Saturday, August 19, 2017

Creamy Stove Top Potatoes

I am by nature a planner--spontaneity is not my middle name. 

Not only do I prepare a grocery list based on the sale items in our weekly supermarket ads, but I also frame an entire week of menus based on those purchases. And (taking it one step further) I consider which days of the week will require a 30-minutes or less meal and which ones provide the luxury to play for an afternoon in the kitchen.

...Therefore the genesis of this recipe is nothing short of miraculous. Typically I go to the market with a goal; I know before I take one step outside my door what grocery items I will be searching for.

Today however I had no plan, and allowed the lure of bargain-hunting to rule what I would purchase. At my local Farmers Market I found Yukon gold potatoes, yellow onions and smoked Gouda. When I arrived at home I looked at what was stored in my kitchen. Hmm, there's an opened box of vegetable broth in the frig, and in the pantry is a cluster of fresh sage I picked just yesterday from my herb garden.

I don't want fried potatoes today--I'm in the mood for something creamy and comforting. So, let's see if I can put all of these things together to satisfy my tummy.


Ingredients
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
  • about 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  • 1/2 cup smoked Gouda or other smoked cheese, shredded
  1. In a large saucepan with lid saute onions in butter and olive oil over medium until they begin to soften. Add the potatoes, and stir a few times so that oil lightly coats all slices.
  2. Pour broth over potatoes--just enough to cover. Turn the heat to low; cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Remove lid. Sprinkle fresh sage and smoked cheese over simmering potatoes. Simmer for about 5 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and almost all liquid is absorbed by potatoes
  3. Stir gently and serve.

What makes this recipe work?

  • SauteĆ©ing the onions over medium heat makes them soft and golden and tames their fire.
  • Yukon gold potatoes retain their shape even after they are cooked.
  • Simmering the potatoes in broth makes them soft and the starch from the potatoes lends a bit of thickening to the casserole.
  • Fresh sage gives the dish a pop of flavor.
  • Smoked cheese provides a creamy savory balance.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Thought for Today



God didn't add 
another day to your life 
because you needed it. 

He added it because 
someone needs you.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Leftover Cereal Bread

My parents were young adults during the Great Depression of 1929-30. For them the words "Use it up, wear it out, make it do" was more than a catchy phrase or thoughtless mantra. It was a way of life that they carried with them each and every day until the end of their lives in the latter part of the 20th century.
In my growing up years, we were frugal long before living green was "in".
We re-used aluminum foil. We saved the heals of loaves of bread to make our own bread crumbs. We didn't purchase oil for frying--mom had a little pot sitting on the back of the stove into which she poured the grease that remained from frying bacon. (By the way, I still hold onto two of those three habits--I'll let you guess which one I have abandoned).
And in keeping with that family tradition, I am loath to toss out perfectly "good" dry cereal if (1) it is stale, (2) there are only 2 tablespoons left, or (3) ....we're tired of it!
I am going to assume that you have the same cereal issues at your house. Here is one remedy.


Equipment you will need

  • large mixing bowl
  • two 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pans


Cook Time

Prep time: 2 hours 50 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 3 hours 50 min
Yields: 2 loaves


Ingredients

  • 2 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups dry cereal, any kind*
  • 1 cup oatmeal, (not instant)
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil, (I use extra virgin olive oil for its health benefits)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup, (NOTE: if using sweetened cereal, substitute 1/4 cup water for the 1/4 cup corn syrup)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Directions
  1. Mix the water, cereal, oatmeal, oil, molasses and corn syrup in a large bowl. Cool to lukewarm.
  2. Stir in the yeast until dissolved; let stand 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, then 3 cups flour or enough to make a stiff dough.
  3. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  4. Turn out on lightly-floured surface; knead 8 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Divide dough in half. Place each half in a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
  5. Cover and let in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
  6. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven 1 hour. Remove from pan; cool on racks.

*Want a sweet loaf?


  • use pre-sweetened cereal
  • You can also add nuts, dried chopped fruits (raisins, dried cranberries, apricots, etc.)

*Want a savory loaf for dinner?
  • use whole grain and/or unsweetened cereal
  • add savory herbs (chives, chopped rosemary, thyme, oregano)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

New to the Neighborhood



I had some visitors--new to the neighborhood, 
they came by my house today.




We have lived in our farmhouse for more than 25 years. 
In that time generation upon generation of deer 
have made their home with us 
(actually, it was their home first). 

In the  morning they graze upon our salal and wild berries. 
At noontime they bed down on the front lawn, relaxing and chewing their cud. 
At dusk they graze the apple orchard for fallen fruit, 
and as night falls they bed down in the cedar grove. 

We rejoice with the does when their new babies are born, 
we are saddened when a little one dies 
(we have buried several), 
and we are thrilled when the babes become yearlings, 
learn independence, 
grow antlers, 
and go on to nurture families of their own. 

And the circle continues.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Free Pattern - Summer Porch or Wall Hanging




A few weeks ago I created new planter boxes for my front porch. They turned out so well I was inspired to make a matching banner. The planter boxes contain blue and purple flowers, and are grouped with several blue-hued bird houses (and even a robin's nest). So I decided to make "bird house" the theme, and concentrate on using purples and blues.

Well, of course we also love kitties, so there is a sneaky little kitty hiding over there on the right hand side, wearing a roof on her head, hoping to fool an unsuspecting bird. 


Supplies and Equipment Needed:

  • 3/4 yard background fabric (I used ecru-colored canvas, also known as duck cloth)
  • sewing machine thread that matches background fabric
  • scraps of assorted cotton solids and prints
  • sharp fine-pointed scissors suitable for cutting small pieces
  • iron and ironing board
  • 1 yard Wonder-Under fabric bonding 
  • Ultra fine point black permanent marking pen 

Instructions:
The banner I made measures 18 inches high and 36 inches wide. To make your banner this size, cut the background fabric 20 inches high and 38 inches wide. Fold in one inch of each side, top, and bottom; iron and stitch with matching thread.

Here's the pattern for the kitty. Isn't she cute!



Next are the three bird houses:






The leaves, flowers, and kitty "bird house hat" are next. 



The tree branches are too long for one sheet of paper, so I drew them in several sections with A|  and  B|  notations to show where they should be joined. 



I used the same pattern for both tree limbs--flipping it over for a mirror image.

Now that you have your patterns, the next step is to trace your pieces onto the paper side of your Wonder Under. If you've never used Wonder Under, here are two great tutorials to get you started.






I used the ultra fine point permanent marker to add details such as the kitty's whiskers and grin, the centers of the small flowers, veining on the leaves, and the ivy vine.

Good luck and have fun. If you want additional information please leave a comment and I'll be happy to help you. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Love Story



Pixar created a better love story in 8 minutes 
than Twilight did in four books.





Happy Anniversary to
the love of my life.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Beautiful Visitor

Look who showed up in our backyard today:

Western Tanager

The Western Tanager is a medium-sized song bird in the same family as Cardinals. According to Wikipedia:

The breeding range of the western tanager includes forests along the western coast of North America from southeastern Alaska south to northern Baja California, Mexico. Western tanagers extend east to western Texas and north through central New Mexico, central Colorado, extreme northwest Nebraska, and areas of western South Dakota to southern Northwest Territories, Canada.The western tanager's wintering range stretches from central Costa Rica north through Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to southern Baja California Sur and extreme southeastern Sonora in western Mexico and to southern Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico. Western tanagers do not typically occur in the Caribbean lowlands. They have been reported wintering further north and have been observed as far south as Panama.