Friday, December 28, 2012

Sharing the view......the busy work of after Christmas

A Friday view.....
The week between Christmas and the New Year is a messy one around here. Our garage is full of various boxes of Christmas ornaments, trinkets and linens. About 15 boxes worth........this year the decision was made (mine actually, when I realized all of these must come down from the attic storage over the garage) to narrow down our choices for decorating.

I had already done some sorting when the kids came over for Christmas and I encouraged them to take what they wanted. Now it is time for some cardboard boxes and a trip to the donation station.

This year I had a guessing game with candy canes at work. Last year it was a half gallon jar filled with marshmallows, mini, regular and the super size ones for some mores. I like to have the same item in different sizes to make the game a challenge. Not all of my tenants play along, but those that do, have a good time and look forward to the cash prize I offer. Oh by the way, the answer is 109.

Terry added to my Santa collection this year. With one of the new Santas being a hinged box design. I have a serious fondness for hinged box designed trinkets. And as luck will have it............

I found this little sequined Santa in one of the boxes that got sorted. Apparently he was in the box before I began displaying Santas each year.

Not remembering the contents of 15 (or so) boxes is understandable. Having an item that you are now collecting and not remembering that you have it, is proof that a serious sort is in order. Oh my!

And last but not least, I had to show off this adorable snow globe cake my daughter made and brought to Christmas dinner.

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cafe Created, sharing (and showing off...)

We had a wonderful Christmas, starting on Christmas Eve with the family and ending with Christmas day, just the two of us, quietly tasking, planning and enjoying.

We hope our wish for your family came true and each and everyone had the most wonderful day. I received so many gifts, including this lovely Tea House lamp for the sideboard in the dining room.

I am not a photographer and would never master a more advanced camera, evidenced by the picture above of the Tea House lamp!

But my little point and shoot camera of many years ago is giving up the will to work. This red beauty has a wonderful zoom feature that I am excited to try.

I have come to love books on jams and preserving, and this one is a beauty! She took an interesting path in life to be in the jam business, passion will do that to a person.

This is a beautiful book, there is nothing more to say...............(swoon.........).

Love these tags, made for me by my son and granddaughter. These have inspired a change here at Our Sunday Cafe, by the seat of my pants will now be known as cafe created.

I also was given a Ruby heart jewelry, by my wonderful husband Terry. These will be worn when we renew and recited our pledge to the other on Valentine's day. Love this man!

As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas one and all!

The gifts are wrapped and now we wait........

for that very special date!

May your family be together, and filled with love and good cheer.

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

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cranberry Liqueur

I made Cranberry Liqueur last year, and I can tell you right now, this is a new tradition!

You. Must. Make. This!

 Yes, I did make a double batch, for gifts, you know.....

As a matter of fact, you might want to tuck a couple of bags of cranberries in the freezer, to start a second batch at a later date, because you can enjoy this any time. Of course it is wonderful simply sipped, but don't stop there. Make a delicious Seabreeze, with ruby grapefruit juice, vodka and of course the Cranberry Liqueur.

The strained cranberries are also delicious. They are wonderful stirred into a bundt cake, or muffins or even over vanilla ice cream with a splash of the liqueur, for extra measure.

Cranberry Liqueur
adapted from:  Creative Culinary

1 c water
2 c sugar
2 c (10 oz bag) cranberries
1 orange to make: 1 T grated zest and 3 T juice
2 c vodka (does not have to be top shelf)

Bring water and sugar to a boil, boil 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Slice/chop berries, grate zest and juice the orange.

Combine syrup, berries, orange zest and juice.

Stir in the vodka.

Store in a large covered jar, stir every day or so. Age for 3 weeks. Then.......


Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

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

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ruthie's Bread

We have a three generation tradition here for Christmas mornings, eggnog and cinnamon toast. It started with my in-laws (and possible a generation before, for that matter) continued with this household after marriage and now is being continued with my grown children, with families of their own.

The only change I made to this tradition as a young mother and wife, was to make the eggnog and bread from scratch. And now with the oldest son engaged to be married this coming June, our future daughter-in-law Ruthie, will continue in the family tradition. Ruthie is new to bread baking, which is not a problem, because bread is actually very forgiving.

There is no reason to be timid when making dough for bread, for you see there is only one rule that must be followed, don't over heat the yeast. Yeast is a tricky one, wanting what it wants, when it wants it. So all you have to do is give yeast what it wants!

Remember some of the old ways once practiced by cooks? The one I am referring to is where you drip a drop of warm liquid on the inside of your wrist. If the liquid does not feel hot and it does not feel cold, it is just right. But just right for what? Babies and yeast. Too hot will kill the yeast and baby won't like it either.

With that said, lets make bread. This is a simple farm style loaf. It is substantial enough for toasting and easy enough to accomplish, even during those busy times, like Christmas. Start the day before to mix, let rise overnight and bake when needed.

