Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cooking for the Week

Here's what I do on Sundays. I know...day of rest. For me, cooking is fun. I don't consider it a chore.

I make dishes I can serve up quickly for the rest of the week. After two days, the leftovers go in the freezer for later. This helps out when I can't make something because of appointments.
White rolls. Here's my story with this. I've made bread for about 15 years now. I can never get it just right. My crumb is too coarse and the roll falls apart when you eat it. When we went on vacation, I bought a loaf of bread made by an Amish woman. It was heavenly! When I cut it, it was so light and airy I thought it would float away. Literally. It was moist, cut well and made great sandwiches. No dry crumbs with her bread. It had a nice shape. The top was rounded and high. Beautiful!

Now I had something to stack mine against. I knew it could be done and this Amish woman was a master of the bread baking. I went home and got out my recipe. I read the general directions for bread and I found no more clues. OK. I'm doomed to make lousy bread. Wrong! The thing I have never done is kneaded the heck out of it and get as much flour in it as possible before the dough rips. Bingo!!! It worked. I have light and fluffy bread rolls that are moist and tender and stay together. Ta da! 
 Croatian potato salad. It's simple and a lot less fat. Cook your potatoes like normal. Cut them and put into a bowl with some onions. I decided to use red onions for color. I usually use what's on hand and that is white onions. I love the onions from the garden and I chop the green tops into the salad for color. Waste not! Vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and about two tablespoons of Italian dressing for extra flavor. I give the Italian dressing a squirt, which is probably more than two tablespoons. The longer it sets, the better it is. I like it cold, but you can eat it warm, too.
 Pulled pork butt from the crock pot. Hubby loved it this time. It's usually pretty dry. This time, it was just right. It went great with the white bread rolls.
And, with some of the white bread dough, I made pepperoni and mozzarella rolls. You can cheat with this and used thawed, frozen bread dough. Roll out dough. Line up the pepperoni along one end. I used sandwich pepperoni. Add mozzarella. Roll. Rise. Bake. This time, I laid out the pepperoni and mozzarella over about 2/3 of the surface of the dough before rolling. It made a nice streak of meat and looks good for presentation. You can use any dry type of meat for this. Don't use cooked ham! It's too wet and makes a soggy heavy mess of the bread. Dry Virginia baked ham with cheese is good. The other Italian deli meats are probably good, too. Prosciutto, cappacola, sopressata, etc. Not cheap. Wouldn't a nice calzone be good with this dough? Hmmm.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my food prep for last week. Take care.

Have a simple day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Wild Life

 I guess I should say wildlife. This guy is about as wild as it gets on our property. Except for a few rats, snakes and an occasional stray dog or deer. I don't know what kind of spider he is, but he made a home on hubby's work bench. I couldn't get too close so I zoomed in on him. The pic is pretty bad, but hubby was amazed at his size. Yeah. He's pretty big. About a half-dollar size. Maybe bigger.

Here's Angel waiting for Daddy who's in the barn. He's doing something and she waits patiently for him. She LOVES her Daddy! 

Here's Angel being a good girl with Nuts. We taught all of our dogs to leave the chickens alone. I used to have four dogs watching over my chickens when we let them out. This used to freak out our visitors. People think dogs will chase and eat them. Maybe someone else's dogs would. Mine are really good with chickens. Bunnies, too!

 Nuts has a hard time walking. Rightly so...she was beaten up pretty bad by her sisters and brothers and the other chickens shortly after we introduced them to the flock. She may have brain damage because of the lump on her head and the amount of blood that was on her. She doesn't act quite right.

She has her own 'condo' outside. This is what we used for a chick brooder. Hubby and I made this from scraps. If you look through the back of the condo, you'll see Nuts vegging out in the yard. She loves it out there. When we get home from work, we let her out to graze. On weekends, she has full days of grazing and lazing outside. We have a few hawks hanging around so she needs supervision. Otherwise, I'd let her out all day. She's getting around pretty good now. 

I think the other chickens are jealous of her because she's outside so often. They line up at the fence and stare me down to let them out. LOL! Chickens aren't stupid!

Later, everyone. Have a great day!

Monday, July 18, 2011


We are back from vacation July 9th. It was a really nice time visiting family in PA.
My stepson and his family just bought a new house. We were very excited to see it. As you see, it is not disappointing. It's really beautiful inside and out. This is the only pic we've got of the house. I hope no one minds that it's posted for all to see.

The party is for our granddaughter.
She wanted a luau party and that's what she got. This was a really cute cake. I bet you'd never guess it was all cupcakes and about 3" worth of icing on top! Yum!
They live in a gated community which is in the forest. I don't know if you can see, but this is in their back yard. Deer constantly roam through here. There is no hunting and they are smart enough to take advantage of that. Animals aren't dumb!

While there, we made a stop to my favorite flea market. There was all kinds of stuff there, as usual. I bought some woodwork as a gift for the lady who takes care of our dogs and chickens. I HAD to buy a loaf of Amish made bread and 2 pints of Amish made jelly. These were straight off the buggy and they are the best!!! Now, if I can only make my bread as soft, light, fluffy with a nice crumb as She did...(dreaming).

Then, we hopped over to visit my family. My brother and his partner have a new home and it is beautiful inside and out, too. It's way way way out in the country. It was so far out I don't even know if it was in the USA! LOL!!! They have a few acres, a pond and a boathouse with a swing. It is really peaceful there.

We stayed with my Mom at her house for a few days and helped her a bit. She lives in a really nice area, too.

It's taken me a while to get this onto the blog because my ethernet card was blown out from a storm last week. Now that it's taken care of, I'll be back with more.

Take care. I hope your summer holiday was as nice as mine was.