Category: My Kitchen (page 2 of 4)

Thanksgiving & Next Day Birthday Over

Thanksgiving Day went well. It was chilly but sunny in the morning, warmed up but not too much during the day, staying Sunny all day.

We had dinner later than I had wanted to. My hubby got me playing Warhawk in the morning and I quit when I realized it was 12:08pm and got going on getting things done.

Even with the turkey done ahead, and the stuffing … I had to make cheese sauce, white sauce, gravy (meant to do it ahead, but didn’t get to it) and cauliflower, green bean casserole, cook sweet potatoes, peel and cut into pieces and make a brown sugar syrup to candy them with. Also had potatoes to cook and mash. Then get out the turkey and stuffing and re-heat.

It was a big feast. We had cloverleaf rolls, my almost 13-year-old daughter got that done with my supervision. Getting all that done and ready to be served at the same time isn’t HARD just complex and tedious to a degree of, it takes kitchen talent to pull it off.

So I was pooped after all that. I made whipped cream to go with the pumpkin pie later that evening.

The next morning I had to get up and get things going for the birthday that day. I make banners for each child, put on the fireplace … they expect it now, and it has to be good πŸ˜‰ I had one nearly ready, but I hadn’t connected all the pieces to hang yet. So I finally decided what to do, and struggled with it as the eyelets I was using just weren’t playing nice with me. Augh! I got it done, it wasn’t fully the best it could have been, but that’s more my own criticism of my own project more than anything.

I made a yellow layer cake with very chocolate buttercream frosting, with chocolate curls (from a container of drinking chocolate curls I have) all over the top and at the base of the cake all around. On the sides I put Pearls in an offset pattern. It was nice, not perfect, I wasn’t going for perfection, but it sure did look nice. I took time to put the pearls on, it was tedious feeling, but really didn’t take much time considering everything. It’d be worth it to put more oomph into it another time.

My daughter loved her presents and the cake was really good and the homemade ice cream (which I made the day before Thanksgiving Day.) It was a good day. We had turkey quesadillas for supper, and played Monopoly after that, with cake after that.

It was all fun, but I’m glad it’s all over for this year. It’s less than a month to Christmas Day, and I have MORE to do! At least it’s awhile until some of it, and some of it longer, but lots of it more necessary for sooner than later, just not all of it. Phew!

Thanksgiving Day 2011 Menu

Today we are having:

Turkey: Roasted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 – Free Range Organic Fresh turkey from Whole Foods Market. Sliced, chunks, etc. Vacuum sealed that night, refrigerated. Will put the turkey into French White casserole dishes along with some gravy, and re-heat in the oven.

Gravy: I saved the juices from the turkey I roasted on Tuesday. Today I am making gravy, right now a light version to use for the turkey re-heating. In a little bit I’ll make a “darker” version, more turkey juices and also make the roux browner. This will then stay warm/hot until dinner.

Mashed Potatoes: Peel, quarter and boil later. Drain, fork mash a bit, then put into KA Mixer bowl with paddle and beat with butter and sour cream and salt. Change to Wire Whip and turn to highest speed for 3 minutes. Put into a casserole dish and dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika, put into warm oven until dinner (one of the last things to make.)

Stuffing: Already made, inside the Roasted turkey on Tuesday. This is in a French White casserole and will be re-heated when the turkey is in the oven today for dinner.

Cauliflower: an organic whole head of cauliflower, will steam in an inch of water just a bit before dinner. To go over it will be a cheddar cheese sauce, which I’ll make soon, and warm it up for pouring over the cauliflower before served.

Green Beans: GB Casserole made soon, from scratch (except for the onion thingies) put into lower oven to slow bake/keep warm.

Sweet Potatoes: Parboil/steaming them first (right now) and will peel and candy, maybe in the oven, or on the stove, not sure.

Rolls of some sort, homemade, need to get some stuff into the bread machine to make the dough (easiest way to make something when lots to do)

I guess that’s all. I mean, to cook.

Thanksgiving Day Dinner 2011


Roasted Free Range Organic Turkey in Turkey Gravy

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Free Range Organic Turkey Gravy

White Spelt Onion, Sage, Raisin in the Bird Stuffing

Glorified Cauliflower

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Homemade from Fresh Candied Sweet Potatoes

Organic Cold Cranberry Jelly Slices

Homemade Spelt Yeast Butter Rolls


Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

Today started nice and chilly. Sunny, clear blue skies. Frost on rooves, grass, tops of things. Very Autumn-Thanksgiving-Like.

Temps are said to be getting to 66 F. later, we’ll see. Hope not. It’s been too warm lately. Cooler air came in late afternoon yesterday.

This morning I made cinnamon pastry with left over pastry dough (pie crust pastry.) I rolled out a piece to a basicly thin thickness to fill the size of a large cookie sheet, not tailored, just rolled out unconstrained in shape. I melted some butter and with a brush spread it over the dough. Then using 10x sugar and cinnamon mixed together I sprinkled the buttered dough generously, then using the back of a large spoon gently pressed the sugar/cinnamon and smoothed it out to totally cover all areas. Baked at 325 degrees F. (convection) in the oven for about 10 minutes, give or take.

I took another piece of left over pastry dough and rolled it out extremely thin. I used softened (but not melted) butter, spread all over the dough, then sprinkled the same sugar/cinnamon as above over everything. I didn’t shape this one particularly either, but I knew I wanted to roll it up jellyroll style, so it was wider one direction from the other. So taking the dough as a jellyroll, on the long side rolling the dough until fully rolled up, sealing the edge by pinching the dough gently. Cut about every 1-inch, place on cookie sheet cut side down. I baked these in the same oven as above, same time, approximately a couple more minutes though. (Took first pastry piece out, cut it, then looked at the “rolls” and left them in another minute or so.)

Both versions were so good! Flaky as the day is long, as much as someone is flaky too πŸ˜‰

Both were different, though made from same ingredients, just like pasta in different shapes.

This is the recipe:

Pastry Dough

For enough dough to make 2 generous pie crusts

Put 3 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, 1/4 tsp. baking power (non-aluminum) into food processor, pulse a few times to mix well. Add 10 tablespoons of cold butter cut into pieces (1 stick plus 2 tablepoons) and pulse to food processor to mix the butter with the flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Then sprinkle cold water over the top of the mixture and pulse the food processor several times to mix. You will need 5-8 tablespoons of water. Start with half, or 4 tablespoons, then add more water up to the limit as needed. You are looking for a texture that is thick, holds together when pressed. Don’t over process! You are not looking for one large lump, nor anything close to that. The less processing the lighter, flakier your dough will be. If you want it dull, heavy, coarse, tough, process it over and over and over and again and again. So don’t do that, just do enough, (a few pulses at a time, less at a time as you go forward) until you get what water is needed in the mixture to form a dough that isn’t sticky nor is dry.

