Thursday, November 30, 2006

no-knead bread

My Mom shared with me the whole no-knead bread phenomenon. I'm a little late getting around to trying it, especially since it seems to have taken the blogosphere by storm. The pictures are gorgeous, the method stunningly simple and so I had to try it.

I knew that my attempt was going to come out a little different since I was using fresh ground. It worked but not as well as those who used aged flour. I ground up hard white figuring that would be the simplest to start with. I let it rise initially for 18 hours and it did rise. The two biggest things I noticed right off the bat was that the dough was not a wet and shaggy as everyone kept remarking on and that mine didn't bubble as much as I thought it should based on what I read. But I continued. The end result was a respectable loaf, especially considering that I used only 1/4 t. of yeast, but the crumb was much denser. Given the time required to make this it won't be a regular event but I am going to try again. I think next time I will add more water than the 1 1/2 C. called for since I think the fresh ground probably absorbed too much and that may have contributed to the texture. I'm also thinking of upping the yeast just a little to help with the fresh ground.

The general concensus was that it was tasty and in this house that's all that really counts.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

tackle it tuesday - laundry

After a wonderful visit with the family it's time to tackle the laundry. No pictures but I'm washing, drying, folding and putting away sheets and towels. Lots of them. Means we had lots of company and that's a good thing.

Get inspired to Tackle It too!

Monday, November 27, 2006


My Mom just updated her garden diary. Two really good reasons to send you there:

1. Her new book. I'm really proud of how well she writes, the fact that she is an acknowledged, award winning author in her chosen field of gardening, and the fact that she then chose to branch out and write about something else that she loves and is so expert at. Way to go Mom!

2. She very kindly put up stuff about my lovely treehouse. I didn't even get pictures up there, but she did. So if you want to see it in all it's naked autumn glory go check it out. Thanks Mom.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

accent? what accent

h/t to Amy for this:

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The Inland North
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes


For lunch today, while still having a houseful I wanted to make grilled cheese sandwiches. My children wanted to know why we didn't have a panini maker, claiming they would rather have paninis. The waffle iron was still out from the buckwheat waffles I made for breakfast so I threw a sandwich in there and goshalmighty, it made a waffle-iron looking, tasty cheese sandwich. S called them wafflini sandwiches. It worked! One appliance saved.

We liked them so much that we had them again for dinner! Try it, maybe you'll like it.

birthday blessings

The weekend was also my sister-in-law's birthday. We had cake and presents and singing (we scared the dogs as we each sang in our own key but it was fun anyway).

I'm glad we were all able to spend her birthday with her and hope she enjoyed the mayhem.

shop till i drop

It was a busy and bountiful weekend. In addition to Thanksgiving it was my sister-in-law's birthday!! My parents came back to my house for the weekend with my brother and his family so we were all together. We had a wonderful time, hanging out together and spending time catching up with various activities.

My sister-in-law and I got some knitting time in which was really lovely. We also horror of horrors! went to the mall on Friday. Yes, BLACK Friday. For those who know me...I hate to shop. For those who don't know me...I HATE to shop. I usually make it a point to avoid all of the big shopping marathon events. Unfortunately all of my kids needed clothes, S was home from college for the weekend only, there was a sale on, and I somehow decided that if my sister-in-law and niece came with me it would turn out to be fun. How silly of me.

Getting to the mall was fun. We laughed and joked in the car on the way down (it's a 45 minute drive). Arriving was a little overwhelming, it was packed. But we managed to find a spot. Entering wasn't too bad, the older two girls split off immediately to shop on their own leaving my sister-in-law, niece and I with the adolescent hormonal tornado that is my youngest. I believe she was rather miffed that she had to shop with her mother. It was not a pretty sight. I will admit that the fact that I hate to shop and she loves it doesn't help. That's she's a teenager reduces the odds. That it was crowded, noisy, and overwhelming made me realize that I had lost any semblance of sanity and this was a lost cause from the moment the stupid idea to shop on BLACK Friday occured to me.

