Monday, November 24, 2014

Trying on Jeans

I spent last week in Oregon and Washington for work.  On Wednesday, I drove from Portland to Seattle and had about 2 hours to myself.  I decided to go shopping.  My jeans are getting a little tattered so I decided to get a new pair of jeans.  I pulled into Kohls and started shopping.

So, I know my jeans are a little tight, I figure it is because they are old and made of cotton and so they keep shrinking.  I grab a new pair in the same size I had before...they were too tight. I fugure it is because it is a different brand than what I usually buy. So I went up one size...they were too tight.  Hmmmmm...

I went up two sizes, they fit.  I knew it must be the brand, so I tried another brand.  I still needed a pair two sizes bigger than what I had been wearing.  So I started to cry.  I don't know about you, but crying in the dressing room of a clothing store is nothing new to me.  I've done it before, I'll probably do it again. And that day I cried.  I took the new jeans off and looked down, and this is what I saw;

and I began to laugh!  I hadn't even noticed that my socks were two different colors.  I don't mind wearing miss-matched socks if I'm at home or at the gym, but in work clothes I usually like to have matching socks.  And I laughed a little harder as I took a picture of my socks to send to my husband, because miss-matched socks drive him insane.  Then I got the hiccups.  So there I stood; crying, laughing, and hiccuping all at the same time.

About then, the young sales clerk gently knocked on my dressing room door.  "Is everything O.K. in there?" She timidly called.

"I'm fine, just old and fat." I called back.

"Well, if there is anything I can get for you let me know." she kindly offered and then scurried away.  I know she was thinking "Holy Shit! I have a crazy one in dressing room 3 today."

Well, I bought the new jeans, I'm not going to think about how bad I must have looked in the jeans I've been wearing that are two sizes too small, and I got over the hiccups.  My neighbor is studying to be a nutritionist, I think maybe it is time for a call to see if she can help me out.

1 year ago:   New Windows and Stained Glass Window Cookies
2 years ago:  Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi and the Treadmill Incident
3 years ago:  Carrot, Apple, and Mint Salad and Soup Lunch

November 24, 2014   Sunrise 9:57 am  Sunset 3:17 pm  Temp.  H 9/ L 3°F

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hot Spiced Rum Apple Cider

My niece posted a link for a hot spiced rum apple cider drink.  We needed to try it, just to make sure it was good enough for all of you!  We sacrificed ourselves as guinea pigs and made this.

It is the perfect drink for a holiday house-full.  I made it in my crockpot but left out the rum.  Then kids can have the hot apple cider and adults can add the spiced rum, in their preferred amount.  The aroma of the hot apple cider is delicious and adds to the warm, cozy feeling of home.  You could serve each mug with a cinnamon stick or a quartered slice of orange with a whole clove in it.  Not me, I'm just about the rum in the hot apple cider.  I don't want anything getting in the way of my nice hot sip.
I used a toothpick to start the holes for the cloves, then sliced the orange. 

Oranges and cinnamon sticks in the crock pot.

A warm drink, with or without, for a cold afternoon.  Perfect!

Hot Spiced Rum Apple Cider
1 gallon apple cider
1 orange, studded with whole cloves and sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
Spiced rum

Place clove studded orange slices and cinnamon sticks in crock pot.  Add apple cider.  Cook on high for at least one hour, turn down to low or warm.  

Pour one shot of spiced rum in a heat proof mug, top with apple cider.  Enjoy

1 year ago:   Leah
2 years ago:  Brown Sugar Walnut Buttons and Grandma's Button Box
3 years ago:  Whole Wheat, Millet and Dried Fruit Bread

November 20, 2014   Sunrise 9:44 am  Sunset 3:28 pm  Tem. H 19/ L 12°F

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sourdough Potato Bread

I always like to practice a new recipe before I serve it for a special dinner.  The funny thing is that I practice on my family and then serve it to my family for what ever special event is planned.  They get to see progress!

I have this old sourdough book I pull out from time to time.  It belonged to my kid's great-grandma on their dad's side.  I'll pass it on to one of the boys, but in the mean time, I love to pull it out and try something new.  The copyright is 1967, I am enthralled with old cookbooks!

