Monday, January 31, 2011

Roast Chicken With Rosemary Butter

I needed something different to do with my roast chicken. I can't give you a good reason why, but I did. Remember the falling-apart cookbook from last week? It happened to fall open at this page,l and I decided to give it a try. Since the leftovers were just the wings, I'd say it was a success.


One whole roasting chicken
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) butter or margarine
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp salt
10 turns fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup water

Rinse the chicken cavity. Cut it open to spatchcock or not, as you see fit, set it in your roasting pan, and salt the inside.

In the food processor, place the butter, garlic, lemon, rosemary, paprika, salt and pepper. Whirl until it's a lumpy paste, like this.

Loosen the chicken skin with your fingers, without breaking it, and stuff the butter mix under the skin of the chicken, spreading out as evenly as possible. Pour 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the roasting pan. Cook at 450F for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350F and cook until the chicken is done (15 to 20 minutes per pound).
To make gravy, skim the butterfat off the top along with the chicken fat. The pan drippings make excellent gravy, with the flavor from the rosemary butter adding greatly to its taste!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cranberry Sherbet

What says frozen confection more than 22 degree January nights? Well, it seemed warm by comparison to sub-zero temperatures. And I needed to use this jellied cranberry sauce. Really, I did!


1-1/2 cups jellied cranberry sauce

1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg white, beaten stiff
1/2 cup cream, whipped

Beat the cranberry sauce with the orange juice and sugar until well combined. Put in the freezer about an hour, until slushy. Stir in the beaten egg white and whipped cream, combining well, and process in your ice cream maker, or return to the freezer, stirring every hour or so until it's pretty solid.

Slice some banana on top if you want to feel like you're eating a really healthy dessert!

This is a really easy ice cream to make, not even requiring any fancy equipment. The recipe came from my 1950s Fannie Farmer cookbook, and the introduction to it says it's great as an accompaniment to a chicken or turkey dinner. I have the feeling Mr. Farmer wrote that, and when I read it to my dearly beloved, he said, "So, what's wrong with sherbet as a side dish?" I rest my case.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Judge Thor Viewing Entries

Thor is honored to be a judge for Mango Minster, in the category of Good Old Boys/Girls.

To recap, the official Mango Minster rules state these guidelines for all entrants in this category:

1. Is your nickname "Bubba"?
2. Is your favorite activity lounging about watching football or the home shopping network on the picture box?
3. Are your beds place strategically so as not to strain yourself actually walking should you feel a nap coming on?
4. Do you fart and/or snore with great abandon?
5. Do you drink beer and eat beef jerky?
6. Are you an easy going, whatever, kind of guy or gal?
7. Do your humans ever tell you, "You're just a good old boy (or girl)"? Duh.

Wow! This is a lot for Thor to review! He has decided to give each entran
t a rating of 1 (not so much), 2 (pretty good), or 3 (wowsa!) points in each category. As you can see, Thor has also left room for bonus notes, which will confuse, er, I mean, clarify the issue.

Moooommmm! Why did you give me a Paper Mate pen? Don't I deserve a Mont Blanc fountain pen at the very least?

Who knew Thor was left pawed?

Durn, this is hard work.

Entrants, do let Thor demonstrate Qualification No. 3 for you. And please feel free to leave clarifying comments, or at least say hello!
Happy Thorsday, everyone.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Strawberry Chiffon Pie

So, what if you've followed the advice of my sons and made Big Fat Yeast Rolls? That means you have egg whites in a tiny bowl in your fridge, waiting for inspiration to strike. Well, here you are. The ingredient list is a little bigger than what I usually give you, but don't worry; it's pretty easy. The inspiration for this was found in my red plaid cookbook (the one everyone has), but I had to change it to suit both me and the season: no fresh strawberries, and I change everything anyway.


Pie crust, baked and cooled (store bought, or my "Best Ever")
20 ounce bag frozen whole strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 envelope plain gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
3 egg whites
3/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp strawberry extract
1/4 cup sugar

In a saucepan, stir together the gelatin and 1/4 cup sugar. Add the 2/3 cup water, and heat while whisking until the sugar dissolves and the mixture simmers. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Pour 1 cup of the strawberries into a cup, and set aside. Thaw the remaining berries somewhat (I used 1 minute in the microwave, but you may have different ideas). Pulse these strawberries with 1/4 cup sugar in your food processor until they are crushed but not pureed, or mash with a potato masher.

After the gelatin mixture has cooled and somewhat thickened, stir it into the strawberries and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the 3 egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff, then add 1/4 cup sugar one tablespoon at a time. In another bowl, beat the cream until it thickens; add the strawberry extract and the last 1/4 cup sugar and beat until thick.

