Thanksgiving Week

It’s that time of year, the week of Thanksgiving Dinner.

Preparations are under way via plans and gathering.

Tomorrow we’ll pick up the turkeys from Whole Foods Market, and the little things I have left to get at Costco and Publix.

Monday night will be the last dinner we actually “make” before Thanksgiving Dinner.

So today and tomorrow will be time for making bread for stuffing and going out for things and making one last dinner. Then Tuesday the big cooking, the turkey and stuffing, gravy. Out of the way, sliced, packaged, packaged, packaged. Done.

Wednesday prepping for Thursday, pies, and other things.

So Tuesday and Wednesday the oven will be in use, leftovers and frozen stuff will be meals, fit in when can, eventually.

Thursday getting ready for dinner will mostly be putting together sides, lots of oven use, and then getting the gravy nice and hot, turkey warmed up, stuffing too.

It’ll be a busy week, tiresome, and fun. Thanksgiving is the beginning of the feeling of SEASON’S GREETINGS!

EW30EF65GSA Troubled Again

I did a small cleaning cycle in my Electrolux (EW30EF65GSA) main oven last week, and the inner glass cracked. Ouch. I could have used it still, but I have enough problems with racks in it, I wasn’t going to deal with it until I could replace the glass.

My glass replacement is out for delivery, I’ll be fixing the door today, fingers crossed that it goes well.

Both my glide racks are messed up. They don’t slide/glide at all, I can barely get them into the oven or out of it sometimes. I worked on one the other day, and made it work to put into and take out of the oven smoothly. I have to keep looking at the side piece with the spring on the right side the oven has felt too hot, and that is the side of my one rack that is overly browned and stuck, the other side is still silver and smoothly working. The glide doesn’t work because of, yes, that same right side.

The cost to replace these glide racks is too high. Just getting them insert/removable is all I can do with my old ones, so that’s that.

This stove has been driving me crazy. It’s too modern, glide/electric everything, motherboards, and all I have ever really wanted is a good enough gas standalone stove/oven.

Preparing Bread for Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing

Onion Bread in the oven

I’m prepping for roasting my turkey tomorrow, ahead of Thursday. This allows me to make the gravy and slice the turkey, get all the turkey packaged and into the refrigerator, only having to re-heat turkey in gravy for Thursday’s dinner. That means having all the other time on Thursday to make the rest of the meal.

Wednesday is Pie day. Tradition.

Today I am making onion bread, egg bread, and whole grain spelt bread. Currently onion bread is in the oven, egg bread is on it’s last bowl rise, and spelt whole grain is soaking in buttermilk.

Onion Bread in the oven
Onion Bread in the oven

Egg Bread Rising in Bowl
Egg Bread Rising in Bowl

Whole Grain Spelt & Whole Grain Spelt Flour in Buttermilk
Whole Grain Spelt & Whole Grain Spelt Flour in Buttermilk

What is all this bread for? Stuffing the turkey, of course! I love stuffing. In The Bird Stuffing is heaven.

I usually put raisins in it, sometimes walnuts too. Start with onion and celery in butter, then add rubbed sage, oh the scents are incredible! Chicken stock, some sea salt, a couple of eggs (wisked in), any other things I want added, then the bread sliced into cubes and added, mixed around, stuffed into the bird, rest into a casserole.

Pans; Cookware

My older cookware is what I mostly use now. It had been in storage, but has a few pieces that work well for our current stove, thick disc flat bottoms.

I’d gotten that cookware, Sitram, in the 2000’s, but got NEW cookware when we got this Electrolux glass top stove. The new stuff was OK, good, at first, but the most used pieces end up getting rounded on the bottom when hot and some have held that shape, some are more round, and a few just uneven and ugh it’s a pain. [Plus I don’t think it’s good to cook with that variety of cookware condition.]