I made this bread for Family dinner on Sunday.  I am planning on using it for Thanksgiving, but really wanted to practice.  And, I'm glad I did.  First, it makes a lot of bread!  I made rolls, shaped bread loaves, and breakfast Biscoff buns all from this one batch of bread.  Second, I learned to shape my rolls better.  I tried to make them too small (see pictures), and while they were a delicious bite, I think they would be better if they were a couple of bites bigger.

So, I am ready with the bread recipe for Thanksgiving...the rest of the menu is up in the air!

For the rolls, I rolled out 1 lb. of dough to 9 X 16

Brushed with garlic butter

1 lb. of dough cut into 24 pieces - next time I'll cut into 12

Placed on a cookie sheet, brushed with garlic butter again and baked.
This is two pounds worth of bread dough.

A delicious two bite roll.

Same bread, baked in a fluted bread pan for snacks, very soft and delicious.

Bread dough, rolled out and topped with Biscoff butter.

Easy delicious breakfast sweet rolls.
Biscoff butter is so good!

Sourdough Potato Bread
adapted from Breads and Coffee Cakes by Ada Lou Roberts 1967

1 cup starter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ginger
2 cups cold water
2/3 cup instant mashed potato buds
1 cup warm water
1 cup dried milk powder
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups flour

About 7:00 in the evening stir 1 cup starter and 1 1/2 cups flour together in mixing bowl (do not use metal or plastic) until a soft ball is formed.  Let stand uncovered for 2 hours.  Stir the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. ginger into the 2 cups of cold water and pour over the ball of starter.  Sprinkle 2/3 cup instant potato buds over the top.  Cover tightly (cling wrap is good) and set in warm place (about 80°F) overnight.

In the morning the ball of starter will have become foamy and risen to the top of the water.  The potato buds will be well soaked.  Beat thoroughly.  Add 1 cup warm water, 1 cup dried milk and 3 cups flour with 1/2 teaspoon each of baking soda and cream of tartar.  Beat again.  Add 1/2 cup soft butter, 1 1.2 tsp. salt and 3 cups flour.  Stir until the dough clears the bowl.  Spread remaining 1 cup flour on the bread board.  Turn out the dough and knead thoroughly using only enough flour to make a smooth nonsticky dough  Cover with light cloth and let rest for about 20 minutes.  Divide and shape as desired.  Place in greased pans, brush tops with butter and cover and let set in warm place until light.  Bake in oven preheated to 350 °F for about 45 minutes for medium loaves.  If desired, for an extra rich crust, brush with cream or butter again about 5 minutes before the end of the baking period.  This recipe make 4 high, well-rounded medium loaves.

This dough is excellent for all kinds of plain rolls and buns such as Parkerhouse, crescent with seed topping, hamburger and hot dog, etc.  For dessert make a rich, delicious Coffee Round.

1 year ago:   Apple Butter and a Visit with a Stranger
2 years ago:  Ice Breaker and Bonding with a New Sewing Machine
3 years ago:  The New Wood Stove

November 17, 2014  Sunrise 9:34 am  Sunset 3:37 pm  Temp. H 25/ L 18°F

Friday, November 14, 2014

United Way Auction and Alaskan Cranberry Shortbread

My friend Katie guilted encouraged me to help out with a dessert auction fund raiser for the United Way, can you say lots of not-so-subtle  hints?  I initially said no because I will be traveling and not get home until the day before the baked goods are due, but she persisted, and I caved and so I'm making a favorite of mine, Alaska cranberry shortbread.  I have already shared the recipe here, but I'll copy and paste for you, 'cus I'm kind like that.

If you want to check out the dessert auction the link is
You can even bid on desserts if you can pick them up. But don't bid on the Creme de Menth Brownies, I want those. If you win the shortbread, I'll ship them to you if you are out of town.

Cranberry Shortbread Bars
Bun on the Run Cookbook

1 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries, chopped if commercial cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Butter a 9X13 inch pan.

Cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar thoroughly.  Add egg and vanilla, mixing well.  Add flour and salt, mixing until just combined.  Stir in walnuts.

Press dough into prepared pan.  Spread cranberries over top evenly, lightly pressing into dough.  Bake for 25-20 minutes until shortbread is lightly golden.  Cool and cut into bars.

1 year ago:   Hasselback Potatoes and a Mouse in the Pantry
2 years ago  Pretzel Turtles and left-over candy
3 years ago  Sweet and Spicy Smoked Salmon

November 14, 2014  Sunrise 9:24am  Sunset 3:46 pm  Temp H 23/ L 9°F

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stuffed Pork Loin

What is it about cold weather that makes me want to roast a big hunk of meat?  I love the warmth from the oven, the warm tantalizing smell from what ever is roasting, and the ease of knowing that dinner will come out of the oven, looking amazing, with no last minutes prep needed.