Sounds more complicated than that. But it’s not. Put the mixture on a clean surface and gather into two pieces, rounds that you flatten into discs (makes it easy to roll out later for a pie crust) wrap in plastic and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Roll out on a floured surface, flour your rolling pin too.

Form and bake your crusts as any others for any pies or whatever you have, whatever is normal.

When I make pies I flute the edges by taking my index finger on the right, pushing the edge of the dough from the inside of the pie pan towards the outside, very gently, and taking my left hand and using my thumb and index finger very gently pinching the dough around my right index finger, and releasing. It makes and lovely edge to do that all around.

Here’s a photo of the pies that I made yesterday afternoon. Photo from this morning. They cooled and were covered with plastic wrap and in the fridge overnight. I meant to take a picture of just the crusts, and then filled with pumpkin mixture before baked, but I didn’t. πŸ™

Pumpkin Pies 2011

Pumpkin Pies 2011

I’ll be getting my dinner plan ready in a bit, just not yet. I’ll make a new post for that.

Two days until Thanksgiving – Prep Plan

Today is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2011. The day after T-day is a birthday, my daughter will be 13!

Today I need to make the stuffing, then stuff the Free Range Organic Fresh Turkey (15+ lbs.) and roast it in my Electrolux oven on Perfect Turkey setting with the probe.

Then start the gravy making a roux or two (light and dark, for instance) and finish it after the turkey is done, taking the drippings and using chicken stock.

The stuffing will go into freezer bags, then into the fridge until Thanksgiving Dinner time. (It’ll be heated in Corning Ware French White casserole dishes with lids or foil over the top in the oven.)

The Free Range Organic ROASTED Turkey will be allowed to cool, then it will be carved and the different types of parts will be put into Food Saver bags and processed (vacuum sealed) and put into the fridge until Thanksgiving Dinner time. (The turkey slices, (and chunks) will be put into different oven vessels with gravy (covered) to be heated in the oven.)

More gravy will be heated on the stove top (I make lots and lots of gravy for this holiday!)

Tomorrow will be Wednesday, and that is Pie Day. I try to always make the pies the day before. I need to rummage up all my pie dishes and figure out if I need a new one or now. My grandma’s pie plate broke a few years ago. It was one of the worst days of my life. It was an 8-inch wide Fire King – so pretty, deep dish, and so historical for me: it was my grandmas from way back. She died in the early 70’s, it was hers for I don’t know how long, but I’d always known it. It just suddenly fell apart one day (not on it’s own, mind you.) It wasn’t treated right at that time, dropped by someone not authorized to touch it. Anyhow, it broke horribly and I screamed and screamed and screamed and felt so sick about it. I still feel that way.

So then, pumpkin pies and I don’t know what else.

On the day I’ll make rolls of some kind. Last year I was so organized and full of good things, it was the double holiday on 1 day year (every so often the stars align …) I made what became known at the time as 1-up Mushroom Rolls and Tom-Kitten Rolls. I’d forgotten that until I read my post-thanksgiving/birthday blog post from last year this morning. I don’t know if I’ll make any of those for this Thanksgiving, but I’ll have to remember to re-tool the ideas and get them made on purpose some times.

I’ll have yams or sweet potatoes, canned, and I’ll candy them on the stove top (Candied Yams.) I’ll make a Cheddar Cheese Sauce, with that and cauliflower I’ll make Glorified Cauliflower. The obligatory Green Bean Casserole will also be made. (Green Beans, Chicken Flavored White Sauce, Fried Onions.)

I used to make the turkey on Thanksgiving Day, but found it too much with a birthday nearby since 1998, plus my hubby isn’t a good carver so it’s a task best done by me beforehand. It makes everything so much easier to spread the things that need done into the days before the holiday, then on the day it’s reheating and making the veggy things.

Oh, of course, the mashed potatoes. Can’t forget them. I LOVE them with Turkeys and Beef Roasts (and gravy from the particular bird/meat) I love them how I make them. The main secret is, forget any method but using a big Kitchen Aide Stand mixer (or something like it) and first put cooked potatoes into the KA bowl, use a fork to break them up some first, then put the paddle attachment and bowl on the KA Mixer and turn to stir and add salt, butter and sour cream, turn the speed up to 6, allow to mix for 3 minutes. Turn off, scrape the sides, put the wire whip attachment on the KA Mixer and turn the speed to stir, then slowly up to full speed, and leave it to whip for 3 full minutes. Voila! Wonderful Mashed Potatoes!

These work well then to be put into an oven-able serving dish and dot with butter, sprinkle with paprika and stick in a warm-hot oven until ready to serve (not an oven that is baking or roasting something, but this should be done when stuffing and turkey and green bean things are already heated and being held to stay warm.

This is then when the veggy other things for the stove top can be made, and then everything is ready to be served without feeling like it’s killing you. πŸ™‚

The one thing I like and most of us here do, is canned Cranberry Sauce, jellied variety. It’s tart and sweet and cool and smooth and whoa! What a combination with turkey and gravy and stuffing and … oh so good! It says THANKSGIVING! It pulls it all together, makes the most Thankful statement that can be. All the stuff without it is good, OK and all that, but not the same without that cranberry jellied cold smooth tartness. πŸ™‚

Roasted Chicken w/stuffing

I’m going to make some chickens for dinner today. They are Organic fryers. I use two, we eat as much as we want, and use the leftover chicken for whatever, another meal or something.

I love stuffing and I think I’ll make up some today. It’s simple, use Chicken Stock, herbs, bread, onion … very simple (just as it is at Thanksgiving, just on a larger scale)

Wash the chickens inside and out, pat dry. Put some pieces of butter under the skin of the chicken, this sort of thing is traditional, documented elsewhere if you need the help (not here, elsewhere.)

Lightly stuff the chicken cavities with the bread stuffing. Don’t pack it in. If there’s any left you can put it in a casserole and bake it for about 30 minutes. (My favorite though is always the “in the bird” stuffing.)

Roast the birds at 350 degrees F. as long as needed for their size as well as the additional time needed since they are stuffed. Using a Meat thermometer is a great idea. (There are many ways of checking done-ness in a bird, knowing the methodology is wonderful, experience with it even better, so get started if you haven’t yet. Chickens are not hard, easy, just a tad fussy to pick the bones afterward to get all the meat, but it’s not hard.)

When the chickens are done, remove them from the oven and cover with foil and let them sit to recover their juices for about 15 minutes. (They’ll be plenty hot for the table, don’t worry) If you cut into meat or poultry before it has had a chance to sit for awhile, too much of it’s juices will run out and the meat will be dry, which is something I don’t like, how about you?

