Monday, November 10, 2014

Soy Curls

On some of the blogs I read I have been seeing posts about soy curls.  Curiosity got the better of me and I ordered a box from Butler Foods.  

Half of an 8 oz package will make generous helpings for two people.  First you have to re-hydrate them, then squeeze out the water.

I decided to re-hydrate some morel mushrooms also to add to them.
My brother in law is the great morel hunter and my sister in law sent me some last Christmas and I have been using them sparingly.  I also dices up onion, green pepper and added some bbq sauce.

As far as a meat substitute goes this was pretty good.  I made two tortilla wraps with them and have half left over which means I will find out how well it reheats.  A lot of people will say some meat substitutes have the consistency of chicken but I have to say this one is very very close.  With shipping included each bag is over $5 but for a non gmo product I don't think it's bad and I didn't regret my purchase.  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Baking and Carving

Homemade rolls for Sloppy Joe sandwiches the other night.  I am sorry I cannot find the link for the recipe, I thought I had saved it.  I started to carve a Hitty doll, from Rachel Field's  Hitty Her First Hundred Years.

Not that I needed another project.  I ordered a blank from ebay.

Balsa wood, I am glad it is a soft wood because my hands ached the first couple of days.  Her head and body are rounded out somewhat and I am just using a pocket knife.  At least she has a neck now.

I made her a dress from a pattern I found online to get more of a feel for her size.  It's getting there.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I have been making this bread for a while and it is a favorite of my husbands.  Two sandwiches a day make two loaves of bread go quick.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread:

2 cups warm water (110 F. degrees)
1/4 cup of honey
1 1/2 Tablespoons of yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons of vital wheat gluten
4 cups wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup or more of water if needed

Preheat oven to 350 F. degrees.
Dissolve honey in water and add yeast.  Let it foam then mix in salt and butter.  Add gluten, alternate white and wheat flour when you add.  Knead until smooth.  Add water if needed.  I keep this dough tacky, not sticky.  Place in a well oiled bowl, turn over and cover with oiled plastic wrap.  Let rise an hour.  Punch down, shape into 2 loaves and place in oiled pans and covered again with oiled wrap for half an hour.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  I brush with butter when it comes out. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Knitting Progress and Daily Life

We survived homecoming, the house was rolled twice.  We missed the deadline to register for  MS State open house for my high school junior but will book a private tour later on.  Other than that we are enjoying the cool weather and Cruising The Coast.  
I have been a knitting fool.  I started out with this basic beanie hat:

I have made more than one, some have already walked out the door.  This is the Nice and Knit Beanie.  This pattern is also available for free on the Ravelry website as well.  This will probably be my go to beanie pattern, simple enough for a beginner like me.  

My son wanted ear flaps on his so I found this pattern in a "learn to knit" box I have with various pattern cards:

I shorted the length of the seed stitch to make it a little more .... manly???   He likes it.

I cast on another sock.  I bought this book and extra long circular needle when I did not know how to knit and had no business buying it at the time but I dove in to Socks From The Toe Up by Wendy Knits:

I desperately needed help trying to cast on with a long circular needle so thankfully I found a YouTube video from someone who has the book and a long circular :  Judy's Magic Cast On.  

Not too bad so far!  

Knitting on tiny needles with thin yarn takes time.  I love to see the pattern emerge from self striping yarns.  I picked a basic pattern but may try something a little more difficult with the plain sock yarn I have.   I want to say this yarn is from Big City yarns but I lost the wrapper.  

Went food shopping and meat is on the rise again.   I went shopping two weeks ago and my spaghetti sauce was $.79 and now is $1.09.  This is just one example.  I am going to have to make sure I go once a month in the middle of the month from now on.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Piggyback post: Is Hunting Worth It?

American Grouch posted a great article Is Hunting Worth It?  Definitely worth a read.  In the past I have posted about deer season and the anticipation that surrounded being able to fill my freezer up with deer meat.  This was not always the case.  
For years a grew up with Walt Disney visions of Bambi filling my head.  The men in my family fished if anything.  I wasn't quite as bad as this:

I wasn't too far off though.  
The more I learned about factory farming and throw in all the different diet information that comes out everyday (eat meat, don't eat meat, eat eggs, stay away from eggs, etc.)  You can see how hunting was way back in my thought process.  I also grew up in Queens and you just didn't go out and hunt.  I was also told that girls didn't fish.  Yep.
So I did what most people do, I ate faceless meat.  I had wild game at friend's houses and was given some from time to time.  Then I married a man who's family were a ranching family and inherited a brother-in-law who is a farmer.  I had already cooked and eaten deer from his freezer.  The first year we were married he went out with the hunting party and brought in a deer.  Before they started processing he called me out to look at our deer.  Thankfully he tread carefully and I recognized the right of passage of some of the bloodied children and went to look at our deer.  He told me I didn't have to, but I did.  There wasn't a gaping wound or bloody mess.  Part of me did want to cry, but there was something else.  As I looked down and touched our deer I thanked him for feeding my family and hoped I was deserving of his life.  I think hunting, besides providing food, teaches you more of a reverence for life and death that feels different from when a loved one dies.  This happens daily, a living thing has given it's life for you. I could go into over population and other reasons why hunting is worth it but my statements above sum up why I think it is. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Needle in the Eye

