2011 Goal Update (April)

This is my fourth monthly report on how I’m doing with my goals for 2011:

  • Read the Book of Mormon again. I’m about as far behind as I was last month, so at least I’m not slipping further behind.
  • Earn as much from my side business as I do from my day job. Earnings increased this past month to put me on track for meeting this goal. I’m still not very optimistic about it though, especially with my baby coming any day now.
  • Build a dining room table. Build a piano keyboard desk. Build something. Took some time on a nice day to at least play with my tools. Cut some boards, played with my router, realized I don’t really know how to use a router…
  • Launch twelve new websites. I got held up waiting for approval from a third party service that is going to be used by this month’s website, so I didn’t quite get to finish it. It is close. I would have finished it today but I’m actually on a Boy Scout campout. This month’s website has a lot of potential, so I may skip a new website in May and just work on making this new one really good.

I’ve also been working on a few goals that I didn’t originally blog about:

  • Max out my 401k and Roth IRA contributions. The 401k is set up and automatically funding. We haven’t made any Roth IRA contributions this year because of our larger than expected tax bill. Maybe next month.
  • Start an email newsletter. I’ve picked a topic. I’m going to make a newsletter for The Awkward Turtle that will include funny date mishaps, date ideas, and advertisements helpful product reviews.
  • Create a game for mobile phones. Haven’t put any time into this yet.

Goals I’ve accomplished this year:

  • Publish my first book. I’ve published my first book (paperback, Kindle, and Nook). Took me a couple years, and I already found 2 typos (grr!), but at least it is finally in print.
  • Paid my taxes. I make money from a lot of places which makes my taxes really complicated, so getting this finished was awesome.
  • Get out of debt. We’ve paid off the last of Becca’s student loans which means we are now debt free! Yay!
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Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Still in the oven

Last week I splurged and bought Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. This is quite possibly the best book I have ever purchased.

My wife and I are both familiar with making bread. She has a recipe for bread she loves, and I’ve made bread following several different recipes online. It always turns out good, but takes a lot of work and a ton of time to make. A book that claimed to let us make even better bread with just a few minutes of work made us both a little skeptical.

The book includes several different base recipes, and for each recipe there are many additional recipes that take a little more work. For example, you might take a base recipe and cook the dough a little differently and get pita bread or naan. To start, I did the easiest and simplest recipe in the book.

I was surprised at the ingredient list: water, yeast, salt, and flour. I had always been told that you had to add sugar to give the yeast something to eat, but it turns out this isn’t needed.

I was also surprised at the process: put the water, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Dump in all the flour. Mix it up. That is it. No waiting for the yeast to “wake up” and start doing its thing. No kneading the dough. I didn’t even have to pay attention to how wet the dough was. My first batch was very wet and my second batch was much drier, but both turned out awesome with literally no more than 5 minutes of effort.

Ready to eat!

Once everything is mixed up, you let it sit on the counter for a few hours, and then it is ready to either turn into a loaf of bread or stick in the fridge to use later (or both).

Creating the loaf was easy, too. Grab a ball of dough, let it sit for 40 minutes, slice the top however you want, then put it in the oven for 30. I’ve made 5 loaves so far and each turned out perfect without having to pay careful attention to timing.

You also don’t need much equipment. The bare minimum is a cooking stone (easily obtained at Walmart or Target) and a cutting board. If you want to go all out, you can make your life a little easier by using a pizza peel, a cooling rack, and a kitchen scale.

For our most recent loaf, Becca and I looked up a honey butter recipe (3/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup honey, drop of vanilla) and had the most amazing fresh homemade bread ever!

Anyways, buy the book. It is only $14.81 on Amazon, and definitely worth it.

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