Dry Wine, Dry Jokes, but not Dry Meat.

If you have stuffed the birds, when you take the chickens out of the oven remove the stuffing to a serving dish right away. Cover that and keep in a warm place (warm, not HOT, it’s already cooked and piping hot, just keep it from losing temperature.)

I also make gravy and mashed potatoes to go with this meal, and organic petite peas.

Winter Begins

Winter has begun fully for us this week. It’s not “officially Winter” but the “season is here. Yesterday it snow flurried for hours, but no accumulation. Today it’s very cold, still below freezing, reaching that mark maybe, but probably not quite. It’s 31.6 degrees F. on my front porch digital temperature thing, it’s connected wirelessly to an inside panel (a cheap little gadget I got at Staples on clearance a couple of years ago.) It’s not necessarily correct, but close, I figure, usually. I really want a nice full system to collect data and see what’s going on entirely around me. It’s not a priority for my husband, just a nicety for me, not a necessity (Saize).

We got the fireplace going for the first time for this end of year cold season. Usually we have started in mid-November, and would have this year several times from then to now, but our ‘living room’ has been such a mess since we are living in the house and putting down new wood flooring in the living room. It’s a slow go, 3/4ths of it is done, but it now languishes away since the piano and device stuff for the TV are on that side, and there is no easy way to move the piano anywhere else except for the kitchen (no way!)

I am stuck with my christmas cards. I need a picture for inside and that is holding me up. I tried a few weeks ago to get one good one outside of my children, but over 70 photos, and nothing good enough, not even to photoshop something together.

I’m doing December Daily this year for the first time, but I’ve fallen off the cart. I have it in my head, but haven’t gotten the ideas down or pictures taken, daily. Time marches on and now it’s the 13th, so after 6 days I fell off, and am now that much behind. Ack!

I wish I could figure all this stuff out, but I feel stuck on all sides. I did get some video off of my Sony Handycam today, and uploaded a few things to YouTube. (I have so much to do with all my video too, I still do not have the software to do what I want to with it all.)

Anyhow,  I did get a new food processor this weekend. Finally able to replace my broken Kitchen Aid 11-cup UltraPower one. (Broken collar on post, cracked case here and there, bowl broken, small work bowl lost, post for discs lost … not very useful or nice to use for what it COULD do with my help.) The one we got is a Cuisinart 12-cup Elite, it is different, but solid, and has a wonderful case to hold all the pieces (my old KA had a case, long gone, not very good for what it held and how.) Now I can grate, shred, cut, mix, even better than ever before. I love this unit.

We also got two tall cabinets for the kitchen at Home Depot … they are the future for the kitchen, along with the sink cabinet that we already have. The other cabinets with slowly (but as fast as we can) be replaced until we are done replacing and ahead with finishing everything. The two new cabinets are a whole new world for me. Something I’ve wanted, places to put canned foods and such, never had anything but some lower and upper cabinets. Then I also have wanted a place to put my big things that I don’t always use, away, like my Nutrimill, crockpot, cake stand, etc. as well as a place for my cloth kitchen towels (for bread & baking) and for future things like tablecloths (which I love for holidays, but don’t have.) So I have a tall cabinet just for all that kind of stuff, with two wide but short drawers (for cloth) and lower and upper shelves behind two doors, that hold big things, with room to grow.

Thanksgiving/Birthday 2010 is over

Our Thanksgiving holiday was really big because of my daughter having her birthday on the day this year. It’s always a tough week, but with it all “occurring” on the same one day every so often,  it’s a much harder job to pull off.

I made two turkeys (pastured, fresh from a farm) ahead of time, roasted & sliced & packaged. I made stock from one carcass beforehand, and had the other carcass in the pot through to the afternoon on Thursday. I made most of the sides on Thursday.

The day before I made pies, and also setup pastry, onions, bacon & Emmentaler (actually from Switzerland) cheese to make quiche. I covered that with ‘press & seal’ and put it into the refrigerator. In the morning, on Thanksgiving Day, I took that out and mixed 4 eggs with 2 cups of cream and cayenne pepper, poured that into the pastry shell, then put that into the oven to bake. Then I made mini muffins that had cheddar cheese, dried cranberries, sage & green onions in them. (recipe I found on Whole Foods website, but I’m not linking, I changed it, don’t like there entire recipe.)

That was a very nice Thanksgiving morning breakfast. I normally don’t go to so much effort, but the way I did things, making the pies at the same time,  it was easy enough to make pastry for quiche and get the other ingredients into it and refrigerate for later use. (that’s a method I’ve used before, making the day before, for quick put together for baking in the morning.) I used to make quiche fairly often, but the last few+ years I haven’t made it even once, until this week.

The quiche was a big hit with my eldest, 14 year old boy. He loves it, used to love it, he said too. My two youngest (10 years, 3 years — both boys) didn’t like it … wouldn’t eat it. My birthday daughter liked it, I think.

The mini-muffins were great. My daughter and my eldest son and I raved about them. It was a recipe needs tweaked a bit more, if I can get that done I’ll post it. Not sure when I’ll try that, they are special, not something to make “just any time”.

After breakfast I went about making a chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting for my daughters (12th) birthday celebration. I have a new Shannon Crystal cake platter which was a delight to use. I used a certain recipe for the cake, and upped the butter content as well as the chocolate content. Most recipes use 4 oz. of melted chocolate or 1/2 cup of cocoa. I used both amounts. πŸ™‚ Very chocolately, semi-dry, lovely flavor, crumb. Not gooey, not soft, more dry and firm but still “cake”. We liked it, the “we” being me, my 14-yo & my 12-yo. Interesting, I’ll have to compare what I did with more chocolate cake recipes and figure out an even better cake.

Decoration for the cake was white “pearl” nonpareils that I found in Target’s Christmas baking section. 5.1 oz container $2.99 I used 1/8 of the bottle to sprinkle the top of the cake with a seeming “ton” of white pearls. It was very pretty.

When the cake was done I started other things for Thanksgiving Dinner, like I made gravy, got the sweet potatoes mashed (baked the night before, in their skins) which entailed peeling their skins off, then mashing … then making them into sweet potato casserole by adding brown sugar, pineapple chunks & juice, and cinnamon & melted butter. I don’t use a recipe, just throw it in on the fly.

I made green bean casserole using organic frozen green beans (french cut), crispy onions (another brand), and my recipe for the base (basically a white sauce with some added thing for flavor.) I mixed that up and bake it, then add more crispy onions on the top for the last 5 minutes of oven time.

I also made a cheddar cheese sauce to put over a cooked whole cauliflower head. (Something I make for most holiday meals.) It is one of my favorite things to eat.

