Saturday, April 30, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging, with the Chairman of the Board with NEW UPDATE!

While he knows that the table (and the kitchen counters!) are off limits, he does not mind taking over my chair.

The Chairman of the Board. 
Who me?

I have tried to get a short video of this cat begging. Finally this morning I was able to capture him begging and with decent lighting! Look here,


As always, thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments.

This post is shared with:
Weekend Cat Blogging @ Life from a Cat's Perspective

Key words:  weekend cat blogger, Saturday Pet Blogger

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Scallion Parsley and Cheddar Bread, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives. Saturday, June 5, 2010.

The New Old Fashioned Life...


I think that is, what is happening. So many things are wonderful about an old fashion life, like time together (without TV or ?), eating together (instead of over the sink), cooking the food you eat (no membership in those take it home places), and a whole host of other old fashion ways, thoughts and simple stuff that suits your own family. Which is why we reminisce about years ago, in so many ways we want some of that today. Like homemade bread.

So lets talk bread, shall we?

For years I avoided purchasing a bread machine. Why? Well the list is quite long actually, but here goes and I request you not judge me too harshly.

1. I know how to knead, and some days I like to knead. It is great for tension relief.
2. I have a kitchen aid mixer with dough hook, for those times I don't need tension relief!
3. I considered myself an old fashion cook, and therefore WHY would I have one?
4. I am stubborn and I had already declared my status of being an old fashion cook, and couldn't change now.
5. Years ago a co-worker brought AMB bread to share, I did not think it was different from store bought bread.
6. Yet I can be wrong, and I was. I have a bread machine now.

Why the change? As I was baking bread I noticed that with the kids married and gone from the dinner table my recipes were out of date. I had stale bread coming out my ears or riding on my hips. Neither place is the right place for bread, by the way. I have been know to purchase specialty baking items from the King Arthur Flour company and I came across the page in the catalog that displayed their stock of bread machines. Being the old fashioned cook that I am, decided to simply turn the page and get on to the serious purchases that I needed, when I spotted it. The line...Why you should purchase a bread machine.

Oh yeah, I thought, really? But I read why, and they were........well they were right. I did not purchase from KAF, instead I purchased the machine I still own today (9+years) on sale at a local store. I was impressed with the machines KAF offered, but what did I know about baking in a bread machine anyway, and honestly felt I should go frugal to begin the journey. This is the line that sold me on a bread machine.

"The perfect kitchen machine to mix, knead and bake a single perfect loaf of bread". Or words to that effect, remember it was 9 plus years ago.

There it was in print, before my eyes, ready for me to take the information in and use it accordingly.
A single perfect loaf of bread, just what I was looking for. A way to make bread and not have it come out my ears or ride my hips! And thus began my partnership with the AMB.

I do not bake in the bread machine. I prefer the additional rise of the dough, after the dough cycle has ended. This allows a shaping of the dough that is what you need for the meal you are serving the bread with. I found personally the pan shape in the AMB was not what I was after, most of the time. I also think the additional rise adds flavor to the finished product. Plus you can start with refrigerated eggs and milk and the dough cycle will warm everything perfectly. However baking in the machine is perfectly acceptable.

Scallion, Parsley and Cheddar Bread
adapted from, The bread Machine Cookbook II
1 c water or whey
2 T butter
1 c sliced scallions, I chop through the sliced scallions to make smaller pieces
1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, prepared
2 eggs
1 1/2 t garlic salt
2 T sugar or 1 T for water if you prefer
1/4 t black pepper
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
 2 c flour
 2 1/2 t (scant T) yeast
1 c grated sharp cheddar for second step

To prepare the parsley, wash, drain, pluck and squeeze.











Roll leaves in the towel, twist in opposite directions, loop and secure with a rubber band. You want to control all the liquid in bread machine produced dough. Any extra water left behind could affect your dough and the outcome of the finished loaf.

 
Load ingredients into machine in order listed. Press dough cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine, press into a rectangle of approximate 9X13 size, sprinkle with the cheddar.

 I prefer working from a shallow rimmed pan, it keep the working area small. Flour does not go everywhere, and keeps the clean up, to just a few items.

Roll dough up starting at the corner, you will get a rustic free form loaf. Transfer dough to large flat baking sheet, cover with a clean towel. let rise until double in size. The final rise goes quickly, if your house is a bit cool, just find a warm spot. This final rise time should be between 30-45 minutes, depending upon conditions. 











When dough is doubled, slash in a diamond pattern (does not show real well in this photo) and add a little trail of cheese. This is step is completely optional, and simply for presentation.


Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees 10 minutes, reduce to 350 degrees and continue baking 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool, and serve your family with pride.