Ruthie's Bread
developed in the kitchen of:  Our Sunday Cafe

1 cup milk
1/4 c butter
3 T sugar
1 t salt

1/4 c warm water
pinch of sugar
1 package or 1 scant T yeast

1 egg
4 c flour - divided (always remember to lightly spoon flour into your measure and "sweep" the extra off)

Place the butter, 3 T sugar and salt into the bottom of a large mixing bowl, pour over the hot milk. Let sit until butter is melted and the mixture had cooled to comfortable warm.

While the milk mixture is cooling, proof the yeast.

In a small measuring cup, stir together the warm water, yeast and sprinkling of sugar. The yeast will foam and "proof".

When the milk mixture has cooled, add 2 c flour and the egg. Beat with a mixer for 5 minutes, set a timer and beat for the entire five minutes, this step is needed to develop the gluten.

Stir the yeast foam, add to the batter in the mixing bowl. Beat for a minute until smooth. Remove beaters from batter and batter from the beaters, you want all the batter!

To turn the batter into a dough, stir in the remaining two cups of flour by hand.

FYI: You may only need 1 3/4 c of the remaining flour to form a stiff dough.

The dough will be stiff, but take care to work all the flour up from the bowl bottom and sides, into the dough. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap, set a timer and let dough rest one hour.

Stir down the dough, making sure that any dry flour is incorporated into the dough. Turn dough out into a  prepared loaf pan. Gently rub some oil over the top of the dough in the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate over night or up to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, remove dough from the refrigerator, Remove plastic wrap. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, bake 35-45 minutes or until done in your oven.

Let cool in the pan five minutes, turn out to cool. I like to turn out onto a clean towel and place the loaf on it's side, so that more surface is exposed to cool the loaf quickly.

And then, enjoy. This bread slices up so nice. I can almost taste it now, toasted with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

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

This post is shared with:
gallery of favorites @ premeditated leftovers

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Stocking from felted wool sweater - part 2

This seems to be where we left off,

This is the first time I have worked with felted wool. With that said, here is something I learned.

If you wish to add a design with embroidery thread or buttons, do that before you sew the front to the back. The felted material is too thick to work comfortably from inside the sock. The decision was made to  change the decoration from a Christmas tree made from buttons to something else. The something else turned out to be a patch pocket, made from a piece of the sweater cuff.

But lets start with a loop.

Using a paper core, loop the embroidery thread around 3 to 4 times.

To strengthen the loop, work a blanket stitch around the loop.

To make a pocket, cut a piece of the cuff, position and whip stitch around the edge. The flat top shank buttons will be used to form a name (thank you sharpie!). It is easier for me to sew the top button, then the bottom button and then add the middle buttons using the already placed buttons for guidance.

Finish the top edge in a blanket stitch. Add the name to the button tops and fill the little pocket. This will be handy for a love note, candy, a little cash or a gift card.......

Since this stocking is for my husband Terry, I made it a bit on the masculine side. And now I need to start one for me.

You can find Christmas Stocking from felted wool sweater - part 1 here

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

Joe's Special, an easy dinner for those busy nights

We have come to use spinach leaves in our sandwiches instead of lettuce. Since my husband takes a cold lunch everyday, our weekly shopping trip includes a fresh bag of spinach for sandwich making. This will often times leave, a half bag of spinach from the week before. It is good spinach, just not as crisp for sandwiches.

It is however delicious in cooked dishes and I see more spinach in our future meals. Last night we had Joe's Special, a delicious blend of spinach, ground beef, onion, mushrooms and egg. I like to pass Parmesan cheese at the table for each person to season as they choose.

Joe's Special
by the seat of my pants
serves 4-6

1/2 - 1 pound ground beef
1 medium size sweet or red onion, diced in 1 inch pieces
8 oz mushrooms, sliced thick (we were out for this dish, but I love them in here!)
garlic salt
8-10 oz spinach 
6 eggs, beat well and set aside
Parmesan cheese

Crumble the ground beef in a skillet, top with the onions. Brown the beef well to sear, turn over and let the onions cook a minute. Add mushrooms cook a minute more.
Add spinach, toss with the beef mixture until wilted.

Immediately stir in eggs and cook until eggs are set to your liking.

Serve with buttered toast, a side salad and fruit for dessert.
And yes, dinner is done.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop by. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

This post shared with:
gallery of favorites @ premeditated leftovers

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday's Lookingglass.....

Through the Lookingglass.....

This year we put a couple of decorations outdoors, a first for me. I love the decorated houses that I ooohhh and aaahhh over, but honestly I am not sure I have the patience or the skill to do that! So far this is the extent of our outdoor decorations.But some lights on the house would be fun.

This is a 7 foot Noah's Ark (cloth with fan) decoration. There is a soft light to illuminate, at night. Right now everything in the yard is covered in rain.

And everyone needs a 6 foot puppy holding a giant stocking. 

Something tells me, we might do a bit more next year.............

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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Roasted Garlic, the easy way

Once upon a time I had a cute terra cotta garlic roaster. It held one head of garlic. It was one of the many  kitchenware items that I owned, "needed" but did not use. Why? Well basically because it did only hold one head of garlic and you know the frugal side of me, was not going to heat up an oven to roast one head of garlic.