We also had mashed potatoes (with sour cream instead of milk, for special) and two kinds of turkey gravy, dark and light (has to do with the roux, cooked longer it browns, gravy takes on the color of your roux.) I made dough for rolls and tried something new (my mini-muffins above were made with my brand-new mini-muffin pan, never had one before) — a small ball of dough in each mini-muffin hole. Then with the rest of the dough I thought of Parker House shape, but then went nuts and made something new.

The mini-muffin rolls turned out when baked as something that reminded me of something else. The other rolls reminded my daughter of something as I shaped them. So they are named:

1-up Mushroom Rolls (after Super Mario 1-up Mushroom) There are no real mushrooms in this roll (no mushrooms allowed in my house, I’m allergic to them.)

Tom-Kitten Rolls (after Beatrix Potter story, when rats roll Tom Kitten in dough with a pat of butter.)  For these I shaped them like this: Take a small piece of dough, flatten it into an oblong strip. Put a small pat of butter on one end and fold that end towards the middle and the other end towards the middle on top (thirds). Then take one opposite side and fold to the middle, then other other opposite side towards the middle and place on sheet pan covered with parchment paper.  I made different sizes of this and they were wonderful. Small and larger and even larger.

The stuffing I made was wonderful (the batch I had in the bird), but I forgot to reheat it for our big dinner! I couldn’t believe it when I realized that. It’s the thing I love about Thanksgiving the most. My husband put it the right way. “Your stuffing is my green bean casserole.” Well said.

So I threw it in the oven, then had a little bit so much later, couldn’t eat much since I ate my dinner as slowly as I could, waiting for the stuffing, but stuffed myself too easily anyhow. Sigh.

We had leftovers of all that for supper last night. It was really good then too. My favorite thing to do is what I call “Thanksgiving Stuffing Scramble” (I’ll make some for lunch today. It’s main part is, of course, stuffing. I use a skillet, melt lots of butter, add the stuffing, stir around as it heats up and sizzles and browns a bit. Then I add turkey bits and gravy, no over-mixing, letting it all heat up. Add some cranberry sauce on the side (yes, the jelly stuff in a can. I like it for the flavor and the cold smoothness of texture it adds.) Yum!

I also baked some stuffing in casserole dishes and saved that in the freezer for later. Then I made some with sausage. That’s in the fridge for sooner. I put red pepper flakes in it too. Whoo! It’s tasty, a bit heat oriented, but not tooooo much.

We ate no pie on Thanksgiving Day. (with dinner at about 4:30pm and a birthday party later, we didn’t want anything else.)

We had pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after though. I make my pies with organic canned pumpkin, and follow the Nourish Tradition’s method of putting it all together. Lemon peel, lots of eggs, grated ginger (though I didn’t do that part this year) & I add bourbon where the recipe says “brandy” I have bourbon always on hand. πŸ™‚

My choice was using Wild Turkey Rare Breed Vanilla’d, which is something I made a couple of years ago. I bought the bottle, added two large vanilla beans and put it in a closet where it would never get any light and left it there for several months. It’s very nice. Very nice indeed.

So anyhow, the pumpkin pie is spicy, spicy, spicy, kicked up! Served with sweet raw whipped cream, yummy!

I also made an apple pie, still uneaten, not for long though. Then there is one more pumpkin pie waiting too.

Now it’s Christmas Season. So much to do again. πŸ™‚

Penne Pasta & other dishes

I had a box of Penne pasta I’d gotten at Costco a long time ago, never used any of it since I like the Capellini pasta with my homemade version of meat sauce often, and didn’t want to add another tomato sauce dish into the mix. (All my life I made meatballs to go with my sauce until sometime in the last 5 or so years I did it the “wrong” way and made meat sauce, and only have made meat sauce since, except for one time I forced myself to make meatballs in the last year. That’s a whole topic unto itself for sometime.)

I was out of Capellini though one night in the past couple of months and went looking for ideas online about something besides my normal meat sauce & what to do with Penne.

I found this:

That is similar to what I now make sometimes, using Penne, and my nearly 3 year old loves it the best on anything I make.

I don’t make that recipe, just use it for inspiration. I nearly make my regular sauce, but I leave out olives & put less basil & in it, and put Thyme in it (something I don’t put in my regular sauce ever) and it is good.

I serve my “spaghetti” meals with meat sauce in a separate dish from the pasta. The Penne though, I mix them in the dish.

There is another dish I make using medium noodles. I got the idea from a Cambell’s cook book I have. I’ve been making that more since Winter. Never before that. In the last month I took that idea and pared it with the Penne idea and made a third dish.

I know I don’t have any recipes written out in this post. My recipes are not cook book sort. I cook this kind of thing with my feelings (don’t know that that is the right way to say it.)

When I cook it’s for a larger than many households crowd. Hubby isn’t always here, but the rest of us are: 14 year old boy (eats more than anyone here), 11 year old girl (usually eats way more than me), 9 year old boy (spotty eating habits, getting more sometimes though), Toddler (eats a lot sometimes, not much others) then me and hubby.

I like to cook so that there is some left-over for snacks and lunches, at least 1 or 2 or 3 servings. Sometimes I sort of plan that and make a lot, and often in such a case there are no left-overs at all.

I’ve been stuck in the “what to make” rut a lot the last few years, so this post has progress showing for me. Less “hamburger crap” [ground beef stroganoff) –which is great. That nick name for the dish shows my feeling about it. It’s what I’ve called it for a long time around here, something that doesn’t sound very nice indeed.


My kitchen is partially better now. We moved the refridgerator to a new spot, close to where it was originally in the house, but down a few feet. It will be the anchor for the island someday. We’ll build it into a closet like structure, and that way put in a small pantry & also a media area for the network. The island will be next to that … hopefully the countertop will be made from at least Corian, or on the other end Granite.

We also put the stove where I had put it before, which is exactly opposite from it’s original position in the house. Well not thoroughly exactly, but opposite and in the configuration of cabinets it is over some inches to feet/foots, being somewhat centered on the 10 foot wall, which on the other side of the house, opposite, there is a door into the garage which hogs much space. Moving the kitchen down to the other end of the 20 foot long room enables 10 feet of kitchen space on one side, and 10-to-12 feet on the long side, with the island nestled into the area.

We had tried to come up with a double-L layout, but it was just a bit too tight in how it felt. We like the L with island much better now, but there is more work to do. We do have decent counters on the whole way around (didn’t for awhile) and it looks nicer. We still have to get the flooring that we want put in. It’s horrible vinyl tiles right now, and they are cracking and awful where the floor is uneven, it’s a mess to me, looks OK if you don’t look hard.

Once we install the wood flooring we can hook everything in completely and see about getting the final counters when $$$$$ allows. All in all though it’ll mean the cabinets are locked in, level, the floor level, the island ready to be finished, everything much better.