Slice the cup of strawberries you've set aside thinly (I used my food processor, of course). Stir the mashed strawberries into the whipped cream. Fold in the egg whites. Stir in the sliced strawberries, until it's nicely combined. Spoon this mixture into your baked and cooled crust, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until it firms up. Fair warning: If you decide you can only wait an hour, your slices won't look pretty. Trust me.

Somehow, despite the fact that my pie didn't look pretty once I cut it (after only one hour), it disappeared just fine. And people are clamoring for more. I think this will reappear very soon!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm not sitting outside at this bistro set this week. I'm staying safely inside, watching the pretty snow outside my window, and sometimes taking about 2 steps outside to take pictures of just how cold it is. Thor's doing about the same.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Orange Mousse

Last night, I was in the mood for a very easy dessert. I posted this recipe about 3 years ago, when maybe 2 people read this blog, so it's a new post for everyone else!

This recipe comes from this cookbook, which I bought in 1984 for $24.95, including shipping. While that's not a lot of money now, minimum wage in 1984 was about $2.65 (by comparison to about $8 now), and everything was cheaper. The book still looks pretty good, right?

Well, no, it doesn't. Curse you, Bon Appetit, for publishing such a cheaply made cookbook!
This is a great dessert. It will fool family or guests into thinking you spent a lot of time making it, if they don't hear you using the blender and come running to see why you're smashing things in the kitchen. Fair warning: Have everything measured and lined up, because your total blender time is under 2 minutes, and you won't be able to just go find the vanilla (or whatever).


2/3 cups boiling water

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

Whirl on high speed for 30 seconds. Never turn off blender. Add:

1/2 cup sugar

Whirl 10 seconds. Add:

6 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate, partially thawed
2 tbsp whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups ice

Whirl about 30 seconds, until the ice is crushed and evenly distributed. It will make so much racket that the rest of the family will accuse you of taking a sledgehammer to the kitchen wall.

Pour into 6 to 8 dessert dishes. My preference is cheap cut glass stemware. Looks great, and if someone breaks a glass, so what?

This can be served immediately, or put in the refrigerator for later. Just make sure the ice is well crushed if you're saving it, so you don't end up with pockets of water in the mousse.

So, serve this for your next dinner, or even for an afternoon get-together. You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Football Day is Sewing Day

Let's start with a football story, sort of. My daughter was still here last weekend when the Steelers were playing whatever game they played. When the dude with the hair, Troy, appeared on the screen, she announced, "He drives a little Beemer."

"How do you know?" I asked.

"I saw him at a gas station in Pittsburgh while visiting a friend. I said to him, 'Oh, you're that guy,' to which he replied, 'Yeah, I'm that guy.' Then he finished filling his car and left."

End of football story. Beginning of sewing.

First, the purple wardrobe I finished over New Year's weekend, and never posted pictures.

Two colored dress, to be worn with the little jacket shown below.

A line strappy dress with said jacket.

Cami, elastic waisted, straight skirt and jacket. Picture taken in the style of the American Eagle website, laid flat, so you could see the individual pieces. I lined this jacket with pink t-shirt fabric, because I couldn't find anything else. It's an informal getup anyway, so why not? this is a new pattern for me; I found it in my drawer full of patterns in November and decided to use it. I love that it has an attached collar, and still goes together in an easy afternoon.

And today, inspired by my friend Gaylen, I decided to try a dress pattern I've had for 2 years and been afraid to try. I used the brown velour, because I don't love brown, and I wouldn't cry if it didn't work out. I need to make a few more changes to the pattern, but my dearly beloved really liked this dress, and so it will appear again in my wardrobe. G, I know your skirt is giving you fits today, but thank you for inspiring me to try something new!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Paying It Forward

Last week, Gaylen posted about Pay-It-Forward 2011. Never one to object to receiving a present, I signed on. Now it's your turn.

In this version of Pay-It-Forward, the first five people who respond that they would like to play get some handmade gift from me, promised for some time in 2011. In return, you agree to post the idea on your blog in the next few days, and offer a hand made gift to the first five people who respond to you. You can offer whatever you can make, be it something knit, sewn, or even a kitchen creation like jam or jelly. And so on it goes.

If you respond, give me you email address, so I can request your address, and maybe even ask a couple of questions to figure out what I'll be sending. If you don't want to play, but just want to say hello, please do! It's about 4 degrees outside (yes, fewer than the number of fingers on one hand), so I'll be happy for the virtual company in either case. Hope your weekend is going well so far!

PS: Despite the picture, I won't be sending Thor. I just enjoy taking pictures of the big guy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Eggless Chococlate Cake

I saw a recipe in the paper, and it reminded me of depression-era and WW2-era cakes. This one uses no eggs, so it makes me think of my grandmother, who was allergic to eggs. (She'd do all kinds of funny things, like partially melt ice cream, add brandy and call it eggnog. I didn't like it; too much brandy for me. But, hey, I was, like, 8).The cake had a nice flavor; none of my boys noticed that it lacked anything, and they devoured it.


