Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter...

Happy Easter everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful peaceful day. I actually can't believe it's almost May, weren't we just having snow and a long winter? Anyway, we've taken today and just spent it at home together, having hamburgers and being thankful for all the Lord has given to us.

 I love the different seasons, such beauty in each season, although Fall is my favorite. We just enjoyed the cherry blossoms, now it's strawberries and Farmers Market right around the corner. Flowers are coming out everywhere and Spring is really waking up everything.

I've been in a cleaning mode, in the house and getting ready to start outside now that it's getting warmer. With the nights being colder and you never know what the weather will be lately, I've held off on buying anymore flowers.

 I want to grab some basil and rosemary to plant and chop up in olive oil to spread on bread and cook with, basil and rosemary are my two favorite herbs. I saw them at Lowes and when I passed by I told them I'd be back. :D 

I'm really starting to use this time to take inventory on my craft items, see what little projects I've started in the winter and try to finish up some things. Spring always gets me motivated to rearrange things. lighten up and gets things in order.

For some reason the thought of summer coming and apple cider donuts at the apple orchard made me start craving them, so I found this great recipe. I'll let you know how they turn out this week.

 Apple Cider Donuts

Ingredients

1 Cup Apple Cider
3 + 1/2 Cups Flour plus more for work surface
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
4 Tablespoons room temp unsalted Butter
1 Cup granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
Oil for frying

Topping

1 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Tablespoon Cinnamon

In a saucepan over medium to low heat slowly reduce apple cider to about 1/4 cup.  Takes about 20 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.

In a mixer cream the sugar and butter until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time.

on low-speed add the apple cider and the milk and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture and combine until a dough forms.

Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper and coat generously with flour.

Turn the dough out on to one of the sheets and flatten out with your hands until 1/2 inch thick.  Add more flour if dough is sticky.

Transfer baking sheet to freezer to firm up for about 20 minutes.

Remove tray from freezer and cut out donuts using a 3 inch donut cutter (I use a biscuit cutter and find something to make the donut holes)

Transfer to second baking sheet and put in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.  You can reroll and recut leftover dough.

Heat oil to 350 degree.  Again, BE CAREFUL with hot oil.

Remove cut donuts from fridge and working 2 or 3 at a time carefully place in hot oil.  They only take a couple of minutes per side.

Remove when golden brown and put on paper towels.  (if dough starts getting flimsy return to fridge, it’s easier to fry up when they are cool)

While donuts are still warm coat them in the cinnamon sugar topping.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bread making...

So as I really want to get good at baking bread I've found some pointers I'm going to use. I'm going to use King Arthur bread flour and I'm putting the full amount of flour needed, but from what I'm gathering looking at others making it, it's suppose to be a little sticky, but not stick to you. You have flour on your hands, but I think what many of us do is just keep adding flour till it's not sticky, at all. For bread makers out there, is this correct? I believe it's making my bread heavier and not as soft. I mean it's okay for everyday use, but what I want is to make bread like what we buy at the apple orchard. Anyone who bakes wonderful bread, help us out, please. :D
They said this bread is a vanilla french bread and it's so soft, my DH loves it and I want to make him some like it....when I find out how they make it so soft. LOL

Anyway, I found a wonderful site it's http://barnhousenews.blogspot.com/ this is one of the strongest families. It will make you appreciate every second you have with your family. It will show you how as a family you can endure more than you ever imagined and the importance of teaching your children everything in life you can, so they can endure thru the unimaginable and help you through it. I have no doubt the reason they're so strong and just keep going is how their parents raised them and the obvious love they've been brought up in. I'm sure there's times they don't feel strong and just keep going no matter what, but I'm inspired by them and it will make you think, make you appreciate and tell you that you can make it even when you don't think you can.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Snow again...

Snowing in Virginia again while the trees are budding, tulips are coming up and birds are singing more ready for Spring. Oh yes it is, so I've gotten my laundry finished, made some more bread and made a cup of Oolong Tea. It's beautiful, however for the farmers out there, not sure it's such a great thing for early planting already in the ground.

I really wanted a little garden this year, but you know it is what it is and you do what you can do. In the meantime I'll support our local farms and farmers market this year and going to get everything I can grown organic.I'm very concerned what is in our foods we buy in the store, since it's not real food and so filled with chemicals and preservatives.

I need a good project to work on now that winter is pretty much over, I'll look into my patterns for spring or summer patterns. Besides scouring the internet for patterns, freepatterns.com has alot of good ones for crocheting, knitting and sewing. There's some good Barbie patterns there and this year I'm going to work on the dresses, buy a simple Barbie and giving my girls each one as a present.

I remember when I was a kid Mom was always crocheting us Barbie doll clothes and making us clothes. She also worked on "at the time" projects.
Beddolls of all kinds were very popular. Funny how many things you remember from your childhood. All Mom's craftiness gave me my crafty spirit for a lifetime and my daughters have it in different directions, even though they're not crocheters, that's okay.

We also had parakeets and fish, I've always had parakeets. I also remember other fads at that time in our house, crocheted poodle bottle covers, a dunking bird that predicted the weather, an angel candle carousel, the infamous who's in the doghouse plaque.