We do have a new sink/faucet installed, but no dishwasher for now. We were using a portable dishwasher, but can’t use it with the setup we have now … so it’s handwashing everything until we get a dishwasher in. But the sink is so enjoyable. It’s a Kohler white castiron smart divide “Langlade” style. The faucet is brushed nickel, very nice. We are having some water dripping down from the spray connection, and will have to figure that out soon. We have to keep a bowl under the faucet to catch that mess, it’s alot, but not much, if that makes any sense. It’s purely an annoyance at any rate since it’s part of the faucet that comes pre-connected, it’s not something we tightened on or anything. It’s not going to be easy figuring it out by getting under the sink, it’s really back there, up there …

So we have progress. We have more sitting in the garage. A very nice glass/stainless steel hood for the stove, and a sliding glass door. The door has been there for years now. The hood just for weeks. I wonder how long it’ll be for either at the end.

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving Day

November is well underway. Time is flying, does so all the time, but moreso now with Thanksgiving right around the corner, which always means even more for us since my girl has her birthday right before, on, or after Thanksgiving. She was born the evening before Thanksgiving. She likes that. Which is great. I was born 2 weeks after Independence Day. I like that. Which is great. I personally wouldn’t want my birthday literally a month before Christmas. πŸ™‚ I like the mid-year spot I’m from. My hubby is right there with me, a week before me, and our youngest is another couple of weeks before that. Our two other boys are in Spring and the very end of Summer. FWIW.

Thanksgiving Day is two weeks from today. We haven’t yet found where we are getting a turkey from. I should make some bread to cube for stuffing, put it in the freezer. I love my Thanksgiving stuffing. I use walnuts & raisins & apples usually, with a basic bread, onion, celery, sage base (from my pantry, not from a box!)

I like using a couple types of bread cubes, usually something dark & something light. So in this case I’ll make a white spelt bread & a whole grain spelt bread, maybe put some organic blackstrap molasses in it.

Speaking of molasses, my eldest was speaking of flies, my third eldest said something then, and we got onto the topic of Shoe Fly Pie and what it was, which made both me and my eldest have mouthwatering thoughts about Shoe Fly Pie. Maybe I’ll have to take the tradition of Shoe Fly Pie in Summer & put it to Thanksgiving/Christmas in our house. As traditional in summer as it is, I haven’t made any for a long time, not this year or the last, or probably even the one before that.

For planning purposes I’ll put down what I’ll make for Thanksgiving this year:

    Thanksgiving Dinner 2009
  • Turkey w/stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Green Olives
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Baby Peas
  • Cauliflower w/cheese sauce
  • Sweet Potato Casserole w/marshmallow top
  • Pumpkin Pies
  • Shoe Fly Pie

Kitchen update August 2009

My kitchen is awaiting a new temporary counter on one side, hubby promises it’ll be such for about 4-weeks at the most. I should have had it already for nearly a week, but here it is, not in yet. Hubby is sleeping on the couch, and I can’t do anything about it myself.

We are using MDF and painting it. That makes it latex vinyl coated and clean-up-able for the short term.

When all is said and done I need a new counter and new sink & faucet. Also a new dishwasher, but that part of it is the wrinkle in the plan. A cheap dishwasher isn’t what I’m looking for, with a decent higher end fridge and stove …

Biggest thing is we need: new flooring, and I want the floor put in and the cabinets put on ltop of the new floor, so none of the counters/ower cabinets are permanently installed right now, they sit without moving just fine, just need finalized and firmed up to the wall and anchored, and the counters then will be built up to the right height and it’ll be nicer. Maybe.

My Kitchen – March 2008

We have been getting our kitchen changed slowly, the past few or more years, with only better changes of late. We now have new cabinets, not actually “installed” but in use.

Our old ones are all either moved or thrown away, hurray!

The base cabinets are in use where they will be installed permanently and the wall cabinets are here and there on the floor or on the top of the MDF we have for very temporary counters. The sink and stove have been relocated to their new permanent locations. The stove was finally done this past weekend, the sink just a few weekends before.

We have a semblance of an L-island in place, but it won’t be like it is, we need to get some more cabinets and haven’t determined if we can get the type we want for the design we are going for, or will need to retro-fit some to do what we need.

Basically I need/want drawers for bases on the short part of the L shape, which will be paralell to the stove, adjacent to the sink, and be table-height, so I can chop anything/roll out dough in comfort. I’m short and 30″ high is my preference for any standing up work in the kitchen. It’s a must for dough and chopping, so I’ve alway had to use the dining table and that is something I do not like having to do. So with this “new” kitchen I have a temporary spot on the “island” though it’s not as wide nor doesn’t have the right sort of storage underneath, since we are using wall cabinets that are 30″ high for now, until we get them up on the walls. We have to find out if the manufactuer has 30″ or so high drawer bases they can get us, or if we can cut off the toe-kick on drawer bases (like we’ve bought for other areas of the kitchen) successfully.

It’s what I’ve dreamed of for some time, and have wished for partially since moving into this house late 1997. The kitchen was on the other end of this 20 ft. long space, but was right next to the garage, and had a pathway dividing the main work counter, which was right next to the door, and the stove was on the other side of the door with no space horizontally next to it to work on (which I desire strongly to have for cooking with) it was basically jammed into a corner on the left with 12″ of counter space on the right.

We removed the French Doors that were on the other end of the kitchen. That’s where the sink is now, with the Fridge down towards the middle of the kitchen, about right across from where it started out in 1997. Basically the design used to be a glorified galley, two sections of counter and appliances separated by the garage enterance/walkway.

Now it’s an area with enough space to cook in. The stove has 36″ of horizontal space on the left, and 30″ and then a corner on the right. πŸ™‚

The sink is one nice triangle space to the rear/right when at the stove. The L-island “baking center” is directly behind the stove. Basically the space will be a Double-L design, but an inverted Double-L from what I’ve mostly seen on paper.

We have to get a new window for over the sink still. We did get one for free, but it wasn’t installed as I wanted it, and it’s not going to work, even if it was re-installed correctly. We have a glass sliding door to install but have some plumbing work to finish before that can happen. We have to paint and fix a few drywall things, and decide on how to finish out the area we removed part of a wall.

Then we can put in the wall cabinets then install the base cabinets on the outside “regular” part of the kitchen. Then at that point we are going to put in wood floor and THEN put the island on top of the wood floor. That will give us a counter around the kitchen that is more like 35-inches tall, then the island with the 30″ baking center and 36″ bar and work counter. That’s the current initial plan, at least.

We’ve changed the plan time and again, before we bought any cabinets, then settled on something, bought the cabinets, then after a bit decided to change the layout again, somewhat back to my original desires though.

