Tag Archive | cooking

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!!

Bread Pudding

I have two friends that asked for my bread pudding recipe a couple years ago and I’ve procrastinated long enough.  The recipe is on my recipes page above!  One of these ladies may come to visit on Friday and if so, I’ll have a new batch ready for her visit.  Sorry no photos to share with it but it looks something like this when it comes out of the oven.  Image result for picture of bread pudding

Imagine it with vanilla ice cream, whipped topping or even caramel sauce!!  This is one of the easiest desserts in my kitchen!!  My mom and both grandmothers made this when we were small and we thought it was the best and only dessert in the world.  I love it for breakfast now with some warm milk poured over it.

Homemade Pizza

Today was a cooking day and I made two cocoanut creme pies and a 14 inch pizza for dinner.  The pies were made this morning and I just had a slice and have to watch myself or I’ll eat the WHOLE thing!!  I love cocoanut everything!!!  To make the pies I had to ready-made pie crusts in the fridge, used a Rawleigh pie filling and some eggs and milk.  I love these pie fillings because the filling turns out so thick and creamy and the only place I’ve been able to find them is at The Cheese Store.  These are country type stores usually run by Amish or Mennonite families and when I go to their stores I am in heaven but spend so much more money than I planned.  The pie fillings will make nine 9″ pies and use two eggs and a three cups of milk for each pie.  I also bought some meringue powder there and it makes beautiful tall meringues!

Cocoanut Pies

For dinner I made a basic pizza using the pizza crust mix that I bought at the same store, one bag will make two crusts and all you add is water.  I made my crust, covered it with my homemade pizza sauce which I’m almost out of, and then used what I had in the fridge for toppings.  That consisted of thinly sliced onions, green pepper, pepperoni, smoked sausage, and mozzarella cheese.  It was divine, even if I did make it myself.

Only two slices left which we may have for breakfast!!

Yesterday I tried a new experiment with my Air Fryer and a small bear roast.  First, I always boil my roast for about thirty minutes in plain water to roll out any excess fat on the roast.  The fat is what can ruin a bear roast!!  I drained the roast with was only about one pound, rubbed it with two new seasonings that I found at The Cheese Store, and placed it in the Air Fryer following the instructions for a large beef steak but cut the time in half.  It was to die for!!!  Not kidding!!!  When I took it out I sliced the roast into quarter inch slices that will fit perfectly on a biscuit and we had it for lunch yesterday  and then for dinner I poured a brown gravy over it and served with mashed potatoes, green beans and macaroni salad!  Did I say I’m trying to lose weight???

        Hickory Smoke Salt

Barbecue Spice

       New recipe bear roast

How Hard Can It Be

Really??? Two days into the year and my one and only resolution is down the drain!  Why?  I can’t blog if the internet connection is non-existent.  I kept going to my computer yesterday to post a note but my computer kept saying “no internet connection”.  Oh well, today is another day and I’ll remedy the situation with two posts and hope you can stand two in one day!  🙂

I had a note from a cousin New Year’s Day wanting my Crockpot Apple Butter recipe and I sent it to her.  I’ll share it with you as well and if you have any questions just comment at the bottom of the post.  I’ve wanted for the last several years to make a copper kettle full of apple butter but we’ve not had enough apples to fill the kettle.  I have had enough apples of different varieties to freeze lots of applesauce which we love but it’s been building up.  Our smallest freezer is half-full of containers of applesauce and I thought maybe if I use up about half of it Mother Nature may give us a good crop of apples in the coming fall.

I store/freeze the applesauce in the large 48 oz. margarine containers or Cool Whip containers.  They’re sturdy and very stackable in a chest freezer.  After I cook up the apples, I always add sugar to the pot and stir well to make sure the sugar dissolves before I freeze it.  When we need apples on the table (just about every day), all I have to do is thaw it.

