Friday, February 27, 2009

Deviled Eggs

Who else here has issues making their boiled eggs come out exactly right? Yes, I know that soft boiled eggs are also called "3 minute eggs" for obvious reasons. However, it's not uncommon for me to boil 18 or more eggs at once. If I only cook them for 3 minutes, they're still raw! Don't fall out of your chair laughing. It only takes 6 people to eat that many eggs, and think about how many I routinely feed!

Anyway, I was ordering "stuff" from my buddy Jeff Bezos a while back, and was $3 short of the amount needed for free shipping. Clicking through the entertaining "kitchen crap", I found this cute little gizmo for only $3. Anyone else ever tried one? It really works!
A skinny black stripe means your soft boiled eggs are perfect.

All black means those suckers are hard boiled. Yeah, I know it's not hard to hard boil an egg. Ignore it for, say, 30 minutes, and it'll be done. This eliminates the sort of greyish-green layer around the outside of the yolk. Hooray! No unnatural colors!

So, I had these few eggs left in my open flat, and wanted to use them. Paula wrote about egg salad sandwiches a while back, and I'd been after deviled eggs ever since. So I made some yesterday, knowing our lawyer was showing up today with paperwork for us to sign, and have notarized, and I always feed him when he's here. Seriously, we never have to go to his office. Anyway, he announced today that he was on a diet, and couldn't partake of my wonderful baked goods. Some deviled eggs, a sliced apple, carrot sticks, and one slice of Batterway bread with butter, and the man was in hog heaven. I credit the eggs.

Everyone has their own way of making deviled eggs. I can't eat raw onions, or peppers in any form, so mine are simplistic. I do make my own mayonnaise, which my kids think is weird (and they go buy themselves Hellman's - along with store bought bread). So, here's my way:


Hard boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, yolks moved to a separate bowl
pickles - your favorite variety - 1 spear or 6 chips per 2 eggs
freshly ground pepper

mayonnaise - 1 tbsp per 3 eggs

Mash your egg yolks with a fork. Chop the pickles finely in the food processor. Pour into the egg yolks, including the juice which accumulates in the bottom of the processor. Grind in plenty of pepper, stir in the mayonnaise (you may want more), and spoon gently back into the egg halves. Sprinkle with paprika for decorative purposes, and enjoy them!

My lawyer explained the bank meltdown to me. Really, it shouldn't be as bad as it is. Politicians + Economics = Mess!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Thorsday!

When we replaced the kitchen and breakfast room floors, we moved Thor's dining station off the breakfast room floor, and into the kitchen (which remained tile). A few years back, I had stopped at a house I passed often to learn about their Great Dane, Jeffrey. I had observed that they had Jeffrey's bowls elevated. We did this for Thor's water, which is outside. Since I found two empty plastic buckets left in the kitchen after my son had mixed the mortar in which he set the tile, we stacked them and put Thor's food bowl atop them. Appearances of this photo notwithstanding, this has made him a neater eater, and I think he eats more, too.

Anyway, after letting Thor out yesterday morning, I noticed something strange in his food bowl.

Look what a closer examination revealed!
When Thor returned from frolicking in the yard, he raced over to his bowl, rescued Larry, and trotted around the table twice before settling down for a nap.

And when Mark got up yesterday, having slept late because he was sick, his friend gave him a big doggie hug and kiss.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

King Cake

Last year, I learned of King Cake for Mardi Gras, hunted up a recipe, and loved it. So, this year, once again, we (sort of) celebrated Mardi Gras. No clowns, no parade, no beads, just King Cake. Here is the recipe from last year, and here are pictures of the work in progress.

Warm the milk, add the yeast, then the flour and all of the other ingredients in the mixer bowl. Notes: This won't fit in a breadmaker, and, if you're using a hand mixer, add the flour in increments.
Mix at the lowest speed for 5 to 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and beautiful.
Let it sit on the counter for a few minutes.

Roll out to about 2 feet long. Really! It will take that much length to fill the tube pan, which you of course have already greased. Let the dough rest while you prepare the filling.
Spread the filling on the dough with a spoon or spatula.

Roll it up and fit it in the pan.

Let it rise until it fills the pan.

Bake until it's beautiful!
When it's cooled, glaze and sprinkle the top with colorful sugar, or even sprinkles. This is a lot of cake.