We struggled through and emerged alive and rational (barely). This near death experience included a stop at the food court where I discovered that advice received from my Aunt was true; you can go into McDonalds tm and order a cheeseburger hold the burger. One of my cousins and her children are vegetarians and my Aunt told me how my cousin figured out that her kids could still experience McD's this way. Not that it's the best food for you but I admit to a weakness for their fries and it is convenient sometimes. I did have a little trouble when I tried to order because the person behind the counter didn't speak English very well. When I ordered she enquired, "You want a burger but not a burger? Just the bun?" I said, "No, a cheese burger hold the burger". She was very confused. We went back and forth a couple of times until she turned to the woman next to her, asked her a question in Spanish. The other woman said, "No carne, no carne." Showed her where the 'no meat' button was on the register. We got a cheeseburger-no-burger happy meal and D was happy (at least with the meal).

I have said this before but I have well and truly learned my lesson...I will NEVER take my children shopping on BLACK Friday again!

gobble gobble

We had a lovely Thanksgiving, surrounded by masses of family. My brother and his family came to stay with us. We drove over to my Aunt's house where we met up with our parents and various cousins, aunts, uncles and lots of new babies in the family. It was so wonderful to see, exclaim over, and hug everyone. Lots of laughter, talking, eating. And even some football watching in one corner of the house...some of the younger boy cousins are starting to join into the male-bonding ritual of falling asleep to the game after dinner. Of course they didn't sleep but they loved watching the game and listening to the uncles and grandpas talking.

Food being an important part of the ritual we had a feast that was truly not to be believed. Five kinds of cranberry sauce, broccoli bake, corn pudding, crockpot stuffing (see recipe below), braised carrots, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, pickled onions, pickled sweet potatoes, an olive platter, shrimp cocktail, a cheese platter, a roast turkey, a fried turkey, and probably some other stuff that I forgot. The dessert buffet was just as impressive with a pumpkin pie, apple pie, seven layer cake, cannoli cake, flourless hazelnut torte, pumpkin bread, two kinds of brownies. We are truly fortunate to be able to have such an abundance of wonderful food and all of these fabulous people to share it with. Safe, warm and loved. What a blessing.

Every time we are all together we try to take a family picture. It's getting harder and harder as there are more and more of us to squeeze into the frame. There were 32 of us this year. It's funny how the next generation is taking over. When my generation was the youngest in the picture my cousin E was the baby. Now E is 22 and there are many spouses and babies to include. Unfortunately technology has not kept pace with our needs. Digital cameras can be great but the time release picture feature did not work well so we had to take a picture without Aunt S, our family photographer. Usually she is diving for her "spot" just before the camera goes off. We still got a great picture, but I'm sad that she wasn't in it.

All in all an amazing Thanksgiving with many reasons to be thankful. I hope yours was just as wonderful.

Crockpot Stuffing
serves 16

1 C. butter
2 C. chopped onion
2 C. chopped celery
12 1/2 C. bread cubes
1 T. Bell's seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
4 1/2 C. broth (I used veggie)
2 beaten eggs

melt butter
sautee onion and celery
spoon over bread
add seasonings
add broth
add eggs
mix well

put into greased crockpot
cook on high 45 minutes
cook on low 4-6 hours

Saturday, November 11, 2006

apples apples everywhere

We belong to a supper club. There are four couples and four times a year we get together for a meal at one house; the host provides the entree, each of the other couples contribute a different part of the meal.

The dynamics of this group of people is amazing. Every time we get together we laugh and laugh, truly enjoying each others company and the food we share together. Tonight was no exception.

The theme (which the host picks) was American Harvest. Our lovely hosts provided a roast with an apple cider glaze, sauteed apples and mashed potatoes. For the appetizer I made potato pancakes (see recipe below) with sour cream and homemade applesauce. The side dishes were a lovely green salad and a baked butternut squash/apple dish spiced with mace. Dessert pie with vanilla ice cream. Thatsalotta apples. It was all so very delicious.

The next event is going to be hosted at my house in three or four months. I'll need to think of a theme and assign dishes to my fellow supper-clubbers. So far we have done Lebanese, Chinese, Hawaiian, Norwegian, Italian, Hungarian, and American Harvest.