Thus far it’s great to have things where they should be, appliance-wise. I’ve found the few meals I’ve made to be much more efficent in prep than ever before, and that’s super duper for a Mama of 4, with one being a baby, and none of them helpful enough in the kitchen to aide me in cooking, really. I love to cook, but hate the daily chore of it. I hate clean-up. It’s tiresome too being so short in comparison with my kitchen counters and cabinets. So finally, I have something to chop on that isn’t the table and doesn’t kill me and nearly get my fingers chopped off, having to stand on my toes to chop on high (to me) counters. The “feeling” of the kitchen is finally right. That oriental chi stuff, I’m not into that, but I can say that “feeling” is important and some of the prinicples I’ve read of about it seem right on with much of comfortable design and for placement of things in rooms for working/living.

My kitchen feels so right, when it has always felt so very, very wrong, and it’ll get more “right” as time goes on. Wow. πŸ™‚

My Worksheet

Thanksgiving Dinner 2007

Thanksgiving Prep and more

    Tuesday before Thanksgiving:
  • Breastfeeding ‘letdown’ started to come back in the middle of the night, and improved throughout the day.
  • I got bread made, chopped it and other things to make the stuffing for the Turkeys, and got one of the turkeys stuffed and roasted, and sliced, then vacuum sealed (much thanks to Frank for this), and the skeleton into a big pot to make stock and have that simmering with some extra celery overnight.
  • Have suffered with a migraine since a couple of hours after getting up. I did remark to my hubby on Monday that I wouldn’t be surprised if I either Woke up in the middle of the night with a migraine, or Woke up in the morning with a doozy of a migraine, or Got a migraine after waking up. Why? I had a weird feeling in my head for awhile, a definite ‘tightening’ – something I do notice before a migraine, but not always do I notice it, depending on what’s going on, and such.
  • The stress of the weekend before was fully a part of the migraines beginning, I do think. I don’t always get migraines that frequently, or in any sort of pattern really, that I can tell, but there are ideas as to why this one or that one came along, after the fact.

    I did have the migraine under control, it isn’t my worst sort, but sickening when it is ramming itself into whatever I am doing, not able to ignore it at all. So in other words, Excedrin helped me during part of the day, but now it’s the middle of the night (Wednesday 4:30 am) and I am still awake after Baby Q woke me up at 3am to eat, and feeling so very, very ill. And I can smell that turkey stock simmering. Ugh.

    • On Wednesday proper I plan to:
  • Organize all the side dishes on paper, as to when to make what, and assign helpers to different tasks.
  • I want to get pie crusts made and put away for pies on Thursday.
  • Other than that, right now, I’m pretty much over-the-top feeling horrid with this migraine to think further about food or work. πŸ™
  • November – Holiday Season begins

    Holiday Season is right around the corner. It’s November now, which means in our household we have Thanksgiving and then our DD’s Birthday, or visa-versa, depending on the year. (She was born in 1998 on the 25th, the day before Thanksgiving.) This year Thanksgiving is three days before her b-day.

    It always makes for a more hectic last-half-of-November than ever since 1998.

    I’m in the mood for Pumpkin Pie, which it doesn’t have to be Turkey Day, November or December to have, but I haven’t made any “out of season” this year, I haven’t done much cooking overall (with a new baby in the house!) At this point I consider it best to wait until Thanksgiving Day to have Pumpkin Pie, but the urge is so strong to have some NOW so I don’t know what I’ll do in the coming days leading up to TD. Why do I consider it best to wait? So I’m not “Pumkined OUT” by TD, which is possible if I give in to my urge now. FWIW. :blush:

    The weather has been cooler lately. Finally Summer has broken in NE Georgia. It’s still getting quite warm, into the 70’s, some days, but getting down in the 60’s at the most at night, all the way down way into the 40’s many nights. This makes things seem more Fall-like, and gets me in the mood for Autumn/Winter thicker clothing, crisp new clothes that just wouldn’t work in the Summer, no way. Boots are my love, for instance, and jackets.

    I’m still not fitting into my old things to wear, post-pardum 4-months, so I’m going through my things and trying to figure out what I’m going to do about it. I hate buying “fat skirts” and such, when I know they won’t be needed. I’ve gotten away with wearing my summer skirts just not done up, they stay on and the openings don’t show with my Nursing (BF) Blouses usually covering them up fine. That won’t cut it for the cooler times outside, nor inside the house eventually (as Winter sets in.)

    I’ve been Dresses/Skirts only for quite a few years, and did cave to wear pants sometimes when I was pregnant (starting in late ’06) and have a couple of pairs of jeans now for the “transition” but I don’t like them, I am supposing I wouldn’t mind some jeans now if they fit me nicely, but none actually do (since I’m still toting baby fat, which is alright since I am BF the baby, of course. It’d just be nice to have something to wear that looked good and fit nice. :rolleyes: Especially for “winter” wear.)

    My DD got a toy sewing machine last Nov. for her BD, but since I was newly preggo then and since and also now have a still “little” baby, I hadn’t showed her how to use it yet … but the other day she was bugging me about it and I told her to just get it out and read the booklet about it. So she did that and started pestering me about this and that in the booklet, and I finally just had her get the machine by me and I showed her some stuff … and thus I now also have the ‘sewing’ bug and want to find a place to put my big machine so that i can use it. Lastly I used it way back in 2000/2001 when I had my 3rd baby, to sew for.

    I have had the idea to make nice simple things for DD and myself all along, but I just “haven’t” done that. I really want to and now that I am so blah shaped, it’d be nice to have skirts that worked the way I need them to, you know, custom made by one’s self. I’m going to do that, therefore. I have gotten my DD to want to make T-Shirt Dresses since I told her how easy they are to make, and she wants to get a purple T-shirt for that purpose and is nearly wearing me thin talking about it, so I will have to be sure to find her one ASAP – and get to a fabric store as well.

    I did get some Hanna Andersson dresses and tights and leggings and socks and clogs, this week, for DD. Every thing like that has “Blossoming Pink” in it. Also got another skirt and blouse that are not “pink” at all. So a custom made T-Shirt dress that has a purple top will have to have NO PINK in the skirt at all, IMO. In any case, the HA stuff is really nice, a good base for getting more things to mix and match with, every day wear. The blouse I got is has a peter pan collar and buttons up the front. It’s white Pima interlock cotton, long sleeves, very fine yet not “too fine” and will go well under the winter jumpers she has (I bought them a couple of years ago, big on purpose to have later, and later is now!)

