Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy Thorsday!

The weather duck said What? Another 1" to 3" of snow tonight?
Elefun and I will just wait to see if our boys will take us out to play in it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Heart Attack Potato Bread

I had some leftover Heart Attack Potatoes, and needed to do something with them (other than feed them to Thor, who had had enough). So, into the bread they went!


1-1/2 cups warm water
6 tsp yeast

6 tsp gluten powder
3-1/2 cups flour
3 tbsp powdered milk
1 cup pureed Heart Attack Potatoes, skins still in the potatoes
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt

Put the water in your mixing bowl, and sprinkle the yeast over it. Add the
flour and remainder of the ingredients, and mix according to my Bread Tutorial instructions. Note that you may need more flour, depending upon how moist your potatoes were. Add it 1/4 cup at a time, if necessary. Let the dough rest 15 minutes after the first kneading, then knead another 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half; it will be very soft, and will need to be scooped into the bread pans. Let the loaves rise until about doubled in size, then bake at 350F for glass pans or 375F for metal pans, about 22 to 25 minutes.
This bread was very moist and flavorful, and made excellent grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch the next day. Of course, my grilled cheese sandwiches always include tomatoes; it's much more flavorful that way!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Garden Tuesday

Although today is the first day in over a week that the temperature has even hit 30, much of our snow has disappeared. That's because it's been bright and sunny since last Thursday.

Trust me, bright and sunny doesn't make me feel better about the fact that our temperatures are about 25 degrees lower than average. You can tell by the considerable snow still on my daughter's car that it hasn't been warm.

And Larry was talking yesterday about pruning his shrubs around his yard. We hired someone to "prune" some poplars around our yard. With a chain saw. I believe Larry was pretty specific about that not qualifying as pruning. Oh, well.

This one must have been around 60 feet tall. Mr. Chain Saw is delighted with the wood he's taking home from my yard. He'll use the wood for heat next winter, and sell the chip from the smaller branches. And I'm happy that he cleans up everything around himself! Believe me, he's already taken down 8 trees, and I have about 6 more that need to go.

Hope everyone else's spring is warmer than mine!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cream of Chicken Soup

Because Pam asked, and this has been a rather busy day (no time to contemplate much of anything), this is an approximate recipe for my cream of chicken soup shown on Friday.


1 Chicken carcass
water to cover (3 to 4 cups)
1 tbsp salt
1 large minced onion
1 large grated carrot
2 ribs celery, sliced thin
4 cups milk
1 cup cream
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup rice

Put the chicken in the pot with the onion, carrot, celery and salt; cover with the water, heat to a boil and simmer until the chicken falls off the bones. Pick out the bones and skim off any fat that's accumulated on top. Add the rice, and cook for 10 minutes. Whisk the cornstarch into one cup of milk, and add it with the remainder of the milk and cream to the soup. Heat through and simmer about 5 minutes, until the soup thickens slightly. Grind in as much pepper as you like, and serve at once. It will hold on very low heat without scorching.

Of course, Thor's always happy when we have soup, because he gets some bread crusts with just a touch of soup in his bowl - just enough to convince him that he had lunch, too!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

MMM Week 3/4

OK, I missed a lot of days for Me-Made-March. So here's a quick summary of the days I wasn't ill.

All I can tell you is that the green top with a white skirt was St. Patrick's Day (along with my boys in green), and one of the sapphire blues was yesterday.

We have sunshine here; I hope you're all having as nice a weekend!

Friday, March 25, 2011

In My Kitchen

My boys did a yeoman's job of keeping themselves together while I was under the weather. Dan was especially wonderful, taking upon himself the thankless task of making sure his youngest brother ate plenty of food at dinner, never easy with my pickiest of eaters!

Wednesday, I decided I needed soup. A chicken carcass revealed itself in the freezer, and in a few short hours became......

Cream of chicken soup!

Then I made roast beef last night for dinner.If you look carefully, you can even see the tiny browned bits of minced onion and garlic I put on top of the beastie. Everyone was happy to see this go into the oven, and even happier to see it emerge.

Spring cake. Yes, it was just a nice plain yellow cake, but I decided to decorate it a little. Don't laugh at my pathetic flowers; it's hard to draw with shaker bottles of colored granulated sugar!

Have a great weekend everyone. It will be cold here, but the sun is shining, and that helps everyone's attitude a lot!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Snowy Thorsday

Thor's not really all that fond of the new snow in his yard. He had just gotten accustomed to his feet not getting cold when he went outside.
In all fairness, we got 9" of snow, but only about 4" appears to be in our yard, so there was plenty of melting during the 24 hours of snow.

So Thor's doing a lot of sleeping.

But Thor's no dummy; he always poses when he hears the camera.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thor is Watching

Thor wants you all to know that I'm on the mend, and trying to catch up on work and whatnot.

