Tag Archive | baking

Three Tips

Here are three of my favorite tips around the home:

If your brown sugar hardens up or get big hard lumps in it before you can use it up, stick a single slice of bread in the container and close it up.  In 12 -24 hours your brown sugar will be fresh as if you just bought it.

 

I bake a lot of homemade cookies and at times I can’t put my hands on a truly airtight container to store them in so I treat those cookies just like my brown sugar.  Stick a fresh slice of bread in the cookie tin on top of the cookies for a few hours and those cookies will be as fresh as they were when you first baked them.

 

Like I’ve said before I love to bake and one of my favorite baked goods is a lemon meringue pie.  My oven is not exactly right and there are times that the outer edge of my pie crusts gets over done.  To remedy this I keep a long piece of foil by my baking tins.  I tear it off the roll about 30-36″ long, fold it in half until I have a long strip about 3 inches wide and I wrap it around the pie crust when the crust is golden so it won’t burn.  Make sense??  The next time I make pies I’ll take a photo of the results.  This strip of foil can be used over and over again.

More of my tips to come!

Baking Catastrophe

Saturday was a baking day.  I made bread and a pound cake for friends that help us out all the time.  So Sunday afternoon, I decided to make us one of our favorite pound cakes.

My favorite pound cake with lemon and pineapple flavoring. This won’t last long either.

Five beautiful duck eggs and three cups of sugar later it went in the oven.  It was a damp day and I knew I would have to watch carefully that it got done on the inside without getting too dry.  Forty-five minutes later it was almost done so I set the timer for another five minutes.  Thirty minutes later I didn’t hear the timer and was involved in something else and I ended up with this:

VERY WELL DONE POUND CAKE!!!  

It doesn’t look that bad in this picture but it’s black down in the pan and so dry that I’m not sure the chickens will eat it.  What am I thinking, those chickens will eat anything that doesn’t eat them first!!!

Thankfully I didn’t ruin my favorite pan!

I guess that’s what I get for trying to do too many things at one time!!!  I’ll start over today as soon as my butter is at room temperature.

Forty-seven Years and Counting

I just love my husband to death and he never fails to surprise me throughout the year with his hand-made gifts for me.  We celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary on Monday the 4th (1972) and have done a lot of reminiscing this entire week.  Forty-seven years is a long time but it just doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  This year he surprised me with a handmade piece of furniture for my kitchen.

This is my new appliance/baking center in the kitchen.  

The top of the unit holds my most used small appliances.
The bottom shelf holds a couple more pieces, bread bowls, measuring cups, chopping equipment, blender and my new crock pot from my daughter.

I had an old dresser there and about a month ago I described to hubby my image of the perfect work station in front of that window.

I previously had my mixer, air fryer and food chopper on our kitchen wood stove. Moving those off the stove freed up a 28 x 40 inch area for preparing anything I want to cook.

The space enables me to put together on one surface and move straight to the appliance needed unless its baking in my range.

The work area on the stove holds my smaller measuring cups, cutting boards, etc. The warming ovens in the top of the stove keeps my spices, baking powders, etc. Spices need to be kept in a cool dark spot and this is perfect because I close the doors to those ovens when I’m not working there.

Thank you my love for all your ingenuity, patience and time in building me such a fine piece of furniture for our home.  I will use with love and thoughts of you forever!!

Somedays You Bake. . .

. . .and some days you don’t.  Yesterday was a bummer baking day!!  I started with what I thought was my Mom’s Bread Pudding,  NOT!  The recipe will be deleted from the Recipe page.  It didn’t seem right when I was putting it together but it’s been about three years since I last made it.  I greased the casserole dish, followed the recipe, put it in the oven and in 25 minutes the kitchen was full of smoke.  The pudding was raising but so was the butter in the dish that was running over along with some of the batter, what a mess!!!

Mama’s bread pudding looked like this but what I baked definitely looks very different!!  The chickens will love it!

