Sunday, November 27, 2011
Sadly this is a picture-less post. The Sans Rival is a lovely dessert I am sure. My problem was the French buttercream and its need for a candy thermometer. If anyone remembers the candy challenge, you will know that is my downfall. It remains unconquered.
I neglected to take any pictures because I was too busy trying to get the rock candy sugar concoction out of my KitchenAid mixer bowl. I never had a chance to try it again, and honestly I am not sure I would have due to the whole thermometer phobia.
I will chalk this up as a disaster and get ready for December.
Monday, October 31, 2011
All of them are in very good condition. I was especially happy about the mums. I wanted this color earlier in the fall but could not find them at a price I liked. By waiting I got a larger mum for less money!
Friday, October 28, 2011
First up I have examples of what I did for Halloween. I decided to stick with black and white. Next year I want to find some orange paper which I think will really make the images pop.
The next set is a circus theme. I decided to color these images. My husband gave me his old set of artist's colored pencils - a wider variety of colors.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Prior to this challenge I had never heard of Povitica much less tasted it. I went with the traditional filling using walnuts. I tried to keep the dough a bit sticky as suggested by other bakers. My dough was a bit too sticky and rolling it out was a nightmare. I thought I was never going to get it into the pan. At that point I did not have high hopes for my Povitica. In spite of all the problems, it baked up quite well.
The longer it was in the refrigerator the better it tasted. I will most likely make this again in the future. Hopefully next time the dough will be easier to work, and I can get more swirls in my bread. To see the recipe and my fellow bakers' finished breads, check out The Daring Kitchen.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
These tomato plants are actually the spring plants. I have babied them and trimmed back the dead growth. I am being rewarded with more tomatoes. If the weather stays mild, I will have a good second harvest.
This eggplant is also left from the summer. I honestly do not know why I plant them. No one really likes them. I think this will be my last year. Hopefully I can find someone to give this to so it will not go to waste.
We have been eating quite a few cucumbers from the three plants I have. We have never had homegrown cucumbers in October before. I think they are better than the spring cucumbers.
The zucchini are looking good but growing very slowly. I hope to get at least three from these plants. I have eaten all of the cranberry-zucchini muffins from the freezer. They were so yummy, and I cannot bear not having them again until next spring.
Last are these yellow squash. They will actually be half yellow and half green when ready. They are growing very, very slowly. I do not know how much longer I can hold out before I pick them.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
My only complaint about the recipe was the amount of salt. I suppose that if I were not eating a low-sodium diet (by choice) I would never notice. Since I am not used to much salt however, it was all I could taste. I had hoped to try the recipe again this month with half the salt but never had the time. I will definitely make them again soon. I know I need additional practice. For a first attempt though I was very pleased.
Thank you, Sarah, for a wonderful challenge and for the extra push to get me to actually make them rather than just dream about making them!
Monday, September 19, 2011
I sliced each of the peppers in half (leaving many of the seeds and most of the membrane). In a small bowl I combined cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese. I stuffed this mixture into the pepper halves.
To bake I preheated the oven to 425 degrees. I cooked them for 12 minutes, but they would have been better at 16 minutes. Next time I will add more cheddar cheese and hopefully have spicier peppers. Overall I am pleased with this recipe and will use it again.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
The challenge required the DBs to make two candies. The first had to be a chocolate candy: truffle, dipped bonbon or filled bonbon. The second could be any candy.
I need to start off by saying that I hate, hate, hate(!) to make candy. I think that is obvious from how my candies turned out. My heart was just not in this challenge. I really do not eat that much candy. I find making it to be a very tedious chore. Needless to say I did not take part in the special challenge. Truthfully I just wanted it over and done.
For the chocolate candy I chose the truffle. My main reasoning behind it was that I could do a small batch of them. I used a Ghirardelli chocolate and the recipe, which I halved, on the back of the chocolate bar. I then rolled them in organic cocoa. The end result was less that pretty. They did taste good. Good enough for me to make them again?? At this point, no. One day candy making may intrigue me, but I am not there yet.
For the second candy I decided to be really daring and make one that required a candy thermometer. Why? I am still asking myself that same question. I chose sponge candy. The reason I despise making candy is mainly due to the candy thermometer. This particular candy reminded me exactly why I do not use one. I should have gone with how it looked rather than temperature as my thermometer was way off. The resulting candy tasted burnt with an aftertaste of baking soda. Two tiny bites were eaten, and the rest went into the trash.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
one chicken tender
leftover beans (about a cup)
cream (less than 1/4 cup)
I guess that is not too awful, but I want to make sure I keep it under control. I hate the thought of wasting as much as I did in past weeks. Being accountable for it has definitely helped.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Here is my plan for the week:
fish, salad, baked sweet potato fries
crab egg salad
sloppy joes, fries
spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
tuna pasta salad
tomatoes, sausage, & pasta and corn bread
steak, potatoes, salad
I will probably need to pick up some lettuce this week and maybe some fresh vegetables or fruit. I have everything else on hand. I am also trying to limit my food waste. After cleaning out the fridge this weekend it is obvious I need to do better at using up what I have. I will share that at the end of the week.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
The photos are not the best. Sneaking up on a fish is not easy. I tried bribing them with food. I did manage to get a few decent shots.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Several years ago I bought a wire vase to put on the deck. The problem was I never found anything to put in the wire vase. I tried setting a potted plant into it only to have it continually tip over. I left it empty. I hung onto it though. In the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens I finally found the perfect use for the vase. I filled it with moss and stuck a big "hen" in the top. I put in a few "chicks" around the sides. It is not as fancy as what I saw in the magazine, but I trust that it will grow and fill in. In the meantime I am just happy to have found something to go in the vase.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
For the final week I spent $53.77. Here is what I got:
That is a short list considering the amount spent. The Boston butt was cooked in the crock-pot and divided into five meal-sized portions. The steaks my husband wanted to cook for my birthday. My parents are coming over so we needed four steaks.