Once when someone asked me if I knit, my response was I would rather stick a needle in my eye.  Well, I will have to retract that.  I have been crocheting many years, and have finally picked up needles.  Last year there was the Dr. Who scarf:

This had taken me quite a long time so I swore no more needles. I had also purchased a book on making socks that is collecting dust.  But then I picked up a booklet that teaches how to make socks.  I had to rip them out five times.  The last try I said the hell with it, I am knitting through no matter what and if they are funky, so what!  

They are a little wonky but usable and I did learn to make socks.  I also learned that a pattern that teaches how to knit socks really shouldn't have errors in it.   Right now I am working on a hat.

It is called the Nice and Knit Beanie.  Since it is just a hat and knitted in worsted it should work up quicker than the socks.  This has made me more confident to try the socks in this book:

Socks From The Toe Up by Wendy Knits.  This is the book that has been gathering dust.  My husband joked that it is a good thing that we didn't have to rely on my sock knitting to have socks because they would all have to share one sock and jump around on one foot by the time I made one pair.  Guess who isn't getting socks???

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


A while back a friend gave me a large pot she was getting rid of.  I filled it with dirt and forgot about it.  Not long ago I had a ginger root that sprouted in three places so I divided the root and planted and as you can see it is coming up nicely.  Water drips from the shed so it has water every morning.  How To Grow Ginger  is great article.  It gives me some satisfaction to know I am growing something.   

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Strike While The Iron Is Hot

A friend of mine is teaching herself to sew, with some help from me.  I bought her the pattern she wanted to try and picked up the Fall 2014 Fleece Concepts booklet from Hancock Fabrics.  This caught my daughter's eye:

This is all tied.  After a discussion she decided she did not want to make a duvet, just a cover, so I did not have to buy an additional 6 yards of fabric.   She also has a twin bed not a full one as pictured.   The printed fleece for this project is 70%  off ($3.29 yd).  The pattern book I bought at Hobby Lobby with a 40%  coupon ($6.49).  The pillow form was not on sale, so the total was $56.    Had I not bought the pillow it would have been $43.  This also includes an extra 2 yards for curtains.  I will still have some scraps left over to make additional things also.  Not too bad and it will give her bedroom a whole new look.  She was excited, so I wanted to get everything together before the next best thing came along.  
Sorry for lack of posting.  The kids are all back at school, which meant a ton of paperwork and running to the doctor for physicals and such.  We are still trying to settle into the new routine of this school year.  Middle son is driving so that makes things a little easier, one less to pick up, but more nerve wracking.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Just Wait 5 Minutes

It was hot, hot!   Then all of a sudden the skies opened up.

But before the rain there was bread:

Why I did not listen to my own intuition when the book said to slash and my brain said " Don't do that", is beyond me.  My dough dropped down to three inches, it was still fluffy and cooked through but it was gloriously risen before I took the knife to it.  
This is my second recipe from A World of Breads by Dolores Casella.  The name of this bread is My Good Father's Shepherd's Bread, isn't that a hefty title?  It is a monster of a bread!

BTW, the downpour lasted 5 minutes and it is hot, hot again.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I Saw The Sign

As you can see Seamus Cuddy (yes I named my statue), is a little wet but has had plenty of small snails to keep him company.  We have had quite a bit of rain which started last Wednesday and has kept up ever since.  I am not really complaining, everything is green and fluffy and I am sure I will wish for rain when the sun comes burning through.

Last week I noticed that a used bookstore opened up in town.   My daughter had a friend visit over the weekend and it turned out that her grandmother owned the bookstore and her mother works there. Since I had to drop her off there I took that as the stars were in alignment.  I walked away with a handful of books and you will be surprised to know only one cookbook.  I see more trips there in the future.  

A Word of Breads by Dolores Casella 1966.  Oh my gosh!  Bread recipes galore.  I was in bread heaven.  I flipped through and made her Onion Rye Bread p.80-81.  Very good!  I made DH a sandwich with it when he arrived from Missouri last night and he asked for another one made from it for lunch today.   With 294 pages of bread recipes it will take me a while to bake through this book but it tastes like a winner already.  I paid $3 for my copy but I think on Amazon used I have seen them for $.29.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Peg Loom Weaving

A while back I posted pictures of a rug in progress on my peg loom. After a year I have finally finished it.  Definitely a learning experience.  Here is my loom:

Purchased from Daisy Hill Handiworks.   Lynette is a doll to work with.   