While the bread pudding was baking I started my loaf bread which I make just about every week.  Never fails!!  NOT!!!!  We think because we opened up windows in the kitchen and living room to let the smoke clear out must have killed the yeast.  It never rose in the big bowl.  I took it out of the bowl last night, made it into loaves thinking if I was real lucky it would raise during the night,  NOT!  I put it in the oven this morning to let it bake along with the morning breakfast biscuits and it never rose during the night or in the oven!  😦

Four loaves of bread that the chickens will enjoy for a week. I’ll put out one load a day for them. The frigid weather we’re having will make the chickens eat anything in sight to keep warm.

So this morning I started over and got a beautiful bowl full of raised dough and now have four loaves of white bread raising beside the wood stove!  While that was raising I made a beautiful pineapple-lemon pound cake and the house smells heavenly!!

Four loaves of bread to last the week and one loaf to go each of the kids.

My favorite pound cake with lemon and pineapple flavoring. This won’t last long either.

Addition To The Farm

You would think that I have enough to do on the farm but alas NO!!  I have a friend that had a big flock of ducks and she had been giving me her duck eggs because they don’t eat them. They butchered most of their flock and asked me if I wanted the what was left over.

I got seven full-grown ducks from Nikki & Eddie Garey and I appreciate them so much.

I got two drakes and five hens and what a beautiful addition to our farm animals.  It only took one day for them to get use to their new owners and home.    They’re very easy to tend to, all I do is put out feed which is usually whole corn and maybe some leftover biscuits crumbled up for them.  They get water from the pond and in the winter I will keep a trough of warm water out for them to drink.  They don’t like being cooped up, so they’re free to range the farm as they wish!

I’m very lucky to have them because I love to bake with duck eggs and they are awesome when making French toast, cakes and pies.

I’ll be making lots of beautiful and mouth-watering pound cakes for hubby.

Last night I made two egg custard pies, my favorite! The duck eggs helped to fill the deep dish pie crust up to the rim!!  I am getting two eggs a day now and will be using the next ones for making my loaf bread and rolls.

From left to right, duck egg, white chicken egg and brown chicken eggs. Most all of my chicken eggs would be considered large if bought in a grocery store.

This is the last carton of beautiful duck eggs given to me and I stuck a brown chicken egg in the carton to show the difference in size.

These are American Pekin Ducks and the Pekin duck is a domesticated duck used primarily for egg and meat production. We will have them for their egg production and beauty on our pond.

They love the pond and love grazing the lawn around the pond and through the garden searching for night crawlers (WORMS). It’s very entertaining watching them playing in the water and noodling around the pond edge searching for food.

They’re resting now after a good swim and cleaning. I think they’re one of the best birds at cleaning and oiling themselves, especially after a run through the garden. They come out with their breasts brown and yucky and just a few minutes in the pond and they’re snow-white!

Did I Say Canning Season Was Over. . . NOT!

Nope, canning season is not over and believe it or not I’m glad. I’ve been canning half-gallons of apple juice all morning!

Twenty half-gallons of fresh apple juice canned and sealed.

Twenty half-gallons of fresh apple juice canned and sealed.  There’s only 15 jars showing here because the last batch is just about ready to come off the stove.

Our orchards did not bare much for us this year due to the frigid spring and heavy frost when the trees were budding and flowering. I love a glass of juice when I first get up in the mornings and apple juice is one of my favorites right up there with grape juice.  We decided we would have to purchase some apples to make me some juice.

Eddie and I ventured over to Botetourt County last week and picked up six 70-lb. sacks of their cider apples.  The day we arrived to pick them up they were sorting Red Delicious and they were beautiful  Out of 420 pounds of apples we may have found a dozen with rotten spots.

Six bags of red delicious apples

Six bags of red delicious apples

Beautiful Red Delicous apples for eating, juicing, cooking and baking.

Beautiful Red Delicious apples for eating, juicing, cooking and baking.

