Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dutch Oven Bread...and I'm not even Dutch!

This post was scheduled to post yesterday but obviously it did not...thanks a lot Google!  NOT!

This is another variation on the no-knead bread that I make.  This makes 1 loaf of the artisan type bread.  It's crusty and chewy like the Italian bread I was raised on and therefore this is what I call bread.  If you don't care for that type of  bread then you don't want to make this but if you haven't tried it you need to!  Delicioso!
 This recipe originated from Mother Earth News


No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread

1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  5. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

It looks pretty much like the other no-knead bread that I  make except it's BIGGER!  It would take about 4 of my other "little" loaves to  make up this loaf.  I read about another gal that makes this and she sometimes adds raisins and cinnamon into the dough.  You could add anything to change it up...herbs, cheese or olives maybe?  Use your imagination make your own custom artisan bread.
Happy Saturday everyone and thanks for stopping by!  Your comments mean so much to me.  It's like having a friend come over to visit.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rhubarb Coffee Cake with my very own rhubarb! Recipe included! LOL!

I planted the rhubarb last year....6 plants but only 3 of them made it.  They were 2 year old plants and you can harvest on the 3rd year. It's hard to grow rhubarb in Arkansas but this strain is specifically designated for this climate.  I know now why many people here say they've never had it.  Anyway, up North, where I came from, it is a staple on any gardener's plot.  In the Amana colonies which were close by, they were famous for their rhubarb wine.  We'd have it for Easter and the Cranberry for Thankgsgiving.
I had a big plot of 16 or 18 plants of rhubarb on my little farm in Iowa and every year I would make my rhubarb coffee cake with the first rhubarb that we picked and of course many other rhubarb dishes came later but the first was always the coffee cake.  I couldn't find my original recipe but found the same one on All Recipes only I'm not sure if I used sour cream in mine and theirs did and they did not add vanilla and I did.  But the topping and the taste and the looks of it are exactly the same.  It wasn't my recipe to begin with as I got it years ago from someone else.  It was rated 5 stars by quite a few people and I agree.  It's been in our family since my children were little and they always loved it and so did I. 

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

1/2 C shortening
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sour cream
2 C fresh or frozen rhubarb thawed and chopped


1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1 T butter melted
1 tsp cinnamon

In a mixing bowl cream shortening and brown sugar.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt;  add to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream.  Fold in the rhubarb and pour into an rectangular baking dish or cake pan.  Mine was a 9 x 13 non-stick pan but I still greased it.  (it's an old non-stick pan! I don't trust it).
Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the batter.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minuntes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.  This cake may be frozen for up to 6 months. 

Now that I have my own rhubarb supply, I'm going to make 2  8" square ones and freeze one.  Another "make ahead" dish.............LOVE!!!!  The picture below is last night on my way to bed.....with my cup of tea and a little something sweet....I swear it tasted better being it was grown and baked by my own hands.  

Happy Friday everyone.....and thanks SO MUCH for your comments and for stopping by.  It's my "company" and much appreciated.  I just wish I could REALLY give you a piece of cake and sit and have tea with you.  I guess this will have to do.   

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Whoa Nellie did I ever have a great day and it's not over!

Great day, as in I made some real progress on all fronts!  I cleaned up the house (just daily  maintenance stuff) but then I made bread dough, mowed the lawn, cleaned off my desk....that was major.  I should have taken a "before" picture but I was too embarassed! LOL!  Let's just say I didn't need to dust the top of it because it had not seen "air" for awhile! Ha! Ha!  I also crocheted on breaks and made rhubarb coffee cake (recipe later and pics).  Ah....what a great feeling!  I'm trying to work outside for an hour a day at least and an hour inside on cleaning and clearing (NOT the daily maintenance stuff).  So, it probably doesn't look like much but trust me it WAS! 

Oh!  Look at new Mary Engelbreit mouse pad too....oh yeah!

I hope you had the exact kind of day you wanted too!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Someone please tell me to STOP crocheting and get some work done!!!

I did get some work done so far but I need to keep going and stop crocheting.  I sit down for a break but have a  hard time getting back to work again.  So, I cleaned up the house, took recycling, went to the realtor and mailed the bills that I paid yesterday.  I was going to mow but it's already 4:15....tomorrow for that I guess! I got waylaid because when I was going to go mow the assessor showed up in my driveway and needed to measure and look at the property so....what could I do?  I had to go back in the house and sit down and crochet some more! LOL!

