the tail end of the Fall season up here in Maine, we had a photo shoot with a friend and fellow Coast Guard wife, Kim Howell. You can follow her on Twitter @KimHowellPhotog

She captured some really fantastic photographs of the family, and we enjoyed the shoot a lot!

Abbey even got to clicking. . . capturing this iPhone photo of our feet as we posed for some pics sans kids.

Ah, the token nursing pic. Thank you, Kim, for snapping this one! So sweet!

After this beautiful (warm) fall day, it started getting windy and cold! On into the Winter season for us transplanted Mainers!

That was our last week of fall. How have your weeks been lately?

Pour Your Heart Out: Post-Drama Panic

Today I’m linking up with Shell for Pour Your Heart Out over at Things I Can’t Say. Names have been changed in this post to protect the identities of those who would like to remain anonymous. This post is long, so I don’t blame you if you don’t make it all the way through! <3

Cheryl stormed out of her backyard, screaming at Jed, and placing herself directly between him and the swing where Joe was. She screamed, “If you have a f – - – ing problem with me, you talk to ME!” and she chest-bumped him, hard. I couldn’t hear what Jed said to her, but I heard her say “I’m not afraid of you. I’ll kick your f- – - ing ass!” and she took a swing at him. Literally, truly, she tried to punch my husband, within inches of my 15 month old baby.

Jed caught her punch in his fist and readied himself to hit back if he needed to. I could tell he was trying to move her away from Joe, but I knew that if she tried anything else, he was going to fight back and defend himself and Joe.

About a month ago, I wrote about the Lemons in my life – those that I had trusted and loved as true friends that turned out to be completely disloyal and not friends at all. Basically, my perception of them as good friends was a mistake, and I was shocked by their betrayal and truly sad and defeated by the realization that they had never been true friends.

 

Toward everyone but one person, I have been able to adopt a

forgive and forget mentality with my “lemon” friends. All of us live in the same neighborhood, but I’ve been able to just act as if nothing ever happened with a pretty good success rate, and my husband has been helping me to forget about the betrayal and hurt that I felt at the decisions that these former friends made. The person that I had the closest relationship with before the attack and betrayal continues to be a contact of mine due to the fact that we work together on volunteer projects. And praise God, this relationship has been friendly and smooth post-drama. We work together the same way, just with a different dynamic. We’re not close anymore, but we can still be successful partners in our work, and I am happy about that.

So, the awful feelings that I endured and the betrayal that I felt is almost completely gone now. A month and a half later, I no longer worry about what will happen if I run into one of my former friends while putting out the trash or checking the mail. I just take a deep breath and avert my eyes if one of my former friends looks at me with disdain (after all, they have to blame someone for the drama that ensued, right?) or glares at me while I run past their back yard with Raven doing 5K training. . .What surprises and elates me the most is that I don’t feel that I miss the friendships that I had before all the drama erupted. I thought that my heart would hold onto the loss of these people who I thought were my close friends. . . but praise, God – prayer and acceptance have all but alleviated any sadness I had at losing these people from my life. Additionally, I have other friends that actually respect me – and that’s an immense help.

Not without some Bad news, though

But all this good news is not without some bad. Today, I had a bit of a panic attack at the park. At the sound of my former friend’s voice, I started shaking remembering the attack on my family that began all this ridiculous, unnecessary ugliness.

To understand what happened to me today, what I’m pouring my heart out about. . . you have to understand the attack that happened a month and a half ago. I think it’s finally time that I write about it. . .

so, here I go: pouring my heart out about my issuing friendly criticism that garnered a attack on my family. . . and how badly I want to be free of the memory of that day and the terror attached to it.

The Party, Rudeness, and Exclusivity

Our group of friends was planning a big Fourth of July Bash at the park between our house, Jessica’s house, and Cheryl’s house 1.