On Tuesday, our daughter was off from work and came up to press apples with us.  We cleaned up the cider press, washed the apples, and started pressing all of the wonderful juice out of the apples.

Cider press is cleaned and ready to make some juice.

Cider press is cleaned and ready to make some juice.

Pouring in the first bucket full

Pouring in the first bucket full

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Cider Mill

American Cider Mill

Sassy watches close by and freezing since she got a haircut and cold air gets in her old bones pretty quick but she won't miss a family outing.

Sassy watches close by and freezing since she got a haircut and cold air gets in her old bones pretty quick but she won’t miss a family outing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finished the seventy pounds with two 12 gallon milk cans full of juice and a bowl full of apples left over to eat and make some apple bars.

We use all of our milkcans here on the farm for cider in the fall, watering our plants as we put them in the garden and for maple syrup in the spring

We use all of our milkcans here on the farm for cider in the fall, watering our plants as we put them in the garden and for maple syrup in the spring.

Heather presses.

Heather presses.

Mom presses.

Mom presses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family fun

Family fun

We stored the cans in our garage until this morning so it would stay ice-cold and so the settlements squished into the juice would settle to the bottom of the can.

I washed up all of the half gallons jars and sterilized them for the juice.  Eddie went to the garage and  poured the juice gently into large stainless steel pots and brought them to the kitchen.  I heated the juice just to boiling and poured it into the hot jars. placed the lids on and tighten them for canning.  The jars were too tall to fit any of my canners so we used our turkey cooker for the job and it held five half-gallon jars.

Turkey deep fryer hasn't been used a lot but it sure came in handy for this job. I rarely use half-gallon jars for any canning.

Turkey deep fryer hasn’t been used a lot but it sure came in handy for this job. I rarely use half-gallon jars for any canning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After placing the filled jars in the “canner”, I filled it with hot water almost covering the jars, turned the heat up to high and waited for it to start boiling.  Once the boiling started, I timed the process for 25 minutes and when completed I turned off the stove and let the boiling stop.  I then picked up the jars and placed them on a heavy towel on my kitchen table (away from drafts) so they could seal. We have twenty half-gallons which should last through most of the winter.

The difference in the quart and half-gallon jar is shown here.

Half-gallon jar compared to a quart jar.

Half-gallon jar compared to a quart jar.

 

I love these tongs because they're so strong and easy to handle when removing full, hot jars.

I love these tongs because they’re so strong and easy to handle when removing full, hot jars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saved the sacks the apples were in to use next year when picking our own apples if Mother Nature cooperates, bagging onions, drying walnuts or anything else we may need them for.

These green mesh sacks held 65 - 70 pounds of apples and we save them for other uses. Recycle is a big word at our place!

These green mesh sacks held 65 – 70 pounds of apples and we save them for other uses. Recycle is a big word at our place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The apple peelings filled up one big galvanized bath tub and four five gallon buckets.  We feed them to each of the three herds of cattle and our bulls.  The extra milkcan of juice will harden to cider which we also love.  If there’s any that gets too hard, I’ll let it turn to vinegar and store it in jugs in the cellar.

Leftovers after the juice is pressed out. They're unbelievably dry at this point. I'm sure the squirrels will be raiding the barn until it's all gone. I'll also put some out for the wild rabbits that hang around the house.

Leftovers after the juice is pressed out. They’re unbelievably dry at this point. I’m sure the squirrels will be raiding the barn until it’s all gone. I’ll also put some out for the wild rabbits that hang around the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just put some apple bars in the oven and I’ll share the recipe if it turns out well since it’s a new one for me!

There’s rarely anything that goes to waste on our farm.  This does NOT end the canning season either!!!!  I killed a really nice 7-point buck yesterday and the hams will be cubed and canned early in the next week.

Our chestnut season is over though and we sold 35+ pounds of those this week and saved about 10 pounds for ourselves to snack on.

The chestnuts were few this year but the ones we picked up were huge and so sweet.

