Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dang Doughnuts

Today was supposed to be the perfect day for making doughnuts. That's because I don't listen to weather reports and just because I had made the decision to slave over hot oil, I felt it reasonable that the weather gods would have it be appropriately autumnal. The weather gods hate me; it has been hot and humid all day.

Then the doughnut dough was wet...very. I added more flour and they became tough.

Still it was fun to have the family here...both my son and daughter and both the grandsons and the grandpuggy, too. One family member actually appreciated my efforts.

As the kids were leaving, I asked if they'd like to take any of the hockey pucks with them. My daughter said, "No, thank you."

I teased that she didn't care for mother's cooking and she said, "No, even if they were good, I would say 'no.'" :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Slop, Goop, etc.

Dang good thing that I described this blog as an "eclectic mix." Talk about eclectic! I'm all over the map...hahaha.

The photo shows one of my favorite things to eat. I've been on the Dr. Phil diet plan for three years now. (I'm not his best spokesperson nor his greatest success story.) Anyway, everyone who has tried my slop/goop recipe loves it. My sister introduced it to me, but I've modified her recipe by adding two extra tablespoons of sweetener. Yup, I love my sweets.

Slop/Goop Recipe (Maybe you can come up with a better name for it.)


√ 1 cup plain, unsweetened, unflavored yogurt (look for active cultures)

√ 3 TBS Splenda

√ 1 teaspoon real vanilla flavoring

√ ½ cup unsweetened fruit...fresh or canned...crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges or bananas are my favorites

√ 1 TBS finely chopped walnuts

√ 1 TBS local honey (find yourself some local honey for many health benefits)


Whisk together yogurt, sweetener, and vanilla. Mix in fruit. Drizzle honey over the top and sprinkle on the walnuts. Simple and delicious, healthy and nutritious, and it tastes like dessert.

Now here's where the eclectic stuff comes in and you'll note what is sitting on my dining room table. ;) Yes, those are whoopie pies. Yes, I had one for breakfast. See why I'm not Dr. Phil's finest example?

No, I didn't post this just to show you what a scamp I am; If all goes well, I hope to add another photo here later to show some progress. The last wall came down this morning. I like the open space so well that I almost changed the plan to have a little wall go back up in order that guests be directed a little further into the room before heading into the kitchen. So check back and see what happens by day's end. For now, I'll leave you with this photo of where we are in this moment.

Edited to Add on 9/22/07:

My apologies for telling tall tales yesterday. I should have known that there would be no way for my very sloooowwwwww contractor to get that much accomplished in one day. He's a dear, but he isn't the speediest.

He left me with a frightful will note the vacuum cleaner is in the middle of the I just left it until this morning. I'll do better next time about making big promises over which I have no control.

I'm sad to see the light go. I really am. Not sure quite what to do about it, but something must be done. Perhaps it'll mean a larger window over the sink and perhaps it will mean much more lighting than we had considered. Right now, it's looking depressingly dark.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Creating Home

Creating a home has always been a love of mine. I have long felt that a sense of home could be created under a bridge.

Stories and books about creating home have delighted me all my life and I think that it is a widespread interest. When I taught first and second graders, the Boxcar Children books were a favorite. In those stories, four siblings create a home in a boxcar. The whole idea delights children of all ages.

There's a woman who lives near me who has created a gem of a home in an old boxcar. Her home has been written about in local magazines and newspapers. Edited to add: While looking to see if I could find an internet article on this intrepid woman who lives in the woods of Maine in an old boxcar, I found a blogger instead. Have I mentioned how much I adore blogs? How much they are like finding treasure? I have? Oh well, the blog is called Boxcar Kitchen: A Big Dinner from Small Onions. (This blog no longer exists.) Isn't that a great title?

One of my favorite books as a teen was The Enchanted Barn where a family creates the perfect home in an old barn. I have seen some barns that I would love to live in.

Currently, as you all know, I am reading The Sojourner where a home is being created from a formerly cold and sterile environment. Trees, flowers, and herbs are planted, decorative pieces have been brought in, warm old woods have been introduced, and the smell of the most delightful cooking fills the air. If they talk about a freshly fried doughnut one more time...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Apple Orchard Day

It's about time to head to the orchard for some apples. Last night I dreamed of apples so that's as good an indication as any. Who doesn't love an apple fresh from the tree, rubbed to a high shine with a shirt tail, and eaten on the spot while the sweet juices run down the chin?

My apple orchard fondness goes away back. I spent every Saturday of my autumns from the ages of 8 to 14 in an orchard. That was before migrant workers came to do the work and crews of local housewives took to the orchards with their children in tow.

My mother was one of that number and my sister and I were just two of an entire army of children. They kept us in line by making us work. We picked the drops for 10 cents a bushel. My mother, working with the apple ladders and picking from the trees, earned a mere 25 cents a bushel. A forty-bushel day was considered a good one for a tree-picker.

When I was twelve, I graduated to picking from the trees myself. This was my first real experience with having a boss. Mine just happened to be a tall, lanky farmer wearing overalls who was so soft-spoken that I had to listen very carefully. The first thing he warned me about was that my fingerprints were showing up on the apples. He demonstrated how I would have to roll them off using my palm. I also must leave the stem intact or the apple would rot during its long storage season. I tried to always do my best and soon I was just getting approving head nods and big grins. Far preferable!

At the end of a day in the orchard, when the sun was setting below the ridge, there was nothing better than to lie back in the grass beside some gnarled, ancient apple tree and simply watch the day end.

Now, I make my annual trek to the orchard for old time's sake. Sometimes I select my own apples by wandering down through the orchard, but more likely, I'll just select a bag of already picked apples. Later, when the apples are gone, I'll not even return to the orchard preferring to just head for the farmer's market.

This article on apple selection from Spark People is helpful. I'm going to follow their advice about apples best used for baking. I usually go with Cortlands.

Finally, if planning to do a lot of baking one really needs this apple-peeling gizmo. I found mine at LLBean.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Making Progress

Sharing the progress that has been made. The addition has nearly all its fitted boards. They surround the room...walls and ceiling. It looks much lighter now than before when all that showed was the dark brown of the insulation backing. This makes me smile because the one thing we needed the most was light.

Soon we'll have to select light fixtures, which should be fun. I think. Maybe not. Two heads are not always better than one. ;>

Monday, September 17, 2007

Being a Nonni

This is my youngest grandson Jake who is a delight and who arrived just a year and six days after his big brother Sam.

Sam and Jake are two very bright spots in my life. They are active and fun and keep me from being too stodgy and old.

I might have imagined that granddaughters would be more in keeping with my rather girly tastes and interests, but you can not imagine how striped tee shirts and blue jeans appeal to me now. I used to wander by the little girls' section and look longingly at the sweet (way too sweet by half) outfits, but these days, I make a beeline for the tees and the jeans.

It's true what they say: "Grandchildren are God's way of saying that the world will go on."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Breakfast

Peanut butter cookies and milk...a complete protein. Why waste time with bacon and eggs? ;>

Yesterday I used Martha Stewart's recipe for peanut butter cookies; next time I'll be returning to my own. I've also been wondering if refrigerated peanut butter is making the difference between Martha's and my grandmother's recipe. Grandmother's recipe makes a crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside cookie; Martha's recipe is all crunchy and heavy on flour.

Pre-diet, peanut butter was left in a cupboard because it was eaten rather quickly. Now it is stored in the refrigerator and maybe that could account for the difference. Perhaps I'll have to experiment. Nah, that would be complete and total sabotage.