And these individual "work in progress" pictures are a lot of work. I'm not sure I'll do this again real soon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not Quite Apple Pie A La Mode

Q: What do you get when you combine a sauce anglaise with this glop?
A: A tribute to the Blond Duck's Pie Week!

Confession being good for the soul, I'll admit once again that I don't do well
with pie. Oh, I can make a great graham cracker crumb crust, and fill it with marvelous cream fillings. Regular pie crust sends me running in fear to Pillsbury and their "fit it in your own pie plate and pretend you're competent" crust in the refrigerator case.

My dearly beloved adores pie. His mother was a champion pie baker in her day (although she has refused to cook anything since she was widowed in 1988). She made mountains of cookies, too. At least I can keep up with her in the cake department *sigh*.

All that being said, let me introduce you to Apple Pie Ice Cream. "
Marvelous!" proclaimed Ryan with his first bite. His Daddy concurred; they ate a lot.


3 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded apple

2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp water

In a microwavable 2 cup measuring cup, combine all the filling ingredients. Microwave 1 minute, stir, and microwave 1 more minute. Set aside to cool.

In a large microwavable bowl (like my Pampered Chef batter bowl), combine the cup of milk with the sugar. Microwave 2 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour some of the hot milk into the egg yolks and stir, then whisk into the hot milk mix. Microwave another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring every 30 to 45 seconds, until the mixture thickens. Don't let it boil, to keep th
e eggs from curdling. When it's done, add the cold cream and vanilla; whisk vigorously and put in the refrigerator to chill. (Note, if anyone cares: if you put your cream in the freezer, in 30 minutes the bottom inch will have frozen into a slushy mix, and you'll have to cut the carton open to scrape it out.)

When the custard mix is cold, freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. A minute before it's finished, spoon the pie filling into the ice cream, let it combine, and scoop into a bowl. Freeze at least 3 hours before serving.

As Ryan said, "Marvelous!" (And, yes, I ate this scoop; it was well worth the calories!)

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone; tonight I'm making a King Cake!

Monday, February 23, 2009

George Washington's Birthday Dinner

"George Washington, Our first President, Father of our country!"
Anyone else's children sing that song endlessly? My older ones surely did.

I try to create little celebrations for my two youngest wherever possible, especially where it involves feeding people and not much else. Ol' George isn't getting any ink this year (no disrespect to Abe intended, but, hey, he'd have had no Union to save without George), bu
t we always celebrate George Washington's birthday with authentic George Washington food. Or at least, if it's not authentic, it's correct for its era, nearly 300 years ago.

My little guy likes ham, or at least as much as the little stinker likes any food (which is not much). So, yesterday we set off to buy a ham George Washington would have loved (they do call them "Virginia hams", after all!), along with proper side dishes.

So, here's most of George Washington's birthday dinner:

Glazed Virginia ham, heart attack potatoes, asparagus, applesauce, and (not shown) corn bears. The older kids concurred: George would definitely have wanted corn bears for his birthday!

And for dessert: Praline kisses. Yes. I had to use some of James Beard's praline powder somehow. It looked lonely on the door of the fridge. Maybe these aren't something George Washington did eat, but he could have. Surely there were plenty of nut trees in Virginia, and he had plenty of eggs, and I put red and blue colored sugar on them to make them
festive. So, we called them authentic, and everyone enjoyed them.


4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup praline powder

Beat the egg whites until stiff; add the extracts and sugar and beat one minute more. Beat in the praline powder. Line one or more baking tray with waxed paper or parchment, and drop in heaps on the paper. Bake at 325F for 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned, and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the paper. Makes about 24.

Happy Birthday, George Washington!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

An Award

I received the Sisterhood Award from The Blond Duck. If you haven't done so, swing by and check out her amusing tales. She's a lighthearted break during the day! Thank you, dear Duckie!

The rules of this award are to put the award on your blog, nominate at least 10 blogs which show great attitude, and link to them, and link to the person who gave you the award. I'm not sure I know 10 ladies who haven't already received this, but I'll give it a try!

