Tuesday, January 31, 2012


This is a delicious bread made today. It's called herb cottage bread and is from Jennie Shapter's book, "Bread Machine; Hot to prepare and bake the perfect loaf." I haven't been using my machine but rather just my Kitchenaid and generally double the ingredients. I always try to put in about 2/3 of the flours and then add enough so it just starts to come away from edges of bowl, then let it knead for 6 minutes. Also, I've been adding things like oatmeal and cooked cereals such as brown rice or barley. For this particular loaf, oatmeal and brown rice were added. The recipe is a pretty basic white bread one with fresh chives, parsley, thyme and tarragon. I didn't have fresh herbs, so used dried--when you substitute dried for fresh, if it calls for 2 Tbl. fresh, use 2 tsp. dried as they're more concentrated. I cut the risen dough in half...half for the cottage bread and half went to the baguettes. For the cottage bread smaller ball is 1/3 of the dough, bigger is 2/3. Form balls and put on a floured baking sheet. I oiled tops then covered with plastic wrap to let rise about 20 minutes. First photo shows bread rising. Second is risen bread with slashes in bottom large loaf with water brushed on. Next thing to do is put smaller ball on top and then gently push handle of wooden spoon down into both of them (this and the slash/water are to help them stay together)
My finished loaf ended up a bit cattywampus!! Let them rise longer than probably should have so they were a bit difficult to work with. Since I worried they might collapse, I did the stacking pretty quickly and without looking! Oven was at 425 and I used speed bake, so baked about 25 minutes instead of 30-35. I use a small thermometer all the time to check on my breads. Chef Brad always uses one and for most bread you want 180 degrees internal, but for French bread type ones you want 210--sort of did an in-between on these. (look him up online or find him on BYUTV channel with his excellent Fusion Grain Cooking)
You're supposed to put 8 slashes on top loaf, 12 on bottom, then brush with mix of 1 Tbl. water and 1 tsp. salt and cover again with plastic wrap. Used same plastic wrap and let rise for 10 more minutes, then dust with flour.
These breads were formed like French bread by rolling dough into rectangle that's about as long as pan (recently bought baguette pan and wow, do I ever wish I'd bought one of these years and years ago!) Roll up long sides to meet in middle and pinch together, flip over and put in pan--it's non-stick but I still spray a bit of Pam on it. They have a super crispy crust and LOVE that. Sorry some pictures are a bit fuzzy--only had phone to take pictures. You can see the texture in open baguette picture. You could also add parmesan cheese to this, or change it up in a lot of ways. Could add raisins, cinnamon, sugar for a sweet one; cheeses and pepperoni for spicy. http://www.amazon.com/Bread-Machine-Prepare-Perfect-Loaf/dp/0681783192/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328062749&sr=1-4 Amazon has Jennie's book if you're interested. Unbelievably beautiful breads and think there's a picture of every one along with good directions!
Last two photos are our bounty from Bountiful Baskets last Saturday. You can find out more about them at their website. http://www.bountifulbaskets.org/ Mostly in west and southwest. It costs $16.50 each week. There are extra things offered at many of the sites each week--we got beans and grains last week--30 lbs for $28. Do not have to take part in the co-op each week so works well for the two of us. This week offerings include various breads, apples, carrots. In past have gotten granola that was wonderful, tangelos, tomatoes and some others of the extras. Hubby has volunteered a lot but not so much lately because of a very bruised knee. Often got an extra piece of fruit or vegetable, but not always. Bought some of their delicious bread--a good deal, but decided I wanted to start baking more and have had so much fun trying lots of Jennie's recipes.
Another good deal for food is Zaycon Foods out of Spokane, Washington. We have gotten chicken breasts (HUGE), sausages, bacon, 93% fat free ground beef, salmon, hot dogs and some other things. https://secure.zayconfoods.com/ Prices are good. Comes in bulk and usually not wrapped for freezer. We use a food sealer and in the case of the chicken breasts, cut them in half down where breast bone would be as each side weighs about a pound. Some we left whole and even a couple times we would put two whole pieces in a bag for when family is here. Some people cook at least some of it before putting in bags. Know this doesn't have to do with the bread although there is a fun bread in the book with two sausages down the middle of the bread so each slice has two pieces of sausage in it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Starry Night Mystery BOM blocks are done! YAY!!!