During the planning stages, I felt that Cheryl was being over-controlling and, well, bossy about things. She had started a facebook event to discuss potluck dishes on the wall, and was pretty quick to dismiss ideas from not only me, but a couple other ladies as well, and I thought her tone was rude. Usually, I would shrug this off as “Cheryl just being Cheryl. That’s just how Cheryl is.” But the bossiness was starting to get to me. It was as if she didn’t appreciate the comments and suggestions of others – it was her way or the highway. Aaaaand this was supposed to be a group event. A celebration of “the great families” of our neighborhood.

There’s more to this part of the story, but I’ll jump to the point:

I couldn’t condone her actions as I had done in the past many times.

Other times, I had defended her comments or statements to my husband and others, saying “Sometimes she comes off rude or abrasive, but really she means well. . . ” but this time, it felt wrong. So, after talking to my husband about it, I decided that we wouldn’t be participating in the party if Cheryl was going to be exclusive about guests and I decided to send her a facebook message detailing my concerns 2

There were several facebook messages back and forth, me trying to convince her to reconsider including the families that I had invited, and her spouting off ugliness and absurdities that I would expect of a 12 year old – not a mature, adult woman twice my age like Cheryl. I was hoping that being courteous and using friendly criticism, that she would change her mind, but completely the opposite. She declared that “this was never an open invite, public party – this has always been MY party at MY house and I can invite and exclude and say anything about anybody that I want!”

After I talked to my husband about it and we decided to let her know that we would not be attending the festivities because we couldn’t condone her exclusivity or rudeness. I explained that I was not trying to start any drama but that my opposition to her behavior was meant as a friendly criticism, and I hoped that we could talk about it and reconcile at a later time.

She reacted with anger and fire. Apparently, I was a hypocritical, backstabbing, awful excuse for a friend, and I “shouldn’t send any more facebook messages to her” because she wouldn’t answer them. And I was deleted from her facebook friend list.

Lets pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that this friend is twice my age, with lots of experience in life. And all I did was criticize her decision to exclude certain families from a community party. *sigh*

Life Goes On

No big deal. We just went on with life. Our mutual friend Emily had assured me that no matter what happened between myself and Cheryl, our relationship would not change, and honestly, that was my biggest worry about saying something to Cheryl about her absurd behavior regarding the party. If Emily and I were okay, I could care less what Cheryl thought of me, or if we were attending the (I’m sorry. . . “HER”) party or not. Life went on.

Then the day of the party came.

We had decided go have a family day at the beach that Saturday, but plans changed, and we found ourselves hanging out at home after nap time. My friend Courtney (one of the families excluded from the big Fourth of July party) texted and asked if we wanted to meet up for a walk to the park, and I replied that that would be great, and we headed out. That’s when I remembered about Cheryl’s party. . . and we decided to head the other direction for our walk. But Joseph had other ideas. He desperately wanted to go to our regular park (directly adjacent to Cheryl’s backyard, where the party was going on) but I really wanted to stay away from Cheryl, since she was so angry with me. Jed volunteered to take Joseph to the swings at the park while Courtney, her little girl, Abbey, and our dogs went on a walk in the other direction.

The Attack

We went about applying bug spray, and getting ready to walk, but something told me I should peek around the corner at Jed and Joe before we headed off. When I walked around the corner housing unit and looked around the bushes, I was shocked at what I saw and heard.

Cheryl stormed out of her backyard, screaming at Jed, and placing herself directly between him and the swing where Joe was. She screamed, “If you have a f- – - ing problem with me, you talk to ME!” and she chest-bumped him, hard. I couldn’t hear what Jed said to her, but I heard her say “I’m not afraid of you. I’ll kick your f- – - ing ass!” and she took a swing at him. Literally, truly, she tried to punch my husband, within inches of my 15 month old baby.

Jed caught her punch in his fist and readied himself to hit back if he needed to. I could tell he was trying to move her away from Joe, but I knew that if she tried anything else, he was going to fight back and defend himself and Joe.

I was too far away to do anything. I just watched this in horror. Someone stepped in between Jed and Cheryl and yelled at both of them that they should know better, and Cheryl stormed back off to her backyard.