What that means is my pot rack is fuller than full and I still don’t have as many pans as I want to work with. That newer bad stuff is in the back and I avoid it mostly, others in my family use it sometimes to cook something, though I do most of the actual “cooking” as well as controlling the pans one uses to cook something for the family.

My biggest fry/sauce pan is actually a Costco pan, and it’s just about the same as my Sitram pans, just a tad beefier, lovely thick flat bottom disc and metal lid.

My newer pans have glass lids with metal rims: all of this stuff, my newer and older lids, work pretty good with all the different pans. That’s the one saving grace.

Categorized as My Kitchen

Range is fixed. Need new cookware.

We had someone come in to fix our EW30EF65GSA Range.

Our Electrolux Stove is out of commission

We needed a new Relay Board, and I was sick of trying to fix it. Another thing is they said the power wasn’t hooked up correctly. Quizzical since it was installed by installers and the power cord was separate then, but brand new, they hooked it up. It worked all this time, nothing changed but all of the sudden the front right burner just changed. So the first visit, they fixed the electrical connection, and voila, the front right burner wasn’t “ON” all the time anymore, but the Relay Board wasn’t right, and the burner’s inner ring wasn’t working. (Before that, the whole thing was ON red hot, so this is odd, to me.)

They came back on Saturday, and now it all works again. Maybe better than before. Haven’t determined whether or not that is so.

I have a few kinks to get out though, still missing one halogen light in the oven, so expensive! The upper one stopped working in the first couple of years.

The oven racks are, or were, lovely — but have become cratchety old ladies. They need limbered up, and re-aligned in some way. No way I’m ordering new ones when they are over $180 each. Ouch!

I’d love to get a new glass top, but that’s something I can’t yet find, nor can convince my husband of the necessity, though that time is coming sometime. It’s all scratched up and there is a deep pocket of missing glass on the front right burner, yes a chunk gone and no one knows how or why or when it happened, just in the last few months. No one claims to have done it, or witnessed it or anything so… I know it was a mystery to me when I discovered it already there.

I do want a new set of cookware. The stuff we have is old now, we got it when the range was new. It’s flat bottom stuff, but junk for a glass top stove. It warps as it gets hot, so misshapen and the mess of the stove top state…

Flat Disc sort of cookware is what I want/need, at least something that will NOT warp.

I really want to use Cast Iron, but won’t unless I have a flame to cook over. I don’t have a gas stove, but truly it’s the ultimate cooking device and I don’t have one. No gas line to the community we are in, and the other method to obtain gas, husband isn’t convinced of, so electric is the only way and if I had to get another stove I think I’d quit cooking, end of story.

I hate flat top cooking surfaces, I hate coils. I hate them so much, have ALWAYS loved flame and so I am destined to always have what I don’t want, I guess.

It’s the week of Christmas 2015!

Less than a week until Christmas means more baking, more cleaning, more, more, more …

I made a batch of Snickerdoodles yesterday. I also made up a double batch of Tollhouse Cookies, but didn’t bake them, my daughter did.

I want to make a chewy molasses cookie, snowballs (russian tea cakes), and so many more cookies.

An old favorite of mine, not a cookie, a savory snack, Olive Cheese Balls. A simple cheddar, flour, melted butter dough wrapped around a pimento stuffed olive, the small variety.  I really love this during the Christmas holiday, but no one else is a fan. Quite disappointing.

So this time I will make them, but ahead, freeze, and only bake enough at a time. Then I can enjoy them longer, or maybe someone else will end up liking Olive Cheese Balls.

That brings me to oh, I should make a Cheddar Cheese Ball too. Previously talking about the Olive variety, that is a flour, butter, and cheese dough, and baked, while a Cheddar ball is cheeses, and more, not baked. 🙂 Pimento Cheese is another idea to employ. I would highly prefer to make it, never buy it again. Super Grin at that.

Things that need to get done make it harder this year. We had an old piano sitting in the house, moved it out recently, and now the bare floor needs worked on. We have about 3 rows of hardwood to put in. We did one yesterday. Hopefully we can swing the rest of it today. That is where the Christmas tree, awaiting our beckon, is going to be. It’s in the garage for now.