Now for the recipe:

I have two six quart crockpots with two settings of low and high.  One has a lid that can be vented and the other has securing handles but the lid had a pencil size hole in the top of the lid for venting.  I fill the crockpot almost to the top of the pot with applesauce (fresh or frozen) and turn the heat setting to high and cover with the lid NOT vented.  I want it to get hot and can tell when it’s hot enough because it will have little bubbles forming around the edge of the pot or may even bubble up.

First step–notice the color.

A very important note to making apple butter in a copper kettle or a crockpot, you MUST stir it.  In a copper kettle it has to be stirred constantly but in a crockpot you only have to stir at least every thirty minutes.  Why? In the copper kettle over an open fire it will burn unless stirred constantly.  Not so in a crockpot but it will get thick on top and form almost a crust of very thick sauce and you will have to stir harder and longer to get it to smooth out and incorporate into the rest of the sauce.

Once your applesauce has heated up to the point of bubbles add THREE cups of sugar and stir well.  This is why you don’t fill it all the way to the top, you have to make room for the extra sugar.  When you first add this the sauce will thin some.  Remember, stir well every thirty minutes or so.  DO Not put the lid on tight this time.  The vapor of the water in the apples needs to get out and this helps the applesauce thicken.  Also be careful of bubbling sauce popping out on your skin.  Each time that you stir you will notice the sauce turning colors as you stir.  Try to pull the bottom sauce to the top.  I found out a couple years ago the blending and stirring is easier if you have a good whisk to work it.

Notice the change in color?

At this point, continue to leave the lid cracked, stir every thirty minutes, and continue this step until the sauce gets thickened to your taste.  I don’t like it real thick, it spreads better on buttered biscuits and toast if it’s a little thinner.  Last step, this is where you flavor the sauce and it becomes applebutter.

Oil of Cloves and Oil of Cinnamon

This is the step that can make or ruin your apple butter.  Some people only like cinnamon, we like cinnamon and cloves.  My recipe is 4-6 drops of cinnamon and 3-5 drops of cloves.  Be very careful when you add this to your batch and taste test after one or two drops of cinnamon.  Once you have flavored with the cinnamon, then do the same process with the cloves.  You can add more drops of each depending on your taste but taking baby steps in flavoring will make the process worthwhile.  After you have the flavoring in cook the applebutter about 20-30 minutes longer stirring more frequently.  You will notice the applebutter will be darker.

First canning of 2019–Nine pints of Apple butter.

During the last minutes of processing, prepare your jars.  I use regular mouth pint, half-pint and jelly jars for canning.  The half-pints and jelly jars make great gifts but the gifter may come calling for more because it’s sooooooo good!  I pour the hot applebutter into the jars, put on the lids really tight and set aside with a heavy towel over the top to retain the heat until the jars seal.  You’re done!!  Easy and so good!!

The Garden is Empty (almost)

We’ve cleaned out the garden and everything has been stored, frozen or canned. Hubby did till up a few spots and planted some turnips as a winter crop. He loves them boiled and with almost every meal. I like them raw!!

End of harvest 2016

End of harvest 2016

We harvested several small pumpkins and four large ones.  The small will adorn the entrance to our house and the large ones I canned.  dscn8721

I washed them good on the outside, split them in half, scooped out the pulp and seed and then sliced them to make peeling easier.

 

Split in half to clean.

Split in half to clean.

Sliced w/rind makes for easier peeling.

Sliced w/rind makes for easier peeling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diced to cook

Diced to cook

I diced them up in 1-2 inch pieces and put them in an old canner.  I put one quart of water over them to cook on the stove on medium low heat.

 

 

 

 

They need to cook slowly to keep from sticking/scorching.  I don’t add any seasoning until they’re to be used for pies, cookies, or pumpkin bread.

 

dscn8723  Once they’re tender enough to stick with a fork, I drain off the water and run the pumpkin through my sieve.  It’s very important to get as much water out of the pumpkin as possible before mashing.  I usually let the pumpkin set in the sieve for about 15-20 minutes so the water on the pieces will drip out.  Dump this water out before pressing.

I love this sieve and it works great for all vegies and fruits.

I love this sieve and it works great for all vegies and fruits.

It's beautiful and ready to go in the jars.  I use pint and quart jars because of the different recipes.