Starry Night Mystery BOM was offered by Wish Upon a Quilt (http://www.wishuponaquilt.com/) think in late 2010, so I signed up. Van Gogh's Starry Night is one of my all time favorite paintings and loved going to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam years ago. Just HAD to do this BOM though I'd never done one. It included a new kit each month, directions, two fat quarters and a black strip. There was enough each month to save for the alternate blocks that will be used to fill in between these blocks, plus extra--if you cut carefully. Most months there were leftovers, but sometimes...well, if someone spaced a bit there wouldn't be :)!! Once or twice I didn't care for a fabric and substituted something I had.
My ddil really liked the first block--orange/blue on top right of first picture, so I decided another quilt would be fun to do and sometimes part of next set was the same, but mostly it includes material from my stash.
Then I decided it would be fun to make blocks out of batiks--this time I decided I'd want one and my dd might, too. Just saying! Anyway...there are four sets of each block. Very happy with how they've turned out. Didn't have any idea how it would all look and wasn't sure I'd like alternate blocks but think they are going to look nice all together. Alternate blocks have a pinwheel in middle of a mostly black square. Pinwheels are made using fabrics in main blocks.

http://www.swirlygirlsdesign.com/blog/2009/10/24/new-starry-night-block-month/ shows drawing of what whole quilt would look like in fewer colors. Saw a finished quilt top on facebook with 15 main squares and 15 alternates that looks very nice, but except for one block in batiks I'm not too happy with, think they're set as is. Pretty much have all hst's for alternates and some of background rectangles cut. It works out to ALOT of hst's but I enjoy making them most of the time. It adds up to almost 2,200 hst's for all four quilts. Do not think I'll ever attempt something like this ever again, but I do want to do Sylvia's Bridal Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts and hope to start on that this year. Of course, I should get those UFO's all done, too!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Last week, Amy at http://amyscreativeside.com/ issued a challenge to say what we wanted to get done this week. As with so many things, some of what my goal was got accomplished but the whole thing did not. During the week I got an email reminding me there were 35 scarves that needed hemming for the local school's dance festival. So, instead of sewing the 16 blocks for my Starry Night Mystery BOM from Wish Upon A Quilt, that were my plan, scarves got sewn. They got turned in a week early and it felt good to have those done. Below are pictures showing the blocks for months 9 and 10 that did get done. Still have last two months to do--all cut out and think all hst's are done for those. Plus, majority of pieces are cut for 13 pinwheel star alternate blocks for the four quilts.
Blocks for four quilts months 9 and 10. Love the purple and green combo, and that white and green didn't strike me as something I'd like when cutting them out, but really love the graphics of them! Well...love the graphics of all of blocks so far.
Some of the hst's and outer strips of several blocks 9
Block 9 from materials in kit
Block 10 original kit materials. I'm anxious to have all blocks done--100 total. Will be interesting to see how long it takes me, but am determined to get ufo's list down before starting too many other projects.

Thanks Amy for helping me focus even if everything didn't get done. Go check out what others did and get inspired!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Just in case you ever want to know which are my favorite recipes in one of my many, many cookbooks...take a look at the page below. It's from a German-American one bought at Stars and Stripes store in Frankfurt, Germany in late 1970's. It's a cool book with German recipes on left pages and English versions on right. All of my cookbooks are right there in the mix (literally, obviously) as they're being used. This particular recipe is one of the most used in all of my books for desserts. It IS absolutely delicious, huge, and doesn't need frosting. (called delikater topfenkuchen in German) Years ago I started making it differently because of not having things like sour cream or lemon juice on hand. I'd also seen o.j. made using the whole thing, rind and all and somehow it clicked to try in this cake. It's fantastic and just made one using a tangelo from the box of them we got through Bountiful Baskets (if you've never heard of them or Zaycon foods...google them and get in on great deals!)This is what most of the cake was baked into--pretty, eh? Used a silicon rose mold and also part of it was baked in a small spring-form pan. This is a huge cake--first time I made it, the amount of ingredients didn't register and so were doubled thinking of the regular size of poundcakes. I had cake being baked in all sorts of pans and other stuff! It's also a very forgiving cake...one time before figuring out sour cream wasn't necessary, I couldn't find any in the house and was needing to bake two cakes for a big Relief Society (my church's women's group) celebration. Looked in the cupboard and found a packet of sour cream something or other...just as I watched it being beaten into the dough I realized it was chive-flavored sour cream mix for baked potatoes!! I ended up adding a lot more lemon juice in both the cake and the frosting and no one noticed...helped that we'd had a pretty spicy dinner before hand, but... :)
I'm putting the original recipe here but cannot figure out how to fix it so it'll come out looking like a recipe on my blog, so hope you'll be able to make sense of it.