    We got the boys a few new things from Osh Kosh this past week, as well. Jeans and shirts. The baby too, as well as Carters for the baby. All three of the boys have shirts from Osh Kosh that match each other. A is 7 years old and I have determined (since last year) that he actually looks great in Orange, so he has an orange plaid flannel shirt, R is 11 years old, he and Baby Q both are blonde haired with blue eyes and have fair blue-toned skin and look awesome in blue, so they have the same dark blue plaid flannel shirt as each other, in respective sizes, R has 12 and Baby Q has 6m πŸ™‚ All three have neat Osh Kosh jeans too, so I hope to get a nice Brothers photo with them wearing all that stuff, very soon.

    I haven’t uploaded any baby pictures to the web still, as I haven’t yet gotten those announcements sent out :veryshocked: I’m appalled at myself for this. I have finally determined that I like one photo I have from September, right after Baby Q turned 3 months old, which I like enough to duplicate, so I’ll use that one, or maybe take something in the next couple of days that will be good enough, and more recent … and have wallet or some other small-ish size photos printed out at a shop, to include with the announcements. I really, really, really intend to get this done THIS COMING WEEK!!! I hope I can do so.

    So with all that pressure, needing to get some sort of warmer clothing figured out for me, get the right clothing ready for the children, and get the announcements mailed, and plan Thanksgiving and V’s 9th Birthday, plus wishing to really start sewing parts of us girl’s wardrobe, and bake for the holidays and get things ready for Christmas, which hopefully will be a Christmas Card that will get mailed this year (for the first time in many) … pressure … it’s heavy, tight, pressing down.

    On a good note though, I have a more comfortable bed now: we got a topper for the mattress at Costco this week. It’s a micro filled top with something like 3 inches of memory foam beneath that. It was a pain to open and unfold … the foam was vacuum sealed into a tiny (for it) package. Literally the hardest work I’ve done all week, or in many, many, months. That is on the mattress and I have a waterproof/allergy cover over that (it goes around the whole mattress, zips up to keep all ickies out of the bed) then a thin mattress cover and the sheets. The next thing I want then is a memory foam pillow (with an allergy cover sealing it) as the memory foam is a dream to be on, no pressure points. Lovely to sit up in bed and feed the baby now, just need to get the pillow situation fixed to complete the comfort. Sleeping is nice too, no need to shift around finding a comfy way to be, I mean, just choose what direction to lay in, and if it’s the way you want to be, it’s comfy now.

    A second good note: I now have a chair in the “dining room/living area” next to the kitchen. The couch was moved downstairs and I was without a nice place to be with the baby (not liking the “basement” as it is currently) and wanting to be on the main level with the baby mostly anyhow.

    So I now have an Ektorp chair and a Bromma foot stool, with white covers. From IKEA, for those not familiar with those product names. Our couch is an Ektorp Corner sofa 2+2. (corner seat with 2 seats on each side, a couch with 5 seat cushions that can hold up to 6 people if you don’t mind sitting right by someone, not bad for visiting, just annoying for basic TV watching, reading, with children, everyone wanting lounging space.)

    What is so great about that IKEA Ektorp line? The styling is classically beautiful, in my mind’s eye, and the outside of the couches and chairs are slipcovers entirely, so it’s easy to get a clean couch when needed or wanted. Unzip all the cushions and take the cover off of the frame, into the washer, then drier, then back onto the frame and cushions. It’s work, but worth it. The chair is even easier since it’s just a chair, compared to the corner 2+2 couch. Not only that though, the next best thing is: extra slip covers. The white is cheap, $29 to get an extra set. Other colors start at $79 and go up. The couch, we can get a color we like for $199,a complete new set of slipcovers, making the couch so versatile, brand new-like when wanted. We only have one set of slipcovers for the couch and also the chair right now, but will be getting extra’s sometime sooner than later, I hope. I also want to get an Ektorp Loveseat, which has a really cheap white slipcover set, just $11 … FWIW

    To have all this furniture it will be separated in the house we live in now, but I hope to have a house with a very large family room someday …

    For now though, I’m more comfy in the main living area again. A place to rest, feed the baby day or night other than in bed, watch TV, read, or even nap … a nice chair that is Mama’s and no one else may sit in it unless I say they may, which is no one. πŸ™‚

    Kitchen Aid to the rescue

    I have a Kitchen Aid Professional 6 mixer (Cobalt, had it for some years now) and recently the Thumb -Screw broke. That part is the screw that is on the right-side of the front of the mixer, where you attach different Attachments, it secures them to the mixer.

    The screw has a thick black molded plastic at the outside end of it, for the user to tighten or loosen the screw as needed. That black thing is what broke, cleanly split in half when I was putting my Grain Grinder on the other week.

    So I’ve had to use a wrench to tighten and loosen the screw since then.

    Then more recently I went to grind some beef … and I couldn’t find a part that I needed for my Food Grinder … the part that cuts … and can only figure that somehow it got thrown away the last time I used it, which was Monday. I didn’t clean it out right away, and later put the whole thing into a mixer bowl in the sink, filled with water, and also loosened the whole fixture at that point, but didn’t take it apart.

    I had no contact with it since then and everyone that had a part in the dishwashing says they never saw it. So … we people will probably never know what happened to that part.

    Dear hubby called Kitchen Aid customer service yesterday and told them our woes and they are kindly sending us the 2 parts we need, for free. πŸ™‚ I’ll be thrilled when they arrive! Customer Service at KA gets (preliminarily) a thumbs-up.

    Spelt Bread (food)

    I’ve ignored my Sourdough cultures of late. I’ve taken to this process:

    Day 1: Put 1 1/2 cups of whole grain spelt in a bowl, and mix into that 1 cup of yoghurt. Cover with plastic well, and sit that bowl on a shelf until sometime the next day, to make bread with it.

    I continue to use my breadmachine to make bread, but don’t alway allow it to “make the bread” but use it to “make the dough”. My preference for the latter is starting to come alive.

    Today that is what I did.

    I take my bread machine pan and add 1-1/2 cups of white spelt flour, 2 tsps. salt, 1 egg, 2 Tbsps EVOO,  and yeast, and let the bread machine begin mixing, and add the spelt/yoghurt mixture on top of all that.

    As the mixing/kneading process goes on I add more white spelt flour as needed to make a lovely non-sticky dough.

    I can use more whole grain spelt in the yoghurt mixture, I just have settled on the 1-1/2 cups for now because my grain buckets are getting mighty low.

    Anyhow, the breadmachine can take it all the way and does make a nice loaf, but as I did the other day, and also did do today (well, yesterday, Friday) I set it to only make dough, and when the time was up I put it in a bowl to rise again, then shaped it and put it in a bread pan to rise then bake.

    No mistaking how much nicer it is when I let it rise as long as I deem right, and how lovely it is when slicing it later, no hole to contend with. πŸ™‚

    Now years ago I used to make a big batch of bread, several loaves of bread and I fell off of that wagon and do prefer to make one loaf at a time now, fresher bread, nothing frozen.

