Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
We have a Mountain Ash tree near our back porch. The white flowers in spring turn to clusters of bright orange-red berries in the fall which are a favorite food of birds. A flock of Pine Grosbeaks flew in today for a little feast. I always wonder what it would feel like to swallow something as proportionately large, which would also be quite cold, but they love it. It was especially pretty today as three separate colors of Grosbeaks lit on the branches. The rosy-red is a male, the upside down one is a female. She is a soft gray and olive-yellow. There was also an immature male whose head was rust-colored. It was a feast for the eyes, an array of beautiful colors, always a reason to run to the window.
If you love and enjoy birds as I do, be sure to check out WhatBird.com. It's a great site full of information, pictures, and even a bird call for the particular bird you're trying to identify.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Before I write my next paragraph I wanted to say that the very hard and painful struggle that I have been going through in the last couple of months, while ongoing in more ways than I realized at first, has evened out to the point things feel almost normal again. I wanted you to know that I am so thankful for friends who rally round and for the prayers that were lifted up on our behalf....and because I appreciated this so much I wanted to let you know that things are improving. You encouraged me. So much, and I am so grateful for your thoughts and prayers.
I have been really busy in the last few days, in my head. Lots of thoughts and plans and planning. Here's the deal . . . I have a / relationship with my computer . . . it's like a magnet, which I'm sure is no great revelation to many of you who feel the same. Because of extended computer use and all of the things I love to do with it:
redoing my web site
surfing & shopping
I've lost my way over the years. It's come to the point I don't do any of the things I used to love to do. Sometimes I don't even feel like me, the me I used to be, the me I really loved being.
So, I am on a laid-back mission to recapture my love of homemaking. I really love to bake and cook and I have all these great Gooseberry Patch cookbooks that have all these great recipes I need to be trying.
Somewhere I misplaced my love of list-making.
I love to be organized, but I misplaced that too.
I used to cross-stitch and sew and make country wood crafts.
I love to read and write, but I misplaced my passion for both.
There's been a lot of misplacing . . .
so that's what I'm working on, regaining.
A long time ago I wanted to make one of the gazillions of home management binders you see all over the Internet. Something like this, the putting together of one, is so me, but I never quite got to the point of making one. It seems so late now, my kids are all on the back end of growing up, but my house isn't organized and neither am I, so there's still a need for a binder. I'm on a hunt to gather all kinds of information for my own notebook. I love a project like this and it's been good for me.
One last thought. Even though I'm a huge advocate for homemaking and strive to be a woman after God's own heart, the winds of life can beat you up and leave you twisting and a little upended and needing improvement and some adjusting. In my search for binder ideas, I ran across many many blogs I will want to visit again. I enjoyed reading this post from Lizzie's Home. I just think this is so vitally important, and I needed the reminder.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
This is just a fabulous recipe. The sour cream, bacon, onions and cheese make every bite taste just like a delicious baked potato, only better.
Baked Potato Pizza
1 package (6oz.) pizza crust mix or homemade dough recipe below
3 medium unpeeled potatoes, baked and cooled
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried oregano
1 cup (8oz.) sour cream
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3 to 5 green onions, chopped
1-1/2 cups (6oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Prepare crust according to package directions. (OR make your own. I'm concerned one packet of crust mix might not be enough as I've only used a homemade dough. I'll put a dough recipe below which is quick and easy and very good.) Press dough into a lightly greased 14-inch pizza pan; build up edges slightly. Bake at 400º for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
Bread Machine Pizza Dough
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
3-4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 generous teaspoons yeast
Add ingredients to bread machine in this order.
Mix on dough setting and use as needed.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
In the book it says: "These remind me of baked pie dough sparkling with cinnamon & sugar. " When we make these, they do remind you very much of baked pie crust. They are true favorites.
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine shortening, butter, 5 tablespoons of the sugar,
flour, salt, and extracts together; mix well.
Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness.
Slice into long 1/2" strips. Cut strips into 2" lengths.
Arrange on ungreased baking sheets; bake at 375° until golden,
about 12-18 minutes. Toss remaining sugar and cinnamon together,
divided evenly into two cake pans. Divide hot sticks fresh from
the oven into the two cake pans and gently flip them around
with a pancake turner to coat them with sugar.
Friday, November 2, 2007
1/3 cup half and half
1 cup sour cream
3 T. green onions or chives, minced
4 strips bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 - 2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in butter
Bake potatoes for one hour at 350° or until tender in center.
Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out potato carefully as to not tear skins. Mash potatoes with mixer, add half and half and continue to beat until smooth. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Mixture should be somewhat softer than regular mashed potatoes to prevent drying out when baking again. Fill skin shells with mashed potato mixture and arrange on cookie sheet. Top each with extra grated cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Chocolate Almond Biscotti
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced almonds
1. Heat oven to 350° F. Beat butter and sugar until blended.
Add eggs and almond extract; beat well. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt;
gradually add to butter mixture, beating until smooth. (Dough will be thick.)
Stir in almonds using wooden spoon.
2. Shape dough into two 11 inch long rolls.
Place rolls 3 to 4 inches apart on large ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake 30 minutes or until rolls are set.
Remove from oven; cool on cookie sheet 15 minutes.
Using serrated knife, cut rolls diagonally using sawing motion, into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Arrange slices, cut sides down, close together on cookie sheet.
4. Bake 8 to 9 minutes. Turn slices over; bake an additional 8 to 9 minutes.
Remove from oven; cool on cookie sheet on wire rack. Prepare Chocolate Glaze.
Dip end of each biscotti in glaze or drizzle over entire cookie. Prepare White Glaze;
drizzle over chocolate glaze. Garnish with additional almonds, if desired.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies
Place 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon shortening
(do not use butter, margarine or oil) into small microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until smooth when stirred.
Makes about 1 cup glaze.
Place 1/4 cup white chips (Hershey's Premier White Chips) and 1 teaspoon shortening
(do not use butter, margarine or oil) into small microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave at HIGH (100%) 30 to 45 seconds or until smooth when stirred.
Makes about 1/4 cup glaze.