3 c. flour 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1 c. soft butter 3 c. sugar 5 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla 1 tsp. lemon juice 1 c. sour cream

Sift flour and soda. Cream butter, add sugar gradually. Add one egg at a time, vanilla and juice, beat for 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream. Add flour and pour into well-greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours. Now...here's what I actually do--cut one whole (rind and all) lemon/orange/tangerine/other citrus into quarters and take out seeds if any. Put in Cuisinart (other food processor or blender) along with soft butter and sugar then process until fruit is pulverized (could probably chop the fruit up very finely instead and use a mixer). Then add milk or sour cream if wish and vanilla (I usually add extra vanilla in all my baking). Process well, then add eggs and process until makes a nice dough--this wouldn't like 10 minutes in the Cuisinart, so just use your judgement--a minute or so is more than enough. Pour into prepared pans. I wouldn't use the rose form again for pound cake--makes it too high in middle and therefore cooked about 2 hours and was quite crispy on all the indentations--loved it actually crunchy like that, but probably wouldn't do it again. That form would be find for a regular cake, though...or maybe a meatloaf--funny shape but might be fun to try. Was just thinking other fruit could go in this cake--berries, cherries, whatever...with or without the citrus. Gotta try that next time. Anyway...try this recipe--you won't be disappointed!
Got so many wonderful handmade Christmas presents. Ladybug painting is by my eldest Girlie Girl, Sagie. Isn't it darling? I also got fingerless gloves from my dil Jenny, recipe card holder from Boyly Boy Adam, handpainted treasure box from Boyly Boy Trey, button clock from Girlie Girls Sydney and Sabrina (their daddy taught them how to sew buttons with ladybug and daisy ones for 12 o-clock!) and dd Diannalynn made me a darling heart mobile that will appear on here later.
This is the latest Starry Night block I've finished. Last year in January, I started getting the Mystery BOM Starry Night kits from Wish Upon A Quilt. For some reason, I decided to not only make the kit one but another similar one in regular fabrics and two in batik--I KNOW...TOTALLY CRAZY! Anyway...with one thing and another, I got bogged down and am behind. I also didn't realize (DUH!) that twelve 12 inch squares does not a quilt make and needed a finishing kit. Well...I didn't want to buy the finishing kit, am not going to buy the finishing kit--especially since I'm making three extras...so am doing it with material left over from what I've gotten or used so far and will need to buy some extra but not a whole kit's worth. One of my resolutions is to finish things and this is highest priority right now, so have been frantically cuttinng all the cazillion pieces for the 13 "filler" squares for FOUR Starry Night quilts. Keeping it all straight has been interesting. Hopefully by Monday I at least have all original blocks done and can get pictures of all of them. Well...long post, but hopefully you've enjoyed it and will try the cake. Divide it up for a smaller cake or use it as shown.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

December 2011 Finishes

Lily's Quilts: http://lilysquilts.blogspot.com/ has Fresh Sewing Day to share what you've done either for the whole year, or just in December. Since my memory is not very memorable, my choice is just this last month. Besides the two I-Spy quilts for my son and daughter's families, I made the cute Santa in the Moon (McCall pattern found through Pinterest), three Candy Swirl table runners, and a few Paper Sack Lunch Bags. Also, ended up making 10 Christmas Sacks since we couldn't find hubby and my stockings, and our daughter's family stockings stayed in their library all alone this year instead of coming to visit Gramma and Boppa's home!

Go to Lily's Quilts and link up--I never can figure out how to get a linky button on my site, but her URL is up above and there's already over 70 blogs linked, so have fun.