Friday, November 18, 2011

My sister's care...

Caring comes in many forms.  
For my sister, it came in a small package sent care of our parents.  
Everything you need to have a home style Thanksgiving.
(Hey, you are hard to get a hold of I am telling you here and now THANKS!)

It doesn't matter if you grew over 50 lbs of squash and pumpkins this year.
Thanksgiving means two things must happen in our family.
The pie MUST be made with One-Pie (the label isn't's the way it's always been.)
The stuffing MUST be made with Bell's Seasoning (it's nearly impossible to find here, so when a family member comes from Maine, they must bring Bell's.  Biscuits must be made with Bakewell Cream. (and biscuits are not served at Thanksgiving dinner, but sometimes this is another thoughtful item sent as it is impossible to even get through Amazon.)  I know there is this wacky thing called the internet, but I am not yet that desperate. is a gift thought out by the traveler, and nothing is better than a well thought out gift, one that is truly appreciated.)
The turkey has been ordered, the proper bread found (again, a tradition of buying this weird bread...but my mom's stuffing is something not to be messed with, it is a work of art.)
Next week, I'll post the's full of our family's odd (or not so odd) Thanksgiving traditions.
Traditions run deep. 
And for that, I'm thankful.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Scrumptious Saturday...It don't mean a thing...without a caraway zing!'s alive and well. 
What a wonderful momma and teacher.)
 No matter what, it this sourdough cannot be killed.  I have (unintentionally) neglected  it...I have shared it with many...I have pancaked and waffled it away.  I have used it till there was just a few tablespoons left in a jar (just fed it a bit each day) a has come back with vigor unknown to mankind (until now.)  
No this sourdough cannot be beat!  
I have done everything but really make a loaf of bread with it...I am intimidated by sourdough breads.  The vast quantities of time...exacting quantities and the artful manipulations of it...and patience.  Yes, one of the many things I lack is patience.  
Being a type A person my whole life, I have been mindfully attempting to transition to a type B...although I still have type A attacks, mostly I try to take things as they come, and to challenge myself, I am attempting my first sourdough.  
Now most people trying something new would try a tried and true method and recipe...not me.  I am going rogue.  I am looking at a regular recipe for caraway rye bread, a white sourdough recipe, and all sorts of variations of the two then attempting to, with my limited experience, to create a sourdough version.
So here it goes...
Rye and Caraway Sourdough Bread
2 cups plain old Sourdough Starter
1 cup warm water
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp yeast
2 Tbs melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups rye flour
1 Tbs caraway seeds
2-3 cups flour
Mix the starter, water, yeast, salt, butter, sugar, rye flour and caraway seeds in a non metal bowl.  Let sit for about an hour.  Add the white/wheat flour to the bowl until it starts to form a ball.  Dump it out onto a well floured table and begin to kneed.  It has the texture of playdough...and feels a bit wet, but that it the rye flour talking...
Once it is nice and soft, place in a buttered non metal bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight.  In the morning it will be huge and smell delightful.  Carefully dump it out onto a lightly floured table and divide into two balls.  Decide how you will form these loaves, let rise again in their loaf form for about 1-3 hours (depending on the texture you like...the longer, the bigger bubbles and more artisan it will look) Cut some slashes in it, maybe butter it and put some seeds on top...whatever floats your boat.
Bake until it sounds hollow.
350 for a soft crust
450 with a steam treatment for a crunchy crust
Not so hard after all.  
In fact, it may start showing up more frequently in the bread rotation.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A walk in the extended yard.

We are very fortunate to live on a quarter acre.  While it is enough for a small garden and some chickens as well as our house and some play area, it is not enough for a hike.  We are fortunate that our neighbors across the street live on the rim of a ravine that has been turned into a park.   So in the fading warmth of Indian summer, we went hiking.  The husband and kids challenged themselves by crossing the creek (in these parts pronounced like the first syllable of cricket) I instead took the bridge.  It's funny to look at some parts of the trail to see what looks like the remainders of an old stone foundation.  Or, my kids favorite, a rock balanced precariously upon another that they call pride rock.  
(Insert lesson on glaciation.)

