Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Desert Table - Butter Mints

We haven't made these in years - I think I was in High School the last time - but I decided to do it.

1/4 cup of Butter, softened
8 oz of powdered sugar
1 T heavy cream
1/2 t of mint extract
food coloring

you just work all the ingredients, except the food dye,  together into a ball, work with your hands this goes fast. Split the dough into two batches mix in green and red food coloring one in each. Roll into balls and lay out on a tray to dry over night. Ideally two. We are putting a fan on them over night to help this along as we should have started it last night.

Thanksgiving Desert Table - Mom's birthday

It is always my mom's birthday at Thanksgiving time, so a birthday cake always happens. The girls are using a present Badger - who hopes to be a candy maker and baker when she grows up - got for her birthday. A five part cake pan.

The girls made the cake mix with no help from me, divided the batter into five equal parts, with some help from me. Then they each added food coloring to two bowls and Badger got the fifth bowl. In to bake out to cool. Then I will trim them, layer them with jam and frost them.

Thanksgiving Desert Table - Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

This one is my sister-in-laws recipe - modified of course!

Here is her recipe:
 Pumpkin Bread
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Clove
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Pumpkin
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
Sift together dry ingredients (less sugar)
Cream together wet ingredients and sugar
Add dry ingredients to wet.
Add 1 cup chocolate chips.
Bake in loaf pan at 350°F for 1 hour.
Bake muffins at 400°F for 20 minutes.

I double all the spices and add a teaspoon of cardamon. I also never make less than 3 batches at once. I also add a cup of apple butter or apple sauce to each batch.

This year in honor of Seal (my beautiful, clever nephew) we are doing one small loaf without chocolate. My Bunny helped with the start of this but the girls are running out of steam with the baking day. 

Thanksgiving Desert Table - Chocolate Moose.

I must apologize! I have now pictures for this one. This is a bit more complicated and more so with the girls helping.

This is also from the Doubleday cookbook.

6 oz semi sweet chocolate
2 T hot water or coffee
5 eggs separated
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Melt chocolate and water in double boiler. Beat egg yolks lightly, temper them with some of the melted chocolate, add all the eggs into chocolate mix well return to heat, and cook for two minutes. Beat heavy cream until soft peak stage, add vanilla to chocolate mixture, fold mixture into heavy cream. Beat egg white until soft peaks form. Fold mixture into eggs until no white shows, place into serving containers and refrigerate until service. A dollop of whipped cream goes well on top. Because we are eating at my sister's house almost three hours away I put it into plastic cups, and will top when we get there. I hope to snap a few pictures then!

Also, the kids demanded lunch. In my family we work straight through on special prep days, my Grandma was shocked the first time after marrying into the family that my dad asked what was for lunch went they were prepping for a party. It is sort of a family joke now, but I still do it the old way and am always a bit surprised when anyone wants lunch. My dad, btw, learned to rummage about in the fridge when hungry and grab something to eat, rather than expect a meal in the middle of prepping. My husband faces the same problem, though his solution is just to start taking up space and cooking a meal over the top of my work, though he usually makes enough of whatever to feed everyone. I can however still hear my Nonnie saying "You want lunch? But we just ate breakfast six hours ago!"

Thanksgiving Desert Table - Apple Pie

Moving right along to an Americana classic! Apple Pie!

We are using a variety of apples but heavily leaning to granny smith. We have apple trees so we have this cool gizmo to help us process apples!

You will need two pie crust sheets. (secret I am not much impressed with crust so I use store bought or make my own interchangeably and I never notice the difference, it is to me simply a baking vehicle, but as I cringe when my husband says the same of bread, please I understand it you love it, use your favorite and ignore me!)

Apples and lots of them, we used 10.
1t cinnamon
1t ginger
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
lemon juice - you can use vinegar you just need a bit of acid to keep the apples from browning while you work.
1/4 cup flour
3 T butter, melted
egg wash for brushing the top
sugar for dusting the top - ideally it should be a large grained sugar but regular will work
apple or apricot jelly warmed up.