As always thanks so much for taking the time to stop for a visit.
I appreciate your time and your comments!

This post is shared with:
Full Plate Thursdays @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Key words: bread, bread machine, cheddar cheese, bread stories

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Garden Tuesday

For all the rain, and all the cold, I know spring is here when the vinca blooms over the ivy. Our front yard does not have lawn. It has lots of stuff, but no lawn. Instead we have ivy and vinca. I like this combination, and the lack of mowing doesn't hurt either!





I like the ivy growing up the trees.

 
I really like these blue flowers.




I even like the yuccas and heather.








But the 6 inch pine needles are a bit much. They never stop falling, not ever. Now if I could only find a market for them, my retirement would be fully funded!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments.

This post is shared with:
Garden Tuesday @ sidewalk shoes
Bloomin Tuesday @ Ms Green "thumb" Jean
Tuesday Garden Party @ An Oregon Cottage

Also today you can find me guest posting at Frugal Creativity! Stop by Melissa's blog and say hello!

Key words: garden, vinca, ivy, pine needles

Monday, April 25, 2011

Breakfast toast, Too much of a good thing?

On the last Sunday of each month I cook a large dinner. We usually have 2 or more entrees, several sides and of course many desserts. I have been cooking this monthly Sunday dinner for 3 years now. The opportunity to try all the wonderful recipes out in blogland is a lot of fun. Also like any other busy family, we each have jobs and home and lives to manage, so the dinner allows everyone to come together and reconnect.
I have been most fortunate, my family has always supported me in this hobby, and I still love to cook this dinner for them.


But on the other days, all the other days of the month, we usually eat a simple meal. In our home there is a well stocked pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Granted it does not hold everything that could be wanted, but there is always food to eat. No one ever need be hungry here. Through the years I believe I have observed two types of eaters, those who as a child heard:

"What do you want?"

and

"Let's see what we have."


I grew up in a LSWWH home, later became a LSWWH mother and now I am a LSWWH grandmother.  The reason? It does not matter what you want, if we don't have it. So why not start out with working with what you have, that way everyone is happy, including your pocket book.


Even when I am eating alone and that happens often with different work schedules, I simply eat what is available. We very rarely eat out, and when faced with fatigue and hunger at the same time, just fry up some eggs and toast some bread. Real hunger is always satisfied with food.










What you find along the way, is some remarkable food pairings. I think this happens because hunger helps one appreciate the food being eaten. Hunger also seems to sharpen one's taste buds, food does taste better when we are hungry. Using what your kitchen has takes simple foods, paired together to make a delicious meal. Here is an example,

Preserves and Almond Toast
by the seat of my pants

2 slices whole grain bread
butter
preserves or marmalade
sliced almonds

Toast bread, spread lightly with butter, then preserves (peach is delicious here), sprinkle with almonds. Cut into halves to serve.


Serve with a beverage and the day is yours!

Cook with what you have, you won't be sorry. And you just might discover a new family favorite.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments.

This post will be shared with:

Hearth n Soul @ Premeditated Leftovers
Tuesday Night Supper Club @ fudge ripple

Key words: frugal. creative, pantry, toast

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Cafe, April 2011

I decided to prepare a very simple meal today, for a couple of reasons. I was so tired from work when I arrived home on Friday, that on Saturday, easy still seemed like a great idea! Also, I have twisted my knee (twice actually, it seems to happen much easier the second time around). So today I am doing a little kitchen hobble dance, as I make Easter dinner for our regular Sunday Cafe gathering.


These eggs have been filled with a lot of quarters and a little candy, for an outside egg hunt. Which will most likely be redirected to inside, as it has started raining. But in fairness to the weather folks, they said this was to happen. We had such a lovely day yesterday with full sunshine and blue skies, it really is OK. I had noticed and remarked to Honey, that we would need to water if there was not rain before the weekend ended, now the rhubarb and raspberries will be fine without house water for a few more days.



The Easter Bunny did not leave a basket for  granddaughter, but she did leave this wonderful little Dr Seuss bag filled with, a water balloon kit, pony tail holders, a book, a puzzle, stickers, 2 pair of wild and crazy socks, a little plant kit to grow a tomato, a package of cotton candy (it is a candy kind of day, after all!) and a couple of beanie toys.


 
In a real departure from my past Sunday Cafe dinners, there is only one dessert. I think it is because spring has slowly come upon us. And although spring has shown itself in fits and spurts, lighter meals seem to be just right. Spring always brings out my craving for more vegetables and lighter fare, and Easter seems to start the spring season.

And now our dinner!
Honey BBQ Ham with Pineapple, adapted from My Kind of Cooking.


