Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays

Wishing all out there in Blogland the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of Hannukahs, the nicest of Kwanzaas and the greatest of holidays.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Ruffle Scarf Mania

I have fallen in love with these crocheted ruffle scarves that are popping up all over the craft fairs in these parts!  I purchased these two:  one for me and one for Son's girlfriend.  Now, of course, I need to learn to make them!   I have a skein of Sashay yarn and my hooks at the ready.   I have found a couple of YouTube videos with instructions but if any readers have a good free instructional site to recommend, I'd love it if you'd leave a link in the comment section!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Better Use For the Bread Machine

I have had two bread machines over the course of the last fifteen years.   While I love the convenience, I have never been keen on the shape and flavor of the loaves that come out of either machine.  Since I have started using the bread machine as a dough maker and not a baker, I am a bread making machine myself!

I find that I can use most any recipe or any bread mix and it works swell.   I put the ingredients in the machine (wet first, then dry, last yeast) and select the dough cycle.  It still takes about the same amount of time from start to finish, but oh-my-gracious, what a difference!   No more lopsided loaves.   No more off-taste.

Here's a surefire white bread recipe: (This is for a 1 1/2 to 2 pound capacity machine.)

Put 1 cup lukewarm water and 1/3 cup lukewarm milk (I nuke the milk for about 15 seconds) in the pan of the machine.  Add 3 T cubed unsalted butter, 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or combo of flours you like), 3 T sugar, 1 1/2 t Kosher salt.  Gently swish the flour mixture just to lightly combine.   Make a well in the flour mixture and pour a package of yeast in the center.   Set the machine to dough cycle and press Start.   This cycle takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes in my machine.

When the dough cycle is finished, put the dough out on a floured surface and knead a few times.   Roll up and tuck the ends under.   Put into a sprayed bread pan.  Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm spot for about an hour.    Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes.   While hot, brush onto the crust 1T melted butter.   Yu-ummm!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Okay, Time to Start...

On my way this crisp cool October morning to round up supplies for a couple of gifts.   This adorable clutch looks just the right size for cell phone, car keys, debit card and driver's license.   What more could a girl need?   Instructions in Sew-It...Today (Dec. '13/Jan./14 issue) on pages 8 - 11.  Loving this magazine, full of quick and easy!!!  

Also gonna crochet some rainbow-y striped slippers.   Instructions on The Zen of Making website. Looks like just the thing for frosty mornings to come.

Best get busy...I am making (planning to make) four of the clutches and 4 pairs of the slippers!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Someone's Turning the Big 7-0!

No, not me, but I am not very far behind!   It's my superman husband!   Sons are both coming in from out of town for the weekend to help us celebrate.   We'll have a low-key bash---lasagna, garlic bread and salad tonight; Royals game tomorrow night; a nice restaurant of his choice Saturday night.   Plenty of fun gifts and this yummy cake:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine in bowl of mixer 2 c. sugar, 1 3/4 c. plus 3 T cake flour, 3/4 c. cocoa, 1 1/2 t baking powder, 1 1/2 t baking soda, 1 t salt.  Mix.   In another bowl mix together 2 eggs, 1 c. buttermilk, 1/2 c. melted unsalted butter and 1 T vanilla.   Combine with dry ingredients.  Place 1 c. hot coffee and 4 T peanut butter in a small bowl and allow PB to soften slightly.   Add to other ingreds. and mix well.   Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9" cake pans.   Bake for about 37 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cakes comes out clean.    Cool on wire racks.

Frosting:  Beat 2/3 c. peanut butter with 1/2 c. room temperature unsalted butter till well-combined and fluffy.  Slowly beat in 4 cups powdered sugar and 3/4 c. cocoa till somewhat stiff.  Add 1 T vanilla and enough milk to make a spreading consistency.  Frost cakes and sprinkle crushed peanuts over top.

Happy Birthday to my husband of 47 years!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

More From the Garden

This was my first year to try the patio peppers, a smaller variety of bells.   Love them!   Since sunshine is limited in my tree-filled backyard, the deck is the ideal spot to grow container plants.   There are several peppers turning red in the pot..this was the first one fully turned.   

Another 23 tomatoes brought in this morning so it's back to the stovetop for the bags of yumminess to freeze.   Mmm mmm mmm.....nothing better than fresh garden produce.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tomato Time!

It's that time of summer again....when we can't keep up with the tomato harvest!   A good problem to have.   We have had our share of  BLTs, ratatouille, yummy salads, etc.  So now it's time to think of all those pots of chili and spaghetti sauce to come.   Freezing tomatoes is so much faster than canning and just as tasty when they are cooked into recipes.   First photo is hubs' haul from the tomato patch this morning.  Second photo is the assembly line of blanch, shock, slip off the peels.   Then a rough chop of the beauties and into 2 cup amounts and into qt-size zip freezer bags.   Air is flattened out (third photo) and into the freezer they go.    Come on, Autumn!

Later this week the process will be repeated all over again!

Note:  Three  dozen tomatoes of various sizes and varieties yielded six  1-qt. bags of chopped tomatoes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

My New Car

So excited!    We just purchased a 2013 Terrain Denali!    Can't wait to pick it up in a couple of days!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Eagle Days

A beautiful day for eagle watching at Smithville Lake, Missouri!    Crisp and cold but sunny and bright.     We were able to see two adult bald eagles and one young in the wild today.   I did not take this photo as the birds were about half a mile away from us.  (I found this one on the internet and the birds looked exactly like this.)   Through the magic of the rangers' telescopes we did get a great look-see though.  How majestic.   

We also saw another bald and a golden inside the building who were being rehabbed from injuries. 

Love these birds.  Glad they decide every year to make a stopover so close to my home.