A peak into the oven shows the Pumpkin too!
Peel, core and slice apples, as you work drop them into a bowl of cold water with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. When all the apples are done, drain them, add spices, sugar and flour to bowl with the apples, toss to coat well. Place one pie crust into pan, carefully layer apples into pie, top with second crust. Crimp edges, cut vent holes, brush with egg wash and dust with sugar, carefully pour melted butter into cut holes, bake at 325 until crust is completely done. brush with warmed jelly and sprinkle with sugar.

Thanksgiving Desert Table - Pumpkin pie

I decided to make a series of posts on the recipes we use for our Thanksgiving feast! We are in charge of deserts this year, while my sister is handling the rest of the meal. The girls helped me with all of this.

Pumpkin Pie
Before you start you need to bake the pumpkins. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds (bake these later to munch on) and place the pumpkins cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 until they are nice and soft - about an hour. Let them cool, scoop out the flesh, and run through a food processor or squish up with a potato masher.

This recipe is from the Doubleday Cookbook Volume two. This is a go to book for me. I don't know if you can get it still, but whenever I see a copy of either volume, I grab them and give them away. So if you see one at a rummage sale grab it.

I modify nearly everything that comes across my hands.

One pie crust, unbaked
3 eggs lightly beaten
1.5 cups pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
1 T Whiskey (recipe calls for brandy)
1 T molasses (we used extra as I am using white sugar - this is because I am out of brown)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon (this is double the original recipe)
1/2 teaspoon ginger (this is double the original recipe)
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves

mix all ingredients together pour into pie crust bake at 450 for ten minutes, reduce temp to 325 and bake 45-50 minutes until filling is set (knife into center should come out clean)

Also I make my pumpkin seeds by cleaning all the pumpkin off, soaking them in salt water for a few hours, then marinating them in Worcester sauce, soy sauce, and a bit of hot sauce for a few hours. Bake them at 300 stirring frequently, watch this as burnt seeds smell bad and taste worse!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday Musings

Now... I am hurrying to get a few things done before I go get the kids and the race begins. We have so many things tonight, that it is 2:14 and dinner is bubbling in the crockpot and my Mother in Law is coming over to take some kids one way while I take other in a different direction. Jim is on a business trip. It makes for a long week and for some reason I always try to add an extra project while he is gone. Once I emptied our bedroom and painted it. I am not looking for an big thing this time.

This weekend... I had a craft show in Elkhorn this Saturday. It was good. They have 7 locations across the city and run a shuttle all day. I was in one building and never left, but I would guess that there were 50 vendors just in my building. Sunday we cuddled, played board games, and I started to catch up on house work. I'll let you know if I every actually catch up, but the laundry is folded and put away and the stack of dishes is done to what could have been dirtied in just today.

Plan for this week... Keep up with the house and kids, get all my products listed on etsy, visit with friends, meet a another friend on her way out of state to O'hare airport, help my father clean out the room he wants to make his workshop - he is an amazing woodworker - and while there replace the wooden door front on one of my kitchen drawers. (ok there is a little surprise the husband project)

If I get some time for myself... Actually, I am taking it. I joined the local gym today. I went swimming and walking in the water - it is a sea water pool I really did not like the taste of what water got in my mouth - tried out the sauna and took a shower. I meet with a trainer tomorrow to be shown how to use the machines. I am excited about this. I am one pants size lower than I had been - I actually spent most of the day at the craft show hiking my pants up. At the end of the day, Dad told me I needed to get a smaller pair. I looked through the old jeans pile and found two pairs, one is good shape and one not so much.

I am grateful for... A joke my whole family played. Cats wiggle their butts right before they pounce. Jim was grabbing the last things from his office, the kids and I hid out of sight (almost) from the door and wiggled our butts. When he cleared the doorway the wiggling quickly turned to pouncing, he was not in a good mood, as he never really is before leaving, but he grinned as he got mobbed.

Prayerful intentions... I pray for civility and understanding, amongst the people and leaders of our people.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Yarn Along

Well it is a my picture is upside down kind of day.

On the needles: is my Christmas Sweater for Mouse. It is  Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system, with one inch 2-2 rib on all the cuffs. On size 4 needles, the Key is 162 stitches and the gauge is 5 stitches to the inch. The yarn is a German company's sport weight, 100%wool, which has been hiding in my stash for years after I picked it up thrifting, I think it was 99 cents a ball. I am sure you will never see it but the yarn is navy but up close there are fibers of gold, purple, and green within that blue. I want to do a colorwork yoke in some geeky pattern but have 8 more inches and two sleeves to figure out what one.

