Well, today turned out to be a technology-hates-Laura kind of day. My predecessor, who thankfully walked me through some troubleshooting for approximately 53 minutes today, warned me that some days are like that. By the time I got home to switch off parenting/working duties with Nate, I was ready for bed. But alas, my boys needed cuddles and hell, I did too.
Atticus, my 12 month old, is toddling around everywhere all smiles, all the time. While I scarfed down a delicious snack of pizza rolls and Frank’s he pulled some beer off the drink shelf from the pantry. I thought about adding a picture here but feel it may be too soon to show what a
bad humorous parent I am. Anyway, he also grabbed an unused pack of cocktail rye bread that “expired” 4 days ago. I don’t do expired here. I may not do that whole cooking dinner thing, but I hate throwing things away, so I make expired bread work. I had a stick of butter and spices, so… Everyone loves croutons!
I lay the bread slices out on the counter and got out a stick of butter and the seasonings I planned to use. Giving the boys a bath and nursing Atty to sleep was the perfect amount of time to let the bread stiffen up and the butter soften. Didn’t plan on Trent getting out of bed twice and Atty waking up once during my little baking sesh, but hey…
Once the boys were in bed I preheated the oven to 325 degrees, lined a baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with canola oil, then sliced the bread into bite-sized chunks. I use a super-sharp Rada knife I got from Lehman’s (um, possibly my favorite store) so that I could stack the slices up and cut them 4 or 5 at a time.
I melted the butter in the microwave while I piled the bread squares into a bowl and sprinkled them with some of the herbs and spices. I used garlic, thyme, and parsley this time but have also used oregano, Italian seasoning, rosemary, and others. Before adding the butter I shook the bowl and added more seasonings a few times.
Next I added the butter little by little, tossing the bread gently with my hand. I’ve made the mistake of pouring too much butter in at once and it ends up leaving some of the croutons dry and others soaked. Yuck. After the butter is added I shake more seasonings in. It’s hard to have too much flavor on croutons, I feel.
I spread the croutons on the baking sheet and sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper, then bake for 15 minutes. I took them out, tossed them around and
tasted tested their crunch factor, then baked for 10 more minutes. Once they’re sufficiently crunchy I let them cool.
While the boys’ bath was running I decided to wash some clothes and wouldn’t ya know it… I’m out of detergent. Thankfully I have a bag of soap nuts (also from Lehman’s!) that I keeps around mostly for washing my woven wraps. I grabbed a few, threw them in a cloth bag, and dropped them into the washer. Done! I love these things. 3-4 nuts can be used about 5 times before they’re no good anymore.
Ehh, soap nuts? Yes, soap nuts. They’re not really nuts, they’re actually the dried and de-seeded fruit of the sapindus mukorossi tree. They’re natural and biodegradable, which is awesome, and they’re unscented. And they work, believe it or not. Plus, they’re one of the preferred washing methods for woven wraps, so they’re a must in this house 🙂
Here is the packaging information for the soap nuts I purchased from Lehman’s in August. The bag was just under $10.