 
Chicken Thighs with Bacon and Thyme, cooked 40 cloves of garlic style.



The chicken thighs were browned under the broiler, seasoned with sea salt, thyme springs and garlic cloves added. Covered with bacon and white wine. Then oven roasted. This will make some find gravy! We also has some fresh brown and serve bread sticks, for all that roasted garlic.
 
Mashed potatoes. This was a change, as soon as I realized what good pan gravy would be available from the chicken dish.

Layered Spring Salad, adapted from Abundance on a Dime.


 I prefer making this in an over sized bowl. It is much easier to toss with the extra room.









Zucchini lightly stewed with onion and tomato.



Crumbled Broccoli.





Fresh Pineapple Fruit Salad.





Fresh pineapple is dressed with the juice of one lime, 2 T sugar and 1/8-1/4 t chili powder. Stir in chunks of banana, taking care to coat each side. Gently stir in 1 large can of mandarin oranges, let marinate until serving time.





Honey Bun Cake, adapted from The Country Cook.


Cinnamon and brown sugar swirled in the batter, baked and then
glazed, just like a cinnamon bun.
Then "peeped" because all the big kids love these little guys!

And last but not least, an "egg" hunt for the cat. The funny part of this is that Honey declares he does not like cats, but for some reason this one has won him over!

Separate a plastic egg, add a treat or 3, snap closed. Roll on the floor so the cat can chase it and the egg will open (at some point) and the cat gets the treat. Keep in mind Honey does not like cats!





As always, thank you for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments. From our home to your, we hope everyone had a day with family and filled with love!

Key words:  Sunday Cafe, ham, chicken, cake, celebration, family


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter ?

The spoils of Easter......

hey, are these green ones for catnip treats?

wait, that is not "nip"

clearly I will be napping during your egg hunt!

Happy Easter everyone!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments. 

The post is shared with:

Weekend Cat Blogging @ Judi's Mind over Matter
Saturday Pet Blogger Hop @ Life with Dogs

Pink Saturday @ How Sweet the Sound

key words:  weekend cat blogging, Easter, cats

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Berteen's Rhubarb Cake, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives. Wednesday July 9, 2008.

"Cake could help with world peace.", she said reading from the headline!


Not really; but seriously, who can stay made and plan their next attack with a mouthful of cake, cooked just for them?


See, just like I thought.

A warm from the oven cake, with just a hint of tartness that is bathed in a slow river of melting vanilla ice cream or a buttery glaze. 


Gosh think of the billions we could save on our military budget.

And when you lack inspiration; you can always make cake. Why you ask, because dessert is never a wrong choice.


Sometime dessert is the only choice. 


Like when you want to have dinner and a movie for an evening out. But there is not room for dessert after eating your dinner. Why not just have dessert and a movie. You want the dessert, however you feel compelled to eat dinner first, and run out of room. Why put yourself through that, simply have dessert and a movie. It's what you REALLY want to do, so go ahead....indulge. You can eat your veggies tomorrow.


It is no surprise that I have a fondness for rhubarb. Maybe it was my grandmother's influence. She could make anything taste wonderful. She had that kind of honest cheer in her. A skill really of taking what you have, doing your best with it, and enjoying the results with your loved ones.

I think of her often, especially when my inspiration runs dry. I do not remember hers doing that. Oh I am sure she had her moments, but they never showed. She was a wonderful Grandmother. Never afraid, or too timid to try. I am still growing up to be like her.

This cake is in her honor. It is the type of dessert she would make and bring to the table with love. 


Berteen's Rhubarb cake
350 degrees

1/2 c butter
1 1/2 c brown sugar, please do not use dark brown sugar, the flavor will be too strong
1 egg
1 t vanilla

1 t baking soda
2 c flour
1 c buttermilk

2 c diced rhubarb

1/4 c sugar
1 t cinnamon

In large mixer bowl cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. In medium size bowl, stir together the flour and soda. Beat 1/2 the flour mixture into the creamed butter, then 1/2 the buttermilk. Beat well after each addition. Repeat. Stir in diced rhubarb. Spread batter into a prepared 9X13 inch pan. Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over batter. Bake 35-40 minutes or until tests done. Cool on rack. Serve warm with ice cream, or cool with a homemade custard sauce.

Serves 16-20

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello!
I appreciate your time and your comments.

A special thanks to Joy@kitchen flavours! Joy you are one generous lady, and I thank you very much! Once again Joy has offered up awards and compliments to many bloggers, myself included. Go and visit Joy, she offers up some great food with her generosity!

This post is shared with:
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Lady Bloggers Tea Party @ Lady Bloggers Society

key words:  awards, cake, recipe rewind, rhubarb cake