Jed said that we should call the police if she came out toward us again, but she didn’t. She did sent one of our mutual friends’ husbands to chastise Jed for a not-so-nice name that he called Cheryl after she screamed at him and chest bumped him. . . but all of the drama that ensued after the attack was merely verbal of passive aggressive in nature, although the housing manager did instruct me to call 911 if Cheryl ever approached me, Jed, or my family ever again.

My Panic

Today, we were playing at the park as we always do, most mornings and most afternoons. A couple of other families were out with us, and after a while, we let our dog off leash to run and play with another dog. A totally normal morning. The dogs were playing and the kids were playing, and my husband was chatting with the other dog’s owner as I watched the kids and worked on my knitting project. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the puppy Raven was playing with dart off in a different direction, as Raven came running toward us. We turned toward his trajectory and saw that Cheryl had come outside to her back yard (not fenced) with her two dogs, and that the puppy had run over to engage her dogs to play (he doesn’t know any better). His owner called for him, but one of Cheryl’s dogs had snarled and barked at him, so he was barking back, and Cheryl screamed “Put him on a LEASH!”

As soon as I heard her voice, I started to shake. Literally, my hands started to go numb and tremble, and my heart dropped into my stomach. I flashed back to the memory of her putting her body between my husband and my child and physically attacking them, and her voice screaming “I’ll fucking kick your ass!” and I totally zoned out and started freaking out. I felt like I was going to end up having a full blown panic attack, until my friend shook my shoulder and asked me why I looked like I was going to faint. “Are you OK, Amy?” she said. I turned away from Cheryl, still in her backyard with her dogs – and snapped “She should be on a leash!” under my breath. Then, I apologized and tried to go back to my knitting.

I few minutes later, a representative from housing came by to instruct us that we needed to have the dogs on leash. Raven was lying at my feet, and I asked her if I really needed to put a leash on her if she was just lying down. But I put it on her, and laid the leash on the ground, and I apologized to her for being ugly.

“I don’t mean to be ugly, Melissa, but I know who called you to complain, and I can assure you that neither of our dogs did anything to her yard or to her or to her dogs. Our dogs were playing just fine on a verbal leash. . .”

I sighed.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you, Melissa, I just have a really hard time with anything regarding Cheryl since the attack on my family. I literally feel unsafe and worrisome. I’ve lived here for two years now, and never did we have any issues like this until she moved in. I can let most of the drama go, but every time I hear her voice, it’s like she’s attacking my family again, and that puts me on edge.”

I looked at my hands, and Melissa saw that I was trembling.

Seeking Closure

I hate the fact that I have been able to forgive and forget the betrayals and lost friendships that happened as a result of Cheryl’s attack on my family and my reaction to it, but I haven’t been able to release the terror and fear that I felt when I actually witnessed her attacking my family.

I probably should go talk to a counselor about it, because until I had a near panic attack today when I heard her voice, I really thought that I was 100% over all the drama. Obviously, I can say I don’t care about her or what she does or what she says about me all I want, and I can be totally normal around any of the other former-”lemon”-friends that I may run into around the neighborhood. . .

. . .but I am still deeply affected by the fact that she assaulted my family.

Technically, it’s the sound of her raised voice that is the trigger. I hear her shout, and it doesn’t matter what she’s saying – I’m right back there on that Saturday, helplessly watching her scream that she’s going to kick my husband’s ass while Joseph cries in the swing behind her.

Have you ever experienced panic like this over a past event?

 

A friend has suggested prayer to help me release what’s left of my fear and anger.

 

What are your suggestions?

  1. names have been changed
  2. Now that I think about it, the fact that I was afraid to bring this friendly criticism up to her in person was probably a sign. . .

Lemons.

Meditating on the dramatic and emotional things that have been happening around here lately makes me think of a lesson my father taught me when I was young – “Be careful – don’t let anyone talk you into buying a lemon” . . . he’s speaking, of course, about the informal definition of a “lemon”:

a person or thing that proves to be defective,imperfect, or unsatisfactory; dud: 
His car turned out to be lemon.

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Soured Friendships

Unfortunately, recently, I have found myself in a position where some of the relationships that I have forged and held dear here in Maine turned out to be “lemons”. Defective relationships. . . definitely imperfect. . . and extremely unsatisfactory in that they’ve caused me pain and heartache in the forms of disrespect, antagonism, betrayal, and just plain pettiness.

