Monday, December 31, 2012

What's Cooking Sweet Potatoes

Judy started posting a weekly What's Cooking challenge to her blog and is tempting us to join her.  Each week on Wednesday, she'll call out the main ingredient.  It's our challenge to make something with that ingredient.  This week it was
 sweet potato.  

I've had a craving for Thai Curry lately and thought this was just the ticket for sweet potato.  Usually it's made with potato but I've made it with squash and sweet potato before,  It's delicious.

I had a packet of yellow curry spice in my freezer and a chicken thigh thawed.  I diced up some onions, sweet potatoes and chicken and sauted in a skillet with a little oil.  I added a little water and covered the skillet until the chicken was done.  Then added some stir fry vegetables.  After the vegetables and chicken was done, I added the curry spice and a can of coconut milk.  I heated it through and served it with steamed rice.

I'm all set up in front of the television ready to watch a movie.  I haven't decided what yet but I'll find something,.  By the way....this is delicious.

Get 'Er Done January 2013

Judy from Patchwork quilts has changed the name and concept of the UFO project.  Now it will be Get It Done.

Four items I would like to get done in January are:

1.  Bind Jessee's quilt

2.  Finish Doug's quilt back for his Jean/Crown Royal quilt.

3.  Finish binding tablerunner

4.  Jana's quilt needs to be quilted, bound and labelled

This post is being linked to Judy's Get It Done 

My Design Wall December 31, 2012

Not on my design wall but a completion none the less.  This is my last finished quilt from my UFO list of 2012.  Judy called for Number 2 in May.  This is my grandson, Jessee's quilt.  When they were here this fall, he decided that he liked this one better.  So the original number 2 is not done, yet.  Jessee's new quilt wasn't a UFO, it was a Color Pallette Challenge.  She named hers Sweet Tart and I named my Skittles.  It was a project in conjunction with Vicki's May  Color Pallette Challenge.

I posted earlier about my tension problems.  I finished it but still had a lot of thread breakage.  Jessee choose the back and since I didn't have enough for the whole back, I pieced it.  I think it turned out good.

I think Jessee will love it.

This post is being linked to Judy's Design Wall

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Finally Got a Picture/s!

I finally was able to get a couple of pictures of my Western Bluebirds.  They only visit me in the winter and all they want is the birdbath.

Isn't he beautiful!

Even a sparrow decided to join them.

They take their bathes and then they skeddale.  I know if we had some birdhouses made for them, they would hang out more.  Maybe this spring we can put a couple up.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Baguette Bread

I posted on Facebook Sunday that I was out of bread and needed to make some for our dinners this week.  I had a request for the recipe.  I thought I would share how I make my bread.  

I have been using the French Bread in the Kitchenaid booklet.  

I warm my bowl by running hot water on the outside of the bowl.  I add 2 1/2 cups warm water with 2 packages or 4 1/2 teaspons of yeast.  To this I also add 1 teaspoon of sugar, using a whisk to dissolve.  I let this  sit for about 5 minutes or until it is bubbly.  While this is happening, I put in a small dish 1 tablespoon kosher salt and melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter.  I premeasure 7 cups of unbleached flour in a seprate bnowl.  

I add about half the flour to the mixing bowl with the yeast in it.  I then add my salt and butter.  I start my mixer at the lowest speed and mix until it is coming off the side of the bowl.  Then I start adding a little flour to the bowl and continue mixing.  Most days, I end up using all the 7 cups of flour.  It depends on the weather and humidity. I then time my mixing for about 5 minutes.  

Take the dough out of the bowl and work in a little flour if the dough is sticky.  I knead for a minute or so, shaping into a ball.

Place it in a greased bowl and spray some oil on the top of the dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60 minutes.

After the dough has risen for 60 minutes, take out of bowl and punch down.
  Since I am making baguettes, I divide the dough in 1 pound portions.  
Start flattening out the one of the dough balls.  I prefer not to flour my counter so the bread will sort of stick and shape better.  I flatten and shape just using my fingers.

I place my loaf pan in front of me so I know how long to make the loaf.  Start rolling up the dough starting at the edge.  I roll the dough with my fingers and roll outward to get the length I need.

Place the shaped loaves in the pans.  I found these pans on Amazon.  I love them.  No greasing, flouring or transferring to another pan.   Score your loaves with a shallow diagonal slits.

Cover and let rise 60 additional minutes.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Bake for 25 minutes.  About 5-6 minutes before the end of the baking, brush eash loaf with one eggwhite with a little water (whisked).

Take out of the oven and cool on a wire rack.


Just to let you know that you do not need a mixer to make this bread.  Mix ingredients with a spoon or dough whisk.  Knead on floured counter for about 5 minutes.  I find it easier to place a cople of fat phone books on the floor and stand on them while I knead.  If you don't have these pans you can place risen loaves on a pizza board sprinkled with a little corn meal.  Transfer to a preheated stone sprinkled with a little corn meal.  

I love making bread.  It is one of my most favorite items in baking.  I have been making all types of bread for at least 30 years.  At first they weren't very good.  But as the years go by, I've gotten better.  Practice makes perfect.

Make sure you at least get one slice before it cools.  Baker's choice, you know.  Enjoy.