The chestnuts were few this year but the ones we picked up were huge and so sweet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time. . . .

Busy Day

I slept late this morning and didn’t get up until  7:45 so started breakfast pretty quick.  I think a good breakfast starts the day out right.  We had waffles and link sausage and cantaloupe.  After breakfast I washed up the dishes, made the bed and turn on the computer.  I turn it on and walk away when I have things I want to get done because I can get wrapped up in it pretty quick and lose track of time.

The cookie tins were depleted this weekend so the first thing I did was fill up one tin with Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and the other with Snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles is one of the easiest recipes you can make and they're really good.

Snickerdoodles is one of the easiest recipes you can make and they’re really good.

My favorite recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies and the Mr.'s favorite.

My favorite recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies and the Mr.’s favorite.

After these were in the tins and the mess cleaned up, hubby asked Heather and I to go to the back fields and count the fall calves and see if we thought we should send them on to the market.  We did this and checked them all out for pinkeye or other abnormalities and found none.

Heather helped me pull two large baskets of grass for the rabbits and I cleaned out their cages and made sure they had enough water, grain and sunflower seeds and then she headed home.

I came in fed Sassy her lunch and headed to the henhouse to check on the water, feed and sitting hen situation.  I have a ISA Brown hen and a Sexlink hatching this weekend.  I testing something I read last year about the shape of eggs can determine the sex of the chicks the hens hatch.  More on that later!!

I filled up the lawn mower and mowed the inside yard and waiting for the sun to cool off before finishing.  I would like to get all of the trimming done before the showers move in tonight.  Then I dead-headed all of the roses.  They’ve been so beautiful this year.

Now it’s time to fix some supper but hubby won’t be out of the hayfield for probably another hour or so and I have plenty of time.  We’re having fried turkey biscuits, potato salad, green beans and cantaloupe.

It’s been a productive day but cookie baking took most of the morning!  I hope everyone has had a very good day!

Cooking with the granddaughter!!

Saturday afternoon found me in the kitchen with my special young’un!!  First we went to the local IGA and picked up some baking supplies and junk food to hold for the day.  I’ve never seen any kid hold as much as she can and she’s a beanpole!!

When we got back home I boxed up some of the goodies I had prepared the night before and that morning and then I put her to work making Lemon Crunchies.  This was the first time I had made them but hey are so yummy and Victoria enjoyed them baked as much as she did in the dough stage.  They have just a hint of lemon and must be watched carefully so as not to overcook.

Lemon Crunchies

Lemon Crunchies

While Victoria was putting these together I made some Chocolate Peanut Pretzel Clusters and some Preacher cookies.  The Clusters are very easy to whip up and you get the sweet and salty kick!

Chocolate peanut pretzel candy

Chocolate peanut pretzel candy

 

Delicious preacher cookies

Delicious preacher cookies

 

Victoria’s attention was held very long by the sweets we were trying to prepare.  Her attention was taken by a new coon dog that PaPa had on loan.  She was a pretty dog, Plott/Black & Tan cross, 8-months old and scared of her own shadow.  Victoria was convinced she was a dog whisperer and could calm Miss Katie down and PaPa would have a wonderful new pup to train.  Well, dog whisperer she wasn’t and she was very disappointed.  Katie went back to her previous home today and Victoria  and PaPa are searching for a new trainee!!

Back to the cooking/baking!!  Here’s few of the other Christmas goodies I’ve prepared so far but have a lot more to do:

Miracle Peanut Butter Cookies

Miracle Peanut Butter Cookies

 

Magic Cookie Bars cut and ready to eat.

Magic Cookie Bars cut and ready to eat.

 

Cocoanut Joys

Cocoanut Joys

 

Gingerbread dusted with Confectioner's sugar

Gingerbread dusted with Confectioner’s sugar

 

Cheater's Quickie-Pretzel, rollo candy, topped with a pecan half.