1. Paula
2. Pam in Tennessee
3. Pam in Oregon

4. Prudence Pennywise
5. Gaylen
6. Grace
7. Claire
8. Ann
9. Cidell
10. Linda in Alberta

I also finally finished a skirt I started a couple of weeks ago. I'm
disappointed because the only tops I have to go with it are white. I may need to buy more fabric! Of course, the picture is blurry; sorry!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cheddar Fish, but not Goldfish

Last night, the little boys were sick. Sleep all day, sneeze a little, cough a lot, leave poor Thor get the picture. Anyway, dinner needed to be fast and easy so I could get my sickos back to bed. This fish was fast and easy, and everyone liked it. There's not much of a recipe here; it was more of "winging it"!
Saute the fish filets in 2 tbsp butter until cooked. Remove the fish from the skillet, whisk in 1 tbsp cornstarch, then add 3/4 cup heavy cream and 3/4 cup milk to make white sauce. Return the fish to the skillet, top with diced tomato and thick slices of cheddar. Cover and simmer until the cheese melts. I served this with heart attack potatoes - so dubbed by my middle daughter when she was about 13. Sliced red skinned potatoes, boiled, with the skin on, until tender, then stirred with 1 stick of melted butter, copious amounts of freshly ground pepper, and 1/4 cup chopped parsley per 2 pounds of potatoes. Her reaction the first time I made them? "Heart attack goodness on a plate!"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Waiting for Dinner

Between our kitchen and breakfast room is a bank of lower cabinets with a counter on top, open from both sides. This is because of a near calamity involving a 9 year old in the kitchen when she was not allowed there, a pot of spaghetti sauce and, ultimately, gallons of cold water on the floor. After said incident, I demanded (and got) a hole in the wall, through which dinner could be served.

When they sense that food is nearly ready, people start lining up on the breakfast room side of the passthrough, so they can be first to select their food. Ha! Do they really think there won't be enough? Anyway, they're a group of slowpokes, because T
hor is always first in line. Sometimes he sits up, but more often he sprawls out on the floor. Somehow, his is never the first plate filled, but hope springs eternal.

On to more pressing matters. Last weekend, I offered a bread cookbook, and was stunned to have several takers. What could I do to decide? After careful consideration, I wrote all the names on large pieces of paper, arranged them in a circle on the floor where Thor always waits for the UPS man to make his afternoon pickup, and, much more importantly, to bring Thor's cookie, and told Thor to choose a name. Here's what he did:

Katherine, you have a cookbook coming your way. Email me with your address, and the guy in brown will take it away the next time he brings Thor a cookie! Buffalo, I may take you up on your offer to trade cookbooks, and everyone else, Thor's sorry he didn't choose you. In his defense, he can't read your names. He will probably make me give away another one soon. Happy Thorsday!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Danish Cream Cake

One of my great grandfathers came from Denmark around 1900. Since his was the only country of origin anyone could readily identify, my father's family became "Danish". Rarely do I find a recipe purporting to be Danish, so I had to try this one. Taken from one of Craig Claiborne's New York Times cookbooks, we did enjoy this. My family commented that it seemed more like a coffee or tea cake than a rich dessert cake, but there was none left over (and I never even got to try it), so it seems that this was a hit.


1 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
2 tbsp almond extract
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt


2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp flour

Whip the cream until stiff. Beat in the eggs and almond extract. Sift together the dry ingredients, and fold into the cream mixture. Pour into a greased and floured 8" springform pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 350F. While it's baking, prepare the topping:

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, then add the cream and sugar; heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the almonds and remove from the heat.

When the cake has baked for 45 minutes, remove it from the oven. Carefully spoon the almond topping over it, then return to the oven for exactly 10 minutes. Cool the cake, remove the springform sides, drizzle with a glaze of confectioner's sugar and cream, and serve.

For a number of years, the man who lived across the street from me invited us to his birthday parties every June. His family came from the same city in Denmark that my great grandfather came from. The first year we were there, one of his elderly aunts, who was an immigrant from Denmark, demanded of her nephew, the host, to know how I was related to them. He explained that I lived in the white house over there, and I explained from whence my Grandpa Olaf came. She listened, then barked, "You're very pretty. You must be one of our cousins." I guess old ladies can make such proclamations. I wish I'd had this recipe to make for them when they were alive.

