Category Archives: Bread

Recipes and a cat

Happy Thanksgiving!  So I found some spare time today while waiting for my turkey to cook and I figured that I would finally get around to writing up the post that I promised I would do.  I know that my mom wants some of the recipes I’ve talked about and hopefully some of you also find them appealing. (all credit goes to the people and places listed)

1) Amish White Bread.  I call this sweet bread because it is somewhere in between bread and cake in its sweetness level.  Everyone who has tried this has loved it and it makes an amazing french toast.     http://allrecipes.com/recipe/amish-white-bread/

2) Italian Bread.  Here is an awesome recipe that I found for Italian bread.    http://breadbaking.about.com/od/yeastbreads/r/itallybrd.htm

3)  Peasant Bread.  My aunt actually showed me this one.  It’s from Alexandra Cooks and is simply delicious.   http://www.alexandracooks.com/2012/11/07/my-mothers-peasant-bread-the-best-easiest-bread-you-will-ever-make/

4)  This is actually just a variation on my mom’s potato soup found here: https://crittersandchaos.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/delicious-berries-posting-takes-sooo-much-time-recipes-for-saver/

Here are the additions I make: 1 can of green beans and 1 shredded chicken breast.  I cook the chicken before hand, shred it and then add it when mixing everything together.

Now we got a little crazy at the house here one time and made a truly loaded potato soup.  For that we added the above ingredients and also one box of sauteed mini pierogies.  Yeah I know it’s potato in potato soup, but it was still tasty.

That’s it for my recipes, now for the more exciting news: I now have a cat! His name is Armel and he is adorable.

This is one of the few times he held still for a portrait shot.

This is one of the few times he held still for a portrait shot.

What follows will simply be a series of adorable cat photos.

Look how adorable.

Look how adorable.

Sometimes he consents to being a lap cat.

Sometimes he consents to being a lap cat.

And like all cats you must not ignore him for the computer.

And like all cats you must not ignore him for the computer.

The one thing he will always love to do is play.

The one thing he will always love to do is play.

And that is Armel.  He is adorable and troublesome, but totally worth it.

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Recipe Post for Saver of Bugs

Life here is still a mess.  But neglecting me hasn’t changed anything except make me even more miserable.  So I’m working on shoving things back in place for myself.  Recipe posts for Saver is an easy way to get back into blogging.

Here ya go, Saver:

Rich White Bread

  • 1   cup milk
  • 2   tbls. sugar
  • 2   tsp. salt
  • 2   tbls. shortening
  • 2   pkgs. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115-ish – just not hot)
  • 2   eggs
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups flour

— Put shortening and milk in pan and heat till shortening is melted.  Add sugar and salt.  Let cool to lukewarm.

— Sprinkle yeast on warm water and stir to dissolve.  Add yeast, eggs and 2 3/4 c. flour to milk mixture.  Beat with a spoon until batter is smooth and sheets off spoon.  Or beat with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

— Add enough remaining flour, a little at a time, first with spoon and then with hands, to make a dough that leaves sides of bowl.  Turn onto lightly floured board, cover and let rest 10 minutes.

— Knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Round up into a ball and place in lightly greased bowl; turn dough over to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

— Punch down, cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.  Turn onto board and shape into a ball; divide in half.  Shape into loaves and place in 2 greased 9 x 5 x 3″ loaf pans.  Cover and let rise in warm place until dough reaches top of pan on sides, fills corners and top is rounded above pan.

— Bake at 400 degrees 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.  Place on wire racks and cool away from drafts.  Makes 2 loaves.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread

  • 2  c. milk
  • 2  c. quick rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1  tbls. salt
  • 2  tbls. shortening
  • 1  pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 5  c. flour (about)
  • 1  egg white
  • 1  tlbs. water
  • extra rolled oats

— Warm milk and shortening in pan till shortening melts.  Add 2 c. oats, brown sugar, and salt.  Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.

— Sprinkle yeast on warm water; stir to dissolve.

— Add milk mixture and 2 c. flour to yeast.  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, 2 minutes.  Or beat with spoon until batter is smooth.

— Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl.  Turn onto floured board; knead until dough is smooth and elastic.  Place in lightly greased bowl; turn dough over to grease top.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down and let rise again until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.

