Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cooler Weather Has Awakened the Beast

48° here this morning and it will drop a few degrees by sunrise.  We are loving it.  I am getting very motivated to do some much needed inside work!

I have put off doing anything inside the house for a couple of years now....due to some health related issues but a few days ago we visited Lowe's and I bought materials to repair the damaged ceiling in the bedroom and bathroom (due to leaks that have been repaired, ceiling paint,  master bedroom paint, and kitchen paint.

I also got very daring and bought just one gallon of outside white!  We have steel siding that is probably over 40 years old and the paint has worn off on the  south side enough that it is very noticeable.  I have plans to paint  just that side.

I started the kitchen and back porch yesterday.  I did the back splash area under the kitchen cabinets.  I am using the same color so if I miss some bits in the far corners it won't be noticed.  I had take everything off and clean as a first step.  What an improvement that made.....need to do it more often.

I also painted around the back porch door using the same  kitchen paint.  I  am liking it better  than the sort of pinkish off-white it was before.

I don't paint for long don't get too exhausted.  That seems to work  best  for me these days.

I also hung a new vanity light in the master bath.  The other had failed and only one light  worked.  I had removed it some time  ago hoping to fix it but couldn't.
Max gets everything ready for me and stands close to keep me balanced or to fetch and carry.  He doesn't work above his head or where he get in too much of a bind.....not something he is supposed to do. The fixture went up very quickly but rehanging  the blasted heavy mirror took longer.  It has a chain behind for hanging and we had to try to hook that on the screw......crazy way but it was here when we moved.  I will be changing that to  a heavy duty hanging wire.

It looks a bit  cockeyed in this photo but the fixture was angled somewhat.  Everyone we looked at was the same.  I see I need to  wash the mirror now.

 We made the ceiling repair a week ago, not too  professional looking but we are satisfied.


Our 21 year old granddaughter that stayed with us during the summer a couple of years ago (where does the time go?) has become interested in cooking.  So far, mostly baking (after gram's own heart). She has made an apple pie and two kinds of my bread.  This required lots of texting and made me decide to finally get all my recipes in order on the internet.  I settled on using Google Drive and am loving the simplicity of it.  I can share by just sending a link.  I still haven't got them all done yet.  I also want to do a section on  just some general tips on what to do when and how much for any who has never really cooked a meal.
I am enjoying it.

The only negative is I see a recipe I  haven't done for some time and before you know it, I am taking a typing break and in the kitchen!  So far, it has been Max's favorite white sheet cake with bakery icing and then yesterday typing  chicken and dumplings.....yes, I boiled a chicken and late in the afternoon (after cleaning up  the painting) de boned it and  today we will be having  Mom's style chicken and dumplings (no baking powder allowed).

I made another frivolous purchase on the internet; that is what our daughter calls them.  I am trying to be more conservative but I couldn't resist this.

From Penney's and it  was  really cheap.  I was impressed by the quality when I got it.  I have plans for a centerpiece for  Thanksgiving.  I think it will work as well for just a Fall theme and not just Thanksgiving.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Senior Moment

Good Saturday morning!   Did my usual sleep pattern of a few hours in the bed and the rest in my kitchen recliner.  No matter, I got enough sleep.

Today is another hot one and I see they are already raising the heat level for next week.....also the Sunday rain seems to be fading.  I need to quit watching the weathermen altogether.


I want to share this bit of a senior moment so you of my age group won't feel alone when you do something similar.

I froze 5 of the oatmeal scones before baking yesterday.  This morning I asked Max if he would like to have them  for breakfast.  He agreed.  When I bake frozen biscuits or, in this case,  scones, I just place them in the oven without preheating.  Turn on to desired temperature and add to the cooking time to allow for thawing.

Did this and sat back in my easy chair, sipping coffee, to wait.  A few minutes later I glanced  in the over and saw the biscuits melting down through the rack!  I had forgotten to place them on a baking sheet....not a good idea.

I quickly pulled them out but they were much to fragile to pick up so I turned the rack carefully over the pan and they fell gently to it.  I put them back in and they finished cooking.  Here is what they looked like:

They were fine; actually we like the crunchy tops.