Only so many days left, not that many, but I hope to get the feeling akin to “it’s working”, sense the magic.

Culture, still haven’t gotten any

The last regular post I wrote on this site was about Culture, in February. It’s now nearing the end of August and I haven’t put a bit more of time into obtaining any sour dough or any other cultures.

I’m very unhappy with myself about my non-action, and will try to redeem the situation very soon. I don’t mean try, I mean, do it.

Culture Talk

I’ve been thinking about doing more with bread again. I stopped making my own spelt sponges quite awhile ago. I need to get a proper sourdough starter. I’m making that my objective to complete in the next couple of weeks.

[I do not want to “attempt” to make my own BTDT it’s not for me.]

Another thing is something I used to do with cream and milk. Piima culture  is really nice with raw milk. It’s pretty easy to use, but I was struggling in my house to find the right place for my starter to work since we changed things so much the past several years. I want to get back on track with that.

Another thing is croissants. I don’t like anything but a really well made one. Homemade … I attempted it long ago, in the 2000’s when internet recipes and comparison tools were NOT as they are now. It was wild and crazy, but I made them, tasty, wonderful but I’d never go through that again. Of course there are much better instructions online nowdays. It’s a peculiar bread, it must be folded with butter to laminate the layers to create the perfectly edible croissant at home. Starting with the right ingredients for the dough is key. I’ll get this going sometime soon as well.

The Holidays are approaching!

The weather is cooler and the calendar is now showing November. Time to start thinking about a birthday and Thanksgiving, which are usually entwined to some degree more or less, this year the least of ever, with Thanksgiving being so late (compared to normally.)

My husband is tasked with finding a nice FRESH Pastured Free-Range Turkey.

I need to go through things and make plans for ingredients I need to get, replace, restock, etc. I have pumpkin already. I still have some from last year too.

I’ll need to be prepped for Thanksgiving soon, so that I can get fully into my daughter’s birthday. Usually hers is right before or right after, and this year is odd, I have a few days for preparations in-between.

I was on Google just now searching images of free-range turkey’s and what do you know, down the page a bit, there’s my turkey from 2012, not exactly what I wanted back then, but it worked out. It’s not the kind of picture I’m looking for to put in this post though 🙂

I should make some whole spelt bread this week, and dice it up, put it into a freezer bag and freeze it. That’ll be the base of my stuffing for the turkey. I’ll have another small loaf of white spelt bread, which is easier to make so I’ll do that another time.

I should get out a notebook and make lists and more (I can’t go digital, no matter what, I always need a pen and paper. FWIW)

Help! It’s dinner time and I have no idea what to make!

I need ideas for more meals. I am in a rut. Always the same old thing. I’m really picky as to what to have though, not usually having much energy to actually make much of a meal for dinner anymore either. I want simple from scratch things, no mushrooms. No fish or seafood.

Not that I haven’t changed things up at all. I have. I have done some different things over the years, making something new of something old, finding something online that inspired me to make something else from something else as well.

I get sick of chicken breasts and ground chuck.

Sometimes I have whole chickens to roast, but that’s just once or twice a month. Otherwise it’s just ground up beef or boneless chicken breasts. Occasional bone-in pork chops, as well as cubed steaks (which always require a fussier amount of time to prepare, the 3-ways I use them.)

So I’m totally bored with food of late. It’s troublesome, considering we have to eat every day.

Categorized as My Kitchen

Rain; Migraine; Cheeseburger Macaroni

It’s been raining a lot lately. Thunderstorms, warnings, flash flood watches, etc.

Last year it was like this around now. Both in 2012 and this year we had rain on the 4th of July, but windows of no rain opened up to let us do our fireworks in the evening. That is so awesome!