— Turn onto board and divide in half.  Round up to make 2 balls.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes.  Shape into loaves and place in greased 9x5x3″ loaf pans.  Let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Brush tops of loaves with egg white beaten with water and sprinkle with rolled oats.  (I usually skip bothering with the egg white and just use water.)

— Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.  (If bread starts to brown too much, cover loosely with aluminum foil after baking 15 minutes.)  Makes 2 loaves.

Shaping Regular Loaves

  • Turn risen dough onto board; divide and let rest as recipe directs.
  • Flatten dough with hands.  Then with rolling pin roll it into a rectangle.
  • Starting at the narrow side farthest from you, roll tightly.  Seal the long seam at the end well.
  • Seal the ends of the loaves by pressing firmly with the sides of your hands to make a thin, sealed strip.  Use care not to tear dough.  Fold sealed ends under.
  • Place loaf, seam side down, in a greased loaf pan.
  • You may lightly brush top of loaf with salad oil or melted butter.
  • Cover and let rise according to recipe or until doubled or until a dent made by gently pressing sides of dough with finger does not disappear.

Notes on Bread

  • When baking time is up, tap loaf lightly.  It should have a hollow sound.  If it doesn’t, put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes and try again.
  • Be sure to take the bread out of the pan to cool on a rack or it will get soggy.

Green Beans with Sour Cream

  • Can, Bag, or Fresh Green Beans
  • 3 to 4 Tlbs. of sour cream
  • 1 tbls. Parmesan or Romano cheese

— Cook and drain beans.  Add sour cream and cheese. (As you know, your dad prefers to double or triple the sour cream and cheese.  But this is the original recipe minus the sesame seeds that no-one would eat on the beans.)

Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 lbs. of potatoes (9 large)
  • 1 – 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 2 tsp. onion salt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbls. butter

— Cut potatoes into roughly 1 in or so chunks and boil until chunks mash easily with a fork.

— Drain potatoes and mash or beat potatoes.  Add remaining ingredients and mash or whip to desired consistency.

— These will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

— If you want to make these ahead of time and reheat, place them into a 2 quart casserole, dot with butter and bake at 350 until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Old Fashioned Fudge

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tlbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

— Combine first 4 ingredients in pot and cook at medium heat until a little dropped in cold water forms a firm ball that does not dissolve.

— Pull from stove, place on trivet and add butter and vanilla.  DO NOT STIR!

— Let cool 20 minutes and then beat until fudge begins to go from glossy to dull or flat looking.  Pour quickly onto a greased or lined plate or into a greased 8 x 8 pan if you want to cut into uniform pieces.  Enjoy!

Fur Babies and Other Critters

Not my idea of comfortable, but Stitch is happy.

Not my idea of comfortable, but Stitch is happy.

Out In The Yard

Our header today is:

A bumble bee enjoying the blooms on a White Profusion Butterfly Bush.

This is a Psithyrus, a cousin of the Bumble Bee, enjoying the blooms on a White Profusion Butterfly Bush.  They are the ‘cuckoo’ of the Bumble world.  The Psithyrus Queens invade the Bumble Bee nests and ingratiate themselves into the colony.  Once they are accepted they kill the Bumble Bee Queen, who stands very little chance because of the heavy armor of the Psithyrus. She then takes over the colony using the Bumble Bee workers to raise her Psithyrus babies.  Note the shiny, hairless, armored abdomen.  This is one way to help tell the difference between the Psithyrus and the Bumble Bee.

Night All!

I’m Baaaack

Random Thoughts

Wow.  Amazing how fast time can pass when you’re not having fun.  My monthly friend came along like 3 all at once and I felt like I got run over by a 100 car coal train.  (TMI?)  My days and nights are now screwed as I was getting up every 2 to 3 hours.  Thus my eating has been hit and miss and I’m down to 122 lbs. which is Bad.  As soon as I hit 120 or below I start getting sick.  So got to start piling on the calories.  Cranky and tired are the words for the day.

I did make it out to our local Farmer’s Market and bought myself some comfort food – Butter Toffee Peanuts.  I deserve them.  I sucked down half the bag on the trip home.  🙂  (Oh, and I also bought ‘real’ food, kohlrabi, tomatoes, plums, mmmm – just picked raspberries.)

