Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sausage, potatoes and cabbage -

I did not take any pictures, but it turned out so well that I wanted to tell you about it. I was just throwing a meal together at the last minute.

Sausage, Potatoes and Cabbage

1 pound smoked Eckrich skinless sausage
1 Tablespoon lard
5 potatoes
1 head cabbage cut into 4 pieces
2 cups water

Cut the sausage into 1/2 inch slices.
Melt the lard in a heavy bottomed kettle (I used my cast iron Dutch oven)
Fry the sausage slices until they start to get sort of brown on the cut sides
Add 2 cups of water
Cut the potatoes into nice chunks
Add them to the pan
Place the cabbage quarters on top of the potatoes with the cut side up
Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 20 - 30 minutes or until the potatoes and cabbage are tender
Using a slotted spoon, dish up into large bowls or onto plates, leaving the liquid in the pan.
Serve with salt and pepper on the side

Serves 4 and it's really delicious!

I saved the broth in the refrigerator to use for soup stock.

Cabbage is traditional New Year's Day fare here in the USA. This would be a good, quick, and easy way to serve it!

I linked this recipe to Wardeh's Tuesday Twister at GNOWFGLINS!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Day After Christmas...

Here is the part of our family that spent Christmas weekend with us. We also had another son and his wife and their 4 children for our annual Christmas Eve homemade donuts and then for lunch on Christmas Day. It was very bubbly! And so nice to have them here.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My New Bread Recipe - whole grain

I frequently try different approaches to bread making. Here is a recipe I came up with a couple months ago. I've made it 3 times now and really like it.

NEW BREAD ~ 5 loaves

1 Tablespoon dry yeast
6 1/4 cups very warm water (about 110F)
1 large potato (cooked in the microwave and then put through the ricer and cooled)
2 Tablespoons RealSalt
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 eggs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup flax seed, ground
3 cups quick oats
Whole wheat flour
All-purpose flour for kneading

1 egg mixed with 1/2 shell of water
unhulled sesame seeds

Put the yeast in a large bowl.
Pour in the water
Add the potato, salt, nutritional yeast, eggs, oil, honey, flax seed and oats. Stir well.
Add whole wheat flour until it is enough to make a nice kneadable dough.
Turn onto bread board floured with all-purpose flour.
Knead for 10 minutes, sprinkling more white flour under dough sparingly when it gets sticky.
Return dough to bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Put bowl in warm (80F) place and let dough rise until double.
Punch down.
Let rise until double again.
Divide into 5 equal portions and form into loaves.
Put loaves in sprayed medium sized bread pans.
Pre-heat oven to 350F and set the pans on top of the oven while it is heating.
When dough has doubled and is nicely springy, brush with egg and water mixture and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

I am sharing this recipe at "Simple Lives Thursdays" over at GNOWFGLINS and at Traditional Tuesday!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Old Milwaukee Rye Bread

I think I am going to drown in drool. This bread is baking right now and the aroma is heavenly! The recipe comes from:

The Complete Book of Breads by Bernard Clayton, copyright 1973. Clayton has written other books since then. This was the original and my wonderful sister bought a copy for me back when it was first published. I think he was largely responsible for teaching a new generation to make excellent bread. Many of our parents grew up eating homemade bread, but then commercially produced bread became readily available after WWII and my generation was never taught how to do it. I remember the first time I tried to make bread. I had no one to show me, and it would have made a good door stop I think. All of that has changed over the years. A friend taught me how, hands-on in 1972 and I've been doing it every since. Good bread is such a blessing and a joy!

So, here is the recipe. It's one of my favorites. I don't make it very often, because it is only partially whole grain, but if you need rye bread - say for ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches or something like that, THIS is the bread to have!


This is a two or three day affair that produces a fine rye loaf. It can be made into 2 large round loaves, or 3 or 4 long, slender loaves.

Under the taut plastic wrap covering the bowl, the sponge will rise and fall as it bubbles to it's maximum goodness in approximately 3 days, give or take a few hours.