I need to point out that most of the cilantro was wasted. I bought it to put in pico de gallo. I decided that cilantro tastes like stink bugs. Now I have never willingly eaten a stink bug. If I did, I feel certain it would taste like cilantro.
After week four my grocery budget went on vacation a bit. Being under the weather and running to the doctor several times a week does absolutely nothing to encourage budgeting at the grocery store. I am going to dust myself off and get back to it next month.
Now for my planned meals for this week:
Homemade pizza - I finally found a crust my darling husband likes
Tomato sandwiches - tomatoes from the garden and homemade bread
Chicken tenders and French fries
Hamburgers and potato chips
Grilled steaks, twice baked potatoes, and some vegetable
Crab egg salad sandwiches
Spaghetti with meatballs, salad, garlic bread
Thursday, July 7, 2011
I was slightly over budget this week; thirty-seven cents over to be exact. I could find that at the bottom of my purse so I am not stressing over it. Here is what I bought:
eight pounds sugar
cereal - 3
strawberries - 2
Healthy Choice meals - 2
gallon 2% milk
toaster strudel - 4
pint whole milk
pint heavy cream
pectin - 3
My total was $57.58. A large portion of what I bought was not for meals this week. I planned my menu around what I had on hand. I am planning to can some Vidalia onion relish and hot pepper jelly. I bought ingredients for those. I have some planned baking and also purchased ingredients for that. It felt good to get these extras and still stay very close to my budget!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
snack chips/crackers - 4
pork and beans - 5
half-gallon ice cream - 2
toaster strudel - 4
I spent $39.60 last week. The best part is that a few of the planned meals from last week were not eaten and can be carried over to this week. I feel like I am in good shape!
Monday, July 4, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Spending first: $53.19 leaving me $46.81 for next week
chicken ranch wraps (frozen from Schwan's)
natural almonds - 3 cans
Mrs. Dash - 2
candy bars - 6
chex mix - 2
cereal - 2
toaster strudel - 2
pizza and salad
pork tenderloin, au gratin potatoes, okra
spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread
chicken ranch wraps and French fries
hamburgers and chips
tuna pasta salad
breakfast for supper - sausage, grits, eggs, toast
steak, potatoes, squash/peas
Monday, June 27, 2011
I was a bit nervous about my first challenge and was relieved that it was something with which I was familiar. I have made Baklava before with store bought phyllo. Prior to this challenge I never even considered making my own phyllo.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour and salt. Mix with paddle attachment. Combine water, oil, and vinegar in a small bowl. Add water mixture with mixer on low speed until you get a soft dough. If it appears dry add a little more water. Change to dough hook and let knead for 10 minutes. Remove dough from mixture and knead two more minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and cover with oil. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest two hours.
Rolling out the dough was an adventure. I used a large dowel rod. After watching a video of how to do it properly, I got a bit better. My technique still leaves much to be desired. I managed to get it close to thin enough. I chose to make it in a round pan.
My one complaint about Baklava is that it is super sweet. I know that is basically the definition of Baklava. Still I wanted to try a less sweet creation. I melted Nutella and drizzled over the layers of phyllo. Then I topped it with chopped pecans (already on hand). I only buttered every other layer of phyllo to make it flakier. Here is the pre-baked Baklava.
Finally a slice of the finished product. I am happy to say I finished the challenge. I will probably not make phyllo dough on a regular basis. It is nice to know I could if I had to do so. I will definitely make Baklava again but will stick to the store bought phyllo.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Anyway..... I remembered bookmarking a recipe for Strawberry Daiquiri Popsicles at Simply Scratch. I did cheat and use homegrown strawberries that I had frozen. I also used bottled lime juice as I had no fresh limes in the refrigerator. I finally had a chance to eat one this week. They were delicious. I could have used a tad less lime juice, but I will definitely be making these again.
I recently discovered Simply Scratch and love that the recipes use whole foods. I am really trying to get away from using too much processed food in my cooking. The popsicles were a nice healthy treat made for pennies.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
The two chicks on the left are ours. (The other two belong to my parents.) Our two are white cochins which were hatched by Daphne. She turned out to be not such a good mother and we took the chicks from her shortly after they were born. These are in their ugly phase.
The eight chicks in this picture were hatched by our Mille Fleur hen, Hannah. She was a fantastic mother. We left them with her (in a pen separate from the other chickens) for three weeks. They were not happy to be taken from her but are doing great.