July is the mid-point of the year. Both my husband and I were born in July. I consider it a really good month since it was the only month always free and clear of school entirely, so summer, so holiday and so free.

The promise of the rest of the year being great is ahead. Nothing is impossible.

I have had a migraine since yesterday. I woke up with signs of it on the 4th and battled it all day. I had it well enough beat down to function outside with the fireworks (the most fun there is!) but was miserable afterward.

I was able to get to sleep after midnight, woke up sometime after 7AM. Didn’t feel so bad, took some meds (over-the-counter) just in case. Get up, get coffee, within a half hour, here it comes rearing it’s ugly head again. It wasn’t gone. It was backbuilding.

I felt so sick and miserable all morning. Nothing touched it. I forced myself to eat some macaroni and cheese and felt SOME better, getting an appetite for it as it heated up. Otherwise I had hardly eaten anything all yesterday and today.

I was still battling it later on this morning and into the afternoon, but now that it’s early evening I feel much better, but I do feel sensitive and like it’s only letting me catch my breath. I need to find more meds. Then hopefully it’ll let me eat dinner, my  recipe:

It’s really good. My daughter is making it (for the first time all by herself, for me.) Thank you!

This is why I put some recipes on this blog. I need to do more of them.

Chicken Parmesan – Mother’s Day 2013

Mother’s Day yesterday was alright. I got two gift cards, one for Michael’s and one for Best Buy.

I also was given a LEGO set, Iron Man 3 –> attack at sea or something. I could do better with the set name, but I just don’t care right now. I built it last night. I like the missle firing setup in the boat. It’s not the best set though, and just something that makes me think I must have fallen asleep at the movie. I really can’t come up with a scene to go with the set.

Uh oh.

Anyhow, pickings for food are on the slim side, haven’t gone food shopping a lot of late, so whatever is in the freezer has been what we have been making. So it’s Mother’s Day, I ended up doing the most of the cooking. Figures.

My husband used to cook the dish we had, no problem way back. I still have the same recipe book he used back then. It didn’t help. He did do some of it, but it was rather sub-par and so I had to be involved.

Chicken Parmesan

I prefer the advanced method for coating the chicken breasts. (Many recipes use a lesser method)

Dip the chicken into flour, thoroughly coating it.

Dip the chicken into egg/milk mixture, thoroughly coating it.

Put the chicken breast into bread crumbs, thoroughly coating it, carefully placing it in a hot pan with olive oil to brown on each side, then carefully put on a platter, add the sauce to the pan, heat that up and then put the chicken breast into the sauce until “done” then cover with shredded mozzarella and top with grated Pecorino Romano.

As for sauce, just a good marinara. I make it from scratch, canned tomatoes, olive oil, onions, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley, sea salt. Sometimes I’ll add a bottle of pureed tomato. Depending on what kind of tomatoes, whole, diced, crushed, it needs to cook longer or shorter amounts of time. I cook it until the colour is a deep red (loses that fresh blood red colour.)

I’ll post a recipe of this, more formal, when I get that made up.

Thanksgiving Prep 2012 Free Range Turkey

Free Range turkey in the oven

The turkey is in the oven. Free Range Young Turkey, stuffed with my own stuffing made from white spelt bread (which I made yesterday) cut into small cubes, then dried. I used onion and celery cooked until soft in 2 sticks of butter, then 1 1/2 quarts of chicken stock, 2 eggs, a bunch of raisins, dried cranberries, an apple cut into slices then thirds. Of course the parsley, sage, and sea salt (no true measurements.)

Stuffing is ready for the bird

Categorized as My Kitchen

Thanksgiving Prep 2012

It’s the holiday season!

Christmas Cactus getting ready to bloom

Today I need to do some more preparations for the upcoming holiday. Wow! That’s tomorrow! I haven’t done as much as I had wanted to by now. I have a totally non-me turkey.

Frozen Turkey

I didn’t get one pre-ordered, hubby was going to and didn’t. He got me a frozen turkey from Earth Fare. Not my thing, de-frosting a turkey.

