Saturday, February 28, 2015

Quality bakers and blogs – simple things that make my day

New bakers and blogs – you gotta love em y’all.  I once thought only paper cookbooks would satisfy me... oh but no more;
I have switched to the dark side of the internet!   – A good cooking blog and especially on baking - make my day. 

Just received my King Arthur Spring Baking catalog - leaf through looking quickly, as I know their products well, I see a new recipe  “Joy’s Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl bread” – Oh my goodness golly I thought to myself as I read the recipe,,..heck, I don’t have fresh berries in the house -  not really in season in February in Virginia!  So I went to her blog “joy the baker” and did not see, to my dismay, any recommendation for using frozen berries.  I feel confident I can use frozen as long as they are drained properly - out of the freezer the berries came, but went to store and purchased some fresh too to play it safe,   I also stopped and purchased a new cast iron skillet - I only have one skillet and one Dutch oven, but I want to find one that has higher edges and use for the sweeter items I bake.

This weekend not only did I make the Triple Berry, I also made some healthy muffins as well, using oat bran, whole wheat flour, and date sugar... Yes, they were yummy and no fat was involved.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February in Hooterville

Hooterville has been a bit cold, Very cold – hardly makes it to 30 degrees!  Much like most of the Midwest and Eastern states.  The hardest part of living here on Blue Mountain are the roads – they are so ‘backwards’ so ‘prohibition era’ to bring you to a visual of the moonshiners running the back roads to hide their stash and keep away from the law – Yeah that is really what is like here..

Planning ahead is vital, and knowing how to live without running water, heat and a convenience store are a must.    Of course having front yard chickens is a plus.

I find that being home (stuck home) is a blessing, I get to clean, I have the time to bake that bread, make those muffins and enjoy homemade hot chocolate after working to clear the snow and tending to the hounds and hens.

My hooterville hint for the cold and having to be in doors for any age – make that hot cocoa, have those marshmallows on hand, read a family book together, do a puzzle (which is what we do) – even if it just the two of you, make that time to ‘do something’.  A note on the book, this really is fun, pick a fun classic or a new one – read together even if on an ipad.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Planning for spring garden 2015

February 8th, I heard the birds chirping this morning as I was having my morning coffee,  and felt a tingle of excitement and anticipation of spring and a big got to 57 degrees.  Finally cleaned  out the coop, worked in the yard and decided on the new area for a raised  'hay bale' garden along an inside fence away from hounds and hens, (there was a recent post on bale of hay gardening, I got real excited after reading this blog!)   
Bought some new seeds and planning my new yard landscape.  I did not cook or bake too much this weekend, living off last weeks preparation, for which I am thankful for planning ahead.  My new area of focus is working on food plans, baking mixes and and other preparations for 'just two'.  I like eating whole foods and going back to basics.  With just me and Hubby I can't cook in bulk and  don't want to throw out food, I also decided to remove my microwave from my home, I just have a bad feeling about it, so out it goes,  I will have to post how 'removing the microwave' will impact me if it does?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February 47 Days Until Spring

February started my valentine’s cookie bake day – I tried a new recipe, well not new, but I used salted butter and not unsalted – won’t do that again – what a difference and not in a good way.

It has been cold and icy for most of January so 47 days gives me hope that spring is around the corner.  I received my new seed catalog – and excited to try some new varieties – I plan on planting water cress and arugula in lieu of lettuce this year – I have a nice area under the deck to plant my herb and delicate plants – away from the hounds and hens!

The sugar cookie ice cream sandwiches are for dessert tonight.  Planning on making a pizza and watching the rest of season 5 of LOST on Netflix. – Happy February
Will the Hooterville Hog give us a short winter?  We will find out tomorrow.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bread Tips from Wimpy

My dad, aka "wimpy", pictured below, gave some tips to my sister in law years ago, who was struggling to make bread, he said, first be kind on the flour, which means less is more; he went on to say that bread requires time and patience -  kneed it - patiently, it will be slightly sticky, this is okay the more you work it, the less sticky it gets.  As for more  patience, let it rise once, twice and on the third he would bake,   Please know humidity plays a roll in bread baking.  My tip is that my best bread has been one that has been hand kneaded, though I love my kitchen aid.   There is no substitution for the hand feel of the dough.  Plus, I know that all flour is NOT created equal, high quality flour is a must if you want to bake bread for your family.

Please note that this recipe requires three rises, yes, my dad was right on!  I call this my Wonder Bread Recipe.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hooterville Hook me ups for WWW BEST EVER Banana Bread

I decided to use some old bananas and make what the WWW indicated as the BEST ever banana Bread  - I have been craving this sweet dense bread since October, banana's don't last long enough to go bad in my home.  Used some HM Vanilla - not yet ready - but all I had.  – What makes this WWW version the best? I don’t know? had not one spice! I add a pinch of nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon (which is not called for in the ‘best ever banana bread recipe” how can it be good without any vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon? My Hooterville hook me ups do improve this bread to make it the best ever…. Never forget the vanilla, and pinch of nutmeg – you can forgo the cinnamon but the prior two are a must and maybe a mix of brown sugar with the white sugar would be a good idea.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Gift of the Season "Trust and Believe"

The Season -- Family, Traditions.  Many years back my very best friend at the time lost her grandmother who had raised her.  The very next year at christmas my friend and I gathered to decorate my friends home for the holidays, her grandmother had several holiday boxes that were marked and stored in her attic that said CMAS DECORATIONS with various years. (Along with extra crap, depression era folks threw nothing out,,,). The holidays were a very special time for her and her GMA.  Well, we started to open the boxes and we soon discovered that her GMA had dated and written about certain ornaments.  If I could take you back to the moment when my friend read a note  from her late GMA that said, "Mo, I have surely passed by now and when you read this know how much I loved you, this ornament was given to your mom from your dad before you were born, please treasure it like I did, know you are loved and you have another angel in heaven watching over you.  ...Goose Bumps...  Another ornament said, "Mo, please be happy, the holidays were always such such a joyous time, love GMA". What a gift!   Several year later, I started to collect special ornaments, dated them and tried to write a bit about each one.  My plan is that one day, hopefully living, I can give my son a box of treasured memories for his family.  It is not about the gift, but the meaning, their impact on our life's, much like Christ tried to do.  Remember, it is the season of miracles .. the best time for them really.  It is not about what we have, but about love, who we love and care for and who loves us.  Many of us have family ill this year, Please remember who really is in "Charge" and loves us, his plan no matter the outcome is the best plan, sometimes hard, and we don't know all we should--but I have come to learn..... this is the season for "Trust and Believe"