I bought 3 cones of Sugar and Cream cotton yarn.  One solid color for the warp, hombre for the weft.  

I think I took so long, they discontinued the color.  I finally bucked up and finished.



All ends are woven in as not to tempt the cat.  

Tips I can give:

I had my loom made for me, with the smallest spacing, in the longest size.  If I want to use a thicker fiber I can just warp every other peg.

Using a single strand of yarn takes a long time to weave.  Double up or use a thicker material.

Cotton weft on a cotton warp is HEAVY.  If I had thought about it, I would have spaced it out by pushing the weft further down earlier on or used a material more able to handle the weight. 

It was so heavy that at the end the warp strings broke.  Not fun to deal with.  The rug is very compact because I was afraid of further breakage by pushing the weft down more.  

It is a pretty solid rug and I look forward to other projects on peg looms.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Quiet Memorial Weekend

My children asked to have guests over for a pizza party and we fired up the oven Friday.  I was busy rolling dough so I didn't take pictures but we did have some leftover dough the next morning so I made Zeppole.   It is the Italian version of Beignet.  Use half olive oil, half vegetable oil when you fry.  Just break off balls of dough, fry until puffed up and lightly browned, drain and dust with powdered sugar. 

Something so simple, it was a favorite on feast days and festival days.  Aqueduct Flea Market in Queens used to have a vendor that sold them. 

Monday, my husband slow smoked ribs on the PK grill using pecan wood.  While this may seem biased, they were the best ribs I have ever had.

War movies were on most of the weekend.  One of the more upbeat movies, and a favorite:

No Time For Sergeants

A pretty tame weekend.  If you have time, head over to Cowboys and Chuckwagons and read about Wagons for Warriors.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Rolling Around in My Brain

The USDA Warns of Sticker Shock, beef prices are rising at the start of grilling season.  Yes they are, pork has been on the rise also.

In reality, I think the people of the U.S. should all be vegan, we should be the first to lay down our arms and celebrate the fact that there will be a unified world order.  If we aren't doing anything wrong we should allow the government to track our every move and conversation.  

O.k.  you can laugh now, some of you I know needed a laugh.  Yes, prices are going up, we knew it was coming how come no one is paying attention.  As for the vegan remark, I was reading an older thread on a message board about vegans adding beef broth to their diet as a precaution so they would not be ill if we had a food system shut down.  What interested me the most about this conversation is that the majority felt that everyone would be out hunting meat.  Would there be enough meat for everyone?  Just a point to ponder.

I was thinking about how long it will take for all of us to be dumped into the Obamacare cesspool.  Which leads me again to think about food and health.  How sick would you want to be under Obamacare?  

Actually, I was taking a break from the news today when my husband gave a shout out about the USDA article.  Imagine my brain on a full news day lol. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

End of the Elementary Levels

Today my youngest is having his "Promotional Ceremony".  Next year he is off to the middle school.   I have children old enough to make me a grandmother but there is something final about not having one young enough to be in elementary school.  This is on the heels of my middle son getting his drivers license and my daughter getting her driving permit.  It goes by fast.

I did not plant this spring (again) but will plant some containers.  I am determined to get that shady bed ready by next month to plant for fall.  I was shamed by the beautiful garden that my neighbors have in the back.  The squirrels have dug up their corn twice now.  I have been working on my peg loom to finally finish up the rug I started last year.  I will post again tomorrow with some pictures.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Flowers to Fish....

My Calla Lilies, Trumpet Tulips, Bearded Iris',and my lemon tree are all making a come back. One of my white Amaryllis decided to bloom.  It may want to rethink that decision since we will go back into the 30's at night come Wednesday.  We have had tornado warnings, flash flooding and hail storms already so I can hardly wait to see what else April will bring.   

Now onto a more serious subject,  my mother could be turning into the crazy Betta fish lady of Walmart.  She now has 12 that she has rescued from the Blue Box Store hell (no she did not buy them all at once).  The cashiers ask her how to take care of them because they too feel sorry for the dying fish and a couple have been rescued by them as well.  