My other baking trial was using extra gluten on whole wheat and whole grain breads to see if they were lighter enough to bother.  The first recipe I tried was my go to recipe of Annie's Honey and Wheat bread and make additions of rolled oats.  This time I doubled the recipe (12 cups dry ingredients) but just used 3 cups of white whole wheat flour and 3 cups of oatmeal to 6 cups of white bread flour.  I added 1/4 cup of wheat gluten.

The results were fine but I couldn't see too much difference.  That is bread pudding on the left made like Mom did with day-old biscuits.  I like it  much better than using light bread.

Next I want to try the recipe for Oatmeal bread that you dump all in mixer and mix and knead.  It always seems heavy to me but is our daughter and granddaughter's favorite.


Here   is an update on the Pumpkin landscaping feature (what my daughter calls it), actually the self -seeded Long Island Cheese Squash from previous Halloween decoration.

I know there will be a least two nice-sized squashes and who knows if more are hiding in there.  Makes me think of Lorraine's jungle growth in her garden in Florida.

and  only one more photo,

 Have a super weekend.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again (for a while anyway)

I have taken a long hiatus from blogging......again.  Maybe with cooler weather and less mowing, I can get back in the groove.

We have had some nice rains, but not as heavy as others in the near area.  We are still nice and green and ponds are full and pastures are green.

I recently bought a bushel of Jonathon apples from a local orchard.  They were beauties.  I finished the last of them this morning. I saved all the peels and cores and added just enough water to the pan to get them started.  I cooked them until soft and then strained  the juice for jelly.  I ran the pulp through the Victoria Food Strainer and made applesauce.  I did the jelly this morning the old-fashioned way with no pectin.

It was a small batch so just got a quart of pink sauce and the little jars of apple jelly.  I tested a half slice with butter on some 8-grain whole wheat bread.  It was very tasty.  I got a good jelly consistency using the sheet of the spoon test.  It took about 20 minutes.

It seems I took another little break.....

New Start:  September 23, 10:50 AM

The news is I am another year older.

I won't try to back track because it was just mundane daily things...which is what my life is, but I love it that way.

We are still mowing.  Trying to beat the predicted heavy rain of Sunday.  Not too much left to do.  We are really looking forward to the 60° next week.  Enough of this 90° + stuff!

The chickens have let up laying by about half.  Max did find a 4-foot long blacksnake in the hen house and  few days  ago and released it in the nearby barn lot!  He knew better.  I suspect the snake is back snacking on eggs.

I have plans to attack the cellar wild zone and the garden with DH's help next week and clear-cut and mow!  It will be a first if we get it done in the fall.


I made a new recipe  this morning.  Once again  from Thibault's Table blog.

Oatmeal Scones with Maple Syrup Glaze


2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tbsp. cold butter
1 cup heavy cream  (Option: Substitute Buttermilk and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda)
3/4 cup frozen raspberries (blueberries, blackberries, red currants, etc..)
extra cream and sugar
Glaze (Optional)
2 teaspoons softened or melted butter
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
few tablespoons cream or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients together.  Thin with additional cream or milk if necessary.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal.  Stir cream in to flour mixture. Mix quickly with fork just until dough starts to come together. 

Tip out on to lightly floured surface. (Will look shaggy)   Using hands gently pat mixture to flatten. Now fold dough like an envelop. Turn and fold again.  Do this at least three to four times. Before the last turn, push frozen fruit (Raspberries, Blueberries, Red Currants, etc.. ) into dough. 

Finish with final fold and turn and roll or pat dough into round.  Cut into six or eight triangles. Dough can also be cut in half and rolled into two smaller rounds.  Cut each round into 6 to 8 smaller scones. Or use a biscuit cutter to cut round scones.  This whole step should only take 30 to 45 seconds.   

Do not over-handle.  (Tip:  I  may have over handled a tad so go gently here)

(Folding forms layers which makes for a very flaky scone).

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Option:  Drizzle with glaze.
I made a glaze with some powdered sugar, some Maple Syrup (real), and a bit of milk.  worked beautifully.

 We decided this was a keeper and a nice change from biscuits for a late breakfast.

Next project was making oatmeal bread using extra gluten since oatmeal doesn't have any.  I thought it might make a lighter bread.  I will save that for another day.
It was interesting but I have another recipe I want to try first before deciding to add or not to add.  All this keeps me out of the hot sun but in a hot kitchen!


Salvia farinacea always gets a more vibrant blue in the fall

I have been away so long, I am having to relearn lots of blogger to add picture for one!  So, enough for now.