Of course, if it isn't truly Danish, I'm sure Monica will tell me, so I can cross out the name in my cookbook, and change it to something more suitable.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Baked Apples

Wow. I'm stunned that so many of you want the bread cookbook I offered Sunday. When one person wanted it, I was relieved that it would finally be used. When three people wanted it, I thought I'd let Thor choose the lucky recipient. I'll figure out how to decide, and let you know later this week who got it. Anyway...

Sunday night I made a turkey breast. Since that's standard Sunday night fare, it's no big deal. I did pour 1/4 cup rose over it before I cooked it, and it tasted great, as, I'm told, did the gravy (which I don't eat). The rice had chicken bouillon cubes, butter and chopped green onions in it (yawn), but my favorite side for this meal was the baked apples.

I first learned about baked apples from the Southern Skillet in Maryville along about 1987. It's gone now, having been replaced by a Bel Aire grill, and probably by something else now, but I did love baked apples. I think apples and applesauce are perfect with turkey and pork; both go well with somewhat sweet side dishes. For my version, I like to use those little Macintosh apples, available all the time, and plan on 1-1/2 apples per person. Each segment is 2 bites, and it couldn't be easier. This is a recipe to serve 4 people.


6 small apples
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tbsp confectioners sugar

Quarter and core the apples (I leave the skin on). Arrange them in a baking dish, and pour the butter over them. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon, and sift the sugar over them. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Tomorrow I expect to have something better to offer!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bread Cookbook, Anyone?

Valentine's Day is no big deal here in our little corner of the world. My dearly beloved's father always used to call it (along with Father's Day and Mother's Day) "Jewish holidays," meaning that the people who benefitted most were Jewish shop merchants, since where he came from, most of the candy and jewelry stores and florists were run by Jewish people, some of whom were his neighbors. I'm pretty sure the last time my beloved bought me an actual Valentine's Day present was either 1980 or 1981; however, every time he even thinks I want something, he tells me to order it, or goes out to get it. Case in point: my gurgling jug. So, other than an excuse to wear a pretty red dress (or, more often, pink), and buying candy for the kids, the holiday goes unmarked. And, yes, I did send boxes of Valentine's Day candy to each of the kids last week. I'm nothing if not a loyal mom.

I do have a point, besides "no celebrations yesterday!"

I have this bread cookbook which I don't use. It isn't that it's not a perfectly good cookbook. Rather, it's for making bread without a machine, since it was written in 1984. There are intriguing recipes in it. There is even instruction for kneading bread. So, I was hoping that someone out there might want it. Leave me a comment with your email if you do, so I can contact you for your address.

We had warmer weather last week (almost 50 every day), and our 8" of snow melted off. Then yesterday it froze again, so our mud is solid.
Happily, I was able to go to a "you-hose-it" car wash, and take the road salt off my winter beater. Doesn't it look great for a 14 year old car? Driving a dirty car irks me; anyone else feel that way?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

All About Mastiffs

One of my boys was reading an encyclopedia Tuesday, looking for information on Mars for his research report, when he found me in that wonderful book! I was so excited! I knew all of you would want to know more about me for Dogs on Thursday.

According to the 2000 Encyclopedia Americana, which my humans own,
because the mom is a book lunatic, I am very historic:

"Mastiff - a very old breed whose forebears were used by the Romans to bait and fight wild animals." Well, I've always been told that my kind were the marching dogs for Julius Caesar's army!

"The heaviest of dogs, a male mastiff will sometimes exceed 180 pounds and should stand at least 30 inches at the shoulder." Yep, 250 pounds exceeds 180, right?

"Today's mastiff originated in England. He learns somewhat slowly...."
Mom says I was potty trained within 2 weeks of coming home, and I was only 7 weeks old then. Plus, you've seen the pictures of me in school! I have to disagree with this statement!

"They are seldom long lived. It needs a great deal of exercise, drools, wheezes and snores...."
Well, who's perfect?

"However, it is not only extremely gentle, patient and good-natured - even around inconsiderate children - but also protective of both person and property. It guards by holding the intruder at bay..." There you go! We're great guys! And, besides, who has inconsiderate children?
Happy Dogs on Thursday, Everyone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chango Bars

Last night was Tuesday night. Hereabouts, that means I'm required by law to make Brownie Tuesdays. Unfortunately for me, we had no brownie mix (yes, I use mix for brownies, since my ungrateful offspring don't like brownies made from scratch). Fortunately, I was able to create a suitable alternative, no one called the police, and I was not forced to spend the night locked in the chief's garage (or in the shed with our plow truck). Yes, the town is that small, although I've yet to hear of someone jailed with the plow truck or in the chief's garage.

