Thoughts

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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Dec 30, 2012

Where Am I???

Some of you are asking where I have been - I have taken a break during the holidays to allow you to spend time with your families and friends.

Where Am I on my walk is a different matter - one that will wait until new years day for an answer.


Dec 18, 2012

Stress Relieving French Bread

The original recipe, which I modified only slightly, came from a website called Cookingbread.com.  That website has changed - it is now http://www.thekneadforbread.com/

This bread is super easy, difficult to over or under knead and is good for a day that you just want to work off some frustration.



**for a crustier bread, brush with egg whites and, if desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  1/2 Cup Warm Water                                                               3 Tbl Sugar
  4.5 Tsp Yeast                                                                           1 Tbl Salt
  2 Cups Hot Water                                                                    6 Cups Bread Flour
  5 Tbl Oil                                                                                 

Proof the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water, set aside.

Mix together hot water, oil, sugar, salt and half the flour.  Mix well.  Stir in yeast then remaining flour.  Mix well.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Punch down, allow to rest for 15 minutes again.  Repeat 3 more times.  Divide dough in half, return one half to the bowl and put the other half on a lightly floured surface.  Knead lightly until coated with flour.  Roll into a 9 x 13 rectangle.  Starting on a long side, roll jelly roll style.  Seal the edges and turn under the ends.  Place seam side down on a jelly roll pan.  Repeat with other half.  I put it on the same jelly roll pan.  slash the top of each loaf several times**.  Cover with a cloth and let rise for 30 minutes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.

Dec 17, 2012

Key Lime Ice Cream

  Yes, I know it is winter, but who doesn't like ice cream?  Besides, this one give a nice tang of summer.

    12 ounce evaporated milk    

    14 ounce sweetened condensed milk    

    2 Cup milk   

    2/3 Cup heavy cream    

    2 egg yolks, beaten    

    1 Cup white sugar    

    1 Cup Key Lime Juice

    3 Ounce Lime Jello


    Graham crackers for toppig. 


In a saucepan over low heat, combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, milk, and heavy cream. Cook until warm, whisking constantly. Once the mixture is hot to the touch, whisk in the gelatin mix and sugar, stirring constantly until sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved.  Remove from the heat.


In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks then temper with some of the hot milk mixture.  Whisk back into the pan.Whisk in the egg yolks, and remove from the heat. Stir in the lime juice.  Refrigerate the mixture overnight then pour the mixture into an ice cream maker.  Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Once the ice cream is thick, transfer to a freezer container, seal, and freeze until solid.  Top with crushed graham crackers.


Dec 16, 2012

Week 49 - 34.66

This week finds me north of Billings, Montana.  Billings is the largest city in Montana and includes the Western Heritage Center.  From their Website - "The Western Heritage Center strives to engage in activities that bring about a deeper understanding of our region and a broader appreciation for its people" 

Dec 12, 2012

Tropical Muffins

As we reach the shortest day of the year, make these muffins to bring a summer feel to the house.  Makes 18 muffins.



  1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour                                                     
  1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour                                                        1 Large Egg
  1/2 Cup Sugar                                                                          1 Cup Peaches, Diced
  1/3 Cup Ground Flax seed                                                         1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut
  2 Tsp Baking Powder                                                               1/4 Cup Coconut Powder
  1/4 Cup Salted Butter                                                               1 Tsp Orange Extract
  1/4 Cup Water                                                                         1 Cup 1% Milk

Preheat oven to 400* F.  Grease or line muffin tins.

Heat water and butter in the microwave until the butter is melted.  Add milk, beaten egg and orange extract.  Stir and set aside.

Mix flours, sugar, flax seed and baking powder.  Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Stir in coconuts and peaches.  Divide equally among 18 muffin cups.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Per Serving: 153 Cal (31% from Fat, 9% from Protein, 60% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 1 g Mono Fat; 23 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 9 g Sugar; 58 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 94 mg Sodium

Dec 11, 2012

Corny, Corny, Corny Chowder - OR - Soup for Two

This is a nice way to use leftover ham and make a quick meal for two.



