Friday, February 8, 2013

Recipe as promised!

This is the lemon cake I made yesterday and promised I would give you the recipe today.  The cake above was Nigella Lawson's Lemon-Syrup Loaf cake.  The pound cake style lemon cake is very popular in England and I originally found a recipe by Lucy over at Attic24  about a year ago or so and it sounded so yummy.   I went to the trouble and time of converting it from metric equivalents and baked it. I was over the moon about was SO delicious!  Well, I've been cleaning my bookshelves and moving all my cookbooks into the kitchen and ran across my Nigella cookbook, How To Be A Domestic Goddess.  Alright,  stop laughing, I know I'm a far cry from her in looks and cooking skills but a girl can try!  Anyway, I "assumed" Nigella's recipe would be better as she's a professional and would have THE BEST recipe for English Lemon Cake........WRONG!  When I bit into it last night it was dry and not anything like Lucy's cake!  I was disappointed to say the least!  Mind you, it's not awful and if I had never made Lucy's recipe 
I would probably think it was quite tasty as it's definitely got the lemon going on.   But Lucy's cake was moist and fell apart with as she would say..."lemony goodness"!  So, I will not be buying anymore cookbooks as I have discovered that most of my "bestest" recipes ever are from regular people cooking in their own kitchens for their own families!  I will not bother giving you the Nigella recipe at's Lucy's recipe and I know you'll love it! 

The American version of the famous English Lemon Drizzle Cake
I used my Kitchenaid stand mixer for mixing this up.  It makes one loaf pan that I lined with parchment paper.  I baked it for 30 minutes or until done at 350 degrees.
1/2 C butter (really soft)  (1 stick)
3/4 C self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
the rind of one lemon grated (I use a micro plane and just the yellow skin...the white is bitter)
1/2 C superfine sugar
2 eggs
3-6 T milk

After whipping the butter, I added everything else and whipped it for no more than 3 minutes and much less really.  I wanted it incorporated well but also whipped it to get the eggs nice and fluffy. I poured it into my loaf pan and baked it for 30 minutes although it said 30-40 mine looked great at 30.  I had previously mixed up the syrup to pour on top which is merely the juice of 1 lemon mixed with 1/2 C superfine or granulated for the "frosting".  I looked at so many recipes and not a one of them were the same! LOL!
I used the superfine also for my frosting.  I just mixed it with a fork in a small bowl and poured it directly over the cake after it came out of the oven while it was still hot.  Some recipes I looked at later said you should poke holes in the top before pouring the frosting mixture on top but I didn't do that but I might next time.  You then let it cool and I took it out later and sliced it like pound cake

I have posted this in the past but now that I have my RECIPE page at the top of the blog they will be handier for you and for me.  BTW, Nigella's recipe was a lot more involved too.....go figure!
Have a great Friday night!
P.S.  And yes, I do poke holes in the cake when it comes out of the oven and pour the frosting slowly onto the top.  I then let it cool completely in the pan then take it out and leave the parchment paper on it and store it in an airtight container.  YUMMO!  I must have needed my vitamin C yesterday because I had orange chicken for supper and lemon cake with a cup of orange spice tea last night! LOL!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

KAL Update

I was off again today to pick up more Hill Science Diet dog food that came in for my sick Nitty girl.  I was going to go tomorrow until they informed me they would be closed!  So, here I am at the last minute updating.....

This is the first sock of my second pair and going along well.  The gusset is done and I just have a few more inches of knitting to do before the toe...I have BIG feet!  I did want to ask if any of you have stitch markers that you recommend?  I have tried several but if I'm not careful they leave a space in my knitting.  Is that true of all markers and do I just have to be more careful or are there some that don't do that?  

I also had to make a lemon cake as my sweet tooth has been aching like crazy!  So, tonight I'll be cuddled up in bed with my knitting, a rainy night, some orange spice tea, some lemon cake and Grey's Anatomy!  OH!!!!  Major progress.....I've been able to knit and watch the telly!  I am SO HAPPY!
I'll post the recipe tomorrow, I finally found my Nigella Lawson cookbook....PTL!  This is my favorite cake with scrumptious!  It's an English staple but now it's a staple in my house in AR! LOL!
I 'll catch up with you all tomorrow as now I have to go make some supper!  Have a great evening!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

EBR 2013 - January Books

Well, where did that month go?  It's February already and I guess I must have been asleep at the wheel so I'm late with this post.  From now on I'll be posting books read and reviews monthly at the end of the  month to accommodate the Embarrassment of Riches group that I joined.  I'm going for the Platinum award which means 50 books in 2013 (books which I already own to go through book stash) which is approximately 4.166666666 books per month.  It looks like I'm ahead of the game so far! LOL!