Yes, we are many can say that they have a waterfall in their (extended) backyard.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Homemade Hopes

When November 1st rolled around, I got to thinking 55 days until Christmas.  Things get complex this time of year as more people "drop in" and special shopping trips made.  
I want simplicity.  
Not only do I want it, I want it desperately...I need it.  
I am always amazed at people who seem to be able to "do it all" and it is often a topic of conversation between myself and other moms I know.  It always seems as though others are able to have perfectly clean homes (without leaves, half eaten snacks, and school work strewn about) and are able to enjoy reading books while creating the most crafty crafts, cooking from scratch four course gourmet meals, while looking perfect and by the way, their kids are perfect too.  Oh, by the way, they knit a sweater a day.  No, that is far from my life...I do find leaves in the house, half eaten snacks, and school work everywhere I go.
Not that I'm a slob, I just have other things I find important like picking a peck of dried beans from the vines before things get too frozen out there...
Well, the kids and I were talking the other day...see they NEEDED junk XYZ.
And I said no.
If you really want it, ask Santa.
(He's the man around here now.)
As for mommy and daddy, you get nothing between now and Christmas from those people...
(Well, maybe some stale bread and water if you are really good...)
and by the way, how about making things this year?
"Just like Laura and Mary?"  Said W.
Doesn't this go against my simplicity edict...
As I see it, no.
Instead of running around from store to store spending time away from the family trying to find
We can spend time together crafting things for daddy.
During nap time, I work on C's top secret gifts (W. gets a kick out of knowing a secret.)
And, during those early morning hours I work on W's gifts, and C gets to keep a big secret.
There are lots of secrets at our house right now.
I find my son values the hat I made for him last December.
So I am making presents for my family this year.
And the kids are getting in on the act.
I am also spending some special one on one time with each kiddo working on items for members of the family.
So some things I plan on showing here, and others I cannot for it would spoil surprises.
So last week I had W. all to myself.
We had to go to Occupational Therapy.
I worked on C's present while watching W. do his work.
I got so much done...
I used this pattern to create a lovely (and the simplest ever) pair of little kid socks.
I made some changes.
I used lion brand wool ease in a worsted weight.
I used size 10 dpn.
This took the baby size up to a 3 year old sized boot sock.
They are easily manipulated to fit whatever size.
I am currently working on W's pair of really big boy socks using the same changes.
I am also adding on a few inches of leg to his because he needs higher socks to protect his legs.
Oh and did I mention extra inches on the foot area as he has huge feet (that don't stop growing.)
Now my knitting class girls are into the secret.
They watch how to use dpn...the ultimate goal for many of them as they think they look terrifyingly difficult.
I will post pictures later, but I have too many lurkers at the current moment.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I thought of my sister today when...

I made a batch of Oatmeal Butterscotch Chip cookies and put the little cookie dough balls in the freezer to be baked up at a later date. 

I also made a really yummy Turkey Stew today.  I took leftovers from a Thanksgiving Style Dinner that we had a couple days ago and basically added it all to a pot of stock.  Try this later this month.


Saute Onion
Add leftover Turkey and Stock to fill a pot
Add a cup or two of leftover squash
Add a cup of potatoes (mashed or roasted)

Thin as needed with more stock or water.

Add some egg noodles and simmer.

Finish with whatever leftover green veggies you might have.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

There's been a murder...

(Note there are no pictures is just too graphic and sad.
If you are attached to chickens, you may want to skip today.)
...And then there were five.  Yes, we are down to five hens (and nine chicks on their way...) for last night there was bedevilment in the chicken coop.  
Last night I checked on the girls...everything was fine and the girls were happy to receive a little feed before bedtime.  There were eggs to collect and the girls were happily clucking.  Last night we trick or treated on the road behind our house and cut through a neighbor's yard and our own backyard to come home.  
All seemed fine at that time too.  
This morning the dog wanted to go out repeatedly, but I didn't let him because he had already gone out. 
 Too bad I didn't...
I went to give the chickens some scraps and noticed that only five of them came out to gobble up the goodies (normally they all run out into their yard at the sight of me walking out the back door...) I went into the coop to give them their grain and instead of seeing the other three in there being silly waiting for the grain, I saw murder and despair...for I found two bodies ravaged, meat torn from the bones and entrails trailing...drumsticks intact.  Another thing I found were two soft shelled eggs sucked of their innards, shell shrunken (most likely this morning's eggs)  So now we are down to two barred rocks, one mystery chicken, and a red star.  I think they are the more dominate chickens, and the ones that died were the ones that roost in the more vulnerable parts of the shed.  This weekend we are planning on putting the yard to bed, with that chore will also come a installation of more secure roosts so that this doesn't happen again.
There is hope...I only found two bodies, so there may be one that got away.
I will be keeping my eye out for one little red hen.