I figured I needed to do something extra delicious for my family since I was gone for a week, home for a week and I'm leaving again for another week.  I made a stuffed pork loin, it looks fantastic but other than a little prep, is really easy.

Once I made a steak roulade, and while the rest of the family thought it was delicious, my dear mother in law informed me, "It was a good try."  She did eat the stuffed pork and seemed to enjoy it.  I didn't get any complaints from her this time.  So I guess stuffed pork is o.k., not stuffed beef.

Stuffed Pork Roast

1 4-5 lb. Pork Loin
Meat Seasoning, I use Executive Chef

For Brine:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups boiling water
12 ice cubes

For Stuffing:
1 box Cornbread stuffing mix, I used Stovetop - because it was easy.
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, diced small
1 apple, diced
3 cloves garlic

Make the Brine:
Pour boiling water into a large ziplock bag or a large covered container.  Add sugar, salt, and bay leaf.  Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.  Add ice, stir to cool.  Set aside.

To Double Butterfly Pork Roast:

Lay pork roast on cutting board with the short end closest to you.  Keeping you knife parallel to the cutting board, cut the roast just below the center ALMOST all the way through.  Keep an edge attached so it opens like a book.  Turn the roast 180 degrees and cut the roast just above the center line, cutting ALMOST all the way through.  Now it will be like an accordion.  Open the roast to a rectangle and cover with plastic wrap.  Using a meat mallet, pound the meat until it is an even thickness.  Add pork to brine, turning to ensure it is all covered and place in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Meanwhile, sauté celery and onions until soft.  Add apple and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Set aside.  Fix stuffing according to package directions.  Add veggies and apple mixture.  Let cool completely.

Take pork roast out of brine.  Rinse and blot completely dry; lay on board, make sure the fat is on the downside and the last part to get rolled. Season with meat seasoning. You want the fat to end up on the top of the roast while it cooks.  Cut 5-8 pieces of kitchen twine that will fit around the rolled roast and set aside.  Spread stuffing over the top of the roast and press it lightly.  Roll the roast tightly and tie with the kitchen twine (I get help for this step...someone holds the roast together and someone ties the twine to hold the roast).  Place on pan, covered with aluminum foil, and season the outside with more meat seasoning.

Roast at 375°F for 45-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer comes out of the center at 145°F.  Making sure the thermometer is in the meat and not the stuffing.  Remove from oven and let rest 15-20 minutes before cutting.  Slice in thick rounds and place on platter.  Enjoy the compliments...unless your mother in law is there.

1 year ago:   Pumpkin Muffins and the Surprise of the Pumpkin Patch
2 years ago:  Flourless Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream and Girl's Night Out
3 years ago:  Roasted Tomatoes in the Forgotten Box

November 11, 2014  Sunrise 9:13  Sunset 3:56  Temp. H 34/ L 27°F

Friday, November 7, 2014

My Glimpse of Raleigh

I was in Raleigh, North Carolina last week for work.  I love going new places and exploring.  I always have great plans to post about it as the week goes on, but I was working and they kept us so busy!
I did get one afternoon off and went to the Natural History Museum...I was in Heaven, they had this amazing dinosaur exhibit and I spent about 4 hours there.

So, here is a short photo journey through my week.
The view out my window.  Might not look like much to you, but notice NO SNOW!

Dinner, it was so delicious.

My job fair table and DVD presentation loop.

I was SO excited when I saw the sign, I peed a little!

How cool is that?  The movie about the sauropod was on the side of a sauropod model.  These are the lungs.

And the stomach and digestive process..

I got to touch this T-Rex skull...I cried a little...I know, I'm a nerd.

Giant tree sloth found in North Carolina.

Then a butterfly room.

And hissing cockroaches....eeewwwww.

But there is nothing like coming home.

1 year ago:   Kentucky Kiss and the sprained ankle.
2 years ago:  Cinnamon-Sugar Toast and My Husband Trying to Poison Me
3 years ago:  The beginning...

November 7, 2014   Sunrise 9:00 am, Sunset 4:09 pm  Temp. H 21/ L 10°F