Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Where did December go? Baking didn't stop but got much busier. Last week I made 6 varieties of cookies, two loaves of bread, a dozen fruited sweet rolls, and two dozen whole wheat rolls.   Maybe that is why there hasn't been any December posts! well I have a New Year's Resolution  to post more and with several new cookbooks and lots of bread to try.....

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Mom has really wanted me to make Panettone. I haven't made it in about five years. I think about it and then make coffeecakes for Christmas morning. That's because Mom isn't here at Christmas as she is a snowbird of sorts. Since she is helping with my pies I am making her panettone.
(adapted from the Hitachi bread machine book)
1cup water
1tsp salt
3cups bread flour
1 stick butter
4tablespoons sugar
3tablespoons dry milk
4 tablespoons candied fruit
1/4 cup raisins(I like golden raisins here)
1teaspoon vanilla
2tsp instant yeast (red SAF preferable)
egg wash for the tops
I mix this in my bread machine through the first rise. I then take it out and shape it into three large or 6 small loaves. To get the traditional round shape I use baking flower pots.  I have these in two sizes.
Let's do a replay on the sizes..... because this is what happened to the three larger ones
These odd looking giant mushrooms tasted fine but what a mess to look at. I then decided that I must use all four of my big pots. So after a few hours I tried again!

Guess what is under the cloth?   Of course.......

SUCCESS!  These look more like the Pope's hats they are suppose to resemble!  And still delicious...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


This week Mom and I will make pies.
 I am not having Thanksgiving at my sister's , that will mean we will make pies for her house and for mine.
We made two pumpkin,two pecan two shells for chocolate cream. and one mince.  I will make an apple pie in the morning and she will make two on Friday.  Thanksgiving is all about the pies in my family.
Ask me sometime about the time  I fell asleep while babysitting the dog and the pies......

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Late fall

Earlier I was so happy that it was Fall. This year we had a great spring and summer but fall was nice too.
That was early fall......
Then we come to those long nights and chills of late fall. that is when I think we should skip this season!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Making Mincemeat with Mom and more jars........

Last week I was doing wash for my Mom when I spotted her canning jars and found a few pint jars that I wanted (see Mason Jar post)  This week I got a call from my Mom asking if I think we could make Mincemeat.
I said sure not really knowing what this meant since my try at mincemeat last year was with the Crockpot and
I didn't chop the meat fine enough.  I knew she was thinking about her way and it has been at least ten years since she had made any even though she would deny this....
Recently I have been reading posts from young mothers cooking with their kids. Guess what it really never ends. Mom had her  shoulder operated on a couple of months back so really couldn't use the old grinder(ahem the grinder is dated 1898)  but she got me right into it!

First we ground the cooked beef and then about three pounds of apples.....Sticky........
then added the sugar,syrup, candied fruit, spices and let it boil and boil. Savoring the thought of Christmas tarts.  I am about the only one I know who loves mincemeat.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not a Cookbook...but

   THIS AINT NO COOKIN BOOK  by    Paula Deen  I devoured this book this weekend.
 I probably would not have bought this, but found it in Building 19  on Thursday and  it intrigued me. Since I have been thinking about this cookbook and non cookbook cookbook post.  Well  it is a quick read and absolutely wonderful memoir of a fascinating woman. I laughed and cried all the way through this book.  She really did turn her fears into her dreams. Earlier this summer I read a fiction book BY BREAD ALONE, a tale of  one womans learning to cope with her life it is also linked to cooking specifically French sourdough bread.
Hmmm what would your book-cookbook be.....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cookbooks and Cooking Books

About a year ago I started reading some of the many mysteries and other stories that include food or recipes in their story. Yeah, about the time I started blogging and reading blogs. I'm not surprised as I have always enjoyed reading cookbooks. I got my first cookbook at the beginning of my being in 4H, or about ten years old. I was to get a cookbook each year after this. These were all the single topic Betty crocker cookbooks. Still on my shelf and very worn.......