Here's the basket....starting to take shape, literally!
And the throw is coming along too..........

So, back to work now!  No, really....I AM going back to work!  Hope you're having a splendid Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another late night post..........cookies!

I've been trying to get my physical items on my list done in the morning when I have the "get up and go" and sit at the pc when I'm tired out but then I get going with my day and forget to post my blog!  I'll get used to my new schedule and hopefully be blogging in the morning some time....until then please bear with me!
I promised yesterday that I would give you that cookie recipe also from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman
They   may not look like much but let me tell you!  They are THE BEST oatmeal cookies I've ever made and they're called Oatmeal Crispies for a reason.....they're CRISPY!  YAY!!!!  I LOVE crispy cookies.  They also happen to be Marlboro Man's favorite....that's Ree's husband.....a REAL cowboy.  Trust me ladies....he's a looker too!  Anyway, on to the recipe for these delicious morsels.

Oatmeal Crispies (from the cookbook by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

1/2 C chopped pecans
1 C shortening
1 C packed brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups rolled oats

Another reason I love these cookies is the fact that they are the old fashioned refrigerator cookies.  In other words, you shape the dough into a long tube/roll, chill and/or freeze and slice them later.  Where do you think Pillsbury got the idea for their "Slice & Bake" cookies?  I always keep a roll or two in my freezer for when I need something sweet but I'm either too tired to start baking or company's coming and I don't want to have to make a dessert.  It's like an insurance policy for my sweet tooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the shortening and sugars.  Lightly beat the eggs and vanilla together in a medium bowl.  Add the egg mixture to the shortening sugar mixture, and beat to thoroughly combine.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Stir to combine.  Add the flour mixture to the egg/sugar mixture and stir until combined.  Dump in the oats and the pecans and stir to combine.  Divide the dough in half.  Place each half on a sheet of waxed paper and form a roll 1 1/2 inches in diameter, wrapping the waxed paper tightly around the the roll.  Chill the rolls until ready to use, up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Unwrap the dough from the waxed paper and slice into rounds about 1/2 inch thick.  If the dough is frozen there's no need to thaw just increase the baking time by 1 or 2 minutes.  Place the rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown.  Using a spatula,  remove the cookies from the sheet immediately.

Ree says she sometimes adds cranberries or white chocolate chips to the dough and she's even made ice cream sandwiches using the cookies.  Oh boy, don't get me started on that one!  Did someone say ice cream?  
I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do and if you like "make-ahead" food, you will LOVE  having these on hand.
I hope you had a glorious Tuesday and sleep well blogger friends!  Again, thanks for all your comments.  I really appreciate the time you take to write them and to visit my blog.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dodged a bullet and cooked up "a mess of grub"...........

We were spared when it came to the storms yesterday and I pray for the families that weren't.  Both those that lost their lives and those that lost their homes.
 I kept busy by cooking and baking yesterday as I needed a new meal and a dessert.  For the main course I looked to my favorite but not low-cal cookbook by the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond who lives on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma with her husband and 4 youngin's and also has a blog,The Pioneer Woman
She has her own show on the Food Network too but I've been following her and cooking up her recipes long before that happened.  She has a new cookbook out now which I have yet to get.  I'm still cooking from her first one but let me tell you....there's not a recipe in her first cookbook that I don't like and I've made a lot of them!
 One of my favorites is Chicken Spaghetti or what I like to call "Cowgirl Spaghetti" cuz it's "rootin' tootin'" good!  I'm giving Ree full credit but I did change things to accommodate my smaller household. 

Cowgirl Spaghetti (makes 3-4 servings) 

2 poached boneless chicken breasts chopped up 
1/2 lb thin spaghetti broken into 2 inch pieces
1 C chicken broth (1 can is 2 cups so I freeze the remaining for the next time or another recipe)
1/2 small onion chopped
1/4 C green pepper chopped
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 1/2 C grated cheddar
1/2 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Salt
black pepper to taste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste (cayenne is red pepper and strong, in fact I used less than that but I didn't taste it so next time I'll use a full 1/8.  For a cowgirl, I was a little chicken!)

Here's the chicken breasts "poaching"...........

Break up your spaghetti......