I’ve been struggling with the feelings that these “dud” relationships have stirred up in me. . . anger, sorrow, helplessness, confusion. . . 

I find myself wondering why, at not even 25 years old, I’m acting like more of an adult than people years and even decades older than I am. I mean, really. I feel like I’m in the movie Mean Girls. I’m wondering how I could have been so blind to the fact that the relationships were doomed to begin with. . . and I’m torn about what to do with these feelings.

I’m wondering why it’s so hard to just let go of them. Be done with them. I think it’s partially because in a military lifestyle, I leave behind dear friends, and need to make new ones at our next assignment. Because I feel the need to belong to or create a community, maybe I can be a bit careless about the people that I choose to forge friendships with. Not that I choose bad friends. These friends that I’ve recently been completely and totally betrayed by were great friends and lovely people until nasty words were spread, healthy criticisms were made, and it all went to hell. 
It’s like. . . I want so badly to have the loyalty, understanding, and love that I’ve shared between friends before. . . and that’s hard to come by when everyone you live near (including yourself) is called away by duty to another military station . . . whenever their family’s transfer time comes around. You want to make friends and have connections. But I’ve been learning (the hard way) that maybe I need to listen more to my husband about which people to trust. Apparently, he’s got a pretty keen “bullshit meter” (sorry. . . ONE curse, JUST one!). Again, that’s a story for another post. Right now, I’m left wondering what to do with the feelings of betrayal and sadness, and how to move on.

Where Do I Go From Here?

So, the story of the betrayal is a post for another time, once I have had a bit of time to gain hindsight. Right now, if I wrote about it, I would be sobbing and shaking by the end of writing the post, and my post would be splattered with expletives for sure. And I don’t want either of those two things to happen.
But I find myself at an impasse.

I want to let these feelings go and take the “high road” and just continue living normally. But then I’m afraid that if I release the bad feelings and continue on like nothing ever happened, that I’ll be blind sighted by another betrayal that I might have seen coming, had I been watching out for it. 

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I took a good run today and purged all of the ugliest feelings (you know, like when you want to shake someone because you are just that angry!) and have a good think about the rest of them. . . and I’ve decided that I’m going to move forward from these ugly feelings. 

It’s going to be work, keeping myself from falling into the trap of being ugly right back. . . or buying into the drama. But I’m not going to let the unfortunate happenings of the past couple of weeks poison my life or knock me off course. 

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for:
  • My little Silly Bears who are my pride and joy
  •  My goals and passions: Learning, mothering, studying, sewing, etc.
  • My volunteer work helping families through my Coast Guard Ombudsman role 
  • My education and IBCLC certification through my college courses (no matter how hard it is to be a student AND a mom!). . . 
  • The fulfillment that I feel as I pursue my Silly Bear Handmade shop
  • and most importantly, continuing to find JOY in mothering and in this crazy, wonderful journey I’m on.

I want to fix everything, or undo everything, but I know that that’s impossible. 

The best I can do is be sure about my values, and release the nasty emotions that are causing me stress.  

I need my water to be clear so that I can go on doing what I do. . . mothering, studying, writing, helping, and creating. . . and loving those friends and family who are true and dear.

and maybe, just maybe, I can get a little better at spotting “lemons” in my life before they create trouble.

Any suggestions on meditations that help with releasing feelings and moving on from betrayal?

How do you cope with “lemons” in your life?

Mamatography Week 20

This post is part of Mamatography 2012, a project hosted by Diary of a First Child. The goal is to document the entire year of 2012 in photos. Paired with my participation in fellow Coast Guard Wife Courtney Kirkland‘s 52 Faces project and her Move to Manual series, I am definitely learning more about my camera, my photos, & my kids, and I’ll have plenty of great photos to document 2012. 
Please visit the links at the bottom of my post to see other Mamatography posts!

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We have had a rainy, cold summer week here in Maine.


Daddy and Joseph playing with our “new” Imaginex castle and dragons and little people.