I want Organic Pastured Fresh Turkey’s. They are find-able, in grocery stores or off the farm. Just have to get one. That fell off of my radar that it wasn’t something to easily get. I figured I was safe. Well, next time I’ll order from the net.

I made a nice loaf of white spelt bread yesterday. That will be used for the stuffing (in the bird.) I’ll also use apple and raisins, celery, sage, onion, sea salt, eggs, and chicken stock.

I actually like roasting the turkey ahead, slicing and packaging away in the fridge. Making the gravy at the same time, containers filled and into the fridge as well. On the day I put gravy and turkey into casserole dishes, then into a warm oven until hot. Other gravy gets hot on the stove in a saucepan. The stuffing re-heats in casserole dishes in the oven too.

That’s what I usually try to do. I don’t think it’s going to work that way, well, not sure. I’m not in the MOOD to roast that turkey today, might as well wrestle with it tomorrow.

Eggnog. My best friend in the holiday season. Spiked or not.

Two Kinds of Eggnog

I should make the pies today. I try to usually get the turkey stuff done on a Monday or Tuesday, then the pies the day before. Usually that feels great. Most of the weighty tasks done already, freedom to make the pies without the worry of turkey wrestling. That is not my lot this year. I have much work in my future.

So other things to make are Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Glorified Cauliflower. Those are all done on Thanksgiving Day. What Thanksgiving Dinner isn’t complete though without Cranberry Sauce? I just prefer this cool tangy smooth stuff.

Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce

So I probably won’t sleep well the night before, that’s tonight. Great. 🙁

On Taco’s and Farmers Breakfast

We are having Taco’s for dinner tonight. I’m not making them, the children are. I have recipes on this site, things I make up, and they use either that, or a printout of it to make dinner.

This is the recipe link …

We still make it the same way, only I have a preference for pure ANCHO chili powder instead of “any old mix of chili and spices that is sold as ‘chili powder’ ” Ancho is a type of chili, not a brand.

I also put a healthy dose of Tabasco sauce in for a bit more zip. As time goes on we’ve grown to LOVE Tabasco sauce in Taco’s as well as in a breakfast that I call “farmers breakfast” which I am not sure if I’ve written it down in a post here or not. — I’ll have to write it down, it’s not something I’ve posted the recipe for (though I know my son did on his blog 😉 )

It’s something that my eldest son and I enjoy having every so often, not every day, nor every other day. Basically something that many would have a problem with: potatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, butter, sea salt, tabasco sauce, eggs, cream, tabasco sauce, tabasco sauce, and cheddar cheese. So it’s something we really like, and others would think “How strange for breakfast, garlic?!!” Yeah! 🙂

I’ll post a link here when I write a new post for it.

Roast Chicken & Stuffing

I’m roasting two organic chickens right now, stuffed with white spelt bread stuffing.

The stuffing is my own recipe.

I made a loaf of bread in my Cuisinart bread machine on Friday for this purpose. 3+ cups of White Spelt Flour, 1 1/2 tsp. yeast, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp. Honey, 1 egg, 1 tsp. salt, 3 Tbsp. butter. I added more flour as needed for the dough. I used the 1. White Bread setting, med. loaf size and med. browning.

The loaf was perfect, so much so I wished I had made it for sandwiches, but so it goes.

I’ll try to make it again and get the same result for other uses later.

I cubed the bread using a bread knife after the loaf cooled down, then put the cubes into a gallon freezer bag. I put that into a deep drawer until I needed it for the stuffing.

Today I diced 1 sweet onion, melted 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter in a large saucepan, added the onion and let that simmer until softened. I also put in some celery seed (I guess about 2 tsp.) and a lot of dried rubbed Sage (1/4 cup or more!) then the bread cubes and a pint of Chicken Stock. Stirred it around well.

A little more than half of that fit into the chickens. The rest will be baked in a casserole dish later.