The sponge: 1 scant Tablespoon (1 package) dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (105F - 115F)
2 cups medium rye flour
1 Tablespoon caraway seed

All of the sponge
1 package dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105F - 115F)
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon caraway seed
1 egg
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup rye flour
5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, approximately (I used less)
3 Tablespoons butter

Glaze: 1 egg
1 Tablespoon milk
Caraway seed

Baking sheet, greased or non-stick, or with a silicone mat


Set the sponge in a large bowl by dissolving yeast in the water. Stir in rye flour. Add caraway seeds. Cover the bowl snugly with plastic wrap. The sponge may be used anytime after 6 hours although the longer the better - up to 3 days when it will have ceased fermenting.

On baking day, uncover the sponge bowl, sprinkle on the new yeast and add the water. Stir well and then add the molasses, caraway, egg, salt, rye flour, and about 2 cups of the white flour. Stir this together well and then start adding more white flour 1/2 cup at a time. When you have enough, the dough will clean the sides of the bowl as you stir.

Turn your dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, sprinkling just a little white flour under the dough if things get sticky.

Return to large bowl and butter the top of the dough. Replace the plastic wrap and let your dough rise in a warm (80F) place until when you poke it with your finger, it sighs, and does not spring back. Punch it down and allow to rise for 10 more minutes while you pre-heat your oven to 375F.

Working on your floured surface, you can form the dough into two large round loaves, or 4 long skinny loaves and put those on your baking sheet. As you can see, mine are the big round ones.

I lightly sprayed the top of my loaves with baking spray and then placed the plastic wrap on top of them and set it back in the warm place. Let your loaves raise until double, slash them with a sharp knife in 3 places (I use a serrated bread knife) and the mix the egg and milk, brush it over the tops of the loaves and sprinkle them with a bit more caraway seed.

Bake at 375F for about 40 minutes. It took these 45 minutes to get done. Then let them cool on a wire rack.

This bread will keep for at least a week and freezes well. Please don't slice it before it is cool.

This will be on our Christmas buffet table.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Potato Soup


3 bacon slices, sliced into little pieces
2 medium onions, chopped
5 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1 pint chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or more to taste)
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup white flour stirred into 1/2 cup warm water

Using a heavy-bottomed soup kettle (I used my cast iron Dutch oven,) over medium/low heat, cook the bacon and the onions together, stirring, until the bacon starts to look done.

Add the chicken broth, potatoes and enough water to cover the vegetables. Add salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, cover, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the milk, and stirring, bring back up to a simmer. As you stir the soup, slowly add the flour and water mixture, a little at a time, and let it return to simmering each time. When the soup is as thick and creamy as you like, then simmer, covered, very gently for another 30 minutes.

Taste and correct the seasoning.

This is perfect comfort food.

At this point, you could eat the soup. But I highly recommend that you pour it into a covered glass container and refrigerate it for 24 hours before eating. It improves quite a lot that way.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie - Worthy of company!

Oh, how I wish you were all here... we just ate some of the most heavenly chicken pot pie. I made up the recipe, and want to share it with you. (3/4 of the pie is left. So if you hurry right over, you might get a piece while it's still warm and fresh.)

When my husband and I were first married, money was very tight and one of our staples was store-bought chicken pot pie. In those days, one little single serving pie cost 15 cents. When it went up to 30 cents, we quit buying them. As I said, money was a bit scarce. But we've always loved chicken pot pie and we were talking about it yesterday. Unless I was desperate, I wouldn't eat one of those now, but our conversation made me want some. Here it is after we served ourselves:

A closer look at the filling:

Here you can see the edge of the crust:

Ok, so lets see if I can remember!



2 cups diced cooked chicken meat
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium white potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 small can of mushrooms, drained and sauteed briefly in 1 Tablespoon of butter
1 pint of home canned corn, boiled for 7 minutes and then drained
Most of a batch of homemade cream of chicken soup (recipe below)


2 1/2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup extra-virgin coconut oil

Place those three ingredients in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until nicely mixed together, then start adding, a little at a time:

Cold whole milk

Add a little milk, pulse, add a little more, pulse until the ball of dough comes together, then remove from processor and divide in two portions. Roll out on a floured surface and put the first crust into your pie pan. Reserve the other portion until you have the filling ready.

HOMEMADE CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP (enough for the pie with a little left over.)