Chop up your onion , green pepper and grate your cheese so you'll be ready when your chicken is done.  (The cheese got grated, I just forgot to take a picture.  I can barely walk and chew bubble gum so cooking and taking pictures too is a bit much for me!) 
If that looks like more onion and green pepper than the recipe called for you are correct!  I always chop up the whole onion and/or green pepper and freeze what I don't use.   I know me, and if I stick it in the frig it will be spoiled by the time I go to use it so I just always freeze but as long as I'm chopping, why not just chop it all?  It saves you time for the next recipe.  I also do that if there is a special on peppers or whatever at the store.  I buy them and chop them up and freeze them.  When my children were young I used to do that in big bags always at the ready so it would save time when I got home from work.  When I was a working Mom I did a lot of pre-cooking and prepping on the weekends.  In fact, in this recipe I actually poached 4 breasts and chopped them all up and froze the other 2.  Just some tips from an "old cow gal"! LOL!
Cook and drain your spaghetti and place in a large bowl.  Add the Cream of Mushroom soup and 1 C of the cheddar cheese.  Then add the onion and green pepper and seasonings.  Finally, add the chicken and the broth.  Stir together well and pour into large casserole dish.  Top with the remaining 1/2 C cheddar cheese and bake for 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly.

Before it went in the oven..........
After it came out of the oven..........

This is comfort food at it's best and I needed it last night after all the stress of storms and warnings.  I also made Ree's Oatmeal Crispies for dessert which I'll share with you tomorrow.  They are THE best oatmeal cookies ever and crispy like I like 'em!
Happy, cheery, delightful Monday to all!
P.S.  Thank you SO MUCH for your comments....I love them and I appreciate all who take the time to write them!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday afternoon spin around the countryside............

Today we're going to visit some very adventuresome gals who lead very interesting lives in my opinion.  I sometimes live vicariously through them.  The first one is Kimberly at  Camp and Cottage Living  blog and right at this very moment she is on an adventure that I wish I was on.......she's on her way to the Yukon!
Below is where she is leaving...her beautiful home on Lake Superior in Canada.

Yes, that is her view from her house.  Isn't it magnificent?  She's also a fantastic decorator and I love her cozy style.  She has the cutest laundry room I've ever seen!

 But she and her husband have left their home for adventure in the last frontier!  Right now is Day 4 on their journey so stop by her blog and wish her well and follow her as she begins her new life and home making in the beautiful, wild Yukon below.

 Up next is another gal who, with her husband and 2 sweet canine boys, Pan and Kalen, have retired to Alaska.  They have a beautiful home on the water with mountains in the distance.  Her blog is aptly named Retired in Alaska  

Her name is Nan and these are her 2 handsome boys, Pan and Kalen but I'm not sure which is which so forgive me but aren't they just the sweetest?  Look at those faces and those eyes just make you melt!
Below is some of the wonderful wildlife they have in their "back yard".  At first I thought it was a painting it was so beautiful but Nan took this photo herself.  I have never seen a pheasant with such beautiful plumage.

Here's the "town moose"! LOL!
Nan is also a very accomplished seamstress making very intricate and tailored suits and jackets and dresses.  

Here's one of her gorgeous creations......

Isn't she something?  I told you!  Stop by her blog and see all kinds of interesting features and pictures of her life in Alaska and if any of us have sewing questions I think we know where to go now!  Just kidding Nan!

Last but not least, as I like to say, is a gal who lives all the way on the other side of the world in New South Wales which is either New Zealand or Australia I'm still not sure about that one but they call it NSW .   In fact they are having their Fall now and getting in the last of their garden while I'm just starting!  Strange but true!
 Her name is Jodie and her blog is called Jellywares 
She is married and has 2 little girls who are just the cutest.  They live on a sheep ranch and listen to what all she does....she homeschools, gardens, cans, crochets, sews, knits beautifully and has her own yarn shop in town...oh, and she also cooks up delicious looking, yummy things!
Here's Jodie modeling some of the lovely items she creates.

Makes her own bread.........

Gardens, with the help of the girls!

Here she is with her darling daughters........

Below is a miniature helicopter...a gyrocopter?  It's used for rounding up the sheep...they obviously have a lot of sheep and a big ranch!

These are those beautiful Queen Anne's Lace scarves she makes from the beautiful yarns in her shop.

If you want to do a little "armchair" traveling these are the gals to visit and tell them I said "hello"!  Have a quiet afternoon and I hope I do too as they are predicting violent weather for later!  TTYS!  I hope....if I don't get blown away!