I didn’t add any salt to the stuffing since the bread was nice bread and I used commercial Organic Chicken Stock. To the out of the bird stuffing I did just add a little bit of sea salt, and a large handful of raisins and half an apple chopped. That’ll bake until it’s done.

I’ll make chicken gravy using more Organic Chicken Stock, butter & flour, and sea salt to taste. Basmati Rice, and either peas or green beans.

We’ll also have white spelt yeast rolls, thanks to my daughter taking over that duty. She does an excellent job making clover leaf rolls, as I used to do when I was a teenager too. 🙂

Cinnamon Muffin Cake – Recipe

On January 9 I posted about Muffin Cake. Today I am recreating that process of making muffins (ha ha!) on purpose.

2/3 c. butter, melted
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. milk

3 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

Sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside.

Put the sugar and eggs into a mixer bowl, then slowly increase speed and mix until smooth. Melt the butter and on slow speed drizzle the butter into the egg/sugar mixture. Mix well on a faster speed. Add the milk a little at a time, mixing well.

On a low speed add the dry sifted ingredients and mix gently until all the dry in incorporated into the milk/sugar/egg/butter mixture.

Butter a 13×9 pan, pour the batter evenly into the pan, pushing into all the corners using a silicone spatula.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 to 40 minutes or until done (cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean)

Muffin Cake

I was making muffins for breakfast yesterday morning and then something happened which made me hand the process off to my daughter. I was going to write the recipe down on an index card, but I got distracted by the other thing, and then my husband and I had to go to homedepot for the thing, so I wasn’t there when she put the recipe together. I’d gone over what I had done and what needed done (with her) but she goofed up and when I was there, I saw and flipped out (as I do when she’s got a great handle on what’s going on in the kitchen and goofs up anyhow.)

Finally I was able to tell her what to do to make it work (hopefully.) It did work, but it was almost a huge problem.

I had taken a recipe, and doubled it. I have showed my daughter how to double something, she has known for some years now, practiced it fine oft times. This time though, she took the ingredients and did everything right, except for the milk. She doubled the DOUBLED amount. Original amount was 1/2 cup. I don’t mess up that way (yes, other ways, not that way though!) and it’s part of what I need to do with all the children, go over measurements and fractions again, every so often.

So what did she end up doing? I had her put it into a 13×9 pan and bake it as a cake. It turned out well enough. We could do it on purpose, or not. Well, it’s something else she goofed up, I like to put cinnamon in the batter, and she added all that milk before the cinnamon, so she didn’t get the cinnamon into it, just sprinkled it on top, which isn’t the same effect when it’s baked as having it inside is. Even with it that way, it was good.

This isn’t a recipe. If I want to experiment I just might do so with this process and come up with a good recipe to post. Later of course.

Chocolate Syrup

Makes 1 Qt. chocolate syrup (4-cups)

1 1/2 cups Cocoa
2 3/4 cups Rapadura (experiment with more or less, or substitute another sweetener)
1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
2 cups Spring Water (or filtered)
4 tsp. Vanilla (REAL vanilla, not imitation)

Combine everything except for the Spring Water and Vanilla into a medium saucepan. Gradually add the Spring Water to the dry mixture in the pan, stirring well, until smooth.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and once at the boiling stage allow the mixture to cook for at least 3 minutes (all the while stirring!) You can cook it longer if you prefer the syrup thicker. [I have used double the water once, and let it simmer for a long time to thicken, getting rid of the extra water, and it turned out really nice, without stirring it the whole time, though I’d not recommend doing this!]

Remove the sauce pan from the heat and stir in the Vanilla. Pour into a clean container that has a sealing lid. Like a wide-mouth Quart Jar (canning supplies) and allow to cool, uncovered. Once cool, cover well and refrigerate.

Use to make chocolate milk of whatever dark or light version is your preference. Also good as an ice cream topping. Yummy over homemade vanilla ice cream!