Cheater’s Quickie-Pretzel, rollo candy, topped with a pecan half.

 

 

That’s all for now but hope to make two recipes a night through this week.  Enough sugar to get me though the holiday rush!!  🙂  Recipes to follow during my Christmas break from work and hope to add those Thanksgiving dishes I didn’t get posted when I was “computer-down”.    Here’s my beautiful granddaughter to sweeten the post!!

Victoria - Summer 2012

Victoria – Summer 2012

 

New breed of farmer!

New breed of farmer!

 

Baking mode

I still am not able to get out and help with the firewood yet or hunt because of my pinched nerve but I was able to bake yesterday!  This probably isn’t good because I’m eating as much as I’m baking and not getting the exercise I need.  Here’s a few of the items that kept me busy.

 

Rollo, pecan, pretzel - so easy!

Rollo, pecan, pretzel – so easy!

This recipe is pretzels, rollo candies, and pecans.   On a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil, cover with pretzels in one layer.  Unwrap the Rollo candies (chocolate and caramel centers) and place one on top of each pretzel.  Place in 350* oven for about three minutes ( candies will get glossy).  DON’T leave in until they melt–mess!!  Take out of oven and press pecan half in center of chocolate and press down.  Cover all with with a pecan half!  Let cool!  I’m not very patient so I place them in the freezer for about five or 10 minutes to let the chocolate set.  YUMMY!!  Salty/sweet, my favorite!

pound cake ready for the oven

pound cake ready for the oven

 

My favorite pound cake recipe.

My favorite pound cake recipe.

Then while this was baking I mixed up a batch of peanut butter cookies and they are so good.  I love them with a tall glass of milk!!

Mixing up the best peanut butter cookies.

Mixing up the best peanut butter cookies.

 

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

 

They're so good!

They’re so good!

Classic peanut butter cookie recipe

Classic peanut butter cookie recipe

I think if you click on the pictures, they’ll enlarge full page so you can read the ingredients.

Cooler weather always brings out the baker in me.

I’ll post more of my Thanksgiving dinner recipes before Thanksgiving!  Enjoy!

Aroma of fall in my kitchen

Fall and cooler weather heighten the senses at my house.  Cooking seems to peak when the seasons change at my house.  The smell of bread rising and then baking was quite profound in my house on Saturday and Sunday.  Fresh loaf bread and rolls make everyone hungry.

Fresh white bread

Fresh white bread

 

We have to have something sweet for dessert or late night TV.  How about these?

Custard Pies

Custard Pies

I made these custard pies for hubby last weekend.  They were so good–I couldn’t let him eat all of them!

 

Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake

Everybody's favorite, Preacher Cookies

Everybody’s favorite, Preacher Cookies

 

Recipes will follow in the near future.

Busy weekend!

I don’t waste any time on my weekends off and this past weekend was no exception. The garden is very bountiful and I snapped a five gallon bucket and half of another on Saturday afternoon. We canned 21 quarts of beans from that batch, froze 13 packs of yellow squash and froze six packs of shredded zucchini. I made a loaf of zucchini bread on Saturday and hubby loves it. We’ve only got about two slices left so I’ll make some more this week. I’ll probably bake 6 – 8 more loaves and put them in the freezer for the winter.

Zucchini and zucchini bread fresh from the oven

Fresh vegies ready to store

We froze five packs of freezer slaw last night and we’re going to open a pack on Saturday and see how it is. If we like it we’re going to make more. The head of cabbage he got out of the garden yesterday weighed 15 lbs and 2 ozs.

He dug a few potatoes last Thursday and they’re really nice and he pulled the onions to dry. We had such beauties this year but the rains we’ve been getting are causing them to rot which is why we’ve pulled them so early. We probably were able to salvage about a bushel.

Onions drying for winter storage

Hubby is picking more beans this morning and we’ll snap them this evening after supper while sitting on the front porch listening to the quiet and watching for the wildlife.

Green beans from the garden