1/4 butter
1/2 cup white flour (divided)
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground poultry seasoning
1 quart chicken stock. (2 days ago I made homemade chicken and noodles, and I boiled a whole chicken for that. I used the dark meat in the soup and then saved the remainder of the meat for other dishes in the freezer. The way I made this stock was after I picked the meat from the bones, I broke the bones in pieces, put all of them and the fat and gristle into a pan, added a smallish splash of raw apple cider vinegar and barely covered them with water and simmered for 2 hours, strained the broth out at kept it in the refrigerator until I needed it today.)
1/2 cup light cream, half & half, or whole milk

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium/low heat. Add 1/4 cup of the flour and stir until it is all absorbed. Then, a little at a time, add the chicken stock, stirring in thoroughly so it won't get lumpy.

When all the chicken stock is in, add the salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Then, put about 1/4 cup of warm water in a small bowl and stir the remaining 1/4 cup of flour into it. Then as the soup is simmering, gradually add the flour/water mixture until it seems pretty thick to you. Stir constantly and don't let it scorch. When it is quite thick, add, stirring, 1/2 cup of light cream, and heat a little bit more.

There, now your cream soup is done!

To assemble the pie, as I said, put the first crust into the pie pan. Then mix together the filling ingredients, leaving out about 1 cup of the cream soup, as that will probably be too much.

Pour the mixture into the bottom crust and even it out. Then, roll out the second crust, using plenty of flour so it won't stick...

One thing I do when rolling out crust, is... I have a long flat spatula, and once in a while I carefully run that UNDER the crust to help keep it from sticking.

Place the second crust on top of the filling and cut a few vents so the steam can escape. Tuck the top crust around and under the bottom crust and using your fingers, flute the edge.

Bake at 350F for at least an hour and maybe another 10 - 15 minutes. The crust needs to be browning and then you'll know it's done.

Cool for 1/2 hour before serving.

Serve with a fresh tossed salad, a lot of it, and eat that first or else you are going to have a hard time not consuming this whole pie at one sitting.


I don't know why blogger does these things to me. The bold faced type and the italic script seem to be stuck on. Sigh.... ;)

I shared this recipe on Wardeh's "Simple Lives Thursdays" over at GNOWFGLINS. :)

Also linked to Clever Chicks Blog Hop #21

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Basil Vinegar Vinaigrette

Do you remember this? It has been very successful and I still have at least half of the basil remaining in the jar of vinegar. It occured to me the other day that the vinegar might be really nice in a Vinaigrette. I was right. I strained out some of the extra vinegar to use.

Above you can see the various ingredients. I had not finished the recipe when I took this picture, so you won't see as much vinegar in the little measuring cup as I actually used.

Basil Vinegar Vinaigrette

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup basil vinegar
1 teaspoon RealSalt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a lid:

Shake it up and serve!

We used it on a fresh green salad from the greenhouse. Oh, my... what a treat on a snowy day in December!

For wonderful and beautiful recipes, very healthy, check out Wardeh's "Tuesday Twister" over at GNOWGLINS.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quick Greens

I want to show you how I cook fresh greens. I used to always steam them, but this is so much easier and faster. Here you see a big handful of Swiss Chard leaves that I plucked out in greenhouse just before dinner. I take off the main part of the stems. You could use them too, but I like it better if I take them off.

Here are the stems. They can be used in stock, or even steamed or stir-fried.

After washing the leaves and taking off the stems, I piled the leaves on top of each other and then roll them all up together:

Then I slice them thinly:

Here they are all sliced:

And then I cut them cross-wise a few times:

In a cast iron skillet, I melt 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1 Tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil:

Then add the chopped greens and on medium heat, stir and cook for approximately 2 minutes. I season them with Realsalt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

Now they are wilted and done. You could cook them longer, but this is how I like them:

Here is my portion on my plate with turkey (remember Thanksgiving??) and homemade noodles on top of mashed potatoes. Yum!

This will work just as well for kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, spinach, or anything else of that nature. Quick, easy and wonderful!

What amazes me is how small the greens become after cooking!

By the way, we named the new puppy "Badger." :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Puppy!

We drove to Kentucky today (across the Ohio river) to meet this little Border Collie:

He is the last one left of a litter of 7 puppies born on August 13th. Very sweet and affectionate. Of course, on the way home, we had to do the right thing and break him in to our family. We stopped at Dairy Queen and got some ice cream, for us and for him. I know... I know... nutrition, but like I've said before, not having any fun is bad for you too! :)

He doesn't have a name yet. This has been a long and tiring day for such a young puppy.