This post is being linked to Homestead Revival Barn Hop

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Little Christmas Baking

A couple of weeks ago, I started marinating 6 cups dried fruit in brandy.  Instead of using the candied fruit sold for fruitcake, I used dried papaya, cranberries, cherries, dates, and raisins.  I poured enough brandy in to cover the fruit.  I rotated the bag everyday to get all the fruit soaked.

Today, I mixed up the batter.  For the cake, I used 1 cup unsalted butter, 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons vanilla in my kitchenaid blender.  After it was all incorporated, scraping down the sides, I added 4 eggs, one at a time.

Stir in the 3 3/4 cups flour and 1 cup orange juice, alternating.

Drain fruit and stir in 2 cups nuts.

I prepared my pans with cooking spray and then lined with parchment paper.  What a chore that was.  I didn't line my 2 loaf pans.  We'll see how it turns out.  Fill each pan about 3/4 full and bake at 325 for 60 minutes.
Check with toothpick to see if the centers come out clean.  Place on cooling rack then remove from pans.  Brush with brandy.  Wrap and let rest at least 24 hours or up to a month, brushing with brany weekly,  I made this fruitcake last year and brushed with brandy every other day.  I was delicious,

This is the best fruitcake I've ever had.
I got this recipe from CJ who's blog in not working.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving is:

Thanksgiving is: Pumpkin pie for breakfast the next day.

Doug's off today, so we are enjoying each other.  No shopping, just watching the chickens and birds.  We have a fire built and just messing around today around the house and yard.

I hope you have a stress-free Black Friday.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Design Wall 11-19-2012

I have a couple days off during Thanksgiving and plan of getting my grandson's quilt quilted.  It's on the longarm and I've picked my thread.  That's the trouble, my tension isn't right.  I keep breaking the top thread.    It was late enough in the day Sunday to just quit and start up fresh maybe tomorrow.

This is a Color Palette Challenge  I did with Judy in May.  She named her's Sweet Tart and I'm calling  my Skittles.  It's also a stashbuster.  I didn't purchase a single fat quarter, remant or yard.  

I hope to get it done my Monday next.  Then I can handsew the binding at night while watching tv.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

One Homemade Christmas Gift Made

We don't do much for the holidays.  There is just my son, significant other and myself here.  So I cook Thanksgiving because I love to cook and bake.  Plus the leftovers are awesome.  Same with Christmas, just the three of us.  I usually only gift to my son, one neighbor, a co-worker of my man's and my maillady.  This year I decided to make Kahula, mainly for me but though my maillady would like some.

I start with 4 cups coffee (recipe says Yuban, which I used but I shopped for price) in a kettle with 1 1/2  quarts plus 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes.  Let cool and strain.  I strain mine twice so I don't get a lot of fine coffee grounds.  I strained through a double layer of cheesecloth.  Once strained, add 3 quarts water with 7 cups sugar and bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Completely cool.  Then add 2 ounces pure vanilla, 250 ml vodka and a fifth     Everclear or Clear Spring. ( I used Clear Spring).

cool completely

add vodka, vanilla and Clear Spring

add all of it

then pour into bottles.  Save those bottles.  You can use at least one from this batch (Clear Spring)

I ended up with 6 fifths plus a little in another bottle.  Hopefully I'll get my bottles back.  It took a while to accummulate these.

Store the bottle in a dark, cool spot for about 3 weeks.  Just in time for gifting. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Design Wall 11-12-2012

When my grandson was here this summer, I showed him his quilt.  

Then he saw this one "Skittles"

"Grandma, can I have this one instead?"  "Of course."   He picked the G.I.Joe material for the back and because I don't have enough, I am incorporating colors from the back to make the backing different.  Once the backing is pieced, it's going on the longarm.

This post is being linked to Judy's Design Wall.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I Can't Get Enough

I guess I didn't get enough canning done this year.  I feel needy still.  I love canning, baking, cooking, and quilting.  I can't get enough of any of them.  Today, I was reading Judy's blog and decided to try canning dried beans.  We love hammocks and bean soup.  I always have to plan for this meal.  Not any longer.  With canned beans in my pantry, I won't have to plan, soak or rinse.  This may not seem like a big deal and maybe it's not, but it's going to be a big timesaver.  Why not?  I have time today.

  I used Judy's recipe but added a bayleaf, garlic, salt and pepper.  Here's my recipe.

16 cups (5 pounds) of dried beans will produce about 16 quarts.  I had a couple of quarts not seal so I'm going to re-process them in pints with what is leftover.  So I got 14 quarts and 8 pints.  They're all in the pantry now just waiting for the day.

I hope you enjoy this.  Tell me if you tried this.

This post is being linked to Homestead Revival Barn Hop

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fall Storm

Yesterday I looked up and saw the rain pouring down.  I could hardly see the field next door.  I rushed in and grabbed my camera to get some shots.

The chickens were no where in site.  Some of them just hate the rain.  Others, when it's not a downpour come out and forage.  They look like drown rats but they get the worms.

This field is directly behind our house.  See the puddles?  Doug digs the ditches so they drain but lately he can't keep up.

Then it stopped and the sun came out.  There were still black clouds in the direction of the storm but a brief respite.  See the girls?  They run out on any break and see what they can find.

That was our day.