Getting out these books again has me wanting Scalloped Potatoes even more.....
Hmm that is a recipe I have remastered  millions of ways.  Tonight's scalloped potatoes

          Scallop Potatoes with chives
serves 4
four small or two large potatoes(PEI or Maine )
1 small onion diced
4-6 Tbs butter
1C milk (I used 2%)
2Tbs flour
salt and pepper
2Tbs dried chives
(fresh would be nice but we are not going to see those before spring:( )

Peel potatoes and slice very thin
Layer potatoes, onion, flour, seasonings
in a small casserole dish  dot with butter
Pour milk over the top and bake for 30 min. at 350

first layer


These jars were salvaged from my Mom's collection.  The new fancy covers sold in many dept stores add a decorative touch. I had 4 quart jars that were given to me as present many years ago. (I kinda thought it funny as  I grew up with canning jars everywhere!)   I had never looked at the markings on the glass and  when  I went to find these jars spent time trying to find four that are completely different.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I love Fall

As a teacher I never really focused on the things that make fall so neat. Like warm sunny days.

Puddles of leaves, everywhere.
The changing trees which will be all too soon frozen.
The fun of the light and shadows........

Monday, October 25, 2010

MOUSE SAGA or the joys of living in the country in fall

About a week ago my two cats entered the living room with a prize they had recovered from the kitchen......A mouse...
Dexter had the mouse in his mouth then neatly dropped it while Duffy retrieved it.

I encouraged these guys to retreat to the kitchen with the mouse. After several failed attempts to get Duffy to drop the mouse, I successfully maneuvered the trio to the door and escorted the mouse to the porch. I figured this guy would try to get out through one of the many gaps and holes in the porch. Fast forward to Sunday and Duffy is insisting he needs to go out on the porch and that he knows something is behind the boot bin. I kind of look with him but figure the is just following the old mouse trail. Monday afternoon, Duffy comes to tell me he needs to go out on the porch now! ( if you don't own a yellow tom or a talking cat, you now think I have totally lost it) So I let him out and he again thinks there is something behind the boot bin so I decide that I will clean the boot bin. As I dust behind the bin, with one eye to the floor, I see the mouse climb up a board and scurry away. Neither cat is impressed or around as they are now entertaining a guest.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rainy Friday

After finishing my housework the best way to spend a rainy afternoon ......baking!
Still working on those apples. Will have pie and ice cream for dinner.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Soup Time and more Italian Bread!

Saturday night supper my own vegetable soup and that ever popular Italian bread. Finally broke down and bought the bread pan from King Arthur and yes it was worth it. This bread has a much crisper crust. Love going back to cooler weather dishes. Do you have a favorite cool weather dish?

Friday, October 8, 2010


A nice treat for a cooler fall day

Apple Nut Bread

Preheat oven to 350

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped apples
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup cider or apple juice

In mixing bowl mix dry ingredients, add egg,oil and cider until well mixed. Fold in nuts apples and raisins. Pour into large loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall is here!

This is the first real bread since who knows when!
I am working on my last ten pounds of King Arthur
flour. A trip to Vermont is in the very near future.

Maple White Bread

1c &2Tbs. water
3c bread flour
3Tbs. buttermilk powder
1/2tsp. salt
2Tbs. butter
2Tbs maple syrup
2tsp.Instant yeast

As usual I mix this in a bread machine and then bake in oven. Mmmm.
Now to think of sandwich fillings......

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Italian bread abundanza.........

Pizza, hamburger rolls and lots of bread for salads and sandwiches! That has been my summer.
This go to bread is unbelievable.
water 1cup
oil(olive is nice) 2 tablespoons
flour 3 cups bread flour
honey 2 tablespoons
yeast (I use instant) 2 tsp.
mix and rise and shape shape shape .............

Late summer fun

Now if this isn't the life, I don't know what is! we have been using the porch since Easter more and more each day. We begin our day exploring early and wait for visitors towards the end of the day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Spring is such a busy time of year. stopping to smell the flowers or just to take another look is so necessary. This is my first spring retired and as I was told a few years back, this is the best part of being retired is getting to plan and plant on a reasonable schedule.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

simple bread

I thought my Italian bread was simple but this one is super simple and yet tastes great.
It has a chewy texture that changes to crisp when toasted. I really like it as toast.