I still haven’t decided what to do about apportioning time for the blog (here I am at 10 pm again!), I’ve been brain fried for the last week.  And I still have to do bills!  I’m also currently wrangling my husband to get him to decide what in the heck he wants to do for Father’s Day and his Birthday (the 20th).  He is being uncooperative. *Sigh* (with a slight growl)

Sitting in the grass late yesterday with my baby lizard, I was eating and looking at life in the grass and realized that in our hustle and bustle we forget how much goes on around us unnoticed.  It made me think of this quote and it’s one I need to put up somewhere where I can see it regularly.

“The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things.”  — Veronique Vienne

Life at Our House

We had a pop-up thunderstorm that made me smile.  It was over our house pouring down the rain and in the back part of our yard the sun was shining.

*****

School is out and Spider Bait is now home for the summer.  He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be working his butt off helping his mother get Shtuff done.

*****

Okay, Saver of Bugs, here is the sourdough bread recipe leaving out proofing times and temps, just doing it the way I do it at home.

World Bread

  • 1/2 cup cold sponge culture
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Bake at 375

Mix the 1/2 cup of sourdough with 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 cup of water.  Cover bowl and sit on top of the refrigerator.  Do this right before you go to bed. (Note:  In the summer it should be warm enough in your room that you don’t have to do this downstairs.  Out of curiosity, you should check the temps on your dorm fridge every 15 min.  for about an hour and a half.  You might be able to raise the loaves on it.)

When you get up, add 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup water and mix well.  Cover and put up on the fridge (or in your room – you’re looking for min. 72 degrees, no more than 85).  Let it work no less than 4 hours.  Depending on how warm your room is or on top of the fridge, the culture will start to go down at about 8 hrs.  At 12 hours it is flat.  I generally like to set up the loaves at about 6 hours.  But I’ve done it all along the time frame at one time or another.

Bread time.  Grease both bread pans and make sure you have enough space to knead bread.  Get your small saucepan out and toss 2 tbsp butter in it at medium heat.  With my old nasty pans, you should probably do it at a notch or so below medium.  When the butter is melted, put in the 1 cup milk and heat till lukewarm.  Remove from heat and add 2 tsp. salt and 2 tbsp. sugar and mix till dissolved.  Pour into sourdough mixture and mix well.  Begin adding flour 1 cup at a time till it gets too hard to stir well.  This is usually at about 5 cups for me.  Dust kneading surface with flour and tip sourdough out of bowl and start kneading and adding the rest of the flour.  Knead till smooth and elastic.  Depending on how humid it is and how dry the flour, you may need less than the 6 cups or more.  This is the part you learn to do by feel.  You want the dough as moist as possible and still workable and elastic.  Not gummy gooey.  Not stiff as a brick.

Divide the dough into 2 loaves, knead into shape and drop into the pans.  As wide as those bread pans are moosh the dough to cover the bottom.  Cover and let raise in a warm spot till the tops are just barely below the top of the pans.  About 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.  If you forget and the dough gets above the pan sides, use a fork or the tip of a knife to burst the bubbles or the top of the crust will come off when you cut it.  Spray or brush with water and cut the tops of the loaves.  Bake at 375 for 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

(You are feeding your sourdough at least once a week – riiiight?)

Fur Babies and Other Friends

This poor baby deer, just out of his spots, was apparently hit by a car.  That front leg is barely moveable.  And it clearly didn’t learn much from the experience, ’cause my husband almost hit him the next night coming home!

Will someone please explain to me how in the heck this is comfortable?  He didn’t even wake up when I turned the light on to take the picture!

Out In The Yard

Our header for today is one of my daughter’s Dianthus.

My lizard with no name* is also part of the yard stuff today, or should I say –  last night.  They need sun to manufacture Vit D to process calcium and I don’t have a UV bulb up yet so I take him outside.  While sitting there, I started watching life in the grass.  It was sooo relaxing.  There is so much going on right beneath our feet.  I managed to get a couple of pictures of my lizard and a couple of the lawn’s occupants living their lives around my feet.