    Of course this will have to change, something will have to change, very soon. My hubby will not make bread with any of my methods. I doubt he could actually follow any recipe that the breadmachine’s book has in it, and produce a sliceable as well as eat-able loaf. πŸ˜‰

    The whole deal about it is “soaking” though. Whole grain is better than white. A mixture is alright though. I do like a 3 to 1 mixture, or less. Soaking the whole grain makes for a finer loaf of bread, but it’s an artform, not a scientific recipe, and not something to write down and have hubby attempt when I am down with the end of my pregnancy, or post-pregnant with little newborn baby.

    So I have to get more Spelt grain, and be sure and put some loaves into the freezer that they can use in June/July. Or else I know what will happen, icky bread from Publix … ugh.

    Sourdough and Spelt, Soaking, bread (food)

    I put my original sourdough culture in the fridge the other day, as well as a small batch of some from that which I had started to add only white spelt to. They both seemed to be going along fine, so into the fridge with them was my choice.

    I was reading further in my sourdough book (by Ed Wood, and he basically says that Spelt is perfect for sourdough bread) and in the section that goes over different flours he gives directions under the Spelt section on how to convert any existing culture to “only spelt” over a period of several 8 hour cycles: Taking 1/4 cup of culture and adding 1 cup warm water and mixing well, then adding 1 cup of spelt, mixing well. Sit in warm place for 8 hours, do it again, then again, at least 4 times, or more.

    I started doing that Spelt conversion on Wednesday night and so completed two FULL cycles by Thursday afternoon, but I did slack off — I’ll look at it in the morning to see what can be done.

    Not liking to just “throw stuff away” I did take some of the original culture when I last fed it (directions are to discard a cup and then feed the water and flour) and put that in a different container and am adding spelt to it as well. I’m keeping it out, to see what happens, to see if it’s useful to use in bread or something soon. (I find I don’t like the fragrance of the Rye culture, so I’m just leaving that in the fridge to work with seldomly since it was my original, not wanting to lose a place to “start from” at this point.)

    The other day I did add some of the Rye culture to a batch of pancakes I was making. I didn’t thin the batter to my desired texture before adding some baking soda, so the batter was thicker than I wanted, but it did make super rising pancakes that the children liked, they tasted different.

    The pancake batter I make is one that I developed from NT between the Pancake recipe and the Waffle recipe. I put things together however I want to each time, but do it basically the same for either with good results, and this allows me to choose which cooking method at the drop of a hat anyhow. My main difference is “to separate the eggs or to not separate the eggs” which means I either put the whole eggs in or I separate them, put the yolks in first and whip up the egg whites and fold them in at the end. This also means I put more or less baking soda in, which is the last thing I do when Not Separating, and the second to last thing when Separating. I prefer to use some baking soda with the fluffy egg white addition, I just do not use as much as when I don’t use the egg white fluff for leavening.

    The NT way for Pancakes, or any grain based thing, is to soak for 12 to 24 hours, with the best results obtained with 24 hours of soaking, and I agree. The best way to soak is with cultured things, to ferment the grain, which breaks down the properties of the grain to make them more digestable, and the texture is wonderful and it feels so good to eat those products (whole grains done this way are so filling yet not that over-full-bloat feeling, it’s a natural, “that really satisfies me” sort of thing.)

    Sourdough does the same sort of thing, sort of, but it’s a basic “yeast replacement” thing. I’m toying with my bread recipes, trying to figure out if I want to “sourdough them” or just do what I have been doing of late: soaking my Spelt flour in at least water over night when I am making bread, that produces a nicer loaf in the bread machine. The other day I started using yoghurt to soak it in, and it got to the point using the bread machine yesterday that I just “had” to take the dough out and knead it by hand and treat it by hand from there on out. I later shaped it and put it into a large breadpan and baked it, but I didn’t quite bake it long enough, it needed longer than usual loaves, though it looked and sounded done, pretty much. When I cut into it there was a small part in the center near the top that was a bit gooey still … so that is Toast Applicable bread. Tomorrow morning I have the same set-up to start with, spelt flour soaking in yoghurt and a bit of water in the bread machine, with a few other ingredients on the sides, then about a 1/4 cup of white spelt covering the soaking dough. In the daylight AM I’ll start the machine, and add an egg, then some more white spelt as needed. I’m sure I’ll just take the dough out after awhile and finish it off by hand. I do like the bread to be a whole loaf and if I feel like doing it, I do like doing it by hand, and this way just makes it a tad easier, to let the machine fool with it more than me to a certain point. (what I meant by ‘whole loaf’ is that bread machine bread has a hole in the middle of the bottom, and isn’t shaped like my hand made loaves at all … though it’s valid bread and does work out fine to use.)

    In order to “sourdough” my bread I’m going to have to come to a place where I sacrifice a recipe to the method or a combined method, or a few loaves with different methods, to determine yeast or no yeast with what, and more. Right now I’m not at that point and prefer to know that what I make will be eat-able by humans such as me and my family.

    Sourdough Culture (food)

    I picked up a package of Sourdough Starter at Whole Foods Market the other day. Today I started the culture. I had purchased a small bag of Red Mill Organic Rye Berries some time ago, to make a natural sourdough culture, but hadn’t used it (actually I had a couple of packages, might have used one, and also tried to make the culture using spelt, but never had success when I tried.) So I ground the rye berries today, used 3 cups of that flour, with 3 cups of spring water, and the “starter culture” … GoldRush Sourdough Starter … ($2.99 at Whole Foods) and we’ll see what turns out in 24 hours from the start (around 3pm.)

    I’ll get more Rye Berries later, and keep the original culture going with that, as well as create a Spelt version of the culture from some of the original Rye culture, and see how that all works out.

    Nourishing Traditions (hardback)

    I just added a new link to my sidebar “Links” area … Nourishing Traditions.

    Why? It’s a great book that I’ve had a long time (well, since it was published in the late 90’s). It’s a cookbook and more. I found today, while researching something on Migraines that I read in NT this afternoon, that Nourishing Traditions is available, it’s second edition, in HARDBACK! It has wider margins, and lies flat and comes with an Interactive CD-ROM. I’m salivating over it now. This is one book that I want now, this version of it. The paperback I keep in my kitchen, this Hardback edition I’d keep in my “bookshelf” area in the “education/craft room”.

    At that link you can order the book for $48.00 + 6.00 s/h (hardback) — and the paperback is 25.00 (you can find this at many bookstores, or order it, at the least. B&N has it for $18 for B&N members online, for example.)

    On the NT site page, the link to add either version to your shopping cart (to purchase there) is below on the left, so scroll down a bit and look for the graphic that states “Add Item to Cart”.

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