A sigh of happiness just escaped me. I still miss my old doggie, but this surely has helped. Lots of work ahead now!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Tomorrow, we plan to drive about 130 miles, possibly to get a new puppy. Here is the listing on Craigslist in case you want to see. The male is the only one left. If we bring him home, I will post pictures. Wish us luck!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sad times... Happy times.

The day before Thanksgiving, my 14 year old dog died. I miss her so much. She was such a good little friend for so long.

Then, Thanksgiving came, and we had a lovely and memorable day. I hope those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving all had a nice meal and loved ones to spend the day with.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Replacing a Zipper in a coat/jacket

Here you can see a perfectly good jacket. The problem is, the zipper is broken! Replacing a zipper is really not difficult, but it is tedious and takes considerable time. If your coat/jacket is nice, and/or you love it, it is more than worth the trouble to replace the zipper.

Here is the zipper I ordered over the internet here. This company is wonderful. They have everything and excellent customer service!

A closer look at the invoice:

The zipper I purchased cost $6.03 including the shipping, and so for a nice coat, you can see that this would really be worthwhile.

Now, don't be afraid. Breath. Relax. Here we go.

FIRST ~ set your sewing machine to its longest stitch length. Sew a line of stitching along the jacket opening, far enough in from the edge that you do NOT catch in the existing zipper. This is to hold everything together nicely and make the reassembly easier. Do this on both sides of the jacket.

Here I am doing the same thing on the other side:

SECOND ~ take your little seam ripper and do (carefully and don't stab yourself) whatever it takes to remove the broken zipper:

Here I've gone a little farther in the process:

Here I am removing some stitching from the surface:

And here is what it looks like with the zipper removed. Now you will see the wisdom of doing that basting line of stitches so the jacket doesn't blow up and get all weird.

THIRD ~ carefully remove all the bits of loose thread:

FOURTH ~ Thread a sturdy hand sewing needle with a doubled thread and run it through some beeswax so it will be less likely to tangle while you are sewing. Rosin will work instead of the beeswax, too, or if you have neither, find a piece of candle or even hand soap to use!

FIFTH ~ I hope you took the time to observe how the old zipper was positioned. You are going to unzip the new zipper, and one side at a time, you will put the new zipper in, and pin it in place and then hand baste it in place:

See? Here is one side basted together:

And here is the other side:

Oh, yes, and it is very helpful to have a fuzzy cat walking around under your work table at this point:

SIXTH ~ Before you sew the zipper in with your machine, zip up the jacket to make sure it is going to work!

SEVENTH ~ Now, simply, using a normal stitch length, sew along the same line where the old zipper was sewn in like this:

Make sure to replace any seams or stitching you have removed:

Be sure to remove any basting stitches. On this one, there was the nice little tab on the old zipper, so I just transferred it to the new one:

That's all you need to do! Even if it doesn't turn out perfectly, it is better than throwing away a perfectly good coat.

Please feel free to ask questions if I can help.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tortilla Chips - Sort of homemade

Ever since I made the green tomato salsa, I've been wishing I had some tortilla chips to have with it. When I went grocery shopping, I looked for "baked" tortilla chips, thinking that way I could avoid the unhealthy oils they use in frying. It was not to be. Even the baked varieties have soy oil and disturbing things of that nature on the ingredient list. Then I thought, well, I could make some tortillas from masa, but just haven't felt that ambitious. I did the next best things this evening. I used commercial corn tortillas:

I used my pizza cutter to cut them into wedges. The salt shaker there is what I used to season them after they were deep fried. It is full of RealSalt. I love that stuff... it has such a good flavor, plus contains at least 60 different trace minerals that our bodies need, so is a healthy addition to our diet.

I filled my little "Fry Daddy" deep fryer with lard up to the line, and heated it for about 10 minutes before adding some of the chips. I only did one layer at a time and let them cook until they were almost done sizzling and had just barely started to turn brown:

Here is my tool for taking the chips out of the fryer. You could also use a slotted spoon.

I drained them on a plate covered with several layers of paper toweling. I also salted them at this time. As they were finished, I transferred them to a bowl lined with a dish towel:

And here is my little bowl of salsa. It was delicious!

Maybe next time I'll try to make my own tortillas. It is not difficult, just takes some time like anything else.

I am sharing this post of Wardeh's Tuesday Twister over at GNOWFGLINS!
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