Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Pumpkin Bread

It's less than 2 weeks until Thanksgiving, and time to warm up. What better thing to try than Pumpkin Bread?


3 cups flour
1.5 cups brown sugar 
2 tbsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp ginger 
1/2 tsp nutmeg 
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp baking powder 
1 small can pumpkin 
4 eggs
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk 

Mix half the flour with the brown sugar, then stir in all of the remaining dry ingredients.  Add the pumpkin, eggs, shortening and milk, and beat until smooth. Spoon into 2 greased 8" x 4" loaf pans, and  bake at 350F for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Optional: You can add craisins to the batter; I did that with one of my loaves.  Patrick liked it plain, Ryan loved the loaf with craisins, and Ryan's friends, who were here for game night, devoured it all.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Out My Kitchen Window

To the north, storm clouds gather.  Here, the sun shines bright.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Day!

I voted around noon; Patrick and Ryan went with Thatcher shortly thereafter.

No, they didn't let Thatcher vote, but he was good for amusing a few people while he waited.  And I'm thinking it should be a finger food dinner tonight, so we can opt to watch the news stations. Or just share with Thatcher.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunny and 47

It was sunny and 47 today, so I decided to take a walk around the yard.  Of course, Thatcher came, too, and terrorized all of the squirrels he saw.  But those sneaky little creatures fly up trees, and Thatcher says that's not fair!  So while he never catches any, he continues to believe in his abilities.  And I enjoy my fall color.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Another Birthday

Mark was home for fall break a couple of weeks ago, and when I wanted to bake a birthday cake for him, he turned me down cold.  He was not having a birthday this year.  Of course, you do not say things like that to this mom!

Mark's in college in Philadelphia, about 125 miles south of here.  And it just so happens that Jeff has a house about 5 miles from Mark's school.  You see where this is going, right?

Yes, I took over Jeff's house.  I brought stuff to serve dinner; oh, don't get excited.  It was frozen lasagna that I dressed up by adding sauce and cheese, then heated per the directions, along with a salad.  And Jeff asked Mark to come over about 6PM to help him move a new bathtub he had bought into the house. 

So...Mark was particularly surprised to see me and Ryan in Philadelphia on a Monday night (he claimed that he thought the sisters might be there).

Cake was involved, of course.  The giant flame atop the cake was an Incredible Candle, which, when first lit, looks like a blowtorch on top of your cake.  It's great fun.

Uncle Jeff let little Nora walk on his dining room table, a stunt she thought was great fun.

Then Tank wanted to know why he wasn't sitting at the table.

All in all, it was a successful birthday surprise.

And now it's November.  Time to start thinking about Thanksgiving...

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Friday, October 26, 2018


So, my birthday was Wednesday.  And Jeff decided that he needed to take the day off to spend with me!

Of course, he brought Tank.  No visit would be complete without that big goof.

Thatcher hates other dogs.  Seriously, he tried to attack Tank the last time Jeff was here.  What are you thinking, dude?  You weigh 49 pounds, and that doofus is around 120.  Chill!  But there were other dogs here then, and with only one other dog to contend with, Thatcher eventually decided to be a reasonable citizen.  Jeff handing out treats to both of them simultaneously may have helped....

But I'm going with Thatcher decided not to be a jerk!  Win for all!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Monday, October 22, 2018

A Little Color

I've been blue today, so I went outside to freeze myself out of it.  Hey, 40 degrees with no coat feels enough like freezing to me.  And I saw the first real color of the season.

This tree was brighter in real life.  But pictures aren't perfect, no matter what we do.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Roasted Roots and Delicata Squash

Last night, to Patrick's horror, I cooked the blue potatoes.  Oh, they're purple, not blue, and I think that might have made it worse.  To his credit, he did try them, and upon discovering that they taste just like "normal" potatoes, he ate them.  Didn't even share any with his dog.

Roasted Roots: Chop up potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic and (if you have it, which I didn't) celery.  Spread out in a pan, salt lightly, add some vegetable oil and toss well, then respread them out and roast with you meat at whatever temperature you're using for an hour or so.