I have been slowly reading Sir Winston Churchill's The Birth of Britain Volume 0ne. Slowly because while it is interesting and his writing is everything you might guess it would be, I kept it on my nightstand. I am breaking that trend this week and hauling it around. William the Conqueror just died - to let you know where I am. 
The COE Handbook. Which is a awesome and intimidating look into all the work I will have to do to get my Certificate of Excellence in Handspinning.
Spinning for Softness and Speed by Paula Simmons, which is one of four pages of suggested reading for the course and interesting. I plan to work on learning the technique - which in involves only using the palm, ring, and little fingers of one hand to spin and she claims completely eliminates over-spinning and you can do without looking after you learn (hoping that claim holds up.)

Joining along with Ginny and everyone at the Yarn Along.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Coffee and COE

This is my answer to the death of my coffee maker. It cost 4.99 for the plastic and two bucks for a big box of filters. It takes a bit longer than the pod thing I had before and makes a much stronger cup than I had become used to, but this protest coffee works for me.

I started talking about the Handweaver's Of America's Certificate of Excellence in Hand-spinning, yesterday. I have been wanting to do this for awhile. It is a written and work project with roughly 40 skeins and at least 7 swatches. Your work is reviewed by a panel anonymously. This will be a ton of work but I am really excited.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Monday Morning Musing - Nov 7

Good Morning, Welcome to Breakfast!

Now... I am sitting at the kitchen table enjoying a soft boiled egg in one of the lovely egg cups the family got me for my birthday, I cracked it with the gizmo they got me for that purpose. I have almost got a handle on how to use it! I have coffee - first time in nearly a week - and a little fruit salad. I have the radio going and my dishes are not done, but the laundry is started and I am oxycleaning my dish towels in hopes of brightening them up.

This Weekend... Was recovery. We got the plague, or maybe it was only a stomach flu or two. Jim and Beaver never succumbed but the rest of us were out for the count! Truthfully Jim looked a bit green at gills at times and Beaver was working too much to be here to get it. But we are up and everyone is on to there tasks. I spent a bit of time worrying about how I would get everything that I had planned to do in two weeks done in one before my show on Saturday, the answer is of course that I won't.

Plans for this Week... Finish bleaching the house! Lysol the house! seriously this bug sucked and we don't want it again. Finish making stock for the holiday craft show in Elkhorn this weekend, tag all the stock I have not yet, list it on Esty and Square, make or buy table clothes and a little tree for our booth, Dye more. Plan Christmas Presents and next week's 4H Meeting.

Plans... Flip through the Certificate of Excellence in Hand Spinning  bibliography to determine what I have to read. Yes, I buried the lead I am going to try for my Certificate. It is a ton of work and just completing all the work is not enough. I want it to be really well done.  I will likely be testing in 2019 and I plan to post here about the work and my progress. I ordered the handbook to see if it was possible to make the next testing date - September 2017 - and I just don't think there is. have until February to make this decision so I think I will say that if I have read 3/4 of the reading listing, answered all the written work and finished - excellently - half the required skeins and corresponding swatches, I may decide to go for it.

If I have free time... I won't.

I am grateful for... Everyone feeling good today. A sick little Bunny last week, curled into my side with me reading her Agatha Christie Mysteries. A tiny Badger who needed Mom to be right next to her the whole while she was sick and figured the reverse was also true, she woke  at 3 am one morning when I crawled back into the bed too sick and exhausted to even pull the blanket back over me, she tucked it gently around me and held my hand. The not so little Mouse who terrifies me with his stoic nature and independence. And for my great big boy, Beaver, who turned 18 this past week.

As for Prayers... I intent to pray for our nation this week. I love my country. I hope that this country can move into something more civil, more encompassing, more loving, and more rational. I believe that words have power, that if we say often enough that our government is broken, or our country needs to be made great again, or our neighbors are horrible hateful people we make it so. We internalize these messages and make them true. I intend to pray for forgiveness to enter my heart for those who are making choices I feel have the power to destroy us. I pray I never have to hide anyone in my attic, but there is room if you need it. I love you, I am interested in your life, I hope it only gets better.