I loved those things, I need to get my own. We had and I have crocheted covers for toilet paper, tissue boxes and there's a commercial where Nana's crocheting covers for everything...that was our house. LOL I know alot of you remember some of these things and are smiling now. :)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Back to Eden gardening...

Here is one result of the Back to Eden gardening method at work by a farmer in Texas... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROZzs54xLJs It's amazing how simple and natural this concept is, what's taken us so long to get it? :D  This is a very good video for chicken farmers. You can also see what a fire ant hill looks like in this video. I hate those things, saw them in Alabama when we visited one time.

Actually this same farmer has a great video on making a greenhouse... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DKlXs8iov0 This is a portable and inexpensive greenhouse, it's great and good video. It can also be used for a garden shed, storage,etc, instead of plastic you can put a tarp.

Amish White Bread...


I made this Amish bread last night http://allrecipes.com/recipe/amish-white-bread/
I'm on a baking bread kick and going to try different recipes, if anyone has a favorite one, please point me to it. I want to get better at making things like this from scratch. Been a long time since I've baked bread. 
I did change up a couple of things, first I only used one teaspoon of salt, instead of 1 and 1/2 tsp., and mixed it in with the flour so I wouldn't kill any of the yeast. I also only used 1/3 cup of sugar, instead of 2/3, because I didn't want it so sweet. It made two loaves, but I only took a photo of one, couldn't wait, I had to cut into the other one and taste it. Best aroma in a kitchen is baking bread. :)







Have you noticed how long bread lasts in a bag from the store? It wasn't that many years ago after a few days bread would start to mold, now all the preservatives and such in it makes it just get more stale. There's something wrong with that picture and I want to make everything from scratch that I can. We need real food. I'm going to buy everything I can from local farmers in season and start canning and freezing again. Everyone who can, needs to plant a garden. I've been listening to these videos about putting woodchip mulch over the garden in a series of Back to Eden https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM_gtZb8qyk It's organic gardening and awesome.

Driving around this week...

My DH got off a few days this week, and since it's been too cold to do much we decided to drive around, it was alot of fun. Not sure if we'll get anymore snow, Virginia's had it's share of snow and freezing temps this winter. Spring will soon be upon us. We just felt like driving and driving and we did it for a couple of days during the day. :D

We saw eagles and their nest, a possum that didn't want it's photo taken, trains, snowy tracks, the airport, and old bridge in Manassas, horses, old barns, snowy fields, and foothills in Warrenton. We went to Barnes and Nobles in Springfield, thru Alexandria, (don't like the city), Krispy Kreme and Roy Rogers near there, (haven't been to a Roy Rogers in forever), then down towards Mount Vernon to the entrance, past Washington's Gristmill and back out past the old red and white barn at the now Grist Mill Park. How in the world do those people afford those big expensive houses in there? It's crazy, give me a little farm anytime. We spent the most time in the bookstore, hello, it's a bookstore. :))

I can't wait till Spring to go back to Mount Vernon, one of my favorite places to go. Anyway, it was all fun and interesting. Notice I didn't put photos up of Alexandria, we are NOT city folk and  just wanted out of all that traffic mess. ~shaking head~ Those people drive crazy, they need to put the phone texting down. >.<


























Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snowday!!!!


It's snowing outside, not just snowing, but it's cold and single digit cold, Brrrrrrr!!! What do you do on a cold snowday? I'm knitting in bed snuggled up in a quilt and we're watching Unconditional, really good movie. Let it snow, just don't lose power is the word of the day. I'm picking back up on an afghan I had started earlier.  

 

  My DIL got me the teapot and cups below, which I definitely used today, but for coffee instead of tea. 


While I'm putting up photos, here's an antique pitcher my daughter got me for Christmas below.



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That was yesterday, today is Wednesday, bitter cold outside. It's a day where I keep my housecoat over my clothes and wear my bunny foo foo slippers. It's not cold in here, just a bit of a chill, which I don't like, at all. I like to be warm. This is an older house, so I put up quilts over the living room and one of the bedroom window curtains, because the wind is blowing so hard.

With bitter cold temps you can feel the wind a little around some of the front and back doors, so I lined duct tape around the side and bottom. Hey, it works and it makes a big difference on that little temp control box in the living room, yep.  In the 20 and 30's it's still nice and warm in here, but 7 degrees last night and in the teens today and the wind, Wooeeee!

In the olden days they would put a long piece of fabric filled with stuffing along the bottom of the door, kind of like a long thin pillow. I think I'll work on a couple of those and maybe embroider something on it, they can even work along the bottom of window sills, same concept.
 
I couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to work on last night, because I'm wanting to get done what I've put off. So I decided to work on two projects at once. Yeah, that's how I roll, so I knitted for awhile and worked on patching up an old quilt.



January

Wow, I can't believe it's January already, the holidays are over, love them, but Whew! People can actually start saving some money again. :D We have a grandson to be born in February, just had the baby shower, love those, so much fun. I made the two baby blankets and some little things, along with a baby book that has a little boy looking like my son as a baby.


I love this card making free online thing, it's http://www.blyberg.net/card-generator/  You just write it up and it comes up for an image to save that looks like a library card.