This is a recipe which came from a story my youngest read in Calvert School's second grade curriculum, about the son of a Jewish baker married to a Mexican, who had
to bring food from his ethnic background to school for heritage day or something like that. Anyway, the kid brought Jalapeno bagels and Chango bars. No peppers ever enter my house, but the bars contained chocolate chips, and the boys were quite certain that they would enjoy making them, so we did. More than once. And, here they are for your culinary delight.


1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup margarine
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2-1/3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup mixed nuts

Melt the butter and margarine together. Meanwhile, cream the brown sugar with the eggs, then add the melted butter mixture to it. Blend in the flour, powder and salt, and mix until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, then pour into a greased 9"x13" pan, and bake at 350F for 45 to 50 minutes. Confession: having no mixed nuts, I used my old standby - chopped walnuts. No one complained.

This leads me to contemplate a question posed by Lakeland Jo recently as to why I homeschool. Well, that's somewhat complicated. My oldest 7 children started in private school, but it was 45 minutes from home. After a few years of them leaving the house (with me, of course) at 7:45 AM and returning between 4:15 and 4:30 PM, depending upon traffic, I decided that was enough, and put them in the local school. I drilled them on their basic mathematical functions, and taught them phonics and grammar (using a set of 1898 texts I had found at, you guessed it, a used book sale). Ryan was 5 years younger than Kellie, and I realized in first grade that the material the schools taught had been seriously downgraded. Mark is 3.5 years younger than Ryan. So, when Ryan was a few months short of 7, and in first grade, I was attempting to make him memorize his addition facts, using verbal drilling and worksheets. My exact words were, "This touchpoints and counting on crap doesn't work!" After a couple of weeks, Mark, then age 3, began giving me the answers, often before Ryan. So I started watching him out of the corner of my eye; the child had figured out the concept of addition. At first, he would put out, for example, three fingers on one hand and two on the other, and count them for the answer. Within a couple of weeks, he used only the second hand, and within a month after that, he simply had the tables memorized. Well, I have an entire house full of certified smart children, and I've never seen anything like this. I've been told that counting using one-to-one correlation is rare in 3 year olds, so this astonished me.

When Mark was 4, I started teaching him basic phonics. His birthday falls 2 full months after the school entry cutoff date, and I knew I'd never get him into Kindergarten, despite the fact that he was more than smart enough. Frankly, this is idiotic. My birthday is a couple of days before his, and I started Kindergarten before I was 5. I feel fully literate, can talk, and appear to have the ability to think despite the fact that I went to school "too early", so I wasn't going to hold back a highly intelligent child. Many years earlier, the director of a private school in Knoxville had given me a couple of copies of a magazine called Gifted Children Monthly, and I had kept them. In them was an advertisement for Calvert School. One phone call, and I had a complete Kindergarten curriculum, including a teaching manual; my little guy took off like a rocket ship. I was so impressed that I purchased their third grade curriculum for Ryan, so that I could teach him math, cursive and composition, after school. Well, he wanted to learn everything in the curriculum, so I taught him on weekends. After Mark completed Calvert's Kindergarten, in February, he wanted to go to "real school with Ryan." I called the school, asked if he could transfer from a private school in Baltimore, where he had finished their Kindergarten curriculum, and, miraculously, they accepted him. I had expected to fight to get him into first grade the following fall, but, here he was, going to school with his big brother. Within a week, the teacher, several aides from different grades, and parents who volunteered at the school were calling me to ask how I'd gotten him to learn this, since he was at what they considered an end of first grade level in all subjects.