He's making sure I stay on task. Thor has his eye on me, as he rests right outside my door. I won't be getting away with anything.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Day of Spring

I'm still sick. But for the first time since Friday, I'm keeping liquids down. Sad. Not a good way to diet.

This was our first day of spring, yesterday. See the visitor?

See him closer?

No, wait, there are two!

Actually, 4 appeared, but I didn't have the camera at that point.

I'll be back for real soon, I hope.

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Many thanks for all of your good wishes. I have progressed from feeling like I'd been run over by a truck to feeling like I've been run over by a Kia. Big progress!

Last night, I made corned beef (in the oven), parsleyed new potatoes (coated with butter, pepper and parsley), spinach and broccoli. I was too dumb to take a picture, so you'll have to believe me. And since there's nothing left of the 6 pounds I cooked, there's no
proof in the fridge.

As I mentioned yesterday afternoon, I made a green cake. That's not as complex as it looks. Lacking energy, I used a lovely yellow cake mix and added green food coloring. Mission accomplished. Many hours later I had my daughter frost it for me, then I used colored sugar to sprinkle a shamrock on top of the cake. Not too bad for sugar sprinkled out of a bowl, right?
Ryan did ham it up for the camera, to display the green cake! Here's hoping you all had as much fun on St. Patty's Day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thor's Wearin' O' the Green!

Well, he's actually not wearing green. He's sleeping on it. As you can see, this area of the carpet is his favorite napping spot. I can't even get all the fur out of it any more. But, I assure you, it's emerald green!

Happy St. Patty's Day to all of you! Green cake is on the agenda for tonight; I made it during this little burst of energy I'm currently enjoying. I may collapse again before day's end, but the green cake will be served!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Early Thorsday

Last week, Jeff and Dan had a miserable cold, so we segregated them. Mark set up a really nice table for them in the kitchen, and was so proud of himself he took a picture of it.
I didn't escape their illness. So I don't feel like writing about food. How about a picture of Thor hiding under a kitchen chair during the power outage last week? Please, ignore the dust puppy under the pedestal of the table. I hadn't swept when the power went out, and didn't want to do so once we were sitting around the oil lamps.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Garden Tuesday: Melting

Looks like the snow is nearly gone outside Thor's porch door.
But don't get too excited about the apparent greening of my little corner of the world. Thor's footprints say it's not spring yet.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

Yes, it's the nerd celebrating invented holidays, again.

Happy Pi Day! today is March 14th, often written as 3.14 outside the US. That's the mathematical Pi, of course, and calls for celebration with pie. Duckie is already on board with this one.

So, go ahead. Buy a pie crust or make my Best Pie Crust Ever!

I plan to make a Strawberry Chiffon Pie.

And maybe a Coconut Custard Pie.
And, after dessert, everyone will look like Thor and his friend, Ele-fun.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

MMM Week 2

Sunday, the 6th, making pretzels with my boys. Purple velour A-line dress and jacket, made in January.
Monday, the 7th, tan velour A-line dress and jacket, made last weekend (sewing report, too).
Tuesday, the 8th, with my King Cake. Pink lace dress made in May of 2010. So it was cold outside; it was our 32nd wedding anniversary, and therefore cause for a pretty dress.
Wednesday the 9th. Midnight blue velour Claire Dress, made in January.
Thursday, the 10th. Sunny skies and warmer weather made me wear a white ballet top, copied from a store bought top purchased in 1989, with a green floral skirt made around 1997. Picture taken of "Mom in her natural habitat" by one of the boys. Wonder what's up with the focus?
Friday the 11th. Pale pink velour princess seamed dress made in November/December.
Saturday the 12th. Pink velour skirt with elastic waist and matching bolero jacket, worn with hot pink cami made in the summer of 1009 (I think). More pink. It seems to be a recurring color in my wardrobe. Note to self: wear blue and green next week.
Hope you're all having a nice weekend! Did you remember to Spring Forward? We did, at 10PM last night.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Week of Rolls, Part 3

This dinner roll is for when you want a flavorful but lighter white dinner roll. It can be made as large rolls, suitable for sandwiches or burgers, or as smaller pieces placed in a round layer pan.


1-1/4 cups warm water

6 tsp yeast
4 cups flour
4 tsp gluten powder
2 tbsp powdered milk
1 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, warmed to room temperature
2 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces

Pour the water in your mixing bowl or bread machine bucket; sprinkle the yeast over it to soften, and add the remaining ingredients in the order given. Process according to the directions in my bread tutorial (are you tired of hearing about that yet?). After the dough has kneaded and risen for 15 minutes, punch down and divide into 12 pieces for large rolls, or 18 pieces for small rolls. Form into balls, arrange on a baking tray for the large rolls, or in two 8" or 9" layer pans for small rolls, brush the top with warm milk if desired, and let rise until doubled in size. Bake the rolls for 15 to 18 minutes, until nicely browned.
And, look! It's yet another picture of dinner rolls that looks very much the same as the ones from earlier this week. I need to work on that.