3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups milk or water
2/3 cup melted butter

Stir together the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter, milk or water, vanilla and vinegar all at once, and beat until smooth. Turn into a 13"x9" pan which has been greased and dusted with cocoa powder, and bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes. I used a sour cream frosting (1/2 cup sour cream, 1 pound confectioner's sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, a drizzle of cream, beaten until smooth), and it was terrific.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thor's Friends, the Birdies

Followers of Mango Minster may know that the judges, of which Thor is one, are visiting Mango's estate. It would appear that things are not going as well as might have been hoped. Some of the contestants arrived recently, too. It must be a real circus there.

So Thor wants to tell you a story about different critters: birds. And dogs.

Thor's sister in Wyoming has parakeets. They're not as good as dogs, but she claims they're company. Of course, she also makes friends with the neighborhood dogs, so Thor has to wonder about her claims...

So, when she was back for Christmas, the birdies stayed with a friend who has 2 dogs. The golden retriever ignored the birds, but the lab/mastiff mix, Cody, was fascinated by these noisy little critters. He sat beside their cage the first night, watching the birds. When they were covered with their blanket for bed, Cody went to sleep next to the table on which the cage sat. The next morning, when the birdies began to make a ruckus, Cody pulled the blanket off the cage, so he could visit with them. And so it went, every day for a month.

And then, that rude bird owner took her birds back. Poor Cody is des
pondent; he doesn't know where his noisy friends went. This is what we have observed as typical mastiff behavior, taking care of smaller, weaker species. Thor is now beginning a letter writing campaign to Cody's person, to convince her to get Cody some birds.

And, in the meantime, Thor is doing a lot of this:

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Roasted Green Beans

Alternate title: "You actually made green beans taste good!"

This was Dan's reaction to these beans. Truth be told, I borrowed this idea from Pam in Oregon, whose pictures always put mine to shame. But let's just enjoy this nice side dish, shall we?

Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, diced

1-1/2 pounds frozen whole green beans
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425F. Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of an ovenproof dish, approx. 7"x10". Add the garlic and stir to coat. Put it in the oven for a couple of minutes, until the olive oil heats up and the garlic begins to brown, then remove the pan. Rinse the frozen green beans in cold water to remove all frost. Spoon the green beans into the olive oil, sprinkle wit
h a small amount of salt and pepper, then stir the beans to coat them with olive oil and distribute the garlic among them. Cook about 6 to 7 minutes, remove from the oven and stir the beans from the center of the pan to the outer edge. Return to the oven for another 6 to 7 minutes. 12 minutes cooking time makes the beans tender-crisp; cook them a little longer if you want them softer. Serve at once.

This is a great winter recipe. It uses frozen veggies, which are much easier to obtain and store (especially for those of us who venture out only rarely), and throws a great deal of flavor onto your plate. Thanks, Pam, for the inspiration!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Garden Tuesday: Sunrise

On his way to the bus, Ryan returned to implore me to take a picture of the sky.

I'm glad I stepped outside in 9 degree weather for a few seconds!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thor's Visit

Some of you may have been following Mango Minster, and know that the judges have been sequestered at Mango's Estate in Master Chew Sits. Thor was rather lonely without his boys, and decided to bring Mango home for the Patriots game. After all, he reasoned, what New England dog wouldn't want to root for the Patriots?

Mango has no small humans of his own, so for a while Mark only got to hug Thor.

But after a while, Mango decided that since this small human had not harmed his friend, and, indeed, Thor seemed to actually like the little guy, that he'd join in the hug-fest.

Sadly, the Patriots lost. So, next week Thor and Mango and Mark probably have to cheer for the team led by a dude named for a famous clock in London to beat the weasels who knocked their beloved Patriots out of the running for the World Series or Super Bowl or whatever this is.

See? I know my sports. Happy Monday, everyone!

(With thanks to Mango Momma for the photo assist.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Little Bit of Sewing

My eldest daughter, when rooting around in my office for something, came across this fabric, and commented on how pretty it was. So I decided to make us a pair of skirts. from these patterns.
This one's my daughter's. Since she's back in Wyoming, she doesn't even know it's coming yet, and so I don't have a picture of it on her. I haven't worn mine yet, so no pictures there.

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thor at Mango's Estate

Mango Minster is in full swing over at Mango's Estate, where all of the judges have gathered to work on important Mango Minster things.

Thor is teaching Mango some very important skills.