Here is the cat eyeing some of the line up:

Until they can reside in their new residence, there is no room at the Inn.  Going down the aisle another day one of them jumped in the cart to avoid the blank stare, belly up fate of it's companions. This one (and only one) is mine:

This is Panel C, killer fish.  He was rescued in order to celebrate my not having to go to Jury Duty because I was on Panel C.  So here he is, C for short, tuff guy with his pink and blue self.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Bread Also Rises

A long, cold winter is good for baking.  I did a lot of that.  Once upon a time I tried to turn into an artisan bread snob.   Which turned out worse than my even thinking about being a foodie.  I went from not being able to make a simple loaf of white bread to trying to grow mold...on raisins...under the full moon, etc.   Then there is feeding different starters.  It is a little like having a newborn in the house, the feedings are spaced out a little longer.  Baking bread, once enjoyable, became a chore.  Mold, which is easy to come by in the South, did not want to grow on raisins in my kitchen, and my starters were hit and miss and my bread was nothing to brag about for all the trouble.  I was on message boards with too many rules, the main one being no commercial yeast, and I needed chemistry lessons.  Not a bad thing, but I wanted to enjoy bread again.  It was with a homicidal heart that I ended the life of all but one of my starters.   It is all a matter of what works best, if I don't have yeast on hand, I use potato.  Most breads I make do not require starter.   I love to bake bread.

I joined a bread group and this book was all the rage:

After seeing pictures of breads made from the recipes of this Better Homes and Gardens 1973 edition book, I bought one (did you think anyone had to twist my arm on this?).   I shelled out $1 on Amazon used, plus shipping.   I love this book.

This is Pilgrims' Bread (pg. 61), made with white, wheat, rye, and cornmeal.  This double loaf recipe lasts quite a while.  

Best-Ever Muffins (pg. 87), were a hit as well and were made with the blueberries picked and frozen from last year. 

Hoagie rolls were not from the book, were from a shared recipe:

Amie's Sub/Hoagie Rolls

1 1/2 tsp. (about 1/4 oz) active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)

2 tsp. honey

2 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil

2 tsp. kosher salt

2 cups bread flour

2 cups all-purpose flour


In a small bowl, add honey to the warm water and stir to dissolve. Add yeast and let sit for 5 minutes, or until frothy/foamy. Add oil and stir to combine.

Combine salt and flours in a medium mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer, or by hand, add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Beat until smooth on medium speed. If dough is too wet, add a little more flour to make the dough soft.

On a lightly floured surface (or in the mixer bowl with bread hook), knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes.

Lightly grease a large bowl with a bit of oil and place dough into bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with dish towel and let rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set oven to 400 degrees.

Punch down dough and, on a lightly floured surface, divide into 8 balls. Shape each ball into a long oval, roughly the size of the hoagie roll you wish to make. Arrange long ovals on parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Cover again and let rise an additional 25 minutes. Brush on an egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Very good but because of the sodium content will not make very often.  

This was baked on the same day so since I had the oven going in went a lasagna:

I guess I should have made some Italian bread!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Has it Been That Long?

I guess so.  I would like to say all this exciting stuff has kept me from posting but it is just the day in and day out things.  It is nearing the end of the school year and there are so many things crammed into the end of the year and they are starting things up for next year also.  This winter has been something!  One day we are in the 70's and the next 36.  My son had gotten into the habit of wrapping the dog up in a blanket when he left for school.  I was able to take a picture of her on this occasion because the lazy thing slept like this for over two hours after he left, snoring the whole time:

Nothing like a crumpled pug picture.  I am already working on another post and will be back soon!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Why I Can't Be A Foodie

While I like to look, I know I can never be a foodie.  This was my breakfast:

Homemade bread, homemade jam, butter and tea.  My dishes matched by accident and this picture was taken with a simple crappy  camera, which I do not know how to use.

I do not own top of the line, snooty chef cookware or even disgraced chef cookware:

Just a simple stew made with white beans and kielbasa in my Wagner #10, with self basting lid thankyouverymuch , found at a flea market.  I do not have step by step pictures, and I don't even have a recipe.  It's one of those throw it in and hope for the best kind of dinners.  Definitely not a foodie.  I didn't need to search high and low for the ingredients either.  When I do think I want to try a recipe, and maybe take some step by step photos, something always goes wrong.  Take this recipe for Deer wurst from Big Food, Big Garden, Big Life.   Now you won't find it in the post which is called I Am In A Fine Mood, (I renamed it Deer wurst just click on the above link), you need to look in comments.  I was excited to find this since I usually have a supply of ground deer in the freezer.  So,  I took an ingredient picture:

Not one picture of it shaped or mixed.  But I have one of  it ready on a broiling pan to go into the oven:

And there you have it, why I can't be a foodie.  Do you notice what is missing?  The end result!  Was it good?  You bet!  I do have to thank Mr. and Mrs. Big Food for the recipe which was given to me by memory while they were away from home.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Expensive Winter

The heater I bought cheap cost about $75 to run for the month.  It did run daily in a room that doesn't get much heat. So I spent about as much as I saved for the heater.  I do regret not getting outside more, living in the South has turned me into a whiney mess during winter.  I have been picking up flannel sheets on sale to prepare for next winter. 
I have been doing a lot of window shopping online.  Here is what I look at:

Meh, no surprises there.