Have a nice weekend, everyone, and try some fresh rolls if you have time!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Thorsday!

Last weekend, before the ice and snow storm, Thor went out with his boys to see how the melting was progressing. So far, this looked like real progress.
Oh, no! How did we get to be black and white?

Ah, a clear place to lie down in the sun. Until his boys scolded him to get back up and not freeze himself.

Since we're getting more rain today, Thor could actually see a yard that looks like this again this weekend! Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Week of Rolls, Part 2

My son Dan commented that he enjoys wheat bread, so I decided to make a light wheat dinner roll. He certainly did enjoy them, including for sandwiches the next day.


1-1/4 cup warm water
6 tsp yeast
3 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 tsp gluten powder
5 tbsp dry milk
1 egg, warmed to room temperature
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 tsp salt

Pour the water in your mixing bowl or bread machine bucket; sprinkle the yeast over the top. Add the flour and other ingredients in the order given. Mix according to my bread tutorial over there ---------->

Let the dough rise 15 minutes, then punch down, divide into 12 pieces and roll each into a ball. Place on a greased baking sheet, flatten the balls slightly, and brush the top with warm milk. Let the rolls rise until approximately doubled in size, about 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375F for 16 to 18 minutes, until the desired degree of brownness is achieved.

These rolls are especially good with a beef dinner or a hearty beef soup or stew. They also make excellent sandwiches.

And I know that all of my dinner roll pictures look alike. Maybe I need to make more bread basket liners or something. After all, what else do I have to do with my time?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras on Garden Tuesday!

Sunday's weather predictions were for a good old fashioned toad-strangler of a rain. So what happened? We had about an inch of rain, followed by a coating of ice, followed by 6" of snow. Of course, that also led to a power outage around 11PM. So I lit a couple of oil lamps, and after about 2 hours, my dearly beloved and I went to bed. Dan and Jeff sat up with Thor, playing Chess, until the power came back on around 2. It was necessary. Dogs need electricity; it's part of their natural habitat.

But the world did look pretty Monday afternoon, and we were fortunate not to lose any tree limbs!

If you haven't already done so, you should at least consider making a King Cake today. It will give you a taste of the New Orleans Mardi Gras right there in your own home. You can find my recipe and instructions here.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Week of Rolls

I've been making a lot of rolls lately, because the boys have been greatly enjoying them, both with dinner, and for sandwiches the next day. This week, I'll be showing you some of those creations!

This first one is adapted from a Farmers' Wives Bread Cookbook I found at a used book sale a couple of years back. All of the recipes I've tried from this cookbook have been top notch, but I would expect nothing less from farmers' wives. After all, they don't have time to fuss with frippery and things that don't work, right? Nor would I expect farmers to tolerate crappy bread. Just sayin'.


1-1/4 cups warm water
6 tsp yeast
4 cups flour
4 tsp gluten powder
1/4 cup sugar
11-1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp powdered milk
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, cut in small pieces

2 eggs, warmed (put in a bowl of warm water for 5 to 10 minutes)

Pour the water into your bread machine container or mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water to dissolve, then add the remaining ingredients in the order given. Mix according to the directions in my tutorial (link to the right), let rise 15 minutes, then punch down and divide the dough into 12 pieces. Form into balls, place on a greased baking tray, flatten slightly, and let them rise until approximately doubled in size. Brush the tops with milk or warm water, if desired, although I was in a hurry and didn't bother, and no one even noticed.

Note that I never said these were low calorie, or low fat, or healthy, or anything of the sort. I did say that the boys greatly enjoyed them. That counts, right?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

MMM Week 1

I mentioned a little while ago that I was going to post pictures for "Me Made March", following GMarie's lead. So, here's the first week's pictures, which I can't seem to line up quite right:

Tuesday, March 1: Floral skirt made around 1995; lace added to the hem when it started fraying about 3 years ago. Don't judge me; I love this skirt! Pale pink velour top made in December was the right color for
the daisies on the skirt.

Wednesday, March 2: New slate blue, long sleeved velour top, and skirt that matches my daughter's, made in January. I love this fabric. It might have to become something else, too, since I have about 2 yards left.

Day 3: The "Loud Dress". The f
abric had a '60s vibe to it, and so I made a square necked, straight dress that had a '60s vibe. It is loud, but it does brighten up a gloomy day. I made this about 2 years ago.

Day 4: Forest green velour dress with matching jacket, made in February. I love sleeveless dresses with jackets, I've decided, because I can take my sleeves off for such inane activities as cooking and washing dishes, thus staying cleaner. Let's face it, there's little that's more annoying than soggy sleeves.

Day 5: Mid sleeve length, princess seamed top of the dark slate blue (which always looks bright in pictures) made in February
, with pink floral skirt made about 3 years ago. Hmmm. It seems I like pinks and blues, doesn't it?