 1.  Leaving Home - Garrison Keillor  (fiction or embellished non-fiction?)
     Great book especially if you're familiar with his radio broadcasts about Minnesota.  It had me laughing out loud!  Basically, each chapter is a reading from his radio show about Lake Woebegone, his (fictional?) hometown in Minnesota and the people who live there.  Garrison can make you cry and make you laugh and sometimes simultaneously!
 2.  Bet Your Bottom Dollar - Karen Gillespie (fiction)
      I received this book from Kim over at Camp and Cottage Living awhile ago and it was a funny and enjoyable read.  It's the first in a series I think and I may be on the look out for more.  It tells the story of a group of close knit friends and employees who work at a Dollar Store (independently owned) when a big chain Dollar Store is threatening to move into the area and put them out of business.  It takes place in a small Southern town and there's some intrigue, romance and genuine friendship that goes on.  It's a heartwarming read and the plot was really interesting and unusual for a change.

3.  The Glad Season - Paula Elizabeth Sitts  (fiction)
     Story about a parent-less boy growing up in the wilds of British Columbia with his Grandmother.  I loved this book and every child should have this type of childhood!  Lots of nature, wildlife, self-sufficiency and a true look into the hard work, love and interdependency we need to revisit.  This boy had no time for drugs and there were no gangs to join.  Very well written too.
4.  Finding Grace - Donna Van Liere (non-fiction)
     What a great attitude towards life and hard times this woman has.  Very well written and it is true bolster to the spirit.  If you want to feel good about yourself, your life and faith you should read this book!

5.  Wapiti Wilderness - Margaret and Olaus Murie (non-fiction)
Okay, I saved the best for last.  Hands down this is the best "nature" book I've ever read.  I gave a pretty extensive review in a past post which I don't want to redo here but the Muries, Olaus and his brother Adolph were famous biologists back in the early 1900's.  They've both written numerous books on nature and the studies they did for the U.S. Department of Wildlife Management.  This particular book is the best one so far as it is written jointly with Olaus's wife, Margaret.  It tells not only of Olaus's work studying the elk (Wapiti) in and around Jackson Hole, Wyoming but also includes Margaret's life with the children and the outings they took as the family of a field biologist.  Those children had the life!  It also tells much of the early history of those who settled that area along with it's growth over the years they lived there.  Olaus's beautiful line drawings are included and several photos of the family and their residences over the years they lived there, which were many. I loved this book!

6.  Life of Pi - Yann Martel (fiction) 
This was a good book and so good they made a movie out of it but I haven't seen the movie and after reading the book I will not see the movie.  The story was interesting and unusual but the violence and carnage was not something I bargained for and it always amazes me what goes on in the mind of people who can write that type of thing.  I love animals and I understand nature itself is violent but let's not make it up.  It almost made me sick to my stomach it was so graphic and albeit I have an abundance of empathy in my system and people tell me "it's only fiction" but it frightens me about the type of people who make it up in their heads...what kind of thoughts are those?  But then I have never seemed to "go with the flow" of society regarding what's popular or "in" so if you are a "normal" person you'll probably like it but me.....not so much.  I live in the old days of polite literature where the graphic scenes regarding anything were left to the imagination: to me that took much more talent. 
BTW...this was the last new book I bought around Christmas time.  It's not been easy but I am really enjoying reading these books "I've been meaning to read"!  Thank you EBR! 

And the winner is????????????????????

Thinkin' Out Loud!   You won!  I apologize as I looked at my last Monday's post it said I would pick the winner on Monday but of course in my head I thought drawing after midnight on Monday and post on Tuesday....oh boy!  I think I need a "keeper" as in zoo!
Anyway, please contact me with your address so I can mail this to you and let me know on this post when you do as I don't always check my email.  Thank you all for entering!
I hope you like it! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

So tired.......exhausted really.....

Evidently too much excitement in one weekend for me!  But it was a fun one and I have plenty of time to catch up if I ever will.  I have finished 2 books now but cannot for the life of me find the jackets to them!  I swear I have leprechauns in this house and they are constantly hiding things on me!  Then it will suddenly appear where I had looked a hundred times before.....hmph!
But I did cook a great recipe which I've made before but don't think I've shared with you.  It is from this cookbook....... 

She is a nutritionist and believes that you shouldn't have to give up the foods you love in order to cut back on calories or eat healthier.  Sounded good to me!  I think I remember hearing someone in her family got diabetes too and she started "converting" their favorite recipes which were all of sudden totally "off-limits". 
I cook from this book a lot and at first I tried it using my regular ingredients and then I would use her recipe with her substitutions and I noticed no difference really so why eat the extra calories if it tastes the same?
I highly recommend this cookbook and she has one just for desserts too which I want to get.  She has a website 
 I like my recipes to meet certain criteria to make the cut to my "favs".  I like them to be 1) inexpensive to make, 2) no exotic ingredients that I would have to send away for, 3) taste great,  4) be fairly healthy and 5) easy to make.
This recipe fits ALL those criteria and is comfort food at it's best!  Here's the recipe and I hope you like it as much as I do.