It’s beautiful and ready to go in the jars. I use pint and quart jars because of the different recipes.  

Quickly add the pumpkin to the jars, clean the tops of the jars and add the lids & rings, and tighten.

Quickly add the pumpkin to the jars, clean the tops of the jars and add the lids & rings, and tighten.  I process them in the hot water bath for 20 minutes.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of the four pumpkins, I canned six pints and three quarts.  I can’t wait to start baking with them.  My pumpkin recipes will be added to my Recipes From My House To Yours page tomorrow.

I hope you can enjoy your garden harvest as much as we are.  With Hurricane Matthew charging up the coast and a cold front moving in from the northwest I’ve used some of our harvest today to make a big pot of homemade soup!!!  It’s suppertime!

Have you ever eat a turtle

We have a pretty large pond in front of our house that is stocked with large mouth bass and bluegill fish.  We both love to fish and don’t fish from the pond a lot because we’re trying to let the pond stock itself and get the fish to a good frying size.

We’re constantly fighting off predators of the fish such as fish hawks, cranes and something my husband calls a “shikepoke” (6-8 inch tall black bird with webbed feet and long beak).  We also have to deal with huge mud turtles that come of the small stream that goes around the pond and down through the property.  Turtles can eat  up the fish pretty quick so we catch them and eat them.  Small ones are caught and released in larger creeks around the county.

Caught him in the pond in front of our home.

Caught him in the pond in front of our home.

They're mean and eat our fish every year.

They’re mean and eat our fish every year.

DSCN7206

He was eating our bass so now we're going to eat him.

He was eating our bass so now we’re going to eat him.

The meat is beautiful and really good.  We’re told there are seven different types of meat in a turtle including chicken, beef, pork, fish, and I’m not sure what the other meats are but we like it all.

Fresh turtle meat!  We fry it like chicken.  White meat, dark meat, really good.

Fresh turtle meat! We fry it like chicken. White meat, dark meat, really good.

When I cook it I first soak it in salt water overnight and then pressure cook it for about 30 -45 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.  I then check to make sure it’s tender and if it is, I roll it in seasoned flour and fry it in butter.  It tastes just like fried chicken.

I also freeze it and when I do I place about five or six pieces in a Ziploc freezer bag, fill bag half full of water, press out the excess air and freeze.  I know it’ll keep at least 12 months frozen like this but we never have any last that long.  We also put the same amount in our food saver bags and vacuum seal and it keeps well like this too.

We try to always process and can or freeze everything we kill EXCEPT for coons and possums!!  NO THANK YOU!

Successful Striper Fishing Trip

Friday night a week ago hubby accepted an invitation to go Striper Fishing with a friend of ours.  They left around 8:00 p.m. and headed for the lake and caught these beauties before the rain storm ran them off the lake.

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DSCN7157The biggest one weighed a little over ten pounds and the other two were just a little less.  Vince caught two and Eddie caught one but Vince had been fishing for them all summer and had enough in his freezer to them for the winter.

The next day Eddie took them to his “professional” fileter and this is what we got.

Pot full of striper filets!

Pot full of striper filets!

The first night i took 1/2 a filet, cut in 3″ squares and soaked them in salt water for about 30 minutes.  Then I poured a package of cornmeal muffin mix in a ziploc bag, poured about 1/4 cup of Old Bay seasoning in the muffin mix, sealed it and shook like crazy to mix it all really well.  Then I melted a stick of butter in a skillet and melted it to sizzling but not burning.  I poured the salted water off the filets and dropped each in the cornmeal mixture, zipped up the bag and shook to cover completed.  I let it set just for a second then shook again and popped them in the sizzling butter.  When golden brown on the bottom, I flipped the pieces and started sizzling again.  I tuned them about three times and then took out and placed on a paper towel covered platter. I served this with baked beans, coleslaw and a baked potato.  Best fish I’ve made in a long time.  The next day hubby fixed the same meal but instead of skillet he used the new deep fryer I bought him for Father’s Day and it was absolutely DIVINE!!!