And so the homeschooling continued. And I wouldn't give it up for the world.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pasta Alfredo with Seafood

First things first. Because several people asked, I have a Sunbeam bread machine, which I bought last summer, when my Breadman bit the dust. I ordered it from Amazon (Jeff Bezos, if you're reading, send me stuff - I'll review it for you!) and Thor's friend in brown brought it in. I had purchased one for my oldest daughter, now in law school, 2 years ago, when she moved into a house with her best friend's brother and boyfriend for roommates. She uses hers a couple of times a week, and her best friend uses it a couple of times a week, and it's evidently holding up well for her. I mostly use mine as a fancy mixer for the bread dough, although at least once a week I make English Muffin Bread using the delayed timer cycle. Believe me, the house smells wonderful when I do that - I almost want to get up in the morning. Almost.

Ahem. Back to real food.

Saturday night I was not in the mood to cook. No surprise there. But I had seen a recipe in the paper a while back for linguine in alfredo sauce with shrimp and other assorted stuff that I didn't have or don't eat. Well, I'm never one to let that stand in the way of a good idea,
am I? So, creating from my freezer, cupboards, refrigerator and imagination, I turned out this:


2 pounds angel hair
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1 pound imitation crabmeat
1/2 pound asparagus, cut in 1" long pieces
2 cups heavy cream

3 cups milk
1 cup parmesan
Ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large pan. Saute the imitation crabmeat gently in it until it's heated throughout. Stir in the cream, pepper and 2 cups of the milk and heat it. Cook the angel hair, adding the asparagus to the angel hair water 2 minutes before the pasta is done. By the time it's finished, the sauce should be hot. Drain the pasta, add the parmesan and last cup of milk to the sauce, then stir the pasta/asparagus mix into the sauce. Serve immediately.

Note that I found the sauce too thick; I'd probably go with a little less parmesan next time. It was quite tasty, although my smallest fussbudget demanded that I make him plain pasta next time I cook this. Also note that despite the fact that this is only 2 pounds of pasta, I'd be surprised if it didn't feed at least 6 to 8 people (it's hard to estimate, because my guys are all huge eaters, and all skinny, and I'd hate them for that if I weren't so fond of them).

Monday, February 9, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

This may be blasphemy to some, but I'm here to confess: I don't like chocolate ice cream. So you won't be finding any here, unless I lose my mind and decide to make it for my kids during the summer. I guess that could happen; I've been accused of being crazy (by them) many times.

However, I am the world's greatest fan of vanilla ice cream. I adore French Vanilla ice cream. I could weigh 400 pounds if there was enough French Vanilla ice cream in my h
ouse. (Note to self: don't do it! Restrain yourself!) Anyway, I found this recipe for French Vanilla ice cream, and had a few sorry, store bought, semi flavorless but absolutely beautiful strawberries in the fridge. And so was created this, with, as usual, a way to not have to dirty every pan in the house to make it. Even with plenty of dishwasher space, I'm not a fan of rinsing, loading and unloading pots and pans. So, I use my Pampered Chef 2 quart batter bowl to prepare the liquid which will become ice cream and chill it, then pour it into the ice cream maker bowl, and return it to the Pampered Chef bowl when it's done. Voila! No extra dishes!


3 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup sliced strawberries*

Measure the milk, and heat it with the sugar in the microwave 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Whisk some of the hot milk in with the egg yolks, then whisk the egg yolks into the milk. Heat about 3 minutes, whisking every 30 to 45 seconds, until the mixture begins t
o boil. Remove from the microwave, let it stand 5 minutes, then add the cream and vanilla extract. Chill about an hour, then freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions. When it's about done, scoop strawberry slices in, and let it process one minute more, to incorporate the strawberries, and put it in the freezer for at least 2 hours. If you want to be fancy, serve it over sliced pound cake so it's really strawberry shortcake. As for me, I was lazy, and served it in bowls. Yes, some nights I'm so worn out I'd just as soon hand everyone a scoop of ice cream and wish them all a lot of luck. Note that I cut my strawberries into chunks, and they were too big: they became really hard after sitting in the freezer for a while. You can see that in this picture. Next time (and my dearly beloved swears there WILL be a next time for this one), I'll slice the berries.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Present for Me!