 Abbey ready to go for a walk in the rain (yes, this was all her idea, and yes, we did end up going)

Cartwheel!

One shiny day in the midst of all the rain and chilly weather was Abbey’s Atlantic Olympics at her gymnastics training center. These are iPhone pictures, so not the best. I did catch some video and I’ll share that next week.

Balance Beam

Joseph has been teething a set of 4 molars all week. . . they are so swollen – I feel bad for him!

But sister is ready with lots of hugs and games of chase to distract her little bro. Kisses!

Abbey and Joe are easy to photograph after their naps, when they tend to stand and lie still . . . (below).

That was our week. How was yours!?

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Are you up for a challenge? One that will take something from you every day, but give a whole lot back too? How about joining me for the photography challenge in 2012 then? A photo a day of whatever your day involved. You can jump in any time through the year!
If you’d still like to join us, you can start at any time, just sign up here and our host will email you further information.
Without further ado, here is the current list of all participants for Mamatography 2012 so far!

Wordless Wednesday

Love the joyful look on her face!

Wordless Wednesday: “Not So Sure”

“Mom, I am not so sure about this snowsuit thing.”

Green Solutions for Icy Weather

We haven’t had any snow here in Southern Maine since that crazy random Nor’easter blew through on the day before Halloween, but I’m anticipating the snow with. . . mild anxiety. Mainly because I haven’t yet finished putting away the backyard stuff or buying snow pants and boots for myself yet.

But I WILL be prepared to prevent an iced-over car (and that time that you usually have to spend waiting for the snow and ice to melt off your windows!) with these tips from Coffee Break with Liz and Kate. The best part is is they’re easy, green, and you probably already have the stuff you need around the house!

Betcha Didn’t Know- How to ice-proof your car windows @ Coffee Break with Liz and Kate

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Has the snow started where you live?


What tips and tricks do you have for snowy weather?

I found the La Leche League!!!

Ever since moving to Maine, I have been searching for the La Leche League around here, to no avail. Turns out, I was looking for a Kittery, ME La Leche League, when there is actually nothing of the sort – but there IS an active “Seacoast Area” La Leche League group that serves Portsmouth, NH (our neighboring town) and surrounding areas (though the meetings are still at least 20 minutes from us).

They even have a Facebook page. Geez, Amy. You are so blind.
Glad I found them – now hopefully I can get to know the ladies and their beautiful babes, and continue the path to Leadership that I was geared up to start when I was in Texas.

PCS Complete!

I am happy to report that our PCS to Kittery, Maine (USCG Cutter Tahoma, based at the US Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, NH) is finally complete! Tomorrow, we will have been here for two weeks, and we already feel like we belong here, which is a big relief. This being our first PCS as a family, AND a rate change for Jed, AND an over 2000 mile journey from Texas, it is such a relief that Jed is enjoying his work, Abbey and I are enjoying the area and our neighborhood at the Naval housing area in Kittery, and did I mention the weather is gorgeous?! We have enjoyed strolling around Downtown Portsmouth, taking numerous walks around our housing complex to the various parks, looking out over Rogers Creek, which is really more like a river, and on Sunday we drove the 20 minutes to Hampton Beach.

Abbey striking a sunbathing pose at Hampton Beach.


We had a great time Sunday at the beach!

Memorial Bridge connecting Downtown Portsmouth, NH with Kittery, ME.

There is only one plastic tote still unpacked…we’ve been avoiding it because a jar of baby powder exploded in it and we just haven’t had the capacity to deal with that mess yet.
I’m making preparations to get back to the sewing table real soon, so that I can move forward with my Bailey & Tay shop launch, which has as of now been postponed indefinitely to allow me to work without a deadline, but realistically, probably till the Spring. I made shades for Abbey’s room that turned out to be majorly adorable…so I’m going to have to work some shade designs into my plans now :) I never cease to amaze myself with how much I cut out for myself to do…
I promise I’ll be back with some really useful ramblings on parenting and breastfeeding topics very soon, but I wanted to give this short update to let you all know that we did indeed survive our move!