My big question–when you going striper fishing again??  🙂

We froze the rest of the filets for future dinners and Heather got a few on Tuesday when she came to visit.

 

 

Spring delicacy

We had a slow start with our asparagus beds this year but now it’s coming in with leaps and bounds!  I started a new bed last spring from seed and it’s starting to grow but will be at least two more years before we get any food from it.  Most of our beds are wild and started by the birds.  We’re sharing it with friends and family and eating it about every meal.  I’m sure we’ll tire of it soon.

As long as we pick, it keeps coming in.

As long as we pick, it keeps coming in.

Bags and bags of fresh asparagus

Bags and bags of fresh asparagus

I don’t freeze or can asparagus because I’ve not found a way to preserve that it doesn’t come out spongy or slimy.  Can’t stand that!!  We just enjoy it as long as it produces and as long as we’re not tired of eating so much of it.  I’m going to experiment with making an asparagus creamed soup and will let you know how that goes.  That may be one way of preserving it for winter consumption.

My Recipe Box

I love to cook and have collected cookbooks from all over the place and from everyone.  Finding the storage for all of them has become a challenge.  Hubby made me an adorable recipe box from some barnwood and I’ve started taking my favorite recipes from all of my cookbooks and giving the books to my daughter, granddaughter and friends.

This is the first box he made me but all of the recipes I have won't fit in it.

This is the first box he made me but all of the recipes I have won’t fit in it.  It’s a 7 x 7 inch box.

The recipes I have won’t even begin to fit in this little treasure so he made me this one.

2nd recipe box made from barn wood

2nd recipe box made from barn wood

It just barely fits on top of the pie safe.

It just barely fits on top of the pie safe.

My newest one is 7 x 16 inches long and it's almost full.

My newest one is 7 x 16 inches long and it’s almost full.

I’ve only went through about half of my cookbooks and I’m only putting my favorite, tried and true recipes in this box.  As you can tell from the following picture it’s going to be a work in progress for some time.  The wooden box at the end of the books on this shelf are recipes that hubby’s aunt had.  I have a couple cookbooks I won’t give away because they belonged to my Mom and I would love to have a cookbook that my grandmother’s used but I seriously think all of their recipes were in their head and hearts.

My cookbooks are many and I've a long way to go transferring all the recipes from the cookbooks on top of the shelf and that's not all of them.

My cookbooks are many and I’ve a long way to go transferring all the recipes from the cookbooks on top of the shelf and that’s not all of them.

I also have a stack of written recipes I’ve collected over the years that have never been in a book.  The more I think about this, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t write my own cookbook and maybe name it “Country Girl Cooks” or something simple like that!!  That might be quite fun but very time-consuming.  My recipe cards are all hand-written and in print not cursive writing.

The recipe cards are on 4x6 index cards and handwritten.

The recipe cards are on 4×6 index cards and handwritten.

I have about three inches left in the box and it's going to be a tight squeeze.

I have about three inches left in the box and it’s going to be a tight squeeze.

I guess I could make enough room on top of the pie safe for another one.  Hubby is getting really creative on the project ideas I come up with.  My recipes come from friends, family, family cookbooks, old cookbooks and concoctions I come up with myself.  I do love to cook!

 

Best Friend Visit

Have you ever sat with someone and you laughed so hard your face hurt? Have you got a special person in your life besides the love of your life that you can talk to about ANYTHING? Have you got a special friend that can make you laugh, think, cry, and listen to for hours on end? I do!!
My best friend (besides  hubby) came for a 10 day visit this month and we had an absolute ball!! We talked, laughed, shopped, crafted, cleaned, decorated, ate, drank, laughed, talked, and slept a little while she was with me. My husband took us to the West Virginia State Fair one evening. We shopped three or four days. We put almost 700 miles on my car. We caught up on old stuff and new stuff. We visited the mountain where her husband now resides. We sampled new wines and old.  We went on treasure hunts. We baked! We sobbed when she left to go home and we’re making plans for our next visit together!! Margaret is my MVBF!!!

MARGARET