Rigatoni, White Beans, and Sausage


Makes 6 servings

8 ounces rigatoni pasta (wheat would be great if you can get it but I can't around here)
2 C reduced sodium chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb turkey kielbasa sausage, sliced thin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 (14 oz) can white cannellini beans ( I had to use Northern as no cannellini's around here!)
1 (14 oz) can no-salt added diced tomatoes, well drained (whoops...I forgot that part..drained I mean...I didn't notice a difference)
6 ounces (6 cups....the size of those Dole bags) fresh baby spinach leaves
6 Tblsp grated parmesan cheese for garnish when serving
freshly cracked black pepper (whoops...forgot that too but it still tasted great!)

1.  Cook the pasta, according to the directions on the package, in a large pot.  Drain and set aside.
2.  Pour the chicken broth and garlic into the same pot.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
     Add the sausage, oregano, and olive oil.  Stir well.
3.  Stir in the beans, tomatoes, and cooked pasta to the pot.  Place the spinach on top of the mixture.  Cover with a lid and turn off the heat.  Allow to steam for about 1 minute, just until the spinach has begun to wilt.  Stir mixture.
4.  Serve with a heaping tablespoon of Parmesan cheese on top and season with black pepper.

Enjoy!  BTW, Marlene includes all nutritional information at the bottom of each recipe in her book if you need more details.
P.S.  Don't forget,  this is the last day to enter my drawing for which the winner will be posted tomorrow.  Leave a comment that you want to be entered and if you want to see what you're receiving just check last Monday's post.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

YOP Update

I have been "out and about" since Friday but part of it was a fun fiber experience!  The other part was my poor Nitty who has a severe (we think) food allergy which required vet, shot, anitbiotics (2 big capsules twice a day), Hill's Science Diet food (which costs an arm and a leg....mine!) and future vet visits/bills to monitor it all.  There goes my yarn budget but I would pay anything to have my Nitty girl feeling that was Friday.  Saturday, my friend Sue and I went to a new shop in her new Jeep!  Sweet!  The Jeep and the shop.  There was a woman giving spinning lessons with a drop spindle so we both signed up and stayed for 2 hours.  Sue already spins with a wheel so she did better with the drop spindle than I did but I'm still trying!
We went to the instructor's house this morning, Penny at Big Rock Farm, not too far from here and her husband made the 2 drop spindles you see and gave Sue and I each one as a gift!  He makes them and more!  2 of the nicest and most talented people you'd ever want to meet!  Her husband also repairs and refurbishes old spinning wheels and that's why we were there... to take one of Sue's wheels.  I spotted 2 old refurbished wheels that were really cool!  One was a Norwegian and the other Tyrolean, I think.   Both were old and so cool looking and worked perfectly!  I'm partial to old things....hmmm....wonder why that is! Ha! Ha!  Maybe it hits close to home! 
I got the heel flap and the heel turn done on the first of my 2nd pair of socks and boy is it easier with a cord that doesn't twist!  Heaven!  Very Pink (the tutorial I'm using) has broken the sock into 6 steps: 1) the cuff, 2) the heel, 3) turning the heel, 4) the gusset, 5) toe shaping, and 6) closing the toe (Kitchener Stitch).  So, I am on step 4, getting ready to do the gusset.  Below is the heel turn  on the RS(right side)
  and the heel turn on the WS (wrong side).
My Blackberry Salad throw is so fun to do and it's coming's twice that wide....I have it folded over. new needles came in the mail from Jimmy Bean's Wool!!!!!!  No, no yarn...I know...I wanted some but it's a good thing I held back since the vet bill put a serious crimp in my yarn fetish!  Yes, those are DPN's...I am wanting to learn to knit socks using them also.  I love a challenge and I want to determine which method I prefer...Magic Loop (circular) or DPNs.  The Knitter's Pride circulars are nice since you can buy the cord (non-curling) and the needles separately in whatever length of cord and needle size you want and I thought they were reasonable priced.  I'll let you know how I like them or maybe you have them and can tell me! 
I hope you all are enjoying your weekend and I know for me....Sunday's are "fiber fun"!  Tonight is the Superbowl AND Doc Martin and Downton Abbey.......I think I'll be switching channels LOTS tonight!
TTYL!!!  It may take me awhile to catch up with you all this week but I'll be stopping by to see what you've all been up to and don't forget to sign up for my drawing....I'll be picking the winner after midnight tomorrow and announcing on Tuesday!