The Jungle

Naw, I don’t let him run free.

I’m so cute!

Busy, busy, busy, Bee. It was really hard to get a picture of one of these guys!

One of my fav’s, the Preying Mantis. That clover flower next to him is about the size of a pea.

(*What to name this lizard?  I keep calling him Squirt, but he won’t be a Squirt forever.  More on that in my next post.  I kinda liked Willow but everyone’s running away screaming on that one.  Then Cooper kinda hit me, but Spider Bait sneered at that one too.  And apparently my hair dresser says it has to have a lizardish name or a dragon name. [Spider Bait got his haircut today and was discussing my lizard.]  Suggestions?)

Movement

Also while I was miserable this past week, I had problems with my right knee.  A reminder that I need to find my ankle weights and start back on my old knee exercises.  Horseback riding in the number of hours that I was putting in back in the day plus running created a muscle imbalance that will always be with me.  When I was working and running it wasn’t so much a problem because I was also doing weight work to keep my body evened up.  It was during the off-season when the muscles began to atrophy that my knees would give me the most trouble.  At one point the imbalance pulled my kneecaps sideways, which was less than fun and had one doctor wanting to cut the muscles off the sides of my kneecaps.  Well, you know that ain’t happening.  I eventually found a doctor and runner who realized what was going on and gave me exercises to do to save my knees and keep me moving.  The catch?  It will always be there and require exercises to keep my parts where they belong.  So gotta get back to it.

Things did straighten up enough that I started walking again yesterday.  NO sore muscles!  I’m excited.  I’ll walk a couple more times and if I still have no soreness I’m going to go from 20 min. to 25 min. and see what happens.  Squee!

Mug of the Day

I really need to bake some homemade ones.   Mmmmm…

Delicious Berries, Posting Takes Sooo Much Time (2 Hrs.), Recipes for Saver (Cornbread, Potato Soup)

Random Thoughts

I have been rather crushed about how long it takes me to get these blog posts done.  And frustrated.  It takes me an average of 1 1/2 to 2 hours, sometimes less, sometimes more.  That doesn’t count the time picture-taking/cropping or looking stuff up.  So when I posted on ‘All About You Monday’ at Re-Inventing Fabulous (http://reinventingfabulous.com/) I asked the writers that post  there where I was in the ball park of posting time.  Evidently I’m not all that far out of the park.  *Sigh*  So I’m going to have to figure out how I’m going to deal with that.  I confess I didn’t really take into account what this would do to my day.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy this, I do.  And I was surprised to find out that I actually enjoy knowing I have a small group of lurkers who come here on a regular basis, from other countries, yet!  (Thanks! to all of you out there.)  But I definitely need to plan better, and figure out how to better incorporate this into my life and time frame.  Staying up late every night isn’t going to work over the long haul.  So I guess it’s time to sit down and  come up with a plan.

*****

My serviceberries on my wee tree were ripening all at once, so I went out and picked them.  I didn’t have any yogurt, but I did have vanilla ice cream.  So I put about 1/2 cup of ice cream and some milk in a bowl, mixed it and topped with berries.

***** 

“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive.”  — Robert Louis Stevenson

Life At Our House

Look what my son brought  back for me from his Band Trip.  Isn’t it sweet?  I forgot to put something in for perspective, but she would fit on a 50 cent piece.

*****

Saver of Bugs, is this yours?  I found it while looking for my running shorts.  It is a much brighter green than the picture shows.

*****

Okay, Saver of Bugs, here are a couple of recipes.  Also, when you go shopping you should consider looking for a small mixer so you don’t have to mash potatoes by hand.  Also a brush to brush butter on chicken or corn or water on bread…

Corn Bread

  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup veg. oil
  • Oven at 425 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl beat egg and oil together and then add milk.  Add to dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.  If you mix too much the cornbread will be flat.  Bake in a greased 8 x 8 pan for 20 to 25 minutes.  Top should be golden brown and a toothpick should come out clean.