  1 Cup Frozen Corn                                                            Dash Pepper
  1/4 Cup Green Pepper, Chopped                                     1 Cup Milk
  1/4 Cup Water                                                               2 Tablespoon Yellow Corn Meal
  1 Teaspoon Chicken Bouillon                                          1/4 Cup Ham, Chopped
                                                  

In a medium saucepan, stir together the frozen corn, peppers, water, bouillon and pepper.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer about 5 minutes or until corn is tender.  Do not drain.  In a small mixing bowl, stir together the milk and cornmeal.  Stir into saucepan.  Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 1 minute more.  Stir in the ham and heat through.

Dec 10, 2012

Toffee Shortbread

  This is a nice bar cookie for Christmas parties and cookie exchanges.  

    1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Firmly      1 Cup All Purpose Flour

    -Packed                                               1 Cup Cake Flour

    1 Cup Butter                                       1 Tsp Almond Extract

    1 Large Egg Yolk                               1 Cup Miniature Toffee Bars


Heat oven to 325F.  Line a jelly-roll pan with non stick foil, set aside.


Combine sugar and butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg yolk and almond extract, continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flours. Beat until well mixed.


Press evenly onto bottom of jelly-roll pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. (Bars will be soft.)

While baking, crush toffee bars.  After removing bars from oven, sprinkle immediately with crushed candy bars.  Cool 1 hour; cut into bars with sharp knife while slightly warm.  Makes 24 bars.



Per Serving: 145 Cal (49% from Fat, 3% from Protein, 48% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 8 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 2 g Mono Fat; 17 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; 9 g Sugar; 13 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 59 mg Sodium


Dec 9, 2012

Week 48 - 29.31

Thanks to an unfortunate turned ankle that pulled things out of whack all the way up to my hip, I was unable to walk Abby Friday, Saturday or today.  Thus, I have my shortest week yet.  However, I thought it prudent to not push it and get back in the swing of things sooner rather than later.

This week finds me north of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.  From their website:

Grandest Canyon in the Northern Rockies

A landscape of sheer cliffs towering 1,000 feet above a ribbon of blue water. World class fishing and a place where wild horses still run free. Bighorn Canyon is a place where imagination meets reality. Bighorn Canyon has unrivaled recreation possibilities.

Dec 8, 2012

Fudge - Dorothy Thomas

Hubby was very excited when I told him I was making his grandmother's fudge.  I even had permission to add the pecans.  He usually doesn't like them, but he would eat them for his grandmother, so he said to use them.  The pecans are optional.  If you like, you can also substitute other nuts or coconut for the pecans.



  18 Ounce Semi Sweet Chocolate Bits                                      13 Ounce Evaporated Milk
  1/4 Tsp Salt                                                                              4 Cups Sugar
  1 Cup Butter                                                                            1 Cups Pecans
  7 Ounce Marshmallow Cream                                                 1 Tsp Vanilla

Grease a 13 x 9 pan, set aside.

Combine chocolate, salt, butter and marshmallow in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Combine milk and sugar in a sauce pan over moderate heat.   



Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Boil until it forms a soft ball in water - 232 degrees on a thermometer.  Pour hot mixture over chocolate mixture and blend well, beating slightly.   


Fold in vanilla and chopped nuts.   



Pour into pan and refrigerate until set.


Olive's Fudge - From Mom

This chocolate fudge is quite good but the directions are a bit obtuse at the ending.  I kept the thermometer in and cooked the fudge until it read about 238.  When mom made this, she used regular cocoa.  I used Hershey's Special Dark to make a darker chocolate fudge.



  1/2 C Cocoa                                                                             1 Tsp Corn Syrup
  3 C Sugar                                                                                 3 Tbl Butter
  1/2 Tsp Salt                                                                              1 Tsp Vanilla
  1 C Evaporated Milk                                                               

Combine cocoa, sugar and salt.  Add milk, corn syrup and butter and cook on high until mixture boils, stirring occasionally.  Continue boiling without stirring until mixture is 232 degrees.  Add vanilla and continue to boil until vanilla loses its gloss.  Pour into a buttered pan and cool.

BeBop'n Around

When walking Abby, I used to use just a collar and she was good about not pulling - usually.  However, when she saw a squirrel, all bets were off.  She would pull me as hard as she could to catch that evil squirrel - often choking herself in the process.  Until we can resolve this issue, I wanted another option that would help keep her safe.  Enter BeBop USA.