Potato Pancakes

Note: I shred the potato and onion in my cuisinart

3 pounds potatoes peeled and shredded
2 large onions shredded
3 eggs beaten
3 T. whole wheat flour
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the above together and let sit 10-15 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan.
Drop potato mixture by large spoonfuls into hot oil.
Flip after a couple of minutes.
Should be browned on both sides.

Serve hot with apple sauce and sour cream.

week in review

No, it's not leftovers (although that's what we call them at my house) but a reminiscence of this past really lovely week spent with my Aunt. We realized that it's been nine years since she came to stay just with me. We had such a fabulous time together, I hope that it's not another nine years before she stays with us again.

We had many wonderful conversations together, our dinnertable conversatons with the kids were really great, lots of talking and catching up.

The highlights of her visit (I hope they were highlights for her) were:

1. Attending Stitch Sisters with me. We had a huge meeting with 9 members in attendance! We laughed so much and had such a great time talking about knitting (my Aunt belongs to a knitting group called "Knit n Nosh" so we have adopted them as our Sister Stitch Sisters - if that makes any sense). We also shared the hats that we made for our Hats for the Homeless project. We made 60 hats!!! I'm so impressed with us. Each hat is unique and wonderful. Most of us used this as an opportunity to unload some stash yarn. I'm thrilled about taking it all down to the shelter within the next week or so.

2. My Aunt spent summers in this area as a kid. So we drove around to all of the old haunts...the library, the train station, the IGA, the lake, and even managed to find what we believe was where the house she stayed in was. It was very different now because when she stayed there only six houses existed on the street. Now there are over 50 and the old homestead has been torn down. It was a lovely walk down memory lane for her and fun for me to hear her reminisces about her childhood in the area.

3. Visiting a yarn shop. Totally necessary you understand. We were on a button seeking mission. The fact that we bought yarn is totally inconsequential.

4. Sharing tea and a gingerbread man at the local "pie joint." He was a very delicious gingerbread man with chocolate boots. So delicious in fact that we went back two days later to share breakfast and another gingerbread man.

5. I had a tea party in honor of my Aunt and invited a number of friends. It was really lovely for everyone to get together, sharing tea, muffins and good company. I love having tea parties, they're so much easier and more relaxed than having a big luncheon.

It was a great visit and I'm sad she's left because I feel like she could have stayed another month and we would still have had so much to talk about and enjoy each others company. Luckily I'll get to see her again soon.

too funny

Steve called and V answered the phone. She said, "The number you have dialed is not in service, please press numero uno to leave a message and other stuff." He hung up! Then called my cell to tell me there was a problem with the phone. LOL

Sunday, November 05, 2006

lovely weekend

We went to my parents where they had a house chock-a-block full of people, my Aunt, a friend of theirs, his lady friend, us, them, two cats. We had a really lovely time visiting with everyone and all of the great conversations and wonderful food.

Yesterday we got to attend a Guy Fawkes day party thrown by their slightly insane neighbors who live down the street. It's always a crowded and hilarious time. This year was no exception. After eating mountains of food the assembled throng was treated to a slightly revised version of English history, a truly spectacular burning of the guy (these people have a friend who is a pyrotechnic expert -- the head of the guy exploded!), fireworks, recitations of Der Jammerwoch (Jabberwocky in German) and Rindercella as well as some amazingly fabulous live celtic music. There were party hats of all types to wear, a tacky table (I'm going to have to find something suitably tacky to contribute next year) and lots of great people to have great conversations with. Fun, fun, fun.

Today was a lovely brunch put together by my Mom and her sister, a nice autumn walk afterwards and then more great conversations. My Aunt and I started knitting a hat together for my Great-Aunt. It's fun to be working on the project together. It seems to have been a popular idea because now everybody wants Dad, Steve... hmmmm...maybe they were kidding? All in all it was a very relaxing and fun weekend, just what we needed.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

wfmw - lost and found

It's that time of the week again, so here's my tip and remember, if you want to play too (or just read the great tips out there) visit Shannon.

I have a lost and found basket in my house. If anyone leaves anything and I can't mail it back or don't see them regularly I put it in the basket. When they come visit again I check the basket to see if there is something for them. I keep it in the front hall by the door.