Potato Soup

  •  6 cups of potatoes with or without skin
  • 1 clove garlic (or – 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1/2 onion (or – 1 tsp. onion powder)
  • 1 or 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper (or – 1/2 tsp canned ground pepper)
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 3 cups milk

Cut the potatoes into 1 inch-ish chunks and put into cold water.  (If you like having potato chunks in your soup, cut the potatoes into small cubes.  Hold back 1 to 3 cups of them when mixing soup and add when heating soup back up.)  Rinse potatoes and then add just enough water to cover and bring to a boil.  Once the water begins to boil, boil for 10 minutes and then check for doneness.  When you set the timer for 10 minutes, begin sautéing the onions.  Cook to preferred doneness.  When the onions are partially done throw in the garlic.  Garlic will brown quicker than the onions.  When the potatoes are done, remove from heat and pour all but about a quarter to a half-inch of water off.  Mash/mix potatoes and butter to desired consistency.  Put back on the stove on medium heat.  Add all remaining ingredients, mix and heat through.

*****

Don’t forget you can broil chicken and fish.  Don’t forget your fruit and veggies.  Buy some of them canned and you’ll have a back up for when you don’t have fresh stuff.

Fur Babies and Other Friends

I don’t particularly like Raccoons.  They are nasty, destructive little thieves.  They come to our house to steal the bird seed.  I have a large broom downstairs with their name on it.  I run and jump and whack them out of the tree with it.  If they try to get in my face, they get a face full of bristles with an occasional whack with a handle.  I’ve used the broom to golf baby raccoons off the bank behind our house.  We also shoot them with a BB gun set low so it won’t pierce their skin.  Some of them learn the sound of the gun being cocked and bail as soon as they hear it.  One raccoon even learned the sound of the front door opening (we sneak out the front and go to the side of the house to shoot them) and bailed as soon as he heard it.  It gets annoying.  Especially the ones that come after we have gone to bed and decide to start fighting.  Ever hear raccoons fight?  It sounds like you have wolves out there trying to kill each other.  And the small ones scream like a human being hurt.  *Sigh*

This is our 5 pm dinner time thief.  In the last picture she hears my son and is looking for him.  She immediately turned, started down the tree and then jumped from 10 feet up.  My cheapo camera didn’t recharge fast enough for me to catch the jump (grrrrr).

Out in the Yard

When it quits raining I’ll get back outside in the yard again.  Our header is the yellow violas I planted weeks ago.

Movement

So I managed to get out of bed on my own.  🙂  A little sore, here and there.  I will have to do some work on my shins and knees.

 I got out again today and took Spider Bait with me.  He’s thinking about running with me.  Mom went into sMother mode and gave him the lecture about never letting anyone drag you into a car even if they have a gun (Mom,  you told me this before).  And the lecture about never getting within grabbing distance of a car that pulls up near you and stay the hell away from van doors (Mom, you told me this before).  And never leave the route you gave everyone before you left (MOMMMMM….).  Well, you get the idea.  Couldn’t help myself.

Did only 1.1 miles today and got back in 20 minutes.  Heart rate post walk was 150 for me (better), Spider Bait was 144.  Heart rate at 10 minutes post walk was 84 me (Yes!), Spider Bait was 96.  Twenty minutes post walk was still 84 for me and 76 for Spider Bait.  Tomorrow will be a day off.  I get fewer injuries on a 2 day on 1 day off schedule when starting out.

I found one of my old running outfits. (Saver of Bugs, what did you do with the shorts to my other outfit?)

Crystals

Turquoise is a common stone of blue, green, or blue/green coloration and can be found in the United States, Egypt, Mexico, China, Iran, Peru, Poland, Russia, France, Tibet, Egypt, Afghanistan, Arabia, and Myanmar.  It’s astrological associations are Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Pisces.  Chakra is the throat.

A protective stone, Turquoise has been used in amulets since time immemorial.  It assists in creative expression and the ability to see beauty in everything.  Emotionally it helps with balance and assists in meditation.  It promotes spiritual clarity and psychic abilities.  Traditional thought holds that it unites earth and sky.

Health wise, Turquoise is a multipurpose healer.  It is good for detoxification and strengthens the meridians of the body.  Wear or position it anywhere.  It is especially good for the throat, third eye, and solar plexus.

The little silver medallion says, “See the miracle that is in a single flower and find clarity.”

Mug of the Day

Another by Marjolein Bastin.  It has a teapot to match it.