In bread machine :
2c bread flour
1c whole wheat,rye or other flour
1tsp salt
1 1/4 c water
2 tsp. instant yeast

using a dough only setting mix and first rise in the machine.

shape dough and put in baking pan, allow to rise one more time

bake at 425 for 10 minutes and bring back to 350 for 20 minutes more or until done.
This bread has a short shelf life due to no stabilizing ingredients, definitely and old world style bread.

Monday, April 19, 2010

March winds, April ...Living a simpler life....

Well I haven't forgotten this blog but after the March winds left me with a week without power.
I returned to a blog with a bug. I think we are through all of the messy times and now ready to settle down to spring showers and my simple life. Oh yes, that simple life I think I have been living
well let's begin with "the coffeepot."
In November my 7-8year old leaky Bunn coffeemaker no longer heated coffee on the warmer plate and then one day the switch fell out, I decided it was time to say goodby to that coffeemaker.
After pricing a new one ($100 plus) my simple goals told me to use one of the two coffee makers I had in the house. Especially since one of them was the $10 pot I had used only a few times at school. Well I used this coffeepot from Nov. until Feb. the coffee while not great, was ok. In February one of the alternative pots I had been thinking of went on sale at a discounter in the area so I spent the $20 on a $40-$50 coffeemaker. It made the same ok coffee and I was glad I hadn't spent the full price. Last Friday am with showers on the outside, slightly cool weather, I hear a click and then what sounds like rain in the kitchen. Well the broken button on the "new"
coffeepot had let go and coffee was pouring down my counter into the drawer and floor below.
That was it ! Off to Walmart for a new Bunn coffeemaker......

Friday, March 19, 2010

March Winds

This early spring weather is wonderful. Raking leaves and finding crocus and tulips and daffodils.
Think I'll try some coffeecakes in the morning!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Touch of Sweet

This weeks nut bread is one of my favorite. This Date Nut gem uses very little oil as dates work as sweetener and oil substitute.

Date Nut Bread

1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups unbleached flour

½ cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbs. oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Pour boiling water over dates and let stand ten minutes. Add sugar to eggs and beat. Sift dry ingredients together. Add nuts to date mixture. Stir in oil and vanilla. Mix date mixture, sugar and eggs, and dry ingredients, stirring enough to moisten. Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 degrees F. for one hour.

Wrapping a nut bread is essential to keeping it fresh for more than two days. I use good ole fashioned wax paper (parchment will also work.) this keeps the bread dry and not sticky which leads to moisture and mold. This picture shows it wrapped in wax paper and in a bag to keep air out. My breads keep for seven days.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Welcome Groundhog

Welcome to February. This month is to be my quick bread month. My goal is to reduce sugar and still keep texture and flavor, if the flavor is off the quick bread is really off. Unlike yeast breads quick breads rely on eggs and baking powder and other things to rise a little. Yeast is also a camouflage flavor enhancer thus most yeast breads taste good even if a little tough or deflated or over inflated.(note my last starter bread was a bomb!)

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium to large bananas)

1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Add the bananas, honey, and eggs, beating until smooth. Add the flour, then the walnuts, stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, smoothing the top. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Bake the bread for 50 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean. Allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan, and cooling it completely on a rack.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Starter Breads

January has been my fresh start with starters. Since I run a cool house with Temps in the 60's, I have kept a starter on the counter where I can stir it and add to it daily. When I get about two cups I make a bread using one cup and add to the second. I am on my third week of breads and there is a definite differnce in flavor and texture.
This bread was an oatmeal bread with apricots.

The "leftovers" were made into bread pudding.
Hardly a week goes by then we don't need an Italian bread. Last week I made two huge loaves with the starter. The leftover was made into bread crumbs. They have an interesting taste and will be even more interesting in my fish topping this week.

My bread this week is an orange pineapple whole wheat bread. I should have shaped it like the oatmeal bread as it exploded in the bread pan. This starter bread thing is amazing!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Paper Whites Update

Well they are beginning to bloom. It is interesting to see which way they are pointing as it can change every few hours. Could be the snow on the skylight as we have had off and on snow showers for days!