Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tis the Season

Tis the season to be busy and I actually have been a lot busier then I've been in months.  I've been able to get out of bed for 6 hours or sometimes more.  So baking season has really been going well!  To torture my friends I've been sending fruitcakes as gifts of the season along with truffles.  So far I've made about 20 dozen dark chocolate truffles.  My recipies are at .

I had a lovely Christmas.  Lee's mom and I hung out watching TV and threatening to go out for chineses food waiting for Lee to finish dinner.  I made a chocolate soufle for dessert.

I got some great gifts a set of dishes, I believe this is china dates from the 70's.  I love having some real dishes!

My friend and her mother gave me this dish towel and pincushion.  The dish towel is hand embroidered and I've wanted a sample of the mothers embroidery for years.  So my Christmas wish came true!

Even got the tree put up in the kitchen, still don't have many ornaments so I decorated the tree with necklaces I had made.  The necklace showing in the picture is made of green jade and clear crystals.

Close up of the necklace

We also tried to do a lot of good and help others during the season.

Our cat Caramel is enjoying the chair that we got so I can sit at the counter and work now. At least when the she will let me.  She is all cat and assumed that the chair was hers!  She is such a pretty and thankfully small Maine coon.

We've been spending a bit of money getting things that we've needed for the house but haven't been able to replace until now.  A chair for the kitchen and some new bed linens.  Yesterday we went to Sears and I had so much shopping luck I couldn't believe it!  I never find deals.  But Sears had cotton sheets!  So many stores have only microfiber sheets.  So we found a nice set of sheets in blue and a beautiful new blanket in a dark blue.  But in the clearance section I found a quilt in the wedding ring pattern!  I've been wanting one for years but couldn't afford it.  It was only $35!  So I grabbed it and wouldn't let go!  When Lee found me I said it was mine!  It is in blue like the sheets with a green accent.  It so beautiful!  It also had two matching shams!  No more using hot glue or painting on the bed.  We got all our bedclothes for about $90!  Such a happy find.  We really needed them.

The baking season is not over yet and friends that are reading this are not yet safe from being fruit caked!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Had such a fun day yesterday!

It was very cold yesterday when I got up, so I turned on the oven to warm up the kitchen.  Can't let the oven just sit there empty.  So I made my favorite scones with tary cherries and they were wonderful!  Then since it was still cold I started a preferment for bread the next day.  Lee bought me some new regular brewers yeast in the 1 lb package so I divided it into jars and put them in the fridge.  The kitchen was about 60 degrees by then. 

Next I made some pie crust and I swear I heard my mom laughing!  My crusts are so awful!  When I went to put the crust away, I looked at my preferment and it was bulging over the top of the container.  I took off the towel and screamed!  It was moving and bubbling!  I have never seen yeast so crazy, and the kitchen was still cold!  I beat it down and decided it didn't need any more proofing!  So it went into the fridge also. 

Then I took 24 oz of baby carrots and put them through the juicer, it made about 8oz of juice.  Next I juiced the seeds from a medium size pomegrant and it juiced down to about 3 oz.  It was so sweet and tart, not bitter like the supermarket juices.  Then I mixed the juices together and they were good!  But next time I want to try less pomegrant juice, it tried to overwhelm the carrrot juice! 

So I was innocently having a yummy lunch when little did I know what was waiting in the fridge!  The dough had gone crazy even in the fridge!  I beat the preferment down again, Lee asked for some to take to his mom's so I gave him the whole batch.  Then I made a new preferment making sure that I measured out the yeast correctly and even put in a little less then the recipe, just in case!  The kitchen was about 70 degrees by then, so I started letting the preferment rise.

After a rest I decided to work on the kitchen and start dinner.  I only cook one meal a week and I still had some energy so this was the night!  I peeled carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes and cut them into chunks.  Then tossed them in olive oil and started to slow roasted them in the oven.  I looked over and my new preferment was acting deranged!  I beated it severly and put it in the frig.

Lee came home and ground some sirloin and I made it into a meatloaf.  After it was all cooked Lee made a smoked gouda cheese sauce to pour on top of the meat.  Dinner was wonderful.  Then Lee left again taking dinner to a friend and I was left alone with the thing in the fridge!

The yeast monster from the black fridge was trying to escape again!  I gave it one last chance and beat it soundly!  By the time Lee got home, I had lost the battle.  There was nothing else to do but finish the bread!  The yeast had won.  I added flour and a little water and kneaded it in the mixer.  Then set it out to rise.  The kitchen was under 60 degrees again even with the oven running.  But nothing could stop the beast.  It rose in record time and I shaped it into loaves.  By 2:00 am there were two rustic loaves cooling on the counter and I was exhausted!