Enter the muffin pan. You can load up your pan with 6 heads of garlic, plus they stay upright. Obviously if you need more than six heads of roasted garlic, grab a 12 cup pan. Roasted garlic is a delicious way to eat more garlic, which is very good for us.

Roasted Garlic the easy way
adapted from Pinterest
350 degree oven

1 muffin pan
1 head of garlic for each "cup"
olive oil

Slice the point off to expose the tips of the garlic cloves. Place each each in a separate "cup".

Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil, roast for 45-55 minutes. Or until soft and lightly brown in your oven.

Let cool and enjoy!

To use the cloves, when cool enough to handle, carefully break the head apart to separate the  cloves. When ready to use squeeze the roasted garlic out from the papery skin.

Warm roasted garlic is delicious "spread" on bread instead of butter.

You can also coarsely chop the (removed from the papery skin) garlic and toss it with hot pasta, additional olive oil and dry bread crumbs. Pass Parmesan cheese at the table for each to use.

Mash some cloves into soft butter, spread on cut bread, broil Heavenly!

I think you get the idea, it is really easy to enjoy roasted garlic, so get roasting already!

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

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Easiest Cinnamon Rolls Ever! 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 can also view it here in the archives, Sunday June 13, 2010.

Simple things are usually the these delicious Cinnamon rolls for Sunday June 20th.

Now you might be asking why would someone would make a pan of Cinnamon rolls for Sunday June 20th? Well it also happens to be Father's Day, and I have yet to meet a Dad that did not like Cinnamon Rolls. The thing is though, you might want to get your skill down with a "practice" pan. That way you will have a really good idea of just what a great gift you can make for Dad. However I need to be honest; you don't really need practice, because these rolls are easy.

But a practice pan this weekend, would sure be a plausible excuse to make some now and next weekend too! You can also make the recipe through the final rise, cover and refrigerate overnight and bake fresh for breakfast the next day. Yeast doughs are usually very agreeable to an overnight rest in the fridge.

The process and ingredient list does look involved, but (please) do not let that sway you in your decision to make these Cinnamon rolls. I assure you, the ingredients are everyday, the steps are easy and the rolls are delicious. 

Easy Peasy Cinnamon Rolls for Dad and Everyone
adapted from Yakima Herald Republic Newspaper - Yakima WA
currently in my little black binder,on a very splattered page
makes a 9X13 pan of rolls

1 c milk, heated to very hot, but not boiling
1/4 c butter, sliced into pats
1/4 c sugar
1 t salt

Place butter, sugar and salt in a large glass bowl, pour hot milk over let sit until warm to the touch. The hot milk will melt the butter and warm the bowl. Prepare yeast mixture.

1 package yeast (2 1/2 t)
1/4 c warm water
pinch of sugar
Combine and let yeast activate or bloom. 

To make the dough, you will need:
up to 41/2 cups of flour, measure out the full measure of flour and dip from that, do not use more.  
1 egg 

When the milk mixture has cooled to warm, stir in about 1/3 of the flour, beat well (11/2-2 minutes with a hand held electric mixer is a good measure, you will develop enough gluten for a well textured and yet tender roll).

Add the egg, stir well.

Add another portion of the flour, beat until smooth (another minute works well).

Stir in the yeast mixture, and beat until smooth.

Add enough (or all) remaining flour or enough to make a soft dough - do not exceed the original 41/2 cups.
Mix well, dough may appear lumpy.

Do not worry.
No kneading required, you could not knead this dough. It is very soft and will produce a soft roll.

Cover bowl and set aside in a warm place to rise, rising time may be 1 - 2 hours depending upon how warm your kitchen is.

When doubled, deflate dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

For rolling/patting out the dough, you will need approximately 1/2 c flour.

 I prefer using a jelly roll style pan to keep the boundaries, both in terms of clean up and size of the patted/rolled out dough.

 You will need to use about 1/3 c flour on the pan, then sprinkle about 2 T flour over top of the dough. 
Important to remember:  This is a very soft dough, you will need to simply proceed with the directions, knowing that all will turn out as promised.

Turn the dough over in a tossing gesture, to gently coat with flour. Roll/pat dough out into a flat rectangle 
about 1/2 inch thick.

Spread with the filling, to within 1 inch of the perimeter of the dough. You will want the outside edges free from the filling, so that you can keep the filling in the dough together before cutting.

3 T melted butter
6 T sugar
3 t cinnamon
3 T brown sugar
Combine to make a spreadable paste.

Starting on the long side, roll up the dough.

Cut the rolled up dough into 12 equal pieces.

 I prefer to work in sections, I divide into four sections, then cut 3 rolls from each section.

Because the dough is soft, it may not keep a pretty shape, again do not worry. Simply proceed to cut each section and place the dough rolls into the pan.

Place in a prepared 9X13 pan. Cover again and let rise until doubled, 45 - 60 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool. Glaze if desired.

1/2 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 t milk
1/4 t vanilla
1 t butter
Beat until smooth, spread lightly over cooled rolls.


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