Stop by to see what else is going on at Mango Minster, and don't forget to enter! There have been only a few Bad Dog and Kitteh entries, so, Fudge and Zebbycat, you don't have much competition! Here is a link to the rules! See you there!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lazy Friday

Yesterday was my dearly beloved's birthday, an event which he hates to acknowledge (but we do it anyway). Knowing he's not that fond of cake, I made him an apple pie, using the best pie crust ever. (If you haven't tried this crust, you should! Even I can make it!) Everyone either coveted the pie or loved it.
Thor only got dog cookies. My dearly beloved was not about to let even his favorite faithful, loyal canine companion have apple pie, one of his favorite things!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snowy Thorsday

This is how much snow is in Thor's front yard. Notice that Thor's brothers shoveled the path, and there are no doggy footprints in the snow.

This is how Thor's enjoying the snow.

No more than 90 seconds outdoors, when absolutely necessary.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thor's Big Announcement!

There are many fine dog shows in the world. But there is only one dedicated to dogs as we really are: barking, snorting, drooling, leaping about and passing noxious gasses. So, when I was invited to be a judge at this event, I jumped (or maybe sat) at the chance. It is an honor to be a judge for the 2011 Mango Minster, hosted by the Relentlessly Huge himself, Lord's Hill We All Love Mango. I am the judge for the "Good Old Dogs" category, and will fulfill my duties to the utmost of my capabilities. I invite all of my friends, dog and cat alike, to enter Mango Minster. I do not accept bribes, but after the incident in which Momma shrunk my harness and blamed it on me, gifts of noms and snackables will be gratefully and graciously accepted. Please visit Mango Minster to learn the exciting details of how to enter! Zebbycat, this includes you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Garden Tuesday: Cuppy Cakes

It snowed just a little here all weekend. We ended up with about 3"; for us, that's just a nuisance. We don't even bother to plow if it's less than 6".
So, I was looking out my front door at the apple tree, which has been badly damaged by ice in the last couple of years, and wishing we had gotten more of the apples from the tree. That caused me to want applesauce cuppy cakes. What are cuppy cakes, you ask? Let me show you.


2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk (1 tsp lemon juice in 1/4 cup milk)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup applesauce
3 eggs

In a mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Beat in the butter, vanilla an
d applesauce until just combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition. After all 3 eggs are added, beat the batter 2 minutes. Grease about 12 tea cups, and fill each less than half way, or use 6 tea cups and one 8" square cake pan. Bake at 350F for about 30 to 35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the cuppy-cakes comes out clean. Cool somewhat, then make a glaze of powdered sugar, cinnamon and milk and pour it over the cuppy-cakes. Guys won't much care, but daughters and their friends will goo, "Oooh, how cute!!!"

Then look back out the window, and sigh, because winter still has a long way to go.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thor's News

I'm sure some of you remember when Thor's boy Jeffrey graduated from West Virginia University in May. We were very proud.

We were especially proud that he wore actual pants, unlike this guy here.

He spent the summer hunting for a job elsewhere, but came back in August to take a job selling Medicare Supplemental Insurance. Jeff hated it. And what Jeff hates, Thor hates. So, Jeff quit that job, and has a temporary job through Manpower, while trying to find a real job (anyone have any leads?).

In the spirit of Jeffrey and jobs, Thor has decided to seek a job, too. So, since Jeffrey had success with Manpower, Thor is looking at the Dogpower Agency.

Available: One large, old dog. Excellent at sleeping and sharing lunches. Very Loyal. Well educated, for a dog.

Thor hopes for a temporary job, to see if this is the right move for him. More updates as the friendly folks at Dogpower lead the search.

New Outfit!

Two daughters left yesterday to return to college, the third is out with friends, and most of my menfolk are watching football. There's only so many times I can wander through the room and wonder why the Eagles are losing so badly to the guys in the cheese colored outfits and hats, so you know where I went for the day....

I started with the midnight blue velour (Diane, all of the velour is 60" wide; it's just wonderful), but then was distracted by a couple of floral fabrics. One of them needed to be a bright, cheerful skirt, to counteract the dead of winter doldrums. I have to say that I'm really glad that I learned to do lapped zipper applications last year; I can hardly tell the zipper is there. Truthfully, however, my buttonholes leave a lot to be desired.

Another wonderful thing in sewing world is machines that do blind hems. Hemming has always been the bane of my existence; hand sewing is too tedious for me. So, when I saw a mchine that would do blind hems back in 1989, I had to have it, even though it was $400 way back then. And when it died in 2004, I replaced it, although the price had dropped to under $300 by then. Nowadays, even basic machines seem to incorporate this feature. While mine might not be as nice as a hand sewn hem, it's not bad.

Then I tried a new view of a pattern I love for a new velour top. I'm not sure I adore the top, but a few adjustments here and there will probably fix that. It was a weird one to make, because the prodecures are not what I expected at all, but I got through it.

So, on a dreary day, when football's the only amusement available, I got a new outfit! And now I can return to my velour, and maybe a couple more skirts, a much happier person!