I used to hear stories about my grandmother getting together with her friend once a month and making 20 loaves of bread not to mention doughnuts and buns and rolls. Can you imagine? A whole day devoted to breadmaking and friendship building? I have my grandmother's recipe for this monthly ordeal, but I have yet to find the friend that wants to spend all day doing it!
Several years ago, I heard about this book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois. It is still available on Amazon if your are interested! This book make my bread baking experience something I felt really proud to share with friends and family. Almost everyone I know has experienced a loaf of this bread at some time or another, because I make it THAT much. I mean, just look at the condition of my book (14 years old!).
As years have gone by, I went from making several of the recipes in the book to just the first one and then adding whatever I want to it. Here are some of my favorite additions:
The basic recipe is this. You mix these four ingredients together:
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
6 1/2 cups flour
after mixing well, let sit on countertop with a lid that is not airtight (I learned why the hard way) for 3 hours. Then place in the refrigerator - again with a lid that is NOT airtight. This dough works best when chilled for a couple of hours.
Preheat oven and covered baking dish to 450°.
For a large loaf, use all of the dough. Place on floured surface. Add your chosen additions (or none) across the disk shaped dough. Roll, tuck edges and place in greased, preheated baking dish. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove lid. Lower baking temperature to 400°. Continue baking for 15 minutes, remove and let cool. Awe...... For a small loaf, use 1/4 of the dough. I use enameled coated cast iron pans for this.
I've enjoyed making these fun stars in all kinds of sizes with all kinds of paper for years.
What would you do with them? Enquiring minds want to know!
P.S. What is that dorky laugh I do at the end?
When it comes to pork chops, my husband is a mustard man while I have firmly held on to the Shake and Bake 80's trend. I came across a dijon mustard sauce for fish that sounded pretty good, but as I did not have dijon mustard and I also had pork, I decided to try a little inventing.
What came of it is possible the best chops of my entire life! I love these chops! The sauce tastes good on potatoes. I'm willing to bet it would taste good on all kinds of vegetables. I'm even willing to bet that people who "poo poo" mustard will take a liking to these chops!
If you try it, I want to hear about it! Leave a comment!
Story Mill Park in Bozeman, MT is one of my favorite places to go. The nature trails leading from it take you through sightings such as deer and great horned owls to waking past cattle sale arenas. In the park itself are play structures such as a huge huge huge dinosaur climbing design that is made out of wood. It is a piece of art of and by itself. Then there are the climing walls, the slides that go down a massive hill, and two story playhouses. I wish I could play on them!
Last week, as I was watching the news, I heard about an art exhibit at the park. I was very excited to go to see it. Later that night, my mother called from Wyoming. "There's an art exhibit at some park", she says. "I want you to go and take a picture of a raccoon in a tree!" Oh, mom, I do love you so!
So - when I got to the park, it was a little different from a normal art walk, because people were very careful to keep socially distanced and I was pleased to see everyone wearing masks. It did mean that we waited in line to see each piece, and felt a little rushed so the next people could see it - but it is up for the rest of the month and I hope it won't be so busy the next time I go.
Several of the exhibits have little extras with them - like stickers, coloring pages, and recipes. So many details - I can't wait to go again and see all that was missed.
I know you want to know....Yes, I got my mom a picture of a raccoon in a tree. Can you find it?
- What a wonderful Sunday Morning we had!! I spend probably too much time thinking about all the time we miss out on - exploring new things, tastes, talents, interests, opportunities, when we are just sitting at home avoiding the Corona. There doesn't seem to be many occasions for us to connect in a joyful bridging manner. The truth is that we like vastly different things, and that can limit us even in unCorona times.
Before Christmas, an event came across Facebook for a painting class. I had seen them before, but either hadn't liked the picture or didn't like the time frame of the class. I had seen this particular event, though, because my childhood friend - not even in the continental US had expressed interest in it. So I said that I was interested. Then I got a notification that my HUSBAND was interested in the painting class!! NO WAY!!!! I decided then and there that we were going to do it together and was excited and pleased to no end.
I purchased all the supplies that I didn't already have 3 weeks before the class started. That was how excited I was! Then I had to wait....
The class started on a Saturday at noon. I didn't think anything of it, because it was an on demand class and we could do it anytime we wanted for the next week. Apparently, Craig had told his sister that we were going to do it that night (wow!), I suggested the next day.
Then, Sunday, Craig told me he was setting up the garage for our painting class. WHAT?!? Where is my husband and what have you done to him I wanted to ask! Anyway, we had a few wonderful hours of time together, connecting in that preCorona virus way that I had missed so much. It just meant the world and more to me. Here are some of our pictures from that day. If you are interested in one of the classes, click here! Take a look at some of our progress from Sunday and let us know if you try a painting class!! And don't forget to send pictures!!!!