Have you ever seen one of these?
I bought a gurgling jug for my mother in law for Christmas 2 years back. I loved it, although I think she was less than impressed. So, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I wanted one too, and ordered it. This is made in England, and it makes a very loud gurgle when you pour liquid into a glass, and another gurgle when it's turned back upright. The little guys are delighted with the noise!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Honey Milk Bread

I make bread at least every other day. My older kids prefer store bought, pre sliced bread, and when they're home, and willing to go to the supermarket to procure it, that's fine. But I always have bread in the house for sandwiches, snacking, even feeding vitamins to Thor. Often, I make French or Italian bread (minimal ingredients and fuss). Last night, I decided to try a somewhat different bread from Beth Hensperger's Bread Machine Cookbook.

Except for English Muffin Bread, which I set on a delayed timer, so it's fresh and hot for breakfast, I use my bread machine as a mixer. Really, who can fault a nice, enclosed mixer, out of which the dry ingredients can't puff and leave a delightful dusty film on the counter? All of my breads can be put in the bread machine and ignored until they're done, but I prefer to shape them into traditional loaves. Let's just say it's a small reward for my being otherwise very efficient (or lazy) and doing everything in the minimal steps possible.


2/3 cup warm milk
2/3 cup warm water
6 tsp yeast
3-3/4 cups flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp honey
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp gluten (optional)

Pour the milk and water into the bread machine's container or a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Add the remaining ingredients in the order given, put the container into the bread machine, turn it on and let it knead for about 10 minutes. Or, stir half the flour into the yeast mixture, add the oil, honey and salt, and the remaining flour. Turn onto a floured counter or board, and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is firm and shiny. Let rise 15 minutes, then divide the dough into 2 pieces and press into 2 loaf pans. Let the loaves rise until they reach the top of the loaf pans, 30 to 45 minutes, and bake at 350F for approximately 25 minutes, or until the loaves are as dark as you would like.

This was a very soft, surprisingly light bread with a lot of flavor from the honey. The boys ate quite a bit with their chicken dinner last night, which was surprising, since the chicken came with stuffing. G, if you did get a bread machine, this is an easy experimental bread for you!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I do believe Thor and his lobster have decided they like the new floor.
After all, it's warmer than tile. But a guy has to play hard to get sometimes, doesn't he?

And here he is, trying to keep our master craftsman penned in. It didn't work. Dan went back to Charlotte yesterday.

Too bad he can't get a construction loan for another house. His work is phenomenal. I don't know what he's going to do during this downturn. I do know that Thor and the rest of us miss Dan.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jeff

He was a cute little dude, wasn't he?At the age of 2, following his older sister.

Jeff always was a moose. On his sister's second birthday, when he was 11
months old, she weighed 21 pounds, and he was 25. No matter, she would tell him she was the leader. If he disobeyed, she'd tell him she was bigger, and slug him. Until the day he pushed her down.

I still think he's a mighty handsome guy.

I sent him a King Cake, and a present, by UPS overnight. After all, a guy only has one 21st birthday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lemon Chicken Saute

"I want lemon chicken for dinner," declared my youngest child last night.

"Splendid," I replied. This is the child who only likes orange juice and brownies, after all. So I came up, thanks to Craig Claiborne, a recipe that I thought would be suitable. The chicken was easy to cook, and quite tender and moist. Now, the original recipe called for this to be cooked in a skillet, but you know that's not in my 10 year infrastructure program. 3 to 4 pounds of meat in one skillet requires a lot of "taking turns", after all. So, cooked under the broiler (which works out well when the temperature is below freezing), I present you with...


3 pounds chicken pieces (I used boneless, skinless thighs)
1 stick butter
salt and pepper to taste
4 chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped parlsey
1 tsp marjoram
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch

1 cup chicken bouillon

Melt the butter in the bottom of the broiler pan. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken pieces on both sides, and arrange in the pan. Broil on the highest rack setting for 5 minutes, turn over, and broil on the second side another 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside for a few minutes.

In the same broiler pan, saute the chopped shallots for a minute or 2, until they are wilted. Whisk in the cornstarch, then whisk in the bouillon and lemon juice. Add the marjoram and parsley to the sauce, and return the chicken with any juices which have accumulated to the pan. Place the pan on the bottom rack of the oven, turn the temperature to 450F, and cook for 10 minutes. Top with lemon slices for decoration.

I served this with plain white rice and peas and carrots. Poor Thor only got rice and a little bit of gravy in his dinner dish with his "bites and bones".

And my little guy? "This was not what I wanted. I wanted lemon tarragon chicken."