Delicata squash: As Gemma commented, it was wonderful!  Cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, brush the top with butter and add a couple of small pats to the center, salt very lightly, and roast until fork tender.  It cooks faster than acorn or butternut squash (likely because the side walls are thinner), it's softer and less stringy, and it's absolutely delicious.

Of course, Patrick didn't even try it, while Ryan and I both greatly enjoyed it. "Mom, it's squash and you know I don't do that kind of thing."  At least that's much more polite than he was as a kid.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Drive-by Posting

You all probably thought I disappeared off the planet, right?  Nope.  Just trying to get my outside work wrapped up as the weather turns abruptly cold.  I can't tell you how much fun it is to go out in the rain at 47 degrees every 30 minutes or so to make sure I like what the garden guys are replanting in the front of my house.

But, I did make a trip to a little farm stand down at the bottom of my hill.

Blue potatoes, sweet potatoes, fresh carrots and some kind of squash I've never seen before.  Ryan was pretty pleased, but I'm betting Patrick will be less than impressed.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 11, 2001

My loss this year has been profound.  But through my sorrow this date still holds great significance and the memory of horror.

We will never forget.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Cottage Cheese Bread

This one is for Pam in Oregon.

I mentioned that I made Cottage Cheese Bread to go with my Cream of Chicken Soup.  The hardest part of this was getting the cottage cheese up to room temperature so the bread would rise!  (In case you wonder, the microwave works, but be very, very careful, or it will just puff up over the rim of your measuring cup and create another lovely mess for you.  Learn from me.)


1/2 cup warm water
1-1/3 cup cottage cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tbsp yeast (1 for slow rising bread)
 4 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt

Add the ingredients in the order given to your bread machine bowl (or follow my directions over there-----> to use a mixer).  Using the regular cycle, let it go through its first mixing and rise, and let it start its second mixing for just a minute.  Remove from the bowl and split in 2; place in well greased or sprayed 4x8 baking pans and let rise until doubled in size.  While it's rising, start your oven to preheat: 350F.  When the dough has doubled in size (about the time it takes my oven to preheat), put it in the oven and bake at 350F for 22 to 25 minutes, depending upon how dark you like your crust.

This bread was really rich and delicious.  The boys - and there are only 2 of them home presently - finished it the next day.  With my soup, of course.  Note that I didn't say this is low calorie bread.  But what's the fun in that, anyway?

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Cream of Chicken Soup

So. I got up Tuesday morning and my tongue hurt.  Trying to eat my oatmeal, I discovered why: an ancient filling was falling apart.  Off to visit Kevin, my dentist, and you know how this goes:

Kevin: "You need a root canal.  What are you doing this afternoon:
Me: "Evidently, getting a root canal, but only if you'll do it."
Kevin: "How does 2 o'clock sound?"

I wasn't in the mood for either cooking or eating that night, obviously, and then Ryan suggested soup as tasty and easy to eat. Sometimes I swear the kid's a genius!


2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken, cut up
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, minced
2 carrots, shredded
3 celery stalks diced
1 tsp vegetable base
2 tsp chicken base
1/2 cup rice
4 cups water
2 to 3 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups milk
1/2 cup whipping cream, or to taste
fresh ground black pepper in copious amounts

In your soup pot, melt the butter, then cook the chicken and onion at medium-high heat.  Add the celery when the onion is soft, and cook until the chicken is lightly browned on both sides.  Add the carrot, vegetable and chicken base, rice and water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes; add the cauliflower, and simmer another 15 to 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft..  Add the milk, reheat to just below the boil, stir in the cream and add pepper to taste (I used 30 turns).

I ran a hand blender through mine to bring it closer to a puree, but the boys ate theirs straight.  And they loved it.  There was just enough for each of them to have some for breakfast the next day, and poor Thatcher wondered why he didn't get his share.  I served it with a cottage cheese bread, which the boys also loved.

And later that night, Ryan proved why everyone thinks he's a great guy.  He was out playing chess with friends, and a friend of a friend was showing off his car which had a flashing check engine light.  That made Ryan nervous, so when they were all going home at 2AM, he followed Mr. Check Engine, and, sure enough, his car started smoking from the hood. Ryan called AAA and had the guy's car towed, then gave him a ride home.  Yes, that's one great guy we raised.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!