I made this shirt to remind myself that I don't have to like the way things are, but I do have to have the resolve to go forward. What a year 2020 has been! 2021, you will see me "Bucking it Up" and moving forward in (at least for me) exciting new ways. I have some great news that I am ALMOST ready to share with you! If you would like a shirt like mine, you can get it here See you soon!!
Okay, you guys. We are still going strong on this $20 ham we bought for our New Year's Day dinner. So let's go through what we've made with it.
New Year's Day Dinner - Plain ham with baked beans and Macoroni sides
Split Pea Soup
Ham and Cheese Hand Pies
Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad
Montana Scalloped Potatoes
but guess what?!? We STILL have ham left. Like half a gallon bag. I'm going to need your ideas now!!
This is another recipe that I am only going to show pictures of because you can literally do it however you want. If you use more or bigger potatoes, you'll want more rue. If you like things supper cheesy, you'll use more cheese. If you like more mellow, you'd change to mozzarella. If you are like my Rhett Buttler, you'd probably prefer hamburger to ham. You do you, boo....Just follow the basic guidelines and you will have a hit!!
Here is my initial ingredients - except that I forgot the onions. Don't like onions? Leave them out! Maybe don't use purple onions because they will turn black.
First, I cooked onions in butter for about 3 - 5 minutes, added spices. Then I added about 2 1/2 Tablespoons of flour. I cooked that for about 2 minutes over medium. I added 1 1/4 cups of milk and let it thicken, and then most of the cheese and let it melt.
In a casserole, I placed one layer of potatoes, then all the ham, and then the remaining potatoes. I poured the rue over it all, but it did not cover the potatoes, so I poured milk in until all of the potatoes were covered.
The casserole was covered with foil and placed in a 350°F for an hour. After an hour, I checked and the potatoes were not done. Cooked another 2 hours to have potatoes completely done and that nice black ridge around casserole that my husband loves.
Okay, I'm going to go and freeze the rest of this ham!! Let me know what your favorite ham recipes are for when I can eat it again!!
If You Give a Girl a Ham and Pasta Salad
The title of this article is a one off on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by by Laura Numeroff. It can also go with the saying, "If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime". Well, if you give this girl a ham, she will be eating for at least a month. As well as....If you give this girl a ham, she will need some macaroni, cheese, onions, barbeque sauce, mustard, split peas, potatoes, biscuits, bread, and mayo.
We always have a ham on New Years because it goes good with beans, and everyone knows that you must eat beans on New Years in order to have good luck throughout the new year. Lord knows we need it more than ever this year, so I got a big ham to go with a lot of beans. Now before you all write and comment that it isn't beans but black eyed peas that bring luck, I need to let you know that I live in Montana, and I've never been in a restaurant or home that served black eyed peas, so we eat BEANS :)
This recipe is so easy, we can do it in only a few words and pictures. No measurements will be given. This is your salad, so you add as much or as little as you want! If you add anything new and exciting to yours, please let me know about it! I probably want to try it, too!
If You Give a Girl a Ham Pasta Salad
Add some onion to a bowl, then ham, then cheese, then a little pickle juice.
Then Salt and Pepper
Mix it up
Cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
I've also made Split Pea Soup and Scalloped Ham and Potatoes. I only have about 4 pounds left to find something else to do. I was thinking ham and cheese calzones. Do you have any ideas?
Who'd have a mind to disagree? I've travelled the world and the seven seas. Everybody's looking for something..... Oh, excuse me. I just got caught up in the song! If you are too young or just can't remember it - Here it is! Just notice that I change the words to suit myself lol!
This cake is definitely a dream. A super rich, decadent dream. Thank goodness for friends and neighbors, because I really should not eat the whole thing without worrying about getting diabetes. A super special treat is in order sometimes and this hit the spot. I hope that it will hit your sweet spot, too!
This is a basic "poke" cake - meaning that after the cake is baked and still warm - you take a straw and poke holes all over it and then pour the "sauce" on it. And after that comes the frosting! Oh, my lawd!! Save me now! Three layers of chocolatey goodness!
*Note to anyone not liking Baileys Irish Cream - replace with milk. Note that a downloadable, printable recipe is at the bottom :)
Let's get this chocolate show started!
You will need:
For the cake
2 Cups all purpose flour
2 Cups sugar
3/4 Cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Baileys Irish Cream, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1 Cup sweetened condensed milk
3/4 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Whipped Cream Topping
2 Cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 Cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
mini chocolate chips
I've waited for you for a good long 9 months!! The longest 9 months ever, anywhere. I have plans for you 2021. To bad all my plans start with a vaccine. But the vaccine will get around to the little people eventually, right?
My 2021 To Do List:
I am a recently retired small town librarian living the dream in Montana in my boujee yet redneck kind of way. Married to a mining engineer and mother to two wonderful young men.